Monday, November 7, 2016

PSA: My (Unpopular) Opinion About Voting

Tomorrow is a day that should be fantastic - it is my grandmother’s birthday! This year, it is overshadowed by the election. An election that is scaring the shit out of me and many of my friends as well as family. This election season has divided us as a country but it has also made us look at the people around us differently, re-evaluating the ties to those nearest and dearest. Social media has been an amazing platform not only to learn and interact with candidates but to also spread their ideas, getting information out to all corners but it has also been a mechanism to widen the divide between us.

If you have read anything on here before, you can probably accurately guess where I land on the political spectrum (if you guessed left, congrats! If you guess liberal left, congrats as well! Give yourself a rainbow colored star, friend). I gotta tell you, I was truly feeling the Bern. I liked what Bernie had to say, what he wanted to accomplish… But my candidate did not win the party nomination. What my candidate did do was push issues and rev people up. Much of Bernie’s platform was adopted by Hillary. That is immense. Yes, he was wronged. No, she is not perfect. However, we have to look at what the Sanders movement accomplished. The #BernieOrBust movement, the #BernieBros that refuse to vote blue need to see that keeping Bernie in office with a candidate that has adopted his platform is more useful to us than voting Third Party or for Trump. We (and by we I mean the supporters of Sanders) started something beautiful. We saw the rise of a candidate that shook up the political world by giving people, especially young people, what they want and need. The only way to keep that momentum is to #votebluenomatterwho.

I don’t want totake up your time with talking about how terrible Trump is or how Hillary is better or all of the unnecessary drama that surrounds them.

I want to ask you, if you have not voted early, to think not only about yourself and your feelings before voting. Before you fill out that ballot ask yourself how does this affect us as a nation? We were a nation built to get away from religious persecution. We are a melting pot of culture and religion, race, creed, sexuality, and gender. When you cast that ballot consider how it will affect the safety of your countrymen. Yes, we make mistakes and misstep but there are issues simmering that need to be addressed. There are lives at stake. Our progress as a nation is at stake.

Tomorrow is not the day to vote Third Party. Tomorrow is not the day to cast your vote in “defiance” or “rebellion”. It is not the day to claim your vote is part of a movement. Elections are a numbers game - it is a hard truth. We are a two party system right now and we do not have the luxury to change that now. You want a revolution? You want a movement? Start it on November 9th. Let it gain momentum until the next election cycle and see what can be done. Until then, save yourself and your friends, coworkers, family, classmates… Save your nation. Look to the past to see what people like Trump have done around the world. I am afraid for myself. I am afraid for my friends and family.

Tomorrow, I hope you remember America has always been great and it takes all of us working toward the goal of freedom for everyone to keep it that way.

Sorry this got heavy, ya’ll. It has been weighing me down for a while.
#NastyWoman out.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

And Then... 31

As I start this post, it is 11:54 PM on the eve of my 31st year. Tomorrow I will be overwhelmed by posts on my Facebook wall, receive texts from friends and family, maybe even a few calls (one of which will no doubt be my grandmother singing happy birthday to me, just as she has for every year I can remember). I will be humbled by an outpouring of love I often feel I don't deserve. I will worry that too much of a fuss will be made over something as trivial as I find myself. It is the one day in 365, the 24 hours in 8,760 where people celebrate me... And it is my least favorite day.

