The holidays (as usual) have been filled with food, food, and more food. It’s hard to stay on track diet wise with all the temptation, and so I inevitably give in. It is just way too difficult to fight when you love food as much as I do. As if all the external temptations weren’t enough, I thought it wise to bake many days over in the week leading up to Christmas. My week of baking if you will. Due to life and all its many responsibilities and distractions this ended up really only being 4 days of baking, but who’s counting? It’s all probably for the best if I am being honest.
Anyway, I have zero regrets. . .well maybe some. I do feel a little fluffy post Christmas, but I have really been slacking this entire month so I cannot entirely blame the baking. The blame actually lies with the trashcan full of fun sized candy wrappers at my desk at work. I lost count weeks ago, and I don’t even want to know what my number was up to. Finals week stress + easy access to candy in the office = not a good mix. Yep, it is most definitely the candy’s fault.
Now back to the baking. I was in such a baking mood last week due to the holidays (still am) and so I decided to challenge myself to try baking something each day. A decision which was made all the more feasible thanks to Costco. Because I was buying in bulk I made a promise to myself that most of the treats I made would be given away to coworkers, friends, and family. It is the season of giving after all! Now that Costco offers many organic options and health conscious products I have a tiny little obsession with them. The discount superstore really had just about everything I needed: organic flour, organic sugar, organic butter, organic eggs, organic cream? Check x 6! I was so pleased with all the results (taste testing is my second calling 😉 ) and loved spreading holiday cheer through sharing with others.
I am a big believer in allowing yourself to indulge once in awhile and enjoying life. Holidays are the perfect example of when you should be less hard on yourself. You don’t want to go through this time of year (or any holidays) miserable and deprived! This being said I did make some future rules/ guidelines for myself regarding indulging in sweets.
If you are going to have bake goods then make them yourself, from scratch. I say this for a few reasons.
- You have total control of your ingredients and are fully aware of what is going into your body. You can elect to use organic ingredients (as I did) and even elect to go gluten-free, sugar-free, etc. which ensures you are using the highest quality and/or the proper ingredients based on any dietary restrictions you may have.
- The process of baking is work, not as much as hitting the gym, but you are spending energy measuring, mixing, and chopping. After all you could just be sitting on the couch being lazy, burning some calories is better than nothing!
- The finished product is your reward! You took the time to actively make something from scratch and now you get to enjoy whatever it is that you made. I find that I am less likely to over-indulge when baking from scratch as there is no instant gratification from going to the store and grabbing cake, ice cream, or candy. I also feel proud of my creation and want to share it with others, so no way am I polishing off a whole cake or tray of cookies alone!
As mentioned I baked a total of 4 times this past week. Pretty good as I haven’t really baked in a while and I wanted to get back into it; I really do miss it! I tried a total of 3 recipes, one being a repeat. My mom would not stop talking about how much she loved the Blondies I made so I had to do another batch of those (Merry Christmas mom). Due to the immense popularity these bars had with my mom I feel I should share where I found the recipe. It’s sourced from a baking cookbook I received as a gift many years ago called Rosie’s Bakery Delicious and Decadent Dessert Book. So far everything I have made from this book has been delicious. My only modifications were that I subbed out organic ingredients where I had them/ was able. The recipe is named Congo Bars and can be found in the first half of the book on pages 142-143.
I shared everything I made on Instagram last week (@that_savvy_life) but have also provided pictures in the gallery below.