Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recipes & Epiphanies

I write a lot. A LOT. During the school year, I'm constantly writing essays, my favorite form of long distance communication is email, & I take extensive notes in all my classes. This blog has become a place for me to express my ideas without the constraints of MLA formatting & to write about the things I love most.

Family - check
Friends - check
Music/Lyrics - check
Art - check
Traveling - check
The Gospel - check
The Color Blue - check
Food - um... wait, WHAT?!

Yes, it is true. I have never written a post about food. If you know me at all, you'll realize how incredibly odd this is. I love to cook. I love to feed people. I love to make up recipes. I love to share recipes... & yet, somehow, inexplicably, I have never posted a single recipe on my blog?! This ends NOW. (& good recipes, like everything else, have good stories)

A few months ago, I was having dinner at a wonderfully ghetto apartment in Provo inhabited by three boys who served missions in Eastern Europe. (I also met my platonic soulmate, Miss Martha, on this particular wonderful evening.) Head Chef Beazer had concocted an incredible salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, & lots of feta cheese. I had absolutely no idea what it was called, but it was delicious. Good work, Beaz. My friendly neighborhood Bulgarian expert informed me today that it is called "Shopska." I think an equally good name would be "Fresh Goodness." You can find the real recipe HERE, but this is my version. It was pretty адско вкусно. (this is pronounced somewhat like "odskoe fkoosno"... I think... it means "incredibly delicious.")

Summer Shopska Salata
Makes 3 large or 5 small servings

1 cucumber, peeled & diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Feta, crumbled, & lots of it

1 tblsp (aka table spoon) olive oil
2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
2 ish tblsp fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

The instructions are pretty simple: Chop up all the veggies (I took the seeds out of one of the tomatoes, just to reduce the liquid in the salad a bit.) & mix them together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients, mix thoroughly, & dress the veggies. (Note: You don't need to use all the dressing, that's up to your taste buds.) Stir it up, serve it up immediately, & top it with as much feta as you like. I like a lot.

I would also highly suggest a piece toasted artisan bread to accompany this dish - rosemary bread was terrific.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Leaving On a Jet Plane

When I originally started this blog, it had two very specific purposes: to write entries for my New Testament class at Brigham Young University and to discuss my preparations for my trip to India with Rising Star Outreach. But lately my posts have been a little less spiritual and a lot more spastic, a bit less focused on my journey to India and more random ramblings. All the silliness has been fun and quite entertaining (I had more comments on my post dedicated to the color blue than any other post to date.) But now that India is right on the horizon, I think it’s high time I return to my roots.

With my departure date looming only a little over two months away, this trip is starting to feel very real. For about a year now, I’ve been saying, “I’m going to India next summer!” But “next summer” is NOW. My fundraising letters have been sent, my passport is being processed, and I’m making doctor’s appointments to get a prescription for Malaria pills and be vaccinated for Typhoid Fever.

I am terribly nervous and incredibly excited. I have been so blessed throughout my life; I feel like this is an opportunity for me to serve and give a little bit back. Working in the Rising Star school outside Chennai as well as in the leprosy colony will be a great chance to see firsthand what a huge difference a little bit of love and care can make.

If you’d like more information about Rising Star Outreach or would like to find out what you can do to help, please contact me at or visit

More India Prep posts to come: The Children of Rising Star, SUS's (Suitcases of Unusual Size), and New Shower Rules.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Top Five Reasons Why I Don't Want to Grow Up

I'm in a silly sort of anti-responsibility mood right now. Nothing major, I promise, I won't be joining the hippie movement anytime soon. I think it's more Peter Pan Syndrome - I'm a bit unsure of what the future holds, so maybe I'd rather just stay away from all those grown-up decisions and worries. Childhood was pretty awesome. There are some things I just don't want to let go of.

1 - I love gummy bears. And I feel like mature, adult-size people shouldn't like a candy that looks so silly & tastes so fake. But I do. I adore them. (I was thinking about this love for gummy bears yesterday & it inspired this entire list. Cool, huh?)

2- I love swinging, even though it makes me dizzy quite often. I can play on a swing set for hours - flying through the air, that moment of suspension, it's such a simple rush. I also feel like somehow swings break down barriers; some of the best conversations I've ever had have been on swings, whether silly or serious, sometimes it seems like people show who they really are a little more when you get their feet off the ground.

3- I love climbing trees. When I was little, we had the most magnificent fig tree in our backyard. I think it was designed by God especially for the climbing antics of a little girl. No toy was a beloved to me as my fig tree. I think I even fell asleep in it a few times.

4- I love playing dress up.* Maybe I should be ashamed to admit this, but I'm not. I think Halloween is by far the most entertaining holiday & I wish we were given more excuses to pretend to be someone else. I think theme costume parties are awesome, I dress up for movie premiers, and my roommates and I often don crazy clothing for late-night photo shoots or random dance parties. (Okay, Carrie and I do this a lot more than the other girls.)

