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.

The Movies — More Than Just Entertainment

Oscar night nibbles

When was the last time you really listened to someone’s story?

In a previous post I mentioned the snack tray I put together to accompany the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards — nothin’ fancy, just a few “made-with-love” goodies to enhance Mom’s escalating excitement surrounding that event. (And please bear with the photo above scanned from one she sent me — hover, people, hover… I’ll be rectifying that soon.) Anyway, Mom loves parties.

She loves movies even more.

I heard her story often while I was growing up — no electricity, no running water, a mild-mannered Mother and a domineering Dad. Nothin’ against my grandparents — life was tough in the post-Depression era and apparently they came to an amicable compromise before I was born. (I honestly don’t remember their relationship being so “volatile.”) But, recall is subjective, and for my Mom (a sensitive — and may I add sensational — human being despite the odds), it meant bearing the brunt of hard times and folks trying to cope. I’m so glad I listened to Mom’s story again, and that she felt compelled to tell it once more.

Enter Hollywood…

Saturday nights during the late 1930′s and early 1940′s, my Grandpa favored visiting the local pool hall after a hard week of tilling the soil. For whatever reason — I’m certain Grandma had a hand in it (she wasn’t as meek as she made out to be) — she and my Mom (from age 5 onward) rode into town with him to be deposited under the marquee of the local theatre. While Grandpa enjoyed his libations around the corner, they watched movies. And, depending on how long he fancied to stay, they gladly sat through the second show.

Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman, Katherine Hepburn, Greer Garson, Vivien Leigh, Celeste Holmes, Judy Garland, and countless others (not to mention their handsome leading men) appeared larger than life and yet somehow “real.” Whether they realized it or not, their performances sparked a young girl’s imagination and made an indelible impact on her ability to reconcile life as she knew it. Movies weren’t just entertainment, they were a means of survival. And possibilities…

The big screen provided more.

Movies filled Mom’s heart with hope. (Still do!) Bonus points for costume designers — Edith Head was her favorite. I suspect she was the inspiration for the many, many home-sewn garments Mom later expertly designed and constructed for my sister ‘n me. Side note: A few years ago I was honored to view Edith’s creations (and Oscars) in Bartlesville, OK… breathtaking! I thought of Mom the whole time…

For those of you who snored through the “technical” and other obligatory categories during this year’s Academy Awards, I wish you could have seen the look on my Mom’s face. Rapt attention. Respect. Darn near reverence. She appreciates each and every facet of movie-making — and no wonder why.

We should all be so mindful.

A brief word to aspiring (and veteran) actors… please know that your performances contribute more to life than just momentary amusement. Somewhere “out there” a young lady (or gentleman) may be desperately yearning to be transported from “reality” into a world they can only imagine in the dim lights of a movie theatre. They’re dreaming of the future — their own! Follow your heart, and Lord willing, they’ll follow theirs.

My Mom’s life (and mine) have been inexorably altered by “the movies.”

After my last visit home, I don’t think I’ll ever feel the same about watching them. “I’d like to thank The Academy… and my mother. Her life story (and yours ‘n mine) are etched in history — forever.

My advice? Listen to stories even if you’ve heard them before. (Tell your own, too!) Who knows? One day a Best Picture nomination or a better life (the stuff dreams and movies are made of) may result.

Enjoying real-life screenplays,

~ Kim

What’s your favorite movie — and why?

© Kim Bultman and a little lunch

In My Kitchen ~ March 2014

Mom's Mailbox

I dug that path to my Mom’s mailbox…

After 40 years of Minnesota winters, I should be used to this by now. I didn’t intend to go there in March — really I didn’t — especially after the winter they’ve had, and the ones I’ve become accustomed to in Oklahoma. But when your Mom is missin’ ya…

Here’s a slightly warmer view of where I spent my time this month:

In My Mom's Kitchen

Outside the weather may have been frightful, but the warmth inside was delightful! I learned to cook in this kitchen, and even though Mom’s latest “Space Shuttle” (as I call it) presented a number of challenges (!!!), I still managed to pull off her favorite Chicken Alfredo and a number of other goodies while I was there, including an Oscar “Girls’ Night In” soiree’ that tickled her soul.

(I’m talkin’ mini-croissant sammiches with maple roast turkey & medium-rare roast beef, homemade Bleu Cheese sauce, assorted olives & cheeses, and star-worthy fresh strawberries and chocolate truffles.)

Remind me to put in my bid for next year’s Oscar pre-and-post party nibbles…

Snowfall notwithstanding (it dumped a FOOT while I was there), I survived and thrived — and made it home again with a renewed perspective — the whole point of my trip, besides lots of HUGS! Sometimes all you need is a cozy nook with interesting books and favorite stuffed animals to feel appreciated and nurtured — plus a Mom who loves you being in her kitchen, no matter how lil’ or long you stay.

(Don’cha just love that lil’ Chef Bear?!)

