The Simple Life and a Simple Stir Fry

Since January 2018, I’ve had to put my pursuit of flavor aside due to events beyond my control. Recently though I had a hankering for “meat and veggies.” (Vegetarian friends, please look away!) Beef, bacon, broccoli, and brown rice sounded good.

While that concoction doesn’t look like much (thanks to a rainy spell and Oklahoma’s fickle photographic conditions) it tasted SO good, The Man Of Few Words had seconds and I ate the rest. :)

Truthfully it’s been a tough year. At one point I thought about deep-sixing blogging, but that would’ve meant giving up sharing sporadic inspirations with you. My heart just couldn’t accommodate that. Plus I have a story or two left to tell — and I love reading YOURS! Bonus points for yummy recipes.

In the meantime, I’ve found a new outlet for my dormant culinary dreams. Once a week some of my newfound friends and I gather to have a glass of good wine and “munchies.” How could I not cook for them?! They bring the wine and I bring the FOOD! (It was the least I could do to show my appreciation.)

Tonight’s impromptu repast consisted of marinated mushrooms, garlic & herb roasted baby Yukon potatoes, and kalamata olives. Simple fare. Speaking of which, I’m smack dab in the middle of a much simpler life. After I turned 60 (gasp!) I realized that I’ve entered my last go-round on this planet. Every day and every flavor counts. I intend to make the most of them and share my flavor innovations with my friends. (TMOFW, too!) I even brought home an exercise bike yesterday. Yikes…

Getting back to that stir-fry, it was basically a half-pound of bacon cut into “lardons” and sauteed until crisp (drained on paper towels); a pound of 80/20 ground chuck browned with chopped onions and minced garlic (added at the last minute) in the bacon drippings and a “steamer bag” of broccoli nuked in the microwave. (Ordinarily I’d steam a fresh head of broccoli, but time was of the essence.) Then I added previously cooked brown rice seasoned with Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Easy peasy!

Here’s a close up:

Bacon Broccoli Burger Brown Rice 2.JPG

The simplest pleasures in life — the simple life — are best.  Live yours and don’t look back. But please continue to share your recipes. :)

Enjoying a scaled back perspective and GOOD FOOD,

~ Kim

Smoked Salmon Roll Ups II

I haven’t made or written anything noteworthy in a long while (apologies…), but a recent kitchen inspiration sparked a marriage proposal.

After assembling my Smoked Salmon Roll Ups in “mini-bite” form (hence II), I toted them to a friendly gathering. One fellow took a bite of the creamy goat cheese filling laced with fresh dill, lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, capers, and freshly ground black pepper, ate six more (two at a time!) and asked: “Will you marry me?”

I grinned and said: “No, but I’ll cater.” :)

His lovely, life-long wife (nearby) grinned, too. I love sharing food and smiles!

Enjoying camaraderie and appetizers at The Lake,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ February 2018

Winter White Crocks

In My Kitchen… I haven’t played for the last month or two — apologies to all — due to life “in flux.” My mother’s health took a downward turn in early December and I’m doin’ the best I can from 750 miles away to take care of her. And me…

Unexpected bargains such as this pair of crocks in winter white brightened my world, as well as my kitchen. (Great for chili or stew in our neck o’ the woods!) Sometimes you have to go “back to the basics” to sustain yourself.

Or, create your own light….

Bakers Rack 2

In My Kitchen… I festooned (don’cha LOVE that word?) my baker’s rack with lights over the holidays and decided to leave ’em up year round. I grin when I plug ’em in!

Behind that is my kitchen paint ala grey completed by The Man Of Few Words. I’ve teased him for years about “not noticing” — Christmas decorations, redecorating in general, or me, lol. His alternate nickname is “Mr. Oblivious” 

Last weekend I came home after running errands and didn’t “notice” he’d finished painting the kitchen — all of the places I couldn’t reach — until Monday! (Talk about eating “humble pie”… anyone have a good recipe?) Here are a few other views  — minus the dishes in my sink. :)

 

In My Kitchen… (or close to it…) is another “light” in my life.

CardinalWhen my son visited in December he gave me this beautiful Cardinal lamp. Even though it’s in my office (adjacent to my kitchen) I spend lots of time in there dreaming up recipes or printing off yours! I love its inherent meaning. My late sister said if she ever came back as a “bird” she wanted to be a cardinal because they’re so cheerful. (She was a redhead, to boot!) Sneak preview

In My Kitchen… is a preview of the tile back splash I planned to install behind my stove. (DIY projects are on stand-by until further notice…) It’ll pick up on my “basic black”  stove & fridge (xo), the sedate colors in our floor covering, and also add a splash of color “reflecting me.”

Look for your light and SHINE it whenever you can.

This post is part of a world-wide gathering of kitchens graciously hostessed by Sherry Mackay of Sherry’s Pickings. Please click on the link for inspiration in your kitchen or add your own to ours by the 10th of this month. Fun and friends await!

