Confessions of a Recovering People-Pleaser (Stovetop Brownies)

(scroll down for brownie recipe) 

This week’s episode was inspired by an experience last year that had me shook. I was at a high-profile meeting for my job with several VIPs present (deans, chief of police, faculty, federal consultants, etc.) and I had to present about a project. Usually I’m very comfortable speaking publicly, but that morning I was jittery from a few too many gulps of the free coffee that was served. Plus, the handouts I prepared were mistakenly left behind by a coworker, so I didn’t have notes. As I went up to present, I was shaking and I could feel the warmth of my face flushing. I stammered throughout the whole presentation and bee-lined it back to my seat where I cowered in embarrassment for the rest of the meeting. I felt so self-conscious and terrible about it for weeks. I even stopped drinking coffee (my dearest love) since it was partially the culprit.

I talked to some mentors about it, and they suggested that since I can’t erase what happened, I can move forward by devising ways to prevent that from happening in the future. So, I came up with 5 Ways to Melt Away Insecurities and also decided to share my secret (until now) brownie recipe. You’re in for a treat; I’ve been making these for over 10 years and am known for them around the get-together scene. Enjoy!

Click photo to watch the video: 

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To review, here are my 5 tips:

  1. Don’t take anything personally (from The Four Agreements), the spotlight isn’t on you as much as you think.
  2. Observe how you perceive others.
  3. Temper and transform your thoughts with an Evidence Record (see below).
  4. Recite positive affirmations*.
  5. Stay ready.

*One thing I should’ve mentioned in the video is the importance of using “I statements” when reciting affirmations. Even if you do not yet believe these positive words about yourself, saying the phrases (out loud if possible) will get you there in your mind and eventually in reality. Even if we still feel insecure, we can start acting like we are confident. 

As you saw in the video, I recommend using an evidence record to monitor and manage your thoughts. This is a technique I learned in graduate school that uses theory from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is by no means a substitute for treatment if your condition is severe, but it’s a key step in developing a clearer, happier mind.

Click below to download your free worksheet:

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And of course, here’s the recipe for you!:

Stovetop Brownies

Ingredients:
– 2 sticks of butter
– 2 cups of sugar
– 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
– 4 eggs, beaten
– 2 tsp. vanilla extract
– 2/3 cup flour
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/4 tsp. baking soda
– 2 cups chocolate chips
– 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly grease a 9×13 in. baking pan.
2. Melt butter on medium heat. Add sugar and stir until combined. Add cocoa and stir until combined.
3. Remove from heat.
4. Temper the eggs (see video at 2:06), then stir into batter.
5. Add flour, salt, and baking soda to batter and stir thoroughly.
6. Mix in chocolate chips until well-incorporated.
7. Stir in nuts evenly.
8. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 28 minutes. Cool before cutting and serving.

As always, you’re welcome to comment or email me with any questions you may have. If you make these brownies, please tag me @DiningAtTiffs #DiningAtTiffs. Also, let me know if you found these 5 tips helpful or if you have any others to share from your experiences.

With love,

Tiffany R.
Your Cooking Counselor

 

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Things that are bitter: arugula & the brokenhearted

Do you listen to Lorde? Have you heard her new album yet? I’ve been listening to it on repeat. It was especially helpful when I was stuck in traffic on the way back to Long Beach from San Diego over the weekend.

What I love about her album is how raw and honest she is about life in her early 20s. The whole album is about heartache and using a night out on the town as escapism. She beautifully captures the excitement and disappointment that dart in and out of our youthful hearts, especially when it comes to romantic encounters.

Her album inspired me to make a video that captures this by incorporating something bitter into something that’s actually quite delicious. So, I decided to show you all how to make one of my creations, Arugula Almond Pesto Hummus.

Click photo to watch the video

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I actually created this recipe a few years back. Click here if you want to make it: Arugula Almond Pesto Hummus. There’s a bonus recipe on that post, too!

I hope you enjoyed this video and recipe! It was a lot of fun to film and show you around one of my favorite places in Long Beach to unwind and reflect. As always, you’re welcome to contact me if you want to talk!

