Author Archives: Kim

About Kim

I am a sinner, miraculously saved by grace, living by faith, and pressing toward the mark of being more like Christ. I absolutely love being a stay-at-home mom! I'm also a caterer for a few weddings throughout the year, a baker, and a party planner. And I love to play in other people's kitchens as well as my own! My husband, Chris, just finished his studies for his MA degree in Pastoral Studies. He's a wonderful (and super smart!) daddy - and the most loving and supportive husband. My two beautiful daughters, Chloe and Kami, are the joys of our lives! We pray that they both would be greatly used of the Lord. Throughout their short time here on earth, we have learned so much about ourselves, our God, and the gratefulness we have towards our own parents, who raised us in the ways of God's Word. Our third unborn child is a blessing as well - even after its recent pre-diagnosis of Trisomy 18, or Edwards Syndrome. This blog has kinda turned into a little journal of sorts of our dark journey down this rather uncommon road. I stay busy cooking, cleaning, gardening, and raising the plants I killed back to life, and homeschooling. I blog when get the chance. :) We are always happy to have visitors, so please stop by anytime! Although, if you do give us a call first, we'll make sure to have some fresh cookies and sweet tea available when you arrive!

{easy!} Bacon Honey Roasted Brussel Sprouts

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honey roasted brussel sprouts

Before we left our lovely little Greenville town a few months back, some very dear friends of mine threw together a surprise goodbye dinner for me. (This was thrown together because the entire move was thrown together! If you really wanna see the timeline of our two week move, I wrote about it last month.) They wanted to take me out to dinner to my favorite downtown restaurant. I had an hour to get ready.

It wasn’t hard to get ready. These girls have been with me since my college days. They’ve come and gone between states, moves, houses. I don’t know how many times we’ve helped each other move. Come to birthday parties. Held each others babies. Sometimes two or three different babies at once. They’ve cried through my baby’s funeral. They’ve eaten my food. We’ve sat through countless Panera Bread salads at children’s hospitals and prayed over little ladies with unending seizures. We’ve killed ant invasions together. < This is serious friendship here.

And this hasn’t always been an easy task. Trust me, not every dish that comes out of my oven is intact. Much less stellar. And they all know that it’ll never be on time. But they keep coming back.

And while they were dealing with their own crazies (my one friend was moving within the week or had just moved within the week or something – I can’t even remember now – and was pregnant – and my other friend was dealing with her own little ones and trying to put on a brave happy face even though we both knew that losing such a dear neighbor friend was probably something we’d never get again, and maybe we should prolong this all just a couple more days….

We needed a last hurrah of sorts. Or maybe we just needed an excuse to get a quick moment out and away from the home front. Either way – these girls shocked my socks off. And we went out.

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The restaurant they chose – my favorite in town – is a great little Mediterranean high end but casual cafe of sorts.  They serve a tapas style menu – everyone order a dish, but you all share a bit of everything. It’s a slow food place. Which I love. Since I love to eat good food and talk it fits me so perfectly. Each dish can be brought out as one is finished – instead of everything at the same time.

And my favorite is this one. This isn’t an exact replica of the amazingness we had there. But these brussel sprouts are the closest I’ve been able to get. And they’re so delicious. I’ve never liked a green vegetable so much in my life. And at only 5 ingredients or so, it’s a cinch to make.

Give these a try! I promise they’ll change your mind from the boiled-to-mush things you probably grew up on.

Brussel Sprouts

Actually, she did this on purpose to try to sabotage me. She really did like them.

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You can buy your brussel sprouts on the stalk like this (this stalk was only $2.49 at Trader Joe’s this week!), or you can buy them in the refrigerated produce section already cut for you. You’ll get about half this many for the same price. You can also find them frozen.

DSC_0082Cut your sprouts off the stalk, rinse thoroughly, then cut them in half or in thirds. This is the key. The thinner the pieces, the crispier they will be later. You’ll thank me when you get to the later.

DSC_0085Congrats – you just did the hardest part! (Yeah, I know, that wasn’t even hard.) It’s all easy peasy from here.

