S is for Squid

Yum!

Squid is a favorite dish in my family. Trouble is we can’t find it often (except frozen prepared brands) where we currently live. But when we do eat it, we savor every bite.

  • Squid ink noodles
  • Calamari fried or sauteed
  • Squid Kebabs
  • Stuffed, grilled, in a stew
  • Salad

If you can find some good squid try this recipe:

PARMESAN-CRUSTED CALAMARI KEBABS

Calamari tubes, 1 pound cleaned

30 6-in skewers

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup panko

½ tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Favorite sauce: we like using Ginger People ® Sweet Ginger Chili sauce or garlic-drawn butter

Slice tubes in half, lengthwise. Thread onto skewers. Combine cheese, EVOO, panko, salt and pepper into a shallow dish. Brush the squid lightly with egg white. Dredge squid into panko mixture. Place skewers on a lightly greased rack in a broiler pan. Broil calamari 5-6 inches from heat for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown. If using wooden skewers, watch carefully since they may burn.

Serve with your favorite sauce.

S is for Starfish

I love Starfish!!

They come in so many colors and sizes, are so incredibly strong and can regenerate limbs. How cool is that?

Here are 2 starfish stories…

ONE

When the boys were younger and we lived in Florida, we had a salt-water tank for their aquatic project with 4-H.  We could catch and raise several species of sea critters from the Gulf of Mexico and the Sarasota Bay, then release them back into the wild and catch some more. The kids seined in the Bay with other 4-H-ers for specimens.

 

The bottom of the tank consisted of small shells and sand and there were a few large pieces of rock and coral (found on the beach) for critters to hide by or in. Someone found a huge whelk shell with a hermit crab inside. This thing was big; about the size of my iPad. We decided to keep it for a little while and observe it. We also had a few urchins (2 types), snails, a crab and some other things. Later, one of the kids in the group found a starfish so we added it to the mix. After placing it in the tank we all got ready for our home-school club’s Christmas party and took off. Arriving home hours later, we found the starfish had been attacked.

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Sea Star missing 2 arms

It was missing two arms, one gone, the other sitting at the other end of the tank. Lucky for that starfish we lived close enough to the water to get it to safety. I can’t remember if we took it to the beach or put him in the canal across the street from our house. Starfish have interesting bodies which provide them protection from predators but they can break off their arms when threatened. Perhaps that’s what happened and the missing arm became dinner for someone in the tank.

TWO

One year, late in the season, we took a family trip to Apalachicola, FL for the weekend. A storm had passed through the days before which is always exciting for me because I love comb the beaches after a storm. The wave action brought on shore a ton of shells, sea cucumbers, horseshoe crabs and starfish.  I photographed a lot of them but my favorite was of a starfish. I have since used that one (an edited version) as my branding for CraftyBeachcomber on both the Facebook page and the Etsy store.

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CraftyBeachcomber

I love starfish!! What’s your favorite sea critter?

 

 

S is for Seahorse

4 FACTS ABOUT SEAHORSES

  1. The don’t have teeth. They don’t have stomachs. So seahorses eat their food whole and digest quickly.
  2. Females lay eggs in the male’s belly pouch. The eggs hatch after 45 days.
  3. There are more than 40 species of seahorses world-wide.
  4. Seahorses can’t swim very well, so they anchor themselves with their tails to sea grasses, coral, and anything else.design-43

S is for Shovel & Pail Set

What’s the one thing you have to take onto the beach with you? A shovel & pail set, of course.

Since early childhood, you learned you always need a shovel and pail to play in the sand. There have been some amazing sets available to children over the years from the metal set with cool art on the pail to designer plastic pails with decorative handled shovels.

Kids are fun to watch with their shovels and pails. They dig and dig and dig. They run to the water to fill the pail and then back to dump the water in the hole. Most of the time the water sinks into the sand but they keep running back for more water in  hopes to fill up the hole one day.

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Creative Commons

My boys, growing up on the beach, had shovels of all sizes. There were some that broke easily, others that never broke but ended up at friends houses so we just bought more. Short handles, long handles and some with long wooden handles; we still have these.

With a long-handled shovel you can conquer the world or dig a hole for your brother to fall into head first:

Shovels and pails are necessary tools for sand castle building. There are fancy tools and molds you can buy but the classic sand castle is built using a shovel and pail.

So next time you go to the beach don’t forget your shovel and pail.

S is for shovel and pail set.

 

S is for Surf

Surf: n. a swell at sea that breaks on shore; v. to ride a wave toward the shore on a board.

You can also surf (search) the internet but that doesn’t apply to this post.

How many of you love to watch the waves at the beach or on a coastline? I do, it is pretty relaxing regardless of the size of the waves. A rough weather day can cause some great swells at the beach and for me it is just as fun to watch the angry waves crash as it is to engage my vie on the small cresting of a swell over sandbar.

I don’t surf. I think my dad did. And his brother, my late uncle, surfed. He’s in the Ocean City MD Surfing Hall of Fame. Yay, Uncle Chuck.  My husband has taken surfing instruction. He did really well and got to ride a super wave in Hawaii before diving off the board. It was so fun to watch him.hawaii-e-041

While in Hawaii, my husband and I had the great opportunity to watch a surfing competition. We just came upon it one day as we were just touring around Oahu. It was Van’s World Cup of Surfing November 2012. The perspective of being there to see it live is so different from watching it on TV or on a Facebook video post. The waves were so immense and my adrenaline was in a rush as I watched the surfers tackling their Goliath. It was just amazing and I’ll always remember the experience of viewing a surfing competition in Hawaii in person.

