Writer.Chef.Romantic.

No Spring Melt Down!

In Chef on March 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Straight-Up Fruit Tart. An irresistible classic!

This time last year I was about to lose my marbles. (You can read about it here.) It was a memorable experience, and I vowed not to repeat such idiocy this year. Nope, I wasn’t going to teach an intermediate pastry class, plan a classical pastry class, edit Scrumptious and write 1000 words of Luscious each and every day. Nope – this year I was going to teach an intermediate pastry class, plan a classical pastry class and write a synopsis plus the first thirty pages of Book Three in my hot chef series. Whew! I’m so glad I learned from my mistakes last year…

Actually I did. Well, sort of. It was May before I pulled my head out of my tush last year. It’s only March now, so let’s call it a win.

How did I trick myself into thinking I wasn’t making the same mistake again? I told

Luscious Tiramisu helps a lot. If this pic hits you where you live, the recipe is under Recipes, Luscious, Tiramisu on this very blog. I invented it when my Olive Garden Tiramisu habit exceeded my resources...

myself my classes were my first priority and anything I got done on Book Three was pure gravy…but then I worked obsessively on the synopsis every day before going downtown to teach my night class. I worked on weekends, too. I made tons of progress! Then I got bitchy and exhausted just like last year. My husband said, “No wonder – you are working sixteen hours a day.” (He said it without a smirk, too, God love him.)

Head. Wall. Bang.

Redirect! You know what I’m doing? I’m teaching my students to make beautiful pastries this spring. Because I like my marbles. And I am going to keep them.

How about you? Are you an overachiever seeking to practice balance? A Zen in-the-momentizer with a truth to share? Do you have a secret for staying sane in your busy life? Share it in the comments below, and I’ll put your name in a toque to win a four-inch mini offset spatula, my very favorite baking tool! (Just don’t tell me you make the kids’ school lunches the night before because you will make me feel inferior. I’ll still put your name in the toque, but I might cry a little.) The winner of this international giveaway will be announced on May 14th. Be sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment, separated by spaces to fool the kaspammers. Help me, people. Right now, I have my priorities straight, but a backslide could happen any day…

I leave you with (from top to bottom): cream puffs filled with chocolate mousse and garnished with chocolate fences, cream puffs filled with passion fruit mousse and garnished with candied orange peel, and cream puffs filled with green tea caramel mousse and garnished with caramel doodles. All pastries in this post were student-made! I love my students.

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  1. I find that occasionally saying “No” helps. No to extra activites and no to certain things around the house that really can wait till I ready to do them.
    Right now, I’m taking care of our house in Philadelphia (painting, cleaning, etc.), so sometimes I decide that the carpets really don’t need the cleaning they deserve or two loads of laundry instead of three is at least a start.
    Then I travel to Baltimore to take care of our house there, (painting, cleaning,etc.). Again, I decide that the kitchen floor will do with just a sweeping and a swifting instead of a cleaning or the weeds can wait till another time.
    On Sunday’s we try to plan family activities (when my son isn’t working.) That’s our “just for us” day. With everyone going in different directions, you need time with the family. It helps put the important things in perspective.
    Next month, in addition to our two homes, I’ll be traveling to Niagara Falls, to take my “snowbird” parents back home to try to sell their home (again with the painting, cleaning, etc.) and get them into something more manageable. At that time, I will visit the Buffalo Roadhouse one day a week to sit in the corner and take time just for me.
    The FlyLady website will help you organize your home, but a certain time each week set aside for just your husband and kids will help a lot also.

    • Wow! You are busy, yet balanced. Setting aside time for the family is excellent advice. So is me time! I’m taking notes for next year! (And I got your e-mail address!)

  2. I know no balance. But I do know what a toque is!

  3. Actually, toques drive me nuts. I always bonk them into the exhaust hood! I wear an ancient black beret – can’t bake without it! 🙂

  4. I am an overachiever. Always going above & beyond without being asked. But I find that I sometimes get stressed over ever direction that my life seems to want to go & to “chill out” I like to read a good book or listen to music.

  5. I’ve discovered if I catch myself over-stressing fast enough, I can avoid a monster headache. The trick is to identify it happening. A book or music works for me – or lying on the floor for ten minutes!

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