Monday, August 1, 2011

Living and Cooking Fearless-ly

Last week, my dear friend and her family moved into a new apartment. It is a glorious occasion, for many reasons.

1. They found an apartment that not only fits their budget, but their needs as a family.
2. The apartment is very family-friendly, and there are several kids in their building around the same age as their three children.
3. It is right across the street from a major park/river in our area, and there are activities there all the time for the whole family, especially the children.

Oh, and so much more.

I love when good things happen to those around me. I love celebrating all things, big and small, because the joys in life are the ones we need to hang on to when life isn't so great. And usually, the best comes after the worst. Life is truly a circle and a constant flux.

That isn't to say that I don't hang in when things are bad. I do. I tend to go way out of my way when life is in the mud. Because I know what it is like to need, and not know what that need is. I have had amazing people in my life during the down times, and am always willing to help return the favor, to pay it forward, if you will.

In the pan. Waiting to be removed.
To celebrate, I made a bundt cake.

Confession: Last week, I didn't even know what a bundt cake was.

I found a recipe that sounded really good, and seemed to fit her palate. It said to use a bundt cake pan. I asked my mom if a regular cake pan will do, and she said no. I asked if I could borrow hers, and she said yes. But then, she started telling me about removing the cake, the timing, the scraping the sides, etc. And I got nervous. I was afraid this would not be a success. I was afraid that I would wait too long or not long enough to take it out of the pan. There seemed so much room for error. But then, I remembered, that not only have I successfully made jelly, but scones, too - when many people advised against both of those projects, due mainly to my inexperience in the kitchen. But it was just that, along with my stubbornness that succeeded in making them. I have had a fearlessness in the kitchen that I cannot seem to find outside its comforting walls.

Spiced Peach Bundt Cake.  I made it.  I got it out of the pan (in one piece!). 

And guess what?!?!

It was delicious. All my fear and nervousness was unfounded.

Out of the pan.  Post-fear.

My fears keep me inside myself, apart from the world. They lend me to see and believe what may or may not be true. They hold me back from action, from seeking, from the truth. They tell me that I cannot achieve, which in turn keeps me from even trying. They talk me into the irrational. This begins with thoughts, that grow into behavior.  And that behavior, I'm sad to say, is not always the prettiest.

I had an attitude about cooking similar to this for a long time. It kept me out of the kitchen. And now, I sometimes feel like kicking myself for not jumping in sooner. What was once my one of my greatest fears is now one of my greatest joys.  When people ask me (and I am truly surprised how often they do) how I learned to make this or that, my response is always the same.  "I just did it."

Sharing is Caring
This week, I am going to try harder to act as I do in the kitchen. I will take my fearless in the world. I'm going to just do it.  I will try new things and smash the thoughts that try to keep me from the truth. It is the only way to live. The only way to celebrate. The only way to end with jelly, scones, and bundt cake...and many other of life's deliciousness!
In keeping with the theme, I made two batches of jelly this weekend, both of my own creation.  One, my sister asked for: a grape peach, and one I put together with the leftover peaches from the cake and previous jelly: a peach lavender, with the lavender left from my shortbread cookies.  Now, I'm sure both these combinations have been done at some point in the history of jelly making, but I did not have a recipe for either.  I studied other recipes that included combinations in jelly, and went from there.  Both turned out good! 

Fearless.  May you follow me out of the kitchen and into my life.

Spiced Peach Bundt Cake
(Adapted from Food & Wine; Serves 10-12)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 2 cups spiced peach butter
(You could also use apple butter) 1/2 cup canola oil 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted 2 eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a bundt pan and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom.  In a separate bowl, beat together the peach butter, canola oil, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and fold until all of the dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (or with a few wet crumbs).

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes.  Then, invert onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.


  1. First - I love this "because the joys in life are the ones we need to hang on to when life isn't so great"....

    and second.... I'm fearful of the kitchen. I admit it. One day your blog will inspire me to try more cooking :)

  2. Bravo! The peach lavender jelly sounds wonderful!

  3. Thank you both for your comments!
    Aleta - just get in there and do it! :)
    Christy - It's interesting. Yummy. But interesting... :)

  4. I admire you; I'm not afraid of cooking, just really don't enjoy it. Doesn't help to have two children with food allergies, and a husband with high cholesterol and blood pressure, who also is senstive to spices and HATES onions and garlic....what is left?
    Thank you for your kind words on my blog; I hope you followed! I'm following you now, and guessing you found me through blogfarm. Did you just get that email that now it connects directly with our blogs? That's a good thing!

  5. Sandra,
    oh my...I might just tell them to get out and cook for myself! haha
    I am following you! Your words really struck me. Do you do link exchanges? If you do, I will put you on mine if you tell me what name you want up!
    I did get that email, but I'm not certain I understood it. I need to really look at it tonight!
    Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to reading more from you!

  6. I love the last sentence. "Fearless may you follow me out of the kitchen and into my life."

    Also, I think I'm going to need you to make me a bundt cake. Can we make this happen, lol?

  7. Love it! What a way to celebrate! This post makes me feel very happy!


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