March Gladness

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “Into each life a little rain must fall.”  In that same poem (The Rainy Day), he also penned one of my favorite lines:

“Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.”

We had over 6″ of rain this week, but when the sun finally reappeared, there was a RAINBOW.

Even rainy days have their merits.  But… this post isn’t about rain, it’s about sunshine!  Or more accurately, The Sunshine Award…

I recently received The Sunshine Award from Becoming Madame, an intriguing blogger who writes about her life in France, authentic French cooking, art, literature, and more —  after packing up lock, stock and barrel to leave the U.S., marry the love of her life, and move to Paris.  For a fascinating glimpse at her transition, please visit her blog!  Merci, Becoming Madame. :)

This award comes with “Ten Questions” which I’ll answer without further ado:

1)  Favorite color?  Orange

2)  Favorite animal?  Platypus

3)  Favorite number?  9

4)  Favorite non-alcoholic drink?  Coffee

5)  Prefer Facebook or Twitter?  The less time I spend on-line, the better, but ok… Facebook

6)  My passion?  Writing…  No, music…  Nah, make that cooking.  (Does it have to be just one?!)

7)  Prefer getting or giving presents?  Giving, but I’ll never turn one down!

8)  Favorite pattern?  The test pattern at 1:00 a.m. when TV used to go off the air.

9)  Favorite day of the week?  The humble and highly underrated Thursday.

10)  Favorite flower?  A single, long-stemmed red rose.

And now for the fun part… passing along the award to 10 bloggers who inspire me!  That’s a tough call.  All of you inspire me.

In the context of sunshine, I’d have to say the following folks do a wonderful job of brightening up the world…

1)  Isabelle At Home.  Isabelle built her own chicken coop, named one of her hens Steve, and has daughters named Bear and Sunshine.  If that’s not enough to make you smile, she also has a great sense of humor and is a dang good cook, too.  Shine on, Isabelle!

2)  basilmomma.  I admire Heather, being able to incorporate “family life,” blogging, writing a weekly column in a local paper, shuttling sons to swim meets, and living up to her name with basil in some of my favorite recipes gleaned from her blog.  I also enjoy her Facebook updates!  (A bright spot in murky cyber-world for me…)

3)  The Culinary Lens.  Mike is an Irishman and a gentleman, not to mention a catering chef at Saks Fifth Avenue.  He also hosts great “link parties” and his food photos make me drool.  Basically, he lights up my life with his take on “life in the Big Apple” (and Ireland.)

4)  Welcome To Shirley’s Luxury Haven.  Shirley and I live half-a-world away, but we have SO much in common, including the need to be pampered (in the kitchen and out!)  I never know what Shirley’s next post will be about — beauty creams, exotic dishes, or trips to Finland because she won an Angry Birds contest! :)  Treat yourself with a visit to her “feel good” blog!

5)  Jenna’s everything blog.  Chicago can be bleak and bleary (they don’t call it The Windy City for nothin’), but Jenna’s blog lights up the Chi-town skyline bigtime.  One of her posts was also “Freshly Pressed” — an accomplishment that truly shed a ray of sunshine!

6)  flourtrader.  Tina and I are relatively new acquaintances, but I love her style, recipes, and writing.  She has a unique gift for naming her posts and recipes — I smile every time I read them.  Please check her blog out!

7)  Cooking Healthy For Me.  Ann, to me, is the epitome of “encouraging.”  Her comments appear nearly everywhere I look in “blog world” and it’s like finding a friend wherever you go.  That’s a bright spot in my life.

8)  The Orgasmic Chef.  Maureen is an Australian blogger who lives life and enjoys every minute of it.  She also recently remodeled her blog (with great success, I might add)  — it’s bright, clean, and inspiring!

9)  Go Bake Yourself.  This young lady is taking blog world by storm — with good reason.  (Keep reading — there’s more to follow.)

10) No Ideas.  Dawn says she has “no ideas,” but truth be told, I think she has GREAT ideas!  She also says: “Do one thing every day that will make you happy.” :)  I love “ideas” like that!

Speaking of which… today I’m going to do two things that make me happy, since I also received the Versatile Blogger Award.

This award comes with the following “rules:”  (Comments in parentheses are mine, not part of the rules!)

1.  Thank the person who gave you this award.  (In this case, I have two lovely ladies to thank!)

Nolita Morgan at M*O*R*G*A*N*I*C, whose tagline is “Mostly Organic,” hence, Morganic.  I invite you to head to Nolita’s blog, where you’ll find a delightful mix of writing, photography, family, remodeling, and more.  I feel hugged every time I visit.  Thank you, Nolita!

