Quick Tips on Buying and Grilling Shrimp

Shrimp is known as the easiest and least intimidating seafood to cook. But when you’re buying fresh shrimp from the supermarket or local fishmonger instead of the freezer aisle, there are some key things you need to know to make sure you’re getting the very best quality seafood. Even after you get your shrimp home, there are storage and prepping procedures you should consider before finally throwing your shrimp onto the grill. Shrimp can cook pretty quick, so we’re giving you some even quicker facts and useful tips on grilling shrimp.

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  • Though there are more than 300 different species of shrimp around the world, you’ll probably only be able to find a few kinds at your local store. The good news: some of the best shrimp in the world comes off our own shores on the Gulf of Mexico, meaning you can eat fresh in any state.
  • The shelf life is pretty short, so shrimp behind the supermarket glass isn’t your best bet when looking to buy fresh. Some of the best shrimp is sold in frozen blocks. You’ll have to peel and take out the veins. Another great option is individual quick frozen shrimp. It’s easier to thaw and prep.
  • It’s sold by the pound, so if you’ve got less than 30 shrimp per pound, they should be big to jumbo or even colossal size. Tinier shrimp should score you more than 50. Colossal shrimp or larger sizes have a “U” before the number, which stands for “Under.” Ex: U8 is Under 8 shrimp per pound.
  • Black spotting that is sometimes seen on shrimp that aren’t fresh is called melanosis. It doesn’t mean the shrimp isn’t edible, but it’s a good idea to try to avoid the shrimp with spots to make sure you’re getting the freshest flavor. Shrimp should also be firm. Don’t buy shrimp if it’s falling apart.

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  • Defrost before grilling. Do this in the fridge or with a bucket of cold water. Cold, not warm. Warm water might thaw shrimp faster but it will also force it to lose good moisture and density that will mess with the flavor. Looking for extra flavor? Try brining. Boil water with a mix of salt and sugar. Add it to the cold contents already in the fridge for a couple hours before grilling. Remember to rinse it off.
  • Peel or not. It’s your preference. Peeling is better for throwing your shrimp on kabobs, but leaving the shell can help protect delicious shrimp meat from the grill. The exterior of the shrimp is best when it’s a little pink, and you know the inside is done when it’s white. Don’t walk away from the grill. Shrimp usually cooks quickly depending on how hot your grill is running. Cook time: 4-7 minutes.

Kid-friendly Barbecue Ideas for Labor Day

bbq-familyJust two weeks until Labor Day — our last long weekend of summer to enjoy with the kids. While we’re getting the grill ready for spectacular burgers and filling the cooler with adult beverages, the kids deserve a little culinary attention, too. To make it a family friendly, we put together a list of  kid-friendly barbecue ideas for Labor Day.

Hobo Hack Hobo dinners are fun for camping, but you can do them in your backyard, too! You may choose to get a burger off the grill, but there’s something about having an individual meal wrapped and cooked on its own that intrigues kids. It makes things easy for you, as well — they’re easy to make ahead and cleanup is a snap! There are many meals you can make in a foil packet — check out a few ideas from The Art of Manliness.

Tortilla Temptations There aren’t many kids who can turn down a quesadilla — cheese wit or without chicken, the quesadilla is a solution for the picky eater and the eager grill master. They’re as easy to throw on the grill as they are to throw on a skillet. Quick tip: to make sure the cheese and chicken stay intact, assemble and fold them in the kitchen and microwave the for about 20 seconds — just enough time to make everything stick together so they won’t fall apart before they hit the grill.

pizza#1 Nosh Pizza is the cure-all for any kids’ meal and there’s no reason they can’t have it for a cookout. Pre-baked crusts is the best way to execute — top it with tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni, slide it on the grill and cover it until the cheese is bubbly. Quick tip: make sure to lightly oil the grill before you put the pizza on.

Farm Fave You can’t have a cookout without summer sweet corn! It’s a favorite for kids and adults alike and that you don’t have to heat up the kitchen to enjoy it makes it an entertainer’s favorite as well.

