In My Kitchen ~ November 2016

peach-roses-2

In My Kitchen are these peach roses, the third “spontaneous bouquet” to grace our dining room table in a month. The Man Of Few Words surprised me with the first two, and somehow this bundle of JOY ended up in my shopping cart…

I’m thankful to be in my kitchen again.

Celebrate your life!

nuts-com-stash

In My Kitchen is a crazy good assortment from Nuts.com.

The Veggie Chips (front and center) were entirely addictive; so were the Dark Chocolate Turbinado Sea Salt Almonds (movie treat), Ugandan coffee beans (morning treat), Polenta (dinnertime treat), and Dried Sour Cherries (anytime treat). As for their Thai Pineapple Sprouted Trail Mix, it was the perfect combo of “sweet and heat.” Treat yourself!

Thanks to Chef Mimi for sharing her enthusiasm for Nuts.com. I’m glad you did!

loveras-goat-cheese

In My Kitchen… is soft goat cheese from Lovera’s, just down the road in Krebs, Oklahoma. It’s my new “butter!” After trying to no avail to add dairy (the bovine kind) back into my diet, I finally found something to slather on everything from baked potatoes to Bruschetta. Or make this delectable spread.

Although I miss cream cheese, ice cream, heavy cream (basically anything with the word cream in it!) I’m ecstatic to have this to satisfy my creamy cravings.

Sometimes you outgrow old favorites only to discover new ones.

butter-colored-candle-plate

In My Kitchen… is a pale yellow antique plate that’s been in my family for nearly a century. (Sequestered in the back of a cupboard for almost as long…)

Canapés will be pretty served on it when it isn’t serving as a candle holder.

Get out your treasures and use ’em while you can!

lemon-honey-quince-paste

In My Kitchen… are creamed honey with lemon juice (for stirring into tea or making vinaigrette) and quince paste (aka membrillo). A recent issue of Bon Appétit said quince paste was a “trendy” ingredient, not that I follow trends. I discovered these at a Ross Dress For Less store in Muskogee!

You never know when the Universe will smile. :)

Thank you, Liz Posmyk of Good Things for hostessing In My Kitchen. For a fun tour of kitchens around the world visit Liz’s blog for the links or add your own by the 10th.

Enjoying Autumn-hued blessings,

~ Kim

The Desk

I never imagined I’d fall for such a modern-looking desk to house my “creative space” (especially in a room I’ve been trying to make look cozy for two years), but with its full-length keyboard drawer and room for treasures on top (my monitor and printer included), I was smitten.

Nothin’ like combining the new with old. If that’s the story o’ your life, too, do tell!

I’ve come to relish unexpected blessings and spontaneously altered floor plans.

garden-room-aka-office-in-flux

Above is my Garden Room (aka office) in flux. Still a tad crowded, but it’s getting there.

My plan, my dream (neglected ’til now) involved moving things around a bit, but it’s coming closer to the vision of what I “want” it to be… HOPE it will be… some day.

The the rest is trial & error. And Trust. God works all things for good! (Romans 8:28)

One thing that’s made my seemingly impossible dream possible — besides moving furniture, ongoing prayer, and a huge dose of grace — was this recent purchase of art supplies to pursue yet another “creative dream.” (See some day above.)

More on that soon!

There’s still FOOD — yay, food! — even though I haven’t pulled out the ol’ Nikon as often as I once did. I make it a point to treat myself to something tasty every single day. (Once in awhile I’m even compelled to share a glimpse.)

walleye-1

Pan-seared Walleye & Caramelized Onions atop Spring mix salad lightly dressed with balsamic vinaigrette, Tuscan veggies, Quince preserves, & Moroccan olives

Enjoying moving forward ergonomically, artistically, musically, and TASTEFULLY!

~ Kim

Muted Magic

leaf

Autumn is oft noted for its splendor, breathtaking colors, and audacity (taunting the bleak black & white Season to follow), but it literally snuck up on me this year. Even though I had a brief encounter with Minnesota’s red, gold, and blaze orange glory earlier, I was relieved that Autumn arrived here subtly.

Softly…

(And a tad soggy.)

on-deck

While I was away, The Man Of Few Words (TMOFW) constructed a deck overlooking our backyard jungle. A new playground! (Or at least another place to think and write without being baked to a crisp; it’s still in the 90’s yet.) Shade is a blessing.

I’ve had very little control over my creative surroundings for much of this year and I’ve been longing for some Seasonal inspiration — without screaming for my attention. In my opinion, one of the greatest downfalls in this age of “immediacy” is the lack of mental space. Take time to ponder the Muted Magic surrounding you (whatever the Season).

All that’s required is noticing. Ahhhh…

Enjoying a lil’ breather,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ October 2016

ramekins-and-grater

In My Kitchen (at last) I’m HOME. (Hopefully for longer than I’ve been this year.)