5- I still don't like bedtimes, as is obvious by the time signature of this post.

*Please note - my love for playing dress up does NOT mean I'm Barbie-like kind of girl that always looks just right. I'm not a fashionista. I don't do accessories. I don't wear skinny jeans. (no longer true...) I just thought I should clear that up, lest you expect to see me looking like I just walked out of a fashion spread. You would be sorely disappointed.

So- here's a spot for your shout outs - Why don't YOU want to grow up?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Some things never change at the old Laguna Beach LDS Chapel. It is still tiny & packed with some of the best people in Southern California. (Okay, I'm a little biased, I love my ward.) I haven't been back to Laguna for almost four years, but it's always fun to "come home" for a visit. We still refuse to be introduced as visitors, even though it's been over eleven years since we left our ocean-front apartment on PCH for a little brick house on a dirt road in Idaho.

One of my favorite things about coming back to visit is hearing all the stories - stories of my parents as newlyweds, the mischief the crew of boys who practically grew up at our house, & funny things I used to say as a very precocious little girl. Melba,onne of the little grandma ladies that has lived in the ward since Laguna Beach was a charming little artist community told me a good one this past Sunday - apparently, sharing has not always been my forté.

Once upon a time, when I was about four, my mom took me with her to visit Melba's daughter and Melba was at her daughter's house. I had two small bouquets of flowers, which I had created myself. I gave one bouquet to Melba's daughter with a lot of little giggles & curtsies. I looked at Melba, then at my other bunch of flowers, turned back to Melba very solemnly and said,

"These are not for you. These are mine."

Oopths. :/

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Market Research

No, this is not a blog about wise financial planning & investments - I'll leave that up to those that are a bit wiser than myself. This post is about why I love markets in Southern California.

Market - (m-ahr-kit/ket) a store that sells fresh produce, deli products, dry goods, and other assorted food stuffs; a grocery store.

Sometimes I have a bit of an eclectic vocabulary; I tend to pick up little phrases and terms from the people around me. I believe the credit for calling a "grocery store" a "market" goes to Joyce and my mother, who also picked the term up from Joyce.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Markets in Southern California

1- Fresh artisan breads. Very few things make me happier than a loaf of really flavorful bread with a good hearty crust. Sorry, Wonderbread, I've upgrade to a classier carb.

2- The cheese selection is AMAZING. & I like cheese.

3- A good shopping soundtrack. I don't know if it was just the particular Von's we were in the other night, but during the length of one quick grocery run I heard, "Come On, Get Higher," "Fix You," & "Let Love In," - all of which probably make my top 20 favorite songs. Oh, and one other song with a female vocalist that I really like, but I forgot everything else about. Anywho - the music was good & I was pleased.

4- A fresh cut flower selection that includes more than carnations & roses that smell like plastic. My mom says I've always been a flower child & I love all the little flower shops down here. & the fact that the flowers actually smell good!

5- Hansens's fruit smoothies (strawberry guava = bliss in a can) & Have'a Chips. YUM

*AUTHOR'S NOTE* I don't actually like that music video for "Fix You." I think it's pretty dumb. Also - if you're going to wear an all black outfit, don't wear white running shoes, okay? It just looks... awkward.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Few Things to Ponder

Well, my dear readers, I warned you that the, erm, "quietness" of my summer at home was likely to incite a LOT of random blogging...well, I wasn't kidding. With considerably fewer people to talk to, I have quite a few strange opinions & musings floating through my thoughts. This almost always leads to a new blog post.

First of all, yesterday I was filling out my passport application in preparation for my trip to India. You have to do quite a few things to verify your identity, but you really don't give any information that tells WHO you are. Name- Kelsey Elayne, height - 5'6" (actually, 5'6.5"), hair color-brown, eye color-hazel, address- blah blah blah - that's all important, all they care about, really, but that's not me. That's just the glimpse of me that you might see walking down the street, although you might think my eyes were brown from a distance. You'd be wrong.

Second Random Topic of the Day- Victoria's Secret is now making "Layers of Lovespell" - Vicky herself sent me an email this morning to tell me the big news. They've now separated the alluring scents used in their most popular perfume into three independent flavors, so you can mix & match & make your own personal Lovespell. I'm still trying to decide whether this is shameless exploitation the popularity/power of one perfume, the next thing to go on my birthday wishlist, or an attempt at world domination through pheromones.

Third and Final Random Thought (The last one for this post, anyway) - I adore Wiki. love love love love. I would not have survived this last semester without it. Last night, I spent over an hour following random link trails through a myriad of articles - some interesting, some ridiculous, some seemingly pointless. I am now much more knowledgeable about the band Muse, fairies, J.M Barrie (the author of "Peter Pan and Wendy" - Wendy was not a common name before his book), and falconry. I was hunting for inspiration, for I have been given a great task: to find a worthy name for my roommate Jess' blog - if I come up with a good enough title, she will create a blog. My life now has a purpose. (And suggestions are welcome!)