My Third Annual State of the Blog Address

Moon Set

Like the colors that subtly usher in each season, this post always sneaks up on me. One minute it’s March of last year and the next it’s March right now. (Almost April!) Has it really been twelve months?

Recap-wise, my year could be summed up in five words:

In transit or in transition.

I spent a lot of time away from the lake. On the road or in the air… leaving and returning… packing and unpacking… settling in again. (Necessarily so.)

With each successive journey, I felt like the shoreline moved farther away and close friends became tentative ones — not on purpose, but because that’s the way it is. Aren’t we always making adjustments? Part of being a grown-up is realizing that nothing ever stays the same, no matter how much we want it to.

Life. Relationships. Food…

One of the challenges I faced last year was getting it through my thick skull that no, you can’t eat gluten unless you want to suffer for an untold number of days. Old habits die hard, but you can teach an old dog new tricks — and I kinda favor positive thinking. While it’s not my intent to become a gluten-free blogger (and I’m greatly indebted to those who are) there’s been a radical shift in my cooking, grocery shopping, and eating. I probably won’t bring it up again… ’nuff said.

This year’s advice? Listen to your body.

Speaking of canines… one of the reasons I haven’t shared more photos (or posts) in recent months was because I was attacked by a stray dog. While I was out snapping pictures one day, Cujo decided to assert his Alpha male-ness. Thankfully I was wearing cowboy boots and my favorite Levi’s, and my Jeep was ten steps away, so the chunk he attempted to take out of my leg was foiled. I ended up with fang mark bruises on my calf for a week though… ouch.

Normally I’m a carefree and trusting soul (and I love dogs), but it never occurred to me that I could be in danger while I was out appreciating Nature through my lens. I’ve become accustomed to lizards and scorpions and snakes (oh my!), but stray dogs not so much — especially when they’re almost as tall as me. That incident shook me to the core and forced me to take refuge until Animal Control apprehended the random offender. To date, I’ve only told a few close friends (including the lake), but I’m feeling much braver now… and I carry a big stick.

Home, Sweet Home… or prison?

Another thing that influenced my writing (or lack of it) was an overwhelming feeling of being ‘housebound’ for most of the winter. Following yet another snafu with TMOFW’s ancient pickup — and despite his best efforts to fix it — he finally took it to a shop. “Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. Best bet is to haul it to a junkyard and scrap it out for parts.” That meant my Jeep went into full-time service as the hubby’s work vehicle, and yours truly has been wheel-less. (Been there, done that.) However, public transportation wasn’t an option this time with Cujo roaming about.

So, I’ve stayed home. And home. And home…

After awhile I didn’t feel like going anywhere or writing anything — nor did I have anything to write about. Mild case of agoraphobia or depression? Your guess is as good as mine. Whatever it was, I was a mess. (I love Southern euphemisms.)

Thankfully my friend (the lake) started kicking up its heels about the time I was ready to hit bottom. (I may write about it someday — or not.) Although I’m no stranger to pain, I’m also mindful of yours.

We can only take so much at one time.

Wild & Windy

Here’s to colors, cohorts, and confidence…

In case you missed my first and second annual musings, they’re here and here. And though this stretch has been a bit tumultuous, life is still good at the lake.

Heartfelt gratitude to you for reading and commenting on a little lunch. I appreciate it more than you know… xo.

Enjoying Spring on the horizon at last,

~ Kim

© 2011-2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch.

A Totally Unedited Post (okay, a couple of times to proofread) and an Appeal…

6 December 2013

Dear Ones,

I’m sooooo at the mercy of my creative soul. (Inspiration comes in the most unlikely forms and at the most unexpected times.) Thanks for bearing with me, blog world pals and new friends! xo

Take our recent snowstorm, for instance. Some might view it as an inconvenience, but I look at it as a break from life… and blogging.

A much needed break. (Back at’cha next weekend.)

I’m talking slow-simmered, re-evaluate as you go, throw another log on the fire, take a NAP, think it over twice before you hit the “send” button (except now), and give it some serious consideration first.

Why are you blogging? What do you want from it? What do you get from it? What do you give? (Emphasis on the last musing.)

