Wednesday, June 29, 2011

{ Earthworm Rescue & Menacing Fairies }

After spending a very rainy day at home doing crafty stuff with my daughter, I was looking forward to going to workout and having some "me time". My husband left work and called saying he was stuck in traffic due to bad weather and would not make it in time for me to leave on my own. So, I tell my daughter to get her shoes on b/c she has to come with me and wait in the kid section while I workout. We hop in Tahoe, put our seatbelts on and won't start (insert frustration here). I call my husband and tell him about my predicament. He assumes it is the battery. Nevertheless, looks like I will not make it to my heart pumping/calorie burning class. I casually joke that perhaps God does not want me to leave the house in this horrible weather. Fast forward10 minutes later-----My daughter notices about a dozen earthworms on our lanai (Florida's fancy word for screened-in back porch---everyone here calls it a lanai. If I say "screened-in back porch", I get weird looks, so a lanai it is). The earthworms came out with all the rain and decided to crawl up under our screen door into our lanai. So we go out there and rescue them with our bare hands and place them back into the grass. My daughter whispers to me while trying to catch an especially wiggly earthworm, "Mom, I think fairies must have fiddled with your car and that is why we are still here because they wanted us to rescue the earthworms instead of you going to workout."
Ummmmm, yes, that is exactly what happened. I'm sure of it. Thanks, fairies. Thanks A LOT!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Monday, June 27, 2011

{ Beet Cake }

You never hear, "Mmmm, Beet Cake! Yum!" But, I must tell you, "Mmmm, Beet Cake! Yum!" Who knew, right!?!?
I came across this beautiful video artistically showing the recipe for Beet Cake. 

The beets make the cake super moist and the end result is sort of like the consistency of a German chocolate cake, but with an odd, yet interestingly good, berry-ish flavor.
Mmmm, Beet Cake! Yum!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

{ Kaleidoscope }

----Kalos Eidos Scopos----
Greek for "Beautiful Forms Viewer."

The Scottish physicist, Sir David Brewster, invented the kaleidoscope in 1816.  There was suppose to be a scientific purpose to his invention, something about the mirrors and symmetrical patterns, but, once people started looking into the eye piece and seeing the pretty patterns, the science of it was tossed out the window and replaced with, "ohhhh, look at the pretty colors!!!!" and from that moment forward, Brewster's kaleidoscope became known as a really cool toy.

As a summer boredom buster, I helped my daughter put together this kaleidoscope from a kit I bought at a local craft store.

She really liked adding the holographic paper and gems. AND, because I am the kind of mom who has to teach some sort of lesson with just about everything, I tried to bring in the original science factor Sir David Brewster had intended with his invention by talking about how the 3 mirrors which are placed into the tube create a prism, yada, yada, yada. Obviously, I had no idea what I was talking about, but, my daughter didn't know that. Nevertheless, it was neat for her to put the kaleidoscope together and see how it works from the inside out.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

{ Celebrating the Summer Solstice with Sunflower Seed Pie }

Happy First Day of Summer! Today is the summer solstice; the longest day of the year where there are more hours of daylight than any other day in the western hemisphere. Even  Shakespeare honored this day with his play, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
We had this summer tradition of going to the Miller Outdoor Ampitheatre's Shakespeare Summer Nights in Houston, Texas this time of year where we would spend summer evenings sitting on a blanket, eating cherries, and watching Shakespeare Plays.

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
                   Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.
the character, Oberon, describes the bower where Titania sleeps in Shakespeare A Midsummer Night's Dream.

In honor of the Summer Solstice and in celebration of the extra sunlight, we did a few things; Planted some sunflower seeds, colored "stained-glass" fairy pictures and made a Sunflower Pie using a sunflower seed spread by Sunbutter. This is awesome stuff.
If you haven't tried Sunbutter, click HERE to learn more. I've made this pie a few times and have finally perfected it. Here is the recipe.....

Sunflower Pie

* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

* 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

* 1/4 cup Sunbutter Brand Sunflower Seed Spread

* 1 cup heavy whipping cream, plus, 2 cups for topping

* enough Magic Shell chocolate syrup for decorative drizzling

* 1 cooled prebaked pie shell

* chocolate sunflowers from chocolate specialty shop (optional)

* Nutmeg for decorative sprinkling (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whip 1 cup heavy whipping cream until stiff. Add cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, and Sunbutter. Mix well until blended. Pour into cooled prebaked pie shell.
In a separate bowl, whip 2 cups heavy whipping cream until stiff and add to top of pie by gently spreading it with a spatula. Drizzle lightly with chocolate Magic Shell, decorate with chocolate sunflower wafers, and lighlty sprinkle nutmeg. Serve chilled. Store in refrigerator.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Saturday, June 18, 2011

{ Dad, The French Riviera, Boyfriends, & the One I Married }

As Father's Day approaches, I find myself recalling various memories and words of wisdom my Dad has given me. Such as, "Never eat prunes in large quantities." and "Make sure you're old enough to legally drink at your own wedding." and "When you drink alcohol. Do it with class and sophistication. Otherwise, you'll only look cheap."
My Dad has never been the type to intimidate the guys I dated by sitting in the living room cleaning his shotgun. Instead, he trusted that I would have enough sense in my own head to come to the conclusion and see in these boyfriends what he recognized immediately----that they were Numbskulls (his word, not mine).
Long before I was able to date, my Dad would joke that he was going to take me to the French Riviera to find my husband when it was time for me to marry---- a rich and foreign husband for me so that my Dad could retire in style. He brought this joke up so many times that at some point it blended into future plans....or at least I thought so. I'd picture us on the beach in the French Riviera surveying the bachelors. It was a grand plan!

My first crush was the actor, Ricky Shroeder, from Silver Spoons. To this day I can't pass up a bottle of Alberto VO5 shampoo in the store without thinking of Ricky Shroeder--It was his favorite shampoo according to an 80s issue of Tiger Beat magazine which I had begged my mom to buy me. My dad NEVER lets me forget that RS was my first crush. I secretly think he is still recovering from the day his little girl was old enough to have her first crush. Poor Dad.
My Dad had a rule: All boyfriends or guys I dated had to come to the door and say hello if they expected me to go out with them. Dad made it very clear about a zillion times that I would not be allowed to date anyone who did not have the courtesy to park their car, get out, ring the door bell, and say hello to my parents. There were a few times when boyfriends pulled up to the curb and honked their car horn. Dad would give me a look and I knew I would have to sit and wait until they came to the door. I use to think this was a silly rule, but, I quickly learned that my Dad had a point. Wise Dad.
Dad didn't care for any of my boyfriends except for one; the one I married. Out of the blue one afternoon, when David and I had been dating for almost a year, Dad told me, "You know, I really like David."  Me, "What made you say that?" Dad, "He always opens the car door for you even when he doesn't know I am watching." 
Before I met David, he had seen me numerous times and would tell his friends, "There is the girl I am going to marry." and he was right. Five years later, I did marry him. 

This is one of those cases where everyone lived happily ever after including good ol' Dad. My Dad loves David and treats him like a son. I can't help but laugh when I think of the guys I dated and introduced to my Dad. What a patient man he had been during those crazy years of my teenage angst. It was simple in the end, I fell for the guy with the same wonderful qualities as my Dad.
It turns out we didn't have to travel to the French Riviera, after all.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

{ Lonestar Refried Bean Dip. Plus, What's Playing on my Virtual Victrola }

There are certain flavors unique to Texas which I sometimes get to missing; flavors I grew up with like a spicy skillet made dip.
Using the banana peppers, roma tomatoes, and jalapenos I grew, I made this refried bean dip.
I call it When Your Missing Texas Refried Bean Dip -----or for short, Lonestar Refried Bean Dip.
3 jalapenos, in my opinion, give it just enough spice. However, if you want to kick up the sizzle on the tongue factor, use Pepper Jack cheese instead of Colby Jack. 


Enough extra virgen olive oil to lightly coat a medium size skillet
3 small jalapenos finely chopped
2 banana peppers finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 yellow onion finely chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp ground Cumin
1 tbsp Adobo Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 16oz can Refried Beans
1 8oz box plain Cream Cheese Spread
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese (or Pepper Jack for extra spicy)
Tortilla Chips or Fritos for dipping

--------Lightly coat a medium skillet w/ extra virgen olive oil. Add chopped jalapenos, banana peppers, onion, tomatoes, and minced garlic. Saute over a low to medium heat. Add can of refried beans, cream cheese, colby jack, and black olives to skillet. Stir until all is well blended and cheeses are melted. Add Cumin, Adobo, salt & pepper. Stir and serve warm with tortilla chips or Fritos for dipping.

This is a really great song; Let's Go To Luckenbach, Texas la la la la. One of my favorites and so very TEXAS. It's what I have playing on my Virtual Victrola . Click and have a listen. It's my song for you. Now go make that bean dip and enjoy!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten