“Baking Day” Bedlam…My Day in Bulleted Lists

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IMG_8069I keep thinking that Jen from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and I would get along just fine. I always laugh when she points out a brutally honest “oops” by saying something like, “That’s why this is Beauty AND Bedlam, folks,” and I felt like saying that all day in my kitchen as I attempted a “Baking Day” with Crystal Paine and FishMama.

First, I thought I would “bake” yesterday, but I wisely pushed off the bulk of my “list” until today.

Here is what I accomplished yesterday instead, partly in preparation for the “real” baking day today:

  • Started buttermilk culturing (for mozzarella cheese)
  • Shredded carrots (for cake)
  • Used food processor to shred more carrots, onions, and mix up chickpea wraps for dinner
  • Also used food processor to mince garlic for garlic soup for dinner (I love reusing big items to avoid dishes!)  My husband was sure he was getting a huge cold or sinus infection, but some coconut oil in the morning and this soup for dinner cleared it right up! Woo hoo!

    Lovey Girl helped peel the garlic.  "Garlic" was one of her first 40 words.  She's a "Real Food" baby!

    Lovey Girl helped peel the garlic. "Garlic" was one of her first 40 words. She's a "Real Food" baby!

  • Started 2 bags of walnuts soaking for “crispy nuts” (someday I’ll post on this)
  • Made ghee! (I’ll show you how…tomorrow.)
  • Made homemade applesauce (2 jars’ worth)
  • Started the sourdough “night before” sponge for a new multi-grain sourdough bread recipe
  • Made a double batch of tortillas, for dinner and the freezer
  • Started triple batch of rice soaking for dinner Wednesday, Friday and freezer on-hand

Today’s to-do list:

  • Roast crispy nuts (my oven doesn’t go below 170, and these will be mainly for baking anyway, so I just knocked them out in under an hour at 350)
  • Roast 3 pie pumpkins and puree
  • Finish sourdough bread dough, allow to rise
  • Bake apple squares
  • Bake carrot-zucchini cake
  • Bake pumpkin cookies
  • Make dinner (pepper steak over rice)
  • Frost cake?
  • Make mozzarella cheese
  • Bake sourdough bread

As usual, biting off more than I could chew.  The “bedlam” moments included (but are not limited to):

  1. I couldn’t cut into the pie pumpkins. It seriously felt like I was trying to cut through a wooden log…perhaps with a butter knife. Ridiculous. I twittered about it, got some advice, thought I was going to hurt myself or the knife (but not the blasted pumpkin!!!), and finally begged my husband to do it. He resorted to a higher power:
    I will not be making my own pumpkin puree next year. And pumpkin number 3 will remain on the porch, a beautiful and simple 50-cent Fall decoration!
  2. I didn’t have enough sugar to do all 3 baking projects. This is probably the first time I’ve run out of sugar EVER. The hazards of a pseudo-real-food household, where I know I should not buy sugar at all anyway, so I wait until a super-DUPER sale, but then I run out and want to use it anyway. Shucks. I totally didn’t have time for the cookies anyway.
  3. Exploding bread. I really ought to learn that I don’t do bread. I fail every time I try, at least when I knead by hand. I didn’t want to mess up my KitchenAid bowl right before I needed it for the other 3 projects, so I thought I’d get some upper-body workout and do it myself. I don’t knead bread well. I got it on my pants, the floor, my sock (that was all one “oops” plop), had to add what felt like 5 cups extra flour because I was a sticky mess, and still ended up with dough that didn’t rise worth anything. Then when I finally baked it, this happened:
    And that’s why THIS blog is about stewardship, not presentation.  I need to have Sarah come give me a bread tutorial, which might actually happen someday because she has a relative in my city. Help! SOS! I am dough-deficient! My last batch of sourdough (rye) is affectionately referred to as “the rock bread”. Most of it went straight to croutons!
  4. Whey, Whey, everywhere. As if 3 bedlam-moments wasn’t enough. Seriously. Immediately after typing the above lines, I went into the kitchen to drain the whey off the curds for mozzarella. I poured much of the whey off and decided to put it into jars, then pour the curds into the tea-towel-lined colander. It took a moment (of shock) to figure out why there was whey all over my counter…I hadn’t put the bowl back under the colander. !!! Gaaaaahhhh!! {How much whey can a microfiber dishcloth absorb?}  It’s on my pants, too. Oh, yes, I am a scatterbrained kitchen steward.

