Simplicity Hack: Baking

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I have many food allergies. Many Asians are averse to dairy, so you won’t find dairy in Asian dining. I am no exception to that. The only time I eat dairy is with cheese on sandwiches while dining out or the small amount of half-half or heavy cream I may add to a creamy soup. In baking, you can substitute almond milk for many of the milk variations with some slight tweaking. More on that later.

When I gave up dairy, I thought that my life would be extremely limited like gluten-free folk. However, this is not the case. Because I don’t have extreme allergies (just migraine and upset stomach), I do not have to avoid dairy while I’m out or in favorite soups. However, the benefits were endless. Shopping was a breeze. I could avoid one whole section. (I do use cheese substitute on tacos, which you can’t tell.) My fridge was always clear and clean. My food bill went down. My lunches were easier to prepare.

So this is where we diverge onto the topic of baking. Baked goods (other than perhaps wheat bread, which I also tend to stay away from and substitute with crackers) are not something we should be consuming regularly. Brownies, cupcakes, cookies, and the like will all lead to weight gain if constantly in your home. Therefore, it is a good minimalist tip to buy ALL baked goods and sweets in general outside of your house and consume it there.

There are few sweets I still consume at home. Here is a list: oat chocolate chip cookies, acai bowl, smoothies, fruit.

When I stopped baking at home, I realized how much of my (limited) pantry space was used on just things solely for baking! So I wanted to point out all the things that you would NOT have to buy if you were not to bake. This is great if you’re just starting out (just married, moving from home to a dorm) or if you want to take steps toward simplicity because your small (or large) pantry is jam-packed.

Things used for baking:
multiple mixing bowls
multiple cookie sheets
multiple cooling racks
muffin tins (can keep just one 6-muffin tin)
bread tin
pie tin
ramekins
multiple baking dishes

brush (to brush on butter)
spatulas
dairy
mixer

cornmeal
wheat flour
bread flour
powdered sugar
baking powder
cocoa
chocolate chips
baking soda
various nuts
all the containers to store those dried goods

So an easy and healthy minimalist tip is to buy all baked goods away from the home, if you must have them. It will save you a lot of time, pantry space, and expense. Cookies I still make at home because they only require one mixing bowl and one cookie sheet, which I use for bacon anyway.

When I do eat out for sweets, I am very intentional about it. My main places are a top cupcake spot in Nashville and a gourmet chocolate shop a minute away. Making chocolate covered strawberries, bread, and pies are too time-consuming for the average women.

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