Murphy’s Law – What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong!

Beautiful Flowers 250Dinner parties are nothing new for me; I enjoy them and plan them so they are normally stress-free and fun. Yesterday evening I was looking forward to a simple dinner with a dear friend. With a busy agenda, I had all the ingredients in the home and all was looking great. The menu was Hungarian Goulash, egg noodles, a nice salad to start with, and a wine cream for dessert.

I decided to start with the wine cream so it could set well before serving it that evening. You’ll see the recipe on the website and I will not go into details. When buying the Jell-O®, they only had it with sugar (I normally take the sugar free) and I bought the flavor I liked. What I didn’t know was that my substitute with wine didn’t work the same way as with the sugar free Jell-O®. So I couldn’t get it to set properly, but finally it was more or less firm, although when liquefying the mixture became more liquid than I wanted. I tried to mix it with the cool whip to get the right consistency but it didn’t work. I had no time to start over again and had to make a decision. I poured part of the liquid out and mixed the rest. It looked ok although the proportions were not the same any longer.

The berries, which I wanted to put in layers, were very tart. Since one cannot normally taste berries in the super market, I had no idea. They looked great. Oh boy, what will I do with them? I decided to make a Mcompote cooking them in Amaretto, Port and some Agave. They tasted great. I cooled them down, put them in the bottom of the serving dishes since there was no way to put layers without having it drip everywhere, then topped it with the wine cream and before serving, I put a touch of the compote on the top. It looked awesome and mostly -–it was delicious!

Now to the meat. When buying the meat – grass fed beef, the butcher recommended top round chuck. It looked great. I like to cut the meat myself preferring larger pieces. So he gave me three thick slices and all looked the same. When starting to cook the meat, it looked fabulous and I was very happy. I didn’t think, that’s for sure, otherwise I would have realized that the three slices were most likely not from the same cow! How could they? So they didn’t cook the same way. It was kind of touchy to get it all done without having the more tender pieces falling apart. After part of the meat was cooked, I fished it out and put it aside cooking the rest of it. When it looked close to done, I added it all together again and let it cook for a little while. Finally, after double the cooking time I had planned, all seemed cooked and it tasted great!

Why do I tell this story? There is no failure, only challenges, and if you have lemons, make lemonade. When that happens to you, step back and regroup. There are always solutions and I have to tell you, my friend had no idea that it wasn’t exactly what I had planned. That’s why I love to cook. Ingredients change, they are not always perfect, and one has to adjust and adept. That’s what I call creativity in the kitchen and my sense of accomplishment is wonderful.

Have fun, have confidence and be adventurous!

A Tribute to Mothers

Mothers Day 250Mothers have been celebrated for a very long time, the ancient Greeks and Romans honored the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele and the early Christians celebrated the Mothering Sunday. But it was in the US where the modern Mother’s day was started in the 19th century. It is a beautiful way to honor the woman who gives us life, nurtures us and loves us. There is a special bond between a mother and a child which cannot be broken. There will always be a connection. 

I lost my mother early and have often wished that I could have kept her long enough to be able to tell her how much I loved her and how much I appreciated the sacrifices she made. But being young, I really had no idea, and when I finally grew up it was too late. I couldn’t tell her in the physical world but I have told her many times in spirit how I felt and I am sure she heard me. Every Mother’s Day I think of her and send her my love.

A mother is not just the woman who gives birth to a child, but also the woman who is able to love a child born in her heart. I am thinking of an adoptive mother, a grandmother, a step mother, a mother-in-law or any other relationship which is born out of love and caring. It is the nurturing and loving nature of a woman which allows becoming a mother. When you look at nature, it is the mother protecting and caring for the young ones. It is to the mother they rush when they have a problem. A mother is the beacon, safety and loving harbor.

I would like to give a tribute to all women who have embraced motherhood – let’s celebrate them and give them the respect and honor they deserve! And yes, I also include all the mommies of our beloved furry companions.

Happy Mother’s Day!

A List Of My Blessings

Mignonne having fun 3 - 250Last night I observed how our little dog Mignonne enjoys the moment and how she loves unconditionally. I felt her pure joy just being with me, the simplicity of it all.

And I asked myself: why do I complicate my life? Is it my ego? On reflecting about it, I have to admit that most of my problems are caused by my ego. Let’s examine it: Somebody not talking to me as I would like to be talked to, not looking at me like I would like to be looked at, not paying enough attention, not appreciating me like I deserve, and it goes on and on. If only I could be like our little Mignonne, not reading anything into life’s events, just loving and enjoying life? Wouldn’t that be an incredible experience?

