Therapy – Cool in NY, Shameful in NE

Why is it that in NYC, ladies meet for lunch and part of their conversation revolves around what their therapists think is best for them.

“Well, my therapist says I need to take care of myself more, pamper myself, get more me time, etc”

Whereas in NE, at least along the southern coast, to admit you’re in therapy is to allow yourself to be psycho-analyzed by your peers/parents/siblings behind your back!

“OMG!  Did you hear that ___ is in therapy?  Can you believe it?  Well, I always knew she needed help.  Ya, but who needs therapy?  So they can tell you what you already know?  Please.  Just shut up, pick yourself up off the floor, dust yourself off and get back out there in life.  We don’t need no one to tell us life’s tough.  We know that already!”

I started going to see a therapist after I found out that my 60 year old neighbor had sexual designs on my 4 year old angel.  It really messed with my head.  My world view was skewed.  It got to where I started imagining that every man in her life was secretly harboring a plan to get at her.  Yeah.  Over my head and a bit overwhelming.

So, I went to visit a therapist who specializes with families that have dealt with sexual trauma.  Thank God I did…

And yet going really went against everything I’d ever been taught growing up.  It’s basically our ‘religion’ as purists.  Something horrid happens and you just suck it up and deal with it.  Life’s gonna hand you some tough cards to deal with and you’re going to have to soldier on.

Until you can’t.  Until you’re paralyzed by your fear and/or anxiety.  Until it creeps into your head at the most inopportune moments.  Until you feel it affecting all aspects of your life.

And then, well, then you thank your lucky stars that there are professionals out there willing to listen, help you work through it and find a way to deal with things a little bit at a time, at your pace.

I’m with the cool cats in NYC…I think my therapist and therapy rocks.

Apple Brownies

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Yes!  Apple Brownies!

That lovely cracked, kind of crunchy top layer, and moist chewy interior.

Wait until you try these tasty bars!

Let the sweet adventure begin!

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Crack 3 large eggs into a large bowl.

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Whisk!

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Add 1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar.  And….you guessed it……whisk!

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In a small bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon baking soda,

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1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon,

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1/2 teaspoon salt,

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and….anyone, anyone??  Whisk!

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Add flour mixture to eggs and sugar and mix well.

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Add 3/4 cup canola oil and

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1 teaspoon vanilla and stir together.

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Fold in 2 1/2 cups sliced or chopped apples (from about 4-5 MacIntosh apples), peeled.

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Spread into greased 9 x 13-inch pan.

Bake about 40 minutes, till toothpick inserted comes out clean!

Servings: 16

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Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream!  Or just nibble at throughout the day…nobody will notice!

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Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!

Pizza Friday!

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Ahhhhhhh………Friday.  Been waiting all week for this.  And you’re just about to settle down for pizza and a movie.

Give yourself about an hour and a half before you want to eat: to turn on the oven, bring the dough to room temp and serve yourself some delicious, piping hot pie!

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About an hour and a half before you want to dive headfirst into pizza, take your ‘pizza dough like a pro’ out of the refrigerator and let it rest and come to room temperature on the counter.

About an hour before you want to eat, grab a pizza stone or baking stone of some sort (mine is a rectangular cookie stone!) and put it directly on the bottom rack in the oven.  Remove the top rack from the oven, altogether.

Preheat the oven to 550 degrees.

Thirty minutes before your desired chow time, follow instructions below!

Let the savory adventure begin!

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Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the bowl of dough and literally, punch your dough.

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It’ll deflate a bit…

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punch it some more!  Maybe 2 or 3 times, to get some of the built up gas out.

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Turn dough out onto parchment paper.  Divide the dough in half.

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Like so!

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Using your fingertips, “walk” over the dough, gently spreading it out without squashing all those beautiful air pockets,

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until it starts to look like the size and shape of a pizza.  Leave a little extra on the outside rim for the crust.

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Your pizza dough will not be uniform or perfectly round or without sections which are thinner or thicker.  But that’s the beauty of it.  It tastes amazing;  all of it.  And it looks like artisan pizza from the Italian countryside.

Don’t worry.  You’re doing great.  Keep going!

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Lightly spread each dough round with some pizza sauce, bought or homemade.  Lightly! Your instinct will tell you that it is not enough sauce and you will want to add more.  Do not do it!  Use sparingly!  Otherwise you will end up with a soggy bottom…

and who, tell me, who likes soggy bottoms???

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Tear up basil leaves and sprinkle all over both pizzas.

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No.  I am not making a cheese pizza.  I am making a pepperoni pie.  Again, this will go against your better judgement, but roll with it.  Give it one chance made this way.  if you don’t like it, make it however you want next time…

So add your cheese over the basil and sauce.  I use 3/4 pound freshly shredded mozzarella and about 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan.  I split this amount between the 2 pizzas.  Almost all of it.  Reserve about 1/2 cup.

