Blog of Sara Jakša

Recipe: The Chocolate Balls - Take 1

I really liked the chocolate, that I made yesterday. But it came with a great inconvenience. I was resting on the only plate that I possessed.

So I needed to make the chocolate more portable or I needed to eat all the chocolate, before I could even start thinking what to eat for breakfast.

About half of it was already gone, since I was snacking on it all evening. I just told myself, just one more little piece.

But eating all the rest for breakfast did not sound appetizing. I like chocolate as a snack or dessert, not a main meal like breakfast.

I was thinking was I could do with it, and I decided, to try making the mix with oats or other similar things. I never tried it before, but I did see it before.

I went to the shop, since I usually do not have them at home. I barely ever consume them. I looked for the ones, that have no corn flakes in it or too much fruits. I ended up picking rolled oats (500g), since they were the cheapest.

I also picked up some coconut flour (400g), since I like using it is desserts like that.

I started by taking the chocolate away from the plate. It was hard, since it stuck to it. I didn't plan on that. But I managed to get it in the pan.

I added just a little of soy milk (about quarter of cup), in order for the chocolate to have lesser chance to stick, when melting.

I mixed the chocolate, as I was melting it on the lowest fire.

When the chocolate melted, I added almost half of the coconut flour, mixing. Then I added about the third of the oats.

I mixed it until it was consistent structure.

I took some of it in my hand, making balls from it, while applying additional coconut flour to it.

I kinda miss the rich flavor of only chocolate, since it kind of got diminished, but not lost. But considering how more practical is becoming to snack on it, it was worth it.

And since they are still tasty, I have nothing to complain about.

Here is the recipe, that I used to make homemade chocolate.

Homeschooling: Yes or No?

There are a lot of conflicting information on this subject. On one hand, in some countries, such as Sweden, the authorities have the right to take the child from their parents, if they do not get permission to home school and do not send him to normal school. With the government being the one issuing these permissions. On the other hand we have places in USA, where homeschooling is accepted as any other education. Some university even prefer to admit homeschooled ones when enrolling them.

One of the strongest argument for homeschooling is, that every child is different. Some are more interested in art, other in writing, some science or history. Some are more talented in sports and some in human interactions, or have a knack for numbers.

Homeschooling allows these kids to concentrate on their strengths and not on their weaknesses. Not everybody needs to know, how does induction work, but for somebody working with electricity and magnets, the need for knowledge is much greater in this subject, that people learn in school.

The other strong argument is to teach a child, to think for himself. In the schools, there is always a need for conformity. Even if the teachers try to teach the open-mindedness, in reality it usually only shift the focus. Instead of being judgemental to the races, they become judgemental to the people around them, judging who does the thing, the teacher said is wrong. That even become worse, as kids become teenagers.

But there are also reasons against homeschooling. Like the most quoted one. If the parents does not have a social circle beside his coworkers, than getting the child to socialize can become a great problem. It is easier, if the parent is comfortable speaking with new people and allows the kids to meet new people as well. You can't teach a kid to be afraid of strangers and meet other people at the same time.

The second one is the possibility of abuse. Some parents could keep the kids at home, to indoctrinate them into their belief, with or against their will. Or it could be used as excuse for hiding the signs of trauma, like beating or sexual exploits.

On the end, the question is what is more important? What does the kid wants? What is the best for the kid? And, do parents even have the time and resources to homeschool, or are they better of in schools?

What is your opinion? Homeschooling: Yes or No?

Why Do We Pretend?

If you started reading this article, hoping that I am going to answer the question, you will probably be disappointed. I will speculate on some of the reasons, but I do not know, since I am not one of the people, that value conformity highly.

I used to wonder about that subject a lot, but then I sometimes caught myself, trying to fit is. Just a little. Or asked other people, and so fat the lower counted reasons are the ones, that I came across.

The fear of argument. A lot of people do not like arguments. They sometimes try to change themselves, even their opinions and behaviour, just to minimize the possibility of the argument. They made people feel like they are in chaos, and under attack. It can produce hit-or-run response and that can bring stress with it.

The wish to be loved. The people changes sometimes themselves, because they want to feel appreciated. They think, that putting up a mask is going to make other people more appreciative of them. But on the end, the people starts liking the mask and the only way to feel loved is to become a mask, losing the real self.

The wish to impress. I have to admit, I do see myself do that from time to time. Sometimes we just do not want to let somebody else down, so we act. It is harmful, if they get the feeling that we are more capable than we really are, and expect more. Or start underestimating us, not giving us the responsibility we desire.

Taking the easy way out. Sometimes pretending can make us slide out easier from some situations. It used to be a habit of mine, but I almost completely broke it already. It is easier to pretend, there was something wrong, using the situation, that we know will make them respond irrationally.

To not get hurt. It is easier to pretend something doesn't hurt, than making peace with it and moving on. Or lying about something, so people will feel less hurt. If the people do not know the real reason, it can't hurt them. And if pretending can let you forget, why feel the pain?

Out of habit. Or instinct. This one really explain a lot of pretending. People pretend, because they always did. Or maybe the nature just simply made us that way. I don't know. Maybe we all got brainwashed as babies, and that is why we do it.

There are other reasons as well. Some I simply didn't uncover yet. So help me, what do you think are the main reasons for the people to pretend?

Cooking Is A Progression

I still remember my first food that I had cooked. It was spaghetti. I put them in the water. Then I watched, trying to figure out, when they are going to be finished.

After more than half an hour, they become black and they were not eatable. I tried to eat them. Not a good taste, you can trust me on that one.

Nowadays, cooking pasta is as easy as walking. I don't even have to think, as I go through the motions.

For me, the cooking represents progression. The food is changing, showing the changes in people.

I used to be a person, who didn't eat almost no vegetables. I lived from fruits, sweets, meat products, bread and side dishes like potato and polenta.

Then for just one month I tried vegetarian lifestyle. All the new food that I had tried. I didn't believe, what I was missing. Not only was there a spinach, but chard, nettle and so on. Peas become a part of my cooking. Also onions.

Or spices. Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, lavender, nutmeg, paprika. I can no longer imagine the life before them. I add them to every dish (but not all at the same time).

I like watching people cook. I get so many ideas about what to eat. Trying new things. But apparently the people find it uncomfortable.

On average, a person rotates only up to 12 different foods. They are reluctant to try new ones. And yes, the same food, prepared on different ways is the same food.

Let the food reflect the changes inside of us.

Now the group of foods that I eat the most is green vegetables. Not salad, but chard, spinach, peas, cucumbers and nettle are part of my everyday diet.

And that is coming from a person that didn't eat this more than couple of times a year.

So give me some ideas, what kind of food to introduce next? Or what had you recently tried?

My Notes On Flour Usage For Muffin Baking

Muffins are like my signature food. It is the one, that got me into food experimenting and the one that I used to make almost every week at least. Not having an oven handy, I am still looking over the ways to make muffins without one, so far unsuccessful.

But since I baked the muffins quite a lot of times, I had tried different variation on the same theme. Almost every time, I would do something different. At least one little details.

Being how I am, since the flour is not just a tiny detail, I had to experiment on it. More with some types of flour and less with some others.

I started baking with the wheat flour. There was nothing too wrong with it, except that I was not be able to get the muffins to rise. The did a little, but not even close to what I wanted. But the taste was good and the structure was better than the ones bought in the supermarket.

Then I wanted to make muffins for the group, that I socialize with. But one of the people there have a celiac disease. So I tried to make the same recipe, but I used the rice flour instead of a wheat one.

Rice flour was better than wheat flour. The change in the rising of the muffins was really noticeable. Still not as much as I wanted, but a lot closer to it. Not only that, I preferred the more soft and airy like structure. Not that it was that different, but I noticed. Even the taste seemed to improve a little.

After that I read somewhere, that effect comes, because rice flour does not contain gluten. So I set up a couple of tests.

I used the corn flour first. I found the taste of the flour disturbing me from the taste of the muffin. It didn't add to the balance. Also, it made the muffins dryer than usual. But the flour did made the muffins raise more than the wheat flour. But less than the rice one.

I used the buckwheat flour next. The taste of that flour was also strong, but did not bother me. The raising was about the same as the corn one. The structure was similar to the wheat one, but the muffins did end up a little dryer.

I once tried baking muffins with tapioca flour by accident. I mistook the container with tapioca flour for the one with the rice flour. They raised a lot and they tasted great. But the structure got a chewing gum like structure, that was hard to chew.

I usually use the rice flour these days. If that one is unavailable, then I used the wheat or the buckwheat one. But I could probably still make something eatable from corn one. And tapioca flour can sit this one out.

My Two Inner Voices

I have two voices inside of me. They are separated from my thinking, and only when I listen to them, can they influence it. But I can hear them all the time, even when not heading their words. The exception would be, when they have nothing smart to say or when he is sulking.

My first voice is a female. She occupies my left side. I remember it having it from at least seven grade of school (around 11 years old). She sound similar to me, but a little older and a little more composed. Like she is in control of everything. She is extremely calm.

