Muted Magic

leaf

Autumn is oft noted for its splendor, breathtaking colors, and audacity (taunting the bleak black & white Season to follow), but it literally snuck up on me this year. Even though I had a brief encounter with Minnesota’s red, gold, and blaze orange glory earlier, I was relieved that Autumn arrived here subtly.

Softly…

(And a tad soggy.)

on-deck

While I was away, The Man Of Few Words (TMOFW) constructed a deck overlooking our backyard jungle. A new playground! (Or at least another place to think and write without being baked to a crisp; it’s still in the 90’s yet.) Shade is a blessing.

I’ve had very little control over my creative surroundings for much of this year and I’ve been longing for some Seasonal inspiration — without screaming for my attention. In my opinion, one of the greatest downfalls in this age of “immediacy” is the lack of mental space. Take time to ponder the Muted Magic surrounding you (whatever the Season).

All that’s required is noticing. Ahhhh…

Enjoying a lil’ breather,

~ Kim

Autumn at the Lake

Autumn 9

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a “walk about” (mostly due to torrential rains, flooding, and snakes earlier this year) but it was such a gorgeous, crisp Autumn morning I needed to be out in it.

With camera in tow, I trekked down the driveway to gaze at the water…

Followed by a glance up “the hill.”

Autumn 1

Ahhhh…

Touches of Autumn are becoming more apparent — that tree literally changed color overnight! A blessing and a marvel.

Then it was off to the end of the lane.

Autumn 2

I love trees that tell stories. This one is a stalwart soul reigning over a tangle of untamed wilderness (which is one of the reasons I love Oklahoma so much… it’s still “unsettled.”) The local king of the jungle, so to speak.

Every year our trees surprise, delight, and inspire me with their stories in progress.

I hope to add my own one day.

Autumn 3

Walking was slightly “crunchy” underfoot so I stopped to admire the acorns.

A veritable feast for the squirrels!

Then I ambled through the neighbor’s yard on my way back to the lake and discovered this rustic scene.

Autumn 4

And this…

Autumn 5

Elements of play surround me.

(I love that!)

Near the shoreline, other trees shared their stories about “life in progress.” There’s no competition or hurry to keep up here. You simply go (or grow) — or change — at your own pace. It’s all good.

Autumn 6

And after that…

It was time for a closer look.

Or two.

Autumn 8

 

Autumn 10

I feel SO close to heaven when I’m wandering about God’s creation.

Closer to Oklahoma.

Closer to “me” — and you.

Autumn at the Lake

 

Enjoying sharing Autumn at the lake,

~ Kim

Comfort Zones

Comfort Zone

The first day of Autumn has come and gone and I’ve officially entered my Comfort Zone. “A place or situation where one feels safe and at ease without stress.” (Definition courtesy of Google.) I’d add: “An area within your soul that feels like you’ve finally come home… a sacred place that nurtures creativity.” 

Whenever I listen intently to my soul (particularly this time of year) that “still, small Voice” speaks volumes. It also guides me to some amazingly comforting, creative places.

My kitchen ranks right up there as a Comfort Zone, followed closely by my piano bench. (Sometimes it’s this trundle bed, courtesy of my sister.) Other days, Comfort wraps its loving arms around me in the passionate embrace of cooler nights and invigorating mornings. I feel wide awake. Rarin’ to go. Or, content to simply “be.”

Autumn isn’t a dying season to me — it’s full of renewed possibilities — and I need to (must) take advantage of it.

That said, I’ll be spending more time offline than on in the coming weeks as I renew and “regroup” — and possibly take a nap (or two or three) on that trundle bed. Ahhhh…

Where (or when) is your Comfort Zone?

Enjoying everything Autumn,

~ Kim

Daylight Saving Time Frolics

Yes, folks, it’s Daylight Saving Time again (or the end of it, when an hour magically “disappears”…) and I’m tellin’ ya, it wreaks havoc on my entire being.

