Monday, February 27, 2012

The Power of a Smile

2012 has some serious room for improvement in my book. The year has potential to become much better. The year started off with the greatest news any couple could receive then that same news was shattered within months. The whole event culmination with a call to my mom and a trip to the ER Friday afternoon which lasted well over 11 hours. Rough weekend. It was/is a bump in the road. A physically painful and emotionally trying bump, but just a bump. A speed bump. As much as I hate to slow down, I was forced to come to a dead stop.

On the brighter side, I woke up this morning feeling better (it wouldn't take much) than I have in a really long time. I am still processing the event(s) and will probably for the rest of my life. We are forward movers and now more that ever clearly headed in that direction, toward the light. Learning from life's challenges and knowing that we can handle what ever gets thrown in the mix. We are eager to start a family, to bring a child into our lives and the lives around us but that will just be put on hold for a spell. I have some healing to do, then we will try again. I have the best partner a gal could ever imagine and have been nursed back to health without every feeling alone.

Everything is going to be alright, maybe not today but eventually.

If there is one positive thing that I can share that will benifit everyone from this experiance is to simply smile. It has been very hard for me. A smile is not how I feel inside. A smile is how I feel toward the people around me. A smile is what they need to see, not the look of disgust that I feel inside, which is certainly not directed to the loving people surrounding me. John reminds me constantly to just smile and believe me, it works wonders.

I am heading into today, Monday with a smile. I am smiling because I am starting to feel better, I know I will be my happy self again soon. I am smiling because I am going to find a job. I am smiling because I am surrounded by good people that care about me and let it show. I am smiling because there are second chances. I am smiling because no matter how bad it gets it can be worse. I am smiling because I can.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie~Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

I haven't been inspired by food for a few weeks. Nothing has blew wind up my skirt. I have found things to stomach but nothing that brought me back wanting more. Well, that was the case until I made these chocolate truffle tartlettes. It all came whirling back to me, why I love to bake, what I like to eat, the taste of quality over quantity and the satisfaction of taking risks.

See, the first few weeks of pregnancy sends a rather balanced body into a hormonal whacked out world.  For a while I lived on smoothies, salads and hot fudge sauce. I couldn't even smell meat and heavy foods were no longer comforting. Then all hell broke loose, I was no longer pregnant and really not hungry. I lived on cookies and wine for a while and that worked until it didn't. 

Then our anniversary rolls around and the next day is Valentine's day, it is my chocolate eating season and I needed to pull my act together and get back in the game. I was getting pretty good at the cookie eating thing so an excuse to try more, bah. I figured it was time to get lost in a recipe, the kitchen. and was desperately in need of a way to clear my head, a new recipe usually does the trick for me. As I thumbed to the Baking with Julia cookbook for this month's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe, I felt the tickle of excitement that a new a challenging recipe holds for me. I went head first, baking off biscotti (my new favorite cookie might I add) mixing the perfect chocolate tart crust that I pressed into dozens of tartlette tins and added a chocolate ganache studded with bits of cookies and more chocolate chunks to the warm tart shells and baking until just set.

A rather fancy dessert for our house for a special couple of days that we tend breeze by. Something sweet and home made by loving hands for a special someone.

I pulled the tartlettets from the oven several hours before we were slated to have a quick bite to eat for our anniversary, something sweet to come home to I thought. In the afternoon sunshine, I popped one loose from the mold, smiled, let a sigh of relief, and nibbled my way through one, two, three. The texture the first day, once cooled to room texture is astounding. The shell a rich and flaky chocolate crust that holds a richer, bold with chocolate and textured with studs of crisp cookie filling. The second day the flavors shine but the texture is lost. Never miss these the day they come from the kitchen but never waste a single bite of this goodness.

As you can tell, my appetite is coming back for food and life, the kitchen is messy not from carelessness but business. As with life, we can handle most challenges be they life changing or the dessert menu.

Just two recipes into baking my way through Baking with Julia I am hooked on the quality and content of this cookbook. I have used it as my go to inspiration when I need to pull something together. I would highly recommend purchasing the book if you are inclined to baking, if you are looking for this recipe visit the host's site:

 Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon.
Spike of Spike Bakes
Jaime of Good Eats and Sweet Treats
Jessica of Cookbookhabit.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Healing Hearts

A Birth Healing Blessing

Blessed sister, beautiful one
with broken wings.
Your journey is a difficult one
that no mother should have to endure.
Your path is steep, rocky and slippery
and your tender heart is in need of gentle healing.

Breathe deeply and know that you are loved.
You are not alone,
though at times, you will feel like a
desolate island of grief
Close your eyes.
Seek the wisdom of women who have walked this well-worn path before you,
and before,
and before you yourself were born.
These beautiful ones
with eyes like yours
have shared your pain, and
weathered the storms of loss.