In this online world of pretty pictures (some? all? enhanced…) as opposed to the very real world of poverty around me, it gets to be a bit much at times. The dichotomy of it digs at me — deeply.

Folks are starving here… and not just here.

Frankly, I plain ol’ don’t care if my pictures are food photo worthy (or not) or if my recipes are on the cutting edge of trendiness. (Well, I do to some extent…if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy; refer to “creative soul” above.)

What I care about more is that hungry people are fed.

Staring that statement in the face, I guess that’s why I’m here.

No. I know that’s why I’m here.

To feed your soul (hopefully)… as well as the stomachs of those in hunger.

I love having a purpose!

Between the surreal (albeit blessed) world of posting about my latest kitchen paraphernalia (and/or recipes) versus the real need of donating to our local food shelf, I might just make a difference to someone somewhere. It’s not for naught.

My efforts matter… and so do yours!

O Christmas Tree

During this holiday season (often fraught with excess), please choose to make a difference to someone in need. Step up to the plate — not just those with artful backgrounds — and donate generously to your local food pantry.

That’s it. Thank you. Love y’all!

Enjoying more blessings than I can count,

~ Kimby

Sharing Is Caring (Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls)

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

Every once in awhile an idea comes along that’s so astoundingly simple, I whack myself on the forehead and exclaim, “Now why didn’t I think of that?!”  Blog world’s many creative cooks have made my kitchen (and neighborhood) a much tastier place.

A few years back I started a new tradition, baking homemade cinnamon rolls for our neighbors on Labor Day Monday.  I believe each one of us is blessed with talents, tools, and time to bless others — plus, it makes me happy sending my delivery boy (The Man Of Few Words) to their door with a plateful of oven lovin’.

Who doesn’t like warm cinnamon rolls accompanied by a friendly grin?

If there’s one thing food bloggers exemplify, it’s the spirit of sharing — lives, hearts, homes, and recipes — and it’s a delight to pass on what I’ve learned.

Sharing is caring.

A few weeks prior to this years’ tradition, I discovered Closet Cooking’s Blueberry Maple Pecan Cinnamon Buns (thanks, Kevin!) and “knew” they were the ones I wanted to share.  Not only did the blueberries add an enticing  fruit “pop,” the dough was one of the loveliest I’ve ever worked with — soft & silky — and it baked up beautifully.

Cinnamon Roll with Blueberries ready to eat

For the Labor Day version, I omitted the pecans (wasn’t sure if the neighbors had food allergies) and made more of a “frosting” than a glaze, but I highly suggest following Kevin’s recipe to a T.  Simple, scrumptious, spectacular.

The neighbors loved ’em!

Plus, I had leftover blueberries to munch on.  (Win/win.)

Blueberries

Are you a food “sharer?”  What’s your favorite thing to give?

Enjoying the spirit of sharing,

~ Kimby

In My Kitchen – September 2013

Spoons

In my kitchen is a mix of old and new.

The spoon on the right was my Grandma’s.  These days it serves up mashed potatoes and memories.  The spoon in the middle was a gift (thanks, sweet sister) that serves as a decoration.  The spoon on the left, worn  thin from a lifetime of stirring, belonged to my great-grandmother.  Now it’s a garlic holder atop my “modern day” microwave.

In my kitchen there is always garlic.

Garlic holder

There’s coffee, too… old-fashioned and newfangled.

Bialetti

Coffee B & W

The Bialetti coffee maker was a gift from me to me.  I love coffee!  The Dutch oven behind it was another gift from my sister (which has nothing to do with coffee), but I love its constant presence (and hers) in my kitchen.

In the black & white photo, the coffee-themed oven mitt (a gift from my daughter — thanks, Bebe Girl, xo) and the Kahlua coffee mug (a gift from my goddaughter, xo) serve as daily reminders that people care about me.  I love my family.  I love gifts.  I love being in my kitchen!

Color your world and your kitchen in hues that please you.

For me, red is the color In My Kitchen — the color of love — passion — Cabernet Sauvignon and the quilt stitched by my mother-in-law (xo) that hangs over our front door every afternoon like a Mondrian.   Bits and pieces of fabric from her life, filtering Oklahoma sunlight in mine.