And…

ChocChipUru, who asks: “Seriously, how else do you wear away a rainy/sunny/snowy/thunderstorming day…?”  (An apt byline for today’s post!)  Not only am I amazed at her baking skills and delighted by her writing, the fact remains that ChocChipUru is one-third the age of most of my kitchen gadgets… incredible!  Treat yourself to a fresh (baked) perspective by visiting her blog, Go Bake Yourself.  Thanks, ChocChipUru!

2.  Include a link to their blog.  (Done deal, see above.)

3.  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.  (15!!)

4.  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.  (Ditto!!)

5.  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.  (Stay tuned…)

6.)  In the same post, include this set of rules.  (Check.)

7.  Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.  (Coming soon to a comment section near you!)

NOTE:  Due to time constraints (and the length of this post), I made an executive decision and picked 7 bloggers who, in my book, exemplify versatility:

1)  Ally’s Kitchen.  Ally’s home page states:  “This website is about so much more than food.”  Yes, indeed it is.  When you visit her website you’ll see why.

2)  My Finace’ Likes It So It Must Be Good.  Peggy is going to culinary school and planning a wedding, plus her “header photos” shine!  Need I say more?!

3)  Sweet Alchemies.  Maia is a classical violinist who combines her passion for music and cooking by writing “recipes set to music.”  Near and dear to my heart.

4)  The Harried Cook.  Marsha describes herself as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, cook, baker, and a lover of good food.  I would also include: terrific writer and supportive soul.

5)  Shary Hover.  Shary is a writer, dancer, gardener, dog-lover (not to mention wife and sweet friend), which is a whole lot of versatile!

6)  The Southern Lady Cooks.  I linked to Judy’s “about me” page because you simply must start there.  The South (and the world) are a better place because of Judy’s versatility.

7)  Savour The Senses.  Jenny cooks at Morimoto Waikiki, hostesses “Featured Foodie Fridays” on her blog (as well as writes and posts recipes in between!), surfs, and dreams of owning her own food truck.  Versatile with a capital V!

As for 7 things about “moi” (in random order):  1) I went fishing this morning.  2) For those of you who don’t already know, The Man Of Few Words is the love of my life.  3)  My world is fueled by coffee.  4)  … and chocolate!  And, if you simply must know more, click on my previously revealed facts 5) here and 6) here. And oh yeah, 7) here.

Turns out, the “bowl cut” is my most frequently searched topic. :)

Enjoying rainbows, sunshine, and versatility,

~Kim

Flame On!

When I was growing up in Minnesota, I liked Fantastic Four comics — especially the guy who could burst into flames when he uttered, “Flame on!”  (Spontaneous combustion was a coveted super power during the long, cold winters.)  Now that I’m roasting (and still growing up) in Oklahoma, fire is the last thing on my mind … except when it comes in the form of an award:

Many thanks to Isabelle for the “warm fuzzy!”  Now it’s my turn to pass along the honor.  But first…

Passionate writing inspires us to be warmer people — whether that passion is for food, family, friends, or fellowship.  The element that connects readers, writers, and lurkers alike is being fired up over something.  Life’s too brief to be anything but ablaze.

In random order, the award goes to…

1)  A Day Without Sushi.  Amber motivates me to write with her insights about writing.  Plus, she’s entertaining and amusing.  We should all be so talented!

2)  Miss Wisabus.  Elizabeth’s blog appeals to me for many reasons; “fresh and fun” is how I’d describe her.  Excellent photography and uplifting thoughts await you, not to mention unabashed admiration for the Royal Couple.

3)  Chocolate For Breakfast.  Life isn’t about deprivation, but moderation — a point that Sue Ann brings out so well.  For a balanced approach to life (and treats), don’t delay.  You really can — and should — enjoy chocolate for breakfast.

4)  The Culinary Lens.   Mike and I met a month ago and we’ve been trading comments ever since.  Our food friendship is a contrast between Life In The Big Apple and Green Acres.  LOL.

5)  1000 + 1.  Sharizat combines cooking with creative thinking.  (Prime example:  Chaos vs. Order and Iced Coffee.)  I realize that’s two links — take your pick.  Great food and food for thought, too.

6)  Critty Joy.  Christy writes from the heart and her heart is on fire for the Lord.  Beautiful thoughts from a beautiful young woman.  Thank you for being my friend.

7)  Your’s Truly, Melissa.  Formerly known as “Melissa’s Oklahoma,” this blog and it’s talented writer/photographer showcase the State we live in and love so well.

8)  My Fiance Likes It, So It Must Be Good.  Peggy’s engaged — plus she’s an engaging writer and a chef destined for culinary greatness!

9)  Guns – Grub – and – other Goodies.  Missy is a hard-working Oklahoma gal who knows how to shoot straight — with a 357 and her writing.  (Just don’t paste this award too close to your hay bales, Missy!)

