Sunday, February 27, 2011

Curry In a Hurry! Shrimp and more...

Shrimp Masala with Coconut-Cilantro Chutney and Yogurt-Pistachio Smoothies

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Coconut-Cilantro Chutney
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Makes 1 cup
  • 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 small seeded fresh green chile (such as serrano)
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk or water
  • 1/2 lime


  1. Pulse coconut, fresh cilantro, green chile (such as serrano), and coconut milk or water in a food processor to desired consistency. Squeeze lime over chutney. Read more at Coconut-Cilantro Chutney - Martha Stewart Recipes
Shrimp Masala
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Serves 4 to 6
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen large shrimp, thawed, peeled, and deveined (tails left intact, optional)
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 pound okra (partially thawed, if frozen), sliced 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 small fresh green chile, such as serrano, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (
  • 1 1/4 cups light coconut milk


  1. Pulse garlic, ginger, and water into a paste in a blender. Season shrimp with salt.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Cook shrimp, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Add 2 tablespoons oil to skillet. Working in batches, cook okra for 2 to 3 minutes; transfer to a plate.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet if needed. Cook shallot and chile for 1 minute. Add garlic paste and garam masala. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 1 minute. Return shrimp to skillet; cook for 1 minute. Add okra; cook for 1 minute. Season with salt. Read more at From Martha Stewart Living, February Shrimp Masala - Martha Stewart Recipes

Yogurt-Pistachio Smoothies
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Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup salted pistachios
  • 1/4 freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios


  1. Blend yogurt, water, ginger, salted pistachios, pepper, and ice cubes until smooth. Divide among glasses. Garnish with finely chopped pistachios.
From Martha Stewart Living, February 2011
Read more at Yogurt-Pistachio Smoothies - Martha Stewart Recipes

Wow, this was good!  In the winter, when life, and our taste buds could use a good "waking up", this dinner is certainly a good choice.  If you are a vegetarian (as I am, but seafood is my sin food), then simply swap the shrimp for tofu!  It is just that easy.  Vegan?  Make the smoothies with almond milk.  Everyone can indulge in a little trip to the far east, even if it's only from the table. 
Let's see, which ingredient should I choose this time to investigate?  I'm going with the pistachio.  I was amazed to see the beautiful purple and pink blushes as I cracked them out of their hard shells.  I've never looked at a pistachio that closely before.  Did you notice that they had purples and pinks?  Maybe you did?  I didn't notice.  Either way, they are beautiful. With their shells cupping the nutty morsel from either side, it reminds me of two hands folded together in prayer.  Let's find out more about this pistachio, shall we? 
Oh my goodness!  That is too funny.  As I was exploring the world of the pistachio, I found out that yesterday was World Pistachio Day?!  I'm beginning to find out that just about everything has a day dedicated to its existence (see my peanut blog for more).  Not only is the pistachio celebrated for its delicious flavor, it also contains some good-for-you health benefits.  Need a little copper in your diet?  Thought so.  Pistachios will gladly provide you with this gorgeous metal.  Additionally, they contain manganese, fiber, protein, thiamine, and phosphorous. On top of those health benefits, they have even more surprises for you.  They are willing to give away some beneficial antioxidants and phytonutrients. Aren't they generous? 

Actually, researchers are now telling us that pistachios are one of the best sources of antioxidants from the plant kingdom. Oh, and if that's not good enough, they are willing to cut the fat for you to become the lowest calorie, lowest fat nut around.  Just don't buy them salted for snacking, because that might defeat the purpose (if you ask me). 
Wasn't that interesting?  Who would have thought that the pistachio was THAT cool?  The more you know....I hope that you enjoy making this delicious dinner with your family.  Until next beautifully!
  Photo Gallery

Sarah is ready to cook.  She told me so herself.  The little cutie now tells me she can "cook all by myself". Yup, it sounds like she's nearing the terrible twos.  Oh no!
I opted for frozen, cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp.  It's faster and easier.
The recipe called for garam masala, but of course my local grocer does not carry that.  I chose this, instead of the other curry used for red meat.  It turned out OK nonetheless.
The yummy coconut milk...I just love this stuff.  And now I have a love for dried unsweetened coconut too.  Side note: I think coconut does wonders for the skin.  I've been eating a tablespoon of coconut oil for the past month or so and it really has made a difference!
The ingredients for the shrimp masala.  As I said earlier, for the strict vegetarians, just use tofu instead of shrimp.
Jordan, working his magic as usual.
The beautiful shrimp.
mmmmm....the shrimp is frying.
He feels like such a man with that apron on.  I think barbecue is in his blood, too.
The gorgeous pistachios.  Notice the purple and pink blush tones.
The okra.  The only thing about okra that I don't like is how slimy it gets!
Mixing in the veggies.
Adding the coconut milk.
Letting it simmer...the kitchen smelled so good!
Now simmering with the shrimp mixed in.  The picture is blurry because the steam is fogging up my camera phone lens.
Still I added the veggies to the mix.  I let it cook for a few more minutes.  All done with the shrimp masala.
For the starts with a hot pepper.  I used a small piece because the children have very sensitive palates.
In the food processor, the coconut, pepper and other ingredients are ready to marry.
All done.  With a little squeeze of was perfect.
Sarah is at the dinner table, happily awaiting her dinner.  Gabriel refused to join us.  Guess he wasn't a shrimp fan.  Oh well...maybe next time.
Sarah approves...of the naan at least.  What kid doesn't like carbs the most?  Well, actually I'm a carb lover myself.
Jordan liked the dinner.  He did think that the smoothies were a bit sour, at first.  The plain yogurt might have been switched to vanilla?  I thought it was good (a little sour but still great) too.
The Shrimp Masala with Coconut-Cilantro Chutney and Yogurt-Pistachio Smoothies (in our hands).  The bread in the picture was naan that we purchased ready-made. 

