Time For A New Direction

Time for a New Direction

Much as I like it or not, life has been pulling me in differing directions. (Such is the curse of numerous interests and/or obligations.) It’s time to narrow down my repertoire a bit.

I’ve had my way with words — or they’ve had their way with me — for nigh on a 10th of my life in this forum. Somewhere along the line I discarded my love for “long sentences”. That’s not a bad thing, mind you; it suits my original vision for brevity and it doesn’t take up too much of your time or mine. (I don’t have any aspirations to become the next Faulkner.) But, I’ve been yearning to write more than three lines between photos and often I edit my thoughts to fit.

That ain’t right.

This past year involved so much care-taking that I almost forgot how to take care of “me”. I put myself on the proverbial back burner. (And frankly, I’ve been stewing more than simmering.) It’s time for a new direction.

I can’t change the course of life’s “events”, but I can take time… make time… to glance at my inner compass now and then, more frequently than I have. (Complete with props.)

When (and how) did I become so “direction-less?”

Unrelated aside: How many folks do you know who buy notebook paper before, during, and after “school sale” season?” Whether I’m at the Dollar Store, the grocery store, or “Boy Howdy” (gotta love Oklahoma) I’m on the look-out, and whenever I run across college-ruled notebook paper, I stock up. (I rue the day when narrow-lined went out of print, but I’ll take what I can get.) “Reading between the lines” seems to be getting wider by the day.

Thimble

This morning I thumbed through a book from a dear writer friend that echoed within my soul. It also begged for some “photo op” enhancement with Grandma’s thimble. (It’s not every day the right prop comes along.) While I was taking pictures, it occurred to me that I sometimes take my writing (and me) too seriously. A camera lens helps me to view life with more clarity. Less full of myself.

I have no clue how a little lunch may evolve in the coming months. I may only post a picture. (Y’all all know that ol’ adage…) But, whatever the future holds, it’s sure to be a definitive extension of me. Possibly even less wordy (we can hope). On a new tangent.

Enjoying discovering True North,

~ Kim

Any new directions in your life? Do tell!

In My Kitchen ~ October 2016

ramekins-and-grater

In My Kitchen (at last) I’m HOME. (Hopefully for longer than I’ve been this year.)

My sister used to tease me that I liked anything “shiny, sparkly, pretty, ooooh, ahhhhh.” Guilty as charged. She and I amused many a shopkeeper with our audible admiration. “Shiny, sparkly, pretty, ooooh, ahhhhh” is FUN to say out loud… try it!

I do like baubles… In My Kitchen and otherwise. Especially when they combine form and function. Take this mini-grater (above) to zest citrus, shave grated cheese atop pasta & salads, and/or sliver garlic when I’m not in a “smashing” mood. (I’m soooo in need of TLC… so is my garlic.) You already know how I feel about ramekins., lol. :)  The more, the merrier!

antique-treasires

In My Kitchen… are antique treasures. (Grandma’s flour sifter, scoop, and the cutest lil’ salt & pepper shakers with their matching toothpick holder… not quite as “shiny” but I love their patina and memories.) Grandma had a mega-flour bin — a pull-out, tin-lined cupboard that accommodated a 50-pound bag of flour!

I loved watching her scoop “just the right amount” of flour (without measuring) and shaking her sifter to make homemade kolaches, cinnamon rolls, and bread.

As for the S & P shakers and toothpick holder, they were fixtures on her stove-top. Now, they’re fixtures on mine.

replacements

In My Kitchen are replacements… or rather, a flatware pattern that I liked so much thanks to a church friend who gifted us with a set of four after our fire (hate to bring that up again, but it’s been a reality I’m dealing with til 11/11/2016 when our insurance claim runs out.) Two years… can it be?! Basic utensils are overlooked.

I love ’em! (And my stove and fridge, thanks to YOU… gratitude and hugs.)

My culinary life, health, and HOPE wouldn’t be what it is without ’em!

In My Kitchen… are these aprons. Rick-racked trimmed ala Grandma. You have no idea how much these recent additions mean to me. (Or maybe you do.)

I’m SO grateful for replacements — “treasures” — IMK friends, xo! Hopin’ to get around to everybody’s posts in the next few days as time & unpacking allows.

Many thanks to Celia and Maureen (former hostesses of this monthly forum) and Liz, author of Good Things (our new hostess with the most-est) for sharing your immutable, affable IMK spirits as you adapt to LIFE. (Goodness, aren’t we all?) I love that about this place! Thanks for being “real.” If you’d like to read more IMK posts or share your own kitchen frolics, please contact Liz at the link above by the 10th.

Enjoying being In My Kitchen once again….

~ Kim

Musical Chairs

Lyrical Chairs

You don’t get to be my age and cultivate a sense of contentment by hanging onto things, but every once in awhile I miss my chairs.

They were a part of my life. Part of me.