Scrumptious Sides Using the idea of a hobo dinner, make those French fries your kids beg for! Take frozen fries, toss them with a little bit of vegetable oil and salt. Then, using aluminum foil, make a little bowl to hold them and throw on the grill. It takes about a half-hour to get them crispy, but it’s worth the wait. If your kids need a little extra flavor, throw some cheese on top of the fries for the last five or so minutes of cooking.bbq-collection

Summer Sweets A Labor Day cookout isn’t complete without a peach dish! But you don’t have to make a pie or cobbler for your kids to enjoy them; throwing them on the grill gives you all the peachy goodness they need. All you have to do is slice them in half, remove the pits and put them cut-side-down on the grill. When they have grill marks, they’re ready for a scoop of ice cream in the middle to serve as a mini-peach sundae.

The Lakeside Collection has ideas and products for any season and any occasion. From Labor Day cookout tips to holiday decor, shop Lakeside to make your celebration magical.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Father’s Day Gifts

We’re getting ready for a fun-packed summer! Barbecues and pool parties are on the schedule — and so is Father’s Day. It’s just about a month away, so it’s time to start thinking about how to show Dad some appreciation. Here is this week’s Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Father’s Day Gifts.grill-cover

Grill Protection Shield your grill from the elements and keep it looking brand new with the Weatherproof Gas Grill Cover. Constructed of durable PVC, it will provide your grill with a protective barrier against rain, snow and damaging UV rays. Available in 2 sizes, there’s one to fit your grill, big or small. Use the attached tabs with fabric-magic closures to secure the cover tightly around your grill to keep it from blowing off in the wind.freezable-can-cooler

Fun & Functional Whether your team is playing like they’re on fire or on the bench, this NFL Freezable Can Cooler keeps your drink chilled throughout each quarter. Water is encased in the double-walled, single can cooler, emblazoned with the logo of your favorite team front and back. Put it in the freezer to chill it, then put your drink can into the cooler. Rubberized plastic around the bottom edge makes sure the cooler won’t slip or scratch your table.tripod

Guiding Light The Stanley Tripod Flashlight is perfect for emergencies, camping and DIY projects in hard-to-reach places. Use both your hands to repair a dripping pipe or start a campfire while the powerful LED lights up your work space. The flashlight’s articulated head directs the light right where you need it. Weather-resistant anodized aluminum case makes it ideal for roadside emergencies and trips. Retractable legs make it easy to take with you. Flashing low-power indicator means you’ll never be unexpectedly caught in the dark. Runs on 3 batteries with a battery life of 41 hours.fork-thermometer

Grill Gadget Great for barbecuing or broiling! The Fork Thermometer quickly and accurately reads the temperature of your food. Indicator lights let you know if the meat is rare, medium or well done. It takes the guesswork out of oven roasting a turkey or grilling steaks and burgers. Stainless steel tips provide accurate results.chainsaw

Camping Contraptions Portable Camping Chain Saw or Belt Pouch is a must-have for anyone who enjoys camping, hiking, backpacking and spending time outdoors. The 24″ Flexible Chain Saw is a revolutionary tool that cuts and clears in both directions for clean, efficient strokes on even the hardest wood. This easy-to-use saw gives you a flexible blade for cutting from a variety of angles. Made of heavy-duty coated steel, its cutting teeth are self-cleaning and require little maintenance. Nylon handle straps prevent the chain from twisting. To cut, simply wrap the blade around the object and pull. Store the saw in the Nylon Belt Pouch so you’ll have it when you need it. It features a fabric-magic closure and a belt loop attachment to hold the saw firmly in place around your waist. Versatile pouch can also be used to carry a pocket knife. Imported.

 

5 Kitchen Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Needed

We’re always looking for new, fun ways to make household chores a little bit easier — especially in the kitchen! With all of the spring parties and barbecues coming up, we need all the help we can get to shave time off prep so we can entertain! The Lakeside Collection has a few products that can do just that — here are 5 kitchen gadgets you didn’t know you needed.