DSC_0086Drizzle some olive oil over the cut sprouts and toss them, then dump them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Add some salt and pepper.

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At this point, I whip out my kitchen shears and cut up 5 slices of bacon or so into pieces right over the top of the sprouts. I guess I could cut them all up professional like with a big shiny knife on a cutting board then sprinkle them on top. But I just cut it right on top of the pan. Saves dishes.

Then bake them in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until they start getting dark brown and crispy. I like to toss mine in the pan once at the ten minute mark.

Meanwhile, you’ll need two more things. Some honey and balsamic vinegar.

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Put a half cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pot with a couple Tbsp of honey. Cook this on low for about five minutes until it simmers a bit and starts to reduce, getting thick. Once you turn off the heat, it’ll thicken up a bit to a salty, tangy, slightly sweet rich sauce. This is right when I usually toss those sprouts!

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When your sauce is done, your brussel sprouts will be about done. Give them a good look-see and see if they look like this:

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This is golden. Your bacon is done. There’s some good looking caramelization on the sprouts. (NOTE: caramelization does mean that they taste like caramel. But it does mean they are almost as good as it.)

Now it’s time to dress these golden nuggets of goodness with that sauce.

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Toss them up a tad and serve immediately.

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Half a stalk of brussel sprouts fed my family of four. But we could have eaten the whole thing. They’re that good.

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It’s a Girl! | Baby Shower for a new Philly Friend

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Apparently, when you have a blog called “kimzkitchen”, new people associate you with “Kim the Caterer”.

Until they meet me.

Then it’s probably “Kim the worthless-around-town-without-Siri-parallel-parking-klutz-who-has-funny-kids-and-talks-funny-crazy-caterer. Girl.

But before they knew me as that ^^^^^, some new friends in our new church asked me to jump in and help out last minute with the food for a baby shower. I was eager to connect in some way. Although, maybe not so eager to put my tiny kitchen to the test.  I ended up being able to delegate all of the food prep, except for 4 dozen mini quiches or so, so it wasn’t too bad! And, another new friend let me borrow her predictable-oven. So I didn’t have to exercise faith in mine quite yet.

First off, the space we were able to use. Uhhhhh-mazing. It belongs to one of our churches – there’s a couple different plants up here in the city – this building was gifted to the one a few neighborhoods away from the one we go to. And it lived up to all of its 100 year old charm! The old wooden folding chairs, the exposed beams…

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I mean, is there anything that wouldn’t look good in this room? We served a menu based on the mom-to-be’s favorite foods. The only thing we left out was her favorite french toast casserole. I think I’ll have to bake her one after baby girl gets here. I blame my tiny kitchen oven on that oversight. What’s nice about the food at this shower, is that most of it is store bought. The granola for the yogurt parfaits was homemade, but doesn’t have to be. The doughnuts were store bought, the fruit was rather no-bake – hee hee. The quiches were baked but not too hard at all. (Recipe coming next week!)

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My favorite addition to the shower food table set up was my new drink dispenser! The mom-to-be mentioned she loved mason jars, so I tried to incorporate as many as I could. She also has a passion for all things vintage, so bringing out my grandmother’s old mason jars for drinks made total sense. This drink dispenser fit the rest of the decor just perfectly, and worked better than any of my previous ones. The fact that it’s glass and the nozzle thingy is super well-made (with no leaks!) definitely helps my adoration of it.
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There were a few stations set up around the room for decorating a diaper – so mom can see something interesting in those middle-of-the-night changes. And a wishes and wisdom tree for mom to take home and display in the baby’s nursery.

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I loved watching Michelle, the mommy-to-be enjoying herself so much with her own mom. What a special moment for both of them.

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Michelle’s mother in law gave her a copy of a book Michelle’s husband wrote in 4th grade, “Sam the Indian Boy”. There wasn’t a dry eye around.

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Everyone left left with a tea bag – just in time to brew for the cold weather!

 

 

 

Happy Halloween! | Day 31

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May your night be full of happiness as you greet those little neighbor kids with a smile.

