Shrimp Spring Rolls

I recently defrosted a bag of shrimp, and after not using as much as I thought I would need. I was thinking what can I do with the leftover shrimp that I might not have to use now. So I decided to make spring rolls. If you don't know the difference between a spring roll and and egg roll the spring roll has a very thin rice paper sheet and the egg roll uses a thicker dough for its wrappers. Both very good but I wanted something that was a bit lighter. 

I've made crab wontons from scratch before but never spring rolls, thankfully I had a package of wrappers in the freezer on hand. I also had a package of dried wood ear mushrooms, which is an asian staple, they are a crunchy sort of mushroom if you can imagine that. I also had a bit of leftover cabbage. 

Wood ear mushrooms
cabbage shredded
carrots shredded
sesame oil
soy sauce
shrimp roll wrapper
canola oil for frying

First thing you need to do is soak the mushrooms, while those soak mince your shrimp and garlic and grate ginger into a bowl. Use as much garlic as you like, I used a bit too many cloves, even though we love garlic it was a bit strong in the spring rolls.

After the wood ears have softened enough thinly slice them if they aren't the precut variety, and add to the shrimp mixture. Add a tablespoon of sesame oil and soy.

In the meantime, sauté the cabbage and carrots in a bit of oil to soften them up. 

When your cabbage mixture has cooled you can start by assembling the rolls. One teaspoon of shrimp mixture and one of the cabbage mixture placed toward the front of the wrapper. Fold the front triangle over first and then the sides and then just keep rolling. Once you come to the end take your fingers and dip them into water and rub the seam before closing. And there you have it, a shrimp spring roll. Now you can do two things, you can choose to fry them up immediately, or you can freeze them for another day. If the shrimp has been defrosted for more than a day, I suggest you fry them up. If you feel that it's still fresh, freeze it and you have a quick snack next time you have a taste for something crunchy and hot.

I like to use ponzu sauce for dipping these, but if you don't have any on hand or don't know what it is you can substitute with equal parts soy and real lemon juice, not the stuff from a bottle. Most of the time thats fine but I tend to think it tastes like windex. 


Hey all it's my first guest post!!!

I'm guest posting on Stilettos and Diaper bags today! Go check out my guest post about making the easiest banana "ice cream" ever made. No ice cream maker needed.

If you came here from Stilettos and are a first timer, I would love it if you became a follower.


Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble -Shakespeare

Halloween has never been my FAVORITE holiday but with the influx of non-kitchy decor and I'm starting to like it more than for it's doorbell ringing madness!

I think this year I'll get in the mood and paint my nails and toes in the fab colors from NARS, although purple has always been a staple for me, I don't have this one from NARS yet. And maybe I can order the silk scarf in time for Sunday - although I can see myself wearing it through the season indefinitely. 

  1. Skull ring - I know its pretty pricey but a girl can dream right!
  2. NARS colors in Versailles and Purple Rain
  3. Skull votive - These are pretty large but how cool would they look scattered along the pathway to your door or on a table scattered among other decor, or food.
  4. Skull Candle - Don't hate me cuz I like skulls, they just evoke a more grown up halloween instead of pumpkins everywhere. I bet this smells very musky and heavy.
  5. Black crepe paper wreath
  6. Crackle Balls Lighting - This looks like a full moon, I bet you can use this for a bunch of other occasions too.
  7. Vintage Skull Print - BlackBaroque has a bunch of different designs but you know my thing with skulls and all.
  8. Dark moody flowers, like flowering cabbage, black calla lilies, monkey tails and ebony leaves - I help my mom doing flowers for weddings so it rubs off.
  9. Bat Bunting - How fun!
  10. Silk scarf - I couldn't decide which one I liked best, there are several that struck my fancy.
Hope you find some inspiration here to make your own spooky chic halloween.


Pumpkin patch and petting zoo

A couple of weekends ago my girlfriend and I took our two kids and went to the local pumpkin patch. We had planned to go the week before but glad we postponed our adventure since the weather turned out to be fabulous that weekend. We also decided to skip the LARGE advertised pumpkin patch - if you live anywhere near Chicago you know which one I'm talking about. I'm so glad we ended up coming here instead, no entrance fee, no hay ride fee and the petting zoo, which was the only thing you need to pay a fee for, was great. It wasn't just animals that were in a pen that you got to look at but instead you can get in with the animals and pet the small ones and actually hold them, unlike the big pumpkin place.

Arianna loved petting the baby ducks and getting into the pen with the goats, piglets and a plethora of animals - all babies. The best part was holding the soft little bunnies. I wish I had a ton of pics but I stupidly forgot to charge my camera battery before I left so I literally got maybe 10 shots in before the camera died.  Urghhh. Oh well it made me focus more on the experience with the kids instead of being behind the lens the whole time.  Here are a few outtakes that I was able to catch before it died for the day.