Since beginning this blog I have seen myself grow and shrink (literally and figuratively), felt myself slip further into depression, let anxiety hold me back from being my authentic self, and I let myself believe the voice deep inside that gnaws on your dreams while enumerating each fear or worry or negative thought about yourself. I have seen myself furiously research things I am passionate about to not write an article or create something because I don't feel that I, or anything I create, is worthy of positive attention. I have cried myself to sleep over my wasted potential and feeling stuck at work, only to bash myself for believing I had potential at all. I have disconnected myself from family and friends for fear that my failure, my issues, my darkness will somehow taint their lives. It is a lonely road. Is it painful? Yeah. Is it for the best? In my head, yes but in reality... *shrug*

This is why I haven't written. Anything I have to say or want to get out is being said by people that can say it better. At least that is how I have viewed it. It is in moments like that or enormius breakdowns that The Husband would often suggest I go see someone. This suggestion felt like an attack. I understand he just wants me to feel bettee. To work through everything so I can get to a place where I don't hate me or feel less than. But, I am hot headed and would never take it that way. He stopped saying it, knowing that I could not see what he was getting at.
Lately my own negative feelings, depression, anxiety, guilt over not being where I or anyone else thought I would be  have been growing. I shed tears daily over it. I get panic attacks over nothing. I felt like my spirit and my will were broken. I knew I didn't want to feel like that and it often felt like my soul could not take much more. In the back of my head, in the way back where the mostly empty boxes covered in cobwebs are, I knew I needed to speak to someone but I can't bring myself to call family let alone a doctor. I stumbled across a link to an article by fat babe Virgie Tovar, who I find hella inspirational, about online therapy. Specifically a service called Talkspace. The idea is you have a private chat room with your therapist where you cant text/instant message instead of being face to face. There are also different tiers of membership that include video chat if you want a slightly more traditional experience. I reasearched it. Read other article on it and all the reviews I could get my hands in. I talked it over with The Husband and decided that it couldn't hurt to try. I hemmed and hawed, thought about not doing it, voiced that opinion, but decided I had to do something.

About 12 days ago, I signed up for Talkspace. It seemed practical given my issues setting up appointments and after doing the math it was less expensive than traditional office visits with my insurance. It was scary. I hated every second of answering the questions they have so you can be matched with someone. I felt vulnerable ,which isn't my jam.  I was worried they wouldn't be able to match me with someone. Or that I would say the wrong things. Or get matched with a therapist I didn't jive with so it would take forever to get into a groove. Guys, it was understandable to be worried but it was for nothing. My therapist is rad. In a dozen days, I have learned that I am not crazy or wrong or broken. I just need to work through some shit. And while I don't think I am magically fixed or back to good I have cried less, worried less, been less anxious, had fewer panic attacks, and have been less low than normal.

We've now slipped past midnight and into my birthday. My birthday gift to me is to try and cut myself some slack; try to blame myself less for things out of my control, try to stop moving the goal post when I think I am worthy of something, and shit... maybe even stop trying to run away from happiness.

My birthday gift to you all is to share a few things I have learned so far in hopes if you are down or struggling in your own darkness it may shine a little light in to help you find your way:

•  We hold on to the things we went through as kids. We use it in a multitude of ways to navigate this shit storm called life.  What got us through then isn't relevant now. We keep changing and evolving but those learned behaviors don't. Instead of them morphing into what we need now they hinder growth.

• You get to define you and your life. Your idea of worthiness, your goal of happiness should not hinge on the thoughts and dreams of others. You get to be the master of your own destiny and should not feel guilty or like you have let everyone you have ever known down because you took a different path. Be your authentic self. Find the courage to stand as yourself and not what others wish you to be. Live your life for you. (Deep, right?  I am working in this real hard)

• Stop planning life. Seriously.

• Make a list of the things you are interested in. Really. No matter how small. Read the list. It probably sounds like someone you would want to be friends with. Think about how you treat yourself versus how you would treat that friend. Fucked up, huh? Treat yourself like the friend. Be your own friend. Treat yo' self. Take care of yourself.

• If this Talkspace thing sounds interesting or you have questions, holla at me. I am happy to chat about the process and how it works. I also have referral codes that discount a month of service if you are thinking about it but worried about cost.

