Recipe For One Cupcake from a Box Mix

Cupcake for One

I live alone and honestly, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I can walk around with no pants. I can leave dishes in the sink for more than 2 hours without feeling like a scuzball. I can watch whatever the heck I want on Netflix without judgment. When I have to pee, I don’t have to wait to use one of my two bathrooms. It’s really amazing.

However – the biggest drawback of flying solo is cooking. I have become Grub Hub’s number one customer because honestly, I don’t know how to cook for one person. I’m also really freaking quirky and I don’t like leftovers.

If I’m craving cupcakes, I pull out a cake mix, bake a dozen, and then eat “only one” which turns into “just one more” while sitting on my bed, watching Grey’s Anatomy without pants on. Before I know it, I have sticky hands, sticky sheets, and so many regrets.

And this is precisely how I’ll likely be diagnosed with diabetes sometime in the near future. I seriously don’t know how my recent bloodwork didn’t come back with “LOL KATIE STOP IT RIGHT NOW” on it.

The thing is, there’s no one to tell me to stop eating the cupcakes. I could hide them from myself, but I don’t know if you know this, but I’m going to know where I hid them… every. single. time.

I lack willpower. BUT I WANT MY CUPCAKES.

So. I hacked the system, guys. Seriously, I’m about to drop some knowledge on you like no other. Are you freaking ready?

Here’s how to bake just one or two cupcakes. From a box. 

*Cue angels singing.

(PS: I can’t even take credit for this, I found it here – but I adjusted it a bit.)

These ingredients are per cupcake that you want to make. I always recommend making 2 but hey, do you.

DRY INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tbsp. of Cake Mix 
    Note: I’ve tried this with Duncan Hines and Pillsbury cake mixes. I haven’t tried it with any other brand yet. I know the volume of cake mixes are different, so mileage may vary. Duncan Hines probably worked the best, IMO, but the Pillsbury was just fine.

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp. egg whites
    (you can also use Egg Beaters to make things easier or just beat an egg nice and proper and use 1 tbsp of egg.)
  • 2 tsp of oil of your choice*. I keep Canola in house. I haven’t tried with olive oil. I’d avoid vegetable oil just because it’s so gross for you.
    *I know nothing about baking, so I’m sure some oils won’t work. 
  • 3 1/2 tsp. of water

DIRECTIONS:

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

-Combine wet ingredients (egg whites, oil, water) and whisk for about 1 minute until blended. If using egg whites, mix until fluffy little bubbles start to form.  Then, add wet ingredients to your cake mix and blend by hand (well, with a whisk), and then continue to mix for another minute or so.

-You do need to eye this up a bit. I have had batches when I’ve noticed the cupcake batter is a little thin, so I’ll add some more cake mix about a tablespoon at a time. I’ve never had to add more than 2 or 3 extra tbsp. Go with your gut on this.

-Pour your cupcake-y goodness into a cupcake/muffin pan – cupcake liner optional,  but recommended.

-Bake for 12-14 minutes – until a toothpick stuck in comes out clean

-Remove, Cool, Frost, Decorate. Eat the “Whole pan” without feeling even an ounce of guilt.

I personally like to pretend I’m on cake boss when I decorate my cupcakes by throwing some icing into a ziplock bag, sealing it, pressing the icing down to one of the corners, cutting a hole in that corner, and using the ziplock as an icing piping bag.

Notes:

  • I truly believe the secret is in mixing the wet ingredients separately and then adding to the dry ingredients.
  • Also, making sure when you blend the ingredients together that you do so for at least a minute to 70 seconds.
  • Nutella makes an amazing icing. So does cookie butter. So does Cool Whip. So does whipped cream.

And that’s it, you guys. Go forth and eat your little cupcake loving hearts out.

Lifeaversary | 7

*If you are new here, each year I celebrate my Lifeaversary – the anniversary of the day that I attempted suicide (August 3rd, 2009). If you or someone you know is having dark thoughts, or is in a black hole of depression that they can’t get out of, there is help here. and here. and here. and here. You are not alone. You are not done. Your depression is lying. The world still needs you.

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I’ve struggled with writing this post. Not because this year has been particularly bad, or even overwhelmingly good. It’s been… a lull. Which, after the crazy 2 years I had a while back, I embrace this lull like you wouldn’t believe. Admittedly, I thought about not writing a post this year because, well, I haven’t really felt inspiration. Writing has taken a bit of a back seat to career choices and Netflix binging. As you do, Internet. As. You. Do.

