I have mentioned previously that I am in the middle of my own year long Happiness Project, which means that each month I choose a particular key area of my life to focus on, setting a few resolutions to work on in that arena with the overall objective of improving my habits, health, and happiness through small and specific actions. It’s been a few months now and I can say that although I don’t earn a “gold star” for every resolution every day, I have been successful in forming several new and positive habits which support the overall aim. Along with the resolutions, I also usually try to read books related to the topic throughout the month which reinforces the theme and often provides more motivation and ideas which I can put into effect. And for October, I am focused on money. My resolutions include:
- Create, track and stick to a budget;
- Abstain from purchases;
- Spend out, use up, and clear out what’s on hand or obsolete; and
- Be generous
The budget piece is pretty tangible and relatively easy for me. I started out by revisiting our total income, recurring bills and expenses, along with goals for saving and updated the relevant categories in my Mint app (a fantastic app which links all your accounts, lines of credit, etc. to be able to monitor your earning, spending, and saving). Abstaining from purchases means absolutely ZERO buying anything which is not groceries or coffee. I have been overspending on clothing, books, and otherwise lax in a variety of areas over the past few months and going completely sober for a bit will help me to stop with the frivolous expenditures. Besides, we end this month with a trip to Milan, and abstaining from any spending until then will make the shopping experience there even more enjoyable. This also ensures that I can execute well on my third resolution, inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s original The Happiness Project – spending out and using up whatever I do already have. I don’t have to “save” my good perfume for some unknown time in the future; I bought it to use and I should. I also don’t need to buy new nail polish, I already have many shades that I love. Meanwhile, I am trying to look at my things objectively, and if they are broken, faded, worn, or otherwise obsolete, it’s possibly time to face the facts and get rid of them rather than holding onto them to collect dust. Lastly, I am trying to be more generous.
Being generous relates to more than just money in this context. Although it certainly can be, it’s not just about being philanthropic or showering others with gifts (which is good since I just mentioned I’m trying to abstain from shopping!). Although gifts and treats for others can and have been involved, I aspire to be generous in all senses of the word. I can be generous with my time, having patience instead of getting frustrated, spending more time connecting and investing in relationships, or going out of my way to do favors or an act of kindness for someone. I can be generous with my words, speaking with enthusiasm and thoughtfulness; encouraging and uplifting those around me rather than being cynical, sarcastic, or scathing. And I can be generous with my thoughts. One of my greatest iniquities is that a judgmental attitude comes quite naturally to me. I think it is related to my Idea Assassin quality. But, I am trying to increase my awareness of this issue and think more positively, give people the benefit of the doubt, and criticize less, even if it was only in my own mind. It’s not always easy to be generous in the moment, but whenever I am, it’s not only advantageous to the beneficiary – I feel indescribably happier.
A fabulous fellow expat recently mentioned that she was U.S. bound soon and generously asked if there is anything that I would like her to bring back. Sadly I learned last year that the great fall food essential, canned/tinned pumpkin, is not a thing in Ireland, so I immediately requested and thanked her in advance for a few cans of pumpkin puree (she then generously shared information saying that you can actually find them seasonally in the “American Aisle” of Tesco on Paul’s Street in Cork -I didn’t even know such an aisle existed!). After the fruitless search around the city last fall, I planned ahead by picking up a few cans when I went home last Christmas and have been saving them dutifully for a Friends-giving pumpkin pie this year. However, since I now know that a replenishment is forthcoming, I can “spend out” and use up that hallowed squash by being generous and sharing this fan favorite: Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffins. Quintessentially fall and SO delicious!! And in the spirit of generosity – I’ll be sharing this batch with the Flex in the City crew tonight.
- Eggs 2 each
- Smooth, Unsalted Almond Butter .75 cup (190 g)
- Maple Syrup .5 cup (120 ml)
- Pumpkin Puree .5 cup (115 g)
- Ghee .25 cup (55 g)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Juice of Half a Lemon
- Coconut Flour .25 cup (28 g)
- Cinnamon 1 TBSP
- Cloves .5 TSP
- Nutmeg 2 TSP
- Ginger .5 TSP
- Sea Salt .25 TSP
- Baking Powder 1.5 TSP
- Baking Soda .5 TSP
- Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C and lightly grease your mini muffin tray with some melted coconut oil.
- In a blender, mix together the eggs, almond butter, maple syrup, pumpkin, ghee, and lemon juice until you reach a smooth consistency.
- Then add in the remaining ingredients and pulse a just to combine, making sure not to overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared muffin trays and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.
- Allow to cool for at least 10 minute and then remove from the tray and enjoy!
- You should store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week if they last that long!