Monday, March 9, 2015

After Eight Moist Chocolate Cupcakes. My Recipe for Moving On.

8th of March will always be a day to remember MH370. Among my many efforts to heal and move forward is by baking. I came across a simple moist chocolate cupcake recipe and decided to give it my own twist by inserting a thin sliver of chocolate mint thins in the middle of the cupcakes. The result was really yummy! So, here's the recipe for those who wanna try this:

After Eight Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups fine brown sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or substitute by putting 1 tbsp white vinegar in a cup then filling the rest up with milk; let stand 5 minutes until thickened)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee (or 2 tsp instant coffee in 1 cup boiling water)
  • 1 box of After Eight chocolate mint thins

To make cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
  2. In the large bowl of a standing mixer, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and beat until smooth (about 3 minutes). Remove bowl from mixer and stir in hot coffee with a rubber spatula. Batter will be very runny.
  3. Remove bowl from mixer, and use a tablespoon to pour batter into the prepared muffin cups. Pour in 2 tablespoons of batter into the muffin cups, lay 1 piece of After Eight chocolate thins onto the batter, and then cover with another tablespoon of batter. Do not fill the muffin cups more than two-thirds full (or else batter will rise over and make a big mess - not bigger cupcakes).Repeat the same for the rest of the muffin cups. Bake 20-24 minutes, or until cupcakes feel slightly springy when you gently press their centres. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes approximately 20 cupcakes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Choosing to Love Myself

"The 1998 book, Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, is the primary text for all that is taught by The William Glasser Institute. Choice theory states that:

  • all we do is behave,
  • that almost all behavior is chosen, and
  • that we are driven by our genes to satisfy five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun.

In practice, the most important need is love and belonging, as closeness and connectedness with the people we care about is a requisite for satisfying all of the needs."

Today, I've decided to focus on our need for love. We all need to love  and feel closely connected with those who are important to us and be loved by them in return. But lets ponder upon something: how many of us actually include ourselves as someone of equal importance in our own lives? How many of us include ourselves in our Quality Worlds? How many of us feel connected to our own inner selves?

The past few months have been emotionally challenging to me, to say the least. I found myself feeling unappreciated and invisible to those whom I considered worthy to exist in my Quality World. I felt disappointed when they didn't reciprocate the things I had gone out of my way to do in order for them feel happy and loved. And it was truly difficult for me to shift my perspective and look at what happened from other angles. I couldn't figure out why I kept allowing them to disappoint me when they have an excellent track record at letting me down repeatedly. I understand the concept that just because I have them in my Quality World, that does not guarantee that I will be in their's. If such is the case, I should be able to easily communicate my personal boundaries to them and tell them that what they were doing to me is not okay. I was able to do that with most of those in my Quality World. But why couldn't I do the same to the few that were hurting me and causing me a lot of emotional stress?

It was during my latest session with my therapist that I experienced a very powerful inner revelation: I loved those who were hurting me more than I love myself! Wow! That was a real huge wrecking ball to break my concrete hard mental blocks!

Think about it for a moment. Why don't we include ourselves in our own Quality Worlds? Why? Is it possible we suffer from self loathing? Is it possible that our inner bullies have judged us unworthy of being loved by others? When someone tells us they love us, how many of us battle the inner cynic that whispers "Yeah, sure!" It is easy for us to believe we are loved by our parents and siblings. But when it comes to others who are not related to us, we counter their expressions of love with disbelief. I seriously think this stems from lack of self love. And this is not healthy. At all. And lets take a look at the Seven Deadly Habits. How easy it is for us to criticize, blame, complain, nag, threaten, punish and bribe (often with junk food or impulsive spending) ourselves.

Imagine practicing the Seven Caring Habits onto ourselves for just a day. We can either choose to apply all Seven Caring Habits onto ourselves in a day (all 7 in 1 day, once a week), or choose one of the Seven Caring Habits onto ourselves for one whole week (1 Caring Habit a day, everyday, for 1 week). In fact, there's a variety of ways you can apply this idea onto yourself. The sky the limit as far as this is concerned!

Imagine how you would feel if you were to practice supporting your inner self all throughout a day; or even a week! Of course, you would still be getting support from people around you. But if you do not feel you are worthy of accepting any external support, no matter how supportive people are around you, you would still end up feeling alone and unsupported. The same goes with the rest of the caring habits such as encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting yourself and negotiating differences that exist between what lies within you and what you show the world.

Do you view yourself idealistically according to how you see yourself in your Quality World or are you able to accept yourself realistically as who you really are? Are you congruent with yourself? Does your inside match your outside? Are you able to be authentic and sincere with yourself? Chances are, if you feel exhausted and glad to be home within your comfort zone after a social outing because it does take a lot out of you to behave a certain way and suppress your true self, it is highly possible that you are afraid to be yourself. That is a sign of lack of self acceptance and lack of self worth.

What I am suggesting is that we practice the Seven Caring Habits onto ourselves FIRST before we even start doing the same onto others. A cliche quote comes to mind. "Charity begins at home." Here's mine: "If you don't love yourself, you don't know what love is."