Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Finding Abby

This weekend I felt like myself for the first time in a long long time. I will tell you why. Because there was a bake sale at church on Saturday morning. And I love to bake, but it is "extra." Cooking is mandatory, which is probably why I don't enjoy it as much. I mean, I enjoy eating. And I glory in finding a good recipe and executing it well, but I don't really look forward to cooking. On the other hand, I love to bake. I spent two happy years in my little Gulf Drive kitchen baking cookies and cupcakes and muffins for teachers and new residents moving in and families having babies and anyone who did a me any type of favor- if there was a reason to bake, I found it. And then, they kicked us out of the 'hood. And that meant I lost my school community as well. I did do some baking for people who blessed us during George's unemployment, but working last year left me little time to keep it up. And then this year, well, homeschooling and pretty much knowing no one has meant no baking. So when I found out about the bake sale, I ordered boxes to package breads in. I shopped at Target and Hobby Lobby and Michael's for cupcake wrappers and cellophane bags and ribbon and icing tips and cookie cutters. It was quite exciting! But then life happened last week, and I never got to the baking. At one o'clock on Friday afternoon, I had touched nary a sifter nor a whisk nor an oven mit.

But then....

My list was longer, but I just ran out of time. Classic! Still, I think I made a nice contribution. And oddly, two of the things I didn't get to, Rice Krispy Treats and chocolate cupcakes, were brought by others. Well, that's not weird. But the weird thing is, there were no duplicates. So, if I had made either of those things, there would have actually been duplicates. Biscotti was also on my list, but it is a huge pain, so it was the first to get the old heave ho.

The banana bread recipe was new, and I didn't taste it so I cannot vouch for it. It came from Cooks Illustrated and called for freezing the bananas first to get rid of some of their moisture. This was perfect for me because I had about 20 bananas in my freezer! I found the recipe typed out online here. I'll make a loaf for my family one of these days and give you my review- or, better yet, you make it and give me yours! I can tell you that it baked up nicely. It was very pretty. The rest of the recipes are as follows: Lemon Squares. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins. Sanna Mix (so fun with Easter M&M's tied with ricrac and set out in an Easter basket! This way the kids got to help with the project too!) The bundt cake is one of those cake mix cakes- nothing special, but I am happy to share the recipe if you happen not to have it. I just had a cake mix that George's mom gave me that I wanted to use up. Banana Crunch Muffins. And I was still packaging up the Chocolate Chunk Mocha Cookies when George snapped the pictures (link takes you to the original version of the recipe. I have since tweaked it- definitely use Dutch processed cocoa and substitute 1 1/4 cup of flour for the same amount of cake flour. Trust me. It's exponentially better somehow. Who even knew those cookies could be better?!)

I made such a commotion doing all of this that this little girl woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. I'll bet you didn't know that Charlie and Lola is on at 3am on Disney or that Little Einsteins follows at 3:30. May you never have to use that knowledge! I decided a little helper wasn't such a bad idea for a 4:30 delivery run, so me and Miss Ballerina (she has slippers that match her robe! Cutest thing ever!) headed to the church to display our wares. We hit the hay at about 5am and I felt better than I had in quite a while. I'm still riding that high, but I sure do wish there was another bake sale coming up again soon!

All of this was really such a blessing as I am truly going through some sort of identity crisis lately (or possibly for the past 33 years, I'm not sure). It felt like me. It felt like home. It was good to be reminded of what I love. And the rave reviews didn't hurt either- (Oh what a little ricrac and ribbon can do!)


rebekah said...

YAY for baking!!!! It all looks so cute...and yummy. You are really gifted at hospitality, which would use your amazing baking skills so no wonder you feel refreshed after getting to use those skills. And, your helper is such a CUTIE!!! We loved, LOVED the biscotti you sent to us last year.

Jessie said...

What fun and so precious about Elspeth! Also, I miss being the recipient of all that baked goodness!

Renee said...

So fun! I love that you got that opportunity. I too love to bake. There is nothing quite as perfect as good music, a good candle, and an occasion to bake. Love it! I know I have told you this several times, but your pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are now a fall family tradition. It doesn't feel like fall until we make some- and by some I mean 4 dozen. (And they are all gone in a day or two!)

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