When life hands you lemons, eat peanut butter

I have to admit, it was a quiet week on the western front, one where I was simply trying to keep my head low and get through the week.  Motivation has been hard to come by, often feeling stuck and scattered instead of secure and inspired.  I guess this is where I need to take a step back and tell myself it’s okay to stand still, to stay rooted where I am and strive for growth.  An overwhelming feeling of impulsiveness and anxiousness does not help that though.  In times like these, it is no surprise that I turn to my baking to ease my troubles, unless of course I am baking with the one ingredient that causes me to throw all forms of common sense out of the window: peanut butter. 

This week, my attempt to bake treats for others did not go according to plan.  Normally, I am pretty good at abstaining from tasting my baked treats; however, all bets are off when peanut butter is involved.  As much as I enjoy experimenting with different recipes, and attempting to make “healthy” treats, that is when I begin to bargain with myself and convince myself that it is okay to try them: Oh, it’s peanut butter, there’s no added sugar or flour, this recipe is healthy!  And more often than not, once I try one that is when I eat half of the tray (as I have absolutely zero self-control when it comes to all things peanut butter).

IMG_1230  Although these make look odd, and similar to last week’s PB banana treats, these came out so much butter than I could have imagined!  In addition to peanut butter and bananas, these squares also contained mini chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, oats and shredded coconut. (Almost healthy!)

Waking up this morning, I could definitely feel the after effects of my peanut butter tray binge, but sometimes, I guess you need to fall off of the wagon in order to jump back on with a new vigor.

This weekend, I have quite a bit of baking to do to; luckily, all of my upcoming treats will be peanut butter free (and temptation free)!

 

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; my story is not over yet

Everyone always asks me, “why do you bake so much?”  Baking can be time consuming, costly and a situation on the hips; so why do I do it?

Well, why does anyone take part in any hobby?  It makes me happy. It’s that simple.  Why do I practice hot yoga so much? It makes me happy.  Why do I wander around taking photographs? It makes me happy.  Baking takes me out of my head.  When I find myself slumped, baking helps pull me out of it.

This week, I was on a health(y-ish) kick.  As a lover of all things peanut butter, I was determined to bake something with my favorite indulgence.

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After a quick search, I settled on a recipe that only called for three ingredients; what could be better than that?  Peanut butter, (gluten free) oats and bananas.  Healthy(ish), quick and simple.  I threw some mini chocolate chips and peanut butter chips on top (because: why not?) and called it a day; at the root of it all though, this recipe was created with good intentions.

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Finding hobbies that make us happy are so incredibly important.  They take us away from the negativity, even if just for a moment.  However, in times where we are truly struggling, hobbies may not be enough.  Anxiety and depression can be so painful, so debilitating, that it can feel as though nothing will pull us out of the downward spiral.  Sometimes, it is not easy for someone to open up about what he or she may be feeling; therefore, it is important for us to be kind, sympathetic and brave enough to listen, to help he or she feel safe and accepted.

The most heartbreaking news I could have heard all week was that Amy Bleuel, the founder of Project Semicolon, passed away.  Although I did not know her personally, as a school counseling student and someone who has dealt with their own feelings of depression and anxiety, I found Project Semicolon to be extremely moving and inspiring.

(To learn more about Project Semicolon, please visit: https://projectsemicolon.com)

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Amy’s passing in no way lessens this beautiful movement, or all the work she has done to serve as an advocate within the mental health community.  The semicolon will always remain as a symbol of hope for anyone who may be struggling, who has struggled or who has lost someone.  We must keep striving forward and keep spreading hope; our story is not over.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

Feel Good Friday

Although it may not feel like it yet, we have finally turned a corner in the seasons.  The days are longer, the chill is starting to leave the air and the sound of birds chirping are serving as my alarm clock.  With March almost behind us, I am more excited than ever to jump into Spring; everything begins to stir again, as I look to the upcoming days with a new focus.

This week has been pretty wavy, rocking from mundane and uneventful, to emotional and stirring, to enlightening and empowering; but honestly, I am okay with that!  Sometimes that feeling of just getting through the week, successfully sailing through the different waves of emotions, is enough to revitalize you; it also helps you focus on the little things that make you happy, such as the changing seasons or new recipes.

At work, though, I have been excited to explore new projects; this week, we borrowed a camera from our social media department in hopes of collecting portraits for our upcoming Volunteer Appreciation Brunch.  Of course, having the camera has offered me the opportunity to capture more than just volunteer portraits.

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(This is Lootah! A new friend I met in our cat habitat.)

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(And this is Miss Maggie! A sweet little lady who loves going for walks, and is also available for adoption.)

I love playing around with photography, and the fact that I get to explore this passion at work has been amazing!  Things have begun to settle back into a routine at work, a busy routine but one with a good flow.  As I jumped back into the swing of things, I realized that I haven’t spoiled my fellow workers with treats for some time now; I decided that maybe a small pick-me-up was needed to help get us through the week.

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One of my favorite ingredients to bake with is oats.  Not only is oatmeal utterly delicious (and good for you!), but I love the consistency when added to a baked treat.  It adds a smooth yet heartier taste.  For these cookies, I found a new oatmeal chocolate chunk recipe and was excited to try it out.  The recipe called for all of the basic cookie ingredients, but I was intrigued to see cinnamon thrown into the mix.  I had never thought to add cinnamon to an oatmeal cookie before!  I’m glad that I did, as many of my taste-testers commented that the hint of cinnamon was quite enjoyable.

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Overall, what may have started as a temperamental week certainly settled into an amazing Friday feeling.  Sometimes, you just need a week to go through the motions and clear away the cobwebs of the mundane.  In the end, you’ll find yourself springing into the weekend with feel-good vibes and a clear mind.

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