gluten-free blueberry clafoutis

Words rattle around in my head all the time.

Sometimes my brain repeats words that sound good: prestidigitation, mellifluous, voluminous. Other times, my mind worries over names that snake in there: Christianne Amanpour, Shmuley Boteach, Prunella Scales.

Once in awhile, when I’m stressed, I catch my brain repeating b i c y c l e over and over again. I lost the 4th-grade spelling bee on the word bicycle. It’s as though I’m still trying to win it sometimes. (I won in the 5th grade on somersault. However, my brain never has that one on a tape loop.)

There are the phrases that intrude with loud, unruly voices: get to work! you haven’t finished that yet? ah shit, I forgot that email. pay the bills. I’ll never finish in time. Those are the words that jab with sharp points, the ones that make me feel like I’m never going to be caught up, never going to conquer my inbox, never go to sleep at night feeling I have finished my day’s work.

I’m learning to step away from those jabby words, instead of hunching into them. What kind of life is it if you go to bed every night feeling disappointed in yourself?

These days, I’ve been repeating one word in my head, repeating it as often as Lu likes to hear her favorite books these days. (Translation: a lot.)

Enough.

Say that word, kindly. Not in the way you cut off someone who is saying something odious, like a quick swipe of a knife. But gently. As a reminder. Right now, this moment. It’s enough.

What a relief.

* * *

I’ve been thinking about the word enough since I received an email from a reader of this site the other day. She was struck by a line I wrote in last week’s post, when I wrote about my confusion as to why we have so many brands of shampoo at the store. With her permission, I want to share what she wrote to me:

“I heard an interview with a gentleman… who had been released from prison after 52 years. He was 17 when he went in for a robbery gone very bad. But the interview was about how he was adjusting to life on the outside after so very long. He quietly talked about a few things, then said that he’d rather be back in prison than to go to the grocery store.  Where, where did all these choices come from, he asked. And why?  Why were there so many choices of everything? When he was a boy and had to go get toothpaste, there were maybe, 2 kinds. I am suspecting that he meant 2 brands, not styles and flavors. He said that he would stand in the aisles for hours and just stare. And it upset him in a way he could not express.

I am not sure what happened in the last 50 years of my life, but I suspect it has a lot to do with tv and marketing. We had enough. Enough of a little patch of dirt or a pot or two to grow one or two tomato plants. Enough to get by on. Eggs and pancakes were enough once a week for dinner. A folding card table with puzzle pieces scattered and forming were enough to keep us chatting and engaged for hours. My mother made fudge every winter ( not every week) and cooled it on the porch and there was enough. Well, except for the time the paperboy came to collect and stepped in the pot. There was enough iced tea to offer a glass to a friend. We were not poor, nor rich. But on the street that I grew up, there were both. Somehow, we all had enough. And we shared. There was even enough time to read the newspaper in the morning. We became a nation of not enough.

Maybe that’s it. We stopped sharing, started taking, needing more stuff.  We are so much more than that.”

As you can imagine, I’ve been thinking about this letter for days. The past six months, I’ve been believing that I didn’t have enough time to read the newspaper in the morning.

Too much work to do. I have to get going.

This piece by Pete Wells in The New York Times resonated with me, as it does with many others. He writes about the irony of his writing a column called “Cooking for Dexter,” when he was so busy working that his wife did most of the cooking. Read it. It’s so smart. But this paragraph shook me. It sounds so familiar:

“These days, those of us with jobs count ourselves lucky, and if we like our jobs and the money we make too, we know we’re even luckier. But that can be hard to keep in mind when riding home after dark, returning one last call or jabbing out the answers to a few more e-mails, hoping there is nobody reading on the other end who will lob the exchange back at you. There will be more of this before you fall into bed, more in the dark if you are the restless type, and just before breakfast it will begin again.”

This restless, running style of life is familiar to so many of us. We’re trying to juggle emails, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, photographs to process, comments to comment on, writing more emails, and checking the email again to see the 826 emails yet unanswered in the inbox. And that’s just the work on the computer.

No wonder so many of us — and here I mean me — go to bed exhausted and yet feeling like we should have done more.

After running for six straight months, I’m slowing down. I don’t want to work so hard to create the life I want to lead that I end up not living it.

I’ve been thinking about enough for the last month since I read And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road by Margaret Roach. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy, since Margaret and I have become friends through our blogs.

(And here I should tell you right now that, even though Margaret’s exquisitely helpful blog, A Way to Garden, is almost exclusively about gardening, this book has nothing to do with the garden. Well, the garden is the setting for some of the scenes, the backdrop for Margaret’s thoughts. The garden is a vibrant, alive force in this woman’s life, nature unleashed and somewhat tamed, then falling apart again. However, if you buy the book thinking it will be filled with vivid photographs of her vegetable beds, think again. Buy another book.)

Danny, Lu, and I were lucky enough to stay with Margaret in upstate New York in September, when we were in the area for our book tour. Margaret had never met us, other than conversations on Twitter and email. She took us into her home gladly. She made her “cottage” available so we could have a place to ourselves. (That beautiful space with soaring architecture and statues of the Buddha in every room was no “cottage.” Margaret is modest.) She drove us to the home of her friend, Paige Orloff, where we all gathered to make homemade guacamole, carnitas, tortillas, and a whole bunch of salsas. We sat on the porch in the gloaming light, looking at the sight you see in the photograph above. In one moment, Danny and I looked at each other, then looked out at what we shared: the laughter of new friends, Lu running along the long porch with small children who shepherded her, good simple food, the light in that sky, warm air, music wafting in from the living room. Peace. Danny and I reached for each other’s hands and sighed. We were there.

Earlier, we had walked through Margaret’s garden, taking in the lush green grass, the slow buzzing of bees, the stand of trees sloping up the lawn. Lu stood in awe next to a giant barrel and watched as Margaret poked the water to nudge the green frogs to the surface. They showed us their eyes and leapt through the air to another place in their pond. Whenever Lu sees a frog in a book now, she says, “Margaret!”

