I’m late, I know. Honestly, I forgot about this series! My kids summer vacation started last week. Well it was their first full week off. Now I’m in rescheduling mode, trying to figure out what we should be doing, when, and, most importantly, who will be doing it. I have extra helpers now, I can’t miss out on that!
I am hoping this post will move me in a more regular posting pattern…fingers crossed! I really enjoy sharing things with my readers, but I also don’t want to miss out on the time I can spend with all my kiddos during the much too short summer vacation.
Today I thought I’d talk a little about baking.
Do you like to bake? I love it!
I will try baking just about anything (as long as coconut isn’t involved..YUK!). My favorite ingredient is chocolate. Cookies, cakes, it doesn’t matter. If chocolate is an ingredient, then the recipe shoots right to the top of my “to try” list!
Lately I have been baking quite a few cakes. I am the opposite of an expert cake decorator, but star tip in hand I can make something decent looking! My kids always want some sort of crazy character, but last spring I made my first cake for someone besides my kids. It was my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary, and they asked me to make their cake for the party….
They approved, and there wasn’t any left, so I will call that a success! Now next week I get to make a cake for my nephew’s graduation party (wish me luck!).
I don’t really recall specifically being taught how to bake, but remember helping my mom and grandma make cookies at Christmas time. I’m pretty sure that was the beginning of it all. I remember taking home-ec in middle school and being completely bored with it, as I had already mastered most of those basic skills. In high school, I was the birthday cake baker. Nothing fancy. Often times something comical written on the cake, as we were teenagers and everything funny.
Now that I have a family of my own, I love baking even more than just the occasional cake. I, of course, try to teach my kids to eat right, but to me anything is acceptable in moderation. Baking the treats at home gives me control over the ingredients. Being able to pronounce them all is a big plus. So is the fact that I don’t include preservatives 😉
My little boys love cookies, and who wouldn’t? It’s a portable dessert! Grab and go. My husband likes just about anything I bake, which makes it super easy! The way to a man’s heart, is through his stomach, right? I guess I kind of look at it that way with everyone. To me baking is a labor of love. I love doing it, and it makes it more special when those I love can enjoy it also. I always say my secret ingredient is love!
As I already mentioned, chocolate is my favorite ingredient, but one of my favorite things to bake doesn’t even include it. It’s bread. Just about any type. There is something about the whole process of watching the yeast grow the bread, the smell of it baking, and the amazing taste once it is finished! I even dabbled in sourdough for a while, but I let my starter die (it has to be fed with flour to keep the yeast active!). I really need to start that up again, as sourdough bread makes the absolute best french toast I have every tasted!
Now with summertime fast approaching, zucchini bread will also frequent my oven. This is definitely a family favorite! Good plain or with some cream cheese frosting on top. Excellent of course with a hot cup of coffee!
Baking with the seasons is a great way to make use of your own garden, farmers market, or local grocery store. Buying produce “in season” is cheaper and makes for wonderful pies, tarts, and even cakes! Do you enjoy any seasonal desserts, like strawberry shortcake, rhubarb pie, zucchini bread, etc.?
Now to end this month’s “Who I Am” post I want to share a family recipe with you, but first a little secret about me. I once ate an entire pie. Yes, the whole thing. It was Christmas Day. I wasn’t very old, maybe 8 or 9, and who else would let you have so much tasty sweetness, but Grandma?
Thanks Grandma, for the pie, the memory, and the recipe……
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups milk
3 slightly beaten egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 – 9″ baked pie crust
In saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens. Cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
Stir in small amount of hot mixture into yolks. Return yolk mixture to hot mixture. Cook 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Cool to room temperature (to prevent a crust from forming, put plastic wrap or waxed paper directly on top, touching surface of hot pudding to the sides of the pan)
Once cooled, pour into pie crust and prepare meringue.
Preheat oven to 350°
Using a mixer, beat the 3 reserved egg whites with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar & 1 tsp vanilla, until foamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar, continue beating until stiff peaks form and all the sugar is dissolved. Spread on top of pie, sealing it to the edges. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until nicely golden brown. Sometimes after the pie cools moisture may appear on the meringue or it may pull away from the edges. It is either under-beat or over-beaten, but still tastes great, so don’t worry! (and don’t forget I ate a whole one once, so it has to be good, right?)
If you don’t already bake, I hope you give it a try. You may find that you enjoy it!
If you already bake, what is your favorite thing to make? I love to hear from my readers, so please comment below!
To find out more about me, check out my past “Who I Am” posts: