Twisted V-Day Underway

If you follow my blog, you know this Valentine’s Day was going to be a bit twisted for Margie’s Cottage Kitchen. I decided to focus on the people who typically hate for the holiday to come around. Here is a little of what I will be making this V-Day. The packaging isn’t like what is shown here. All of my packages will be white bakery boxes with silver ribbon. Some of these photos were taken at an earlier time. I’ll update the photos when I get the orders ready this year. Just sharing what is going on in Margie’s Cottage Kitchen.

cherries

Buttercream filled Chocolate Covered Cherries

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NO KISSES…Minus the kisses on the box, I will be making chocolate dipped strawberries and offered a variety of other confections.

A Twist in February

So what is the twist in February? I’ve decided to do things differently this year. It doesn’t take long on any of the social media sites to see how many lonely people there are out there. Many of these people once had someone in their life, but because of some unforeseen circumstance that person is gone.

February is considered the month of “love,” and I can’t think of any love that is more neglected than the love for oneself. We give, give, and give more. Now, it’s time to express love for others and in many cases, there isn’t another to share with, so this year for the entire month of February, I am celebrating YOU ALONE with my baking and confections at Margie’s Cottage Kitchen. I am encouraging you to take a little time for yourself and celebrate YOU!

celebrating you

Baking Bloggers and Others Unite – For the Least of These

We are approaching a time of the year when we are motivated as a nation to “give thanks.” Giving thanks is different according to where you are from, but in the U.S. culture, we tend to get together with friends and family, make way more food than we need (which I believe is actually a symbol of living in a land of plenty), and enjoying fellowship. It is also during this time that many want to reach out to those who may not have immediate family remaining or don’t have plenty. Some may not even have a meal at all.

I am calling on U.S. Baking Bloggers (if you’re outside the U.S. feel free to join us) to join me in baking through the remainder of this year “for the least of these.” (If you’re business is outside of the baking field, you can still join us by committing to give to a cause of your choice). Beginning now through the end of the year, a portion of the proceeds from items I bake will be given to a ministry that serves “the least of these.” Will you join me in creating your own plan for contributing to this cause (share with us who your cause will reach), and let’s join together to touch the life of those in need? Show your support by leaving a comment for this post. Link back a blog post sharing with your followers what you’re doing, and challenge them to do a smaller version for someone in their community.

In most faiths, there is generally a call to reach out to those who have very little. I’ll share with you what the scripture says about giving in the Holy Bible for Christians (please feel free to share scripture supporting giving those who have little or nothing from your faith in the comments–Please reference the book, so we’ll learn where the quote comes from.)

According to the Bible, Jesus (referenced as “the King”) will tell His followers:

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ New International Version Matthew 25:31-46

So what will your baking benefit look like? I am planning to have a multi-pronged approach. By order, intentional bake sale, and mobile bake sale. I am going to challenge my community to really “show out” for this effort. I will be blogging along the way to keep you posted and would love link backs to your articles updating your followers.

As one, I can touch a few. Together, we can touch many!

Join me! Be sure to leave your desire to join the cause below.

How to Make a Lemon Meringue Pie from Scratch

 

How to Make a Lemon Meringue Pie from Scratch. First things first. Find your preferred recipe or you can use the one I did and follow along. If you are making everything from scratch, including the crust, your recipe will most likely follow the same lines as mine–some of the ingredients may just be different. This is a pictorial How-to. Note: I missed the photo of rolling out the crust. Sorry.

Inspired by Many

I wanted to give tribute to those who inspired me to be passionate about baking.

Granny and Eli

Granny and Eli

First would be my son, Eli (pictured left) with another inspirational person, my paternal grandmother. Even though Eli was hot and fussy in this photo, I really love this photo of them together. I can say that just looking at the picture makes me want to bake some buttermilk biscuits from scratch–just like she taught me .

Some people have stories of working side by side with someone who helped them learn to bake, but unfortunately, I don’t have that history (I was never interested when I was younger). She taught me how to bake her awesome buttermilk biscuits by just talking me through it and using her words and hands to show me approximate measurements for the recipe. I have gotten really close to mastering her recipe. They are good, but I don’t think I have quite gotten to the same level of awesomeness as her biscuits. Although, it seems anything that granny makes is better, which could be a psychological thing.

