Here and Now…

pecanchocolatechipbourbonshortbread1

So today while I was at the grocery store there was a display for Christmas cards. It got me thinking about how we are always planning for what happens next and rarely focusing on what is happening now. So I thought I’ll go home and go for a walk later and take some pictures of the changing leaves and write about living in the now on the blog. The universe did a funny thing.

I walked around the corner and started to take pictures of the fall foliage that is throughout my neighborhood. I noticed a woman a little in front of me keep stopping and taking pictures of the trees as well. I eventually caught up with her while she was taking pictures of a cluster of trees. I smiled and commented that the trees were really pretty this time of year. She asked if I was taking photos of the trees as well and I said yes. The next thing you know she was showing me the photos of the trees she had taken and asked to see mine.

falltrees

While going through her photos she had a selfie and seemed embarrassed so I said “oh selfies, I take those all the time and showed her one of me”. Next thing you know she is whipping out her camera and I see she is wanting to take a selfie of her and me. So I figure what the heck and take one with my camera as well. :D Why not?

womanonwalk

The original plan was to turn around just go home and write a post but something told me just to keep walking and talking with her, so I did. She is here from Korea. She apologized all the time for her broken English which I told her she spoke English just fine, as she did. She first was studying to be an elementary school teacher but was changing to math. So we had a lot to chat about. Her son goes to the same high school as MDP’s kids. We had a wonderful talk and she seemed genuinely pleased that I took the time to talk to her. She told me I was so friendly, probably the friendliest American she had encountered (I zipped down my jacket to show my Canadian maple leaf on my shirt and informed her I was dual). She gave me a big hug when we parted and I continued on my walk.

I went to take pictures of trees. Instead I made a person happy. Had a lovely chat. Thought nothing about the past or the future. Focused on what was happening right then. Thanks universe.

On a funny note MDP was picking up his daughter while we were passing the high school. I didn’t see them but they saw me. MDP commented to his daughter when they wondered who I was walking with that it was probably a stray person that I picked up (I tend to do that). He was amused that he was right. :)

Not related in any way to this story is this shortbread which is yum. Being in partnership with Plugra now I’ve really been focusing on recipes where the quality of butter really makes a difference. Shortbread. It makes a huge difference. This recipe calls for potato starch flour which if you do not have, don’t make these yet. Go get some, it’s is very important to the texture of the cookie…which will melt in your mouth. The bourbon glaze really does add something to these but if you are totally against that idea then sprinkle with a little sugar on top before baking.
pecanchocolatechipbourbonshortbread2

Pecan-Chocolate Chip Shortbread with Bourbon Glaze

Ingredients

  • For the Shortbread:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used Plugra)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup potato starch flour (yes you need it for the recipe)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • For the Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup bourbon (you made need more if you want it thinner)

Instructions

  1. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream together sugar, butter and vanilla bean paste until light and fluffy.
  2. Add flours and salt and combine until mixture just starts to come together. (The dough should be crumbly but stick together when squeezed.)
  3. Add in the chocolate chips and pecans. Mix until evenly distributed.
  4. Line a 9-x-13-inch pan with foil or parchment paper. Spray with baking spray. Place dough into the pan and break up any large clumps, spreading evenly.
  5. Press dough down gently and try to spread it out evenly.
  6. Then with a rolling pin or drinking glass, roll out the dough evenly.
  7. Using a fork press indentations into the top of the shortbread. (This prevents the shortbread from rising unevenly.)
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until shortbread is golden brown.
  9. While shortbread is cooling, mix together the powdered sugar and bourbon. Drizzle over the shortbread.
  10. Cut into squares while still warm and remove cookies from pan to cool.
  11. Makes 24 2-by-2 inch cookies
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Comments

  1. What a lovely story! Such a good reminder. These bars look great too!

  2. Becca - Cookie Jar Treats says:

    You sound a lot like y mom the way you make friends everywhere you go. My mom will chat up any person she comes in contact with and all of her conversations are pleasant. I don’t think I inherited her social skills. Bit that selfie of you and the Korean woman is really adorable!

    And this shortbread looks quite delicious. I usually don’t go for the shortbread cookies when they are laid out on the table but these look delicious and I would probably sneak a bite or two. ;)

  3. I love the living in the now! I want to enjoy today before worrying about tomorrow…well mostly. And maybe that was something you both needed. A friendly face and a great conversation. On the food note, I love love love me some shortbread. I tend to do my more complicated (not that this is…just ingredients wise) during the winter so this is going on my bake list! If I have to hunt down the potato starch flour I will do it! Thanks Pea for adding to my love of all things butter ;)

  4. Awesome encounter and awesome shortbread.

  5. Living in the moment is a hard thing for our culture to grasp. I am as guilty as most and dream of what I will do in the future and not concentrate on the day to day friendships and savouring every moment. Already I am dreaming of making these bars.

  6. I wish I were more outgoing. I know I miss out on a lot of moments like that. Also, you had me at pecans and shortbread. The bourbon helped, too.

  7. I love this post Peabody!! It’s so funny how the universe wanted you to really have a live in the now moment when that’s exactly what you were thinking about. I was just thinking about all the Christmas stuff that’s popping up earlier and earlier every year when I saw the first Christmas commercial the other day. I felt so sad for Mr. Turkey and Thanksgiving here which continually just gets looked over each year.

    And these shortbread cookies…. I heart them. I love a simple cookie that has some added umph and the glaze definitely brings that!! Can’t wait to get some potato starch flour and try them out!!

  8. Your story made me smile and feel all warm and happy inside, Peabody. I used to be too self-conscious to ever talk to strangers and any comment anyone made to me just got an awkward smile and a shrug before I got away as quickly as I could, sure I’d mess something up if I tried to respond in a friendly way. Lately I’ve realized that it’s worth it to respond, because I might meet a new friend or have an interesting conversation or even just make a person smile, and it’s always worth it to make someone else smile, even if all I do is get up the guts to actually tell the cashier that her eyes are beautiful. Maybe it’s weird, but it feels better to give someone an honest compliment and see them smile than keep it inside just because I’m socially awkward. :)

    Now, the three-step plan to making myself smile: Bourbon chocolate pecan shortbread. Open face. Shove in. :D

  9. I love days like those. There is always room for another friend in our lives, and sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses or, in this case, photograph the beautiful fall leaves – and they are stunning. Your shortbread looks amazing too.

  10. Wow, I love this post, Peabody! It is a constant struggle to remind myself to pay attention to the current moment, but your story is a reminder that being in the moment can lead to pleasant life surprises.

  11. Peabody this story is so lovely!! We constantly get stuck in the past or future and forget the now and what a great reminder from you! So happy you made that lady’s day…it’s always great to meet and talk to a friendly stranger when you are new to a country.

  12. Aw this is a lovely story, warmed my heart a bit :)

  13. Your post made me smile today! It even brought a slight tear when you said she hugged you. Thanks for sharing this as a reminder to live for today. We (I) always find ourselves so busy planning for tomorrow or next week or next year we forget to be thankful for what is laid out in front of us. Thanks Peabody! Today, this first day of November, I am thankful for internet bloggers like you who share their life and stories with us ‘strangers’ and make our day better!!

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