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The Respect Award

The Respect Award

The RESPECT Award

BY ROBERT GOLDSTEIN

“The “Respect” Award is my personal award for fellow bloggers who consistently reach out to other bloggers, offer support, are kind, struggle to understand differences in people, and who treat themselves and other people with kindness and respect.

Thank you so so much to Tingting for this award! I feel like this might sound a bit awkward, but whatever I’m saying it anyway – I am so humbled and thrilled to be receiving this award from someone as kind, positive, and motivational as you. Tingting’s blog, Empower Love, is a collection of posts focused on helping others boost their mental and physical health. Honestly, I’m a huge fan of what I’d call ‘feel good’ blogs in general, but what makes her blog so special is the sincere care you can tell she has for others through the heartfelt messages she writes. One last big THANK YOU and now I’m super excited to keep the respect going with my own nominees!

I would like to nominate:

Anoushka from Peachy Tales, you are such a lovely and warmhearted person. Every time we’ve chatted you’ve been one of the nicest people and your ability to show kindness to people across the world from you is incredible!

Brey from Ordinary Adventures, you are such an inspiration to me. You’re always setting goals for yourself and work so hard at accomplished all of them. Plus, with everything you have going on you’re more than willing to talk to readers and help with any advice you can offer them.

Jenny from Peace from Panic, you have such an incredible story and your blog is one of those wonderful spaces that really gives a voice to the experience of living with struggles in mental health. I just discovered your blog and can’t wait to read more!

Nandini from Goan Imports, I’m always so impressed with the recipes you post! Not only does your food look incredible, but I’m so impressed that you’ve set your blog up to help educate readers on your culture as well.

Rachel from The Cricket Pages, I love your writing! I think your stories resonate with me so much because of how you always incorporate your pets (and sometimes others) to give everything a lovely lighthearted feeling.

About the Award:

  • You don’t have to do anything for this award.
  • You can choose to copy the Award Picture from my post and give the award to the people who have earned your respect or you can do nothing.
  • This is my way of saying thank you.  You have earned my respect.

So definitely go check out Tingting’s and all my nominee’s blogs if you haven’t gotten the chance and have a wonderful day!

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Ancient Grain with Dinner

Gluten Free Review: Cook Simple Ancient Grain Salad

Hello everyone! Another gluten free review today – hopefully no one’s getting bored with these! I was pretty excited when I found this at my local Lucky in the pasta salad mix aisle. Is that the proper term for that isle? Maybe it’s just the pasta aisle? Hmm, not really sure on that one. At any rate it’s the aisle with tons and tons of boxed pastas!

So yeah I bought this and a zesty ranch pasta salad mix (by the same company) because it seemed like a potentially awesome side dish!

Cook Simple Gluten Free Ancient Grain Salad

Ancient Grains Salad Plated


Ingredients:

Dressing Packet from Box
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt
2 1/2 Cups Water
Grain & Bean Packet from Box

Ancient Grains Box & Ingredient Spread

Ancient Grains Directions


Directions:

1.Add the dressing packet, mayonnaise, and yogurt to a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Once the dressing is a nice smooth consistency set it aside.

Ancient Grain Dressing Unmixed Ancient Grain Dressing

2. Bring your water to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan and break open your grain packet.

Ancient Grains Grain & Bean Packet

3. Once the water has come to a boil add in the grain and bean packet. Turn the heat to medium and allow the mix to simmer for around 40 minutes or until all the moisture has been absorbed. The time will vary depending on your stove top, mine finished around 36 minutes.

Boiling Water With Grains Cooked Grains

4. Now all you need to do is take your grains off the heat and spoon them into the mixing bowl with your dressing. Fold together the grains and dressing until well combined and pop this into the refrigerator until it’s well chilled throughout.

Ancient Grains Unmixed Ancient Grains Salad
Okay so my thoughts on Cook Simple’s Ancient Grain Salad are rather mixed – in the end I’ve got positive feelings, but I’m definitely going to be doing some recipe adjusting the next time I cook this.

