Wednesday, 23 November 2011
A few of my favourite things . . .
I’m not really a person that puts much value on things, preferring instead to place my value in things that are not of this world, things seen and touched with the heart. Nevertheless there are also some things that I have that I get a great deal of pleasure out of and enjoy having around . . . like raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens . . . these are a few of my favourite things . . .
The feel of the sunlight on my face on a warm summer’s day. I love to sit out in the garden for a short, mostly in the shade, but occasionally I do get great pleasure of sitting out at the picnic table, face upturned, eyes closed, while the warmth of the sun cloaks me face in it’s passion. Have you ever noticed that it has a smell . . . I have. It’s not easy to describe though, and I don’t think I’ll try . . . try it someday for yourself and you will see what I mean.
Holding a baby up on my shoulder so that it is snuggled in under my chin and close to the small of my neck . . . that has to be heaven on earth. I could sit there for hours gently rubbing the contours of its tiny back and feeling it’s warmth tucked up into me . . . until it starts to cry that is . . . when that happens it goes back to it's mum.
The feel of our Mitzie's soft furry tummy as she rolls on to her back to let me have a scratch or a rub. Along with that goes the way she lovingly glances up at me while I do it . . . all trusting and so full of pleasure and gratitude it just oozes out of her liquid brown eyes and melts my heart . . . (She is feeling ever so much better. She wasn't sick at all yesterday. Crisis averted! She is on scrambled egg or rice and chicken for a couple of days though.)
Stepping out of a shower on a cool winter’s morning and into a huge fluffy bath towel that I have popped onto the radiator just before stepping into the shower . . . warm and cosy and enveloping . . . it is just like a welcome hug . . . (We are getting ever closer to having our shower here at our home. We have gone through all the interviews now for the Council grant and are just waiting now for final approval. Construction companies have put in their proposals, and everything is a go thus far. It will be nice to have a shower and not have to struggle in and out of the tub with my arthritis.)
Crawling into bed with my socks on, and only after I am settled, taking the socks off . . . I just love the way my feet feel. It’s a pleasure that’s really hard to describe . . . you'll just have to take my word for it.
While I’m thinking about bed . . . crawling into a freshly made bed with crisp clean sheets that have been hung out to blow in the wind all day. I snuggle right into my pillow and breathe in the freshness of the outdoors and the smell of sunshine . . .
Walking into the house and smelling freshly baked cookies or bread. Actually I just like to smell food cooking period. It’s funny . . . when you are cooking it yourself…you rarely smell it in the same way, unless you go out of the room and come back into it. I always love the smell of other’s people’s dinners cooking as I walk down the street or sit out in the garden . . . somehow it always manages to smell delicious and inviting . . . and it almost always makes me hungry . . . just like the smell of frying onions does. Oh my . . .
My good morning hug from Todd . . . I am usually up several hours before him, but when he does wake up and come down stairs, that’s always the first thing we do, give each other a big hug and cuddle and kiss. On the rare occasion we have forgotten ie. because the telephone has rung or something else has interrupted our routine, the day just seems to get off on the wrong foot for some reason . . . but, here’s the good part . . . sooner or later one of us realizes what’s been missing and we always get the hug in then . . .
Sitting in my chair, quietly listening to my favourite music, with my eyes closed. I love gospel and Christian music and I could sit and listen to it for hours. When I do, I feel closer to God and in communion with him . . . kind of in a way similar to when I am praying, and yet different . . . it’s always a good feeling . . .
Watching kittens and puppies waddle around . . . indeed watching baby anything . I think God made baby animals and birds and people cute on purpose . . . that way he knew someone would take care of them and love them. I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone can be deliberately cruel or mean to any of them . . .
Cooking . . . just cooking. I love to cook and I get a great deal of pleasure from it. It’s not so much in the eating . . . (trust me I get plenty of pleasure out of that as well…) but I don’t really even have to be the one who’s going to eat it, I just really enjoy the cooking aspect of it. To me it’s like solving a puzzle or putting together a jigsaw . . . the more complicated the better. I get a real sense of satisfaction when I have accomplished what I have set out to do, and people are happily eating it and enjoying it . . . that’s where the satisfaction comes . . . the satisfaction of a job well done . . . a feeling that can’t be beat, well almost anyways . . .
Listening to the laughter of a child. It always swells my heart and brings a smile to my own face. Is there anything on earth more contagious or infectious? I think not! I once found this laughing baby somewhere on the internet . . . it was attached to an elastic . . . as you twirled it around with your mouse the baby laughed and laughed. You just could not sit down and do it without coming away with a smile on your own face . . . children’s laughter . . . soul medicine . . .
Sitting down at my computer every morning and putting down my thoughts and fancies for you all to read . . . and then, later on, hearing that little ping when someone leaves their comments. That’s one of my guilty pleasures, and an intrinsic part of my day . . . it’s a selfish thing really . . . but a writer has to write and the words must be read . . . I like to think it’s a win/win situation . . .
I could go on and on . . . there’s just so much I get joy and pleasure from in this life. I guess I’m really lucky . . . I love the smell of the pavement after a heavy rain, and the smell of the soil after digging in the garden, warm soft freshly baked white bread with butter melting into it’s fragrantly yeasty goodness . . . I’m just a person that loves and enjoys the small things in life, and thankfully I’ve been really blessed . . . with tons of small and simple things. Life is good.
Here is my latest offering. I created her yesterday afternoon whilst Todd and our landlord were fixing an electrical plug downstairs. (I like to stay out of the way when that kind of stuff is going on.) At any rate I think she turned out quite cute. What do you think?
Here's something else which always brings a smile to my face, but isn't something I get to eat very often. Chocolate cake!! Todd hates chocolate cake (I know he's completely bonkers!) so I only ever bake one when I know I will have the opportunity to give most of it away. Enjoy! I know I did!
*Double Chocolate Layer Cake*
makes 12 servings
Can you say "To Die For"? Repeat after me.....to die for...to die for....to die for...deliciously moist chocolate cake with a gorgeously rich and delicious chocolate ganache coating....
3 ounces fine quality semi sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (well shaken)
3/4 tsp vanilla
FOR GANACHE FROSTING:
16 ounces good quality semi sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 TBS caster sugar
2 TBS golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Pre-heat the oven to 150*C/300*F. Lightly grease two nine inch layer pans. Line bottomms with parchment paper and grease the paper. Set aside.
Finely chop the chocolate and put in a bowl along with the hot coffee. Let stand, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Sift together the dry ingredients, stir in the sugar and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they are thick and lemon coloured, about 5 minutes with a hand held electric mixer. Slowly beat in the oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture. Mix well. Add dry ingredients, mixing only until they are combined. Divide batter between the two prepared baking pans and bake in the centre of the oven for one hour up to one hour and ten minutes or until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. When cold, run a knife carefully around the edges of the pans and invert onto the racks. Carefully remove the paper.
For the frosting chop the chocolate finely. Bring the cream to a boil along with the syrup and sugar, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate pieces and whisk until melted. Cut the butter into pieces and whisk in a bit at a time, until melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is of spreading consistency.
Sandwich the layers together on a plate with some of the ganache and then spread the remaining frosting over the top and around the sides of the cake. This cake keeps well, covered and chilled for 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving. Wonderful!
Over in The English Kitchen today, I am baking My Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chunk, Raisin & Macadamia Nut cookies!
“God knows that some of the greatest souls who have ever lived are those who will never appear in the chronicles of history. They are the blessed, humble souls who emulate the Savior’s example and spend the days of their lives doing good.”
~ Dieter F Uchtdorf