Saturday, January 03, 2009

Mom's playing -- in the kitchen?

Gardening and baking. Two seemingly dissimilar activities, both serve a similar place and purpose for me.

I tried to blend butter and sugars the other day and the butter wasn't ready. It reminded me to plan ahead, get the butter out ahead of time, and let it sit. I stopped, waited, and got back at it with better results and a more peaceful, easy feeling. The cookies were delicious.

Gardening is also a slower process, a contrast to my high pressure teaching job. When I put the garden to bed for the winter, it's a melancholy feeling not only for the yield, but because I truly miss working with my hands in the dirt.

Both gardening and baking let me incorporate a few more healthy ingredients into our menus. Spinach, fresh tomatoes, and crisp green beans make their way onto the family table in late summer and fall. When I bake from scratch, I can control the ingredients that make their way onto my family's plates, not to mention using up foodstuffs that might otherwise go to waste. I recently used up two very ripe bananas in a banana bread. Husband helped; he peeled the bananas.

Gardening gets me out of the house and away from distractions like the telephone. Baking doesn't do exactly that, but it does take me out of the whirlwind that is my life. Putting the ingredients together, measuring properly, following a recipe (well, to some extent) all take just enough concentration. Just enough, that is, to take my mind off the many day to day stressors.

We're steadily working our way through the Christmas cookies, so I'm looking at a few other ideas to plant in the kitchen. Cranberry muffins, anyone?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Flea said...

There are so many Christmas and New Year leftovers in this house. I find myself making beans and rice. Stew. Hiding the yummy chocolates. And missing the fresh veggies.

1/03/2009 8:39 AM  
Blogger CaJoh said...

I like the contrast you have. I'm glad you have both indoor and outdoor activities.

1/03/2009 9:47 AM  
Blogger Shawna said...

I write about this phenomena in my new book. When we perform an activity that keeps our mind and hands busy it is called "flow". Having flowful lives allows us to be more satisfied with who we are and what we are doing.

I downsized my life - changing careers from a fast paced corporate environment (@ 70 hrs a week), down to a landscape design job that allows me to get outside a lot. I also write in the off-season. I'm extremely happy. Love it.

You have a great blog!

Take care,

Shawna Coronado
www.thecasualgardener.com

1/03/2009 2:55 PM  
Blogger April said...

I'll take some of those Cranberry Muffins YUM!! I haven't been able to do much gardening. For the last few years we've been renting and couldn't mess with the yard but coming this spring I'm going to try my hand at container gardening :D Enjoy your garden!

1/03/2009 4:08 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Sunshine State said...

I made a beer bread the other night that was really good.

I used to garden a lot when my kids were young and we had a big yard.It was pesticide free. I wanted more control over what was going into little bodies and have some shredded zucchini in the freezer for muffins and breads over the winter.

I also freeze the bananas that are starting to turn. I also do fruit crisps. Apple or peach are my favorite...warm with a little vanilla ice cream

1/03/2009 11:54 PM  

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