The Struggle With Self Care (Instead of Food)

The Struggle With Self Care (Instead of Food)

The Struggle is Real

I was 29 years old when I heard the phrase self care.

Maybe I’d heard it before that, but if I had, I couldn’t recall it. My naivete on the subject was pretty pathetic. My counselor sat across from me after I explained a food binge to her and asked me, “What do you do for self care?”

I distinctly remembering blinking and asking her, “What does that mean? I’ve never heard of it.”

Her eyebrows rose. “Self care is time you set aside to take care of yourself. It’s different for everyone. What do you do for self care?”

Without her explaining it, I knew that I couldn’t say I work.

“I trail run a lot. Or, I used to, before I had my son. Does that count?”

“Okay. Yes. That is a form of self care. But what do you do now?”

“Nothing,” I whispered.

 

Food As Self Care

Actually, that was a lie.

I did do self care: in the form of food. #allthefood

Chocolate was always the most forgivable binge. Culturally, American’s love to cope with chocolate. I could literally justify almost any form of chocolate away. Bad day at work? Time for a pint. (Of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream). Ran through an eight miler without passing out? Time for some Fresh Market Chocolate Chunk Cookies. The fact that I exercised twice a day (before kids—remember?) only helped cement the fact that I needed the calories. 

No. My body probably needed some almonds.

When things went wrong—or when things were going well—it was all-too-natural to reach for the fridge. What I didn’t know is that I was giving myself food instead of giving myself freedom.

Taking care of myself is less about food and more about avoidance.

 

What It Is . . . And What It Isn’t

I’m not going to try to talk about self care on a spectrum for everyone, because it’s too broad. So let’s keep it in terms that I can explain and you can then extrapolate into your own life.

For me, self care is quiet. It’s not watching Parks and Rec instead of thinking about the brownies I ate that made me feel sick.

Self care is connection with myself. It’s not staying up late so I can work myself into a tunnel that doesn’t see my issues.

Self care is sitting in the sunshine and thinking about good things. It’s not a 90 minute run followed by a weight lift followed by cleaning the house. (I’m not saying that exercise is bad—not at all. But historically, exercise has been a way that I binged and justified. When I’m manic about exercise, I’m trying to hide from something. Typically my feelings.).

Self care is being in the moment, not worrying about my future plans.

Self care is staring at a plate of food and asking myself, How hungry is my body? It’s not feeding my eyes, mind, or heart.

 

Why I Avoid it

So the big question is this: why do I avoid self care?

Why do I find myself packing the days with hours of work? Why do I find myself exercising relentlessly in pursuit of self imposed shame? Why do I eat the extra cookies when I’m not hungry at all?

Because even though I’m aware of my issues, I’m not free of them.

Food is an addiction, just like pornography, smoking, alcohol, or anything else. That means I’m always going to gravitate to it, and I’m always going to struggle with the impulse of the moment. That also means that identifying the addiction doesn’t remove the desire for it.

Basically: addiction sucks and self care is hard.

Although I’ve been through a lot of counseling, talk openly about my food and body image struggles, the truth is that I constantly struggle with what is actually my biggest ally: self care. Self care means I need to face ugly facts (like the 5 no bake cookies I ate after dinner in a moment of toddler-tantrums inspired passion). It means I need to stop the dopamine rush of achieving something at work in order to step back and breathe. It means I need to take time. And time is oh-so-precious.

Self care means lots of hard things.

But it also means lots of freedom.

 

My Favorite Self Care Options

Being in the moment is what dictates what I need.

For example, I just traveled with my two-year-old for a week, and the transition back home has been !#(*%)!*@#!. After the end of several long days, I just wanted a silent house and an opportunity to be creative without interruptions or the melodic voice of my son bellowing, “HONEY!”

So this week, self care looked like me asking husband for a two hour break on Saturday. I’m always tempted to feel guilty that I’m not spending #allthetime with them, but a little 1:1 daddy time is awesome for both of them. Plus, 2 hours in the scope of 24 is not a big deal.

Most of the time, self care looks like eating when I’m hungry, not when I’m sad, happy, frustrated, anxious, or stressed.

