I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Battling the Season of Insecurities with Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Thanksgiving is supposed to be about being thankful for what we have, but for people who are socially conscious with little money themselves, they can be the start of what I call the "Season of Insecurities."

Immediately after Thanksgiving is Black Friday and then Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday!  Whew!  That's a lot of spending!  If you go to church, many churches start their campaign to know how much people will be tithing in the next year. Many organizations will push for members to pool moneys together to buy an expensive present for their leader(s).  There are the many holiday parties with the $10-20 gift exchange, which may not seem like much until one considers the fact that I have been invited to nine-NINE!-holiday parties! Only three of them are having a gift exchange and I am only attending one of those three, but you can see the potential for a financial problem.  There's the Salvation Army ringing its bells at the grocery store and the Toys for Tots drive as advertised on the radio and the plethora of well meaning social and religious groups seem to constantly talk about "adopting" families for Christmas.  These things are all great, unless you're someone who doesn't have a lot of money or time to spare and then it's time to remember who you really are.

Who I am is a beloved child of God.  I am enough, even if I do not buy everything on my loved one's Christmas list.  I am still a kind person, even if I do not sponsor a child, promise to tithe, or buy a toy for a tot.  I can be kind to myself by reminding myself of these things and I can be kind to others by doing small acts of kindness towards them, even if I can't do big, showy ones.

I used to feel very insecure whenever the word, "fundraiser," was brought up and I will admit that it's still something I struggle with sometimes, but remembering all the little ways that I contribute on a daily basis helps me stay in reality. People with borderline personality disorder often have an unstable sense of self (identity) and so struggle with feeling insecure and empty a lot.  Making a list of ways that you already contribute to the world can help remind you of your real self and your self-worth.

Here is a List of Some Ways That I Contribute to My World:

  • Make Dinners for the Family
  • Grocery Shop for the Family
  • Feed Cat
  • Volunteer at an Assisted Living Home 
  • Take My Medications
  • Work On Staying Peaceful In My Recovery
Those last ones are BIG!  Even if we cannot do much monetarily, taking care of ourselves and our recovery is a big way that we can give back to our community.  If I can sponsor tons of poor families and buy tons of presents, but I am always in crisis and am stressful to be around, then how much pleasure, joy, and thanksgiving am I really contributing to the world? 

I usually make a fair amount of the gifts I give for Christmas.  I really enjoy making them and as I make them, I think about the person and my blessings go into the product.  A recent foodie gift were the pumpkin pie cupcakes I made for the church Thanksgiving feast a few weeks ago.  Supposedly, the small size makes them an easy way to have a smaller portion, but considering the fact that I ate three the day I made them, I'm not so sure...They're really addicting!  I got the recipe from the blog, Culinary Couture.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes


Ingredients:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups pure pumpkin
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup skim milk
(I just thought the eggshells looked pretty!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 11 foil cupcake liners (If using regular cupcake liners, make sure you spray them generously. It is highly recommended to use foil liners so the cupcakes will slide out easily).

2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and milk until well-combined. Then, stir in dry ingredients until well blended.

  (What a beautiful orange color-I just adore pumpkin!)

4. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

5. Let cool in tin for 20 minutes, then transfer to a refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes. Top with a dollop of whipped cream before serving. 
I baked them for the full 25 minutes-the top will be firm and the bottom will be slightly custard-y.  The tops will sink, but that's just because they want you to fill them up with whip cream!  And do refrigerate them-I know it's hard to wait, but they do taste better cold.
If only we had Willy Wonka-like computers and could reach into the screen and grab that cupcake!
I packed them up and everyone enjoyed my gift of cupcakes!  They're nearly gluten-free, since they have very little flour and I used Splenda, so they were basically spiced vegetables, right?  Right?  Well....
Beautiful! A swirl of Redi-Whip makes them complete.  They're light and tasty and completely addictive.  Everybody was appreciative.  So what if I cannot always give in big, showy ways?  I can give in tasty, caring, and peaceful ways and that is enough.

Link Love:



Conventional thinking has it that pursuing success will lead to happiness, but research has shown that it may be just the opposite. Pursuing happiness leads not only to happiness itself, but also to success, according to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage.


I don't know if I'm a sex positive feminist, because I've seen that defined a lot of different ways, some of which resonate with me and some of which don't, but I am without question a consent positive feminist. 



Why does it matter that Saving Mr. Banks sabotages its supposed heroine? Because in a Hollywood where men still pen 85 percent of all films, there's something sour in a movie that roots against a woman who asserted her artistic control by asking to be a co-screenwriter. (Another battle she lost —Mary Poppins' opening credits list Travers as merely a "consultant.")

Planet of the Blind - Disability and the Middle Ages, or, How to Count Your Blessings Stupid

There are two interesting rhetorical questions here. We know why the fraud has become a joke: disability has never stopped being a joke. It was always a joke because god willed it so—the infirm, the unseeing, the deaf were put on this earth to make “fit people” count their blessings. This is why American churches are not required to conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Don’t delude yourself: the cripples are not among the elect. They never were. 


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