I love this last shot of them looking eye-to-eye, she got a bit scared when the calf stuck her tongue out, trying to get a taste of her. All in all, it was an excellent time spent with friends.


Happy Milestone Birthday to my chipmunk

I know she's going to cringe when she reads this headline but ever since we were little she would always get stopped for her chipmunk cheeks. And she HATED it, but I tend to think that they make her look beautiful and only accentuate her lovely smile. My sister turned 30 yesterday and although she doesn't look a day over 25 and has always been young at heart - she thinks this is old. I disagree, as one of her friends put it the other day, its not years in your life but the life in your years that truly make the person.

So here's wishing health, wealth and happiness to a beautiful, intelligent, and obsessive compulsive best friend a sister could ever have! Na zdrowie and sto lat!!


Zorro doesn't have to have all the fun!

Do you know what your going for Halloween as? Maybe some sort of masked crusader? Well you don't need to be a crusader if you want to wear a mask. I stumbled on these masks through etsy and man are they sexy! Just the right amount of mystery but so much precision that I'm amazed that it conforms to ones face so well. Seems as though they are custom made specifically for your face. I want one but I really don't have any place to wear it to, you think wearing it trick or treating with my 3 year old is too much?

Anyhow if you want to get one before Halloween you need to act fast, they are selling out quick go check em' out!


Artist Crush - Florian Nicolle

I have to introduce you to this fab-tastic artist, Florian Nicolle. I have been following his work for a bit and I'm amazed at how beautiful and fluid and multilayered his work is. I love the way he incorporates newsprint and different types of ink and washes and adds dimension to the work. It really is breathtaking. I'm sure as he gains popularity you will see him in more national newspapers and magazines, definitely keep an eye out for him.


Ruminations on Life

I found this great site and I can't keep it to myself some of the things listed on there had me cracking up out loud! Here are a few that I had to put down because they were too funny or true to miss. Enjoy.

One of life's great frustrations is the quest to get the refilled ice-cube tray back into the freezer without spilling water everywhere.

I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying. 

How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

Our generation doesn't knock on doors. We will call or text to let you know we're outside

MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood. 

I hate when I think of something really great to say during a conversation but by the time I get a chance to speak, we're on a different topic. Do I let it pass and keep the good thought to myself, or do I awkwardly bring up the old topic again?

My GPS says "Estimated Arrival Time." I see "Time to Beat." 

I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away? 

Does anyone else mutter "righty tighty and lefty loosey" when tightening or unscrewing anything?

Facebook is a lot like a fridge. When you're bored you keep opening and closing it every couple of minutes to see if there's anything good, but nothing ever changes.

Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart". 

Every phone should have the same charger. 

Everything's funnier when you're supposed to be quiet. 

My keyboard needs a removable crumb tray like my toaster. 

I don't know about you, but a highlight of my childhood was talking into the fan to hear my robot voice. 

Why do I always pack extra pairs of underwear when getting ready for a vacation? I haven't shit my pants in years. 

I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

I wish it were appropriate to say to a complete stranger, "Excuse me, would you like me to show you how to discipline your child?" 

Was learning cursive really necessary? 

"I had to walk to school 40 miles in the snow... barefoot" was good in it's day. But imagine the sheer terror on your kid's face when you drop "When I was born there was no internet". 

If I see your pants sagging below your ass I know you didn't read the instructions that came with them.

I wish there was always a recycling bin next to people that hand out pamphlets. 

American Apparel ads equal marketing fail. Neither the phrase "3-D Flower Mesh Jumper" nor the emaciated model makes me want your hideous product. 

The concept of a raincoat without a hood is beyond me. I mean making it to work with my hair soaked and my makeup running, but with my outfit completely intact really isn't an accomplishment. 


Brown paper wrappings... These are a few of my favorite things

I remember back in grammar school, at the beginning of the year when the teachers passed out your new school books. They would request that we cover our books with brown paper collected from bags from grocery stores.  But who would have thought that many years later, I would want to cover my books on my own. It looks so uniform and clean, I just wish my penmanship was as pretty as the penmanship on this example.

I walked into Restoration Hardware the other day and they were singing my tune. The books on the shelves were covered in brown paper or linen paper and they looked fabulous. This would be a great way to uniformly have your books stored if the color method doesn't work for you. 

I started the color method but I like keeping categories of books together and so this method... not so much. So do I go ahead and brown paper and label ALL the books. That seems like a lot of work but it might be worth it. Add it to the list of things on my to do.

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