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

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.

In My Kitchen ~ January 2014

There’s something about the first week of a new year that appeals to me. Maybe it’s the contrast between last month’s pace, this month’s peace, and the prospect of a fresh start? Or quite possibly, it may have to do with new kitchen toys and goodies…

Ramekins & Salt

In my kitchen are a pair of snowflake ramekins and a jar of Jurassic Salt. The ramekins were a gift from my Sis (xo!) and the salt was a gift to myself. Since Minnesota and the Himalayas are rather snowy places, I thought it would be befitting to photograph these on my favorite wool sweater. Oklahoma has been colder than usual, too.

Hazelnut Flour

In my kitchen is hazelnut flour. I purchased it with the sole intent of baking a cake, but between unexpected guests and cooking for the masses, the closest I got was throwing together some mini hazelnut tarts filled with chocolate ganache. (Sorry, no photo; they were gone in a flash.) I will have my cake and eat it, too — in March. Every year I’m on the lookout for “the” birthday cake and Hotly Spiced’s Gluten Free Chocolate Hazelnut Cake is “it.” (Thanks, Charlie!)

GF Flour

In my kitchen is a growing assortment of gluten free products. The verdict is still out whether or not gluten will be my lifelong nemesis, but the variety of options is a delight for someone who loves to experiment with ingredients. So far I’ve made popovers, pizza, and focaccia and they’ve fulfilled my bread-lovin’ heart… and stomach.

AirBake cookie sheets

In my kitchen is a set of AirBake cookie sheets. (Again, courtesy of my Sis, xo!) I’m in baking heaven and apparently the cookie sheets are, too — they look like they’re floating on air in this photo! I’m confident they’ll live up to their name.

What’s in your kitchen? If you’d like to join in, please contact Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who graciously hosts this world-wide round up every month. Or, take a look at the links in her sidebar — guaranteed to warm your heart.

Happy New Year!

Enjoying new kitchen toys and goodies,

~ Kim

Lasagna… Sort Of

Lasagna noodles

Calling all cooks who’ve ever added something “extra” (or unorthodox) to a meal in order to make it happen (and… relying on your understanding in advance.)

I had four lasagna noodles left to my name.  Half a jar of ready-made pasta sauce (yes, occasionally I succumb to convenience) enhanced with garlic, sauteed cherry tomatoes and olives, of course — whatever was on hand.

The kitchen is my playground!

Olive This Sauce

Next, I added a smattering of Italian herbs, some freshly grated Parmesan, and Italian sausage & ground chuck browned with onions &  garlic (popped into the freezer for future consideration) … you know how it is.

Meat Sauce

Then I topped it with a hefty dose of cheese.  Never mind that it was Cheddar; such is “weeknight lasagna” on the spur of the moment.  Help me out here… is it lasagna or lasagne?  I need to know authentically — even if my recipe isn’t.

Many thanks for overlooking my grammar police tendencies. xo

Lasagna

Did I mention olives?  As far as I’m concerned, olives and pasta reside in the same food group — or in close proximity in my world.  (Unbiased opinion proffered for your consideration…. )

But, yeegads!  I was out of ricotta!  Enter Greek yogurt…

From humble beginnings arise great things.  (Quote attributed to “unknown.”)

Players

The Man of Few Words was due home for supper in an hour (and per my usual modus operandi, time got away from me.)  Knowing he’d be happy with a corn dog if I so deemed (he’s soooo easy to cook for), I did my wifely best to justify my time at “home” while he slaved away 8 hours in 100° Oklahoma heat.

“Look what I did all day” on a plate… so to speak.  Not that I’m motivated by guilt — or justification.  But, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. ;)

For the record, TMOFW would never consume Greek yogurt (no matter how much I wax on about its glories) but time was a wastin’.  How could I thicken it up?  Make it more “ricotta-like?”  Hmmm…

I promptly added a couple of eggs and threw in Parmesan cheese, along with select Italian seasonings.  (Basil, oregano, parsley.)  Too soupy.  Tossed in Panko bread crumbs.  (Beggars can’t be choosers.)  Still too soupy.  Threw in some finely shredded Cheddar…

(Cheese – even the un-Italian kind — gives the illusion of cheese filling, yes?)