First things first, the quinoa smells incredible whilst cooking. Seriously, this stuff just smells mouth wateringly good. So even though I really really really wanted to dig in before finishing the recipe I held myself back. The struggle haha. Anyway this brings me to my next point which is… I didn’t really like the dressing very much. At all actually. The flavor was very heavy on dill and garlic. However, I’m nearly positive the main reason I didn’t like it was because of some weird texture thing I have going on with this particular type of food.

Let me explain.

I’m really not keen on deli salads. So this isn’t really a leafy salad issue, but much more a pasta or chicken or potato or tuna salad type problem. I just do not go for those types of salads when they are overly saturated in dressing. Now, knowing that there was mayonnaise in the recipe for this you would think I would have made some sort of compensation effort. Usually yes, but this time I was trying to follow the recipe exactly so I could give an honest review and honestly I will be changing the way I make that dressing the next time around. I think I might substitute the mayonnaise (not my favorite ingredient to be honest) with a bit of olive oil and make a small addition of lemon juice. I think olive oil might do the trick in lightening up the dressing and I wanted to add the lemon to help brighten up the flavor of garlic.

I think if I were to give this a rating it’d have to be three out of five. It’s definitely got promise, but the dressing really needs some tweaking to make it a staple product in my pantry. If you get a chance to try this for yourself leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

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Coping with Depression

I don’t normally do this, but I’d like to ask everyone reading to please be kind in the comments section. Since the thought of writing this entered my head I’ve had so so many reservations surrounding whether I should even make this post. Would I be able to express myself properly? Should I really be writing about something so personal online? I think even after I post this I’ll wonder if it really was a good idea. Doubts aside, I hope by writing this I can give other people going through similar mental health issues a feeling of camaraderie as well as, hopefully, give some advice on what helped me through my most recent bout of depression.

Depression for me isn’t just a feeling of unhappiness or apathy. When I say I’m depressed I mean that I feel as if every bit of myself has been stripped from my body –  like I’m a walking shell of a human. Sometimes it feels as if someone has such a tight grip on my heart that searing pain is being strangled out of my core and I can do nothing but curl into a ball and wait for it to pass. Other times it’s as if I’m being suffocated by a pervasive cloud of self doubt and hate. During those times I’ll lay on the floor thinking that everything I have done, am doing, and will do is for nothing and that I am a useless piece of trash single-handedly dragging society down. However even with all of these terrible feelings tearing through me the absolute worst part of my depression is constant and absolute hollowness. Like I’m not a part of myself anymore. Nothing makes me happy and all I can hope for is that my depression will pass quickly.

Two weeks ago on Monday I woke up and immediately knew some sort of chemical imbalance had gone off in my brain because I was drowning in my usual symptoms.

Rationally I knew what was happening and the ways to combat it – after all I got my bachelor’s in psychology. However, there is a difference between knowing the information you were taught sitting behind a desk in a classroom and the ability to execute those coping mechanisms when you can’t be bothered to get out of bed because all you can focus on is the empty feeling that has settled into every pore of your body.

I was finally able to muster enough energy to drag myself out of bed around one in the afternoon. I brewed myself a cup of tea and began my (current) routine of grad school applications. Which went terribly because I could not get myself to focus on anything. So I decided, okay clearly this isn’t helping me – time to try something else. Which was when I thought I could try starting up on an art commission my friend had asked me to work on for his new office space. Now I’m not going to say I was immediately put back in a regular state of mind, but oh my God was planning and working on that painting essential in getting me out of the pit I’d fallen into. There was something about being able to work on a project that gave tangible results each day that helped to bring back bits of my self-esteem each day. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy to get myself out of bed each day and paint. There were definitely days I had to force myself, but I was able to because I knew each time I added a bit more to that painting a bit of my melancholy would be released and some feeling of self would return.

I finished the painting last week and, although not completely myself again, I am in such a better place.

So my advice to anyone else who may be going through similar troubles is to take something that will challenge you and POUR yourself into conquering it. Perhaps you have your own painting idea or craft project or exercise routine or recipe you want to try out. Find an activity that has a clear ending and execute it. No matter how badly you want to curl up and do nothing, no matter how pointless you think it is at the time – finish your project. Seeing that you can accomplish something, even if it’s just in small fragments, will help to clear the fog of depression and bring you back to yourself.

