Baking From Scratch, Losing Weight And Saturday Randomness!

I woke up to an email from a reader of the blog today.  Our friend,  Simmy, happened to stumble upon a Momofuku Milk Bar Cookie mix at Target!

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At the price of $4.99 to make 12 cookies, this is less expensive than purchasing 12 of these babies at the Milk Bar Store, and considering everything that is in them, the price is pretty good.  If you want to try making these but don’t want to do it from scratch, this is a great idea!

A portion of the email read as follows……..came across this tonight at Target  , I thought of you! Now, I have a thing about how ‘natural flavors’ are now in everything (like butter, which, should not need butter flavor in my opinion) …so I don’t know how you’ll feel about whatever they added to this mix but, it looked kind of good. 

And it got me to thinking….and I did reply that although I am not one for mixes, and even though Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownie recipe is the best from-scratch brownie recipe ever, there is one mix that shall always remain my favorite.

Image result for atypical60 outrageous brownies oona

Like mother, like daughter!  Oona is a fan of from-scratch baking and loves making Ina’s Outrageous Brownies–but she, also like me, adores Duncan Hines Brownie Mix!

Duncan Hines Brownie Mix.

Image result for duncan hines brownie mix

Duncan Hines. Best damned brownie mix of all time.  And that shiny top–be still my heart. I could (and I’m sure I have) eat all 12 brownies this mix makes.  Just gimme a large glass of cold milk and I’m in heaven!

I know.  I know!!!  There are brownie perfectionists who feel that the DH mix has an odd taste but, in all honesty, I love it.  This mix was always in my pantry when the kids were younger.  If their friends were over and there was no time to bake from scratch, this was the go-to brownie.

It was great because you could add nuts or more chips or peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips or even broken up pretzels for that zing of saltiness.  In fact, Oona and I had a conversation about this brownie mix just the other day. I can’t remember how we got on the topic but I think it was about baking.

Anyway, back to bake it from scratch or a mix.  For me, I enjoy the process of baking.  I usually have the ingredients on hand so it’s no big stretch or additional expense for me.  It takes more time, but on those days when time is not off the essence—it works!

And it works today.

We woke up on this Spring day in now-late April to frost on the car windows. It is now after the hour of noon and the temperature is a cool 55 degrees and the high of 57 degrees is expected.

Bonaparte went to have the brakes fixed on my car and is now doing grocery shopping with the list I gave him.  As for me, I’m spending this day pre-baking, baking and cooking.

I’m taking advantage of the coolness of the weather and instead of complaining about the cold, I’ll use it to my advantage of using the oven before the Spring suddenly turns into an unexpected early summer.  Because as much as I love to cook and bake, I distance myself during those warm months so that more time can be spent outside and lighter fare is prepared for meals.  I kind of put the kibosh on baking during those summer months as well.

And since this coming Thursday is “Bring Your Child To Work Day” I’ve prepared cookie dough.  Kids love chocolate chip cookies. Right?  And since I was a SAHM, and never had the opportunity to bring children to the office, I’m now going to enjoy this day.  None of the previous companies I worked for were particularly child-friendly and never “celebrated” BYCTW Day.  The company I now work for is very much into this.  And I decided to bring cookies since I’ve no kids to bring.

I’m going to bake these the night before I bring them to the office..

Here’s the recipe. From Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi.  You can see that this is a well-used recipe because the page is a hot mess!

I made about 60 scoops of cookie dough.  After one of my sisters saw an IG photo, she immediately phoned me to ask, suggest, demand that I leave a dozen or so of the scoops and bring them to her home next weekend.  We have a family reunion to attend!  Naturally being the good sister, I’ll comply.

The scoops of cookie dough are now in Ziploc bags firmly nestled in the freezer!

Since my husband surprised me with the gift of hair for my birthday, I’m surprising him with “The Good Loaf”—the bread I make that I’ve held off on since rejoining Weight Watchers.

The dough is proofing and ready to rise!

And as we are running low on Gougères, I’m going to bake a couple of batches as soon as Bonaparte returns from the market with the cheese and milk.

