Tag Archives: Cake

A Week Away & Some Food Blog Love

23 Sep

I’m going on a mini break this week with my Mum and Dad. We’re going to Sussex, just an hour and a half from here for a few days in a quaint little cottage. We will have a week of gentle walks on the beach in the late (late) summer sun (or perhaps more likely in the Autumn bluster), afternoon teas in cute little market towns, pub lunches and perhaps a tour of an odd stately home or castle or two. All interspersed with lots of rest breaks, yoga and delicious food home cooked by my Mum.

So try not to miss me too terribly this week 🙂 I’ll try and post some pics of us out and about and some other quick posts (wifi in the depths of the Sussex countryside permitting) but will be back, fresh faced and bright eyed (here’s hoping not utterly exhausted) at the end of the week.

Until then, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite food blogs.  Here are two of my current loves:

Hidden ingredient = avocado! Photo and recipe source Oh She Glows

Hidden ingredient = avocado! Photo and recipe source Oh She Glows

Oh She Glows is a vegan blog that is largely also gluten, soya and processed food free. Baked goods, desserts and healthy treats abound a long with lots of inspiring veggie main dishes.

I’m a particular fan of these freezer chocolate banana cookies – they are the perfect little morsel to quash a chocolate craving and as Angela, the blog author says, in only 80 calories!

It was on Oh She Glows that I discovered the absolute gem of dairy free chocolate mousses – chocolate mousse made from avocado! I’ve made this recipe several times now, once with the base to create an irresistible chocolate torte and all other times as individual pots of pure chocolate mousse joy. Seriously, if you haven’t had a chocolate avocado mousse, drop what you’re doing right this second, run to the market, grab some avocados and race home to make this mousse. You will NOT be sorry! If you think avocado in a mousse is just too weird, well get over it!

I’m very excited by the sound of homemade Twix bars. Next time energy allows, this’ll be going down in my kitchen!

I could wax lyrical for hours about Oh She Glows and I’ve definitely lost hours perusing the back catalogue of recipes. Whether you’re vegan or not, have food intolerances or not, if it’s not already part of your life, check Oh She Glows out.

Hidden Ingredient = Chick Peas! Photo and Recipe source Chocolate Covered Katie

Hidden Ingredient = Chick Peas! Photo and Recipe source Chocolate Covered Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is the mother of all healthy dessert blogs!

The writer, Katie, takes classic American puds and treats such as cinnamon whirls, brownies, cookies etc etc and ‘healthifies’ them by replacing refined flours, dairy products, and refined sugars with natural, wholesome and down right delicious healthier alternatives. There are also a smattering of light and healthy chocolate free main dishes. Most recipes are gluten free, or at least have a gluten free option. They are also dairy free and refined sugar free. Nutrition stats are given for most recipes with sugar free options available too. Katie takes hidden, totally unexpected ingredients as subs for less healthy counterparts to new heights. If you thought avocado in a chocolate mousse was strange, well hold on to your hat, cos Katie uses chickpeas, cauliflower and much more in recipes from chocolate brownies to cookie pie.

My current favourite CCK recipe has to be the deep dish chocolate chip cookie pie, pictured above, in which the flour is replaced with chickpeas!

I also love Katie’s Quaker Style Granola bars and her recipe has become my go to granola bar recipe. It’s a great base for so many add ins. Last week we had cranberry and pecan and this morning I made date and walnut granola bars to take on our trip to the Sussex seaside.

Speaking of which, I must go, still have my packing to do 🙂

Advertisements

Little Miss Obsessive

16 Sep
Should I make this cake? Photo credit Morgue File User Life is Good

Should I make this cake? Photo credit Morgue File User Life is Good

Last post I rambled about how certain personality traits may contribute to, hinder, or be a symptom of, my ME/CFS.  If you missed that post you can read it here.

It’s hard to know which trait to tackle first so I’m just going to dive right in to OBSESSIVENESS without letting myself obsessively over think (haha) the choice.

According to freedictionary.com the definition of obsessive is: to be continually preoccupied by a particular activity, person or thing. It is often an unwanted feeling or emotion, that continually forces itself into consciousness and consequently is frequently accompanied by anxiety. Words such as neurotic, gripping, compulsive, excessive and extreme are used to define obsessive.

I don’t think I am obsessive in respect of a particular thing or person. For me it is more that I have an obsessive way of thinking.

