International Day of Happiness & A Recipe

Greetings and Salutations!

How is everyone’s week going?? Mine is fantastic! Today is the first day of spring and international day of happiness! I am so glad to see spring, which will hopefully come with warmer weather, and I was even more excited when I learned that today was dedicated to being happy. On the website, they talk about the importance of focusing on happiness and well being than craving/searching for material possessions. I couldn’t think of a better way to uplift the human spirit and remind everyone AROUND THE WORLD that despite our circumstances, things could be a lot worse. For those unfortunate people who are in horrible situations,  emotionally or physically imprisioned by their government or life’s problems, I pray that you soon find peace and hope. Don’t give up!

international day of happiness

Anywho…on to the recipe part of the post. This is one of my favorite fish recipes. I think I found it on the ever popular Skinny Taste, but I’ve been cooking it for so many years that I honestly can’t even remember. This recipe is so super easy it’s disgusting. It’s very light and for all of the food/meal preppers out there, it’s even good two days later. One of my coworkers and a friend of mine is giving up meat (red meat, pork, even chicken) for Lent as well as millions of others who practice the Catholic fate, so this is a quick recipe that you can enjoy.

Pan Seared Tilapia in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • 5 Tilapia filets
  • One small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic (i happen to love garlic, so you can use less if you like)
  • Two 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (one regular and one Italian diced tomatoes)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • Red pepper (ground or flakes, but either is optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parsley

Directions:

Add the onion and garlic to a medium to large skillet and cook on medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes and spices and cook for another 5 minutes until the fresh veggies have started to soften.2013-03-12 004

Place the tilapia into the skillet on top of the tomato, making a little bed or section for the fish. Salt and pepper the top of the fish and then spoon a little bit of the tomatoes on top of the tomato, but don’t cover completely.

COVER and cook the tilapia for another 15-17 minutes until the tilapia is firm, but flaky.

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Garnish with parsley and serve with white or brown rice.

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So you tell me…what do YOU have to be happy about!? 🙂

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Fall Fave-Pumpkin Spice Bread

Happy Friday! Hope you all had a fantastic week! It’s supposed to get cold here in Dallas this weekend…again…cue the drama. Maybe the brisk weather would be a perfect time to make this yumminess. Fall=pumpkin. And I absolutely LOVE fall AND pumpkin. In college, one of my best friends used to make this delicious pumpkin bread. It came from a pre-packaged mix, but it was so damn good. She made it like twice a week. I would be there to indulge. So.damn.good.

It’s funny that I even have this addiction to pumpkin bread because it’s not a very popular fruit amongst African-Americans. Growing up, I never even had pumpkin. We only had sweet potato, which is also yummy and similar in color, NOT similar in taste. I was very leary to even try the pumpkin bread when my friend made it because of this fact. Boy, am I happy that I didn’t allow this past experience or family tradition to change my opinion.

Considering that this same packaged pumpkin bread mixture made me slightly ill last year, I decided to make one that I could eat this year. Perusing on my favorite, Food Gawker Ap, I ran across a recipe by Erica over at Cannella Vita. This sweet girl is a high school student and amazing cook. Her passion for cooking reminds me of myself at that age, only I didn’t have a blog and cooking/eating wasn’t the “cool” thing to do.

Anywho, I made this recipe on Sunday night, discovered that it literally made 3 LOAVES of bread and then shared it with friends, family and carefully chosen co-workers. Remember, I have a new job. Can’t be trying out new recipes on people I just met, especially considering the fact that one of my colleagues owns her own catering company and makes DELICIOUS items!!

I digress. This recipe is fantastic. If you could wrap all the wonderful scents of fall into one item, this would be it. Each spice warms your insides. What is it about ginger that is so dang good? Love. It. The original recipe is actually lactose-free (no butter), but I just had to change it up a little bit because well…butter makes everything butter! Either way, you have to make this bread…like yesterday!

PUMPKIN SPICE BREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup of butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ÂĽ teaspoon ground ginger

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7X3 inch loaf pans (funny that I completely missed that three part lol)
  2. Mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, butter, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together everything else—flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients until the wet ingredients until well blended.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck into the center!

Feel free to share these loaves with your friends….or keep it all for yourself. I don’t judge. 🙂

Hello Autumn! My Very First Southern Buttermilk Peach Pie

Greetings Friends!!

Happy First Day of October! I wasn’t feeling the best yesterday at all. Darn girly parts. My family and I were supposed to go to brunch to celebrate a few exciting things, but when I woke up feeling crummy, we decided to postpone until Saturday. I woke up, watched church online, laid in bed for a while to watch The Break-Up (that ending still makes a little mad) and then slowly got up to start cleaning up the house.

***Sidenote—since moving into a 1BR by myself, I feel like I am ALWAYS cleaning or wiping down SOMETHING. I was talking to my friend Hilda about this a few weeks ago. She shares my pain. I think when I lived with two other girls, I could justify the mess since there were “so many of us.” Maybe I just didn’t care as much because there wasn’t a strong sense of pride in those living situations. I dunno. Now, I feel disgusting when I see all the hair on the bathroom floor, dishes in the sick, blankets everywhere and traces of my week all around my house. Anywho, I digress.***

After cleaning, I decided to go on a walk. So glad I did! Wow! It was gorgeous outside—the perfect fall weather. My turquoise sweatpants and pink sweatshirt kept me warm as I walked around my apartment property. Wonderful. I absolutely love fall weather. There is nothing better than the crisp air. Nothing. A few weeks ago, Hilda and I decided to cook a delicious lunch to welcome in the new season. I had been begging her to make me mole. I promised to bake something—a Southern Buttermilk Peach Pie.

Hilda discovered that mole would take too much time, so she decided to make chicken tacos. Of course, I was disappointed, but her homemade salsa and guacamole made up for it. YUM!!

Now, I have a big secret for you. Before that day, I don’t recall ever making a pie before. Of course, I’ve made those shake and pour pies, but never the kind where you have to lay out the crust and make the filling. This was a first for me! I am so happy that I tried. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really try any of it because of the buttermilk, but the snippet I did taste was more than delicious. It’s approval was even more confirmed when the Boy ate ¾ of the pie in a week. Yes folks, he ate ¾ of a 9 inch pie in less than a week. Sad. Just sad. His response, “what? That was really good pie.”

I found the recipe in The Dallas Morning News a few months ago. It’s made with peaches, but I just wonder how it would taste with apples or maybe cranberries and apples, a great fall combination. Either way, this dessert was a great debut into the pie genre. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Share your thoughts!

SOUTHERN BUTTERMILK PEACH PIE

Not bad for my first pie huh? 🙂

INGREDIENTS

1 (15-ounce) package pie crust

4 to 5 peaches, peeled (divided use)

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups plus 1/8 cup sugar (divided use)

3 tablespoons flour

3 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

BAKING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare pie crust according to package directions for a two-crust pie using a 9-inch pie plate; set aside.
  2. Chop peaches to equal 1 cup; puree remaining peaches. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter at high speed of an electric mixer; gradually adding 11/2 cups sugar, beating well. Add flour and beat until smooth. Add eggs, beat until blended. Add buttermilk, peach puree and vanilla; beat well.
  4. Place chopped peaches on bottom of prepared pastry shell; pour buttermilk mixture over peaches. Cut remaining pie crust sheet into 3/4-inch wide strips and arrange in a lattice fashion over the filling. Trim edges, seal and flute. Sprinkle remaining 1/8 cup sugar over prepared pie.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 F and continue to bake an additional 55 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature; then chill.