Archives for the month of: October, 2010

Today I found myself reading the book “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth while on the elliptical at the gym today (It’s the only time it seems that I ever have to read. So I figure why not kill two birds with one stone, eh?) This entry from the book really stood out to me – and I’m hoping a few others. It can be applied to so many different aspects of life – not necessarily just weight or food. 

This is a letter she wrote to No One in Particular who is hoping to be Someone Special and creating a weight problem in the meantime.

“It seems as if you chose this career and therefore this career arc. Can you accept that? Not as resignation, which is how people define acceptance. Not as a sense of victimhood: “Poor me, I can’t do anything but accept the situation.” But as the willingness to stop defining your tasks as a means to an end and instead inhabit what you yourself have chosen. What if this is exactly what you are supposed to be doing because it is what you are doing? What if each nitty-gritty task is perfection itself and you keep missing it because you’re looking for something else?

It’s like washing the dishes. If you focus on getting the dishes done so that your kitchen will be clean, you miss everything that happens between dirty and clean. The warmth of the water, the pop of the bubbles, the movements of your hand. You miss the life that happens in the middle zone–between now and what you think your life should be like. And when you miss those moments because you’d rather be doing something else, you are missing your own life. Those moments are gone. You will never get them back.

Even when you become Something because they were right, you really were Going Places–even when you arrive at being Someone because you are where you were going–your life may not be any better if you haven’t learned to be awake, alive, now. To take this moment for what it is. It’s just as easy to be miserable when you are Someone Special as when you are No One in Particular. Because even Someone Special still has to live in her own skin and deal with boredom, rejection, loneliness, disappointment. Even Someone Special comes home at night and does what the Nobodies do: falls asleep alone. You might as well learn how to pay attention now. How to inhabit the life you’ve chosen. How to take up every inch of your skin. Occupy the space in this body you were given. It’s your place. Only yours.

The write Annie Dillard says, “How you spend your days is how you spend your life.” Be unwaveringly honest. Ask yourself how you want to spend your life.” Be unwaveringly honest. Ask yourself how you want to spend your days. Since you’re going to be reviewing documents anyway, why not be aware of your breath and the ticking clock while you are doing it?

Whatever it offers, the reality of your day-to-day life has to be better than the self-inflicted misery you are creating through the stories you are telling yourself. It has to be better than the nightly binges and throwing yourself into the cycle of self-loathing and promises to stop eating so much.

Come back. Break the trance. Pay attention to your breath. Your arms. Your legs. Listen to sounds. The scrape of a chair. The whirr of the copy machine. Notice colors. The royal blue of a coworker’s dress. The coffee stain on your boss’s tie. Wake up to the riot of life around you every second. The singer Pearl Bailey said, “People see God every day; they just don’t recognize Him.” What if every day was a chance to see a new version of God? What if what you needed was right in front of you and you were not recognizing it?

You already have everything you need to be content. Your real work, despite the corporate ladder you are climbing, is to do whatever it takes to realize that. And then it won’t matter if you’re Someone Special or No One in Particular because you’ll be fully alive in every moment–which is, I imagine all you ever wanted from Going Places to be Someone.”

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Supposedly, these could be a semi-healthier version of a typical cookie because of the apples and a little friend of mine I like to call ‘the whole grain’. Personally – I think oatmeal in cookies is the best addition anybody could ever make. Right after White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies, Oatmeal Raisin puts up one hell of a fight for first. Anyway – if you want to believe that these are healthier because of the oatmeal – go for it!

Actually – with a few simple substitutions they could be made into a healthier morsel of heaven. While I didn’t test out any of these theories with this batch, these are some pretty common substitutions in the healthy eating world. I have actually tested out most of these before – and 9 times out of 10 they work like a dream.

Some quick ideas for you:

  • Use whole wheat flower instead of all purpose. Or even substitute half of the all purpose with whole wheat. Usually this makes whatever your baking slightly chewier than normal. That’s not half bad, right?
  • Reduce the amount of sugar (this recipe in particular is pretty sweet!) by using applesauce.
  • If you do use applesauce you can usually reduce the amount of butter or oil in a recipe too!
  • Use egg substitutes in place of the eggs. (Not sure how many of you out there keep Egg Beaters in the fridge – but this is one thing I always have on hand. They’re just so dang convenient. I mean seriously. For a regular ol’ omelet I would have to crack eggs, add a wee bit of milk or water, and mix like the dickens til they’re combined. With Eggbeaters: Pour in pan and cook. So simple!)

