Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seafood Cioppino

Here is a fantastic and highly regarded recipe for classic Seafood Cioppino from

Some reviews:

"This is without a doubt the best meal I have ever made. I made it for my family for mother's day and everyone loved it. I followed the recipe exactly and while this recipe is very adaptable, I wouldn't change a thing. Make sure to have bread for soaking the broth and have two big bowls for discarding the shells and tails."

"This is an amazing and perfect recipe. Didn't change a thing."
"I made this for Christmas eve and it was a huge hit with everyone! It was delicious and I had lots of leftovers. Will definitely make again."

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp - peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 pounds bay scallops
  • 18 small clams
  • 18 mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 1/2 cups crabmeat
  • 1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, cubed
  1. Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large stockpot, add onions, garlic and parsley. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until onions are soft.
  2. Add tomatoes to the pot (break them into chunks as you add them). Add chicken broth, bay leaves, basil, thyme, oregano, water and wine. Mix well. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels and crabmeat. Stir in fish, if desired. Bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes until clams open. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with warm, crusty bread!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fiji: Quite Possibly The Most Beatiful Beaches On Earth

You've probably heard about Fiji. More likely, you've probably seen the pictures. You know, the ones with the sand that looks like sugar and the water the color of the most crystal clear aquamarine. If you've ever wanted to experience a bona fide Paradise, a vacation to Fiji will not disappoint. Online services make urgent passport renewal a snap, meaning you can embark on your Fiji vacation as soon as you like.

Fiji is located in the Southern Pacific Ocean and it is the closest thing to paradise you will ever find.  Located east of the Australian coast and 2000 kilometers north of New Zealand, the climate mirrors these regions and can be counted on to be delightful all year long.  While comprised of 322 islands and 522 inlets, only 106 of these islands are permanently inhabited. The major islands are Viti Leuv and Vanua Levu and 87% of Fiji’s population lives on these two islands. Culture, food and history are in rich supply in this region and it is interesting to note that many different people with different languages call Fiji their home. We would suggest you get your passport renewal form in hand, fill it out, send it in, and start planning your trip to paradise.

If scuba diving is your sport, the Fiji islands should be your vacation destination. This area boasts some of the most beautiful diving opportunities world wide and is called capital of the world when it comes to soft coral. The weather can be counted on year round so whenever you have the opportunity to travel, it will be a good time to visit Fiji. The blue waters provide an opportunity to glimpse seascapes more beautiful than you can even imagine and every day is a good day to dive the waters of Fiji

Many surfers also flock to Fiji to catch that dream wave.  It is know around the world for its consistent surf and opportunity to surf with the world’s best on the world’s best waves.

Are you an extreme sports lover? Then Fiji should be your destination, too. With natural landscapes completely untamed, many have made extreme sports one of Fiji’s most popular sport activities. Whether white water rafting or extreme hiking are you favorites, the activities await you in Fiji. Looking for a diving experience that compares to no other or seek a wreck down under the ocean to explore? Again, Fiji is the place.

In our “green” conscience world of today, opportunities to enjoy eco-friendly sports are highly sought after and ecotourism is really big in Fiji. There are numerous opportunities to enjoy sports and activities that are both friendly to nature and fantastic for the traveler. Rainforest tours or challenging hikes are available with the opportunity to discover the traditional Fijian history storytelling being a great attraction.