So, when I read Margaret’s book, I could picture its settings, having stood in Margaret’s kitchen drinking lemonade.

I don’t think that makes the book more personal to me than it will be to you.

You see, Margaret has done something extraordinary in this book. She tells the story of leaving corporate New York, after having helped to run Martha Stewart’s empire for decades, and moving to a small house in the middle of fields, on the edge of a national forest, with no other plans than to live. Unlike another book that might have been written as fiction, waiting to be made into a movie, there is no conquering hero here. There’s no straight path of funny scenes, tragic moments, enlightenment, and redemption. The writing is sometimes circuitous, repeating phrases and memories the way our minds work when we are trying to understand. This is a spare, beautiful book, an intimate book. Deeply intimate.

Margaret allowed us into her aloneness with this book.

“Between the depth of the ruminations, and all those damn snakes beyond the walls, I feel stuck inside the house, unable to cross the threshold without a ritual of carefully checking to see who is waiting for me, and often even that doesn’t guarantee my passage anywhere.…To be clear, by ‘depth’ of ruminations I do not mean darkness in fact, there is so much light in here, at my wonderful seat — light and happiness, even, just not exactly the jump-for-joy kind you go out to party about. I am not bubbling over, but I do awaken every morning with a vague feeling that it is a childhood-era Christmas, a day when I will open gifts, and though I may not get to play with everything today or even know what all the presents I’ve been given really do, exactly, and will need to grow into some of the goodies among them, I still feel happy for the haul.”

This is a book about finding enough.

* * *

Inspired by Margaret, and Pete Wells, and Winnie’s wonderful email, as well as all the other small tremors I have been feeling beneath my feet, I’ve been making some changes.

I’m taking Saturday and Sunday off from Twitter and Facebook and email and this site. We’re still cooking food and baking bread and taking photographs and coming up with ideas.. But I find that I need more down time than I have given myself before this.

I don’t want to be reading books to Lu before bed and have in the back of my head, “I hope she goes to sleep soon. I really have to write that blog post.”

If you need me on the weekend, you’ll hear from me on Monday. And not until 10 am now. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to sit and read the newspaper with Danny, Lu next to us reading her book, before I climb on the computer once again.

Perhaps we’ll stop to make some blueberry clafoutis first.

What does enough mean to you? Where do you find your peace? What piece of music or spot in nature or moment with your child or husband or best friend gives you enough rest to really be here? I’d love to hear.

BLUEBERRY CLAFOUTIS, adapted from Julia Child

Here is another story about being satisfied with enough.

When Margaret told me she had not been able to figure out a gluten-free clafoutis yet, I remembered the Italian plum clafoutis I baked in 2008. It was the first baked good I had made after Lu was born, and I was thrilled to find it was so simple to make and utterly delicious. (Think spoonfuls of warm custard with a golden-brown crust, dimpled with honeyed fruit.) I know how to make gluten-free clafoutis. I wanted to make one for Margaret.

However, what did I do? I looked up other clafoutis recipes besides the one from Julia Child I had found so pleasing three years before. I dallied through cookbooks, picked out one that seemed fancier than mine, and dreamed of beautiful photographs. Yesterday, I made this new clafoutis for a houseful of friends and family, over for brunch.

The adults were kind enough to eat everything on their plates. The kids left little piles of purple stunted custard. This thing was just wrong.

Later, after Lu was in bed, I made the original clafoutis, with frozen blueberries in honor of Lu’s besmirched face. I converted the cup measurements into grams and changed out the amaranth for millet flour. (I like millet flour’s light nuttiness) It was perfect.

Sometimes I should stop trying to invent something new and just make something I know makes us happy.

p.s. Technically, I shouldn’t be using the word clafoutis here. It is meant to be reserved for this lovely dessert made with unpitted, fresh cherries. However, since the purists seem to have lost this battle, with recipes for every kind of “clafoutis” on the internet, I’m going to keep this simple too.

2 cups frozen blueberries
½ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cup soy milk
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
40 grams sweet rice flour
30 grams millet flour

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Toss the frozen blueberries with the cinnamon and honey and let them marinate for a bit. Set aside.

Throw the soy milk, 1/3 cup of the sugar, eggs, vanilla, almond extract, salt, and sweet rice flour and millet flour into a blender and puree them up until the batter resembles a slightly thick pancake batter.

Pour a thin layer of batter onto the bottom of deep-dish pie pan. Put it in the oven and let it bake until the layer does not jiggle when you shake the pie pan, about 5 minutes.

Spoon in the honeyed fruit, evenly, over the bottom layer. Sprinkle on the remaining sugar. Pour in the remaining batter.

Bake until the top is golden brown and set, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The clafoutis will be puffed up when you pull it from the oven and will deflate as it sits on the stove. Don’t worry. It happens.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Feeds 4.

[print_link]

81 comments on “gluten-free blueberry clafoutis

  1. SASKIA

    Isn’t that awesome? I’ve just sat down here wondering what to do with my punnet of fresh blueberries that are too tart to eat on their own, and now I can make dessert thanks to you! *Off to the kitchen skipping merrily*

  2. Gemma

    I loved this Shauna and, I think, I needed it as well. With full-time work, email, blogs, facebook and twitter it can be so hard to just stop and breathe. I need to implement a shut off time for all these things in the evening and spend more time with books and with my own thoughts.

  3. AW

    I so needed to read this. Thank you. I have been struggling with depression over some new lifestyle (diet) changes that I appear to need. It’s affected every relationship in my household this past week in a negative way and I know it’s because I’m overwhelmed with these changes and a busy life. I’m so focused on what I CAN’T eat, that I’m not focused at all on what I CAN eat and the profound blessings I have in my world.

    Enough.

    Breathe.

    You remind me so simply that I make it harder on myself than anyone else.

  4. Allison Day

    Oh, dear Shauna, yes. Not only are you enough, you are far more than enough. The world will survive just fine if you take a couple of extra days, a few extra hours every week for yourself, and I mean that in the kindest way, for you will enjoy life so much more because of it.