May it be full of light, as your kids share smiles with those you see all the time, but don’t always speak to.

May it be full of candy, since many of you probably haven’t even stopped for dinner yet.

And may it be full of memories for the years to come.

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Roasted Fall Vegetable Pizza | Day 29

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Fall Vegetable Pizza

So I’m having a hard time finding a few of my favorite things around here. (Real) grits being one of those. I found some great ones online from good ol’ South Carolina. They worked out perfectly.  Now that we have to special order them, we don’t have them quite as often as we used to. But they are making an appearance with some good shrimp in our menu next week.

There are some good things up here though. One being the pumpkins. The sweet potatoes.  And the butternut squash.

Under the building Chris works in is a giant two block wide train terminal full of shops, restaurants, sprinkled with five. Five Dunkin’ Doughnuts. These people are a little obsessed about their Eagles. And their doughnuts. Also – a fresh produce storefront where local farmers deliver their wares each week. I asked him to keep a look out for a butternut squash on his way to the train one night last week, and he came home with a gorgous one for $3.29!

See, I was craving fresh, local, and pizza. After using good ol’ Martha for inspiration, I came up with this.

Fall Vegetable Pizza

 

First, I start with my favorite way to roast vegetables. I didn’t like vegetables much when I was a kid. Probably because I grew up in the age of boiling-everything-to-mush. My favorite way of cooking veggies now is to roast them! And lots of different ones together! If you cut them the same size, they’ll basically cook at about the same time.

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So start with a pan or stone. Lay out your diced vegetables in a single layer. I used red bell peppers, zucchinni, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Add some crushed fresh garlic and salt and pepper. Then roast at 400 degrees for about 17-20 minutes. Until they are as dark and roasted and caramelized as you like. Note: The vegetables don’t taste like Caramel. Or, then I’d really have landed on something miraculous.

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Check out this awesome olive oil my friend got me from a little oil and vinegar shop downtown on Greenville’s Main Street. Sigh. Love that Main Street.

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Once the olive oil and garlic is on those veggies, let them sit. And look out your window. I think it makes your food taste better.

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Then get those in the oven. Four hundred degrees. 17-20 Minutes.

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While those were cooking, I rolled out my pizza dough. I like to buy fresh pizza dough from Publix, or from the downtown Saturday Market in Greenville. Haven’t found those sorts of things here quite yet, so I made my own. I like to put a little yellow cornmeal under the crust and on top of it – this is the guaranteed crispy method of baking your own pizza dough.

Look at that a cooking secret. :)

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Once you have it rolled out, put down a layer of ricotta cheese.

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I like to add a little more crushed garlic and salt and pepper to the ricotta at this point.

Then spread your roasted veggies over the top of the pizza crust. If you haven’t eaten them all by this point. Add some fresh mozarella. Doesn’t that look Ahhhhh-mazing? I had a little extra bacon in the fridge…so I cooked that up too and crumbled it on top. Not necessary at all, unless you have to use up some bacon. My husband is always asking me to use up some bacon. I also added some fresh rosemary for a little more fresh kick.

Bake this pretty thing in the oven for another 17 minutes or so at 400 degrees. And you’ll end up with something delicious.

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Eat up ya’ll! Enjoy your pizza! (For exact measurements and the recipe I used for inspiration, check out this recipe.)

Fall Vegetable Pizza

 

 

Homeschool Co-op Day | Day 27

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So there’s this one memory I have of our home before our last one – in West Virginia.

Chris and I had been married a few weeks; Election Day was around the corner. And the President was coming to town!

So we decided to head down to the local highschool (one of two total in the town) and pile into the football stadium with everyone else.

Some country music was playing; most everyone was in good spirits. And camo.

Right before the President walked out in the center of the field, the crowd broke out into song – the loudest, yet reverent, most passionate I’ve ever heard a football stadium full of people sing.

It was as if John Denver was singing about the country roads in person right along with everyone else.

We didn’t know the song, but felt this sense of due diligence to learn it quickly so we could fit in.

A similar moment happened to Kami and I today.