Bookshelf

Last month I mentioned featuring a stellar Chocolate Hazelnut Cake on this month’s IMK post in anticipation of my birthday (in the oven as we speak…), but it requires a couple of hours/overnight chilling — and frankly I’ve had enough chilling (or sub-zero wind chills) to last me three winters! Stay tuned for next month’s IMK… :)

In the meantime — and for those of you who haven’t experienced SNOW — here’s a peek at the “real” winter I experienced recently with heartfelt accolades to those of you who put up with it from October to May! Tomorrow it’s supposed to be sunny and 70 in Oklahoma… just sayin’… and I’m soooo grateful to be HOME and warm again.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thank you, Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for another opportunity to share what’s going on in my life and ’round the world!

Enjoying kitchen antics here and elsewhere,

~ Kim

P.S. The handsome young man alongside the drift at the end of the driveway is my son who treated me to a night on the town during my stay (never mind the snow-laden outdoor seating in the slide show…) and got me to where I needed to fly home the next day. Long live die-hard Minnesotans!

Birthday Cake

P.P.S.S. My cake just came out of oven in my SNOWFLAKE ramekins (when in Rome) and I’m truly looking forward to enjoying every glorious bite slathered in chocolate ganache — the best cure (and welcome home) for “cold” that I know. ;)

Gumbo and Other Gobbledygook

Gumbo

Please hover for the full effect…

This past week I spent an hour of my life developing a roux the color of chocolate mahogany. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Gumbo worth eating is gumbo worth cooking properly from the ground up.

As I stood over an antique cast iron skillet stirring (and stirring and stirring…), flavors from the past subtly mingled with my present day quest for soul food. Regional food. Food rife with history.

Did I mention flavor?!!

(Quick aside: cast iron is the ideal vessel for making a deep, dark roux.)

Standing over the stove also gave me time to consider how I’m doing “life” at the moment — or how I might do it differently. (I love cooking, if for nothing more than the uninterrupted thoughts and unsolicited advice.) There’s a lot of therapy in an hour spent on roux done right.

This coming week I’ll be heading to Minnesota for a visit with family, snowbound though they may be, which means I’ll be breaking out the BIG winter coat before I leave Oklahoma. (Shiver me timbers!) Thank goodness I grew up learning how to “layer.”

Which brings me back to Gumbo.

The depth of this dish was intriguing, inspiring, and entirely sensational! I heartily recommend this recipe for starters. (Thank you, Queen Jeanne!) I took the liberty of adding shrimp to the mix, along with bay leaves, thyme, and chopped tomatoes ala Alton Brown’s Shrimp Gumbo recipe (my hero) on Day Two of my eating enjoyment extravaganza. No such thing as too many cooks in my kitchen; the more the merrier!

Which brings me back to “life,” et al. At the moment, I have no idea what direction my blog will go in the coming months. Part of me wants to write exclusively, while another part says “break out the camera and share that food photo with the world.” (Never mind the lack of bokeh or background props…) A third part teases music, music, music. Don’t ya just love possibilities?

Maybe after I visit the frozen North my thoughts will become crystal clear. There’s nothing like being smacked in the face by 40 below to weed out what’s important and what’s not. (Survival of the fittest, and all that…)

In the meantime, I’m gearing up for Gumbo Round Two next week (it’s that good!) — plus, I’ll need a lil’ Southern fortification before I head out.

My wish for you on this day is to live life warm and wonderful — or at the very least, flavorful!

Enjoying a multi-layered life,

~ Kim

© Kim Bultman and a little lunch.

Rhapsody in Blue V

Feb 14 Sunrise 2014

This morning’s blue-tinged sunrise reminded me that I hadn’t penned a Rhapsody in Blue post in awhile. Here’s one of my favorites. While I realize Valentine’s Day has an entirely different color scheme (rife with flowers and heart-shaped boxes of candy), I gratefully accept treats of any sort, in any color.

Including these…

Olives

Last night The Man Of Few Words came home with his adorable boyish grin, two jars of olives, and an explanation: “I wasn’t sure if you could eat chocolate yet.” (Apparently, my recent gluten & dairy experimentation has made an impact on him.) Next year I may have to start waxing on about the merits of ‘high percentage’ quality chocolate and/or cocoa nibs in mid-January (lol), but truthfully, I thought it was the most thoughtful Valentine gift I ever received. Gotta love that man!

(A favorite photo from the archives… he keeps the home fires burnin’… and mine.)

End of The Day

Additional cause for today’s blue Valentine was the recent acquisition of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue!

Rhapsody in Blue

Several area thrift stores have “vintage” music bins and I could spend hours thumbing through them. (They just don’t write ‘em like that anymore!) On this particular outing, I happened upon two versions of the same song. One was a simpler arrangement for the sheer joy of playing that gorgeous melody without having to ‘work’ at it…

RIB

And the other was a “concert level” rendition, which I aspire to play someday.

Be still, my heart…

As blue as this Valentine’s post may be, I hope it brought you JOY. (I’ll be smiling about those olives for at least another week!)

Here’s another glimpse of this morning’s beauty…

Valentines Day Sunrise

Wishing you a lovely, thoughtful Valentine’s Day. xo

Enjoying unconventional colors and gifts,

~ Kim

What’s the most memorable (or out of the ordinary) gift you ever received?