    In my own life, “enough” is something I’m having trouble coming to terms with as well… am I (or will I ever be) “enough” as a dancer? It’s something I’m thinking about a lot lately, because this is one heck of a difficult dream to achieve.

    “Breathe.” “Yes.” “Imagine.” “Enough.” You have good words. Perfect words. Helpful, inspirational, uplifting words. Very good words indeed.

    And by the way, that clafoutis looks delicious. ^_^

  5. Linette

    Well done. I hope you start a trend in America. As a stay at home mom, it has taken me 3 years to calm down, say enough. And my children so benefit from it. We have limited our media use now, no TV, computer only when babies are in bed. And loving it.

  6. Victoria from London

    It’s when I allow myself to focus on God, realising he’s got it all in hand, and I don’t need to make it all happen by myself. Letting go and enjoying worship God through favourite music (currently ‘Your Presence’ by Bethel Live featuring Jenn Johnson).

    Having fewer choices can be liberating. There are two of us in this household, and one time we kept in one cupboard all the things we daily use; we each chose one mug, one plate, knife, fork and spoon. All the rest of the piles of plates we kept in a different place. There was less washing up! You wouldn’t believe how peaceful it was. And I grew to really love that mug, instead of believing that having different designs was more fun.

    A book that has stayed with me, and was like spending a week living in your blog post, was Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish, by Sue Bender, pub. Harper San Francisco.

    Watching on TV the people in Christchurch, NZ coping with their earthquake, we don’t need so much less than we are told we do.

    ‘Enough’ is a powerful word.

  7. Susan

    Oh, you have it so right! Good for you, to choose to LIVE the life you’ve been given! And may you inspire your readers to do the same. Blessings to you and yours…

  8. Ann from Montana

    “I don’t want to work so hard to create the life I want to lead that I end up not living it.” — BRAVO!!!

    I come here for the beautiful words as well as the beautiful food and what a jackpot today :)!

    I opted out of corporate life nearly 20 years ago, moved from L.A. to a spot in Montana that was love at first sight when I drove through on a “find a new place to live” trip and have never regretted it. I chose a simpler life that took less to sustain — I didn’t leave L.A. with $$$ from property or any $$$ at all :)!

    And today, this morning, I am meeting with a realtor and putting my current MT house on the market .…and NOT for a low price. Too much to write in a comment, but suffice to say I had what I feel is clear direction from the Universe ( :)! ) to do this. Whether it is a process I need to go through or whether it will happen — it is something that I must do and see where it leads.

    Ultimately, I find my serenity in the moments when I still myself, listen to the wind in the pine trees of the woods I live in, my pets softly snoring beside me or the birds and squirrels going about their business. And I remember to enjoy whatever it is that I am doing at the moment. And I try to slow down, savor even the seemingly mundane and be greatful that I had both the opportunity and the ability to chose my path.

    And have to agree with Allison Day, the clafoutis looks delicious!!

  9. Becca

    I have two beautiful children who are 5 years old (Yes, Twins! Love it!) Their kindergarden is every other day, and I am blessed to spend my Tuesdays and Thursdays with them. Still, I am an introvert, and quiet is what rejuvinates me. When I get up around 5:30 or 6 to give myself an hour to cook a good breakfast and read or write or just sit in meditation I am a much happier person and a better Momma. A couple of weeks ago I wrote this:

    How to Make Oatmeal the Old Fashioned way.

    Water,
    2 cups.
    Or a smidge less if you like it thick.

    A palmful of salt,
    dropped in.

    Turn it on high,
    watch the salt twirl,
    Fractal patterns emerging
    as the water
    slowly heats.

    As it comes to a boil,
    Notice the miracle of life,
    the amazing powers
    and strength
    and gentleness
    of water.

    Then dump in a cup of rolled oats
    and revel in the swirl
    of steam, the smell of nourishment
    while you stir
    for one minute.

    Turn it down to low,
    one notch up from the bottom
    and go write a poem.

    Or use the time to simply
    enjoy a cup of tea
    and the newness of the day,
    stirring occasionally.

    When it’s almost as thick as you like it,
    Turn the heat off, cover it
    And wait 5 minutes more,
    Finishing your poem or savoring your coffee
    and your thoughts.

    Then Serve it all up
    with a dollop of honey
    and a splash of cream.

  10. Kasey

    This is so true, and so beautifully put. Enough, to me means, allowing myself a guilt-free moment with my feet up and just listening to the silence of the room. Spending quiet time in the morning and meditating. Relishing in the fact that if I don’t get around to cooking or blogging this week, the world will go on.
    Thank you for your words and for being such an inspiration…and also for the blueberry clafoutis recipe, I cannot wait to try it.

  11. Ilke

    Great post…and I am glad you were able to take a break from the digital world. We need the down time and I am finding that what we start as “a hobby”, as an “outlet” to relieve our stress becomes a stressing point itself. I have seen so many bloggers apologizing many many times on their sites for not putting up a recipe for one week and saying that “they’ll do better” “they’ll keep up with it more”.…
    We do not have to be apologizing… There is life out there , there are people out there that needs our care and attention and we need their care and attention as well.
    I hope the world can just take a one big deep breath and relax just a minute!

  12. Karen Robertson

    Shauna,
    When we met for dinner last week you did seem at peace. In passing you mentioned that you had something in place to reach that state but I forgot to ask you your plan. I am so glad that you are doing this for yourself, here’s to many more moments of peace on the porch. We should each examine our lives and make some changes to savor these moments with those in our own household. (that is an amazing photograph, as soon as I scrolled it on the screen I was taken)

  13. anna

    why don’t we all keep it short this week and give you a break?
    love the post, love the recipe. take it easy! :)

  14. Kathy Diaz (found baking)

    Simply beautiful. Thanks for reminding me of the word: enough. I myself suffer from wanting to do so much in one day. And with the kind of job I have (advertising), it’s hard to slow down when everybody else is running around like chickens with their heads cut-off, multi-tasking like a robot. Thanks again for making me realize that I have to stop checking items off my list and start living life. Wonderful clafoutis by the way. Beautiful photos!

