{it's not just another day... cultivate gratitude... begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open} + {maple walnut apple crisp}

i was looking forward to winding down the holiday weekend with a day of rest and relaxation yesterday. however, the day started pretty tough for me. it was begun with somewhat of a blindside to my resolve. and almost the entire day, it threatened to dampen any joy i felt or any gratitude i had been cultivating over the past few days.

in fact, i wrote a lot about it just now, but then i decided to delete all but the first paragraph {above}. i just won't go into it here and now. but i wanted to at least share a video about gratitude and some yumminess in the form of a thanksgiving recipe today.

the video below was sent to me by my husband's aunt the day after thanksgiving. i did not get a chance to watch it until sunday night. but it turned out to be a good time for me to see it. after the discouraging day i had, this helped me on multiple levels.

i'll preface it by saying this... i don't know what this speaker's views or beliefs are, but i am pretty certain we don't share the exact same world view {based on a couple things he said}. but that is not why i am sharing the video. i am sharing it, because as i love photography, i find the images in it very beautiful and moving. and the core message of the video {to be grateful for so much that we often take for granted} put with those images was inspiring and quieting and thought-provoking.

it's not just a "be grateful for what we take for granted" message. it's sort of a "put people in their place" message. everyone has a story. everyone has difficult parts of their lives. some more than others. some more visible than others. but no one is alone in experiencing mistakes, pain and heartache... some even catastrophic. but it's what you do with it that counts, i think. this video speaks to that... and it's a universal message for everyone, no matter what you believe.

the video is almost ten minutes long, so if you want to lessen your viewing time a bit, i suggest skipping to the 2 minute and 38 seconds mark, and start viewing from there. before that point, the speaker is basically sharing that he is a photographer who specializes in time-lapsed photography and what he believes is meant about the way people respond to his art/craft.

there are so many things in this that struck me... i thought the little girl's words were profound. and they made me want to turn off that television of mine for good. for me. for isaac. for the world around me. i want to explore life much more intentionally. i want to walk down paths to discover beaches at the end. if you know me well, you know i love paths and photographs of them. this video has made me want to start a photography series on paths and what lies at the end of them.

i had to chuckle at her finger in the nose as she was saying "it makes you wanna go deeper in..." {*smile*} anyway, i just found what she said to be very inspiring. it's amazing how the thoughts and words of a child can sometimes wake up us adults.

but what i found the most inspiring {and convicting} were the words of the aging man in the last half of the video. if we merely wake up each day with the ability to see, we are blessed. and yet, we have so much more than just that. and to treat each day in gratitude as if it were our first and last is some of the best advice i have ever heard. if people did this, there would be a lot less blame and criticizing and bashing and beating up and hurting and senseless tearing down.

yes, it's a simplified way of looking at the world or life. but i have to say... what is wrong with simplifying things? isn't their enough complication in the world? could it be that if we are so filled with gratitude for what we do have, we won't let bitterness take root and grow and fester and choke out all life and joy?

my beliefs point me to the bible verses that speak to this... "give thanks in all circumstances"... "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

i know this post is getting long... just one more thing about the video... i loved what the man said about the sky and clouds. if you have been reading here a while, you know how much i love {and am fascinated by} clouds. so what he says about them resonates very much with me.

in fact, much of the video hit home for me, because it is what i want the essence of my blog to be... through my words and through my photographs... gratitude. wonder. seeing. amazement. and even though i am not blogging regularly {don't know how ANY mom has the time to}, i will make the biggest effort i can to log in and post about that... as often as i can. especially, like i previously stated, during the month of november.

with that, there's only a few days left of the month, and i have a few last gratitudes to share {above, below, and a couple more things tomorrow and the next day}.

so... now for the yummy part... finally!

last thanksgiving was sort of a bummer for me. i was in my first trimester of pregnancy, and food did not sound at all good to me, as i was unable to keep any of it down. i spent the day alone with mr. b, and i was sad that i was not with family. it was a difficult day. but the thanksgiving before that was a really wonderful day. food is always such a fun part of thanksgiving... and a true blessing and gift i am grateful for {even if there was nothing else to celebrate that day}. it's something so many go without, so that alone should keep us from complaining.

anyway, because i'm so busy now with a baby who is in constant need, i opted for a more simple dessert this year. four years ago, my mother-in-law gave me this book {below} on thanksgiving.

