I think I’m happiest when baking.
Though I’ve spent plenty of time in the kitchen post-college (when I realized I’d eventually be responsible for feeding myself), homeownership — and our new kitchen — have inspired me to really get serious and creative about meals. On a budget.
When we can get our act together ahead of time, Spencer and I love making big pots of soup in the slow cooker (this one is simmering right now!) for leftovers throughout the week. We have our containers dutifully stacked in the fridge — and I’ve gotten really good about adding fresh fruit and veggies into the mix, too. Our obsession with the farmers’ market continues, and I can often be found at a cutting board slicing cantaloupe or strawberries.
That’s all great, of course . . . and healthy. But my real passion? Baking. The eternal struggle. Last night I was in the kitchen until 8:30 — three whole hours after getting home from work — cutting up steak for the aforementioned soup today, creating another batch of the cucumber dill salad, shucking corn, cleaning counters. And we made dinner before all that, so we had some serious dirty dish action going on.
But it was fine. Good, even. Now that the house is coming together, I’m working on tackling the residual boxes we have hanging around — and that meant finally unloading my “baking” box. Said box is full of my cake mixes, sprinkles, baking soda, powdered sugar. So many cupcake liners for every conceivable occasion it’s insane (side note, me: don’t ever buy them again).
I’m someone who craves organization, and having each room of the house in a state of disarray was definitely not good for my anxiety. You’d think I would have, you know, done more by now, then, but . . . well, I guess I’ve just felt overwhelmed. I know people move and unpack every single day, but they’re apparently stronger of will than I am. I’ve found the whole process scary, but everything seems to be settling down — and settling into place.
So I baked last night. Blueberry muffins. I made birthday cupcakes two weeks ago, so it wasn’t my inaugural baked-good-new-kitchen moment — but it was the first time I had my supplies organized in their own cupboard. The first time I felt calm and totally relaxed in the new place.
I was barefoot — in my own kitchen. White T-shirt, Ingrid Michaelson playing softly, answering the door to a kind neighbor who came by with a beautiful plant for us. Spatula in one hand, eggs in the other. Mixing. Folding. Filling.
The golden sun sank beyond our trees.
And I was . . . home.