Monthly Archives: May 2021

My Mom is the BOSS!

One Christmas morning the family went skiing (this was our tradition) and my mom stayed behind to “clean up Christmas.” That was code for I’m going to put it all away. As in, when we returned, any indication of Christmas was put away in storage. (She has always been a woman of action.)
With all the décor stored, the only thing remaining was the tree.
She had a brilliant idea. “I could just feed this tree slowly into the fireplace and then EVERYTHING from Christmas would be put away.” She maneuvered the tree into position and started to slowly feed the tree into the fireplace. It seemed like the plan was working. But then, in an instant, she realized the plan was NOT going to work AT ALL. There was a moment of panic and a moment of decision.
You see, the dry needles on the tree were burning faster than the trunk of the tree and the fire was burning the tree faster than she could push it into the fireplace. The details are sketchy – but in the end there were only 3 quarter-sized burns in the carpet.
Thank you mom for being exactly you. Happy Mother’s Day!

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo (pronounced [ˈsiŋko̞ ðe̞ ˈma̠ʝo̞] in Mexico, Spanish for “Fifth of May”) is an annual celebration held on May 5.

More popularly celebrated in the United States than in Mexico, the date has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture. These celebrations began in California, where they have been observed annually since 1863. The day gained nationwide popularity in the 1980s thanks especially to advertising campaigns by beer and wine companies. Today, Cinco de Mayo generates beer sales on par with the Super Bowl.  In Mexico, the commemoration of the battle continues to be mostly ceremonial, such as through military parades or battle reenactments. The city of Puebla marks the event with an arts festival, a festival of local cuisine, and re-enactments of the battle.

Events tied to Cinco de Mayo also occur outside Mexico and the United States. As in the United States, celebrations elsewhere also emphasize Mexican cuisine, culture and music. For example, some Canadian pubs play Mexican music and serve Mexican food and drink, and a sky-diving club near Vancouver holds a Cinco de Mayo skydiving event. In the Cayman Islands, in the Caribbean, there is an annual Cinco de Mayo air guitar competition,  and at Montego Bay, Jamaica, there is a Cinco de Mayo celebration.  The city of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, holds an annual Mexican Festival  to honor the day, and celebrations are held in London and New Zealand. Other celebrations of the day can also be found in Cape Town, South Africa, Lagos, Nigeria,  and in Paris.  Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Japan in Osaka and in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park Event Space as a celebration of Latin American culture.

Its a great way to celebrate your day, and /or evening at the great restaurants and bars next to your home at the http://www.StarLoftsPgh.com

Happy Cinco de Mayo !

Spaghettini With Shrimp and Chili Pepper

  • 2.5 # of shrimp
  • 1# of spaghettini
  • 1 of celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 of carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • bay leaf
  • tomato paste
  • 1 BUNCH of parsley, chopped
  • fresh chili pepper, chopped
  • dry white wine
  • Bertolli olive oil
  • Ground sea salt

Shell and clean the shrimp; remove and clean the heads well and set aside with shells for the broth. 

Heat 2-3 Tbsp. oil in a saucepan over high heat, sauté the heads and shells for around 5 minutes on high heat, mixing and crushing them with a spoon. Add celery, carrot, and onion and cook for 2 minutes, then add 1 Tbsp. tomato paste and stir. Add 1 cup wine. Let evaporate, then add 2 quarts water and 1 bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and let simmer for 50 minutes.

When broth is ready, remove from the heat and drain, extracting the broth.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium heat and toast the uncooked spaghetti, stirring well, for a couple of minutes. Add three ladles shrimp broth to the pan and continue to cook the spaghetti like risotto for around 10-12 minutes, adding broth in 1/4 cup increments. Add salt to taste. Continue until the pasta is al dente and the broth has evaporated, so as not to need to drain the pasta.

In the meantime, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a skillet and cook shrimp for 3 minutes. Set aside. Heat a thin layer of oil in another pan. When the spaghetti is cooked to al dente, transfer to the pan and cook for 1 minute until crispy; add the just warmed shrimp and a handful of chopped parsley. Serve with more parsley and fresh chili pepper. 

Butterfly Magnet

This beautiful plant has a rounded, compact habit with flower spikes that can be as long as 12″. Just spectacular! Lavender Cupcake Buddleia is a great addition to any garden because it attracts butterflies like crazy, it’s an amazing pollinator, and hummingbirds love it as well.

This plant grows to a size of about 3′ 6″ high and wide and it responds well to pruning and should be cut back in the fall so it grows nice and full the following growing season.

Butterfly Bush, Buddleia ,Lavender Cupcake