Do you want to get away to a place that feels about as far away as you can get? You should visit Fiji. While it is certainly part of the industrialized world, it is a natural gem in that world providing the traveler with a refreshing escape from the hectic everyday life into a land of beauty and wonder.  Online passport services make international travel easier than ever.  If an urgent passport renewal is what you need, your computer can provide a site that will meet you need. Remember, a passport renewal form can be downloaded from you compute, filled out, and submitted, providing your passport in time for your travel. The history, culture and beauty of the Fiji Islands await you. Come and see nature at its best.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Going to Hawaii? Check out these common Hawaiian Terms


Hawaiian TermMeaning
A hui ho'uSee you later
AkamaiSmart, clever
Alohalove, compassion, greeting as in hello, good bye, farewell
Aloha AhiahiGood evening
Aloha auina laGood afternoon
Aloha kakahiakaGood morning
A'ole pilikiaYou're welcome / No problem
Hana HouAgain, encore
HaoleOriginally meant foreigner but now accepted to mean Caucasian
Hau'oli La HanauHappy Birthday
Hau'oli Makahiki HouHappy New Year
KaiSea, ocean
Kala mai ia'uExcuse me
Kama'ainaChild of the land, today also means one who has lived here a long time
KanakaHuman Being
KaneMan, Male
KapuForbidden, taboo
KokuaHelp, assistance
KupunaGrandparent, ancestor
LanaiPorch, verandah
LuaPit, restroom
MahaloThank You
Mahalo nui loaThank you very much
Maika'i no auI am fine
MakaiToward the ocean
MaukaToward the mountain
Mele KalikimakaMerry Christmas
Mu'umu'uLoose, flowing dress
No ka oiThe best
OpalaRubbish, trash
PauFinished, done
Pau HanaFinished work
Pehea 'oe?How are you?
PukaHole, any hole including parking spaces
PupuHors d'oeuvres
SlippahsFlip flops
TutuGrandfather, grandmother

The written Hawaiian language, as introduced by missionaries, contains only 5 vowels and seven consonants A,E,I,O,U and H,K,L,M,N,P,W.
All of the consonants are pronounced pretty much the same as in English. Each vowel is usually pronounced (even when doubled as in Hawai'i) except for certain dipthongs listed below). Vowels can be either long or short, but most commonly have the following sounds:
A = short A as in walk and paw,
E = long A as in lay and hay,
I = long E as in he and she,
O = long O as in cone and mode
U = long U as in ruby and plume.
There are also 14 recognized vowel combinations (dipthongs) which are pronounced together. The most common are:
"ai" as in Lahaina and Hawai'i pronounced as a long I as in mind and ride.
"au" as in luau pronounced as "OW" as in cow or allow.
"ei" as in keiki pronouced as a long A as in bake and cake.
"oi" as in lilikoi pronounced as "OY" as in boy and toy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bring Your Beach Vacation Home With You

Nothing's harder to face than packing up your belongings after a week at a cozy beach house and heading back home to the real world. Sure, it's hard to leave paradise behind, but who says you have to? Why not just transform your own living space to a beach-inspired haven that lets you get away from it all, even if you aren't on vacation? It's easy and inexpensive to do.

With some clever use of all those shells, beach glass and driftwood you've picked up during your travels, as well as scenic vacation photos and a little paint, you can transform your home into the ultimate beach cottage, creating an inviting, relaxing haven away from the real world outside your front door.

First, clear out the clutter. Cottage style is clean, bright and fuss-free because, if you think about it, beaches are simple, wide-open spaces - that's where cottage design gets its inspiration. The beach experience is stress-free. Clutter equals stress, and you want to create an atmosphere that's serene and fresh. A massive purging of extraneous clutter will give you a blank palette on which you can apply the true essence of the seashore.

Paint is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to completely change the look of a living space, helping make your beach decor a reality. Just be sure you choose the right colors, so you can be happy with your revamped rooms for years to come.

"Cottage style is all about taking cues from nature, so think sand, clear skies, sea glass and sparkling water when selecting the ultimate beach-inspired palette," suggests Mary Ward, Dutch Boy Paints' senior product manager. "To create a cottage-ready scheme use pale blues, aquamarines, periwinkles, sea-tinged greens, sandy tans and bright whites reminiscent of ocean foam and fluffy, cottony clouds. All of these colors, in any combination, can work to create a picture of rest and relaxation that's reminiscent of a day at the beach."

