In My Kitchen ~ January 2019

This month our In My Kitchen hostess — Sherry Mackay of Sherry’s Pickings — deemed January as IMK Lite, so I’m cutting to the chase…

In My Kitchen… these five-bladed scissors (above) are a delight for snipping herbs. Downsizing dill has never been so speedy!

In My Kitchen… is a long-waited dishwasher. The one that came with our house was twenty years old. It quit in October. A repairman was called and the earliest he could come was November. Parts were ordered, but one was out of stock and Thanksgiving came and went. By early December I was frustrated, although I didn’t mind washing dishes by hand and the old dishwasher served nicely as “the world’s largest dish draining rack.” The week before Christmas I cancelled the service order, bought this one, and The Man Of Few Words installed it in less than two hours — including replacing the floor under it. (Apparently the old girl had been leaking for awhile.) Long story short: I’m blessed by my hubby’s ability to fix anything and the new dishwasher works great.

In My Kitchen… are two ceramic-coated skillets to match a lil’ one I got last year. Scrambled eggs slid right out of it and my other non-stick pans needed replacing. There you have it!

For more global gadgets and ingredients, click on the link to Sherry’s blog (top o’ the page) and discover a world of FUN and flavor.

Enjoying brevity,

~ Kim

Christmas Day 2018

All is calm, but not so bright at the lake on December 25, 2018. Impending thunderstorms and overcast skies were the only thing this holiday morn had to offer photographically, however I still found JOY in the stillness and the quiet, muted colors. Hope you do, too! Things don’t always have to be “tinsel and glitter” to enjoy moments of peace.

After I fixed breakfast for The Man Of Few Words (bacon and eggs for him; a Mimosa and a stellar cup of freshly ground coffee for me:) we went for a walkabout ’round the ‘hood to check on our lake neighbors’ homes. All was well, except for evidence of a renegade armadillo who decided to take up residence under one of their houses and who continues to dig up our yards. (Such are the joys of living in rural Oklahoma.)

Ghosts of Christmas Past (and present) also caught my eye…

The Driftwood Trees have been a constant presence in our view ever since we moved here — remnants of former mountains and homes submerged after the huge dam fifteen miles east of us was completed in the 1960’s when Oklahoma’s largest lake was formed. I’ve always wondered what it was like to learn your home was about to be under water (sort of like the scene in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”)

Thankfully, we’ve remained high and dry — even at flood stage.

Still, the mountains in the distance (and valleys far below) give me pause for thought and tons gratitude for living on “The Hill.” Like peoples’ lives, you never know what may lurk underneath. Listen to their stories and they’ll honor yours. Everybody has a story to tell.

Surprisingly, this was the only “color” I discovered today — on Christmas Day. (That, and a delightful bouquet from TMOFW; guess he noticed I’ve been watching every Charlie Brown Special on TV since the holidays began. :)

May your holidays be merry and bright, even on grey days. XO!

Loving LIFE at the lake,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ November 2018

In My Kitchen… this Hungarian paprika trio was an unexpected gift from a friend who toted them from Budapest to Oklahoma. (Thanks, Louise!) My family hails from the “Old Country” and I’m thinking goulash.
In My Kitchen… these antique “butter knife rests” (think Downton Abbey‘s table) were an unexpected find at the church store. Another friend pointed them out to me and all I could say was “sold!” — and thank you. The Man Of Few Words and I are celebrating our anniversary this weekend and it’ll be fun to surprise him with an elegant dinner. Speaking of which…

In My Kitchen… he surprised me with two bouquets!

This post is part of Sherry MacKay’s monthly In My Kitchen series, where there’s always something unexpected. Go take a look for yourself! Enjoying roots and wings, ~ Kim

Peaceful Places

Autumn brings out the playful side of me. Although I could easily become a hermit sequestered on our scenic slice o’ the planet (understandably so), Lake Eufaula has many scenic wonders to behold.

One peaceful place on my bucket “must-see” list is Carlton Landing — Oklahoma’s newest town. Not only does the drive offer a lovely meander through the woods with amusing Burma Shave-style signs along the way, their view from Ridgeline Park is spectacular. So is their ongoing expansion. (Click the link above for more details.)

Several phrases that come to mind are: “family-friendly”, artists’ and architects’ dream, and nice folks.

Did I mention pizza?

Carlton Landing is also home to Mama Tig’s Wood Fired Pizza. Oh my! Their gluten-free crusts are totally worth the drive, not to mention their extensive variety of gourmet and traditional toppings. And whenever I’m feeling “hermit-like”, their food truck (with a pizza kiln) is conveniently parked in downtown Eufaula on Friday night five minutes away. Pinch me…

Or, pull up a chair and enjoy!

