Seafood Quesadillas

I love seafood.

If I had a choice, I would eat it everyday and it would never get old!! So you can imagine my excitement when I moved to FL for the first time. Growing up in Cincinnati/Northern KY, you don’t necessarily have access to good seafood. Just your run of the mill imported fish. Now that I have lived in Corpus Christi TX, Pensacola, FL and now Jacksonville I can tell you that I’ve been in seafood heaven! According to my husband, I haven’t had good seafood until I get to the New England states, but for now I think I’ll live it up to my own opinions until I’m proven wrong.

I wanted fresh seafood, not from the grocery store but straight off the boat!! So I headed to Safe Harbor Seafood Market in Mayport, right by RJ’s Navy base. It is a restaurant and market, and all of their seafood is caught fresh off the boats they have on the docks. Everything from whole fish, to fillets, to shrimp and squid. They have a ton of selections and it’s very moderately priced!

So you’re asking… What made me think of this amazing idea to combine seafood and Mexican food? I had something similar to this at a small restaurant by the beach a few weeks ago, it was an alright meal, a little too much cheese and not enough seafood if you ask me, but I love to find ways to make dishes more, well me! So I decided to ex-nay the regular salsa and make a pineapple-mango salsa. I also decided to add more than one type of seafood, so I got the works! I knew I wanted a white fish, and the Mahi was on sale, so I went with Mahi Mahi, shrimp, and crab. I used my favorite cheese from the deli Boar’s Head Chipotle Smoked Ghouda (has a good kick to it and it melts beautifully!)

I started by making the salsa. Super easy! Cut up your pineapple, mango, red pepper, red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Add your lime juice and mix well. Easy Peasy and did I mention, amazing?!

Next, wash off your fish and shrimp. I cut my fish into three pieces to help it cook faster. Rub Cajun seasoning on the fish and add salt and pepper. Place some olive oil on the skillet and cook for 10 minutes and an additional 5 on the skin side. It should be white and flaky and shouldn’t see any pink.

Once it’s cooked, place on a plate to cool. While your fish is cooling, place your shrimp on the skillet and add cajun salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes being sure to move around every minute or so to cook evenly. Once done, your shrimp should have a pink look to them.

RJ didn’t want crab on his, so I had to cook it separately, but you can definitely add the crab to the shrimp on the skillet and cook them together. The fish should now be cooled, take a fork and peel off the skin of the fish. Then with your fork flake into pieces. Take your bottom tortilla and place the cheese evenly. Take your shrimp, crab, and mahi and place evenly on top of the cheese. Take some cilantro and sprinkle.

Take your top tortilla and place over the fish. Take a grill pan and coat with some olive oil on medium-high. Once it’s hot, place your quesadilla on the pan and press down with another heavy skillet or something flat that is heavy. Wait 1-2 minutes and gently take the quesadilla and flip over to grill the other side. Wait another 1-2 minutes and place on a plate to serve!

Take your pineapple-mango salsa and place on each quesadilla triangle. I whipped up a Mexican staple of mine, sour cream, taco sauce and cajun seasoning. I use it with anything Mexican!

Now I think that regular salsa would be good with this meal, but the mango-pineapple salsa just gives it that sweet and spicy collision of flavors that every mouth craves! The sweetness from the salsa pairs perfectly with the spicy kick of cajun. This is absolutely one of my favorite dinners so far! And it is super easy and quick to make! I will definitely be using this salsa again!

What you’ll need:
pineapple-mango salsa:
1/2 mango, cubed
1/2 cup pineapple, chopped
1/2 red onion, minced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced
A bunch of cilantro, minced
the juice of one lime
seafood quesadillas:
Mahi Mahi Fillet
1/2 pound of shrimp
1 cup of crab (real, not imitation)
Cajun seasoning
Chipotle Ghouda Cheese (or any cheese you would like to add!)
tortillas
cilantro
sour cream/taco sauce/cajun mixture (for dipping)

Sarasota Architectural Salvage

 So, as you all know I am newly married! My wedding was held at the Crosley Estate in Sarasota, FL. I planned everything, and had a lot of DIY stuff! (Soon to be posted) My wedding was vintage inspired and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful venue!

My DIY projects had mostly involved some salvage and antiques from various stores, including my favorite place the Sarasota Architectural Salvage. In this huge warehouse you will find so many unique treasures! My brain was almost overloaded in ideas, but I had to keep telling myself to focus on the task at hand: My Big Day.

When first entering the grounds, you will find yourself amazed at all of the iron gates and fun backyard decorations! Chairs, Fountains, Jockeys, anything you can think of you will find it here! They even sell tiles and fun pathway stones for your yard. My personal favorite out here is the wine bottle tree! How fun and creative is this? Someone took the time to weld this tree together and place old wine bottles on top of the branches. This would be a great conversation piece!

Upon entering the building of treasures, you will see hundreds of chandeliers taken from old mansions! And also a few creative lighting pieces made from what looks like driftwood! It resembles coral in the way that it coils around. Love it!

They have literally hundreds of old windows and doors. I rented an old window pane to use as a sign for my wedding favors. The window looked great thanks to my artistic sister who has a gift for handwriting in any font that you can imagine! I had succulent favors which went a long with my flowers that also had succulents in them. It was a great way to give an eco-friendly gift that didn’t break the bank and in my opinion felt more personal and special than a bunch of bubbles or matches.

