14 April 2009

The Unintentional Baking Day

I had no intention of baking today, even after we ran out of bread two days ago. I had class until early in the evening. Then the dog had an appointment at the groomer's. There are a million things on my to do list in the week before finals, and baking was nary near the top of that list. I even read Crystal's Baking Day post this morning and thought, "Ah, man, we need bread. I just don't have time today." I got home a little before 6pm, Be decided he could take el dog-o on his own, and I unhappily went about making a quick dinner (read: not the one on the menu ... because I was convinced I didn't have enough time or energy to make it).

I turned the oven on for garlic bread to make dinner seem more substantial and less cobbled and rushed. While my one pot thrown together dinner was simmering, I convinced myself to throw the bread dough ingredients in the stand mixer so they could spin themselves around while I tended to dinner (what? you think pots stir themselves? More like, Em watches pot bubble as way to get out of making bread, perhaps?) since the oven was on already anyway. Then I remembered the crazy thing about bread ... it has to rise ... a lot. No way I was leaving the oven on for 4 hours so my bread could make it through both rises. Ugh. Now what to do with this residual oven heat?

Ah yes, these ...
Those are Molten Chocolate Chip Muffins ... a magical creation out of necessity when after promising my brother's girlfriend I'd make peanut butter blossoms (so she'd unwrap the kisses while I multi-task-o-rama'd) I realized I couldn't find the vegetable oil. A couple freebie muffin mixes from the lower pantry, a handful of already unwrapped kisses (lest her effort be for naught) plopped in the middle as they came out of the oven, and voila! Molten cake meets muffin tin! It so happens someone(s) made off with two of them before they even had a chance to cool. It may have been the Baked Good Bandit ... or perhaps Quality Control.

We finished up dinner, I did the handful of dishes there were, and went about doing homework (and owning Double Jeopardy). The kitchen timer let me know the first bread rise was done, and it took me no more than 5 minutes to punch it down, knead again, split the dough, shape it, plop it in the loaf pans, and put it back on the back of the stove to rise with the aid of residual oven heat from the vent. Then it was back to homework (and Biggest Loser on TV ... I love transformative moments on television) until the timer went off again. I set the oven to 350, tossed my bread inside, and had another moment of frugal despair ... "What am I going to double duty the oven with this time?!" Having found the vegetable oil (which was right where it always is, by the way, despite my best efforts to completely overlook it about 12 times) in the interim, I decided on peanut butter cookies since I had already promised them. They came from another freebie mix (shhhh, they're ruining my Betty Crocker street cred!), and by the time the bread was done they were ready for the oven.

See how excited Donald Duck is about baked goods?

TaaaaDaaaa! Two loaves of honey wheat bread and 3 DOZEN (how in the world did that happen with one lonely cookie mix?!) peanut butter blossoms cooling on my counter. I turned the oven off and left the door half way open (since we don't have small children ... probably a less brilliant idea if there are small fingers that could find their way into open oven doors) so the heat we had already created (and paid for!) could warm up the kitchen and living room instead of being funneled out through the duct work. I did the second handful of dishes, cleaned off the counters, ate a cookie, and thought about how close I was to none of it happening in the first place.

I am a busy girl, but 'busy-ness' is also my number one reason (excuse?) for not doing things. I keep trying to convince myself that there isn't enough time, or that things like baking are too complicated and will have to wait for another day when a pristine plan can be arranged. I am working on this. The reality is, though, that it took almost no more time than I would have spent in the kitchen anyway. I had to wait for dinner to cook, so why not throw together bread dough and muffins? I had to turn the oven back on for the bread, so why not put a batch of cookies in? I had to wait for the goods to cool before putting them up, so why not knock out the last of the dishes so I don't wake up to them tomorrow? I didn't really have to clean the stove with steel wool after that, but it was bugging me.

The moral of the story is, frugality takes time, yes ... but not nearly as much time as we like to pretend. If I can multi-task a few things, keep my kitchen clean, fill up our stash of homebaked (and FREE!) goodies and not really take any longer than usual anyway, why not? Once I was done, I felt better. I like to make things. I love to bake cookies (mostly, so I can eat them). I dig the frugal/homemade/green-ish lifestyle. I just don't always believe I can pull it off (yea, even the frugal commandos have doubts), and when I finished up, this post from Laura was at the top of my reader. How timely, indeed.

Now, I think it's time for (another) cookie.



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1 comment:

  1. Peanut butter blossoms are my favorite! Well, one of my favorites, anyway. I have too many. ;-) You're right... frugality takes time. But it's time well spent!