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Gratitude By the Spoonful

Last month I volunteered to help a friend make a cake for a special occasion. Although she has plenty of skill and expertise in other areas, baking is not her forte. She struggled with the recipe and seemed frazzled. Together we got the job done. I left feeling appreciated and extremely grateful for the skills I possess.

And it got me thinking about how easy it is to overlook the gifts the universe bestows upon us. I’m not only talking about the biggies — like personal freedom and the people we love — but the everyday stuff that becomes so familiar we fail to appreciate the benefit it provides.

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Case in point: At an early age I fell in love with the culinary arts. Over the years I’ve basted, blanched, boiled, chopped, diced, fried, glazed, mixed, pared, pickled, scalloped, steamed and stirred at least a zillion times. I have a storehouse of “go-to” recipes in my brain and could sleepwalk my way through a casserole or a batch of muffins.

But how often do I stop and appreciate this wonderful talent? Not often enough.

Cooking not only gives me tons of pleasure, but it also affords me the opportunity to stay healthy. Exercise is important, but no amount of exercise will outpace a poor diet; proper nutrition is key. Knowing how to easily create well-balanced meals takes the guesswork out of the equation.

I know exactly what goes in my food and can make an ordinary meal taste pretty dang good. No one would ever guess that this creamy mac and cheese recipe is made with carrots or that these cookies are super easy and low-fat.

So at this time of year — I want to say thanks. Thank you, mom, for getting me started on this most wonderful journey. Thanks to all my instructors at the culinary and especially my chef mentor, Erik. And big thanks to Erin, Jenn and Kristen for letting me pay it forward by spreading the word on Fit Bottomed Eats.

Hopefully, my tips and easy recipes will encourage others to take charge of their diet and learn to create wholesome foods to support a healthy lifestyle.

What do you take for granted? After a hiatus I just got back to lifting weights and I am sooo grateful for muscle memory; it makes hitting the gym so much easier! —Karen

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!

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