While nothing huge externally has happened to me this year — I am not married, I haven’t birthed any children,  I haven’t become the heiress to the Pancake empire (yet), it has been a very active year deep in the inside. (TWSS? No? Okay.)

Struggle Does Not Always Equal Crisis

I have noticed a monumental shift in my thinking. In years past, when I was faced with struggles, I would freak out, thinking my world was going to end. I would go immediately into crisis mode, contact my therapist, and go on this downward spiral of fear that I was diving into the dark place again.

This year has not been without its struggles. However, when something has challenged me, my mindset doesn’t go to crisis mode. I worry, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t worry myself to a point of anxiety and panic attacks that have me in some kind of Xanax induced coma of self-medicating. Instead I call up a friend, pour a cup of tea, take a walk, Meditate, or one of dozens of other self-care rituals that I have developed.

I am only human though, I have ugly cried for a few hours over some stuff. That’s what cupcakes are for.

Self Care + Happiness

The thing I am most proud of (and honestly, really freaking stoked about) is learning what self care and happiness mean to me.

For years I’ve read articles, blogs, had coaching calls, had therapy sessions talking about this elusive “Self Care”, how important it is, and how I needed to be practicing it.

I would try endless things, none of them made me happy. I was convinced that I was a real life Eeyore, born without any happy juice in my brain.

Arguably worse, I found myself waiting for someone or something to come along to make me happy. A romantic partner, a job, more money,

It took me 7 years to figure it out, but I learned to be open to happiness, and to experience it in whatever form it visited me. Happiness for me isn’t some huge smile and doing back-flips. So waiting for my happiness to look like every one else’s is going to be a fruitless battle.

For me, happiness is more of an internal feeling of calmness combined with excitement for that present moment. Most times, even when I am with friends or family, my mind wanders to the past or the future where anxiety and depression live and try to steal my sunshine, making my otherwise happy moments dull and cloudy.

But when I make a conscious effort to put aside the shame I feel from my past, and the anxiety I feel for the future, I’m left with a mindful, in-the-moment feeling of all-consuming happiness.

Calm + Peaceful + Hopeful + Open = Happy.

MIND. FREAKING. BLOWN.

This year, it’s been all about getting to know what makes me happy, getting rid of things and distancing myself from people that don’t, and  creating and nourishing new friendships and relationships. I am so grateful to my close friends and family who have made it so freaking easy to be myself in all my imperfect glory AND to be + feel loved at the same time. You are my lifelines.

Year 7 is down in the books. I survived another year. And internet, if you’re reading this, so did you, you little rockstar you.

 

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Wanna visit Lifeaversaries Past?: Read the archives, baby:

Lifeaversary | 6
Lifeaversary | 5
Lifeaversary | 4
Lifeaversary | 3
Lifeaversary | 2

 

Damn Katie, Back At It Again With The White Pill

Last night, I did something that I haven’t done in about 18 months — I took an anti-depressant.

I’ve been considering going back on a mild medication for a few months now, but have hesitated for no other reason than that I’m proud to be completely medication free for the last year and a half.  Because I spent my entire 2014 in a Xanax/Cymbalta haze*, being “clear” has been the one thing that I wear as a badge of honor.

*I do not frown on those who are on heavy doses of anti anxiety, depression, or psychotics. I admittedly over-medicated to avoid dealing with feelings. If you have found the medication plan that works for you – and you feel genuinely better, then I am so freaking proud of you. I am hugging your pretty little face right now. 

For the most part, I’m okay. I get out of bed every single day. I go to work every single day. I do my job to the best of my ability every single day. I get my “Katie face” on every single day. I socialize. I pretend to be okay even on days that I’m not. “Fake it til you make it” or whatever. My gauge has always been “If no one else knows I’m depressed, then I’m not depressed. If I can plaster a smile and a snarky, sassy personality on every day, then I’m fine.”

But you guys? Pretending all day is very exhausting.

It all came to a head about 3 months ago when I spent an entire weekend in bed. It was sunny out. I had plans to hang out with friends. I cancelled them all in lieu of laying in bed and sleeping for 25 hours. Yes, it’s possible. Yes, I did it. It was then that I realized that my bout with the blues was less of just having a rough day, and more like being in a rough patch. This is how this all started in 2009 – when I, well, you know. I recognized the signs, and I know one thing for certain… I don’t want to be there again.