Enjoying “light” — and life day by day,

~ Kim

Think Warm Thoughts

Frost 1

When The Man Of Few Words ‘n’ I moved here a decade ago (during the summer), I was looking forward to a respite from the bone-chilling winters I’d previously experienced in Minnesota. New terrain, new seasons to assimilate.

Plus, I knew how to dress warmly.

Surprise, surprise… that winter Oklahoma had record-breaking lows.

Fast forward to 2018. I’ve officially become a weather wimp. Whenever our temps dip below 60º (15.5º C for my Southern hemisphere pals) I’m cold! I’m talkin’: put on a heavy sweater and socks — possibly a pair of ear muffs or a stocking hat (inside) — and throw on two more blankets at night.

Oklahoma hypothermia!

My hardier ancestors would be chagrined.

Frost 2 Lake View

Above is a photo out our frozen front door, but I still find frost beautiful. 

Every season has highs and lows, no matter what the temperature is (inside or out) and/or how many blankets you have to pile on.

Think warm thoughts and experience the JOY of transition.

Enjoying the unprecedented cold front… and hopefully 70º on Sunday, 

~ 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

In My Kitchen ~ December 2017

In My Kitchen… Gumby (my alter ego) lives on via a repeat photo I’ve posted through the years whenever I have less “gumb-tion” than time. ;) December is my busiest month “musically” and I thank you for bearing with me. I LOVE that lil’ green guy and his inherent enthusiasm; he mirrors mine about life, the forth-coming holidays, and FUN in general. Every day deserves the “Gumby wave!”

In My Kitchen… are more blessings than I could possibly count. A lil’ over a month ago a surprise “Boho” box arrived from my friend, Ally, of Ally’s Kitchenand I’ve been enjoying every goodie she sent me ever since. Table linens, towels, aprons, kitchen gadgets, and more. (Photos forthcoming soon.) What fun!

In My Kitchen…  holiday festivity is ensuing. Between practicing the piano, attending myriad rehearsals, volunteering to help those less fortunate (I feel SO blessed), and attending to family (isn’t that what it’s all about?), my days and nights are oft mixed up but I’m grateful for the inspiration and opportunity to “sleep in” whenever my creative limits exceed the clock. Plus, my son is about to grill his infamous burgers. Oh my! Did I mention blessed?

For additional merriment (or summer fun in the Southern hemisphere), please visit Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings for more IMK posts spanning the globe — or add your own kitchen doings by the 10th this month. Merry Christmas!

Enjoying every “Gumby wave” moment,

~ Kim

Extraordinary Evenings

Every day that ends with a sense of contentment is a good day whether I accomplish anything or not. Sunsets seem to affirm that. (We’re here to witness, share, and be, folks — not just “do”.) I grew up ingrained with a “doing” mindset and my self-worth was often measured by how much I got done. It’s taken me decades to get past that primordial training. Last year I put my life on hold to take care of my family, and as a result, I put The Man Of Few Words (“our” life… my life?) on hold for over six months, took an unpaid leave of absence from my job, and contended with limited cell phone signal,  almost no internet (save for my son’s tablet), and a Minnesota winter.

I was a mess when I got home.

It’s taken almost a year to regain my sense of “self”, feel the slightest modicum of creativity, and forge ahead with “my” life — or at least what I formerly envisioned it to be — while handling ongoing phone calls, daily crises, paperwork, and myriad “to-do’s” once I got home. Old habits die hard and fatigue can play funny tricks on your brain — not to mention sap your strength and leave you feeling hopeless.

Yet, I don’t.

Every day back at the lake is a stellar day… followed by an extraordinary evening. (Even when I don’t do a gosh darn thing!) Sometimes I just need to absorb it all. Contentment reigns.

During your tenure on the planet you’ll oft be presented with challenges you don’t feel qualified to face. “Buck up, buttercup” and face ’em anyway! There’s a lesson to be learned and life goes on. Things will gradually become sharper and clearer, even if you’ve had to put you (and/or your “envisioned” life on hold for unprecedented/unanticipated lengthy stretches and you question every decision.) Eventually, it will all make sense, Or, as TMOFW has oft encouraged me (while I wondered aloud about my sanity and ability): “When God wants you to be doing something else, He’ll let you know.” In the meantime, it’s segueing gently between my obligations and my dreams… being aware… and taking care of myself. (Even if it’s just looking at a sunset.)

As if to say “amen” to that thought, my poetic friend j.i. kleinberg recently published this poem entitled The Evening.

found poem © j.i. kleinberg ~ The Evening

After “all of the above”, this is how my life has been lately… halfway between my dreams and reality… with a lot of “blue” up for consideration.

Enjoying re-configuring life at the lake,

~ Kim