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

BLT Deviled Eggs

BLT Deviled EggsI’ve been on a bit of a deviled egg kick lately (if you haven’t already noticed), but these beauties were SO easy to make — and tasty — I couldn’t resist sharing.

You’re only five ingredients away from heaven!

(Taste bud heaven, that is…)

BLT Deviled Eggs

2 hard-boiled eggs, halved

2 Tbsp. (more or less) chipotle mayonnaise — I used “Just Mayo”

2 Tbsp. diced fresh tomato

Diced bacon, fried and drained (add at will and be sure to save some for garnish)

Baby arugula leaves, for garnish

Set hard-boiled egg white halves on a serving plate.

Place hard-boiled yolks in a small bowl; mash with a fork until crumbly.

Add just enough chipotle mayo to make a cohesive mixture.

Stir in the tomato and bacon. (Be liberal with the bacon.)

Fill egg white halves with mounds of the aforementioned.

Garnish with arugula leaves — and more bacon!

This recipe may be doubled… tripled… quadrupled… make as many as you need.

Or, make ’em for yourself. :)

This pre-holiday weekend treat was brought to you by a little lunch.

BLT Deviled Eggs 1

Enjoying impromptu appetizers,

~ Kim

A Day In The Life (Mushroom Soup with Bacon)

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 2

Diaries are a dangerous thing. (At least that’s what I thought when I was growing up.) Some of them came with a lock and key (remember the ol’ Woolworth’s variety easily pilfered with a paperclip?), while others resembled the “journal” advocated today.

Fair game for anyone who stumbled upon them.

Either way, sacred thoughts were but a page turn away from being revealed and thus I resisted the trend to tell it all… until I started blogging. It amazes (and amuses) me that anyone, anywhere can read whatever I choose to put out there.

Perhaps the key word is choose?

November 4, 2013

Woke up at 6:30 (or so) a.m. wondering what time it was. Hello, Daylight Saving Time… (Question to self: “Is it really possible to save daylight?) Check cell phone clock. Check computer clock. Open curtains. Ask hubby.

Coffee. More coffee…

Wandered about the house until caffeine caught up. (FYI, much of my morning exercise regimen consists of locating the cup I sat down somewhere, and caffeine — though labeled a drug and a vice — is part of my DNA after this long.) My blood type is “C” for caffeine… and chocolate.

Hubby laughs at my antics. (So predictable, but somehow he still finds it adorable.) Blessings…

Check outside thermometer. Check inside temp. Check woodstove.

“Want bacon for breakfast?” (No thanks.) “How ’bout eggs?” (Nah, not hungry this morning, thank you.)

“Okay.”

We’ve pretty much decided we’re on our own when it comes to appeasing hunger, but I’m compelled to offer anyway.

Hubby leaves for work. Rush to living room window to wave goodbye and blow kisses. (TMI?)

Opens fridge…

Generally I’m not a breakfast eater (see above), but I couldn’t help myself from indulging in another bowl of the mushroom soup that I made last night. It was that good. (Side note: check woodstove again.)

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 1

I can’t thank Queen Jeanne’s Cuisine enough for sharing this recipe! (click here). For a fascinating glimpse on why Jeanne does what she does (and is a culinary instructor, to boot!), please follow up here. Thank you, Jeanne!

For those of you wondering if I rankled the recent dairy-phobe nature of my physiology, I went out on a limb and added the heavy cream. (So far, so good.)

I foresee cheese in my future, hoohah!

Did I mention bacon? Mushroom Soup with Bacon? Breakfast of champions.

Mushroom Soup with Bacon 2

Fortified by the unconventional sustenance at that hour, I grabbed my camera and jacket (cooler today) to take shots of the undulating lake. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been fooling around with my blog background. The previous one reminded me of tire tracks and trucking (ala lake colors), but the effect was somewhat dizzyfying… not quite what I had in mind to imbue the peacefulness of this place.

Wave shots, check. Try not to fall in, check. Fall foliage shots and whatever else tickles my fancy, check.

(Bacon does that to me.)

