Archive for the 'cooking' Category

baking therapy

i find baking fun. i like to bake, and i like to eat. but sometimes, baking is more than fun. sometimes it’s therapeutic.

m & m cookie dough

in the movie julie & julia, there was a scene where after a bad day at work, julie tells her husband, “I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say “nothing” I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.” as she baked a pie.

i totally resonated with that line. i love to bake as a stress reliever. it’s true–when baking, if you put the right ingredients together, in the right amounts, and bake it for the right amount of time, you end up with something beautiful and yummy. and when everything else in the world is complicated or stressful, the process of baking something is as comforting as eating the tasty result.

baking is more than stress relief. for me baking, especially from scratch, can be an expression of love. it means i care enough about someone to spend time making something i think they’ll like. it’s a way for me to show someone matters to me.

a couple of weeks ago, i made cookies. tonight i’m baking cupcakes. some will go for dessert at snack supper tomorrow night at church; some will go to my study group. tonight, i’ll have some fun baking. and tomorrow, hopefully some people i care about will have fun eating.


what about you? what do you find comforting and therapeutic? what makes you feel cared for?


‘comfort’ food

as a kid, i was a finicky eater. my mom was a terrible cook. there was some circular relationship between the two. i didn’t eat much so mom didn’t attempt much. and when she did the results weren’t good which made me reluctant to try new things.

it all changed in 7th grade when i took my first home ec class. the first cooking project was actually making peanut butter cup candy. mine were great. the teacher said i must have a knack for cooking. after that, i decided i loved to cook. i learned what i could from other cooks in my family, home ec, recipe books. by my junior year, i was making all the holiday meals for our family–thanksgiving, christmas.

i still love to cook. i love to cook for friends and entertain. i love to cook as a stress reliever or when life gets overwhelming. there’s something soothing and cathartic about it. and i love that there’s a finished product in a reasonably short amount of time. and i also love that when i cook for friends they feel the love i put into it and find it nurturing and comforting as well.

tonite, i cooked for the women in my small group. we had spinach-artichoke dip with chips, paula deen’s chicken georgia, roasted yukon gold & petite red potatoes with carrots, green beans, crescent rolls, and for dessert, pumpkin cheesecake pie. we shared our hearts and lives with each other over dinner.

and i think that is the real comfort of food, the way that it brings us together.

food network confessions

on most any lazy saturday or sunday afternoon, you’ll find me curled up on the couch knitting and watching food network. i get lots of great ideas from the food network. i’m actually starting to think i’m really developing an addiction to food network. more and more often, it’s not enough to just watch the shows. i actually feel compelled to try the recipes.

my three favorite shows–which are also the ones i’ve tried the most recipes from–are barefoot contessa, rachel ray’s 30 minute meals and everyday italian with giada de laurentis. i also really like ace of cakes, but it’s more american chopper in the kitchen than a show you can actually try in your own kitchen. i actually own cookbooks from barefoot contessa (confession: i’ve had hers for years–before she had a food network show. the photos are beautiful, it’s more like a coffee table book) and rachel ray 30 minute meals 2.

the thing i love about these shows and cookbooks is they put together flavors i’d never think to. one of my favorite appetizers is from giada’s show, honey & gorgonzola bruschetta. sounds weird, but it’s so yummy and always gets rave reviews. yesterday afternoon giada had a recipe for cinnamon butter gnocchi on her sweet and savory episode. again sounds weird, but i typically like gnocchi and i love cinnamon butter so i thought, ‘why not?’. so tonite, i bought some gnocchi and cooked it, made the cinnamon butter and tossed the gnocchi in it. and the weird thing is, i can’t decide if i like it. i didn’t hate, i didn’t love it. i really just can’t decide. so, if you work with me, i’m bringing some to the office tomorrow. you can try it and tell me what you think since i really think i need a second opinion.

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