People ask me all the time, when do you have time to bake? Well I don't have time so I make time at the cost of too many other things, mostly taking care of myself (i.e. going to the gym!). I start my day around 5 am mostly because I enjoy the solitude and quiet of the morning. I begin by checking emails until my coffee kicks in and then I begin decorating cookies and cakes. I love that time, when I can completely focus in the mornings. If I have huge orders, I'm often up at 4 am but 5 am is my natural time to awake. It's not ideal, especially when I should probably work out, organize my week, pay more attention to appointments that are listed on my huge whiteboard calendar but I tend to get lost, especially during busy weeks.
Last week was not one I considered busy and I missed a well check appointment for my son; SO unacceptable and not typical but it did happen! Apparently the doctor's office left a message, when I checked the voice mail, I heard it at the end of the 18 messages I played back. I used to pride myself on my organization skills but now I feel like an absent-minded artist, constantly thinking of my next cookie design and cake creation. I've tried explaining it to my husband. He wanted me to cut back until our daughter started kindergarten, now he thinks I should just take a 6-month hiatus. He is also my biggest cheerleader. He boasts about "his wife" making the cakes when he overhears compliments, he shows pictures of cakes and cookies to strangers which is so embarrassing. It reminds me of people who share baby picture upon baby picture, the first couple are nice but after that, they are all the same!
I certainly don't accept every order I get. I prefer not to do sheet cakes. I mean come on, Costco makes an awesome sheet cake, I really can't beat it. The appeal for me is in the artistry and creativity so I try to limit my orders to those involving something you can't really get at a store. I really love it and if I just figure out how to manage my time better, life will be perfect. It's not that hard to experience an entire day going by and realizing I am still in my yoga pants which was necessary for the workout I never had. I start the day with such good intention, quiet and creative early, then complete focus on the kids from 7 until the bus arrives and then cleaning up the morning mess, making beds, throwing in laundry, paying bills, sketching cake and cookie quotes, uploading my latest creations and waiting until it's just a little bit sunnier to go on a walk. By the time I take a break, it's almost noon and I have just enough time to shower before lunch and volunteering. I volunteer a day for each child, I go to all the parties and field trips at school and that pretty much determines my activities for a couple of days of the week. Plus, I have parents who live close by, several extended family members in the vicinity and those obligations take up some of my time as well. On one day of the week, I find myself making a Costco/Wegman's run; everyone has to dedicate time for that right? By 3 pm each day, I finish whatever I’m doing so I can pick up Asha. A half hour later, whilst she’s still snacking, I walk to get Rohan off the bus unless my husband is working from home, he loves bus duty (and I love that he loves it J).
If I work when Asha is home, she sits next to me with her own decorating tools. The days fly by and there never seems to be enough time for anything. But it does make you feel like a bit of a loser especially when I recall my niece, Neema, who used to babysit a set of twins when she was a college student in Washington, DC. She told me how she would show up and the mom immediately wanted her to take the kids out, to the zoo or somewhere, anywhere so she could work at home. Neema enjoyed the babysitting but she found it mortifying and slovenly that the mom would always be in her workout clothes hours later. According to my lovely college-going niece, "the least she could do is take a shower and get herself together." Well of course, but it's quite possible that she did take a shower and then put on the workout clothes...probably not, but it is possible. And then Neema probably doesn't know that the day literally flies by...especially when you are trying to find time to bake!
Each year my friends Danny and Scott host a Christmas party with a different theme. For a couple of years, the theme was Cookies and Champagne. When I asked Scott, of the 30 or so varieties of cookies he made, which seemed to be most popular, the most obvious was at the top of the list, chocolate chip cookies! I use a few different recipes when I make chocolate chip cookies. My husband likes them with sea salt, my daughter likes them gooey and fat and my son likes them warm…never mind the recipe, they have to be warm. This recipe fits most needs and it’s easy to recreate in your kitchen. It’s posted from the All Recipes website and it’s wonderful! I’d love to hear how your family enjoys it. I hope you find time to bake this holiday season!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.