It’s rare you can eat chocolate and simultaneously get a serving of fruit/vegetables. However, these brownish-purple tomatoes live up to their name Chocolate Cherry.
My mouth watered as I picked them, but I had nagging unease. The pansies bordering my little garden needed deadheading. I’d already spent ten minutes picking the lettuce and another ten minutes picking the raspberries. My precious early morning was slipping away and I wanted to be at my computer writing. I also wanted to be relaxing on my porch with a cup of coffee.
Feeling my unease, I paused. Let the realization sink in. I couldn’t enjoy all of these things at the same time, and I didn’t need to harken back to high school economics to understand opportunity cost. Part of accepting adulthood is understanding we have to make tough choices.
When we don’t choose–when we try to enjoy two opposing realities–we’re never at ease. We’re stressed. We complain. We make ourselves miserable, and I dare say those around us miserable, too.
Another example…getting frustrated because I expected my manuscript back from my editor last week and who knows when it’ll arrive? I made the choice to be a writer and to enter into a publishing agreement. At the time, I knew publishing can be agonizingly slow. I knew I wouldn’t have control over the schedule as my book progressed through editing and design. I chose one and not the other. I can’t enjoy both. And as long as I don’t accept that, I won’t be at ease. I’ll be stressed. I’ll be miserable…you get the picture.
So I popped one those chocolates in my mouth and I remembered the choice I’d made to plant my garden and care for it. Did I want to change my mind now? I’m free to let the garden go and sit on my porch and drink coffee. Do I want to be a writer with a book coming out with a respected publisher? Or do I want to control over my schedule?
Everyday, these choices lie before us. Large and small. If we don’t look at the opportunity cost fair and square and choose the price we’re willing to pay–we’re choosing misery over happiness.
Do you think this is true? Or a bunch of bunk? I'd love to know what you think. Go ahead and leave a comment.
Life can overwhelm you if you let it. Tiny moments of decision throughout the day determine the weight of the burdens we carry.
Like this morning, when I noticed the smudge of whipped cream vanilla frosting on the inside wall of my refrigerator. That frosting came from one of six dozen cupcakes, chocolate or lemon, I baked for my daughter’s high school graduation party.
In two weeks, my daughter will start her third year of college.
You can stop reading now, if you’re too grossed out imagining the state of my kitchen appliances. But one day, I’m going to die.
When that day comes, I will not have spent a precious moment feeling badly about myself for not being a better housekeeper.
I'm giving you a heads-up so you won't be caught empty handed on Mother's Day. Look at this loaf!
I made it Easter morning with very little time and effort, and I promise you can whip it out, too. Yeast breads are much easier than they look.
Step 1--You will need to take some initiative and find a sweet bread recipe. If you don't have a basic cookbook, google "sweet bread recipe". Make sure it calls for butter, eggs and sugar or honey. If it doesn't, google again.
Step 2--Follow the recipe, doubling the amount of yeast, and make the dough the night before Mother's Day. [I'm giving you this extra weekend, in case you feel the need to practice. You won't regret having a loaf to eat yourself.] Put the dough in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight. Have on hand, a jar of raspberry jam, a can of almond paste and a cup of fresh or frozen raspberries.
Step 3--Mother's Day morning you need to get up and take the dough out of the fridge at 6AM, then go back to sleep for a couple hours. Then, get up about two hours before you want to serve the bread hot from the oven.
Dump the dough onto a flat clean surface and roll or press into a rectangle about 9 X 13 inches. With a knife point, draw two lines marking the dough into three long, even sections. Spread a layer of jam down the center section. Slice the almond paste into flat pieces and lay along the top of the jam. Sprinkle the raspberries evenly on top the almond paste.
With scissors or knife, cut 1/2 inch horizontal strips in both outer sections of dough, running from the edge almost to the jam.
Fold one end up slightly so the filling won't run out, and begin crossing the strips over one another until you reach and seal the opposite end.
Lift the braid carefully onto a baking pan and let raise in a warm place (70-90 degrees) for one hour. During this time you can relax, drink coffee, read the paper or mop the kitchen floor. After about 45-50 minutes pre-heat the over to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating take one egg white and mix it with two tablespoons of water. Then in a separate bowl, mix half a cup of powered sugar with a tablespoon of milk or cream to make icing.
When the bread has risen for one hour, very, very gently brush the egg white mixture over the top of the loaf with the corner of a paper towel. Bake the braid on the middle rack for 30 minutes.You can tell it's done when it's nicely browned on top and sounds hollow when you knock it with your knuckle. Take it out of the oven and drizzle it with icing. Serve immediately. I guarantee your mother and/or mother-in-law will be impressed.
Now wasn't that easy?
I'm fascinated to discover little-known history, stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
I also post here about my books and feature other authors and their books on compelling and important historical topics.
Occasionally, I share what makes me happy, pictures of my garden, recipes I've made, events I've attended, people I've met. I'm always happy to hear from readers in the blog comments, by email or social media.