In our homeschool Co Op, I get to teach the 5 and 6 year olds. Today we talked a bit about birds.

So here I was feeling all super teacher-ish setting up the best bird scene I could. Complete with some bird soundtracks playing from the trees. Like the sounds were coming from the trees! I mean, really.

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Then the kids came in and colored some pictures. And hung them in the trees. All under the sounds of exotic rain forest birds. And the swaying branches (from the AC vents) of fake church trees.

My word they were all practically growing feathers and wings right there in all this authentic-ness.

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Then I pulled out a Waldorf style tray of bird beak-ish tools. To demonstrate my knowledge of all things bird beak-ish of course. (Trust me, this is going somewhere….)

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The kids got to see how different beaks make eating different kinds of foods possible. And they got to eat a few sunflower seeds and goldfish crackers.

For each type of beak, I had a photo on the iPad for the kids to see the real life illustrations of each of the beak types.

Even Woody Woodpecker made an appearance.

See. What a lesson!

Then, we get to the birds with tearing beaks.

“Here’s the example, kids! It’s an eagle! This is America’s nation….”

And the kids all broke out into song. Passionate. Reverent. Harmonious. Five year olds. Without prompting or cuing. Straight up.

“FLY EAGLES FLY…..”

I stared.

Then tried three times to regain control. So I gave up.

And grabbed my camera for the last few seconds.

Didn’t even know they had a song. <— said in my best southern accent

Even teachers learn new things.

I guess you don’t mess with the Eagles.

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This post is part of a 31 day series called Fall in Philadelphia. If this is your first stop along the way, I am so glad you’re here and I hope today’s post brought you a little warmth and coziness. This journey is best taken from the very beginning as each day’s posts are pretty much *live* as I’m living a journey of leaving the deep South (my entire life!) and jumping into the big city. All of the blog posts in this series will be linked together on the Fall in Philadelphia landing page. Click here to be taken there.  Thanks for stopping by!

Fall in Philadelphia

Day of Rest | Day 25

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Whether your space is clean or cluttered,

Happy or haphazard,

Simple or sophisticated,

Disheveled or distinguished,

Remember the “state of your space doesn’t have to reflect the state of your soul.” -Ann Voskamp

May your day of rest be just that.

Rest.

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Free Fun Friday | Day 24

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For today’s edition of Free Fun Friday, I present to you the Kimmel Center. First off, it’s an incredible facility – the architecture itself inspires creativity.  In a city full of tall, tall, tall, crazy high tall buildings, the arched ceiling made of window tiles stands out to the budding artist.

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If you keep your ears out, you can find some free concerts to attend. This concert happened to have a special little performer involved.

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Chloe was invited to play with 90 other little violinists who were joining up with members of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. We couldn’t say no to such an exciting opportunity. She was thrilled and super excited. (Although, she wants me to make it clear, she was also a teeeeeeeensy bit nervous at the beginning.)

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She’s always super intense about her tuning. And usually everyone else’s.

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These two are her biggest cheerleaders. Neither one has missed a concert. :)

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Ninety violinists. Plus some professionals from the Philadelphia Symphony. It was quite the beautiful sound.

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Because Chloe is so tiny, she’s always on the front row. I don’t mind. ;)

Enjoy a few videos from the concert!

 Chloe learned this song in 2 days to be able to perform it!

At the end of this one, I finally stopped shaking the phone and zoomed in so you can find the star of our show. 

And – in case you’re interested in more free concerts at the Kimmel Center, check out one of these dates. They are fantastic for young children as they are never more than an hour; they are free, and there are already lots of (noisy, dancing) children in the audience. Yours will blend right in. Promise. :)

SingIN for Strings, Brass Quintet, and Choir……………December 17,2014

PlayIN for Flute at the Kimmel Center…………………….January 14, 2015

PlayIN for Viola at the Kimmel Center…………………….February 21, 2015

PlayIN for Cello at the Kimmel Center…………………….March 5, 2015

PlayIN for Brass……………………………………………………April 22, 2015

Visit the Philadelphia Orchestra website to see past playINs through video and for more info about participating or attending the free events.