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I’m warding off Alzheimer’s!

This whole blogging process challenges my mind every single day. I was never a tech-savvy person. In fact, when one of my tech-y friends found out about my blog, he laughed and said, “Of all my friends, you are the last one I would’ve predicted to have a successful online pursuit.”

I still don’t consider myself tech-savvy. But I’m constantly learning new skills, through trial and error (emphasis on the error). Last week, for example, I wrote some html coding! Many of you will probably think what I did was really easy–and somewhere, my computer genius friends are laughing at me—but I am proud of myself for figuring it out.

Anyway, I now have some prettylicious buttons on my sidebar:

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                         Raw Chocolate-Fudge Cake                       Single-Lady Cupcakes

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                     thumbnail1           thumbnail4

                            Chocolate-Chip Blondies                                   Fudge Babies

The blondies had to be on there. Even though they’re from such a recent post, they are quickly becoming one of my most-popular recipes. It’s crazy; I really believed no one would try them! But I also wouldn’t have expected shows like Real Housewives or Jersey Shore to become popular… so don’t ask me to predict trends!

I also made a new “about me” button. The old photo was like three years old!

                              cckatie

                                               About Me

I might change the buttons, or add more… now that I know how! :)

As I said, some of you are probably thinking, “Making sidebar pictures with links is so simple!” But really, it took me an hour to figure out how to do it! That “Thesis open hook” thing? Mucho confusing!

Questions of the Day:

How do you challenge your mind?
With school work? Learning blog skills? Trying to figure out your i-phone?!

I think, in this day and age, it’s impossible to not learn something each day. We’re constantly being presented with new technological gadgets—Garmins, i-phones, digital cameras—and more and more activities can now be done on the web (online banking, blogging, youtube, skype). But obviously, challenging one’s mind is not a sure bet against Alzheimer’s. My grandpa still got it, and he knew five languages and did crossword puzzles every day! Hopefully we can someday (soon!) find a sure-fire cure for this devastating disease.

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I wanted to take a moment to thank y’all just for being here these past two weeks.

Obviously, blogging isn’t going to stop me from missing Molly. But keeping busy has been a really good distraction; when I’m working hard, I have no time to think about the sadness I still feel.

So thanks for talking with me on Twitter, leaving comments on my blog, and especially for trying my recipes. When I see someone posting about a CCK recipe he/she’s tried, it makes me super-excited. And when I’m super-excited, I’m not sad… or, at least, I don’t realize I’m sad. (That’s as much as I can hope for right now.)

Upcoming posts: There will be frosting. And cookie pie. :)

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. I like to read, do crossword puzzles/mind games, etc. But I just do those things for fun — not just for brain health :) Oh and trying to learn how to use my Droid is definitely a brain exercise!

    Katie I’m glad your blog (and us heehee) are able to keep you distracted somewhat — losing a friend is never easy! (((hugs)))

  2. Elle says:

    I’m not computer-savvy at all either! Figuring out how to do new things on my blog takes me forever too :p I have to take a computer class though because it’s required for a math major, so maybe after that it will be a little easier…

    Your recipes are amazing! I hope you feel a little better about Molly. Enjoy your day, girl!

  3. Emma says:

    I’m also technologically challenged……majorly, in fact. I need some “button” lessons from you! I’m sending you lots of love, chocolate dreams and magic sprinkles during this sad time for u xxxx

    1. Ooh I’m excited to receive the sprinkles, especially 😉

  4. Jenny says:

    I noticed [and was impressed by] the new buttons when I saw them! I think you should add more… Just my personal, unprofessional opinion, but I really think they highlight a couple of things: 1) what a skilled photographer you are; 2) that you’re right about how healthy food CAN be delicious; and 3) what a great person you must be for sharing the ways to make healthy = delicious, haha! :) All of your dessert recipes are great (oh and I did end up making your chocolate chip blondies the other day… I brought them to work, and everyone loved them. And I got to be amused by all the flabbergasted faces people made when I gave the recipe to those who asked, hah!), but I have to also say, just randomly, that your dinner/lunch/savory dish recipes are also great!

    It’s so good to hear that you are sort of finding ways to deal with Molly’s absence… At least you recognise that it will take time to fully get over it, and you’re not rushing or ignoring that. I still hope you’ll feel better, even though the sadness is probably still there… You have a supportive bunch of, well, supporters here – so never feel alone!

