Light and Fresh Fish Taco

I’ve been searchong for some new healthy dinner options. I feel like I’ve had dinner on loop lately. So last night I started back to through the loop woth tacos…but decided at the last minute instead to make this a lighter and tad healthier by using fish as the primary protein instead of the usual ground beef. I have to say it was a delicious change of pace and I’m so glad I decided to change things up!

Here is what you need!

1lb. Fresh cod

3Tbsp butter

2 lg cloves garlic

Zest of one lime

2 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp chicken taco seasoning, I use McCormicks brand.

1/4 c. Cilantro or curly parsley

Shredded lettuce

Shredded cheddar cheese

Cubed avocado

Fresh pico de gaillo

Flour tortillas

In a large sauce pan melt the butter add the garlic and fish. Cook on medium high heat 3 minutes each side. Once you turn the fish add lime zest juice seasoning and cilantro using spatula cut fish into chunks and stir the ingedients around in the pan till coated. Turn down heat and layer fish in the tortilla with any of the additional ingredients you prefer. Enjoy!

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Tour the Town!

During a recent hangout with my BFF Amber, we decided we wanted to inspire something a little different for 2019. We were talking about some of the Instagram pages that really strike us, how the imagery makes us want to do more, and travel more, and eat more, and figure out internet fame! We cracked up over how popular some pages are and for such simple content. This discussion became a rabbit hole of ideas and before we new what was happening we were starting something pretty awesome!

We have decided to take 2019 and discover everything we can about our own hometown, and any other place that we might travel too or stumble upon along the way! And whilst exploring we’ll share these adventures with all of you here, along with pictorial reviews on Instagram! You can follow us @Tour_the_Town

Amber and I met 7 years ago when she and her husband moved back to Michigan from South Carolina. Her husband and I went to high school together, he and my husband grew up playing baseball together, and we had one other rather sad connection…. Her son was a cancer survivor and my late son was at the time a newly diagnosed cancer patient. Not something you expect to bond over but there was an empathy there that I needed, and 7 years later I don’t know what I would do without her!

We live a block away from each other in a small Michigan town that we both grew up in. We have thrown parties, held fundraisers, gone to community and school events, and even vacationed together! Our families often feel like one big family and we love that! So now that we are starting Tour the Town we hope you’ll have fun with us, laugh with us, and get to know us a little better.

Since we are so close to our little district of Vandercook Lake we plan to start there! There are a couple of awesome little restaurants right around the corner from us, and we plan to highlight these locations each week, or as often as our schedules allow! This week we visit Klavon’s pizzeria and pub in Vandercook Lake! This locally owned restaurant and sports bar has quite a story to share and we can’t wait to get to it! More soon, until then enjoy some memories from Amber and I. Thanks for following along!

Monkey Bread

One last holiday favorite before I retire for the night. My Mom first made monkey bread at Christmas when I was in high school and I remember everyone raved about it at our annual Christmas Eve party. I’ve used this recipe several times since then and it’s always a predictable hit!

My daughter doesn’t enjoy raisins so I only put mine on the top instead of throughout the bread so she can pick them off. But feel free to mix them right in!

Here’s what you need

2 cans of prepared biscuit dough

1/2c granulated sugar

2 Tbsp cinnamon

1 c. Light brown sugar

1/2 stick butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup raisins

In a large bowl cut the biscuits into bite size pieces. Add granulated sugar and cinnamin. Coat the biscuits add raisins and set it aside. In a medium sauce pan melt the butter and brown sugar into a loose caramel. In a bundt pan add a small amount of raisins, and caramel sauce layer in biscuits and top with more caramel. Bake 350F for 20-30min. Turn out onto a serving plate. Pieces can be brokwn off by hand or you can cut and serve like a cake. Enjoy!

Hand-piped Spritz Cookies

My final recipe from round one of my holiday baking are Spritz cookies. These light, crispy sweet short bread cookies are perfect when you want something sweet but no too sweet this holiday season.

Spritz cookies are traditional Christmas cookies in Scandinavian countries. They are simple butter cookies, shaped by putting the dough through a cookie press. The name comes from the German word spritzen, meaning “to squirt” because the soft dough is squirted or pushed through a cookie press to make fancy designs.

My great Grandma Reeves would make these every Christmas and they were always one of my favorites because although homemade they always looked so perfectly pretty. The collar for my cookie press was found to be broken this year when I went to make my cookies…probably from being moved all over the place during the kitchen renovation, accidents happen I guess… so I improvised and used a piping bag with a large star tip to hand pipe these pretty little cookies.

This is a simple recipe with common ingredients making it all that much better so here is my recipe for Hand-piped Spritz Cookies. Enjoy!

1c. butter

1/2c. granulated sugar

2 1/4 c. all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

colored sugar or sprinkles for decoration

Pre-heat oven to 350F

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, salt, egg, and vanilla extract. Place dough in cookie press or piping bag. Form desired shapes on ungreased cookie sheet. top with decorations. Bake 5 to 8 minutes or until set but not brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. To decorate cookies after baking, use a drop of corn syrup to attach decorations to cookies.

Holiday baking part two coming up!

So tonight and tomorrow morning I will be wrapping up my holiday baking and I have a few more delicious recipes to share with you as we go!

I am hosting my family for Christmas Eve this year which is nice because I can cook like crazy and don’t have to find ways to transport everything lol! We’re having a pretty traditional meal this year, ham, potatoes, shrimp, and some delicious sides. I will have a few goodies out the fudge, haystacks, and spritz cookies that I made earlier this week, and tonight we’re putting together traditional Christmas cookies, red velvet truffles, marshmallow treat wreaths, and I have to make some more chex mix because we might have already eaten up the first batch hahaha!