Peaceful

Downloaded photos into my computer. Seared roast for tonight’s dinner. Peeled potatoes, onions, and carrots. Scoffed at the slippery slope toward revealing all… and laughed long and loud!

(Some days are like that.)

Particularly today…

Enjoying adjusting to DST,

~ Kimby

Spring Fling (My Second Blogiversary)

Spring Fling

Two years ago, my blog was in its fledgling stages.  Frankly, so was I.

I had a wisp of an idea — lots of them, actually — but no clue how to bring them to fruition.

Since then, I’ve learned a thing or two.  (I’m still learning!)

Asparagus... The Early Years

Asparagus… The Early Years

Asparagus... Two Years Later

Asparagus… Two Years Later

Back then my heart had something to say, but I wasn’t sure how to say it — or take pictures, lol!

Still, I gave it a go.

For me, this forum wasn’t so much about cooking as connecting.

Spring Fling Art

Truthfully, I never thought of myself as a “loner” until I moved to Oklahoma — not counting The Man Of Few Words living in the same household.  (It’s easy to feel alone with one so quiet.)

That wasn’t a complaint, by the way.  I thrive on the creative “space” he affords my adventures, xo, and I could have been perfectly content without ever venturing out again.

But thank you for bringing me out of my shell!

Contentment

My soul (then and now) needed a shot of exuberance.

I found it in expressing myself.  I found it in you!

And, I found it in this Bleu Cheese Bacon Compound Butter. :)

Bleu Cheese Bacon Compound Butter

Bleu Cheese Bacon Compound Butter

1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened

1/4 c. bacon, fried & crumbled

1/4 c. Bleu cheese, crumbled

Combine ingredients in a small bowl.

Fold together gently.  (It’s a good way to cook — AND live life.)

Serve on steak, baked potatoes, or…

Asparagus with Bleu Cheese Bacon Compound Butter

“You’ve come a long way, baby!”  (Remember that?!)

Two years ago, this blog was my “baby.”  I’m content with the way it’s turned out (for now.)  And, following my songwriting stint, I’ll dream up a fabulous giveaway to acknowledge your faithful support!

In the meantime, here’s a picture of the birthday girl…

55 year old "moi"

55 year old “moi” — photo courtesy of TMOFW

Yup… we’re both older and wiser!

Enjoying living, loving, and learning along with ya,

~ Kimby

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It’s A Date! (Stuffed Dates With Feta, Bacon, & Pecans)

Stuffed Dates

Isn’t it ironic how some of the tastiest combinations in food (and life) defy logic?  Take The Man Of Few Words and me…

We were catapulted together.  Coaxed.  Coerced.

Yup… we met on a blind date.

Stuffed Dates

More than likely we passed each other at the post office with a polite “hello” or collided carts at the market with an apologetic “sorry,” but other than chance encounter, we remained clueless that a date would be fodder for future marital bliss.

And a blind date?  Noooo waaaay!!!

Leave it to a friend to bend cosmic forces with his sales pitch…

“Ya gotta meet my neighbor!” he’d exclaim to me every day at work, unbeknownst to TMOFW.

“Ya gotta meet the gal I work with!” he’d declare to TMOFW every weekend, unbeknownst to me.

Frankly I didn’t want any part of it — nor did my husband-to-be ;) — but resistance was futile.  After months of rejecting well meaning, matchmaking banter, we finally agreed to be “introduced,” if only to get our friend to please stop.

Fast forward to a late-night meal at the Happy Chef…

TMOFW and I met at the appointed hour to dine with our friend and his wife when we received a phone call (at the last minute, of course…) saying they couldn’t join us.  Something about a babysitter not showing up?  Oh well, stuff happens.  We were on our own.

It occurred to me then that I could bail, but I was hungry and my date seemed nice enough.

Quiet, but nice. :)

After plowing through an Everything Omelette, hashbrowns, toast, orange juice, and coffee, I eyed the stack of pancakes resting idly on TMOFW’s plate.  (Refer to hungry above…)

Setting aside pride, I casually asked, “Are you gonna eat those?”

A grin spread across his face like a summer sunrise, warmer and brighter by the second.

