What A Mayonnaise Jar And Golf Balls Teach Us

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My dear friend Carol shared the story of "The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee" with me as a tool to help make it a great 2008, and now I share it -- along with recipes for an "anytime breakfast" -- with you.

Have a great day every day in 2008.

Shirley

A Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, and when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the story about "the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee." It goes like this:

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents of both into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things: God, family, children, health, friends and favorite passions. Things, that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

"The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, house and car.

"The sand is everything else -- the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"So, pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness: play with your children; take time to get medical checkups; take your partner out to dinner; play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

"Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired as to what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled, "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem -- there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Breakfast meals can be satisfying anytime of the day. We have all heard of pancake suppers.

Savory French Toast

Preparation time: 30 minutes; baking time: 30 minutes: chill time: 2 hours.

8, 3/4-inch thick slices of French bread

Cream cheese filling (recipe to follow)

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French toast stuffed with a cream cheese and raisin filling, flavored with cinnamon, is a great way to start or end a day.

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup orange juice

Cream cheese filling

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese

1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots or golden raisins)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Make cream cheese filling by combining the three ingredients.

Place half the bread slices in a three-quart rectangular baking dish. Top each slice with a quarter of the cream cheese mixture. Add remaining slices of bread.

In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk and orange juice. Slowly pour egg mix over bread slices, covering all the tops. Cover and chill in refrigerator for two to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 15-inch-by-10-inch-by-1-inch baking pan with parchment paper or nonstick foil. Arrange bread slices in pan and bake, uncovered for a total of 30 to 35 minutes, turning halfway through baking time. Bread should be golden brown on both sides.

Serve with maple or fruit syrup.

Scrapple has its roots with the Pennsylvania Dutch, it was a dish that used leftover pork, cornmeal and spices. As it became popular in other regions, ingredients were adapted to suit local tastes.

Sausage and squash scrapple

Preparation time: 25 minutes; cooking time: 30 minutes

3 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

1, 12- to 16-ounce package turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch slices

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Butternut squash for breakfast, try it in scrapple.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow sweet pepper, cut in bite-size strips

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1, 16-ounce tube refrigerated cooked polenta, cut in 12 slices

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

Small fresh sage or basil leaves

In a medium saucepan, cook squash, covered, in a small amount of boiling, salted water for 10 minutes or until tender; drain and set aside.

In a very large skillet, cook turkey kielbasa in 1 tablespoon of hot oil over medium heat until lightly browned and crisp on the edges. Add squash, yellow sweet pepper, sage, vinegar and sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, until vinegar has almost evaporated. Remove from skillet. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Rinse and wipe out skillet, add remaining tablespoon of oil, heat. Fry polenta slices in hot oil over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn with pancake turner and fry an additional five minutes.

Stack three polenta patties on dinner plates, top with sausage mixture and drizzle with maple syrup.

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