It’s a common stereotype that people who study psychology are gravitated to the field because of their own experiences with mental illness. I’m not sure whether that stereotype has any truth to it, but it certainly proved true in my case, even if I wasn’t aware of my mental illnesses when I chose my major. Coincidentally, one of the disorders that fascinated me the most is one I was diagnosed with near the end of my degree: PTSD.
With most mental illnesses, there is a combination of biological and environmental causes that sneakily work together. One biological factor (of many) that relates to whether or not an individual will develop PTSD is having overactive amygdalae. Your amygdalae are responsible for emotions, among other things. If you’ve ever felt yourself getting really worked up about something, that’s your amygdalae doing their job!
But what about when you get worked up about something in a semi-conscious state? As a kid, I was a chronic sleep walker and sleep talker. I don’t sleep walk anymore (at least to my knowledge…), but nightmares have been a regular part of my sleep since as long as I can remember.
Nightmares are a strange phenomenon. During a nightmare, a part of your brain remains awake and active. That’s the reason that emotions and experiences in dreams can be so intense. But when you have hyperactive amygdalae like me, those nightmares can be even more intense. We’re talking an amalgamation of a thriller film and an amusement park fun house (I’ll spare you the details of those ones.)
Even though I’m not working at the restaurant now, I still have the dreaded serving nightmares. If you’ve ever been a server, you know the ones I’m talking about! You forget to punch in an order, and, all of a sudden, the world ENDS. Everyone you’re serving starts complaining. You get fired, start crying on the spot and…BAM! You’re awake. Continue reading Caramel Cream Cupcakes
Happy Valentine’s Day! Or day after, I should say. Are you reading this while raiding the supermarket shelves for discounted candy? I’m going to make my way there mid-week, because the best candy heart deals come along a few days after Valentine’s Day. I think the grocery stores are catching on to us, because these the 50% off chocolates don’t show up until at least a few days after the big day.
How did you spend your Valentine’s Day? I’m actually writing this on Valentine’s Day, but the magic of the internet lets me do things in advance and press a “schedule for later” button. If only this button were permanently stamped onto my arm in bright purple ink. I’d schedule everything for “later” or for “future Katy” and spend the whole day cozying up with my blankets and re-runs of The Mindy Project.
That’s exactly how I’m spending today, since I can still feel a chill from my outdoor adventures last night. Every February, in the dead of winter (the coldest two weeks of the year) Winnipeg hosts its annual Festival du Voyageur. And, every February, Winnipeggers don their long underpants, neckwarmers, and red sashes (ceinture fléchée) and brave the biting wind for maple taffy, wood chip floors, and folk music in celebration of Métis culture. Continue reading Double Coconut Cupcakes
How do you keep organized throughout the week? I’ve been a strong proponent of the agenda ever since I got my first one in middle school. I write everything down. I even write things down after I’ve already completed them. It’s so satisfying. There’s something about having a physical book to write in that really etches things in your memory.
Confession: My real name is actually Monica Geller. 😛
In all seriousness, this post was meant to go up yesterday morning, but my 2015 agenda ended (much to my surprise), and thus I’ve been disorganized all week. By the time I realized my mistake, it was 9 p.m. Tuesday night and I was zonked after a 12 hours work-day that I just could not face to look at anything else online except Scandal reruns. Also, I was already on my second one of these and feared my editing skills might not be quite up to par. 😉 Continue reading Chocolate Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Frosting
These chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin frosting were a trip to make, let me tell you. You know those days were it seems like so many little things are going wrong that really they add up to one giant thing? I was having one of those days when I made these cupcakes.
When the first batch came out of the oven looking like hockey pucks (the signature sign of forgetting the baking soda), I was immediately reminded of my first bakery job, where I forgot to put the sugar in a batch of muffins and ruined two massive trays of muffins. If you’ve ever worked in a bakery, you know that’s ALOT of muffins. Oops.
