Saturday, December 11, 2010

Never be afraid of change and little organization!

Sorry for the long absence this last week. So much goes on in my house this time of year! A huge extended family means a lot of prep and putting things together. Also the one thing I do about 3 weeks before the big day is have a bake until I drop kind of thing.

Why, would I put myself through this grueling, intensive thing, especially with two young children? Simply put, I love food! I love to cook.....well, I love to taste too! :) Also, the most important thing for me is to never bake the same thing two years in a row, unless it's requested. So, you need a little time beforehand to test out the recipe and see if it will be a hit or not. Often times you may have to change an ingredient due to food allergies or intolerances, a big thing in my family. Or the recipe simply doesn't work for you, it isn't turning out well or you feel that something else would taste better in it's place.

I've always been afraid to touch recipes though and in the beginning, rightfully so. I wasn't sure how this or that was suppose to look, or feel or smell! Yes, I am one of those bakers and cookers! I do almost everything by taste, texture or scent! It has never failed me yet either. I do tend to stick to recipes more often than not but, sometimes in the case of this last baking batch, I HAD to mess with it!

 I had added a cup of flour to this and it was VERY dry and I still was to add another cup and then some of flour and then the toffee and chocolate chips. I knew I was in trouble. So, I added another egg. Which of course then made it very wet. So, I slowly added the one cup of flour to see what would happen. It thankfully, was still too wet. So, I added some more flour heaping spoonful at a time. Keeping in mind that like much of anything in baking, the more you mix, the tougher and/or drier the food will become. At one point I had to reach in with my hands because it looked better but I knew it was still a bit too wet. I also added probably what amounted to about a 1/2 tsp more of vanilla and a few more spoonfuls of flour and it looked, felt and smelled about right. So, into the oven it went!  It turned out rather well once I got done messing with it! Though ultimately I've no idea how much total flour I ended up using in the recipe!

My taste testers loved it too. It was their favorite thing I made. Well except for the mint chocolate chip cookies which I make every year and everyone loves....and is no secret recipe, or family guarded secret....I'll tell you if you keep it amongst and Andes mint baking chips and turn it over. Recipe is right there!! Ha ha ha See, it wasn't a big thing! I think what makes it more appetizing though, is that I make them bite sized. Which is adorable and as everyone knows you eat with your eyes first. :)

Now, speaking of the holidays. If you're like me or even if you're not and you're thinking of doing the homemade gifts or baking your gifts this year, it becomes very important to keep track of who is getting what or what you're baking to give out. So, here is a baking planner from Organized Christmas. It is soo much easier to write down what you're making, what you still need and who you're making it for then to do the mad rush at the last minute! Here is the master gift list as well. It comes in handy so that you can write down what you're doing for each person, rather than try and do it from memory and then make a mistake or forget something. I speak from experience!

I bought a whole bunch of stuff ahead of time one year and instead of writing a list to keep track, I did it from memory. That next summer when cleaning out my hiding place, I discovered about four presents I'd bought and forgotten to give to my own son! You can imagine, I felt terrible! So, from then on, I became organized and if you're half as busy as I am or have half the size of the extended family that I do, you need a little organization! :)

Good luck and I hope that you all have a fabulous weekend! Stay warm!!

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