I even dressed them up on occasion. ;)

Deck the halls... and chairs

Then along came my friend Marla for an impromptu “Girls Day” gathering at my house — with a surprise in tow.

Marla is a piano player. A dear friend. Someone who “gets” me.

Lookie what she brought!

The Chair

A friend of hers was clearing out some things when Marla spied “The Chair” and asked what she was going to do with it. In a moment of generosity, this cast off went from “throw-away” to “give-away.” I’ve been doubly blessed by generous hearts.

Despite the fact that it has no seat (that’s on The Man Of Few Words’ honey-do list) this gem is rife with possibilities. What color fabric? What kind of cushion? As I search for the “right” ones in the coming months, not only will I be merging past with present, I’ll be forging ahead. What an extraordinary gift… the sense of “connection” and promise.

Truly, I’m not defined by “stuff,” but I do recognize the value in treasures… and this chair is definitely one of them. So is my friend. xo

Enjoying an unexpected piece of my past,

~ Kim

Almost In My Kitchen ~ February 2015

Potential Dinner

I had hoped to write this post from the vantage point of a “permanent” kitchen, but we’re still in our temporary digs for a few more weeks, and most of the “kitchen stuff” I’ve acquired is packed in boxes in the spare bedroom. (No sense unpacking twice!) So, rather than show you what I cook with, I decided to share a lil’ story about how I cook.

Many thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hostessing In My Kitchen each month — a delightful global gathering — and for her (and your) heartfelt responses to our post-fire plight. We’re truly blessed by your friendship and caring.

If you haven’t yet enjoyed the many kitchen treasures and perspectives from around the world (or added your own), please visit Celia’s blog linked above.

.   .   .   .   .

Most days I start out with a plan. An agenda.  A “to-do” list… cooking-wise, that is. Dinner is usually in progress (or already made) by the time my hubby has the faintest notion of what he’s about to eat.

Today, however, I waited until The Man Of Few Words (TMOFW) got home and asked what he wanted for supper. (I’m like that sometimes.)

“Stew” was his one-word answer — a re-heat of last night’s repast. I’m soooo thankful he’s easy to please.

After delivering his steaming bowl of stew hot out of the microwave (lol), I began to ponder which flavors and textures I wanted. (FYI, we don’t always eat the same meal on any given night, and “cooking for two” In My Kitchen literally means cooking for two — as in two separate meals.) TMOFW’s non-fussiness and my sense of ‘flavor adventure’ were a culinary match made in heaven.

A quick check of the fridge prompted subsequent questions for moi. What needed to be used up first? What could I make out of it? What was I hungry for — subject to whim, of course. (Such is how my mind, budget, appetite, and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants menu ‘planning’ work.) But don’t be fooled by that thought. I keep a ‘running list’ of potential meals that can be made with the contents therein, and I add ideas to it daily — generally after reading everybody else’s posts. ;) So many recipes to try!

A kettle of chicken stock bursting with veggies (potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic) and a chicken carcass ‘marinating’ overnight caught my eye. Hmmm… something with chicken? There was certainly enough meat left on the bones, and more than enough veggies to produce a one (or two) person meal — never mind that TMOFW had already made up his mind. (I love “cooking ahead,” too.) But, somehow I didn’t feel like soup. So into the freezer went six pints of glorious stock. I love when that happens.

The rest of the chicken and veggies were remanded into individual-size serving containers for yours truly’s lunch the next day or three. Waste not, want not.

By the way, the original chicken was roasted in the oven with peas. (The peas  turn out squiggly-looking that way, but they’re sooooo tasty!) I finished it by carving select pieces, sautéeing them ‘skin-side-down’ in butter until crispy, and topped ’em with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper. (Yum.) Dinner is often a two-step process here — and a one night stand. We seldom eat the same meal twice, separately or not. Reduce. re-use, recycle. ;)

In front of the open fridge, I pondered a few other options. Alfredo maybe? Or how about “hot dish?” (Pardon my Minnesotan…) Quesadillas? Stir fry? You’re only as limited as your food’s shelf-life or international cravings.

Then I looked in the crisper drawer and side shelves. Haricot verts. Check. Red potatoes. Check. Dijon mustard. Check. Capers. Check. By the looks of things, dinner was going be a Niçoise Salad. But… I wanted something even simpler. Caesar Salad, perhaps?

Classic Caesar Salad

(Quick aside: EVOO is perennially in stock In My Kitchen, along with sea salt and peppercorns waiting to be coarsely ground, as are balsamic vinegar and an assortment of herbs to make vinaigrette at will.) Plus, I’d made this Classic Caesar Salad  by my friend, Queen Jeanne, earlier in the week. Thanks, Jeanne, it was was fabulous!

I decided to blanch a few potatoes and haricot verts instead, plunge them into ice water, and wait until my stomach made up my mind. ;) After a quick toss with vinaigrette and capers, I called it a day!

