How High Is The Water, Mama? (Rhapsody in Blue VII)

Old Boy contemplates a cloud

Old Boy (my Great Blue Heron friend) usually sits in the “driftwood tree” farther out in the lake. Remember? 

These days he’s roosting elsewhere and I can’t blame him.

The tips of the branches you see in the photo below are the top of that tree after two weeks’ worth of rain… with another weeks’ worth of thunderstorms in the forecast.

High water

That’s a lot of water!

(Or, as they say around here: a “Lotawatah.”)

There’s a road by that name not far from here — for good reason.

High water 1

This photo is more “brown” than “blue” but you get the idea…

A neighbor called to check on the flooding by his cabin. (This is the photo I sent in reply.) Somehow it reminded me of Johnny Cash’s song, “Five Feet High and Rising.”

How high is the water, Mama? Two feet high and risin’… three feet high and risin’… four feet high and risin’ — and on it goes. Whether or not you’re a Johnny Cash fan, The Man In Black wrote real-life lyrics (even though his song pertained to flooding in next-door Arkansas at the time.) Yup… that’s our “real life” at present.

According to the Army Corp of Engineers — the efficient folks letting out the deluge day by day at the dam 15 miles east of here (yes, our lake is THAT big!) — Lake Eufaula is hovering around 598 feet… 13 feet above “normal.”

Disappearing driftwood tree

Generally there’s a 15 foot “drop” between the lake and our “lakeshore”

It’s comforting to know that the ol’ Lightning Tree has witnessed this before — and oh, how I love looking at things from a tree’s perspective! There’s less chaos and more calm about the rising water level when witnessed by a stalwart soul — merely a phenomenon to note (despite the waves crashing ashore on windy days) — ho hum, been there, done that. Que Sera Sera.

Thankfully we live farther up “the hill” and are safe and well, other than the occasional water moccasin (aka poisonous “cotton mouth” snake) in search of a place to sun themselves. Can’t blame them either! Their habitat is in more danger than ours.

Please pray for our friends and neighbors (vertebrates and invertebrates alike) living in the low-lying areas. We may be treading carefully these days, but at least we aren’t treading water!

Enjoying “life on the lake” in spite of things,

~ Kim

Behind The Scenes: Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates cookbook

Blog Tour - May-1-28-2015

I’ve been holding a secret treasure in my hands for over a year — filled with wonder, adventure, and tales from around the globe shared by a precious gem of a friend — right there in my writing nook.

When Ally Phillips asked if I’d edit her cookbook-in-the-making in April 2014, of course I jumped at the opportunity — and onto her “magic carpet!” What a ride it’s been since.

Besides working on editorial stuff (spelling, grammar, formatting recipes, arranging page flow, and making sure Ally’s “voice” came through, etc.), I played in my kitchen — and around the house. Ally encourages that. :)

Did I mention fabulous food? (I didn’t spend all my time on the computer!)

Being privy to some of the most imaginative recipes I’ve ever read prompted me to “taste test” frequently, too.

So far I’ve savored Makai Paka, Pan Seared Flounder with Fresh Herb Tomatoes, French-Inspired Beef Roast, Croatian Potato Salad, Bourbon Drizzle, Shakshouka, and more.

Now that Ally’s “treasure” is shared with the world (available in bookstores May 12th) you can discover other folks’ reactions to it (and recipes they’ve tried) on the Blog Tour.

No surprise that the reviews are as diverse as the author ~ ‘expressing your unique self’ is a theme throughout her cookbook.

“It’s my sincere hope that ‘Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates’ will be the spark, the catalyst that allows you to discover your own special sense of style ~ not just in the kitchen, but in life and living.” ~~ ally

singaporean grilled glazed salmon

Singaporean Grilled Glazed Salmon

(from Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates)

Salmon~

1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger (I used 1 tsp. ground ginger)

1 tsp. lemon pepper (I used 1/2 tsp. each fresh lemon zest & coarsely ground pepper)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 (1 lb.) salmon filet, approximately 1-inch thick, cut into two pieces

Cooking spray

marinade in the making

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, lemon pepper, salt, and sesame oil and blend well. Score the top of the salmon about 1/4-inch deep, then drizzle with the marinade and rub it into the salmon. Cover and refrigerate about an hour before cooking.

Glaze~

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup cranberry juice

1 Tbsp. concentrated tomato paste

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used Tamari)

1 tsp. freshly grated ginger (I used about 1/2 tsp. ground ginger)

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. mustard

1 tsp. red curry powder

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. Chinese 5-Spice

sauce

Combine the brown sugar, cranberry juice, tomato paste, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, garlic, mustard, red curry powder, turmeric, and Chinese 5-Spice in a heavy medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring and cooking about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook another 8-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

Coat outdoor grill grates with cooking spray and heat to 300-350 degrees. Place the salmon on the grill and cook 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side (or to your desired doneness), closing the lid in between turning. Turn off the grill and use a pastry brush to coat the top of the salmon with the glaze. Close the lid again for about 3 minutes, then remove the salmon to a plate for serving.

(I “boho’d” mine by plating it over gluten-free black bean “spaghetti.”)

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For more about Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates please visit:

Ally’s Kitchen

Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble

Book signings/events

Cookbook trailer (3 minute video featuring Ally)

Blog Tour (May 1-28, 2015)

Enjoying sharing “treasure” with you,

~ Kim

Disclaimer:  Cedar Fort Media & Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this cookbook and I’m employed by Ally’s Kitchen LLC, but the opinions expressed in this review are uncompensated and entirely mine.

The Big Reveal

Bourbon Drizzle
Bourbon Drizzle from “Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates”

For months I’ve been hinting about a project I’ve been working on, and here ’tis at last.

Every once in awhile you run across somebody who inspires you to look at life differently. Someone who makes you giddy considering the possibilities in front of you. An instigator… an energizing spirit… an innovative foodie… a kindred soul!

Ladies and gents, if you haven’t already had the pleasure of meeting Ally Phillips, I’m tickled to introduce her to ya…

Ally

Ally entered blog world a few years ago, and since then she’s been off and runnin’ — cooking, creating, capturing mouthwatering photos, competing in contests (and winning!) — not to mention writing a one-of-a-kind cookbook.

When this cohort in cooking-dom asked if I’d be willing to edit it last year, I didn’t have to think twice before saying YES. The prospect of combining my love of the King’s English with her unparalleled savvy in the kitchen, sensational stories spanning the globe, and innate sense of adventure was meant to be! Plus I’ve always wanted to work at home in my jammies. ;)

Bonus points for getting a first-peek at Ally’s scrumptious recipes, too! Here’s the Croatian Potato Salad I made for dinner the other night. OH MY!!!

To see what other folks are saying about Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport for Adventurous Palates, check out the “Blog Tour” (May 1-28) here. 

And, for a brief (3 minute) FUN video about the cookbook click here.

Life’s been good ~ blessed ~ and “boholicious” every day! (Thanks, Ally, xo.)

Enjoying multi-talented friends ~ and words,

~ Kim

French Scrambled Eggs with Homemade Gravlax

Scrambled Eggs with Dill and Gravlax

I have too much time on my hands.

(Either that, or I’m finally making time and following my culinary instincts — and taste buds — or treating myself right.)

Take homemade gravlax, for instance. It requires a 72 hour process of curing and flipping the salmon and seasonings every 12 hours. Totally worth the effort… especially when it comes to making breakfast.

Homemade Gravlax 2

Generally, I’m not a breakfast eater (I know, I know…), but I woke up hungry and in the mood for scrambled eggs — not just any scrambled eggs — Julia Child’s scrambled eggs.

(That’s what I get for reading The Art of French Cooking for fun last winter.)