One of my favorite items was this very tall and interesting light that looks to be made of some kind of cloth or canvas. It looks like it came straight out of Thailand! I love the unique artwork with the elephant head and human legs. You definitely need to have a uniquely decorated home for this piece of art, regardless i love it!

Out back was probably one of my favorite areas. There were more backyard items and they were so colorful and unique! I found this wall that appears to have been made here at the store with scrap pieces of wood nailed together in layers to make this unique and beautiful wall! They displayed some iron decorations that would look great on the outside walls of your house. The sun is my favorite!

There was a beautiful blue fountain, very large and looked very old! I love the child on the top. This looks like it belonged in the yard of a wealthy person’s home. I think it’s beautiful and reminds me of something out of Secret Garden.

 These doors were my favorite! So colorful and fun!

And of course I have to end this post with a creepy picture. After all I did tell you this place had everything from stop lights to nude photography to coffins….

Creepy right?! You will find anything here!! Stay tuned for some more yummy recipes and also some DIY wedding tutorials!

Beauty is in the Eye of it’s Beholder.

So ya’ll are used to my recipe’s, but today I am going to post something different! I love to cook, but I also love to photograph. And healthypassions is not only about cooking, but it’s also about doing what you love. Doing what you love brings a smile to anyone’s face, and that’s just plain healthy (ergo healthypassions).

I took these pictures at Jacksonville Arbortoreum & Gardens. I was hoping to see a wider variety of flowers, but it was still a very beautiful place to walk around and take in the surrounding nature. I am definitely going to wear some bug spray the next time I go though, I came home with about 20 mosquito bites!!

These trees are over 100 years old

Beautiful Spanish Moss

Bumble Bee

These are Purple Salvia’s!

View of the beautiful pond!

Reflections in the water

Wildflower mania!

These are Black Eyed Susan’s

So cool, I don’t know what this is, but it is not growing on the ground, but up in the trees! Almost in a heart shape!

Mushroom!

I love this picture, you cannot hate the amazing details in this photo!

Pretty Wildflowers

Make a Wish!!

My Very First Thanksgiving Dinner: Part 1

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This year, I took the bold and brave move to cook my very own Thanksgiving. And I am proud to say that everything worked out perfectly! Looking back, I still don’t know how I did it. Somehow I timed everything perfectly and all out on the table at the same time. I had the support of my mom and future mother in-law to help me along with any questions I had.

Please take a look at my subjects who were kind enough to try my food, I don’t think I could have gone wrong with these guys they’ll pretty much eat anything.

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The biggest thing that saved me from a hectic day of cooking was that I made my stuffing and green bean casserole the day before. All I had to do was put it in the oven when the turkey had only a half hour or so left. 

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This stuffing is so easy to make! The longest part was toasting up 3 loaves of bread in a 2 pc. bread toaster. I probably could’ve toasted it all in the oven at one time, but I wanted to make sure it would toast right. After toasting, cut them into cubes. Saute your onions and celery on medium heat after butter melts. It is done when celery is soft and onions are translucent. 

In a very large bowl, add your onions, celery, chicken broth, spices, and mix well. Beat the eggs and add them to the mix, this will make your stuffing fluffy. If it’s still dry, add warm water until you reach the right consistency. You want the bread cubes to be soft but not soggy. 

Once mixed well, place in the oven covered in foil for 45 minutes, then take the foil off for 10 minutes. In this case, I had refrigerated the mix and placed it in the oven the next day.

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Next I prepared the green bean casserole. This was another first for me, I have never really been a fan, but it’s one of  RJ’s favorites so I thought I would give it a whirl. I really think the fresh green beans are what made this dish so successful.

I boiled a pot of water, while heating I snapped off the ends of a bag of fresh green beans and washed them off with cold water. Boil for 10-15 minutes, or until soft.

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After boiling, drain and wash with cold water (this keeps the beans fresh and maintains color and a slight crunch to them). Next, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the minced shallots and cook on medium for 1-2 minutes. Add the flour and mix until thickened. Next turn the heat on high and add the can of mushroom soup, half&half, and mix evenly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, add salt and pepper and green beans, simmer for 5 minutes. 

Grease your dish with butter and pour the mixture into the pan. At this time I covered and refrigerated. You will place this in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, putting the onions on top for the last 5-10 minutes. 

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Stay tuned for the best part of the meal, the Turkey! Look for it in Part 2 of My Very First Thanksgiving Dinner!!

What you’ll need:

For the Stuffing:

3 loaves of bread (i use wheat) toasted and cubed
1/2 cup butter
1 can chicken broth
2 large onions minced
2 stalk of celery minced
3 tsps poultry seasoning
3 tsps thyme
2 tsps rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
a hand full of minced fresh parsley
2 eggs, beaten
warm water

For the Casserole:

1 bag of fresh green beans
3 tbsp butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup half&half
salt and pepper to taste
French’s onions

Here Comes the Sun, Do n do do

Crazy Skies In September!

Florida skies never surprise me, every day there is always some strangely shaped cloud or a sky so clear and blue you would think you were on an island somewhere. I woke up on this morning of September 1st, and I thought this particular looking sky was picture worthy. Now I keep thinking of how much better these would look with a really nice camera,  but this will do for now 🙂

I really like this picture, it looks like someone has finger painted into the sky

Special note to Denise, here is a slight glimpse of FL as requested, more to come from a weekend in Destin!