Tilapia Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

Happy Easter, friends. 

During the winter, weekends can be pretty uneventful around here.  We usually cook at home to save money, and I often have lots of school work to catch up on.  Adam travels for work during the week, so he likes to spend time at home on the weekend.  We frequently spend most of the weekend around the house and watch a movie on Netflix Saturday night. 

But, spring is here, and I'm in my last few weeks of school now.  While I certainly have work I could be doing, I'd much rather spend the weekend doing fun things outside. Adam worked from home last week, so there was no excuse not to get out and enjoy the weekend.

Friday night we picked up dinner and drove out to Jordan Lake to watch the sunset, one of our favorite things to do

It had been cloudy all day, and as we drove, I kept saying "It's such a shame it's so cloudy. We won't really be able to see the sunset."

When we got there, we could see a pink sun mostly obscured by clouds, but as the minutes wore on, the sky became more and more colorful, until we were looking out at this:

What a gift. 

Saturday morning, we drove out to Saxapahaw, NC to have breakfast at the Saxapahaw General Store

We walked along the Haw River then ended at the Left Bank Butchery, which sells pork and beef from nearby farms. We bought some meat and some still-warm sourdough bread from the Village Bakehouse.  I've been seriously considering attempting to make my own sourdough starter to make sourdough bread.  Any advice?

Saturday night, we went to Fullsteam and I had a brandy barrel-aged persimmon winter ale that was SO good.  It was also 11% alcohol.  ; )

Today, we went to church and hosted family Easter lunch at our house.  We served the sourdough bread, broccoli cheddar quiche, ham, salad, and strawberries. My mom made a pistachio cake, and we all ate too much Easter candy.

It was perfect. Is tomorrow really Monday?

One thing that will make my Monday better is eating these leftover tilapia tacos with cilantro lime slaw for lunch.

I love fish tacos and order them frequently at restaurants, but I had never attempted to make them at home.  For a long time, I was intimated by the idea of cooking fish at home, but I don't know why. It's so easy!

I used tilapia in these tacos because it's a mild and flakey white fish that is good for non-fish lovers like Adam.  For this recipe, you cut the tilapia into bite sized pieces, dredge it in a mixture of flour and spices, and pan fry in a bit of butter and olive oil.  Super easy.  The pickled red onions and cilantro lime slaw can be made ahead of time, so this could be a quick week-night meal.

I hope your coming week is really good, and filled with tacos and friends and maybe exploring a new place in your neighborhood.

Some comfort for us this week, especially appropriate today:

"The worst isn't the last thing about the world. It's the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best. It's the power from on high that comes down into the world, that wells up from the rock-bottom worst of the world like a hidden spring. Can you believe it? The last, best thing is the laughing deep in the hearts of the saints, sometimes our hearts even. Yes. You are terribly loved and forgiven. Yes. You are healed. All is well."

--Frederick Buechner, The Final Beast

Tilapia Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

Cilantro Lime Slaw:
juice from 1 lime
2 tablespoons mayo (or sour cream or greek yogurt)
dash of hot sauce
salt & pepper
1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1 carrot, shredded
handful of cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch of cayenne
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1/2 pound tilapia (or 2 individually wrapped filets) patted dry and chopped into bite-sized pieces

For the tacos:
corn tortillas
chopped avocado
crumbed queso fresco


Cilantro Lime Slaw:
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the lime juice, mayo, hot sauce, salt and pepper.  Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro and stir to combine. Refrigerate. 

In a small bowl, combine flour, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Add butter and olive oil to a saute pan over medium heat.

Dredge the chopped tilapia pieces in the flour/spice mixture and add to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until white inside.

Add tilapia to corn tortillas and top with cilantro lime slaw, chopped avocado, pickled red onions, and extra cilantro.


Wheat Berry Salad with Chickpeas, Feta, Carrots, and Peppers

Spring is on its way, warm weather is here, and we're eating colorful food to celebrate!

