Relax. Breathe. Bake

To say I’ve been a little anxious and emotional lately would be a gross understatement. I’ve had a hard time focusing, been impatient, and extremely emotional. I hate being emotional! I can’t explain why the anxiety is there. I just feel this sense of urgency and worry that I can’t verbalize. Perhaps something isn’t happening?Or something is happening? Or something is going to happen? Those of you that suffer from anxiety understand. Explaining anxiety to someone that doesn’t experience it isn’t easy. I feel multiple emotions at once and all seem extreme and overwhelming.  Too many sounds, too many people, a clutteredspace, all of these things can amp up the anxiety. In the past, full-blown anxiety attacks were a problem. Panic attacks a common occurrence. As I’ve become more and more stable, those types of attacks have decreased. The more stable the medication , the more consistent the therapy, the better I sleep, all of these things help. I can think of nothing more frightening then a full-blown anxiety/panic attack. I can’t breathe, my heart feels like it is exploding, sweat pours over me,I feel suffocated and trapped. I’m sure everyone is looking at me. The attacks are completely paralyzing.  It’s like my mind and body are wrestling against one another. All I can do is wait for one of them to give up or get tired. The frustrating part, at least for me, is having another person witness the complete chaos. I can’t explain why it’s happening or what started it. I just want it to stop. Of course, the more I want it to stop, the more embarrassed and anxious I get. The embarrassment just feeds the anxiety. I used to be really hard on myself for getting them.  Eventually I learned to ride them out and let them happen. I would just find a quiet place or remove myself from a situation and ride it out. I find that humming a certain tune in my head over and over helps. Or I would try and list the 50 states in order, or count. I carried very hot Fireball candy around with me and would put one in my mouth if I was feeling anxious. I hate hot candy. The shock of the candy would move my attention away from the attack. The hot flavor providing a distraction and giving me a chance to regroup. Anxiety medications didn’t do much to prevent the attacks and they had a negative effect on my sleep. If I’m overtired, I have more anxiety, I’m more emotional. I have to stay on top of my sleep.

Because I was anxious all week, I tried to stay busy. I ended up making honey wheat bread, orange and almond biscotti and soda bread. The kitchen smelled amazing and my hands were kept busy. Both by baking and cleaning up my mess.  After three nights of very little sleep I finally crashed hard on the fourth night. I had a solid 8 hours of sleep and was able to regroup and reevaluate what I was feeling. We went to the movie and had a nice lunch out today. Then I put on my comfy clothes and watched my favorite movie and decompressed. It’s important for me to do some self-check and give myself a break. Sometimes it’s the small moments that prevent bigger ones from being an issue. Breathe. Relax.Sing your song, watch your movie, bake your cake. Just give yourself a break. HappyBaking!

SodaBread

Garlic,onion and parmesan Soda Bread

Can be a savory or sweet loaf. /Bake at 200 C or 400 F for 30 min or until golden brown and hollow inside.

Ingredients

250gplain white flour (all-purpose Flour)

250g whitewhole wheat flour

1 tspsalt

1 tspbicarbonate of soda

About400ml buttermilk

Thistime I added:

1 ½ cupgrated parmesan cheese

1finely chopped shallot

Finelychopped garlic (per taste)

*Cranberriesand orange zest as well as dried blueberries go well in this bread. It is aquick throw together bread for soups, breakfast time, or snack. You can make onelarge loaf or split into two smaller ones.

Directions

1.Heatthe oven to 200°C/400 F. Line a baking tray with baking parchment, lightly dusta non-stick tray or use silicone mat.

2. Putthe flours, salt and baking soda into a large bowl and mix well. Make a well inthe center and pour in half the buttermilk. Using your fingers or around-bladed knife, draw the flour into the buttermilk. Continue to add thebuttermilk until all the flour has been absorbed and you have a sticky dough.You may not need all the buttermilk – it depends on the flour you use. As youmix the dough with your hands rub it around the bowl collecting all the flour.

3. Tipthe dough out on to a lightly floured surface, shape it into a ball and flattenit slightly with the palm of your hand. It is important to work quickly, asonce the buttermilk is added it begins to react with the baking soda. The doughshould come together like a scone mixture. Be careful not to over work it or thedough will not rise.

4. Putthe dough on the baking tray. Mark into quarters with a large, sharp knife,cutting deeply through the loaf, almost but not quite through to the base. Dustthe top with flour.

5.Bake for 30 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow whentapped on the base. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Eat on the day of baking – ortoast it the next day.

*Thebase recipe is from Paul Hollywood. You can add whatever flavors you wouldlike.