Shrimp and Guacamole Tostadas – Simply Scrumptious!

What it took for 6 tostadas:

by Bev Cooks

* 6 corn tortillas
* cooking spray
* 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
* 2 avocados
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
* juice from 1 lime
* 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
* 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1 Tbs ground cumin
* 2 Tbs chili powder
* 1 tsp crushed red or green pepper
* 1 tsp garlic salt
* 1 red bell pepper, cut into small slices

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly coat both sides of the corn tortillas with cooking spray. Bake for 4 minutes on each side. Switch oven to broil. Evenly divide the cheese over the tortillas and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, 2-ish minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the avocados, cilantro, lime juice and a pinch of kosher salt. Mash up with a fork until you get guacamole. Go ahead and eat a few bites for your well being.

Toss the shrimp with the cumin, chili powder, crushed pepper flakes and garlic salt.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high. Sear the shrimp on one side for 2 minutes; flip and sear 30 more seconds. Remove from pan.

To the pan, add the sliced red bell pepper. Saute for 2 minutes, scraping the browned bits from the pan, seasoning the peppers. Sprinkle in a leetle salt.

Spoon the guacamole over each cheesy tostada, followed by shrimp and red bell pepper. Garnish each tostado with cilantro and give another good squeeze of lime juice over each one. Enjoy!

Images and Recipe Source:  here   (Click on the link to also check out some fantastic recipes! Bev Cooks is great!)

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Chocolate and Caramel Cake – ooooh!

 

Chocolate and Caramel Cake
Printable Recipe

Caramel
1 c (198 g) sugar
1/4 c (59 ml) heavy cream

Prepare a small bowl by rubbing it with shortening/butter or spraying it with Pam so that the cooling caramel will not stick to it completely. Set aside.

Cook the sugar in a heavy-bottom pan until a dark amber color (I don’t know which temp is right… I got lucky, I guess!). Remove from heat and pour in the cream, stirring gently until combined and no longer bubbling. Pour into the prepared bowl and let rest until cool to the touch.

Be careful, hot sugar is hot! The goal is to have a very soft caramel that is a little runny when cooled. You’ll be adding it to buttercream.

Caramel/Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Please click here for a step-by-step guide to making Swiss Meringue Buttercream and troubleshooting tips!

1 3/4 c (348 g) sugar
8 egg whites (save 2 yolks for the cake recipe!)
3 1/2 sticks (28 Tbls) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
Resulting caramel from above recipe
1/4 c (40 g) dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Cook the egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it’s completely smooth, it’s done). Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp. Then, on a medium-slow speed, slowly add the butter, a few pieces at a time, waiting until each addition is fully incorporated before adding more. After it has all been added, whip it until it thickens up, about five minutes, and add the vanilla. Remove half of the buttercream, place in a separate bowl, and whip in the chocolate. Add the caramel to the remaining half. It may be necessary to heat the caramel slightly to make sure it is the correct consistency, but be careful it’s not so hot that it will melt the buttercream!

Super Chocolate Cake
3/4 c (177ml) heavy cream
1 c (160 g) dark chocolate chips (I used 52%)
2 c (250 g) flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3/4 c (177 g)butter, cubed and at room temp
1 c (142 g)firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs + 2 yolks, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) then grease and line two 6 inch pans.

Heat cream until steaming, then pour over chocolate. Allow to set for 5 minutes, then whisk gently to combine. Allow to cool to room temp (put it in the fridge/freezer for a bit, if you like).

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then add both yolks plus the vanilla. Then, alternating between wet and dry (beginning with wet), add the flour and cream mixtures in 2 additions each. Be sure to scrape down the bowl!

Divide batter into the two prepared pans and bake 35-40 min.

Assembly
Level and split each layer of cake so you have four layers of equal height. Fill with caramel buttercream, crumb coat with either frosting, and then frost completely with the chocolate buttercream. I decorated very simply by drizzling chocolate over the edges of the [chilled] cake. Additional caramel would also be great!

Recipe and Image source:  here

Five Ways to DriveTraffic & Build Relationships With Social Media

by Summer Boone

If you think social media isn’t relevant to your brick-and-mortar business, think again. Online digital tools can drive foot traffic and foster a loyal community. As director of social media for an establishment that 6,000 people visit every weekend, I have nevertheless learned firsthand that although you can use online media to develop relationships, real-world connections are what solidify them.

Here are five ways social media can support your efforts to increase foot traffic, brand awareness, customer relationships—and sales.

1. Be present

If you run social channels for a business, make sure you get out and meet prospects and customers. Attend events you’ve been promoting on social networks. Take advantage of opportunities to meet people influential in your industry.

Why is getting out into the world important? For customers with whom you’ve already established an online relationship, yours can be the friendly face they already know when they walk through the door for the first time. For prospects, the personal connection you make with them might be what finally gets them to walk through the door.

2. Offer connection

Give members of your online community an opportunity to be a part of something in the real world, something they can point to in your store or online and say, “I did that” or “I was part of that” or “That’s me!”

For example, this past December we offered “Christmas-grams,” inviting people on Facebook to nominate friends or family to receive one. We chose a few recipients of the Christmas-grams, showed up at their door unannounced to deliver it, and filmed the entire, hilarious experience! Then we posted the video on YouTube and played it on our campus. The only way to know if your nomination was picked was to show up on the weekend to watch the video.

3. Be relevant

What’s current, relevant, or timely? If you pick up on what’s already on people’s minds, you don’t have to manufacture awareness from scratch. For 9/11 this past year, we used Facebook and Twitter to locate four soldiers to fly home for a surprise visit to their families. We captured the whole thing on video for a total Oprah moment! The larger point is that we used what was current and relevant to build awareness of our organization and strengthen our relationships with followers, members, and their families.

4. Be helpful

Don’t expect your customers to know how to find you online or assume they are Twitter experts. Help them find you and follow your tweets. For instance, we’ve set up our own “Geek Squad” in our lobby with laptops to show people how to sign up for Twitter and also how to find and “Like” us on Facebook.

Remember that helping people find you online isn’t enough; give them a reason to follow you or “Like” you. (If you don’t have an answer other than “I’m trying to get more followers and Likes,” then you have bigger issues that won’t be fixed by social media!)

5. Be everywhere

Make sure your social presence is promoted on every print piece you have: fliers, direct mailers, business cards, everything. Include your Twitter and Facebook URLs, not just a logo. One thing we’ve recently started doing is capturing tweets from people who are mentioning us and projecting them up on our giant high-definition screens for 15 minutes before one of our programs kicks off. It’s another reminder that we are on Twitter.

Source & Article:  here