Sunday, April 3, 2011


I was chatting online with a friend a week or two ago and she started out asking how everything was going--she commented that I'd been sounding kind of "flat" lately.  I hadn't thought about it in quite that way, but she's right.  I do feel flat, the kind of flat you get when you have way too many things weighing on you.  Most of it stems from work, which has been very stressful for most of this year so far.  I've been working way more hours than I usually do, which is really starting to wear me out.  

I've hit a point where I just feel overwhelmed most of the time.  There's so much to do, I don't even know where to start.  And everyone wants a piece of me.  I'm tired of being the one responsible for everything, to the point where I don't want to be a part of anything.  My friend said it sounded like I was in an "oxygen mask" situation--you know, like on an airplane, when they tell you that you need to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.  You're not going to be any help to anyone if you don't take care of yourself first.  Problem is, I'm bad at doing that.  I'm bad at admitting that I need help, and bad at asking for it.  But I'm at the point where all the stress is affecting me physically, and I'm forced to admit that I can't do everything myself.  

So what do you do to deal with stress?  How do you keep from getting totally overwhelmed?  How do you convince yourself to put yourself first once in a while?  

Many people might think that I'm crazy to still be baking when I'm complaining that I'm stressed and don't have enough time for everything.  But while it does take time, it's actually one of the things that helps.  I like the process, and having something concrete to show for it at the end of the day.  One thing I did recently was finally spend the King Arthur gift card that my sister Kate sent me for my birthday.  One of the things I've been wanting to get is some of their Baker's Cinnamon Filling mix.  I've had my eye on a couple of scone recipes that use it, and today I was finally able to make the Cinnamon Schmear Scones.  

Making these scones isn't that different from other recipes I've made.  To start, you prepare the cinnamon filling by adding water to the dry mix.  After setting that aside, you mix up the rest of the dry ingredients--flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Butter is cut into the dry ingredients (I rubbed it in with my fingers).  Then the wet ingredients are added.  The recipe calls for egg, vanilla and half & half.  To cut back on the fat a bit, I used part half & half and part whole milk.  Once the dough is combined, it's turned out onto a floured surface and patted into a square, and the cinnamon filling is spread on top.  To incorporate the filling, I did a couple of letter folds, then patted the dough back out into a big square.  I cut 18 scones by cutting 9 squares, then cutting them in half to make smaller triangles.

I skipped the sugar topping since I was planning to add a glaze instead.  I baked the scones for 16 minutes.  Once the scones were done, I let them rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transferred them to a cooling rack.  To make clean-up easier, I put the parchment that the scones were baked on under the rack to catch drips.  I made a glaze from some powdered sugar, a big dash of cinnamon, a bit of vanilla and some milk.  I drizzled the glaze over the warm scones and waited a few minutes for it to set.

The verdict?  Oh, these will definitely be making many more appearances around here!  I can see myself keeping the cinnamon filling mix on hand just for these.  Though I have to admit, I'm tempted to see what kind of substitute I can come up with if I run out.  I think I'll also experiment with some whole wheat flour next time, too.  The girls & Jamie were all quite happy with the scones, and the recipe makes plenty, so I can take some to work tomorrow.  

If you'd like to try the recipe for yourself, you can find it here on the King Arthur website.  A lot of the King Arthur recipes have weights available in addition to the volume measurements, but this one doesn't.  So here's what I used:

Cinnamon Schmear Scones
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)

30 grams water

380 grams all-purpose flour
70 grams granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
115 grams (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
115 grams whole milk
110 grams half & half

You can find the recipe instructions here


  1. I'll take 2, please! They look scrumptious! And yes, I know exactly how you've been feeling, luv, and I do hope you'll take your friend's advice. You're no good to anyone else, if you're not good to yourself. xox

  2. Love this post, and not just because those scones look outrageously yummy. (and if you figure out how to make your own cinnamon filling mix, I'll be so curious to see!) I can relate to the overwhelmed feelings...the only thing I found was starting to say NO way more than I ever have...still, life is overwhelming way too often. And people NEVER understand how I can bake and cook when I'm overwhelmed...I try to explain how much peace I find in the kitchen, but most don't get it. It's so nice to have online friends who DO understand! =)

  3. Those look so great...oh, I need to get over there and make these, don't I? Wow. You have to cut yourself some slack here...small children require tons of energy and a lot of "hands on" care and it is no wonder you feel a little off your regular they get older, they get less "hands on" and you will find that your time and mind are more your own. Hang in there. Have a scone or a cookie.

  4. Oh my, do those look decadent. Your post really hit home with me - as someone with two small kids, it gets old fast. I find that when I don't feel like baking, I know I'm in a mood! Whatever it takes to take some time for yourself will be worth it.

  5. Di, it's easy to get stretched beyond your limits. I learned long ago to say "no" sometimes, or I would have been no good to anyone. Cooking is also quite therapeutic and fulfilling for me. Oh, and those scones look delicious!

  6. First, your scones look amazing. I am with you on the baking when there's not time- it's just stress relieving (even if the dishes pile up!) Good luck sorting this out and getting things back in order. I usually bake, organize (purge the house) and try to say no to extra things- but it's hard! I hope things calm down soon!

  7. Well I'm probably not much help in the stress department as I don't have kids and I'm about as high stress as they come, but I hope things improve soon. We're always around on Twitter to listen when the days are tough :)

    The scones look incredible! I wanted to make them as soon as I saw your post. I need to look into the cinnamon filling mix and either order some or come up with a substitute pronto!

  8. Hugs to you. I am glad I am not the only one who bakes to get in a better mood. These look great. I will have to add them to my 5,037 muffins and scones I want to eat.

  9. Di, those scones look like some serious stress release to me! I'd eat at least two with a cup of coffee and feel much better.
    In all seriousness, I'm sorry you're feeling overwhelmed right now. I hate that feeling . . . a lot. Here's what I do: cry, yell, stomp my feet, shake my fist. Not really, but that's what I want to do. In reality, I bake, too. I also do what my sister likes to call "dancing it out." It's amazing how a little dance party can make me feel so much better. Wine helps . . .
    I hope things get better in a big hurry! HUGS. Jessica