There’s something about the simplicity of French-inspired scrambled eggs, gently beaten and coaxed into creamy curds with a lil’ butter and some patient attention, combined with long-awaited peace and quiet — and the first crop of irises gracing our dining room table.

Breakfast of Champions

Today my soul wanted… needed… breakfast. Simple. Sublime. Sexy.

My dill plant provided the perfect touch of color and flavor to accentuate the undertones of the gravlax and the creaminess of the eggs (nirvana) — plus a lil’ French press coffee and freshly-squeezed orange juice never hurt.

Yup, definitely worth the effort!

Homemade Gravlax

For a gravlax how-to please refer to this recipe by love & olive oil — which they subsequently credited to Saveur — and whose directions and comments were very helpful, FYI. Good stuff either way! Just be sure to rinse the gravlax thoroughly to remove the salt. (I omitted the usual salt — and pepper — from my eggs to be sure, and they were divine “bite by bite.”)

For a scrambled egg tutorial dang near close to Julia’s, click here. Do your research, people, then please your tastebuds, xo!

Have you made a special breakfast or meal for you lately?

Enjoying nurturing moi (and hopefully you…), 

~ Kim

P.S. You deserve it!

In My Kitchen ~ April 2015

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In My Kitchen there’s actually a kitchen — at long last!

The Stove is nestled into its permanent place, ingredients and utensils are within reach (although I’m still rearranging those, lol!) and daily life is beginning to feel more like “me.”

Thank you… xo.

The Fridge

The Fridge

In My Kitchen The Fridge stands guard looking rather like Darth Vader — but I love it!

I’ve never had so much fridge/freezer storage in my entire life and I’m mindful of using it to its best advantage… preferably sharing food with others. Again, I can’t thank you enough!

(FYI, I plan to paint the kitchen walls an elegant light gray — right now they look kind of “busy” with the flooring, but — one ‘to do’ at a time.)

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In My Kitchen is a Back To The Basics set of dishes with no frills attached, except for various pattern derivations that caught my eye beyond the original set. (Thrift store bargains… you know me! ;)

Sometimes starting with a clean slate — or plate — is the best way to go until you decide otherwise. Simplicity, anyone?

Speaking of which, here’s our makeshift “deck” for now — a 2 x 4 ‘landing’ constructed by TMOFW — but we’re grateful to be in the same spot. (Disregard the charred front yard debris… workin’ on it!)

Our Temporary Deck -- same lake, different view!

Our Temporary Deck — same lake, different view!

In My Kitchen are about a hundred other blessings so I’m just going to post a “collage” to keep this short. We still have LOTS of work to do outside and in!

Necessarily so, I’ll be keeping my online activities at a minimum until the end of April (thanks for bearing with me), but please know that I LOVE reading your IMK posts, and thank you profusely for reading and commenting on mine. xo

Here’s a peek at what’s been transpiring…

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In My Kitchen it’s been cozy, crazy, and busy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. No matter how “life” presents itself make it your own… it’s the only one you’ve got!

This month’s IMK post is dedicated to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hostesses IMK graciously from “Down Under” — as well as each and every one of you who have unquestionably demonstrated what Welcome Home truly means.

Enjoying life every day and every day life,

~ Kim

P.S. Please stop by Celia’s blog to poke around kitchens the world over (great fun!) and also to wish her a Happy Half Century. ;)

In My Kitchen ~ March 2015

WindsockIn My Kitchen, or just outside of it… is a brightly colored windsock. For 3-1/2 months (going on 4) we’ve been holed up in temporary quarters after an electrical fire destroyed our home (and everything in it), which left us wondering “What are we going to do?” and “Where will we live?” (And where am I going to cook?)

Well, it’s time to celebrate! Behind the rainbow-hued flip flop windsock is our next home. (More on that in a minute.) But first, allow me to express my gratitude to Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial (who hostesses In My Kitchen) for her deeply caring heart, and my daughter, Pamela, for making our plight known. (Love ya, Bebe Girl!)

