Kitchen Therapy

Baked Flounder 2

Baked Flounder with Portobello Duxelle, Sauteed Greens, & Jasmine Rice

Y’all were probably wondering if I cook anymore…

Truth is I do and fact is: cooking has taken on an even greater role at present.

I call it: Kitchen Therapy.

The dish pictured above was the product of both hands working together in conjunction with my brain (no small feat, as you’ll soon find out) — the smaller the dice, the more difficult it is — but I was craving a Duxelle to go with with some flounder fillets, so I persevered. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Two weeks ago I had a stroke. Yup. A stroke. (A ‘slight one’ per the Doc.) All I knew was that my left leg wasn’t cooperating (a funky feeling), my left arm hung limply at my side, and my left hand was completely unresponsive. Not good! Basically, it put the “kibosh” on everything, especially in the kitchen. (And at my piano… sigh.)

First, you ought to know I’m not an ‘anxious person’ — I take life (and limb) as it comes. No sweat! (Or at least I hope that’s the general impression you’ve gotten from this lil’ ol’ blog o’mine.)

Second, y’all know me… living & loving at the lake, and all that. Could life be anymore relaxed?!

Boots & Blue

This event came out of the blue — in the middle of the night, I might add — as do many of life’s unexpected events. I simply woke up and thought, “Well, this is a new one!”

In the subsequent weeks I’ve relied heavily on the millions+ prayers from friends and family, and I’m delighted to report they’re working. After a prayer session at church last Sunday, my fingers began to move (hallelujah, praise God!) and within two days, I was back at choir rehearsal playing the piano… something I couldn’t have even imagined doing the week before. (And I have a BIG imagination.)

Whatever your beliefs are, I’m telling you, “faith and hope yield fantastic, miraculous results… not to mention fantastic food, if ya just stick with it.

Flounder with Duxelle, Greens, & Jasmine Rice

Flounder with Portobello Duxelle

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 large onion, finely diced

Sprinkle of salt (I used Himalayan Pink)

8 oz. portobello mushrooms (gills removed), finely diced

4 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg

2 flounder fillets, rinsed and patted dry

Heat butter & olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions; sprinkle with salt. “Sweat” until translucent (stir occasionally to avoid browning.) Increase heat to medium-high. Add the diced mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms release their liquid.

Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Cook until liquid(s) evaporate. Season to taste with salt, pepper, & nutmeg.

Spoon half of the duxelle into a buttered baking dish (I used a small glass loaf pan) and top with the flounder fillets. Spoon remaining duxelle over the top.

Cover and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

(I served mine with rice and greens, but a salad & bread sticks would be lovely, too.)

Last year I said October is a cataclysmic month for me. This year’s no exception.

Autumn at the Lake

Enjoying life and limb(s) at the lake ,

~ Kim

A Fresh Start

Fresh Start

The amazing thing about life is that every day is an opportunity to start fresh.

Even though the past tags along as part and parcel of who I am, I’m not bound to live like I did yesterday, nor am I one to dwell on it.

Certainly a little evaluation or introspection is involved before leaping into today — what worked vs. what didn’t — but that thought process lasts about as long as my first cup of coffee. Life goes on and I want to be part of it asap.

Gratitude also aids and abets forward motion. It’s impossible to be grumpy and grateful simultaneously. Choose grateful.

On August 17th my Sweet Sis, Laurie, died unexpectedly after an aneurysm on her heart burst. It was an undetectable anomaly, a quirk, a fluke — and evidence that ‘you never know when.’ (She was riding her Harley at the time.) Such was my Sis.

During the past two weeks I witnessed what a huge impact one life can have on others. Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, church members, classmates, fellow-bikers, and more came forward to express their grief and joy, and I marveled at how ‘famous’ my sister’s smiles and hugs had become.

In a way, it didn’t surprise me. When you make up your mind to be a blessing, the ripple effect spreads far and wide. Each and every one of us has the potential to create a ripple and none of our actions are insignificant. What we “do” today influences life… and lives.

For me, that means a renewed sense of purpose. Vigorous and vibrant living. Making the most of moments. Helping somebody else. A fresh start every morning.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have experienced the wonder of my one & only Sis — and you. She would have loved you all.

Enjoying fresh starts,
~Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

Random Playfulness

Time To Play

I won’t bore you with further details of my recently all-too-busy-life (insert maniacal laughter here), but things are finally starting to slow down and it’s time to play!

Everybody deserves a break now and then, especially a playful one.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a random question & answer type post, but my friend, Nolita from M*O*R*G*A*N*I*C — another Oklahoma blogger, woohoo! — tagged me… teased me… tempted me to break out of my ‘profound’ writing rut. (Thanks, Nolita!) Sometimes ya just gotta bust loose.

