Category: Baking

Mindful baking

Mindful baking

Baking has always been a go to for me for stress relief, for relaxation and for a feeling of accomplishment. When I am truly caught up in my baking it is the moment that I am most mindful, totally in the moment. I love the process, I love the outcome and I love the happy faces when enjoying what I have made. I love having homemade food there ready for my friends and family and I love knowing exactly what has gone into the food.

Recently I have been baking a lot less due to lack of time and lack of motivation. But I am trying to turn things around and for me baking is part of my self care. So last weekend I put some music on and “got my bake on”. My kitchen bench (which is quite large) was filling with baked goods and the house smelt great. For anyone who has seen the Netflix series Good Girls it resembled Beth’s bench in many episodes – full of cooling racks and containers.

I made pumpkin soup, ham and cheese mini quiches, cheese and zucchini muffins and hedgehog slice. My boys had been with their dad and came home to a lot of food. I felt accomplished, relaxed and prepared for the week.

My youngest has recently taken to baking with me which I love. They both do kitchen at school but now he wants to do things at home as well. So far we have done ANZAC biscuits, chocolate chip biscuits and this week, while he has been on school holidays we made vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing. He loves it too and it is a great bonding, non screen activity for us. Next he wants to try a cheesecake – not sure why that has popped into his head.

So I love my mindful baking and I love sharing it with my kids. Now I just have to make sure I do it more often and remember that it is not just preparing food for me – it is taking a breath and being in the moment.

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Bakers block

Bakers block

I’m not sure if that’s what you call it when you have the baking equivalent of writers block.

Today is my youngest sons seventh birthday. His request for a cake theme was Power Rangers. I tried to stifle my sigh unsuccessfully due to this being the third time I had been asked to make a power rangers cake.

To put this in perspective it is not that I hate Power Rangers, it is just that there is only so much creativity you can put into this topic. The first cake I made for a friends son and had the Power Rangers logo surrounded by energems made from glow sticks. At this time you probably think I know a lot about Power Rangers but it is more a case with constant talk and repeated viewings on Netflix something has to sink in. The second cake which was for my youngest last year I made a giant Power Rangers face. So this year I struggled to decide what to do. The design I finally settled on was one blue Power Ranger on a round blue cake all went out the window when late at night I put a hole in the fondant when it was already on the cake. Rather than throw the cake out (that was the first thought) I stepped away, poured a glass of wine, added some white circles to cover the hole and gave up for the night. In the morning with fresh eyes I changed the design to five faces instead.

Result – he loved the cake and was excited I’d included all of the main Power Rangers not just one.

And for me….I officially resign from Power Rangers cakes forever.

Confessions of a recipe addiction

Confessions of a recipe addiction

My name is Danielle and I am addicted to collecting recipes.

To paint you a picture:

  • I have an Ikea 4 Cube shelving unit that has nearly 60 cookbooks in it as well as others that don’t fit in (only my favourites make it).  Many of these I have never any made a recipe out of.
  • I collected every magazine in a cake decorating collection that ended up being 195 magazines across 13 folders
  • I subscribe to Super Food Ideas magazine and always pick up the free recipe magazines at the supermarket.  I go through these and tear out any of the recipes I like and may want to make.
  • I have three different folders where I stick recipes I have tried and given the tick of approval, and two books where I write other recipes
  • I still pick up recipe books to look at every time I go to a bookstore (I don’t buy them anymore – no room on the shelf)

However I realised just how bad my addiction is recently.   I have moved house twice in the last year.  I have a box where I keep recipes I have kept from the magazines but not tried yet.  When cleaning out some other boxes from the move last weekend I found another two boxes that had recipes in them.  After combining them my box is now overflowing with recipes that I need to try.  I don’t know that I will ever get through all of these but I just can’t throw them out until I try them.

I wonder if there is a recipe rehab I can go to somewhere?

Adding variety to kids diet

Adding variety to kids diet

One thing I love about my boys doing the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program at school is that they try foods that they wouldn’t try at home as everyone around them is eating it.

However at home the variety in our dinners is definitely lacking due to a combination of longer working days, being the only cook in the house and most importantly wanting to avoid the “eat your dinner fight”.   You know the one I mean…..where the kids tell you it is disgusting before the plate even hits the table and certainly before any of it touches their mouth.

So I have made a vow (which is now in writing thanks to this blog) that I will start introducing new foods and recipes into our diet.  The boys are aware that they must at least try each food.  To add complexity to my pledge I am vegetarian and my boys are not, and in general I have found that anything new I try is liked by one boy and hated by the other.

This week I have been on holidays which allows me a little more time to experiment.  Here are the new recipes and the results for this week:

  1. Crumble Topped Blueberry and Almond Slice – liked by eldest and not the youngest.
  2. Tuna Croquettes – thumbs up from both
  3. Haloumi and Zucchini Fritters – thumbs up from both

Plus my eldest told me he now likes cucumber.  I am marking this week down as a big win and am adding two of these recipes to the repertoire.

I will keep you informed of my progress with adding variety to the weekly meals and avoiding the food fight each night.

Jam drops and life lessons

Jam drops and life lessons

My boys are staying at their dads house tonight and I often take the opportunity to bake while I have some time to myself.

Today I decided to make jam drops. I used to make these a lot when the boys were younger and they love them. They used to call them doughnut biscuits so it will be interesting to see what they call them tomorrow when they get home.

Jam drops had been on my mind as one of my boys had made them at school this week. Their school participates in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program which I love. It is one of the many reasons I wanted them to go to that school. It is great program that not only teaches them life skills of cooking and gardening but focuses on nutrition, teamwork and responsibility (as they have to set tables, wash dishes etc). Add to that skills in measurement, weight, reading recipes, following instructions it is an all round valuable class that I believe should be in all primary schools.

Hopefully soon I’ll get a day off and they will do all the cooking!

This time I made the jam drops with Wildberry Jam as it is my sons absolute favourite jam that we get from Black Forest Farm. Makes a nice change from strawberry.

Back to my love of baking

Back to my love of baking

To be frank I have had a really rough 18 months. In the past my go to when I am having a rough time is to bake. There is something soothing for me in following the recipe, getting lost in the process and creating something amazing from the ingredients. Then there are the added benefits of a great smelling house, yummy treats and happy children.

Often I get my children involved unless I am making birthday cakes – they are all mine as I always have a plan for how I want them to turn out.

Lately baking has been put on the back burner as there just never seems time but it is up to me to find the time and get back to the hobby I love.  So when I realised it is my good friends sons birthday this weekend I offered to make his cake. He always feels he misses out as his mum doesn’t bake.

With only one days notice it isn’t as grand as most of the birthday cakes I’ve made but I think he will love his Poke ball cake tomorrow. And the time spent is even worthwhile to see a happy nine year olds face.