This morning I woke up at 4:30 believing it was 4:30 (my favorite time to wake up), only to discover it was 3:30… aarrggh!  It’s perfidy, I tell you, perfidy!

Be forewarned… this coming week, my thoughts will resemble the jumbled illustration above (confusing, but colorful nonetheless!) :) and I’m asking you to please bear with me.  Moving the hands back on the clock does not constitute an immediate “aha” by my bio-rhythms or brainwaves.

Thankfully, Oklahoma’s seasons follow the calendar — never mind the clocks — and it’ll continue to be autumn until the next season begins.  (I won’t mention the “w” word until it’s official…)

The only “cure” I’ve found for Daylight Saving Time is to spend as much time outdoors as possible.  Let’s take a walk, shall we?

Nature calms me down.  Clarifies my thoughts.  Causes me to forget.

What was I writing about…?

Oh yeah!  Daylight Saving Time…

What are your plans for the “extra hour?”

Enjoying (?) the semi-annual rite,

~ Kim

Happy 10/11/12!

Hi, everybody!  Since today is a unique date in history (10/11/12) and it falls in the middle of “10-11-12” on the calendar (or am I the only oddball who notices things like that…?!), I thought I’d have a little fun with some related numbers. :)

The camaraderie in “blog world” never ceases to amaze me when it comes to sharing warm fuzzies.  Yesterday (on the 10th), I was delighted to see that Choc Chip Uru at Go Bake Yourself received a ton of awards (well deserved, I might add!) — only to discover she shared one of them with me.  Thanks, Uru!  (FYI, Uru also shared a 10 minute (or less) brownie, in case you’re interested…)

Today (on the 11th), I’m honored to pass along the good tidings to 11 of you, per the latest Liebster rules.  (I’ve been the recipient of this award before and they’ve changed since then.)  I’ll do my best to spread the good cheer as best I can. ;)

Rules for accepting the Liebster Award nomination are as follows:

1)  Post 11 things about yourself.

2)  Answer 11 questions from the person giving the award to you.

3)  Create 11 questions for your nominees.

4)  Nominate 11 bloggers and notify them in a post.

Here goes…

11 Things About Myself:

1)  There’s a fish “mobile” hanging above my computer.

2)  I polished my cowboy boots yesterday.

3)  I’m craving sushi.

4)  Two pillows are my absolute minimum.

5)  Chocolate is a food group for me.

6)  I’m still writing my novel.

7)  I’d be happy eating Mozzarella sticks for the rest of my life.

8)  Someday I hope to fly a helicopter.

9)  My arms are tired from playing piano today, but it’s a good tired.

10)  Every morning that I wake up is a blessing.

11)  Writing this list made me smile. :)

Next… my answers to Uru’s 11 Questions:

1)  Snow or tropics?  Definitely tropics.

2)  Would you rather be trapped in a pyramid or go to the Bermuda Triangle?  Bermuda Triangle.  (See tropics, #1…)

3)  Are you a Bond (James Bond) fan?  Can you say Sean Connery?

4)  Cadbury or Nestle?  Each year, I buy a Cadbury Egg and enjoy every ooey, gooey bite.

5)  Dogs or cats?  Dogs.  My favorite breed is a Chow, which seems fitting for a foodie. :)

6)  Cockroaches or spiders?  Eeeek!  (Is this a “like” or “dislike” question?!)  Let’s just say I get along with the spiders.  Cockroaches, not so much.

7)  Favorite donut flavor?  Glazed, raised, with a hint of mace.

8)  Biggest eating feat of your life?  My folks used to take our family to an ice cream shop that featured a sundae called “The Lalapalooza.”  I ordered one once.  (And once was enough!)

9)  Which language would you like to learn?  Okie.

10)  Private jet or private yacht?  A private yacht… with a helicopter pad. ;)

11)  Samsung or Apple?  My technological (lack of) know-how is showing.  Samsung?

And now… 11 Questions for those receiving this award:

1)  Favorite time of year?

