• A Christmas Cookie Tradition

    Neither an adventure in ratio baking nor a recipe this week. Instead, since it’s December, I wanted to write about a Christmas tradition my mom started when I was very young. For as long as I can remember, my mom would spend an entire day baking cookies. The funniest thing about them was that all the recipes came from cook books, but everyone raved about how good they were and would ask for the recipe. My mom always refused to give them away, but they were in printed cook books and could have been found by anyone. Haha, just one of our many family secrets! But it was really a tradition…

  • Adventures in ratio baking: Chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting

    Adventures in Ratio Baking: Chocolate Cake With Whipped Cream Frosting

    I like to think I’ve finally mastered ratio baking a chocolate cake. A high ratio chocolate cake, that is. At least, one that I enjoy because my husband won’t eat chocolate cake, my son only likes to decorate, and my daughter is partial to the whipped cream. And my cat should absolutely keep her distance. Oh, well. More cake for me. Anyways, I thought that perhaps the pinnacle of my chocolate cake journey should be a recipe. So I set out to convert my ratios into measurements. Twice. The first time was a disaster, and even I didn’t want to eat it. The second time, thankfully, was a success. But…

  • Adventures in Ratio Baking: The Downside

    I love ratio baking. I find it much easier to whip up a cake this way than using a recipe. It’s also easier on my brain when it comes to having to chat with my kids while measuring all the ingredients. It hasn’t been the smoothest adventure, but what adventure should be? But as much as I love ratio baking, it isn’t a perfect method. Baking temperatures and times are a guessing game. The standard temperatures are 350 and 375, but which one should you choose? Honestly, I’m not sure, but I usually use 375 and only turn it down to 350 when the cake is browning too much, but…

  • Adventures in Ratio Baking: The Best Part

    I love ratio baking because it requires less brain power. Yes, not using a recipe uses less thought on my part. Well, once I started to figure out all the math, that is. Math is my weakest area, so it took me about a month to figure out the 3-2-1 cookie ratio. Which is why I started with the 1-1-1-1 cake ratio first. But, honestly, baking without a recipe is easier on my brain than using one. It might seem weird because, with a recipe, everything is spelled out. There shouldn’t be much thought put into it. Well, baking with a recipe, for me, involves: Figuring out what kind of…

  • Adventures in Ratio Baking: Chocolate Cake Attempts 1 & 2

    For years, I faithfully followed recipes whenever I baked. Cooking is a completely different story, but I always believed in following the recipe exactly when it came to baking. After all, baking is a science and I’m not great with science or math. But I started feeling a little suffocated by recipes last year. I’ve been baking completely on my own for almost 20 years and finally had enough of following them to a T. It got boring. Spending time searching for new recipes became a chore. I felt stuck, and it sucked the fun out of baking. It was only interesting when my kids were enthusiastic and I kept…

  • My Family’s Top 5 Go-to Dinners

    I’m really bad at meal planning. I hate having to think about what’s for dinner. I’d rather be playing with my kids and trying to tell my son he doesn’t have to hide in the same spot every single time. If I’m lucky, I remember and ask my husband what he’d like to eat a couple of days before we go to the market. If I’m really lucky, he tells me exactly what he wants. Most weeks, though, I ask him about 20 minutes before we head out the door and we stand around in the produce section wondering what to make. Our son gets impatient and becomes overly theatrical…

  • Simple tips to help making baking with toddlers fun and more managable

    Baking with Young Children Tip #5

    In lieu of a daily question on Fridays this month, I’ll be giving a baking with young children tip. I’ve switched up Fridays this month to highlight dads, but I can’t bring myself to forego food entirely. Baking tip #5: Have fun! Doing anything in the kitchen with small children can be difficult. There are small people getting underfoot, small people demanding attention and to be picked up, small people screaming if they don’t get to help, small people littering toys that you must navigate like a minefield, small people who decide the time when you absolutely must get something out of the oven is the best time to have…

  • Baking with Young Children Tip #4

    In lieu of a daily question on Fridays this month, I’ll be giving a baking with young children tip. I’ve switched up Fridays this month to highlight dads, but I can’t bring myself to forego food entirely. Baking tip #4: Utilize the measuring cups you aren’t using to entertain your little ones. I don’t know what it is about those little measuring cups, but my kids are obsessed with them. I can’t open the drawer and take one out without having to give one to each of them. Of course, sometimes I have to negotiate with them so I also get to use the one I need. Which can get…

  • Baking with Young Children Tip #3

    In lieu of a daily question on Fridays this month, I’ll be giving a baking with young children tip. I’ve switched up Fridays this month to highlight dads, but I can’t bring myself to forego food entirely. Baking tip #3: Crack those eggs into a bowl. Seriously. If you’ve ever baked with young children, you know those round little ovals that roll everywhere are very tempting for little hands. And you’ve probably cleaned up a few broken eggs or more. Since the eggs should be brought to room temperature and the butter should be softened before baking, I take them out while my kids are occupied, about an hour or…

  • Baking with Young Children Tip #2

    In lieu of a daily question on Fridays this month, I’ll be giving a baking with young children tip. I’ve switched up Fridays this month to highlight dads, but I can’t bring myself to forego food entirely. Baking tip #2: Practice counting by using the smallest measuring up and counting each one. For two cups of flour, use a quarter cup measure and count to 8. I know the rule to baking is to use exact measurements, so this might sound weird and perhaps you don’t even want to try it and risk the end result. However, I have been baking since I was a small child and neither my…