I’ve been completely trapped inside my own head, drowning in self pity, incapable of acknowledging the fact that there are others working just as hard and floundering just as much, if not more, than I am. It’s not a good head space to be in.
So, I have a few personal goals that I want to implement. If I say them aloud to you, dear reader, perhaps that will instil a sense of accountability in me.
I need to start seeing the silver lining. Life is never as tragic as my manic depressive brain tells me it is. I have so much to be thankful for. 16 years ago (holy crow, 16 years?!?!?) Oprah talked about writing in a gratitude journal. List five things a day that you’re grateful for. She believed that by focusing on the positives and being thankful for what you have, you open yourself up to receive more goodness in life. It sounds cheesy but I believe it. I even started a gratitude journal of my own over a decade ago. I stopped writing in it almost as soon as I started but I still have the journal. Sometimes I’ll read through it and it’ll make me smile. Sometimes the little things have so much meaning, so much power. While I may not write down the things I’m thankful for, I need to start keeping them in mind whenever I start focussing on the negatives.
I can’t beat myself up for being imperfect. I look at my mom and feel so inadequate. She grew up in rural China during the brutal Cultural Revolution. She immigrated to Canada with my dad and sisters, leaving the rest of her family behind. She didn’t know any English, worked a full time job, and managed to feed and care for a husband, four kids, and two in-laws. She never complained. She never stopped. She never asked for anything. She’d start working from the moment she woke up at 5 a.m. to the minute she went to sleep at midnight. I’ll never measure up to her. I can barely handle my job and taking care of me, the Husband and a dog. Everyday this week I felt like I was drowning. I constantly feel guilty for not having it all together. But you know what?
It’s ok to ask for help.
It’s ok to voice my frustrations.
It’s ok to leave the dishes/laundry/whatever.
It’s ok to order take out.
It’ll all be ok.
I’m not a very vocal person. That’s not to say that I don’t love to talk – you can barely shut me up! It’s just that I hate confrontation. I hate talking about my feelings. Throughout my life, I’ve always found refuge in the written word. I’ll rant ‘n rave in my journal. I’ll write dark, depressing, morbid poetry. That’s how I work through my emotions. It frustrates the Husband to no end because when I fall into a funk, I clam up.
I don’t want to talk about it.
I don’t want to be judged.
I know it’s hard living with me when I become completely inconsolable. I really need a holiday.
Until then, I guess I’ll have to keep holding on.
2 cups AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp instant espresso powder (I used 2 packets of Starbucks VIA)
1 tbsp baking powder
2/3 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup strong coffee, cooled (I used 3 packets of Starbucks VIA)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 380 degrees F.
Butter, spray or line a regular size muffin pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the brown sugar and make sure there are no lumps.
In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the coffee, melted butter, egg and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently but quickly stir to blend. You can leave a few lumps in the batter – don’t overmix.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. I got exactly 12 muffins out of the batter.
Coffee Cinnamon Streusel (my recipe)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (you can use whatever nut you want)
1 stick butter, cool and diced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 packet Starbucks VIA instant coffee (approximately 1 1/2 tsp)
Mix everything together in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or you fingers, rub the butter together with the ingredients until the butter is in pea-sized lumps.
Generously cover the tops of the batter with the streusel.
Place into your preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The muffins will be done when a cake tester comes out clean.
Place the muffins on cooling racks.
I really packed a lot of coffee into these muffins, more than what Dorie probably intended. I was buzzing a bit after eating one – I prefer the coffee flavour strong.
The Husband and I both loved these. They were tasty right out of the oven but even better the next day after the flavour was allowed to intensify. The coffee taste really punches you in the mouth – it’s aggressive, with an edge. The muffins aren’t too sweet, even with the delicious crispy streusel on top. And as Dorie writes in her book, the texture of these muffins is gloriously similar to pudding cake: super moist and rich.
I had a muffin with my coffee every morning this week which means, sadly, they’re all gone. So excuse me – I have another batch of muffins to bake!