Showing posts from September, 2015

Self-Kindness is Best Served Without Perfectionism

In my first year of college I had a huge panic attack during finals week, after that panic attack I noticed that my perfectionism tendencies got worse. The pressure of working full time and extreme pressure I put on myself to do well in school, combined with my narcissist mother who didn’t think anything I did was good enough, set off that first panic attack, and from that day forward, I made a choice to make sure I perfected everything I did.

In the 20+ years since my first panic attack, I learned so many tough lessons that hurt me so much because of my unrealistic expectations of others and myself. I expected people to be decent, reliable, accountable for their actions, and most importantly fair and kind. And when one of those things didn’t happen, a bomb would set off and it was, off with their heads! I would lash out in very unkind ways and it was too painful to bear anymore. So right before I turned 40, I felt the need to start a new decade with new goals and life choices that wo…

Cranberry Harvest Muffins

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Total Time: 55 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 35 min
Yield: 18 large muffins
Level: Intermediate

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 extra-large eggs
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup medium-diced Calimyrna figs
3/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the milk, eggs, and melted butter. Stir quickly just to combine. Add the cranberries, figs, hazelnuts, and both sugars and stir just to distribute the fruits, nuts, and sugar evenly throughout the batter.

Spoon the batter into the pap…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


Pumpkin Cupcakes

BestieNote: I added 2 eggs, oil, a teaspoon of sour cream, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
Recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee
Total Time: 1 hr 42 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 1 hr
Cook: 12 min
Yield: 12 cakes
Level: Easy

Nonstick cooking spray
All-purpose flour
1 (18 1/4-ounce) box yellow cake mix
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, plus more if needed
1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Red and yellow food coloring, if desired
Special equipment: 12-count mini pumpkin cake mold pans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, coat with flour, and knock out the excess.

Combine the cake mix with the pumpkin puree and oil. Beat with a hand mixer on medium until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Some pumpkin purees have more moisture than others, if the cake batter seems dry then add more pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup at a time.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill the molds 2/3 of the way to the top wit…

Memories That Forever Haunt Her

My grandmother is very sick and I’ve been spending lots of time with her lately. I feel like I’m saying my last goodbye each time I see her, it’s heartbreaking. We spend our time chatting about the past, never about the present. The stories my grandmother retells are those of suffering, poverty and abuse. I know each story all too well because she has told me about them all of my life! However, now she suffers from early stages of dementia so she interchanges the characters in the stories very easily. Nevertheless, the stories are all real and she suffered a great deal all of her life. She was abused and suffered in such terrible ways; she survived those hard times, physically, but not mentally. The memories have haunted her in every stage of her life. And it looks like she will never to let go of the past. Ever since I can remember, she never acknowledges the present moment and takes any opportunity to turn-back time in any conversation.

A few nights ago, while thinking about my visit…

Chicken Cheat Sheet

Article courtesy of
Chicken Cheat Sheet. Know how to read chicken labels and what to look for in order to be an informed consumer on your next trip to the grocery store.
Do you know what phrases like "cage-free," "air-chilled," "organic," and "antibiotic-free mean" mean when they are stamped on the chicken in the grocery store? More importantly, do you know which labels are better for your health? Crack the code on chicken labels here with this helpful cheat sheet. By reading these tips you'll be one step closer to an informed, healthier, you. 
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Pumpkin Roll

Recipe courtesy of Trisha Yearwood

Total Time: 1 hr 20 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 50 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 16 servings
Level: Intermediate

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Two 3-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Watch how to make this recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth. Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined. Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan. Sprinkle the dough with the chopped pecans. …

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


Inspiring Minds Unite!

One of my dreams came true this past weekend! A group of the most inspiring (and some of my favorite) people were in a room together! And I was there!! They shared amazing stories, wisdom and so much of their soul! Here are the eleven magnificent people that shared amazing stories this past Saturday: Oprah, Brene Brown, Michael Bernard Beckwith, Shawn Achor, Marianne Williamson, Tim Storey, Iyanla VanZant, Rob Bell, Elizabeth Gilbert, Janet Mock and Deepak Chopra. Oprah called the event Super Soul Sessions.
After I left the event I was blissfully full and overjoyed with all of the information that each speaker shared with us. It’s taken me so many days to process the day! And almost a week later, I’m still walking on cloud nine. Every word spoken on that day resonated with me more than ever. There was a scent in the building, one of love, care and wisdom that left an impression that I will never forget. I walked out a more enlightened person, every speaker spoke for twenty-five minute…

Energy Balls

Recipe courtesy of
This delicious snack will give you the burst of energy you need to get through your mid-afternoon slump.The oat flakes and almonds in this recipe add a ton of protein and fiber to your daily diet. Eat these little energy balls for a sweet snack during the day.

1/2 cup oat flakes
1/2 cup crushed almonds
1/2 cup granola
1/2 cups crushed graham crackers

1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until well-combined.
2. Use a small ice cream scoop to make the balls.
3. Roll the ball in your palm until nice and round. Then place into a cupcake liner. Repeat until all the balls have been rolled.
4. Stick the balls in the freezer until firm.

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10-Minute White Bean Soup with Toasted Cheese and Tomato Sandwich

Steeping chicken broth with sprigs of rosemary and thyme for just a few minutes adds great flavor to this creamy white bean soup. The sandwich is toasted under the broiler, not fried in butter, and served open-faced, topped with juicy chopped tomatoes.

