Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do I Have To?

Yes, I have to. I gave Jay subtle hints.... I gave Jay pretty freakin' obvious hints... finally, I just had my brother turn to Jay and tell him, "Karli wants a gym membership for Hanukkah."
And so, here I sit. All curled up in my bed, broccoli butter cream soup simmerin' in my belly, having just set the alarm for 6am. I asked for it, and I'm getting it. I'm going to the gym. Ick.

As I dread what the dark morning will bring, allow me to reminisce about some of the good times this holiday season and try to figure out if I will have developed diabetes by the New Year:

1. Working down the hall from a preschool. I could have gone nearly the whole month of December without ever having packed a lunch and I could have lived off baked goodness with no problem! These parents are FANTASTIC. Hell, one of them is a PROFESSIONAL BAKER (www.creamandsugarbakery.com) who makes raspberry frosting I want to bathe in!

2. Adam and his mom. Bless heaven, earth, butter, and chocolate. Dear Birt Family - I dedicate my first insulin shot to you. Your chocolate-toffee bars are well worth the cavities. Your chocolate peanut butter balls are better than therapy. And your fudge makes me believe in G-d. That all being said - I plan on cursing your entire family as I face the Stair Master O'Death tomorrow morning.

3. Birthdays! Be it family, friends, or co-workers - I feel birthday cakes and I have developed a relationship on par with being lovers. No, we did not consumate our relationship... but I do feel as though I may have cheated on Jay with the amount of birthday cake I've managed to consume in the past month.

4. Hanukkah = Oily, Slow, Delicious Death. For those of you UNCHOSEN types, here's the quick and dirty behind Hanukkah. The Jews kicked ass, but in trying to rebuild - didn't have enough oil to last more than one night. Wouldn't you know it... a MIRACLE occured! (No, it had nothing to do with a baby in a manger). The oil lasted 8 nights - so Hallmark found itself an excuse to cash in on Jews during Christmas and created the holy time of Hanukkah. And everything you eat is somehow associated with oil.
There are two traditional Hanukkah foods - Latkes and Sufganyot.
Latkes involve potato, egg, onion, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of oil to fry those f*ckers in. NO, it is not the same as McDonald's potato hash browns and shame on you for thinking so. This year, I kicked some sweet latke ass and made regular potato latkes, gluten free latkes, AND red plaid latkes (these involved potato, egg, onion, beets, carrots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of oil... it was beautiful).
Sufganyot translates to Jelly Donuts. I figured, "Hey, I'm a Jew who likes Jelly Donuts. Why not try and make some?" My computer is currently behaving like a dirty, dirty, pilgrim whore and won't upload the photos of the Sufganyot adventures - but I'll get them up here eventually. They were actually pretty fun to make... and Jay did an excellent job covering them in powdered sugar. It was when the time came to stuff them with jelly he got a little squeamish and left me to do the dirty work.
Ever wonder how Dunkin Donuts gets the jelly into their Munchkins? Ever watch the gritty, prison HBO series "Oz"? Well, that's sort of how DD does it. You have to sneak up on the fried blob - and penetrate it in a totally invasive way. Then, once it's submitted - you inject it with fruity goodness. I almost called the cops on myself when the whole thing was over. I felt very sinister and evil.

On the upside... they were DELICIOUS!

So, there you have it folks! The reasons I dread what's coming to me tomorrow. On the upside, the Prophet Sadiekins has provided me incentive to go to the gym. If I work out and behave in a healthier manner, I can bake as much as I flippin' want. And while baking, I get to wear my BRAND SPANKIN' NEW HANDMADE APRON!!!!!! Again, dirty whore of a computer won't upload the photo... but I have the coolest apron the on the planet I get to wear now when I bake and I'm so, so, so, so, so excited!!!!

Oh, before I forget.... there is a follower of this blog who I owe cookies to. Karla, for making the excellent suggestion of cookies shaped like Edward Scissorhand's creations - you will have a gift for New Years! Congrats! And I promise:
1. I will not violently penetrate these cookies with jelly.
2. I will not fry them extensively in peanut oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil (all such oils were used this Hanukkah season)
3. I will not schmear these cookies with the free flow of snot the above mentioned preschoolers all seemed to be infected with.

Another Strong Cupcake thought... if you come to the baker after a workout, you get one chocolate chip cookie free. Call it a contradiction, but if I knew I had a warm, gooey, melt-in-my-mouth handful of awesomeness to eat after going to the gym - I'd work out all the time! Who's with me???

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Life is like a batch of biscuits...

...best when hot out of the oven, but still delicious with the aid of a toaster or microwave. And best made with Shipyard's Pumpkin Head.