 

With love,

Tiffany R.

Michelle Phan: Recipe for a Comeback

Okay, who else has been following beauty guru Michelle Phan for almost ten years? Join the club! I was really surprised last week when a video popped up on YouTube by her called “Why I Left.” Honestly, I didn’t even realize she had left, but I always like to see what she’s up to since she’s super successful so I checked it out.

It turns out that Michelle Phan left YouTube for almost a year and made a big comeback to YouTube recently. Her story is really inspiring; I learned a lot about her that I didn’t realize:

  • Her family struggled throughout her childhood, so one of her main motivations to succeed on YouTube was to support her family. She actually helped her mom (formerly a salon beautician) retire early and boasts over 8.9 million subscribers on YouTube!
  • She left YouTube for the same reason that I did: depression.
  • She struggles with insecurities too, even about her looks. After her year off, she now has a new mantra: “Don’t just look beautiful. Feel beautiful.”

So, as a little tribute to her, I tried out some of her old school, DIY facial masks made out of food and made a video featuring a recipe using the leftover ingredients. I also talk more about her comeback story; Michelle Phan is a great example of this season’s theme — Get Your (Cooking) Rhythm Back.

click photo to watch video!:

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Speaking of getting back in touch with yourself, I actually featured this recipe on my blog a LONG time ago (a few years after transitioning from Xanga, haha). Did you know? Dining at Tiffany’s was formerly known as “Tidbits at Tiffany’s!”

You can find the recipe for the dish I made in the video here: Tomato Egg Sauté.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions! I’m always here to listen if you are going to something and need someone to talk to. I’m here for you!

 

With love,

Tiffany R.

5-Ingredient Granola Bars to Overcome Your Shortcomings

We all have our shortcomings; they can often make us feel pretty bad about ourselves. And it’s worse when I’m going through a depressive episode — it goes a little something like this:

Hey, shortcomings, you must be tired… ‘cuz you’ve been running through my mind all day 😉

Haha, but really, it happens that way. I will replay an embarrassing moment in my head over and over again.. sometimes even months or years later. So on top of the consequences of the mistake or shortcoming, I experience additional, self-inflicted suffering. It’s a terrible cycle. Do you ever do that?

Lately, I’ve been trying to break this cycle. I think of ways to prevent myself from repeating the same embarrassing mistake. Or I’ll actually work on breaking bad habits and making good ones. Today’s video is an example of how I’ve done that while simultaneously teaching you how to make super easy granola bars. Enjoy!

click photo to watch episode 3.2!

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5-Ingredient Banana Granola Bars
makes 10 granola bars

Ingredients:
– 3 mashed bananas that are about to go bad
– 1/2 cup nut butter of your choice
– 1.5 cups of quick oats
– 3/4 cup chopped nuts
– 1/4 cup cacao nibs (or chocolate/ PB chips)

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. In a large bowl, mix the nut butter into the bananas until smooth.
3. Add the quick oats and stir until evenly distributed.
4. Mix in the nuts & cacao nibs.
5. Spread into a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking pan.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
7. Cool completely, then cut into 10 bars.
8. Wrap individually (optional) & store in the fridge or an air-tight container.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, please take a photo and show me (@DiningAtTiffs #DiningAtTiffs). Also, if you need some guidance or ideas for overcoming your specific shortcoming, feel free to comment or message me privately. I’m always here to talk. 🙂
With love,

Tiffany R.

 

How to Cook Salmon When You’re Depressed

[salmon recipe below]

It’s been over 2 years since I last posted videos on YouTube and that’s for a few reasons. I got very sick with depression and it was difficult to pick myself back up and often times even to get out of bed. I hadn’t been cooking very much because my mental health was suffering, so I didn’t feel right teaching others to cook if I wasn’t cooking myself. Lastly, and maybe even most importantly, I was intimidated and didn’t feel good enough. In the last few years on social media, the “foodie” culture blew up. Everyone was posting all these beautiful pictures of food and I felt like my food didn’t measure up anymore. Who was I to make videos?

