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  • Melissa Orquiza

Cranberry Almond Granola Apple Parfaits, Motivation Killers, Joplin,The Cranberries & Kendrick Lamar

Cranberry Almond Granola (made into Roasted Apple & Cranberry Parfaits)... Healthy, but not so strict that you'll feel deprived and forget about about your resolutions.

Cranberry & Roasted Apple Parfaits with Almond Granola, Motivation Killers (Boo!), Joplin, The Cranberries & Kendrick Lamar

(Originally Published Jan 12, 2021)

Like many people, I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. I was a strangely organized kid, who would plan out my entire day, including everything that needed to be accomplished (with the appropriate time slots). I’d scribble in my miniature notebook that lived on top of my diary, whose cover had a drawing of pink ballet shoes and the requisite lock and key (I had two nosy siblings). I learned early on that time management was crucial and based on the day, biting off more than you could chew could set me up for disaster… and self- loathing. (Omg! This is explains why I became a musician! This is “normal” for a musician…) My mother kept laughing and laughing when she cleaned out my room. (I’m glad my childhood pain was funny.)

All artist jokes aside, this year, feels crucially different. After seeing what is happening with my friends, family, and the world, it makes me want to: get drunk (I don’t normally drink), eat edibles (I don’t do pot but eating seems like a better alternative for me), play video games (“Animal Crossing!”), practice and/or write (I know I should do that) which I know, in the end, is the adult, artistic version of the circle of self- loathing (Boo!). Thankfully, I now have a daughter to care for so any selfish, immature, self-defeating attempts of retreating from reality, is NOT IN MY VOCABULARY.

It took me a long time to understand what kills motivation and happiness. Life is supposed to have twists and turns and our ability to navigate with agility and grace can ultimately be the most satisfying accomplishment. Happiness, for me, is rolling with the punches, having great people around me to laugh with, having the fortitude to learn and try new things, delicious food and good music. Whenever any of those wheels feels unbalanced or neglected, I know I need to self- check (and do my homework). So, these last few days, when I felt kind of unmotivated because the news was killing my vibe, here are the articles I pulled up to inspire myself again. I hope they help you in any way (it helped with my self awareness) or you can just laugh and say “horse pah tooty.” You’ll be “self-pardoning.” Either way, I hope it makes you smile!

This is a great article about secret motivation killers that are seeping away your energy… We’ve all encountered this. Sad, but true…

8 Motivation Killers You Need To Be Aware Of Now

Here’s a more in-depth article if you want to a window into self aware existentialism…

Motivation Killers: How to Avoid These 9 Mental Drawbacks

And finally, an illuminating article on what are motivation killers at work (for those of us that are entrepreneurs).

The 10 Biggest Motivation Killers and How to Fix Them

Because ragtime always brightens any mood. This video is bizarrely entertaining... like it's premised as a video game except the piano scroll is vertical (what?). If Joplin doesn’t make you laugh, maybe you need to regroup, take a nap, have a cookie, snuggle under a blankie and watch some movies. Life is too short. As your resident toddler mom, here’s to you having a virtual hug, laughing and having a cookie when life is too strange to understand.

Scott Joplin - The Entertainer

How can I not make Cranberry Almond Granola Parfaits without mentioning “The Cranberries?” Don’t let your lack of motivation turn you into a zombie. Boo!

The Cranberries - Zombie (Official Music Video)

Finally, here's Kendrick Lamar and SZA's "All the Stars." If the music isn’t your thing, here are my favorite lyrics to part of the song…

Tell me what you gon' do to me

Confrontation ain't nothin' new to me

You can bring a bullet, bring a sword

Bring a morgue, but you can't bring the truth to me

Fuck you and all your expectations

I don't even want your congratulations

I recognize your false confidence and calculated promises all in your conversation

I hate people that feel entitled

Look at me crazy 'cause I ain't invite you

Oh, you important?

You the moral to the story, you endorsing?

Motherfucker, I don't even like you

Corrupt a man's heart with a gift

That's how you find out who you dealin' with

A small percentage, who I'm building with

I want the credit if I'm losing or I'm winning

On my momma that's the realest shit

Kendrick Lamar, SZA - All The Stars

Kendrick Lamar, SZA - All The Stars

Thanks for reading! I hope this made you laugh and think. If you a topic, piece of music or recipe you'd like me to explore, please feel free to leave me comment or contact me directly. Here's to more laughter! Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

Hint: I found a Joplin, "Entertainer" version with piano and cello. Lol! It's pretty hilarious... flawless classical technique applied to ragtime. It's like a Michelin chef slinging it in an after hours club. Does it work? Who cares? My kind of laughter filled night!

Roasted Apple Parfaits with Cranberry Almond Granola. Healthy but luxurious enough to not feel deprived. That's how I stay happy! Happy healthy eating!

Almond Granola with Dried Cranberries

(Original recipe calls for apricots but they give me a head buzz.)

(from “The Breakfast Bible” by Kate McMillan)


2 cups (185 g) rolled oats

3/4 cup (115 g) chopped raw almonds

2 Tbsps flaxseeds (I substituted chia seeds because I didn’t have any)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup (105 g) firmly packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup (125 g) honey

1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut oil

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup (140 g) dried apricots, chopped (I substituted dried cranberries because that’s what felt right…)

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, flaxseeds, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Pour over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Spread the mixture out on the prepared baking sheet.

3. Bake, stirring twice and rotating the pan once, until the granola is golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet, then stir in the dried apricots.

Assemble Roasted Apple Parfaits

1. I roasted some apples (that needed to be eaten) with a tiny bit of sugar, cinnamon until it was soft.

2. Layer roasted apples, cranberry jelly, granola and yogurt. Enjoy your healthy sundae!

Thanks for reading! I hope this made you laugh, stay happy and focused. If you have any music ideas, topics, or food ideas you'd like to discuss, please feel free to drop me a line. Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

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