  15. tea_austen

    I find it all comes down to choices. I’ve lived that busy/crazy life, it made me sick. Now I am careful about what I choose to include in my days, where I want to spend my energy, who I invest my time in. The hamster wheel of the world spins ever faster these days, but it is up to us to decide how much we want to engage in all that. It’s a balance, to be sure, and sometimes the busy glittery world is enticing–but it’s kind of like sugary frosting, it’s pretty and sweet but it doesn’t feed me in the way I need. It doesn’t sustain me. My job is to figure out what does sustain me, and say no to the rest.

  16. Joey

    I was thinking of using this recipe for my Oscars party. But I have 2 diabetics in my group. Do you think I can substitue some splenda for the sugar? Maybe half & half?

  17. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle

    This piece resonates with many of us and I am the first to know I seldom have enough. And in that enough I mean time. Added to the daily rigors of running a business (two actually) plus a food blog, a home, a garden, a dog, and dealing with two sort of grown children I managed to break my leg a year ago and am still hobbling with a cane, making that time issue even more complex. So I’ve done something that many do easily but for me was hard; I’ve handed off some of the responsibilities to others. For a price of course, but still, the boy down the street can help with so many odd chores and a teenage girl has been doing some minor office work. I get my house cleaned once a month too…and in truth, even as I mend, I realize that’s something I need to allow myself ongoing; that I work enough to not feel guilty for getting some help.

    But I need those moments of escaping from all of it and I find it in a simple place. A cup of coffee, my back patio and soon, very soon…the labors of nineteen years will again come to fruition and my garden will feed my soul like nothing else can. I seem to march in step with that feeling of renewal that is all around me and right now, the anticipation is already starting!

    I can just sit and gaze and feel a solace and peace that nothing else provides me. But then there is one step that makes that coffee and garden experience perfection. My daughter Emily has a gift that I am forever awed by. Somehow this child of a woman who can barely carry a tune and her father, who played the saxophone has been gifted with the most magnificent voice. I only have one CD with her singing on it, a collection of songs from her senior year in college. As a first soprano, I can usually hear her voice above others, but in those two pieces she has a solo. Coffee in the garden and Emily’s voice; it’s enough for me.

  18. Charissa (zest bakery)

    YUM! With very little flour, clafoutis sounds like an easy one to do gluten-free. I think I will use almond milk instead of the soy, but I am sure the result will be very similar. Delish! Take care.

  19. Iris

    Ah Shauna, I do love you so! Your words are so beautiful and your sentiments echo my own. I love this line: “I don’t want to work so hard to create the life I want to lead that I end up not living it.” This is something I think about often and wonder how to bridge that divide between making sure I get the life I want and making sure I’m living the life I have. As always, thank you. You are more than enough.

  20. Patti

    My library informed me that Margaret’s book has arrived, and to come pick it up. I am so excited to read this book. The subject of your blog is something I have thought about and thought about over the years. I often find myself asking the question about enough as I get ready to purchase something new. Am I willing to pay for this item not only in dollars and cents but in time and self.

    So I have two wonderful things to look forward to today, Margaret’s book and your blueberry clafoutis! Thank you.

  21. Adrienne

    One of my favorite quotes, that I repeat to myself periodically, is from Mary Poppins:
    “Enough is as good as a feast.”

  22. Pétra (Creative Mom)

    I don’t really use this word very often but BRAVO was what popped into my head.
    Enough brings up being late for an appointment. When I was a new Mom and learning to balance the short times I had a sitter with getting to appointments. I was always doing the usual scramble to get out the door, two more things happening as I looked for my keys, and pulling out of the driveway late looking at the clock. Breathing short breaths, mind racing with what might happen when I get there I had a calm realization “there is nothing I can do at this point unless I choose to drive like a crazy person. I can’t do anything but take deep breaths and enjoy this time by myself” it seems logical but I never had let go like that. There was nothing I could do and in a way I said enough. That still works for me when I am starting to obsess about something to just think what can I really do, just breath and take a break is really the answer. Giving yourself time on the weekends and saying enough is a wonderful gift!
    I can’t forget the clafoutis, it’s something I tried making a while ago and was never satisfied with can’t wait to try it!

  23. Katie

    Isn’t it funny how traumatic spelling bees can be? I lost my 4th or 5th grade spelling bee to ‘volunteer’ and whenever I see that word I am brought back to that day, and I still have to double-check myself to make sure I’m spelling it correctly (15 years later).

  24. Leslie DR

    Shauna, there is a song that is sung at the Passover seder that captures exactly what you are saying — “Dayenu” — it would have been enough (if Pharoah had only let us go, dayenu; if God had only parted the Red Sea, dayenu), meaning that we should take nothing for granted and enjoy what we have. It’s hard to carve out time for ourselves, to step back — especially when it seems that the whole world wants your attention. Your warmth and joy in explaining how to live “Yes” in a gluten-free way has truly exploded into so many venues — it is impressive and it is very good for you to make room to simply live. I also saw the interview with the man released from prison AND the Pete Wells piece — they both speak to our need to take responsibility for creating our own peace, in our own space. It’s something that I am working on right now, after years of child-rearing and working and volunteering. It’s not so easy to give up the feeling of being needed and to replace it with a sense of simply being. At some point, however, I’ve realized that until you can just “be,” you can no longer be of use to yourself or anyone else.

  25. Gretchen O'Byrne

    Bless you and thank you! I too have these yearnings of enough. Wanting to be satisfied in the process of a day of our life here. I love the statement about just enjoying the living. Doing nothing, trying to accomplish nothing other than just the living of today. I am in love with your blog, thoughts and boldness. You are by my side as I have changed to a gluten free life and my family has just begun to make the passage.

  26. Jenn Sutherland

    Thank you, Shauna. I needed to read this today. There’s something about Feburary every year — the pace of life and dreariness of the season collide in a way that leaves me frazzled and spent. We work and work and work because the season is cold and dark, and it’s not as much fun to play outdoors, but what is all that extra work doing for us? Breeding more work, of course.

