The transitioning of seasons always leads me to questioning the meaning of happiness.
As I bid goodbye to one season and prepare (physically, literally and emotionally) for the next, I feel as if I’m standing right in the heart of a whirlwind, deep in the calm of the storm.
I had a conversation last week with a good friend.
The one who lives her life as she wishes, moving from continent to the next, making friends and creating memories that will serve her well.
Among the topics we discussed were the things that make us happy, and how the fact that we have to move on to new chapters and fresh phases in life is at the same time saddening, terrifying but also incredibly liberating. We also briefly talked about this wonderful article, which sums up how happy people live their lives differently from the rest.
My friend’s pretty much a nomad with plenty of experience moving from place to place, and the fact that she does not feel the need to be committed or tied down to one location or thing or person is quite admirable.
I often wonder what it would be like to spend my days like that, exploring the vast lands and oceans of this earth, this beautiful planet that God has created and given to us to enjoy. But as often as I do that, I also think about the happiness of having a place of belonging, a country or city that you can instinctively call home, not because of nationality or citizenship but because so much of your heart is there.
Right now there’s a bursting need to travel.
To Italy in particular – to breathe in fresh salty sea air and soak up the Mediterranean sun – and then to other parts of the world, one country at a time, to be constantly amazed at new cultures, fresh insights and breathtaking views.
Yet my heart is also here in Buenos Aires, where friendships formed and nurtured remind me of how fortunate I am, to have been able to find good friends in a city where I initially had none.
What will make me happier?
This battle of conflicting emotions and needs, of moving on or staying put, is quite a headache. It’s a good problem to have, but it still weighs on my mind, and I feel like I need to decide on one path, and then start walking along that route.
Yet I know these things will take their time, and I will naturally come to a conclusion of my own.
And when I need kitchen therapy, to help me get my mind off worries and uncertainties in the future, at least I can bake. And these cold days are definitely good enough reason to do so.
Because of that, we have scones! Grain-free vanilla almond scones to be precise.
I ate these scones for many mornings this autumn. When fresh out of the oven, their aroma saturates my apartment. They’re chewy and slightly sweet, and are best with a thick slather of whipped cream and homemade jam.
Hmmm…. So incredibly good, I went for a second, and then a third and then a fourth.
My heart feels less heavy already…!
GRAIN-FREE VANILLA ALMOND SCONES (Makes 16 scones)
Barely adapted from: The Healthy Chef
1) 3 cups of almond meal/ground almonds/almond flour
2) 2 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder (or ¾ teaspoon of baking soda)
3) ¼ cup (60g) of butter, room temperature
4) 1 heaped tablespoon of honey
5) 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
6) 2 eggs
1) Preheat your oven to 150 deg Cel.
2) Combine almond meal and baking powder. Mix well.
3) Add the butter, honey, vanilla and egg.
4) Mix into a soft dough.
5) Place a sheet of parchment paper waxy side up
6) Place the scone dough over waxy side of parchment paper and flatten out to 5-10 cm thick.
7) Cut into small rounds using cookie cutter (or the top of a champagne glass) and place onto a greased baking tray.
8) Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
9) Remove from the oven and cool.
10) Serve alone or with your choice of whole fruit jam and whipped cream.