Cranberry White Chocolate Blondies

I hadn’t been to the library in over a year (Mike and I have had plenty to read thanks to Paperback Swap) but the other day for no reason in particular, I walked in. Our library is pretty awesome… especially if you’re interested in Filipino DVDs (fun fact – this city has the highest concentration of Filipino-Americans of any municipality in the US). ANYWAY… I walked in, browsed around a little bit, and saw this on the shelves:

Normally I avoid self-help type books, and I kind of think the “doing XYZ in a year” has been done plenty of times before (The Year of Living Biblicallyand Julie and Juliaare two that come to mind).  I read the first few pages of Eat, Pray, Loveand immediately decided it was way too self-indulgent for my taste, so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book.

I skimmed a few pages and ended up checking it out, and I’ve actually really enjoyed it! I appreciate that the author doesn’t take herself too seriously, is able to recognize her flaws, and doesn’t do anything too unrealistic. At the outset, she acknowledges that she’s not unhappy, she just wants to see if she can make herself a little bit happier, and tries various things based on her research. Some of them work, and seem like things that I would definitely do (like getting rid of clutter and finding more fun); others don’t interest me (like keeping a gratitude journal or starting a collection). But I think the thing that really stuck with me most was the concept she kept coming back to: “Be Gretchen.”

I’ve definitely noticed that the periods in my life that I was the least happy were when I was trying to be somebody else. I will never be interested in interior decorating, and that’s fine. I’d rather throw a bunch of stuff in a pan and end up with blondies than spend hours decorating sugar cookies with royal icing. I’d rather run for miles than go to Zumba.

I know it seems really obvious, but I found it really helpful to be reminded “we can chose what we do, but we can’t choose what we like to do.”

I like putting things in blondies.  Like M & Ms and pretzels, or in this case, cranberries, white chocolate chips, and toasted pecans.

(adapted from Simply Recipes)


12 Responses to “Cranberry White Chocolate Blondies”

  1. 1 Beth November 16, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I almost never make blondies; I’m totally biased on the side of brownies. That being said, I’m totally going through a cranberry kick, and cranberry white chocolate sounds like an excellent combination 🙂

  2. 2 Julie @BananasForBourbon November 16, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Huh, I’m really not into those type of books either, but you make this one sound pretty good! Happiness is something that can get away from us if we don’t keep tabs on it, right? I’m more running than Zumba too. 😉

  3. 3 natalie (the sweets life) November 16, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I’ve heard good things about this book so although I typically stick to fiction I think I’ll have to read this!!

    Here are the infamous blondies you tweeted about 🙂 They look just as good as they sounded!

  4. 4 Audrey November 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Ha, my mom is always telling me to watch Filipino movies to help me learn Tagalog. I’m sure it would but most of their movies are so bad… always women crying and yelling, blah!

    Those treats look yummy and very festive!

  5. 5 Jessica @Sunny Side Up November 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I just love this post! That’s exactly what happiness is all about! Finding what works for you! I think that every second of running is awful. Awful! But I love yoga and ellipticals. So you keep on running and I’ll keep trying to stand on my head, cuz that’s what makes us happy! And I do agree with you about self help books sometimes coming across as self-indulgent. I never did understand the Eat Pray Love craze.

    And I think I’m going to give these blondies a try, but maybe swirling in the leftover cranberry sauce I have sitting in my fridge!

  6. 6 Kelsey November 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Another great post from you, Cate. Why is it that we try so hard to be something else? Perhaps this book (read while munching on delicious cranberry blondies) can help me embrace happiness as me instead of constantly thinking being someone else will make me happy.

  7. 7 Georgiana November 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Finding what makes you happy is often seen as such a challenge, but stopping and examining your life as it already is and acknowledging small pleasures is so freeing. I’m very tempted to read this book, thanks for the recommendation! These blondies look wonderful. I’m sick to death of brownies right now. I think it’s safe to assume that these are about to usurp that place in my heart.

  8. 8 Kate November 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I love our library, but we don’t have too many Filipino DVDs. We might have that book though. I just wish I had more time to read. For me, that’s the first time luxury thing to go. I’d rather spend free minutes cooking, running, or knitting!

  9. 9 Laura November 16, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I considered reading that book for a long time, finally bought it for my Kindle and read half of it. It just didn’t suck me in the way “Eat Pray Love” did. (Ha! To each his own I suppose.)

    But I’m totally with you on being honest about likes and dislikes. A lot of social media bothers me because it seems like people try to present their lives as exciting and glamorous. The truth is I really like watching TV and surfing the net!

    Anyway, great post. 🙂

  10. 10 Joanne November 17, 2011 at 4:02 am

    I like…EATING blondies with white chocolate, cranberries and pecans. Seems like we’re perfect for each other!

  11. 11 Angela @ SF Road Warrior November 18, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I’ve been following Gretchin Rubin’s blog for years (probably since the time she started writing that book). I love it! I love that the things she has to say come across as real & genuine & not hokey. I still follow her blog & love it. 🙂

  12. 12 Courtney (Pancakes and Postcards) November 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I really liked that book too! I am very different from her, and don’t agree with how type A her method was, but that’s what worked for HER, and it gave me a lot to think about with my own life.

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