So I came to the conclusion that as of that moment, I will focus on all my blessings. I made a list of them, and it was amazing! What a blessed person I am. Who would have thought! And every time I read it, I add more blessings. It is an impressive list, and with a list like that, I can only be filled with gratitude and appreciation.

I feel wonderful , and will have that list with me at all times. Try it! It is worth the time and effort. Your heart will be filled with gratitude and it is a great feeling indeed!  

Knights of the Road

Knights of the RoadHave you ever wondered how it would feel sitting on a powerful motorcycle and cruising down the road? I watch motorcyclists go by and ask myself the question: Would I like to do this? Would this be fun?

Motorcycles always intrigued me. Not only did the bikers have a certain charisma, but just imagining being on the road, the force of the wind and a feeling of complete freedom was fascinating to me. I never have pursued this activity except during one short period when I was young and a boyfriend had a motorcycle. So, when our friend and neighbor prepared for a special motorcycle trip with friends, I had to find out more about it. I had to find out what made them want to ride a motorcycle, what do they feel when driving down the road through beautiful scenery, in fair weather or foul. Assuming that you would enjoy more hearing directly from them, I organized an informal interview during which they could share their experiences, their thoughts and feelings. It was plain fun to watch them, the passion showing in their voices and faces, the love they have for their motorcycles and mostly, the camaraderie and friendship amongst them. As they said, you can ride the bike alone but it becomes truly special when you can do it with some friends sharing the passion with you.

They left for their trip – the knights of the road, as I see them. Maybe because I am European, it just strikes a very romantic cord in me. In a way, I wish I could join them on this adventure, experience the road, live the adventures of the road, and most of all, commune with nature. It would be a thrill for me and satisfy the four parts of total health: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I truly believe that having a passion and combining it, like in this case, with physical activity, mental alertness, friendship and fun can only have a positive effect on our health and well-being. Anything which allows us to grow, stretch, strive and achieve is beneficial and should have a place in our lives. There are many different avenues; let’s take one and stop being a bystander. These three guys have been very inspirational to me and I am very grateful for their time and willingness to share their uplifting spirit.

We will follow them during their trip and find out from time to time how they are doing and where they are. Let’s experience this road trip with them and have a blast! We will publish the updates in “The Forum” and your comments would be welcome and appreciated. Their first destination is the motogpmotorcycle races in Austin.

Enjoy the video in “spotlights” giving you some insight of what a biker feels and experiences. The interview was very impromptu and the “real” thing. Have fun!

Balance and Harmony

Balance and HarmonyMy work on Not Just Cooking’s new website is exciting, but at the same time never done. The work will overwhelm me completely, if I allow this to happen. I love what I do although sometimes so many things call for my attention that I feel the need for space and distance. When this feeling comes over me, I know it is time to re-group and to re-prioritize.

Staying in balance is very important to me, and doing so has helped me get through difficult times in the past. There are moments when discomfort and stress take over, rising up and seeming to swallow everything around me. When I realize this is happening, I step back, breath deeply and repeat my mantra over and over again while focusing on appreciation and gratitude. If possible, I do biofeedback or meditate. This helps tremendously and allows me to remain in a joyous and harmonious state. Keeping aligned with this vibration allows me to achieve what I set out to do, feel better, and be much more productive.

Is this easy to do? The difficulty is in being aware of what is happening and sensing the tension building up within. As soon as one is able to acknowledge this state, it becomes easier. If you don’t allow the stress and discomfort to grow, they will recede into the background. The only action you need to take is being aware of what is going on, what you are thinking, and then changing your thoughts. Focus on things you like and appreciate. You’ll see, it is like an agitated lake calming down and becoming serene. And then you ask yourself: why did I think this was all so important in the first place?

I love seeing this website taking shape, growing and taking on a personality of its own. It is like watching a flower open, timidly at first and then more and more powerfully. The website talks to me, and I feel connected. It is like giving birth to a beautiful creation, loving and caressing it, but at the same time letting it develop in its own way. No, I don’t mind the time it takes, it gives back so much more than I ever imagined. I just have to make sure that I stay in balance and don’t neglect myself. It is surprisingly easy to get so absorbed in the moment, mostly when one has fun, that one forgets to take care of one’s needs.

Would you like to share your technique for staying balanced and harmonious? We would love to hear and learn from you.

 

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