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Then comes the pepperoni!  However many your little heart desires…and a couple popped in your mouth for good measure.

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Sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup of the reserved cheese blend.  Give a light drizzle of olive oil over the top of the pizza.

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Slide, using the parchment paper, onto the hot stone.

Cook for 7 minutes.

Repeat with 2nd pizza.  Cook for 8 minutes.  (This is because the oven has cooled down from having its door open to remove the 1st pizza and put the 2nd one in!)

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Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!

Pizza Dough Like a Pro!

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Delicious!  Easy!  Made by You!

My husband and I have celebrated “Pizza Friday” for…well, at least 15 years of Fridays!  Our tradition has been pepperoni pizza, rootbeers, and a movie.

Well, a couple of years ago I stopped working to stay home with my little girl and I started to really notice that $30 – $35 every week for a delivered dinner was costly.  So I decided to venture into pizza making…with much trepidation!

Yeast?  Kneading?  Pizza Sauce?  Yikes!

You will not, could not possibly, imagine how simple, fast and a thousand times better it tastes to make your own at home.

Try it once.

Just once.

If it’s not worth it, I encourage you not to do it again.  (Because I know you’ll be amazed and hooked!)

OK!  Let the savory adventure begin!!!

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Put 2 cups all-purpose flour in a mixer fitted  with a paddle.

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Add 1 cup cake flour

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and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

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In a liquid measuring cup, add 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (about 100 – 115 degrees)

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and then add 1 teaspoon active dry yeast,

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1 teaspoon sugar,

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stir together,

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and then add 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir.

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Let the mixture sit until bubbly, about 3 minutes.

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With the mixer on medium, pour in the yeast mixture and mix until a rough, sticky dough comes together, about 1 minute.

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Add 4 tablespoons more of cake flour and mix until combined.

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Remove from paddle.

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Switch to dough hook after combining the 4 tablespoons flour with the dough.

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Mix on low speed until it comes together in a ball.  Let rest for 5 minutes in the mixer.

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Mix on medium until less sticky, about 1 minute.

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Flour the counter, oil your hands, move the dough onto the counter and

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knead till it gets smooth (will still be wet and sticky which is perfect!), about 30 seconds – 1 minute.

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Transfer the dough to a large, oiled bowl and cover bowl’s surface with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight (will be tastier!).

Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!

 

 

The Secret Garden

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The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

This book is lovely.  Just lovely.

I realize that it is a classic meant to be read as a prepubescent child, but I missed the boat!  It was one of those books that was never assigned to me in school and therefore that I never picked up and read when I was meant to.

However, I must say that it was incredibly enjoyable to read as an adult.

It’s a story of a little girl Mary, spoiled and sour, who is transferred from her home and family in India when her parents dies from cholera to her Uncle’s Manor in England.  Her Uncle is deeply depressed by the death of his wife 10 years earlier, and the ailments of his spoiled and sour son.

Mary is left to herself in her new surroundings and blossoms into a bright, beautiful, tender and loving young girl as she discovers and nurtures back to life a secret garden.  This garden holds the “magic” necessary to inject life back into her, her Uncle and his “crippled” son.

Wonderful metaphor of a garden being brought back to life by tenderness, care, attention and love, as it brings life back to those who tend it.

Definitely not just for children!

 

 

Au Naturel

being in natural style or condition; nude – Merriam Webster definition

It’s hard.

To go au naturel.  With this hair.

I don’t want the frizz and 80s looking scrunched curls that my hair has to offer.  I like the way it looks when I spend an hour blow-drying it, straight-ironing it, curling it and hairspraying it into a sleek style.

And then it starts raining.

Or it’s humid out.

And then I’m a slave to the umbrella or air-conditioning, just to avoid what my hair naturally does.

Why can’t I just embrace it?

Life would be so much simpler.  I would get out of the house so much quicker. I wouldn’t have so many split ends…

Take it from me.  Don’t ever start.  Don’t battle to make your hair do what it wasn’t meant to do.

Go au naturel.  From the get-go.

I mean get. up. and. go.

And if on extremely special occasions, your prom, your wedding, etc, you want to “sport a do”?  Great.  Then go back to being beautiful you.

It Is What It Is

I always hated when an old colleague of mine used to say this.  I felt as though it was a concession to things that were “out of your control”.  I would think to myself, “what a cop-out”, “only cowards don’t fight”, “things aren’t as they seem”, “I can change things to fit my ideology, to deny reality, to hide my fears of the truth”.

Don’t deny that things are what they are.  When you finally wake up to the truth of it all, you might not be able to handle it!