Fun At The Lake

Similar to Seinfeld’s hit show this may appear to be about “nothing”, but it means the world to me. Plus, I had FUN playing with some new blog themes thanks to WP. (Still undecided… what do you think?) Although it’s slightly less photogenic — being a photographer ‘n’ all — my images show up sooner or later and it was time for a change.

Today I tackled the Tool Room. After our house/garage fire a few years back we were blessed with a three bedroom abode and I envisioned this as a music room… writing room… respite to view the lake. (NOT!) Wish I’d taken “before” pictures, but life goes on and I’m patient. And, The Man Of Few Words helped.

After sorting through accumulated nuts and bolts (hopefully in a somewhat coherent manner) and wading around “future projects on the floor” I transformed it into this:

The long-neglected “jelly cupboard” (circa 1950’s) from my folks’ basement, which my son loaded into my U-Haul at the last minute as a surprise back in in 2016, acquired a primer coat of paint to cover up my late brother’s artistry with spray paint before he customized his Cuda (you can still see a blotch on the left door… oh well) and I moved a few things into an adjacent closet, threw a sisal rug down on the floor, and  as the ol’ adage goes: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Life is much simpler when that happens. (FYI, it doesn’t just “happen”… DO it!)

I still have a few finishing touches to implement. Grey paint on the floor. Perhaps a Monet on the wall? Overall, it’s progressing. (And my hubby can still find his tools.)

Most of the above was a blessing from the church thrift store (how ’bout that antique anchor shelf to hold my hubby’s fishing lures and filet knife?!), gifts from friends. and/or Amazon discount deals. (Soooo grateful.) Meanwhile I’ve been having FUN making the best use of our space even if it involves re-doing the Tool Room — or putting up with bright blue carpeting in our guest room. Sometimes ya make do. But, it matches the lake for now. Someday…

Wishing all of you a very Happy Easter. Hope you like what I’ve done with the place!

Enjoying life and FUN in progress,

~ Kim

P.S. Tell me what you think of my new blog format. I’m gradually transitioning into writing and trying to be mindful of my words.

In My Kitchen ~ Spring 2019

In My Kitchen… this salad was SO tasty I want to eat it again soon. A new restaurant opened nearby and everybody raved about their food. Of course I had to go see for myself to “read their menu” (aka: I was hungry and ready for someone else to cook for me) but lately my dining out adventures have been limited by my food allergies. (Hold the croutons and cheese, please!)

Imagine my surprise and delight to find a perfectly grilled salmon filet atop a bed of crisp greens, red pepper strips, grape tomatoes, and black beans accompanied by a wonderful lime vinaigrette. The first thing I said after I got home was: “They sure know how to make a vinaigrette!” (So does Chef Mimi — more below.)

In the meantime I was thrilled to find a local eatery that respects my limitations. (More on that below, too.)

In My Kitchen… I’m ready to dive into Spring and yet another salad: Chef Mimi’s “favorite.” Yes, I realize that favorite recipes are subjective and oft relegated to the dubious best-ever category, but her sense of flavor and texture are spot on in my experience. Her recipe also included ingredients I had on hand, except for the red cabbage. I sorted that out of a “coleslaw kit” before I served it to The Man Of Few Words for supper. (Call it hands-on cooking — I’ve resorted to it more times than I can count when our local grocery store was out of a particular ingredient — and two meals out of one ain’t bad.)

FYI, I also substituted brown rice for the barley. Mimi said that was okay — use whatever combination works for you. DO try her vinaigrette though. It was tantalizing! Still enjoying the rest on spinach salads and such.

Click on the link above for her recipe.

In My Kitchen… my cousin Jeanne and her husband Ken (who’ve hosted me on my many treks to Minnesota) arrived for an overnight stay. She presented me with some “bowl cozies” to keep our soup and cereal  warm (or cold) courtesy of her quilting scraps, and a crocheted potholder, too. What a treat to be the recipient of such handmade love! We enjoyed catching up on the deck and munching on appetizers in front of the lake before I served supper. Thank you, xo!

In My Kitchen… is an Irish Apple Cake I’ve made many times. NOTE: the original recipe may have included a lil’ Irish (whisky instead of vanilla) but it’s just as good without the “heritage.” The crunchy top layer is a lovely prelude to the moist, spice-laden cake below and it keeps well and freezes well, too.

Irish Apple Cake (recipe courtesy of my friend, Denise W.)

1/4 c. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla (or whisky…)

2 c. diced peeled Granny Smith apples

1/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (I used less because mine was freshly grated)

1 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease an 8″ square baking pan. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat again. Add apples and nuts.

Combine dry ingredients; mix in with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be thick. Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.

Remove from oven, cool on a wire rack, and cut into squares.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. (TMOFW says it’s “just right” plain. :)

Sherry MacKay of Sherry’s Pickings has more In My Kitchen adventures to connect your global hearts and kitchens ever since she took over from her predecessors — Celia, Maureen, and Liz. I’m grateful to all of them for the FUN and friendship — not to mention helping re-establish my kitchen four years ago — but, having said that…

I’ve finally decided that IMK fits best into my life quarterly rather than monthly. Welcome to the Spring edition! For now I have everything I need. It’s also Autumn “Down Under” (where Sherry hails from, as do many of the participants), but Spring has sprung here — and in my heart. I’ve put off too many writing deadlines during the past five years and hopefully you can see how colorful my life has become now. It’s time to make that leap of faith…

Whether you’re looking for food, flavor inspirations, or the latest kitchen gadgets, IMK is a reliable source. Thank you all! As for me, I’ll be back with more thoughts soon. Maybe in a letter? Meanwhile enjoy this glimpse of my surroundings, xo.

Enjoying salads, writing, and possibilities,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ August 2018

Oklahoma rocks

Greetings from Oklahoma, at long last. It’s been awhile since I’ve played in this forum and I’m tickled to be here. I’m also looking forward to catching up with you!

In My Kitchen… I’m celebrating the continuity of daily life. Simple things like setting up the coffeemaker for The Man of Few Words’ 4:15 a.m. wake-up call or planning meals for his return at the end of the day bring me profound JOY. Some may consider that mundane, but I’m reveling in the “routine-ness” of it all after being at the mercy of my phone for the past five years and/or living out of a suitcase for months on end. I’m finally home.

Canister set

In My Kitchen… a few essentials found their way into my repertoire, such as this stainless steel canister set — another thrift store bargain — brand new in the box! Previously I would’ve filled them with flour and sugar, etc., but these are destined to store rice: arborio, basmati, brown, and jasmine. (I keep my coveted wild rice stash in the freezer to preserve its “nuttiness.” You can take the girl out of Minnesota, lol…)

I also invested in a lethal-looking vegetable cleaver in hopes of bringing my knife skills up to “chef speed” someday, but right now preserving my piano playin’ fingers is a higher priority. I love looking at it though. Gorgeous! (Michael Symon, please help?)

In My Kitchen… healthy food is also a priority. I came home packing extra pounds (argh) and I’m determined to shed them a.s.a.p! Thank goodness for the generous gardeners willing to share their produce. Next year I hope to be among the givers instead of receivers, but I’m grateful for the thoughtful folks who do. (Thanks, Rosie!) In the meantime, I enjoyed every bite of this Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomato.

Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomato.JPG

Earlier on FB (during an infrequent attempt to let y’all know I was still alive & kickin’) I mentioned my “Crunchy Chicken Salad.” I promise to post that recipe soon! This was just your basic tuna, mayo, celery, and onion concoction — but oh, soooo good in a homegrown red ripe tomato.

Butterfly butter dish_01.JPG

In My Kitchen… is this beautiful butterfly butter dish — a surprise gift from my son. Tom drove me home from Minnesota and stayed for a few weeks, during which time we attended a grand opening of a friend’s store. (Sparkle & Rust in Stigler, Oklahoma — YAY, Cyanne!) What a delightful venue. I’ll be back…

Speaking of being back, I’m thrilled to be In My Kitchen again, in more ways than one. Many thanks to Sherry’s Pickings for hostessing this world-wide roundup. Always a pleasure to join you, my dear! If you’d like to see more or post your own adventures, please click on the link above.