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

2 1/4 cups (340g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 sticks (336g) unsalted room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups (300g) brown sugar
1 cup (190g) granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups (360g) quick oats
3 small apples, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch chunks.

1. Preheat oven to 350 (180 degrees celsius). In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt , and spices. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add in eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add in vanilla.

3. Slowly add in dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated. Remove mixer from the stand and stir in oatmeal, and apple chunks. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

4. Use a small ice cream scoop (if you have one—mine’s in storage right now) or a tablespoon to drop golf ball sized dough onto the cookie sheet, keeping at least an inch and a half between each cookie.

5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until just turning golden brown.

My friend Google Reader told me about this today:

Found here.

. . . I had all of the hours in the day, these are some of the things I would love to fill those hours with.

Recycled Paper Flowers
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Magic
Canvas Doily Bag
Shish Kabobs

Yup. That should keep me busy for a while. : )


I don’t know what it’s doing in your neck of the woods – but it’s downright windy here. It’s the bone-chilling, coat-bundling, I-did-my-hair-this-morning? type of windy.

Gross.

While I was going to school in Marshall I grew rather accustomed to the wind – as I’m sure a few of my cohorts in crime did as well. We complained about the weather every chance we got. Honestly, isn’t it pretty typical in the midwest to start any conversation with what the weather’s doing? It is the ultimate conversation initiator.

Well, it’s been a few years since I have spent a fall or winter there, and I must say that the weather I’m experiencing today makes me rather reminiscent about those chilly scampers across campus. Sure the walk was absolutely horrible, but once inside the building everything was wonderful. Know why? Because you didn’t have to step a single foot outside until you needed to get back to your place of residence.

Well. I’m sorry SMSU. But you did not adequately prepare me for the real world. In the real world there aren’t inter-connected buildings and tunnels that allow you to forget how nasty it is outside. Nope. In the real world, unfortunately, you experience it all.

I think that because of the previously discussed weather outside, it’s only proper to share a song with all y’all today that you can listen to while you chill inside. It’s even appropriately titled and everything. I present to you: ‘Windstorm’ by School of Seven Bells. Enjoy!

For as long as I can remember, the mama has always said that the one true talent that she was given was that she can make amazing pie crust. And she does. They are absolutely amazing! If you are ever gifted with a pie baked by my mother you are in for a sweet surprise! However, after an attempt at a homemade pumpkin pie I decided that I would forever be in my mother’s shadow if I attempted to make pies as delicious as hers are. Therefore, I think I have decided to be a cookie maker instead. The recipe that follows was my first attempt at becoming a cookie connoisseur. Evidently they were quite delicious – because as of 9 p.m. last night approximately 30 cookies had been consumed by approximately 4 people.

Unfortunately I don’t remember where I found the recipe – but being new to this blogging world, hopefully you’ll forgive me.

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 1/3 cups (17 ounces) All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped Macadamia Nuts
1 1/2 cups White Chocolate Chips

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.

Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add eggs. Stir in vanilla. Reduce to low speed and add dry ingredients slowly, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Well. I have been thinking about creating a blog for quite some time now. Actually, the desire grew from a blog I created back in college for one of my marketing classes as extra credit – and failed miserably at keeping it up to date. Lately – however – I have been thinking that if I had a blog I could share the fun stuff I’m up to.

Actually this is how the thinking REALLY went: “If I had a blog – maybe I would feel more compelled to share fun stuff I’m doing. Then maybe I’ll appear cool. Wait a dang second. When’s the last time you actually did something, Beth? Maybe this will give me a swift kick in the butt and do something creative. Yea. I think I better start a blog.”

For realz. That was the entire thought process on this one.

It may not be that exciting at times around these parts – but I am going to try my dangdest to keep this up to date on my life – as well as keep all of you lucky blog readers out there moderately entertained. My plan is to share some fun DIY projects, sneak peeks into project I’m working on, magic for your ears and just down-right awesome stuff!

Be prepared.

:)