Self care means journaling out the way I feel instead of putting it off by working an extra hour.

My favorite form of self care? Hiking. Reading in the sunshine. Sitting on my porch swing with a cup of tea in the morning. Talking with a really good friend. Leaving the house by myself.

Most of my self care options are “selfish”, meaning that’s the time when I get to revolve around me. I don’t find it selfish at all. The rejuvenation that comes with it is strengthening. I’m a better human when I have self care.

 

The End All Be All

Despite the obvious advantages of self care (lack of binges, healthy self esteem, etc), I know that I’ll always struggle to take time out for myself. Not just because I’m a Mom. Not just because I’m a military wife that sometimes has to balance more than other times. Not because I’m addicted to food and work.

But because I’m human, and it’s so much easier to put off than go through.

 

Talk to me: what is your favorite form of self care?

A Conversation With My Fat

A Conversation With My Fat

Talking about fat is never easy, so this post is going to be a doozy.

A frightening, wonderful, scary piece.

I’ve oscillated over posting this A LOT. Ultimately, I believe in the power of transparency and openness, so I’m giving all of you a vulnerable little piece of my heart.

Let me explain though, as this idea is not my own.

Geneen Roth. In her book, Feeding the Hungry Heart, gathers a collection of stories from women that she works with (and her own stories) that I found life changing in my quest to improve my relationship with food. (Anything that has read The Every Woman Story Project will have heard about this book before). 

One of those stories was Geneen having a conversation with her fat.

Yep. Her fat.

It inspired the heck out of me.

The writer in me instantly reacted. Brilliance. It was brilliance, I thought. One day, on a whim, (and while fighting with my ever-present self hatred and need to sugar binge) I decided to try it myself as a way to distract myself from a sleeve of Oreos I had bought.

#helloselfsabotage

What you are about to read is an edited version that I felt confident enough with to release on my blog. Chunks of it have been removed as it branched into other areas that I didn’t feel I should have on here for privacy’s sake. (My own and others).

Suffice it to say, this still retains most of my original thoughts, especially as they pertained to my thoughts on food. Ever since writing this, the tides in my self care have changed. I now write out conversations just like with all my demons—abandonment, food, fat, and darkness—whenever I face them. It’s how I face the ugliness and see it for what it is.

My hope is that this can inspire someone else the way Geneen inspired me.

 

A Conversation with Fat

Me: Dear fat, I don’t want to deal with you anymore. I’m tired of seeing you in my legs, and my hips, and my arms, and my stomach. I’m tired of you making me insecure. I’m tired of you haunting me every time I look in the mirror, or make love to my husband, or look at pictures of myself.

Fat: But you put me here.

Me: Yes, I did. But I didn’t mean it.

Fat: You must have, or you wouldn’t have eaten all those Oreo’s or all those fruit snacks and cookies.

Me: So you think it’s a conscious decision to remain fat? That’s insane. If you knew how hard I had dieted, you would never have said that. Besides, all those foods were there and available. Of course I would eat them! What little kid wouldn’t eat fruit snacks and cookies?

Fat: So you’re blaming someone else?

Me: Well . . . I guess a little.

Fat: You’ve been on your own for over ten years. That’s an excuse. A thinking error. It’s not going to slide this time. 

Me: I don’t know what to say to that.

Fat: So why are you keeping me with you?

Me: I’m not sure I want to go into it.

Fat: Then you don’t want to fix it. 

Me: Because weight and food are attention, maybe. Because if I’m not dieting to improve myself, I may have to do it other ways, like therapy. And then I’d have to feel pain and face demons. That’s scary. Food is belonging. Happy times occur around food. Thanksgiving. Christmas. When I’ve lost weight, people tell me I look good.

Fat: What would happen if you became skinny?

Me: I don’t know.

Fat: Would it scare you to lose a source of attention?

Me: I guess I’ve never thought of it as attention.

Fat: Commiseration over food is a valid way of connecting with people, friends, family members. Food is a source of strength and time and attention. A lot of people seek food as connecting ground with others. It’s also a really good distractor from emotions you don’t want to feel. Like abandonment, rejection, and others. So an excess of food as a way to forget other emotions leads to me.

Me: I never thought of that.

