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[personal profile] katekat
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.
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