    I suppose I challenge my mind by learning new languages. 😀 And taking interest in new medical developments, staying up to date with the latest research, etc. And there’s the typical su doku puzzle I’ll do every day while drinking tea, but that probably doesn’t challenge the mind as much as people think it does… or does it? o_O

    1. Aww thanks, Jenny! And lol I sure hope sudoku challenges our minds… I do a “diabolical” one every night before I go to sleep, and sometimes it makes me so sleepy that I don’t even finish because I’m so tired from working my brain ;).

  5. I noticed the buttons yesterday, and I LOVE them!! They look awesome and SO professional, and every time I see them I’m reminded to make them again ASAP! 😀

    I volunteer in a care home, and so I talk to a lot of people with Alzheimer’s, and one of them was a chess Grandmaster!! I KNOW a cure will be found someday, and I hope it’s found soon for your Grandpa’s sake :)

    And you are AMAZING Katie for your awesome positive attitude! You are SO inspirational!! LOVE YOU <3

    1. P.S. Frosting?! Cookie pie?! You have stolen my heart Katie :)

    2. Unfortunately, my grandpa (and my grandma who also had it) already died. But I really hope and pray for a cure to come soon for all the other people who have it and for those who will get it. I think more and more people are getting it because we’re living longer. You are such an angel for volunteering to help these people; it really puts a huge smile on my face!!

      1. Oh I’m so sorry Katie!! They are working towards a cure apparently, so we’ll just pray that comes soon! <3

  6. I LOVE the new side buttons!! they look so SNAZZY!!! i think distractions are great when trying to not think about things! i definitely use blogging, working out, faceboookk 😛 and homework.. wait no… not homework! as distractions! i guess something more educational would be better but hey.. ive got a good system workin!

  7. Angela says:

    Can’t wait for your new recipes!

  8. ” “Making sidebar pictures with links is so simple!” But really, it took me an hour to figure out how to do it!” – Did you post something about this? Could you?! I would love to learn new things about making my blog look good :)

    1. LOL I couldn’t write a tutorial about it… I just basically played around with it. I couldn’t figure it out in the open hook thing, so I gave up and just went to widgets and added a text/html box. Then I looked at how the foodbuzz ad was written and just tried to copy the format. I can’t even describe what I did, because I don’t even know any of the proper terms! :)

  9. katie says:

    Girl, me and html, have a horrible relationship! lol! I am not good at tech stuff like that!

    Love the new sidebar buttons!

    LOVE your hair in that last pic! Beautiful girl!

    Happy Sunday! xoxo <3

  10. the buttons are awesome. I can honestly say I would have NEVER figured out how to do that html code and I do not go together!Stay strong katie we are all here for you!

  11. That is super impressive and you should be very proud :) Everytime I figure out how to do something new on my own I feel like a genius and I’m sure there are people that would laugh at how easy it was, but to me it was a huge accomplishment. So be proud sista. (And I’m so sorry about Molly, lots of <3 to you!)

  12. Good for you for learning that! Seriously, that is a big deal. I did a lot of html and css coding in high school and even made websites for companies and then somewhere in between graduating high school and having 2 kids I completely forgot everything(well mostly). So I’m slowly learning it all again. Jeez it’s difficult, haha.

  13. “How do you challenge your mind?”– PARENTING! Every single day, having a child pushes you farrrrrrr outside of your comfort zone and challenges every thing you thought about life, but in amazing ways :)

    And of course, blogging (wrote a blogging 102 post as follow up to blogging 101) and said that yes, blogging is a major challenge the tech stuff behind blogging; touched on that a bit. Your sidebar boxes look great! And yes, each and every.little.thing on a blog, behind the scenes takes about 5x as long as it should and way longer than anyone could imagine who doesnt blog. But I know how much time you just put into this. And it looks fabulous.

    Cute new About Me button. Current pics = the best kind.

    Hugs with Molly…and missing her :)

  14. O.C. says:

    I’m not tech savvy at all! Unexpected for a 16 year old in this day and age I know :p It’s a challenege for me to get my iPhone 4 I got for my birthday to work for me some days. But like you said I enjoy the brain work! Schoolwork keeps my mind active too and I love soduku.
    I love the new buttons by the way.Your blogg looks uber pretty :) I admire you so much for sticking it through this hard time. Pets are like another member of your family especially when you’ve grown up with them. Just keep glowing strong girl. No one will ever replace Molly or make it all better but just remember she is in a better place and would want you to be happy.

