Sunshine On Cloudy Day

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It has been cloudy quite a bit lately, and at our house things have been hectic, so in that environment of course it is easy to get stressed and down. We all have our ways of pulling out of that blue funk and so this week when I had to use a couple, I thought of sharing them with you.

One of the things that I find works really well is music. Mind you, it has to be the right music – if you need to be uplifted, I don’t recommend you put sappy love ballads on to play. I am a fan of Louis Armstrong myself. I love to tap my toes to that trumpet and it always makes me smile to hear his deep ebullient voice sing those classic tunes.

Another great thing to do is watch a good movie or TV show (as rare as those are these days), or read a good book if you are so inclined – it can help you escape the trials and tribulations of the day and it might even inspire you. That is why I am a fan of the show, “24”. I love knowing that special agent Jack Bauer had a far worse day than I ever could have, even when I think I had a horrible day. At least the fate of the free world doesn’t hang on my shoulders!

You have likely guessed my most favourite way of finding a ray of sun on a cloudy day. Food is something that gives me comfort and excitement too. A really good meal is like a work of art, with all the elements in balance to produce this beautiful canvas which you can jump into! The thing about food is that it is interactive – you don’t just look at it, you taste it and feel it. Not that I am proposing you need to roll in it, but I do love the reward of fragrance that comes from rubbing a lavender or rosemary bush, or the explosion of flavour in your mouth when you bite into a grape or a cherry tomato. Putting a combination of flavours together on the plate is a real achievement, and one you and your guests should revel in. Even a homemade cookie is a special thing – love and attention all wrapped up in a portable package.

I suppose what I am trying to convey here is that you need to immerse yourself in an experience to fully enjoy it, just the way you tend to soak up the suns’ rays on a sunny day. Even those people who like to sit in the shade enjoy a bit of warmth. On days like we have had the past week, the best thing I know of is to find something that warms your heart and take full enjoyment in it. A great song on the radio, a funny e-mail you got from a friend or a delectable morsel even munched at your desk at work can be the start to a brighter day. I am making cookies this weekend, so that if it is cloudy on Monday again, I will be well armed!

Cookie recipe - The All-In Cookie

This is a recipe that I found in the Frog Commissary Cookbook years ago. (It was a little storefront restaurant in Philadelphia in the 70’s.) I have adapted it a fair bit, and I invite you to do the same, as it takes modifications well. I hope you enjoy them!

1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar (brown sugar makes them taste a bit more like molasses, yellow sugar adds a bit more sweetness – choose what you like)
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (don’t skimp – use real vanilla!)
2 tbsp milk
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 to 1-1/2 cups old fashioned oats (not instant – it will make the cookies gluey)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips (you can substitute raisins here, or add more choc. Chips instead!)
¾ cup walnuts AND/OR coconut – your choice (you can make it with one or both and it will work)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the butter with the sugars in a mixer or by hand. Add the vanilla, milk and eggs. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to the creamed mixture and beat to combine. By hand, stir in the oats, chips and nuts. Drop 1-1/2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet (or one that has a silicone baking mat). Bake for 10-12 minutes or until just brown. (I like to turn the trays in the oven halfway through to ensure they cook evenly.)


More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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