Corn-StripperPain-Free Prep Get ready for your summer bounty with this Set of 3 Specialty Kitchen Gadgets. Summer sweet corn just got sweeter with the corn stripper — remove all the kernels with just a few strokes! With the pepper tool, the stem and seeds are gone with a twist of the wrist and the mango pit is no longer an obstacle to your breakfast smoothie! With one or all of them, making fresh food is simple and painless.

Lemon-SqueezerSimple Squeeze Add a bright splash of color to your kitchen with these Colorful Kitchen Gadgets! Have a fresh squeeze of lemon ready to go at all of your cookouts this summer with the Lemon Squeezer! A couple of lemon wedges turn to juice in the silicone container, leaving the peel and seeds behind! You can use as little or as much as you need, and the leftover juice stays fresh in the refrigerator once you close the screw-on top. The Set of 3 Knives is perfect for the precise work of trimming, peeling and slicing all of your summer vegetables and fruits.

Kitchen-gadget3Basket of Bags If you’re like the rest of us, you have a stash of plastic bags somewhere waiting to be reduced, reused or recycled! With this decorative woven basket, your plastic bag dispenser is more convenient and easier to look at than stuffing the bags in a drawer or under the sink.  Load the bags at the top, then pull them out through the hole in the bottom one at a time.

Memory-Foam-RunnerPleasant Posture You don’t know how comfortable prepping food at the counter can be until you’ve done it with the Memory Foam Kitchen Runner underfoot. It gives you extra support when you stand for a long time, and brings a punch of color to your kitchen. The memory foam conforms to your feet as you move and stand.

 

Wine-ChillerKeep Your Cool White wine lovers just got a little more excited to show up at your barbecue! The Wine Bar Bottle Chiller keeps your wine cool and refreshing while you socialize on the patio. Just place it in the freezer for a couple of hours and use it in place of a cork once your wine bottle is open.


The Lakeside Collection has hundreds of products to make your next entertaining adventure easier and fun! Keep checking back for more ideas and inspiration for every season and every holiday.

Pinteresting Picks for June

When the sun goes down, it’s time to celebrate summer.  Get out of the office and into your backyard.  The comfort of our homes is something we crave on warm nights during the summer.  Here’s what we love the most from June:

Everlasting-Candle-Jars

These rustic led candle lights add great ambiance and the perfect amount of light to your yard.  Place them on your table or hang them in the trees.  The battery operated candle is a sure way to ensure safety.  Or remove the flame-less candle and replace it with a tea light candle, if you please.  For just five dollars apiece, these are an inexpensive way to add flair to any relaxing summer night.

BBQ-Grill-LightGrilling is the quickest way to cook homemade meals during the summer, but not everyone is around while the sun still up.  With a BBQ Grill Light, you are able to safely grill at all hours of the day and get more use out of your grill.  Get dual use out of the grill light and take it with you on camping trips!  The heavy-duty magnetic clip attaches to almost anything for quick, easy, and hands-free use.

Create-S'mores-Bars

Bonfires are a summer staple.  Mix it up and create fun S’mores bars for your backyard guests to enjoy.  Instead of the expected chocolate bars, graham crackers and marshmallows, give your guests the option to mix it up (while keeping the traditional ingredients available).  In place of the chocolate bar, spread Nutella or peanut butter on the graham cracker and fill with melty, roasted marshmallows, and a strawberry or two. Or, use a toasted coconut marshmallow to give your taste buds another special treat!

Outdoor-Beverage-HoldersWhat’s a better way to spend a summer night than on the lawn, at your nearby outdoor music arena?  With these adorable beverage holders, you can sit back and relax without having to keep your drink in your hand.  Just pop a few of them into the ground and set your drink right inside.  These drink holders are perfect for picnics, parties and days at the beach.  One more new addition includes a set to accommodate wine glasses, to help you wind down your summer nights!