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

In My Kitchen ~ May 2017

Iris 1

In My Kitchen… April showers bring May flowers, or so they say. Pictured above is one of “my” irises. Can’t take credit for nurturing ’em; they magically appear every year. I’m thankful for spontaneous beauty! Below is a photo of last weekend’s rainfall. (Pay no attention to the weeds in my flower beds, lol.)Wheelbarrow

This is NOTHING compared to last month’s devastating tropical storms “Down Under”. Hope y’all are doing okay, xo! In the meantime it’s been wet here, too — and my lavender is lovin’ it.

Lavender

So do my “Okie orchids” below, or whatever they’re called. (Horticulture is not my forté.) I love seeing their sassy lil’ blossoms in our back yard (with apologies for re-posting a somewhat gratuitous website/logo photo from a few years back, but I wanted to show you a “close up”) — unfortunately, we’ve been under a wind advisory lately and it’s difficult taking flower photos when they’re waving about wildly. 70 mph gusts… that’d be 112 km/hour for you waaaay Southern folks, whoosh… welcome to Oklahoma.

In My Kitchen… is a photographic potpourri reflecting “life”. A hodgepodge reflecting every given moment — or my latest thrift store find. (Inspiration is where you find it!) Claim it and move on. Make your life your own!

Cobalt rimmed pitcher 2

This cobalt rimmed pitcher is a prime example. (It holds at least a gallon of H2O!) Here’s to staying hydrated this summer… and hello, Lizformer hostess of IMK. ;) BTW, for more fun and culinary adventures, please visit Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings for this month’s kitchen inspirations, posted by cooks from around the world. (Thank you ALL!) Sherry graciously took over the helm of In My Kitchen and the fun continues. Take a peek!

Side Table

In My Kitchen… (or the corner of our dining room) is a 1940’s side table that houses my camera case, purse, and hopefully a “lake-themed” fish sculpture or art piece soon. (Or maybe I need to create my own?) I acquired it after a recent much needed “girls’ day out” and had FUN in the process. The craftsmanship is phenomenal and the camaraderie far exceeded that.

Magazines

In My Kitchen… are my latest issues of Milk Street Magazine ala Christopher Kimball, formerly of America’s Test Kitchen, and Cook’s Illustrated. My late Sis used to subscribe to the latter and I learned tons from it (and from her); the former is a new publication that delights my palate and culinary curiosity. Even if I can’t EAT it, I can read about it!

This past year has been one of refining/honing down my dietary limitations. Let’s add soy, tree nuts, eggs, and corn to my allergen list, shall we?! Besides wheat and dairy — basically, everything I ever loved to cook with and EAT, aarrgghh — every “allergen” on the back of labels seems to have an adverse affect on me. Not sure what’s up with that (or why), but I still eat WELL thanks to “scratch” cooking and a plethora of IMK inspiration worldwide. For that, I’m eternally grateful!

Sorry this is a tad lengthy. Such are the vagaries of posting infrequently. Once a month? I had a larger (and/or more frequent/regular) vision for this space when I started. Will try to do better in May. YAY for new months beginning on a Monday — do you revel when that happens, too? — and for IMK inspirations from near and afar. Thanks, Sherry!

Enjoying Life On The Lake despite my “limitations”, 

~ Kim

Gray Areas

 

Just when I think life is black & white, gray catches me by surprise. An unexpected mix. A pause.

However, pauses provide perspective.

In lieu of this month’s In My Kitchen post, I’m pausing to pray for those who lost everything during the recent tropical cyclone in Australia. When you have nothing, every prayer helps. Please join me. (For more info, click on the link above.)

Pondering gray areas,

~ Kim

Time For A New Direction

Time for a New Direction

Much as I like it or not, life has been pulling me in differing directions. (Such is the curse of numerous interests and/or obligations.) It’s time to narrow down my repertoire a bit.

I’ve had my way with words — or they’ve had their way with me — for nigh on a 10th of my life in this forum. Somewhere along the line I discarded my love for “long sentences”. That’s not a bad thing, mind you; it suits my original vision for brevity and it doesn’t take up too much of your time or mine. (I don’t have any aspirations to become the next Faulkner.) But, I’ve been yearning to write more than three lines between photos and often I edit my thoughts to fit.

That ain’t right.

This past year involved so much care-taking that I almost forgot how to take care of “me”. I put myself on the proverbial back burner. (And frankly, I’ve been stewing more than simmering.) It’s time for a new direction.

I can’t change the course of life’s “events”, but I can take time… make time… to glance at my inner compass now and then, more frequently than I have. (Complete with props.)

When (and how) did I become so “direction-less?”

Unrelated aside: How many folks do you know who buy notebook paper before, during, and after “school sale” season?” Whether I’m at the Dollar Store, the grocery store, or “Boy Howdy” (gotta love Oklahoma) I’m on the look-out, and whenever I run across college-ruled notebook paper, I stock up. (I rue the day when narrow-lined went out of print, but I’ll take what I can get.) “Reading between the lines” seems to be getting wider by the day.

Thimble

This morning I thumbed through a book from a dear writer friend that echoed within my soul. It also begged for some “photo op” enhancement with Grandma’s thimble. (It’s not every day the right prop comes along.) While I was taking pictures, it occurred to me that I sometimes take my writing (and me) too seriously. A camera lens helps me to view life with more clarity. Less full of myself.