Then I added a lil’ more heft with plain ol’ bread crumbs.

Yeehaw!   Jusssst right!

(Picture Goldilocks saying that wearing cowgirl boots or flip flops, but do not attempt to try this at home unless you have 35+ years’ cooking experience under your belt and/or total confidence that a few eggs and “mock ricotta” will rise to the task.)

By the way I don’t normally resort to deception in the kitchen…

(She laughs.  Bwaaaahaha!)

After an appropriate amount of time in the oven (40 minutes?  I lost track), this Greek yogurt-laced “lasagna” emerged victorious from the oven.

(Apologies for photo quality; the sun was really bright or setting; I forget which.)

Dinner Is Served

For good measure I plated it with warm bread drizzled with garlic butter as a tasty distraction.  (Side salad not shown.)  Bread always floats my boat; his, too.

Although I’ve been known to eat leftovers from his plate… or start early.

Pay no attention to the “bite” on-screen (or plate)…

Garlic Bread

Sometimes a girl’s gotta make do with the ingredients on hand.

Make supper – dinner? -- on the fly.

(I hail from farm country where supper is the evening meal.)

Whatever works!

Got any substitutions you’ve recently tried, successfully or not?

Do tell.

Enjoying a dang tasty meal in spite of “deception,”

~ Kimby

P.S.  In the event I don’t reply to your much appreciated comments, I’ll be HERE (or other secret fishin’ holes around the lake) most of this weekend.  I said I was taking August off, and all (and I meant it… no deception intended.)

Fishin' Hole

An Off The Cuff Post (and Best, Easiest, Tastiest Grilling Recipe So Far This Summer)

Green Things

One of the things I love about summer is the spontaneity inherent in the season.  Grab something and throw it on the grill!

(Even better if it’s flavored with an impromptu compound butter…)

In this particular case, I was trimming haricot verts on the veranda when my step-son mentioned his “pork chop packets” — fresh green beans, carrots, and compound butter, topped with a boneless center-cut pork chop.  Oh my!  I took it a step farther and seared the chops before encasing them in foil.  Sorry, no “after” photo… they were devoured in a heartbeat.  (Vegetarian version expounded on below…)

Summer Veggies with Compound Butter

As for the compound butter, anything goes.  Key words:  have at it… spontaneous… impromptu!

This batch included softened butter smashed with sliced green onions, basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, and freshly ground pepper — but use whatever tickles ya or whatever’s on hand.  Throw it in the fridge in plastic wrap for a bit to let the flavors “marry,” then add a dab to the packet before adding the veggies (to keep them from sticking), top with a seared chop and a generous dollop of compound butter, seal, and you’re good to grill.

(Note:  Be sure to seal the foil packet well.  Turn once during grilling.  If in doubt about “doneness,” test chops with a meat thermometer before consuming.)

Compound Butter

Regarding the off the cuff portion of this post, I’m finally home again.  Missed ya bunches.  Couldn’t resist writing.  Plus, I’m making these again for supper tonight.  So, so good.  I also imagine they’d be good with chicken.  Or salmon.  Or steak.

Or, just veggies for my vegetarian pals. :)  Use your imagination…

On a personal note, I need to restructure myself and my blog a lil’ bit.  So many ideas, so little time — up until now!  After spending the equivalent to two months away from the place that makes me happiest since January, I’m feeling out of sorts.  Off my game.  Sluggish.  Can we say move it or lose it?!  (Photos may or may not be forthcoming, lol.)

More good things to come though, including the winner of my giveaway later this week.  (Giveaway is closed.)

Happy grilling and stay tuned for transformation…

Enjoying unpremeditated meal planning, writing, and rediscovery,

~Kimby

Ages and Stages… and a Giveaway (Giveaway is Closed)

Ages & Stages

A magnolia’s gradual unveiling reminds me that

it takes time to birth something beautiful.

Lives, relationships, blogs…

Ages & Stages 1

Typically,

the beginning is fresh with possibilities.

