Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fruit compotes, Spring & embracing our struggles

I talk a lot about process here. Enjoying the journey. Being in the moment. All that good stuff. 

I do because it’s not an automatic for me. I have to keep reminding myself, to keep practicing it. 
It’s sometimes a struggle. To enjoy the journey for journey’s sake, no matter the outcome.

Pablo is really into puzzles these days. He can really focus on them and he seems to enjoy figuring them out. In order to nurture his patience, his perseverance, I try to be as hands off as possible. The other day, I watched him struggle a bit putting some pieces together, getting some pieces wrong, some pieces right. He was really profoundly in the moment, enjoying this process, with no concept of success or failure, just pure journey. It took him a while to get it done, but he did. I said, ‘Well done’, myself feeling some accomplishment for him. But within 5 seconds, he took it apart, put it away and moved on to something else. 

At first, I was a bit surprised. If it were me, I would have taken a moment to contemplate what I’d done. 
A couple of weeks later, thinking back on this, I realized this was the epitome of journey for journey’s sake. He did not do the puzzle with any particular destination or goal in mind. Doing for doing, not for having done. He did it because he enjoyed the process, so the result was completely irrelevant to him.

Could I relearn this? Bake a bread just for the sake of baking, no matter how good or bad it tastes when done? (Probably the only way to make good bread, ironically.)

I suppose it is only human to be somewhat goal-oriented, but society seems to put so much emphasis on goal, success, trophies, results. All meaningless without a struggle. Without an interesting journey.

Pablo somehow knows this balance. He knows when he does something for a specific goal, and he knows when he wants to do something for its very process. Wise little guy he is. I learn from him every day.

I read this poem today. It hit me like an arrow in the bull’s eye. An excerpt from "Spring" by Jim Harrison (whole poem here) (bold emphasis is mine):

Something new in the air today, perhaps the struggle of the bud to become a leaf.
Nearly two weeks late it invaded the air but then what is two weeks to life herself?
On a cool night there is a break from the struggle of becoming.
I suppose that's why we sleep.
In a childhood story they spoke of the land of enchantment.
"We crawl to it, we short-lived mammals, not realizing that we are already there.” [...]
Of late I see waking as another chance at spring.

Maybe that's why spring feels so kindred to me this year. "The struggle of becoming". The beauty and truth of that phrase moves me. Because I am learning what my 2 year old already knows: the struggle of becoming is what makes life worth living.

In celebration of spring, we had a backyard picnic for our goûter yesterday. Sit in the grass, smell the jasmine, have some tea and homemade fruit compotes. 

Finally sharing these terribly simple compote recipes, as some of you requested. 

Wishing you and yours a lovely Easter and spring season.

Fruit compotes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Age for babies: 4-6 months (individual fruit compotes first)

Note: I decided to share three flavors here: apple-mint, pear-blueberry, apple-mixed berries, all fruits that are available and seasonal at the moment. Many variations will soon be possible with summer stone fruits (I had blogged about a raw peach compote last summer). Obviously, this is a very flexible recipe, you can have more or less fruit, mix and match pretty much any fruit of your liking, add cinnamon, honey, lemon zest, thyme, basil, whatever you like. I use a blender as mine does a smoother puree than my food processor.

For apple-mint & apple-berries(Yields about 1 cup each)

3 apples peeled, cut up
5 sprigs of mint, leaves only
1 cup frozen mixed berries

Steam the apples and mint leaves (mint on one side only) for about 20 minutes, until apple is tender.
Steam (separately) the frozen berries for about 7 minutes. 

Puree half the apples + mint in a blender with 1/4 cup of cooking juices (add a couple of tbsp if compote is too thick).

Puree the other half of the apples + berries with 3-4 tbsp of cooking juices (adjust to obtain desired consistency).

Let cool, and eat at room temperature or chilled.

For pear-blueberry:
(Yields about 1 1/2 cup)

2 medium pears, peeled, cut up
1 cup of fresh blueberries

Steam the pears and blueberries for about 10-12 minutes, until pear is tender.
Puree in a blender with 2-3 tbsp of cooking juices (adjust to obtain desired consistency)

Let cool, and eat at room temperature or chilled.

I usually keep enough for the next day, and freeze the rest for later use. (They can be thawed in water bath or microwave).

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  1. Doing something just for the sake of doing it. Enjoying the process. I love this idea.

    1. Thanks so much Shanna, for taking the time to comment. Yes, I love it too, sometimes easier said than done :-)

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  3. I think kids will really like this. It looks tasty and health too.

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