As mentioned in my “About Me,” I never baked from scratch before my son was conceived. After learning that I was going to have a baby, SOMETHING JUST CLICKED. Some people call it “maternal instincts,” but I call it “Divine Intervention” because there are a lot of mothers who can’t bake from scratch. Now, My desire is to pass my passion along to Eli in some form–if only to ensure he knows his way around a kitchen so he will make a wonderful kitchen helper for his wife one day.

My Mom and I

My Mom and I

Another person who inspires me is my mother. While she doesn’t do a lot of baking, she has always been a wonderful cook. I have great memories of watching her cook, and again, while I didn’t stand by and do things step by step, I did help out a little in the kitchen from time to time. When I was old enough, there were certain things that I could cook. It wasn’t until I was in my 20′s that I REALLY did any significant cooking though. Even then, significant is really in the eye of the beholder. It paled in comparison to how she cooks.

I have always called her and asked, “Mom, what goes in your ________ dish?” Just like granny did, she would tell me what I needed and talk me through how to make it. There’s even a post on my blog here about my great-grandmother’s awesome Thanksgiving dressing that you really should check out.

My cooking has MUCH improved. I’m sure there are things that I cook that are really good in my own right, but I can assure you that I wouldn’t be the cook I am today without her contributing so much to my knowledge.

Local Vintage cookbook 1951

Local Vintage cookbook 1951

Another resource of inspiration is cookbooks, but not just “any” cookbook, vintage cookbooks or heritage cookbooks. I am SO inspired by this one particular cookbook pictured to the left. It is a local cookbook published in 1951 by the women’s ministry of a local church. There are SO many really great looking recipes in it. What excites me so much about it is thinking of the ladies who submitted the recipes. Many of them well on up in years, or possibly passed on, they were big hospitality people back then. It wasn’t uncommon to have people over for a party every weekend, or every Sunday after church.

Other cookbooks like “heritage cookbooks,” which are those that publish recipes that are attributed to a specific group of people. For example, “Georgia Heritage.” I am interested in that cookbook because I live in Georgia; however, I am also totally sold on another cookbook that is solely for Southern Cakes (southern being anywhere in the south from like Louisiana to North Carolina and even some from further north or even other countries that migrated to the south).

Another cookbook I have enjoyed reading through is one for The Shakers because it includes the history behind the recipe. I TOTALLY love that. I never realized how much I enjoy history until I found my way into the food preparation field.

Google.com

Google.com

Google Images is another place that I find inspiration. Many times I fall asleep at night just scrolling through pictures of a specific item. Maybe I’ve had cakes on my mind. I search that cake and click “Images,” and I just look at all of the different cakes that have been posted over the years. I have read SO MANY blog posts on specific cakes that I may have liked more than others. I enjoy reading about the baker’s experience in making the cake.

I seldom EVER actually use the recipe as it is written, but if I do, I give credit to the blog that inspired me with their photo. For example, I have blogged about the Butter Pecan cake of a contest winner on Taste of Home, and the carrot cake listed on AllRecipes called Sam’s Famous Carrot cake. There are some recipes that are just so close to being what I am looking for that it doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel; however, most of my cakes come from another type of inspiration…

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MY CUSTOMERS!! My customers and their flavor profiles inspire me. When I am not working from my own personal creativity, they give me flavors they love and the occasion they are celebrating, and I begin planning how I could best represent those flavors for that specific occasion.

I love the challenge that comes with pairing flavors that I may not have paired before, or baking a cake that I have never baked before. I had an order for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake once, and my mom asked me, “Have you ever baked one of those before?” I said, “No, but my new answer to anyone’s traditional (non fondant) cake request is ‘Yes, I will bake it.’” I enjoy the challenge of finding just the right recipe, providing them with an awesome product, made from scratch, and adding another item to my menu.

Preserving & Celebrating Cooking History

Vintage cookbook 1951

Vintage cookbook 1951

It seems that after having Eli, I have grown more and more passionate about preserving history. I guess I didn’t really think about history as much when I was younger; however, I do think I probably valued it more than others my age. I have an idea, and I am so excited to get started with it.

