Week 9: Pretend
Many have said it in some way or another. Kurt Vonnegut, Xena Warrior Princess, Patrick Rothfuss (who?). We all eventually become what we pretend to be. And it's not just writers and fictional badasses who say so. It's a science thing. Apparently, our brains aren't always completely sure what came first, the behavior or the attitude. In some part of my psychology education, I learned the adage "Attitudes follow behavior." It was tied to that whole cognitive dissonance thing to explain it, but really, the research seems to point to it being a brain chemistry thing.
Smiling makes us happier. Adopting powerful postures makes us feel more confident. If you aren't familiar with Amy Cuddy's work or TedTalk, you've got to check her out.
Nothing is easier to do than these things for just a few minutes every day. In the shower. On the commute. In the bathroom at work. Feeling happier and more confident is in your grasp now. Cool, right? Fake a smile and adopt a confident posture for two minutes. Pretend to be Xena. You will, in fact, be happier and more confident. Yay!
Oh, and congrats! We're almost halfway through the time change. Woot!
These are the THE BEST cookies ever. Baking them, sharing them & eating them should definitely boost your mood.
½ cup all-purpose gluten-free cup-for-cup flour blend
¼ cup cocoa
¼ t baking soda
¼ t salt
2 oz of high quality dark chocolate, 70% cacao or more
½ stick of butter
¾ cup sugar
¼ t vanilla extract
¼ cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
¼ cup chocolate or mini chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt the dark chocolate with the butter. Set aside and let cool briefly.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer, combine the sugar and vanilla with the butter/chocolate until well mixed. Add in the egg. Beat with a hand mixer until all is smooth.
Add the dry ingredients a little at a time until they are completely mixed in. Fold in the blueberries and chocolate chips.
Scoop a generous tablespoon of the batter onto your parchment-covered cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 15 minutes, using care not to burn the bottoms – a real challenge with chocolate cookies! I take them out when the edges look set and the tops are still puffy (they deflate a bit as they cool.) Place the pan on a cooling rack until you can safely transfer them still on the parchment paper to the cooling rack.
Makes 18 cookies and lots of friends!
Week 7 -- Pretend to be a food critic
This is a game I play with myself sometimes, and it usually makes me laugh and have to share my cleverness with others. If you've followed me for awhile, you'll know that I used to do product reviews. I stopped for a couple of reasons:
1) Thanks to the advocacy work of places like where I work, there are a million gluten-free products out there, only one of me, and products come and go out of production, so it felt like something I just couldn't keep up with. Sort of like local restaurant reviews. (I was so sad when Pure Tacos closed!).
2) I get to do some product reviews anyway, for my Day Job. You can check out my poetic reviews at www.GlutenFreeHotProducts.com, and I frequently share my faves on my facebook page too.) I actually love that part of my job and volunteer to do reviews for a change of pace.
So the game I play when trying a new restaurant or gluten-free food is to imagine how I would write my chichi review for an upscale magazine, like the New Yorker (it was my dad's favorite magazine, which is curious, because he was born, raised and lived most of his life in Oklahoma and I don't think he ever visited New York. But I digress.) Take a look at some of these New Yorker quotes from restaurant reviews:
An Alsatian accent distinguishes this fancy French restaurant in a time that is kind to neither fancy nor French food.
Oiji’s delicate, subtle incarnations of bibimbap and fried chicken are a world away from the chaos of Koreatown.
Just under half of the twenty-eight seats in the restaurant are bar height, but these are the most comfortable stools you’ll ever sit in—upholstered and generously wide for the chic, slim patrons, many of them longtime vegans with the youthful glow of abstemiousness.
You get the idea.
So, imagine the food review for something a little less... New York. I recently made myself a gluten-free vegan version of chili pie. Since I too am from Oklahoma, the Frito Pie, made famous in the land of Sonic Drive-In, is a fond memory for me. Basically, it's chili over corn chips. Here's my review:
As a throwback to the 70's, the generous portion of Protéine végétale texturée chili atop the montange du tortillas mais frit demonstrated an exquisite balance of sweet and salty, spicy and umami. Though the presentation was informal, the quality and quantity of the delicacy overshadowed this detail. The dish could have been brightened with the inclusion of salad of delicate, hand-massaged field greens accoutered in a raspberry-balsamic marinade. Translation: The big pile of vegetarian chili over chips tasted good. A salad would have been nice.) If you need some ideas, randomly throw in a foreign word, put it in an unusual order, pick a something from the verbs list and join it with a word from the nouns list and try it with almost any food:
Freshly-ground black pepper
A delicate bouquet of paprika and Himalayan sea salt
A crusting of rice and corn shavings
Aztec mole spices
Kale (that one's just to see if my family reads my blog!)
So, canned green bean casserole could be: Sublime beans vert coated with a delicate bouquet of paprika and Himalayan sea salt and enveloped by a crusting of rice and corn shavings. ;-)
The holidays can be that mixed bag of fun and festive combined with overwhelming and anxiety-producing. Here are some practical tips that are actually easy, inexpensive and many not very time consuming that can offer a couple of minutes of getting and staying centered and hopeful when the season of darkness might not be doing you any favors.
I'm sure we've all heard that laughter not only improves one's mood, but our immune system, etc. etc. Yeah yeah. But let's get to the laughs, shall we?
I've made a quick laugh cheap and easy this week.
I'm here to tell you that I've done a fairly exhaustive review of parodies of Adele's song Hello. This is the best one. And yes, I saw the Ellen -- very funny! and the Miss Piggy and Kermit -- also funny (but mostly pulled off of YouTube for copyright infringement), and there are a lot of sports-related, or rude, yucky or inappropriate ones that might be mildly amusing. However, rated on general audience appeal, quality of vocals, cleverness, and number of out-loud laughs from me, the version below is, in fact, the winner. You're welcome. Curated content at its best.