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Posts Tagged ‘baking’

All my life I have been living in a box.

 

It was safe. It was comfortable. I got out of bed in the morning. I drank my coffee. Ate some breakfast. And normally did close to the same thing almost every day. It was routine. It was safe.

And then I fell in love.

With Baking. And it helped me break out of that comfort zone.

I have made cheesecake.

Homemade Apple Pie with a Double Crust.

And created a whoopie pie filling I love (finally!).

Baking has opened doors for me and helped me be more creative. It has given me passion and also a distraction during these uncertain times.

What inspires you?

What makes you feel alive?

A Beautiful Sunset right before a storm?

Nature’s majestic but mighty beauty?

Or… being surrounded by wonderful people who inspire and strengthen you?

Sorry, no recipe this time around! Just a little inspiration to start off your weekend. I am going to be baking for most of it. 2nd Monthly Taste Testing begins on6pm this Sunday! I am going to be creating Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes, Caramel Apple Cupcakes, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Apple Crisp Pie. Which recipe would you like to see first?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Next post… Monday! Promise it won’t be so late (Oh and all pictures above were taken by me or the fiance and taken in the beautiful landscape of Maine).

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Hi World,it’s been awhile. How you feeling? Sorry I have been in hiding for a bit. The past week has been a bit stressful and I finally got to take a trip away from it all. At least for a little bit. But the stress has kept me from baking and experimenting and so on that front I really have nothing new to share. I will probably be making cupcakes sometime tomorrow… most likely in the morning before the humidity gets too bad (it just wears me out!). The whole past week was definitely a learning lesson. One that I wish was required for all people to take a course in. I believe college would be a lot more useful if they had classes on how to deal with losing a loved one, attorneys and the law, making the right medical decisions for a loved one/family member. Because making these choices and trying to be all responsible, at the age of 21…where you were still hoping to get financial advice and support from your Dad at least 10 years down the road and suddenly, it is becoming more and more clear that he may not even know what year it is in a few weeks to a  month…forget financial advice, those good fatherly talks, the wisdom to make the right choice…You’re on your own and that fact scares the daylights out of me. I am now in a position where I would go to him and ask him what would be best…and he would tell me in his cryptic way where he would direct me in the right path but in a way that would be totally my choice… but at least he gave a guideline. I am suddenly in the dark without a guide.

For all you parents out there, please, please, please for the sake of your family, have some idea or something written down saying that if you are ever a vegetable and your diagnosis is not good, what you would want from your family. Would you want to be put on a machine even if it was just going to prolong your comatose state but you wouldn’t even be aware? Seriously, what would you want? Right now, I am in the position to make these choices should the problems arise and I do not know what is the best decision. So please, I know it is morbid and weird to write about the what ifs, but you are really doing the family a huge favor. Do not wait last minute. Just write something down and stick it in a file.

So that is just part of the stresses I have been dealing with…but I do not want this to become a ranting/venting blog…but it provides the back drop. Because the main point is that life can be crappy/stressful/painful/depressing/etc, but you can not let those emotions rule your life. When you do, then… it is like telling the dark side they won! And they lied.. and didn’t have cookies. And now you are just stuck in a rut feeling all those terrible things and cookie-less. But if you appreciate the light side of things, then guess what? You have the option of always having a cookie.

Or in my case, cupcakes. Besides the stress, I also had an amazing week since I just celebrated by 3rd anniversary of being together with my fiance. We went on a great vacation for 3 days to a place called Boothbay Harbor in Maine, and it was absolutely incredible. I love the ocean… and someday, I hope to live by it. We also went whale watching! And it was such a treat… we saw Finback Whales which happen to be the second largest whales… ever. As well as a Minke whale, harbor porpoises, seals and a basking shark. We had a traditional clambake that we had to travel to an island by boat to get, but it was absolutely worth it… as we watched the sun set behind and over the water while chomping down on 2 big lobsters, a bowl of clams, a baked potato, an onion, a boiled egg, corn on the cob and to top it all off…blueberry cake for dessert. Yum.

