What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever cleaned? (I mean besides diapers.) Today I cleaned out a fireplace that hasn’t seen the light of day since like 1922. (This exaggeration may actually be accurate. I’m not sure exactly when our home was built, but I’m guessing it was in the 20s or 30s.) I had to empty the vacuum 3 times. Three times.  And there were snail shells. What? Snails? In a fireplace? Yes, snails. They left their tracks all up and down the bricks. How did they get there? And if something as big as a snail can get into my fireplace, what else is crawling into my house?

We move in on Saturday. I’m super excited. I’ve been working my butt off getting it all cleaned and painted and ready. Can I get a round of applause for TSP? Trisodium Phosphate. I didn’t even know this stuff existed until my mom told me about it last week, but it is an old home’s best friend. You would not believe how much soot and dirt came off those walls.

We painted the built-in wood bookshelves and paneling that surrounds the fireplace. It was oak, and very 70s looking. We painted it white, at the independent advice of 2 people way more stylish than us. I read on a blog somewhere that men always want to keep the wood paneling and women always want to paint it a light color. My brother was using my computer the other day and saw all the pages I had open with before and afters. Sure enough, he said that he liked all the befores better…the afters looked sissy.

IMG_5809Sissy or not, it’s all done now. I congratulated myself out loud when I finished my last touch up today. Good job Karen! You are freaking awesome! Sometimes when no one else is around to give me my compliment fix, I fill in. The paneling took me the better part of a week. (Eric was at work so I was on my own. We would have done it last weekend but we went on a little getaway instead. Still don’t regret that.)

Wish us luck moving our piano. Or just show up to help. That would be great too. I’ll make you this tilapia if you do.

IMG_5790You wouldn’t regret it. This is one of the best fish I have ever put in my mouth. It’s got 6,240 reviews on Allrecipes. That many people just can’t be wrong. Oh and? Done in 15 minutes. Done, I tell you.


Easy Parmesan Tilapia

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Total: 11 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
This is one of the best fish I have ever put in my mouth. Oh, and done in 15 minutes!


  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets, (8 fillets)


  • Turn on your broiler. No really, turn it on right now, because making the sauce will literally take you 5 minutes. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery seed. Mix in the bread crumbs and set aside.
  • Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for 2 more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and spread the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is nice and brown and fish flakes easily with a fork. Don't overdo it. Nobody likes dry fish!


Source: slightly adapted from Allrecipes.com


Serving: 1fillet | Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 365mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 230IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 236
Keyword: parmesan, Tilapia
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. So glad you’re moved in and happy with how things turned out. I can vouch for this recipe also. After Sandi made it for us, I came home and served it to our good neighbors who are not easy to impress, being quite the food connoisseurs. It was a complete success! Thank you, thank you. I will serve this often and I am NOT a fish person. Easy. Delicious. Thank you. Fun blog. So glad Sandi has you near by. Maybe not as good as living together, but next best.

  2. Your house sounds awesome, sans snails, and this fish looks delectable. I won’t tell you the grossest thing I’ve ever cleaned because this is a food blog, and no one would want to cook anything after hearing about it. Could fresh bread crumbs be used for this recipe, or is the panko necessary for adequate crunchiness?

    1. Out with it Sarah. If readers can’t handle it they belong on a different blog :) and yes regular old breadcrumbs will work fine, I just like the texture of Panko best.

      1. I always compliment myself when I’m alone, too, and now that Mike works from home, it turns out that I’m not even alone for these moments. He’ll call from the office, “So you’re so happy with yourself right now?”

  3. Snail shells?! How funny. And not funny. But it makes for an interesting story. :)

    I’m not usually much of a fish person either, but I do love tilapia. Unfortunately my husband HATES fish, hates it so much that he doesn’t even want me to cook it in our house. I imagine that if he ever goes away on a trip, I will eat fish every day that he is gone. ;)

    1. Make it when he’s not home, then feed it to him and tell him it’s chicken. I bet he will like it. I’m not above deception in the name of food. :) Hope you like it!!

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