Butter, milk, water and salt are awaiting the rest of the ingredients for the gougeres!

And at almost four in the afternoon, the baked gougeres are bagged and ready to be placed in the freezer alongside the cookie dough!

Granted.  Baking from scratch is time-consuming and, if you are like me, messy–but the end result is always a pleasing one so I do it with love!

Yeah. I’m all over the place with mess when I cook and bake. It’s hard for me to remain organized and not messy. Note the hair color. I’m doing my hair tomorrow. No more black. I’m going brown! Like Duncan Hines Brownies!

My J. Crew Pixie Pants are a flour-spotted mess. This is why I bake and cook in my pj’s!


Baby artichokes are simmering.  My healthy choice for eating.

After coming to a boil, I simmered them for an hour. Now nice and tender, I can pick on these Zero-pointers!

And the Cornish Game Hens are spatchcocked and ready to be dusted with fresh Rosemary and seasonings.

I have to season these guys!

Fresh Rosemary for the birds and the sauce!

What makes a great sauce?  Cognac, cream, butter and shallots..

…along with a little sweetness with dried cranberries soaked in more Cognac and drained cherries. Alas, this sauce is strictly for my husband.  I’ll be passing…

It’s difficult to be on a weight loss journey when you love food as much as I do.  But—I’m trying my best.  That’s why I’m so happy to be going to the  Weight Watchers meetings on Monday evenings.  Because I missed the meeting last Monday due to my Birthday, I’m looking even more forward to this Monday meeting.

And it is even more challenging as you age.  What I think is best for now is to face the reality that it will take a while to lose those last ten pounds and hopefully, the weather will warm up so that outdoor activity can resume!

Tonight, I shall not overindulge.  My dinner will be the white meat of the hen and baby artichokes.  I’m going to pass on the bread but will enjoy our aperitifs.

Overall, it’ll be a busy afternoon.

So, tell me—do you take advantage of the cooler weather to cook or bake more?  Are you a bake mix person or do you bake from scratch?  Thank you Simmy for inspiring me for a fun post to write!

And yes. I took my hair off to bake and cook!  It’ll go back on when we have our aperitifs! 

Here’s—or rather Hair’s the video review I did on the Chloe wig that my husband got me for my birthday.  There’s humor in it so I hope you enjoy (and subscribe)!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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12 Responses to Baking From Scratch, Losing Weight And Saturday Randomness!

  1. Hi Catherine
    The minute it’s cold on goes the oven…….roasted vegetables of all kinds along with a lemons n rosemary roasted chicken.
    I do make brownies occ but with “medicine” in them!
    My specialty thru fall and winter is soups. Potato broccoli cheddar, lentil soup. Chicken soup, mine histrone, butternut squash etc. When I have a rainey sat, cooking soup makes me feel better and nourished. I’m not much of a baker, I usually don’t want baked goods in house. If I want a treat I’ll buy one cookie or few pieces if candy.
    If I have It at home I’m in trouble.Now what’s for supper??!! Have good weekend
    Chris D

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Cris! Isn’t it funny how as soon as the cold arrives, the oven is our best friend! Oh god. Soup. You know, I wish Bonaparte was a soup lover. I love soup but he can’t stand it. And to make an entire pot full of soup for one person sometimes doesn’t work for me. When Oona was iving at home we would make soup all the time because we both love it. I gotta get that husband to get on the soup train!!!! Supper tonight is going to be simple–some shrimp and baby artichokes!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  2. Jane says:

    I love all your wonderful recipes! They are Sooooo good!

    I truly love the Weight Watchers program. But, over the many years that I’ve been on weight watchers and lost a considerable amount of weight…175 to 138..many times, I just stopped it. 🤗 (I’ve love the program). But, now at a late age in life ( I’m 71) I’ve found that being on my own and using a “forever mine” recipe for weight lost has worked just as well.

    Since you started you’re weight lost program in April, I’ve been doing my own program. I guess I don’t need the meetings because since the beginning of April (about when you started your weigh lost program) I’ve lost 4.5 lbs. (you are an inspiration).

