When I was in high school there was a girl in my class who seemed to have it all: popularity, brains, athletic ability and beauty. I remember feeling jealous of her life because she seemed to be everything I wasn’t. When I say I was one of the biggest squares at my school I’m not exaggerating. I was painfully shy, had a limited amount of friends and hid behind an instrument and huge glasses. Thankfully, I learned how to break out of that box and now I love talking to people, making new friends and trying new things. It took a lot of work to gain the confidence I needed to make those changes and I continue to be a work in progress, as anyone who has read my blog for a while knows.
I wish I could say that changing my attitude was as simple as recognizing it and then stopping it, but of course, when it comes to emotions, it is not that simple. I would be willing to bet anyone reading this has experienced a time when they have been jealous of someone else. It could be because they live in a nicer house, have a better job, are in better shape, are more successful, are more accomplished at a sport or pastime, etc. Why do we allow ourselves to covet what others have instead of recognizing how much we ourselves have? Perhaps we think others achievements have come easy and we have to work hard for everything? Perhaps we think others have an advantage that we don’t? When I read this article about a female body builder’s journey preparing for a show, I realized I have been looking at it all wrong. Instead of feeling jealous of someone else’s achievement, I should be celebrating all the hard work and dedication that went into accomplishing it and get inspired!
We waste too much time wishing for what others have. Call it the Kim Kardashian effect or blame it on social media for making it seem success happens overnight or say it is just human nature. However, remember what we don't see is that even Kim has to work hard to maintain her brand. The lesson is to take time to admire how much effort others have put into getting what they want and then dedicate yourself to getting what you want. We cannot all be bodybuilders or millionaires or athletes or models. We can all be happy with ourselves by taking a lesson from those who have become successful in their chosen field. My classmate from high school? She worked hard to get good grades, make friends and be an athlete. As I look back I have nothing but admiration for her accomplishments. It is time to start celebrating the process and stop wasting time wishing to be something we are not.
Take a few minutes to think about everything you have accomplished. Perhaps even write it down. Raised a family? Promotions at work? Volunteer for a cause? Have a good friendship? Success in a sport? Great cook? A mentor to someone? Maintain a healthy lifestyle? Have a home everyone likes to hang out at? Now think about how much hard work went into achieving them. Congratulations! Recognize and celebrate your success!
Of course you should then treat yourself to this fabulous cake! I made this a few times this summer when it was blueberry season, but you can easily use frozen blueberries instead. The original recipe called for using apricots, so you can also substitute another fruit, just use one that will break down in the food processor to help form the batter. It is also easy to make this gluten-free by subbing the flour for a gluten-free baking mix. I used a 9” springform pan, but you could use any 9” cake pan you have.
Almond-Blueberry Food Processor Cake
original recipe from epicurious
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 1/4 cups raw almonds or blanched whole almonds*
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into slices or chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen, defrost 1 cup and drain, reserving liquid, leaving remaining 3/4 cup frozen)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free blend)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*The first time I made this I blanched and peeled the almonds myself. Just place in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and rub off skins. The next time I made it I skipped this step and it turned out fine, it is the cake in the pictures. Your choice!
**I place the pan on top of a sheet of parchment and trace around it, then cut it out to get a piece to fit in the bottom of the pan.