Getting through life with a few spoons only – part 2: no machine? no knead!

This is the second installment to my series about low spoon cooking and it’s about using the no machine/no knead methods to your advantage.

Often times, “no machine” is used in the context of making ice cream. Regular ice cream recipes require a machine in which the cream mixture is frozen while being stirred. These machines can often be quite expensive and the process of making ice cream can be tedious. Which is why there are recipes that don’t require you to cook the mixture and then churn it (see below for my recipe of choice).

But I also use the term “no machine” in the context of not needing a standing mixer (like a kitchenaid) to be able to prepare something. Standing mixers, like ice cream machines, can be expensive. And not just expensive but also fairly bulky to keep on a kitchen counter. Plus: unless you bake a lot (or prepare very extensive recipes with a lot of steps to them), a standing mixer is not really necessary.

In fact, I had my first experience with owning a standing mixer/food processor combo about 12 years after my mom started teaching me to cook and bake; we only ever had a handheld mixer, which is something you don’t even need for the majority of recipes I’m going to be mentioning in this post. Most of them are using the “no knead” method, which is another step down from the “no machine” one, because “no knead” recipes add time and subtract the work part.

If you have a bit experience with yeast doughs (or even if you don’t), you might know they need love. The more love you put in through kneading, the better your dough. But let’s be real: even if the dough is relatively easy to handle and forgiving, kneading isn’t something everyone is always able to do. Or wants to do, for that matter. I like making a nice yeasty dough, but kneading is often the part of the recipe that makes me say “nope, not today”. And this is when the “no knead” method comes in, which uses less yeast than most regular recipes and adds 10-14 hours more rising time.

The only work you really actually do, is mixing the wet into the dry ingredients and only so much so that there’s no floury bits left. All ingredients have to be saturated. And that is it. Then you let it rise/ferment. (All recipes I mentioned feature videos that show everything step by step.)

Here are some recipes I love.

  • pizza dough: this is the pizza dough I mentioned in my other post. It is simply lovely. I’ve tried a few pizza doughs now and there was one that tasted quite like this one, but it required a lot (a lot!) more work and many more steps than this one. This dough, which I found on Gemma Stafford’s BiggerBolderBaking, is very forgiving and gives the baker a huge amount of time to prepare and finish it, which I adore because I sometimes simply need more time to go through the same steps.
  • donuts: these donuts aren’t just “no knead”, they’re also not fried but baked, which is certainly a nice step to be able to bail out on, because frying requires time and concentration. The donuts need to be cut out with a large cookie/scone cutter (and a smaller one for the hole), which admittedly can be too much work sometimes, but don’t worry if you’re not able to cut them out after the dough has risen because you can keep it in the fridge for up to three days which should give you enough time to recover.
  • Irish Soda Bread: this bread is considered a quick bread because the only thing you really do is saturate the dry with the wet ingredients and then simply bring the dough together into a loaf. And it is delicious- hearty and cozy. (Is that an acceptable word to describe bread? :D)
  • Supreme Pizza Bread: this is the bread I mentioned in my first post. I usually make it without the filling, because there’s less cutting involved that way, but it does taste good with it as well.

For all the recipes above you only need a bowl (I prefer glass, but that is definitely your choice) and a spatula or wooden spoon to bring the dough together. You can also use your hands, but due to my sensitivity issues I sometimes cannot stand the sticky dough, which is why I use my favorite wooden spoon. Then, you’re also going to need cling film (Saran wrap/plastic wrap) or a lid for your bowl, plus a towel or two to protect the bowl the dough from drafts.

 

  • no machine ice cream: this recipe is brilliant. You can whip it up in a pinch and I am not exaggerating. Granted, a handheld mixer is needed or, let’s say it this way, it would be advantageous but you could probably whip the cream with a whisk and a lot of elbow grease. Aside from that, though, you only need (whipped) cream and sweetened condensed milk for the base, then vanilla/vanilla extract (and, if you’re going for a different flavor than vanilla, also those ingredients)
    • If you are dairy-free, here is a recipe for you that uses coconut milk.