Serenity rules in walls painted in soft pastels or sandy neutrals with ultra-white trim. It's clean. It's clutter free. It's fresh and airy. It says beach house, even if you are miles away from the one of your dreams.

You also can easily add a bit of beach chic to your furniture, further creating a feel of a distant getaway. Slipcovers give any room that easy-living feel that is so important to cottage style. Cover upholstered pieces in slip-on, easy-to-wash covers made from light canvas, cotton duck or sailcloth. Paint dark furniture white to add a year-round summery glow to the space, or invest in a few inexpensive, fun wicker pieces to lighten up tired rooms.

Don't stop here. Keep digging for ideas and inspiration using the vast array of decorating books and websites. One new site, Dutch Boy's Restore My Decor! offers DIY tips and inspiration from professional designers, such as TV design personality Danielle Hirsch, as well as homeowners, all of whom can help you find more ways to add cottage appeal to any restored room in your home.

For example, consider incorporating these other ideas for adding beach-worthy serenity to your living space:

  • Window treatments - Less is more. Think wooden blinds, plantation shutters or airy sheers.
  • Floor coverings - Natural or painted wood floors with throw rugs are the hallmarks of cottage style. Think basic. Think organic. Think sisal and textures. Or paint your own canvas throw rug with sea-inspired motifs, such as shells and starfish.
  • Lighting - Think soothing versus overly bright or dimly lit. Recessed lighting works like magic in any room. If you want to go for a more quirky look and make lighting a focal point, display inexpensive figural lamps in the shape of lighthouses or anchors. Or perhaps find one made from driftwood or shells.
  • Souvenirs - Make use of those shells, sand, beach glass and driftwood you collected during your week away in paradise. Fill decorative bowls and jars with sand and shells. Display beach glass in vases of fresh flowers. Paint driftwood with beach-inspired images and hang it on the wall as art.
  • Artwork - Make use of those vacation pictures, especially the ones you took of gorgeous ocean sunsets, lighthouses and sailboats. Use existing snapshots and enlarge some of your favorites, framing all to create a collage that not only says beach living, but also reminds you of a great time your family spent together at the seashore.
"It all comes down to thinking light and breezy in everything you do decor-wise," Ward says. "Use your imagination to create a true feeling of openness that beaches offer. Beach-inspired cottage style is casual, comfortable and fun - and reminds you of vacation, even if you're miles away from the nearest beach."

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Decorating Your Kid's Room With Surf Decor

Kids' rooms are all about themes today, everything from a superhero to the latest popular cartoon character. But you don't have to stop there, think about your son or daughter's favorite hobby or sport and make that work for you when decorating their room. If you have a child that loves surfing or is a little beach bunny, surf decor can make for a very cool theme for them.

You will of course need a surfboard or two; you can't have a surfing theme without one. You can find used ones that are cheap at local surf shops or flea markets. Make a shelf on the wall with one with a few brackets or turn an old desk into something fun by replacing the top with a surfboard. If your child is a surfer, hang their board on the wall for when they are not using it and in the off season it decorates the room.

With some blue and white paint, you can turn those plain walls into crashing waves. Start with a nice blue on the walls and then using a paintbrush and the white paint, create the waves with big sweeping strokes of the brush. You could even overlap it to go onto the ceiling. If painting is not your strong point, using the rag painting method can give a similar effect with some smaller waves. Some white curtains that are airy and light will complement the colors of the walls.

Nothing says beach like beach towels and whether you have new or old ones lying around, they can come in handy when decorating. Let your child choose one to hang on the wall or you could even reupholster a small chair in the room with one.

Decorating the walls with their favorite surfer or just surfing and beach posters will add color and keep to the theme of the room. Think about hanging some beach signs too, you can find new and vintage styles in shops and online.

