An Attitude of Gratitude Helps Chase the Blues Away

CB9ADD49 DAB5 4C73 868D E47784BD407EWe’re living in unprecedented times due to the coronavirus, but our attitude about this situation can be the difference maker! Some folks online are posting Chicken Little comments. Others are looking for opportunities to get involved by helping others in their community. They’re finding reasons to stay positive by giving thanks daily.

Ever since I read a book by Debbie Macomber, I’ve made a conscious effort to begin my day with gratitude. Two of her books that have inspired me the most are “One Simple Act: Discovering the Generosity of Gratitude” and “Be a Blessing: A Journal for Cultivating Kindness, Joy, and Inspiration.”

Here’s an example of what I’m grateful for today:

  1. New beginnings and fresh starts, including spring cleaning. I always feel better when my windows and floors sparkle in the sunlight. Why not embrace the additional spring cleaning warranted by COVID-19? I’m choosing to give thanks for Clorox wipes.
  2. A talented friend who’s willing to help me choose new paint colors and is excited about helping me redecorate. (We’ve had the same paint color for 17 years! It’s time for a change.)
  3. IMG 0246Pets that offer unconditional love and faithful companionship.
  4. The birth of baby animals. (Follow me on Facebook @EnchantedAcres for videos of newborn goats.) Every baby provides hope and promise for the future.
  5. A freezer filled with homegrown chicken, locally raised beef and pork. Thanks to all the hours I’ve spent watching “The Food Network” while suffering from insomnia, I’m inspired to make do with what I have on hand. This is the perfect time to enjoy more meals together as a family. (Every Friday we share a recipe on “The Field Position.” Every Saturday I share a breakfast recipe on Enchanted Acres’ Facebook page; every Sunday I share a supper idea.)
  6. Women who have blazed new trails, so I can enjoy a fulfilling career.
  7. The Audible app, which allows me to “read” while I’m driving. I love books! Because libraries have closed, this week I downloaded my first e-book. Your first download is free! (I’ve been on a World War II history kick lately. If that topic interests you, here are my top picks: “The Nightingale” and “Winter Garden” both by Kristen Hannah; “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” and “Cilka’s Journey: by Heather Morris; and “The Paris Orphan” and The Paris Seamstress” by Natasha Lester.)
  8. Technology that allows us to stay connected and remain productive. When I was a kid, my mom set a timer to alert me when I had to get off a long-distance call. Now we have unlimited long-distance calling, so I can talk (and talk!) with friends and family. Facetime allows us to see their faces when we can’t visit in person. We also can conduct virtual meetings, too. Since it’s one of the busiest times of the year at Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, I’m thankful for the technology that allows us to remain productive even if we’re working from virtual offices.

While I’ve been working from home this week, our family has been enjoying more meals together. My mom baked chocolate chip bars. She and my son also baked banana bread. I must increase my workouts while we’re all homebound during the COVID-19 pandemic, or I’m going to need bigger jeans! Fortunately, I have an online subscription to BeachBody on Demand®. I need to get motivated to use it! Can anyone else relate to this? Now that spring has sprung, I’m looking forward to walking outside.

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While most Americans were busy stocking up on staples at the grocery store, I confess that I put a few books in my cart. Like mother, like daughter. My mom literally filled a cloth bag with library books before it closed its doors this week.

Happy spring! Here’s to an early spring filled with quality family time around the table. Today I’m sharing with you Debbie Macomber’s recipe for Gratitude Bread. Like my favorite author, I bake and cook to show those around me how much I care for them. Go ahead and bake someone happy!

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Debbie Macomber’s Gratitude Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Your choice of mix-ins (see below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Line the pan with parchment paper cut to fit the length of the pan with 2 inches hanging over the sides.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the buttermilk, egg, butter, and vanilla; stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in your choice of mix-ins.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  7. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  8. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool.
  9. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

Mix-ins:

  • Northwest Mixed Berry: Fold in 1½ cups fresh or frozen mixed berries.
  • Peach Almond: Reduce the vanilla extract to ½ teaspoon and add ¾ teaspoon almond extract. Fold in 1 cup chopped peeled fresh peaches and ¾ cup chopped almonds.
  • Pear Walnut: Fold in 1 cup fresh chopped fresh pears and ¾ cup chopped walnuts.
  • Cranberry Pecan: Fold in 1 cup dried cranberries and ¾ cup chopped pecans.

“Giving a loaf of this delicious bread is a sweet way of expressing appreciation to those who have touched your life, writes author Debbie Macomber. “I imagine this recipe is one [that] Shay, from ‘Any Dream Will Do,’ would use to thank those who guided and helped her after her release from prison.”

BAKER’S TIP:  Use any combination of fruits and nuts as long as you keep the proportion of 1

cup fruit to ¾ cup nuts. If you’re only using fresh fruit, use 1½ cups per loaf. Wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil, this bread will keep for three days at room temperature or for three months in the freezer.

Yields one, 8 x 4½ inch loaf