A few weeks ago, in my roadmap to happiness, I mentioned knowing what is enough for you. In our consumer society, we always seem to want more and have a difficult time “settling” for what we already have. But having gratitude that we have enough—enough to eat, a place to live, health care when we need it, family and friends—can make us rich beyond our wildest dreams.
I was reminded of this wealth during the past few days. My wife Suzanne volunteers at a food bank, and the clients there don’t always have enough. It is difficult to see people struggling for basic needs. Thankfully the food bank is able to provide them with a considerable amount of food. The donations they receive provide not only canned and boxed goods, but fresh bread, dairy, and produce as well as frozen meats. Of course when you have perishable goods, it can be a challenge to manage the inventory with the demand before they spoil. And that is why last week we received the unexpected abundance of a case of zucchini, several pounds of carrots, and a case of ripe pears.
We promptly shared our bounty with family and friends, but still had quite a bit left. So my wife set to finding ways we could use them before they went to waste. First, the pears. These gorgeous specimens of Abate Fetel pears were deliciously ripe while still being completely firm. In addition to eating them fresh, we decided to make this moist and fragrant pear cake.
Sweet Pear Cake
- 4 ea pears
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pecans chopped
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 ea eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Peel, core, and slice pears thin. Put pears in a bowl with white sugar, brown sugar, and pecans and let sit 1 hour.
- Puree pear mixture in a food processor or blender.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 13x9 inch cake pan.
- In a bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) until blended. Add to pear mixture and stir well.
- Add oil, vanilla, and eggs and stir until blended. Pour mixture into cake pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Next came the zucchini. We cooked it in our usual style just like my mother taught me: slice it thin, sauté it in olive oil with garlic powder and seasoned bread crumbs until it is slightly crisp. Delicious! But then Suzanne remembered a recipe she had tucked away a year ago and never had the opportunity to try. With our bounty of zucchini and carrots, the timing was perfect to cook up these tasty fritters.
Bacon, Zucchini & Carrot Fritters
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium carrot
- 1/4 cup scallions
- 3 slices bacon
- 1 ea egg
- 2 Tblsp flour all-purpose or coconut
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- Fry bacon in a medium skillet. Reserve bacon fat.
- Grate the zucchini and carrot. Chop the scallions finely. If there's any excess moisture from the zucchini, drain or blot.
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Add the veggies and stir until mixed.
- In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt, and paprika. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Crumble the bacon and add to the mixture.
- Reheat the bacon fat in the skillet over a medium heat.
- Using approximately 1/4 cup of the mixture per fritter, place 2-3 fritters at a time in the hot skillet. Press with spatula to flatten into a patty. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side (turning carefully so they don't break apart) or until golden brown.
While these fritters could easily be for breakfast, lunch, or an appetizer, we went ahead and had them for dinner with a nice fresh salad. It’s always a pleasure to try some new and different recipes and it helps to get us out of our food rut.
But more importantly, having an abundance made us feel wealthy. It made us more likely to share with other people. It is a feeling we can have any time we want simply by being grateful for what we have and by helping others. If you have the time, spend some volunteering in ways that will make a difference. If you have the money, donate to local worthy causes because every amount, no matter how small, helps. And most of all, be thankful for the abundance in your life.
What makes you feel wealthy? What ways do you give back? Would you like some zucchini and pears???