    I made your clafoutis when you first posted it in 2008, and have made it many times since — it’s always a crowdpleaser, and now that you’ve reminded me of its simple beauty, I think it’s going on the brunch menu this week.

  27. Julia Sarver

    Oh Shauna, I swear you are in my head right now. I own my own business and am watching it grow by leaps and bounds. However, that also means that the amount of work I’m doing is growing by leaps and bounds, and I feel like I’m stuck in this horrible cycle of always being two steps behind. It’s hard to know how to fix that, so I find myself always mentally exhausted, and then in a state of paralysis where I get nothing done, and then fall even more behind.

    I’ve committed to taking weekends off. That has been a huge help, as has moving my office outside of my home. Now I can leave work at work rather than always thinking I should be doing more.

    Thanks for this clafouti recipe — we are supposed to get some sort of snowstorm in Portland tonight so that will be a great project for me tomorrow during our snow day!

  28. Annelies

    Sometimes your body tells you “enough.” I’m going through a bit of a rankle right now with mine and re-learning rest without the guilt part of “I should be doing something.” My husband is so much better at this than I am and has been great at helping balance my need to do with a need to be. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I think part of the conundrum with enough never being enough might come down to a sense of identity. The scene you painted above reminded me of the old man released from prison in the Shawshank Redemption. Oh– and the word was potpourri that cost me my spelling bee win many moons ago.

  29. Green Key

    Great post Shauna. You have my full support! You’re encouraging me to reassess my social media time, and especially my tendency to keep pushing myself to get more done. I look forward to reading Pete Wells’ article and checking out Margaret Roach’s book.
    An aside: I kept a copy of the Martha Stewart magazine that featured Margaret’s guest cottage, it inspired me so. I used the color ways and feeling of that little house in the remodel of my little home a few years ago. How lovely that you and your family got to stay in it!

  30. Amy P

    this was exactly what I needed to hear– I just requested the book through my library. I try to have one weekend day off of the computer and as soon as I finish a big project that I’m working on, I’m going to try to make it the whole weekend. I think our minds really need more of a break than we realize. Thank you for the inspiration (and the delicious looking recipe!)

  31. Pat @ GlutenFreeAroundTheWorld.com

    One of the most fun meals I ever ate was a breakfast with close friends of cherry clafouti. I was lazy and didn’t remove the pits before I made it. This was a little crude, but we all became little kids. I won’t go into details…

    Thanks for the reminder. I’ll have to try a more dignified breakfast with your blueberry recipe!

    Pat

    1. Rosy

      I’ve heard it said that the cherry flavor is more intense when you leave the pits in… it’s an authentic option!

  32. Green Key

    @ Pat — I think the traditional French way of making clafoutis is with the pits still in the cherries! I believe it’s supposed to make a more complex flavor.

  33. Kristin

    I APPLAUD you with the loudest applause you can possibly hear though my comment!!!!
    Good for you on taking control of YOUR life, because that’s whose life it is YOURS…with Danny and Lu of course? I found myself, exhausted, cranky etc, because I was using my time in ways I didn’t want to and said exactly what you have said Enough! I quit trying to make everyone else happy and concentrated on myself and my family. I figured out what I enjoyed and what made me happy and I am glad you are doing the same! I hope you find the same success in it as I did as it truly was a transformation in my life along with finally conquering my undiagnosed (13 yrs) health problems which turned out to be Celiac.

  34. tracy

    your words never spoke truer! i have ENOUGH motivation in my heart & mind to get off the computer now. time to delve into a good book during today’s nap time. thank you for that. xo

  35. Jessica

    The clafoutis pictures make me happy — a little taste of summer! I loved reading your thoughts on trying to find balance. I find that blogging, in particular, is incredibly fulfilling but can easily become all-consuming. Cooking brings me so much peace, but I think it is important to remember, even when I’m trying to write about cooking adventures, to enjoy the act of cooking itself.

  36. Creatively Sensitive

    Thank you for this Shauna. You are a beautiful writer. I too love words and phrases and sometimes they get lodged in weird repetitive crevices of my brain :)

    Enough. A concept I am truly struggling with right now. I’ve just gotten myself to a point where I can say no to what others want and expect of me. What I’m stumped on is how to say no to myself when I’ve only just learned to stop saying it to myself. My world has come alive and there is so so much to do that brings me joy! Except that too much choice can be a burden can’t it? I guess the trick is trust. To have patience and trust that everything can have a turn, and doesn’t have to be done Right Now :)

    Wish I could try that delicious looking recipe. Perhaps I can try and adapt it to accommodate my sensitivities. (I never realized how many i’s there are in the word!)

    Kat at Creatively Sensitive

  37. Binnie

    What a lovely post. It’s so good to turn off the ceaseless chatter — email, texting, facebook, twitter, blog duties, television — in the name of family quiet, especially.

  38. Joyce

    Reading from that email you received about “enough” finally made me cry.

    It brought back memories of being very young, catching fire flies in jars and sitting on beach chairs with my grandparents under the stars. Peeking into those jars, then finally setting the dots of light free into the night. I hadn’t thought of that memory in many, many, many years. I am 57 now. For some reason, it just made me cry. Because it was enough.

  39. kathyh

    Savor the moments.

    Seriously, you have to set rules to get along in this fast-paced world. Don’t turn on the computer until 10am. check. Turn it off for lunch. Give yourself some downtime to ruminate and discover some imaginative processes. It takes strength of will to not succumb to all of the choices available.

    My most useful tip is to only go to the grocery store once a week.
    Let yourself run out of things. Discover neighbors to borrow from. Or, substitute.

  40. Maggie

    Shauna let’s start an Enough movement. But we’re going to start it by doing nothing at all. Otherwise we’d have to add one more thing to our to-do lists. This is gorgeous. Thanks for making me stop and think. Off to cuddle with my sleeping babies. xo

  41. Laura

    Bravo!!!!!! Yay for slowing down! I hope that you are letting yourself off the hook so much that you don’t even read all of these comments. In that way, it is enough that your blog post is, and our comments are, and that’s more than enough to mark the wonderful connection of so many people.
    I left the Chicago Public School system (a place where there is never enough if ever there was one) and moved to a medium-sized town in Oregon. When I need to slow down, I go for walks. Or I drive into the countryside. Or I just lie on my couch after getting home from teaching, and I watch the clouds move across the sky.
    When I taught high school English in Chicago, I started reading a poem to my students every Monday. They would always say, “Do we need to take notes? Is this for a test?” And I would say, “No, no notes, no test.…. just listen.… and enjoy.” I hoped that it was a pause in their day and that just being together and sharing that classroom and sharing that poem was so much. It was enough.

  42. Jeanne

    I was so glad to hear that you decided to create some boundaries for yourself. Yeah!!! For anyone who works from home or out of their home, it can be tough. I am glad you found this before your whole … career, vocation, life … collapsed.

    And we all need to be reminded that enough is enough!
    Blessings to you, Shauna.

  43. DVS

    i am a busy mom working overnight shifts and 3 jobs to provide all of the income and health insurance for my family of four. despite all of that, i am so content in my life. i spend every moment of my time away from work with my husband and kids, or sitting at Peet’s with a book. today while i slept after working overnight, my kids spent the day drawing, walking the dogs, and listening to an audio book while hanging out with dad. i made them dinner when i got up and tucked them into bed. i get funny looks from people who ask “what’s new” in my life when i answer that we’re all still just hanging out in Seattle together. but it is more than enough.

  44. Margaret Roach

    Thank you (and Lu and Danny) for the visit, and now this reflection on it. Thanks for all your encouragement and teaching along the way.

    I am very happy to hear that you are going to make more time offline; I have been enforcing “It’s time to stop and go upstairs now” thinking on my workdays, stopping much earlier despite the new to-do’s around the book release. For me, the worst impact is when I work into the evening…I never really rest fully if I am all “on” late in the evening. So I’m closing up shop earlier, as a start.

    Thank you for this — and especially the GF solution to clafoutis (which you know is my favorite dessert of all). See you online soon…but not early, and not on weekends! : )

  45. ~Mrs. R

    Hello Shauna,
    I completely understand! As a homeschooling mom, I do not want to spend my child’s precious time… on the computer! I want to spend time WITH him, not just in the same room! I have taken a facebook & yahoo group fast now for 3+ weeks. You know what… I didn’t die! And I have not missed any critical news either. AND I have gotten more cleaning done in the house, more reading with our son, more just talking together or singing together or today playing in the snow… OK, OK, so “I” won’t be playing in the snow, but I will watch our child enjoying making his snowman and sledding down the “hill” in our front yard.

    It always struck me a ironic that so many people will post on facebook their current status that they are doing such and such… but don’t they realize that they can’t be “doing” that when they are ON the computer posting about it? How much personal interaction has been missed or neglected by facebook status posts? Real face-to-face conversations, lots of time spent together doing and being and enjoying. That is the real status I want! Good for you in setting your boundaries. You will not regret it! Oh and DO NOT feel obligated to respond to THIS comment! LOL

    And again we have the same kind of food on our minds! I have been playing with my Rice Flour Muffin recipe. I have you to thank for that. Why you ask? Because I was too timid to attempt to try out any changes to recipes. Sewing or crochet patterns — no problem. Food — not me! This morning was my second (yes SECOND!!) Rice Flour recipe alteration and BOTH were outstanding successes!!

    It fells so freeing. Thanks & enjoy the newspaper!!
    Blessings,
    ~Mrs. R

  46. velda

    Loved this article. The word “enough” has been sticking with me lately too, for similar reasons. They say “You can never get enough of what you don’t need” and I think, personally, I have an easy time seeing that I really do have much more than enough in life to be happy. But I struggle to apply the same idea to the expectations I have of myself and the things I do. Still, I’m working at it & that’s what counts. :)

  47. Nimble

    What’s the saying… Enough is as good as a feast. Thank you for samples of enough-ness. After my second kid was born and I was sleep deprived and nothing was ever finished when I went to bed. My mind would be spinning thinking about the things I hadn’t done and scheming how to get them done the next day. I started praying as a way to settle my brain for sleep. My prayer was (and still is) “thank you for this moment”. Sometimes it makes me laugh to say this if I feel like crap. But this moment, it’s all I have. I have to cherish it, not trample it.

  48. Cheryl Arkison

    Like you, I’ve been trying to take at least a day off from the social network world and focus on the real world.

    With a massive deadline looming my notion of enough has been to stop, look, and breathe. Lately, that’s been over a meal. Whether on our weekly market trip (which I will never give up regardless of how busy I am) or simply dinner every night. Instead of cajoling our preschooler into eating and not talking so much I’m letting her natter on and ignore her dinner. Let the songs ring out and the crazy faces win. My husband and I can roll our eyes at each other or yawn in the exhaustion of a life with two entrepreneurs running the place, but at that moment we all have enough.

    And thank-you for using the word “gloaming”. That makes me happy in its perfection.

  49. joanne

    My friend and I were just talking about this today. Whats wrong with the world she said? It seems as though the world is off its axis. Done gone crazy. My friend has become the monday thru friday live in nanny for her adult daughter who recently gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby boy. She said since her daughter has returned to work she is a nervous wreck. She said to her daughter “Lilly ” do you realize your mother is staying here taking care of your baby, cleaning your home and dinner is ready when you and your husband come home from work? These are the times for you to enjoy life.
    Where has the time gone to enjoy a warm dessert after dinner with a cup of tea. To just sit and talk to one another and not hear screaming and shooting on the television. Time to just sit and hear the quiet. To be bored.
    I think people are becoming aware that simple is better. That less is more. Just as you said enough is enough. Im redesigning my garden this year and plan to grow just a handful of tomato plants. Not a hundred and fifty. Im going to plan just to enjoy the time spent in the garden and not stress over the thought of canning all the produce, but to enjoy a warm August evening sharing a tomato basil salad drizzeled with olive oil and sea salt. Time spent together. You’ve inspired me.