Christmas cookies

Tomorrow morning I’m making monkey bread, dill rolls, and corn casserole. I’ll have all of these great recipes ready to share soon! Merry Christmas!

 

Kitchen Renovation

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you already know that we are in the process of renovating our kitchen.  Although quite  project we are doing all of the renovations on our own DIY style. Thankfully my husband is a licensed contractor and does amazing work.

So here’s the story… we moved into our home 13 years ago. When we moved in the kitchen was original to when the house was built in the 50’s.  We made cosmetic upgrades to get us by but the original cabinetry (handmade plywood) and chipped Formica counters stayed.

As much as I would like to go crazy and design and build my dream kitchen, this is not our forever home, and so we’re sticking to a $5000 budget. That’s $5000 to do EVERYTHING! Cabinets, Counter tops, Floors, Backsplash, Lighting… EVERYTHING! It’s kind of daunting to fit everything in that budget!

So Here is the plan…

BEFORE

Kitchen Before

We have already removed the upper cabinets, and the trim you see at the ceiling has now also been removed. We are keeping some of our appliances and since they are stainless steel this works out perfectly. We will invest in a new Microwave hood vent for over the stove.

We are making the risky decision not to re-install upper cabinets. This is a cost savings, and I feel like it’s kind of a trendy design choice. I also had a mini heart attack at the thought of losing all of that storage, but I think we came up with a way to resolve that and stay on budget… We’re incorporating some open shelving near the sink for glass ware and a few other dishes that we use a lot.

We are installing a stock cream colored cabinet from Lowe’s from the Caspian Collection… They look like this…

caspian-lower-cabinet.jpg

I like the fact that they aren’t super white… I was really afraid to go too stark white as this is a LARGE room. Once lowers are installed we found a stock black Formica counter top, stainless steel sink, beautiful stone back splash, and vinyl plank flooring. We’re installing a new soffit with can lighting, and pendants over the counter top. The finished project should look very similar to this… although this is a crude cut and paste rendering that I did myself lol!!

Kitchen After Rendering

I’m ready to see the finished project already, but we have a long way to go… it will be interesting to see how close we get to my conceptualized drawings! Wish us luck!!

Let me know your thoughts on our idea to eliminate uppers! I’m still nervous! Thanks for reading!

 

Labor Day at the Last Minute

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend and although I had to work on Saturday, we still managed to fit in a brief get away.  My husband and I love to travel and frequently do quick weekend trips to some of our favorite hangouts. We seem to gravitate toward the water here in Michigan (maybe because there’s water everywhere lol) but this time we decided to try a new… or newer destination. We had both been here before but not in a very long time. I think I was in high school!! We visited none other that Frankenmuth MI.

Welkommen

Frankenmuth is a couple hours north east of us, and seemed like a good fit for a quick stop vacation. We however didn’t take into account that this was after all a holiday weekend in a tourist town. We didn’t make reservations ahead and upon arriving found that all of the hotels were fully booked except the Frankemuth Motel. Now, I’m not usually a fan of Motel’s but this was a surprise, a little dated but clean, spacious, and the staff was very friendly. It was a quick walk from there to the Main st. action.

Frankenmuth_Motel.jpg

Once checked in we traveled over to main street to see what was happening there are a tons of little shops and specialty stores.  We walked and walked, stopped by the Historical Museum, listened to the Glockenspiel, walked the historic covered bridge, and took in the sites…Did I mention that this place is literally coated in tons and tons and tons of gorgeous flowers!!

Frankenmuthflowers1

They had flowers everywhere lining the streets, hanging from the light poles, across all the building fronts, it was beautiful! In the evening we visited “the Tavern” a local hangout bar, it was OK. traveled from there to Tiffany’s there we had a couple of drinks and appetizers, and shared a dessert. It was a nice quiet laid back evening.

The next day we had lunch at Zehnder’s. They are famous for the chicken dinner served family style with all the delicious sides you can eat. We opted out of an all you can eat menu and order individual meals.

Zehnders-0a32c127

Now I usually order a pretty healthy entree’ I’m not overly picky but I don’t like a lot of heavy food especially early in the day.  So I thought I’ll play it safe and order a hot chicken sandwich… This was not an ordinary chicken  sandwich…

What I thought I was getting… Chicken on sandwich bread or bun with lettuce, tomato, etc… something like this…

Chicken sandwhich

What I actually got was a monotone plate covered in gravy! It was like drowning in gravy lol. Everything gravy…gravy…gravy…gravy…

Zehnders chick sand

Although not what I was expecting I ate it and it was delicious and I was super sleepy the rest of the day lol.

We let our food settle after that on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat tour, this is a nice relaxing tour of the river and the surrounding hotels and establishments there is an entertaining tour guide telling you about the boat, the covered bridge, and many of the area attractions that can be viewed from the river.

bavarian-belle-riverboat

We ended our quick visit to Frankenmuth with a trip to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a huge holiday store with everything you could possibly think of that is holiday related. I remember it as a kid and it’s still that awesome.

Bronner's

So all in all a nice trip away and something a little different that our usual get away. If you’ve never visited Frankenmuth I highly recommend a visit. It has a lot of beautiful sites, shopping, attractions, and a little old world German/ Bavarian flare. Thanks for reading!