Welcome to my Baking Day

I don’t have a picture of everything I made sitting on my table like many bloggers do. Truly, I’m not that organized. Everything is EVERYWHERE. You do not want to see my kitchen right now. :)  See more baking day successes at Money Saving Mom. Here’s what I did:

Crispy Nuts into the oven

Crispy Nuts into the oven

Pumpkin puree

Pumpkin puree

The unbaked cakes were on the counter when hubby came up for dinner.  "So...what's in THAT?" he wondered.  Green and orange in a cake wasn't what he was hoping for!

The unbaked cakes were on the counter when hubby came up for dinner. "So...what's in THAT?" he wondered. Green and orange in a cake wasn't what he was hoping for!

They look better baked, and smelled divine.  Can't wait to frost and EAT!

They look better baked, and smelled divine. Can't wait to frost and EAT!

Apple squares for Buddy Boy's school snack this week

Apple squares for Buddy Boy's school snack this week

Mozzarella cheese hanging overnight

Mozzarella cheese hanging overnight

Now that I type it, it sounds like a decent amount of work for a day, but short of my expectations. Not much else happened!

What else I managed to do today:

  • Eat breakfast
  • Go to Mass
  • Eat lunch
  • Cut kids’ nails
  • Read books to kids
  • Use my blender for:
    • Chopping the nuts (oh, I miss my old blender! This one goes from chopped to “meal” way too fast!)
    • Pureeing the pumpkin
    • Making smoothies for lunch (much to Lovey Girl’s delight, as she crooned, “Mooooo-zhee! Moooo-zhee!”)
  • Make a turkey craft out of hand outlines with my son
  • Attempt to nurse Lovey Girl down twice and then let her cry. :(  I hate that!
  • Denigrate my parenting skills
  • Decide we need to move into a new house: my kitchen is too small and there’s mold on my windowsills. Think anyone would give me a house as a product review?
  • Decide I’m not cut out for homeschooling and Buddy Boy would benefit from being in school for k-g next year.
  • Allow this:

    So much for, "Please don't play with my laundry basket; it's cracking already."

    So much for, "Please don't play with my laundry basket; it's cracking already."

  • And this to happen so that I could get stuff done in the kitchen:

    Candy is a favorite "toy".  Lovey Girl moves it about the house, in and out of a candy jar, and everywhere she pleases.  Who needs toys?

    Candy is a favorite "toy". Lovey Girl moves it about the house, in and out of a candy jar, and everywhere she pleases. Who needs toys?

What DIDN’T I do?

  • Frost the cake
  • Make the cookies
  • Put makeup on
  • Call for a quote on new windows (because we’re moving anyway)
  • Clean anything in the house, including…
  • The dishes. OH, the humanity!


  • Stretch mozzarella cheese
  • Get ricotta cheese out of the whey
  • Grocery shop:  buy sugar!
  • Bake pumpkin cookies
  • Package and freeze pumpkin puree
  • Make sure Lovey Girl gets a real nap!
  • Make frosting and frost cake
  • Roast pumpkin seeds
  • Call realtor re: bigger house
  • Take Halloween decorations down!

What’s hoppin’ in your kitchen this week? Do you do too much at once? (Come on, ‘fess up…it’ll make me feel better!)

The last day to hop in the coconut oil giveaway is tomorrow, Friday, November 6th!

Grab the recipe for those apple squares!

I’m participating in Tuesday Twister next week at GNOWFGLINS and Homemaker Mondays at 11th Heaven and Mama Guilt Mondays as well.

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27 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    Ah, Katie, you crack me up so.

