Orange You Glad It’s Almost 2021?

(Re-edited to include a recipe…)

Orange isn’t a holiday hue, but it’s my favorite color. (Not that you could tell from my wardrobe or our house — there isn’t a speck of it to be seen.) No offense to red and green, but I love orange’s vibrant cheerfulness!

Above and below are a few favorite holiday foods a L’Orange

First up are/were these sweet potatoes that graced our Thanksgiving table. They made a repeat performance on Christmas Day, too. Easy, peasy — and orange.

Maple & Pecan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 Tbsp. butter or extra virgin olive oil

2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and sliced into 1/4″ rounds

1/3 – 1/2 cup pecan halves and/or pieces (the more, the merrier!)

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or oil a baking dish and layer with sweet potato slices. Cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour or until a fork easily pierces sweet potato slices. Remove from oven and remove foil. Sprinkle pecans over the top, drizzle with maple syrup, and return to oven uncovered. Bake 15 minutes more. Enjoy!

Then, these beautiful citrus fruits from Texas arrived — a gift from a beloved Aunt in Minnesota. (Thank you!) Originally there were more oranges, but I juiced and zested a few to make her Apricot Nut Bread pictured at the top, plus a batch of my favorite Southern pecans below. Sorry, no photo… but, here’s the recipe:

Orange-Glazed Pecans (courtesy of former pecan grower and fab cook, Linda Lamb)

1 Tbsp. grated orange rind

1/4 cup orange juice

1 cup granulated sugar

4 cups pecan pieces or halves

Combine first three ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pecans. Stir until most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat and stir until pecans separate and glaze. Pour onto waxed paper to cool. (Ditto on easy peasy!)

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As for the Apricot Nut Bread, see below. The Man Of Few Words gave it a rave review :

“Now THAT’s some good bread!”

Sometimes he actually speaks. :)

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Apricot Nutbread

(recipe adapted from “The Snyder Family Cookbook” submitted by Mariah Snyder)

1 c. dried apricots, cut fine

1/4 c. hot water (soak apricots for 30 minutes)

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

3/4 c. sugar, more or less (I punted)

2 eggs

1/2 c. orange juice

2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8″ x 5″ loaf pan and set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs. Add orange juice alternately with dry ingredients. Fold in walnuts. (I coated them with some of the dry ingredients beforehand so they wouldn’t “sink”.) Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

NOTE: I made a half-batch in a small loaf pan. (Check for doneness around 40-45 minutes.) If you wish, brush 1 tsp. sugar mixed with orange juice over top of the loaf before baking. (I didn’t — TMOFW isn’t much for “sweets” — but he was thrilled with the way this one turned out.) Additionally, glaze or drizzle it with a mixture of OJ & confectioners’ sugar.

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Last but not least is a book I ordered from Marc Ensign, whose skill with words (and the bass guitar) I’ve admired for a long time. Please don’t judge his book by its cover! It may sound rather bawdy, but “Dick” refers to Marc’s neighbor who inspired him and many others (including me) to brighten the world with kindness, humility, forgiveness, and much more.

Plus, it’s my favorite color!

In just over 100 pages, Marc’s succint writing, storytelling, and humor touched my heart. Everybody needs to read this in 2021! You can order it by clicking here. But with shipping delays, sell-out stock, and hardcover copies hard to come by, you may have to wait awhile for delivery. (Be patient!) It’s well worth waiting for — and reading. “Be A Dick” is a treasure — even if it sounds “naughty.”

I don’t often recemmend things on my blog, but the subtitle on Marc’s book says it all: “How One Person Can Change The World In The Most Unexpected Way.” As I said, don’t judge this book by its cover! I received a number of “questioning” comments after my original post, but it was fun to clarify why I did. :) Also, please check out the recipe update above and have a Happier New Year and a happier outlook on life. We all need that in 2021.

Enjoying orange at The Lake,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ December 2020

In My Kitchen… this fish trio ended up on top of our freezer to make room for the Christmas tree. (I couldn’t help but dress them up a bit to include them in the festivity.) Although the freezer isn’t located In My Kitchen per se, it’s an integral part of our daily meals, faithfully storing stock, vegetables, meat, and more at sub-freezing temperatures. I’m so grateful for its silent, stalwart convenience.

The hostess of In My Kitchen (Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings) encouraged us to include curveballs now and then — things beyond the usual cooking goodies and gadgets. My contribution is “O Fish-mas Tree…” :) For more holiday kitchen fun around the world, please click on her link (in bold) above.

Merry is as merry does.

In My Kitchen… it’s out with the old and in with the new… coffee-maker, that is. Our “modern” one quit on Thanksgiving Day, and my ol’ stovetop percolater came to the rescue until a replacement could be acquired. (It also comes in handy when the power goes out.) Yay for coffee-making alternatives!

In My Kitchen (or nearby)… is my lil’ Charlie Brown Christmas tree. This year I added lights and set it in a window to brighten up the world. Hope it did yours.

We could all do with a lil’ more merry!

Enjoying holidays at The Lake,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ December 2015

It's A Wonderful Life

In My Kitchen… it’s time to CELEBRATE!

