Kiki 🌸 004

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To read chapter one, go here. To read my intro about Kiki, go here.

“Jake!” Brandy said. “Vouch for me. Didn’t we hit every red light on the way to school today?”

Jake nodded. “We did, but you also ran them all, so I don’t think that can be your excuse for why we were late this morning.”

Brandy huffed. “That wasn’t the only reason–”

“Yes, The Great Sweater War of 2004. I remember,” Jake said with a grin.

“Did you get detention?” Kiki asked.

Jake shook his head. “Nah. First period is Health, which Coach teaches. I think I’d have to light him on fire for him to give me detention.”

Taylor snorted. “Even then, he’d be like, ‘Sure you had a good reason for it, West. You go over those plays yet?'” She did a pretty decent impression of the football coach, Kiki noted.

Jake chuckled. “You’re probably not off.” He reached down and took Kiki’s hand in his.

Eight years they had been a couple, since the ripe age of ten, and Kiki still felt a beautiful warmth whenever he touched her.

“Brandywine!” A.J. called out, jogging toward them.

Brandy squealed and reached for him. “Lemme see! Lemme see!”

A.J. spread his arms wide, smiling even wider.

She squealed again. “Ohmigawd! They look so good!” She smirked then took his face between her hands. “Now lemme feel,” she said before going in for an open-mouthed kiss.

“Stop it. Stop it right now,” Brent said, approaching the group with Busta in tow.

Brandy completely ignored her cousin while A.J. flipped him the bird.

“So, Brent and I were thinking–” Busta started.

“No,” Brent interrupted. “No, you and Brent were thinking of nothing. Brent was trying to ignore you and you kept talking.”

Busta grinned. “Underneath that adorable scowl is a heart full of love for me. Anyway, we were thinking that since it’s Friday, we should do a bonfire on the beach tonight.”

Taylor sighed and stepped forward, taking Busta’s face in between her hands. “Oh, Busta, my sweet little goofball.” She kissed his forehead. “It’s Tuesday.”

“It is?” he said, face falling. “Wow. That’s way too bad.” After a pause, he shrugged. “Oh well. We should still do it.”

“I’ll go if Brandy and A.J. don’t go,” Brent said.

Brandy unsunctioned her mouth off of A.J.’s to frown. “That’s not very nice,” she pouted.

“Neither is listening to you screw in the beach grass and then try and tell everyone you were looking for seashells.”

“We were!” Brandy argued.

A.J. grinned, not put off by the conversation at all. “And then we got distracted.” he looked at Busta. “We’re in.”

Brent scowled, giving up. “Yeah, us too.”

Amber frowned up at him. “Um, excuse me. I can speak for myself.”

Brent looked at her in surprise. “Oh. Uh, sorry. Do you want to go?”

“Even if I did or didn’t, we don’t have to do everything together. If I didn’t want to go, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go.”

Brent stared at her for a moment and then said, “So . . . you don’t want to go?”

“Yes, I do! God!”

Brent threw up his hands and turned away from her, rolling his eyes.

Kiki cleared her throat and looked at her boyfriend. “Jake, didn’t you dad get that portable grill for his birthday? Do you think he’d let us borrow it?”

Jake quickly jumped on the subject change. “Oh yeah, for sure. We could definitely do some burgers and dogs.”

That caught A.J.’s attention. “Hey, I’m always down for some eats.”

“Shocker,” Brent muttered, but there was less annoyance in his voice now and his scowl wasn’t as deep.

“Great!” Kiki said. “Jake will bring the grill. I’ll go shopping for the food and stuff after school. Anyone want to come?”

“I will!” Brandy said enthusiastically. She couldn’t pass up a shopping trip, even if it was just barbecue items.

“I’ll drive,” Taylor volunteered.

“Yeah,, I’ll come too,” Amber said, giving in.

“And I’ll bring the brewskis!” A.J. announced.

“Yeah, maybe let’s hold off on that part,” Jake said. “As Busta helped point out, it is not, in fact, the weekend and I am not going to hear about how hungover you are tomorrow.”

“Hey, I got Irish blood. I’m not gonna get tanked over a beer or two.”

Jake clapped him on the shoulder, grinning. “No doubt. Now if only I believed you were capable of limited yourself to a beer or two.”

A.J. grinned back and gave him a punch in the shoulder. “Screw you. Just because you don’t ever partake . . .”

“Jake’s always our DD,” Busta reminded him. “If he partook, we’d all be still passed out on the floor of someone’s house.”