10)  Cosmopolitan Currymania.  Purabi’s expertise with spices fascinates me.  We met on Tasty Kitchen (which reminds me… has anybody seen my Tasty Kitchen button?  I lost it when I was fiddling with my widgets.  Anyway, a new link will be up and running soon!)  If you want to spice up your life, please visit Purabi’s blog!

* The prerequisite to accepting this award is to pass it along to ten bloggers who ignite your world with their thoughts.  Flame on!

Enjoying life’s incendiary moments,

~ Kim

P.S.  I Googled to see if there was any “fine print” attached to this honor.  Two out of three bloggers insisted on sharing seven random things…

1)  My favorite color is orange.

2)  My favorite pajamas are blue and teal plaid.  (Orange is not a good color for me up close.)

3)  The other night I tried to photograph lightning during an impending thunderstorm.  Do not attempt this at home.  But it was exhilarating.

4)  I’m due for a new pair of cowboy boots and I’m leaning towards flashy ones.

5)  If I could go on vacation anywhere in the world, I’d go back to Iceland.  (Now that’s a cool thought!)

6)  My dining room table is a mess.  (All things writing-related end up there.)  I’ll think about that tomorrow…

7)  I still like the idea of having a super power.  Which one would you pick?

Encouragment: The Ripple Effect

Want to make someone’s day?  Encourage them.  Whether it’s a smile, a pat on the back, a heartfelt compliment or a hug, the ripple effect of encouragement leaves a lasting impression…

This week I was encouraged by an unexpected honor: Isabelle (from Isabelle At Home) gave me The Versatile Blogger award.  What a surprise — thank you!  Your lovely, light-hearted blogging style and enthusiasm for cooking keep me “smiling out loud.” :)  Someday I hope we can cook together — wouldn’t that be fun?!

This award comes with a few clauses:  Thank the person who sent it to you, pay it forward (aka pass it on), e-mail everyone you’ve selected, and list seven things about yourself.

In researching how many blogs to pass it along to, I’ve discovered a range of “right” answers — from 3 to 15!  Seven seemed like a median number — seven random facts/seven “honorees” — so I went with it.  (Not without difficulty, I might add…)  It’s tough to narrow down the field with so many excellent writers out there.  (I’m talking about you, my Blog Roll buddies!)

Drumroll, please… and The Vesatile Blogger Award goes to:

1)  Jenna’s Everything Blog (it’s as versatile as its name!)

2)  Sing For Your Supper (food and music — my favorite combo)

3)  Gourmantine’s Blog (sigh…)

4)  The Fromagette (I watch the slideshow every time!)

5)  Dessert For Two  (need I say more?)

6)  Bell’alimento (for the wanna-be Italian in me — with connections to Paula Deen and butter — ciao, y’all!)

7)  Quiet Life (extraordinary photography and writing)  (I linked to Donna’s February 4th post because it puts blogging in perspective for me — scroll to the bottom of that page for her Archives.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Time out!!!  Insert Mushroom Crostini here…

These savory appetizers were part of my Mother’s Day brunch.  Thank you for the recipe, Paula (the Italian one.)  (Thank the Southern one, too — I buttered the crostini first!) :)  While I realize it’s a form of denial to segue into “food” in the middle of an acceptance speech, it’s hard for me to leave people out.  All of my Blog Roll friends contribute “ripples” in my life and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them!

There, I feel better now.  Food has that effect on me.  (That’s a lifestyle, not a random fact.)

Speaking of which… here are Seven Things About Me:

1)  I used to type cookbooks for a living.  It was the ideal job, “working from home,” but I found myself wanting to cook more than type.  (Especially when my computer was just three steps from the kitchen.)  So many recipes, so little time…  The advent of internet cookbooks made “home typists” obsolete, so I was laid off.  (Nothing like becoming unemployed and discovering you’re obsolete all in one day… but I had more time to cook.)

2)  Blue M & M’s give me the heebie jeebies.  There’s something unnatural about them.  (Not that there’s anything natural about red, which finally found favor and returned to the fold in the mid-90’s.)  Or was it the mid-80’s?  (…70’s?!)  No matter — I voted for hot pink.  Close enough.

3)  My favorite books are: The Bible, “The Call” by Os Guiness, and “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas.

4)  Gumby keeps me company when I’m blogging.

5)  I won the Betty Crocker Award in high school.  (Do they even have that anymore?)  Refer to #1, obsolete…

6)  My eyes have freckles in them.  Really.

7)  And if that photo doesn’t explain me in a nutshell, consider this…  I was born in the same town as Spam.

Thanks for your encouragement.  Have fun making ripples!

~ Kim