Baking Therapy {Food Love}

This is my lovely 4 year old daughter, Georgia May. She is an extraordinary baker already and here is her first batch of spritz cookies for the season. She truly loves cooking and baking and loves to learn new recipes and techniques. 

We cook and bake together every day. I include her in almost all meal preparation and she has even learned to cook at the stove with my help and supervision. And then there are baking projects she can do herself from start to finish (with the exception of handling items in and out of the oven, of course). 

Since my accident, I have been stumbling through work (day job as HR Manager) and life. Apparently sitting and working on a computer is the worst thing I could be doing right now. Given that my profession is almost 100% doing just that, things have been a challenge, to say the least.

I was baking these cookies with Georgia and Olivia. It really helps that Georgia can do a lot of the "work" and wants to. It makes it much easier for me to do something fun with the kids without hurting myself.

A friend was asking if I am in pain when I am baking. I began to explain that standing, moving around the kitchen, and using my hands actually was a lot easier than sitting. (still painful but better). They commented that baking must actually be therapy for me. 

You know how if you say something out loud it just becomes more true? Well, in that moment it all sunk in. Yes, baking is actually helping me right now. With the exception of lifting, most tasks in the kitchen feel good. I have been advised to "keep moving" which is good. I am not a lay-around-and-do-nothing kind of person. So, in fact, light cooking and baking is likely helping me recover.

So there you have it. The thing I love the most, the place I love to be the most, are indeed the best for me right now. Thank goodness. I don't know what I would do if my doctor said stop baking. Well, I would go crazy. Maybe lose some weight. Ha ha. But at least I have something I can do that's good for me, fun for the kids, and produces delicious results. 

Is baking a form of therapy for you? If so, what do you love to bake more than anything else?


Balancing sweets and treats during the holidays~

Most people would assume that my children eat a lot of candy. While I do make handmade candy as a part-time profession, my children consume very little sugar and treats on a regular basis.

Early on with both daughters, we closely monitored sugar intake. We restricted useless calories and refined sugars and flours right from the first solids. My first daughter didn't try chocolate until she was almost 3, and at that only had a small organic chocolate egg for Easter.

Both my girls enjoy treats and have only eaten good quality sweets. They have never consumed processed junk food or manufactured candy and "chocolate" bars. (We forbid chocolate milk, soda, and trans fats too). They have only had good, mostly handmade sweets in very small quantities.

For us, we try to make sweets and treats something special to look forward to at Christmas, Easter and birthdays. In between, we do baking, and most of our home baking is very low sugar and high quality flours and grains. However, we don't want to restrict treats all-together. We try to strike a balance of enjoying one treat, really savoring it, and not consuming handfuls of it.

Case in point: as my family and friends helped me prepare for my recent Christmas market, my girls saw the trays of treats being packaged up. They asked a few times for a marshmallow. (Who wouldn't?) I told them they could come to my market and choose one treat. They were so excited to see me at the market and I let them and their cousins choose one item. Both girls chose my gourmet s'mores and ate about half of it. There you go. They enjoyed it. Savored it. And didn't even finish it. Their bodies aren't addicted to sugar and they are very comfortable with knowing when to stop eating when they are full.

In that moment I realized that we were on the right track with teaching our kids about enjoying life, treats, and all the good things about holidays. We don't need a lot (of anything, really) to enjoy something of good quality.

When I talk to my customers, I truly encourage eating sweets in moderation. I do myself (most of the time!). And I think it is a healthy way to enjoy treats, find balance, and make the most of the holidays. And there is no way I could completely give up my sweet tooth!

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