Enjoying being home and being “me”,

~ Kim

New Years Reasons To Smile

Armadillo Risotta with Oven Baked Shrimp Scampi

Recently The Man Of Few Words tripped on his way to work (at 5:00 a.m. in the dark) when his foot caught on an immovable object on our patio. After ascertaining the source of his unexpected imbalance, he cordially offered a greeting: “Hello, armadillo!” It didn’t budge. He finally had to step over it and they both skittered down the drive on their separate ways.

I recounted that story to my son when he arrived in early December and we both chuckled over the odds. Gotta love Okie “critters.” Fast forward to my grocery list.

My son said he’d never tried risotto so I added Arborio rice to my “must haves” intent on making him that wonderfully creamy side dish. Come grocery shopping day, he glanced at the list and asked: “Mom, what’s armadillo rice?”

Frame of reference is everything.

During the past year, I’ve experienced a number of highs and lows in my kitchen and elsewhere (aka: life), but food — really good food — has been a constant source of amusement and solace, not to mention an equalizer in the unexpected chaos. (Sort of like encountering an armadillo in the dark — you never know what to expect — or when.) Have FUN with it!

Enter a newly discovered “online” cookbook… Eating Heart. Goodness gracious, how it spoke my language — family, heart, and SOUL! (With fabulous risotto-making tips, among other things.) My son was pleased with the outcome. I added Shrimp Scampi, for FUN.

To round out the year, I offer a brief glimpse into my tasty existence as of late:

There’s SO much more, but that’s what the New Year is for… Hope. Truth. Inspiration! Will catch up with y’all soon, xo.

Sunset by Tom

Enjoying one or two last sunsets (and really good food) at the lake before 2018,

~ 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

Happy Places

My New Happy Place

In this chaos-filled world it’s important to find or create Happy Places to feed your soul. Somewhere to step back or away. A hopeful point of view that renews and regenerates.

Today it was as simple as splurging on a pot of flowers.

(Okay, two…)

Posies

I’ve been looking at that burned up ol’ stump long enough. Time to add some color to it! The end result made me happy.

I was also tickled to be grilling out this Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to every soul who contributed to such unabashed freedom. (Feeling blessed.) Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed, nor unappreciated.

Grill Full of Goodness

Make the world a happier place, beginning with yours. Do whatever you need to do to give… thank a Veteran… and remember the fallen. We owe them so much.

Enjoying a peaceful (and tasty) weekend at the lake,

~ Kim

Fun Stuff

 

Life’s been in a bit of a lull lately (blessedly and gratefully so) and inspiration oft arrives when and where you least expect it.

This morning as I sat outside with my clipboard on my lap awaiting profound thoughts ;) I sipped on a cup of java listening to birdsong. I also had to grin at my “Crocs and sox” — me ‘n’ Mario Batali, woohoo!

Yup, I finally traded in my cowboy boots. (I do keep a pair at the ready for snake season… a different kind of “fun”… gotta love life at the lake.) Praise God for comfortable footwear and amenable places to “think thoughts.” Here’s the view I was contemplating.

The View

Speaking of “The View” (as seen on TV), its foodie counterpart is The Chew . I’m not a regular TV-watcher, but I do brake for cooking shows now and then.

A thousand pardons… I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Michael Symon. I’ve long admired him (his 1,000 mega-watt grin continues to light up my life) and the banter between him, Mario, and their affable cohorts — not to mention their incredible edible inspirations — are such fun!

Meanwhile, back outside…

My flower beds are finally weeded and the wildflower seeds are planted. Does anyone know what that vine is? I tend to err on the side of “purdy” vs. horticultural, thankfully without a rash so far. (Please let me know if it’s a weed!)

Other fun stuff: music and food.

I’m sorting through a plethora of recipes and regulating music rehearsals as we speak. These days I have to meter out my time and attention span. Balance is key.

Food and Music

Oopsie daisies! (Don’tcha love that line by Hugh Grant in Notting Hill?) I nearly forgot to include food photos. I’ve also been known to sputter similar meaningless aphorisms… “holy cow”, “what a hoot”, and “that’s hilarious.” C’est la vie! Never hesitate to express yourself, even if it sounds silly… make that fun. Your thoughts matter! I love ’em  all.

And you!

Enjoying a lil’ fun at the lake,

~ Kim