With my original maternity leave stretching until the last day of school, I have an extended amount of time in front of me and don't really know what to do with myself. I had such different plans for this time, and so I am struggling. I don't want to do just anything to fill my time. I don't want "filler". I don't want mindlessness. I want purpose. I want to feel that whatever I am accomplishing is almost as meaningful as what I am supposed to be doing. Nothing I could do could ever measure up to that, but I am trying. I have a few art projects and furniture refinishing jobs tucked up my sleeve, but today's post is about something else entirely.
You know how people who can't garden say they have a black thumb? Well, I used to think I had a black whisk. Everything I tried to bake never seemed to work out. Brownies burned. Cakes overflowed. Pie crust cracked right down the middle. I was terrible. Hand to God. But then, something happened. Something that would change the course of my life forever. I got a Kitchen Aid mixer. (Angel Chorus). Somehow, I thought that this mixer would turn everything around. It would be the magic beans to make my baking bean stalk grow. And it was. Maybe it was because I had confidence that it would. Maybe it was because I had confidence in myself. Or, maybe it was because it has 8 different mixing speeds and 3 paddle attachments. Who knows? The point is, I became a better baker. A much better baker. I changed from being reliant upon another person's recipe into someone who could concoct their own. It wasn't overnight and it wasn't without abysmal failures. (The Blueberry Poundcake Explosion of 2010 comes to mind) But, slowly, I honed my craft. And I also really enjoyed being in the kitchen and creating deliciousness I could share with my friends and family.
As you know, when Kenley died, it was very hard for me to bake again. I avoided it for over a month, but, true to my general approach to life nowadays, I sucked it up and jumped in again. Once I got my feet wet with the lemon bars, I was back to my old self - at least in the kitchen. And I decided to take this time I have and do something productive with my baking.
I'm making a cookbook. I have all of my tweaked recipes copied into a composition book. A composition book covered in flour and sugar and molasses. It's pages stick together and the ink is splotchy and runny. It's spine is cracking from overuse and random slips of paper and ideas fall out of it every time I pick it up. It's time to upgrade. So, I am taking the time to bake every single recipe I have in this book and am taking pictures. I downloaded software from Blurb.com, and am inputting my recipes and photos into a template I created. A printed 20 page copy costs $29.99 ish. More pages are extra. Who knows how expensive the finished product will be, but I don't care. I've always wanted to write a book. I guess this is my shot - even if I will have the only copy.
Wednesday, my first creation was ready for its close up. Pina Colada Cupcakes. Yum!