Once again it’s time to invite you for a tour of our kitchen, joining the great virtual event created by Celia, fantastic baker, superb cook, who blogs over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.   As I normally like to do, let me start with gifts…

From a very dear friend, a fantastic Rolls-Royce of a pan: an All-Clad skillet that does a superb job in many tasks, browning chicken pieces, sauteing mushrooms, making one of my regular types of lunches, sautéed ground beef or turkey with veggies (carrots, celery, zucchini). I use it several times per week, with a big smile each time.

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From one of our departmental colleagues, the best gardener in Manhattan, KS, a huge batch of fresh dill… All portioned and frozen, amazing how well it freezes, we still had some from last year.

From our dear friend Cindy who came to visit last month, dried Barberries…. they have a very unique taste, and will be put to good use in a recipe I’ve had in my files for a long time

From our friend Steve, the traveler extraordinaire, two gifts brought all the way from Saudi Arabia…  my beloved saffron, and a package of their outstanding dates!  I always get very worried when he travels to Saudi Arabia, it is such a complex society!  I would be afraid of saying something wrong, doing something wrong and getting in serious trouble. So, it’s always great to hear that his plane landed back safely in the US.


From another colleague from our department, a huge batch of fresh sour cherries. Each year he invites us to go pick cherries from his trees.  We made a nice sour cherry sorbet last year, but this time I think I see a sour cherry pie in our future!


From Phil, a new rug for our kitchen, as a bottle of olive oil was accidentally broken on the old one and it resisted all our attempts to cleaning. It developed a stain that got worse and worse as weeks went by.  Who broke it? The resident food blogger. For the record, she was very sorry.



In our kitchen…


Phil’s love for fruit preserves is quite obvious… his favorite of this group was the Blackberry Preserves…. the glasses are beautiful with the handle, and we find all sorts of uses once the jam is gone.  These bottles were available at our Marshall’s store in town.

In our kitchen…


Another find from Marshall’s. A beautiful bowl, with a bit of a Moroccan flair.  I love the colors and its golden hue.

In our kitchen…


A large plastic platter that is perfect to take treats to the department. Very cheap, on sale at our grocery store. The bright yellow called my name, as you might suspect…

In our kitchen….


Phil loves to have a small square of dark chocolate with his cappuccino.  When his chocolate reserve is getting low, I like to surprise him with different brands of goodies, so he can try something different and maybe pick a new favorite…

In our kitchen…


The world’s largest celery stalk!  I apologize for the carbon footprints on this one, it came all the way from California to Kansas, but how could I resist bringing this beauty home?  Simply impossible.

In our kitchen….


Since we are in the subject of sins… Something I rarely buy, ready cut veggies. But, look at the perfectly diced zucchini!  It was on sale at our grocery store (Hy-Vee) for $2.20.  Life is too short to be virtuous all the time, don’t you think? A little culinary sin here, another there…  no big deal, right?

In our kitchen….

raspberriesA bag of freeze-dried raspberries… I have a great recipe in mind for this one… Stay tuned….  It is from a cookie book recommended by Karen, from Karen’s Kitchen Stories.  Did you know that cookbooks bought from recommendation of favorite food bloggers do not count against the “No new cookbooks in 2015?” Yeah. The amendment to the rule was made back in January. Sorry if I forgot to mention it.

In our kitchen….


This is probably an acquired taste, and will not please everyone. I’d heard of shirataki noodles as a zero-carb alternative for pasta, but until a few weeks ago I was unable to find it for sale in our neck of the woods.  Not the case anymore, two of our grocery stores have them all the time in three shapes: fettuccine, angel hair, and spaghetti.  You simply drain the liquid they are stored in, rinse the noodles well and warm them up.  They have a sort of strange smell as you open the package, but if you add a sauce or even just some butter and grated Parmigiano, it’s not bad at all. A good option for days in which I want to keep the carbs low.


I close this tour with our canine friends who absolutely
insist on barking hello….


Chief is going through another tough phase, but I managed to snap this reasonably ok shot of him. He says “Don’t worry, friends, before you know it, I am going to be back chasing squirrels, show them who is the boss around our backyard.”


Buck approves the new rug, and promises not to mark it, scratch it, butt-scoot it, or drop food on it (his Mom can take care of that part without his help).


How could Mom imagine I would do anything wrong to the new rug?  You can see I’m an angel! And, contrary to my brother, I know how to properly use a bed.


Oscar is a lot more creative with it. At the time this photo was taken he had just gotten his summer shave and seemed a little upset about it. Maybe folding the bed is a way to show his displeasure?


Well, the real displeasure is having to sit here waiting for our food. Why is Mom playing with her camera instead of feeding us? Have we been that bad? I don’t think so. The backyard has been pretty calm lately, as far as I can remember…


Yeah, I think she forgot all about the skunk by now…

Finally, I will share a little video from our visit to the research cows, 2 miles from home. The previous week I did not take my cell phone, and could not document the huge lick Buck got on the side of his belly from one of the less shy bovines.  It was priceless! This time he didn’t want to have anything to do with them, which is too bad, they absolutely love him!  Take a look by clicking here. It is short and sweet…  (I have zero patience for long videos, and I bet most people are like me).


That’s all, folks!  Celia, thanks for the virtual party, and I invite my readers to visit other kitchens around the world by stopping at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, Celia lists all the links to the posts on the right side of her front page.


ONE YEAR AGO: Sous-vide Pork Chops with Roasted Poblano Butter

TWO YEARS AGO: Roasted Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbet

THREE YEARS AGO: Amazing Ribs for the 4th of July!

FOUR YEARS AGO: Baby Back Ribs on the 4th of July

FIVE YEARS AGO: Blueberry Muffins

SIX YEARS AGO: A Pie for your 4th of July

34 thoughts on “IN MY KITCHEN: JULY 2015

  1. Fab post Sally! A great way to start my day 🙂 you lucky lady with all those lovely gifts, I’ll be looking forward to seeing you use them all. I love dried barberries, they add a little something extra to a salad. And loved seeing you three boys, so cute 🙂 I’m sure Buck won’t do any of those things at all in the new rug…..NOT!!!!
    Have a great day xx


  2. So many goodies as always. I’m a bit covetous of that skillet and I’d love to sample those preserves as well. I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to jars that I can re-use in my pantry. And with handles too. They have shirataki noodles at my local Chinese grocer’s but I’ve been afraid to try them with my texture/smell issues.

    The boys are adorable and I can understand the cows’ attitude … humans are boring. Fuzzy little guys like Buck are a curiosity.


    • I went back to see the cows again this past weekend, and they were mooing loud, very loud to call us back when we walked away… too sweet for words!

      but of course, it’s all about Buck. I never went there by myself, only while running, but then I don’t stop to chat. THey look at me very attentively, but I have no idea if they would try to interact if I went all the way to the gate. I love the white one with black spots – sort of a dalmatian in cow’s shape – I call her “Whitey” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What wonderful things are happening in your kitchen, loved seeing your boys with the cows. And, it was such a surprise to see the barberrys from Oaktown, my neighborhood spice shop. I purchased some myself a few weeks ago (haven’t used them yet) and am looking forward to reading your recipe.


  4. Oh, lots of interesting things in your kitchen [shall sneak in and help myself to a wee bit of that saffron!] but my eyes are on those apricot roses and would love to sit down at the level of Chief, Buck and Oscar for some belly rubs and ‘secret’ conversations 🙂 !


    • Oh,my… the “secret” conversations kind of scare me a little bit… I tend to do a little karaoke while cooking when the pups are around but no one else…. (sigh)


  5. Great new kitchen rug ~ love the play of color with the stove too :). I don’t think I’ve ever tried barberry before; must say you get the greatest gifts Sally. Butt-scoot? Heeheeh, love it. Please give Chief some extra hugs for me, xx.


    • DOn’t you love that rug? :Phil hit the jackpot with that, another one of his ebay finds! Butt-scoot, not sure it is a word, but I decided to go for it.

      Chief is ok today,… we should have called him Phoenix… 😉

      in fact, yesterday was his 16 years and 5 months bday…. can you imagine?


  6. What lovely gifts! I can understand a love of preserves. I’ve already made strawberry vanilla jam and just finished about 10 jars of blueberry jam. Now I need to forage some more blackberries for jam and make the peach plum jams as well.


    • Yeap, they are cute alright… although they push the envelope on a regular basis… I haven’t cooked yet with the Barberries, just munched on a few but I should stop and save the rest


    • Oh, I am so glad you saw it! I was wondering if you perhaps missed the reference to your post, but now the order of my personal universe is restored.

      Karen I baked a bread today that got me thinking about you, because I think you would love it – the Devil’s bread, I hope you stop by Facebook and take a look at the photo. WOW… I think I am in love with the devil (he, he, he)


  7. Love the new rug!!! And the giant celery stalk. The zucchini is perfectly diced. I too commit that sin – particularly with pineapple! The cherries look great! We’re posting a sour cherry pie recipe soon. And I had no idea dill froze so well! So much happening in your kitchen this month! Love the dogs too. 🙂


  8. all i can say is wow! sooo many great things in your kitchen sally. love the barberries; and the yellow tray and that beautiful bowl. and what sweet pooches you have. so cute. and what wonderful friends to give you so many lovely foodie gifts. i didn’t know you could freeze dill either. and that celery stalk is out of this world:)


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