My new motto is: When you're through changing, you're through.
One of the things that I'm most passionate about is baking. I'm not sure how or when or why this started, but one of my favorite ways to show someone I care is by baking. Maybe it was the yearly Christmas tradition of baking cookies---Grandma's Sugar Cookies, and the chocolate crinkles---that took up the better part of two days during the holiday season. Or right around Thanksgiving, when Aunt Penny, Mom, Stefani, and I would bake Grandma's Apple Pies. One of the lessons I remember hearing from my mom while I was experimenting with baking as I grew up was, "A good cook always cleans up as they go." Has this always been the case? I wish! But when you're busy dirtying every pot, pan, and measuring utensil in the drawer, it's nearly impossible!
I think the very first cookbook I remember having is the Mrs. Field's Cookie Book. For my mom's 40th birthday, I baked a German Chocolate cake and a carrot cake....both from the cookbook. I even remember that I didn't have parchment paper for the bottom of the pans, and turned the carrot cake upside down to get it out of the pan while it was still warm....amateur mistake! I found myself having to perform a little cosmetic surgery on the cake with the homemade cream cheese frosting...luckily, no one knew the difference!
I've made silly baking mistakes, such as forgetting ingredients until the last minute, or using the wrong size pan. The one thing that never changes, though, is that every time I bake something, I bake it because I care enough to find a recipe that I'm confident someone will love. Will it turn out the way I want it to all the time? Probably not. But that's the beauty of baking. You try a different recipe. Throw it away. And start from scratch.
In the last two years, I've become very fond of baking pies. My favorite book from the library is Pie, Pie, Pie:
You'd think I'd own it by now, but alas....not the case. I'll have to track down a copy sooner or later. :) During the summer of 2008, when the only thing I knew with certainty was that my life was in shambles, I baked my way through that cookbook. Inspired by the movie, Waitress, I chose a recipe and just started baking.
I'd never, until this past Sunday, baked my Grandma's Apple Pie on my own. Sure, I've baked apple pies before, but never this special, family recipe. Here's a picture of my first effort:
I must say, I was pretty pleased! I used one of my cookie cutters from my Christmas cookie cutter assortment, and VOILA! I also tried a recipe for Peanutty Candy Bars that I found in an old Taste of Home magazine....
I suppose this probably isn't fair unless y'all have the recipe?
If I shared it, though, how would I surprise you?!
William sent out a text to a bunch of his guy friends, offering my baking services....so in the next few weeks, I'll be baking banana nut bread, bran muffins, peanut butter cookies, cranberry nut bread, oatmeal raisin cookies....and probably a few pies here and there. It'll keep my mind off of the food I want (which is basically anything that's not currently on my diet) and the house smelling like something other than fish, steak, or chicken!
So...I'll leave you with this:
“I can think all I want, but it's not going to bake me a cake, or make me the universe. All I can do is get up and live.”