Cakes, Cookies, and Cooking as a mom

Experimenting with fondant and piping

Wow! I didn’t realize that the last time I had posted something was January. Props to those of you who are parenting and blogging! I don’t know how you do it! I am learning that the real keys to parenting are adjusting your expectations and figuring out your priorities. You will have to shorten the list of things you can prioritize because you can’t do it all, and you’ll have to adjust your expectation of what you can get done in a day. At least that’s how it’s been for me. But hey, that’s life. For me, blogging simply hasn’t been a priority and so it’s fallen to the wayside. Though, let’s be honest, I wasn’t always blogging that often before the baby!

Using up egg whites and cream by making French macarons

For me good food has always been a priority. As a kid I loved when we had the chance to eat fast food or junk food, which was usually just on road trips or special occasions. I liked the salty fries, soft tacos, and frosty milkshakes that we didn’t eat at home. Nowadays there are still plenty of things I indulge in, but my tastes have changed. I still love fries and tacos and milkshakes, but I also love fresh, flavorful salads and chewy homemade cookies. Finding the time to prepare the kind of food I want has changed a lot since becoming a mom (over a year ago!). I have to plan around baby meals, outings, diaper changes, and nap time.

The type of “fries” I eat most often these days

Now that my daughter is crawling and climbing all over the place, I do my best to make use of the time when she is happily (and safely) playing by herself as well as nap time and after bedtime to prep foods for lunches and dinners. Certain foods are better eaten hot from the oven or the stove, but my priority right now is getting good food on the table, even if it’s reheated from earlier in the day or week.

I’d love to hear your recommendations for quick and easy meals I can prepare during nap time or in a pinch. I find that cold, pre-assembled salads and one sheet dinners seem to work the best. The fewer things I have to pull out of the fridge and reheat, the better!

Though I haven’t been blogging for the past six months, I have been cooking and baking a ton! My husband has gotten so used to my crazy baking sprees that he barely bats an eye these days when suddenly I’m throwing together muffins on a random weekday morning. My most recent foray has been into cakes. I have always loved eating and making cake and I’m trying to get better at it. I’m always looking for an excuse to bake something, whether to test my skills or try a new recipe.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Send me your favorite, quick meals!

Cheers!

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Halloween Cookies & Parenthood

Before my daughter was born, a part of me thought I would have more time to do things like write a blog post. I mean babies sleep a lot, right? So couldn’t I just whip up a blog post during one of her frequent naps? Well, sometimes babies fall asleep on you or sometimes you need to eat while she sleeps. Sometimes I have had time to write, but I was too tired to write anything. Or sometimes I haven’t had the time because my child takes mostly half hour naps, and by the time I put her down and go to the bathroom and brush my teeth and get dressed and whatever basic things I need to accomplish, five minutes are left. Continue reading

Homemade Filo for Baklava and Apple Tart

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I became a mother almost two months ago and sometimes it still doesn’t feel like it’s real. It’s like how did I suddenly (though it wasn’t really) become a mother? Somehow, it feels like motherhood is something that has to be earned over a longer period of time, not something you can become in just one day when a baby is born. I’m not trying to discredit other mothers, by any means. We have certainly earned the title after carrying our babies in our bodies for 9+ months and going through childbirth, but somehow the title still feels strange. I’m sure it’s just like being married or changing your name in that it’s something that I will get used to over time.

I thought motherhood would make me a different person, but mostly I still feel the same except with a baby. Feeling the same is good of course, as I didn’t want to lose who I was, but I somehow expected this overwhelming feeling of a change in identity. Maybe that also develops over time as I will interact with the world and my baby as a mother.

Of course one of the things that makes me me is my love of food and cooking. In the first few weeks of motherhood I definitely did not have the time or energy to cook and I was grateful to the friends who brought us food and the meals I’d prepared ahead of time to stock our freezer. It was hard enough to remember to eat or find time to eat when my focus was on feeding my baby and getting enough sleep. In recent weeks I’ve felt myself getting back to normal with my desire to get my hands dirty in the kitchen coming on strong. For some reason this week that desire manifested itself in homemade filo/phyllo dough, which I used to make baklava and an apple tart. I enjoyed the process of making the filo dough, though it didn’t turn out as thin as I would have liked, and I was able to use some nuts that were past their “best by” date (they’re still good!)

The baklava I made was based on this recipe here and the apple tart one I made up with a sheet of leftover dough I had. It felt good to get in the kitchen again and create something with my hands, though it certainly wasn’t the same as it used to be. I made the recipe in steps over an afternoon, evening, and morning, with interruptions determined by a certain hungry baby. In the future, hopefully she’ll be helping me to cook.

Apple Filo Tart

4-6 sheets of filo dough, thawed if frozen*

1 large apple of your choice, peeled and diced

2 T. brown sugar

1 T. flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3-4 T. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lay your sheets of filo dough on the parchment, brushing with butter every two layers or just on top if using homemade. In a medium bowl mix diced apple, sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Spread the apple mixture in a circle in the middle of your filo dough making sure that the apples are not piled on each other, though don’t be too picky about it. Gently fold the extra filo over the apple mixture and brush the top with butter. You may not use all of the butter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned and crispy. Let cool and cut into slices.

*I used only one sheet of my homemade dough, though it was thicker than the store-bought kind.