Fat: Maybe you did, but you didn’t realize it. Do you think it’s okay to feel emotions? 

Me: I guess not. Well . . . okay maybe, but not desirable. I mean . . . I’m having a hard time not feeling guilt over any food that I push into my mouth, unless it’s really healthy, and even then I feel guilty because I just want to eat brownies or something. Eating makes me happy. Until I’m done, and then it’s all just kind of empty. So, no. I don’t like feeling.

Fat: Food numbs. Kind of like the time you were upset in high school and you ate a whole thing of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

Me: Yes, I guess it does numb. I mean . . . I can’t even tell you the number of diets I’ve been on. Or the times I didn’t control my eating. Like the diet we went on where there were three groups of food and you could eat as much of a certain type at a certain meal. I think that lasted less than a week. Or Slim Fast. Or sharing my mom’s Phentermine pills. Or the diet pills I tried when I was in high school that were so powerful I couldn’t sleep at night. Then there were liquid diets we went on, and these pills that we took after visiting a natural doctor that were super expensive and did nothing. Weight watchers. Atkins. Vegetarian. Marathon training/running. Gluten free. Paleo. It’s like a hobby now that I look back. A lifestyle, even. That’s kind of freaky. What am I trying to numb so badly?

Fat: Ah. The big question, isn’t it? So you aren’t just letting go of me if you lose weight, but your identity. Your lifestyle. Your source of commiseration with other people. Your source of attention from other people. You lose a lot if you give up dieting.

Me: I guess that’s how it feels, yeah.

Fat: Your grandmother was constantly worried about her weight, but constantly loving through food, too.

Me: Yes, always. She loved all of her grandchildren and children through food. We had dinner with her on Sundays. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Christmas plates and cookies. She’d make us birthday cakes, send us food home. Grandpa’s homemade bread and chicken noodle soup really were amazing.

Fat: So, yet again, it’s not about me, but it’s about connection. Food is a connecting point. A source of warm memories and happiness.

Me: Yes. I think that’s right. So you’re trying to say that I have a belief system that tells me that food is connection, right? But that can’t be ALL bad, and it has to be universal for everyone. And it’s not like I can get rid of food.

Fat: No. The point isn’t to create a false reality and get rid of your temptation. It’s to manage it.

Me: But that still doesn’t deal with my relationship with you: fat and food are different things. I mean . . .  I don’t even know if I can imagine what it would be like to not constantly feel insecure about you.

Fat: I’m not the bad guy here. I’m the one that helped you get through the hard times, remember? When you ate, when you were hard on your body? I’m the signal. The thing that says, “Hey, something is wrong here!” I’m a product, not the cause. 

Me: A signal?

Fat: When I start to appear because you’re eating more to avoid your emotions, what does that mean? 

Me: That I’m avoiding emotions.

Fat: Precisely. I’m a warning. A signal that something is wrong that you aren’t fixing. I’m a friend.

Me: Ah . . . I‘m beginning to see, I think.

Fat: Despite a less-than-perfect relationship between us, you survived what you had to survive. And now you see me for what I am—a coping mechanism. A testament to getting through the hard times. But I don’t have to stay around. That’s up to you.

Me: So, basically, I need to work through my emotions so that I don’t turn to food and create more of you. 

Fat: Yes!

Me: When I’m turning to food, I’m really running away.

Fat: Yes!

Me: So this really isn’t about you at all, is it? It’s not about finding the right diet, or the right amount of calories, or the right exercises. It’s more about dealing with my emotional crap than not.

Fat: Your relationship with me is very dependent on your relationship with your body, and then with food. The more you listen to your body, the less you’ll need me. 

Me: I didn’t expect that.

Fat: It’s really quite simple, when you get down to it.

Me: So how do I do this? What do I do next?

Fat: Give it time, intention, and a lot of grace. You have demons to face. Demons from the past and demons from every day life. It’s going to take awhile to shift your mindset, but once you stop seeing food as an escape and learn to listen to your body for hunger cues—not your mind or your heart—it will all start to make sense. But it won’t be easy. And it will be constant. But it’s so much better facing the demons than living with them every single day.

Me: It doesn’t sound easy.

