Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pinterest: My Favorite Time Suck

Here's me addressing how long it's been since I last posted something: ............

Anyway, since my friend Amie is my only reader, it really doesn't matter!

My sister-in-law introduced me to Pinterest last year and I wasn't really all that interested because I didn't understand it. BUT I DO NOW!!!

I've been trying a few ideas and projects. Here's one I was really looking forward to trying:

The directions seemed easy. I bought the clear ornaments and acrylic paint. Poured a few drops of paint in each ball and shook them like martinis. 

Check mine out: 



Sunday, July 1, 2012

Baked Feelings

It's been way too hot to bake this summer, but I got home from a family gathering today and decided it was time.

Those who know me understand that I'm somewhat socially awkward. I don't say the right things at the right time. I never know if I should hug someone or just shake their hand. I don't always pick up on innuendo or insinuation. The only feeling I can express easily is anger. I cry easily, so I don't share intimate feelings very well.  It's a frustrating way to exist.

I've learned that I've been using baking as a way to show my feelings. My sister in law has had a rough time for the last month or so. After seeing her briefly today, I figured I'd come home and make her some lemon blueberry muffins. It wasn't the best batch I've ever made (I didn't have a lemon, but I did use lemon yogurt), but hopefully, the love is evident. If they could speak, they'd say "I wish I could do more for you."

I'm working on expressing myself better, but for now, this'll have to do.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Making Something from Mistakes

I'd been craving oatmeal cookies for a while, so I decided to finally take the time to make a batch. I found a recipe that looked good...then I found another....and a recipe for baked oatmeal that looked really yummy. I must have had 6 or 8 tabs open.

I found a good oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe, so I decided to give it a whirl. I started measuring everything out and realized that something was wrong when I saw that the recipe called for 2 cups of milk.


I scroll up the page and see that I had been following the baked oatmeal recipe. Oops.

Hubs already said that he wouldn't eat baked oatmeal. I couldn't just throw it all out, so I found the correct recipe and started making adjustments.

I'm reminded of when I met Hubs. I was a broken heap of a mess at that time. I had gotten out of a miserable marriage and had recently had a failed rebound romance. I was living in my old bedroom at my parents' house with my 3 year old and all of our belongings. And I was two months away from being laid off from the job I'd had for almost nine years. I still don't know what Hubs saw in me that made him want to stick around, but I'm grateful that he did.

Heal Your Heart Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Cinnamon Spice Blend
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. In a larger bowl, mix dry ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until blended. Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I have to say that the bake sale wasn't all "neg-head downer bullshit." I did interact with some very nice and generous people that came by the booth. Some people simply gave a donation to help Share Our Strength. It felt good to be a part of something that helps to improve others' lives.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Marketing Lessons from a Charity Bake Sale

I don't know what I expected of the Share Our Strength Bake Sale, but I know marketing wasn't on my mind.

Here's what I learned:

1. Follow the baking trends. Cake pops were a huge hit along with decorated cookies. I don't think my favorite banana nut bread recipe went over well with the public. Maybe two or three of them were sold. I ate four of them (because they really are THAT good) and the rest went to a food pantry.

2. Branding is essential. This one surprised me the most. People would come by and say, "Oh, this looks good. Who made it?" If we told them the blogger or bakery name, more times than not, the person bought it. If we told them that a home baker made it, the item was placed back on the table. ??? What makes an established blogger's kitchen any better than mine? That was confusing.

3. Presentation matters, even when it's for charity. I made it clear that my presentation skills were lacking and I was told it was not a problem. Au contraire. Don't do this:

Sandwich baggies and curling ribbon with handwritten labels = NOT COOL. I didn't take pictures of the items made "professional bloggers," but they had nice logos and printed labels.

4. You are networking all the time, whether you realize it or not. A politician came by and thanked us for participating, then gave us her card. I really did accidentally lose it, so I don't know who she is. She was very nice and she seemed sincere. A few bloggers who had attended the Arkansas Women Bloggers Conference stopped by and chatted with Christie Ison of Fancy Pants Foodie who organized the bake sale. They had no interest in any of the rest of us working the sale. I do remember them and no, I won't give them a shout out.

I know....I'm such a cynic. I'm used to volunteering for school bake sales and making food for the homeless, all of which don't really care what it looks like, they are just thrilled that you are participating. I'm still going to help at public charity events, but I'll be a little more prepared for the next one.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Great American Bake Sale: North Little Rock

As a food channel junkie, I first heard about the Share our Strength's Great American Bake Sale on Food Network. I always thought it would be wonderful to organize a local bake sale, but I never put any real effort into pursuing anything. When I saw that Christie Ison of Fancy Pants Foodie was needing help with the bake sale she was organizing, I jumped at the chance.  

It was kind of a personal mission for me since I know what it's like to have to depend on food charity and the generosity of others. My family didn't have much money when I was a child and there were some really lean times. We were given food by family and church friends; there were a few times that food came from local food banks. I know it was harder for my parents than it was for me and my brothers since we didn't understand exactly what was going on. 

I spent Friday night making banana nut muffins and lemon blueberry muffins. I figured those would be the easiest to wrap individually and I wouldn't have to worry about messy frosting. Plus, they are my favorites. By the end of the night, Hubs was helping me package and label each of the 4 dozen muffins. 

The North Little Rock version of the Great American Bake Sale was overwhelmingly successful. The unofficial total was $949 raised to help end childhood hunger! Christie did a wonderful job of recruiting professional bakers and bloggers to donate baked goodies. Christie has a real knack for engaging people and I was impressed by her natural warmth toward everyone that came by the sale.

I took Little Miss with me and she was a big help. Sometimes a bit too much of a help, but I was glad to see that she was eager to participate. It's important to me that she learns to serve others and I try to include her in as many community service projects as I can.

In all, it was a great day. I met some really fantastic people (Saige, not Paige) and learned quite a few lessons regarding, surprisingly enough, marketing. I'll share that later :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Introducing...Yours Truly

So, yeah, I'm way late to the blogging party. Truthfully, the purpose of this post is so I'll feel legit about contributing to the Food Bloggers Bake Sale tomorrow.

Geesh, I just realized that I'm trying to fit in. Thanks for the memory trip back to 8th grade, stupid conscience.

I suppose it's a little appropriate to feel that way since I went to high school with the person organizing the event. We weren't friends then....not even acquaintances. We somehow connected via Facebook (did I friend her or did she friend me??) and I volunteered to help with the bake sale.

I can't promise this will be a full-fledged food blog. . we go!