But as I started to get better and do some soul searching I realized and remembered that the main purpose of cooking isn’t about making something to photograph and filter. It’s about feeding yourself and others and making dishes that make you feel good. Not everything has to be Pinterest-worthy (or “Pinterest AF” as my friends would say, hehe).

I figured that others might be feeling the same way about cooking too, which is why Season 3 is called “Get Your (Cooking) Rhythm Back.” I want to show you that you can cook good food even if you’re not feeling your best. There’s always a way to get your rhythm back.

This is why my first recipe for Season 3 is Salmon En Papillote; it sounds fancy, but it’s incredibly easy to make! 

And, as a bonus, salmon happens to be really good for your brain health and mood because it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids – a good kind of fat! By eating salmon and other foods rich in omega-3s (walnuts, flax and chia seeds, seaweed, leafy greens, etc.), you can give your brain some TLC and can feel better mentally too! Enjoy:

click photo to watch!Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 9.50.41 PM.png

Easiest Salmon En Papillote Ever (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of salmon fillet, 4-6oz each
  • 1 cup of baby spinach
  • 10-12 grape or cherry tomatoes
  • ~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Instructions:

Basically, you’ll wrap all these ingredients in parchment paper and bake it in the oven. Here’s a breakdown of how to do that:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175° C). If you’re using a toaster oven, you can skip this step.
  2. Take a sheet of parchment paper, about 12×12 inches. Fold it in half, crease it, then unfold it. Lay it down on a flat surface.
  3. Add 1/2 cup baby spinach just to the side of the crease to make a little bed for the salmon. Season the spinach with a little bit of salt & pepper.
  4. Next, lay the salmon atop the bed of spinach. Season the salmon with a little bit of salt & pepper as well.
  5. Then, add 5-6 cherry tomatoes on top of and beside the piece of salmon.
  6. Drizzle with about 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  7. Fold the parchment paper over the salmon & veggies. Starting on one side, fold and crease the paper toward the middle of the salmon, creating a tight seal. When you get to the end, tuck the remaining paper underneath (see video for tutorial).
  8. Repeat steps 2-7 with the second piece of salmon and remaining veggies.
  9. Put the salmon in the oven/ toaster oven for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Serve by placing on a plate and unwrapping or cutting open the parchment. This can be eaten alone or with a side of rice, pasta, or potatoes.

As I mention in the video, you can really do any combination of veggies when making Salmon En Papillote; personally, I’m a fan of asparagus and lemon. You can also add things like green beans, bell peppers, shallots, etc. Herbs like dill and thyme work really nicely as well. Get creative and put your favorite veggies in!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me! I’m also always open to share resources for coping with depression and other mental struggles. I’m here for you. 🙂

With love,

Tiffany

And we’re back!! Watch the Season 3 Trailer!

Hi everyone!!

I’m so thrilled to announce that Dining at Tiffany’s is back on YouTube for Season 3 (woooo!!!). This season is called “Get Your (Cooking) Rhythm Back!” Together, we’ll explore simple, delicious recipes — most of which use less than 10 ingredients and require very little prep. This season is catered to you if you’re learning how to cook for the first time or if you’re trying to get back into the rhythm of cooking at home.

I’ll also be sharing stories about where I’ve been and what I’ve gone through during the last two and a half years since I last released a video (December 2014). I hope my message can inspire you to get your own rhythm back, whether you’re trying to get through a tough time, overcome a transition, or move forward with an idea you’ve been thinking about for years.

Speaking of which, I came up with the vision for this trailer years ago. It’s inspired by Anna Kendrick’s mashup mastery in Pitch Perfect, but with my own culinary twist — all the drum beats were made by recording sounds from the kitchen! So I hope you enjoy this trailer and the rest of Season 3.

When we think about taking things for granted, we often think in terms of how we do this to other people or the things in our lives. But sometimes we don’t realize that we take ourselves for granted. This song in this trailer reflects our inner voice singing to us, encouraging us to not give up. 

Click this photo to watch the trailer!:image1.jpg

Episode one will be released on Thursday, June 1st! I’ll see you on YouTube! ❤

With love,

Tiffany