Baking Dilemmas

d0838699fbcbd2757f9b50c1abcf987a-1

Baking is a past time for most of us.  We enjoy it because it is usually easy, and the aroma while it bakes in the oven is heavenly, and when we taste it, it’s divine. “Usually” is the key word.  These days, with gas shortages, it is taking much longer for things to bake. I usually bake in the evenings now when I know we will have somewhat normal flow of gas for the oven to heat up and cook properly. It is taking much longer though.  And the anticipation of the finished baked good makes us all antsy. 

 When I say baking is “usually easy,” I am referring only to those recipes that don’t make me convert their measurements. It’s frustrating when the app on my phone doesn’t allow me to easily convert the measurements from grams to cups, or from ounces to tablespoons. My kids love to help me, and sometimes it’s fine. But sometimes, the added persons in my small kitchen makes me even more frustrated when I am trying to figure out the exact quantity to use and the kids are screaming to let them help me. Being kids, no one wants to wait the extra minute or so to let me do the conversion in peace. 

Hence,  I did some research last night wanting to make brownies and cakes but without having to measure butter. I haven’t bought a kitchen scale yet. In the U.S, all the recipes we used were measured in cups and tablespoons/teaspoons. So it was easy to follow recipe. Since we don’t have access to every ingredient used these days, I have to find other options on the Internet to substitute particular ingredients. It takes a toll sometimes on my over loaded brain, and half the time I give up for the day.

I thought I’d share my findings with you all.  Some recipes said to use canola oil instead of butter in baking, and others referred to olive oil.  There is this new cupcake recipe I tried, which I will share soon, and the person was discussing how she loved boxed cakes only because they were soft and raised when baked. She tried oil instead of butter because all boxed cake mixes used oil, so she made the same recipe but with oil and she showed pictures of her cupcakes using different ingredients. They looked so pretty. 

Here is a small conversion table I thought was handy. I will be printing it out and keeping it in my recipe book.  Hope it helps you out too.

Butter/Margarine

Olive oil

 

1tsp

¾ tsp

1 tbls

2 ¼ tsp

¼ cup

3 tbls

1/3 cup

¼ cup

½ cup

¼ cup + 2 tbls

2/3 cup

½ c up

¾ cup

½ cup + 1 tbls

1 cup

¾ cup

For further guidance you can click here and check out this amazing table for equivalent amounts of olive oil to be used in the place of margarine/butter if ever the need arises. Makes things so much easier for me!

Keep in mind that when you are beating butter and sugar, the mixture is creamy and fluffy. Beating oil and sugar gives it a wet, heavy look. The reason for this is that butter holds tiny air bubbles and oil does not. I can’t guarantee that your cake or cookies will turn out the same if you substitute.  Do try it and share your results. It will be helpful to everyone.  I guess as always, it’s trial and error. But I hope I have made on step easy for you by sharing these tables. 

By Maasi Saba

Advertisements

A Stay at Home Mom’s Dilemma

FullSizeRender 9

Time is a rare commodity these days since it’s exam time and trust me, all I want right now is a few hours to myself, with myself, ALONE!! I am getting the feels a wee bit more though, since it’s my 12-year-old daughter’s first go at exams. Normally schools in Lahore begin taking exams right from grade 1, but a few (very considerate) schools including the one my daughters go to, start end of term exams from 7th grade and above. I do like their approach better since it’s given me way more time to relax and chill compared to my friends who’d just go on quarantine as soon as exams would start.

No, I wouldn’t like to change anything about it. I also feel that this approach gives our daughters much more time to grow up, understand, evolve as an individual rather than get into the exam rut when they can hardly tie their shoelaces properly. When you’re taking children as young as 5 into an examination hall, asking them to sit still for an hour or so and concentrate, how do you expect them to perform? They are not supposed to, its time for them to play and be merry. Let them grow up first. Exam can wait. So yes, I’ve always maintained that my preference for this school is firmly rooted in their lenient exam policy above all.

That said, the fact remains; my whole day is spent being a driver for my girls who have very different schedules these days because of the elder one’s exams. Most of the time I’m on the roads and the fact that the school is at a 30-minute ride from my place adds much to the misery. There are days when I can hardly stop and catch my breath for a little while. But I don’t mind much. Hey, I do enjoy the driving (to some extent!)

But that also gives rise to this question that has always been lurking somewhere at the back of my mind. You see, I am an Accountant, I worked for some time but then eventually decided to quit work because I wanted to stay at home to raise my girls. It does unfortunately have a very negative connotation these days but I did not regret my decision once, back then. Now however, I feel that I am constantly being judged for this decision of mine. People don’t say it to my face, but I know they feel it’s odd for me not to be pursuing a career of some sort. They’ve somehow convinced themselves that just because I’ve decided to stay at home, I am “doing nothing” or am a loser of some sort who didn’t get the chance to get up the corporate ladder. I feel that this “doing nothing” phenomenon is what’s the most devastating of all. Only because I’m not adding much to the overall financial figure of my household, does not mean that I am “doing nothing”.

I read. A lot. I’ve taken it upon myself to further educate myself (trust me, there is life beyond organised education). In my commuting hours I usually listen to philosophy podcasts and am reading Camus these days. I also write; I contribute to a couple of literary journals on a freelance basis. So just because I don’t go out, sit in a cubicle nine hours a day to achieve someone else’s goals, doesn’t mean I am “doing nothing” and “wasting myself”. What is the exact definition of wasting yourself anyway? I am sorry if this sounded too harsh but trust me; I have been subjected to harsher verdicts only because I’ve decided not to join the rat race.

It’s just that my priorities right now are just different; or maybe my personality is, I don’t know. But I’m happy doing what I am; it’s as plain and as simple as that. I don’t understand why people have to underestimate or berate people who are doing something different from them. One of the things I shall never be able to understand I guess.

Anyway, bottom line is, just live and let live. You do your own thing and I’ll do mine. Why judge people when you don’t know their story? Be happy and contented with whatever you do/ whoever you are/ wherever you are in life and that’s what should matter the most. Even if that means playing with your cats or driving your kids to and from school; it’s the little things after all!

Maasi Wajo