In My Kitchen ~ October 2015

Good things come in small packages (1)

In My Kitchen… is the sweetest lil’care package. My friend Jeanne Raffetto Tentis (a culinary instructor in Wisconsin and author of Queen Jeanne’s Cuisine) surprised me with this bundle of delights — an antique ramekin, snazzy kitchen towels, and a colorful array of tea light candles. Thank you, xo. Good things really do come in small packages!

Mexican vanilla

In My Kitchen… is a tiny bottle of Mexican vanilla that packs a BIG punch! The aroma is SO heady I’m tempted to unscrew the cap and take a whiff every time I walk by my pantry… ahhhh. (Mostly I save it for baking The Man Of Few Words goodies.) Hooray for cooler mornings! Below are a mini peach & blueberry cobbler (pie?) and a small batch of sugar cookies I made for that man o’ mine. I loooooove Autumn!!! (And obviously him.)

But, part of me wasn’t ready to give up Summer quite yet…

In My Kitchen… are these bold-colored bargains. The swizzle sticks (a parrot, palm tree, cactus, and an owl) are made from the most delicate glass — 25 cents for all four, yay! The beverage napkins were from the “dollar store” and the slice of lime in my ice water was in honor of Celia. ;) It’s fun to change up things In My Kitchen with a lil’ color and flavor — even plain ol’ water.

Speaking of color…

Color Scheme

In My Kitchen (next to it)… are paint swatches. These are the potential candidates for my Garden Room bench. Remember the vote? Tangerine won! (Now to figure out which shade of tangerine.) The colors are more vibrant than they appear (Oklahoma’s summery sunshine ‘n’ all) and their names are as appealing as their hues: Baby Carrot, Savory, Autumn Harvest…

To see other colorful, flavorful kitchen goodies (from small to large) ’round the world please visit Celia’s blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. The links are in her sidebar.

Enjoying seasonal shifts and year-round friendships,

~ Kim

67 thoughts on “In My Kitchen ~ October 2015

  1. I was sure I’d popped in and commented but it seems I whizzed by earlier admiring the Mexican Vanilla, the colours in your kitchen and that cushion… which would blend right in at my place :)

  2. Hello darling one, how wonderful to see your kitchen settling into its own skin so well. Does that make sense? It already looks so homely and lived in! Those swizzle sticks were a great find, and so charming! Your baked treats are looking most fine. Have a wonderful Autumn! xxx

    • Celia, I understand perfectly your observations about my kitchen “settling into its own skin.” (This from a 50+ year bearer of third degree burn scars… long story… ask me about it someday and I’ll share MY observations w/u!) We need to allow ourselves grace… time… humility… acceptance… and ultimately JOY in who (and where) we are …or where we’re “allowed to be.” My kitchen is a great source of JOY (thanks to your efforts) and both of us are growing more comfortable in our own skin day by day, xo.

    • Jan, thanks for your comment & good wishes. (And sorry for responding so late… arrgggh.) I finally got the paint, but haven’t wielded the paint brush yet… sometimes ya just have to take the RISK! (And if all else fails, I can paint over it, lol.) It’s gonna be LIVELY!

    • Johanna, thanks so much for your comments… still trying to work the “color scheme” wherever and whenever I feel inspired. :) Also, I thought of YOU when my hubby came home recently with an Autumn bouquet rife with GIRAFFE print leaves and a container to match. If it doesn’t make it into this next month’s post, I’ll try to send you a photo. FUN!

  3. Thanks for popping by my IMK… Timelier I barely managed the post and haven’t yet done the IMK rounds.
    I’m now on the on the lookout for Mexican vanilla and bright paper napkins… those in situ now feel pale by comparison!
    My baking go-to tokens of affections for my G.O. are also vanilla sugar cookies, with a dash of ginger powder :)

    • Ooooo, I love your idea to add ginger to your sugar cookies, Ella Dee! (And please forgive me for not replying until now… crazy month.) I’ll have to try that out in my next batch. Again, thanks!

    • Laila, apologies for replying so late (another IMK month is almost upon us!) I greatly appreciated your noticing my friend’s gift… and the light In My Kitchen! Both are continuous delights, xo.

  4. I am enjoying the cooler weather as well. The house doesn’t feel nearly as hit when I bake my sourdough now! It’s nice not to have to plan all baking ahead to first thing in the morning, do things when I want or find the time. Your care package looks great. Mail surprises are truly the best. Happy painting, I can’t wait to see the final result.