Total Time: 10 min
Prep: 4 min
Cook: 6 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients1/2 cup dry white wine
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, each about 6 inches long
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Two 15-ounce cans of cannellini or other white beans, strained and rinsed
1 small shallot, peeled, trimmed and halved
1 small garlic clove, peeled, trimmed and halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices crusty sourdough bread (each about 1-inch thick; 8 ounces total),
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Directions Position a rack about 4 inches from the broiler heat…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


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Quote of The Day


Cheddar-Scallion Biscuits

Nope-we didn't forget the butter. These cream-based biscuits are light and airy and super easy to make. Cut out the cheese and scallions and use the plain biscuit as your new go-to recipe.
Total Time: 30 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 15 biscuits
Level: Easy
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Special equipment: 2-inch biscuit cutter
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
Whisk together the flour, Cheddar, Parmesan, baking powder, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of black pepper and the scallion in a large bowl. Add the cream and the lemon juice. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it just forms a dough. Gather the dough into a ball and transfer it to a flour-dusted surf…

Restarting Life After a Health Scare

It’s been a few months since I decided to start living my life with more grace in my actions and in the way I use my words. My hope has been to handle situations with grace and empathy, instead of my hotheaded spurts that happen when I feel like I’m being treated unfairly and/or attacked. It’s been a challenge! I was struggling to stay on my path of living without judgment, which in my mind is a big part of living gracefully.

Life was flowing along as it always does, until, my husband came down with a high fever and torturous headaches. After seeing the doctor and waiting for antibiotics to kick in, a week had gone by and every symptom got worse. Then after a week of not knowing what was causing all of his problems, he was admitted into the hospital and diagnosed with viral meningitis. We went through this whole ordeal for three weeks! They were the scariest weeks of my life! I went from working toward finding ways to live life gracefully, to coming to a complete destabilizing halt! …

Total 10 Mexican Bowl

Recipe courtesy of

Turn lunch or dinner into a party for your taste buds with this zesty bowl! Mexican food is the ultimate treat yourself cuisine.  Now, you can still itch your craving without empty calories and loads of fat. This better-for-you bowl is proof, filled with avocado, tomatoes and cauliflower rice that will help you get your fiesta fix without the guilt. Get the completeTotal 10 Rapid Weight-Loss Planhere.

4 oz chicken, shredded
kidney beans
green pepper
1/4 avocado, sliced
2 tbsp salsa
cauliflower rice

Combine ingredients and enjoy an unlimited amount of non-starchy vegetables!

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Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


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Quote of The Day


Barbecue Cheeseburgers

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen Total Time: 1 hr Prep: 30 min Cook: 30 min Yield: 6 servings Level: Easy
Ingredients For the barbecue sauce: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apricot preserves
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
For the burgers: 2 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 red onion, sliced into rings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 slices monterey jack or pepper jack cheese
6 sesame seed hamburger buns, split
2 avocados, sliced
Directions Make the barbecue sauce: Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the chili powder and cook, stirring, until toasted, about 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup, preserves, mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 cup w…

Chicken, Avocado Cream and Quinoa Salad-in-a-Jar

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen Enjoy a layered lunch with this portable, Mexican-inspired quinoa salad. To save time, make a big batch of quinoa, and freeze it in resealable bags for up to 1 month. Having a whole-grain arsenal in your freezer will help cut down on prep time later.

Total Time: 40 min Prep: 15 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 4 salads
Level: Easy

3/4 cup red quinoa
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, finely chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt
1 firm-ripe avocado, halved, pitted and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Juice of 1 lime, plus 1 lime, quartered
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups frozen fire-roasted corn, thawed
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat (from about 1/2 chicken; about 3/4 pound)
1 cup black bean salsa
1/4 cup roasted and salted pepitas
2 cups tortilla chips, crushed

Special equipment: four 16-ounce wide-mouthed glass jars with lid…

Whoopie Pie

Total Time: 1 hr 10 min Prep: 20 min Inactive: 30 min Cook: 20 min Yield: 18 whoopee pies Level: Easy
Ingredients 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) 1 cup sugar 3 large eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup natural cocoa powder, such as Hershey's or Scharffen Berger 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoons fine salt 18 large marshmallows, (not minis)
Directions Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.
Put the unsweetened and semisweet chocolates and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl; heat at 75 percent power until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir, and continue to microwave until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. (Alternatively, put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching the water, and stir o…

I Just Want To Feel This Moment…Without Social Media!

I’ve been noticing a lot of posts on social media about the way things used to be, before social media. I remember those times fondly, like the time when I was deathly afraid to start college and I sat in my room and sobbed with fear, the unknowns of everything just got to me. I talked to my friends on the phone and a few came over to comfort me. Straight up human connections were happening in those days, good or bad, but I felt them and worked through them. I didn’t have a phone to text my friends, or social media to tell my friends and acquaintances how scared I was. It was almost face-to-face interaction where we cried, laughed and were scared together. No doubt that there’s an advantage to having social media to distribute news to the masses, but there are times when I would just love to have a friend come over, talk to them on the phone without distractions and avoid emailing each other our feelings.

Social media takes away the connection that we make during hard times in our live…