I am excited to be a guest blogger at Blogelina today. Stop by and read my post, 3 Ways to Help Increase Traffic to Your Food Blog.
Linking up at Friendship Friday, Share the Wealth Sunday, Create with Joy, Mommy Moments, The Mommy Club, Dream, Create, Inspire
One of my favorite things to make is Guacamole. I like it simple - just avacadoes, lime juice, and salt. Enjoy it with your favorite tortilla chips for a healthy and delicious snack or serve with your favorite Mexican dish like Mexican Skillet Chicken or Tacos. We also love these easy kid-friendly baked tacos. My boys seriously LOVE taco night!
1. Make sure your avadoes are ripe before cutting into them. The skin should darken as they ripen and when you press into the avacado it should give slightly. You don't want it to be mushy soft. If you need to ripen your avacadoes quickly, put them in a brown paper bag for a day or two until they ripen.
2. Cut the avacado in half and scoop out the meat with a spoon.
3. To remove the seed, gently hit your knife into the seed then turn the knife a little to loosen the seed and lift up the knife and the seed will come out attached to your knife.
I've never really known the proper technique for removing the seed from the knife other than pulling it off. I did find this tip online which should be easier. There is also a great article on the History of Hass Avacado.
From What's Cooking America
"To remove the seed from your knife, pinch the seed by placing your fingers over the knife blade (blunt side) and squeeze as though you are pinching the end of the avocado. It should pop off from the knife and fall freely."
4. In a wide shallow pan (I use a pie pan) mash the avacado meat with a potato masher. Then squeeze in fresh lime juice and salt to taste.
For this batch I used two avacadoes and 1/2 lime and a couple of shakes of salt. You will always need to taste as you are making guacamole to get the flavor that you want. Be creative and have fun with it. My husband adds diced sweet onions and tomatoes. I'm kind of a purist when it comes to guacamole, but his guac is really good too.
Paying It Forward with Pizza: A Story of Kindness and Generosity
Tonight I walked into a Little Caesar’s Pizza Restaurant to pick up a pepperoni pretzel crust pizza. When I ordered they said it would be a 7 minute wait. So I told them I would be back in a few minutes, I needed to sit with the kids in the car (which was right by the front door, but I didn’t want to leave them alone that long.) When first I came into the restaurant, there was another customer. I asked him if he had been served and he said yes he had. He was just waiting for his order.
I went out to the car and read library books with the kids while we waited, as we had just been to the library. I looked at the clock on the dash and when seven minutes had passed I went back into the store. I had to wait for a couple of minutes while they prepped and boxed the pizza. The same gentleman who had been waiting before was still waiting. We engaged in small talk about the weather since it looked like it might rain. When the pizza was finally ready and the employee handed it to me, he said it was taken care of. I thanked him thinking maybe it was because of the long wait and he said that the gentleman waiting had taken care of my order for me. I was so surprised, but managed to thank him before leaving the restaurant. He humbly acted like it was no big deal and I went on my way.
The chances of him reading this post are slim, but to the kind and generous patron at Little Caesar’s thank you. You didn’t know much about me other than I have kids and ordered a pizza tonight and yet you kindly paid for our dinner. Maybe you saw a busy Mom and thought “I am going to give her a break.” Whatever your reason, thank you.
What he didn’t know was that my husband works long hours finishing up his dissertation so ordering pizza tonight was a gift to myself of a night off in the kitchen. I love my kids more than life itself, but the days are long when my husband works late. He also didn’t know that we are on a tighter budget than usual since my husband is between jobs at the moment.
And he didn’t know that we will soon be going through some big transitions including a move for my husband’s new job. We are excited, but this will mean big changes for our family. Considering everything happening in our lives right now, his small gift meant more than he could have imagined.
I would like to challenge you to pay it forward when the chance arises. You never know what your small gesture could mean to someone else. It could be paying for someone else’s pizza, passing on a free cart to another customer at ALDI (cart rental is 25 cents), picking flowers and sharing them with an elderly neighbor; better yet spending some time with an elderly neighbor. The possibilities are endless.
If you have ever paid it forward by doing a random act of kindness or been the recipient of someone else’s kind gesture feel free to share. I would love to hear your story.
Linking up at Dream, Create, Inspire, The Mommy Club, Friendship Friday, Share the Wealth Sunday, Create with Joy, Mommy Moments
Tomato caprese is one of my absolute favorite salads. I have been waiting forever for my basil to finally grow so that I can enjoy this fresh delicious salad. All I got were these two piddly little basil stems though, so I may be planting more soon.
Since I only had two little basil stems, I used them as a garnish instead of layering basil leaves between the cheese and tomatoes. My husband and I got to enjoy the basil all to ourselves since the boys were not exactly fighting over it.
I use a store bought balsamic glaze that I buy at a local specialty food store. When we travelled to Italy a few years ago we fell in love with a similar balsamic glaze (that was long ago devoured) so we were so excited to find one locally.
If you can't find a balsamic glaze, you can make a simple balsamic reduction. Pioneer Woman has easy to follow instructions.
You don't really need a recipe for this, but here ya go.
Fresh basil leaves
Balsamic glaze or balsamic reduction
Salt and fresh ground pepper (optional)
1. Layer slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella cheese on a platter, placing basil leaves between the slices or as a garnish.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Salt and pepper to taste if desired. I don't usually salt and pepper. The glaze has so much flavor on its own.
We love panko crusted tilapia so I always return to this favorite meal every lenten season. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and perfectly seasoned...it's a treat we enjoy every time.
This is a family favorite I have been making for a couple of years. Since I made it for dinner last night, I decided to update my old photos on this post.
I adapted my pork schnitzel recipe to make this delicious Panko Crusted Tilapia. We love it. It is especially good with lemon juice squeezed on top. This is pretty easy to make and tilapia is an affordable fish. I paid just over $5 for two pounds of frozen tilapia filets at ALDI the other day. That's less than $3 a pound!
Our boys really like fish so I double this recipe for our family of five. Last night we had one fish filet leftover after making eight.
If you buy frozen filets, they are easy to thaw in the fridge or in cold water. Read the package for detailed instructions. This recipe works well with other fish too. I am thinking of trying it with shrimp sometime.
This may look complicated since you have three bowls of batter dipping ingredients, but it's not. My four year old helped me last night with the battering. The fish cook quickly in the skillet too so even though you have to cook in batches, it doesn't take too long.
4 Tilapia filets
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup Japanese style Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon paprika
Old Bay Seasoning
1. Set out 3 shallow bowls. One with a mixture of the flour, seasoned salt, and pepper. The second with the egg and milk whisked together. The third with a mixture of the panko bread crumbs and paprika.
2. Drizzle a little olive oil in a large skillet and heat at medium heat. Dredge the filets first in the seasoned flour, then dip the filets in the egg mixture, and then into the mixture of bread crumbs and paprika.
3. Working in batches, sauté the filets for 4-5 minutes on each side. While cooking, sprinkle each side with Old Bay seasoning. When you flip the filets, drizzle more olive oil in the skillet as needed. Remove the filets from the skillet and cover with foil or place in a warm oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining fish.
This is an old favorite from the blog archives that was in need of updated photos. Since I made a double batch today for my Mom's group pool party I took the opportunity to snap some new shots. These cookies are amazing and were a huge hit at the party.
I love the milk chocolate and raisin combination. Reminiscent of chocolate covered raisins - yum! You can bake these crispy or soft. I bake them with crispy edges, but still somewhat tender and chewy in the middle. (In my oven, that is about 13 minutes per cookie sheet.) The hardest thing about these cookies is trying not to eat them all at once.
1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. milk
1 ¾ cups (11.5 oz. pkg.) milk chocolate chips
1 cup quick or old fashioned oats
½ cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture and milk. Stir in chocolate chips, oats and raisins.
4. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. (I line my cookie sheets with parchment paper.)
5. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are crisp but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen. This recipe is adapted from Nestle.
One of my best friends asked me to make a cake to auction at the recent Holy Cross trivia night which was a fund raiser for the school. I was happy to help our church and school family, but I didn't put a lot of planning into a cake design. So there I sat the day before the event trying to figure out what amazing creation I was going to come up with from my simple round cake and oversized cake board. I knew the cake board was too big for the cake, but with three little ones in tow I did not feel like running out to a craft store or making a new cake board.
Mother's Day was the day following the event so I decided on pale pink and green thinking the cake would be a nice purchase for a Mother's Day treat. I looked online for some inspiration and fell in love with the idea of a watercolor cake.
I frosted the cake with a crumb coat of white frosting then colored icing in pink, pale pink, and green.
I put the colored frosting along with some white frosting in decorating bags to pipe onto the cake.
I piped the icing onto the cake similar to the water lilies cake that inspired me, only without realizing it I made a pink and green striped effect. I forgot to mix up the colors and striped the colors all around with areas of white in between the colored areas which simply lightened the overall color.
I used a dough blade to smooth and blend the icing on the sides of the cake. I wanted the color to be delicate so lightening was good, but I was hoping for a more mottled effect. Lesson learned. I then decided that the striped round cake reminded me of a hat on it's oversized cake board.
So I frosted the top with pale pink frosting to blend easily with the sides. Then I sprinkled some white shimmer dust for cake decorating on the top of the cake to give it a delicate sparkle followed with some pale pink edible pearls.
I was happy with the finished cake, but thought it was missing something.
My husband stepped in and added a beautiful floral arrangement to the cake. (It helps to have a husband who teaches floral design.)
I love the design with fresh flowers, but you could use a big bow instead. So now you know how I stumbled upon making a watercolor hat cake.
I used the icing and cake recipes from this tiered cake post.
Nothing says summer to me like strawberry pie. But before you make the most delicious mouthwatering creation of fresh berries and homemade glaze piled high with whipped cream, you have to make a good pie crust.
I had been making a different butter crust, but it just wasn't as good as it could have been and if I am going to go to the trouble to make a pie crust it should be really good. My husband who really should be a food critic, determined that the crust recipe I had been using was industrial and lacked flakiness. He was right.
So I decided to try my hand at my Aunt Carol's Never Fail Pie Crust again with a few tweaks. I had abandoned this recipe because it calls for shortening which I avoid buying since it is such an unhealthy fat. I used real butter in place of shortening. To make the dough easier to handle, I freeze the butter ahead of time and use ice water.
The result: A delicious, flaky pie crust made with butter instead of shortening.
3 cups flour
1 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed (2 1/2 sticks)
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, well beaten
5 Tbsp. ice water
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1. Cut up butter and put it in the freezer for a while before starting.
2. Cut butter, flour, and salt into coarse crumbs with a pastry blender. This takes a little of work since the butter is frozen. You can also process this step in a food processor.
3. Combine egg, vinegar, and water. Pour liquid into flour mixture all at one time.
4. Blend with a spoon just until all the flour is moistened.
5. Roll 1/2 of the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Fold flattened dough in half and then in half again so that it can be easily lifted into the pie pan. Lift the dough into the pan and unfold so that it covers the pie pan.
6. Press the dough into the pan and trim and shape the edges for a one crust pie. For a two crust pie, pour filling into the pie. Then cover with top crust, seal and shape the edges.
7. To bake without filling, generously prick sides and bottom of pie crust with a fork to prevent the crust from collapsing into the pan. Or line with foil and pour pie weights or dry beans onto the foil to weigh the crust down and prevent it from shrinking into the pan.
8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown at 425 degrees. If I use pie weights, I bake for 15 minutes and then bake for another 5 to 7 minutes after removing the foil and pie weights. If making a two crust pie, follow baking instructions in the filling recipe.
You can freeze extra dough for future use. This recipe makes enough dough for two pie crusts.
I actually wrote these notes to myself in my journal quickly one afternoon. It must have been about a year ago and I really needed some encouragement. Being a stay-at-home parent can be lonely sometimes and there seems to be a lot of pressure to do it all. I know I feel the pressure to keep a clean house, raise well-behaved, well-rounded children, plan and prepare healthy and delicious meals, help with yard maintenance, and contribute to the family finances by saving money and earning income (usually blog income and ebay sales). When you think about it, stay at home parents contribute A LOT to the family. Yes A LOT is in bold because really it's like a TON.
So here is some encouragement for all of my fellow stay-at-home parents.
Let me start with this, you are doing the most important job in the world! It doesn't seem like it most days, but when you look back at your life, your children will mean more to you than any job ever did. The days will seem long, even mundane in the everyday tasks that must be performed, but each task that you do and each moment that you spend with and for your children is essential to the happiness and well being of your family.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned work at home Mom blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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