I started reading “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyubormirksy which the higher level Applied Positive Psychology class lists as the primary text. Some of it is redundant of my previous positive psychology text and some is new. A few things that stick out:
In order to become happier, you can do acts of kindness. However, studies showed that the biggest boost of happiness only occurs if you perform 5 acts all in one day instead of 5 acts over the course of 5 days. Apparently, the small acts throughout the week seem more trivial and therefore do not boost happiness. I’m not sure I really agree with this on a personal level….
Also, there is a similar scenario with gratitude. There is a “count your blessings” exercise which is an exercise in gratitude and has also been shown to increase happiness. However, similarly with the above study, the boost in happiness only occurred when people did the exercise once per week instead of once per day. Again, I’m not sure I agree with that either personally. I understand the argument that doing a gratitude list once per week makes one appreciate things more and keep it from being “routine”, but still… again I’m not sure this applies to me personally.
And surgery was also mentioned as to not boost happiness…. uh yeah, I’m still pretty stinking happy about my LASIK surgery 2 years later. 😉
Nope – I am not done with cake yet! This is a pistachio cake that another member of the Book Club made last month. I really like pistachios and this cake had a nice crumb and good flavor. It is more of a dense cake/brownie-like rather than the light and fluffy frosted cakes that most of us are used to.
But… if you are like my son, then you only want to get the pistachios in order to open Angry Birds levels. 😉
This cake uses ground cardamom – a really nice spice that I have seen in other Indian cuisine. If you have any good recipes that use it – then let me know. I have a whole batch of it because I wanted to make my own chai tea, but I haven’t done so. And mine is ground… I think to make chai tea you need whole cardamom. Oops.
yield 10 servings
3/4 cup (4 oz). shelled natural pistachios
1 cup AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt (or omit if using salted pistachios)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 and 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup or 6 oz.) unsalted butter, soft
1 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease with butter or Baker’s Joy a 13×9″ pan. Use parchment paper to line the pan.
2. Grind the pistachios until they are like sand – fine, but not pasty – in a food processor.
3. Add your dry stuff: flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Pulse 1-2 times.
4. In a measuring cup: mix milk and vanilla.
5. In a large mixing bowl: beat butter and sugar on medium to medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes. Until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.
6. Add your flour mix and milk mix by alternating them. Always always always add the flour first and last.
7. Pour batter into your pan and spread. Bake 20 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes and then flip it onto a rack. Slowly, remove paper and serve warm or room temp.
Optional and added by baker: Top with whipped cream and crushed pistachios.
Source: Gourmet Magazine, May 2001 via “Eat Cake” by Jeanne Ray