May 2014 bring a ton of happiness for you and all your loved ones!
If you like to set goals for yourself, try to make them realistic, so they won’t turn into a personal ordeal. Remember to enjoy the ride!

I thought a great way to start 2014 would be by joining the virtual party initiated by Celia many moons ago: her “In My Kitchen” series.  Stop by her site to see what other bloggers are sharing from their own kitchens.

In our kitchen….

Many gifts to start this virtual tour…

FoodProcessorA Cuisinart mini-food processor, great gift from a couple of colleagues at  KSU.  Works like a charm, and is powerful enough to grind nuts and spices into a nice paste.  Love it!

PepperGrinderA new pepper grinder, gift from one of my stepsons, I’ve been struggling with our old pepper grinder for 14 years, it’s one very temperamental gadget! This one, from Williams-Sonoma is stylish and functional,  I can change the coarseness with a simple twist.

AmericanCupA special cup for hot or cold liquids that my stepson gave me to celebrate my 20 years away from Brazil. Love it! Oscar takes a nap in the background, dreaming with chubby squirrels.
PearsIn our kitchen… A box of ultra special pears from Harry & David, sent from our dear friends and former neighbors from Oklahoma. They are by far the best pears I’ve ever had, juicy, and sweet.   I even used them in a special salad, a recipe that will be on the blog soon.  Stay tuned!
BrevilleIn our kitchen…. My gift to Phil for Christmas and his Birthday (12/27)… a sexy-red Breville espresso maker. Of course, it matches our Supernova stove, and brightens up our mornings!

In our kitchen.. a labor of love from my super-skillful partner…  It all started with these: a box of wine corks saved for years and years + a sheet of plywood.

For our home in Oklahoma, Phil made a wine cork board many years ago. He was just waiting for the kitchen hellnovation to be over to build a new one here,  bringing to our new kitchen something we missed from the old home.   My stepson was visiting us and  helped with the final installation.


Can you figure out what his design represents?  I can tell you it is very clever…
Cork Board

In our kitchen…. Black Volcanic Salt from Hawaii…  ever since I bought the new book by Anne Burrell and saw a recipe using this salt, I wanted to try it.  It has a smoky taste on top of the salty flavor.  Love it!  Plus it looks gorgeous sprinkled over certain foods like asparagus and sea scallops.

CitrusOlivesIn our kitchen... Citrus-Stuffed Olives.  These are amazing!  I almost passed them by at the grocery store, but one thing I’ve learned living here is that the products labeled as ‘Private Selection” from Krogers are not to be ignored.

In our kitchen… Little glass vials that are perfect to store those loose spices sold in bags.  Like the gift from my friend Gabi, a spice mix from Brazil… and some other goodies I had laying around the pantry in a less than ideal “living situation”.

compositechipsIn our kitchen… tapioca chips, something I had never heard of, found them in the great Asian market in town.  They are less greasy than potato chips, with a  slightly harder texture.  They are made from cassava (manioc) flour.  A product from India. I wonder if they are available in Brazil, since manioc products are so popular back home.

compositeCopcoIn our kitchen…  a great find by yours truly, on ebay.  Have you heard of a Le Creuset-like product from Denmark called Copco?  Well, these are not made anymore, they are vintage items that you can only find in auctions like ebay, or garage sales.  Their design is super-stylish and the quality of the enamel cast iron supposed to be superior to Le Creuset.  After patiently stalking many of these babies on ebay and watching them sell for small fortunes, I managed to snag this little baby for less than 40 bucks.   I was happy, happy, happy….

OatNoodlesCan you detect an impulse buy when you see it? I have no idea how to cook them (no instructions in the bag or online), or what they taste like. But they were too interesting to leave behind. Another fascinating product found at the Asian Market. They are packaged like soba noodles, but are made from oat flour. I am intrigued.


And now, it’s time for a message from our four-legged friends….

ChiefBedChief is very happy with his new bed. It is fluffy, a lot more comfortable to rest his tired bones. Two paws up! Well, four paws down, actually. Blissfully down.