    • Gretchen, sour dough will be the last frontier for me to tackle now that I’m getting acclimated to my kitchen. I didn’t want to “start” it (pun intended) and not be able to follow through! Your breads and baking are inspiring. Celia sent me some of her marvelous Priscilla progeny ages ago — thank heavens it’s dried — mine will be named “Prissy.” :) Can’t wait to get my hands into some bread dough with our cooler weather, too. Then I’ll finally feel like I’m really back “IMK!” xo

  5. Such a lovely gift you received Kim – the ramekin is very cute. That vanilla sounds amazing – I love the smell of vanilla too. Glad your kitchen is coming together & looking forward to your tangerine garden bench seat. Take care x

    • Nicole, I’m starting to feel “at home” in my kitchen at last. (Sniffing vanilla helps, lol.) It’s such a pleasure sharing IMK posts with you (and friends worldwide) and I feel blessed to be able to “gawk” every time a new month rolls around! Stay tuned for the paint job… :)

    • Tandy, the “voting” unofficially continues and Autumn Harvest is in the lead. :) The Mexican vanilla I acquired contains no coumarin (which can potentially cause liver damage) and it’s produced by The Blue Cattle Truck Trading Company. Not sure if you can get it there, but here’s their link:

  6. I understand taking a whiff of the vanilla because I do that with my coconut jar and the organic cinnamon I bought (which smells so much like a chai mix, even though it’s just the cinnamon). The ramekin and towels are really lovely but what a bargain for those gorgeous swizzle sticks!

  7. Oh aren’t surprise packages the best! What a thoughtful friend you have. As for the Mexican vanilla, didn’t ladies long ago used to dab a little behind their ears for perfume? If your Man of Few Words loves all that cooking, he would probably appreciate your new vanilla scent.

    Oh choosing colors…I always have the hardest time picking just the right shade for anything and end up with about a dozen little sample cans before I realize that one of the first two was what I wanted all along. Tangerine is a great color!

    • Diane, incredibly, my hubby has no sense of smell. (His nasal passages were injured in a manufacturing accident years ago.) So, I’d be wearing vanilla behind my ears “for me” — and I LOVE that idea! :) I’m so blessed to have thoughtful, creative friends, xo.

        • Diane, TMOFW has memories of how food “smelled” which helps him remember how it tasted! (Thank goodness for that.) You’re right, though, his taste is diminished as a result, too. I’d love nothing more than to have him walk in the house and proclaim: “Dinner sure smells good!” But, as long as he enjoys whatever “flavors” he can (however he can), I’m happy — plus, I more than make up for his lack of smell with my ongoing “commentary” about what it’s like, LOL!

  8. Hi Kim! Humm the shade of tangerine that appeals to me most is the Autumn Harvest. I think that those swizzle sticks are a great find – what great little characters and to be made of glass makes that 25c steal even better! How thoughtful your friend was to send you a care package. I really like the pattern on the towels and those tealight colours are fabulous! So bright and cheery for these colder and drearier days.

    • Maggie, after I’m done burning those mini-candles (it’s dreary here today, too) I was thinking of re-purposing those colorful lil’ ceramic “votives.” What do you think? Salt cellars? Individual servings of dipping oil? They’re too pretty not to use again! I’m kind of learning toward Autumn Harvest for the bench… will keep you posted. :)

    • Jennifer, I seriously thought about including something in my post about “wanting to eat the paint swatches” — ha! — we’re on the same wave length. Right now, my ramekin is holding a supply of Kosher salt until I can get to the store to replenish my French gray sea salt. Not only is it gorgeous (thanks), it’s a terrific lil’ kitchen helper! Thoughtfulness abounds in foodie world, xo.

  9. What a lovely package to receive. I just bought a new Mexican cookbook so would love your bottle of Mexican Vanilla. Love the colors of you napkins and swizzle sticks :)

    • Moya, I wish I could share some of that vanilla with you — have fun trying out your new cookbook! For some reason aqua seems to be a color that’s showing up more frequently in my “new color scheme” — touches here and there. All I know is that it makes me HAPPY looking at it. :)

  10. How lovely to receive a surprise package – what fun! I can almost smell your wonderful vanilla and your napkins are gorgeous. I wish I had a dollar store near me.
    Have a wonderful and happy day.
    :-) Mandy xo

    • Mandy, there are so many “dollar” stores here — practically one on every corner! (Dollar General, Family Dollar, and The Dollar Store are the local “brands.”) Wish you had one near you, too! I’m thankful for being able to come home with a few “perks” for my kitchen without making a huge dent in our budget. A girl’s gotta have a little fun, right? :) xo

  11. your bench looks lovely. oh how i love vanilla! nothing more comforting than a sniff of it. i used to wear vanilla perfume that basically smelled just like vanilla and people would constantly mention it, saying they could smell cake or biscuits etc. how kind of your friend to send a gift package.

  12. Kim, my sweet friend, how I miss thee! I was so excited to leave you a message I did not read the post. I’ve missed so much, but first I wanted to just say “hey”. Don’t really know where else to begin. Lol. Glad to see you still have your space here, and that you are still “making it happen” in the kitchen!

    • Tamika, I LOVE your “King James English.” I’ve been missing thou and thou art’s thoughts, too! :) Sorry to be such a stranger these past couple of months (half year?) I’ve gone back & forth about continuing “this space” but my conclusion (prompted by the Holy Spirit) is to “keep on keepin’ on.” Soooooo tickled you jumped in! GREAT to hear from you, whenever you have time xo.

  13. Love the pops of colour in your kitchen, so cheerful. And can’t wait to see the bench transformed in whichever shade of orange you decide on. Such fun upcycling furniture :-) Happy October Kim x

    • Ania, this will be my first go at “upcycling” furniture, but I’m excited to try it. (And if worse comes to worst, I can repaint it another color or sand it off, LOL.) Thanks for your encouragement! xo

      • Or you could go for that distressed French look and layer the pain and scrub off here and there to give it extra dimension. What paint will you be using? I particularly like chalk based paints as they are robust, easy to work with and the objects need no prep work at all. My kitchen dresser is painted in Annie Sloan – and it needed only one coat to cover the hideous orange varnish. Can’t wait to see the finished bench :-) xx

        • Ania, I really appreciated your tips on using chalk paint (love Annie Sloan’s “re-purposed” furniture — haven’t tried her paint yet.) That “look” is so pretty, despite being “distressed.” :) You’ve inspired me to dare to try. :)

  14. Vanilla is my favourite flavour much to the horror of my chocolate loving family, good vanilla is worth it’s weight in gold. I look forward to seeing the bench painted a cheery tangerine, it will tie into the colour palette of your cushion beautifully

    • Thank you, Sandra. Vanilla is often under-rated, yet it provides a nuance to many a chocolate dish! The cushion was made/re-covered by my Sis, which makes it all the more special, xo.

  15. As much as I love coming here, I hate it when you share your bargain buys like 25 cents for a set of cocktail stirrers? Kimby, you make me feel like moving over to where you are now! Maybe I should just dump my hubby & go for the flea markets there instead. Hahaha! Those napkins are so pretty too, dear! xoxo

    • Shirley, you could always tell me what you’re looking for and I could go bargain hunting for you. (Personal shopper, yeah!) Grinning & ‘knowing’ that you’ll never ditch your hubby for Oklahoma. :) Your comments & humor always make me SMILE, xo.

  16. Kim, your colorful post is an inspiring reminder that color feeds the soul as much as flavors feed the tummy. (But I think I’ll begin with vanilla and cookie dough and skimming some magazines before reaching for a paintbrush.)

    • Dee, there’s nothin’ wrong with “considering.” I do that (for a long time) before making the first swipe o’ the paint brush! :) I’m also glad you reminded me to pick up some magazines… isn’t that a FUN thing to do? Thanks!

  17. “Fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly, I gotta love one man till I die. Can’t help lovin’ dat man o mine”. My favoured Showboat song flashed in front of my eyes when I read about that cobbler. I seem to remember that scene being set on a kitchen and it is one of my favourites songs that gets belted out at times (Badly) when no one could possibly hear me. Love the ramekin! Now I’m going to go and do a shuffle around the kitchen while I sing that song! :)

    • Maree, thanks for sharing that song and KEEP SINGING, even when folks are within earshot! Now you’ve got me singing along. :) Thanks for reminding me how much those wonderful musicals impacted our lives and our kitchens, and our enjoyment of both! xoxo

  18. That tea towel is so lovely – the colours are very Autumnal :-) The little blue and white bowl is very sweet… so many possibilities for it!