2)  Ingredient you use most often?

3)  Hobbies you enjoy (besides cooking)?

4)  Coffee or tea?

5)  When was the last time you climbed a tree?

6)  Last thing you ate?

7)  Favorite hang out as a child (or adult)?

8)  Dream vacation destination?

9)  Favorite dessert?

10)  Average number of pans you use to cook dinner?

11)  Paper or plastic?

Liebster means ‘dearest’ or ‘favorite’ (in German) and one of my favorite things is trying your recipes.  So, this award goes to the folks whose food I’ve enjoyed making this past year, with pictures of my results… YUM.  Thank you!

(By the way, there were many, many more, but this was the only photographic evidence I had… the rest are a delicious memory!)

1)  Cosmopolitan Currymania – When it comes to combining flavors and cooking know-how, Purabi delivers on both accounts.  After her Bengali Omlette Curry came onto my screen, it looked sooo good, I was inspired to recreate it right then and there!

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2)  No Ideas – Dawn’s blog may be named No Ideas, but her Tequila Lime Chicken was one of the best ideas I tasted all summer — hot off the grill and the next day.  (The Man Of Few Words practically wrestled me for the leftovers!)  Dawn says the marinade is excellent on shrimp, too!

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3)  If you’re looking for an easy coconut pie, The Southern Lady Cooks has it.  Judy surely can cook — and bake!   Her Coconut Custard Pie recipe is much less complicated than my usual “stove top” version.  For a taste of the South, check out Judy’s blog — and pie!

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4 & 5)  Paula from bell’alimento posted her Braised Pork with Rosemary and Mushrooms with a Le Creuset giveaway, and I won.  (Can’t thank you enough, Paula; I’ve used both many times!)  The side dish is from Tiffany of Comowater… your Roasted Peas are divine!

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6 & 7)  Another “2 for 1″… Mike from The Culinary Lens and Nick from Frugal Feeding.  Their Pumpkin Risotto and Butternut Squash Risotto are fabulous — separately or combined.  (P.S. Nick… I included a link to your original recipe, too, because it made me happy.) ;)

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8)  The Irish Mother – Margaret Murphy Tripp has one of the best recipes for Cinnamon Rolls out there!  I agree with you — “There’s nothing like waking up to the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls and coffee when it’s chilly and breezy.”  Ahhhh….

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9)  The Busy Hedonist is a relative newcomer to my blog roll, but Tracey Ceurvel’s recipes never disappoint — especially her Lemon Chicken and Mashed Potatoes.  Zingy, zesty, with a true lemon flavor that pops on your palate, paired with fluffy mashed potatoes… sigh.

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10)  Next up is Becoming Madame, whose Pear, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Tart was a wonder to behold.  (Please pardon my photo — it does your recipe a great injustice, primarily because I had to “punt” on the cheese…)  I’m so glad you include video instructions on most of your posts!

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11)  Last, but not least, I’d be remiss without including dessert.  Self-proclaimed cookie-lover, Isabelle At Home‘s cookie recipes (plus many a fine main dish) have graced our table more than a time or two.  Her Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies illustrate why.

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Congratulations, everyone — including you, Miss Uru!

Thanks, too, to all of my food blogging friends who make cooking and eating a daily delight.

One last announcement:  I’m taking the 12th off (and will be away next week), but I’m looking forward to reading your answers when I get back.  Happy 10/11/12!

Enjoying playing it by the numbers,

~ Kim

Between Seasons… A Savory Transition

If art imitates life, then food imitates nature… especially when the seasons change.

Cause to celebrate!

Shish kebobs marinated in an earthy balsamic vinaigrette…

Paired with tender-crisp peppers and onions.

Simple and delicious.

(No secret recipe here… just a brief swim in “Newman’s Own” and a spritz of olive oil on the veggies.)

Summer and autumn on a plate.

The best of both.

As the seasons shift, please make it a point…

To savor change.

Enjoying the transition,

~ Kim