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Favorites on Friday

Happy Friday peeps!  I’m looking forward to an action packed weekend. You know how it is when you’re trying to get away, life seems to suddenly accelerate.  Tomorrow I’m signed up for an iphone photography class at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in the hopes I will learn to take the best pics possible in NOLA.  I’ll let you know how that goes and hopefully you’ll soon see the results.

They also host a yearly event called Foto Fusion. A couple years ago I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by legendary photographer Elliot Erwitt
They also host a yearly event called FOTOFusion. A couple years ago I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by legendary photographer Elliott Erwitt at this event.

Every Friday Pinterest tells me my most popular pins for the week.  Since it seems like I should do something with that nifty stat I thought I’d share them with you. Read more

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SPACES FOR SPICES

In my last post we began to look at the challenge of creating an organized kitchen to cut down on stress and save time.  Now that we have the pot ;)/pots organized let’s look at some creative ways to store your spices.  I love to experiment with cooking Indian food (lots of spices) and there is nothing more frustrating than digging in the back of a cabinet for the garam masala!

SPICES should be stored away from heat and moisture, so right over your cooking surface may not be the best option.  A spice rack behind the door of an a cabinet close to your food prep area or stove is a good choice.

Back of door spice rack by Rev-A-Shelf

I like the ones with adjustable shelves.  If you are adding one to an existing kitchen make sure that the shelves inside the cabinet are not going to get in the way when you shut the door.  Hopefully, if your shelves are adjustable, you can work your way around that.  Incidentally I also love to use these types of spice racks for storing over-the-counter and prescription medicines in the kitchen or bathroom.

Another way to utilize the back of a cabinet or pantry door for spice storage is to use a simple shoe rack!

Yes, it's a shoe rack!

My absolute FAVORITE way to store spices is the magnetic spice rack preferably on the back of a door as well.  Containers are not very deep so they shouldn’t interfere with cabinet shelves.  You can see everything clearly and you can even make one yourself!  Click here to find out how to make one. Is this cool or what?!

Next up, sorting out the tupperware nightmare,  making your utensils behave and your chance to win a “kitchen enhancing” accessory!

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FIND YOUR CUPPA TEA RIGHT HERE


Japanese tea ceremony. Photo courtesy of justfoodnow.com


Ok so I already know that you love to make a nice cup of tea and cozy up to your computer to read the latest post at Kitchensforliving.  You don’t?  Well maybe you should.  Coffee gets enough press and I’m not knocking it but the  “in” thing in hot beverages is TEA!  Now I know I have your attention because chances are you’re freezing your buns off right now if you’re anywhere in the northern hemisphere. (If you’re in regions down under just add ice and you’re good to go.)

Tea is an art and a ritual.  Japan has always been known for the “tea ceremony”, a complicated ritual performed by geishas who attend school for special training in the art.  If you are here in South Florida you can attend an authentic tea ceremony at the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens.  Interestingly, Japanese do not add any sweeteners to their teas balancing the pure flavor of the tea by eating teacakes.


Tea stand in Pushkar Rajasthan, India Photo courtesy of bridgeandtunnelclub.com


One the contrary, in India, you’ll find a yummy form of tea called chai which has become popular in the west these last few years.  To make chai, add milk, sugar and a pinch of a blend of spices called chai masala.  You can also purchase teas with the chai spices already mixed in.  Last but not least, let’s not forget our dear friends across the pond.  English tea is a classic and a concept that has provided the British with comfort and refuge through multiple wars!


A proper Englishman enjoys a "cuppa"


A few blog posts ago I wrote about the amazing teapots at Teavana but now I want to talk about the tea.  You can buy it online but the stores are downright seductive.  My daughter and I were lured into one while Christmas shopping.  We sampled the feature of the day and I HAD TO HAVE IT.  Yes, it was inexcusably expensive ($24 for this special blend of two teas) but it was an indulgence.  I was able to brew it so that it tasted exactly like the sample and of course I bought the German Rock Sugar to use as a sweetener.  There’s the aroma, the flavor, the warmth and it looks beautiful!  A real feast for the senses.

My Youthberry & Wild Orange Blossom Blend from Teavana. Photo by Sabrina Brunk

If you’d like to dip you toe into the world of tea without involving a major financial commitment try Shui Tea.  I found out about this great online source for tea from one of my fellow bloggers.  You can get samples (enough for a few cups) for as little as $2.00 each! This site is run by a crazy dude and features crazy blends of all sorts of tea.

If you have a tea habit tell me about it.  C’mon I know you’re snowed in with nothing better to do or maybe you screwing around at work because, let’s face it,  no one really “works” between Christmas and New Year’s 😉


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SAVORING INDIA

Back when I started this Kitchens for Living blog I mentioned that occasionally we may venture into parts unknown, well this is one of those times.  If you know me you know that I have a not-so-secret love affair with India.  The only way I can attempt to describe it is in a series of words that will hopefully paint a picture with a sense of what I mean.  India is rich, poor, ancient, colorful, vibrant, heart wrenching, sensuous, brutal, intense, beautiful, sacred, succulent and unexpected.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few along the way.  One of the ways I like to remember my visit to India is in my kitchen.  My husband and I have become big fans of Indian cuisine.  Although far from experts, we love to dabble.  One of my fav books on the subject is Savoring India: Recipes and Reflections on Indian Cooking  by  Julie Sahni.  The amazing photos in this book truly capture the essence of what I discovered in this magical place.  The following recipe, found in this book,  has become a family favorite.  Here it is with my commentary.  Try it out and let me know how you like it,  but I promise you’re gonna love it!      


Jheenga Masala (Shrimp in spiced cream sauce)
I serve with Basmati rice, naan (Indian flat bread) and chutney


1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 fresh hot green chiles such as serrano, thinly sliced (remove seeds if you don’t want it too hot)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala (mixture of spices you can make yourself but I buy from Indian grocer)
1 teaspoon minced garlic 
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1lb medium shrimp raw (I buy peeled and deveined but also devein the bottom and I remove tails)
1/2 cup light cream (half and half)
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

These quantities are straight from the book but I tweak the amounts to taste.  I’m usually more liberal with the spices.  This is supposed to serve 6 but I think it’s more like 4.  Comment and let me know how you like it.  What changes did you make?

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