Wednesday, March 02, 2011

How do you relax?

There are lots of different methods used to unwind at the end of the day. Hot baths, glasses of wines, pumping up some music and dancing around the living room in your underwear....

I'm a morning runner, which starts my day off on the right foot (pun intended), so I need something else when I get home to ease myself down from that revved up feeling you get from working all day and then being on a California freeway to get home. I started cooking when I came home from school back when I was in law school. It was guaranteed "me time" in the kitchen without anyone bothering me, and it gave me a sense of accomplishment in having a completed project in a short amount of time.

But I'll let you in on a secret. When things are REALLY busy, when my stress level is REALLY high - I bake. Which is funny, given that I don't have much of a sweet tooth. For some reason, there's more satisfaction in baked goods than in cooked dishes, even if I'm not enjoying them. Maybe it's the fact that they bring such joy to everyone else? And I can make mass quantities and get rid of them, as opposed to making enough stirfry to feed 40 and having to figure out what to do with it. (Just a tip - bringing in bowls and bowls of stirfry to your office doesn't have nearly the appeal of cupcakes.)

The problem becomes when the high levels of stress come from lack of time. You know, like when there's a trial going on and you're showing up for work super early, and staying hours later than usual. Which gives exactly 2 hours to make and eat dinner, make some lunches, throw some laundry in the dryer, and get ready for bed so you can do it all over again. Where's the time for muffins, cookies, or cupcakes?

When there's no time for baked goods, I turn to the second best thing - fudge. It takes just long enough to heat (while you're making dinner), and then you can throw it in the fridge over night. By the next morning, you've got a pan of fudge all ready to go. A pan of fudge which will make you feel so much better about the world. A pan of fudge which will make you a hero to your coworkers and a goddess to your husband. A pan of fudge that seems to just make everything better. And THAT'S how you relax.

Marshmallow Chocolate Fudge
3 cups sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups mini marshmallows
2 pkg chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla

1. Line a large baking pan with foil. Combine the sugar, milk, butter, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil Boil 4-5 minutes.
2. Stir in marshmallows and chocolate chips. Stir until melted.
3. Add vanilla and stir until smooth. Pour into the pans and refrigerate overnight.


  1. Interesting set of ingredients to make fudge. I am with you on cooking/baking being like therapy. Love it and yes it does de-stress me quite quickly!!

  2. I totally bake when I'm stressed. Which means that whenever you find me making a triple layer cake...we probably have an exam the next morning. Sigh. One day I'll learn.

    Would you believe I've never made fudge? That picture has me convinced that that's a terrible mistake.