Saturday, April 30, 2011

{ Will & Kate Plus Cake...and Wine }

I love modern day fairy tales. I can still remember watching the royal wedding between Prince Charles and Lady Diana as a young girl in the living room of my childhood home. Now as another modern day fairy tale unfolded between us via the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate, or as we hear so often, Will & Kate, I wanted to add a bit of whimsy to it for the sake of my daughter and the memory she will have of this event. And because I cannot tell a lie, I was totally into the experience myself. I set my DVR 3 days in advance to record the Pomp and Circumstance involved with such an event. I had a nightmare that I had forgotten to record the wedding. I added the title of Duchess, along with my other friends, to my name on Facebook. I both appreciated and made fun of the many hats the wedding guests wore. I joked that I should bedazzle a Snuggie to enhance the royalness of sitting on the sofa watching the wedding. I joked about my invitation to the royal wedding being lost in the mail......and oddly, the whole time the news networks were covering the event, I kept wanting to yell out, "Team Edward!" But, because I didn't want to seem like a fanatic, I kept it simple and bought a good wine and my daughter and I made a small "wedding cake."

Now let me tell you, I chose the wine purely for the occasion. I had seen the wines from Cupcake Vineyards and thought the label was cute and the concept was sweet. But, I had not tried it b/c to me wine and cupcakes just didn't mix in my brain. Wow, was I wrong! and now that I have given it some thought; why NOT blending the concept of cupcakes with wine? They are both super good! So, in keeping with the theme of the Royal Wedding, I chose the Red Velvet wine by Cupcake Vineyards. It was yum, yum, and yum! And I totally like whoever it was in California who decided to name their vineyards, Cupcake. THAT is the type of individual I can be friends with! Not only was the wine good, but, the bottle is so pretty.

We decorated the cake with a "wedding ring", and sugar icing roses which I bought at Michaels. She and I made a Princess wand using the new Bravissimo products from Making Memories . All in all, we totally indulged ourselves in the whimsy of the Royal Wedding between Will and Kate allllll the way over here in our neck of the woods b/c we love a good modern day fairy tale! Cherry-Oh!

Sealed with a Kiss (from a balcony), Kirsten

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

{ Grow Little Roma, Grow }

It seems to me that the more one watches an annoying infomercial, the more likely one is to want the product being advertised. So yes, a year or so later, I got suckered into the whole Topsy Turvy hype. I casually mentioned that it would be fun to see if it really works on one of those days my husband forced me to tag along with him to Home Depot. My sweet daughter made a mental note of this and for my birthday, she gave me a Topsy Turvy as a gift.
I planted my favorite tomatoes, Romas, in it a few weeks ago and VOILA!---My very first Roma tomato bloom!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

{ Pineapple Pie }

Pineapple Pie. Oh, so good! I made it this past weekend. I am thinking of renaming it to Summer on a Dish Pie, Pineapple Tastes Better When You Live in Florida Pie, orrrr OMG This is So Good Pie.

Here is my recipe for Pineapple Pie


* Two 20 ounces cans crushed pineapple---drain cans. Reserve the juice of both cans. You will only use half the juice in the recipe.
* 2 egg yolks
* 1/2 cup sugar See note below
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 tbsp honey
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract Note: I keep a jar of cane sugar with two vanilla bean pods in it to infuse the sugar with vanilla. I use this in place of the regular sugar and vanilla extract
* 2 tbsp butter
* 1/2 cup cornstarch --I use Cream Brand Cornstarch because I think it is awesome for pies.
* 1 pre-baked 9 inch pie crust
* 2 cups heavy whipping cream for topping
* Edible flowers for garnish optional


In a medium cooking pot and using a hand-held mixer or spatula, blend regular sugar, brown sugar, butter, egg yolks, honey and vanilla extract. Add both cans of crushed pineapple and half of the pineapple juice. Place pot over stove and bring to a slow boil. Add cornstarch and stir until mixture thickens to a nice stable consistency for pies. Remove from heat. If necessary, you can add a bit more cornstarch to thicken it or if too thick, then a little bit more of the juice or water to thin it. However, the measurements listed work well.

Place pineapple mixture into a cooled pre-baked pie crust and allow to cool completely. Once it is cooled, in a separate bowl, using a handheld mixer beat 2 cups heavy whipping cream for 5 minutes or until thick. Add the cream topping to pie. Serve or refrigerate.
I'm not kidding you, this pie is Mmm Mmm Good!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

{ Low Country Boil }

I love a Low Country Boil....especially a spicy one....especially a Low Country Boil with friends where each of us brings something to add to the pot. I grew up along the Gulf Coast eating my share of boiled shrimp and southern dishes. But, it wasn't until I moved to Florida when I discovered a dish known as a Low Country Boil. It is originally called Frogmore Stew and NO, it does not contain any frogs....and come to think of it, it really isn't a stew either. It is originally believed to have been created in the 1960s on St. Helena Island, South Carolina by a National Guardsman named Richard Gay who owns the Gay Seafood Company. It was most likely named Frogmore Stew because that is the name of the small town on St. Helena's Island in which Richard Gay resided. Nevertheless, this South Carolina dish is now know more commonly as a Low Country Boil.

