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doughnuts and something about accepting yourself

work space companions - imwithdylan.com

i realized something this morning while i was simultaneously washing dishes, making breakfast, and making sure the toddler didn’t get her hands or fingers into anything too dangerous on the counter: this stay at home mom thing is hard. i’ve branded myself lucky, blessed even, to be able to stay at home with this little person (who, consequently, drives me as crazy as she does makes me love her). but to say that this “job” is all fun and games would be lying. this is a lot of work. as evidenced by the fact that i probably clean the living room three or four times a day, am constantly picking up dried bits of cheese and raisins, playing blocks and scolding her for drawing on everything other than the paper (while she cheerfully says, “only on paper!”) between trying to make sure we get food into myself and into her, and getting a few hours of work  in for my meager list of clients and searching for more freelance opportunities.

i wish i could be one of those inspirational woman who has it all together and can toss out bits of worldly advice on how to maintain your house and your career all with a never-chipped manicure. i think it’s obvious i can’t even organize myself to post on this blog regularly enough to call myself a “blogger”. i have good intentions, but we know what they say about the road to hell…

{did someone say doughnuts? take me to the recipe}

there’s been a lot of thinking around the idea of accepting myself for who i am and what i have become. i used to wish i was taller, blonder, with blue eyes and bigger boobs, the quintessential girl next door. why? doesn’t it just seem like those tall, blonde and beautiful girls get everything? then i wished i was more exotic, with better hair and darker skin. because those girls are mysterious and dramatic, a combination that seems irresistible to the men folk.

i am neither of those things, nor will i ever be. i’m sorry dad, that i didn’t understand why you would be upset that i wanted to be different than who i was when i was growing up. parents make what they believe are these perfect creatures and despite all our hard work and efforts these perfect creatures turn out to be just as (perfectly) flawed as we were, and have to step out of our shadows and let go of our hands to, hopefully, find what we’ve been trying to tell them all along: you’re perfect the way you are.

sick days - imwithdylan.com

i guess this post has devolved into something about acceptance. acceptance of myself as a mother and as a woman, and forgiveness, for mistakes i made then and mistakes i keep making now. there is no one who can be as hard on me about myself, or my parenting choices, or the way i maintain my household, than myself. i suffer from high expectations, which can be a good and a bad thing. i’m not a churchie mcchurcherson, i don’t read the bible, but i like to consider myself spiritual, to a degree, and this prayer is a powerful mantra:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

i have also learned – finally – that we (i) are (am) stronger when we (i) help others and accept help when it is offered. i know many times i have felt like a lonely island, but that is a construct that exists solely in my head. there are helping hands and hearts within reach, and there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of that. sure, i can be independent, i can tie my own shoe laces and brush my own teeth. i can also put up a shelf, call a plumber and bake a mean cupcake. but just because i can do things on my own, and should be able to do things on my own, doesn’t mean i always have to do things on my own. human beings may strive to stand alone but we work so much better in teams. especially as parents. (this is in no means saying that single parents aren’t great at what they do, but even a single mom or dad or grandpa or guardian needs a break every now and then.)

all that being said, i do have a weakness for one thing, and it’s not something i’m considering working on anything soon. doughnuts.

a good doughnut can really make your day. people would come together over doughnuts. doughnuts are a symbol of infinite deliciousness. seriously, if you were pissed off and someone handed you a delicious golden doughnut with the perfect chocolate glaze and rainbow sprinkles, how could you stay mad? just imagining this doughnut is changing my life right now.

monster doughnuts - imwithdylan.com

the other day i asked dylan what she wanted to eat, you know, because sometimes you do that when they don’t eat what you put in front of them. and she said, “doduts!” which means doughnuts. i’ve been grossly sick and the weather wasn’t cooperating, so a hike uphill through the snow was out. okay, homemade it is. i found a *really* simple recipe that i thought even i couldn’t eff up. i was wrong. i effed it up a bit. but these old fashioned donuts were still passable.

note: when she says don’t over mix because it will result in dry doughnuts, DO.NOT.OVER.MIX. also, i have no idea why my version came out speckled (thank you cinnamon and nutmeg) and hers are perfect blonde and appetizing. i suspect my measurements were off. and after two years in this apartment i still haven’t mastered the art of baking in my ancient electric stove, so the tops were golden and the bottoms were caramel. one day i will have a stove that bakes so well i can’t blame it for my failures in the kitchen. *one day* *she stares wistfully into the distance*

old fashioned baked cake donuts {the busy baker}

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tbsp canola oil

1/2 cup white sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon for dipping

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a donut pan with some oil spray/

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and sea salt to a large bowl and whisk them together until they’re combined.

In a separate bowl or a large liquid measuring cup combine the buttermilk, eggs, and oil, whisking them together with a fork.

Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until a batter begins to form and the flour begins to disappear. Be careful not to over-mix as this will make the donuts tough and dry. Stop mixing as soon as the last streak of flour disappears and spoon the batter into the piping bag fitted with a large round tip. (ed note: i just used a spoon because i was too lazy to jury-rig a piping bag from whatever crap materials i had.)

Pipe a small amount of batter into each of the 12 greased donut cups in a circular motion and be careful not to over-fill. This batter rises up quite a lot so filling the cups only half-way works perfectly. (ed note: if you’re into aesthetics, listen to her. i clearly overfilled and ended up with monster doughnuts that taste fine but look bloated.)

Bake the donuts at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 7-9 minutes. This recipe makes 24 donuts so you’ll have to repeat this process again a second time unless you have two donut pans. (ed note: because i overfilled my pans, we only managed 12 donuts. the second batch looked a lot better than the first.)

As soon as the donuts have browned slightly on the tops and they spring back to the touch, remove them from the oven and tip them out of their tins. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon together in a bowl and as soon as you’re able to handle the donuts without burning your hands, dip each side into the cinnamon sugar mixture and set them on a cooling rack to cool completely.

the fun doesn’t stop here – please visit the busy baker for more awesome tips on this specific recipe, her gorge pics, and other amazing recipes from someone who is as good at baking as i am at eating. (i’m very good at eating.)

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