 

All of the recipes are from ladies who also have youtube channels, so you can also check out the videos on their sites to follow the recipes visually step by step.

Next up: more recipe ideas, including basic ingredients like pasta and how to use them in different meals.

Thank you for reading and happy baking. 🙂

 

A few things I’d like the world to know. (On coping techniques and prejudice)

I suffer from several (diagnosed) mental disorders. With those often come along anxiety and panic attacks, which I also suffer from. A lot of people don’t understand what that means, what consequences for quality of life it brings and how crippling and disabling it can be. Personally, I don’t really mind them not understanding. It’s a very abstract concept, to be sick and not yet be physically harmed in any way. What I do mind is the fact that people judge what they can’t understand. They don’t take it for what it is or try to understand as much as possible, do research and talk to people about it, they simply judge and express an opinion that they are not qualified to have. They are allowed to have it, yes, but they are not qualified to speak on the topic. Especially when it comes to coping techniques, I have experienced seriously judgmental people.

And I thought I’d explain.

Here are some of my coping techniques and how people have reacted to them. It’s a tale of caution; trying to show my fellow humans to Think, then Speak and not to be too fast to judge someone.

I wear leggings a lot. I also wear them outside a lot. I wear them to go grocery shopping, to run errands. And I’ve seen the stares and the pointed fingers and looks. I’ve heard people say “Oh, wow. She probably had no time to do laundry, as lazy as she looks” or “Looks like a slob, that one”. Now, these comments might already be seen as rude, based on the fact that people judged me just because of my looks. They’re rude because people see the leggings or yoga pants and immediately think of laziness, even though that might not be the case. Maybe I could live with the rudeness. Say to myself “Well, sometimes you are, in fact, a bit lazy. Just let them talk.” But they’re not only rude, they’re also very hurtful to me. You see, there are a few reasons why I wear leggings. 1) Often times, I can’t wear anything else. Because my skin starts to crawl when I even think about putting the fabric on my skin. Because sometimes my skin is so sensitive that anything I wear makes me have itching fits. Because sometimes, my skin doesn’t feel like it belongs on my body and if I were to wear jeans, for example, which can be quite rough and stiff, would only amplify the feeling. Which then usually results in the aforementioned itching fits (scratching my skin until it turns red, raw or starts to bleed), anxiety and general uncomfortableness, like nausea and headaches. My legs, arms and neck are the zones that are affected the most, so I try to wear things that are comfortable to me. Hence the leggings. 2) I have an eating disorder and often feel “not at home” in my body. I’ve had issues with my thighs for years. Wearing leggings, outside, helps me to grow stronger in the belief that I am okay in my body. Whether parts of it jiggle or not. This is not a simple ‘Hrmpf. I wish my thighs weren’t as big, I should work out” life-improving thought. It’s more like a….”I don’t want anyone to see any part of my body oh my god I can’t breathe someone get me out of here” situation.

So yes. Maybe I am lazy sometimes. But I do have fresh clothes at home, I do laundry regularly and I am not a slob because I choose to be a bit more comfortable. This is how I cope and I will not apologize for saving myself.

