Thursday, January 14, 2010


Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. - Anais Nin

Sometimes it's necessary to step out of our comfort zone, to open ourselves up to new experiences, especially those that scare us. Fear is a funny thing... stealthy, subversive, unpredictable. You're never quite prepared for it, but the harder you resist the deeper the claws sink, leaving you immobile. And you can never really predict how you'll react, if at all, in a given situation. Fear is also relative, no two alike in that they are as individual as fingerprints shaped by our own personal experiences. Sometimes they come disguised, unrecognizable until it's too late. And we find that opportunities have come and gone leaving only the bitter taste of regret.

With age, we often lose our daring, our fears rooted in practicalities or good sense. But what good is either if we're merely going through the motions, simply existing instead of truly living? Kids on the other hand are uninhibited, jumping into each new experience with abandon and aplomb. They don't worry about getting hurt, or looking silly because they're completely engrossed in the moment. Fear is learned, beaten or spoon fed into us, until we forget that life is about taking risks, not hiding from it. Growth, progress, evolution - they all involve risks. Life is not for the feint-hearted. Nor should it be taken for granted, for we never know what's around the corner. It's the possibilities that have us waiting with bated breath in anticipation. The possibilities yet unimagined, existing in the underbelly of our consciousness waiting to be revealed. I think most of us strive to live a life less ordinary, but to do so we must toss aside the limitations we place upon ourselves. And if we fumble, we must try again. To be willing to come apart, and if we feel broken, think of it as being broke open.

Thoreau wrote, "We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experiences and character." So go ahead... jump. I dare you.

The loosest definition of a fruit cobbler is that it contains a bottom layer of fruit, topped with some type of pastry. And so named because of the "cobbled" look of the topping. The pastry itself differs on who's making it, as some variations include pie crusts, biscuit dough, or scone. The filling can be made with a single variety, combination, or a medley of fruits. Ideal choices are peaches, apricots, berries of every kind, pears, or plums. Some variants on the cobbler include crisps, sliced fruit topped with a loose mixture of butter, brown sugar, and sometimes oats, the tops of which when baked turn golden brown. Another is the New England grunt, or slump, which is cooked on the stovetop. This keeps the top biscuit dough soft instead of the crunch and texture you'd get in the oven. The following recipe is a Surprise Cobbler in that the person eating the cobbler won't know the filling until he takes the first scrumptious bite.

Surprise Cobbler
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 cans cherries, boysenberries, blueberries, apricots, or peaches (save juices)
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Stir sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  3. Pour into loaf pan or casserole dish (2 qt.). Spoon fruit over batter; sprinkle with sugar. Pour fruit juice over top.
  4. Bake 45 to 50 minutes. During baking, the fruit and juice go to the bottom, and cake-like layer forms on top. Serve with cream, whipped cream, or ice cream.

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