  15. The new looks is fabulous! You are totally awesome for figuring it all out :)
    I’m trying to redo my blog as well and having huge problems with the transfer to wordpress…I think I may have to call in a techie!
    I worked in a research lab for 2 years studying Alzheimer’s Disease as well as Diabetes. Some doctors are actually calling Alzheimer’s “Type 3 Diabetes” because the changes in the brain and in the cognitive processes are so similar to advanced Diabetes! We were testing out a variety of medications and found a few that relieved the systems- I think they will be going to human trial within the next decade- fingers crossed!

    PS I made the blondies using chia instead of flax! They were kinda seedy at first bite, but they were delicious nonetheless, especially warm with a glass of soymilk! Awesome recipe as usual :)

  16. Clara says:

    Please tell me where you did learn how to do this buttons! I want to learn it as well and it would be great to know where I have to look :)

    1. LOL I couldn’t write a tutorial about it… I just basically played around with it. I couldn’t figure it out in the open hook thing, so I gave up and just went to widgets and added a text/html box. Then I looked at how the foodbuzz ad was written and just tried to copy the format. I can’t even describe what I did, because I don’t even know any of the proper terms! :)

      I tried googling, at first, but came up empty! I couldn’t believe it, but there was no straightforward tutorial I could find that didn’t use big “tech-y” words!

  17. Alexis says:

    Love the new site! I’m so new to this blogging thing and being technology impaired has been really hard at first. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who struggles but you’re doing a great job!

  18. Cassie says:

    Very impressed. I’m often thinking about changing blog appearance and functionality, but it’s hard to decide, esp. with limited knowledge of such things. Kudos to you! Currently trying out an iPad and it blows my mind! I agree that there tons of things around to help us expand our knowledge and inspire us daily :)

    Sorry to hear about Molly.

  19. Melissa says:

    I’m so glad blogging is working as a distraction from the sadness. Sometimes, I think distractions are the only thing that get us through hard times. It’s just so hard to have to feel those feelings, ya know?

    I admire you for taking on something so tough–html, what??–during a difficult time! I find that challenges like that sometimes make it worse for me if I can’t figure them out! Then I get doubly frustrated and upset! Good for you, doll!

  20. I love your buttons!!!! They are so amazing!!!!

    I know it must be hard to lose a friend — a dear one especially. I’m so sorry that the past weeks have been hard.

  21. lindsay says:

    girl I just posted about this today! you’ll laugh if you read it!
    Love the buttons.
    :)

    1. Oh my gosh, TOO funny!! And lol about the garmin… I am even worse than you. I don’t even have one!

  22. I love the buttons and they definitely impress me because I am probably even less tech savvy than you!! :) HTML coding is like greek to me! I cannot figure it out for the life of me! Time to head to google for some answers….google always knows the secrets lol!

  23. I am seriously not tech saavy at all – which is why I’m paying someone to make my blog pretty for me!

  24. Katherine says:

    I use to know a LOT of coding stuff, but after not doing it for years, well I forgot it all. :/

  25. Blogging has been a huge way of challenging my mind. Since last year I have improved as a photographer, writer, and chef! I’ve also made so many wonderful blog friends which has, in turn helped me become more confident and outgoing in real life too! I seriously have no idea what I would have done without blog world! 😀

  26. Love your new layout. I kind of just experiment with different things – blog-wise. Career wise, I am also going to conferences and professional development type deals to learn new ways to reach my students..
    And trust me- my kids teach me plenty too!

  27. Aja says:

    Blogging certainly has a way of challenging the mind. I also like to analyze songs just for fun, I’m learning Japanese, and I play solitare and spider solitare pretty much twice a day. Well, as many times as it takes for me to win. Blogging has certainly helped me a lot, though, and I’m glad.
    I love the new buttons. I’d try to figure that out, but I’m in chem right now. That’s all the challenge I need. I tried learning HTML in middle school and I kind of got it, but now I have no clue.

  28. Gen says:

    Love the new buttons!!! I’m definitely still learning about blogging….not tech savy at ALL! 😀

  29. Vivianne says:

    I love the new buttons. Changing things up to make your blog fresher is always rejuvenating (at least for me!)!

    You’ve got so many great supporters because you have a great blog and you’re a great person! (: One of my friends who doesn’t blog but reads mine found you & loves your recipes. Keep up the good work girl (;

  30. That’s awesome you learned some HTML! I still don’t know how to do any of that stuff.

    I’ve been taking improv classes, and that is definitely challenging my mind!

