My husband and I were reflecting at the breakfast table on how life has changed these past few years. Was it our collective years of wisdom now that we are well into our forties? Perhaps the change in careers, lifestyle, daughter’s first year of high school or all of the above?
Today we are in a happier place than ever before.
In 2007 we moved to Canada after living overseas. A great lifestyle change from the busy face-paced working environment we had both grown accustomed to juggling. The goal was to take a year sabbatical to kick back and discover our needs for the next phase of our lives.
It’s always important at any age to take the time to reflect. We could have just kept going, pushing forward, but what we realized (thankfully none too late) was that pushing forward never gave us the time to really be present in our lives.
So many careers are changing. Everyone rushing from one thing to the next. The use of cellphones to keep track of each other means there is never a time when we are not available. Individuals are subjected to office bullying and fears of job loss just to appease power hungry bosses. Take the time to stand up for what is important to you. Change can make all the difference.
Our priority as parents never change. We would jump hoops to make a school trip, concert and be home in the mornings and evenings. But, as soon our daughter was snug in bed we were back working again (Funny, I write this now as she sleeps soundly upstairs). Although, the difference is that it’s work that doesn’t feel like work.
While not the answer for everyone, taking a break and evaluating what is important was essential to our wellbeing. You only get one life. Live it to the fullest.
My husband was previously in a sales and marketing position for a company in New Zealand. As luck would have it, the company changed to a distributer model and gave us the financial opportunity to return to Canada.
I resigned my position and he his and we moved to Kingston to have more time as a family.
We relished the time we had to walk our dog, eat lazy breakfasts and pick up new hobbies. Hubby taught himself to play the piano and electric guitar, we volunteered at our daughter’s school and generally had more time to think about what makes us happy.
After six months of our sabbatical, I took a job, which excited me and enabled me to continue doing what I love. Hubby decided to return to school. He studied the Wind Turbine Industrial Electrician course and has never looked back.
He has a job he loves which contributes and makes a difference to the well being of others and the environment.
That day at breakfast, as we looked back, we learned that we are happier since we took the time. We are more comfortable with this new life.
I saw this great line written: you are what you eat so don’t be fast, easy, cheap or fake. I think it’s a good mantra for everything in life.
Change is never easy. Returning to school was timely and financially difficult but better than being a fake in a dispensable world. Life is too short not to live it to the fullest.
This week’s recipe sums it all up. Trifle is not fast, easy and if done right it tastes best when its not cheap or fake. So, don’t skimp on those berries and get the fresh whipping cream. Mom (who makes the next best trifle in the world) claims this recipe is now her new favorite. She suggests adding shaved almonds to the topping too. Enjoy this lovely summer berry dish!
English Summer Trifle:
Serves 12 Recipe from Summer 2013 “Food and Drink” Magazine
2 pkgs (195 g each) individual sponge cakes or dessert shells, about 12
½ to ¾ cup (125 to 175 ml) dry sherry
2 cups (500 ml) each of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
16 oz (500 g) strawberries
1-cup (250 ml) lemon curd
1-½ cups (375 ml) whipping cream, divided
2 cans (425 g each) Devon custard (I made the custard from scratch using Horne’s custard powder – recipe on back of tin. But’s easier with pre-made Devon custard.)
1 tbsp. (15 ml) granulated sugar
Icing sugar (optional)
- To dry cake a little so it will absorb the sherry, cut into 1-inch (2.5 –cm) pieces and spread out on baking sheet. Leave, uncovered, on the counter for a few hours or overnight.
- For trifle, turn sponge cake pieces into a big bowl. While stirring cake, drizzle sherry over-top. In a separate bowl, combine the blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Hull strawberries and cut in half or quarters. Stir with the other berries, then set aside about 2 cups (500 ml) for decorating trifle. Put lemon curd in a separate bowl and stir in ½ cup (125 ml) of whipping cream until evenly blended and smooth.
- To assemble, choose a 12-cup (3-L) straight-sided glass-serving bowl. (I have a Pampered Chef Trifle bowl and love it.) Cover the bottom with half the cake. Pour 1 can of Devon custard overtop and gently spread almost to the edges. (I went over a little. Trifle is messy but tastes sooo good.) Spoon the lemon curd overtop and use the back of a spoon to swirl over the custard. Scatter with half the fruit. Repeat the cake, custard and lemon curd layers. Add the remaining fruit. If making a day ahead, cover and refrigerate.
- To serve, whip remaining 1 cup of cream with granulated sugar until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Mound on the trifle. Decoratively arrange the reserved fruit on top and sprinkle with icing sugar, if desired.
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