On Saying Goodbye To Baking & Hello To — What?

For many years I've been known for my sweet desserts. I made it a point to master tricky cheesecakes and pie dough. I pressed myself to learn French techniques and attempt classic pastries. Who doesn't love the friend who shows up at a party with a sweet treat? Well, recently I have made some lifestyle changes, and I suddenly find myself with an empty place where my baking used to be. I have become more disciplined in my food intake: Eat when hungry and make it worth your time. That's all you can do as a foodie and also something that's remarkably hard to do in the Midwest. There are some serious feeders out here!

In my personal process I've relinquished my intake of carbs and sugar. This is a huge step for me. In fact, back in 2003 I created an entire website called Sugar Free in 2003. It was going to be epic. I was going to kick the sugar habit over a year and help others do the same. (Because that's what we bloggers do — we share everything to a fault, right?) Well, my big push failed, but over the last several months I have made a new resolve. I have said goodbye to most things made of sugar.

This is a difficult process, especially since the last decade of my life was spent mastering the art of sugar in the recipes I created. Although I have learned some great skills, baking is a thing of the past (or at least an on-demand service for potlucks and family get togethers), and I no longer feel like making a pan of brownies just because on a Tuesday night.

Since this sugar shift, I have found myself eating at home almost exclusively. I have kicked the taste for snack foods and I feel great. It has been amazing. Truly, it has. But part of me is devastated. My free time was spent dreaming up new things to make and executing them. It feels a bit like losing a part of myself and although I might partake in a treat of this nature once in awhile, I've learned that some folks might still like me, even if I don't come with dessert in tow. It was a surprisingly difficult lesson to learn, because where I come from, food is love, but baked goods are better.

I feel like a smoker who has recently quit and doesn't know what to do with their hands and still has the habit... even though they don't want a cigarette. I need something new to occupy my time and be involved in. Any suggestions? These idle hands must be kept busy!

Related: Sweets Without Heat: 25 No-Bake Summer Desserts

(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)

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