It was nice to just get away. All my problems would be waiting back at home, but for the weekend, I could be someone who had no problems. Just someone enjoying the beautiful weather and being the love of my life.

Life is always going to throw curveballs. It is going to knock you down to your knees and beg for the misfortune to be placed on someone else (seriously, not a good thing to do because the karma bug will bite you… but we all do it). But you have to look towards the light and reach out… Sometimes you have to take a mental vacation and just leave your problems at the door. They will be there when you get back, and you feel more energized to deal with them once you center yourself.

Next post I promise, there will be baked goods (since my love got me the big book of cupcakes from betty crocker for our anniversary!). Until then, do something nice for yourself. You deserve it!

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I have been thinking a lot about where I want to go with this blog and with baking — and I have come up with some ideas and goals that I want to achieve by the end of the year.

1. Support local produce by using fresh fruit, vegetables, etc from near by Farm Stands. Maybe even eggs? Any farm interested in starting some thing here? I buy eggs from you and you also get to try some yum yums? That sounds like a win/win.

2. I also want to use some fresher ingredients — I definitely need to revisit Bread of Life in Presque Isle. They have some amazing organic ingredients that I really want to give a try. I have only gotten catnip and soda (mmm, pumpkin pie soda with ice cream is absolutely amazing) from there. Definitely want to try using their flour and even different types of flour and create some gluten free baked goods.

3. Have an “open house” so to speak where I make a bunch of crazy arrangements of baked goods and people can stop by and test taste and give their feedback on the goodies and also on the experience.  I am planning this for maybe at the end of August/beginning of September. Anyone interested in participating? =)

4. Special somebody in your life and you want to make your own custom cake/their favorite dessert but only problem is you are not really a baker? I want to help you out! So instead of relying on a box mix, I can help you make everything from scratch. I hope to help at least one person within the year….besides, things test better when you put a little bit of yourself into it.

5. Make at least one baked good once a WEEK. Not Month. Not year. Week. And at least one. Special occasions may warrant more.

Those are my first 5 goals. What do you think? What would you like to see more of? What would you be interested in?

Also, I got to try something I have been wanting to try for a really long time. Put Cookie Dough inside of a cupcake. I told you. I have been getting a lot of inspiration from The Girl Who Ate Everything. This recipe is very quick and simple (especially since it uses mixes. I KNOW.Don’t look at me like that. The cookie dough is homemade, though). And it gave me the cookie dough recipe I have been searching for! Though I will probably make a couple of changes the next time I make it. which will probably be soon since I have some condensed milk that I need to use up soon. I am thinking… Cookie Dough Cheesecake? maybe? Shouldn’t be interesting regardless. I definitely need to start experimenting more and taking chances. Anyway here are a few shots of my Cookie Dough Cupcake adventure…

Look at the beautiful army of colorful cupcakes! This is after they have cooled completely from the oven (about 20 minutes) and I have cut little circles into them. Some of them look a little triangular. Oh well. Basically you just need a place to shove the cookie dough in. Gently. Or else you will tear your cupcake. Which I did to one. It’s ok. It ended up in a better place… really.

Mmm, filled to the brim with cookie dough. Do it quickly. The warmer it gets, the stickier it gets. And if you pull your hand away too fast, you will take the cookie dough and part of the cupcake with you. Though feel free to lick your fingers after all the cupcakes are filled…

I am not yet very fancy when it comes to frosting. I added mini chocolate chips to try and make up for that. Not like it matters. They will be gone quickly!

Mmm. Cookie Dough. And finally something with frosting! Enjoy!

