Sunday Baking

Sunday, I woke up feeling better than I have in a while. Winter is hard on me for some reason, with both pain and fatigue increasing hugely as the cold weather sets in. Maybe it is due to the fact that I don’t get in my daily walks as often as the weather gets nasty, since I don’t trust these frail knees and hips of mine on slippery ground. Maybe it’s a lack of vitamin D as the sun decides to hide away for many more hours of the day than it is out to play. Whatever the reason, when winter arrives, I am miserable.

I have fibromyalgia and Reynaud’s syndrome, among other things, and those particular beasts have a somewhat unpredictable nature. Lately, they’ve been terrible guests, settling in almost permanently it seems, and being loud and noisy and obnoxious in the process. But Sunday morning, for whatever reason, pain was almost nonexistent, though the pins and needles were aggravating to the point where I wanted to claw my skin off, there was very little pain involved.

Chronic pain is a vampire. It sucks up energy faster than anything else I know and leaves you cranky and irritable and without the resources to deal with anything else. When you hurt, day in and day out with no relief in sight, and then suddenly you are blessed with a day where the pain is so minor you can ignore it, it is absolutely energizing. I woke up this morning sore and stiff, hobbled my way to the bathroom, then downstairs for breakfast. By the time breakfast was done, so was my pain, and suddenly the day was full of possibilities.

The kids were still obsessed with Lego, and friends were quickly drafted into the chaotic world of plastic blocks previously known as our family room, so I was on my own. What to do? What to do?

Well, I started with some basic dough, but had an hour and a half to wait before I could shape it, so while I waited, I made this:

Double chocolate muffins

Double chocolate muffins. As in, cakey chocolate muffins with chocolate chips in them. So good and rich and moist… mmmmmmmm.

So now what should I do? Kids were still playing well, sun was shining brightly over the yard… I know! I’ll do this:

Don't Follow The Recipe Granola Bars

Our very favourite Don’t Follow the Recipe Granola Bars! And, true to form, I didn’t follow the recipe. Again. And they wouldn’t stick together. So I melted some marshmallows in a little bit of butter and glued them together like Rice Krispie squares. Except I had put mini chocolate chips in them, and the heat of the melted marshmallows was enough to melt the mini chips, which meant the little freckles of chocolate in the midst of all that oat and seedy goodness was magically transformed into a solid chocolate coating over every single grain. Mmmmmmmmmmm yummy!

A little lunch was followed by a lot of play outside before the sun went down, but before the kids dove back into the Lego, we took that dough I had started earlier and made these together:

raw bagel dough

Bagels! Montreal style bagels, that is, from the Canadian Living’s Best Breads recipe book. The kids had great fun rolling and stretching out long snakes of dough and twisting them together into bagel shapes. Once you’ve shaped them and let them rise a smidge longer, it’s time to give them a bath. They thought that was hilariously funny, for some reason.

bagels dunked in the bath of boiling water and sugar

The bagels float on top of the water, which the kids weren’t expecting, and they change in texture after only a bare minute on each side in the bath. No longer soft and doughy, they become harder and rubbery and rather slimy.

bagels brushed with egg and seeded, ready for the oven

And just in case they aren’t slimy enough already, you then proceed to brush beaten egg over top of them before dipping them into a plateful of seeds. Or not, if you like plain ones. Pop them in the oven for a bit, 25 minutes or so, to make them golden brown and crunchy on the outside, and then you’ve got this:

warm golden bagels, fresh from the oven

After all that baking, the house smelled warm and yeasty and delicious, and our bellies were full to bursting. Taste-testing, of course. An absolute necessity.

So what did we do next?

Why, we went and played with Lego, of course!

And so a day with very little pain flew to its conclusion, and I have no idea what Monday morning will bring. Another blessedly pain-free day? One riddled with the agony and immobility that usually follows so much exertion? Impossible to say. But either way, it will be a day where I can say yesterday was a blessing.

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