LordBuck2Buck believes that elegance and poise will bring good fortune. He is also versed in Geometry & Statistics, and knows how to position his body on the spot with the highest probability of “food-fall”.

compositeOskyOscar was completely in love with his new friend, and wishes he would still be around to play with him. It’s ok, Osky, we all miss him! Let’s hope he will come back soon…  In the meantime, Oscar will have to settle for another of his favorite activities: making sure Mom is ok after her workouts. That Tony Horton guy is one mean master!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour around our kitchen and home! Make sure to stop by Celia’s spot – Fig Jam and Lime Cordial – to visit other kitchens around the blogosphere.

I would like to close this post with a message for the New Year, a text written by Neil Gaiman. I love it, and thank Rosa for sharing it on Facebook.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.


ONE YEAR AGO: Tacos with Pork in Green Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO:  Maui New Year!

THREE YEARS AGO: Natural Beauty

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sunflower Seed Rye

62 thoughts on “IN MY KITCHEN: JANUARY 2014

  1. So many wonderful new elements in your kitchen. I love the red espresso machine and I’m going to guess the cork board is a picture of a champagne bottle shooting off its cork. Or maybe my head is a little muzzy with the glass of wine I drank to celebrate the New Year. 🙂

    Your stepson is talented, a doggy friend and a cutie too. I can understand why you’ll miss him.


  2. I am in the process of getting my first page of the new year up and low and behold I have to redo as my inspirational quote that I chose is from Neil Gaiman! Too funny…Happy New Year Sally!


  3. I noticed the cork wall in the photo pf the espresso machine and thought, I’d like to know more about that! I was delighted to see the rest of the wall! Love it! Happy new year to all of you!


  4. My guess on the cork board: A strand of something biologic; DNA? a chain of bacteria? an iron molecule?

    I love the olives and citrus made my Forward Foods and have come pretty close when trying to duplicate it at home. BTW, they are closing the OKC store.


  5. I could never keep up with all that goes on in your kitchen. It’s a good thing I don’t try to keep up with the Jones (or the Sallys) because I’d be shopping all the time. Your coffee maker is perfect sitting near your fancy dancy new stove. Your dogs are so sweet and I’m really happy you include them in your kitchen. 🙂


    • Let’s say that having sold our home in Oklahoma allowed us to get this house in better shape.. but I must also say that party is now officially over! Enough with the shopping, now it’s time for “enjoying” 😉


  6. My guess for the lovely cork board: it’s a profile map of California, with geological details of the shelf and the inland!
    I stumbled into your site a few days ago, while I was searching for a “Black Bun” recipe. “Black Bun” is essentially a rather dense fruit cake. I rather like searching by images, and was attracted by the vision your friends’ port soaked version.
    My husband just wandered by and has a bit of a different thought on the board image: it’s a map of the San Francisco bay area with the golden-gate bridge at the top left!

    Cheers! and Jollity new year!


    • WE’VE GOT A WINNER! So cool to see you at my site as a first time commenter, and there you are, guessing it correctly!

      it is a map of California, with Highway 101, 128 and 29 – but more interesting than that, the corks in each spot are from wineries in that region, it’s hard to see the corks on the photo, but they were chosen as close to the real spot as possible. The light switch roughly represents the Bay Area, with the South Bay below it.

      Wasn’t that super clever?


    • Would you believe we have enough corks to make at least three more boards like that? He’s got some ideas, and I want to make little square thingies to put hot pans over the table… too many projects, but we tackle them, one at a time…


  7. What a wonderful post to wake up to, Sally! I loved seeing all the newest of new in your kitchen.. My top two are the espresso (love love love) and the cork wall. Is that a map of some kind? Oh dear.. I scrolled to the other comments. I would never have guessed that sort of map:) But my favorite of all are your pups and their special visitor!! Wishing you a blessed 2014!!!


    • that picture of our Alex with Oscar is priceless, isn’t it? The look on Oscar’s face as if he was “caught” adoring someone else rather than Mom and Dad was too cute….


  8. I LOVE that cast iron! Sadly Lodge enamel cast iron and Le Creuset are made in China…vintage is the ONLY way to go..*off to stalk Ebay* 🙂


    • Le Creuset’s signature enameled cast iron cookware is still made in France. Their non-cast iron products are often made in either China or Thailand. Doesn’t mean they’re bad, though. I have a number of their other items, and they’re all top notch.