You are not alone (breathe in)
You will go on (breathe out)
Your wings will mend (breathe in)
You are loved (breathe out)
~ Mary Burgess

A Parable of Immortality 

by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails
to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, " There she goes! "
Gone where? Gone from my sight . . . that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
" There she goes! " there are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . .
" Here she comes! "

Monday, February 13, 2012

Five Years Ago

It might be hormones, it might be trauma, but I think it is a deep love that has tears rolling down my face as I try and wrap my head around the fact that five years ago today John and I, surrounded by family tied the knot, barefoot on a Mexican beach. Five years ago. I remember the day like yesterday.

I honestly had no idea what love really was five years ago. I had no idea what it would take to sustain a relationship, a marriage. To think what it has took to make it this far gives me confidence in what we face together in the many years to come. 

We have been through a lot together, seen even more beautiful places, countless adventures, changes in jobs, careers and some gut wrenching heart aches. Today, more than yesterday, last week, last year our devotion to each other has created a love unparalleled.

As we stood on the beach, we made a commitment to each other to be husband and wife, to love each other. In the following years, I learned what love was. Love is a choice and an action. Love is not how he makes me feel but what we have to offer each other. Love is a choice and an action.

I have learned more about myself being in a loving relationship with John than I ever imagined possible. I have been challenged and held accountable to my weaknesses, my selfishness, my guilt. This is love. We have faith in each other, faith that we will constantly strive to be better people individually and bring that into our relationship.

I have learned that love is not full of roses, a stomach full of butterflies, chocolates and jewelery. Love is the sacrifices that we make to sustain a relationship. Love is providing for each other. Love is the small things, the actions that make life a sweeter together then apart.

My Grandma and I were chatting on the phone the other day and she started to talk about John. Being in her 70's, I think she has some wisdom to share from the years she has under her belt. She told me that women dream of having the affection that John shows me. She told me he is different than most. I agree Grandma, I agree.

I love you with all me heart John. Loving you is the best choice I have ever made.

All the photos were on or days surrounding the wedding taken by our loving families.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Cocktail Collection

Introducing Cocktail Cookies.

You had better hurry over to my ETSY shop and check out my newest line of cookies. I know you will not be disappointed because I have paired two of my things together, rich little cookies with wine, beer and cocktails.

If you live in Western Washington you still have plenty of time to have freshly baked cookies shipped right to your house in time for Valentine's Day. If you live in Bellingham, I can deliver. Everyone else: Be sweet and eat cookies - regardless of the day.

A big thank you for all the people that have purchased cookies and lots of them.  I am busy and LOVE it!

 I hope ya'll have a good weekend!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

White Loaves-Tuesdays With Dorie

I am not really one to keep white bread in the house. Occasionally I will tote home a soft loaf of potato bread if I know we will home and eating in. Other than that we just don't eat that much bread.

About once a month I make a loaf of bread. I like the process, enjoy the challenge, and it usually costs fraction of the price of a store bought loaf.

Good things happen when there is a loaf or two around since it is treat to have around. The best thing that happened to this loaf of bread came as a soft whisper waking me up Sunday morning, the first morning in weeks that J has stayed home. The next was the familiar smell of cinnamon toast and the sound of him singing as he poured coffee.

Then the cinnamon toast and sweet, creamy, hot coffee were in my lap as I was curled up with another episode of Downton Abbey.

Pulling fresh baked bread out of the bread box reminds me that we are very lucky people. Breakfast in bed reminds me that I have made the best choice in the entire world, making me even luckier.

I am very excited to be part of the baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie. Like countless other fans of Dori Greenspan I think she hung the moon over the baking world. I own several of her cookbooks and now plan on baking my way through Baking with Julia as part of this group.

The first recipe, white loaves, hosted by Laurie and Jules was a simple task of making a yeasted bread. It turned out splendid and is the perfect sandwich slice or better yet a vehicle for cinnamon, sugar and BUTTER! 

Submitted to Yeastspotting

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Sometimes it is okay to take a step back and realize you were being ridiculous.

Sometimes taking a step back to see the blessings present in your life is the only option. A necessity.

If the only thing that you have accomplished that day is breathing, that my friend is a job well done, you did it. Now, move on or you will go no where.

There are times the prettiest thing you can wear is a smile.

Actions are more powerful than words, so save the hot air and just smile.

Then you realize that your elders are the key to the future and Theodor Roosevelt was on to something when he said nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.

So just laugh when you can.

Cry when you need.

Apologize when you should.

And let go of what you can't change.

I spent the afternoon getting to know a new friend as we slowly made bagels and tended her cute kids. Mine were baked with poppy seeds and she chose to melt butter over hot bagels and dust with cinnamon and sugar.

I was inspired by this woman and used this recipe Peter Reinhart's Bagel recipe from the LA Times.

Thank you to all our wonderful friends who have taken the time to be part of our life right now. It means so much to us.  

Submitted to Yeastspotting