    OK!,,, it’s not Like your program but for me I’ve just found that not eating as much at meals works. But I eat everything I make! And, believe me I love to cook too. My problem is I don’t have a lot of folks to cook for. That makes my husband and me vunderable to leftovers. (We eat leftovers at lunch the next day). BUT, I only eat alittle of what I make..and don’t eat between meals, (except for a few M&M, or cholate around 4pm) and a cocktail before dinner. OK, this isn’t the ideal program out there but it’s working for me..

    I truly think your weight lost program is working beautifully for you, but I do believe in regular food, in moderation will make your life less stressful. Eat what you make and enjoy it, just cut down on the proportions.

    Love your blog. Keep writing!
    Ps…I don’t count calories or points.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jane! Hey–you are not late in life! You are grand in life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God, I wish I had your willpower but I so need to go to those meetings to make myself accountable. It’s like having a parent. I need boundaries!!! But at least I’m not eating all day–so that’s a good thing. You are doing fantastic to be losing on your own. And I do agree on the moderation–I just need to get to that point where I can eat in moderation without deprivation!! Thanks so much for your inspirational words. I’m so glad that we can do this together. Thank you so much! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  3. Juliet says:

    I am a bake from scratch all the way – that little kid who loved making mud pies – well that’s me, still me, I just pretend to be a grown up 🙂 Generally I bake when it is cooler and generally I bake for Nr.1 kid – he is a string bean and loves banana cake (I comply even though bananas give me the heaves, my arms arent long enough to mix the bowl at the distance I would like, but a mothers love can over ride the horrors of banana cake making). I don’t bake for the daughter – she cant eat flour and she can’t ingest milk either and she is not into baking much anyway – I let her do her own thing, although the few times she bakes for others I have to clean down the kitchen after her – she is one mucky pup! I do make chocolate cake now and then, and now and then brownies – but chocolate is not my weakness – left to my own devices if I WERE baking cake for my own preferences it would be either a coffee cake, an orange cake or just maybe a victoria sponge with fresh berries and cream….

    • Catherine says:

      I get you Juliet! I also love baking in the cooler weather. There’s just something about making a recipe from scratch that’s a sense of accomplishment. When I was younger my mother was such a control freak that nobody was allowed in her kitchen–perhaps that’s why I love baking–I was never allowed!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  4. I love your new wig! You look so great in each one. I would really like to try a wig but the whole ordering process makes me nervous. I have a high forehead, receding hair line and I like a side swept bang. I would really like to be able to try them on first. You are so very inspiring and I love how much fun you have wearing all your different wigs!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Kellyann. Oh…research online all that you can! It does seem daunting at first but once you get into that wiggy state of mind–it’s a breeze! Glad you like the wig. This Chloe wig is fast becoming a favorite of mine!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  5. Pamela says:

    And the Cornish Game Hens are spatchcocked….whatever does that mean?
    Love your blog always cheers me up.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Pamela! OMG. I should have explained that!!! spatchcocked is when you cut the backbone out of the bird and butterfly it. It makes for a quicker and more even cooking time. It’s the only way I will cook those hens! Tee hee! I’m glad that the blog cheers you up!!!!! Thank you!! XOXOXOXXO!!!!

  6. Marylou says:

    Hi Catherine! You certainly are my inspiration. I am a lifetime WW member, but recently had foot surgery that limited my activities and threw WW program out the window. But now I am back and trying hard to stay in program. I also find that attending meetings helps you stay on track. BTW I admire you for your tracking abilities, wish I could be as good!
    I love cooking and always looking for something new. I would love to make your famous gougeres, could you post the recipe please?
    I am glad you are changing your hair color to brown I think it will really suit you and give you a nice warm glow to your complexion.
    Happy cooking… just like Jaque Pepin says 🙂
    Liberty Lake, WA

  7. I love love love that wig and am googling now to buy it. I spent twenty minutes looking for ‘NV Wigs’ and found nothing then zoomed in on your video and realised it was ‘Envy wigs’! 🙄 am trying to track It down in UK. The other wig I ordered was a complete disaster and was nothing like the picture so had to send it back and try again

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