Monday, February 28, 2011

My Perfect Fish Tacos

Before I talk about tacos I wanted to wish my wonderful husband a Happy "Anniversary". We were married 7 years ago in Jamaica on February 29, Leap Day.  We celebrate on the 28th of February.  I have had so much fun these past 7 years.  I can't wait to see what kind of crazy adventures we get into next.  Hopefully there are tacos involved!! 

See a pic of us on our wedding day after the tacos.
Now back to the delicious stuff:
Miami has a hold on me.  I ate so many fish tacos there that I am going through withdrawal.  I will admit that I have a taco problem and when I was pregnant with PB I did eat tacos 8 times in 6 days.  What can I say, I love tacos.  Even now I eat them at least 1-2 times a week, more if Hubby is traveling.  I usually eat beef tacos and now my taste buds have been turned onto the fresh taste of fish tacos.  When we got back from Miami I set out to combine everything I liked about all the fish tacos I ate into one perfect fish taco.  It took 3 tries but I did it!  I love the cool guac spread against the hot and spicy fish with the juicy tomato and crunchy red cabbage.  All wrapped up in 2 corn tortillas with a squeeze of fresh lime.  Perfection.  My Mom just went to Hawaii and she told me about their fish tacos, they had fruit on them.  I think I might need to go to Hawaii to try those :) Hey Hubs, how about next year for our 8th/2nd Anniversary?

My Prefect Fish Tacos- recipe by me! serves 2

Guac Spread:
1 avocado
pinch salt
pinch pepper
pinch garlic powder
pinch mex chili powder
pinch onion powder
juice from 1/2 lime

While you are defrosting the fish, make the guac spread.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mash using a fork or pastry blender until the avocado is smooth.  Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

firm fish- 1 filet per person cut into 4  equal slices. (I use fresh frozen cod or mahi-mahi whichever is cheaper)
olive oil
mex chili powder
garlic powder
chipotle chili powder
tomato, sliced thin
red cabbage sliced thin
corn tortillas, 2 per taco
1/2 lime cut into wedges for garnish

Place a pan on medium heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Lightly coat all side of the fish with a sprinkle of salt, mex chili powder, garlic powder, and chipotle chili powder.  When the pan is hot, place the fish in the pan.  You want to cook the fish on all sides until they get a little brown.  Don't over cook the fish.  Depending on how thick your fish is, cooking could take 5-10 minutes.  Watch the fish closely.  While you are cooking the fish, heat up the tortillas.  I heat them on a flat pan on the stove and rotate them while I watch the fish.  

Assembling the tacos:  Place 2 corn tortillas on top of each other.  Spread 1/4 of the guac spread on the tortilla. Top with 2 hot pieces of fish, sliced tomato and red cabbage.  Serve with lime wedges and top with lime juice just before you dig in.  

February 29, 2004 
Negril, Jamaica

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Orange guest bed

Happy Orange Friday!! This is my guest room, no surprise there is an orange duvet cover. (IKEA of course.) I don't think you can see it in this pic, but there are orange sheets on the bed as well. The room is all ready for the clutter shark's visit next week. I am so excited for her to get here!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reorganize 2011: Coat Closet & Update

This past week I crossed a bunch of things off my list!  Whoohooo!! My coat closet has been a pain in my butt for months.  We don't just keep coats and shoes in there, I also have my kitchen towels, cloth napkins and microfiber cloths in there.  I have an orange hanging organizer for them, but even that was getting cluttered.  It doesn't help that I like to hide things in there when people come over.  

Here is the scary before:

Hubby and I donated a few coats and some pairs of shoes.  We also donated a bunch of gloves and scarves we weren't wearing. Before I had shoes in the foyer because there wasn't room in the closet.  When I would take anything off the shelf a bunch of stuff would fall down too.  It was a mess, I was thinking I needed to put a closet system in there to make it better. Turns out we just needed to get the crap out of there!!