This can be made in various quantities to feed your family, a group of friends, or a whole army. AND, the level of spice can be adjusted based on how spicy the sausage links are and how much Old Bay and Zatarains Seasonings you use in the recipe. So your mouth will either be pleasantly surprised at the yummo flavors or on fire!
Our friends, Derek and Candis, ordered a 25 gallon pot on eBay from a backwoods Cajun man deep in swamps of Southern Louisiana. It arrived and who knew 25 gallons could be so beautiful. Okay, yes, I admit, I am jealous of their awesome Low Country Boil pot and I love how with this being Florida, of course, a boat ore was the only thing appropriate for stirring.

For Easter weekend, they invited us and other friends over for a good ol' fashioned Low Country Boil where everyone brings one of the recipe items to throw into the pot. We had drinks, interesting conversation, and goooood food. Plus, it turns out one of the owners of the Sonny's Bar-B-Que chain lives down the street from our friend's Derek and Candis. He was invited and brought some yummy ribs for all of us to nibble on while we waited for the boil to well, boil. Good friends, good food, good drinks, good times!

Low Country Boil Recipe

* 1 Zatarains Shrimp and Grab Boil Seasoning Bag
* Old Bay Seasoning
* Shrimp with shells still on. However, remove heads.
* Crab Legs (optional)
* 2 pkgs sausage links (choose mild to spicy depending on your preference. I prefer a spicy Low Country Boil so we buy the spicy sausage)
*Small Carrots
*Sliced Onions
*Small Red Potatoes
*Corn Cobs cut in half

-----I did not put measurements or quantities b/c this is a recipe in which you make based on size pot and amount of people. My rule of thumb for 6 people is the following: 2 pkgs spicy sausage links cut into pieces, 2 pounds shrimp, 12 corn cob halves, 1 bag small red potatoes, 2 sliced onions, 2 regular size bags of small carrots.

In a large pot, add potatoes, sliced sausage links, sliced onions, carrots, and corn. Add water, seasoning bag, and about 2 tbsp of Old Bay (more or less depending on how much you are making). Slowly bring to a boil over low to medium heat and allow to simmer until potatoes are done. Add shrimp during the last 20 minutes of boiling and allow to boil until shrimp turn pink. Turn off heat and remove. Strain water, serve, and enjoy.

NOTE: Here in the South, it is common to have a Low Country Boil outdoors in a pot with a strainer and pouring all ingrediants when done out on a picnik table which has been covered with newspaper or something of the like and let friends dig in.
If making a Low Country Boil indoors in a pot without a strainer, then use a slotted spoon to serve. Here at my house, we always have Cornbread with our Low Country Boil......just a little suggestion. Enjoy!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Monday, April 25, 2011

{ Eggs and Dye }

Time to dye some eggs

Trying to achieve Robin egg blue

The kitchen smelled of boiled eggs and vinegar. That combination always brings back memories from past Easters. But, that was minimal compared to yet another dose of daughter is getting bigger and didn't need my help to dye Easter eggs this year. Sigh. Plus, she did a great job and ended up with more dye on the Easter eggs instead of her hands....and she didn't drop any eggs....or crack any..... or tip over a glass full of dye. Sigh again.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Friday, April 22, 2011

{ Easter Cupcakes }

I made the cupcakes for my daughter's 3rd grade Easter Party. When my daughter saw them, she looked at me with that You're the Best Mom EVER kind of look which made my accidently dropping blue food coloring on the tile grout totally worth it. Luckily, I got the dye out of the tile. I was going for a Tiffany Blue shade in the frosting. So considering the smile on my daughter's face, the pretty cupcakes I made, AND getting the tile clean, I must admit, I did feel like SuperMom!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

{ Chocolate Keeps Me Sane }

Do you see it? The Godiva white chocolate? This is my little package of sanity, my escape, my Calgon take me away moment, my take a deep breath and count to ten, my......okay, well, you get the point. This is where I keep it hidden. Under normal circumstances, this little package of the world's best white chocolate is hidden behind all the bottles where no one sees it.  Husband doesn't know.  Daughter doesn't know. Only me! I placed it upright just long enough to take pic for this post. And then, feeling wickedly good about myself, I placed it back in it's hiding spot behind the salad dressing and jelly.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

{ Caribbee Key }

Locally caught blackened Mahi Mahi Wrap. Yum Yum

Well now, who can pass up this opportunity?

