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    Best Shrimp app!

    Best Shrimp app!

    A sizzling hot pan full of shrimp, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and a crusty baguette.

    This one I put together after having sizzling hot shrimp on my trip to Portugal, and combined it with another great appetizer of sizzling tomatoes I had wine tasting in Temecula, CA. 

    I made it for friends and DAMN! Crowd Pleaser. Here it goes- 


    -  3/4 cup olive oil 

    -  1 whole head of garlic roughly chopped

    -  1 pint/ box of cherry tomatoes (the larger ones cut in half)

    -  1 LB cooked, deveined shrimp. (I buy frozen and thaw them in the sink, remove tail). I bought the 26/30 pieces per pound size. 

    -  Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes

    -  Sprinkle of sea salt 

    -  ~4 TB grated parmesan (feta or another salty, creamy cheese could be great too!)

    -   Zest of 1/2 lemon

    -  Juice of 1 lemon, plus another lemon for garnish

    -  Something green for garnish. Best= parsley. Basil, rocket, arugula, cut spinach, are also great!

    -  Baguette cut into slices for dipping 


    It's all about that DIP!

    There is a quick video tutorial on my IGTV! Go to my Instagram and click on the IGTV icon, or click here


    1. Heat up large pan to about medium low heat. 

    2. Add 3/4 cup olive oil.

    3. Add chopped garlic before the oil gets too hot (we don't want burned garlic, just nice and soft). 

    4. Season oil and garlic with a good sprinkle of sea salt and garlic powder.

    5. Add cherry tomatoes to pan- we want them to get bubbly and wilted. 

    6. Add in 1LB cooked, peeled shrimp. These should warm up pretty quickly. 

    7. Once everything is warm, bubbly, and tomatoes are cooked, turn off burner. It's time to season and garnish your dish!

    8. Season with crushed red pepper, 4TB parmesan cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, your green herbs. 

    9. Arrange cut baguette slices around the edge so they are ready for dipping!

    10. Finish off by adding a few more lemon wedges and a spoon to the pan for serving. 

    11. Voila! Delish! 

    How to Keep Orchids Alive...Tips from the Orchid Lady

    How to Keep Orchids Alive...Tips from the Orchid Lady

    She told me exactly how to keep my orchids alive and have them re-bloom.

    This is the orchid lady. I have met her twice now at different farmers markets in San Diego. And boy does she have some beautiful orchids! I HAD to buy one, but my question to her was, 'How do I keep this thing alive?' I always want to but swear it's a lost cause.

    Here's what she said..."Listen carefully..."

    1) House your orchids about 2-3 feet away from a sunny window. 

    They like strong, indirect sun.

     If you want to display them for company you can move them, but always make sure they end up back by their window!

    2) Watering them is easy. Saturate the clear plastic pot in the kitchen sink every two to three weeks. 

    After you soak them, leave them in the sink to drain just a bit before putting them back in their permanent planter. 

    Not exactly sure when to water? The bottom roots should be totally dry. No sign of humidity/ droplets of water left at the bottom. Apparently they like to go from soaked to dry, then be soaked again after several weeks.

    3) Don't re-pot them in garden soil! 

    I was making this mistake thinking this would help them stay alive longer. Apparently not! They have everything they need in their original container, they just need proper sunlight and water. 

    And that's all, apparently! I'm going to start using this method and hope it prolongs the life of my orchids. Let me know if you do too, or if you have any other tips for our Leah Cucina community! 

    Love, Leah


    Check these out or use the search function on Leah Cucina to shop for other planters. 

    Decorative Brass Bowl 

    Love this one as a planter too! Orchids not your thing? Plant succulents for a stunning centerpiece.

    Short Periwinkle Planter

    Perfect for an arrangement of mini orchids or one medium sized orchid. 

    Buy Now

     Pink Chinois Planter

    Leah loves this one! Such a great planter for an arrangement. And such a great deal for this authentic, valuable piece. 

    Rosey Ice Bucket Tutorial

    Rosey Ice Bucket Tutorial

    Create something beautiful (for yourself, or someone special!)

    When life seems to be moving so fast, it feels great to be able to slow down and create something that makes you and those around you feel great and well taken- care of.

     Some may call me a little "extra," but for me it's not about the fanciest champagne, the best recipe, or the perfect picture. It's about creating moments in life that bring me and those around me more joy. And isn't that what we're all here for? 

    For this look, a bunch of spray roses that cost $4.99 quickly elevated my $12 bottle of champs for a memorable occasion.

    Of course if pink's not your thing, choose another small flower! The cubes look gorgeous no matter if you get it "right" on the first try or not. If you don't have much time to prepare, simply adding fresh flowers to your ice bucket will do trick. You can also use a regular bowl if you don't have a champagne bucket! 

    There is no doubt that you (and maybe even a special someone!) are going to feel amazing pouring a little bubbly with this set up. I assure you that your efforts won't go unnoticed. 