Thanks to them — and to my IMK friends around the world (and friends Stateside) — your compassionate donations added up to a new stove and a refrigerator In My Kitchen, which will forever remind me of “you” … and I can’t thank you enough! xo

I’d hoped to share some updated photos of the stove and fridge (sorry for the repeat from Celia’s post, but this is it until next month) when I discovered my camera batteries were “exhausted.” I know how they feel! Transitioning from ‘temporary’ (especially when we’re still waiting on running water and propane) has meant hauling buckets up and down the driveway two pails at a time — one “wash,” one rinse — and it’s been slow going. But we’re making progress!

Our of our “wondering” questions (and many prayers) were answered in the form of an old adage: “There’s no place like home.” Since we’d lived/rented the lake house for over 7 years and loved the location, we asked our landlord if he’d lease us the lots. (Yippee, yes!) We couldn’t afford to build a house, so we did the next best thing… we moved one.

Here are a few photos from ‘moving day’ as our double-wide mobile home (basically a trailer that’s constructed in “halves,” hauled, and later hooked together) made it down The Hill.

The trick (besides moving it!) was finding a home within our post-fire budget. Some of them are as expensive as newly constructed homes! But, The Man Of Few Words is a handy-man extraordinaire and we eventually found a ‘fixer upper.’ :) Thank you, God.

It took a lot of faith, foresight, and imagination to transform it from this…

…into this:

(Okay, that was more of a ‘house tour’ than an IMK peek, but I’m sooo excited about getting back to LIVING and cooking In My Kitchen…)

and our next HOME! :)

Of course, there’s still a lot of outside work to be done yet…

… but as I said, we’re making progress every day. (Snow & ice storms notwithstanding.)

One of the first things to arrive In My Kitchen… was this stainless steel potato masher to replace my Grandma’s antique potato masher — a gift from Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things. (Thank you, Liz, xo!) It’s a high-tech wonder that does a marvelous job of reducing spuds into “fluff” in no time! xo

(Who says you can’t combine nostalgia with new?!)

DSCN0526

Also, the cheerful striped kitchen towel (one of four, with 2 sets of bath towels to boot — not to mention assorted goodies) were from my friend, Ally Phillips. (Thanks, Ally!)

If you’ve ever questioned “goodness” in this world… wondered if it still exists… well, my life (and my kitchen) are evidence that it does.

To all of you who contributed to our fundraiser, if there’s any way possible to personally thank you in the coming months, I’ll find it. (I was raised to acknowledge gifts with a thank you note!) In the meantime, thank you from the bottom of my heartCelia, Pamela, Liz, Ally, everybody… xoxo.

Enjoying one day closer to being In My Kitchen “for real,”

~ Kim

The Lyrical Life

Lyrical

lyr-ical\’lirikel\adj 1: suitable for singing; melodic; 2: expressing direct and usually intense personal emotion. (Hello!)

Once upon a time this chair (one of four) appeared to me  — part providence, part convenient parking space — singing a seductive siren song outside of a local thrift shop. I couldn’t resist its/their curbside appeal… charm… sultry lure. Plus, God blessed me unexpectedly with a bit o’haggling money, thank You very much! I enjoyed them immensely as long as I was allowed to have them, like so many other things in life — children… siblings… people… and recent home.

Whether you believe in Providence or not, spontaneous delights that show up on your doorstep (or end up in your trunk) are proof of “something more.”

These chairs are now a transient memory (life happens), but as past photos recall, their elegance and significance to me (not to mention how much they haunt me in their absence) linger on. It’s okay… I’m okay… recognizing that some things are harder to get over than others, even when they’re just “things.” (I’m soooo not a “thing” person, but, for one brief decade this chair — and it’s identical companions — graced my life and represented my soul, and I loved them for it.) However, I’m not defined by them… rather, I’m clarified (and enhanced) by sharing them with you. xo

A quick “aside”… most of my life there was a song in my heart that wasn’t heard. It was disconcerting (not to mention discouraging) when the folks I expected to be listening weren’t. Perhaps they weren’t able to for whatever reason. (Compassion reigns rampant these days and I’ve become less conscious about why re: reasons — I have so many of my own! — plus, I’m more forgiving with age. thanks to Divine Wisdom and hindsight.)