As I have shared in previous posts, I really believe that families should write down all of their recipes. I think a mother should pass down a copy of her recipes to all of her children when they leave home and start their own family. A lot of how we feel about life comes from the foods we ate as children. So this is my idea…

I am going to type up every name in this vintage cookbook that I have and attempt to get a brief summary of who the person was. Who knows, maybe I can even find some pictures! I would love to be able to tell a story about these ladies through what I learn.

Another idea is to cook/bake through the cookbook. This will give me a lot of information for my upcoming official food blog. I am very excited to see it unfold and begin to tell a story about the food and the ladies that made it. Keep your eyes open for more to come.

Beautiful/Delicious Butter Pecan Cake

There are few recipes that I review and think, “This is perfect as it is written.” I have to say that this recipe came VERY close.

Cake Type: Butter Pecan – The cake itself is so beautiful and fragrant that it could almost be served without an icing.

butter pecanbare

Icing Type: Buttercream – The icing is where the correction had to be made. I omitted the whole can of evaporated milk (which would have made this icing unbearably sweet) altogether and added 2-3 tablespoons of milk to make my preferred thickness for the icing. The icing was delicious with the addition of the butter (I used salted butter to roast the pecans) roasted pecans; otherwise, I might have omitted them because they do make icing the cake a little difficult. They do add to the presentation of the cake. Other options could include: omitting the pecans from the icing and patting them on the sides once you achieved the finish you want,  you could leave them off of the sides and make a design on the top like my final top with pecan halves OR you could sprinkle the top generously with the chopped, butter roasted pecans.

butterpecanicedbutterpecanfinal

Recipe Source: Taste of Home; Baker: Becky Miller; Notes: Contest Winning Recipe

Photos are owned by: Margie Fuller

Recipe Thieves!! BLAST!!!

Some days I struggle to find something to post about, but today, my post actually came to me via Facebook. Actually, I probably should rely on Facebook more for topics. Considering the topic I am writing on today, I can’t say that is actually a “good” thing. Recipe thieves!!

One of my favorite food blogs brought to my attention that this happens, and how the rightful owner feels about it. I Am Baker touches on this very topic in one of her articles Why You Should Never Start a Food Blog. My heart just broke for her as I read these words, “People copy you. They steal your recipes, your pictures, your ideas.  Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. When I saw one of my original cake designs in a VERY famous bakers book, I cried myself to sleep. For a week.”

Something similar happened to a new friend on mine of Facebook RoseBakes. Rose had an order for candied apples made from scratch. She had never made them from scratch before, so she did her research, photographed the entire process, shared her process with everyone (along with her beautiful photo), and next thing I know, she is posting that someone has stolen her photo and is passing it off for theirs on their FB page. It was a page that posted only recipes, and it had thousands of followers. Many of us went to the post on their page and made sure to alert anyone who is interested in that particular item that it had been stolen, and where they could find the true owner.

Junior's® Red Velvet Cheesecake by 1800Baskets.com

Junior’s® Red Velvet Cheesecake by 1800Baskets.com

Now that you have the back story on why this particular topic really got me, I’ll get on to writing my post. I noticed a recipe on Facebook today. You couldn’t miss it. It was a gorgeous Red Velvet Cheesecake fusion cake. If you have read my past posts, you know that I do a lot of recipe reading. I learned early on not to take for granted that the recipe is a good one.

I read the recipe, and something seemed odd to me. The cake in the photo (left) has red velvet crumb sides and appears to be one (1) layer split in two, but the written recipe mentions baking the recipe in two (2) 9″ cake pans (there’s definitely NOT that much cake here), and a cream cheese icing crumb coat plus fully iced top and sides with the cream cheese icing, and as you see from this photo, avoiding crumbs was not the goal.

Red Velvet Cheesecake by RecipeGirl.com

Red Velvet Cheesecake by RecipeGirl.com

I decided these two were wrongly put together. Someone found the recipe and decided to pair it with this photo. Now, it’s showing up all over FB and Pinterest. The problem is that if you actually bake the recipe as written, your cake would NOT look like Juniors photo. Not at all! This recipe was initially intentionally taken because I found the original, and the owner of the recipe was clearly marked. She also gave credit to others whose recipe’s she adapted to make her creation.

