Pool Party: My Nephew’s 1st Birthday

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Under The Sea Cake

I come from a very large family, and my nephew turned one last week and so we celebrated in style.  It was a collaborative effort by friends and family with ideas from everyone and Pinterest. It turned out so cute I thought I would share some of the highlights. The cake above came from the very talented Creative Wine-O, check out her facebook page here. The detail was stunning. The beach ball was the “smash” cake and even the sand dollars were edible.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Watch Me Grow Time Line

To celebrate his first revolution around the sun my sister made a timeline, featuring a picture from each of his 12 months. Use ribbon and clothes pins to hang. Make sure you put it in a place that is easily accessible so all guest can admire it.  We also used this as the back drop when he ate his birthday cake. We placed his high chair in front.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Fish Craft

We hung a fishing net ( available at party stores) over the main food table and attached sand molds to it. We also had a craft table so that some of the older kids could make paper plate fish to hang in the net. We also used sand buckets and shovels to serve some of the food in.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Shark Bite Fruit Salad

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Shark Bite Fruit Salad

One of the highlights of the food table was this awesome watermelon carved into a shark by my brother-in-law. We then filled it with various cut up fruit.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Blow Fish Fruit Platter

He also made a cantaloupe into a blow fish.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Fish Veggie Tray

Vegetables morphed into a tropical fish.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Octopus Spinach Dip

Spinach dip was turned into a jolly octopus using a bread bowl and pretzel sticks.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Hummus Beach

Make your own hummus beach by spreading hummus in a shallow tray ( I used a clear lid to a casserole) and decorate with drink umbrellas and Pretzel Crisp crabs.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Dolphin Finger Sandwiches

I found a dolphin sandwich cutter at Sweetbay, perfect to make mini sandwiches for the kids.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Bait Bucket

Swedish fish and gummy worms turned into an edible bait bucket decoration.

Pool Party 1st Birthday: Party Favors

Each child got to take a bit of the fun home. Our good family friend made party buckets out of plain sand buckets decorated with stickers and ribbon and filled with beach themed goodies from the dollar store.

It was a true success and a joyous celebration of one of our youngest family members birthday.

Chicken with Citrus Bernaise and Wilted Spinach

 

 

I am a foodie, I love to make my own sauces and purees but I have a weakness, powdered Bernaise sauce. Don’t judge, I have tried making my own, it was good (and much more difficult) but when I crave Bernaise I want the Knorr green, red, and yellow packet.  I was shopping in Publix the other day and heard over the loudspeaker that the Aprons lady was making some kind of fish with a Citrus Bernaise.  Sounds delicious, I thought, so I changed up my menu a little to include it. I always have packet in the pantry as well as some sort of citrus in the fruit bowl. Here is what I came up with…

Chicken with Citrus Bernaise Sauce and Wilted Spinach

For the chicken

2 T olive oil

2 T lemon juice

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

1/2 t dried thyme

Mix together pour into a large zip lock bag  and add 4 – 6 chicken cutlets. Seal and refrigerate 30 min to 2 hours. Grill over medium high about 5 min per side depending on thickness ( alway check temp with a meat thermometer to ensure doneness).

Citrus Bernaise

1 package Knorr Bernaise Sauce mix

1 c milk

6 T butter

1T Orange Juice

1/2 T lemon juice

1/2 t zest from orange and lemon

fresh parsley (if desired)

Follow Bernaise sauce directions, then add juices and zest stir and cook about 2-3 minutes over low, add chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Wilted Spinach

1 T olive oil

2 bags washed baby spinach

1 t garlic

salt and pepper

heat oil in a large skillet over med high,

add spinach and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until spinach is just wilted. Remove from heat, do not over cook.

Wilted Spinach

Place spinach on plate, top with grilled chicken and ladle Bernaise sauce over top.