Here is the spacious after:

Our shoes are paired and lined up in the organizer instead of being shoved in.  I moved the tablecloths I rarely use to my entertaining closet in the basement.  That made more room for my kitchen towels and microfiber cloths.  Most of them are in the laundry pile right now, I am almost looking forward to washing them and putting them away... weird.  One of the biggest changes is we have empty hangers and one side of the shelf is completely empty.  I think I am going to store my portable files up there, once they are organized :) 

The clutter shark (my mom) will be here in one week. YIPPIE!!!!! I want to get almost everything done before she gets here.  Mom is going to help me with PB's bedroom.  We are going to install a new closet system and reorganize the whole room.  She saw how disorganized I was at Christmas so I want to impress her with my progress.  I don't have a lot left but I am realizing some of the things won't get done until after my deadline, and that is OK.  I gave myself a finish date so it would keep me on track.  If I am left with 3 things to get done, that they will go on the spring cleaning list.  At least when I am spring cleaning I won't have to spend time organizing!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mussels with Tomatoes and Garlic

The first time I had mussels Hubby and I were visiting Montreal.  We went at the end of January in 2005 before our first wedding anniversary.  I remember 2 things from this trip.  One it was so cold; the coldest I had ever felt in my whole life.  Two was the mussels we had at l'Actual.  I have a terrible memory so the fact that I remember the name of the restaurant says something about the food.  The second time I had mussels was when Hubby had to go to Belgium for work and I tagged along.  He went to work and I explored Belgium and Amsterdam.  We ate Mussels every meal possible.  They didn't serve them with tomatoes, but they were so delicious.  
Fun Fact: I got pregnant with PB in Belgium, I am pretty sure it was the mussels :)  (and no we are not eating mussels to get pregnant again)

When I was at my grocery store this week I saw the mussels display and was very excited.  I love mussels season and we will be eating this every week until the season is over!  And maybe for our 7th wedding anniversary next week! In Belgium and Montreal they served frites with the mussels. I serve my mussels over pasta, but I wish it was with frites.

Mussels with Tomatoes and Garlic- recipe by me! serves 2-4 (depends how many mussels you want to eat.)

3 T. olive oil
1/4 onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced (use more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 c white wine or chicken broth
2 servings spaghetti, cooked
2 lb. bag of mussels
crusty bread

Prep the mussels by washing each shell and checking for cracked or opened shells.  Discard any suspicious looking mussels.  

Put the olive oil in a large pan/pot that has a lid over medium heat.  Cook the minced onion until translucent.  Add in the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for one minute.  Stir in the tomatoes with juice, basil and oregano.  Cook down the tomatoes for about 10 minutes until most of the liquid is gone.  Add white wine and turn the heat up to medium high.  When it is bubbling, add the mussels and put the lid on tight.  Cook until the shells have fully opened.  about 5-9 minutes, it will depend how hot your stove is.  Any shell that didn't open should be discarded.  Serve over pasta and with some crusty bread, and make sure you get all the delicious liquid out of the pot.  

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Orange Broom

This is my reaching broom.  I use it to put up and take down the christmas lights.  (Which I finally got to do yesterday!!! Thank you warm weather!!)  This is weird, but I don't use it to sweep.  The bristles are too stiff.  Which makes it the perfect reaching broom :) Yes, I am crazy!  We are going to have another unseasonably warm day here so PB and I are off for some outdoor adventures! Happy Orange Friday!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reorganize 2011: Craft Area

This was a 3 day nap time project.  It was a mess!!
This is the embarrassing before.  You might not be able to tell from the picture but the desk area is completely covered in fabric and stuff.  I couldn't even sit down to sew.  (Please ignore the awful red carpet, it was there when we bought the house.)

And now for the glorious after...
PHEW!!! i have a desk again!  My fabric is all folded and sorted in bins. My craft bins are labeled nicer and grouped into sections.  I have little areas of inspiration so it isn't just craft supplies everywhere.  Of course if this was a dream Candace Olson would have refinished my basement and taken the red carpeting out and installed cabinets and beautiful lighting. 