I have no clue how a little lunch may evolve in the coming months. I may only post a picture. (Y’all all know that ol’ adage…) But, whatever the future holds, it’s sure to be a definitive extension of me. Possibly even less wordy (we can hope). On a new tangent.

Enjoying discovering True North,

~ Kim

Any new directions in your life? Do tell!

In My Kitchen ~ March 2017

In My Kitchen… my cookware collection grows one “find” or treasure at a time. Most of ’em pre-date me by 50 years, but I’m partial to oldies but goodies. ;)

The Guernsey Cooking Ware casserole above (circa 1900’s) was a fixture in my Grandma’s kitchen for baked beans or side dishes, plus it transferred easily from oven-to-table with its wooden-handled, woven-metal trivet. I made a Tater Tot “Hot Dish” in it recently (a Minnesota thang) and my hubby loved it. I loved using it.

In My Kitchen… is a Savory Jr. Roaster — spied and swiftly acquired. With its recessed underside providing indirect heat (thus avoiding the dreaded “dry” roast), Savory Roasters of every size were hailed by housewives from Maine to California circa 1910 as the preferred roaster. History here.

In My Kitchen… is another blessed find. A Descoware Dutch oven made in Belgium. Its sunny yellow color and size appealed to me immediately, so I brought it home and started researching.

Wonder of wonders, their company was subsequently bought by Le Creuset (swoon) and Julia Child featured Descoware on her show The French Chef. (Double swoon.)

In My Kitchen… is this marvelous copper-lid All Clad saucepan rescued at a local thrift shop. It took a bit o’ elbow grease to restore it to its former glory, but it was a steal for less than $10. (They retail for over $200 at Williams & Sonoma.) The copper core keeps finicky foods and sauces from sticking or scorching and it’s an absolute JOY to use. Plus, it “cleaned up nice” (a Southern thang).

Speaking of oldies but goodies, my blog is celebrating a birthday in March. Me, too. Can it really be six years? Going on sixty… next year?! Thanks for witnessing both. Truthfully, neither of us feels old…er.

As for good things, please stop by Liz Posmik ‘s blog for more In My Kitchen inspirations, or add your own culinary frolics by the 10th.

Enjoying oldies but goodies,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ February 2017

gather

In My Kitchen is the bamboo cutting board featured in this post. (This is the Full Monty, tee hee.) It’s turned out to be quite indispensable, for everything from last-minute herb chopping to slicing & zesting citrus, and more. Functional and FUN — and easy clean-up. Thanks again, Ally, xo!

Truthfully, I thought my kitchen was “stocked”. Or, maybe that’s the mindset I adopted out of necessity these past several years? I’m open to surprises! You never know when one gadget might make your life easier or cooking more inspired.

Thanks, IMK friends and dear friends for SO many innovations and ideas, xo.

funnel-2

In My Kitchen… is a Farberware funnel that matches my “accent” color.

Although I’m not entirely wild about plastic (I miss the beat-up metal funnel I had), the head space indicator has been convenient for measuring homemade stock… beef, pork, chicken, veggie, and shrimp… whatever’s simmering or freezer-bound for future meals. Plus, it’s dish-washer safe. Ditto on easy clean-up.

BTW, I love these “quilted” half-pint jars, too — an ongoing gift from my sister.

rolling-pin-art

In My Kitchen… is a marvelous marble rolling pin with an assortment of table linens (another gift from my aforementioned friend, Ally.) After trying to roll out holiday pie crusts with my wimpy wooden rolling pin, acquired in a hurry (“big box” store shall remain nameless), I informed The Man Of Few Words that I REALLY needed a more substantial one. Frankly, the other one couldn’t put a dent in a ping pong ball! His reply? “Get what you need.” (Gotta love that man.)

Hold out for what you NEED. Be patient, no need to rush things! (You’re clever enough to make do in the meantime.) The right tool will come along when it’s supposed to, and it’ll bless you — and others — if you don’t settle. (Go with your gut… you’ll know “when .”)

Lo and behold TMOFW’s sister & I visited an antique shop a few days afterwards. The first thing I spied when we walked in the door was this green and white marble beauty — with a “stand” no less — for a mere pittance, I might add. Some things are meant to be. YAY!

crystal-contrast-2

In My Kitchen… are two pieces of pressed-glassware with 100+ years of history.

The one in the front held many a pickle, deviled egg, and/or piece of Divinity or Penuche; the one behind housed myriad side dishes. Grandma’s, then Mom’s, now mine.

The “snowflake” design is reminiscent of my home state of Minnesota, but honestly I enjoy serving from them much more In My Kitchen in sunny, WARM Oklahoma. ;)

In My Kitchen… are a few dishes I tried during my “neck problem” phase. (Almost over.)

Great news! Went to the neurosurgeon on Monday; no surgery or injections needed, just continued chiropractic care and EXERCISE…. here’s to a buff 2017. (Hallelujah!)

Working out carefully is worth the effort, especially when there’s a good meal at the end o’ the day — or another spectacular sunset. Worth the wait! (As are the right tools.)

sunset-silhouettes

The glimpses above into my world and kitchen are courtesy of Liz Posmik as she resumes hostessing In My Kitchen following a hiatus during the “busy” season.

Check out the worldwide posts on her sidebar for further inspiration — or add your own by the 10th. Good times!

Enjoying every blessing In My Kitchen and otherwise — YOURS especially,

~ Kim