Ordinarily, I would have made an appointment with my doctor – I would have walked in, said I was depressed, and left with a cocktail of drugs — some new anti-depressant I never tried, some kind of benzo, and a tranquilizer. The appointment would take about 15 minutes and $100 later, I’d have a way to bury my feelings for another year. I didn’t want that. I don’t want to bury my feelings or ignore my depression. I want to face it. Treat it.

So I set an appointment with a new Primary Care Physician. She spent 45 minutes talking to me – not like a patient, but like a person — and that’s something I haven’t experienced in a while from a doctor. We talked about my history, my symptoms, and my options. She then said something that I won’t forget. “I’m willing to try medication if you are…”

I felt my eyes get all teary like a real girl. I finally felt like I had someone on my team, as opposed to someone who was throwing pills at me to get me out of her office.

I left the appointment with a complete understanding of the medication I would be on, 4 referrals for unrelated “grown up stuff” like blood work and lady exams, and a verbal contract with my new doctor that if I get to the “bad place” again, that I would call her. Immediately.

I was feeling super good about everything.

Until I got home.

At 7:00PM, I decided to take my first dose – in an attempt to avoid any kind of drowsiness or zombie-ness. I popped the pill out of the bottle, and looked at it for a second – took a deep breath (I know this is a little dramatic…), and despite a lot of hesitation, I took it.

And immediately started to cry.

Maybe it was because I was tired, but I’m pretty sure my depression – a dirty ugly stupid liar – could tell that I was about to start fighting back, and went into defensive mode. Instead of feeling relieved, like I was treating it, I felt like I had failed myself. I felt defeated. I felt that my recovery had just been flushed down the toilet along with any pride that I had in myself for going off of medication all together.

It didn’t get better as the night went on. I had a terrible time sleeping. I feel kind of “meh” today. The first two weeks on a new medication are always the worst. Around day 5 is when I typically give up, decide it isn’t worth it, and retreat back into my silent struggle and feel “fine” most days.

But I want to do it different this time.

Fine isn’t enough for me anymore. I want to feel good. I want to stop pretending to be happy, and actually feel fulfilled. 

Instead of listening to my depression, I’m trying to really tune into my inner Katie…. she’s in there. And she’s just tired of yelling and being ignored and chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool. If I really strain, I swear I can hear her saying to:

“Hang in there. Take the stupid pill. Deal with the side effects for a few weeks. Evict this stupid, lying, beastly depression. Who invited her anyway? You know, she doesn’t even like pancakes? We don’t need that negativity. #ByeFelicia.”

Basically, exactly what I’ve told countless of you, internet, when you’ve trusted ME with your depression stories.

So here I am. Fighting the good fight.  Trying not to feel like a total failure. But it’s hard ya’ll.

Why I’ll Never Stop Celebrating

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 6.48.43 PMI feel terrible for those who have lost a loved one unexpectedly. One could argue that we are never prepared for someone close to us to pass away – and that’s true – but I had a little bit of time to plan.

I had 3 days to mentally prepare myself for my grandmother to pass away.

On Mother’s Day 2013, My grandmother asked to see me for a talk. She used the time to tell me that she wasn’t going to be around for much longer – and she wanted to tell me how much she loved me, and knew that I would be nothing but great in my life.

In true Katie-fashion, I rolled my eyes playfully and said “No, Grandmom. You’re going to be around for a while. Your birthday is on Saturday. I’m going to make you jello shots!”

To which she replied “No more birthdays.”

Whatever, Grandmom. Seriously.

At this point, she wasn’t SICK SICK. She was on hospice care, but she was okay. Nothing had us believing she would be passing away in the next 6 months – let alone the next few days.

But 3 days later, on May 15th, Grandmom died peacefully after 12 hours of extreme suffering. It was 3 days shy of her birthday.

I see what you did there, Grandmom. “No More Birthdays.” You just HAD to be right.

Despite her bold “No More Birthdays” claim, on May 18th, 3 days after she died, my mother and I still got her a cake and celebrated Grandmom’s birthday.

The following year, we did it again.

Last year, we did it again.

Yesterday, you guessed it, I celebrated again.

I don’t make a big deal out of my dead Grandmother’s birthday in an effort to rip open old scars. I don’t do it for attention. I don’t even do it because it’s an excuse to stuff my face full of sugar. (Okay, maybe a little)…

I do it because despite my Grandmother being the matriarch of our huge Chando brood, she was also extremely humble. She would be the last one to bring attention to herself.

I do it because her dying doesn’t lessen the impact she’s had on my life. Dead or alive, she should be celebrated and remembered.

I do it because “No More Birthdays” is just not acceptable. She’s going to have a birthday every single year, and she’s going to like it.

…and I do it as an excuse to fill my face full of sugar.

Compatibility, Availability, Proximity – My Hunt For New Friends

I need to preface this post with this statement: My friends are wonderful humans that I would never trade for anything. (if there was a font bolder than bold, I would use it.) Not a million dollars. Not a LoveSac. Not even a personal pancake chef. What makes them awesome is fodder for a whole different post, but please, if you’re a current friend of mine, you’re the bee’s knees, and I adore you.

But I’m going to talk about finding new friends right now.

I’m on an active hunt for a new lady love, dude friend, partner in crime — someone to spend some 100% platonic time with. I don’t want to make out. (Probably) I don’t want to be attached at the hip. I don’t need to be committed to you, and I don’t need to be your only friend.

I just want, bang bang bang

Do you guys remember that video? The best. In my case I guess it’s “I just want hang, hang, hang.” Like, hang out. You get it?  Sorry. It’s really early in the morning, I’m not as punny this early.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching so far this year – mostly trying to identify this dull ache that I’ve been feeling for quite some time. It’s not unhappiness. It’s not loneliness. It’s actually the ache of being unfulfilled – it’s the pang of wanting more.

I’m at a point in my life where I want more adventure, more experiences, more connection. And not having these is causing actual emotional emptiness.

The answer seems simple: “Just hang out with your friends, Katie. DUH!” Ya, I wish it were that easy, internet. I’ve found that in order for a friendship to really make me fulfilled, I need the following things:

Compatibility -I am very tolerant and accepting of other points of view and beliefs, but there are certain things that just don’t go together. Like, if you are a different religion than I am, that’s totally cool. But if you’re an atheist, we probably won’t make a good duo.  If you’re vegan, that’s awesome. If you won’t eat pancakes, then turn around and leave right now. That’s just… terrible.  I don’t expect you to like every single band that I do, but if you won’t even say “yes” to a Michael Bolton concert just because it would make me happy, and you can’t bring yourself to show a little Time Love and Tenderness in the name of friendship, then we’re probably going to have to break up.  So, while being different is super, we should probably sorta like some of the same things. (Wine and Pancakes and non-negotiable).

Availability -We all have lives and jobs and families. But if your first priority is your children, or your spouse, or your 900 hour work week – then chances are, we’re going to be left chasing each other, rather than spending time with each other. Trust me, I’m as guilty as the next guy for highly prioritizing work over my friends. In those moments, career building took more of a front seat. I’m in a place right now where making and nurturing new friendships and connections is just gaining more importance. It’s where I am. And I want to spend time with people who are in the same place.

Proximity (Closeness) – Living within 20 driving miles so that we can have in-person dance parties, weekend brunch, and lay around hung over when we accidentally drink a box of wine while watching Netflix, “attempting” Pinterest hacks, baking cupcakes, and exchanging dating-horror stories. Far away friends are lovely, but there’s something to be said for human-to-human contact. This comes from a girl who spends 60+ hours per week telecommuting to work – from 500+ miles away where she can never touch her coworkers. NOT THAT SHE EVER WOULD, THAT’S HARASSMENT!

Apparently, you have to pick two of the above – any two – but you can’t get all three. At least in my experience.

I have some Compatible, Available friends who live clear across the country.  I have some Close, Compatible friends who just aren’t Available. And, I have some Close Available friends who just hate pancakes, and I’ve cut them off completely.

 

When I take any of my current friends, they always, 100% of the time fit into 2 of the above categories. Never 3. Actually, that’s a lie. I have had some friends who were triple threats – but lives change, situations, change, and eventually they join the ranks of the two-fers.

Don’t get me wrong, I spend time with some of my two-fers whenever we can make it happen, and it feels great. I’ll never ever give ’em up.

Friends don’t have to be perfect – and I don’t expect them to be — but what I’m craving in my life right now are local, compatible, available friends that I can share this journey through my thirties with.