“Have at it,” he casually replied.

Between bites, we talked — or rather, talked and he listened — and before we knew it, it was 5:00 a.m.

Thirteen years later, we can’t thank our friend enough!

Stuffed Dates

Stuffed Dates

(Filling inspired by Sing For Your Supper.  Thanks, Amy!)

8 to 10 Medjool dates

1/4 c. Feta cheese

1 to 2 Tbsp. milk

2 strips of bacon, fried crisp & crumbled

1/4 c. finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Slice dates lengthwise without cutting through; remove pits.

In a small bowl, combine Feta cheese with enough milk to form a thick paste.  Stir in crumbled bacon and pecans.

Stuff dates with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture each.

Place in a baking dish; heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

Cool slightly before serving.  Enjoy!

Stuffed Dates

Wanna know what the clincher was?

My “blind date” followed up with a five page letter the next day…

and y’all know how I feel about writing.  :)

Enjoying unlikely combinations and date night,

~ Kimby

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Bacon, Onions, & Provolone

It all started with a perfectly delectable recipe for roast pork — herb-encrusted, slow roasted, nestled on a bed of homemade applesauce — the stuff autumn meals are made of… heartwarming and heavenly.

Until it was time to take the picture.

I can empathize with a certain amount of reluctance to “say cheese” — I’d rather be behind the lens than in front of it any day!  But as a “foodie,” it’s important to portray deliciousness in all its glory.  Not as a matter of pride, but because I want you to know how absolutely wonderful something tasted, perhaps inspiring you to give it a try.

Enter the reluctant pork loin…

Maybe it was my level of distraction that day.  Maybe it was the monochromatic color scheme.  Maybe it was the background I used.  (What was I thinking?!)  Or… maybe it was meant to be eaten and enjoyed?

Put. The. Camera. Down.

For a glimpse of how it’s supposed to look, click on this link — thanks, Claudia Lamascolo — your original recipe was fantastic!

Plus, it made great sandwiches the next day. :)

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Bacon, Onions, & Provolone

For each sammich you’ll need:

2 strips of bacon, fried to your liking

1 slice of Provolone cheese

A pile of onions (cut ’em chunky)

Pulled pork (aka leftover roast pork…)

Spicy BBQ sauce (I used this recipe — thanks, Patio Daddio!)

1 onion bun (or other flavorful roll), split & buttered

Oven fries & pickles, optional

Begin by frying bacon to desired crispness.  Remove from skillet; set aside to drain on paper towels.

Add chopped onions to skillet (I like mine fried); saute over low heat until edges are browned.

Meanwhile, grill bun (buttered sides down) on a griddle until golden.

Shred pork with a fork.  (Pardon me for waxing poetic…)

Mound shredded meat on bottom bun; top with Provolone.

Nuke until cheese melts.  (Gasp!  Yes, I used my microwave…)

Top with onions and bacon.

Drizzle with BBQ sauce.

Add the top bun and dig in!

Say cheese!

Enjoying redeeming myself photographically.. or not! 

~ Kim

Summer Salad

The sun-drenched days of summer are upon us at last and my thoughts turn to simple meals…

Spinach.  Mushrooms.  Grilled chicken.  Olives.  What could be better?

Except, perhaps, a drizzle of Honey Mustard Vinaigrette and bacon.

Summer Salad

Fresh baby spinach leaves

Fresh mushrooms, sliced

Grilled chicken breast, sliced  (great way to use up leftovers!)

Assorted olives

2 slices of bacon, diced, cooked & drained (for garnish)

Cook the bacon; set aside.  Arrange baby spinach leaves on a plate.

Alternate chicken and mushrooms around the circumference.

Mound olives in the middle.

(For a less fancy schmancy version, just toss everything in a bowl — it tastes the same and it’s faster.)

Prepare the vinaigrette.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1/2 Tbsp.  honey, or to taste

1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, or to taste

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Combine vinegar, honey, and mustard in a measuring cup or small bowl.  Whisk in olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle over salad.  Garnish with bacon.

Lots and lots of bacon.

Enjoying the simplicity of summer,

~ Kim