Calming measures: almond cookies

Some days I need to settle my molecules with the calming effects of baking. Building heat is off making it hard to focus on work. So dual benefit of warming part of the space plus…cookies! 


Original recipe :


Oven 350 degrees; bake on parchment lined cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes ; makes 30 cookies.

My variation- same baking info:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups ground almonds/almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons white chocolate mini chips 

66 calories per cookie.

Enjoy.

That mental health stuff…

Yesterday was the Bell Let’s Talk day so, that’s cool. Folks started sharing, and Bell will give money – that’s a good thing.

I saw someone post that they “did not need Bell to tell them to talk about mental health issues.” and I thought, wow – shouldn’t we be supporting both the big and small initiatives that bring positive attention to mental health issues?  Why put down something that might be the ONLY WAY others will even begin to feel like they can talk about it.

Now there is a counter-argument to the Bell adventures well expressed here, that addresses a larger issue of our present love/hate relationship with technology. But until  something takes out all of our infrastructure, this < internet and phones> is one of the ways we reach each other.

And yes, mental health should be talked about all year long, and my social media streams are FULL of people taking the initiaive on their own to share their stories and  express their situations throughout the year. But that’s the social media stream of me, a creative person with creative friends from all walks of life who have created our own safe community in which we can be purple whacky on occasion, as we know we are not alone.

Thank you, Bell, for doing something to bridge the gap between those of us who are struggling daily with a variety of issues, but do have a safe place to talk, and those who would be dismissed or treated with disdain if they really told people what was going on in their minds.

I also read this article and shared it – so here it is again – loads of the people who do not feel comfortable talking about it are high functioning…”anxietists “< that’s not a word. I’m being lazy/creative>:

https://themighty.com/2017/01/high-functioning-social-anxiety-mental-illness/

So, if you have read this far, here’s a bit of my journey. I’ve done therapy a couple of times with different levels of therapists.  One test I took to determine my level of anxiety < I had developed random panic attacks> put me at 60-65% on the scale. 50% meant you were fine, and not really needing therapy, so I was just dipping a toe into the pool of purple whacky.

When I had first talked to my physician about the panic attacks, I was told by this very athletic woman to,” Just go for a run”. Hi, have you met me. I don’t run unless it’s to catch the bus or my dog.  and even then…

Her tone was dismissive, reinforcing the voices already in my head that told me to get over myself already.  I know what I have to do to be healthy – eat better, exercise more, get proper sleep…blah,blah,blah.

But there are the other voices that say, “You are self employed, and cannot refuse work, so you must work as much as possible;  and YOU MUST BE PERFECT WIHT EVERYTHING YOU DO. You must do all the things, you don’t have time to cook a proper meal so just grab something quick and yummy.”

I try to exercise regularly < dancing and walking> and try to mix things up every once in a while with different activities to prove to myself I’m not totally out of shape – which by the way – is how I feel in my head most of the time.

I try to eat healthy and prepare meals, but reality in my world, I have a niche clientele that I predominantly cater to and “Bridal season” is even longer now than it once was. And convenience is a thing.  But yes, I feel guilty every time I choose something easy and hopefully semi healthy over fresh – but budget and time are factors, so that’s a thing too.

AS I type this, All I can hear is – excuses!!! these are just excuses!!!

So, yeah – it’s constant.

And I should get to work. because while I know that work is a distraction from focusing on me, I also have bills to pay and clients that I want to serve in my best possible way.

Oh, and in my sewing business, when I don’t achieve the perfect finished garment – OMG – it’s a shower of self doubt, why do I do this, I’m not good enough to claim I can do this. I do make to not express my disappointment in myself nor be a disappointment to my clients < I know there are some unresolved issues in there>, and I apologize to those  clients who have seen the darkness creeping out through the cracks in the veneer.

But we are supposed to talk about this mental health stuff right?

sprocketmeditation

OHM

Back dancing again!

With my belly dance classes ending in late November, I had a few weeks off from regularly scheduled dancing.

Last week I began a new adventure in Salsa classes at the Taggart Family YMCA and am feeling the joy of simply learning to dance again!  A client who has twin feet to me generously let me help her clear out some shoes from her closet and the practice oxfords are GREaT!

Tonight/ this week, my belly dance classes resume and I am looking forward to a new group of beginners to guide into the sparkly waters of this shimmering dance style. I am also grateful for the return of the intermediates who have signed up and really want to play hard this session!

messing-with-halyma

So there will be some drumming , random veil work, and who knows what else – I love to improvise!

Fire-inspiration 2016.png

Avocado brownies

No long pre-amble:

  • 4 small avocados- puréed
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • ⅓ cup sugar ( whatever kind you like)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs

Oven 350 degrees F

Lightly greased pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool and chill before cutting.

