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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.

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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.

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

I was abducted by aliens…

…ok, so maybe not, but I really don’t have any other excuse for not posting other than I HAVE BEEN SOOOOO BUSY. Let me update you on all of the excitement.

If you follow my blog, you know that I was applying for my “cottage foods” license. I got it! I finished my food safety training, applied, and had my inspection. Now, I am a legal producer of cottage foods. It’s nice to be on the right side of the law. 🙂 If I can say I was abducted by something, it would be my kitchen. Since I got my license, I have been in my kitchen baking nearly every day. When I am not baking, I am researching all kinds of things about baking. This is just my personality. A friend of mine once said that it didn’t matter what I decided to do, that I would always become a professional at doing it. She’s right. I just educate myself and strive to provide high quality outcomes. When you make that your goal, then everything does seem to turn out to be “professional.” Although, I’m striving for more of a casual, country outcome (with professional results 😉 ).

I think my favorite part of what I do is research. I LOVE searching for recipes. It’s amazing how you can become educated to which recipes will likely work and not work. Sometimes, I can see a problem in a recipe. Other times, I don’t see it and the result shows there was a problem. Either way, I learn from the experience. Whether it’s too much flour or too many eggs, or perhaps not enough egg whites and too many egg yolks–all of that comes into question when deciding why it didn’t work out. Have you ever asked yourself, “what is a large egg?” When you buy eggs from the grocery store, that is pretty much defined for you; however, if you get your eggs from a farm, that definition may vary according to the breed of hen. It does matter.

Grandma's No Recipe Buttermilk Biscuits

Grandma’s No Recipe Buttermilk Biscuits

This week I will be testing some recipes. One recipe isn’t written down. Yeah, fun. It is my grandmother’s recipe for buttermilk biscuits. She says she’s been making them since she was 12 (she’s 85 now), so she doesn’t use a recipe. She just knows when it feels right. I have a pan of them getting ready to go into the oven. Actually, the first 9 felt too dry to me. I had room for 3 more biscuits, so I threw together the ingredients working solely from what I felt, and the last 3 felt “right.” How I know what “right” feels like, I have no idea. haha. I’ve never made a truly successful pan of biscuits before. There has always been something off about them. Well, we’re going to see how they work out. I’ll post about it when they are finished baking.

As you see from my photo, I was successful in baking nice, big biscuits. They even tasted good. These would be perfect for a breakfast sandwich because they are firmer, but yummy! Can’t wait til the morning. I’m gonna have a sausage biscuit.

What A Year! Reflecting on 2012

I can’t think of a year in my life that was so full of changes. These are all good changes, which is really nice for a change. I just can’t believe that it all happened to me. It’s like winning the lottery but way better!

1. I had an uneventful, quite successful pregnancy.

2. I had a BEAUTIFUL baby boy 7/5/2012 (who is actually playing with my toes at this very moment–hope he doesn’t suck them like he does his own ewww).

3. I found a new love for my kitchen and for cooking/baking.

4. I have started the process to start my own cottage food kitchen.

5. Although I have plenty to lose, in spite of my pregnancy, I haven’t gained a pound over the course of the year! Yay breastfeeding!!

6. I have finally seen the look of true happiness on the face of my mom and dad. They are totally in love with my son (their 1st grandchild).

7. I left my full-time job (after working outside the home for 24 years) and dedicated myself to care for my son in our home complete with homeschooling.

8. I have seen and heard my husband speak of me to others with satisfaction and pride regarding me as a mother and a homemaker.

My, my, I could go on. I am so happy!! As I begin wrapping up the requirements for my cottage food kitchen, I ask myself, why didn’t I do this before? Well, before–the food in our home came from a cardboard box. Yeah, I could cook, but after working and being just the two of us, we just “picked something up.” Oh the money we spent! Oh the calories and fat we consumed!!

Life is changing. Life HAS changed! I wake to the cooing of my son, or perhaps the screaming that communicates, “I’m wet or hungry or I’ve got gas give me my medicine NOW,” instead of an alarm clock for work. My day is full of changing diapers and making bottles for my wonderful baby (instead of having to deal with a bunch of adults who act like them). My home now has the fragrance of bread, cake or supper, instead of the stale smell of air barely breathed. I never thought I would ever echo my mother, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I can say that before the birth of my son–we were merely existing. Now, we are LIVING. I am SO happy to be alive, and I bake to share that same feeling with others. There is nothing like fresh, homemade baked goods. I have found “my thing.” My niche. I hope you find yours.