~Dinner Was Served~

Saturday, February 26, 2011

~February Room Renovation~

A Hallway Makeover

for $70?!

Since I have started my Martha blog, I have gained so much valuable insight into our everyday living.  The only problem (if you can call it that) is that I'm much more aware of my surroundings.  What used to be a minor irritation, has now become an everyday annoyance. For instance, the hallway has always grossed me out.  I know that sounds strange, but it just has.  It's dark, narrow and the kids constantly smear who knows what down the long tunnel- like hallway.  For two years now, I've just dealt with it.  I tuned it out and kept on walking to wherever it was that I was going.  I lived with being "grossed out" probably one hundred times a day.  Sometimes, on days when I felt particularly zealous, I'd THINK about doing something about it.  Can you relate?

Well, finally, it is done!  A simple fresh coat of paint, and an arrangement of pictures has dramatically changed the feel of the hallway.  Maybe this idea will get your your artistic juices flowing?  Hopefully it will inspire you to wipe away (with paint, pictures or whatever) all those annoyances that you have learned to live with.  Have fun!

Photo Gallery
 *Our weather has been very overcast and our hallway is windowless.  Consequently, some pictures appear dark*

Here I am at Home Depot.  Jordan came with me to help me  pick out our hallway color.  After collaborating, we decided to go for wampum msl179.  It's a dusty pastel lavender color that really softens the feel of our hallway.
The gross hallway.  I don't know how I've put up with it for so long?!
Here are the wooden letters that we are going to paint a silver color.  Before painting, we primed the wood.
Jordan was in charge of painting the wooden letters that we purchased at a craft store.
In the dark hallway, here I am taping the edges before painting.  The kids are in bed, and the clock is ticking.
At about midnight, I am now ready to paint.
Painting away...
Jordan is working on the second coat of silver paint.
This is a funny picture.  I am standing over our hallway mirror.  I'm about to spray paint it silver (it was a gold color). 
The finished mirror.
The new and improved hallway. 
Our Great Wall of Pictures. 
On Craigslist, I found a great deal! For $2 per frame, I found 9 frames that were silver in color.  Originally meant for documents, I made it work. I am embarrassed to say that since living here, I have never put up any family pictures!  Don't ask me why because I'll just give you the "I have three kids speech". *LOL*. Anyway, for $28 I had all these pictures printed from the comforts of my home.  A few hours later they were ready for pickup.

Our family pets.  They too are a part of our family.
Sarah Elizabeth
Sarah's collage
Here I am.
My wonderful husband, Ben.  Our pictures are on either side of the family sign because we are the ones "holding it together".
Gabriel...I just adore this picture of my little "cabbage patch".
Jordan is having fun in the kitchen, as usual. He's holding a small torch that we used when making our baked Alaska.
Picture is dark...but it's Jordan's picture collage. Guess I need track lighting not only for my laundry room (see my January post), but also for my hallway.
The beautifully hand painted family sign.  Good job Jordan!
Jordan is very proud of his newly decorated hallway.

~Two rooms down and ten more to go.  I wonder what room will get morganized next month?~

Morgan's Minute

 It can be dangerously easy to live within an environment that does not suit our taste, or our needs for that matter.  I have been there.  I am still there.  At the present moment, I feel like a rock climber, scaling the wall with my harness tightly on and my carabiner firmly in place.  Right now, my fingers are grabbing the craggy wall and with all my strength I am lifting myself up and out.  Can you relate to this metaphor?  Whether you are married or single, we all are trying to lift ourselves out of something.

This is life, or my life at the moment I should say.  With three children, two under three, tenacity is an understatement.  Why then am I doing this?  Ahhh, such a good question.  Short answer...because I require the best that I can afford, and as much as I can possibly give.  In between, are a few trips to the spa, a pedicure, a coffee with a close friend and a nice, long hot soak with a good wine.  Demanding the best is not an illness but a way of life that should be celebrated.  Until next beautifully.

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