Heat II

Cool turquoise ocean
Envelops golden bodies,
Quenching skin’s yearning.

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Slowing Down, Easing Up – Resolutions

The last few months have been made up of trying times, and plenty of change. I’ve described before that I tend to like my life busy. But, as we all know, when busyness is combined with complication and difficulty, this can result in overwhelm. In addition, while I welcome change in my life, it can mean carrying more around on my little shoulders for a period of time. And although one of the purposes of the changes in my life is to finally do something good and right for me, I’m yet again booking too much into my already busy schedule. So much to experience, so few hours in the day!

As I’ve moved into a new chapter in my life and also start a new year, I don’t have the typical New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get fit. I’m pretty fit and eat healthily, and will continue to work hard at taking care of myself physically. Instead, my resolution is to slow down, take time for more recreation, respite and tranquility.

For the CFEP post this month, my plan was to cook something ‘slow’; something that takes hours to cook, and something rich and decadent. But alas, I very ironically found no time this month. So, instead, I’m posting a recipe for a simple creation that takes little time to make: a dessert that requires no baking. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen (something I do love), this month I’ve spent a short while enjoying the process of making something decadent, yet simple, and which mimics one of my favourite things – raw cookie dough! Ah, sweet indulgence, with little effort.

If you sneak raw cookie dough or even prefer it to your baked results, you’ll love this recipe too. Enjoy! I know these won’t last long around my house!

Cookie Dough Squares

Ingredients

•1/2 cup butter, softened
•3/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•2 cups all-purpose flour
•14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
•2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

1.Line a square baking pan with parchment paper so it hangs over the edges of the pan in order to lift the squares out of the pan when ready.

2.In a large bowl, using electric mixer, whip the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract.

3.Add half the flour and mix until just combined. Mix in sweetened condensed milk. Add remaining flour and mix until incorporated.

4.Fold in 1.5 cups chocolate chips. Scrape dough into prepared pan and press mixture evenly into pan using silicone spatula. Dough will be very sticky.

cookie dough bars

5.Refrigerate overnight until firm.

6.Melt remaining ½ cup chocolate chips and drizzle over bars. Refrigerate until set. Cut into 16-20 squares. Serve while firm.

Store in airtight container in cool room or fridge. Allow to warm slightly before serving but not too much or they will be to soft and sticky (unless you like to lick your fingers, in which case, go for it!).

cookie dough squares 2
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The Canadian Food Experience Project is Valerie Lugonja’s call to Canadian Foodies and Bloggers alike to unite on the 7th day of each month and creatively discover and share Canada’s unique culinary voice. You can read more about this exciting project here.

Bathed

I sit in bath poured hot, lavender infused,
Savouring a deserved pause.
I watch snowflakes flitter to their soft resting place.
Glistening; I am illuminated only by streetlight.

I close my eyes and imagine your kiss;
Cool against my hot lips, so thirsty.
You are omnipresent in my life,
Though you bathe me in uncertainty.

Autumn Symphony

The end of a season is upon us,
One instinctively yoked to death and decay.
Yet, lavishness exists here;
A great symphony of loveliness and delicateness,
Perceived by the rapt observer.

Rushing autumn wind in ears,
Multiplied by the momentum of the cyclist.
Whistling softly, cooling perspiring skin.
The scent of dying chlorophyll wafts softly,
Coupled with the aromas of the harvest:
The tripartite sweetness of corn, soy and hay.

This peaceful country road
Is enfolded by furiously red, overbearing Sumacs.
Spinning wheels whir and hum,
The constant noise punctuated melodiously
By flittering leaves in the wood beyond.
A falcon perches lightly, eyeing its prey.

This symphony of scent, sight and sound,
Transforms this season of death
Into a period of glory and splendor.
A mainspring of rest and renewal,
For anyone willing to seize it.

Unlikely Places of Rest

It would be a gross understatement to say that life has been a tad busy lately. I’m no stranger to busyness, and in fact I thrive on it. Throughout my adult life, I’ve always found ways to impose a highly occupied lifestyle upon myself, and through this I’ve learned to multitask and handle pressure well. I cram life full of experiences, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I do try to find balance by stopping to smell the proverbial and literal roses, and taking some time to enjoy recreational activities of one kind or another.

Now, as important work deadlines loom, I’m also writing papers and preparing for exams, being a mother, wife and homemaker, enduring the renovations in our house, and still trying to maintain sanity with some exercise and leisurely reading. The pace of my life is largely self-imposed, and to be honest, I actually enjoy it most of the time. However, the opportunities for rest and for pleasure are currently few and far between. My social life is practically nonexistent, but I know it’s only a season before I’ll be able to enjoy more of the delights of life again.

This evening, I had an MRI done on my knee for the old ACL injury I’ve mentioned in a previous post. I’ve had two prior MRIs and the noise and confined space don’t bother me. I lay on the table for my 20 minute exam, and rested. In fact, I came extremely close to falling asleep. When the tech came in to tell me the exam was complete, I asked him if I could stay a little longer. He laughed emphatically and told me that nobody had ever made that request of him. Thing is, I was serious.

As crazy as it sounds, this unlikely resting place provided me with 20 minutes to lay still and just be. No place to go, nothing to think about, no one to talk to. Just me, the machine and the rhythmic and unexpectedly soothing noise of the magnetic resonance. It was nice; like a short date with myself.

A Dream’s Dream

Intro: Last night I experienced a first: A dream within a dream. It was pretty awesome. The vivid imagery of my dreams inspired this poetic recounting of what felt like such a real experience. I will leave it at that, without explication of the meaning….

I walk lightly through perpetual fields,
And wheat beards caress my cheeks.
Overwhelmed by a sea of gold,
And the sweet smell of the countryside.
The sunlight forms a silvery halo
Around thin grey wisps of cloud
Which texturize the azure sky.
Exultantly free, perfectly silent,
I lie down to rest.
I close my eyes, and begin to dream…

In the far off distance, you are there,
Unaware of my presence or my gaze.
Looking out at the cerulean glacial lake,
Contrasted by majestic mountain peaks,
Separated only by immortal evergreens
That reach tenaciously for the Heavens.
Miles exist between us and yet there’s closeness,
A comforting knowledge in each of us
That great distances are bridged by love.

I awaken to my reality,
Peacefully astonished by my dream’s dream.