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  • Melissa Orquiza

Orange Blossom Chia Pudding, Real vs Fake Laughter, Guitar Face, Moonlight Sonata & The Foo Fighters


Orange Blossom Chia Pudding. Yes, because life needs a little spice to keep things fun!



Orange Blossom Chia Pudding. Perfect when you want something fast, easy, healthy, a bit... exotic.



Orange Blossom Chia Pudding, Real vs Fake Laughter, Guitar Face & The Foo Fighters


I am so grateful I had a few days off during the holiday season. I think all of us feel this way. As a working mom with global (ie. around the clock) deadlines, the moments of solitude and time, gathered from cooking, reading a book, or coloring with my daughter, are the most precious gifts I can most intimately receive. Most of my friends and family feel the same- the weight of uncertainty and indecision trying to cast a pallor over us and our decisions…but I adamantly, whole-heartedly, and soul-crushingly refuse. (I’m a Taurus. Go figure.)


As a parent trying to navigate my immediate family, the ever changing seas of work, the needs of my close friends and my extended family, “self care” is a notion that at once seems selfishly sexy yet completely abhorrent, but necessary in order to “reset.” I wish I could help solve the world’s problems, but the more I look globally, the more disappointment and confusion I see. Hence, I can rely on what I know I’m good at… making my friends and family laugh. I can’t solve a humanitarian crisis, but I can make someone laugh hard enough they had a moment of rest and might possibly donate to a heartfelt cause. I’m not a doctor (unlike most of my family), but I can sense when all you need is a smile and a funny quip.


In moments of crisis, sadness, confusion, alarm, ridiculousness, or peace, if a situation feels somewhat awkward or uncomfortable, chances are, I’ll try to make someone laugh. Distraction and humor works wonders for the spirit! You’re welcome. Happy New Year!


I’ve always wondered what comes first? Do you laugh when you see someone laughing or the other way around? I learned as a kid, laughter is a wonderful antidote to confusion. Yes, it produces endogenous opioids and apparently, can help predict whether or not 11-16 year old boys have psychopathic traits. Wonderful.


The Neuroscience Behind Laughter

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201709/the-neuroscience-contagious-laughter


So, can you spot fake expressions? Wouldn’t that be a natural outcrop before laughter? Apparently, the normal population can only spot it 60-70% of the time. Something to chew on especially… now.


Our Facial Movements and Feelings

Hiding true emotions: micro-expressions in eyes retrospectively concealed by mouth movements - Scientific Reports

Hmm, does that mean you can fake laughter? Remember those fake laugh tracks? Apparently, even if we know it’s fake, it can still induce a smile or a fake laugh. Hmm… based on this article, laughter causes involuntary muscle reactions, which ingratiate you to a social group, with evolutionary biologists thinking that laughter actually predated speech. Totally.

Is Laughter Contagious?

https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/laughter-contagious.htm


So laughter readies our premotor cortical region, which helps us react facially to sounds. (Please keep this in mind). Ever go to a concert and wonder if the musicians are really into it or faking it? (You know you’re thinking the same thing.) Apparently, “guitar face” is a thing along with “cello face.” (Gulp).


Is that why guitarists have “guitar face?”

https://www.loudersound.com/features/when-music-and-orgasms-collide-the-secrets-of-guitar-face

Speaking of guitars, laughter, and the current state we are in, here’s the Foo Fighter’s, “No Son of Mine”.



And some hidden gems about its creation.

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/foo-fighters/no-son-of-mine


This is from my husband. (He started cracking up when he found out what I was writing about.)

Here's "piano face" and "cello face" in action. You'll never watch classical music in the same way, will you?


LoLa & Hauser - Moonlight Sonata


Thanks for reading! I hope this made you (genuinely) laugh, smile, and hopefully, not resort

to fake hilarity or passion (for music). I hope the New Year treats you well and helps bring into focus what you truly need. Enjoy! Have a great week!




Orange Blossom Chia Seed Pudding. Perfect for a an exotic twist on a healthy classic.


Orange Blossom Chia Pudding


adapted from “Chia Pudding with Kiwi, Blackberries, Apricots & Pomegranate” from Williams Sonoma’s, “The Breakfast Bible,” by Kate McMillan


If you’re unfamiliar with orange blossom water and how to cook with it, here’s a great article.

https://www.seriouseats.com/spice-hunting-orange-blossom-flower-water-middle-eastern


Ingredients

3/4 cup almond milk, coconut milk or a combination (I used coconut milk because that’s what I had on hand.)

1/4 cup chia seeds

2 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup

1/4 cup Orange Blossom Simple Syrup (recipe afterwards)

1 tsp Orange Blossom water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Whatever fruit you have on hand to top


Directions

  1. In a covered container, stir together the coconut milk (almond milk or combination), chia seeds, maple syrup, orange blossom simple syrup and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

  2. Stir the chia mixture and let stand at room temperature until the seeds are plumped, about 10 minutes. Divide the mixture among 4 serving bowls and arrange your choice of fruit. Drizzle with more orange blossom simple syrup if desired.


Orange Blossom Simple Syrup


Ingredients

You can use a 1:1 ratio or 2:1 - I used 1 cup water, 2 orange peels from 2 large oranges and 2 dates, (so I could control the sweetness) and 2 tsp orange blossom water.


1. Add orange rinds, sugar, and water. Boil until the dates (sort of) dissolves. Let cool to room temperature with the orange blossom water (taste and adjust as necessary). Pat yourself on being so creative. Enjoy!

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