So, Cheers to 31. May this year bring me closer to peace of mind, happiness, and plenty of corgis to pet.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Pinterest Diaries: Quinoa Pizza Bites

Winter is a tough time for me. I feel like it is for most people living in areas where there isn’t much sun or warmth. Luckily, it has been much warmer than usual but as we here in Massachusetts get ready to brace ourselves for a Valentine’s weekend where the temps will go below zero I want to talk about something that warms my heart. Something that comforts me and doesn’t judge me, a true beacon of hope when all else seems amiss - and that, friends, is Pizza.

I love pizza. You know those people who say there is no such thing as bad pizza? I disagree. There are varying degrees of goodness and so much to consider - sauce, cheese blend, cheese stretch, crust, toppings, things to shake on it, things for it to be dipped in… It is enough to make this fat girl cry. I eat all kinds of pizza from like really high quality to really shitty take out to an array of frozen. [PSA: If you need a frozen pizza and can be ok with spending like $9 on it, PLEASE try Screamin’ Sicilian. Hands down the best frozen pizza I have ever had. One I would eat over some take out places.] I will take it in any form. I love pizza rolls and pizza-dillas equally. Deep dish or thin crust, I DGAF - just gimme dat pie!

If you have been here before, you may be wondering how I eat all this pizza and keep talking about being Gluten Free. The answer is that there are a few things in this world where I will invoke #YOLO and eat wheat only to *sometimes* regret it later (sometimes I find it worth it. DON’T BE LIKE ME. BE STRONGER THAN THAT). Pizza is at the top of my list. With the winter woes taking hold I have been extra hard on myself about this. Some of it is purely economical because GF stuff, especially GOOD GF stuff, is often pricier. Some of it is that I prefer to cram feelings and insecurities down by way of food. I decided I needed an easy way to get pizza without wanting to die after.

I pinned a recipe for Quinoa Pizza Bites a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try. It seemed fairly inexpensive and easy to do, which it was. It called for a mini muffin pan and if you have one I highly suggest using it to avoid touching the raw mixture. They were really good, held their shape well, and were filling. The Husband annihilated them, so two thumbs up from them? It is easily something you could make vegetarian as well. Maybe vegan? But I am not really sure if there is a vegan substitute for eggs and didn’t research that before writing this (sorry!).

1 cup of cooked Quinoa (I used white and the recipe calls for that but I feel like this could be mad good with couscous or another type or quinoa. Shit, even rice. **I did NOT cook this ahead of time, which I told myself to do multiple times. I suggest doing it ahead of time so it is easy to handle)
⅓ cup of pepperoni (I used sliced pizza pepperoni that I cut up. I could see how using a stick would also be good)
3 large eggs (I used 2 because I DO WHAT I WANT, RECIPE. DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO…. oh, that is what you are there for)
1 Cup of mozzarella
¼ tsp salt
Optional: Marinara/spaghetti/pizza sauce for dip dips

Cook the quinoa as directed on the package. If you are Fancy AF like me, substitute stock for water to impart more flavor on those magic grains. Again, I suggest doing this ahead of time and letting it cool.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Chop up your pepperoni. I cut them in stacks into four strips then in half.

This is where I went rouge. Unless this is your first time reading a recipe here, you are probably surprised it took this long but I supposed not pre-cooking the quinoa was my first step to being a rebel.

It calls for ⅓ cup. I used about half. Maybe more. I also suggest making sure there is some for your snacking pleasure.

Season your quinoa. I don’t know if you noticed the lack of seasoning listed above. WHAT MONSTER DOESN’T SEASON SOMETHING? NOT ONE SINGLE GRAIN OF GARLIC POWDER MENTIONED?IN WHAT WORLD IS THE HOLY TRINITY NOT A STAPLE? One I don’t want to live in, clearly. I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, and red pepper flakes… and some parmesan cheese. Mix and taste. Add more as needed. One thing I wish I knew ahead of time was that after the eggs are added and it bakes, the flavor mellows out A LOT. So bump up that flavor.

Add pepperoni and cheese. I didn’t measure and just threw in a few paws full... Nor did I use a straight mozzarella cheese. I went Italian style blend. I feel like my batch needed more cheese but that is possibly my own fault for not following directions. Combine.

