2017 Top 10 ~ Baking, baking and more baking (#7)

Despite the occasional box cake mix, and lets get the joke out of the way right off the bat, I love to bake.  It comes from being my mother’s faithful kitchen assistant growing up and helping her in the kitchen, that love of baking has really blossomed over the past six months.  There was a run there for a few years when I was really into making cupcakes, and would often involve Emily and Megan in these projects.

It only makes sense to me to serve up my children delicious creations from my own kitchen as opposed to store bought delights filled with an endless number of preservatives.  Jennifer and Austin also love to help out in the kitchen everytime that we make cookies and it is another great way to spend time together as a family.

The one item I seem to make most these days is Banana Bread, and I’ve been slowly perfecting the recipe over the past few months.  Most weeks I make at least two, and a few times I’ve made as many as five in a single week.  The kids devour them (I give them to neighbors) and even as I type this Megan is asking when I am making another one as it is her favorite snack…

Beauty of a blog post, it can be paused and picked back up (banana bread made, and in the oven!)

Ahh now I can smell the deliciousness in the air of a banana bread baking away in the oven, amazing.  Always a great smell in the house when I have something cooking.  The other reason that I love baking so much is that I find it very relaxing and a chance to practice some mindfulness.

I can turn everything off and forget about the rest of the world for a few minutes when I am making a tasty treat.  The whole process can be equated down to Love vs Science , a post I have recently written about.  I have always been a very scientific baker as it helps sooth my OCD a bit, however I have recently been schooled in the ways of baking with love (not the love ingredient I previously mentioned) but actually LOVE and being slightly less concerned about perfect measurements across the board.

After some debate I had to agree that cookies made with love rather than pure science seemed to taste a bit better when eating them.

Some other items I have been working at perfecting are homemade pies and Sugar Cookies.  My favorite pie would be a good old fashioned Apple Pie with a slight taste of cinnamon.  Granny Smith apples seem to work best based on their texture and slight tart taste which plays great against all the sweetness of the sugar you would add.  I’ve also made my first Peach pie, Cherry pie, from scratch Pumpkin pie and even a Chocolate Pudding pie a few weeks ago.


I am also in the process of working on getting an online baking company up and running with the help of Patrick and Kristi we have had a few orders and I look to dedicate a section of my blog site dedicated to this venture next week.  This has been focused around Sugar cookies and Kristi has taught me a tremendous amount about how to properly ice these cookies, as well as continuing to bust my chops about using a boxed cake mix.


The Christmas Shopping Miracle

With crunch time officially upon us, all the last minute details need to be done.  The last few gifts need to be purchases, grocery shopping for a wonderful Christmas dinner… to say this time of year can be super stressful all depends on how you need to look at.

Chocolate Raspberry cheesecake made with love.

While standing in the longest line of all time at the LCBO, I was getting the last things that I needed for the next few days, some gifts of wine for my Dad, sister and brother whom will be having a Christmas dinner with today.  I was silently reflecting on the last 45 minutes of my life, and all the awesomeness I was able to take it around me as I finished up my shopping.  Let’s start at the beginning shall we?

I headed outside at 9:45am to shovel the end of the driveway.  You know that heavy, sluggy dirty wet snow that the snow plows comes and deposits at the end of your driveway right after you have finished shovelling, right?  And while I do drive a Jeep, leaving too much of that stuff lying around well makes it impossible for lesser vehicles.  I have always looked at shovelling snow as a perfect upper body, and back workout.  It took at 7 minutes to clear my plug and of course my neighbours plug as I always have the joined driveway dilemma.

Then it was off to Zehr’s to stock up on some tasty treats and pickup what was needed for the lovely turkey dinner that I will be making for the family tomorrow night.  It looked like everyone else in Barrie had the same idea, get it done early Saturday morning and out of the way.  I parked at the back of the lot so it would allow me to ride the shopping cart all the way down towards to store.  I absolutely love the looks I get from everyone as I go whizzing by them riding the back of the cart.  It is so much fun, and the next time you go shopping I suggest you give it a try.  I had a vague recollection of what I needed and proceed to zip through in and around all the other shoppers with great speed quickly filling my cart with what was needed.

As I headed to the checkout line my brain analyze which line was the quickest, I channeled my inner Apu and picked the line with all the single Dads, all cash, no chit chat and was out in no time.  While standing in line I listened to the other conversations that were going on around me, filled with stress, stories of fighting over parking, etc…  I looked around the store and saw nothing but frowns and frustration on far too many faces.  In fact I think I may have been the only one smiling.

I told the grocery bagger to have a little break and packed up my own items into my reusable bags, wished them both a Merry Christmas and then rode my cart at break neck speed across the parking lot back to my Jeep.  I believe I was even singing Christmas carols as I zoomed along.

Next was the LCBO and wouldn’t you know it, not a parking spot to be found.  That is never a problem anymore as if there are no spots, you simply make one for yourself.  This time on top of a pile of snow and the curb.

Cannot find a parking space, you make your own!

I quickly grabbed what I needed and got into a line that wound back through the entire store, as luck was with me this day the line moved quickly and then another cashier opened up and I was out of there in under five minutes.  While standing in the line, I overheard the cashier ask a male customer if he had finished shopping yet, and he replied with the cliche answer of… “I am guy, it not Christmas eve at 5pm yet.  I’ve still got plenty of time.”  At the same time I was thinking that I was one checkout away from being finished for the season.  I literally ran out to my Jeep laughing out loud as I was able to mission the store so quickly.

When I got home I had been able to shovel the end of the driveway, hit both the grocery store and the liquor store and back home in exactly 45 minutes.  A quicker mission has not been since in a long while.  Last minute shopping, no problem, I got this!