Back to the Lower 48, since I was a kid I’ve experienced watching surfers tackling waves, but much smaller ones. I marvel at the people that have the strength to battle rough swells to catch a wave before the beach is closed due to the storm.  Surfing requires a lot of muscle, balance and stamina.  It takes practice.

If you have a surfing story to share  please comment below.

S is for surf.

S is for Swimming

What a great way to exercise, especially in the summer when you can do it outside: Swimming.

Swimming is a low-impact cardio exercise. You can use all of your major muscles and not feel the strain the next day (although you can over do it).

With Labor Day weeks passed most outdoor pools are closed for the year. Some private condo or apartment pools may still be open and if you live in the deep South or Southwest you’ll be able to enjoy outdoor swimming all year. Otherwise, join a club with an indoor pool and get your hydro therapy.  It’s good for your soul to float around. Spend your floating time contemplating how you can take over the world, or at least conquer a personal issue.  Swimming with friends can be fun, too. There should be opportunities at the community pool for water aerobics and other fund aquatic classes.

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This is a great time to get your little ones some swimming lessons. A whole school year worth of swim lessons could land your child on a swim team. If not, at least he or she will be ready for the following summer.

S is for swimming.

Mayflower Day, September 16

Today, September 16, is Mayflower Day. This is the day, in 1620, that the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England to the New World.

A few years ago my husband and I spent the July 4th weekend searching Ancestry.com for our family history.  His was decidedly more interesting than mine during that search. We found that he, through his mother, was a descendant of the Mayflower. That means our two boys are descendants of the Mayflower. Actually they are all descendants of the Hopkins family who set sail with the others to find a new life in a new world.

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Creative Commons

Oh, what it was like I do not want to know first hand. But it is quite exciting from a family history point of view that my guys bloodline follows back to the first settlers.  The Hopkins family was the one to have a baby before arriving on land: Oceanus was his name.  He lived to be 6 years old.

So what would the voyagers on the Mayflower find in the new world? We know what we are taught in history classes about the wilderness and the native people the pilgrims encountered. We know that they foraged for clams and periwinkles. We know they fished and spent a whole lot more time outdoors than we do now.

But, what I really want to know was if these people enjoyed beach combing? Did they play in the sand and build castles? Did they sit on any beaches at any time and watch the waves, enjoy the shorebirds?  They they swim in the ocean? Did they get up early to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic? And before he died, did Oceanus play on any beaches or swim in the ocean? We may never know.

Happy Mayflower Day!

 

Sand Castle Friday #21: S is for Sand Castles

I used to live at the beach: Surfside Beach SC, Siesta Key FL, and close enough in both Houston TX and Fairhope AL. I always liked seeing the sand castles that visitors would make. It always seemed that the majority of sand castles appeared as day-old ruins on Saturday mornings. My hypothesis is that vacationers staying for the week have to check off “build a sand castle” on their list of things to do before they leave to go home.  Next time you are at the beach, check it out.

Anyway, I have been doing a Sand Castle Friday post for the past 20 weeks in honor of these to-do-list vacationers.

Sand sculpture competitions are all year round. You can find one near you at SandSculptingEvents.com. The International Sandsculpting Championship event is in September in Virginia Beach. You’ll see all kinds of sculptures made of sand. Of course if it was a sand castle contest, entrants could only build sand castles. All others would be disqualified.

Do you remember the Nickelodeon “Rocket Power” cartoon? There was an episode where all of the kids entered the sand castle building contest. Wow… were they all competitive and creative?! In the end, though, the winner was the littlest member of the crowd because she was the only one to build a sand castle; a simple castle.  Moral of the story: read the fine print when you enter a contest.

Sand castles are awesome and fun to build. I think just playing with the sand, the tactile experience is relaxing.  And, if your mind wanders and you end up building something fantastic, it’s a great day!

Don’t know how to make one? Want lessons? Or, do you want a sand castle for your beach-front wedding ceremony? There are professionals in many beach towns that can help you. Just internet search “sand castle lessons”. I’ve found several in Florida.

IMG_2069 (1)When was the last time you made a sand castle? I built one this summer; little but fun and made with my empty coffee cup.

S is for Sand Castle.

S is for Storms at Sea

September is the high month for hurricane season. The mid-way point is generally the first week of the month; usually around my birthday.

Hurricanes come in all sizes and though many people think a tropical storm or category 1 hurricane is not a big deal, these storms can wreak as much havoc as a category 5. Katrina blew away the coast of Mississippi and residents had to rebuild. This year we saw a category 1 storm cause extensive and epic flooding in Louisiana leaving those residents to rebuild.  If you live by the sea it is always a good idea to have an escape plan, keep a separate account or stash of money to pay for an unexpected trip to a hotel out of the storm’s way.

My family has had to evacuate many times for a variety of hurricanes and tropical storms. We always felt we would stay for a category 1 but leave for the others. For one storm we did stay after boarding up the house except for the small windows by the front door. We lived in Surfside Beach SC, just 1 mile from the shoreline. Our elevation was “safe” we were told, so we stayed. The wind whipped ferociously. The power went out. The kids were both excited and scared. Our calm dog had had enough. When it was over we walked outside the next day to see that a large portion of a tree had just missed our house. We heard of a tornado that hit a neighboring subdivision. We decided then and there that we would evacuate for any other storms; and we did.

We devised a plan, stashed cash for hotel and restaurant meals and anything else we’d need. We had inland friends that we could count on for a safe place to stay.

But not all storms at sea are wicked. Not all come on shore.

A storm at sea, a front passing through, a pop-up storm can be beautiful and exciting to watch. Of course it is wise to stay out of the water, away from tall trees and metal objects. If you can watch from your vacation condo balcony you’ll be treated to a wonderful scene. But be safe; a water spout can come on shore and head toward your building.

S is for storms at sea.