Tuesday, May 31, 2011

{ Scooby Doo Spanglish }

While at the beach:
"Mom, I think the ocean is muy grande."

"Oh wow. I am so glad you are putting what you're learning in Spanish class to good use."

"Mom! I didn't learn THAT in Spanish Class from Senora Pardo. (rolls her eyes) I learned it from the Scooby Doo Monster of Mexico cartoon."

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

{ Quick Fixes and Car Chases }

We had a great--could NOT have been better--Memorial Day weekend....except for one little fluke. We were getting our stuff ready to go spend a day at our favorite beach and I noticed the air conditioner wasn't cooling very well which is cause for alarm b/c HELLO it's Florida and summer. My husband lowers the thermostat, we cross our fingers, hope for the best, and take off to the beach. Eight hours later after a fun filled day of sun, sand, and waves, we get home close to 10 pm at night.  As soon as we opened the door, we knew the air conditioner had gone kaput. The indoor temp was 83 degrees. Ugh! My husband goes outside with flashlight & determines the compressor is not turning on. Declaring there is no way we can sleep without AC, he makes a late night run to buy two totally awesome life savers----2 cooling units which each cool about 400 square feet giving us about 800 square feet of relief. 

We set one in family room and the other in our bedroom, turned on all the fans, closed doors to rooms not needed, and these units did their magic. They brought the most used parts of the house, the back of the house, to a tolerable temp during the heat of the day and actually a little too cold during the night & morning.
Now here is where the story takes a twist with a brief car chase----On his way to buy cooling units, my husband notices a car with no lights pulling away at a high speed from the nearby gas station and a station attendant running after the car. My husband has to swerve his car out of the way to avoid getting hit by what is now known as the "get-away car". Keep in mind that where I live, crime is pretty much at a near zero percent. Here on Fleming Island, the biggest crime is when teenagers steal golf carts in the middle of the night & go on joy rides. Being raised in a high crime large city, it took me a while to get use to this and I think it is totally awesome. Soooo, seeing this get-away car late at night is an odd occurrence here and cause for alarm. My husband, assuming the gas station was robbed & maybe somebody was hurt,  takes off after the car to get it's description/tag numbers. He drives back to the gas station & gives the info to the police. It turns out it was some teenagers stealing beer. The station attendant & police officer were appreciative & thankful to my husband for getting the tag numbers & vehicle description. My husband returns home with the 2 units and quite a story to tell.
Fast forward 2 days later, the air conditioner repair guy arrived this morning, repaired our AC unit, and TADA!!!!, the house is a welcomed 74 degrees! NICE!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Saturday, May 21, 2011

{ Ratatouille }

Ratatouille is one of those French dishes that sounds wayyyy more complicated than it really is.
Touiller----meaning to toss food.
Ratatouille----rat-a-too-ee----a tossed and stewed vegetable and herb dish originating in Nice, France.

In her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Childs says, "Ratatouille perfumes the kitchen with the essence of Provence and is certainly one of the great Mediterranean dishes."

When making Ratatouille, the aroma of this side dish is just as enjoyable as the flavor.  My husband came home from work and in a yum-must-have-some-now voice said, "Wow, Babe! What ever you're making, it smells great!"
This is definitely a dish you start to enjoy long before you've even taken the first bite.

Pour yourself a glass of wine and turn on some favorite music. I suggest San Sebastian's Vintner's White . It is our local wine. Runs about $9.99 a bottle and is made from Muscadine grapes. If you really want to get into the French mood, listen to some Edith Piaf or the La Vie en Rose soundtrack .

Olive Oil for coating
1 medium yellow onion diced (I used a yellow sweet Georgia Vidalia Onion)
4 gloves crushed garlic
1 eggplant peeled and diced
2 yellow squash diced
2 zucchini diced
2 green bell peppers diced
4 large or 6 small Roma tomatoes diced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 tbsp herbes de provence
salt and pepper
sour cream for garnish (optional)
1 pkg frozen puff pastry shells for serving (optional)

 *Lightly coat a large flat skillet with olive oil and place over low to medium heat.
*Add onions and garlic and slow simmer for a minute. This will create the base of aromatic flavor in which all the other vegetables will be stewed.
NOTE: It is important to add the vegetables in the following order based on density and time it takes to make them tender.
*Add eggplant and allow to stew for a minute until almost brown. *Next add squash, zucchini, bell peppers and tomatoes.
*Drizzle with more olive oil and toss to evenly coat all the vegetables.
*add herbes de Provence, thyme, salt and pepper
*Continue to slow simmer. You do not want to accidentally scorch the vegetables, so keep the heat on low to medium.
****Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 and place puff pastry shells on a baking sheet. Follow bake time on package which is usually about 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
***Ratatouille is done when all vegetables are tender and stewed. Turn off heat and serve using a slotted spoon into puff pasty shells and garnish with a small dollop of sour cream.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Monday, May 16, 2011