Enjoying nearby peaceful places,

~ Kim

Arancini Adventures

Arancini (pronounced arrrr-un-cheeni — roll that “r” like a pirate!) are cheese-stuffed rice croquettes from Italy. A friend from In My Kitchen recently chronicled her escapades in the Mediterranean — thanks, Debi — including a photo of Arancini and I couldn’t resist their allure any longer. Game on!

Speaking of games, I love to play Scrabble. It was time to combine that old favorite with a potential new one, and after researching a few recipes I set out on my Arancini Adventures.

The first challenge was a lack of Mozzarella in our fridge, but I had a bag of Italian five-cheese blend left from an ‘Italian’ dish I’d made for The Man Of Few Words the other night. Out of necessity (and/or desperation) I squeezed that shredded cheese into stuffable-size “balls.” Not quite as authentic as Mozzarella cubes, but I’ve been known to do things the hard way.

The next obstacle was Italian bread crumbs. All I had in the pantry were plain, and gluten-free to boot. I wondered if they’d yield the golden, deep-fried results I hoped to achieve? FYI, folks in the South aren’t squeamish about dunking food in hot oil and there’s a first time for everything — plus, I’m blessed with low cholesterol. A sprinkle of garlic powder and a tablespoon of Italian seasoning transformed them into “Italian” bread crumbs in no time at all.

As for leftover rice, I keep it on hand in the fridge at all times. I could very happily live on beans and rice for the rest of my life! But, today’s stash was destined to become Arancini. However, there’s no need to go to as much trouble as I did; see the recipe below. 

Arancini

(recipe adapted from Just A Taste — grazie!)

1 cup cooked sticky white rice (Uncle Ben’s was specified; I used “plain white”)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs

4 cubes fresh Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs

Oil for frying

Marinara sauce for dipping

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or deep fat fryer to 375 F.
  2. Meanwhile combine rice, Parmesan, and 1 egg. Use your hands to mix.
  3. Form the Arancini by squeezing 1/4 portion of the rice mixture around each Mozzarella cube.
  4. Whisk remaining egg in a bowl, dip the Arancini into it, then roll in Italian breadcrumbs. Shake off excess and set aside.
  5. When oil reaches 375 F, fry two Arancini at a time, turning frequently until golden brown.
  6. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining Arancini.
  7. Serve with warmed marinara sauce. (Or, a glass of Prosecco… heavenly!)

Loving appetizer adventures — authentic or not,

~ Kim

Chocolate Musings

Emergency Chocolate

Writing is chocolate for the soul.

I penned those words nearly ten years ago and I still abide by them.

(Hope you can zoom in on the instructions on my Emergency stash — now an empty box — but hey, some things are worth keeping, including decade old words.)

Lakegirl mug

Now that I’m officially a Lakegirl (woohoo!) I’ve had time to reflect on life and how I’m living it.

Make every day count. Do what makes you happy!

But, serve others with JOY — even if it’s via a random post — or chocolate. ;)

Enjoying LIFE at the lake,

~ Kim

My Ideal Day II

Boy Bouquet

It’s been nearly six years since I posted “My Ideal Day” (for a glimpse of my former frolics click here) — maybe because every day has been close to ideal? Not that life has been all fun and games since then, but I’ve done my best to prevail with a SMILE. Do what makes you happy. Pictured above is the “Boy Bouquet” I gave my beloved. :)

A kiss good morning and a cup of coffee are all I need to ignite my day. 

Make that three kisses. That’s been our tradition ever since TMOFW & I got married 17 years ago and the same applies to “goodbye.” Establish your comfort level for affection early on and don’t settle for less. Take care of yourself!

I’ve been doing just that since I arrived home again after two weeks in Minnesota. (Thank you all for your condolences.) The other night I made “Giada’s” Asparagus & Tomato Fritatta; the next day it was a wilted Chef’s Salad ala “moi.” Healthy eatin’, one day at a time.

I’m grateful for such a peaceful place to regroup, too. Every time I look out our front door, I smile. Ahhh…

Deck sitting has been mandatory. View Out Our Front Door

Getting back to my recent Ideal Day… it involved time to write, think, coffee, and a glass of wine or two.

(And a cute sun dress.)

I also promised TMOFW that I wouldn’t pluck his two prized early blooming beauties below to make Fried Green Tomatoes. :) Patience…TMOFW's tomato plants

Life’s been good at the lake lately.

Actually, it’s been dang near ideal every day. (Thank you, God!)

Enjoying re-booting once again,

~ Kim