A.J. slung his arm around Kiki’s shoulder. “Miss Kiki could always do it.”

“Oh yeah, that sounds fun,” Kiki smiled. “Dragging you guys one by one to the car.”

“Besides,” Brent muttered. “Jake likes being the DD. It gives him an excuse not to drink and ruin his figure.”

Jake shrugged, not put off by the assessment. “Nothing wrong with staying in shape.”

“Yeah,” Taylor laughed. “That’s why you do it. The health benefits. Nothing to do with vanity.”

Jake unsuccessfully hid a smile. “Just a very fortunate side effect.”

A.J. laughed. “Yeah, so is standing in front of the mirror for three hours so a hair isn’t out of place.” He reached over to rub a hand over Jake’s chocolate-colored locks.

But Jake ducked away from the hand, looking very serious suddenly as he said, “Don’t touch my hair.”

Kiki bit her lip to keep from laughing. Maybe it should have been off-putting that Jake leaned a little on the vain side, but she actually found the flaw endearing. He seemed so perfect in all other aspects of life. It was oddly assuring to know that he wasn’t.

Or maybe she just had a bad case of love goggles.

“All right,” A.J. conceded. “No beers. But you ladies better grab some Doritos too. I’m gonna be extra hungry.”

Brent eyed the ex-Bostonian’s stocky figure. “When are you not extra hungry?”

“Fuck you,” A.J. said automatically, handing Brandy some cash from his wallet for the food.

The warning belle rand and Taylor sighed at it before the group dispersed and headed for their separate classes.

Jake kept up with Kiki. They didn’t have any of the same classes, unfortunately, but his second period History was right next to her Biology class. “Don’t think I got to tell you good morning yet,” he said, flashing out that smile she loved.

“Well, that’s not okay,” she teased. “What are you gonna do to make it up to me?”

He pretended to think about it. “Love you forever?”

Kiki’s heart warmed, but she stopped in her tracks and stood to face him. “That’s pretty good. What else you got?”

“Hmm,” Jake hummed thoughtfully. “Call you pretty and take you to prom?”

She nodded approvingly. “I like that too. Yet somehow, I’m still not satisfied . . .” She tapped a finger on her lips.

Jake’s grin broadened and he stepped closer. One of his strong hand slid over her jaw and under her ear to push back into her hair. Their faces drew together like magnets and Kiki soon felt the firm press of his soft lips on hers.

She wasn’t like Amber. She didn’t mind PDA. If it was a choice between caring what people were thinking and Jake’s mouth on her, she would choose Jake every single time.

Their lips parted and Kiki’s eyes opened hesitantly, knowing it was going to take her from that happy and warm bubble where only she and Jake resided and back into her school hallway.

“Good luck,” Jake said.

Kiki frowned. “Good luck?”

“Your biology test,” he reminded her.

“Oh yeah,” she said remembering. Then she felt her stomach sink, really remembering. “Oh yeah.”

“Hey,” Jake said, hand still in her hair as he leaned in to press his lips to her forehead. “You’re gonna do fine. You just breathe and go with your instincts.”

Kiki wanted to stay right there though. If she could just take the test with Jake so near and assuring, maybe she would actually relax. But she pushed the smile back on her face and nodded. “I know. I studied. I’ll be fine,” she repeated.

Jake pulled back and studied her face for a moment, then smiled softly, ignoring the final bell. “I love you.”

That made her forget the test in that brief moment and she smiled a little more genuinely. “I love you too.” Her eyes flicked behind him. “You should go, though, before we’re both in trouble and I’m guaranteed an F.” It was a joke, except not really.

Jake nodded, though there was hesitation in his steps as he backed away from her. He flashed one more encouraging smile and Kiki gave him one back, both saying that there was nothing to it and this test wouldn’t be like the others.

She just wished she could believe it.

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Buffalo Chicken Wontons

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m an extremely picky eater. Most people also know that I hate to cook. I’m not good at it, almost everything I make ends up burnt or undercooked (sometimes both; I’m just that talented), I don’t have the patience for it, I don’t like the mess or the cleanup or standing in front of a hot oven/stove/anything. So the combination of being a picky eater and being a terrible cook results in a lot of take-out or things I can shove in a microwave.

