Double Chocolate Brownies (traditional, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes)

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Can a recipe ever go wrong when it starts with the words “double chocolate?”

The first time I made these Double Chocolate Brownies, I took them to the park to share with friends and they disappeared within minutes.

Double Chocolate Brownies

Double Chocolate Brownies

I love the slightly gooey centers, combined with just the right amount of rich chocolate and nuts. The options with this brownie recipe are nearly endless.

Add nuts or skip them if they aren’t your thing. I’ve made these brownies with macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, and almonds, they’re honestly delicious however you make them.

Make the final handful of chocolate whatever you like: white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Make the brownies with the traditional recipe or turn them into the best ever dairy-free brownies or gluten-free brownies that you’ll ever taste!

Dairy Free Brownies

Dairy Free Brownies

These brownies have been a hit with everyone who tries them. I’ve made them countless times over the past 8-9 years and I’m including tested variations for traditional, dairy-free, and gluten-free recipes.

I’ve been playing with dairy-free baking lately and I’m happy to say that making these brownies dairy free is as simple as swapping coconut oil for the butter in this recipe.

Gluten Free Brownies

Every single gluten-free recipe on this website has been tested side by side with their traditional all-purpose flour counterparts. “Good enough for gluten-free” will never be part of my baking.

I don’t think that I could ever have too many great Gluten Free Dessert Recipes.

For this recipe, making these brownies gluten free is as simple as substituting brown rice flour and tapioca starch for the all-purpose flour in this recipe. The measurements are included at the bottom of the recipe card.

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5 body language hacks to boost your communication

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Keep your communications clear by considering your body language and how you can demonstrate active listening

5 body language hacks to boost your communication

Showing attentiveness to a conversation lets people feel heard, and can open up the door for more meaningful interactions, showing the person you’re engaging with that you’re receptive to what they’re saying.

There are some behaviours you’ll probably be doing naturally, but when we gain awareness of the signals of active listening, we can make a conscious effort to instil them in our communications.

1. Face the person speaking.

By turning towards your conversation partner, you’re clearly displaying that they have your full attention. It could also signify a willingness to be vulnerable, as we’re presenting our chest (and in turn our heart), which might be seen as a symbolic gesture of opening ourselves up.

2. Get closer.

Yes, we’re talking literally. Your physical proximity to each other in a conversation, and in particular leaning forwards, shows your interest and engagement in the discussion. Leaning back could signal that you’re distancing yourself from the chat, so try to proactively lean in where you can.

3. Clear the space between you.

In a practical sense, ensure there are no objects obscuring your view of each other, and in a metaphorical way, keep your arms relaxed and to your side where possible – crossed arms can signify a disinterest in the conversation, or an unwillingness to open up. So try to be aware of how your body is positioned to demonstrate your willing participation.

4. Give encouragement.

This could be in the form of nodding your head to show you’re listening and taking on board what they’re saying, or using facial expressions to react without interrupting them, or small remarks such as ‘yes’ and ‘OK’ which won’t disrupt their flow, but give them confidence that what they’re saying is being heard and processed.

5. Maintain eye contact.

It’s been reported that keeping your eyes focused on each other for 60–70% of the time someone is speaking helps provide the best balance for good rapport. So, next time you’re chatting, keep those eyes locked, and be present.

5 body language hacks to boost your communication


6 tools to help you tap into your emotions

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How can we truly feel our feelings? Here we look at some techniques to help us identify our emotions so we can process them in a healthy way

6 tools to help you tap into your emotions

Do you ever feel full of feelings… but you aren’t quite sure what they are? Perhaps you’re feeling more tearful than usual and the simplest thing sets you off. Or maybe there’s anger simmering, but you don’t know why.

Feeling our feelings should be simple, right? In theory, yes, but sometimes our feelings get trapped under layers of shame, guilt and even denial, making it harder to really identify what’s going on for us. Some of us can also fall into a trap of numbing ourselves to our emotions, using tools like binge-watching TV, scrolling social media, or in some cases abusing substances.

It can seem easier to bury our heads in the sand than deal with our emotions, but when we do this, those emotions fester and turn into something worse. They may stay hidden for a while but, eventually, they pour out (often in unhelpful ways).

Being intentional about identifying our emotions can help us shine a light of awareness on how we’re feeling. It helps us identify and acknowledge our emotions, which ultimately helps us process and understand them. It might not get rid of difficult feelings, but it’s an integral first step to helping us cope better.

So, how can we tap into our emotions? Here are a few ideas to try.


1. Write it out

This is my personal go-to, as someone who’s kept a journal since the age of 13. Writing about how you feel can help you take that tangled web of thoughts and feelings in your mind and put it down on paper. Just the act of putting pen to paper is cathartic to many.