Crack on your eggs and mix well.

If you are a super adult and have a mini muffin pan, spray it with cooking spray and fill it. If you suck at adulting, like me, get ready to hate everything. Just going to free ball it? (Literally. Make balls of this mixture free hand. Pervs.) Dig in. I rolled balls of the mix together then formed weird blobs that were vaguely cookie-esque/cake like. Place these mounds of terrifying texture (which I promise is 10 times better when cooked) on a cookie sheet that you have sprayed with cooking spray.

The recipe said to bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned. I would say I had these in for about 35. I was not satisfied with the browning but they smelled really good and to be honest I find the scent of pepperoni too intoxicating to be patient.

It then suggests you remove the bites and put them on a cooling rack. I chose to pile them on a plate and get to eatin’. You chose.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Here's to 2016

I took a lot of time off of writing here and I apologize for that. It was not for lack of desire but more for lack of feeling.
When the winter hits and the holidays start, stress bogs me down causing my depression and anxiety to kick into high gear. If you are plagued with either (or both) you understand how crippling it can be. If you are not familiar with them/how they work in tandem the best way to explain it is this:

I hope you all made it through the holiday season happy and healthy and ready to tackle 2016. Tackling 2016 is what I am here to talk about today.
2015 was a year that brought me closer to friends, got me productively talking about books in a book club (which brought me back to some high school friends), I got to go back to Disney - if only for a day, I wrote more here, and tried pitching some articles for online magazines. I was not good at staying gluten free or being good to myself in general. I didn’t make any real resolutions (I find them too easy to discard) and did not for this year either. What I do have, is a letter to 2016 - a manifestation of what I want to do and who I want to be in the new year.

To The Fates, or really any deity of time and fate and destiny:
Thank you for another year, another chance to wander this Earth and learn from my surroundings. While that is gift enough, I would like to impose on your generosity a bit more as we head into this new year. I want to see myself grow both in my writing and in my confidence, to take care of myself better as well as those around me, and to channel anger/disappointment/frustration/stress in ways that make me feel less like a walking personification of The Morrigan. I strive to become as fearless as those around me believe I am. May I focus on things that make me truly happy like baking, cooking, candy-making, and seeing friends instead of tunneling in on the negative. I would like to learn how to relax more, even if that just means more baths (with or without bath bombs - which are amazing, btw.) and wine and laughing. Should I find the confidence to do so, I hope this year will bring me the opportunity to start the YouTube channel for this blog as well as the opportunity to pitch more articles (and hopefully have something accepted!). I ask for your intervention when I need to remember to breathe, to slow down, to stop and enjoy what is right in front of me instead of missing the small things. Most of all, I hope this year will help me continue to be amazed and humbled by the support of those around me, that The Husband continues to have the patience of a saint when dealing with me, and that I continue to learn how to love fearlessly. And another trip to Disney wouldn’t hurt either.

My biggest hope outside of myself is that Trump isn't elected. Well, that and that feminism stops being treated like a dirty word - that people start to understand what it means for women as well as men.

What are your goals for 2016? Comment below to share your letter to 2016 and inspire others as we forge our paths in the new year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"But" Talks and Conditional Acceptance

This slut shaming piece is giving me hella writer’s block. Which is driving me crazy. I can talk until the end of time about it but there is a fluidity to conversation that allows for you to skip around. So while I work on making it a cohesive piece that any sane being can follow, I decided to switch to a different topic. I promise as soon as I can get my shit together and make the slut shaming piece work, I’ll post it. Until then, I will treat it as a roadblock and just...get around it.

The next topic? The conditions we put on others for acceptance. I don’t just mean the terrible societal pressures to conform/fit into a certain niche.