She likes to overthink and overanalyze. She is the one, that is going to go through every line after the conversation, pointing out all my mistakes, all my great lines, all the times I could be misunderstood, all the times others could be misunderstood.

She also likes to analyse the things in advance. She can come up with more than 10 different scenarios in what can happened. That occurs also, when I am not even making a decision, but it is a lot louder, when I am. Or if I am afraid.

It doesn't really help, when I am nervous, and she point out the best case scenario and the worst case scenario. The reality is usually in between, and most of the time closer to the best case scenario.

She is also critical towards me and others. But I think she likes to criticise me more. She wants me to succeed, and she points out my mistakes to help me. All the time.

My second voice did came up from time to time since my 8 grade (about 12 years old). But I did not started to hear him constantly until I was 18 years old.

He is a male, and he is definitely younger than my female voice. His voice is coming from my right side. I think he is younger than me, but I am not sure. If he is, it is not by much.

He is the one, that urges me to try new thing. To meet new people. Always thinking of new possibilities.

He would like me to just explore the world and amass the enormous amounts of knowledge.

But he is not patient at all. He would prefer to jump from one thing to another. Form one person to another. From one idea to another.

He wants me to be open-minded, constantly seeking out new information. He doesn't want me to be bored and to enjoy my life.

He is also harder to reason with or even harder to talk to than my female voice.

I have other voices, but I they are barely coming out, so I don't know a lot about them.

I accepted that part of my personality. I like it, that I am be able to talk with them, observing them and with that knowing more about myself. I am grateful for the idea, that I have multiple dimensions personality.

I don't know, maybe the next personality is going to be the one, that really enjoys the sensations. Or one that is going to finally explain how people work, to understand them and use that knowledge to make the world the better place.

Do you have an inner voices? If you do, please describe them to me (if the question is not too personal).

Recipe: Homemade Chocolate - Take 1

I was trying to get out of my chocolate addiction. I ate all the chocolate that I had, and was be able to resist buying more.

But I really missed the taste of the chocolate. So that got me thinking. Even if I can’t beat the addiction, maybe making a homemade chocolate would be at least healthier. Or at least with that premise, I started to make the chocolate.

The recipe that I tried the first time was simple. I prepared the cacao powder (100g packaging), coconut milk (400ml can), and I had soy milk and tapioca flour ready, in case I didn’t like the structure.

I took the pot, since I do not have a blow yet in my apartment. Any bowl will work, since we will not heat anything. I put the cacao inside.

I had some of the troubles opening coconut milk, but I managed. I used about a little more than half of the can.

I started to mix, until every part of cacao was wet from the milk. I tried to taste it, for it had the taste of a really dark chocolate. Not that the taste of cacao was really strong, but it was the only taste I could fell.

I added two tablespoons of sugar in it and mixed it again. I hope I did take the sugar, that was left by the exchange student, as she returned to China. I would hate to steal from my flatmates. But since I do not usually use sugar, I do not have it my by cupboard.

The mixture didn’t seemed to be dense enough, so I put the tapioca flour in ti. I added 2 tablespoons of it, twice. In mixed in between.

I mixed it even more, until the chocolate become consistent. I poured it on the plate, since I forgot to buy the baking paper. I would suggest to others to use it. Less hassle in making sure is doesn’t stick.

I put the whole thing in the freezer.

It ended up being really tasty chocolate, but the one that made the fingers dirty. I guess I used to much of milk or too little of either cacao powder or tapioca flour. By I can’t resist the taste. I keep going back to the freezer for another piece.

Than I seated myself on the floor and licked clean the pot and the spatula. It was tasty. But I waited for the chocolate to become more solid, before eating the rest.

I think that the chocolate like that could be made with any sweetener and any type of milk, and still retain very similar taste and structure.

Do You Feel The Need To Pretend?

I like talking to the interesting people. People with different view that my or different from other people, that I usually talk about. People that are really passionate about something, and get really fired up discussing it. People that don't mind saying their own mind and might sometimes even participate in the debate, where we can see our differences in opinion. It really help to clarify the thinking of a person.

But sometimes I see the person that I know, and they act different around different people. I do act more subdued sometimes, but the changes in some of the people is like a reversal.

I was wondering about that subject, until recently. I got a mail about a person I got a really great vibe from and I really enjoyed conversing with him, as I meet him for the first time.

But he wrote to me, that sometimes he gets the feeling, that he needs to pretend.

I was glad, that he didn't feel that need with me.

I was also surprised. I don't understand why the people would have that feeling.

I might be lucky. My primary school was the worst primary school in the city (and I lived in the capital, there are a lot of primary schools there). But I got a really hard skin and I learn a valuable lesson. If you don't stand up for yourself and be clear and loud about your thinking, than others can step over it.

