Gratitude and Daily Life

Afternoon walk

But while awareness of opportunities inherent in life events and circumstances is the core of gratefulness, awareness alone is not enough. What good is it to be aware of an opportunity, unless we avail ourselves of it? How grateful we are shows itself by the alertness with which we respond to the opportunity.

-Br. David Steindl-Rast

I don’t write much about my normal daily life but recent events have led me to spend more time than usual in the house, giving me the opportunity to relish those parts of my days other than all the hiking that we do when we’re in Utah. Though less active days were unplanned they have been a gift which has allowed me to indulge some of the other pursuits that round out my life and have served as a reminder to savor the moments in the everyday.

As I’ve previously blogged about, Abby has been recovering from a cracked pelvis which has prevented us from going out everyday and hiking. After Tom and I felt we could leave her for a reasonable amount of time he and I began doing shorter hikes, but not long after that I aggravated an old injury which required me to take some time off. The first few days of rest I spent largely reading but I soon began new baking projects and resumed taking walks. As Abby improved she and I been doing some longer dogwalks and I’ve since gone back to doing some hiking, but I’ve carried the slow living mentality with me: reveling in the beauty of sunrises and sunsets, valuing the time spent mixing and chopping in the kitchen, and engaging in a more thoughtful way with what I’m reading. It’s been thoroughly enjoyable.

Sunset dogwalk

Sunset dogwalk

Sunset dogwalk, with dog

Sunset dogwalk, with dog

Sunrise dogwalk

Sunrise dogwalk

As I said, there’s been a lot of baking going on. A few weeks ago I wrote about how I had been enjoying playing in the kitchen, content and happy to mix up stuff and let out my inner mad scientist. I had indulged my love of baking last fall too, perfecting my pumpkin and zucchini bread recipes while trying my hand at things like creating a vegan caramel sauce, but this year I sought out some totally new projects. As I finished up roasting and making sauce with the tomatoes from my friend Terry’s garden I transitioned to experimenting with new desserts, inspired by some of my blogging and Instagram friends, while incorporating variations into my own recipes. The result has honestly been too many baked goodies but also hours of enjoyment as I puttered about the kitchen.

Assembling Thimbleberry Shortbread

Assembling Thimbleberry Shortbread, adapted from Rachel on www.vagabondbaker.com

Finished product: Thimbleberry Shortbread

Finished product: Thimbleberry Shortbread. I made this again with blackberry-pomegranate jam and it was just as delicious

Peanut butter oat cookies, with and without chocolate chips

Peanut butter oat cookies, with and without chocolate chips

Cinnamon buns ready to go in the oven

Cinnamon buns (recipe from Instagram friend Sarak) ready to go in the oven

Cinnamon buns ready to go in my face

Cinnamon buns ready to go in my face

Pumpkin spice cookies with maple vanilla icing and pumpkin oatmeal pecan cookies

Pumpkin spice cookies with maple vanilla icing and pumpkin oatmeal pecan cookies

Banana nut bread with oatmeal pecan crumb topping

Banana nut bread with oatmeal pecan crumb topping

Huckleberry apple butter thumbprint cookies

Huckleberry apple butter thumbprint cookies

Clockwise: Making pecan oat crust, slicing apples, getting together crumb topping, and finally ready  to go in the oven

Clockwise: Making pecan oat crust, slicing apples, getting together crumb topping, and finally ready to go in the oven

Dutch apple pie, a little messy because I couldn't wait for it to cool

Dutch apple pie, a little messy because I couldn’t wait for it to cool

Abby doesn’t help eat my baked goods, but she does a great job of supervising:

Abby, Kitchen Supervisor

Abby, Kitchen Supervisor