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: 


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

– 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

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



After the BAE – Residual Love in Yo’ Ice Cream Cake

“Hues of blues and greens surround me.
Knowing you have found another love
has turned my world to sorrow.

Green with envy for another
fearing she may be the one to soar
Through life with you, can’t lose these
hues of blues in green.”
– Blue in Green by Miles Davis (background music sample from this week’s episode)

Hey everyone!!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. I sure did! I made a turkey & I think people liked it. 😀

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Wish you could’ve all come over! I’m thankful that I was surrounded by my wonderful family and had some time to spend with my awesome friends in San Diego as well! This helped to distract from some not so yummy thoughts in the back of my mind, especially since November was not so fun for me last year.

Around this time last year, I was not only finding new ways to use up Thanksgiving leftovers that were taking up space in the refrigerator; I was also getting creative about redirecting unrequited feelings that were taking up way too much space in my heart & mind. I had to figure out how to use up all that residual love.

residual love (n.): the leftover affection carried inside after the object of said affection is gone.

After squeezing out all the tears, shameless comfort food eating, reminiscing, and self-rediscovery, there’s often still a few drops of lingering feelings to wring out. ..& that’s perfectly normal. But my question for you is, what are you going to do with that? What are you going to do with that residual love?

Here’s some of my ideas PLUS a how-to for making ice cream cake:

Click to watch:

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The truth is, you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. It can be tempting to sop up those feelings and dip into someone new. But we’ve been through this already (see venn diagram). Take some time to wipe up the last those feelings neatly and celebrate a brighter you! Ice cream cake optional, but recommended. 😉

Recipe: Ice Cream Cake with Chocolate Ganache 

– 1 box of chocolate cake mix*
(plus whatever it says on the back, usually
– 3 eggs
– 1 cup milk or water
– 1/2 cup oil)
– 8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1 tbsp. butter
– at least a half a tub of your favorite ice cream that goes with chocolate (cookies & cream, girl scout cookie, moose tracks, etc.) slightly thawed
*you can use any flavor of cake mix and whatever ice cream you feel would match — do yo’ thang!
1. Bake Cake 
– Mix together the cake batter according to package instructions
– Spray two 9-inch round pans
– Put 2/3 of the batter in one pan & 1/3 in the other pan
– Bake according to package instructions for two round pans.
– Remove the pan with 1/3 batter about 5 minutes before the other, or when a toothpick inserted in the  middle comes out clean

– Let cakes cool down & remove from pan

2. Assemble ice cream cake!
– place larger cake on a platter or cardboard cake circle lined with pieces of wax or parchment paper
– Hollow out the center of this cake by scoring a circle about 3/4-1 inch from the edges and 1 1/2 inches deep (without cutting all the way through)
– Scoop out the center of the cake and set aside or discard
– fill the hollowed out center with ice cream and smooth out the top
– place thinner cake on top like a sandwich
– freeze for at least 1 hour
3. Make chocolate ganache & glaze it!
– place chocolate in a medium-sized bowl
– heat heavy cream & butter on medium high heat until it just starts to bubble (do not let it boil or else it will curdle)
– immediately pour over the chocolate & whisk until smooth
– Pour chocolate ganache over the cake, using a spatula to smooth out & covered the sides
– Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
– Decorate (if you want), slice, & serve!
Enjoy! Let me know if you make it via instagram/FB/twitter @DiningAtTiffs/ #DiningAtTiffs. 🙂

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s