This was our Thanksgiving dinner “for two” — lemon & herb roast turkey breast, smoked ham slices, and his ‘n’ hers dressing. His was “Stove Top” — by request — but I always throw in sautéed onions, celery, and homemade stock. (What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him!) Mine was homemade with gluten-free croutons, the aforementioned additions, “Craisins” and pecans. The Man Of Few Words isn’t real wild about cranberries, but I simply must include a few in “my” holiday menu.

I also dolled up some sides (can’t help myself!) — mashed Yukon gold potatoes with cream gravy, sweet potatoes laced with maple syrup, and pumpkin pie topped with whipped white chocolate ganache and orange-glazed pecans. I love combining flavors! I’m also looking forward to “thinking up” something special for Christmas dinner.

In My Kitchen… things are crystal clear. (Most days, ha!)

My sweet friend, Marla, gave me this set of faceted glassware (originally from Canada) and I feel compelled to bless others with her gift of graciousness.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your thoughtfulness, Marla, xo.

In My Kitchen… is an assortment of table linens — from practical to whimsical to sentimental — courtesy of my lovely friend, Ally.

Life (and dinner) are SO much more fun with this colorful selection to PLAY with. :)

They were tucked between another “Ally gift”… a 48-pound box full of cookbooks!

Cookbooks

In My Kitchen… are dinner ideas for days and months to come!

(Truthfully, there were so many cookbooks they didn’t all fit in the picture.)

Thank you very much, my friend, xo. This gift will last all year, and then some.

Coffee Trivet

In My Kitchen… there’s always coffee. (And recently, a coffee-inspired trivet.)

It adds a lil’ pizzazz to our coffee counter, don’t you think?

Whether you’re a java junkie or tea aficionado, a “cuppa” offered with a smile is the perfect warm welcome for impromptu celebrations.

Pecans & Pasta

In My Kitchen… (in the background of the previous photo)  are white chocolate chip pecan cookies — made with Oklahoma-grown pecans.

The cookies are long gone, but I don’t think I’ll run out of pecans any time soon…

I brought home five pounds. (Let the holiday baking begin!)

Stockpot

In My Kitchen… is an 11-quart stockpot. (Yay!)

I’ve been making do with a 6-quart, but it just wasn’t “roomy” enough. This one is suitable for stewing a whole chicken or mega-batches of veggie broth — and, its arrival was most timely — it’s getting chilly here!

Come to think of it, a good-sized batch of chili would simmer nicely in it, too.

Potato Salad in the making

In My Kitchen… (in the aforementioned 6-quart stockpot) some spuds are simmering for another batch of potato salad.

Although potato salad is considered a “summer” food here, TMOFW loves it year-round. (Me, too!)

Potato salad = PARTY!

Recipe Box 2

Last, but not least, In My Kitchen… is a “recipe box” … of sorts!

I was looking for something to house my printed-off recipes and this was the perfect size for file folders — plus, the beautiful carving and patina caught my eye — yes, another thrift store find. Do you have a recipe box? (Or remember writing recipe cards?) Whether you use old-fashioned means or the latest technology, cooking for your loved ones (or YOU) is cause to celebrate!

Please pop in and visit other kitchens around the world (or add your own festivity by the 10th) at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, hostessed by the ever-welcoming Celia.

Enjoying hearth and home… and holiday dinners,

~ Kim

P.S. The next two weeks are “musically crazy” for moi… 3+ evening rehearsals, dress rehearsal, the performance, and a side gig. If  I don’t respond immediately (or in a timely fashion) I WILL get back to you after that! Thanks ever so much for visiting my kitchen… I’m looking forward to visiting yours. Happy Holidays!

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

Back To The Basics II

Back to the Basics

It seems that my body and soul (and stomach) need to do a “regroup” about every six months or so.  In my first Back To The Basics post, I’d just “retired” from a job outside the home, which — while, philanthropically fulfilling — didn’t meet my need to write, cook, make music…

Here it is, six months later and I’m at it again… what shall I do with this life o’mine?

Frankly, I feel blessed to ask that question!

I also feel blessed to be the recipient of some fabulous gifts, aptly timed to arrive during the holidays.  (Who doesn’t love extra presents under the tree?!)  Actually, they were the only presents under the tree, lol.  ‘Tis better to give than to receive…

Anyway, these gifts fulfilled the basic need to treat myself

Thank you so much, to Robin from Simply Southern Baking:

And Christine Lamb from Christine’s Pantry:

And Shirley, from Luxury Haven:

(Yes, I know “eye liner” doesn’t have one whit to do with cooking… but in a way it does!  The more glamorous you feel in the kitchen, the more you can “treat yourself”  — and your special folks — right! ;)

In case you aren’t familiar with the aforementioned lovely ladies, please click on the links in this post — or on my blog roll any time you wish.  You’ll be glad you did!

(And hooray for Random Number Generators!) xo

Getting back to treating myself

As of right now, the house is “undecorated.”  Life is simpler.  Time seems slower… or more basic.

And there’s nothin’ more basic, to me at least, than bread and jam. :)

Recipes forthcoming in following posts… after January 7th!  Until then, I’m taking a much-needed hiatus.  Happy New Year, everybody!

Enjoying time off,

~ Kim