    Tips for getting started:

    1. I used spray roses because they last a long time, they're a great small size, and they were only $4.99 for a big bunch. If you'd like to use your ice cubes inside a cocktail instead, choose an edible flower like snapdragon. 

    2. Boil the water first in a tea kettle, then let it cool before using it. This should help create "clearer" ice cubes. (Mine didn't turn out very clear, but they still look beautiful anyway!) 

    3. Give yourself time. Start making the ice cubes at least the night before (and up to a week in advance for your event if you'd prefer!) 

    4. You can use any shape ice mold, just make sure it's large enough to fit your flower of choice. 


    1. Fill the ice tray 1/4 the way up. Add flowers face down. Freeze until fully solid. 

    2.  Add more water to fill the tray up 1/2 way. Freeze again until solid. 

    3. Fill the tray all the way up, and freeze again. 

    Voila! Rosey Ice Cubes. 


    Shop the look with Leah Cucina

    Rose Glass Ice Bucket

    Vintage Mini Art- Deco Parisian Style Ice Bucket

    Pink Rose Glassware (Set of 6)

    Book Club: The Power (The Secret) by Rhonda Byrne

    Book Club: The Power (The Secret) by Rhonda Byrne

    It's January Book Club! 

    Starting the New Year on a positive foot 

    I love this book as a reset for the New Year. I also read it last year around this time and thought it was a wonderful winter read. While we can all be feeling the winter blues in January, "The Power" is a great daily practice in shifting your mindset towards positivity, gratitude, and visualizing exactly what you want in life. It has me thinking about things that bring me joy and staying committed to looking for the good in every situation. 

    I love so many of the lessons in this book, and just reading even 5 pages per night is already making such a difference for me in terms of starting 2020 on a good foot. 

    "You have to talk about the good news of the day. Talk about the appointment that went well. Talk about how you love being on time. Talk about how good it is to be full of health. Talk about the profits you want your business achieve. Talk about the situations and interactions you had in your day that went well. You have to talk about what you love, to bring what you love to you." (The Power by Rhonda Byrne, Pg. 18-19).

    Absolutely YES! I love this approach to life and while it can be a challenge, it's so worth it. Every day that I pick up this book feels like practice towards becoming a more positive person with a life full of love and joy.

    What do you love? What brings you joy? Laughter? Wonderful feelings? These are the things we need to talk to each other about!

    If you pick up a copy here on Amazon, please let me know if you enjoy it! Did it help you turn your winter blues around?




    Chicago Holiday Local Shopping Guide

    Chicago Holiday Local Shopping Guide

    Hi Chicago friends! Here is my holiday shopping guide if you're looking to support local businesses and #shopsmall this holiday season. 

    From grocery stores to home decor to florals... I've got you covered!

    Sprout is the best place to go if you're looking for a gift for your wannabe house-plant parent friends. 

    They also have amazing specialty greens for your holiday tablescapes. From magnolia leaves to eucalyptus wreaths, they've got what you're looking for!

    DA BEST! If you're looking for a special cut of meat for the holidays, Paulina is always my recommendation. I'm lucky enough to live down the street, so I get to go all the time! Not only is it an experience, but their meat is truly top quality. It's not cheap, but it's worth it. 

    At Christmas, our favorite party appetizer is Paulina's smoked kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces, pan-roasted, and served with horseradish or mustard. 

    I first came across Cookie Cuts Kitchen because they were donating a portion of their proceeds to One Tail At A Time Animal Rescue. I ordered two pies and  custom cookies and they were just fabulous! 

    So this Thanksgiving our pie was from ... Cookie Cuts Kitchen! 

    From pies, to cakes, to custom frosted sugar cookies, you have to check her out! 15% of all sales go to charity.

    Moth Chicago (mothchicago.com)

    My cousins own  this shop! Located in Bucktown  on Damen Ave., Catherine sources clothing, home decor, and art from around the world. Her style showcases clean lines that embody the feeling  of Scandanavia and Japan. My cousin Louie built their website... meaning you can  shop from the comfort of your own home!

    Bari Zaki is a sweet little shop on North Lincoln Ave, great for finding gifts for stationary and calligraphy lovers! 

    Visit their site to shop too!

    You can also check out their neighbors. There are a bunch of really cute shops right next door!

    For those of you who have "littles" in your life, Twinkle Twinkle Little One is one of my favorite shops for buying gifts for friends with babies (and kids up to about 5 years old). They can even custom design the nursery of your dreams. It's a wonderful shop!

    My cousins own  this shop! Located in Bucktown  on Damen Ave., Catherine sources clothing, home decor, and art from around the world. Her style showcases clean lines that embody the feeling  of Scandanavia and Japan. My cousin Louie built their website... meaning you can  shop from the comfort of your own home!