Friday, 13 January 2012

On true beauty . . .

There are things which grow in beauty in the long years that pass . . . and if anything, they grow lovelier day by day . . . things like old oak furniture and English china . . . silver and gilt . . . coloured glass and pottery . . .

Old English towns . . . with their charming names . . . old pubs . . . mellowed bricks and weathered stones . . . quaint old houses and ivy covered walls . . .

Each one gathers richly to themselves a beauty each their own . . .

It is the rare woman though . . . who can follow the years into old age, and maintain the beauty of her youth . . . Men seem to be able to do it fine. They appear to become more attractive as the years pass, or at least they do in a lot more instances do women . . .

Or is it that we place far too much value in the the superficiality of looks and outward appearances??? Rather . . . we should place our value in the growth of virtue, kindliness and truth. Able to do this we would face the sunset with tranquility and ease . . . the lines of beauty that time and experience would draw upon our aging faces would be valued beyond measure.

I think there is no more beautiful a woman on earth than one who has lived an abundant life filled with joy and love . . . and love of others and self . . . grace and humility . . . loving duty and service to others . . . simple pleasures . . . accomplishments, both great and small . . .

It matters not that the hair is grey . . . or the eyes surrounded by wrinkles. What matters most is that she has lived a life that has counted for something, a life filled with truth and purpose. When I think of women like these . . . I am reminded of women such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Golda Meir, Marjorie Pay Hinckley, Indira Ghandi, Helen Keller and Margaret Mead . . . and many, many others. All being women of substance and great beauty . . . no . . . maybe not at first glance, but when you stop to scratch the surface . . . an astonishing amount of beauty oozes out and wraps around each of us.

Source: via Beth on Pinterest

That is the kind of beauty that I strive for. It doesn't come in a bottle or a box, or from the tip of a needle . . . it comes from within. It comes in many shapes and sizes . . . and colours. You cannot buy it. It must be learned and earned, and it is the reward of a life that is measured in service and achievement, in caring compassion, and in a genuine love for others . . . in a life well spent . . . in having made a difference. When we leave this earth . . . will anyone know that we've even been here?

Just my thoughts this morning . . . thanks for humoring me!!

I am up late this morning . . . had a bit of a lie in. I must have needed it!
I wish for each of you a beautiful Friday . . . filled with smiles, and joy . . . and lots and lots of love!

Here's another recipe from my old blog Marie's Muses. It is quite delicious to the taste and very easy to make.

*Inside Out Chicken Cordon Bleu*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Technically this has nothing whatsoever to do with Chicken Cordon Bleu, only faintly resembling the original. With an outside wrapping of tasty pancetta preserving it’s moisture and lovely filling of pesto and cheese, these tasty chicken breasts are real winners in my books. I hope they become winners in yours as well!

4 medium size boneless, skinless chicken breasts
150g pack of sliced pancetta (Italian bacon)
(About 8 slices)
4 TBS pesto sauce (homemade or good quality store bought, from the chiller cabinet, not that nasty stuff from bottles on the shelves)
4 slices of gouda cheese
1 TBS olive oil
1 banana shallot, peeled and minced
½ cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup single cream
1 further TBS of pesto sauce

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F.

Take your chicken breasts and slice them in half through the middle with a sharp knife, NOT all the way through, but only ¾ of the way through, so that they open up like a book. Spread 1 TBS of pesto on half of each one and then top it with a slice of gouda cheese, folded in half to fit. Fold the other half of the chicken breast over top, encasing the pesto and the gouda inside. Take some slices of pancetta and wrap them around each breast to cover them. It should take about 3 slices for each. As you wrap them take care to gently stretch the pancetta. This will ensure that the filling stays in when cooking.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is well heated, add the wrapped chicken breasts and gently brown them on all sides. Remove them to a shallow baking dish and pop them in the oven to bake while you make the sauce.

Sauté the minced shallot in the pan drippings over low heat, until soft, but not browned. Increase the heat to high and add the white wine. Cook and stir until it has reduced to almost a syrup with the shallots. Add the chicken broth and let that reduce down a bit as well, until you have only about ¾ cup of liquid in the pan. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream and the pesto sauce. The sauce is now finished.

Remove the chicken breasts from the oven. They should be cooked through. Serve hot with some of the sauce spooned over.

These go lovely with a nice rice pilaf on the side and some tasty purple sprouting broccoli, just steamed until it is crispy tender. You can easily double the sauce ingredients if you like more sauce. I often do!

In The English Kitchen today . . . dangerously delicious Gingerbread Blondies!

“We sometimes confuse sin with sinner, and we condemn too quickly and with too little compassion. We know from modern revelation that ‘the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.’ We cannot gauge the worth of another soul any more than we can measure the span of the universe.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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