  50. Kimberly

    One of my favorite things about this website is that it makes people think about food in an entirely different way. However, I would just like to point out one small detail. As people who are obviously into food we welcome as many different permutations on ingredients as possible. To look at shampoo and wonder why there are so many different kinds may seem odd. But if somebody is really into hair styling, perhaps they could distinguish from the types of hair products but think that a variety of lettuce is excessive and unnecessary. It is all a matter of perspective.

  51. Ki

    Really good idea about cooking some of the batter first, then adding the fruit and the rest of the batter. I had pretty much given up on clafoutis because I could never seem to get it to cook through properly.

  52. Ashley

    Shauna, this is beautiful beyond words and something that resonates so deeply with me. I often look to my future self and think about what words of wisdom would my older self give my present self. I think she would say, “Slow down, breathe and soak it all in because there will be future days where you will miss the screams, the fights, the wrestling and the pudgy fingers. Savor this time. Every. moment.“
    Thank you for speaking wisdom into my life. once again. :)

  53. Krystle

    You know it’s funny that you posted this at this time. It resonates with me like nothing has in the last little while. My job is very demanding and lately I’ve been wondering “Why am I doing this? What am I getting out of it other than stress and frustration, and of course, money? I’m not happy with it, yet I don’t hate it…I’m just tired. And it never seems to be enough.”

    I haven’t found that “enough” moment for me. It seems that when I’m not at work there is something at home that needs attention; that curtain rod needs to go up, the windows need to be washed, the floors cleaned, I really should rearrange that room and throw out all that junk, I have to paint that room, I have to finish the trim, I have to bring the recycling to the depot…The amount of things that run through my head in a day that I have to DO is amazing. It’s amazing I’m sane.

    When you have one day off during the week and work 10 to 12 hours a day it NEVER seems to be enough.

    I received a gift of paints and an easel for Christmas this year, and I’ve been dreaming, literally, of a painting for months but I haven’t let myself take the time to let it flow from my dreams to reality. Isn’t that sad?

    I was talking to Mac about this the other day and he told me last weekend “Take Sunday. Paint. Play guitar. Don’t clean. Do something for yourself, Krys.” And you know what I did? I worked in the morning on “pressing paperwork” that needed to be done for work on Monday. That is beyond disappointing to me. I’m disappointed with myself.

    I need my “enough” moment. I should take a page from your book.

    This weekend is the calm before the storm. I have a large project that is going to be starting on Monday that I’ve been working toward for months. But right now there is a lull. A break. And I’m going to take it. I have a whole weekend off. Me and Mac are going to pick one of the recipes from your cookbook and make it together. Maybe we’ll cuddle on the couch. Maybe we’ll make a snow man in the snow we are supposed to get this evening’s storm. But I’m going to take an “enough” moment.

    Thank you for this post.

  54. Ashley

    This post is timed perfectly! I just finished responding to an email from a friend asking if I was okay, I’d been a quiet friend lately. I just needed to clear the calendar for a couple of weeks and lie at home, cooking, reading, recovering from some life stresses. I just needed a break!

    P.S. I was just complaining to my husband yesterday at the store that there are simply TOO many options. Why is so hard to choose a pack of toilet paper?!

  55. Sky

    Shauna, I have been having the same kinds of thoughts lately and wondering if I was the only one. Everybody that surrounds me seems to be working more and more and always wanting more stuff, more money. And yet, they don’t seem to be getting any happier… A few months ago, I decided to quit a good job with a good salary after 7 years of service because it made me miserable. I am going back to school to pursue my real passion: cooking. Friends and family think I am crazy. They say I am too smart to be confined to a kitchen, making so little money. Well, despite the lukewarm feedback, I am going ahead with my plan anyway, I just feel like this is something I need to do. In the end, I think this is the path to true happiness. I applaud you for putting your foot down and taking time for yourself. We’ll survive without you a few days a week and you will be happier, more refreshed and even more inspiring when you come back. Thanks for getting this conversation started. Sky

  56. Ali

    I treasure my walk to work in the morning, along the river after thirty minutes of a crammed subway car. I don’t listen to music, I don’t think about anything, I don’t chit chat, I don’t walk with anyone and I don’t answer my phone (even when I’m on call). This is my time, just me and the rhythm of my shoes along the pavement. It’s not much, but it’s enough.

    Oh, and awkward was my third-grade downfall…

  57. Kimberly

    I think I’ve lost my enough.

    I used to have enough in the pool. I swam competitively for seven years, plus a few summers on top of that. I played waterpolo. I did synchronized swimming. I was a lifeguard. I would be at the pool from 7am to 5pm, go home for dinner and be back from 7pm to 9pm for free swim again. It was my life. I lived in the water.
    It gave me a place to think. It was hard work, especially getting myself up and rolling for 5:30am practices on Saturday. It was beautiful. I could just swim and swim and swim and think and think and think. I could have songs stuck on repeat in my brain and not care about anything more than that I had 27 50m sets to do, each on 50 seconds. And that I would be leaving on the red top.
    Even my parents used to love just sitting and watching me swim. They said it was relaxing, that I was so smooth in the water. My dad would drive me in on those Saturday morning practices and sit in the bleachers instead of going home. He’d alternate between watching me and doing work on his laptop. It was enough for my whole family and I loved it so much.

    But I think I’ve lost my enough. I think I lost it four years ago when I finally admitted that I couldn’t keep training the way I was. I’d screwed up my hip flexor somehow, and it hurt to walk, let alone swim 2–3 km six times a week. I cried a lot for about a week, because I felt like I’d lost something that was a part of me. But then I forgot about it.

    I haven’t swum in a couple of years. And I mean, really swum. Over the last year I’ve taken up taekwondo at my university’s club, and I find myself thinking “This isn’t where I should be. It’s fun, but I don’t know how to move. I want to swim again.”

    So my dad and I went swimming last weekend. I was about 200m into my sets when my hip flexor acted up again. It was the exact same spot, and the exact same pain. I wanted to cry. I think I’ve lost my enough. It terrifies me.