Thankfully, there were a few exceptions along the way. My piano teacher listened to (and understood) my ‘song’… my sister and brother (rest in peace) knew it… my two children still connect with it. Forty-odd years later, The Man Of Few Words tunes into my ‘frequency’ and hears it — and believes in it! Yay for life’s ‘listeners’ and ‘believers’ — especially when we’re incapable of hearing or believing in it ourselves.

There were other hints of my song, too — my personal ‘melody’ — that showed up in a restless spirit, indicating something more was in store — although I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time. (I probably didn’t appreciate it, and definitely didn’t follow it.)

Please don’t do that. (Time is too precious to waste.)

Presently, I’m the result of every decision I’ve ever made. (We all are.) Can’t change that — or the past — or it would have changed life’s course — moi — and later stumbling fortuitously upon these chairs. (There’s no such thing as coincidence!) Yes, something integral — innate — invisible — was forged. It lingered and I learned.

Thankfully, each time “blissful ignorance” threatened to overtake my countenance (and/or alter my already hazy sense of direction), another piece of my life’s puzzle showed up to point me in the right direction… including random chairs.

Lyrical Chairs

At first glance, they looked like suspects in a criminal investigation — raw, exposed, and sporting false identities, with years’ worth of reupholstering rendering their true identity into a gaudy “I dare  to sit on me” brocade facade. But, I just knew they had a story to tell (theirs and mine) and I felt compelled to rescue them — if not from further exposure, than perhaps to subject them to a gentler form of humiliation. (We should all be so kind to ourselves.)

“$50,” said the shop owner.

“Apiece?” I asked, expecting the price to be much higher for such fine craftsmanship.

“For all four,” she answered.

Who am I to question? Done deal! (I should be so lucky again at future thrift shops!) My budget hasn’t always been able to accommodate my whims — (it still isn’t) — but, on that particular day the funds happened to be available. (Thank you again, God!)

Post-transaction, I toted the chairs home intent on finding out what lay beneath their surface — not in a ‘paparazzi’ way (exposés aren’t my style, unless they pertain to myself in moments of honest scrutiny), and proceeded to remove layer upon layer and decade upon decade of fabric to reveal their original brown seat covers.

Serviceable. Sedate. Safe.

Bear in mind, there’s nothin’ wrong with a “plain brown life” — or whatever color your song (or upholstery) reveals! Uncover it with unabashed enthusiasm and self-abandon, no matter how many layers it may be buried under. (And never mind what anybody else’s expectation of the results may be.) Find YOURS and don’t look back.

Delight is in the discovery!

These days “simplicity” is de rigueur for me, but other times… hoohah! Dress it up a lil’ and celebrate! (Life and chairs.)

boho-bow

Isn’t that what living “for real” is all about…?

Uncovering layers of yourself until the Truth is revealed, curiously and kindly? It doesn’t have to be scintillating to be satisfying. In fact, sometimes an ordinary life lived extraordinarily is just the ticket… and the long sought-after answer. (But, you can always make it more fun!) Reupholstering may be part of the process… just be sure it’s your choice of fabric! And… if life is a matter of survival for you (like it is for me now), remember that curbside opportunities are oft found later… much later… and they delight long afterwards. Keep your eyes open for possibilities, lest you miss them!

Which brings me back to The Lyrical Life

Express yourself, and don’t hold back. Tell somebody how life is affecting you at the moment! (Find a human being  — or a chair, if need be — to listen.) They often become a part of you — witnessing YOU — but they’re not YOU.

Be yourself, whatever you uncover!

Enjoying chairs and life to a greater degree,

~ Kim

© 2015 Kim Bultman and a little lunch