Saturday, September 17, 2011

Baking a Week's Worth on Saturday

Eggs and butter warming up on top of the oven.

Quart canning jars with mixes ready to go for Saturday morning.
Welcome back, friends! Saturday means at least two things for this Mama: baking and the weekly Preparedness Challenge link up over at Homestead Revival. The next few weeks will also mean soccer practice for Wheels, so that is what inspired today's post. I know that I have a definite deadline for getting my baking done in the morning because I have to get to town with Wheels, so I've been working on preparing for my baking the day before.

My Saturday baking days prepare me and my family for the coming week because that is when I make the kids' chocolate zuchinni bread and breakfast cookies. The last two Saturdays I have also made a batch of homemade bread dough so that I can make rolls for dinners and breadsticks for the kids' lunch. This week I'm also making snack mix and chocolate chip cookies for the my hubby's and the kids' lunch boxes. (And maybe Mama might sneak some of these treats!)

So, before I even start pulling the canisters out of the cupboards, I like to plan what I am going to be making ahead of time. And I write this down! If I don't, I could forget something. Then I head to the cupboard to start measuring out my dry ingreadients. Last night for my zuchinni bread, I put all of the dry ingredients into a half gallon canning jar, and for the breakfast cookies I put the flour and baking soda, salt, etc. into a quart jar. For my bread dough, I put the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl I used to mix it, stirred it around with a whisk. I then taped a sheet of wax paper (the sheet I had used as a funnel to get the dry ingredients into the jars!) over the bowl. I also measured out the sugars for a batch of cookies into another bowl. Looking back on it now, I could have measured my wet ingredients for the bread dough and put them into a quart jar in the fridge, and measure out the sugars for both cookie doughs, but I was whipped after subbing at the kids' school yesterday.

Breadsticks rising in the microwave on top of my heating pack!
Last Saturday I also thought of an ingenious (if I may say so myself!) way to have a warm place to raise my bread dough. I have used a car parked in a sunny location before to raise my dough. It works very well when it is the afternoon and the sun has heated up the car nicely. However, that isn't the case early in the morning. So, I stood in the kitchen debating about where to put the dough to rise, that was warm and draft free. The microwave is draft-free, but how to keep it warm in there? A light bulb went off: I'll use my large rice bag that I use for a heat (or cold) pack for my back. I'll just set it under the pan, then cover the pan the way I usually do. This worked out really well, and is time and energy conserving.

I've also learned that the best place to soften butter and bring your eggs to room temperature is on top of the stove. (This works on my stove anyway!) As soon as I get into the kitchen, I turn on the oven, then get out the butter and eggs, and put them in my enamel ware dishes, as they conduct the heat the best. (And the different coloroed eggs just look so pretty in the red and white enamel ware!)

Now, in other preparedness news, I've been reading The Woodchuck's Guide to Gardening by Ron Krupp and thumbing through Foraging New England by Tom Seymour. They have both been helpful; however, the Woodchuck's Guide is about more than gardening. It is also about "Foraging for wild plants in the Spring, Planting by the stars in summer, Putting food by in fall and gardening with chilldren all year round." These books belong to my local library, but I'm thinking of investing in the Woodchuck's Guide for my own library.

While taking these books out, I also took out a book about bees and beekeeping. While I'm not nessecarily interested in keeping bees now, it is something that I would like to look into. If I could replace our white sugar use by using honey and maple syrup, that would be great! We already sugar in the spring, which is not only fun, but really satisfying. I love to see all of our canning jars full of the dark amber sweetness! Waffles and pancakes are enjoyed by all in our house, plus with having fresh eggs from the chickens, we have breakfast for dinner once a week. I hate to think how costly it would be if we had to buy maple syrup. It would completely defeat the purpose of having a low budget meal for sure!

Well, that is all for now! If you have a face book account, please be sure to "like" my new Homespun Inspirations page. I plan on sharing news, recipes and tips on the page, especially when I may not have time to write a whole post. I also figured that it might be easier for all of my readers to respond and comment. I really love to get comments and questions from my readers!
Have a lovely weekend, Friends!

1 comment:

  1. The photo of multi colored eggs is beautiful! I never thought of getting all my ingredients together ahead of time. That should save a lot of time.