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.
My eldest son is the one who has NF2 and as a result he has started to withdraw from wanting to do a lot of activities. And it is getting harder and harder to get him away from screens and interacting with others for extended periods.
So imagine my surprise when he came home from his dads house on Sunday after a week away and asked if we could make Gingerbread Men. He has been reading The Gingerbread Man at school and wanted to make some.
As is common with parents by 4.00pm Sunday afternoon you are thinking about all the things you have to get done for that night as well as to prepare for the week ahead so my immediate reaction was no it is too late. Luckily I pulled my self up halfway through and told him to get the recipe and if I had the ingredients we could make them. We had what we needed in the house already so we spent the next half an hour making the biscuits together. No screens involved and lots of giggles along with yummy biscuits which we tried for dessert that night. On top of that he took one to school for lunch and proudly told his friends he had made them.
Sometimes it pays to pause and think before saying no on auto pilot like I have so many times before.
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.