All arrows pointed to Chile….I mean chili

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(image credit)

With the days growing shorter and the nights becoming cooler, my natural reaction to this autumnal phenomenon is to adorn the apron, plant my bare feet firmly on my kitchen floor and cook.  Today the universe made the signs of my nesting tendencies abundantly obvious when our grocery store flyer found its way to my desk and had every necessary ingredient for chili at a discounted price.  As beautiful as the landscapes are in Santiago, I opted for some ground beef, kidney beans and the two necessary ingredients for my chili that others may frown upon but they make it mine.

I find a deep sense of comfort in my kitchen.  While chopped onions feverishly jump in the Dutch oven and the rest of the ingredients lay in wait to join the party, the smells of happiness assuage any other feelings I may have carried home with me from the remnants of my day.  The food in the pot is not just food – it is my sanctuary and my resolve to end the day on a positive note, regardless of how it began or how it ensued.

Cooking and baking are a tonic for me.  They are a natural drug I can always count on to make me feel like myself again.  And they are not just there to pull me from a sullen mood but also there to heighten my well-being on the good days, which thankfully far outweigh the bad days.

I have often pondered the idea of taking a leap of faith and pursuing this passion to make it a career but I am always left with fragments of an unfinished conversation that always takes place in my head.  ‘If I do it for a living, will it just become a job and will I lose my passion for it?’  I would hate to have something I take so much pleasure in become a prosaic way to pay the bills.

Until I become brave enough to get within range of that bridge, I will not even entertain the thought of jumping off of it.  For now, I will remain content with the wafting smell of chili from my kitchen, the collection of frozen soups in my freezer and the anticipation of the already-marinating pork tenderloin for dinner tomorrow.

“Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” ~ Julia Child

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clearing my own sky

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Lost in the clouds,

wondering where I have gone.

Have I been trapped in the light,

or lost in the wisps of reality?

The true me is there somewhere,

obscured between the light and the shadow,

pushing my way out from behind my feigned existence.

I have been living,

but there should be more life in my life.

There is so much more to me

than the me I currently am.

But how do I harness that concealed energy?

How do I reign in

that part of me that exists in my mind?

How do I grip that vapor,

and turn it into something real,

something tangible,

something I can take from those clouds

and make it a genuine part of my world?

How do I brush those clouds away

so the lightest parts of me can shine?

What life is really about….

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As the eve of a hectic work day pulls the shade of night down over the day, I am blissfully distracted from the bewilderment of the myriad of events that unfolded to create that hectic day.  I am fortunate to be able to cast those disquieting moments aside and dwell on the touching moment from the previous night.

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Making cakes is a process I enjoy immensely.  It truly allows me to lose myself in the creative process and pour my heart into something I love.  I create with the purpose of wanting to make the occasion that much more special by making a simple birthday cake into a much more personal experience.  Very rarely do I get a glimpse through the eyes of the intended recipient but on Saturday night I was able to see the joy from the other side.

I was the one holding the cake as the birthday song began.  I was the one to present the cake to a very surprised birthday girl.  And I was the one who most appreciated the tears of joy that welled in the corners of her eyes.  It was a truly touching moment for me.

Her reaction made every ounce of my effort worthwhile.  Her heartfelt emotion made every tedious detail on that cake worth each extra moment I took to make them as close to perfect as I could get them.  It may be just a Scrabble cake to some but to her it was the first personalized cake she had ever had and I was moved to tears to be the person that created that memory for her.

That one moment will play over and over in my head as I am laboriously working into the evening hours on my next cake project.  And when my wrists are tired from kneading fondant and my hand is beginning to shake with exhaustion when I am trying to pipe the last details on a cake, I will remember the look on her face and summon that next wind to keep going.

Life is about counting the memories and not the calories.