    I love cobbler. We are coming into Summer now (in fact, it has been a disgustingly hot end of Spring) and it’s definitely not cobbler weather… so I love looking at yours! I can almost smell that vanilla extract of yours… I keep meaning to jump on the ‘make my own’ bandwagon…

    • Lisa, I definitely need to make a batch of “DIY” vanilla, too (since this lil’ bottle will run out eventually from constant inhaling, lol!) Tickled that you liked my treasures, and hope your weather evens out or tosses in a random cool morning for baking. Thanks again!

  19. When I came home from Mexico I was nearly over the weight limit because of the vanilla. I understand.

    I love those swizzle sticks!

    (This is the 19th comment I’ve written. says, “Are you Maureen Shaw (with my photo)?” You aren’t logged in now so log in here. I did, then it says I don’t exist. How do they know my name and have my photo? argh. Sorry! Then I tried Twitter. It asked me to confirm, I said yes and then it said something like, nothing here and then your commenty thing started jumping up and down. :) )

    • Oh, Maureen! Sorry to hear about your commenting woes. (And thanks for being persistent!) Not sure what’s up with that… The fastest way I’ve found to circumvent “log in” is to click on the lil’ blue “W” icon (right side, just under the comment box) BEFORE you start typing a comment. That said, I’ll do some checking on the ol’ Admin page to see if something’s wonky — thanks for bringing it to my attention. Sounds like you could use a swizzle stick about now, and I’d be willing to let you take your pick. :) Thanks again, xo!

  20. I would love some of that vanilla extract and doesn’t it have the best smell! The napkins are bright and cheerful too. Good luck with painting the bench and I do hope you show it to us when it’s finished xx

    • Charlie, many thanks for your comments/compliments, xo. Yes, ma’am… a complete photo expose’ of “the bench” will be forthcoming. :) Feeling you in my soul tonight for some reason… ?

  21. Now you KNOW I’m diggin’ seriously that dish towel! Sooooooooooo Boho hippie chic!! And, that pie and those cookies…the photography is excellent…you captured every ridge and sugar crystal! I say combine those gorgeous colors of summer, especially the turquoise, w/the orange and brown hues for Fall! Isn’t it always the littl’ things that just make us happy, luv! xoxo

    • Miz Ally, you KNOW my boholicious SOUL! Whimsical and frivolous with unexpected color combos and nuances… Oh WAIT! (Methinks I learned from a MASTER how to ENJOY LIFE! :) xo (Thanks for your compliment on my pie & cookies photos… that means a LOT comin’ from YOU!)

    • Glenda, half of my delight in IMK is realizing how BIG our world is and how far apart we are, including time zones! (Pause for thought… ahhhhh…. I like that very much.) Thank you for your Springtime perspectives. They enlarge my “worldview” and appreciation thereof. :) xo

    • Much appreciated, Kari!.Foot pain is no fun — whatever I can do to help you from past experience. You WILL find your Comfort Zone… keep listening to your body (and feet.) Glad you liked my potential color scheme, et al. :) Paint swatches were the first “step” (no pun intended) to my next life — onward and upward from here! FYI, my next immediate project is “slow cooker creme’ brulee” with that fragrant Mexican vanilla and a sprinkle of vanilla sea salt, per my last IMK.. :) Take care, my lovely!!!

  22. Oh my Kim, just wonderful” In My Kitchen” I feel that here in Sydney Australia we would be paying
    $10 for swizzle sticks and think it was a bargain cause they were reduced to $6 haha!!
    My Daughter is going to America next week for 5 weeks of traveling so excited for her, she is looking forward to trying the Cobbler pies!! You beautiful photos are just a joy to look at.
    So looking forward to what Tangerine shade you choose…..

    • Maddy, I don’t know what it is about glass swizzle sticks, but there’s something so appealing about the “sound” when they clink around in your beverage. (You know me and “pings.”) I was ecstatic to find them! Hope your daughter has a wonderful trip to the U.S. and comes home with some interesting food & experiences to relay. Will keep you posted on the bench painting… :)

  23. Kim, that little white and blue bowl is really lovely. I can see parts of your kitchen in the background of these photos and its looking very good indeed. Nice to receive small care packages.

    • Thanks, Francesca! I love looking in the “backgrounds” of everybody’s photos, too, to “see what I can see.” :) You’re welcome to poke around in my kitchen anytime! xo

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