Let's take a closer look:
I can reach just about everything I need if I stand from my desk chair.  All the supplies I need while i am sewing are within arms reach.  AND all my labels on the bins are orange :)

This is a new addition.  Now the projects I want to work on have a place.  There is fabric for a quilt, fleece for a hat, christmas fabric for pillows and a t-shirt for a repurposing project.  Now everything I need is together and ready when I am.
This is my favorite part.  I love that I can flip one switch and everything is on!  I did this last year but I wanted to share!
I didn't want my craft space to just be a sea of bins so I have a few spaces where I displayed the things that are important to me.  I like that when I am working I have something special to look at.  

I am so glad I got this done, I have a lot of sewing on my to do list!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Well, it's Valentine's Day. Hubby and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day but now that PB is in the picture, I did a few fun things with him. 

We made some heart shaped sugar cookies to serve when I hosted playgroup last week.  

We also made valentines for school.  PB has school once a week and he needed some valentines to give out to his classmates.  Luckily the same day I found out about the valentines I saw this post of 35 printables over on The Long Thread.  The owl cards caught my eye.  They were perfect for my little owl to give his friends in class.  I wanted to put some treats with the cards so I taped them to raisin boxes. I felt like it had to be a nice healthy snack because they are so young. But when he is older, bring on the sugar and chocolate!!!  I had PB "sign" them with a pink crayon.  He drew very light circles on them. 

Here is PB last year on Valentine's Day.  
I made him some cupid accessories to wear.

I couldn't resist dressing him up while he was a baby.  He is 11 months here.
I can't believe how much he has grown since last year!! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Orange TP holder

This was a gift from Hubby's aunts for us for Christmas. It is a seriously fantastic gift. I have this in our guest/PB's bathroom. It is perfect because I don't have to worry about PB playing with the TP. It is also the perfect color!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dark Chocolate Chip M&M cookies

I heart cookies :)

I got this fabulous gift from my fabulous friend, A.  
I love, I mean really love M&Ms and we all know how much I love orange.  

I didn't just want to stick my face in the jar and inhale them all at once.  
So I made some cookies.

I used my mom's super secret chocolate chip recipe. You know, the one on the back of the Nestle Toll House bag :) I made one change.  I added 1 cup of dark chocolate chips and 1 cup of M&Ms to the cookie dough.  Also, I always refrigerate my cookie dough for an hour or so before baking.  

After I scooped them with my cookie scoop, I pressed 3 M&Ms into the top before baking them.  I baked according to the recipe.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reorganize 2011: Pantry and Freezer

WOW were these spaces jam packed with clutter! The freezer in our house is where things go to die.  I think, "ooooh, I'll freeze this chili and enjoy it later!"  Well I found 3 containers of chili in the freezer and they were reaching the year marker.  Not good, Kris... not good.

The pantry and freezer before. 

It was awful trying to find things in there.  The pantry especially.  I found 3 jars of unopened pizza sauce, 2 jars unopened pasta sauce and in the freezer I found 3 unopened bags of frozen corn.  I was buying things I didn't know I had, what a waste of money!

The second worst thing I found in the freezer was baby food cubes from last year and now for the worst... one baggie of breast milk.  I was pretty surprised to find that. I thought I got rid of all of them when PB stopped breastfeeding almost a year ago, I guess there was a straggler.  

My baking shelf was a disaster, it is still a little messy but it will be better when all the duplicates are gone. (4 opened bags of powdered sugar.)  Peanut Butter's snack shelf was the worst.  He goes and pulls things out and puts things back by himself.  I think I need to get some containers so things don't get stale and he can see what he is grabbing.  
The pantry and freezer after.  

It feels zen now.  I don't dread going in there.  The best part is when I go shopping, I know what I have.  No more over buying. Also when I buy food, there will be space for it.  I was letting things pile up on the counters because it wouldn't fit in the pantry.  

Hey Mom, I found extra coffee!  You were right, I did have some in the freezer.  

