French baguettes and self-confidence

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen these past few weeks and it’s no coincidence. My mom is visiting so I have had time to try out some of the more ambitious recipes I have been eyeing. Now that I’ve made bread a couple of times I can say that it is not as labor intensive as I previously thought. I would not have learned that had I not tried.

Today I tried my hand at making French baguettes. It sounded complicated enough to strike my fancy. One of the things I love about baking and cooking is the opportunity to challenge myself. I started the dough last night and went to bed hopeful for the baguettes I would be able to make come morning. The results were nothing short of amazing even though I encountered a tiny problem with my oven. Even though it allowed me to set it to preheat to 550 it got stuck at 535 and never went any higher. All this resulted in was a longer cooking time and a wish for professional kitchen appliances.

The secret to these French baguettes is keeping the oven steamy. You achieve this by placing a pan of water on the bottom rack and spraying your loaves with water every five minutes. It’s not difficult but it is labor intensive. It is not a bread that you leave while it bakes.

If you’re interested in trying out this recipe head over to Food Wishes for a complete recipe and video demonstration.

Baking and cooking have long been passions of mine. I love trying out new things in the kitchen. As I mentioned before I enjoy challenging myself. The kitchen is the perfect place to do that and the results always teach me something. For me, cooking provides a sense of accomplishment. I might not have the most exciting day but I baked a French baguette!

Self-confidence is something that, like most people, I struggle with from time to time. How people perceive me and how I perceive myself are two very different things. Should we let other’s opinions of us affect us? I think that we spend too much time worrying about how other people judge us. We walk into a crowded pool area and we fear judgmental stares. So we cover up and hide. We cheat ourselves from enjoying the moment because we are so focused on strangers’ thoughts. It is likely that most people aren’t paying you any mind but how to convince yourself of that?

I am a strong advocate of body positivity. I have mentioned it before and will continue to discuss it. It is important. Young girls and women are currently starving themselves, cutting themselves or succumbing to an eating disorder because they believe that their bodies are wrong. There are people who believe they are right to criticise others’ eating habits, to speculate on health and other private matters simply based on the size of a person’s body. I have learned first hand that some people do not care to change this. They believe that being cruel is kind, that offending and humiliating is a path to healing. Those are the kind people we need to keep away from our children. Intent is not enough to excuse this behavior.

So what do I do when I get down on myself? It really depends. Sometimes I try out a new recipe. I’ve recently been baking a lot but for the most part I stick to revamping our dinner menu. Baking is often impractical for me. For one thing, it’s really hot here in Florida, and I also have a toddler that loves to get in my way. He’s too young to be any real help in the kitchen so it’s easier for me to have somebody entertain him while I putter about in the kitchen.

Another way I make myself feel better is by putting on some makeup. I can’t explain what it is about mascara and eyeliner but it makes me happy. I love playing around with makeup and although I am not one to wear it everyday I know my way around my face.

Something else that helps me gather my thoughts and myself is this blog. I have a space where I can talk about anything. I can record my thoughts on whatever I want and nobody can censor me. People may disagree or even dislike what I write but they can’t control any of it. I think we all need a space like that. It doesn’t have to be shared, it can be something that’s just for you.

Am I a good person? Am I a good mother? Do I do enough? Should I be doing more? These are questions that are often on my mind and the answers are all a bit ambiguous. I like to think that I excel in most areas of my life, but I know that I fall short sometimes. Do I let people down? Yes. One of them being myself. Good is relative and subjective. I don’t wait on my husband hand and foot. To some that is wrong but I burned my bra a long time ago. So, am I a good wife, person and mother? I’ll let my son’s kisses, smiles and hugs be my answer 😉

This feels like somewhat of a random blog post but it’s what’s on my mind at the moment. I hope you enjoyed the read and if you’re feeling industrious may I suggest trying your hand at the French baguettes I mentioned? They really are worth the effort.

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