Fat: Nothing good ever is.  

Note: This is a piece of writing, it’s not advice. Don’t take it as such. It’s not the end-all-be-all of food relationships. It’s simply an exercise I attempted out of desperation one day that led to a big change in behavior for me. That doesn’t mean it will ring true with everyone. If this triggers you, I’m sorry. That’s not my intention. But I hope you can see some truth in it. Can sense some sincerity in the words. And maybe feel a bit more inspired to take on your own demons. If you’re really struggling, or want to make a change, please go see a professional doctor or counselor to discuss your options.

 As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments or share with your friends!

If you’re looking for more of my writing about food and our relationship with it as women, grab your free e-book of my award winning Chick Lit novel Bon Bons to Yoga Pants.

Breaking the Scale of Hotness

Breaking the Scale of Hotness

Where the scale of hotness is concerned, I broke the rules and married someone way hotter than me.

Before you throw tomatoes at me with Youre Beautiful Just The Way You Are written on them, lets turn down the Bruno Mars song and have a frank discussion.

The Scale of Hotness

I grew up with a bowling ball face, a frizzy mess of curls a mile wide, and what curves I did have had certainly werent in my chest. While I never had the curse of braces, the tune of youre just big boned,whistled in my ears from total strangers. 

Trust me, thats way worse than braces cuz you cant change bone structure. 

Id walk down the halls at school and hear my teachers say, She has a great smile, doesnt she?While my brothers friends said, Well, shes not the brightest bulb on the tree.

Fast forward a decade and I landed on my feet, a full-time RN, living in a downtown and working with kids. My career made me awesome, but not enough. Heres the shocker: I was single. I dated all kinds of guys. I mean all kinds. I got an Air Force guy who yelled at me for not being willing to pick him up on our first date. A gentleman that worked for the forest service who was so quiet that I had to lean over my pasta to hear what he said. Then there was, of course, Mr. Medical School Man. He used me for a few rides, a couch to crash on, then broke up with me over a text message.

Classy.

The common thread besides being total #@&*(#%(*@ was this: they were all pretty much my facial equal. Attractive enough, but nothing so beautiful that I wanted to attach to it with suction cups and scream, Never let me go!

Then I met the most beautiful man Id ever seen.

I was twenty four. Wed been emailing for weeks via eHarmony before he flew out to see me. He was an Army officer just off deployment, had thick eyelashes I’d kill for, and more sarcastic humor than I could handle. Id already had a good feeling about this one, and I was a pro about dating vibes, so I pulled out all the stops and dressed in my girl power outfit: black yoga pants, a vest from Eddie Bauer with fuzz on the inside, and hiking boots.

Yes, hiking boots.

My curly hair is an entity until itself, so after an hour-and-a-half battle, Id tamed the tresses into straight, highlighted strands, then arrived at the airport with my hands steepled in prayer, begging the gods of first dates that I wouldnt get sweaty pit stains. Which I so did.

He strode off the plane and right into my heart. The moment I saw him my mouth dropped open, my hands turned to ice, and all I could think of when I stared at his strong jaw and crooked smile was, oh noHe is way too attractive for me.

Although I stood there like a mute, he put his muscled arms around me in a warm hug. I melted like butter in southern Alabama on a hot July afternoon. My heart fluttered. Is this real? Is this a joke? Hes too beautiful. I could feel the suction cups forming on my fingertips. He wasnt Calvin Klein model perfect: he was rugged, manly, five-shades-of-stubble-in-the-morning perfect.

I pulled myself back together, managed a somewhat coherent mumble, then started toward my car so I didnt have to see his face. We took a forty five minute drive up a gorgeous canyon to a famous diner for brunch. My eyes never strayed from the road. His gleaming, angelic face would certainly blind me if I looked over. More than that, I didnt want to face the reality behind the voice in my head.

Hes way too hot! Scale of hotness is tipped! Must. Stop.

We sat across from each other at a shabby table in a kitschy restaurant filled with people, sunshine, and odd decor. I glanced up to find the undeniable truth again: He was beautiful. He was everything sturdy and strong that I ever wanted. The voice screeched on in the back of my mind.