  31. Anna says:

    Blogging has definitely helped me learn more about technology and has challenged me. I have been wanting to figure out how to make some buttons and update my blog and I am inspired to challenge myself and give it a try!

    I challenge my mind with music and learning a new piece, technique or instrument. I also enjoy reading a variety of books ^_^

  32. Ragnhild says:

    Love the photo of you and Molly <3
    Keeping busy is always a good thing!

    1. Ragnhild says:

      Oh, and I totally forgot; I was SO excited to see my recipe on your blog yesterday!! Thank you so much for doing that!

  33. I respect that you are a full time student and love to bake! I know there are so MANY people like us out there which is why so many people love reading your blogs, baking is so relaxing especially after a long day of studying. I know all my studious peeps out there know what Im talking about :) xoxo

  34. Jenn Friedman says:

    Love the tech-saviness!!! And I’m so glad you’re taking care of yourself and healing. Your readers are look’n out for you!!! :)

  35. Albizia says:

    I learn something new the hard way everyday. I don’t have enough time to read huge manuals (or I can’t read them at all if they are in Japanese) and educate myself on the go. My computer, the camera, the crazy IH cooking range… And my iPhone killed a good amount of nerve cells while I was trying to connect to the internet. Those VPN settings were out of my league but in the end I managed to do it :) . My biggest challenge as of now is to get used to the Mac computers in the university.

    The buttons look very good and you should be proud that you made them yourself without asking anybody for help. I was even tempted to click on the fudge cake even though I’ve read the recipe more than once 😛 .

    1. That’s my favorite favorite recipe ever :)

  36. Oh my gosh, html and all tech type things always leave me with blurred eyes and a headache. But I always get so ‘proud’ of myself any time I actually am able to figure it out and get a little better at that coding. Even though I know it’s still what other people would think as totally basic, so way to go on those awesome new buttons and I think they look great!

    I’m a total closet cross-word addict. My friends make fun of me, my family calls me an old granny, but I love them. The Sudoku puzzles are also pretty fun.

    I’m really sorry to hear about Molly, but staying busy is usually the best way that I’ve found to keep my mind busy or at least distracted. But that picture of you and her is adorable. I’m sending hugs your way. XOXO

  37. BroccoliHut says:

    I am the same way! I am totally not tech-savvy, but I’ve taught myself so many new skills through blogging, simply by trial and error. I learn something new every day…

  38. Kate says:

    I love those buttons I need to figure out how ton put them on my site.

  39. The buttons are looking good!

    I challenge myself lately by trying new things. Everything from gardening to yoga to trying new recipes like all of the delicious ones you have here! I can’t wait to have room in my fridge for some more goodies 😀

  40. Tara says:

    Figuring out the blog is quite difficult! I haven’t even gotten a blog roll down, let alone crazy buttons. You’re a genius compared to me!
    I’m so glad that people making your recipes makes you happy, because it makes me happy to try them. They are always sooo good! I finished off your healthy pb frosting made with tofu today, and I have a nice ripe banana waiting to be made into banana butter tomorrow :)

    1. LOL no, I’ve just been around a loooong time blogging! 😉

  41. Lillay says:

    How are you so f—-ng skinny….. no offense i totlaly admire it!! LOVE THIS SITE

  42. Jennifer says:

    My mom (the suspicious of eating “healthy” food mom) came to visit me today and brought with her your blondies. She made them this week all on her own! AND she told me that she looked at pretty much every recipe that you have on your blog and printed out a bunch. Healthy vegan recipes taking over the world! Go Katie!

    1. Wow, that means SO much to me! It put a huge smile on my face… converting “normal” eaters, one chocolate chip at a time, right? 😉

  43. Nathalie says:

    Actually I use running recently to challenge my mind. I’ve never been a particularly fast runner (~10-minute miles). It’s mostly a mental challenge, I think, for me to run faster. But it will pay off because I’ll get fitter and I’ll be able to run farther in the (limited) time I have in the mornings to devote to working out. How do you push yourself to run faster, out of curiosity? (assuming you do, and don’t just naturally float along doing 8-minute miles)

    Oh, I remembered that running question. Actually it’s two. 1.) Do you make it a point to drink a certain amount of water/liquid before your run, and 2.) do you rehydrate during your run? The latter I don’t do because I have nothing convenient to carry with me for hydration, but I was interested on how you handle it.