    I’m sorry this comment is so rambly, but this post really hit home for me. Thank you Shauna for the wonderful recipes! I’ll be one year GF in March, and you have no idea how much your blog has helped me. Keep up the fantastic work, and take as many breathers as you need. We all need our enough sometimes.

  58. Kendall

    I have often wondered the same thing. When is enough, enough? When do i find that peace I have longed all my life for.

    I thought i had found it when I met my partner. He is the perfect compliment to me. He’s the love of my life and I feel extremely blessed I have found him as young as I have (25).

    But as much as he completes my life in so many ways, there still feels like something missing.
    I can pin point exactly what it is. I am working in a job I cant stand, for enough money to pay off debts.

    I made the resolution this year that I would work towards creating my life in the way I have always envisioned it would be. Calm, centred around life, and cooking, and nature and the people I love. To begin doing the things I always wanted to do, I created a life list after visiting the Mighty Girl blog so I could start pinpointing the things I have always wanted.

    Christian Loubitoun shoes may have featured, yes vanity and material possessions still feature in my desires. But so do living from the land, learning how to preserve the bounty, to respectfully treat my animals from birth right through to the day they feature centre stage on my table.

    My enough is about giving myself the chance to live. Fantasies often ensue about winning lotto to take care of the finances. But i need to let them go, to learn to live without having to live by the rules that everything costs money. We have bugeted and worked out that we can pay off all of my partners debt by the end of the next year. But we wont wait that long to start living. I want to find a job when I can truly live. Im getting my first tattoo this year, “Live Laugh Love” linked in a circle just below my wrist as a reminder.
    I will own a pair of Loubitoun shoes, maybe not this year but sometime soon. I may not win lotto but i want to start living with my heart open.
    Not just towards him and my family, to our friends, collegues, neighbours strangers.…everyone. But more importantly i want to start living with my heart open for myself, to love myself, to let myself laugh, and to never forget to live.

    Im not giving up on my resolution, but im not making it for this year. Its my resolution for life.

  59. Sammie

    I love baking with blueberries. This dish looks positively delicious and the photo of the more than half eaten dish looks all too familiar in my kitchen!

  60. Caron

    Hi, Shauna!
    I’m a new visitor to your site and I’m thrilled to have found it. We’re new to the gluten-free lifestyle and really are enjoying it and feeling better. Your comments on “Enough” have really resonated with me. 2011 is my year to say that to myself and to others, which is actually harder than being gluten-free! With 3 little girls I want to encourage them to know when enough is enough and to value the small blessings in our lives, not at all as easy lesson in this insanely-paced, consumer-driven society of ours. We’ve had a children’s book in our home for years, which I thought I’d share with you since you have your own little one at home. It’s aptly named “Just enough and Not Too Much.” It is written and illustrated by Kaethe Zemach. I hope you can check it out and share it with your own child.

    All the Best,
    Caron

  61. Carlene

    ARGH I have no honey!!!!
    Dont you just hate it when something sounds soooo incredibly good but you are one ingredient short???
    *grumbles at the empty bottle of honey*
    oh well I am a week away from payday so I guess I can just wait.…ah but well worth it!
    It looks really really great!

    Is there anything I can use outside of honey that I can replace it with?

  62. Sallie Tierney

    Let me share with you a family legend — My Irish great-grandfather Peter Tierney survived the terrible potato famine which killed millions of people. Whole families were wiped out. Every family lost people. That Peter survived to come to America might explain why at the end of each meal for the rest of his life he would say to my great-grandmother Sallie (my name-sake), “Thank you, that was an elegant sufficiency!” An elegant sufficiency — not simply “enough” but beautifully enough.

  63. wine out loud

    Nice post. I remember in Canada, I had just come home after spending two years travelling through South East Asia and everyone was knee-deep in hot debate over allowing Sunday shopping. I had hoped that it would get rejected, but alas consumerism won the day. I miss Sundays when there was NOTHING to do, and it was quiet.

  64. Nimble

    @ Sallie Tierney: in my family we sometimes say “I’ve had a genteel sufficiency”. I’m not sure which ancestor gave that to us.

  65. Cooks-Books

    I’ve been trying to repeat to myself “that’s good enough” for several months now. Still working on it. Thanks so much, Shauna, for the inspiration.

  66. Sharon Bowler

    I made this tonight for a potluck, everyone LOVED it! Thanks for everything you do!

  67. tjewell

    If you haven’t tried this with pears yet, I recommend it. I skipped the second 1/3 cup of sugar since they aren’t as tart as blueberries. The almond and honey go very nicely with the pear flavor.

  68. Spicy Bohemian

    I have been away from the internet for a little while and am just now reading this beautiful post. Such soul-resonating words. Thank you. I thought I’d share a beautiful image (it’s a bag actually) that a friend gave me a while back. I keep it hanging in my room so that I may see its soothing message every day and remember that there is always “enough”. Such an easy thing to forget in the hecticness of every day life. Here is the image: http://www.storypeople.com/productImage/EnoughTime_500px.jpg

    Thank you for such a touching post.

  69. Shannon

    Thank you for sharing such a poignant story as well as your talent in the kitchen. I came across this particular post while searching for something to do with frozen blueberries that are now not so frozen (due to a freezer malfunction). After a few modifications for my diet I look forward to trying it and sharing the results on my blog.

  70. nicole s.

    I was looking for the perfect GF clafoutis as I am obsessed with french food & this hits the spot! Thank you! and your website is so helpful for a 18 year old college student like me who lives off quinoa toast and a few vegetables everyday..with people looking down at me…I agree with your previous post on how life was better ” with less choice”..funny I am an advertising student yet hate what the world has become..i love simplicity and life back in the 90’s..or even from the days of my parents ( from what I hear). I only do Advertising because I love being creative but will NEVER let me become another robot in traffic coming home late and waking up ridiculously early with stress. I love a stress free life — which sadly is becoming harder today.

    Keep up the interesting posts & delicious recipes!