Another thing that I often do, is listening to music while out and about. I will wear headphones so I don’t disturb other shoppers et cetera and I always only wear one earbud, so I can hear other humans who might be calling my name or saying hello. I also only wear one earbud for safety reasons. To be able to hear the traffic, for example. Now, I’ve often conversed with people wearing my earbud, listening to music. And I have just as often been asked to turn it off, take out the earbud or even had it taken out (ripped out) for me. Of course, these things happen while I’m simultaneously receiving weird looks or angered stares. Here’s my problem: I understand that people assume I am not listening. I understand that people think I’m rude or showing disinterest. I understand that people want my full attention and don’t think they’re getting it. But they don’t understand that the only way I am even able to listen, is by using this coping technique. They don’t understand that I am not showing disinterest but in fact showing all the interest I can, thanks to the music in my ear. They don’t understand that the only way that I am able to give them any attention at all, and without falling into an anxiety or panic attack, is by listening to the music in my ear. Now, you might be thinking “Well, how the hell should I know?” and you are right to do so. So I’d like to tell you that “I need this. Sorry”, if you ask me to stop the music or take out the earbud, like I’ve told quite a few people before. I won’t say more when you ask me during the conversation, for your and my own protection, but I shouldn’t need to anyway. Something I apparently still have to do though is to remind my fellow humans that I am giving you all I’ve got. I’m giving you all the interest and attention that I have got in me when I am talking to you and we’re having a conversation. If I didn’t, there would be no conversation. And now that you know that I’m giving it all I’ve got, please do the same instead of forcing yourself or your societal views on me, making decisions for me by touching my things (‘making me listen to you’ by turning off my music) or touching me. My decisions are not yours to make, my body is not yours to be touched just because it is there and can be touched. The same goes for my things, like mobile phone or mp3 player.

This is sometimes the only way to be able to have human interactions, carry out conversations or exchange niceties. I’m giving it my all and I am not being rude. And even if I was by your definition, I’d rather safe myself and be rude about it than drown in my own anxiety. This is how I cope and I will not apologize for saving myself.

Sometimes, I don’t drive. Sometimes, I only go grocery shopping or run errands when someone I know is with me. I have often heard things like “I wonder why she doesn’t drive, you think she even has a license? Old enough, though”, “Think she lost her license?”, “I know she has a license but it took a long time till she got it. Maybe she’s afraid?”, amidst laughter and funny looks. Not to mention the comments I’ve heard about going shopping with my Mom or Dad. “D’you think she still lives at home?” “Maybe she has no money.” Here are the facts: I do drive. And I drive very well. I’ve never had a ticket, never been stopped for speeding. I always obey the law and traffic regulations. I don’t speed. I’m great at parallel parking and I often manage reversing into a spot in one go. It’s true that it took me a long time to get my license – nearly 2 1/2 years – but that’s because of my illnesses – not being able to go to classes, take driving lessons, having to cut driving lessons short. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. Not to me. Not to my parents. It didn’t even matter to my driving instructor, who is very good at what he does and was an enormous supporter of taking it as slow as I needed to and taking the decision when to drive into my own hands. And believe me, he was there for it all. He was right there in the passenger seat when I suffered from panic and anxiety attacks or had a nervous breakdown or broke out into a crying fit. I appreciate him, his support and his patience. Because he taught me that driving a car comes with a lot of responsibility for myself and others and the feeling of not being up to it, whenever it may creep up, should not be treated lightly. So even though it took me longer to get my license, I do drive and I drive as well as anyone could, to be honest. I’ve never changed any habits learned during the lessons. I crawl through the zones that even the police are too impatient not to rush through. So there. Not driving doesn’t mean that I am afraid of driving. Or that I can’t do it right, that I am bad at it. It means that I have learned, through years of therapy, when to say that I am not feeling well and need help. So I might need someone to drive me to the drugstore or wherever, but at least I don’t drive with brainfog or a severe panic attack and am endangering others. I think that’s a pretty good thing.

Now for the part of going out with mental support; Mom, Dad, Sis. Yes, sometimes I can only go out when someone else is there with me. That has nothing to do with the fact that yes, I still live at home or how my monetary situation is. Not to mention the fact that that is a sore spot for me since I am not, in fact, even able to work or move out. But they don’t know that the reason I sometimes only go out with a companion, is that I’m often in such a dark place, that literally anything could throw me into a panic attack or itching fit. And I want someone there to help me out when that happens. I want someone there who sees the signs and will get me out of there as fast as possible, even when I might already have frozen in terror. Which is another facet of learning how to ask for help, courtesy of years of therapy.

