Everybody by now knows that I love to bake.  I mean...I LOVE to bake!  I like to cook, but baking is my happy place.  BUT, because I'm lazy (and busy), I don't do it very often...once a month if I'm lucky.  My family and coworkers wish it occurred a lot more often.  So do I, my dears...so do I.

Why don't I bake often if I love it so much?
1.  It's so time consuming.  You're looking at at least 45 minutes to an hour if you include prep, mix, and bake time.  And I have a "little chef" who likes to help, but I SO do not want her help while I'm in my happy place.  Little Chef's help adds at least an extra 20-30 minutes of prep time.
2.  So many dishes.  You can't possibly bake without using at least 8 things.  You've got your mixing bowl, your mixer attachment (2 if your using a hand mixer), your baking pan(s), the spatula for scraping the bowl, the 1/2 c. measuring cup, the 1/3 c. measuring cup, the TBS measuring spoon, and the tsp measuring spoon.
3.  It requires a clean kitchen.  My kitchen is never....n.e.v.e.r. clean enough for regular baking.  There's always something on the counter (probably the cake carrier that still needs to be wiped out), there's always stuff in the sink (no more room for the 8 dishes from the previous gripe), and either the bowl I want or the pan I want is probably in said sink because it never fits in the dishwasher after I have all my regular dishes in it....and I'm clearly not going to take the time to hand-wash my dishes.  That's just ludicrous!

Let's go back to the time thing.  I don't get home from work until after 5, I spend the next hour cooking and serving dinner, I spend the next 30 minutes eating dinner, and then the next 10 minutes cleaning up and putting away the left overs.  That puts me at around 7:00 (on a good day), but to be real, I waste a little time somewhere in there and it's usually about 7:45 by the time dinner is over.  Then I have to get Aria to bed (at LEAST 30-45 minutes....over an hour if it's bath night).  Then it's time to load the dishwasher if it's been emptied.  By now, it's after 9 and I'm exhausted and ready to sit on the couch and do nothing.  Plus, my dad has always taught me to NEVER start a project after 9 because it will ALWAYS go bad.

You may be saying 'But hey, what about the weekends?!'  The weekend is my ONLY lazy relaxation time!  So shut it!

Aria talks about how when she grows up, she wants to have a family bakery.  Of all her dreams, I hope she fulfills this one :)

I've got over 530 baked items spread across three separate Pinterest boards (Dolce, Macarons, and Me Love Cookies).  I save a lot of things, print out a lot recipes, and buy a lot cook books only to never really do anything with them.  Time to fix that!  I've decided to make myself a challenge.  I'm going to pick 5 things that I WILL bake before the end of the year!  It'll be tough, no doubt, but if I don't make myself a goal, I'll never get it done!

One day I'll make a baking bucket list and fill it with all the things I'm really dying to make, but too scared to try (like a second attempt at macarons).

Here are the FIVE things I've decided I WILL make before the end of the year.  I've got 63 days...that's more than enough time to get this shit done!

The Making, Baking and Consumption of the best Chocolate Bundt Cake ever.
Chocolate Bundt Cake recipe >> HERE
What is the difference between a pound cake and a bundt cake?  Anybody know?  It's a southern thing to make pound cake in a bundt cake pan...but what makes it a pound cake and not just a bundt cake?  I have no idea....anyway.... A coworker brought in a lemon pound cake on Wednesday that was SOOOOOOOO good, it made me want to make a pound cake.  So naturally, I took to Pinterest.  What came up was a lot of things that said "pound cake" and an equal number of things that said "bundt cake".  Are they interchangeable?!  My favorite food blogger, Joy the Baker, had this beautiful chocolate bundt cake that definitely caught my eye.  I don't know if it's the shininess of the cake itself (you know it's moist if it shines) or the sloppiness of the poured-on frosting...but I just HAVE to make this cake!  It uses coffee, as does every fan-freaking-tastic chocolate cake.  It's not hard, but there's a lot of steps.  
And of course I can't talk about bundt cake without a reference to My Big Fat Greek Wedding: 

Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie | Fork Knife Swoon @forkknifeswoon
Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust recipe >> HERE
Dave asked if I could make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year...so I found one, with a bit of a unique twist.  See, my mom doesn't eat pie because she doesn't like traditional pie crust.  So any time I look at pies that will be shared with the family, I try to find some that have a different type of crust.  This recipe here fit the bill perfectly!  It uses gingersnap cookies for the crust and boasts to be creamy and wonderful.  Yum!

Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll recipe >> HERE
Look at this cinnamon roll, y'all!  It's GIANT and made in a cast-iron skillet.  Hello breakfast!  I know it has a glaze...but I sort of really want to make this copycat Cinnabon frosting I found and lather that on top.  It uses a pound of butter and a pound of cream cheese....DON'T FREAK OUT!  It'll be worth it and I bet it'll be the best cinnamon roll EVER!

Cheesecake swirl brownies recipe >> HERE
I remember as a kid my favorite dessert to get if we went to a place that had bakery items was the cheesecake swirl brownie.  This is still one of my favorites!  Brownies and cheesecake together, yum!  I'll probably leave out the chocolate chips, though...I don't want it to impede on my texture.  I already know I'll have to make two pans:  one for home and one for work.  That's what I get for talking about these at work and showing a picture!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Snickerdoodle cupcakes recipe >> HERE
I love cinnamon.  I love snickerdoodles.  My great-grandma used to make these amazing snickerdoodle cookies...I don't remember if anybody else besides me ate them, but I loved them!  My favorite cupcake place here in town OCCASIONALLY has snickerdoodle cupcakes, and they're amazing!  But sadly, they rarely have them when I go to the bakery.  So I obviously have to bake them myself.  Cinnamon in the frosting...cinnamon in the batter...just cinnamon everywhere!

OK....so there it is.  My own personal baking challenge!
I'll update y'all as I make each one.  'Til then, have a great weekend!

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