Friday, January 23, 2015

Shrimp Portofino

Shrimp Portofino

A few weeks ago, Steven and I enjoyed an entire week with no kids. An ENTIRE week!! That NEVER happens. EVER! No work + No kids = Date Week!!!! One of the nights we dined at Macaroni Grill . I can't remember what he had because mine  was so delicious. It out-trumped (is that even a word?) his by a few. Don't get me wrong his dinner was very tasty but mine . . . .Magnifique!

Ever since that night, we have wanted to attempt to recreate the recipe so that we could enjoy it at home for less money. My uncle is a chef (he has cooked for presidents and even Clint Eastwood!) and taught me many moons ago how to make a lemon butter sauce. The rest was guessing. 

Was it close to Macaroni Grill?

So very close!! It was so good, I think I ate too much.  How am I supposed to lose weight when I keep finding exceptional food? That's OK, I will have to be better the rest of the week. But man, was it worth it! I may have to make it again this weekend. But oh my goodness it requires a load of butter! I'm talking a pound! My suggestion might be to make it on a cheat day.  

Shrimp Portofino Recipe

I thought I'd share the recipe so you can try it out and see for yourself. I did not have any pine nuts last night  and I did not have heavy cream. The pine nuts add that different texture but it was still good. I opted to use half and half since that was all I had at the moment. It was still creamy. I think the heavy cream will taste even better. 

 Shrimp Portofino

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes


  1 bag Extra Large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  4 Tbs butter
  3 cups sliced mushrooms 
  2 Tbs fresh minced garlic 
  1 1/2 Tbs roasted pine nuts
  1bag fresh spinach leaves
  1box cooked vermicelli or thin spaghetti

The Sauce

  1 Tbs minced shallot 
  1 Tbs minced garlic
  1/8 tsp pepper
  1/2 cup white wine
  1/2 cup lemon juice
  1 lb lightly-salted butter 
  1 cup heavy cream

Lemon Butter Sauce - Shrimp Portofino


1. Roast those Pine nuts! Preheat your oven to 350. They should only be in the oven about 2-4 minutes or until golden brown. 

2. The Sauce: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute shallots and garlic. 

Add white wine and reduce by 1/2, whisking occasionally. 

Add your cream and reduce by 1/2. 

Add lemon juice, reduce by 1/2.  

Add white pepper. Reduce heat to low. 

Last but not least, add your remaining butter 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue to simmer until sauce starts to coat spoon.

3. In another large skillet melt the 4 tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat. 

Add garlic and saute. 

Stir in mushrooms, shrimp, and pine nuts. 

Remove skillet from heat and gently stir in spinach. 

Shrimp Portofino Recipe

  Place pasta on a dish and add mushroom shrimp mixture on top. Spoon over some lemon butter sauce and salt and pepper to taste. I would also add some Parmesan cheese to to the top as well. 

Shrimp Portofino - Macaroni Grill Copy Cat

Let me know what you think or if there is something you would change! 

   Bon' Appetit!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Should Skipping School for Vacation Be Illegal??

Growing up there were rare times when my parents pulled my brother and I out of school for a vacation.  Then, I thought it was so fun to be taken out of school for something fun for a few days. However, many states have deemed this illegal

Skipping School for Vacation

Skipping school for vacation can be hard on a child once they return. Especially, if they are already having a tough time. It takes a lot more time for a child with special needs to catch up that it would a typical child. Missing school could cause a ripple effect that you don't want to have. I have seen that ripple effect even without allowing my kids to skip for a trip. Sometimes they don't recover and get so lost. 

Because of that, I don't allow my kids to miss school to go on trips. School is so important. I don't want to risk my kids education and success on a fun trip when I can plan it when school is out for the summer. 

Should it be illegal?

In my humble opinion, no. Granted I can understand why it would be. There are some parents that do not enforce attendance and that has caused legislators to take action to try and keep kids in school. But vacations don't happen very often. So making it illegal to take my child out of school for a trip can be handled on a case by case basis. 

Non Typical kids missing School for Vacation

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Sock Dilema

Ever since my youngest was a mere babe he would not wear socks. That child would tear his socks off the second I put them on. It has always been a struggle to keep his feet warm.  Back when he was a baby I would stick his socks on then put him in a sleeper or pants with feet . But now that he's older, well, he's 8, need I say more?

Sensory Integration, No Socks

He will wear shoes with no socks constantly. Which, as you can imagine, leads to very stinky shoes. Not only that but his shoes tend to get torn up from the inside out. The insides come out and wear out way before the outside does. 

Shoes come off (as do clothes) the second he comes home from anywhere. Now that's great for my floors but not so great for his tootsies. His feet are like ice all the time during the winter. I can't even get him to wear slippers. And before you ask, yes he will wear shoes without socks in the snow!!!! 

No Sock Snow Day
No socks, and Crocs!

Since then , he's been diagnosed with Autism. Aspergers to be exact. Just like his brother. I have been trying to figure out away to get him to wear socks. The last few years have been super cold (gotta love the Polar Vortex) and I'm worried about his feet being uncovered in the winter. 

I was determined to find an answer to my problem. An AHA moment, if you will. So, I took to Facebook. I asked all the mommas in my community what they would suggest. Knowing that many of them have kids with Autism and have probably dealt with this and have figured it out. 

I got lots of responses almost immediately that I thought I'd share some of them with you , just in case you are going through the sock dilemma too. Hugs to you momma, I'm right there with you. 

1. How about trying shoes with a fuzzy lining? Uggs are expensive for shoes but the ones with sheepskin lining (real sheepskin) actually require no socks at all and are super warm and comfy even on the coldest days.The sheepskin keeps you from getting sweaty feet. They are what I wear when I don't want cold feet and I've had 2 pairs and they've never gotten stinky. 

2.Maybe the compression bothers him? What about bigger sizes or fluffy ones?

3.Do you do any sensory therapy with him? If so you can do it right before getting dressed and putting socks on. Buying bigger socks and turning them wrong side out could also help with compression issues. And like others mentioned uggs could be an option if he has no problem wearing shoes, i believe they make clog type shoes that don't cover the ankle, but that may feel like he's wearing slippers. Good luck

4. Try turning them inside out. My daughter has a problem with the insides of the socks. She has a sensory issue but its not autism.

5.You could try tights I know they are for girls but maybe it's the socks top that bothers him and with tights he wouldn't have that sensation.

6.I've always heard that you get sick by germs. Not wearing socks when it's cold outside is not going to make you sick. Would you think he would wear something if his feet were really cold to the point of discomfort? I'm not an expert on any of this and I feel for moms who have to go through this. But I would let him be comfortable in whatever he chooses; socks or no socks, summer or winter. It's who he is.

We have tried seamless socks, letting him go without, compression socks, brushing techniques, etc. Last week we tried a new pair of seamless ones that were ankle socks. The second he put them on he screamed and took them off. When asked what was it about socks that bothers him, he can't explain it. It just doesn't feel good. 

For now we are going to try the fuzzy lined route. Crocs  have a fuzzy lined shoe that is right up this cool kid's alley. We let him pick out the color in hopes that if he's involved in the choice that he will be ok with them. 

I'll let you know the outcome. In the mean time, what advice would you give moms out there that are going through this with their own child?