Youre breaking the rules!

Never mind that we hit it off like a pair of gloves missing their mate. Never mind that his eyes sparkled when he laughed at my snarky comments because he thought I was funny. Never mind that he held my hand that night and it felt like coming home. All I could think was: I cant do it. Id never match up. I have big hips and volatile hair. I love food way too much—and it shows. Doesnt he see the issue here?

To my dismay, he didnt seem to get it.

It would have been a lot easier if he would have just stepped away after the first date with a kind smile and flippant Hey! Lets do this again! just like the rest of them. But he didnt. He wanted to see me in the morning, so I took action into my own hands. This beautiful man would not be forced into an unequal relationship that surely hed regret.

The next day, after washing my hair into its full-scale-curly-haired-massive-glory, and ensuring it was full and wild, (because who wouldnt that scare off?) I picked him up from his friends house. My plan was already in action.

“Want to go for a run?I asked.

Thatll show him, I thought with smug superiority. Hell see my wobbly legs and butt trying to get up the hill and hell realize what Ive seen since the beginning.

“Of course!he said, as I knew he would.

We ran up a mountain trail (where I practically reached down and grabbed handfuls of dirt to rub on my face as I went) and then back down. We laughed when he accidentally embarrassed himself by farting—twice. We swapped stories about nightmare dates. We enjoyed the sun and crisp mountain air. He didnt turn away in disgust, the jerk.

No, we just kept having a great time.

Three days later, my heart broke as I watched him walk back into the airport on Valentines day. Our weekend of sharing frozen yogurt, cuddling up to Finding Nemo, and star gazing from the top of a mountain had altered my universe forever. He was my perfect match in all ways . . . except one.

I wouldnt hear from him again, I already knew that. And really, who would blame him? The scale of hotness never lies. It cannot be broken. There was a Mrs. Perfect with blonde hair and blue eyes waiting for this Mr. Perfect. Except she was probably wearing heels, not hiking boots, and spreading her divine glitter over orphaned puppies. I couldnt deprive the world of their stunning children, so I drank in his perfect smile and brown eyes until he disappeared from view.

Every heartbeat on my drive home caused me pain. Just as I was sitting down in front of the TV, Lifetime movie at the ready, a barrel of fun sized snickers and a box of tissues in hand, the doorbell rang.

“For you,a delivery man said, holding out a long box that said 1-800-Flowers on the side. I dropped the Snickers, slammed the door in his face, ripped the box open, and found a dozen red roses nestled inside. A note accompanied them.

Thanks for the perfect weekend of running, laughing, and playing. I cant believe this is real, and I cant wait to see you again. Ill call after my plane lands. Cant wait to talk to you again.

My hands trembled. I blinked in disbelief and fell to the chair behind me. The letter, and the gorgeous crimson flowers with dark veins running through the petals, were from him, there was no doubt. But how could that be?

The scale of hotness never lies.

Right?

Shattering Old Beliefs

 

After 6 years of more gritty-faced runs, listening him say I love your beautiful face, wife and staring at his stubbled jaw, I’ve realized that the scale of hotness I judged myself by was never really a thing after all.

I created those rules and bounds in my own mind and then put them onto my perfect mate. (Don’t get me wrong—we’re not perfect at all. We’re imperfectly perfect, which is way better.) Out of a place of insecurity, I led myself to believe that no one could possibly love a girl that’s sometimes not functional, is abhorrent with fashion, forgets her phone and keys in the most random places, loves adventure, carries her own gun, hikes every day, and loves to laugh, simply because she’d believed in a cultural scale that said she didn’t measure up. 

But the truth is the opposite: the scale of hotness existed in my own mind, and my worth has nothing to do with the size of my hips, the spread of my hair, or the fact that I sweat on hot days just like everyone else. Marrying Mr. Right didn’t even teach me that—I spent the first 5 years of my marriage believing myself to be inferior, when in truth I was just right. It took a lot of digging into belief systems I had in place that were false—and working with a professional—for me to see the truth.

That I’m just as hot as my husband, and just as imperfectly perfect.

If you’ve ever believed in the scale of hotness, let me shatter that one for you. Because here’s something I never understood at the time:

Looks don’t really matter.