Add a bit of fun with novelty items. You can find a variety of different surf and beach related items that would match the room perfectly. A surfboard print light switch plate, a surfboard shaped wall clock and a few surfboard wall hooks for their coats and hats are just a few of the very cool things out there to choose from.

Bedding today is all about themes and pulls a room together nicely. You'll find there will be a large selection for you to choose from in many different colorful or even subtle designs. Let your son or daughter pick out their favorite here, whether it is surfboards, a beach scene or even their favorite surfer.

If they can't go to the surf, bring the surf to them by turning your child's room into something fun and unique that all their friends will envy. Creating the atmosphere of being on the beach with the sound of waves crashing is easy with the right pieces of surf decor available today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Decorating Your Home With A Nautical Theme

For those of us that have a fondness for the oceans and the culture that mankind has developed in its relationship to them, decorating our homes with a nautical theme has an undeniable appeal. The sorts of maritime motifs available are generally quite charming and appropriate even for homes and their owners who are not rabid fans of nautical culture. However, for those of us who tear up when "Sailing" by Christopher Cross comes on the radio, it is impossible to go wrong with this choice of interior decoration.

If you would like to have a nautical theme in your home decor and if money is not a major concern, then deep stained wainscoting with a chair rail like what may be found on a motorboat or sailing vessel, will give a sense of the romance of the sea. For those who love to sail, this will be just the thing, but even those who are not in love with thr sea may enjoy this kind of decor.

When you're creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a ship, white walls are fine. However, you might want to think about a sailor's shade of blue either for the walls or for the curtains or blinds. Any material for curtains or pillows, for instance, could be of the same type of fabric that sails are made of.

Every good sailor could make strong knots, and rope is a great addition to your seafaring decorating scheme. You can use a hot glue gun and add rope to picture frames, candle holders, or any other accessory. You might even hang a hammock in a room's corner, either for relaxing or for piling on everyday items that people might need such as sweaters and shawls.

In a sailing themed room portals, clocks, and barometers make excellent decorations. Seashells, sand dollars, model boats, and artwork depicting the sea would also provide the room with attractiveness. For many, this is home, were we're inspired and feel we can truly feel one with the sea.

Glued to the ambition of making your home look like a mariners cottage? Then how can that wish be fulfilled but for a lighthouse to adorn the scene? Most people do a lot of stuff to give that special look, but often forget or neglect the significance of a lighthouse in the theme. Not many artists are good enough to make you relive the exquisite feel of a seaside home. There is an artist named Thomas Kincaid who is considered a truly class act when it comes to recreating the lighthouses on the canvas. Get one of his works and build your home around it.

Nautical theme decor is one of the most versatile and least costly decorating ideas for your home, and it suits a variety of families for a variety of reasons. It can be arrived at through a lot of different avenues, from little touches to a whole room makeover. To find some great deals on nautical items for your home, visit

Go Tropical This Summer With Hawaiian Surf Bedding

Searching for a fun and cool change for your bedroom? Craving a splash of color and a unique sense of style? It sounds like tropical bedding, available in so many different colors and patterns, is the perfect choice for your new look.

Almost anything goes when it comes to this kind of bedding, as long as it is bright, colorful, and full of leaves and big flowers. One of the most popularly recognized Hawaiian flowers is the beautiful Hibiscus, which comes in sunny yellow, subtle pink, and lipstick red, as well as other pretty shades and with its over-sized petals, makes a perfect choice to print on sheets. Manufacturers like to use it in their bedding because it is found in tropical, hot places so it reminds customers of their favorite time of year: vacation.

Palm trees can also be spotted in abundance grazing the tops of these sheets, as can aloe leaves, which are dark green and very shiny. Certain fruits that are associated with the hot weather and the tropics can also be found, like the delicious and juicy pineapple, coconut and mango. Just thinking of them can make your mouth water!

When people think Hawaii, they tend to think beaches. tropical bedding collection can also be known to have pictures of the sea, sunsets and sunrises, surf boards, and lots of sand. Of course, anything that reminds you of vacation is fair game, so images can range from frosty lemonade glasses with little umbrellas sticking out to sunglasses and beach balls.

