Sunday, September 30, 2007

Breakfast Worth Getting out of Bed For

Pancakes with Slivered Almonds and Raspberries

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups milk

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup raspberries
2 tablespoons melted butter

Melt butter on griddle. Mix first five ingredients-blend well. Gently fold in slivered almonds and raspberries. Drop batter onto hot griddle. Cook evenly on both sides. Serve with whipped cream and syrup.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Musings on Beauty and Balance

The more I do it the more I realize there are so many things to learn about life from the art of baking. The muffins, breads, cookies and cakes bake evenly in my oven. They don't come out all lopsided. Many times what emerges from my oven is surprisingly beautiful.
Today I had a number of necessary but non-noteworthy obligations to fulfill. This week for example, my son starts soccer and I realize he's going to need a pair of cleats that fit him. With a family of five coming and going all weekend from one activity to the next I should also make sure that I stock my fridge. Didn't I stop by the store just yesterday and the day before that as well? There's the laundry-always the laundry. It's easy to understand how mom's can feel out of balance or lopsided at times.
I glance over at the banana bread cooling on the counter. It looks perfect in it's simplicity. The aromas are delightful and the mini loaves are shaped perfectly. I am going to brew some hazelnut coffee and snack on banana bread while Sophia finishes her nap.
The way I see it-- beauty and balance must come from a willingness to appreciate the little things. For today I can appreciate that tasks are getting done. My refrigerator is fairly well stocked, I have completed my baking and I did manage to find the right size cleats at a great price right here in Falmouth. How beautiful!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pantry Possibilities

My kitchen has definitely improved over the years.
Now that I am baking as a business I am more thoughtful of what I keep on hand. There are many times though when I simply want to make something for a friend and there isn't much available. Case in point-last night a friend was going to stop over so I could color her hair. (The hair coloring might be left for another story-because what gave her the impression that I knew the first thing about hair coloring?) Anyway, I wanted a treat to offer her. Something that made the house smell inviting as she walked in. I went to my pantry to see what I might conjure up. I found, among other things: flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, pecans-I knew there was butter in the fridge and since it's apple picking season I had plenty of ripe juicy apples on the table. As far as the color of my friends hair-surprisingly it didn't turn out half bad. In fact, I think she really likes it.

Steele Family Apple Crisp

4 large Apples, green, peeled and sliced
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1/2 c oats
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 c butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a square baking dish. Place apple slices in pan. Mix remaining ingredients well and sprinkle over apples. Bake 30 minutes. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Baker's Blessings

A treat I call Dreamy Island Cookies are in the oven. This morning I get 9-12 minute mini increments to get little chores around the house done. One benefit from making Orange Pound Cake or Supreme Lemon Cake is that I get about sixty full minutes to busy myself while the goodies bake. Sophia is awake early this morning. I tried to sneak into the kitchen before she stirred. It's going to be a beautiful day. The kind of day that reminds me why we moved to Cape Cod. The sun is eager to meet the day-so are we. There is a steady brisk breeze. I have the sliding glass door off the kitchen open. The curtain blows back and forth. As much as I love to bake I can't wait to complete today's tasks so I can get out and enjoy nature. I have had to learn patience. I can't rush what's in the oven. It's done when it's done.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Baker's Dozen

What I love about a baker's dozen is you get a little more than you're expecting...

13 instead of 12. 

Wouldn't it be nice if a baker's dozen extended to other things? Like the amount of time the kids help around the house or the size of our paychecks or even how far a tank of gas will take us?

Right now I'm baking one of my favorite's, Coconut Cake. Sophia is taking a nap and the house is so quiet and smells so yummy!

It's the little things that always amaze me -like how flour, egg and sugar can produce the most inviting, satisfying yet nurturing treats. Or how much Sophia naturally loves to bake with me. 

Often when I tell her I'm about to bake, I'll hear her say, "Mom, I need my apron". We have matching navy blue and white ones spotted with whales.