Perhaps it is best to explain it with a personal example. In addition to being fat, I have (for the most part) maintained a fairly “alternative” lifestyle. I started dying my hair in 6th grade, got my first facial piercing a few months before turning 14, surrounded myself with those not in the mainstream (whatever that means), etc. My political leanings always being liberal and feminist, championing non-traditional folks and ideas, being a freer spirit than most, blah blah blah counter culture talk. NBD. I don’t expect people to agree or “get” me. Often I am faced with the “but” talk. The “but” talk is something I have heard since I was a wee fatling and it has gained momentum reaching it’s peak in my adult life.
Just what is the “but” talk? It is putting out a compliment (or sadly saying you love someone) then following it with a conditional statement. Well, compliment….ish.
“I love you but I am concerned for your health (because you are fat, even when I have no idea what your medical history is).”
“You would be prettier without all those piercings/a different hairstyle/your natural hair color.”
“You could be pretty/prettier if you lost weight.”
“I think you are beautiful but you should wear less makeup/more makeup/different clothes/etc.”
“But” talks aren’t limited to these examples but they are fairly common ones. I know I am not the only person who experiences them. The idea is that we are conditioned to expect others to present themselves in a particular way. I am not the modest, dainty, flowering beauty that is expected of a woman. I am brazen, crass, opinionated, and clever. I use words as a weapon but am not afraid of a fight. I don’t back down and refuse to be silenced. I strive to unapologetically take up space in this world. I understand that this is who I am and I am pleased with those aspects of myself. These words are not “lady-like.” They are not the overarching image of what a woman should be. If anything, they are more linked to how society expects men to act. The “but” talks I have received often bring up my lack of female-ness (I really didn’t want to use femininity as I don’t think it explains exactly what I am saying), attacking the few traits I have grown to like about myself.
These backhanded compliments work to corrode confidence and sew seeds of doubt into us; meant to soften the blow of something the giver feels is true, regardless of how the receiver feels. I don’t think every giver of the “but” talk does it to eat at the person on the receiving end. I think, unfortunately, it is seen as normal and acceptable… perhaps even the correct way to deliver something like that.

Take the following “but” statements:
“You would be prettier without all those piercings/a different hairstyle/your natural hair color.”
“You could be pretty/prettier if you lost weight.”
“I think you are beautiful but you should wear less makeup/more makeup/different clothes/etc.”
None of them say you are ugly or unattractive. They don’t point out a flaw directly but instead beat around the bush. When someone calls you out directly it is much easier to agree to disagree. You don’t like my fleek AF mohawk? That’s cool. I do and it is my head so… #ByeFelicia. Take away the direct negativity and add an ambiguous almost compliment, it gets a little murky. Instead of “hey, I think your hair is ugly/stupid/other negative whining” you get “You’re pretty but your hair really takes away from it/you’d look better with a different style.”

“But” talks and jabs like them work to place conditions on each other that are unfair and unnecessary. The underlying statement is, essentially, you are not what I envision x to be and think perhaps you should be more concerned with working toward what my ideal of x is. By addressing our own need to have the pieces of our world fit into the boxes we have been taught to assign them to, we put pressure on others to conform to something WE need instead of them becoming what THEY need. They are not good enough to fit the terms we want to assign them and instead of looking at how we can change our perspective, we work to exclude or shame. In a world where people are finally starting to understand how non-binary gender is and how antiquated our social idea of masculinity/femininity, it boggles my mind that this is still a thing. The "but" talk and talks like it should be less common but (ba dum tsssss) as those around become more enlightened it feels like it happens more often.
What does it say about us (not only as a society but also as individual beings) that as we encourage those in our lives to become comfortable as their truest self, advocating for each other to life authentically yet we fail them when that authenticity is too real and revert back to making them feel that they need to fit into our ideal vision of them?


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Reading, Writing, YouTubing

Hey, Friends!

I am working on some posts about street harassment and slut shaming but while I am away, I thought I'd holla at you with some various types of media I follow that may tickle your giggle or make you think.