    Other mental stimulation I do tends to run along the drawing/sketching/playing solitaire/sudoku/texttwist. Heheh, I’m easily amused.

    1. Hey Nathalie!
      I guess it depends on the day… some days I just run at whatever pace I feel like running. I zone out :). Other days, I’ll say to myself, “Sprint to x point” or “until x song ends” or something like that. I’ll just throw some sprints into my regular run.
      LOL or then there are times when I see another runner… that’s when I go fastest! I never want anyone to go faster than me, so I’ll be running super-fast to try and beat them, almost like we’re in a race but they don’t know it!

      As for water… I just make sure to drink throughout the day. I’ve heard it said that if you work out for more than an hour you should fuel during your run, but if it’s under you’re ok. I run for just a little over an hour, so I never bother to bring a drink. I DO make sure to run very early in the mornings, though, when it’s super-hot. I think if you’re running in 85 or above weather (F), you should probably find a way to carry some water.

      1. Nathalie says:

        I hear you on the running in the mornings! When I first got to Japan, they were in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record. The only really viable time to run – temperature-wise – was in the mornings. I’ve been having a rough time of it though. I get the feeling I don’t have enough time between eating “first breakfast” and my run to allow the food energy to really get into my system, thus making it hard for me to push myself to run faster. Well, among other things, like how hydrated I am and how much sleep I’ve gotten. I’ve been considering waking up earlier, eating and then going back to sleep just to allow the sustenance time to work its magic. Right now I’m getting up at 5:45-ish and usually out the door by 6:20-6:30 for a 40-45 minute run. If I could run faster I could squeeze more miles into that time.

        I dunno, maybe it has more to do with form than nutrition. Welp, I enjoy it at any rate. That’s the important part. Thanks muchly for your response ^_^

        Oh, again out of curiosity, what part of Japan did you live in when you were younger? I’ve lived in Kobe, and right now I live in Tokushima on one of the southern islands.

      2. Tokyo… it was so much fun!! Have you ever been? I need to go back soon. I miss it!

      3. Nathalie says:

        Hoo boy, I am slow on the response.

        I’ve been to Tokyo for a day or two here and there, but it was usually en route to somewhere else. I’m much more well-acquainted with the Kobe/Osaka/Kyoto area. If you come to Japan anytime soon, feel free to let me know! Any excuse to go to Tokyo is a good one, hahaha.

      4. I love Kyoto! Soooo beautiful. I’d definitely like to go back there! :)

  44. Hi Katie :)

    Love the new buttons! I hear you on the technical challenges of blogs. But, like you, I wanted to learn how to do it myself, so I took a course! You can check that post out here: http://www.runnernspice.com/2011/05/so-you-want-to-start-a-blog/

    I’ve been thinking on adding some buttons to my site too….I’m training for another half marathon (I ran one yesterday) coming up in August, so maybe i could make a button for my training plans, or something…

    Anyways. Have a wonderful day!

    1. ooh wow, I’ll definitely check it out! Thanks for the link!

  45. All the technical stuff is partially what kept me away from blogging for a while. I’m glad you took on the tech-challenge because the changes look great! (and yummy!)

  46. I love the new look! I’m absolutely hopeless with techie stuff like that, So I’m amazed!

  47. Msdrmatchrldy says:

    You learn technology thevsame way I do…just get in there and “play”.

    The mostvrecent challenge to my brain is studying for the GRE. I’ve been accepted to e doctorate program but only get to stay if my scores are high enough. The quantitative reasoning section (aka math) is killing me.

    Keep up the great work and keep smiling.

  48. Cookie pie you say?? Sounds like a slice of heaven; looking forward to seeing that post. I took forever to get technology savvy, it’s a long process learning everything going on in this web world.

  49. lindsay says:

    love the new look katie! Super cute! And proud of you for figuring those links and coding out by yourself. It’s not easy! :)

  50. Becca says:

    The buttons would look so much better without the dreaded comic sans! It is pretty much the bane of my life as a graphic designer 😛

    Well done on figuring out how to change up your blog though, it’s nice to have the quick links in the sidebar.

  51. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to technology

    site looks great! love the new sidebar

  52. Oh my gosh, that totally sounds like me too! I’m so NOT techno savvy! I swear it takes me forever to pick up on new technology trends…like Twitter? Ha, better late than never I guess!

    I’ve been meaning to tell you that I LOVE all the new buttons! And that pic of you is GORGEOUS!!