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If anyone can tell you about depression, I definitely can. I have had my fair share of ups and downs, side ways, slanted ways, never gonna see the sun ways… It’s tough. Definitely tough. Not knowing if it is even worth getting out of bed because really, what’s the point? Just going to be the same thing. The same ache. The same pains. The same “I bring no good to the world.” And it sucks. Definitely. And it is not easy to get out of the slump, despite what anyone says. The people who are like “JUST BE HAPPY” well, don’t know what true depression is. It’s like seriously, if I could be JUST HAPPY, why wouldn’t I be? Some people think it is  just for attention (and some people do it just for attention, which is an entirely different problem and a different blog, I am sure). So please don’t confuse the attention wanters with the people who are truly depressed. It is a condition that is felt deep down into the bones and there is no quick turn around for it… but there are some things you can do to help! And I want to help! What’s the point in starting a blog if you aren’t seeking to help somebody? (yourself included). So first things first…

Start with these cookies…

 

No Bake Cookies with Reece Pieces. Absolutely fantastic (much unlike my photography skills. Photography skills = 0, No Bake Cookies = 10). And something about the peanut butter and the chocolate… helps in destroying the gloom. Now my first baked good for my blog would have normally been something HUGE AND FANTASTIC, but I just moved into a new amazing apartment with the manlove and the oven still needs to be cleaned before chemistry experiments can start taking place. Right now any experiments that take place in that oven are going to cause a nuclear explosion — or at least kill off most of humanity that wishes to enjoy a lovely cupcake on a nice summer eve…But luckily for me, some things can be done without an oven! And these no bakes were just the trick. Also, they are budget friendly when you only have 10 dollars to live off of until Thursday…And they can feed a crowd. Seriously. 24 cookies. Not shabby but they are addicting. I ate 4…In 1 night. I don’t want to talk about it…

But you see, this is a double win for me because not only does chocolate and peanut butter help to fight the brain demons, it also allows me to bake (or at least be in the kitchen making something), and that is my passion. It’s always important to find your passion. And sometimes it takes a huge life changing event to help you find your passion… In my case, it was my dad being diagnosed with cancer. Not just any cancer. Brain cancer. Terminal. Back in November. (I know what you are thinking “your dad has terminal brain cancer and you are talking about baking?” why yes, yes I am because cancer is one thing you can’t let consume you and everything you do). To help out my parents, I decided to bake cookie tins for Christmas. I always loved the thought of baking a bunch of different baked goods (my mom used to do it ALL the time but has cut down over the years). I loved being in the kitchen, making my own recipes, having things come out just PERFECT… loving the reactions. Baking was an amazing distraction and I also felt like I was doing something GOOD AND PRODUCTIVE. And I believe that is important when dealing with a life event such as a family member being diagnosed with an illness… or when struggling with your own issues.. you need to find something that makes you feel good but that is also productive. And guess what? You’re going to make mistakes and sometimes you aren’t going to be able to do anything at all but cry in bed all day… and that’s fine. You’re allowed those days… they just can’t be EVERYDAY because in the end, you’re just being your own worse enemy. To me, baking and writing helps give me a purpose. What gives you yours? Gardening? Exercising? Fixing a car? Going somewhere new? What makes you feel like a kid again?

To me these do…

Quick and Easy No Bake Cookies With Reese Pieces.

Recipe:

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)

2 cups of sugar

1/2 cup of milk

3 cups quick oats (any brand. these were made from a generic brand from Shaws)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of peanut butter

1/2 cup of reese pieces

Instructions:

1. In a large mixing boil, put in the quick oats, chocolate chips and peanut butter. Set aside.

2. In a medium sized sauce pan, put in the sugar, butter and milk. Set the burner to medium/medium-high. Stir frequently. When it reaches a rolling boil (bubbles and becomes all frothy), let it boil for about a minute. STIRRING LOTS. If you do not stir, it will burn.

3. After a minute, pour the sugar mixture in the mixing bowl with the oats, chocolate chips, etc. STIR. While stirring, add in the vanilla. Once everything is well mixed, you can now add in the Reese Pieces.

4. Put spoonfuls of the mixture onto cookie sheets covered in waxed paper (or just on waxed paper!). Let cool and harden.

5. EAT AND ENJOY. Easy enough. Perfect for any occasion.

 

 

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