It’s an awful combination that forms bad eating habits. Recently, I joined Weight Watchers (or WW, as they’re trying to rebrand themselves). I’ve been on it for about a month and a half and lost 14 pounds so far. I haven’t had to give up all the foods I like, it’s just making sure that I don’t eat as much of them, especially one after the other. It’s meant eating a lot of chicken breast (it’s zero points) and to find things I can actually make for myself.

Behold the buffalo chicken wontons. This is a dish I used to order all the time at a diner called Stars whenever I would visit my friend. Theirs are fried. However, while browsing recipes on the WW app, I saw a wonton recipe, only baked instead of fried. Theirs were stuffed with pork and shrimp and a medley of other things I wouldn’t have found appetizing. So I decided to combine the two ideas and now, it’s one of my favorite meals. And it’s only two points for four wontons! (5 points if you eat eight like I do >.>)

Ingredients

  • wonton wrappers (I use Frieda’s Wonton Wrappers, which I found in the produce section of Walmart)
  • buffalo wing sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s)
  • chicken breast
  • cooking spray
  • (optional) ranch/bleu cheese dressing

Chicken

If you have your own way of making shredded buffalo chicken, by all means. This is just how I do it.

  1. Pour buffalo sauce into slow cooker, enough to coat the bottom.
  2. Put chicken breast in. One good-sized breast is probably enough for eight wontons, but I always make two. I like the leftovers (my good friend Lara has lots of buffalo chicken dishes over at The Picky Gourmet) or the option to make more wontons, which I always end up doing because my family usually ends up grabbing some, even though they say they don’t want any.
  3. Add more buffalo sauce to cover breasts.
  4. Cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2 hours.
  5. When done, remove breasts and shred the chicken with two forks. The chicken should shred and fall apart easily.
  6. To add more buffalo flavor, spoon out some of the buffalo sauce from the slow cooker and mix into your shredded chicken. Keep adding large spoonfuls until it has the taste and consistency you want.

Wontons

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Lightly spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Lay out wonton wrappers on cookie sheet.
  4. Spoon out buffalo chicken mixture onto center of wonton wrappers, leaving room around the edges. The more you use, the harder it is to fold over, but they are more delicious with more filling.
  5. Optional: For extra flavor, add more buffalo sauce or even a little ranch or bleu cheese dressing. Just note that adding dressing will cause the calories or WW points to increase. If you’re not watching that sort of thing though and this sounds good to you, go for it!
  6. Wet the edges of the wonton wrappers. You can use water, but I like to use a little bit of buffalo sauce to add more flavor.
  7. Fold over the wrappers so they’re in the shape of a triangle and pinch the edges together so they stick together. You may have to pick them up off the sheet to do this. I usually have to.
  8. Spray the top of the wontons LIGHTLY with the cooking spray.
  9. Put in oven for 6 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through. The directions on the WW app says six minutes and to keep adding time if they’re not crispy enough. I find that just putting them in for ten works best for me, but your oven could vary.
  10. Take them out and put them on a cool plate, like my new wolf/bat one I got from Walmart. Eat them on their own or have a dipping sauce you like paired with it.

Disney Villain Pumpkins 🎃

Recently I went back up to New Hampshire to go visit with my roommate. One of the places I wanted to visit was the farm that wasn’t too far from our house, Tendercrop Farms. They make their own soda and carried my favorite butter mints in their general store. But around the Halloween season they also have a giant corn maze and sell lots of pumpkins. My friend and I got completely lost in the corn maze and took an emergency exit to get out.

But we also bought pumpkins to paint. I saw the Maleficent one done on social media, but then I also had the idea to paint one as the poison apple from Snow White.

I used white pumpkins for both of these as it make the colors stand out more and I wouldn’t have to do so many coats. The Maleficent one uses three colors: mint green, lavender and black and I just painted like so. As for her horns, these are pumpkin stems. Try to find ones that are curvy and pointed and then paint them black. I tried hot gluing them to the pumpkin, but they kept falling off at the slightest touch. When I got home, I used super glue and that stuck much better.

For the Apple, I found a pumpkin that was a bit narrower at the top, broke off the stem and flipped it upside down. For the Apple colors, I mixed bright red with just a touch of black and painted the whole pumpkin, making sure it was streaky and those brush strokes showed so it looked like a real apple. For the poison skull drippings, I took white with just a touch of the mint green from Maleficent and painted on the poison, leaving holes for the eye sockets and nose. The red was still wet, but that was perfect, as it mixed with the white and gave the poison a more translucent, ghostly look.

Are you into decorating pumpkins? Carving? Painting? Share your creations!