{ Greenishness }

I've had this poem on my mind. The one by Robert Frost that goes, Nature's first green is gold. Her hardest hue to hold..." I've never met a Robert Frost poem I didn't like with my favorite being his poem, Birches. So with all this Springishness around me which is quickly turning into the heat of summer...and with all the greenishness of Spring, I naturally grabbed my camera and took notice of the greenishness of things.

the banana peppers I grew which went into the pizza I made

the smug green lizard in my backyard who enjoyed having his picture taken

even the simplest of things looks pretty on a window sill with sunlight coming through

i love crescent beach

my sweet daughter and her friends holding little sprouts of greenishness in my backyard

i love olives. i looovvve olives. have i mentioned how much i love olives? i also love olive green

my daughter's green nail polish which she says is lucky

fern green

waiting to be kissed

roma tomatoes

the little tree my daughter dug up from the sand at the park and brought home in her water bottle

i'm growing jalapenos which is the same as growing spicy fire balls

pistachio green eyes

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Monday, May 9, 2011

{ Project "Keep Flower Alive For Mommy"...and Quick Fixes }

My daughter and husband went Mother's Day shopping for me on Saturday while I enjoyed my quiet time here at home. They left at 2 and returned at 8 p.m that evening. From the sounds of it, their day together turned into a really fun Father-Daughter day which included picking the perfect table at Starbucks and enjoying Frappuccinos, Italian Sodas, Blondie Blast Brownie, and Scones. While shopping for a Mother's day gift, one of the stores was apparently handing out these little gerbera daisies in water viles. This was also the first store they went to...which meant they had to carry this flower in it's little water vile everywhere with them for 6 hours.

This became Project Keep Flower Alive For Mommy.
I like to think how adorable they must have looked walking all over the St. John's Town Center with this one single flower. As you can see, it became quite droopy as the day went on and by the time they made it home, the gerbera daisy was facing south. However, I still loved it as if it was a prize-winning rose. I tried placing it in various vases, but, that only increased the droop factor. So my husband had a light bulb moment and went to recycle bin and came back with what he considered the perfect vase to elevate the flower from the table surface.

Tada! Quick Fix! Men have a totally different way of thinking, indeed!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Thursday, May 5, 2011

{ Shrimp-n-Tulips...and my Mr. Darcy }

My husband went to the store to buy some fresh shrimp for boiling and came back with these spring tulips for me.

It was a romantic surprise and the way he said, "Here Babe. I got  these for you." puts a smile on my face everytime I think about it. I am not the type who neeeeeds to have flowers bought for me. But, I must admit, I really liked the gesture.
 He is Mr. Wonderful; my Mr. Darcy.

I took pictures of some of the fresh blooms. A few days after one of the first blooms had wilted, I took a pic of it and I think it is my favorite. There is just something about it that I really like.

P.S. The shrimp was really good too.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

{ Mojo Chicken Drumettes with Lemon Pepper }

Mojo Chicken Drumettes with Lemon Pepper
(No fork or spoon required. This is Finger Food)

This is a recipe we make a lot here at home when we are craving a citrus chicken and the ease of finger food.

 *4 packages (about 1 pound each) small chicken drumettes, skin 
   removed (optional).
* 1 Lemon
* 2 tbsp Lemon Pepper Seasoning
* 1/2 cup Badia or Goya Brand Mojo Liquid Marinade
* Extra Virgin Olive oil---enough for coating cooking pan and 
   baking sheet

---Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place drumettes in a large shallow dish or mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup mojo marinade, juice of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning. Toss gently to coat each chicken drumette. Allow to sit and marinade for 30 minutes or over night in fridge.

---In a large skillet, add enough Extra Virgen Olive Oil to coat pan. Warm oil to a medium heat, add drumettes and cook on skillet til done.

---Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray or gently coat with extra virgin olive oil. Remove drumettes from pan and arrange on baking sheet. Place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove and enjoy. NOTE: The oven step can be omitted if you like a juicier drum. We prefer our drumettes a little on the dry side....almost resembling the texture of a jerky. This recipe can also be made on the outdoor grill.

This is also a nice alternative to the same ol' same ol' buffalo wings and is a nice addition to Game Day finger foods.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Sunday, May 1, 2011

{ Earth Day }

For Earth Day we celebrated by doing what we always love to do---simply spending lots of time outdoors in our backyard. We also went to Whole Foods for a little Earth Day seed planting event. Saylor planted Zinnias. Then we had a nice lunch together.

Playing with Raspberry Macaroons

Martinellis is the best apple juice ever! My mom use to buy me this apple juice and now I buy it for my daughter. We save the round jars because they make perfect vases for little wild flowers.

Gelato :)

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten