Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fish Tacos

If you don't like fish or fish tacos, don't bother continuing to read. There is just no convincing a person these are good. You either like them or you don't, and I really do! I'm big into coupons and seeing how much money I can save each grocery trip so I was really excited when I found fish shaped breaded fish sticks at buy one get one free. I thought for sure I could convince my kids they were chicken nuggets and get them to eat some variety, but I was proven wrong very quickly. I had to find something to do with these and I did.

Here's what you do:

Bake the fish sticks as indicated on the package
Heat some corn tortillas in a skillet for about 15 seconds on each side on medium high heat when the fish is done cooking.
Put two fish sticks on the tortilla and top with desired amount of coleslaw mix.

For the coleslaw mix:
1 T vanilla yogurt
1 T mayonnaise
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic salt
limes to squeeze fresh on the taco
1/2 cabbage, sliced thin

Makes 6 tacos

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Buttery Jam Cookies

Baking so much this time of year has really gotten to me. I'm just not into the sweets as much, but I have to say that these cookies were a nice break from all the chocolate that has been going around. I chose raspberry jam for my cookies and they were great warm, right out of the oven. I added a light glaze of powdered sugar, milk, and more raspberry jam. They were amazing, but I wouldn't recommend adding jam to a glaze because they were way too sticky. They were gone in no time though. When I left for work there were about a dozen on the counter and when I got home, there wasn't a single crumb left. I will be making these again and I can't wait to try different jams!

Don't forget to check out the TWD blogroll and thanks to Heather of Randomosity and the Girl for choosing the simple and quick recipe this week! It's just what I needed!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

English Toffee and a gift from Organica

First of all, I was SO excited to get home from work today to find a turquoise box that had arrived from Organica Deluxe with some cookies for me to sample.
I was so excited that I automatically ripped open the package and took a bite before I could even take a picture of it. I didn't need to read what kind of cookie it was either because as soon as I opened the box I could smell the sweet ginger. These cookies were amazing. Every ingredient down to the molasses is organic which makes it seem healthy too! These babies were so soft and almost melted in your mouth. Organica does some fun gifts and they have more than just food too (their baby blankets are adorable!) so check out their website to find a yummy and unique gift for friends and family this holiday season! They are even offering free shipping until Dec 15 so hurry and order!
Thank to the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program for introducing me to this awesome company!

Now on to my world famous English toffee. Well, let's be honest. It's not world famous yet and it's not "mine" either. My mom has been making this recipe every year for as long as I can remember and our family and friends always look forward to it. Every year I try to make it and once in awhile I get a batch that can compare to hers. This was one of those batches.
It was perfectly crunchy instead of chewy or crumbly. The butter didn't separate from the rest of it and it didn't burn. I have had many other outcomes from trying to make toffee as well.

Here's the recipe:

2 C sugar
1 C water
1 lb butter (4 cubes)
4 large chocolate Hershey's bars
almonds (optional)

Heat sugar and water in a heavy saucepan on high heat until it boils and reaches the thread stage on your candy thermometer. Do not even stir it during this stage. Just let it do it's thing. While it's getting there, get a cookie sheet with raised edges ready by rubbing the entire thing with butter to grease it up. Get a bowl of ice water close by to test your candy, and fill a near by bathtub with a few inches of cold water. Strange, I know. You might want to get a cold drink and short sleeves on too because it gets really hot standing there stirring.

Once it gets to the thread stage, add the 4 cubes of butter (don't think about it, just do it!) one at a time, stirring constantly in a figure 8 motion with a wooden spoon until each cube is completely melted before adding another. You don't want the temperature to get low while doing this part. Stir constantly until it reaches the hard crack stage, or 300 degrees, on your thermometer. Drop some candy into the bowl of ice water and bite into it when cool to make sure you get the right crack from your toffee.

When it's gotten to where you like it, pour the candy into your prepared cookie sheet and using hot pads, shake the cookie sheet to spread the candy as you walk to the bathtub. Don't forget to shake as you go. (that is a little joke for my mom. She would tell us that as we followed her to the bathroom every time she makes it.) Put the cookie pan in the bathtub to float on top of the water. Let sit for about 10 minutes until completely cooled and removed from bathtub. Honestly, that whole bathtub step is probably not totally necessary, but that is how my mom has always done it and her toffee always comes out perfect!

Loosen the toffee from the pan so you can pick it up all in once piece. Frost one side with 2 melted Hershey's bars and frost the other with the remaining 2 when the first side has hardened. My mom likes to add whole almonds to the candy before it hardens and then crushed almonds on top of the chocolate, but I'm a no nut kind of girl, so I leave that out. It's an option for you though.

Good luck!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Sugar Cookies

I know, boring right? Sugar cookies? Come on now! I tried to make it as fun and different as I possible could in the extra 3 minutes I had today, but my brain and my body are giving up on me. My kids sure loved them though. I just have to say that I've never met a sugar cookie recipe I get along with.

No, these cookies aren't wet. I used the Wilton Color Flow mix, which I just love. You just add a little of the mix to powdered sugar and some water and this is what happens. Some day I will do a whole post just on this stuff because you can do so much fun stuff with it. Today I added peppermint extract and piled 3 different sized cookies on top of each other for something a little fun.

These are especially for my 5 year old daughter. She wanted more and more sprinkles so I rolled the dough into balls and rolled them in as many sprinkles as I could get to stick to the dough. Festive, don't you think?!

These ones were really fun. I rolled the dough into balls and rolled them in candy canes that have been through my food processor. They were perfectly pepperminty and cute too!
Dorie's sugar cookies were pretty good, but I think I'll stick to my Betty Crocker packaged mix the next time I do sugar cookies. She just never fails me with her sugar cookies! Thanks to Thanks to Ulrike at Kuchenlatein.

Don't forget to check out the blogroll and buy Dorie's book for her recipe.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


This is what happens when I leave town for a week. I had 3 posts set to show up on my blog while I was away, but they didn't, so now I'm playing a super quick catch up. Unfortunately I had to start working full time again today. I was lucky to be able to be home with my 3 kids for the past 4 months, but now it's back to work for me. Hopefully my baking habit doesn't suffer too much because of it though.

So here is what I have been up to in my kitchen:

Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes- this was supposed to be for the Iron Cupcake Challenge, but since it didn't post, I missed out on that one. Whoops! Basically, I made my Surprise Cupcakes, but added 1/2 cup cranberry sauce to the cream cheese filling (I made the cranberry sauce using the fresh cranberries, sugar, and water following the recipe on the back of the cranberry bag) and another 1/2 C to a very rich buttercream frosting. I topped it off with some sprinkles of cranberry rimming sugar that I found on clearance at Target after Halloween. Absolutely AMAZING! I would say it was probably one of the best cupcakes I have ever had, and I just sampled 6 different cupcakes from Sprinkles while I was in AZ for Thanksgiving. My cranberry cupcake was totally moist and the frosting was so fresh tasting. I recommend eating them chilled.

Next was the caramel cake for Daring Bakers. For some reason when I read the recipe at the first of the month, I thought it was for a chocolate caramel cake so that is what I had my heart set on all month. When I made it for my mother in law's birthday I added 1/4 C of cocoa to the batter to satisfy me. This cake was dense and rich and moist and I loved it, but still way too much work for a cake. I have had plenty of very good cakes that didn't involve so many steps. I absolutely loved the frosting though and licked that bowl clean.

Check out the Daring Bakers blogroll for the rest of the details. Sorry I'm so late with this!

Last but not least is Tuesdays With Dorie. I missed last week. I feel awful. I should have been more prepared and done my recipe ahead of time, but because it was for Twofer Pie which sounded perfect for Thanksgiving dessert, I waited, but forgot to bring my recipe with me. I'm still going to make it sometime because I was really really excited about it.

I just finished this week's recipe for Linzer Sables and I still have 30 minutes of it still being Tuesday, so technically it's on time! It was a lovely little sandwich cookie perfect for the holidays with all of the great spices in the dough. You can fill them with jam or chocolate and if you can believe it I filled them with my leftover cranberry sauce. Yum! Cranberry is just a flavor I don't think I can get sick of.
See the TWD blogroll for all the beautiful cookies my fellow Dorie bakers have made. Thanks Dennis from Living the Life for choosing the recipe. See his blog for the recipe or go get the cookbook. Are you sick of my saying that yet, because I'm kind of sick of writing it every week.

That's all for now. I'll get on top of things now that I'm caught up with laundry and everything else that comes with skipping town for a week. I've even started my holiday baking and can't wait to share when I've been making. I have such lucky neighbors!