Thursday, February 28, 2013

(Post) Son's Birthday Goodies

Hi Everyone,
Remember that post I did about those scrumptious Vanilla Cupcakes? Well, I wanted to show you the end product of it after it's been decorated. As I mentioned, my son's birthday theme was Disney's Cars2! So here are some pictures that I had promised even though it's a couple of days late :)

Vanilla Cupcakes with Disney's Cars2 Cupcake Rings! I ordered them from Amazon

Aside from adding the cupcake rings, I also added these RACE checkered flag picks to the cupcakes too!

These are added on favors. This was just a plain sugar cookie . I did not have time to make my own, so I went ahead and ordered it from an organic shop called Parties "R" Personal

Monday, February 18, 2013

Shrimp Cakes w/ Avocado Salsa

Hello Everyone! It's a holiday for me today which equals too some time on my blog! I've been meaning to post this recipe for a long time, it's just that every time I make these delicious shrimp cakes I always forget to take pictures of the steps.

Our family friend Mel was the one who introduced these shrimp cakes to me when I had her family over dinner one night. My husband and I totally love this dish!

It's actually called Spicy Shrimp Cakes that got adopted from

I for one am not too much on making the food spicy however it does depend on what your making at the time. If you want some heat, then you can surely add Hot Sauce to both the cakes and the salsa. I omitted adding that. It will depend on the crowd you will have for lunch or dinner. I guess a little heat won't be bad, you can add some red chili pepper flakes as well instead of the hot sauce or even a jalapeño.

This dish is great for spring parties or summer picnics. You can either eat it as is (the cakes are so flavorful) or with the side of avocado salsa. I've been bringing these shrimp cakes to office parties and are usually a hit! I just brought these to our recent Valentine's Day potluck at work and everyone seemed to enjoy it!

Ok, enough of me rambling on, let's get to the ingredients on how to make these:

  • Cakes:
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • large egg 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
  • Salsa:
  • 1 cup frozen white corn, thawed
  • 3/4 cup diced peeled avocado 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded poblano pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. To prepare cakes, place shrimp in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until finely chopped. Set aside.  
  2. **If you do not own a food processor, your other option would be buying shrimp paste already prepared for you at any Asian Markets.  A cuisine art mini food processor will do, it's less expensive to buy. So, it would be great to just have one around the house, that's what I use. I do it small batches as it can only hold so many. 
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic to pan; sauté for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Place bell pepper mixture in a large bowl. Add shrimp, green onions, and the next 6 ingredients (through egg), stirring well. Stir in cilantro and 1/4 cup panko.
  4. Divide shrimp mixture into 10 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Dredge both sides of patties in remaining 1/2 cup panko. Chill at least one hour.
  5. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 5 cakes to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining cakes.
  6. To prepare salsa, combine corn and remaining ingredients; stir gently. Serve immediately with shrimp cakes.
These spicy cakes get their heat from the hot sauce so feel free to leave it out if you prefer a mild flavor. Double the salsa and serve it over a salad or as an appetizer with baked tortilla chips.
Fresh Shrimp, peeled & deveined. I added these to my food processor. Set Aside.

Red Bell Pepper saute'd and added garlic

after red bell pepper/ garlic softened, I added the shrimp paste and the rest of the ingredients

For the mixture to adhere, egg and cilantro was added

lastly, mayonnaise or light mayo (if you want)

I know this is not cooked yet, but you can already smell the mixture of cilantro and the bell peppers!

I like to add Panko breadcrumbs to the mixture  as well ( about 1/2 c)

Depending on how big you want the cakes to be, here they are, formed into round patties and covered w/ breadcrumbs. I chilled this batch for about an hour, however, 30 mins is ok.

After 30 mins or in the fridge, pull them out and pan fry them until golden brown. 

The above is the prepared Avocado/Corn Salsa!
I do apologize in advance for actually not having a picture of both dishes on a nice plate, I got so excited eating these at the Office Potluck party and I totally forgot!! This recipe is definitely a crowd pleaser, I promise!!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Off the Path... Couture Gel Nail Polish

Hello everyone! It's a gorgeous warm day today where I am. I've been putting this post for quite some time as I'm busy preparing for my son's 7th birthday party & of course you have work and being a mom. I took advantage of this alone time as my husband and son are out biking enjoying the sunshine!

Anyhow, I'm going off the path here as my Header reads... the post does not involve baking or crafts but about Nail Polish! I'm sure I'm not the only one who puts on nail polish and after like 5 days (that's if your lucky) to still have it on you? It is quite a hassle to remove it then re-apply again.

So one day at work, My Co-worker was talking about this particular machine that you put the polish then you insert your whole hand and wait for like 2 minutes, re-apply coat then repeat all under the UV light. I got so curious that the same day, I went to the closest nail salon and thought I'd give it a try!

Well, believe it or not, my nails did LAST give or take about 14 days!!! No chip. No Re-Applying. My kind of thing! I found myself to keep going back to the nail salon but after much calculation, I realized if there is anything out there that does the same thing BUT I can do it at the comfort of my own home?

After researching and reading reviews, I came across a product called Couture Gel Nail Polish! to be honest I was skeptical at first but I said what the heck? if this can save me money in the long run I'd be really happy.

So I did click on the order button and just couldn't wait until the shipment arrived! Shipping was super fast! I saw the box on my front door and did not wait another minute to open it. The box comes with the machine, 1 top coat, 1 base coat, a beautiful and cute bag, 3 colors of your choosing, tools for the cuticles, a buffer and file, manicure stick and cute small bag, 4 UV lights that you will insert into the machine.

The directions were super, I mean super easy! Since it was my first try using it, it took me about an hour and 15 minutes, I know it was super long to do it, but mind you that was my first try. All in all,  after using it ever so often, I've gotten my manicure AND pedicure in about 45 minutes tops! Not bad huh? PLUS it's in the comfort of my home.

Couture Gel Nail Polish has the Most beautiful Colors! I'll be showing you just one of many great colors they have with the pictures below this post.

Here's the directions for BOTH Manicure & Pedicure:
Clean Hands (no lotion), Buffer. Push Cuticle back. Apply Top Coat. Cure for 2 minutes in the machine. Apply Nail Polish (not to thick). Cure for 2 minutes in the machine. Apply Base Coat. Cure for 2 minutes in the machine. Get free lint tissue and dab 70% rubbing alcohol over nail to remove the tacky residue from the Base Coat.

To remove:
Take your hand and soak in 100 % Acetone for about 10 minutes, after 10 minutes have passed, take your manicure stick and scrape the polish off. You will see it curl and it will peel away. After scraping it off, wash your hands well and towel dry and you can start to re-apply again.

Fresh from the box!
Inside of the machine with the UV lights that you install 
pardon my nails, I'm not a nail model! however, this is the Base Coat that I'm showing

Here I am "curing" my nails under the light!
Here's the TOP & BASE Coat

I bought these gloves separately just to protect my skin from the light

You can choose to cure in different times, I choose the 120 secs

I just love this color!!

See how GLOSSY they get after rubbing a free lint tissue with 70% rubbing alcohol!

Here is the final color! this may  not be a good photo, I'm a little embarrassed about my cuticles! but hey, I'm a Newbie to this :-)  I'd rather do this than visiting a nail salon frequently. This is just me though :-)