Sunday, February 10, 2013

Parmesan Enrusted Talipa

There was a time when I was watching my carbs.  Say what you will, it is an effective diet regimen.  Not a lot of fun, but effective.  This dish made it suck just a little less.  OK, a whole lot less.  Then again, I'm a fish lover.  If I had my way, I'd probably die of mercury poisoning.

But all that aside, this no-carb dish is delicious.   If you like fish, you'll love this dish.

I stole this recipe from  It isn't often that I prepare recipes, but the ones I have tried, including Bobby Flay's Orange Jalapeno Turkey, are fantastic.

As I said in my review of this dish, I made it for four adults who can't agree on anything.  Everyone loved this dish.

Because I'm not following a low-carb diet at the moment, I served this with long grain and wild rice.

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (do yourself a favor and use fresh)
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
pinch of table salt
2 lbs tilapia fillets

Line a broiler pan with foil and spray lightly with Pam.  Turn the broiler on to heat up.  In a small bowl mix together Parmesan cheese, butter, mayo, lemon juice and garlic.  Add the seasonings and mix well.  Set aside.

Arrange the fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan and broil a few inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes.  Turn the fish over and broil 2-3 more minutes.  Remove from broiler and cover with the Parmesan mixture on the top side only.  Return to oven and broil for about 2 minutes or until the topping is browned and the fish flakes easily.  Don't overcook the fish!

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Makeup Organization for Small Spaces

I live in a small house where storage is at a premium.  I realized the other day after tripping over my canister vacuum for the 90,000th time that something has to give. My kitchen linens are stored in a dresser in the living area.  The utility room closet is so inconvenient that I put things there that by all rights should be in the garage.  The only thing that has ever persuaded me to lug the vacuum into the inconveniently placed and awkwardly shaped utility room closet was the prospect of my mother knowing exactly how I keep house.

The bathroom has the most closet space in the house.  My clothes closet is in the bathroom rather than the bedroom, which has no closet at all.  The linen closet, also in the bathroom, is spacious.  Both do triple duty as generalized house storage.  Which is to say, they are a mess.

Compounding the problem, there is no medicine cabinet in the bathroom.  The toothpaste and brush, hand soap and air freshener are housed on the sink top out of necessity. Everything else has found its way into the oversized linen closet. That closet hides an extraordinary amount of sins.  If you want to know how someone can own five different bottles of shampoo, 13 different bottles of hand lotion, 18 hair brushes--all essentially the same, it's because of overtaxed linen closets where things can get lost.  I've tried all sorts of things to bring organization to that closet, but it just has to meet so  many different objectives, nothing seems to work.  And the makeup is buried in that zoo of shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, towels and sheets.

I've never been one to wear a lot of makeup.  It's not that I don't like looking put together. Perhaps I'm not your ordinary girl. If things aren't sitting right in front of me and beyond easy to access, to hell with it.  Such was the case with makeup.  So I decided to try something to put the makeup front and center.  I made it conveniently available.  I put up a magnet board inside the linen closet door and stuck the makeup to it.  Isn't it cute?  If you only knew how cheap that was.

Here's what I used, where I got it and how much it all cost.

12" x 24" piece of sheet metal: $3.68 (the $24.97 aluminum sheet is for another project coming soon!)
Primer for metal: $4.98
Chalkboard spray paint: $5.98
Magnets (bought 2, only needed 1 - 1 going back) $1.97
6 screws, $0.05/ea, $0.30

3 stainless magnetic pockets $6.99/ea. (with 15% off coupon) $17.82

Magnetic hook FREE!  (already had - cost unknown)
Gorilla glue.  FREE!  (Already had this. I think it was about $5 for the bottle, but I only used about 2 cents worth.)

Total cost of project:  $34.73.

I primed the sheet metal with two coats of spray-on primer.  Then I put on two coats of spray-on chalkboard paint.  Then I glued the magnets to the bottoms of the various pots of makeup I had.  I drilled 6 holes around the sheet metal to accommodate the screws.  I screwed the thing to the inside linen closet door and then just slapped all the magnetics to the sheet metal.  Voila!

The three pockets are organized so that they contain lip items, eye items, and brushes.  I was surprised that even the large brushes and tubes fit really nicely into the metal pockets.  I need to think of something that will prevent the tubes/pencils/etc. from tipping over when I remove one. Rice might work.  I'll let you know.  

The nice stainless steel magnetic pockets were more than half the cost of the project.  I could have shopped around for less expensive alternatives.  I'm pretty sure that Staples has plastic magnetic pockets, but this was still pretty cheap and it looks sharp.  In fact, it was those stainless pockets that caused me to think of this project.  I could have  opted for basic black matte paint and possibly saved some money (I didn't comparison shop so I'm not sure about that).  I could have opted for no paint at all and saved $11 off the project costs.  But really, it's my bathroom and I wanted it to look nice, not like the garage.

I'm pretty pleased with the results.  I'll let you know if it prompts me to wear makeup more often or if this was just another crafty project gone wrong. Then again, if I find it doesn't work, it's a chalkboard I can use to make a grocery list.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Upside Down Cake in a Skillet
I get that my mom wasn't much of a role model in the kitchen. But I really didn't know that you are supposed to make pineapple upside down cake in a skillet.  An offhand comment from a friend alerted me to this fact.  So I tried it.  And here is how it looks.  I used the largest iron pan I had.  It's the size for frying chicken.  Large diameter, deep sides, and heavy.  But it looked and tasted fantastic!

And here's the recipe, just for Sue!


1 pineapple cake mix 
1 can Dole pineapple slices (liquid reserved)
1.5 c brown sugar (packed)
1/2 c butter
maraschino cherries


Preheat the oven according to the directions on the cake mix box.  Melt the butter in a 10-12" high-sided cast iron skillet.  Remove from heat and sprinkle the brown sugar all around the skillet in an even layer.  Arrange the pineapple slices atop the sugar and place a maraschino cherry in the center of each pineapple slice.  You can also add additional cherries in between the pineapple as shown above. 

Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box.  Instead of using water, use the reserved juice from the pineapple slices to prepare the box mix.  Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Expect that this cake will take significantly longer to bake than the directions indicate on the box.  My cake took about 55 minutes to bake through.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  You want to flip the cake carefully, making sure not to crack it.  Also, you can't wait until the cake has completely cooled or the sugar/pineapple on the bottom will stick to the pan.

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