Before I get to that, I have to add a lil’ girly infusion (thanks for bearing with me, guys) and an explanation for my “you deserved it” dinner — which I thoroughly enjoyed! I figure every woman/wife/mom/girlfriend (and yes, guy!) can appreciate the “busy” background in my photos. Such is our lot in life at times. (And I was hungry.)

It’s not every day I cook up a seafood fest for myself, but I felt the need… especially since The Man of Few Words (TMOFW) stance on Mother’s Day is/was/and always will be: “You’re not my mother!”

Yup… no card, no flowers, no dinner out. (Gotta love that man, xo.) That holiday and a few others continue to be an entirely on-my-own affair — and what better way to celebrate “my day” than with goodies that don’t often cross “our” table? By the way, I was nice and shared. (Except for the lobster and drawn butter…) Bwahahaha! ;)

Time to Play 3

First up was shrimp cocktail. It may surprise you to learn that I didn’t like shrimp until last year. (Gasp!) For some reason these succulent crustaceans didn’t appeal to me taste-wise, texture-wise, or otherwise until I made an umpteenth batch of Shrimp Scampi for my beloved (his favorite) and finally tried one. What do ya know? I liked ‘em!

Better late than never.

Next up were the fabulous crab cakes shared by my friend, Jeanne. (Forever in your and your son’s debt, my dear.) Your three-ingredient dipping sauce was to die for, too!

Not to be outdone by an abundance of butter and mayonnaise (did I mention I have naturally low cholesterol?) I had to make Easy Curry Hollandaise Sauce with Asparagus by my Chef pal, Larry Fournillier… soooooo tasty. (Thanks, Larry!)

Belated Mother's Day Dinner

Now… back to those random questions. Here’s the deal. If you want to participate, do. If you don’t, don’t! I totally understand time crunches! (I think I was supposed to make up some new questions for you, too, but I kinda liked these… and if I started tagging folks, this post would be ten times longer than it already is.)

You know who you are!

Leave your answers in my comment section or start a whole new trend on your blog. ;) Mostly, have fun!

1. What has been your favorite vacation to date? My initial answer was “every day TMOFW and I spent on the road together while we were trucking,” but let’s not mix business with pleasure. Final answer? Our trip to Niagra Falls. When we got married (almost 15 years ago), we were both ‘starting over’ if ya know what I mean, and we couldn’t afford a proper honeymoon.

On our 5th anniversary we made up for lost time and did a “Great Lakes Tour” — I’m talkin’ drive around, over, and past every one of the Great Lakes in a car — which was a welcome change of pace from our semi(s) — and it included the long-awaited stop at Niagra Falls on the Canadian and U.S. sides. Corny, hokey… and entirely memorable!

2. Do you prefer big city life, suburban life, or life in the country? See header photo.

3. What is your favorite type/genre of food? Edible — preferably home-cooked.

4. How would you typically dress for a weekend night out? We don’t go out very often (see header photo…) but when we do, I tend to “fancy up.” (TMOFW not so much.) The pearls in my photos serve more than one purpose. :)

5. Do you like to wear accessories? If yes, what are your go-to accessories? I’m not much of an “accessories” person, but I do like scrunchies (in every color of the rainbow) to doll up my ever-present pony tail.

6. How do you typically fix your hair? (Blow dry and straighten/curl? Air dry? Wash and go?) See #5 above. The less time I spend on my hair, the more it leaves for other stuff.

7. What makeup do you wear on a daily basis? Do you have a preferred brand of cosmetics? I’m a “wash your face and get on with it” kinda gal, but I have a weakness for mascara and lipstick. (My eyelashes and lips tend to disappear without them.)

8. What is your preferred workout? (Gym? Outdoor running? Yoga? Group classes? None?) Stirring vigorously, chopping food like I mean it, and running back and forth between my kitchen, computer, and piano. (Walking also ranks right up there.)

9. Where is your favorite place to shop? Thrift stores and flea markets.

10. Do you enjoy entertaining guests in your home or would you prefer to be a guest and leave the hostessing to someone else? I love to entertain, but if anybody wants to invite me over, I’m game…

11. What quality do you really value in your significant other? His ineffable ability to be himself (even if it means cooking for myself on holidays now & then…) and his quiet encouragement for me to be “me.” Life doesn’t get much finer!

And this?

Random Playfulness

This is the flower he picked for me yesterday… for no reason at all.

Enjoying random playfulness,

~ Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

My Third Annual State of the Blog Address

Moon Set

Like the colors that subtly usher in each season, this post always sneaks up on me. One minute it’s March of last year and the next it’s March right now. (Almost April!) Has it really been twelve months?