Sometimes I got ridiculed because of it or even in a fight, but it was a better opinion.

When I came to high school, I was admitted to one of the three best high schools in the city. The change was enormous. People tried to fit in and they even changed their opinion sometimes to fit better. Nobody wanted to stand against anybody.

Which was probably the reason they were afraid of me. Not only was I introverted and shy and afraid of people, so I didn't seek the company of others. But I was not afraid to state my opinion, when I thought it can contribute something or when they misunderstand my stance.

I still think that standing up to myself was the best lesson that I had learned from all my years of schooling. Even if some of them was against the people, supposed to be higher on the totem pole, that I lose against. Sometimes only because they ‘said so' and because they were ‘more suited to make decisions because of their position'.

But I never give up. Even this days, I like sharing my opinion and I will do it on any subject, I heard about before, if only promoted. But in exchange I hope people will share their real views with me as well.

How I Realized, That I Am Asexual

Asexual. The word, most of the people I met had never heard of before. Some of them understand it just by hearing it, but some of them do not.

When the people talk about sexuality, the mostly divide people into three groups: heterosexuals, bisexual and homosexuals. I usually do not see the word asexual even mentions. It is true, that by statistics, we represent only 1% of the world, but we are still people, that do not want to be excluded.

I struggled with my identity for a while. When I was 17 years old, I suddenly realized, a lot of people around me watch porn and masturbate. Some of them talked about their sexual life.

I was unable to participate in the discussion, as up to that moment, I didn't try any of that stuff. I just wasn't interested.

But I am a person, who wants to try everything for herself. So I tried watching porn, but I found it boring. I started to read stories with erotic scenes in it, but after a while I realized, that I enjoy the plot, if there was any, and I usually skimmed the rest of it, since it was not interesting to me.

I tried masturbating, but I didn't feel anything. I could get some sort of body reaction, but it seemed pointless. I even tried it with a person, when opportunity presented itself, but it felt hollow and completely pointless.

But still, I was little lost. I didn't feel into any definition, that I knew. Since biologically, I would have to feel the need to do it, but I didn't. I felt like my biology was not normal.

Then one day I read the word asexual on the internet. I was so intrigued, that I started to look around to learn more about it.

I finally find out, that I biologically, there was nothing wrong with me. Or there was a lot of people, that had something wrong with them.

I came in term with it in a moment. I finally felt right.

I am proud to be asexual and I am not ashamed to admit it. But sometimes I feel, like people would need to be exposed to that concept just a little more.

After all, we hear about all the other preferences a lot, but this one.

My Way Of Writing

I started writing when I was about 10 years old. I was going through mild depression in my life and writing poetry helped me came in terms with my feelings. It also helped me get over it and brought me to the happier times.

My school psychiatrist recommended, that I try to publish my poetry in the school paper. But the librarian in charge of the school paper was not really impressed by my poems. They didn't rime, so to get published, they needed to get changed.

I thought I wouldn't mind, but seeing the corrected version in the school paper, I realized that I did mind. I was so disappointed, that it put a stop on almost all my future poetry tires.

But around the same time, I was getting lost in the imaginary words a lot. I started writing fiction. Original and fanfiction. They were mostly just snippets of the stories, that were playing inside my head. I probably didn't finish any of the stories, that I started back them. But I did write a lot.

In the first year of the high school, I was introduced into haikus. I liked the meaning, that was packed into such a short form. I started writing them, and that was the only type of poetry to this day, that I had written after the school paper accident.

I did my first NaNoWriMo in high school or maybe the beginning of university. I wrote more than 50.000 words in a month, but I still hadn't managed to finish the story.

At the start of the university, I realized, that my thought become a lot more crystallizes, when I put them on the paper. I started to use it as a type of learning.

I heard about the publishing principe. That the writing become better, the more you write and publish things. I read about it from Steve Pavlina's blog.

I tried blogging, but I usually deleted my blogs after a couple of days. It was around that time, that my stories started to concentrate on the short stories, and I actually started to finish them.

Then I accompanied my mom to the lecture about the Squidoo. Writing on the sites, where I didn't need to worry about anything else but writing sounded like a dream come true. Squidoo didn't make live up to expectations, but I started to search for similar sites, that are more suited for me.

I also published a couple of fanfiction stories on sites created for that. But I did lose most of the stories by losing scraps of paper, that I used to write them down or in a computer crash a couple of years ago. The same for the original stories.

The more I post my writing online, the more I realize, that I have more ideas to write about. I do not remember the day in the recent past, when I didn't now have any idea what to write about.

So, why do you write? Share your story with others as well.