Orange You Glad It’s Almost 2021?

Orange isn’t a holiday hue, but it’s my favorite color. (Not that you could tell from my wardrobe or our house — there isn’t a speck of it to be seen.) No offense to red and green, but I love orange’s vibrant cheerfulness!

Above and below are a few favorite holiday foods a L’Orange

Plus, a must have book for 2021.

First up are/were these sweet potatoes that graced our Thanksgiving table. They made a repeat performance on Christmas Day, too. Easy, peasy — and orange.

Maple & Pecan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 Tbsp. butter or extra virgin olive oil

2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and sliced into 1/4″ rounds

1/3 – 1/2 cup pecan halves and/or pieces (the more, the merrier!)

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or oil a baking dish and layer with sweet potato slices. Cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour or until a fork easily pierces sweet potato slices. Remove from oven and remove foil. Sprinkle pecans over the top, drizzle with maple syrup, and return to oven uncovered. Bake 15 minutes more. Enjoy!

Then, these beautiful citrus fruits from Texas arrived — a gift from a beloved Aunt in Minnesota. (Thank you!) Originally there were more oranges, but I juiced and zested a few to make her Apricot Nut Bread pictured at the top, plus a batch of my favorite Southern pecans below. Sorry, no photo… but, here’s the recipe:

Orange-Glazed Pecans (courtesy of former pecan grower and fab cook, Linda Lamb)

1 Tbsp. grated orange rind

1/4 cup orange juice

1 cup granulated sugar

4 cups pecan pieces or halves

Combine first three ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pecans. Stir until most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat and stir until pecans separate and glaze. Pour onto waxed paper to cool. (Ditto on easy, peasy!)

As for the Apricot Walnut Bread, I’m awaiting clarification re: how much sugar to add before I share the recipe. Recently I punted and added the “right” amount (to me) with rave reviews from The Man Of Few Words:

“Now THAT’s some good bread!”

Sometimes he actually speaks. :)

Last, but not least, is a book I ordered from Marc Ensign, whose skill with words (and the bass guitar) I’ve admired for a long time. Please don’t judge his book by its cover, “Dick” is Marc’s neighbor who inspired him (and many others, including me) to brighten the world with kindness, humility, forgiveness, and much more.

Plus, it’s my favorite color!

In just over 100 pages, Marc’s succint writing, storytelling, and humor touched my heart. Everybody needs to read this in 2021! You can order it by clicking here. But, with shipping delays, sell-out stock, and hardcover copies hard to come by these days, you might have to wait awhile for delivery. (Be patient!) It’s well worth waiting for — and reading. “Be A Dick” is a treasure.

I don’t often recemmend things on my blog, but Marc’s book (and the recipes above) are sure to bring you a Happier New Year, or at least a happier outlook on life. We all need that in 2021. Happy New Year!

Enjoying orange at The Lake,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ November 2020

In My Kitchen… are two Mickey & Minnie Mouse stemless wine glasses from a favorite friend. How timely! This month our In My Kitchen hostess, Sherry MacKay of Sherry’s Pickings, invited us to include “curve balls” in our posts besides the usual kitchen paraphernalia. Don’t you just love lighthearted, good-humored people? FUN!

In My Kitchen… my “best-ie” also sent two Mickey & Minnie shaped silicone trivets. Ditto on fun and lighthearted! Thank you, xo.

In My Kitchen… is an Oklahoma-shaped cutting board that illustrates our State’s unique shape. It’s also handy for charcuterie on the rare occasions our lake neighbors show up. Covid-19 has impacted our “socializing” and our State has been on the news a LOT lately with its rising numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths. Hold your loved ones close — or as close as you can — and celebrate every unique moment.

In My Kitchen… is a Noritake tea cup and saucer I acquired for tea-drinking. Somehow it just didn’t feel right to drink tea out of a coffee mug! Bearing in mind that most of you are entering your hot season, the cooler days here begged for special treatment… a hug in a cup.

In My Kitchen… are bay leaves I ordered from Nuts.com — more than I anticipated! But, they’ll add a lovely flavor to soups, stews, shrimp boils, and whatever else I figure out to use them in, don’t you think?

In My Kitchen … (or just up The Hill…) Autumn has arrived. It’s always been a Season of introspection for me — this year particularly so — and goes to show that some things still remain “the same” amidst change. How lovely to revel in that constant.

In My Kitchen… is one last “curve ball” pic of Life At The Lake — taken after one of my walkabouts. As Yeats wrote: “I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” Be gentle with folks (yourself, especially) during these tumultuous times. Keep following your dreams. Every day is a new adventure!

Enjoying Autumn and wishing you well,

~ Kim

Comfort Food IV

History repeats itself, or so it’s said.

On this particular Autumn day I was thinking Comfort Food. Apparently, my mind was on food more than photography. The plated version turned out to be a rather monochromatic affair — further aided and abetted by Oklahoma’s sunshine — but The Man Of Few Words was happy with his supper: breaded pork cutlets, mashed potatoes with Kerry Gold butter, deviled eggs, corn, and coleslaw. He’s also color blind. ;)

My ulterior motive was to eat while it was still hot (foodies everywhere know from whence I speak ) so I snapped a quick photo. While this one may not be worthy of the history books, it sure tasted good.

In researching my vast archives (I’m not exaggerating…), one dish I rediscovered was Neapolitan Meatballs with Ragu. The first time I made it was before the pandemonium… er… pandemic began, in a post entitled An Ode To 2020 and Beyond. Ironically (or prophetically?) I concluded by saying: Enjoying “2020” vision at the lake. I guess we all know how that — and the rest of 2020 — turned out.

Recently I recreated Round Two of that sublime dish over Soft Polenta (instead of pasta) and smiled recalling my previous post’s admonition to “Live life well.” That advice still stands. It also helps to be adaptable when history repeats itself.

Getting back to the pork cutlets, apologies for lack of an “official” recipe… basically I patted the cutlets dry, seasoned them with salt & pepper (S & P), dredged ’em in a mixture of flour, Lawry’s seasoning salt, dry mustard, onion powder, and S & P, dipped ’em in an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1/4 cup water), dunked ’em in bread crumbs seasoned with paprika, and fried ’em for 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown.

For more fun and frolics, feel free to click on the bold “greenish” links within this post. You never know when an actual recipe might show up.

As they say, the rest is history.

Enjoying ongoing Comfort Food,

~ Kim

The Girl With Green Polka Dot Eyes

I had to get glasses back in fifth grade when the blackboard started looking blurry. Fast forward fifty years when my music began to look blurry. It was time for another look at glasses…

There were many more eye exams and upgrades since fifth grade — wire rims, rimless lenses, hard and soft contacts — even a pair of HUGE plastic frames in the 1980’s in shades of purple. Long live Prince…

For years I didn’t wear corrective lenses at all. Oklahoma’s DMV even said I didn’t need to wear glasses after I “semi-retired” and downgraded my CDL (professional truck driver license) to a “Class D.” Also, per my optometrist, folks often pay good money to have that kind of vision — nearsighted in one eye, farsighted in the other. The Man Of Few Words just calls me “the girl with green polka dot eyes.” :)

But, my musical livelihood was at stake. Enter cataracts...

Despite being able to see without glasses before now, “age” crept on me. My left eye isn’t a problem yet, but the right eye’s cataract is “faster-growing.” Even though I don’t need to return until next year for another exam (hallelujah!) I need to wear glasses in the interim. Oh well.

The photo above illustrates my latest frames — plus a few more wrinkles and grey hairs since my last “selfie” — but such is life. Take good care of yourselves… and your eyes!

Enjoying seeing clearly again,

~ Kim

Pizza Playgrounds

Pizza is a veritable playground.

Just when I think I can’t come up with another flavor combo, voila!

Sometimes I outdo myself…

Here ’tis before it became a “hot mess” (to quote a Southern phrase) — artichoke hearts, olives, toasted pine nuts, and mini-pepperoni slices. Basically, I was cleaning out my fridge, freezer, and pantry, and this is what went into the oven.

Hmmm. What sounds good together?

Better yet, what tastes good together?!

With a lil’ goat cheese for added interest atop a gluten-free crust, my taste buds were intrigued for two days. (Anyone else like leftover pizza for breakfast?) The pine nuts took it over the top… crunchy pizza… YUM.

No matter what life presents, there’s a flavor combo awaiting YOUR ingenuity.

Be creative!

Oh my, YES…

Enjoying pizza playgrounds,

~ Kim