Monday, April 29, 2013

girls' night, part two {tampa food photographer}

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the evening was warm and balmy, and soon turned breezy-enough-for-a-shrug. the laughter was plentiful, and the fellowship was sweet.
because we've all got spring fever, a-girl and i decided to host a girls' night "in" with some heart friends.  on the menu: roasted salmon tacos with spicy avocado crema and spring salsa, rosemary lemon margaritas (for the "big girls"), and strawberry basil lemon-limeade for us all.


thanks to Herdez Mexican Foods, we had a delicious "seasoning base" to spice up our main course. their soon-to-be-released cooking sauces provide a rich base of pepper flavors that adds a deep flavor "kick" to any dish.  we drizzled it over our smoked salmon while it finished cooking (the Roasted Pasilla blend) and stirred it into our avocado crema (the Chipotle blend).

 we also made two refreshing beverages.  Sauza provided Agave Tequila and we stirred up a round of Rosemary Lemon Margaritas, and then everyone enjoyed the delicious Strawberry Basil Lemon-Limeade.

 dessert?  as if Stacy's warm, gooey brownies weren't enough, we spooned Strawberry Margarita Sauce over berry sorbet, and topped that with vanilla-coconut meringues!

having girl time was the perfect respite in a busy spring season for us all.

interested in trying out the Herdez products mentioned?  click here for more information!
want more info about Sauza Tequila?  here's the site link

disclaimer: as part of the Allrecipes Allstars program, Herdez Mexican Foods and Sauza Tequila provided products for us to try for our fabulous girls' night.  all thoughts and opinions are my own.
(and for the record, we firmly support LEGAL alcohol consumption only, as well as believe in indulging responsibly in any alcoholic beverage.  we believe God's word and common sense are clear: sober is the only responsible and honoring way to be.  :)  )

Sunday, April 28, 2013

girl night and roasted salmon tacos {tampa food photographer}

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it's spring, and of course, new recipes are a perfect excuse to have a girls' night on the beach with heart friends. been wanting to "just because" bless mama-friends, and connect our combined four-middle-and-high-school daughters in sweet fellowship.

and here's a core recipe from the evening (with yummy others to follow)...

Family Style Salmon Tacos
angela sackett, april, 2013

4 pounds fresh salmon, skin removed
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons chili powder (smoked chipotle preferred)
1tablespoon coarse sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil (or, if you can get it, lemon infused avocado oil)
1 lemon
1 cup Herdez Pasilla Chile Cooking Sauce
1 cup Avocado Crema (see recipe below)
2 cups Summer Salsa (see recipe below)

Large package corn tortillas (6 per person)
2 cups shredded angel hair cabbage
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lay salmon in a large glass baking dish in a single layer.  Sprinkle with spices and gently massage into meat; flip and repeat.  Grate lemon zest over fish, then gently squeeze juice over the top.  Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.
Roast salmon in 425 degree oven for approximately 8 minutes each side, or just until fish begins to flake.  (A thicker piece may take a bit longer; a thinner piece should be watched carefully to avoid drying!)  After flipping fish the first time, drizzle with Herdez Chile Cooking Sauce.

To serve: For each taco, top two warmed corn tortillas with flaked salmon, fresh summer salsa, avocado crema, raw angel hair cabbage, and crumbled feta.

Summer Salsa
8 ripe red tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno
1 clove garlic, minced
2 grilled corn cobs (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of two limes
coarse sea salt to taste

Stir ingredients gently together; let set for one hour to allow flavors to meld.

Avocado Crema
1 ripe avocado
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil (or, if you can get it, lemon infused avocado oil)
1 tablespoon Herdez Traditional Chipotle Cooking Sauce

Using a fork, mash the avocado with remaining ingredients.  If you can get your hands on the lemon avocado oil, it's well worth it for the extra boost of flavor and nutrients!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

an evening at the park {tampa food photographer}

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the idea was a kernel of inspiration months ago: how fun to do a family afternoon at the park? each family would come geared up to play old-fashioned games and enjoy generations and ages celebrating the everyday over food and laughter. 

when mccormick gourmet asked if we'd like to host our second "dinner party chain" dinner party for them to feature, it was our chance to make the vision happen!  we invited some sweet friends and the plan began to unfold.

we shopped days before the party.  then to stay relaxed (i may or not be the mom who gets a wee bit crazy-grumpy overwhelmed when i need to rush to "get it all done..."
want a tip my mom-in-law taught me?  lay out the serving dishes in advance, complete with serving utensils.  she'd even put little notes in the bowls so she'd remember what dish went where.  especially important for this outing, because i wanted to pretty it up.  no average day at the park for us.  we hit up dollar tree and bought a roll of pretty kraft wrapping paper and some sweet little vases.  publix had baby's breath (apparently, my daughter is a little deprived in the floral department; she'd never heard the name baby's breath before!)  i had cheap plastic storage totes for the dishes and the white stoneware was packed up for transferring once we safely arrived at the park.

a. is such a natural teacher.  she had the boys in giggles as they measured and whisked.  early on as a mama, i relished my time alone in the kitchen.  though it makes for a bit more chaos, i find that having my children alongside me is not just joy and learning for them, but help i have come to depend on.

prepping the ingredients for each dish in advance helped us sail through preparation and photographing so we'd have the memories to hold on to.

friends around make it even more fun, and making messes is easier to clean up when there are extra hands on deck.  :)

 i'm not gonna lie.  it was a mad dash of craziness bit hectic getting out the door with two huge rolling crates, three coolers (we were packin' for a crowd!), and six kids.  trying to heave all that food without dripping raw chicken juice onto fresh shaved brussel sprout salad and keep track of vases and baby's breath and... well - we really needed everyone on hand.  but having a little bit of elegance and interactive meal was so worth it!

the menu:
i can never leave anything as-is.  we used a beautiful pork marinade from this recipe from McCormick Gourmet to season our chicken breasts, then grilled them on-site along with the corn.  which, by-the-way, would be my exception to never leaving a recipe alone.  make this corn NOW.  as-is.  and don't hate me when you want to devour the entire recipe yourself.

(to be honest, most of us could've made a complete meal of this one. insanely. amazing. side.)

Tina's Zucchini Salad
(such a surprising and delightful fresh salad made with zucchini instead of cucumber!)

a little tip: be sure to use the sweetened, packaged, baker's coconut for this recipe.  we use dried raw coconut that hasn't been sweetened.  4 extra egg whites and 1/4 cup of maple syrup later, we still had more of a savory coconut crouton than a macaroon.  these still managed to all but disappear.  :)

Maddie's Peanut Butter Bars & Cake Pops
(how glad am i that now our kids' friends bake, too??...)

these were so good!  i'll have to ask her for the recipe.  :)

  food always tastes better warmed by spring sunshine and shared with friends.  :)

as our kids have gotten older, we are even more convinced that spending time with every age is a vital part of growing into an amazing person.  we love that our kids have other adults we respect to look to for wisdom, and that they know the importance of serving a little person who needs help.  we're making it a point to carve out more time for just "being" with other families so that kinship builds.

these kids have been prayed for, loved on, and are growing into people we respect as our friends.

"come on, sis... try and beat me!"

it's been a long day.  take me and my full belly home for a hot bath and a bed.  :)

we were all happy-tired when all was said and done.  but friends pitched in together to load cars and caravan out of the closing park as the sun dropped below the horizon.  we can't wait to do it again.

how have you been inspired to carve out your legacy?

Monday, April 1, 2013

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just a teaser: more on this meal to come. for now, just know this will be future very. difficult. temptation.