For anyone else who suffers from depression or any other mental health condition I want to remind you that you are not defined by your illness. The person you are and the person your ailment momentarily forces you to be are two different people. You can overcome the negative feelings pushed upon you by your brain and become the best you, you can be. And please remember if you’re feeling too overwhelmed and alone there are mental health experts out there who are more than willing to stand by you and help ♥

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Not So Spooky Cupcake

Not So Spooky Red Velvet Cupcakes

Hello everyone! Sorry for being MIA for a while. Long story short I’ve been to take life day by day for the past two weeks because of personal problems. I feel a bit silly because things could be so much worse and I have no right to complain and it’s nothing I haven’t dealt with before, but I had to take time off to be alone and sort myself out. Anyway I’m going to be fine and I’m planning to post more about all that’s been going on sometime next week, but for now I wanted to share something fun for the upcoming Halloween weekend and Dia de Los Muertos.

I really can’t take any credit for this recipe as I simply went and snagged it off allrecipes. Honestly, if you’ve learnt anything from reading my posts by now you know I am hopeless at baking and will forever need to look up recipes for any dessert I want to make. Haha, I can only take credit for thinking red velvet cupcakes would be all too appropriate for some spoopy themed desserts!

Not So Spooky Red Velvet Cupcakes

Not So Spooky Cupcake

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Gluten Free Review: Immaculate Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Hello everyone! This post is going to be a bit short because I didn’t actually have to do any sort of prep work for this recipe. I mean I suppose I did have to physically place the dough rounds onto my baking sheet, but that doesn’t really count does it?

Alright so a bit of story behind these because I was so so excited when I found them. My Safeway has their dairy and deli meats sections combined. So whilst I was wandering around looking at all the cheeses and bacons for breakfast I ended up wandering over to the premade dough section – which is not really an area I find myself in often because rarely can you find premade gluten free recipes. Yet I somehow ended up over there, whether to lament the crescent rolls or stare longingly at the cinnamon buns no one knows, but what matters is I was there and they were there and the rest is history! I’ve never heard of this brand and I hadn’t had peanut cookies in ages so I decided to try them out (there were also chocolate chip cookies which I’m going to give a try later.)

So yeah, very exciting and super simple to make so let’s get started!

Immaculate Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Immaculate Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies Baked


Ingredients:

Immaculate pre-made gluten free peanut butter cookie dough (12 rounds)Immaculate Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies


Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Immaculate Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Instructions

2. Place the cookie dough rounds on an ungreased baking sheet, about two inches apart. I used a ruler to be precise – this is probably not necessary.

Immaculate Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Rounds

3. Bake 16 – 18 minutes (I went with 17) so the cookies are a gold brown color on top. These are very soft (similar to my Let’s Cook: Pumpkin Sugar Cookies) straight out of the oven so make sure you wait long enough that they won’t deform when you touch them before moving your cookies onto a cooling rack. I waited about 5 minutes.
Immaculate Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies Baked Top

My immediate thought on these cookies is that they’re quite tasty! The cookies aren’t overly sweet and although you can taste the peanut flavor it’s not overwhelming. I actually really love the way these taste because I hate when I bite into a peanut flavored desert and it feels as if I’ve taken a glob of peanut butter into my mouth. Not appetizing. So yes, the subtle flavor is nice and the chunks of peanuts throughout add a nice dimension to the cookie.

I do have to grumble about the consistency of the dough a bit – although whether this is the cookies fault or my lack of baking skills is up for debate. The cookies had that unbound quality most gluten free pastries have (obviously because of their lack of gluten), but the top of the cookie was almost disintegrating. Despite the inside of the cookie not being well bound together it was very soft and fluffy, but I think because the top wasn’t able to hold moisture as easily during the baking process it dried out and became slightly sandy. However, I’ve found a bit of a hack to fix this! Once you’ve baked your cookies and allowed them to cool place them in a plastic bag for about 15 to 30 minutes. The trapped moisture in the bag will re-hydrate the top of the cookies, making them super soft and delicious.

These cookies are definitely worth a try if you want something easy to bake and are fond of peanut desserts. Well I suppose that’s that and have a lovely weekend!

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