Saturday, September 12, 2015

Beyond Simple Banana Cupcakes

With a growing and busy preteen at home, I am all about simple recipes. The recipes around the Web for banana bread or cake take many ingredients and I seldom have them. On hand, I had four ripe bananas and a white cake mix by Pillsbury. I spent $0.94 on the mix and $2.00 on the bananas. Add your favorite frosting and you're done.

Yield =  24 cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
4 bananas, ripe
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water, cold

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, begin by mashing the bananas with a fork very well. 
Using a wooden spoon, to the bananas mix in eggs, oil, and water. 
Lastly, slowly mix in cake mix a little at a time. 
Once all is combined well, use a mixer to mix at high speed for 2 minutes.
Place two tablespoons of the batter in each cupcake liner in the cupcake pan.
Bake for 19 to 23 minutes.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Positive Thinking Experiment

I've been thrown some curve balls in my life that I am proud to say I have handled well. In order to stay positive throughout all the negativity, I have journaled, created vision boards, and I even listened to countless hours of positivity-focused audiobooks. There's no secret recipe to happiness because everyone gauges happiness in different ways. To me, happiness is security with the ones I love. Pretty simple, huh?

OK, so you don't need to do what I did, and I wouldn't recommend the hours of book reading or listening. If you're working on being a more positive person, or even if it was your new year resolution, here is a guideline to follow.

1. Take gratitude walks. It is hard to carve out time to walk around, but I encourage you to take 10 minutes at first and work up to 30 minutes a week. I suggest taking a walk anywhere, even around your house, with your significant other and mention all the things you are grateful for. You can do it alone, like I do around my office building, by talking to yourself in your mind going through a list of things you're grateful for. 

2. Journal three things you are grateful for every morning. I use The Five-Minute Journal iPad app (under $6) and I record three things I am grateful for every day, three things that would make today great, and my daily affirmation. In the evening, I write three things that went well today. It is an exercise in just jotting it down so you can remember the important things. The app also allows for photos.

3. Create a vision page. I find a vision board tedious and more than I can handle. In one hour, I covered a simple sheet of white paper with images and words of things I want in my life. I keep it on the side of my fridge so I am sure to see it daily. It keeps me hopeful.

4. Avoid news. This is actually the base of my experiment. News is rarely good, and you typically have to hear/see all the bad news before you see the good. This goes for local, national, and international news. Before this, I was a news junkie watching CNN, MSNBC, and HLN daily. Since I stopped watching and reading news, I feel happier inside. Of course, all the pertinent news still gets to me, mainly through my husband and Twitter (I follow AP and WSJ).

5. Eliminate negative friends. This  was a hard one because I had to eliminate two people who I thought were my closest friends. Over time, I realized the things they said and the way they said them were self-centered and meant to hurt me. Not good friends at all. You may want to have a serious discussion about your feelings first before you stop returning calls and emails. Still, I replace negative people with positive people. Remember, you can always reach out to me!

Let me know how your journey to a more positive you goes!