I personally don’t have a problem with someone not giving credit if they have adapted something considerably, but unless something brand new comes out of it, then I believe credit should be given to the original owner. I searched the web and found approximately 10 different occasions of this photo/recipe. I posted a comment on each of them stating they weren’t meant to be together, and I shared RecipeGirl’s link where the cake could actually be found. Unfortunately, that won’t happen for most bakers. This will no doubt happen again and again. Update: I notice there is a link back to RecipeGirl at the very bottom of the page. The post was made by a third party who apparently found the recipe with the wrong photos from somewhere else and posted them together. I feel a little better that the link is there, although I think it should immediately follow the recipe.

The ultimate goal of this article is to two fold. The first is to make consumers aware that what you see online isn’t always what you’re going to get. It’s really easy to just “Share” a post, and you may not want to go to the effort to read it over and try to determine if it’s from the original owner or not. Just keep in mind, one day it might be your work out there stolen, OR it could be the work of your son or daughter. Be aware that these thieves are out there, and hey, sometimes, if a recipe isn’t well documented, it is unintentional. When you review the original recipe here, you’ll see for yourself that this one was. It was intentional.

Secondly, I want to make bakers aware that this can happen. Some readers may think, big deal…it’s just a recipe, but you have to realize that some of these end up in a high price cookbook that someone (not the rightful owner) will be making money on. So yeah…it’s a big deal, and should be even if only for ethical reasons.

Look at these cakes…would you confuse one for the other??

Junior's® Red Velvet Cheesecake by 1800Baskets.com

Junior’s® Red Velvet Cheesecake by 1800Baskets.com

RecipeGirl's Red Velvet Cheesecake

RecipeGirl’s Red Velvet Cheesecake

Redecorating My Virtual Home

If you have been following for long, you have probably noticed quite a few changes in the design of my blog. Have you ever had a room in your house that you felt you changed and changed trying to find that right feeling when you walked into the room? Well, that is what is going on here. I am wanting to make this virtual house a “home.”  Please hang in there as I find all the right components to best represent the posts that I share.

Hey, if there is something you really like, please leave a message and let me know. If there’s something that may make your viewing uncomfortable (maybe color is too bright or not bright enough), please let me know.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Heaven!!

I think the part I enjoy most about making cottage foods is the creative process. I know that many people would probably do things the easy way (it does make the most sense). Google a recipe and use that recipe word for word as it is. Oh, but not me. I am known for having to do things the hard way. I look at tons of recipes. I read them to see if they sound like they will work. There is a science to cooking, and after reading winning recipes and those of losing recipes, you begin to build a skill to detect when something doesn’t look just right about a recipe–for example, a recipe calling for 8 cups of confectioner’s sugar AND a five 5 ounce can evaporated milk. I can read that one sentence and tell you that the cake would be mega sweet. I take all that I learn from this recipe and that recipe, and then I create my own (from scratch of course).

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake

Well, this cake is my newest creation. The customer’s husband was turning 40, and she wanted a special cake for him. I asked what his favorite flavors were, and she said, “Chocolate and cherries.” Well, I couldn’t resist the desire to make buttercream filled chocolate covered cherries to top the cake. This cake weighs in at 7 lb. 10 oz. It has a Maraschino Cherry buttercream filling and chocolate ganache frosting on a basic chocolate cake. It was an enjoyable order, and wow, have I gotten LOTS of compliments on the photo on my Facebook page. So tell me, what are your favorite flavors?

UPDATE: I just got a message back from my customer, and I’m really excited about her response to the cake. She said, “The cake was DIVINE!! My husband was so impressed as were our friends. When we FINALLY got home yesterday, we cut some more and shared with both sets of parents and they loved it as well. It really is the best cake we’ve ever had.” WOW!! The best they have EVER had. I’m on the moon right now! That is really a stellar review for an amateur to receive. I know God has blessed me with this gift. I’m excited to see what else I can create.

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