    • Good luck stalking, these are getting pretty tough to find, many of them have small chips and show some wear. I was lucky with mine, it is in amazing condition for a pan that is probably my age!


  9. Absolutely loved this post and the Gaiman quote made me cry. First, isn’t it amazing how long we put up with bad pepper mills? Second, I love my mini food processor and use it more than my big one. Third, I can see a lovely loaf of bread baked in that Copco oven. Happy New Year Sally!


    • Karen, somehow your comment was in a spam filter and I almost did not catch it! Glad I scrolled through… very odd, this has never happened before

      Well, glad you enjoyed the quote, I certainly like to have it in my mind…

      You are right about the loaf of bread, it is small but perfect for one of those sourdough boules… shall try that soon…

      Happy New Year!


  10. Happy New Year darling!! I love Phil’s cork art – and no, I can’t tell what it is, but I do like how he has incorporated the electrical switches in the design! I have that Cuisinart processor as well (in orange) and it works a treat, doesn’t it? The grind function is especially useful. I have a think about pepper grinder as well, and will now only use the ones we get from Ikea, they’re the only ones that grind coarsely enough for me. Great buy on the cast iron! xxx


  11. Your kitchen is ‘bewitching’ indeed Sally! Love the small Cuisinart processor and the somewhat larger coffee maker 🙂 ! Please tell us how satisfied you are with the latter as I have been kind’of looking and dreaming!! Above all the corkboard takes pride of place ~ what a labour of love!! The oat noodles: was going to suggest the obvious – cook just a couple of the noodles as a trial and teach yourself until I saw Rebecca’s suggestion above . . . . guess which link I shall be trying out awhile!!! . . . and so relate to Neil Gaiman’s text . . . thank you for the wander . . .


    • COffee machine is amazing! We had the older model for 8 years, so we are pretty used to the Breville system – in fact, I love all Breville appliances I tried so far. This machine is even better, it takes a little getting used to find the perfect grind for the coffee, it must be at the right coarseness to make the coffee perfect.


  12. I have that same vintage Copco pot, but in blue. It’s great, isn’t it? I like how you can cook in the inverted lid. I know all my Le Creusets on the shelf laugh at it when I’m not in the room, but what can you expect from the French? Happy New Years, kiddo! 🙂


  13. love the round up and in particular your quote at the end! Here’s to many mistakes (just hopefully not too many disasters in the kitchen)! Happy New Year!


    • The cork wall is a great project, a little tip, though: it is much easier to do it with the wood panel laying on a table so it would be good to have a surface you can dedicate to that as you make it. First time Phil glued the corks on the wall already and it was a lot harder


  14. What a fun post Sally! Loved the shots of you, the family and the four-legged babies. Happy New Year to you as well! Thanks for sharing the quote. It’s perfect! And I LOVE the cork wall. We have many corks lying about in bowls around the house and this would be a great project. So clever!!! Here’s to a fabulous new year Sally! Hugs to you!


    • I also think this cork board is a masterpiece! He had the idea for it, grabbed a few maps and went to work….

      Terriers are wonderful… if you had commented a couple of days ago I would probably offer to send you the oldest one for free 🙂 Let’s say he was busy marking the leg of our sofa when we were not paying attention to him….. oh, well.. 😉


  15. Sally, your cork wall is an inspiration! Very clever indeed. (My cork stash is small, but growing.) I’m also intrigued by the olives; I’ve enjoyed Feta, almond, garlic, etc. but have yet to see citrus stuffed. Something to hunt for in 2014. Happy New Year!


  16. Hi Sally-
    What a round up of happy – cork masterpiece, coffee perfection, loving gifts, e-bay winning, and lovable animals!
    You have so much to share this month!
    I love sharing in others kitchens each month- Celia is a genius!


  17. What a round up! It’s funny that I should read two blogs in a row and both had a pepper grinder from Williams Sonoma – very coincidental (the other is Lavender & Lime). I’m interested in that black salt… I’d treat the oat noodles as you would soba and see how you go. Nigella Lawson has a great soba noodle salad recipe. I look forward to reading throughout 2014.


  18. Some seriously fun things happening in your kitchen! I always mull over black salt but am yet to buy it… think I will next time though. Those Harry & David pears look like perfection 😀 Happy New Year!


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