I think the best way to explain this is with a couple of examples. Now please don’t judge or ridicule me for the stories I am about to share – I’m laying out my soul here people, for you all to see! So please be gentle with me 🙂

I have a friend coming over this weekend for tea and cake and a long over due catch up. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve looked through recipe books and food blogs this week. I have been preoccupied by the idea of what cake to make. It’s totally unwanted, I wish I could just settle on something and choose and just make the thing! And not be constantly thinking and planning. It’s made me feel anxious with a tightness in my chest that is so physical. It’s not a big thing. Or rather it needn’t / shouldn’t be a big thing. Or even a thing at all. Tea and cake. Simple. But my obsessive nature has made it into a big thing. It has taken it to an extreme; to a place where ‘healthy’ people tend not to end up. I can see other personality traits at work here too. I can see that I am being perfectionist about what to make. One reason, I guess, that I’ve been so preoccupied with what cake to make is because I want it to be the best it can be. I want to make the best thing I can find. Perfectionist you see. Also I only really need to make one thing. But as I come across more and more things I want to make, I’m thinking maybe I’ll make thumb print cookies and granola bars and muffins! This is totally unnecessary given there’ll just be the two of us. But that’s the ‘all or nothing’ characteristic at work. I’m a pusher. I don’t ever do things by halves. I guess there’s an element of me worrying about what other’s think at play here too; as well as a self confidence issue. I want my friend to like what I make. I guess I want her to be impressed and think good things of me….arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Or is this the perfect cake to make? Photo credit: Morgue File User MUmland

Or is this the perfect cake to make? Photo credit: Morgue File User MUmland

Psychology of Jess 101 is quite revealing isn’t it?! Eye opening that’s for sure.

Another example of my obsessiveness concerns changing the sheets on our bed. Yes you heard me right. I think obsessively about changing the sheets….when we should (by some imaginary social standard that I seem bound to) change them; how to change them – should Mr B and I do it or shall we wait until our cleaner is in next week. If we change them on X day, then the cleaner can change them when she comes on X day, but then we would need to have washed them by X day…… Yes this is a conversation I actually caught myself having in my head whilst I was cleaning my teeth last night – what’s happened to being in the moment Jess? Mindfulness, get back to the moment! I don’t think it’s ‘normal’ (hate that word) healthy to think this way. And I would bet every penny of my life savings on Mr B never ever having had similar thoughts!! I doubt changing the bed ever enters his head!

I’m tired just reliving these two incidences. And this is the way my brain thinks about pretty much everything. Very very draining. You can see how this thought pattern behaviour is sapping my (already limited) energy. This obsessive thing also creates anxiety which means internal stress. This stress is basically throwing highly flammable petrol on an all ready uncontrollable ME/CFS fire….not at all helpful.

In my defence, I think ME/CFS has made me like this. In part at least. Planning comes with the territory with ME/CFS. With limited energy and chronic pain, I can’t just do what I want when I want. I certainly can’t make three types of cake. If I did I’d be flat on the floor in one big heap totally unfit for my friend’s visit. Hence I spend so much time ‘obsessively thinking’ and choosing what to make.  If I just went and stripped the bed when I thought of it, I would be in the bed recovering for a good while. Changing the sheets is something I just can’t do at the moment. My arms, neck and shoulders just hurt too much. So it’s an activity that has to be planned. Ditto with washing the sheets. I should forget anything to do with changing beds and housework, but life doesn’t really work like that does it? Mr B is AMAZING and is enabling me to live in our flat with him by being so supportive and doing so much. But he is a boy, and his cleanliness standards are slightly different to mine – the memory of him not changing his sheets for an entire term at Uni has left deep scars on me!!

Do others with ME/CFS have similar obsessive thought patterns? I believe so, but maybe you can tell me? ME/CFS certainly makes this character trait of mine much worse, even if it was inherently already there and at work to a much lesser degree.

This obsessive way of thinking has been running for so long now. It is an unconscious pattern. I do it without even realising. So it is hard to break. NLP can help with this. I need to work harder to break this pattern and to free myself from this energy draining obsessive way of thinking. Writing this post is like shining a light on this character trait of mine. It has been really helpful, if a little daunting to reveal myself like this. It’s making me see just how entrenched this obsessive way of thinking is for me and spurs me on to keep using NLP to break this pesky habit. It’s not the magic cure to my ME/CFS but it is another tiny piece of the recovery jigsaw.

Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday to Me….

2 May
Image source unknown via Pinterest.

Image source Joanna M Bromley via Pinterest.

Happy Birthday dear Jeeeeessss, Happy Birthday to Me!!

I turn 29 today. I’m still in Philadelphia so I get to spend the day and celebrate with my sister Lou and Mr B. We are going to take it easy and have a relaxed day so I pace myself and don’t over do it. Mr B has treated me to two nights in a gorgeous spa suite at a downtown Philly hotel for my birthday so I’m in the perfect place to relax. Lou is going to come over at lunchtime and we are going to have a picnic lunch in the close by Rittenhouse Square (or in our suite if the weather turns). I will then rest for a few hours before we go to Alma de Cuba for an early dinner and maybe a cheeky cocktail or two!

And no birthday (of mine at least) is complete without cake!

Image source egreetings.com

Image source egreetings.com

%d bloggers like this: