This picture is a metaphor for my life. Amidst opening Bluebird Bakehouse this summer, teaching school, training for half marathons, and being a single mom I feel like I am in the middle of a circus. However, this circus isn't just the three ring circus that comes to town with an old elephant and a couple of fat monkeys, it is the greatest show on earth! I love it! I love losing myself in the rest that is the present. I love the rush of dreaming about the future and watching each moment unfold. I love finally getting my hands back into some dough. The smell of butter and sugar.... The delight of watching Jack gaze in amazement at all the whirl in the kitchen and the fun adventures we have in between bake sessions. Life if good. I feel rooted, hopeful and at peace that I've got a real good thing going on.
In order to manage the production that is my life, I keep it simple, structured and planned. But I also carve out chunks of time without an itinerary, a todo list, or a deadline. I say no a lot too. Balance is key for me to keep all the balls up in the air. The "Greatest Show on Earth" sometimes feels like I am walking on the high wire without a net to catch me. However, when the fear and adrenaline rise in my chest, I swallow hard and focus on the present- the task at hand. In this moment, the present, I can do anything.
One of the most important things I do to keep my world super zen each week: I cook everything for the week on Sunday. Its super boring to eat the same breakfast and lunch every day for 5 days in a row but it works. I know that 2/3 of my meals each week are super healthy and keep me well fueled for the whirl of my crazy life. And they are already in the fridge before the week starts so there is no mid week pressure. In the evenings, I wing it. And it is usually breakfast in some form or fashion. I love breakfast! I think that is one reason why the predominant focus of Bluebird Bakehouse at the moment is breakfast. It's what I love most and I want everything I make to be full of this soul filling goodness. So breakfast is an easy start for me.
My favorite winging it moment this past week has been a Dutch Baby. I've made them twice already and its only Wednesday! If you haven't had one before, it is like a big, puffy pancake that you bake in the oven. Once baked, you can go either sweet or savory. They take 5 minutes worth of work and they are so tasty! I made them as a kid but hadn't had one in years, so it was kind of nostalgic. I like that. I was inspired by my most recent edition of Bon Appetite that came in the mail and this recipe hails from page 36. Here is my rendition:
When you get home from work, take out 3 eggs and 3/4 cup of milk from the fridge and set them where your 2 year old can not reach and dump into the extra coffee pot at the bottom of the pantry that is full of stale goldfish crackers from last summer. (This was my first attempt) You want everything at room temp.
About an hour before you want to eat, turn the oven on to 450 and put a cast iron skillet or heavy dutch oven in to get super hot- at least 25 minutes. Be warned: glass will shatter when cool liquids are added. Do not use glass! I've done this before. It was a beast to clean up and will definitely disturb your zen factor. Once you get the oven on, sit on the back porch and watch your kid play. Ponder, wander, chill out. Be present. Let the day go.
When your kids start to get cranky because they are half starved and wakes you from your reverie, crack your eggs into a blender until frothy. Pour in your 3/4 cup milk of milk that is now room temp and 2 T. of melter butter that isn't uber hot (this will scramble your eggs). Whirl up real good. Toss in 1/2 flour, 2 T. cornstarch, 1/2 t. salt and a 1/2 t. pepper. Whirl one more time. Take your hot pan out of the oven and toss in a tablespoon of butter. It will brown real quick. Give it a good swirl and add your batter. Return the pan to the oven and watch it puff to glorious goodness. About 25 minutes.
Now, once you take your Dutch Baby out and its cooked good, you can top it with anything you want. I have been stuck on avocado, tomato and cheese with a sunny egg. Bacon, ham, herbs, greens of any sort are also super tasty... It's endless. Growing up, I loved cinnamon sugar with apples. Nutella and banana is another great combo that comes to mind. Be creative. The Dutch Baby is the perfect blank canvas for any flavor pairing you can possibly conceive. Enjoy!