I didn’t really care for baking until I got pregnant with the Little Mister back in 2011. When the urge hit, I went a little bit nuts (I’m really not joking). Luckily my joy for it has since evened out and now I like doing it regularly. It can be a cost effective way to fill out Mr Unprepared’s work lunches and to provide the Little Mister with interesting enough snacks. It is also the way that I pad out the end of the pay period (when the cupboard and fridge are looking a bit bare). I find ways to throw as many random ingredients into a muffin or some other such thing as I can. Everyone thinks I’ve done something special for them (yay – baked goods), but all I’ve really done is scraped some weird stuff together so we don’t have to go back to the supermarket any sooner than we have to!
(and yes I do love love love online grocery shopping but sometimes I forget to order it ahead of time or can’t be bothered which is probably the most lazy – or tired if I’m kind to myself – a person can possibly be)
But make no mistake. I am not actually that awesome at it! I am never going to be on Masterchef and I honestly do not really know what I’m doing most of the time! I am not spending hours studying the art of whatever it is that people who can cook real good study (and I’m not even going to apologise for that poorly constructed sentence). I’m a total fake and I don’t care if everyone knows it.
It can be hard to find time to gather ingredients and it can be difficult to then create something with them, with a demanding toddler (who as much as I love his enthusiasm is not always as helpful as he – bless his heart – thinks he is).
*whispers* Sometimes? Sometimes I use *gasp* PACKET MIX. Yeah. Those cupcakes on Instagram? PACKET MIX. My secret? Raid the cake decorating section of the baking aisle in any major supermarket *OMG*.
Seriously. No-one cares. THEY TASTE LIKE CAKE.
Another tip? Have a baking kit. Once I started to keep one, shit got so much easier. I can bake almost any time I have a chance, instead of thinking, “WHAT? This recipe requires FLOUR? What kind of f*ckery is this?”
Here’s what I keep in it (always replenishing stocks):
- Self raising flour
- Plain flour
- Caster sugar
- Icing mix/icing sugar
- Brown sugar
- Baking soda
- Vanilla extract
- Patty cases
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
Well, those are the basics, anyhow. It sounds like a lot, but if you go to the shops just the once, to begin with, the hard part is done! I’ve slowly added some extra bits and pieces (piping bag with nozzles or choc chips and sprinkles etc), but those simple things can get you a long way if you have some eggs, butter and milk in the fridge (don’t even get me started on how awesome and magical and versatile eggs are)! I know a lot of you are looking at this thinking, Kez. This is hardly revolutionary. I mean, who doesn’t have these things? Well, all you people who can probably bake better than me, until recently, I did not have these things. Ever. Every single attempt to bake was either thwarted from the get go or involved a time consuming, inconvenient special visit to the supermarket. It made it all a BIG DEAL. So tiring, really.
Now I just google recipes that have the ingredients I have to work with (e.g. a banana and a lemon or something equally weird) and get started! The other day it was canned corn kernels, store bought salsa dip and grated cheese!! WTF? I find that taste.com.au is an awesome resource (and no this is not a sponsored post – it is just my honest and independent opinion).
Another tip? Keep it frickin’ simple. Stay the f*ck away from recipes with ingredients you’ve never heard of or will never use again. Stop reading that recipe when it starts talking about doing weird things with the ingredients that you do not know how to do and cannot learn that day. I mean, I admire those who like a challenge, but for anyone like me who just needs to put something on the table to avoid mutiny, just stick to what you can handle! Use what you’ve already got. Trust me. People will think you are way more awesome than you feel you really are. Don’t make it more stressful than it has to be! There are HEAPS of really tasty recipes out there that I just know you’ll be able to handle. Also…Siri is a gun at converting things like farenheit to celcius, so don’t worry if that awesome recipe from an American blog/website/Pinterest sounds scary with all its weird numbers and measurements ;)
I do love learning new things here and there. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to master a new skill. I just don’t always have the time for it and I’m so OK with that.
Fake it ’til you bake it.
Or buy it from the shops. No judgement here haha.
How are you at cooking/baking? What’s your favourite thing to make? Or are you the buy it at the shops type? x