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it's just a collection of recipes, but there are also pages to write down memories of family gatherings or put photos. since i already have a blog, i use it for my recording of memories and photos instead. but the recipes still come in very handy... especially the one i chose this year.

it's so simple! {who doesn't want simple, especially when it can still be delicious!}

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so, i made the maple walnut apple crisp dish on page 87.

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this is what it is supposed to look like when all done and served. i just made it last night, and i'll be serving it tonight when my parents-in-law come over for dinner. {they are staying at a hotel in town.} yes... i was a little late getting this thanksgiving dish made. it was supposed to be made on thursday for the feast... but things don't always go as planned. anyway, we'll see if it looks like the photo above... tonight, all warmed up and complete with a nice cold, melting scoop of vanilla goodness on top.

i decided to take advantage of my new lens and all the light it lets in to take some photos of my crisp-making adventure... something i could not do well with my old lens, as there is little bright and natural light in my kitchen. it was some good practice time with this lens.

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i loved how all the golden-peachish colors played with the greens. and those apples looked so delicious in the bowl, it was all i could do to not eat them as is right out of the bowl.

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well, i won't torture you any longer. without further ado...
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i'm not gonna share the recipe verbatim... you know... copyright laws. 

but i will say this... this is such an easy recipe {no "from scratch" here, but every bit as yummy!}
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basically, you can't go wrong with it if you add the basics and then play around with the rest. to get that maple flavor, use about four packets of maple & brown sugar instant oatmeal. and for those gorgeous apples i took pics of above, use a couple cans of apple pie filling.

and if you want to get really creative...
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or any combination of the above.

and for more texture and chew...
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like i said, you can't go wrong. if you want, add some cinnamon or nutmeg. don't forget some walnuts {or a nut of your choosing} and a little over a half stick of melted butter. mix it all together, put it in an 8" square foil pan {the other really easy part!}, and cook it at about 400°F for about a half hour.

i modified the recipe slightly, because it calls for making your own syrup to add to plain canned apples. instead, i just bought apple pie filling that comes with the thick syrup already. that way, the maple syrup that the recipe calls for can be saved for drizzling over the scoop of vanilla on top.

basically, the pre-cooked crisp looks almost the same as the cooked version.
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but if you do it right, the cooked version will be a little more golden brown on top.
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when i have made cobblers and crisps in the past, i sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon sugar on the top just before the baking was done... it adds a delicious {almost burnt} caramelized flavor to it. try it!

speaking of trying it, i can't wait to try this crisp tonight! my mouth is watering just looking at it now... and i can attest that it tastes delicious, because i sneaked a little corner of the crisp into my mouth before i went to bed last night. shhhh...

well, i guess that's about it for this very long post. i hope you enjoyed my better-late-than-never contributions to thanksgiving and gratitude-celebrating. {keep in mind, the recipe may be too late to use for thanksgiving, but it will still work great for all the christmas and new year festivities to come.} here is a little glimpse of what else i have for november thankfulness in the next couple of days...
christmas tree
obviously, we put up the tree... but i'll share more about how special it was with a little squirt to share it with for the first time.

i hope you had a great holiday weekend... and have a great week!


Ai said...

I read this and felt like I was reading some of my own thoughts on blogging! Glad to find your blog and your Flickr stream. Love the bokeh on the tree, and have to check out that video. Sorry you got blindsided, hope you are feeling better. Looking forward to seeing more of your gratitudes!

Caroline said...

OMG! I am so making this...how easy and delicious looking. I bet it was as delicious as your photos...! I just love the warmth you captured.