Batch number two followed shortly after. It is, after all, my go-to chocolate cake recipe that I’ve made so many times I could almost do it in my sleep. Almost. Once I made it to the frosting stage, I realized I was out of piping bags. It wasn’t long until I discovered that DIY parchment paper-fashioned piping bags are ridiculous and who ever invented those things, anyways? Continue reading Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Frosting and Cream Cheese Glaze
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy the solitary productivity of baking alone. I grew up in a house of four other people and a dog, so it wasn’t until I moved out that I discovered the joys of solitary baking. I felt my brain focusing just that much more, zeroing in on the recipe instructions, and really getting a feel for the ingredients. Though usually I like to throw on a podcast before a day in the kitchen, this morning I’m channelling my pre-teen self and listening to Alanis Morrisette (Jagged Little Pill) while I knead dough. If you didn’t know I’m Canadian before, you definitely do now. 😉
I come up with my best dance moves in the kitchen. They might not be transferrable to the club because of the fact that they almost always include a whisk or wooden spoon, but if you and I ever met, I’d probably challenge you to a kitchen dance battle. When you have the blues, it’s a really wonderful way to smile and feel good. We’re having a rare dark, cloudy day here in Winnipeg today, so I’m more than eager to lighten things up in my kitchen.
Continue reading Nutella Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Coconut Frosting
When you return home from vacation, do you ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? Back when I was a student and living with my parents, I had the luxury of having just that whenever I returned home from travelling. Without major bills to pay, it wasn’t essential for me to jump back to work and I usually enjoyed a few sleepy days letting the jet lag wear off.
Well, now I’m living in the real world and am an “adult”, so taking time off work to recover from vacation is not an option. Because, bills.
My body did not like that one bit, and a powerful flu reminiscent of my childhood ailments hit me like a brick. Having the flu is tough for anyone, but for those of us who cannot sit still and like to work work work till the candle burns low, it’s also a challenge mentally. There were recipes to be made and posts to write! Well, I just told my brain to sit down and relax, and now thanks to Netflix I can now tell you what happened in every single episode of the first season of 90210. Priorities. Continue reading Cotton Candy Cupcakes
When I was around 10, my cousins came to visit for a while, and one of them was the pickiest eater EVER; the only thing he ate was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all Pb&J. I’m sure that if these peanut butter and jelly cupcakes existed back then, he would probably have decided he no longer liked sandwiches and would only eat Pb&J in cupcake form. I don’t blame him (in this hypothetical situation, of course).
I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when I was vegetarian, and even though I now prefer turkey and cheddar cheese, I still have a soft spot for good ol’ Pb&J. It’s comforting, like a family group hug or a dog’s nuzzle on your hand, or a warm blanket and 500 pillows in a writing “nest” which is actually the couch (am I the only one who does this?).
Imagine your favourite way to eat Pb&J — toasted, crust, no crust, french toasted; then add lots of sugar. That’s these peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, and I’m not afraid to say it. Soft and savoury from the peanut butter, they get an added flavour boost from raspberry (or any other berry) jam. You can use all-natural peanut butter (I do) or regular, but if you use regular just reduce the sugar slightly, maybe by a few tablespoons. Continue reading Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes
Here’s to a fresh new year, and a fresh new recipe that will dictate what’s to come on Katy’s Kitchen in 2015.
I’m not shying away from sugar this January. I’m not about to go on some butter-free, sugar-free health kick. I’m going to celebrate my passion of simple, straightforward baked goods and turn this blog into a more cohesive collection of recipes for home cooks. I’m cutting out the noise, I’m a baker at heart and Katy’s Kitchen will reflect that.
Continue reading Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
Two weeks ago, I asked my dad to pick out five of his favourite recipes from my site. His choices really got me thinking. Why did he pick those five? I love every recipe I post, but my top five would be slightly different.
My tastebuds are pretty different than my dad’s. Put simply, he’s happiest grilling a steak and I’m happiest turning tofu into cheese.
His favourites are my top five recipes everyone will enjoy, from health nuts to omnivores. Knowing that, I worked twice as hard to use wholesome ingredients without sacrificing taste.
I turned to my trusty green tea and lemon cookies for inspiration. My family raves about those cookies. Why not turn them into cute green tea cupcakes?
Continue reading Green Tea and Coconut Cupcakes