Mondrian quilt

In my kitchen are old (new-to-me) cruets purchased at a yard sale for fifty cents.

Why is it that oil & vinegar taste better poured from a cruet?

This unassuming pair resides on a copper serving tray (atop the aforementioned microwave), purchased at a yard sale for a quarter.  I love yard sales and kitchen treasures — and, evidently, balsamic vinegar & extra virgin olive oil.

Cruets

See the picture frame in the background?  That was a gift from my Mom (xo), given shortly after we moved here.  In cross-stitch below the photo, it says:  Home, Sweet Home.

I don’t think that phrase ever meant more to me than it does now.

Every day I cook in a “tree house” on the lakeI see this view from In My Kitchen — and I feel incredibly blessed.

Glowing Sumac

Fall’s a comin’…

Is it really September?  In My Kitchen is a glorious bouquet from my hubby, The Man Of Few Words.  (Bear in mind, flowers tend to arrive randomly and bouquets are generally few and far between.)

To quote him:  “It reminded me of autumn.”

His economy with words and extravagance with “non-verbal romance” continue to astound me.  New flowers from an old love…

Flowers From The Man Of Few Words

Last but not least is an old recipe in a new dish, both gifts from my Sis.

(Ditto on everything I said above about love, family, gifts, memories, and treasures in my kitchen.)

This time I revamped the recipe with the last of my Greek yogurt because, well… you know how it is.

Marinated Beef with Garlic Toasts

Marinated Beef Appetizer

1 c. minced roast beef (a great way to use up leftover roast)

1 clove of garlic (of course), finely minced

1 Tbsp. minced onion (I used Vidalia, but green onions are also good)

Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Equal parts mayonnaise & Greek yogurt, enough to bind the mixture together

(Sorry to make you approximate measurements.  FYI, the original recipe calls for sour cream — whatever tickles ya!)

Mix together, cover, and chill.  Adjust seasonings before serving, as needed.

Serve with (warm) garlic toast or pita chips or crackers.

.  .  .

So, what’s in your kitchen this month?  If you’d like to join in, please visit Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Each month, she hosts In My Kitchen (thank you!)

It’s a delight to see what’s going in in kitchens around the world!

Enjoying “old & new,”

~ Kimby

No Comment

Crane on the Lake

There are times when words simply do not suffice — when they’re a mere reflection of a thought or emotion already expressed.

That’s how I felt about the comment section in my previous post.  Believe me, I intended to reply to every one of them (and normally I do), but there was something special about them… something decrying further comment.

Simply stated, there wasn’t one word I could add to each beautifully, eloquently, heart-shared sentiment without detracting from them.

So I didn’t.

An anomaly, perhaps?  My life is full of them.

Take this crane, for instance.

Crane on Top of the Lake

At first glance (from the deck), he appeared to be walking on water.  (My life is full of miracles, too.)  I grabbed the camera, zoomed in, and discovered an optical illusion of sorts…

Crane Reflection

To me, it proves that you can’t improve (or surmise) on a good thing.

Leave it alone.  Relish it.  Savor it.  Be grateful for it.

Thank you very much for your genuine, deeply shared (and deeply felt) comments on my last post.

Enjoying blog world’s finest thinkers with thoughts (and hearts) of their own,

~ Kimby

In My Kitchen ~ August 2013

Basil Butter

Have you ever felt the singular-ness of your pursuit?  Been entirely happy with what you’re doing, yet experienced the human heart need to connect?

Today I was scooting around the house perfectly content with my hermit-like lifestyle — writing, rehearsing, yada yada — when I stopped to check my email.  (I still allow myself that much “technology” during my self-imposed internet hiatus.)

Pang…

While I’m not an on-line junkie by any means, sometimes a post will attract my attention… inspire me to get out my camera… make me want to share.

(Even if it means usurping my previous intentions.)

Enter Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Each month Celia hosts a delightful gathering of bloggers who open their hearts and homes and kitchens.  (By the way, she’s been doing this for a long, long time… discovery is a delight, even when it’s belated.)

