‘Tis the season to be baking…

Christmas comes but once a year, and for both my bank balance and the horrendous electricity bill that comes from spending hours toiling over a hot stove, I am incredibly grateful.

For anyone who spends the majority of their life alone, Christmas is hard. This year, as every year, I will be spending most of the Christmas week with my family; eating, drinking, being merry…and at the same time wishing that I could spend a little time alone with a good book, a chilled glass of wine and quiet.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my family, I do. However, spending days living out of a suitcase, sleeping in a bed that is about as far from comfortable as you can get and missing the snuggle bunny that is my beloved Darcy, is a lot to cope with. By day three I am about ready to tear my hair out and I want my own bed. 

At the same time, though, I also miss the family when the festivities are over and I am back home in my chilly flat with an empty fridge, all the peace and quiet I was craving and a pile of books that are desperate to be read. Yes, I am that fickle.

In the run-up to Christmas, I have been going through not only my budget (which is forever tight) but also the seemingly never-ending to-do list that builds to a point where it can’t be avoided on around December 21st.

This year, as every year, I have been asked to do the family baking. Unfortunately, this year, my sister (the organiser in our little close-knit group) has fallen a little behind in her normal schedule so I am still waiting for the baking list. Tonight I ran out of time. Being a non-driver I rely upon delivery dates and with just one week to go until offices shut down and buses become unreliable (and taxis start charging seasonal rates for a ride) I had no choice but to put in my last grocery order of the year. All this means is that whatever ingredients I have purchased dictate the multitude of desserts we end up with over the holidays.

Oh dear, this year it’s a light fruit cake (we don’t do raisins and mixed peel and heavy), a baked cheesecake, double chocolate fudge brownies (I have spent 4 years perfecting this recipe) and a multitude of blinking sugar cookies.

Now, for someone who likes their food – and I do, you only need to see the size of me to realise this – I am also someone who doesn’t do cake. Give me a beautifully flaky croissant or a lemon curd tart over a Victoria sponge any day of the week… I also don’t like the over-iced over-sweet vanilla sugar cookies that have become a tradition for Christmas eve baking.

All the above should make losing weight easy…right? HAHAHA!

Anyway, back to the tales of Christmas baking. Just the look of the list and the cost of the ingredients I have invested in for Christmas are enough to make me feel sick. I have estimated that around 7-hours of measuring, mixing, rolling, cutting, baking, icing are in my relatively immediate future.

I am going to probably blog the lot. I think that somewhere in the history of this blog I have a number of rather old posts that cover things like lemon curd, peanut butter and banana cupcakes and a beautiful disaster that ended up being inedible apple cake (it was stunning to look at but the sheer amount of ingredients meant that it wasn’t baked through after 3 hours in the oven).

Well, less of the disasters, more of the diet stuff. Christmas is a time for eating, drinking, enjoying. My protein shakes arrived today and I am intending to get this party started as soon as my family visits are over with. I don’t want to stand on the scales on the first Friday of next year and discover that not only have I got a lot more to lose than I thought, but that my weight has increased a lot more than is a) healthy and b) good…yes, I said good!

I have plans, they are good plans and though today I ate my way through chips and a burger from a fish and chip shop, I also walked two miles, did more than a few dance steps while waiting for kettles to boil, buses to arrive and cleaning up the flat. I then chose the sensible “no, you don’t need to eat pizza” approach and instead of eating what I really wanted and definitely didn’t need, chose instead to have a low-calorie protein shake and a cup of tea.

Anyway, the time for thinking about diet is not now, that way lies stress and frustration. Now is a time to focus on the fact that I KNOW I am going to be doing work to get to where I need to be and I can enjoy myself. I am not someone who goes OTT (well, not anymore anyway) and eats everything in sight…A little goes a long way.

I have every intention of enjoying Christmas, but tempering that enjoyment with a little bit of common sense…

Baking stuff I really don’t like to eat is the first sensible step on that journey.

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