So while you might say I am not grown up or independent enough, I’m answering with this: I am independent enough to ask for help and I think that’s a pretty grown up thing to do. I am independent enough to look for ways to live an adult life under the looming darkness of a crippling illness. And I think I’m doing pretty well. And if you’re still not convinced that it’s maybe a good idea for me to have someone with me, just imagine me saying this: it’s not my job to make you more comfortable with something you’re not suffering under. It’s my job to make myself comfortable. And if that means going shopping with my Mom or having my sister drive me somewhere, then so be it. This is how I cope and I will not apologize for saving myself.

I would like to mention that this is not an attack or a war cry. It’s an explanation for my fellow humans. I felt like there were a few things that needed to be said and explained. Thank you for reading this far. I appreciate it.

At this point, I’d also like to thank my friends Mel and C. who never push and never pull. Who see that I sometimes need to take the day second by second and never tell me to do it differently. Who support me and catch me when I fall. Thank you. I love you, guys. ♥ 

Back. Again.

Hey everybody.

Haven’t been around much. I’m not going to try for an apology because 1. I wouldn’t know what to say anyway and 2. I don’t want to.

I still don’t really know what’s going on in my head. I’ve been struggling a lot during the past weeks. Everything seems to be boiling in my body and I don’t know how to deal.

Thoughts are on fire. Body is burning up. Nightmares are getting stronger and weirder again.

I just don’t know.

Life itself is miserable, to be honest. There are some things on my plate that I don’t know how to even approach. Everything seems quite pointless.

Don’t worry, though. I’m still here. Still breathing. Still running.

I’ll keep going. For what, I don’t know. But I will.

I’ll hopefully see you all soon.

Dear family members, sometimes it’s you.

Yes, sometimes it’s me. I have bad days. I always try, though. Always.

So why don’t you?

We made some rules when all of this started and along the way. We talked about things that make me feel anxious or angry or stressed or make me cry and be sad or embarrassed. The list goes on. We talked about these things, we still do. I still tell you what agitates me. Usually on a daily basis. Mostly on a weekly one as well. You know about all these things. You know about the questions and the comments that don’t help, that make things worse instead of better.

So why do I still have to hear them? Why don’t you try a little harder, I wonder?

But in the end, it’s your loss. Because these are the exact reasons I don’t have dinner with you – I’d rather eat alone. These are the reasons I don’t want to spend time watching a movie or just having a conversation – I’d rather be by myself. These are the reasons why I stay home when you go somewhere – I’d rather stay away from anger triggers and all the other ones. And from you.

And isn’t that kinda sad?

But what’s even sadder: these are things that could be avoided if you mind the rules. Just like I mind yours.

Sometimes it’s me. I can be a bitch and I’m sorry.

But sometimes it’s you.

Burn the house right down.

Well, wasn’t yesterday just the worst day of 2015 – so far.

I had so many things planned, because the two days before yesterday, I was down with such a massive headache that I couldn’t do anything. Seriously, I went to bed with a headache on Tuesday, woke up with it on Wednesday and then went to bed with it again. So yes, there were plans.

For one thing, I wanted to buy a new pair of Converse in this one store because they had a sale going on and when I get there (completely tired because I got up at 8:30 after going to bed at 5:00!), their sale had been going on for a week already (we didn’t get the memo, apparently. Literally, too.), so they were all out of my size. One pair they still had, in purple. Not my colour, though. 😦

Home we go.

I fall into bed, absolutely exhausted, headache blooming.

I wake up from the worst stomach pain. Don’t know what could have caused it, but it was there. And it hurt, let me tell you.

The pain was different, as well. I have stomach problems. Quite often, too. But it wasn’t the usual pain. You know, crampy and gurgling, upset. No, not this time. This time I felt like someone was trying to cut me open. Seriously, like someone stabbing and cutting me.

I hadn’t eaten yet, so I did. Promptly made it worse, how fun, right?

But there’s really nothing you can take for that, so I’m literally just lying around, curling up in pain.