My husband is one of those who works hard and plays hard. He loves the weekends. I love the weekends. We're a heavenly made match, we are. He loves the beach. I love the beach. See what I mean? So this weekend, like all weekends, we pondered over how to best spend our time. He asked, "Do you feel like going out to eat somewhere?" Me, "Sure. Anyplace in particular?" Without any thought he responded, "Any place where I can see water or the ocean." That settled it. We headed out to one of our favorite haunts--Neptune Beach/Atlantic Beach and because a yummy little beach dive known as Caribbee Key had a few tables out front, we decided to eat there. We'd eaten at Caribbee Key before. But, this time we were dining al fresco AND I had my camera AND the sunlight was just right.....AND they had $3 Bloody Marys!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Friday, April 15, 2011

{ Mornings }

Morning: My husband kissing me goodbye on his way out the door and then my daughter and I leaving shortly afterwards and having our little enjoyable car conversations as I drive her to school. The quick kiss goodbye she gives me. Me glancing to the backseat to make sure she didn't leave her lunch kit behind. Making the decision between going to work-out or going back home and spending the morning getting stuff done. Coming back home, walking into the house which is now peacefully quiet except for the sounds of two purring cats and the lingering smell of coffee.  Pouring myself another cup & opening the back doors before the heat of summer makes that impossible. Enjoying the fresh air. Watering the potted plants. Saying hello to the garden spider who lives in the pot of the hibiscus plant. Feeding the ducks who are already waiting.  Relishing in Me time & pondering whether or not it is necessary to take the laundry out of the dryer.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Thursday, April 14, 2011

{ Brambleberry }

The word, Brambleberry, always makes me think of dizzy bumblebees and Winnie the Poo. Not really sure why... it just does. Brambleberry may not have the same popularity of Raspberries or Strawberries. And well, who can compete with the currently popular Acai berry right now? But, brambleberry tea sounds simple, good, ol' fashioned like the summers you spent picking berries in your grandmother's yard.

P.S. Did you notice the bottle of Tazo Brambleberry Tea is empty? I had told myself to wait until I took some pictures of the pretty purplish-colored tea. Obviously, I am not good at waiting.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

{ Tapping Doll, Smiling Girl, Hero Dad }

Saylor asked if there was a way she could make her little doll tap dance. David set two small screws into feet of doll and then PRESTO!---Tap Dancing Little Doll, Smiling Saylor, Hero Dad.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Monday, April 11, 2011

{ Little Red Corvette }

I can't ever seem to pass a red corvette without busting out in my acapella version of Prince's song, Little Red Corvette. Lucky for everyone else and their ears that I don't see red corvettes on a daily basis. Same thing happens with berets. Anytime I see anyone wearing a beret (I love pretty Frenchy looking berets), I start singing Prince's song, "She wore a raspberry beret. The kind you find in a second hand store...."
While out and about this weekend with my husband and daughter, I passed this little red corvette and guess what?!?!---I had my camera. Typical moi.

Sealed with a RED Kiss, Kirsten

Friday, April 8, 2011

{ Country Fair }

Being a Texas Gal, the annual rodeo was always one of my favorite events to attend; favorite jeans, studded rhinestone belt, fancy buckle, cowgirl hat, and awesome boots.
 Moving to Florida means I now have a serious flip-flop sandal collection instead of a boot collection. The smell of tanned leather has been swapped for the smell of tropical scented suntan lotion. It isn't a bad trade off. Although I miss the rodeo, the annual local country fair here in Clay County, Florida is really nice. It has it's own small town charm feel to it especially on a beautiful Spring Day....and nothing says local country charm like a frog jumping contest and pig races, right? It reminds me of the fair in the book/movie, Charlotte's Web.

I picked up my daughter from school last Friday, had her change out of her uniform and into comfy clothes in the car, and told her we were off to the fair. She didn't believe me at first because it also happened to be April Fool's Day. But, I wasn't April Foolin' which gave me uber Best Mom in the World points.

While looking at cows and other farm animals, my daughter made an observation when she saw the bull and asked, "Mom, why do some cows only have one utter?"

Okay, is the cow in the above photo not the most cutest, sweetest, angelic cow ever? What a darling! And what about the grin on that goat?--- An under bite only a mother could love and yet still so cute!
Of course, no fair is complete without cotton candy, lemonade, and candy apples. There is also a bonafide cake and pie contest.

This being the south, you could be sure there were bags of fried pork skins, sweet tea, and fried green tomatoes. And since this is Florida, there were even alligators eggs for any one hungry enough.

The day turned into night. My daughter and I had a great time. My husband came and met us after his day of playing golf and we ended this really nice Spring day together, the 3 of us......and then I saw this totally cute propane tank as we headed toward our vehicles.

I am not by any means ever in a billion years interested in propane tanks. Propane is my husband's cup of tea, so to speak. Whenever we need propane for the grill, he is in charge of it. THIS tank, however, was adorable with the pink and the pig. If more propane tanks looked like this, I would totally take a bigger interest in tank selection. CUTE!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten