I think that everyone of us has something inside just itching to get out. I don't necessarily mean talents or gifts, but just a part of us that when left untouched, tends to keep us feeling unfulfilled or antsy. For me, one of these itches is the need to create - to do something with my hands and see a finished product as a result of my efforts. Depending on the day, my mood, the activity, I'm left feeling relaxed, satisfied, energized, etc.
It is my goal, now that we're back into a semblance of routine, to try something new every week to give vent to this monster. More importantly, I'm starting to realise that for everyone's well-being, I need to grab some "important-to-mommy-let's-keep-her-sane" time - without feeling guilty. So far, I'm off to a decent start.
Michael's (I love Michael's!) offers some crafty courses in a wide variety of interests, catering to various skill-levels. Per chance, one day I saw while browsing, that they were offering a beginners scrapbooking course. I've scrapbooked before, but even with my amazing & organized scraproom, (thanks, baby!) I need a kick in the butt to do something with the supplies at hand. I signed up for the course (less than $30 for 4 weeks) and the last 2 Wednesday evenings have spent a couple hours with some other ladies who like to scrap.
My first session, and even through part of yesterday's session, I wondered if perhaps the course was too beginner-oriented... but then again, I just wanted some motivation, inspiration and a night to myself. Last night I started and completed one of the first scrap pages I've done in a looooong time - and I enjoyed it, even though it meant I was doing groceries at 10 pm and maybe the final product isn't quite perfect (I forgot half my tools - whoops!)
The Finished Product
Back to my goals.... As I said, I want to explore a little more while creating. I want to delve into new recipes, sit down and scrap or cardmake, maybe write a chapter or two of that book floating around in the recesses of my mind. I don't always get the chance to do a big complicated dinner like I did pre-daycare but it's my ambition to try a new recipe or two each week.
I made my first batch of slider (mini-burger) buns last week and they were a keeper for sure! The recipe was so yummy, I can improvise and use them as dinner rolls. I'm thrilled about this - most of my yeast-based recipes tend to be a no-go. Here's the link from CHOW: Slider Buns.
Honestly, I improvised a little - I didn't have shortening, so I used Tenderflake. I didn't have kosher salt, but I did have course salt and used that instead. To make them a little more savoury, I added a couple shakes of Epicure's Pesto Herb Mix. (I swear, Epicure makes my life just a wee bit simpler... if you're interested in any products, I can give you contact info for two fabulous reps who just happen to be close friends of mine!) The buns were delicious, the daycare kids enjoyed them as an afternoon snack, warm from the oven. The boys didn't care for the turkey sliders I made but loved the bun - the whole 1 1/2 dozen disappeared the same day I made them.
This afternoon, the kids wanted food to play grocery store. While rifling through the pantry to see what non-glass items I could lend to their imaginative pursuits, I found a can of pumpkin puree tucked in the back corner. When I was tidying up after dinner, I saw the can again and was struck with a craving for pumpkin muffins. And after a somewhat stressful day, the need to create overruled the desire to take a bubble bath and soooo pumpkin muffins I made. I flipped through my binder full of clippings and couldn't find a pumpkin muffin recipe but I found an apple spice muffin recipe and used it as a base.
My batch just came out of the oven just before bedtime and once they cooled enough to eat without burning the tongue, the boys (all 3!) sampled and approved. I still think they're missing "something" that would make them perfect, but I'm pretty sure they'll be gone by tomorrow.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs (gasp!)
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp ginger
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 can (756 ml) pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 350°F. I'm sure there's a proper method to adding the ingredients, but using my stand mixer I just dump it all in and mix until smooth. Spoon into prepared muffin tins. (I use standard tins with silicone muffin cups.) Bake for 15-17 minutes - do the toothpick test. Cool on wire racks and voila, yummy fall eats! I'm sure they'd be good with frosting if you wanted a sweeter cupcake treat.