If Desired…

If Desired Salad

A phrase that pops up frequently in recipes is “if desired.”  (Add x, if desired…)  I like that.  I like that a lot.  Not just as a cooking term, but for the myriad possibilities it presents in life.

Generally, I make choices because something needs to be done.

Laundry or dishes?  Vacuum or sweep?  Some days it doesn’t feel like a choice at all!

What if I added “if desired” to life’s lil’ recipe?

Vacuum, if desired…

(That just inspired me to tidy up the house, ha!)

But first, I desire salad…

If Desired Salad

“If Desired” Salad

Assorted greens (add baby spinach, if desired)

Cooked chicken breast, coarsely chopped

Avocado slices, sprinkled with fresh lime juice

Red onions, thinly sliced

Cherry tomatoes, quartered

Bleu cheese, crumbled (or Feta — whatever cheese you desire)

Freshly ground pepper & sea salt

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

How to… layer ingredients on a plate.  EAT!

.  .  .

A few other things on my “if desired” list…

Finish my novel (which requires even less time online…)

Write a song that doesn’t repeat the chorus 400 times (lol) and continue to write “symphonic music.”  (Workin’ on it.)  I LOVED what I learned in the recent songwriting class, but sometimes music can’t be expressed in 26 letters of the alphabet. (!)  Notes without words… aaahhh.

Eventually share some of my music here.  (Also workin’ on it!)

Rid myself of “winter weight.”  Aarrggh!  It seems my metabolism has changed (again) and my penchant for pasta and baked goods MUST be curtailed…

Write with a pen and paper more often than I spend time on my computer.  Hoohah, it’s deck season!

I don’t consider it an indulgence to write in front of a scenic vista, because I worked long and hard to get to this point (trucking comes to mind, as do a multitude of other jobs) and I’m grateful for this blessing.  I desire to write here, as often as possible…

“Office hours ala Spring”

Spring at the lake

Most days I don’t mind making decisions, but when I desire to do things, life’s a lot more fun!

How ’bout you?  What would you do, if desired?

Enjoying myriad possibilities,

~ Kimby

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

Sometimes You Just Gotta Have A Sammich (Chicken, Cheddar, and Avocado on a Bagel)

 Howdy do.  This is going to be a quick little post because I’ve been yearning to spend an entire day with you.  (YOU, not the sandwich!)

 
 

Or… as we call them at our house, a “sammich.”

The occasion called for a spontaneous throw-together.  A whole wheat bagel.  Leftover roast chicken.  Sliced avocado.  Wisconsin cheddar.  A sprinkle of S & P.  And maybe a smidge of Green Goddess Dressing:)

There ya have it.

Enjoying a day to catch up (and a sammich!),

~ Kim

Fire and Ice

Well, the wind chill was 5° this morning (yes, in Oklahoma!) so I figured I better do a “heartwarming” post with Valentine’s Day just around the corner…

The first thing that came to mind was Southwest Chicken Satay.  (I took that photo in January mind you, while the weather was a tad warmer and I was manning — womanning?! — the grill.)

Actually, we have more of a “smoker” than a grill now, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Our winter has been pretty mild so far — no complaints from this former Minnesotan — especially when the lake looked like this a couple of winters ago:

(It came as a pretty big surprise to see ice along shore — we moved here to be warm.)

But then, life is full of surprises…

Take gift-giving, for instance.  The Man Of Few Words is a spontaneous soul when it comes to presenting tokens of his affection.  Rather than giving gifts on “expected” days (like birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine’s Day… ), he prefers to surprise me the other 362 days of the year.

Like the day he hauled home this:

A bouquet of roses it ain’t, but now instead of firing up the ‘ol Webber wanna-be, I get to “grill out” the Okie-fashioned way — yeehaw!  I love it!  (And him.)

Getting back to the food part of this post…

Southwest Chicken Satay with Lime Rice

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (which don’t dry out like chicken breasts potentially do on a “grill” the size of a Volkswagen…)

1/3 c. honey

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix (click here for a fabulous homemade version — thanks, Isabelle!)

1 T. freshly grated lemon zest

1 T. freshly grated orange zest

2 green onions, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

Wooden skewers

Combine all ingredients (except skewers) in a large zip-top-style bag.  Seal and shake.  Refrigerate 2 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of marinating, soak skewers in water and make Lime Rice (see below.)  Now would also be a good time to fire up your grill (or smoker) — unless you have a gas grill.  (I’ll trust you to know how long it takes to heat to medium-high.)

When the chicken is done marinating, take it out of the bag (discard marinade), remove the skin, and slice the meat into thin strips.  (Yes, I know — it’s probably easier to slice the chicken into strips before marinating it, but I do it this way so the marinade doesn’t overpower the meat — I like my chicken to taste like chicken.)

Thread the strips onto the skewers; grill over medium-high heat, turning several times until cooked through.  (Watch closely so the honey in the marinade doesn’t burn, unless you like blackened chicken…)  Serve with Lime Rice.

Lime Rice

2 cups hot, cooked rice (prepared without salt)

Grated zest & juice from 1 lime

Kosher salt, on the side

Combine rice and grated zest.  Drizzle with lime juice and salt to taste.  Easy peasy.

As for the Valentine’s portion of this post…

The photographer in the spoon wishes y’all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Enjoying the warmth of true love and surprises,

~ Kim