A trip through the links in Celia’s sidebar is like gathering with good friends over coffee.  Trading kitchen secrets.  Finding out what makes each other tick.  Just plain feeling good.

And a lil’ less alone…

Here’s my contribution to August’s “In My Kitchen.”

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes ripening on my windowsill, glowing like rubies… and my heart.

Lace Curtain

…tempered by a lace curtain.

(Sometimes Oklahoma sunshine — and my enthusiasm — need that soft perspective.)

Garlic Toast To Be

Remnants of a day-old baguette awaiting transformation into garlic toast for dinner.

(Metamorphosis is my specialty!)

Yesterday, a friend and I enjoyed Bruschetta (Round 2) on the deck with a glass of wine… such sweet times.

Then there’s mustard… I like mine whole grain.  By the spoonful.

Maille Mustard

Tonight, however, it’ll likely end up mingling with the basil butter (first photo) to spread on the aforementioned baguette — or to serve as a stand-alone next to a really good steak.

Omaha Steaks

(The Omaha Steaks are courtesy of my Mom, xo; photo cropped to be mindful of my vegetarian friends. xo)

Don’t you just love their motto?  “Blend with laughter.”  Ah, yes…

All of this kitchen activity reminded me to remind you… be kind to yourself!  My body recently cajoled me (recalcitrant upstart that it is) that I’m not as young as I used to be — especially after standing umpteen hours in my kitchen.

Time for new mats and/or rugs…

Underfoot

My feet have appreciated the investment ever since.

Last but not least, love your surroundings.  See with new eyes.  A new appreciation.  A little less singular-ness.

Remember who you’re cooking for. .. and why.

Clothes Hung On The Line By The Man Of Few Words

Clothes Hung On The Line By The Man Of Few Words

Hope you enjoyed my first foray “In My Kitchen.”  A brief recap…

Care to join in?  Click here.

(Thanks, Celia!)

Enjoying cyber connections in spite of myself,

~ Kimby

P.S.  I made it a third of the way through August, which is a tremendous feat considering the appeal of your posts.  Thanks for bearing with my spontaneous, creative soul!

Ages and Stages… and a Giveaway (Giveaway is Closed)

Ages & Stages

A magnolia’s gradual unveiling reminds me that

it takes time to birth something beautiful.

Lives, relationships, blogs…

Ages & Stages 1

Typically,

the beginning is fresh with possibilities.

Passion! 

Ages & stages 2

Ideas unfold one petal at a time,

and when they bloom,

they’re a sight to behold!

Ages & Stages 3

Even so,

time takes its toll and priorities realign.

Still…

Ages & Stages 4

A lil’ wear and tear around the edges

is to be expected!

And, I like having something to show for it.

Ages & Stages 6

During the lulls,

ideas still ruminate, germinate,

and offer possibilities of…

Ages & Stages Final

Future growth!

Ages & Stages prime

(Wildly profuse… or teeny tiny.)

No matter what ages and stages I find myself in,

I celebrate growth!

Several months ago, I alluded to a giveaway.  (Sorry it’s taken me so long, but life’s been a lil’ hectic.)  Whether you’ve been with me from the beginning or just jumped in, I’m grateful to you for helping me grow, blog-wise and personally.

In appreciation, I’m giving away a $25.00 (USD) Amazon.com gift certificate, which I can email to anybody anywhere, woohoo!

(One way or another, I’ll get it to you.)

PLEASE NOTE:  The giveaway is officially closed and the winner’s name has been drawn.  (See below)   Thanks to everyone who entered!

To enter, please leave a comment before midnight (CDST) July 7th, 2013 with your thoughts on growth — what it means to you, an example you’re proud of, the stage of life you’re in, etc. — that’s it!  No other hoops to jump through, other than one comment per person.  (Thank you.)

The winner will be randomly drawn by The Man Of Few Words and notified here (and by email) the week of July 8th, 2013.

I appreciate you joining me for a little lunch these past 2+ years!

And the winner is… Christina of “Dessert For Two.”  Congratulations!

Enjoying enduring… and growing,

~ Kimby

P.S.  A few of these photos are from one of my favorite posts.  Feel free to poke around! ;)