Now I need to get my butt in gear!  There is about 33 days until PB's birthday and I haven't done 1/2 of the things on my list.  Hopefully my Miami getaway will give me the push to get everything done!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Orange Jogging Stroller

This is our orange jogging stroller. And yes there are other orange strollers.  We took this on vacation with us last week.  This is Peanut Butter in front of the pool at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, FL.  That is not where we stayed, but it was beautiful.  We went on a 4+ mile walking tour of Coral Gables and did a 10+ mile tour of Miami Beach and South Beach.  This stroller was awesome on our trip and I enjoy walking with it at home.  
Here is an orange bonus.  Our hotel room in Miami Beach had orange accents!! That was really exciting.  There was an orange couch and an orange office chair. Of course PB was wearing orange too :) I was standing on the balcony taking this pic.  The balcony overlooked the ocean.  It was awesome to sit in bed and see the ocean.  Everything in the room was placed to see the ocean view.  The bathroom even had sliding doors that opened up so when you were showering you could see through the room to the ocean.  It was a special trip and I am so grateful we got to go.
Happy Orange Friday!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pizza 101: mini deep dish pizzas

Since it's almost Super Bowl Sunday I thought I would do a bonus lesson for Pizza 101. Mini deep dish pizzas are the perfect appetizer for a big game. 

The best part is you can make them the night before and pop them in the fridge and bake them right in time for the game!  These are topped with roasted tomatoes and spinach.  Another favorite for us is sausage.  Mini pepperonis would be really cute too!

Mini Deep Dish Pizza- recipe by Martha Stewart, tweaked by me

olive oil
basic dough recipe- makes 24 mini pizzas plus a small thin crust pizza
1/2 c. corn meal
mozzarella cheese
pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Light brush muffin tins with olive oil.  Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface.  Roll dough out about 1/2 inch thick.  using a circle cookie cutter cut circles out the size of the muffin tins.  Dip dough into the cornmeal and then press dough into the bottom and sides of the muffin tin.  Top with pizza sauce and desired toppings and cheese.  Sprinkle with oregano.  Bake until dough is brown and crisp, about 12 minutes.  Let cool 2 minutes before removing from muffin tins.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Escape from the snow and food inspiration

This is where I was last week.  Hubby had a conference in Miami.  PB and I joined him and added a few days and had a little vacation at the beach.  This was the view from our room.  Spectacular.  It was perfectly timed because we missed out on 10 inches of snow.  But we did return to a snow/ice storm.   I am so grateful that Hubby got to go to the conference and we got to tag along.  I really needed a week away. 

PB loved swimming.  That is hubby with him.  Yes his trunks are orange.  PB has orange on his trunks too.  I am out of control :)

PB hated his feet touching the sand.  But he did like sitting on a towel and digging in the sand with a shovel.  

This is the only pic of food I took while in Miami.  Key lime pie, it was refreshing and delicious.  I wish i would have taken pics of all the fish tacos I ate.  I had them every day and sometimes for both lunch and dinner.  But when the tacos arrived at the table I couldn't help but dig right in.  I already have a taco problem but now I am obsessed with the fish tacos I had and I can't wait to recreate them at home.  
We went to a Mexican Restaurant called Alma Mexicana.  The food was so good we went back twice.  I had the fish tacos the first time and when we went back I ordered the pork burrito smothered in green chilie sauce. Hubby got that the first time we went to the restaurant.  This burrito made me want to cook pork at home which makes hubby very happy.  Normally I don't make or eat pork, it's not my favorite meat.  If it is cooked in a super delicious way and smothered in green chilie sauce, I am in. 

Now I am going to squeeze my eyes shut and pretend I can still hear the ocean and feel the sand between my toes.  I will pretend I am still enjoying fish tacos under the stars and watching PB eat a triple decker grilled cheese.  (For an almost 2 year old he took on that sandwich like a champ and ate it to the crusts!)

I hope you are some place warm.  If not, I hope these pics defrost your toes a little :)
Thanks for stopping by!
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