Like the pictures set on the tropical bedding collection, the colors that they are printed in will also generally be fun and light colors. The name of the game with Hawaii is cheerful, happy, good times, so these blankets and sheets are usually printed in bright, eye-catching blues and pinks or summer-perfect yellows and greens. It would probably be very hard to find these kind of sheets in a somber black and gray pattern or muted tan and gold.

Of course, all quality sheets must be a good fit for your bed and should be comfortable to the touch. If you can spare the expense, you might want to consider buying a high thread count type of sheet; the more threads that go into making a sheet, the softer, more appealing feel it has.

When beginning your search for the tropical bedding sets of your dreams, the internet is a great place to start. There are websites that specialize in only this type of bedding, so they can be sure to offer you the most variety and the best deals. Try a shade that is slightly different from your existing room for a fun twist or pick one that matches for a more stream-lined look. If you want to be really coordinated, go all out and find a trash can that looks like a coconut and a lamp with a palm tree shade. You can even tie in your paint colors with shades of blue like the ocean.

Complete your beach decor by incorporating island inspired bedding into your home. When you put Hawaiian bedding on your bed, you are gearing yourself up for a dreamy, relaxing sleep.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Refreshing Your Home's Decor For the Warm Summer Months

When decorating your home during the warmer months, keep in mind the carefree days of summer. You can be inspired by the patriotic colors of Independence Day or by the barbecues enjoyed during long hot days lazing with friends and the light of fireflies dancing as evening falls.

Sunflowers are wonderful decorations that make a positive impact anywhere during summertime. The vivid yellows give a fantastic "sunshine" or "summertime" accent to any room. Since they've been overwhelmingly popular, they are also commonly available in silk form. Anybody can enjoy these wonderful flowers summer after summer.

Placing baskets of sunflowers throughout the home will make a beautiful sight in the summer. You can also re-purpose the baskets according the season or occasion by changing the liners or adding ribbons to the outside. Baskets are not just decorative; they can also be functional and very versatile. Some people use them to store hand towels and wash cloths in the bathroom, but baskets can be used in just about any room in the house. You can use them to hold kitchen utensils, sort bills, and organize anything else you need to de-clutter in a visually appealing way.

All you need is a little talent and some painting supplies and you can paint a small table that will add a summer note to your indoor or outdoor space. After putting on a coat of a light color, stencil or sponge on a summer-themed pattern, such as fruit, beach umbrellas, flowers, or whatever reminds you of fun in the sun.

If you would like to make your summer theme a little different and unique in your home, you can avail a Moroccan  theme. Mosaics, candle holders and wall sconces together with a few fluffy pillows made of cozy fabrics would augment the glow without costing too much. In addition, glowing candles and artificial lighting together with incense burning in the background would enrich the mood.

When summer comes around, some people get excited about redecorating their houses on the outside. An outdoor living area is the perfect outlet to focus such energies. Even mass retailers are recognizing the potential in offering more options for outdoor furnishings; plastic chairs are no longer enough to satisfy the demands of their customers. Weather-resistant furnishings now come in so many different styles that it is possible to create an elegant outdoor living area.

Families who enjoy outdoor living close to home, may want to build an outdoor fireplace so that the area can be used for extended periods both early in the spring and late fall. They might also want to use a cooling system so that even on the hottest days outdoor living can be enjoyed in comfort. By doing much of the cooking in an outdoor style, not only do you help keep your home cool, but it is a good way to cut down on cost.

Perhaps it is due to great sense of freedom and wonder we all experienced in our childhood summers but people seem to be more creative during the summer months. Why not infuse your home decor with that same sense of liberty and creativity. Learn to have fun while decorating; pretend school is out and there are no rules!

Visit to find other great summertime home decorating ideas.