The Health and Happiness Society Cookbook

The Health and Happiness Society Cookbook

It’s borderline pathetic how much I love food. Cookbooks are my favorite books to browse at the bookstore. Guys, I’ve worked food into my writing brand. #dedication. My Chick Lit series, The Health and Happiness Society revolves around women and their relationships with food. But let’s be honest. I just wanted to write about Arby’s and chicken pad thai.

That’s about it.

Being an indie author is all about trying new things and getting your name seen by new people. And parenthood is all about feeding those demanding, hungry mouths all the time. Add those together and . . .

. . . you get a cookbook.

And a very tired author taking selfies at 11:00 at night because she’s up late working.

#dontjudgeme #storyofmylife

Announcing the Health and Happiness Cookbook!!

Announcing the Health and Happiness Cookbook!!

Announcing the Health and Happiness Cookbook!!

About the Cookbook

Designed by the amazing talented Jenny with Seedlings Design Studio and typeset by Chris Bell with Atthis Arts.

Recipe Design

Announcing the Health and Happiness Cookbook!!

Section Dividers (inspiring quotes sprinkled inside, BTW.)

Announcing the Health and Happiness Cookbook!!

List of expected epicness.

Announcing the Health and Happiness Cookbook!!

Fun and Flirty Recipes with a Twist!

Have you ever contemplated how much you love food? Do you sometimes crave something light and healthy . . . with a little sweet on the side? Then the Health and Happiness Cookbook is just for you!

The origins of the award-winning Chick Lit series, The Health and Happiness Society Series, has serious roots in food. The members of this happiness geared support group take delicious meals very seriously. From beef stew with whole wheat brioche buns, easy-to-make artisan bread, Mom’s comfort food, and crazy milkshakes—donuts included—there’s a little bit of everything inside.

Join the ladies of the Health and Happiness Society in pursuing your life’s passion, and it’s indulgences, through scrumptious food that doesn’t require a culinary degree.

Falling in love with food—and yourself—has never been so delicious.

The Health and Happiness Cookbook releases May 1st—just in time for Mother’s Day.

I paired with talented food and lifestyle blogger Kimberley Copithorne and let her work her magic.

Magic like this: (Check back Friday for the full recipe!)

Oreo Cake from The Health and Happiness Cookbook

Behind-The-Scenes

Stay tuned for behind-the-scene glimpses of how Kim brainstormed, created, and photographed all the recipes, as well as how to manage a multi-person publishing project without pulling your hair out.

And, of course, MORE FOOD.

If you haven’t subscribed to my Chick Lit email list (where you get The Every Woman Story Project First Edition for free) then subscribe now! You’ll get links to free, scrumptious recipes from the cookbook that I won’t be posting here. (As well as updates on all my chick lit novels. No spam. #neverspam).

Watch on Friday for the Oreo Cake recipe. Because . . . cake.

#IGotYourBack

Tell me your favorite food in the comments!

Cheesy Meat Lovers Pizza

Cheesy Meat Lovers Pizza

Are you in the food for something filling and delicious? The Cheesy Meat Lovers Pizza from the Health and Happiness Cookbook has got your back! Kimberley Copithorne from Prairie Winds Life food and lifestyle blog is bringing you the protein and the pizza.

Kick back and enjoy your Meat Lover’s Pizza

Ingredients:

2-3 cups of flour

2 tablespoons of sugar

2¼ teaspoons of self-rising yeast

½ teaspoon of sea salt

1 cup of hot water

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Olive oil for brushing

1 cup of real bacon bits

1 package of thinly sliced pepperoni meat

1 package of round-sliced ham

1 package of round-sliced salami

3 cups of shredded pizza mozzarella

1 large can of pizza sauce

Directions:

In your stand mixer, combine 1 cup of the flour along with the sugar, yeast, and salt. Incorporate them well.

On a low speed, slowly add the hot water and oil to the flour mixture. Beat the mixture for 3 minutes at a medium-low speed, slowly adding 1½ cups of flour. Add more flour if needed. Once the dough pulls away from the edges, knead it on a lower speed until it is smooth and elastic.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a tea towel and set it aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Grease two pizza pans with olive oil. Once the dough is done rising, cut it into two pieces. Roll out each dough piece with a rolling pin onto a lightly floured surface until the dough is ¼ inch thick and is in a circular shape. Transfer the dough to the pizza pan and randomly prick it with a fork. Let the dough sit for 10 minutes.

Brush each crust with olive oil and bake the plain crust for 4 minutes. Take the crusts out of the oven and spread the sauce on top. Add half of the cheese along with the meat and then the rest of the cheese to the pizzas. Place the pizzas back into the oven and bake them for another 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is slightly darker and bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Remove the pizzas from the oven and brush their edges with olive oil.

Let them rest for a few minutes and then nom that pizza!

Want more from the Health and Happiness Cookbook?

Just check out these posts below for more scrumptious goodies. Don’t forget to subscribe or check back May 1st to get your own copy.

Official Announcement

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

Unforgettable Oreo Cake

Cookbook Series: Brainstorming Ideas

Eclairs

Cookbook Series: Creating the Recipes

Unforgettable Oreo Cake

Unforgettable Oreo Cake

As promised, here is the delectable, scrumptious Oreo Cake recipe created, baked, and photographed by food and lifestyle blogger Kimberley Copithorne. Get this (and more!) in the upcoming Health and Happiness Cookbook. Officially releases May 1st. If you aren’t a member of my chick lit only email list (and want to get links right to your inbox) subscribe right here.

Perfect Mother’s Day gift.

#justsayin

Oreo Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

½ cup of butter

1½ cups of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

3 large eggs

1 cup of sour cream

1 cup of cake flour

¾ cup of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

¼ teaspoon of salt

⅓ cup of cocoa powder

½ cup of water

For the Filling:

1 package (8 ounces) of cream cheese

⅔ cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of whipping cream

½ package of Oreos

For the Icing:

1 package of Oreos

1 cup of softened salted butter

4 cups of icing sugar

4 tablespoons of whipping cream

For the Ganache:

8 ounces of thinly sliced pure milk chocolate

8 ounces of heavy whipping cream

Directions:

For the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Grease and flour two round cake pans. Cream the butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer. In a medium-sized bowl, sift the dry ingredients 3 times.

Boil the water and add the cocoa powder to it.

Add all of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat it until everything is incorporated. Then add the water and cocoa mixture. Beat it until it is just mixed. Distribute the batter evenly between the two pans.

Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes and then allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack.

For the Filling:

Whip the whipping cream until it has stiff peaks and can stand straight up. Crush the Oreos in a plastic bag.

Blend the cream cheese and granulated sugar with a handheld mixer. Blend the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and no longer feels grainy when rubbed between your fingers.

Fold the whipping cream into the cream cheese mixture. Once that is done, fold in the Oreos as well. Place the filling into the fridge until it’s time to assemble the cake.

For the Icing:

Place the Oreo cookies inside a plastic bag and seal it. Smash the cookies with a rolling pin until they’re small chunks and crumbs.

Whip the butter with a mixer. Add the icing sugar and whipping cream. Add the Oreos until the mixture is just blended. Avoid breaking the cookies any further.

Set the icing aside.

For the Ganache:

In the microwave, heat the cream until it just starts to simmer.

Place the milk chocolate in a metal bowl. Pour the hot cream over it and let it sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, slowly mix the ingredients together with a spatula until the mixture becomes smooth and has no streaks of cream or solid pieces of chocolate.

Allow the ganache to cool for 15 minutes before assembling the cake.

To Assemble the Cake:

Slice each cake in half widthwise. You will have 4 pieces.

In between each layer, add the filling. You should end up with three layers of the filling.

Once the filling is in the cake, began spreading the icing onto the cake. Cover the whole cake with a layer of icing about ½ inch thick.

With an icing bag and a tip, make 8 icing swirls on top of the cake. Place an Oreo in the middle of each swirl. Pour ganache into the center of the top of the cake.

Cut the cake into equal pieces and serve it with a side of ice cream!

Don’t forget to grab your copy of The Health and Happiness Cookbook starting May 1st—and check back for exciting new recipes and behind-the-scene glimpses in the meantime!