In My Kitchen ~ November 2017

Painted kitchen

In My Kitchen… a long-awaited project is almost finished. I’ve been wanting to paint our humble abode for three years, but “life” happened and I had to put my dreams on hold. (That, and I couldn’t decide on a color.)

Actually, the hue didn’t concern me as much as the “mood”. Considering that I spend the  majority of my waking hours In My Kitchen, I put lot of thought into how I wanted to “feel” in that space. Calm was the consensus.

Depending on the light at various times of day, the “Autumn Fog” shade of grey I got undulates between soft grey and blue-ish, similar to the expanse of water out yonder. Yeehaw, I have a “lake kitchen” at last!

The Lane

In My Kitchen… is a range hood that finally matches my stove. The old, white one — a vintage behemoth with a lopsided light bulb and fan that sounded like a semi idling above the stove (nostalgic, but noisy!) gave up the ghost. This is so much better.

New stove vent

It took some cobbling to install (the duct sizes didn’t match!), but with The Man Of Few Words’ tenacious ingenuity, I think the results speak for themselves, and highly of him.

Is it just me, or does that triangular shelf behind the stove need a back splash? (I was thinking “multi-colored tiny tiles in some sort of a pattern… somehow I think that will be my future project instead o’ my man’s. :)

Speaking of which, I’ll be off the grid briefly to celebrate our upcoming anniversary. Nothin’ fancy planned, just fishing together and steaks on the grill. That, and a drive through Autumn’s finery. Ahhhh…

Fall foliage

What a JOY to celebrate the start of another era in a kitchen that mirrors my spirit — and TMOFW’s — with a surprising splash of color right in our own back yard. xo

Backyard color 1

Be sure to visit Sherry (at Sherry’s Pickings) for more IMK posts, including great ideas for holiday gift-giving! My world-wide friends are gracious about linking their “finds” — plus I learn SO much every month and it’s entertaining to boot. Love y’all!

Enjoying my “lake kitchen”,

~ Kim

Sporadic, But Still Inspired

View 2

I never imagined there’d be so many interruptions when I first set out to “blog.” Back in 2011 my plan was to scope out tasty things to cook (and eat!) and share them regularly —  with scenic photos and miscellaneous thoughts to distract you in between lapses. So far I seem to be doing pretty well on the lapses. But, I’m still inspired!

Adapting has become a way of life. Living. Cooking. Eating. Every day is different, and today has been nothing short of glorious.

I feel blessed to state that.

It was “too cold” (for those of you who live in my former home State, 50º — I’ve officially become an Okie, lol)  to open windows and finish painting the kitchen, so I concentrated on stove-top pursuits instead. Beef Stew. Polenta made with homemade chicken stock and a whole lotta love. 50 minutes of stirring beats 50º in my book any day.

I also practiced piano, cleaned the bathroom, started a letter to my pen pal (that’s the beauty of letter-writing; an immediate response isn’t required and interruptions are par for the course), and took photos of my progress. (Distraction is my middle name, lol.)

The light in the next photo knocked my socks off. I love California Olive Ranch EVOO! California Olive Ranch EVOO

Mid-afternoon I treated myself to a heart-warming glass of Australian Cabernet — a gift from a friend — and thought how wonderfully it’ll go with tonight’s dinner. (Thank you.) Sneak peak of my kitchen paint color, too — aptly named: “Autumn Fog.”

Coonawarra Cabernet

Nothing else much to report from the lake, other than wind and waves typical for this time of year. As I said, glorious.

Enjoying what’s left of October,

~ Kim

“K” is for Kim

K is for Kim

My K arrived today!

There’s a story behind that and someday I may be at liberty to tell it, but not now.

Let’s just say its arrival was a re-defining moment in my life after a lifetime of being “nicknamed” something else.

My name is Kim!

Enjoying being “me” with a capital K, 

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ October 2017

My new kitchen mat

In My Kitchen… good things are afoot… or under foot. I’m a firm believer in making life comfortable, especially when I’m on my feet. Pictured above is the new floor mat by my “prep” area; the one below resides in front of my stove. (The third one by the sink is “basic brown” and I didn’t want to bore you to tears.)

Some day

In My Kitchen… is this silverware caddy. Flatware caddy? Utensil tray? Whatever you call it, it’s an indispensable part of our daily dining (for lack of a drawer). I found it at a yard sale awhile back, and as they say: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

Silverware caddy.JPG

In My Kitchen… things aren’t always so utilitarian. I break out the cloth napkins every now and then and treat folks to a “dolled up” dinner — me, included. Although “ironing” may sound utilitarian, it’s anything but with these aprons cheering up my laundry room. (Thanks, Ally, xo.)

I Love To Iron

In My Kitchen… I felt myself slowing down in September (seasonal lethargy… zzzzz), but now that October’s finally here, the cooler mornings and hints of color are teasing me to go outside and play. Or play In My Kitchen! I recently played around with this recipe… Three Ingredient Flourless Almond Cake. (Originally Walnut Cake… you know me.)

Almond Cake

For more In My Kitchen posts from around the world — as colorful and varied as the Autumn foliage (or Springtime “Down Under”) — please visit our cordial hostess Sherry Mackay at Sherry’s Pickings. Feel free to join in by the 10th of each month, or simply read and revel.

