New Year, New Challenge

Thanks to my beloved brother, I have yet another blog to update and edit, but this one is for me and all my crazy adventures and personal challenges.  I hope you’ll follow along with me and maybe we’ll both learn some new stuff.

See, for years, I had made resolutions and broke resolutions.  Some lasted days…some lasted a few weeks…but there was always a time when failure reared its ugly head and I cheated on that new year’s resolution, indulged in that thing, and there was the guilt and the remorse and the walk of shame, followed by falling back on old bad habits.

At the end of 2016, I really didn’t want to have another Year of Failure, so instead of making a resolution, I made myself a Challenge.  “Walk more.”  Seemed easy enough.  I already enjoyed going for walks, especially for geo-location games.  Specifically, I said, “100 walks in a year.”  That’s 2 a week.  Not too ambitious.  And by “walks”, I really meant getting at least 8000 steps in a day.  Some weeks it was 3.  Some was 1.  I was still ON track around July.  Then illness and injury set in, which was out of my control, and I lost my FitBit charger around mid-November, which is necessary for the unit on which I was keeping track of steps.  So, I kinda lost track of the total amount at the end of the year, but I still counted that as relative success.  Did I lose weight?  Nope.  Did I get a medal at the end of it?  Well, no, but I can give myself a pat on the back and say, “Yey, me!”  That and $4.85 will get me a venti nonfat 7 pump no water chai!

So 2017 comes to an end and I said, “What am I going to do NEXT year?”  Well, I’ll still go for walks (once this latest illness subsides…stupid asthma) and keep looking for my FitBit Charger (Gah!!  It’s gotta be around here *somewhere*!), but I wanted to do something different.  Learn something new.  To expand my Resume of Life Experiences (which is pretty eclectic, by the way).  And to fatten up my son…who really needs it, honestly.


That’s right.  Baking.  I’ve always wanted to be able to just walk into a kitchen, pull out ingredients and mix up a cake.  No need to look at a recipe; I’ve already got one in my head!  Wanna make a meat pie?  Let me whip up that hot water crust!  So far, the only thing I’ve been able to bake from memory are chocolate chip cookies.  No, not using the directions on the back of the bag…I modified it a little and it’s *perfect*.  I know it by heart.  Heck, I had the first version memorized when I was about 9 years old.

I’ve also been watching the Great British Baking Show on Netflix these past few weeks and really enjoying the challenges (not to mention the much-less-sensationalized competition style), so I’ve laid out a plan…sort of…to learn how to master some of these techniques…and make my son eat it.  He and I will confer on flavors and ingredients, so I won’t try to feed him something weird that he’d never eat–although he is rather adventurous, so I suspect he’d be up to trying anything.

So this year…being 2018 on the Gregorian calendar…the Hebrew year of 5778…Anno Societatus 52 (until May 1st, anyway):

I will challenge myself to become a better from-scratch baker by drawing ideas from the Great British Baking Show and the challenges laid out therein.  This will not only improve my general baking skills, but try lots of different types of recipes and techniques that are used in the baking world.

With no particular timeline in mind, but hopefully one or two a week, the goal is to try to bake a variety of sweet and savory items and foist them on my family.  (Mostly my son who needs to put on a few pounds…doctor’s orders!).  He and I will put together flavor palates to suit his taste (fear not–this will not be boring!) and he will be my taste-tester.  Maybe we’ll even do something fun, like score each piece on flavor, texture, difficulty and overall look.

To really learn how to do it right the first time, and to avoid going broke making mistakes, I’m going to be following some basic recipes from hosts Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry (and painstakingly translating them into American measurements and oven temperatures) as well as other sources.  When doing further study, I will borrow ideas from contestants to see if I can make something as good (or better) than what they have already provided and hope that I avoid having to throw all the ingredients in the bin before anyone gets a chance to try it.

There are 4 seasons of the show currently available on Netflix (apparently BBC’s seasons 5-8) with 12 episodes each.  That’s 48 weeks.  There are 52 in a year.  I wonder if I can finish making all the challenges within the year?  I dunno.  Doesn’t matter…that’s not the point.  As a Peer in the SCA used to say, “Factum est gaudium!”  The joy is in the doing!  But it would be fun. ?

Tomorrow, I will attempt with the first recipe….a Swiss Roll!


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