This autumn has been especially challenging for me. Some personal situations have made me realize how bittersweet life can be, and how life can change in an instant. But at the end of the day, what really matters is how we face those life changing moments.
The journey of life can bring us to places we never thought we were going to visit or live, or pushes us to leave places that we thought we were never going to depart.
Life is like a train, moving from station to station. I think a sign of maturity is traveling smart. Any avid traveler understands what it means to travel light. When you carry only what’s necessary, the travel becomes more enjoyable and you are able to adjust more easily.
Traveling light in life not only means leaving behind the bad, the ugly, the traumatic, the resentments, the lack of forgiveness, the painful; it also means moving forward. In the words of author C.S. Lewis:
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”
Kids learn this principle on the playground. While crossing the monkey bars, I’d suddenly stop for whatever reason, feeling the pressure of pushing forward because there was a line of kids behind me, yelling at me for stopping the flow. True story… haha
As a kid, I hated the monkey bars. They felt too long. I didn’t think my skinny arms were strong enough to hold on til the end. My dad would tell me, “Don’t look at how far the end is, just do one at the time,” as he held my legs suspended in the air.
It wasn’t until later that I understood the longer I stayed there, the more tired I got, and the more pain I was going to feel.
Finding and maintaining my own rhythm was the key to not getting stuck … because, once I stopped, somehow, I would always start thinking that my only option was to painfully fall on the ground in defeat and pain.
Surprisingly, this also means leaving behind the glories from the past, those prized moments of “conquest” that happened. As beautiful as it is to remember those moments and hold on to those trophies, when carrying them, you don’t realize that you are not making room for new beautiful conquests, new successes and new victories. Crossing the monkey bars one time gave me hope for the next time, but the truth is that every single time I tried, it challenged me and I had to concentrate on doing it all over again.
This autumn made me realize that, like it or not, the train of life maintains its schedule, and it will not wait for anybody or anything. It depends on us to choose to leave behind what is delaying us and jump on the train, or stay at the same station the rest of our lives.
In the midst of the challenges, like many people, I needed to find some relief. And there are certain foods that are like magic when it comes to comforting your heart; cinnamon rolls are one of those comfort foods for me. They remind me of simple and happy moments of my life.
Food is my art, so I did something different this time. I made my own pumpkin spice mix, substituted some portions and jumped onto the train, landing at: Pumpkin spice rolls!
Pumpkin spice rolls
(This recipe makes about 25-30 tiny roles, or 12 the giant size)
2 1/4 cups hot water
4 1/2 tsp of active yeast (2 packets)
3 Tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt
3 Tbsp of butter
5 1/2 to 6 cups of all-purpose flour (if possible, bakers’ flour)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar (tightly squeezed into the cup)
4 tsp of pumpkin spice*.
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 ½ Tbsp of milk
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp of vanilla extract
*I make my own pumpkin spice mix! Here is my recipe: Mix 2 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon, ½ Tablespoon of ginger, ½ Tablespoon of nutmeg and ½ Tablespoon of ground cloves.
1. In a large dish add warm water and yeast. Do not move it, just leave it for a minute to soak.
2. After the minute, slowly add the sugar, salt, butter and flour, and beat until well combined. Continue beating for a few more minutes.
3. Spread a little flour on a flat surface (table) and roll out the dough in a rectangle less than ¾ inch thick (about ½ cm).
4. Spread the melted butter all over the rectangle of dough and sprinkle the sugar and pumpkin spice mix.
5. Start rolling from one of the long sides, little by little. Don't squeeze it, rather keep it loose.
6. Once you have it rolled, like a log, cut the roll into pieces about 1 inch wide (about 3 cms).
7. On a greased baking sheet, place each of the pieces next to each other.
8. Cover with a kitchen cloth and let them rest in a dark place with no airflow for 45 minutes, until they double in size.
9. Prepare your oven to 375° F (190° C) and insert the tray of rolls. Bake for 20 minutes. (They may be ready a few minutes before, depending on oven).
10. While they are baking prepare the glaze: mix, in a bowl, sugar, milk, melted butter and vanilla in a container. If it is too thick, add a few more drops of milk.
11. Once the rolls are baked, remove them from the oven and spread the icing on while they’re fresh and hot.
If you enjoyed this, check our special chocolate chips cookies recipe!