Friday, November 02, 2012


Day two of this challenge is SMILE.  I am grateful for the ability to smile.  I love that Happiness is a choice.  When you seek to find it on the outside, you never will truly find it.  It is a choice from the inside.  It may be one of the hardest choices for some and at some times but, it is still your choice.  No one can MAKE you be happy.  You get to chose it, and choosing it makes all the difference.
I stumbled across the writings of Louise Hay this year.  How I had never found them before, I do not know. But I love them.  It was through listening to her and reading her word that I learned just how powerful the choice of happiness is.  It has changed my life and I hope, the lives of those I love.  Go check it out yourself. You just might love it too.
I love this song "Smile", sung by Nat King Cole.  It sums up how I feel about smiling at it's best.  Life is always still worthwhile.

Here are some of my favorite people smiling.

Gratitude ... and Cream Puffs

I have accepted a 30 day Gratitude challenge.  It involves taking a photo and recording the things you are grateful for.  I hope to blog them all but... you know my past record.
I have been thinking about gratitude a lot lately.  I watched a random Youtube clip this fall that really got me thinking.  It is by Robert G. Smith and he tells about a Gratitude Journal.  It really got my attention.  We are experts at focusing on what makes us unhappy and putting our energy into that.  Things like.... oh... your looks... that weird scar on the end of my nose from Shingles a couple of years ago... The fact that no matter what I do... the weight isn't coming off... $$$, failures, etc... you get the picture.  I am sure you could make a list of your own... but WHY?!  Robert said to make a list of all the things you are grateful for.  Then... think about them.  You will find yourself being happy for NO REASON.  I could use some of that.  So... As part of my Gratitude Journal, I am recording some of my favorite things, things I AM grateful for, things I love!... Things that I can think about and BE happy for NO REASON.
(Oh if you want that youtube link... here it is).  (oops my bad... it is the Happy journal with the Gratitude list .... call it what you want... it is a great idea!)

So... Today, November 1st (yest I know it is midnight but hey...)  I am grateful for food, and in particular... I am thankful for Cream Puffs.
Cream Puffs were one of my Grandma Wood's specialty desserts.  She used to make them and bring them to my parents home on Sunday evenings, with my grandpa, and they would have Family Home Evening with my family.  I wasn't born yet when this happened.  So... I have different memories of these delightful pastries than my siblings to.  The cream puffs I ate as a child were made by my mother.  And, when she would make them I would get to help.  When you cut a hot, fresh cream puff open, you have to scoop out the remaining eggy filling inside.  I loved doing this, helping, and getting the yummy eggy bits inside.  As I would help with these, my mother and older sisters would tell me stories about my grandmother.  She died the week of my first birthday.  I never felt deprived of her presence as a child because I always felt her close in the home.  They would tell me stories about her amazing cooking, her wonderful needle skills making lace, and sewing wonderfully warm blankets.  They told me about her life of service to her family, church and community.  She was a social worker and did a wonderful thing for families in California.  They told me how kind she was, how wonderful it was just to be near her.  I was given one of her last blankets when I was little.  I still have it.  It is made from scraps of old wool suits and is backed with red flannel.  It was so warm and cozy when I was little.  I would curl up in that blanket and could feel the love in the stitching (that is one reason I quilt today).
Cream puffs are a tradition in our family.  I make them now for my children and tell them the stories about this amazing woman.  I have always looked up to her.  It makes me feel good to be compared to her when I do things that are good and right and meaningful.  I do actually have on physical memory of her before she died.  I will have to share that someday... not today.
Here is the recipe as I got it from my mother, who got it from her's:

Grandma Wood's Cream Puffs

1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs
Boil the water, butter, salt, and flour together and stir rapidly.  Cook stirring constantly until the mixture forms a ball that doesn't separate.  (always looked like play dough to me)  Remove from heat.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat quickly so you don't cook the egg.  Stir until the mixture is smooth before adding the next egg.  Repeat with all the eggs.
Cool and take by spoonfuls and arrange on a cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
Bake in a hot oven (450* F) for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 325*F and bake for 25 additional minutes. When they are cool, cut off the tops and clean out the eggy goodness inside and fill with cream filling and top with chocolate frosting.

1 cup milk
1/3 -1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour (I use 1/4 cup corn starch)
2 egg yolks or 1 whole egg well beaten
Vanilla extract
Mix together sugar and flour in sauce pan.  Add milk and stir until mixed.  Heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  Remove from heat.  Take about 1/2 cup pudding in a small bowl and mix in egg with a wire whisk.  Add egg mixture back to remaining pudding and mix well.  Add flavoring, mix.  Cool completely.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Store all leftovers in the refrigerator.

Chocolate topping

3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
Mix sugar, butter, and milk in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil. Boil about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips.  Stir until melted.  Drizzle over cream puff... or what ever you want... ice cream, cake... your finger.... :)

I hope you enjoy this little recipe and the story that goes with it.  Watch the youtube clip... Make a gratitude list of your own and find something that you can make you happy for no reason.
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