In addition to cooking magazines (Taste of Home and Food Network) I am a big supporter of feminist publications. I have been reading Bitch ( ), Bust ( ), and Ms. ( since I was in my late teens/early 20s. All have great pieces with different view points of feminist issues here and abroad. Bitch (and Bust as well, I believe) also take submissions. they also have great reviews of books, music, and movies with a feminist scope.

For a non-paper magazine, check out xoJane ( ). If you were a fan of Sassy or Jane when they were in print, you will be sure to dig this as well. It is a site that devotes itself to allowing women to be themselves, unabashedly, and celebrates every aspect of them. It is written by the xoJane community, meaning anyone is welcome to submit articles to them. Which is pretty rad.

Comic Books
Yeah. You read that right. I have rediscovered comic books and am so terribly happy I have. All of the books I read currently (and, I know this will be a horrific shock to you) have prominent female characters that range from the traditional female comic book style of art (think short/tight outfits that cover very little) to very covered but still badass. Here is what is on my list:

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: This is funny and cute and perfect. I am obsessed with squirrels so Doreen is what I want to be when I grow up. She is a girl who is trying to get through college while saving the world.

Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) is a Pakistani teen from Jersey City. She is learning to control her powers as well as her limits while going to school, trying to be the perfect daughter, and (natch) save the world. The way the writers flawlessly blend her home life and culture into the book is endearing and fresh.

A Force: All female Avengers. All bad ass.

Lumberjanes: If girl scout camp and the occult/mythical had a baby, Lumberjanes would be the result. It is cute and age appropriate for teens while still being enjoyable for adults.

Thor: Odinson is no longer worthy to wield Mjolnir. The only one worthy? A woman. And holy shit does that mess with a lot of people/gods.

Bitch Planet: Women found non-compliant are shipped to a prison known as Bitch Planet. This book shows women of all shapes/sizes/races and soon (#kindaspoileralert) transwomen as well. It is written well, drawn beautifully, and has been striking a MAJOR cord with feminists everywhere. They end each issue with an essay that discusses feminism or women's issues.

Oh YouTube. How much time I waste on you! I have recently become super into watching videos/following different channels. My taste is a little...everywhere. Most of what I follow is funny or tutorial based. With each channel, I have added a video they have out that I really like.

Glam & Gore: This is a make-up tutorial channel that covers... Glam and gore (get it? It's in the title.) Mykie covers basics like blending, eyebrow filling, and contouring as well as special effect make-up. She is also really flippin' adorable. The video posted is based on Wicked Witch make-up. She does a normal version based on Elphaba in Wicked, then the melty goodness of the original witch. She also does a really cute sloth to zombie sloth tutorial. Annnnd she calls her followers zombaes which I think is hilarious.
MyHarto: I have a HUGE crush on Hannah Hart. Sweet Jesus. She does the My Drunk Kitchen series as well as vlogs. Her followers also do great community service projects they call "have a hart day." I can't even with how sweet that is. Below is from the My Drunk Kitchen college series: how to make Sriracha Chicken.

Mamrie Hart: I found out about Mamrie when I saw her on an episode of @Midnight. She is hilarious and sometimes a little filthy which is a winning combination for me. She has 2 channels, Mamrie Hart and mametown. Mamrie Hart houses her hilarious You Deserve a Drink series while mametown is home to collaborations and other characters she has. Beanz, her dog who always has their tongue out derpily to the side, appears on both. Given the season, I felt her toast to fall (which is absolute perfection) was the best choice as it tickled my giggledick and spoke to the struggle of spending fall in a warm place.

