Monday, February 22, 2016

A change in behavior....

If you recall, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to break a bad habit or two...

This is about breaking one of them.

Carbonation in the form of Diet Cokes or Cokes....

I have stopped before

and





then







started back up....when I got stressed or to be honest,  just forgot that I had stopped.

I want to end this habit for GOOD!

So, I've been working on a new approach and plan.

Instead of quitting, I have been working on replacing it with a better option.

Why is this different, you ask?

Well, in my past attempts, I quit and then tried to fill the void.  A situation that set up for a sense of deprivation and loss.

My new approach is to not quit, but have other things in my life that replace it.  Basically, let it go out of love and not needing it anymore.

I have set goals for myself to increase my water intake, drink more tea and find options and by doing this I have already made progress.

I am in for the marathon, not the sprint, of this endeavor, so I am not there yet, but I am loving the direction I am going..

Being kinder to myself,
Melissa

Friday, February 5, 2016

365 days.....

I'm not really sure how it has happened, but it has been a year since my Dad died.

How is that even possible?
Time, this year, has passed with light speed and dragged like it was going through cold molasses,
and yet here I am a year later..

Grief has been an interesting journey as I dealt with, survived and slogged through this year of firsts.  I have found that on the major days, birthdays, holidays and this anniversary, I go quiet.  I start avoiding looking at the pictures of him I have in my room and on my phone and I avoid Facebook and other social sites for the same reason.  In fact, I'm writing this in advance, because I know I need to express this, but as the actual date approaches (February 5), I will retreat into quiet.

The quiet is what is right for me....
at first, I tried to fight it, but I learned that if I just accept and flow through the quiet, I come out on the other side with new insights and peace that I didn't have before and if I don't fight it, it only lasts a day or so..

For the rest of the time, your help, advice and support has been right.  It's a mix and a balance and I'm sure that he would of been proud of me for finding this balance and making it through.

In the past year, I have found photos I had forgotten about of the two of us and have framed a couple of them and have them on my dresser where I see them daily.  My one true regret is that I was often behind the camera or avoided having my picture taken with my Dad because I didn't like my hair or I thought I looked fat or some other reason...  WHY?  Why did I let my insecurities get in the way of a memory?  It is a mistake that I am fixing with those still in my life...

One of the weirder thing that caused me grief until I had to let it go was his number in my phone and on my favorites list.  I can not tell you how many times that I had a question for him and dialed his number and it wasn't until I hit dial that I would remember and then get clobbered by grief....  Ironically, once I took his number off his phone, it didn't hurt as much and I started a new ritual.  I asked him anyway.  Quietly, in my head, and then I listen....  I generally get an answer pretty quick and I hear his voice in my head as I do, and you know what, the answer has been right and exactly what I needed.

And that is when I realized the most important thing of this year of grief....
he is still with me
and I am still his daughter.

Love your daughter....
Melissa




Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February 1st....

Did you know that February 1st is Baked Alaska Day?

It is and since I'm celebrating weird/unknown holidays this year, I decided to celebrate it!  :)  As an added bonus, it fulfills a Food Challenge item as well as I have never made a meringue before.

The first documented Baked Alaska was made in 1876, to honor the recently acquired territory of Alaska, by chef-de-cuisine Charles Ranhofer of Delmonico's Restaurant.  It consists of a sponge cake topped with ice cream and coated with meringue and then baked at a high temperature to firm and lightly brown the meringue.  Yum......

Before I continue any further about my adventures in making this dessert, I first need to say that I now have mad respect for food bloggers and those who style and take pictures of food.  WOW, it is difficult to do the work and take pictures!  One armed photography is an adventure, or maybe I need a staff to help me out...  Also, combating the lighting in my kitchen was not fun.

To get started, it's time to gather our ingredients....

Remember the first time you were home alone as a kid and found this and dug in and well, let's just say it wasn't good

ok, now we're getting to the good stuff!

You Scream!  I Scream!  It's Ice Cream!

You also need eggs, sugar, flour, baking soda, unsweetened cocoa powder, and butter, but they are not as fun and I also forgot to take their pictures.  :(

First off, let's melt the chocolate with the butter.

oh, my....

Now it's time to mix up the eggs with the sugar...



 Then add the melted chocolate mixture in... I tempered it a bit just to be on the safe side..



 So, I forgot to take photos of the next couple of steps, remember how I said I needed help and that food bloggers are talented?  This is why!!!  Remembering to show all steps, etc....

The cake is made by adding the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa then baked  cooled and cut into circles.
The ice cream is put on the top and frozen.
A meringue is whipped up and put on top and then frozen.

light and fluffy meringue on top!  Thanks Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!

The long slow slide of non fluffy meringue mixed with a hand mixer.
 This is where having the right equipment can make a HUGE difference!  I made two batches of meringue and in the first one I use a hand mixer and mixed and mixed and mixed and mixed and got a somewhat fluffy concoction.  I applied it to the brownie/ice cream and then put it in the freezer and then the long slow slide began....

Batch two, I used my Kitchen Aid Stand mixer with the whisk attachment... two minutes later, fluffy and light and no sliding occurred...

Lesson learned.  :)
Right out of the oven!  YUMMM....

Needless to say, the picture above is of the second batch!  You bake the frozen dessert in a preheated 500F oven, then turned on broil right before you put them in for a couple of minutes, and then you devour the yumminess!

It was fun to try a new technique and a new to me dessert!
Here's to fun New Year's Resolutions!!!

Melissa