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08 January 2012 @ 01:46 pm
stuff and nonsense  
so I'm trying to meditate once a day to guided meditation things off of youtube.  I know that's kind of absurdist in an 'get your enlightenment through the internet' kind of way, but I have trouble staying focused if I just sit somewhere for 10 minutes, and the relaxation steps are good.  So far I've found two videos that were (mostly) ok as long as you've got your eyes closed - one for relaxation (that is really about body relaxation) and another that says it's deep relaxation (which i guess was mostly about breathing). 

Why all this sudden interest?  I started trying to figure out what might help me improve my memory since this semester I'm going to be reading something close to a book a day to prep for my exams, and I found this website all about how you can improve your memory and concentration through games and other stuffs like meditation. 

It all came from this wired article someone on facebook linked to titled (oh so comfortingly and not at all sensationally) Digital Overload is Frying Our Brains. While I think there's a lot of naysaying going on about what exactly digital life is doing to us, I do also think I'm personally moving into a pretty heavy stress period and that last semester wasn't exactly a cakewalk, and I could use all the relaxation and focusing techniques I can handle.  Though, frankly, I spend oh probably 6-8 hours at least on the internet every day (some days closer to 12) and I can still read books, do complex tasks, write papers, etc., so I think some of the short-attention-span-panic is overblown.

Since I basically spent the last week goofing around on the internet reading, I will try to put together a recs list of things I've found.  Until then I have another recipe, since I got bored last night waiting for friends to figure out what they were doing and made yeast-free cinnamon rolls.  This is one of the few recipes I've found where the dough actually does plump up (from the baking soda & powder).  I mean, no, not like yeast rolls, but I'm not dedicated enough to have yeast hanging around my house all the time.


Cinnamon Rolls (recipe without yeast)
Ingredients:

Rolls:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
2 Tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
I also added a 1/2 teaspoon of spice (Chinese 5 Spice & Cinnamon) so that even the dough would have a little spicy to it

Cinnamon Filling:

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon totally doubled this and put some nutmeg in for the hell of it
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Cream Cheese Frosting: I didn't make this - no cream cheese in the house - but i'm sure it's good

8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
**To make frosting, mix all ingredients until smooth.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Generously coat a 9 inch round cake pan and a wire cooling rack with vegetable oil spray.

2. Make the filling: combine together the brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated white sugar, cinnamon, salt, and the 1 Tablespoon melted butter until the mixture resembles wet sand.

3. Make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour; 2 Tablespoons white granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and 2 Tablespoons of the melted butter together.

5. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until absorbed, about 30 seconds. The dough will look shaggy.
It didn't look shaggy to me, it looked WAY too wet

6. Turn the dough out onto a generously floured counter and knead until smooth, about 1 minute.
I ended up using almost another cup of flour while I was kneading - I threw a quarter cup down originally, then put 1/4 cup on top as well, otherwise it would have ended up sticking *entirely* to my hands/the board/life

7. Press the dough out into a 9 by 12 inch rectangle using your hands.

8. Brush the dough with 2 Tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Press the filling firmly into the dough.

9. Loosen the dough from the counter using a bench scraper or a metal spatula.
by using more flour up on step six this wasn't a problem at all

10. Starting at a long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log.

11. Pinch the seam to seal. Slice the dough into 8 even pieces.

12. Place the slices in the greased pan.
ok, I had a pickle here because I wasn't sure if I should turn them so the "roll" was facing up or not - so I did. It came out just fine, but there was definitely carmelization on the bottom of my pan, so make sure you grease WELL

13. Brush with the remaining 2 Tablespoons melted butter. Bake until the edges are golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

14. Use a knife to loosen the buns from the pan. Flip the buns out onto the prepared wire rack, then turn buns upright and let cool for 10 minutes before frosting with cream cheese icing. Prepare the icing while rolls are cooling.

[full recipe and yeast recipe here]


I start classes tomorrow with a bang - I am holding the section before the class starts (it's a Tuesday/Thursday class with sections on Monday morning - I don't even know - scheduling is like ... yeah). I'm looking forward to TAing a Japanese literature class since most of what I've done has been literature-adjacent. It feels weird to hold the section before the class has even started, but this will get the preliminaries out of the way so that next week we can actually talk about the readings.

also posted to dreamwidth | you can reply here or there | um, but don't worry, i'm still an lj girl
 
 
 
seldomifeverseldomifever on January 9th, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)
I like the idea of using the internet to help learn meditation. Imma try that too. Thanks! :)
my monkied brain: _nihon_prayerskatekat1010 on January 9th, 2012 02:03 am (UTC)
let me know if you find other videos that you like! i'm sure there are tons out there!
samanthahirr: golden yearssamanthahirr on January 9th, 2012 02:16 am (UTC)
Best Wishes for the coming school year! I hope the first session goes suspiciously-well.

My only suggestion for improving your retention of book content is to--wait for it--read more fic. Hey, it might work! You won't know until you try it....
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on January 9th, 2012 02:53 am (UTC)
bwhaahahahaha - if i read more fic i think the internet would explode. or i'd have to start hiring authors. here is a list of the fics I read just today (and today I ran errands, took puppy on a walk, played around in the house, got myself ready for class tomorrow, etc. so it was a light fic reading day)

Faith in the Tie White Collar Sahiya
Somnophilia Kradam Samanthahirr
Suites Meme 5
Let it Snow Kurt/Blaine Reremouse
Almost Legal Suits anon
Daddy's Boy Suits anon
Good Boy Suits MajaLi
The One in Which Mind Control is the only explaination Suits Grim_lupine
Or Down You Fall Suits Sam_storyteller
In Dreams He Comes Suits Smartalli
In Vino Fukitas Suits _mournthewicked
An Act Too Often Neglected Erik/Charles amai_kaminari

samanthahirr: Filthysamanthahirr on January 9th, 2012 03:49 am (UTC)
Oo, I love Sam_Storyteller! I just followed your rec and wow, what a delicious fic! Thank you mui a lot for sharing the link!

And thanks for the kudos on Somnophilia! January is for porn! And exclamation marks!
my monkied brain: SUITS_adorable harveykatekat1010 on January 13th, 2012 07:35 am (UTC)
I love his stuff too!!! just always *excellent* fic no matter what the fandom. my pleasure - glad you liked!

and absolutely darling!! i agree, january is totally for porn. and OMG exclamation marks, my FAVORITE punctuation!! (LOLS, the sad thing was most of those were not intentionally ironic except for the last two)
Survival is my Victoryemeraldswan on January 9th, 2012 05:00 am (UTC)
I use Erick Brown's stuff to meditate. Though I get them from amazon usually, mp3s.