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Baking Myself Sane

baking myself sane

We all have ways of maintaining our sanity and lately I’ve been baking myself sane. In the last week I’ve written the phrase ‘I’m losing my mind’ more times than I have in the rest of my life combined. I feel like I’ve tumbled through the looking glass, and I can’t recognize my surroundings. I’m stressed and worried and can’t keep off social media to make sure I haven’t missed the latest installment or editorial column about the state of the nation. There is so much going on I can hardly keep up, when I can’t take it anymore, I bake.

I don’t think of myself as a baker, I’m more of a cook making savory dishes, soups, stews, braises and roasts. I make food not confections and sweets. I cook with creativity and abandon. I cook boldly. It’s one of the few things I do with total confidence; never second guessing myself. 

Baking is different, it requires attention to detail, careful measuring and using a timer not intuition. I need to stay present; I can’t rely on instinct. It’s this focus I need right now, an activity that needs my attention. For a little while I stop thinking about the world and myself and things that are driving me nuts. I get out all the ingredients, line them neatly on the counter, go through each step, in proper order, place things neatly on my sheet tray, and wait. That’s when I get into trouble again.

I’m looking for a job. I need a job for obvious reasons such as income and health insurance, but I also need a job to literally occupy me. To give me something to think about, care about, focus on. There’s only so much baking I can do. When I have too much free time I get sucked into the hole of Face Book and Twitter, I watch TV, and generally waste a lot of the time I have that could be put to more constructive use. Baking at least feels constructive; at the end I have something to show for my time. And I can sit down with a cup of tea and a zucchini-chocolate chip scone that could be the best scone ever. 

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Scones

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Scones


  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter (cut into little cubes (about 24))
  • 1 Medium zucchini (cut in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out)
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (regular chips will do, but the minis are so much better)


Step 1
Preheat oven to 400F
In the bowl of a food processor mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar
Add butter and pulse six or seven times to combine
Move to a mixing bowl
Step 2
Using the smallest shredding disc you have, shred the zucchini in food processor, or by hand.
Step 3
Combine eggs, buttermilk (or sour cream) and vanilla
Add to dry ingredient and mix until just blended
Mix in zucchini then chocolate chips
Step 4
Scoop batter onto a parchment lined sheet tray. You should get 7-8 scones
Bake 20 minutes, turning tray halfway through


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  • February 6, 2017 - 9:09 am

    Peggy Gilbey McMackin - Baking is a lovely constructive use of time it seems. But too much time on anyone’s hands, you know what they say, something like idle time is the devil’s workshop. Wishing you the best of luck Nancy, in finding something that is a good fit and makes you happy.ReplyCancel

    • February 6, 2017 - 9:36 am - Peggy, I am the very personification of that warning. Good think I’m not prone to drinking.

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