Passion! 

Ages & stages 2

Ideas unfold one petal at a time,

and when they bloom,

they’re a sight to behold!

Ages & Stages 3

Even so,

time takes its toll and priorities realign.

Still…

Ages & Stages 4

A lil’ wear and tear around the edges

is to be expected!

And, I like having something to show for it.

Ages & Stages 6

During the lulls,

ideas still ruminate, germinate,

and offer possibilities of…

Ages & Stages Final

Future growth!

Ages & Stages prime

(Wildly profuse… or teeny tiny.)

No matter what ages and stages I find myself in,

I celebrate growth!

Several months ago, I alluded to a giveaway.  (Sorry it’s taken me so long, but life’s been a lil’ hectic.)  Whether you’ve been with me from the beginning or just jumped in, I’m grateful to you for helping me grow, blog-wise and personally.

In appreciation, I’m giving away a $25.00 (USD) Amazon.com gift certificate, which I can email to anybody anywhere, woohoo!

(One way or another, I’ll get it to you.)

PLEASE NOTE:  The giveaway is officially closed and the winner’s name has been drawn.  (See below)   Thanks to everyone who entered!

To enter, please leave a comment before midnight (CDST) July 7th, 2013 with your thoughts on growth — what it means to you, an example you’re proud of, the stage of life you’re in, etc. — that’s it!  No other hoops to jump through, other than one comment per person.  (Thank you.)

The winner will be randomly drawn by The Man Of Few Words and notified here (and by email) the week of July 8th, 2013.

I appreciate you joining me for a little lunch these past 2+ years!

And the winner is… Christina of “Dessert For Two.”  Congratulations!

Enjoying enduring… and growing,

~ Kimby

P.S.  A few of these photos are from one of my favorite posts.  Feel free to poke around! ;)

The Next Howard Hughes? (A Tribute To The Man Of Few Words)

Boatman

It’s not every day you come home to a man building a boat on your back porch — not because he’s intent on building a boat, but because (eventually) he’s going to build an airplane.

(Something to do with testing the tensile strength of mahogany before he constructs the wings?)

If you haven’t already discerned, I admire and love The Man Of Few Words (hereafter referred to as TMOFW) and his ingenuity.

Howard Hughes may have built the Spruce Goose, but TMOFW dreams of flying the Mahogany Marvel.  A few weeks ago, I asked what he’s going to name his future aircraft and he replied, “Airplane.”  (As for the boat, it’s dubbed the “Hope She Floats.”)  Such is my practical man.

With a little sweat and a lot of common sense, I have no doubt he’ll be airborne one day.  If Howard Hughes (and the Wright Brothers) can do it, so can he!

Not only does TMOFW continue to work on his dream, he grants huge leeway for my musical/writing aspirations, for which I’m entirely grateful. Someday he hopes to soar (literally), or at least float until our ship comes in.  I’d love to help fulfill his dream.

(Wishful thinking, I know — but ya never know.)

Day by day this patient craftsman builds dreams.  (His, mine, and anybody else who asks for his help.)  Just yesterday I witnessed TMOFW patiently attending to a lovely lady with the onset of Alzheimer’s who needed his expertise on some “fix-its.”  The gentle smile on his face said it all.  His heart’s in the right place… but it’s still on the ground.

As I continue to putter away on my novel and compose music in bits and pieces, TMOFW diligently works on his dream and has something to show for it.  (Once he even painstakingly devised a scale-model aircraft out of a cereal box!)  But, the legacy of service he’s constructed exceeds those of his aviation aspirations — and speaks for itself.

Such are the life and times of one who learned from the “Old Masters,” as he modestly testifies.  No fanfare.  No pretense.

Simply the day-to-day application of what he’s learned on the quest to fulfill his vision — while helping others along the way — including me.

All that lies between his dreams is the deep blue sea…

Deep Blue Sea

Which I expect we’ll be adrift on any day now — in the “Hope She Floats” — catching fish.

Next up, the wild blue yonder…

Of that, I’m confident.

Enjoying ingenuity and dreams,

~ Kimby