    My mom helped me do pumpkins last year, and we didn’t have NEAR the trouble that you did. Perhaps they weren’t quite ripe enough when they were picked?? Or perhaps you could poke a few holes in them (stab wounds?) and bake for a while, then cut open to finish baking?

    Good luck with the bread! Mine didn’t do so well either, though I need to give it another try. And can you believe that Sarah herself passed right by my house (OK, the highway, which is like four blocks away) and didn’t have time to stop as they were trying to get past a big snowstorm?!? Here’s to hoping they’ll have time to stop and chase chickens on their way home or another time. :>)

    I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has all kinds of kitchen incidents. I’m just glad I’ve only started a fire once!

    I made beans yesterday and chili today – if I get ambitious enough, I might post about it and link up to baking day. It cracked me up to read a couple moms of MANY tweet tongue in cheek along the lines of “what’s the big deal? I cook that much every day!” :>) Anyway – I used a very short two cups of pinto beans, a can of tomato paste, and a T of chili powder as you recommended in place of canned chili beans and it tasted just like usual. Thanks!!
    .-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Fun Finds – Presbyterian Rummage Sale =-.

    • Katie says


      GREAT that the chili worked well! SAD that you didn’t get to see Sarah – you seem to be in a hot crossing zone for bloggers! 😉 And I’m THERE on the fire – one in my adult history, and one (in the microwave, truly) in high school. heh heh
      To chasing chickens,

  2. says

    This post is so funny because I can hear myself in it. Not often do I get to hear someone doing too many things at once while the kiddos are off doing what they please so you can get something done. Love it. I am always doing too much at once. Like this morning I was trying to cook oatmeal, knead bread to leave to rise, make homemade formula, and get the kids dressed and out the door by 8am to get my husband to work and go pick up the raw goat’s milk from the farm by 9. It’s nice your kids play with candy and laundry baskets. Mine eat drywall, swim in toilets, take every dish out of my cupboards, etc. How do you find time to blog it all, anyway? Are you awake from 5am until midnight?
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Sorghum Pancakes =-.

  3. Lindsay says

    WOW! That was a LOT of work. You go, girl!

    I think pumpkins are too hard to work with. I make up butternut squash puree in place of canned pumpkin for any recipe. You do NOT notice a lick of difference in taste. Butternut squash often goes on sale this time of year too. And the seeds are much more contained and easier to remove than a pumpkin. So don’t worry about messing with a pumpkin…just go with the butternut squash!

  4. Sarah W says

    Haha! This is one of my favorite posts! I can totally relate. I am glad to find out you are experimenting with breadmaking b/c I am too! I have been practicing with various recipes and varying degrees of success! (all for the sake of learning to use sourdough). You should see the loaf I made a few days ago – it WAS one big crouton!!

    I’m pretty sure you will like some recipes I’ve found and modified to use “discarded” sourdough starter AND soak the whole wheat flour! :)

    Do you think you might homeschool after k-g? I have my oldest DS (3yrs) in preschool this year, but I’m still thinking of homeschooling. I didn’t think I could do preschool (I don’t see much of a point anyways) but I know all that is OT…

    OH! And I am EXACTLY the same way about “saving” everything for when I’ll *really* need it. I think I go overboard… For me personally, I am trying to tell myself I have things so that I can use them and enjoy them, and it doesn’t do me much good to save them forever. (e.g. I have some fancy body scrub in my shower that I’ve been “using” for, I dunno, 10+ years? But I do that with food and everything else too.)

  5. says

    This was a great post. You know me, I”m all about honesty in blogging. :)

    Honestly, when my kids were smaller, I’d try to do too much at once, then get really angry when the kids would dump a 5lb bag of flour all over the floor and I didn’t have a vacuum. Or fight with my perfume. Or have a powder party with talcum powder. Oy!

    Yesterday I felt I did too much. I went to Hobby Lobby (w/out kids, they are in school), had lunch w/dh, visited my mom, grocery shopped. scanned all purchases for Nelsien, picked up kids from school, helped with Saint’s Day project for ds#2, brought ds#1 to basketball practice, cooked dinner, including homemade mac & cheese, changed sheets, and took a bath. Whew, nothing compared to your day but I was exhausted!
    .-= Paula´s last blog ..Blog Award and Update on my Life =-.

  6. says

    While the idea of a baking day appeals to me (and I’ve probably done many without calling them such) your baking day was amazing! You covered SO much ground! Thanks for sharing your amazing day in the Twister!

  7. Sarah W says

    Here are the “discarded sourdough” recipes. Please let me know if there is ever a better place to post them, as I’m sure things get “lost” in the comments.

    WW Sourdough Muffins:

    Pizza crusts:
    My modifications are as follows:
    I use WW flour. I mix everything up; cover carefully with plastic wrap; let sit for 12-24 hours; then roll out and bake as directed.

    However, next time, I am going to try letting the dough rest 1/2 hr (as in original recipe), then roll it out, THEN let it “soak” for 12-24 hrs, covered in plastic wrap. Then bake it. The flour + starter does rise some during the soak, so hopefully this will make a lighter crust instead of rolling it out after the soak which completely deflates it.

    Cheese Crackers:
    Again, I just modified the recipe to combine the flour and starter first; let it soak for 12-24 hours. Then I combined all the other ingredients (butter, cheese, spices) in my food processor as the recipe indicates. Then I mixed the butter/cheese/spice mixture into the flour + starter with my stand mixer and followed the rest of the recipe. The crackers were very tasty.
    However, next time I try this recipe I am going to play around with the way I combine the ingredients b/c I have a feeling the food processor step was a little more challenging without the flour to mix in. I might try using very soft butter and use my stand mixer instead, then add in the flour+starter, all in the mixer.

    Finally, the last recipe for which I have used my discarded starter is for : paper mache!! LOL! I had a little project I wanted to do this month, so instead of making more paste, I just used my sourdough starter and added more water to it. :)

    Hope this helps!

    • Katie says


      Hilarious! Thank you! Just to clarify: you didn’t “discard” the recipes – they are good? I have made Sarah’s crackers, and they’re pretty good, but maybe we just don’t love the sourdough taste in a cracker. My littlest one will eat them, and that’s the most important.
      :) Katie

  8. Sarah W says

    Yes yes, I think they are all good recipes! There may be other recipes for the same things that are as good, but part of the big bonus with these is that it is a way to use up extra sourdough starter and it doesn’t have to have been recently fed. (and they are “soaked” :) )

    I don’t remember a strong sourdough taste with the crackers… maybe I am not as sensitive to it, or maybe using dormant starter gives it a less pronounced taste…? I don’t taste any sourdough really when I make the muffins either. You’ll have to let me know what you think though if you try them!

  9. Anne says

    What a precious photo of lovey girl peeling garlic. She makes me laugh. Just a glint of impishness in those eyes?

    Please don’t denigrate your parenting skills. You’re doing such a great job.

  10. Alison says

    Wow, that was a LOT. Real quick–here’s a tip for those pumpkins & such. Put in an old pillowcase or thick paper bag and THROW onto a concrete floor or driveway. Will crack into pieces you can put in a baking dish with a little water and cook in the oven to soften up.

  11. Beth says

    First of all, I LOVE your blog (my husband says I’ve crossed over to “addict”). Many of your discoveries and ideas are exactly what I’ve been learning/doing myself lately, but it’s always nice to know I’m not the only crazy person out there! The picture of your husband with the saw through the pumpkin made me laugh, but when you gave up on making homemade pumpkin purée, I knew I had to post a comment, because I do it all the time and it’s the easiest “from scratch” project ever! You do NOT need to cut the pumpkin at all before baking! Just poke a few holes with a knife, take out or lower the top rack in your oven, and bake it for an hour or so at 400 degrees, until the skin looks brown and wrinkled. Then slice in half (easily!), peel (super easily!) scoop out the seeds, and purée with blending gadget of choice. Makes amazing pumpkin butter in the crock pot, with a splash of real maple syrup and spices, on low overnight with the lid askew. Yummy!

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