We've been spoiled with beautiful warm weather all week in North Carolina, and I think it's putting everybody in a good mood. It's hard to be angry about anything when you walk outside to sunny 70 degree weather with a slight breeze.  Also, complaining is detrimental to our health, so let's find something to be grateful for. 

Having access to healthy, delicious food is something I never want to take for granted. 

I know food bloggers tend to exaggerate about recipes, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that this wheat berry salad is the best thing to come out of my kitchen in a long time. 

I had never cooked with wheat berries before, but now I'm totally hooked. They're deliciously nutty and chewy, a bit like farro, but with more flavor, and they hold up beautifully in salads.  If like me, you didn't know what a wheat berry is, it's the whole grain or seed that is milled down into flour.  For this recipe, I used Jovial 100% Einkorn wheat berries.   Einkorn is an ancient variety of wheat that has more vitamins and minerals than modern, processed wheat. 

I made pizza crust with Einkorn wheat a couple weeks ago, and I plan to incorporate more Einkorn products into our diet. 

This recipe satisfies all my salad requirements: 
  • chewy, hearty whole grains
  • chickpeas for protein
  • lots of veggies (carrots, red & yellow peppers)
  • salty feta for flavor and staying power 
  • a zippy lemon dressing with honey for sweetness and red pepper flakes for spice
  • AND it stays fresh in the fridge, so you can make it on the weekend and eat it for lunch all week (major time saver)

This wheat berry salad would be great to take for lunch (!) or a barbecue (!!) or a spring picnic (!!!).

Can you tell I'm excited for spring?

Wheat Berry Salad with Chickpeas, Feta, Carrots, and Peppers

1 cup dried wheat berries (cooked according to package directions and set aside to cool)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 and 1/2 peppers, diced (I used 1 yellow pepper and half a red pepper)
2-3 carrots, cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
handful of chives, diced
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

juice from 1 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoon honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the wheat berries according to package directions and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine wheat berries, chickpeas, chopped peppers, carrot ribbons, chives, and feta cheese.

Pour dressing over salad and stir to evenly coat all the ingredients. Taste and add additional salt or pepper as needed.  The salad can be eaten immediately or stored in the fridge for several hours.

  • If you don't have wheat berries, you can easily substitute with farro, quinoa, or brown rice. 
  • This salad gets better with time and can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

**I received these wheat berries from Jovial free of charge, but the opinions are all my own.

Adapted from Cookie and Kate.

Life Lately

Hi friends--Life has been busy, and I have not been able to get myself together enough to make and photograph a recipe.  So, here are some tidbits about my life lately and inspiration from the internet for your Sunday.

Making: mac and cheese and cornbread from this Southern cookbook.

Drinking: water with lemon slices.

Reading: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Wanting: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Watching: The Mindy Project, Jane the Virgin, and Downton Abbey.

Listening: to so many podcasts. My favorites are Marriage is Funny, The Lively Show, and One Part Plant.  Lately I've started listening to the Robcast.  I also really liked this interview with Seth Godin on the Tim Ferris Show.

Eating: salads with roasted sweet potatoes, guacamole and black beans; yogurt bowls with berries
and granola; baked oatmeal with almond butter (always).

Enjoying: re-watching all the Harry Potter movies with Adam. So good.

Loving: All the "Let it be Sunday" posts from Joy the Baker.

Hoping: for warm Spring weather!

Needing: to write a 30-page paper for class (welp!).

Feeling: grateful for so many things.

Wearing: the same clothes as always--I haven't been clothes shopping in forever. I did rent a dress for Barrister's Ball from Rent the Runway, and I had a really good experience. I may rent dresses again for weddings this spring and summer.

Dreaming: about post-bar exam vacation plans. Any recommendations?

Bookmarking: This post and video on how to make really good homemade pizza and this beautiful forbidden rice breakfast porridge.

I hope you have a lovely week and find something new to be grateful for!