The oops, I forgot:  Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the batter.

So, I tried to do that thing where you sprinkle the chips on top and then smooth it out once it has melted  – but apparently white and dark chocolate chips have different melting points and don’t play well together…

Recipe time- random veggie stew

Random but oh so good:

  • Onion
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Butternut squash

Amounts- use what feels right 🙂

Above veggies:chop and sauté  in the order listed-I used olive oil.

Spices:

  • garam masala
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper

To taste!

Add:

1 large can each:

  • Roma tomatoes
  • Mixed beans ( drained)
  • Corn ( peaches and cream- or any type of kernel) ( drained)

Cover and let simmer until the veggies are soft.

Take a potato masher and squish some of the veggies and beans randomly. Stir it up.

Serve!


Next day breakfast:

Scramble eggs and add a few scoops of the random stew.

Top with cheese.

Cherpumple time again!

Ok – I thought I had a lovely post about the Cherpumple adventures in the past, but apparently not.

So, here goes:

You’ll need:

3 cake mixes – whatever brand you like and feel free to get creative with your combinations!  I use: chocolate, white and yellow.

3 pre baked pies – full size pies is good, but you can go smaller if you prefer.  If you want to make your own pies – that’s fine too – make sure they are cooled and ready to be deployed!  I use:  cherry, pumpkin and apple… < Cher-Pump-Le>

3 spring form pans – large enough for the pies and the cake batter, or 1 pan and plan to bake each one over a couple of days – this is fine!

The concept:

For each layer, take a pre-baked pie, remove it from the pie plate and place it in the centre of the spring form pan.  Mix up the cake batter according to the box, and pour the batter over the pie.  Spread it out and tap the pan to make sure it flows down and around the pie completely, removing as much air bubbles as possible.

Bake according to the directions, but bake it a bit longer – I usually aim for 55 minutes.

Let it cool, remove the sides of the springform pan, then chill it in the fridge before taking it off the bottom of the pan.

Repeat for each layer.  Cool the layers completely before assembling and letting them chill overnight is even better!

My combination is:

  • Chocolate cake and cherry pie
  • white cake and pumpkin pie
  • yellow cake and apple pie

But really – do what you like!

Icing – yep – use what you like – pre-made, make your own, whatever works for you.

frost between the layers and slather it all over!

Decorate in whatever fashion you like!

Chill again to let it feel nice and solid.

Use a big bread knife to cut into this 6 desserts in one and you should be able to serve a village if you cut the pieces small enough!

 

And I’ll update this one the 2016 Cherpumple has been cut into, but for now – here’s some previous ones I have made!

I’m stopping counting at 37…

Thanks for coming. Thanks for dancing. Thanks for supporting. There are so many people involved in the OCCPs that I hope I have conveyed to each of you my profound gratitude in person so that you know you have helped make all of the years so very special.

screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-7-56-03-am

Tom has been my greatest supporter through all the years!

Now, in answer to the many questions…sort of , at least.

My mom always said she is only 39 – thus I had to stop counting my age at 37 so that I never get older than her.

37 is a wonderful prime number and, as a reckoner of time, 37 shows a reasonable amount of life experience has been garnered but there’s still lots of juice left for adventures.

So, December 14th was the 37th Class Party < the name changed to the Ottawa Centre, then Community Class Party maybe 10-12 years ago> I will have organized since I began teaching in 1998.

And it’s a good time to stop.

Many of my friends already thought I was done when I announced last year that I would no longer host a June event, but I had been a bit vague about December’s event.

After  a very “community-minded “lunch with two influential folk –  my husband, and best dance bud, it was expressed that doing one more, and then making with an official announcement, might be a good way to pass the torch.

So from a crazy BBQ in my backyard for the  the first few June shows – remember those Linda and Susi? –  to various restaurant locations for the December shows, growing to a peak of 400 + attendees for a few years and needing the Bronson Centre as our venue, with a variety of community centre locations along the way, I have been most happy at the University of Ottawa Alumni Auditorium location – even with the construction, crazy displays in the hallways and the other  whacky challenges.

I’ll always be grateful to my friends who have helped over these many years by volunteering to herd the dancers, help with set up, stage management, emceeing, promoting and of course performing and bringing their student groups out to dance!

Our community has lots of potential. And I hope that those who decide to take advantage of the opportunity to create they own community minded dance showcase/ presentation/ etc will continue to offer new dancers ta safe space in which  to perform.

But really, it won’t be my show anymore, so just be sure to save me a seat – and a slot for my students/ and/or crew to dance!

Classes start January 18th – go sign up!

Some memories: