Finally tonight, over two months later, I’ve been able to bake! It’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to do since Thanksgiving. My colleague Anastasiya posted in November about an apple cheese pie, a Russian recipe passed to her from her grandmother. Not only did she share the recipe with me, but she also bought me the Farmers Cheese, a Russian cheese only found in Russian or Arabic stores here in Denver.

I tried to make the time to try this simple recipe, but after a couple of weeks I realized I wouldn’t have the time soon. I froze the cheese and decided this weekend I would find the time to bake. The last 10 days have been filled with tremendous work - the kind of work that physically takes its toll even though there was very little physical activity doing it. The emotional toll has been just as overwhelming. I needed to bake. I needed to try something new.

At home my husband is back to teaching, mostly night classes, so we’re adjusting to a new schedule for our family, for the kids, for us. Squeaks has been sick for four weeks now. She has an upper respiratory infection w/wet cough & runny nose... stomach virus w/all the grossness and tummy pains that come with it...and teething, looks like all her teeth coming in right now. (Thankfully no high fevers since week 1 of this.) Needless to say it’s been that long since any of us had a good night sleep.

You know what four weeks ago was... it was the first time of Squeaks going to preschool. The first time for childcare outside of our home, or outside of the family. I wasn’t surprised at all that by the end of day two of daycare she had a cold. That’s what turned into an upper respiratory infection.

She goes for only two days a week. I logically know how good it is for her to be with other kids her age instead of just her big brothers (ages 10 and 11) and their friends. Over the holidays when we were with lots of kids it was obvious that she was used to big kids and didn’t really relate to kids her own age.

I was completely mentally prepared for her first day at preschool. Emotionally I didn’t handle it well at all. I sobbed as I handed her over to one of her teachers. I cried silently all the way to work. I cried throughout the entire day.

Leaving her there was worse for me than my first day back to work after maternity leave.

I was not prepared for that. I only called the school a couple of times to check on her, so I give myself a few points for not driving the school staff crazy. I still call every day she’s there to check on her, and yes, I still cry when I drop her off.

Why is this so hard? Guilt?  Yes. Feel like I’m abandoning her? Yes. Feel like I’m not being the mother she needs. Yes. How long until this passes? (Please if you have an answer, I’m all ears.)

The day after her first day at school I told myself I needed to bake. Not only did I need to bake but that I need to make it a point to do something new each week and to write about it. Well, four weeks later I’m finally making the time for it. I’m working to find the balance.

The above picture is a double of this recipe from Anastasiya:

You get what's called Farmers Cheese. It's sold in Russian stores or a really awesome Arabic store off Yale and Parker.

So you take half a pound of that, put one egg in, and I'd say quarter of a cup of sugar and start with half a cup of flour. (The problem with this is I have been making it since I was a teenager and you know how grandmas teach's all by eye.)

You can add flour based on how the dough feels. If you were to take a small piece of it the consistency will be so you can make it into a ball and it will stick.

Cut up apples. Spray the pan with non stick spray.

Put some dough in the pan, put some apples on it. Then more dough then more apples.
Bake on 365 until the top is golden brown.