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  • Writer's pictureMatilda Butler

Are You Feeling Gratitude? Or Are You Just Stuffed!

The anticipation of Thanksgiving is wonderful. I love to cook and begin making special dishes long before everyone gathers. It's always great to be with family and friends on that day and hope I always express my gratitude for them in a way that lets them know how I feel. On the day after Thanksgiving, today for example, do you look back and enjoy the memories?

I hope you do. I hope you give thanks for time spent with others.

Speaking of Food...

At the bottom of this blog, I've included a favorite recipe that is marvelous not only for Thanksgiving, but also for occasions all year long. It is Ginger Cake -- a recipe that comes together quickly, fills the air with the scent of spices while cooking, and stays super moist for at least two days. Because I'm a gluten-free, vegan, I am including a "regular version" and one that works perfectly for "gluten-free vegans". I hope you give this a try. It is my thanks to you for being part of our RosieCentral community.

The How and What of Gratitude

Next week, there will be our final 3 days of RosieCentral’s November Gratitude and Giving Thanks Month. Each day, I’ll focus on one of what are called Gratitude Interventions. You might think of this as the how and what of gratitude. Examples of these interventions have turned up here and there in some of my previous blogs this month. But on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I’ll give you specific prompts for writing and/or action associated with each.

You might think of these as three specific ways you can put into practice all that you have been reading about gratitude. The three are:

  1. Gratitude Journal — I’ll give you writing prompts you can use to get started.

  2. Gratitude Actions — I’ll give you ideas for gratitude letters, emails, and texts to connect you with others.

  3. Gratitude Feelings — I’ll give you prompts you can use to help acknowledge your feelings.

Be sure to check back next week.

Fight or Flight

I’m sure you know all about the “fight or flight” response. It is a concept that’s been around since the 1930s when Walter Cannon, — a physiologist who pioneered much of the research on how we behave in stressful situations — argued that we either want to run away (flight) or stay and fight when there is too much stress.

Tend or Befriend

Seven decades passed and research continued to show the universality of that “Fight or Flight” response. Well, it turns out that the stress response was shown in study after study because most of the “study participants” were males. In 2000, Shelley Taylor — a social psychologist — published an article showing that women behave differently when in stressful situations. She and her co-authors named the female response “Tend or Befriend.”

And now with more sophisticated measurements, it has been documented that males and females release different hormones and have different behaviors in stressful situations.

You're probably not surprised.

But Why Am I Bringing This Up?

Yes, I know this is a blog about gratitude. Well it turns out that there is a similar function of gratitude. It is more like the female response of “Tend or Befriend” than it is the male response of "Fight or Flight". It is called:

Find, Remind, and Bind

Gratitude is one of the ways that we create and maintain relationships.


Gratitude helps us recognize people who are thoughtful, letting us “Find” people we may want to develop relationships with.


Gratitude also steps in to “Remind” us that we have some quality relationships already. This reminder, in its own way, lets us continue to build on our existing good relationships.


Gratitude might be called the glue of relationships and close friendships. It binds partners and friends, ensuring continuity even during difficult situations.

Until then...

... check in next week when I'll give you helpful prompts and tips on expanding your sense and use of gratitude to improve your life.

RECIPE: Ginger Cake

Here's my gift of thanks to you -- my favorite recipe for an easy to make ginger cake.


1 c molasses or date syrup

1/2 c canola oil

2.5 t ground ginger

2 c organic unbleached white flour *

1 t salt

1t baking soda (dissolved in 3/4 c hot water)

* For Gluten-Free Version:

Substitute white flour with:

2 c gluten-free flour -- any "1 for 1" should work. I use:

1/2 c brown rice flour

1/2 c almond flour

1/2 c tapioca flour

1/4 c oat flour

1/4 c millet flour

3 T coconut flour

I keep lots of gluten-free flours around and you may not. If you use any of the ! to 1 mixes, you should check to make sure they don't contain any dairy products if you are also vegan.



  1. Beat together molasses and oil until they are incorporated.

  2. Add ginger, flour, salt and stir.

  3. Add and incorporate the soda water -- 1/4 cup at a time.

  4. Beat/stir until mixture is smooth. It will be runny. Don't worry.

  5. Pour into a square 8x8 pan you have previously oiled.

  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 32 minutes. It may slightly sink in the middle.

Prepare Topping While Cake is Baking

1/2 c room temperature non-dairy margarine

1/2 c coconut or blond sugar

1/2 t ground ginger

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t ground cloves

Mix together and add 3/4 c walnut pieces. Stirring until combined. I put the mixture in the freezer for about 5 minutes so that it doesn't melt too quickly.

Topping added to baked ginger cake.

When ginger cake is baked, spread the topping over the cake. Return to oven and put under broiler for 2-4 minutes until bubbling. Be sure to keep an eye on it so that the nuts don't burn. Check after 1 and then 2 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool. It is a moist cake. I cut mine into 9 pieces. Depending on the size that you want, you could cut into 12 pieces or 16 pieces. I leave my cake in the baking pan. The pieces you want for any particular meal come out easily.

Just out of the oven

Ready to eat!

Each Saturday for the next 3 weeks, we're going to UNVEIL a special holiday gift box.

We hope you'll check in and check them out.


Be sure to click on the buttons above to

see our holiday gift reveal videos!


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