My sister used to tease me that I liked anything “shiny, sparkly, pretty, ooooh, ahhhhh.” Guilty as charged. She and I amused many a shopkeeper with our audible admiration. “Shiny, sparkly, pretty, ooooh, ahhhhh” is FUN to say out loud… try it!

I do like baubles… In My Kitchen and otherwise. Especially when they combine form and function. Take this mini-grater (above) to zest citrus, shave grated cheese atop pasta & salads, and/or sliver garlic when I’m not in a “smashing” mood. (I’m soooo in need of TLC… so is my garlic.) You already know how I feel about ramekins., lol. :)  The more, the merrier!

antique-treasires

In My Kitchen… are antique treasures. (Grandma’s flour sifter, scoop, and the cutest lil’ salt & pepper shakers with their matching toothpick holder… not quite as “shiny” but I love their patina and memories.) Grandma had a mega-flour bin — a pull-out, tin-lined cupboard that accommodated a 50-pound bag of flour!

I loved watching her scoop “just the right amount” of flour (without measuring) and shaking her sifter to make homemade kolaches, cinnamon rolls, and bread.

As for the S & P shakers and toothpick holder, they were fixtures on her stove-top. Now, they’re fixtures on mine.

replacements

In My Kitchen are replacements… or rather, a flatware pattern that I liked so much thanks to a church friend who gifted us with a set of four after our fire (hate to bring that up again, but it’s been a reality I’m dealing with til 11/11/2016 when our insurance claim runs out.) Two years… can it be?! Basic utensils are overlooked.

I love ’em! (And my stove and fridge, thanks to YOU… gratitude and hugs.)

My culinary life, health, and HOPE wouldn’t be what it is without ’em!

In My Kitchen… are these aprons. Rick-racked trimmed ala Grandma. You have no idea how much these recent additions mean to me. (Or maybe you do.)

I’m SO grateful for replacements — “treasures” — IMK friends, xo! Hopin’ to get around to everybody’s posts in the next few days as time & unpacking allows.

Many thanks to Celia and Maureen (former hostesses of this monthly forum) and Liz, author of Good Things (our new hostess with the most-est) for sharing your immutable, affable IMK spirits as you adapt to LIFE. (Goodness, aren’t we all?) I love that about this place! Thanks for being “real.” If you’d like to read more IMK posts or share your own kitchen frolics, please contact Liz at the link above by the 10th.

Enjoying being In My Kitchen once again….

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ September 2016

In My Kitchen… I’m not in my kitchen.

Three weeks ago I was catapulted into care-taker mode again, and it’s likely I’ll be here equally as long or longer. (Sorry I can’t give any details, but I can tell you about the food.) Unfortunately I left in such an all-fired hurry that I forgot my camera!

Oh well… you know me and words. ;)

Today I made Wolfgang Puck’s Chicken Pot Pie. Imagine the slow-simmered aroma of chicken and veggies with a hint of thyme, graced with a glug of velvety heavy cream, topped with a butter-laden, Cheddar-studded crust that baked up SO golden King Midas would covet it. Oh my!

Then there was homemade pizza night. Pizza 1: Canadian bacon with diced fresh pineapple under a thick blanket of melted Mozzarella atop artisan herb flatbread. Pizza 2: Italian sausage, sliced Soppressata and grape tomatoes, torn fresh basil, and grated Pecorino Romano with garlic-herb goat cheese on a gluten-free crust. (That’d be mine, swoon…) BTW, I used Muir Glen Organic Tomato Herb Sauce on both (win/win) for lack of time to make my own.

Other tasty contenders were homemade sweet & sour pork with fried rice and “potato pancake” egg foo yung; whiskey & black pepper pork tenderloin with smashed Yukon gold potatoes; Gouda grilled cheese sandwiches; Windsor pork chops with mashed potatoes and creamed peas; cheese boards with fresh fruit, crackers & charcuterie, and repeated requests for poached eggs on toast.

Cooking has been therapeutic for all concerned. ;)

I’m looking forward to perusing more IMK escapades with photos on our hostess Maureen’s website following the summer hiatus. Come visit or join us by the 10th to discover a planet-full of kitchen fun! Home is where the heart (or stove) is, xo.

Enjoying cooking in temporary surroundings… again,

~ Kim

Putting Away Pieces of My Life

Assimilate: 1 take in (information, ideas, or culture) and understand fully; 2 cause (something) to resemble; liken.

Since the first of June I’ve been trying to assimilate the fifteen boxes of “stuff” (with a capital S!) that I hauled home from Minnesota into my present-day life — and decor. Truthfully, I don’t “understand fully” how such polar opposites (housekeeping and memorabilia-wise) could evolve from the same household. But, it is what it is.

Basically, I’m stymied as to how to “liken” 60 years’ worth of someone else’s worldly goods into my home without losing my identity.

Apparently Mom was (is) a sentimentalist. Keeper of every greeting card she was ever given — with family mementos stashed between. (Trust me, I thumbed through thousands of ’em.) Appliance manuals, dishes, and clothing dating back to 1955 and beyond. Bank statements and tax returns, too.

I gave Grandpa’s 1940’s income tax paperwork and “corn loan papers” to my Mom’s cousin and his wife — farmers and historians, to boot. (Hallelujah.) It wasn’t just Mom’s stuff I dealt with, it was my grandparents’, two uncles’, my Dad’s, my Sister’s, and my brother’s. Overwhelming, to say the least.

Part of the difficulty in assimilating another person’s stuff into your life (and home) is that you don’t have the same frame of reference or memories they did. What was once special to Mom isn’t necessarily pertinent to me.

Here’s some of the what I brought home. A 10th (100th?) of what awaits for me to “sort” next summer. Yay for storage units! (Out of sight, out of mind?)

Stuff close up

The gravy bowl and recipe box I “remember” (fondly) because I used them.

The rest, not so much.

Here’s what else I “assimilated.” The odd ducks on my bookshelves.

Favorites

The Brownie cameras were my Grandma’s and Uncle’s. (The replica next to ’em was a gift from my daughter, xo.) Y’all know how much I love photography — even if my photos don’t always prove it. :) The Haviland demitasse cup was my piano teacher’s, or at least I “assume” it was. (She favored such things.) Without stories or memories attached — or passed down — they’re just “pretty things.” (Taking up shelf space, I might add.)

Sadly, there’s a continental divide between what I know (or have been “told”) re: the history surrounding most of these treasures. Mom’s memory ain’t what it used to be (mine isn’t either) and my past is disappearing by the day.

Was the dainty china cup a gift or a family heirloom? (I’m keepin’ it, even if it doesn’t fit my fingers!) The goblet in the corner was a reincarnation of the original Big Daddy , courtesy of my pal Tammy, xo. The “sculpture” (back right) was my interpretation of art after I scrounged whatever I could amidst the rubble of our front yard after the fire — part molten glass from our former living room windows, part melted aluminum hub caps from TMOFW’s “toasted” Ford truck. (I thought it looked kinda like a “wave” — a funky, familiar, relevant piece of “us” as perceived by me.) Art is in the eye of the beholder. Memorabilia, too.

Then there are books. (Lots and lots of books.) Currently I’m sorting through (and culling) Dad’s Zane Grey “collector Westerns” and my Sis’s Time-Life gardening and cookbook series. Miscellaneous reference volumes (most of which I’m keeping) and “how-to’s” for writers (all of which I’m keeping!)

So many tomes, so little time.

Or shelf space.

Tom n Me

However, it hasn’t all been work and no play. There’s been fun stuff, too (with a capital F! ;), including this “photo booth” snapshot (remember those?) taken a few months ago during one of my son’s & my outings with some of his heartfelt sentiments. I’m compelled to keep these forever, xo.

BTW I’m heading out to visit my daughter this week (off the grid, unless she posts FB photos, lol.) Be prepared! And, my son is driving down to visit me next week. Stay tuned.

Assimilate what you can however you can. And remember…

Simplify

One box. One shelf. One memory at a time.

Determine what’s important for you to keep.

Enjoying creating “present day perfect” from past tense,

~ Kim

The Art of Sitting

The Art of Sitting

The Art of Sitting has nearly become extinct. Few people know how to sit without feeling the vague pressure to do something else.

When did we get in such a hurry?

My education in sitting began at a young age. Later, I succumbed to the busy years. High school activities, first job(s), marriage, parenthood… but, something was missing.

(Mostly sitting down.)

Then came “the trucking years.” All I did was sit, but at least it was scenic!

After I slowed down long enough to stay in one spot, I remembered the supreme serenity that came from sitting quietly and contentedly. Contemplating something or nothing at all. Simply “being.”

I credit my Dad for that late-in-life rediscovery.

Several years before he passed, I began giving him chairs as gifts (not big ones, although the man-sized leather recliner in his workshop was one of his favorites) to express thanks for teaching me one of the most important lessons in life.

Sitting still.

I treasure every moment that Dad & I spent in a fishing boat waiting for a walleye to bite, on the front porch watching corn grow, in the shade of the ash trees “taking a break”, out the dining room windows witnessing a spectacular sunset through the pine silhouettes in the grove, or at his bedside telling “stories.”

Now Dad’s quirky fun lil’ chairs have come home with me. (Wish I’d thought of it sooner… there’d be more.)

The Art of Sitting 1

I’ll be contemplating their significance for some time to come.

Sitting, of course.

Enjoying a less frenetic pace at the lake,

~ Kim