I fell asleep around 4 in the morning. Woke up without pain, thank Merlin. But…I’m still not back to fine again. And I have sore stomach muscles. I must’ve tensed up even more than I’d thought.

At least I didn’t have to throw up.

But yeah. That’s how life has been treating me.

How about you?

Fresh air. And being human.

Hello, beautiful people.

I’m sitting here, writing this post, with the window open and the fresh air is absolutely amazing. Especially for someone who has trouble breathing, sometimes, the cold night air is a beautiful thing. It calms me.

This is supposed to be an update, or a bad excuse for it, because the past few days went by in a blur of trying to fall asleep and having horrific nightmares.

But it’s the time in between that matters, right? So I’ve been trying very hard to make it count and do more of what I love.

There was quite a bit of anger involved in my life in the last week, due to customer service people who didn’t give a shit. And I’m not even talking about people on a phone, in a call center somewhere, no, actual real life people standing in front of me, throwing shade and giving me attitude. I don’t really need that, you know. But I ranted on twitter (quite a lot actually, so if you follow me there, I’m really sorry), and it’s better now. Music helped, too. It always helps.

I also went to therapy. It was fine, really. I haven’t known my therapist for that long, though, so it’s all a bit new still. Actually, it might change again, in the near future. Because she told me, upon learning that I often flee into languages (English, in particular), that her colleague was perfectly fluent in English and might be able to start therapy with me – in English, that is. She thought it was really interesting I have such a deep connection to it and suggested it was worth a try. Her words were, I think, “it might be a different starting point. You have been doing this for such a long time now, a different view would be nice. And I guess it would be nice to be in a situation where you could say what you thought.” So I said yes, and to please ask him about it. I don’t have an answer yet, I have to email him tomorrow about it, but it’s worth a try, right?

So yeah.

I’ve also been getting lost in more and more fanfiction again. It’s an absolutely beautiful world. (By the way, don’t tell me that’s for children and you’re not into it. Because if that’s the case, you haven’t found the right world yet, so go look instead of talking down to me. :)) There was a bit of a disappointment, when I found out some work I’d had my eyes on had already been translated. I felt like I had lost that race without having the chance to run. But then I realized what I was actually saddened by was the fact how much time I lose with this stupid illness I carry around with me. It robs me of time. Days, weeks, months. This time, I was robbed of more than two years. TWO YEARS. I cried a lot the night I found out about the stories.

And then I talked to my friend Mel and she always knows what to say, even when she doesn’t. Love. A funny thing.

Yeah. And then I almost fainted again. Fuck. Scary. It wasn’t as bad as last time and I knew how to read the signs, so I immediately let myself fall to the floor so I wouldn’t pass out and then fall. Unfortunately for me, it happened in the bathroom and as I then found out, voices don’t carry up the stairs from in there. Kinda wished I’d had my phone with me so I could’ve called my parents, but after actually screaming, they eventually heard me. I slept almost 14 hours that night. No weird dreams either. Nightmares, yes. Nothing weird, though. Would really actually prefer not fainting, though.

I’m pretty sure it’s from the exhaustion of not being able to sleep, but I think I’ll have my heart checked out too, just in case my medication is causing something to completely freak it out.

Now I’m off to watch some more of the MARVEL movies. I’m trying to catch up on what’s happening. Recently watched Thor, and loved it, then wanted to watch the second one and something was not quite right. Apparently you’re supposed to watch in order, if you really want to get it. So I started with The Incredible Hulk. And what do you know…Tony Stark shows up. But I’m sure you already know since I’m approximately 6 years behind. Guess what, though? I’m sitting here, planning which movies to watch next, marking Iron Man 2 and Captain America and then go downstairs to find out, Captain America’s on TV this evening. It’s the German version though, so…naw.

And then I look down to realize I’m wearing my Joker shirt.

The ridiculousness of life.

Certified insanity.

Thanks for reading. Be kind to each other.

– the writer.