It’s Not You, It’s Me…Trading Up

It really isn’t the Sunbeam‘s fault. It’s an excellent mixer! I have to say I have only one gripe about it. The beaters are difficult to remove.

Vintage Sunbeam Mixmaster Pro

I end up getting more ingredients all over the kitchen trying to take them off than I do when I turn it on full blast. The other issue with the mixer isn’t really a gripe. It’s more of an evolutionary issue. I use Cook’s Illustrated recipes–almost exclusively now. They are constantly updating recipes as they test them and find ways to perfect a recipe, and they test equipment to determine which equipment will yield the home cook the best results. Well, sorry Sunbeam.

Mixers now have the planetary action when mixing, and they are one beater machines. Mixer manufacturers also have been making improvements to attachments such as the flat paddle, something that wasn’t included with the Sunbeam. Also, the Sunbeam didn’t come with a whisk attachment. I hate to say it, even though I’m fairly new to the cooking/baking scene, I have outgrown this mixer. I bought a Cuisinart 5.5 Stand Mixer. It was on top of the Cook’s Illustrated product test for stand mixers.

What really pushed me completely to the Cuisinart over the KitchenAid were the reviews on the Cuisinart on Amazon.com. Many of the reviews were raving of how it handled yeast and cookie dough. They were very impressed with the five (5) year motor warranty (I was, too). One gentleman actually dropped his on it’s head (you know what I mean), and it never mixed a beat (haha). He updated his review over the course of several years and the mixer was still performing with excellence even given his accident.

Cuisinart 5.5 Stand Mixer

The new mixer is pretty sweet. Beautiful, I would say. I would even describe the older Sunbeam as beautiful. I love the vintage look. I felt like it was Christmas opening this mixer up. It was so easy to assemble and use. I have made three (3) loaves of bread with it (2 batches). It made the process very easy.

My First Shot at Homemade Bread – Home run!!

I enjoyed baking the bread so much I am going to get a Cottage Foods license to be able to bake bread and sell it locally. There’s just something about being able to share something you baked yourself with others. I also will most likely be baking bread for Christmas. I think the fact that I do not dread having to make more loaves is a great testimony for the Cuisinart. The Sunbeam did make the baking process easier, but there were little things that were frustrating. I haven’t encountered the first frustration, yet. I am very excited about the prospects of selling my own creations.

So again, it’s not that the Sunbeam was a bad machine, it’s just that I didn’t enjoy using it. I actually “enjoy” using the Cuisinart. I guess if I am considering using it for business purposes, it’s a good thing that I enjoy it. I feel like it will be a reliable tool. I will treat it well, keep it clean, and in good repair. Who knows what future opportunities will arise out of this venture. I am anticipating and hopeful.

Say CHEESE!

It seems that I am on a “food” run lately. Maybe it’s because I have been organizing my kitchen, or maybe I’m organizing my kitchen because I have found that I love to cook. Ok, so that question will not be answered today. I am a little behind in writing, so I am going to try to be a bit brief to get all of my posts in.

Cheesy Burger Bake – my own creation

I love mac-n-cheese, and I love ground beef freshly browned. Add them together with some tomato sauce and basil, and you get Cheesy Burger Melt. This isn’t really mac-n-cheese. It’s macaroni elbows layered with browned ground beef, tomato sauce, dried basil, cheese (3 layers). I baked it for approximately 30 minutes or until the cheese was the desired brownness.

The verdict? It looked good. Smelled good. Should have sat longer to cut into a wedge for serving (but we were eating late). In my opinion, the plain tomato sauce (store brand) lacked the flavor of others I have used. There was nothing really spectacular about it. I think it would have been better if I had used ground Italian sausage. My husband says it was better after being refrigerated a couple of days. Another suggestion might be to have continued on with the hamburger them and added bacon for added flavor and perhaps a shot of mustard for a little kick. I’ll have to try that out one day and update this post.

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