In her article, Getting your thoughts down on paper, writer Katie Conibear shares six prompts to use writing in a therapeutic way.

2. Feel it in your body

Sometimes our emotions present themselves physically, especially if we’re finding it hard to acknowledge or process them. This is something somatic therapy can help with. The approach uses physical techniques and exercises to help you be present in your body and tap into what you’re feeling. Somatic therapy can help with a range of concerns, including anxiety, trauma, chronic pain and depression.

In this video, counsellor Ian Wallace explains what somatic therapy is, including how therapists use the approach in sessions, and how clients may benefit from this type of therapy.

3. Get creative

Taking a more abstract approach to our emotions can sometimes give us the distance we need to tap into them. This is the premise behind many arts therapies and can be very effective. Here are some ideas to get a little creative with:

  • Try painting a landscape of how you feel.
  • Write a short story about a character who feels the same as you.
  • Make a playlist that encapsulates how you feel.

Don’t worry if what comes

Tips for anxious flyers (from a Pilot)

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Sharing tips for my friends who are scared of flying, nervous, and anxious about air travel.. just like yours truly. I reached out to the Pilot to write a guest post, and am also sharing some of the tips I’ve picked up!

Friends out there know I hate to fly. They also find it ironic and hilarious that my husband is a pilot who loves to fly. All of these years later, he still gets disappointed when a flight is canceled. He still recaps his best flights to me (even when I zone out at the acronyms and hand signals #adhd). When we fly together, I feel so much less stressed. I know he could handle things if something went awry, and I can nudge him when I hear a sound and he tells me what it is. However, when I fly alone, I spend pretty much the entire time clutching the armrest, sweating profusely, and saying Hail, Mary over and over in my brain. (Unless there’s zero turbulence and I can read a book.)

On my last flight with the girls to Hawaii – it was just me solo- I was feeling particularly scared about flying over the ocean. The worst part is that I have to play it cool for them because I don’t want them to be nervous, too. The kids are traveling professionals; they watch a movie or play the Nintendo Switch and eat lots of snacks while we fly.

A couple of things helped me on this flight:

– Before boarding, I checked out the radar to see how many planes were in the air at that moment. It made me realize that my flight was so insignificant to the thousands that take off and land each day.

– Got this tip from the fear of flying Reddit page: pretend like you’re on a bus traveling safely from point A to point B. This helped so much!!

– I made sure I had lots of things to keep me distracted. I read an entire book on the way to Hawaii and it kept me engaged so I didn’t have time to think about the fact that I was in a metal box in the sky.

– Good ol’ CBD. I have it with me, and even if I don’t need to take it, it’s comforting to have on hand. (This is the one I use. Full transparency, I used to partner with them and am still an affiliate. My code FITNESSISTA still works for a discount!)

I asked the Pilot if he would help me with a guest post about tips for my fellow nervous flyers, and here’s what he wrote!

My real-life Top Gun 😉

Tips for anxious flyers (from a Pilot)

Good morning, friends. The Fitnessista has her hands full this morning, so the Pilot’s here with some tidbits to help anxious flyers. Let me begin by saying that these aren’t tips on how to be more zen during air travel. Suggestions for the best soothing music to listen to and which decaf herbal tea will best calm your nerves is a bit out of my lane. However, I’m happy to share a little peek behind the curtain of what’s happening during your flight to make you feel a little more at ease. If you’ve got nerves of steel and turbulence doesn’t bother you, then a

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

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Homemade Vanilla Pudding is a classic dessert that simply doesn’t get the love that it deserves. So, often we reach for chocolate or caramel or peanut butter to satisfy a sweet craving, but I’ve come to appreciate the awesomeness of a great vanilla dessert.

Vanilla does not equal boring, my friends.

Classic Vanilla Pudding

Vanilla Pudding

This is an old-fashioned Betty Crocker recipe that I tried years ago straight out of the red and white checkered cookbook that I was gifted when I first married. You just can’t go wrong with the classics.

Pudding is such a simple dessert and I grew up making pudding with the handy boxes of instant pudding that you can buy at every grocery store. Just add milk and you’ll have a tasty dessert waiting in the fridge.

That said, homemade pudding? It’s a whole new ballgame these days. There is nothing store-bought that compares to it.

And I’m happy as can be to tell you that it takes just a few minutes to stir up a pan of homemade pudding and it’s every bit as tasty when served warm or cold. If you’re in a hurry? There’s no mandatory chill time while it firms up.

So, technically? Homemade can be faster AND tastier than a box of “instant” pudding!

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

Pudding Ingredients

  • sugar
  • cornstarch
  • kosher salt
  • milk
  • egg yolks
  • butter
  • vanilla extract
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