Baking Tip 2

I am a messy cook. This is primarily because I hate doing dishes, but also because I have children. I cannot feasibly show up to my kitchen in a stark-white apron, lay out all my ingredients, measure things precisely, or even pre-mix the butter with the non-lumpy sugar.

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As my neighbors can attest, I rarely even have the ingredients and often run to their house to borrow a cup of flour and a few eggs.

I am therefore going to pass on my little trick for measuring flour that is still accurate, but not painful.

Loose-scooping.

Whisper it. Feel it.

The “proper” way to measure flour into a cup is by scooping it in by soft spoonfuls. Then, one levels off the top with a knife. In my method, I tilt the flour container to get a good fall of loosely-sifted flour, gently puff the measuring cup into that, and sort of loosely settle it around the cup. I hit it on the side of the container a few times to get the extra off the top and it’s done.

If I had the time and stark-white apron, I’d get you video. For now, use your imaginations. It’s good for you.

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Photo Credit:
Calum Lewis
Kristiana Pinne

A Very Unmerry Birthday to You

Yesterday was my birthday. As a mother, that meant the day ran about the same as all the others but my kids and husband wanted me to be happy. Act happy. Look excited. Smile more (well, at all). Eagerly anticipate what household object they had gift-wrapped.

In short, I needed to be as excited as the boys all feel when it’s their birthday.

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Like most events in life, however, I dread my birthday. I don’t like being the spotlight. I’m not a fun present un-wrapper. I’m not the life of the party. When birthdays or Mother’s Day roll around, I’d rather not be here to celebrate. This desire confuses and hurts my family.

The problem is that the day is still a day. My day of birth was a Saturday this year; but, when it’s a weekday; I still have carpool, cleaning, sports classes, dinner, dishes, bedtime, and attempts to bond as a couple.

The problem is that my entire life is to anticipate the whims of the house and its occupants and cater to them to avoid nuclear meltdown. Everyone else’s needs come first and I feel shallow thinking about myself.

The problem is, like with most events, I need to ask for what I want in order to receive it -and I feel bad for having wants in the first place. I’ve crumpled up and trashed anything resembling innermost desires; and feel like an indecent, filthy street beggar pawing through something molding when asked about them.

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Why? That doesn’t seem healthy. Perhaps it’s not.

Acknowledging the problem or even testing out the whole “asking for what I want” thing doesn’t erase the guilt. Again, though, why not? And, more specifically, how can we erase the guilt? Lobotomy?

Frankly, I’ve spent the last few years in an intentional haze of semi-tiredness (very like a lobotomy) in order to avoid some of these bothersome feelings. I’ve numbed to avoid sadness and empty despair and hopelessness. I’ve pretended contentment and ignored myself in order to function.

*Sigh*

Birthdays don’t have to be so heavy and serious, of course. I actually only cried because I wanted to a little yesterday. Then, my sister planned a surprise mani/pedi appointment and my mother took me to lunch afterwards. My husband, for his part, took the children and the housework for the day.

In all, even my Eeyore side had to agree that it was a good birthday.

Now, if I could just get over how guilty I feel that everyone did all that for me…

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—————

Sunday, March 17: “The Magic Clothes Washing Machine,” my scientific observations of what the clothes washer produces.

Monday, March 18: Wrote a poem for The Bloggers Bash competition titled, “Five More Minutes.”

Tuesday, March 19: Shared a quote by Christie Mellor.

Wednesday, March 20: Whispered my super secret tip about bread preservation.

Thursday, March 21: “In Case of Emergency, Interrupt.” Never ignore The Look.

Friday, March 22: Advised against Super Momming in “Pinterest Mom or Sane Parent?

Saturday, March 23: Shared Unfiltered Mama‘s tweet about difficult kids.

Sunday, March 24: Today! Yay!

 

Photo Credit:
Jorge Ibanez
Jiroe
Rune Enstad

Baking Tip 1

Today on Cooking Baking with Chelsea, our hostess will teach the class a trick to help with cakes that stick to the pan.

Our hostess, and anyone who has baked a cake, know that nothing ruins a birthday cake quite like the whole thing sticking to the pan and crumbling apart upon removal. If that happens, make cake bites or a parfait (we’ll have a lesson on how to make the most of baking goofs later).

If you’re planning on caking and don’t want your masterpiece to stay in its pan, I recommend waxed paper.

Waxed paper!

  1. Measure the shape of the bottom of the cake pan on a piece of waxed paper. Use anything that can make a mark on the waxy surface (like a pencil).
  2. Cut out the shape, aiming to make it somewhat smaller than the shape you traced.
  3. Grease the bottom of the pan, on the inside.
  4. Lay the waxed piece over the greased inside of the pan and grease the new ‘bottom’ and sides of the pan.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake as directed.
  6. After baking and cooling is complete, remove the waxed paper from the cake bottom.

Voilà!

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Author’s note: I had quite a bit of edge-sticking when I peeled the paper off this cake. Next time, I will remember to put the waxed paper on the pop-out circle and then put the circle into the spring-form pan. That will keep the paper edge under the pan edge and prevent it from adhering to the cake.