Thursday, June 28, 2012

104: Easy Recipes - Shortbread

I just love easy recipes!! I was picking up some Nespresso coffee pods for my brother when I came across an absolutely beautiful "English Shortbread Pan". It would never have crossed my mind to just go out and get a pretty baking pan... and this one had the shortbread recipe on the back! So I got it and not only were the cookies delicious but it was so easy!!

How pretty is this baking pan!! I got it at Sur la table...
Although there are 9 designs these were some of the clearer ones.
I think I need to press the dough in tighter next time but the taste was there!
So, here is the recipe:  

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease pan.

Cream butter until light.
Beat in powdered sugar, then vanilla.
Finally, work in the flour.
Knead dough on an unfloured board until smooth.
Firmly press dough into pan.
Prick all of the surface with a fork, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.
Loosen the edges with a plastic knife, and invert onto a cutting board.
Cut into serving pieces while warm.


Monday, June 25, 2012

103: Not Enough Time?

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number 
of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, 
Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein" 
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr -
Picture I took last week of the sunrise...
Sunrises just make me feel anything is possible!!

I love this quote! How true it is... and the list goes on and on with great thinkers, achievers, givers, and just ordinary people that do the extraordinary. 
Life's funny - I seem to have woken up once I left the corporate world (3 years ago) and am busier then ever. I feel like there is so much to do - like I'm the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, late because I got a late start on the things that matter... My 'to do' list is now full of things that make me feel like I'm LIVING not just existing. Some of the items on my list include: 

- Grow my company while maintaining life's balance.
- Help non-profits achieve their visions and therefore make a difference in the world. Get involved, be active and contribute.
- Help my mom and grandmother in whatever way I can. 
- Explore the world, there is so much to see and so much to learn...
- Continue with creative outlets, even if just for fun: photography, writing, drawing, etc
- Stay fit. Today I am trying kickboxing :-), I'm already running again and I start yoga (vinyasa and ashtanga are my favorites) on August 1st. 

So much to do and only one lifetime... 

Back to the quote... these kinds of quotes fire me up and make me realize it IS possible to do it all. Life, what a phenomenal ride!!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

102: The Privilege of Giving

Firstly, my apologies for such a long absence... My life has been quite busy morphing and growing - as well as I had a birthday on June 5th - my birthdays often come with a lot of self-reflection...

Somewhere around the time I last blogged I saw a documentary about Haiti and the fact that there are still so many people living in extreme poverty. I don't typically watch documentaries but this one caught my attention and touched my heart. I called my mom during the show and we watched it together and we cried together and we promised we would see how we could help.

I started reading news and books on Haiti, I really knew so little. One book ("Haiti - Tumultuous History - From Pearl of the Caribbean to Broken Nation" by Philippe Girard) was hard to put down and I don't like reading about history! Then I brainstormed with some friends on how I could help. Some people were immediately wary about anything actually being achievable in Haiti - with its financial black holes, unaccountable NGOs, corruption and the lack of a social welfare programs. I know it's a tough situation but my gut and my heart also know that there are people of all ages (including the forgotten elderly) that deserve my attention. I also got several "I'm proud of you" compliments from family and friends that know this is a tough one and that as unknown as the path may be at least I will give it a try.

The first step I took was getting in contact with a Haitian pastor that worked with my mom a few years ago. He is on the board of a small non-profit that helps Haitians in three ways: a medical clinic, sponsoring school students and have done some micro donations to help families become self-sufficient.

I met with the President and was impressed by this strong woman. Maud was born in Haiti, moved to Canada when she was 20, became a registered nurse and a successful woman. When she was about 40 years old she went on her first aid trip to Haiti (with a group of nurses). She has not stopped helping since and now lives in South Florida. Pictures one of Maud's 2011 trips:

Because of Maud's career, she has been fortunate in securing medical supply donations.
Pride, hardship and determination visible in this woman's beautiful face and attire.
Kids receiving school supply donations.
My mom and I are going to Haiti for one week at the end of July. We will help Maud and her other volunteers in distributing donations (during three events which are estimated to help 1,500 - 2,000 people). Once I get back I hope to assist Maud in executing her vision using my financial planning background. In a small way things just came together - I'm grateful for the opportunity to help.

I feel like an ember has lit up inside of me. I am excited to make a difference in the world - no matter how small. I have also started helping another organization that focuses it's efforts in South Africa - I'll tell you more about that one another day. I truly feel it is a privilege to be able to help people. Life is a funny thing and who knows, one day I may be the one needing a helping hand...

As some of you know, I spent many years solely focused on my career (which I do not regret and absolutely loved) but one day I just realized there had to be more to life. Three years later, owning my own company, I have the flexibility to follow my gut, to give to a greater good and I am thankful and blessed to be able to do so. And I am also so blessed to have a mom that not only encourages me to follow my heart but is willing to jump in too!