Recap-wise, my year could be summed up in five words:

In transit or in transition.

I spent a lot of time away from the lake. On the road or in the air… leaving and returning… packing and unpacking… settling in again. (Necessarily so.)

With each successive journey, I felt like the shoreline moved farther away and close friends became tentative ones — not on purpose, but because that’s the way it is. Aren’t we always making adjustments? Part of being a grown-up is realizing that nothing ever stays the same, no matter how much we want it to.

Life. Relationships. Food…

One of the challenges I faced last year was getting it through my thick skull that no, you can’t eat gluten unless you want to suffer for an untold number of days. Old habits die hard, but you can teach an old dog new tricks — and I kinda favor positive thinking. While it’s not my intent to become a gluten-free blogger (and I’m greatly indebted to those who are) there’s been a radical shift in my cooking, grocery shopping, and eating. I probably won’t bring it up again… ’nuff said.

This year’s advice? Listen to your body.

Speaking of canines… one of the reasons I haven’t shared more photos (or posts) in recent months was because I was attacked by a stray dog. While I was out snapping pictures one day, Cujo decided to assert his Alpha male-ness. Thankfully I was wearing cowboy boots and my favorite Levi’s, and my Jeep was ten steps away, so the chunk he attempted to take out of my leg was foiled. I ended up with fang mark bruises on my calf for a week though… ouch.

Normally I’m a carefree and trusting soul (and I love dogs), but it never occurred to me that I could be in danger while I was out appreciating Nature through my lens. I’ve become accustomed to lizards and scorpions and snakes (oh my!), but stray dogs not so much — especially when they’re almost as tall as me. That incident shook me to the core and forced me to take refuge until Animal Control apprehended the random offender. To date, I’ve only told a few close friends (including the lake), but I’m feeling much braver now… and I carry a big stick.

Home, Sweet Home… or prison?

Another thing that influenced my writing (or lack of it) was an overwhelming feeling of being ‘housebound’ for most of the winter. Following yet another snafu with TMOFW’s ancient pickup — and despite his best efforts to fix it — he finally took it to a shop. “Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. Best bet is to haul it to a junkyard and scrap it out for parts.” That meant my Jeep went into full-time service as the hubby’s work vehicle, and yours truly has been wheel-less. (Been there, done that.) However, public transportation wasn’t an option this time with Cujo roaming about.

So, I’ve stayed home. And home. And home…

After awhile I didn’t feel like going anywhere or writing anything — nor did I have anything to write about. Mild case of agoraphobia or depression? Your guess is as good as mine. Whatever it was, I was a mess. (I love Southern euphemisms.)

Thankfully my friend (the lake) started kicking up its heels about the time I was ready to hit bottom. (I may write about it someday — or not.) Although I’m no stranger to pain, I’m also mindful of yours.

We can only take so much at one time.

Wild & Windy

Here’s to colors, cohorts, and confidence…

In case you missed my first and second annual musings, they’re here and here. And though this stretch has been a bit tumultuous, life is still good at the lake.

Heartfelt gratitude to you for reading and commenting on a little lunch. I appreciate it more than you know… xo.

Enjoying Spring on the horizon at last,

~ Kim

© 2011-2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch.

My Life Compared To Chicken Salad

‘Tis the last day of 2013, and while I considered doing a “best of” post (fun reads), I decided to sum up the year in Chicken Salad.

Many days were flavorful (think toasted pine nuts, scallions, red Anjou pears, and Bleu Cheese, with shredded roast chicken nestled on a heart of Romaine and drizzled with Balsamic vinaigrette), while others were the monochromatic amalgam of daily living — your basic “chicken, mayo, and onion” version. Both satisfied and both had their merits.

Then there were jewel-like days when life was flat-out a party.

Chicken Salad

(This was a “thrown together” salad with Honey-Dijon-Lemon-Mayo — sorry, no recipe…)

Some days are like that.

I’m also old enough to realize that not every day will be brilliant and not every day will be bland, but circumstances can’t prevent you from celebrating life… your life!

At 12:01 a.m., we’ll all be handed an empty plate. What will you fill it with?

And, which food best describes your year in review?

Enjoying chicken salad perspectives,

~ Kim

P.S. Happy New Year!!!

A Totally Unedited Post (okay, a couple of times to proofread) and an Appeal…

6 December 2013

Dear Ones,

I’m sooooo at the mercy of my creative soul. (Inspiration comes in the most unlikely forms and at the most unexpected times.) Thanks for bearing with me, blog world pals and new friends! xo

Take our recent snowstorm, for instance. Some might view it as an inconvenience, but I look at it as a break from life… and blogging.

