Shock ’em

Last week I found this quote on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Instagram feed:

“Make it happen. Shock every single one of them.”

Think about it. What if we went through our day and thought how am I going to shock someone today? Much of the time we try to just make it through the day, but what if we raised the bar and made things happen? What if we went into each meeting or presentation and were completely focused and wowed folks because we pulled it off? What if we did the impossible? Or maybe it is not even impossible — maybe it is just something that left a wow factor. It could be the smallest, slightest moment that left a mark and was remembered.

The funny thing is the moments that are remembered are often the ones that are actually easy and often free to pull off. You might have made an effort to actually listen and remember key details from someone’s life. You asked about it the next time you see that individual. So easy, and just requires pure listening, and yet it has such an impact. I always notice when someone has taken the time to get to know me and then later (sometimes even months later) remembers a piece of our conversation. I try to do the same to others, but it is hard when you go from meeting to meeting all day. And yet, doing so shows true connection, relationship building, and care.

I am a get-it-done woman. I rarely let anything stand in my way. As Chris would say to me, “There is no changing your mind when you have made a decision you are going to do something.” He is right. I like to approach life with conviction, persistence, and, as I often say, by sucking the life out of each day. I want to bring that same zeal when shocking and wowing others. Think of all the times you have been wowed by amazing customer service, by friends and family who surprise you, or a stranger that does a random act of kindness. The key ingredient: someone showing you they care.

Shock the hell out of them.

Random recipe: Vegan Dark Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

We tried it. Being vegan. We could not do it. While I could probably give up meat, it was impossible to give up cheese and eggs. I love both way too much, and the fake vegan version of cheese just does not compare. I am my father’s daughter. My dad was all about cheese (even if he probably at the time was not “cultured” in his cheese knowledge — no pun intended). With that all in mind, I love finding recipes, especially desserts that have the core of the ingredients inclusive of coconut milk and creme because it is so much better for you. This recipe is vegan and almost gluten-free, (if you can find a substitute for the flour). Maybe I will try to recreate into a gluten-free version. These cupcakes were good, and super moist (ugh I hate that word, but it is true). The frosting was not that sweet which is just the way I like it.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes [Original recipe from Love & Olive Oil]

Yield: 1 dozen
Total Time: 1 hour

Cupcakes:
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted (we used dark chocolate cocoa powder)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Frosting:
12 ounces coconut cream, chilled overnight*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, and coconut oil until incorporated. It you are making it in the summer you might need to slightly warm the coconut oil (depending on where you live). Since it is warm here, no need to do so as my coconut oil is not solid right now. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour the coconut milk mixture in the middle of the dry ingredients. Stir until dry ingredients are just incorporated (do not overmix).
  4. Spoon into liners, filling each with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  5. For whipped coconut cream, spoon solid coconut out of can, discarding any remaining liquid in the bottom (or reserve for another use). Place in a chilled mixing bowl (keeping it cold is key here!) and beat on high-speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth and holds soft peaks. It won’t firm up quite like whipped cream. Return to refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up slightly.
  6. Frost cupcakes with a thin layer of coconut cream. It’s pretty lose, so it won’t hold huge swirls like buttercream. Dollop a bit of frosting on top of the cupcake, then dip top in a bowl of shredded coconut. The coconut will help hold the frosting in place.
  7. Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days.

Note: We did not read early enough that the coconut cream needs to be chilled overnight. So we made the cupcakes at night and finished the frosting the next morning. Breakfast anyone?

*You can also use full fat coconut milk but will need twice as much. Refrigerate at least 24 hours until thoroughly chilled. When you open the can, spoon off the solid layer of coconut at the top; this is what you will use to make the frosting. Any liquid at the bottom of the can can be discarded or reserved for another use. Note that if you use full-fat coconut milk instead of coconut cream, you may need 2 cans to get enough cream for the frosting.

Unique and Findable

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Each year it feels like just another day to me. I think of my mom and grandma and it makes me sad, and then that just feels like a waste of time. Last year and again this year I think about my sister and how much she loves motherhood (well most of the time I think). I love watching her with Charlie. It is like she has settled into herself in a way that feels almost impossible to explain. It suits her. Her admiration for that little bambino is awe-inspiring to watch, and she always has Charlie’s best interest in mind.

Last week I saw the most precious video on motherhood, and wanted to share for all those moms, grandmas, and sisters who mother. It is a video that shows that we are all truly unique, whether it is our smell, skin, or hair. Somehow these little ones know what is important. Even blindfolded they know what home means, they know who their mother is, and watching it unfold is priceless.

Make sure to tell your mom or grandma or sister how much they mean to you this Sunday (or every day). If you are nearby touch their skin and hair, make physical contact and connect with them in a deep way. You might not be three years old, but I am sure they will feel just as honored as these mothers did…