What To Do With Restless Feelings

When I’m inside with nowhere to be, I welcome the rain. The gray pitter patter eases my mind and gives me an excuse to lounge around the house all day. But when the sun shines through, littering the floor with shards of light, it makes me antsy. Unlike a cat who can bask all day in that warm square on the rug, I am not soothed by the rays. Instead, it gives me the feeling that I should be moving, that I should be doing. An inner voice yells, “what the hell are you doing inside, go out and doo something!”

I often find myself wrestling with this feeling. The feeling that I should always be producing. I blame it on my culture, on my education, on my genetics. Blaming is the easy part. Figuring out what to do with the feeling is a bit more tricky.

But hold up a minute. I am giving the wrong impression. This feeling doesn’t have to be inherently bad. After all, it isn’t fair to label a feeling in either direction, positive or negative. Maybe this is my morning yoga class talking, but all feelings serve a purpose and bring us awareness.

So when I have these agitated feelings spurred on by the sun, I try not to hate on them too much. Rather, I try to see them from a new perspective. I like to think they are a sign of my inner drive. My desire to always push further ahead, and what’s bad about that?

The catch is this: knowing when to allow yourself the freedom to just be and knowing when it is time to kick your butt into gear, I think therein lies true wisdom.

I have yet to fully embrace this wisdom, so I often find myself taking the middle road, or maybe we can call it the path of least resistance. Perhaps you’ve been in my shoes before? You find something to do that is not that thing you know you should be working on but it keeps your hands in motion and your mind at ease. If you know me, then you know that this thing usually involves flour, butter and sugar.

So, without further ado, I give you alfajores. On a day when the sun drove me particularly crazy, I made this special type of South American cookie. From what I understand, you can find these all over South America, with variations from country to country. Inspired by my new Uruguyan friend and a discussion we had about dulce de leche, I decided to take a stab at these South American specialities.

Alfajores are essentially a shortbread cookie made with more corn starch than flour so the result is a flaky cookie that crumbles in your mouth.  Sensky_alfajoresYou can fill them with whatever you like, but the traditional way is with dulce de leche. I discovered dulce de leche is easy to make too. All you need to do is caramelize sweetened condensed milk (see here). I made it this way and it turned out delicious; however, after stumbling upon this blog post that sings the praises of the homemade version, I think I will try to make it from scratch next time and see how the taste compares. Sensky_alfajores-2As you can see from the pictures, I also made another kind of cookie (I told you I was driven crazy..). These beauties are oatmeal cookies with a hint of honey and a sprinkling of coconut. I wanted to do a take on the classic Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie. But for the cream filling I used kaymak— a turkish specialty that my dear one introduced me to. Check it out.Sensky_alfajores-4

Sensky_alfajores-3So if you find yourself with some free time, and a desire to make something that will be devoured by friends and family within minutes, then I suggest you take a look at the recipes below.

PS. On accident, I discovered how to make your cookies stay moist and soft. I placed the cookies in a tupperware container with a leftover piece of apple cake I made. I noticed the next day that my cookies were softer than the day I made them. I did some research and discovered that placing a piece of bread in with cookies is an age-old trick for keeping cookies fresh. Apparently, the cookies absorb the moisture of the bread. Who knew?

Buen provecho, mis amigos!

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For more recipes, check out my previous posts here.






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