Sometimes ya just gotta punt.

(And eat!)

Simple Salad 1

Are you a planner or a punter?

(Or a player?!)

Happy Superbowl Weekend.

Enjoying inspiration from all of you,

~ Kim

Mini Flowergram and A Surprise Bouquet

Surprise!  This Mini Flowergram comes with a bouquet of awards…

In June, I received not one, not two, not three, but four awards from Claudia of The Wandering Youth.

       Image

 

Claudia is an artist and poet whose “illustrated thoughts” beautify my world.  (Check out her stunning artwork!)  She enjoys everything from fashion to making smoothies and I know you’ll enjoy her combination of words and art.  Thanks very much, Claudia!

In July, another surprise arrived — Becoming Madame gave me the One Lovely Blog Award, too.  I’m feeling twice blessed — thank you!

Becoming Madame writes about life in Paris (how lovely is that?) and it’s a pleasure to read her musings on French cooking, the City of Light and Love, and more.  (Click on the links to see for yourself!)

Last, but not least, Chocolate Chip Uru bestowed a double honor upon me this weekend:

CCU’s blog, Go Bake Yourself, is a treat to read — not only because she creates out of this world ice cream flavors and baked goods, but because she also writes with an imaginative flair.  (I especially enjoy CCU’s Undercover series — fun stuff!)

Again, thank you lovely ladies, for the sweet surprises!  Before I commence with the pleasantries, here are the “rules”…

1)  Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to them in your post.

2)  Share 7 things about yourself.

3)  Nominate (approximately) 15 other blogs you enjoy.

4)  Let each nominee know you chose them.

5)  Participation is optional; if you don’t care to pass along the award(s), that’s fine.

While I’m figuring out the logistics, here are 7 random facts about me:

*   I’m a picker-upper — clothing that’s fallen off hangers in stores, trash (within reason), etc. — if it doesn’t belong on the ground, I put it where it belongs.  Plus, bending over is good exercise!

*  I listen to 1960’s hits because the music is upbeat and I can still remember most of the words. ;)

*  The Man Of Few Words was shocked when I volunteered to clean fish for the rest of the season.  (I’m serious about improving my knife skills!)

*  I once weighed 198 pounds, but after walking 6 miles a day for almost a year, I lost 50 pounds.  I’ve maintained that weight (or pretty close to it) for 13 years now.

*  Every November, I don my wedding dress on our anniversary.  (Bonus fact:  I like the word “don.”)

*  I enjoy playing pool because it involves physics.

*  Naps make eminent sense to me… zzzzzzz.

Okay, I did the math and 7 awards times 15 nominees equals 105 links.  Hmm...  Much as I’d like to dispense that many awards, I simply have to draw the line.  (Please don’t interpret that as being ungrateful!)  Instead, I’ve decided to share them with the incredible women who have been instrumental in encouraging my writing.  Enjoy!

1)  chocolate for breakfast.  Sue Ann Gleason not only has a lovely blog, she has a way of making you feel lovely.  Sue Ann appreciates her readers and engages with them regularly — such fun!

2)  The Busy Hedonist – Tracey Ceurvels is a food writer and novelist, as well as a friend who makes me feel “at home” every time I visit her blog.  And for heaven’s sake, try her recipes!

3)  Kathleen Prophet unleashes the artistic side of me and expands my Universe to consider alternate perspectives.  Playful, fun, spontaneous… because of this forward (and inner) looking woman, I just may add “artist” to my resumé one of these days.

4)  Then there’s Shanna Trenholm…  Shanna brings clarity and simplicity to my life — writing and otherwise.  Please don’t miss out on this opportunity to pare down to “real.”  (That’s all I have to say — and all Shanna would want me to say.)  I love her conciseness!

5)  For you world travelers (and ex-pats), Nasrine Shah-Abushakra has opened my eyes to living the global life.  Culturally and environmentally aware, Nasrine tells it like it is — often from 30,000 feet!  Because of her extraordinary gift for sharing from the heart, I’m blessed to live “larger” than Oklahoma.  I hope you’ll be, too!

6)  Helen Hunter Makenzie has served as my mentor, teacher, and ongoing inspiration.  In fact, service encapsulates Helen to a capital “T.”  Thank you, Obiwan. ;)

7)  Denise Ellis Stewart‘s posts leave me breathless… and wanting more.  Click here for one of my favorite posts — you’ll love it! — heartfelt, honest, and basically what we’re all going through.

8)  Laura Gates.   Here’s one of Laura’s posts that pushed me to the edge… dare I say into outerspace?!  NASA consultant, teacher, and share-er of life’s experiences, mine has been richer for knowing her.

Ladies, please dispense these awards as you see fit, have fun doing it, and thank you for making my world a lovely place.

Enjoying unexpected bouquets,

~ Kim

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