Chicken with Citrus Bernaise and Wilted Spinach

 

** This would be great with grill fish as well

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

I love the combination of blueberries and basil, so when I was asked to make salsa for a wine and cheese party, I decided to add a little twist. This salsa is great with goat cheese, brie, blue cheese or even cream cheese, serve over top the cheese on a cracker or bread. This would also be great on chicken or fish.

 Blueberry and Basil Salsa

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 c red onion

5 large fresh basil leaves

1 tsp honey

1 tsp lime juice

1/2 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until salsa consistency.

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Perfect Tuna Salad, My Favorite Lunch

I know this is not glamorous or creative but it is the my go to lunch that I crave. It is delicious on bread or as shown here a top salad greens.

Perfect Tuna Salad

1 can of tuna drained ( spring water or oil is fine)

1/4 c mayo

1T red wine vinegar

1 hardboiled egg chopped

1 stalk celery chopped

2 T chopped onion

1/2 t dried dill

2-3 cups salad greens

cherry tomatoes (optional)

salt and pepper

Combine tuna, mayo, vinegar, egg, celery, dill and onion in a med bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on top of greens with tomatoes as shown or on any bread as a sandwich.

Salmon and Shrimp with Mango Curry

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I like Salmon with Mango Salsa, I like Salmon with Coconut Curry. I decided to marry the two and it was a success, a perfect Summer meal.

Salmon and Shrimp with Mango Curry

12 oz salmon ( I prefer the wild, this time I used Frozen Coho Wild Alaskan Salmon)

1/2 lb shrimp, deveined and peeled

2 ripe mangos diced

1T butter

1 t minced ginger

1 T minced garlic

1 t minced jalapeno

1 T Curry Powder

1 c coconut milk

chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a large pan over med high heat. Sprinkle salmon with salt pepper and 1/4 t of the curry powder. Add to melted butter and cook for 1 min on each side.

Add shrimp, mango, garlic, jalapeno, and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes. Add coconut milk and curry powder, simmer for 4-6 minutes or until salmon is cooked through and shrimp are opaque.

Serve over rice or pasta and top with chopped cilantro.

Fresh vs. Frozen, The Seafood Debate and Mahi Mahi with Veracruz Sauce

Ah the forbidden seafood, I have been cooking for a long time but I was always intimidated by fish. Not that I didn’t eat it, I grew up in Florida on the West Coast where there is plenty of it. It was just always something we ate in restaurants, unless you counted fish sticks, but I don’t. Fish Monger, who has a Fish Monger, what do I look for, how do I know its fresh, how do I know if it is really the fish they say it is? I’m not an ichthyologist, I can’t even say that word. Besides it can be expensive, what if I mess it up, or worse someone gets sick?

Well my husband decided he was not going to eat red meat a few years back and let me tell you there is only so much chicken one person can eat. It was time to try it out. I read up and decided to try frozen, yes frozen fish. It saves me a lot of guess work and worring. My local grocery store, Publix has several varieties in the freezer case and guess what they are fresh and tasty. Most seafood you find sitting on ice looking at you in the glass case has been previously frozen anyway, especially the shrimp. So unless you want to wait for the boat to come in yourself, frozen fish is safer, fresher and tastier than it’s supposed “fresh” counterparts.

Here is an easy and great recipe for fish, I used Mahi Mahi (Dolphinfish, not Flipper) but Snapper or Grouper would work too, go ahead and try it.

1package of Frozen Mahi Mahi (two fillets feed 4 people)

2T vegetable oil

1 yellow or white onion chopped

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

1 jalapeno sliced (Use 2 if you like it spicy)

3 large ripe tomatoes chopped

1/2 cup green olives chopped

1t dried oregano

1T lime juice

1T Salt

Black Pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook onion until soft, add garlic and jalapeno cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook about 5 minutes, then stir in olives oregano and lime juice, Salt and Pepper. Add Mahi Mahi to the sauce and spoon some of the sauce over the fillets. Reduce heat to med and cover pan, Cook about 7-9 minutes or until fish is opaque. Check for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed.