It’s the first day of a whole new year … lots of life waiting to happen. 2013 was fun, interesting, full of growth & discovery … but I’m ready for a new blank book to make fresh memories & create more traditions.
Last year I created a new tradition for our family: The Good Memories Jar. Every time one of us had a fun day, we wrote it down & put it in the jar. Then, on December 31st we read them, remembering all the fun we had this past year.
Another tradition is our NYE Dinner: Shrimp Cocktail, Filet Mignon, Burgundy Mushrooms, a Wedge Salad & bread with Champagne Cocktails beforehand & a beautiful Syrah or Cab with dinner. Then more champagne as we ring in the new year. Most years we celebrate the east coast new year, but this year we went all out & stayed up past midnight! (I’m paying for it dearly this morning)
So I took a look at my Bake-It List & looks like I came up short! Well, guess what? One of my resolutions, (which I don’t generally like to subscribe to,) is I’m not gonna sweat the small stuff & I won’t be too hard on myself. I will roll over the things I didn’t bake in 2013 to 2014! Yes, I will make an updated Bake-It List soon! Stay tuned 🙂
I got busy in 2013 – I unexpectedly started a new venture & had to figure out how to juggle being a working mom. It was not as easy as you working moms make it look!!! I think I finally got into a rhythm & figured out how to fit everything in … things that fall to the last on the list? Things for me. And that’s just not cool, but that’s what good moms do.
Speaking of being a good mom — here are some things I’m looking forward to doing with The Boy this coming year:
Take him to see the snow (this is difficult when it’s so warm here!)
Finger paint more often & do more crafts
Write more books with him (he just finished two picture books all on his own!)
Yes, I did, I wrote Bake-It List instead of Bucket List. And in posting this, I am hereby committing to doing this! What is a Bake-It List you ask? Very much like a Bucket List, but instead of things like sky-diving or learning French, my Bake-It List will include things I want to bake, but have been too timid (or lazy) to attempt.
I was talking to The Husband the other day, right around New Years, and telling him that I have been wanting to make cinnamon rolls from scratch for a year now, ever since I received my gorgeous standing Kitchen-Aid Mixer from him last Christmas. “Why haven’t you?” He asked me. Well, the truth is, I’m a little intimidated. The recipes that intrigue me are lengthy & look extraordinarily time consuming. I wanted to make them for Christmas this year, and even got up super early to do so, but then chickened out. I will need to have a couple of test runs to perfect the recipe, (just like when I made toffee for the first time this holiday season. No, it didn’t turn out right either time, but most people didn’t seem to notice or care.)
Truth be told, I am an excellent cook, (if I do say so myself,) but baking is sort of my nemesis. It has always been something that I’ve had to really work at. However, the things I do bake every year for the holidays are awesome, but have taken YEARS to perfect & they are now easy staples to me. A while back, I sat and reflected about why I’m a better cook than a baker … Well, here’s the easy answer, I love improvising & I suck at math. When you cook, you can substitute things, add more of something, subtract an ingredient, eyeball a measurement. But when you bake, oh no, you must be PRECISE! Everything needs to be measured out perfectly and timed.
Cooking relaxes me, (which is why I cook every night,) but baking stresses me out, (well, except for the things I have mastered: pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, lemon cake, rum cake, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal walnut cookies, peanut butter balls, fudge, strawberry cake, cheesecake, apple pie …) But I think back to the first time that I made chocolate cake from scratch. I was eleven & it was my mother’s birthday. I threw out the first two attempts & finally settled on the third try simply because I was running out of time. It was terrible, but she would NEVER have told me that. Even to this day, she maintains it was delicious. I knew it was awful. Even my seven year old chocoholic brother was gagging.
It took me 10 years to belly up to the chopping block & give it another whirl. Again, my poor mother was the subject of my culinary affections. Again, two cakes down the drain, third one had to be the “one” because it was 3am & I was exhausted. I don’t know what my obsession with chocolate cake is, that’s not even her favorite kind of cake! I wrote her a poem as a back-up present in case the cake was awful. Good thing, because “awful’ isn’t even the best description of this epic failure. This cake sucked the moisture right out of your mouth! I apparently used way too much cocoa & not the right kind of flour! It easily weighed 5 pounds! My mom (again) praised my efforts, but told me later that I shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble for her, that using a box cake is just as good as homemade and so much easier. That was her polite way of saying, “please, daughter, never do this again.”
My step-dad and my brother will never let me forget that cake. Never. Every time I bring over a homemade baked good, I’m met with, “is there cocoa in here?” I have to laugh. It’s a funny family joke. But guess what? Joke’s on them, her birthday is later this month & I am D E T E R M I N E D to bake her the perfect chocolate cake … from scratch. Ok, maybe not chocolate. I think we have worn out our welcome with the cocoa, but there are other cakes & cupcakes I want to make from scratch.
So here’s my Bake-It List for 2013 (I’ll add to it as I think of more things I want to bake:)
Cupcakes from scratch, like a lot of them (Valentine’s cupcakes to start with, Mint Chocolate Chip cupcakes for St. Patty’s day, Surprise Cupcakes with the cream cheese middle & many more . No link, I have a 360 page book called 500 Cupcakes that should keep me busy.)