Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumn & The Oven

Fall is my favorite time of year. I could gladly exist in a state of perpetual autumn - leaves turning color, crisp, chill mornings, a hint of woodsmoke in the air. Growing up in wine country, fall meant harvest time, when the whole valley smells of rich, musky grapes, and days are whiled away with long, meandering walks along endless country roads through the vineyards, bundled cozily in long scarves and warm hats.

Living in Los Angeles - the land of endless summer - fall doesn't exactly have the same resonance, which explains why my husband and I spent our first anniversary on a leaf-peeping getaway to New England, in search of seasons. A week or two ago we began having chilly mornings here and there and I got excited, envisioning relaxing weekends spent puttering in the kitchen, Carter happily banging away with his wooden spoon and tupperware. Then the past several days gave way to 90-degree temps and a blasting air conditioner. Sigh.

Anyone one knows me well knows two things about me - 1) I have possibly the greatest sweet tooth in the history of womankind, and 2) I love to bake. Pre-baby, my weekend mornings were spent puttering in the kitchen, testing out new muffin or scone recipes. Each December my husband and I have our closest friends over for our annual holiday party, which is really just an elaborate excuse for me to bake a smorgasbord of goodies. Whenever I sense the first change in the season, the hazy days when tank tops gradually melt away into boots and sweaters, all I want to do is put some Coltrane on the iTunes and sequester myself in the kitchen.

For the past year, baking has obviously taken a backseat to motherhood. What I miss most about my childless days is not full nights of sleep or wine-fueled gossip-fests with girlfriends, but lazy mornings spent measuring, mixing and munching.
Recently, I've finally been able to recalibrate - to feel a little like myself again - to get back in the kitchen. And of course, like any good mommy, my time there has been spent baking treats for my boy.

I am envious of moms who have babies with great appetites, kids with mouths like little Hoover vacuums. Carter is a snacker, rarely consuming more than a few bites in a sitting, which makes feeding him a giant challenge. Thus, all of my baking efforts have been channeled into making baby-friendly breakfasts to try to get him interested in food.

Yesterday's efforts were French Toast Sticks from my favorite resource, Weelicious.

The verdict?
While we found them delicious, he was so-so on them, although this can be attributed more to the fact that he (shockingly) consumed half a container of raspberries while waiting for me to finish making them.

Not sure:

Hmm...not bad:


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