Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Return of Baking Day!!

The kids are back in school and the comfort of routine is setting in once again.  Drew tumbled out of the bus yesterday with a scowl and greeted me with: "Why didn't you bring the car?  Now WE have to walk all the way up the hill!"  (As if I was going to float up the hill...)  On the chalk board wall in the kitchen I asked the boys to write one good thing about their day at school.  The first day Drew wrote: We are Magic Makers!  Gabriel wrote: It seemed short.  Drew did not write anything for yesterday but Gabriel wrote that his one good thing was: I got to go home.  

"You are so full of it,"  I told him.  "I know you had fun and happy moments at school today."  I know because Caren saw him there and he was all smiles and cheer!  Ha!

This morning was a bit of a struggle to get down to the bus stop because we had a late night; but then Caren and I left to work out at Red Rocks.  She met with her Nazi of a trainer and I went to hike the trail.  Red Rocks is one of my favorite places to hike!  The huge rock formations and their red hue are just so gorgeous!  My heart can't help but swell with praise and admiration for God's creativity.

The first time I hiked it I was afraid to go alone.  I was afraid of critters, i.e. mountain lions and rattlesnakes and I was afraid of people, i.e. rapists.  Today I forged the trail on my own with no hesitation.  Colorado has had a ton of rain this summer and so all the foliage is lush and tall.  The tall brush made it harder to see what's around the corner and I wondered what was hiding with in it.  I was not afraid but my mind kept dipping it's toe in the thought of what's in there?  My suspicions of critters a-foot were confirmed when noises of movement came from somewhere nearby off the trail.  It was something large to be sure. 

I stopped.

It stopped.

I looked down over the edge of the trail and saw two little fawns.  Just as I started out again the doe of the fawns crossed right in front of me.  She was about 15 feet away and she stopped to eat.  I slowly approached while taking pictures.  She never moved.  I got about 5 feet from her and snapped a shot.  I was ready to move past her but she just sat there looking at me.  Deer seem docile but they can cause damage to a person.  Their hooves are sharp and their haunches and legs are strong.  People have been killed by deer (usually bucks though) and so I backed up a little and waited.  She stared me down and then finally moved on.

I continued on my hike and encountered 6 rabbits at various points of the trail.  I finished the whole hike in about 40 minutes.  Not bad for a rugged terrain.

After the hike Caren and I met up and returned to her home for Baking Day.  Followers may recall that Baking Day is usually on Tuesday but we've changed it to Wednesday this year.  (Girlfriends who avoid calling me on Tuesday's because of my baking: take note.)  Before going in we were talking about our weight loss goals and my frustration with how things are going for me in that department. 

While hiking I noticed that nearly every guy I passed checked me out.  When I see myself in the mirror though I just see...Yuck and I wonder what is wrong with these guys!  Just as quickly I ask myself, what is wrong with YOU.   Loved ones and strangers alike compliment me all the time.  Why can I not recieve that?  Why can I only believe the negative bemoans in my own head?  Why do I keep telling myself negative things?

"I posted a quote of Olivia's from her Fitness magazine interview that says 'Weight loss starts in the mind.'  This is exactly what my nutritionist was getting at on Monday.  I just don't even want to get into it though!"  I confessed to Caren.

"What do you mean?  With your nutritionist?  With yourself?"

"Both," pathetically I teared up.  "I don't want to hash that out right now."

"No.  You want to play!"


"It's like this though, you know when you were young and you had that shoe box that you would put things in that you thought were special and you wanted to save?  Then when you reached a new phase in life you went back through that shoe box and you were like, 'Why am I saving this?  This is lame!'  Like baby clothes!  You will save several outfits that you thought were so cute and then when you pull them out you're like 'Gross!  This is stained and old or out dated.  I'm not putting that on my kid!'  When you start to go through that 'stuff' for why you don't eat right and why you have such a poor self image, you may look at that stuff and think 'That's lame.  Why am I hanging on to that?'"

"You're right.  That is very well put.  Let's bake."

(People, tack that little nugget to your bathroom mirror.)

Today we had a small showing.  Not everyone is back into the swing just yet.  Laurel came to bake our bread, (yea!) Caren made granola and I made snickerdoodles to treat the boys with after school and to share with my Evita cast mates at rehearsal tonight. 

I mixed the butter, sugar, and eggs; doubling the recipe as I went.  Next was the flour.

We mill our own flour and we use different types of grain for different types of baked goods. 

"You should you Soft Flour for those,"  Laurel suggested.

"I only have a little of that left, " Caren said.  "You'll have to mill the rest."

So into the pantry I went to put the Soft grain into the mill.  It's not that big of a deal really.  You just pour it into a machine and flip a switch.  Wa-la.  While that was being taken care of I went and added my other ingredients.

"1 tsp of nutmeg," I read allowed.

"You don't put nutmeg in snickerdoodles," Caren said.  (She is not a fan of the spice.)

"That's what the recipe says."

"Well does it call for 1 tsp or is that after you've doubled it?"

"That's the double."

"I would use 1/2.  Nutmeg is not something you ever want to double."

Taking a smell of the nutmeg I agreed.

"It's pretty spicy.  Half a teaspoon for my friend Caren."

"Thank you."

I retrieved the flour from the mill and brought the finished product into the kitchen.

"Use this," Laurel said as she set a scale in front of me.


"You are doing so good so far, Michal.  We want to help you to not make any mistakes,"  Caren said.

Baking is not my forte to be sure.  I'm good for some laughs though!

"When you mill it the flour gets a lot of air in it so if you measure out a cup of flour it won't be exactly right.  A cup of flour will weigh 6 oz,"  explained Laurel.

I needed 3 1/2 cups.  I weighed each cup.

"There.  Three and half!"

"Now add another 1/4 cup," she instructed.

"Why is this now?  Oh wait..."  I always forget this:  "For altitude."  Laurel and I said together.

Everything was mixed and I consulted my recipe once again.  I needed to make the dough into balls and then refrigerate it for 30 minutes to an hour.  I hate that.  Boo.  I obeyed and made little balls of snickerdoodle dough.  After 75% of the dough was made into little balls Caren asked me where I was putting those balls.

"Just in the bowl.  I have to refrigerate them first."

"Oh, I was just asking because I didn't know if we were going to have to fight over a spot in the oven or not."  Then she started laughing.


"Michal, did the recipe say to make it into balls before refrigerating them?"

"Yes," I said rather indignantly and then went to reference the recipe again.  "It says here make dough into a ball....and refrigerate....  Oh my lands.  I am such a lame-o!  What the heck?!"  We all laughed as I always, always, always seem to over look or misunderstand some direction in a recipe.

"Oh Michal!  You are absolutely the cutest thing!"  Caren laughed.

I agreed and lumped all the balls together in a bowl and tossed it into the fridge.

In the end the snickerdoodles turned out lovely!  The nutmeg addition was just right and Caren was so right to not have me double it.  It would definitely have been over powering.

I am considering changing my chalkboard wall from the kids writing what went well that day to a Pillar of Positives.  They can write what went well at school and I can write positive things about myself.  Hopefully, this will help to move that old negative stuff out of my "shoe box." 

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