A much needed break. (Back at’cha next weekend.)

I’m talking slow-simmered, re-evaluate as you go, throw another log on the fire, take a NAP, think it over twice before you hit the “send” button (except now), and give it some serious consideration first.

Why are you blogging? What do you want from it? What do you get from it? What do you give? (Emphasis on the last musing.)

In this online world of pretty pictures (some? all? enhanced…) as opposed to the very real world of poverty around me, it gets to be a bit much at times. The dichotomy of it digs at me — deeply.

Folks are starving here… and not just here.

Frankly, I plain ol’ don’t care if my pictures are food photo worthy (or not) or if my recipes are on the cutting edge of trendiness. (Well, I do to some extent…if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy; refer to “creative soul” above.)

What I care about more is that hungry people are fed.

Staring that statement in the face, I guess that’s why I’m here.

No. I know that’s why I’m here.

To feed your soul (hopefully)… as well as the stomachs of those in hunger.

I love having a purpose!

Between the surreal (albeit blessed) world of posting about my latest kitchen paraphernalia (and/or recipes) versus the real need of donating to our local food shelf, I might just make a difference to someone somewhere. It’s not for naught.

My efforts matter… and so do yours!

O Christmas Tree

During this holiday season (often fraught with excess), please choose to make a difference to someone in need. Step up to the plate — not just those with artful backgrounds — and donate generously to your local food pantry.

That’s it. Thank you. Love y’all!

Enjoying more blessings than I can count,

~ Kimby

A Day In The Life (Mushroom Soup with Bacon)

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 2

Diaries are a dangerous thing. (At least that’s what I thought when I was growing up.) Some of them came with a lock and key (remember the ol’ Woolworth’s variety easily pilfered with a paperclip?), while others resembled the “journal” advocated today.

Fair game for anyone who stumbled upon them.

Either way, sacred thoughts were but a page turn away from being revealed and thus I resisted the trend to tell it all… until I started blogging. It amazes (and amuses) me that anyone, anywhere can read whatever I choose to put out there.

Perhaps the key word is choose?

November 4, 2013

Woke up at 6:30 (or so) a.m. wondering what time it was. Hello, Daylight Saving Time… (Question to self: “Is it really possible to save daylight?) Check cell phone clock. Check computer clock. Open curtains. Ask hubby.

Coffee. More coffee…

Wandered about the house until caffeine caught up. (FYI, much of my morning exercise regimen consists of locating the cup I sat down somewhere, and caffeine — though labeled a drug and a vice — is part of my DNA after this long.) My blood type is “C” for caffeine… and chocolate.

Hubby laughs at my antics. (So predictable, but somehow he still finds it adorable.) Blessings…

Check outside thermometer. Check inside temp. Check woodstove.

“Want bacon for breakfast?” (No thanks.) “How ’bout eggs?” (Nah, not hungry this morning, thank you.)

“Okay.”

We’ve pretty much decided we’re on our own when it comes to appeasing hunger, but I’m compelled to offer anyway.

Hubby leaves for work. Rush to living room window to wave goodbye and blow kisses. (TMI?)

Opens fridge…

Generally I’m not a breakfast eater (see above), but I couldn’t help myself from indulging in another bowl of the mushroom soup that I made last night. It was that good. (Side note: check woodstove again.)

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 1

I can’t thank Queen Jeanne’s Cuisine enough for sharing this recipe! (click here). For a fascinating glimpse on why Jeanne does what she does (and is a culinary instructor, to boot!), please follow up here. Thank you, Jeanne!

For those of you wondering if I rankled the recent dairy-phobe nature of my physiology, I went out on a limb and added the heavy cream. (So far, so good.)

I foresee cheese in my future, hoohah!

Did I mention bacon? Mushroom Soup with Bacon? Breakfast of champions.

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 2

Fortified by the unconventional sustenance at that hour, I grabbed my camera and jacket (cooler today) to take shots of the undulating lake. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been fooling around with my blog background. The previous one reminded me of tire tracks and trucking (ala lake colors), but the effect was somewhat dizzyfying… not quite what I had in mind to imbue the peacefulness of this place.

Wave shots, check. Try not to fall in, check. Fall foliage shots and whatever else tickles my fancy, check.

(Bacon does that to me.)

Peaceful

Downloaded photos into my computer. Seared roast for tonight’s dinner. Peeled potatoes, onions, and carrots. Scoffed at the slippery slope toward revealing all… and laughed long and loud!

(Some days are like that.)

Particularly today…

Enjoying adjusting to DST,

~ Kimby