Cold weather doldrums? BAKE!

The weather has finally turned cold!  We had a proper snow storm all day yesterday, much to the chagrin of many residents of the Salt Lake Valley but much to the amusement of many of us (myself included) who love the snow.  This weather really gets me in the holiday spirit.  I love cozying up with the cats in the morning, making it really difficult to want to get out of bed.

The cold weather and holidays (among other things) really get me in the baking mood!  (Other things being:  depression… because of the election… )

Right around the time of the election, I started baking more, probably to satisfy my depression over the outcome.  I baked three pound cakes in the span of one week (and ate every crumb).  Because of my hip injury (which I am now actively rehabbing, instead of just resting), I’m afraid I’ve seen the scale creep up a bit as a result.  I am starting to run again, and get the muscle-imbalance figured out with exercises that I do about 3 times per week.  The weather won’t slow me down as far as getting outside to run:  I love getting out in the crisp, fresh, snowy weather.  I’m really looking forward to cross country and alpine skiing here soon in the next couple of weeks.

So, after the week or so of baking pound cakes, Thanksgiving was upon us, and I ended up baking three pies over the course of a week:  a big apple pie (which needed some extra bake time likely because of the type of apples that I chose.  The apples were a little crispy after an hour in the oven, but softened up nicely after another 45 minutes of baking), a blueberry-rhubarb pie that I took to some friends’ house for breakfast the Saturday after Thanksgiving (no photo, but it was a beaut with a custard-style fruit filling.  I had the rhubarb in the freezer from the previous summer harvest), and a delicious pumpkin pie (I happened to have all the ingredients available in my pantry) with a cashew cream topping that my vegan sister-in-law got me hooked on (she had it for us at Thanksgiving).  While I was waiting for the pumpkin pie to cool (it was 9pm when it came out of the oven), I was eating the cashew cream by the spoonful:  delightful!  Here’s the recipe I used for that.  I also added a splash of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon and a couple teaspoons of sugar to the cream for extra flavor and sweetness.  (I didn’t have a vanilla bean.)

All of this cranking up the oven for baking really warms the house up during the cold, snowy weather!  The house is so cozy with yummy food baking away:  I love coming in from walking the dogs and smelling the pies baking.  Such comfort!  Last night after getting home from work, I looked around the kitchen and suddenly had the inspiration to make pizzas!  I made the yeast dough and sauce from scratch (from crushed tomatoes from the garden).  While the dough was rising, the sauce bubbling, and the oven pre-heating I took the dogs for a stroll around the block.  When I got back from the walk, the house smelled like Heaven.  The pizzas only required 15 minutes of baking and turned out delicious.  And sometimes, being an adult and being required to make your own, good choices means being happy with your decision to put anchovies on your pizza. So good… and salty!  The pizza also had prosciutto cubes, red onion, and green pepper, along with lots of mozerella.  The house was warm and toasty and so, so cozy.

So when the cold weather has you down and you need to warm up, my advice to you?  Bake!

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Getting ready to BAKE!

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Vanilla-chocolate swirl pound cake (marmor kuchen)

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Election night cinnamon swirl pound cake

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Thanksgiving apple pie

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pizza:  anchovy, red onion, prosciutto, and green pepper

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pumpkin pie with vanilla-cinnamon cashew cream

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