Enjoying playing again,

~ Kim

Beaded Beginnings

Hippie Beads 2

I grew up in the era of groovy. Far out. All righhht! The 1960’s.

But, on a small farm in rural Minnesota, love beads were a lil’ hard to come by.

So, I watched. Waited. Collected ideas. Five decades later, my creative space is finally starting to look like my dream.

Hippie Beads 3

Recently I began volunteering at our church’s Mission Store a few days a week, where the proceeds fund our food pantry. (I’ve always had a heart for feeding folks, be it from the quickly depleted shelves there or my own kitchen — every hour standing behind the check-out counter or my stove makes a difference in someone’s life.)

BTW, check-out clerks are allowed to “shop” during lulls and you never know what might show up in the donation bin. Last week it was Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume Two for 50¢.

This week it was groovy.

I spied the miscellaneous bag of beads when I walked in and immediately recognized their former glory and potential. (My dream!) Nobody paid attention to them for hours, so I watched. Waited. (Until my break.) Snapped them up and hung them up at home!

TMOFW smiles at my ongoing Boho notions.

Speaking of which… my friend Ally offers tons of inspiration and encouragement re: living the life you’ve dreamed of on her website and in her VRAI inaugural e-magazine. Plus, she’s hostessing a custom Boho jewelry give-away. Such fun! As she’s oft said: “Dreams have no expiration date.”

Yes ma’am, gal pal. Don’t I know? :)

Enjoying groovy dreams come true,

~ Kim

Rhapsody In Blue VIII

There are two kinds of fishermen on the lake. (Three, counting vicarious photographers.) Not only do we rely on serendipity, we thrive on hope. Here’s to the souls anticipating the “catch of the day” by whatever means.

A few years back, I’d climb down the thirty-foot drop to shore over uneven rocks and toss in my “hook, line, and sinker”. These days I have to be cautious about my balance — particularly my inner balance. While I may not be able to do what I “used to”, it doesn’t deter me from having fun.

Life is a series of compromises.

Figuring out the best one for you — sometimes daily — requires a knack similar to fishing, a small dose of humility, a huge dose of gratitude, and a heapin’ helpin’ of self-awareness and self-acceptance. For now, “watching” suits me just fine.

South side

Ever had to give up an integral part of yourself (temporarily or permanently) to deal with “life”? How did you cope? Did you have fun? Do tell.

Enjoying uncompromising pleasure,

~ Kim

Potato and Manchego Mini-Quiches with Greens

Mini Quiches

Spending time with loved ones and friends is on everybody’s priority list these days, or at least I hope it is. (So is taking care of yourself as best you can when life’s “busy.”)

Thumbing through a back issue of Eating Well, their Muffin Tin Quiches caught my eye. Not only were those smoky, cheesy, potato-and-spinach-filled gems screaming my name, make-ahead suggestions were offered. But, how to avoid the milk and smoked Cheddar? Culinary creativity ensued. (Original recipe notes in parentheses below.)

I can have my quiche and eat it, too, yay!

Potato and Manchego Mini-Quiches with Greens (adapted from Eating Well January/February 2017)

4 slices of hickory smoked bacon (the recipe didn’t call for bacon, but ya know…)

1 Tbsp. bacon drippings (or EVOO)

3/4 c. diced red-skinned potatoes (skin on), 1/4″ diced

1/2 c. red onion, finely diced

1/4 tsp. salt

1 (5 oz.) container Green Girl Organic Super Greens: red and green Swiss chard, arugula, spinach, and tat soi (or 3/4 c. fresh baby spinach)

4 large eggs

1/4 c. chicken stock (or milk)

1/2 c. shredded Manchego (or smoked Cheddar) cheese

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (omit if using smoked Cheddar)

Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt

Preheat oven to 325º F. Coat a six-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Fry bacon in a large skillet until crisp. (Reserve drippings.) Transfer slices to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Crumble and set aside for garnish.

Return 1 tablespoon bacon drippings to same skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, onions, and salt. Stir frequently until potatoes are softened, about 5 minutes. Add greens (or spinach); drizzle with an additional tablespoon bacon drippings (or EVOO) if needed to prevent sticking. Toss with tongs until the greens are slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, grated cheese (whichever), chicken stock (or milk), and smoked paprika (omit if using smoked Cheddar) ’til combined. Stir in potato mixture. Season with freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Divide evenly into prepared muffin tin. Bake 25 minutes or until set; cool 5 minutes. Remove quiches from muffin cups and garnish each with crumbled bacon before serving.

Per Eating Well these can be made ahead. Wrap (individually) in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to three days or freeze up to one month. To reheat: remove the plastic, wrap in a paper towel, and microwave on high 30-60 seconds.

I haven’t tried the frozen option yet. (I ate them in three days!) They “nuked” just fine. I’m looking forward to serving a big batch to our loved ones and friends — forgot to mention this adaptation was a “half batch” — TMOFW doesn’t eat “greens”, lol! (Double the recipe at will.) Most likely I’ll reheat larger batches in the oven on low heat covered with tinfoil. Ingredients aren’t the only things I adapt!

Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Brunch is Served

Enjoying brunch three days in a row,

~ Kim