Friday, April 11, 2014

Food: Minsky's Summer Shrimp Salad

This is my mother's recipe, she calls Ceviche. I have added some ingredients and changed it a bit, to make it my own. It has always been a huge hit at my family's summer parties. I call it a Summer Salad because Ceviche means to marinate raw fish in lime/lemon juice, without cooking it.  This dish does not have raw fish. The imitation crab meat is sold cooked and you can also buy the shrimp precooked (I have tried and it tastes just as great) or you can cook your own. When I cook my shrimp I use salted boiling water and you have to be careful to not over cook them. 

18 oz Imitation Crab Meat
1/2 lb shrimp deveined and cooked
3/4 cup of lemon juice, about 6 lemons

2 medium Roma tomatoes
4 green onions chopped
4 teaspoons cilantro chopped
1/2 medium cucumber diced
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Avocado
1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips

Dice the crab meat into small cubes in a large bowl. Cut up the shrimp into bite size pieces and place in the bow with crab. Pour the lemon juice into the bowl with shrimp and crab put the bowl in the fridge so that it marinates while you are chopping the veggies. After 30 minutes add the tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, cucumber, ketchup, salt and pepper to the shrimp and crab and taste for seasoning. Adjust seasoning if you wish.

I dice the avocado once we are ready to eat. Once each plate is served I top it with lots of avocado, and we dip our chips in. For some spice you can serve it with some chile sauce. My choice is Tapatio.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Crafts: Entertaining with Shaving Cream


Entertaining used to mean having friends over for dinner. Now it means entertaining my toddlers. Our latest entertainment comes thanks to my husband… who brought home a big can of cheap old fashion Barbasol shaving cream and let the kids get messy!

To blow off excess energy after dinner, I've been taking the kids outside for some quick backyard play time. One of their favorite activities now is the shaving cream. I spray their outdoor table with shaving cream and let them make a mess. Do be warned… I do this in the evening or late afternoon, because it usually requires a bath after. And somehow, they are not the only ones getting covered in cream, I am too! Have a bucket of water, towels and a bath handy.

I also use it as a learning activity by adding food coloring. It's a great way to show the older toddlers what colors can be created by using the basic primary colors. For the younger ones, it's a great way to help learn textures. But the fun doesn’t end when you are done. My girls have just as much fun with the clean up process . Just take that bucket of water and clean away. My daughters love using a brush to help clean up or just drenching themselves with the water as it slides off the table. After this it's time to bring in the towels and head straight to the bath.  

** Do rinse clothes after using food coloring, as some colors may leave stains. I used a spot remover to remove any spots I find after the wash.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fashion: Garnet Hill Kids Spring Style

As the parties approach, you have to start planning ahead. What will your little ones wear to all the birthday parties, family get together and Easter/ Spring family pictures. You may find your answer in Garnet Hill Kids. Garnet Hill Kids has a variety of fancy dresses for each occasion, some fancier than others, but all just right for you.

"We are dedicated to providing quality and excellence in everything we do, " says Garnet Hill "Our mission is to delight you, exceeding your expectations every step of the way with unique product, exceptional design and outstanding service. That's the Garnet Hill way." This they have taken to heart and have excelled. The quality of the clothes is outstanding. The fabrics are rich with texture. When I received the first dress I didn't expect to be so taken back by the quality itself. The pictures don't capture the fabric quality and detail of the stitching.

Garnet Hill Kids came to me two years ago when my mother received the catalog with her Garnet Hill order. We flipped through it and found a posh Easter dress. The style reminded me of an English tea party you see in magazines. Everyone is wearing their finest clothes with the sun hats and gloves. I just thought it was a looking dress. When I pulled out the dress it brought that vision to life for me. The dress was of the best quality cotton. The thickness of the dress allowed the dress not to lose it's shape. The details of the bows and flowers gave it a youthful appeal. Just because they're infants, toddlers or kids doesn't mean that the quality should be any less the perfect.  

Just about every season I look to Garnet Hill Kids for special occasion attire and every time I am impressed. This past season I couldn't pass on the Fantasia Dress. Sure the sizes started in a size 5 and my daughter just turned 3, but how could I say no. When I received it my daughter just loved it. She demanded to wear it and I was already to two steps ahead. Maybe it was the dress or her laughter, but it was a moment of pure joy. 

When my little one outgrows her pieces you know her younger sister will be more than happy to take those hand me downs. After they are outgrown we'll want to keep them as mementos. Maybe for them or for grand children. Ok, I am thinking too far ahead, but the quality will withstand a couple of generation. In today's time, when majority of the clothes can't even make it past a season, it's nice to know that Garnet Hill clothing will make it way beyond then and hold everlasting memories for you and your little ones.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Garden: Minsky's Garden Journal March 22-March27

March 22, 2014
It happened again, the pest is back! We were doing so well in the garden these last few days and this morning when I woke up and looked out into the garden I discovered the plants were uprooted again. So frustrating! When Tristan and I walked outside to see he was so disappointed. We thought we had figured a solution to the problem but we were wrong.  I called my dad and asked him for some chicken wire because I was desperate to keep the pest out. The plants can not establish their roots if they keep getting dug up.
When my husband, Robert, saw the garden he thought it must be our neighborhood cats. We do have cats that roam all through our backyard and I never thought they would cause a problem in the garden. However, Robert did some research online and we figured they could be the possible pests. We were also able to find a possible all natural and organic solution for deterring them. We read that two things they do not like are lavender and oranges. So I knew I had to try this method to keep them away! I peeled two oranges and cut up 8 sprigs of lavender and scattered them over the garden bed and also the small planter where the squash and pumpkin are planted.  Not wanting to take any more chances,  I also sprinkled black pepper, chili powder and red pepper flashes just in case we do have several different pests visiting us. I am going to hold off on the chicken wire for now and hope I really don't have to use it.
March 27, 2014
It has been five days since we had our last visit from our pests and I am so glad they have not returned. The orange peel and lavender mix I am scattering over the dirt must be working. I stopped sprinkling the chili and pepper because I wanted to see if the oranges and lavender would be a better deterrent and they seem to be.  Everyday Tristan wakes up and looks out at the garden with me and wants to see if the pests came back.  We have been so happy to see they have not.
We have seen some growth in the plants and citrus but I think there might be a problem with our avocado tree. It's leaves all have brown tips and it looks droopy to me. It just doesn't seem right. I am still really new in this gardening adventure but I don't recall the tree looking this way last year. I looked up possible problems and solutions with brown tipped leaves online HERE and I discovered it might be:
Salt Accumulation. 
Avocados are more susceptible to the accumulation of chloride and sodium salts than most other tree crops. Damage from excessive salt appears as burned leaf tips and margins (spots) on older leaves and early leaf drop. Salt accumulation is often caused by irrigation with poor quality saline water, light and shallow watering, inadequate soil moisture or excessive or improper fertilizer application. Salt accumulation is prevented or addressed through leaching salts out of the tree's root zone every four to five weeks during peak water use in summer by turning a hose on to a trickle and letting it run near the base of the avocado tree for 24 hours.
I have started the "leaching" method today and I will keep a close eye on the progress of the avocado tree. Gardening can be relaxing and rewarding but like everything else there are also problems that occur and so far we have had a few. Hopefully I am addressing them quickly and the plants will be able to thrive this season.