IISuperwomanII: Lilly Singh is funny and smart. A lot of her videos feature her playing her parents. She riffs on the cultural differences of her family between generations in a light hearted way. I am going to cheat and post two videos because I CAN MUAHAHAHAHAHA. Well, really because One of them actually shows a bunch of YouTubers I watch in one video. I never realized how these people have come together and built friendships based on enjoying each others content and collaborating. They are making YouTube a community. I have been a Jenna Marbles fan for a few years and saw she is in the video, as well as Colleen Ballinger (who most people on YouTube know as Miranda Sings), Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart, and others. The second video is just Lilly and a guest appearance from Kunal Nayyar (of Big Bang Theory fame) and is a humorous retelling of how her parents met.

The Portuguese Kids: This speaks to my soul. It is a clever, funny, and brilliant look at what it is like to grow up in a Portuguese home when you are the first generation to be born here. It highlights cultural differences perfectly without being too heavy. This video focuses on what it is like for girls to grow up or live in a Portuguese home.

Friday, October 2, 2015

FAF: Making Ganache

FAF is a new tutorial-ish series for the blog! Fancy As Fuck will cover some grade A, 10 out of 10, ridiculous crafting, cooking, and kitchen witchery.

In the introductory FAF, let's gush about ganache.

So, WTF is ganache? You know that moment when you bite into a truffle and once past the shell you get freakishly delicious, not solid but not liquid/semi-set (ish) ribbon-y center of bliss? THAT is ganache. Ganache can be used to fill cakes, cookies, cupcakes, candy, croissants (if you're into that...mmmmm with a little hazelnut or almond? *drool*)...anything really. It can even be used in lieu of frosting or mixed into it. It is the stuff of dreams, and I don't even really like chocolate.

Something so decadent is hard to make, right? NO. IT IS WICKED EASY. (whoa, I see I opened my mouth and Massachusetts fell out...)

I made The Husband truffles for his birthday and snapped some pictures to walk ya'll through the magic. The base of ganache is simple:
  • chocolate (in this case, white chocolate with vanilla beans) - I used 9 oz
  • heavy cream - for the amount of chocolate, 1/3 cup plus 1 tbs
  • vanilla
  • butter - 1/2 a stick
  • salt
  • added flavors (optional-in this case, root beer schnapps)
  • The rest of the items (chips and oil) are for making the crust on the truffles, which we can go over another day.

Some recipes call for adding corn syrup. I have never added it so I can not speak to what it does for texture or anything.

I like to start by chopping the CRAP out of my chocolate. I try to cut very thin, almost shaving it on an angle, then chopping any larger pieces as I go. Work as quickly as you can in as cool an environment as possible so the chocolate doesn't melt.

Something essential to this operation is a double boiler. If you don't have one, they are super easy and quick to rig. You fill a pot of water up partially. The bowl you place into it should sit on the edges so as not to fall in. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water beneath it. Be careful of how hot the bowl will get and any steam that vents out while you work. Once the water is boiling and the bowl has been placed, add butter and melt. Once melted, add in the chocolate.

At this point, I like to stir in the salt as well, just a pinch. Mix the chocolate constantly to avoid it burning and to beat in any lumps. White chocolate will look like it has "broken" (kind of oily and lumpy and like it is not good for eating) but keep at it. It has a higher fat content so it will do that but it will come back together. Once melted, add the cream, mixing it in slowly.

At this point, add in your vanilla and other flavors. I always eyeball vanilla, so I would say a few splashes? When adding in other flavors, keep in mind adding more liquid will result in a very.. loose ganache. Which is what happened to me. If adding in zest, spices, other candy, mix and transfer to a dish to chill in. Pop in the fridge over night if you are making truffles or cool and use as frosting/filling.

If you are like me and are heavy handed when you add booze to your truffles, you may need to chop up more chocolate and melt some into your mixture to tighten it back up.

Once chilled, it should be kind of firm when you touch it. Not hard, not squishy; firm but moldable. It is easiest, if using for truffles, to scoop using a melon baller. Or in my case, a measuring spoon. Mine is a bit too squishy so I had to make truffle cups using small cupcake wrappers.

That is it. That is literally all there is to making ganache.

Go forth and eat delicious chocolate. Impress your friends with your skills.