I wasn't sure if I would start blogging again. I've had a lot of time for serious reflection during my blog hiatus. While the situation in my personal life has weighed heavily on me the last few months, I've also learned what's truly important to me. It's like the fog is finally burning off and revealing clear skies.
The first weeks were pretty bad. I cried almost everyday. I truly hated my body for betraying me. This wasn't the "I hate the physical outward appearance of my body" but the "I hate the insides of my body for not working properly" and "why can't my body be normal?" After many weeks of worry and distress, I'm thankful that the last two weeks have consisted of more good days than bad ones. I never thought it would happen, and believe me there were days when I thought I wouldn’t be able to say this, but I'm beginning to feel like my old self again.
Yet I feel like a completely changed person. I don't sweat the little things anymore. If you knew me you would know how difficult this is for me since I'm totally obsessive compulsive. It's been hard to change the person that I've been for so very long, but it also feels good to be free of my obsessive chains. I feel lighter and happier.
I've always loved, respected, and appreciated my parents, but I truly learned to appreciate them on a whole new level. My mom cooked enough food for me and my husband so that I wouldn't have to cook dinner during the work week. She provided clarity on my situation and comfort whenever I was upset. My dad told me not to worry about our finances if I needed to take time off from my full time job. But I guess that's what parents do for their children. I will never, ever, take them for granted again. I feel surrounded by the safety and comfort they provide.
My dear husband let me cry on his shoulder, handed me tissues to wipe my tears and blow my nose. He did the grocery shopping and picked up my prescriptions. He chauffeured me to doctor's appointments so I wouldn't have to try to find a parking spot (a pretty difficult task in the city). He accompanied me on walks around the neighborhood when I felt confined by the walls of our house. He sat on the sofa next to me for hours each night. I feel honored that we’ve chosen to be together for life.
I’ve rediscovered a spirituality and faith that I thought was long gone. I know many people will turn to a higher power in times of crisis, but I didn’t do the “bargaining” as in “If you make me well I promise to X,Y,Z” since I thought that would be too cliché. I took my own path. Thank you to everyone who kept me in their prayers. I feel blessed.
The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for the overwhelming support. Your comments and emails provided some much needed sunshine on my cloudiest of days. And it is this kindness that has made me decide to blog again.
When I started this blog 2 ½ years ago my intention was to have a place to share recipes with friends and family. And because I didn't want to post the same recipe more than once, blogging would force me to try new recipes. I've become a better baker because of blogging. After some time, people I didn’t even know started reading my little blog. With that increase in readership I developed a sense of accountability. I was accountable not only to myself, but to you, the reader.
I don't pretend to be a highly skilled baker. I'm just a baking enthusiast with a lot to learn. Luckily I have an endless source of willing taste testers. I don't pretend to be a writer. I'm not looking for a cookbook deal. (But I would like to congratulate those who have gotten a deal.) I don't pretend to be a photographer, but I figured that including some photographs would be nice even if my photos are so-so. If I had more time I would try to include more "work in progress" photos. I don't pretend to be a teacher, but I've been touched by the many emails and comments from people who have tried my recipes, learned from them and enjoyed the fruits of their labor. My favorite emails and comments are from people that have never really baked but were inspired by something they saw on alpineberry. So even though it was not my original intention, I hope that I continue to inspire people to get into the kitchen and bake. I hope that you continue to inspire me to become a better baker.
So I begin this new chapter by posting the chocolate éclairs I made for this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge. The éclairs were super easy to make and were absolutely delicious. I made them a little smaller than the recipe stated because I wanted more servings. I was able to pipe 35 éclairs shells each measuring 3 inches long. I filled the éclair shells with the chocolate pastry cream by using a small offset spatula. It was effective but definitely not as pretty as piping the filling with a decorative tip. But no one seemed to mind since the éclairs tasted so good.
Thanks to hosts Meeta of What's For Lunch, Honey and Tony of Tony Tahhan for choosing éclairs. Click here to see the éclair recipe. Please go to the Daring Bakers blogroll for links to other chocolate-y posts.