Today's weather sucks a hard one. It's Maine's first real snow storm, and though my office was officially "closed" at 11am, I stuck around and did my social worker's finest for a few more hours. Fortune was smiling on me, because my fan-frikkin-tastic co-worker shared some chopped liver with me for lunch and it kept a smile on my face all the way through the slushy-ick-crap shoveling experience I had when I got home.
For those curious about chopped liver. I do not recommend Google Imaging this Jewish culinary masterpiece. You will puke. No, seriously - this stuff looks like vomit. Vomit eaten by a cat. Then, said vomit is pooped out. A dog comes along and eats the vomit-poop, and then vomits all on his own.
But it is DELICIOUS!

So, now that I've grossed you out - allow me to share my new favorite baking cheat. ANYTHING FROM TRADER JOE'S!!!!!!!! Seriously, I cry every night when I think of the huge loss the Portland community is experiencing by not having a Trader Joe's market attached to my house. The best food at the best prices - and their quick bread mixes make me want to kiss the dirty, pot smoking, lecherous, kinda-skeevy bagger that seems to be a universal character located at all Trader Joe's establishments. My newest discovery there - Beer Bread!!!

Jay is a good man. He works hard, saves his pennies, and is incredibly sweet and supportive. And he NEVER gives me flack about my physical health as he heads off to the gym and I hunker down in my pjs to watch Law and Order: SVU re-runs. (PS - Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni... I will lick the sweat off your gun holsters if you'd be my friend!!).
Last night, Jay got all decked out in his shorts and t-shirt (and heavy winter jacket) and headed off to the gym while I contemplated dinner. After I decided to give in to my egg salad and baked bean craving (who wants to guess what the bedroom smelled like last night?), I remembered having purchased some Trader Joe's Beer Bread Quick Mix and figured I would give it a whirl. Considering the same 3 bottles of beer have been sitting in our fridge for well over a year (Woot! Woot! Halloween Masquerade 2008!), I figured it was time to put them out of their misery.

Let me tell you - popping one of those beer biscuits in the microwave while trying to thaw out my feet has been ECSTACY! In fact, I'm off to have another.... and to continue to provide moral support to my favorite fictional NYC detectives. I especially love when Det. Stabler busts out his big, bulgy armguns and his tattoo does a little dance. (Really, guys, be my friend! I won't let you down - I'm WAY wittier than Richard Belzer!)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nipple cOOkies!

Okay, I've been on Sabbatical while trying to lose weight. It's a funny thing - I try to eat healthy and suddenly I'm not baking my dream foods.
Well, that shit stops right now!

My newest declaration....
I promise myself I will do my best to make healthy eating choices and to get my jiggly ass and squishy tummy to workout a bit more. In exchange, I will bake as much as I damn well want to and enjoy the goods!

I'm currently in Connecticut, enjoying a post Thanksgiving weekend with my future in-laws and my soon-to-be hubbilicous. It's been a great weekend - lots of laughter, celebrating my mankins birthday, and lots of just laying around and relaxing. Exactly what the weekend of Thanksgiving should be. As I write this, he-who-will-soon-be-legally-bound-to-me and his dad are checking digital camera reviews on the computer and I lost interest in the conversation about 30 seconds after it started.
What better way to use this space of time than to catch up with some blogginess?

As I'd mentioned, I don't have much to write. I haven't been baking as much, but I've still got big dreams about Strong Cupcake and what a fan-freakin-tastic shop it's going to be someday.

I did try making some cookies with only a mini-recipe to follow. I'm testing myself to see if I can go recipe free at some point. The attached photos will show you my FAIL in this regard.

I call these cookies "Nipple Cookies". Here's where my major FAIL occured. I had found some intriguiging sounding hershey kisses at Hannafords. They were candy corn flavored and candy corn colored kisses. I saw them, and immediately had to have them... what can I say? I like shiny things - and these little suckers were all shiny and glorious looking. I brought the little buggers home and decided to make chocolate chip cookies with these little suckers in the middle. At no point did I reference a recipe explaining how one would do this succesfully. And so, at the end of my adventure - I was left with cookies only a porn star could love.

As I review the above photo (and the several photos of my betrothed using the cookies as mock eyes and mock nipples), I feel I've learned a valuable lesson. USE A FLIPPIN' RECIPE! Or, at least reference a cook book or website that provides SOME sort of insight into how to successfully create a cookie you wouldn't be embarrassed to give your grandmother.

So, add one more "To Do" to the Strong Cupcake list. Any and all customers are encouraged to bring in copies of their favorite recipes to share with the world. Actually, I think I want all the walls painted with chalkboard paint and folks can just write their recipes directly on the wall!

Man, sometimes my brilliance amazes me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What are you?

So, over the weekend, I had the chance to make Apple Bread for a friend of mine out in Idaho. She will receive the deliciousness this week and I hope she likes it.

Since then, I've heard from another friend - the ever amazingly awesome DJ Caps and plan on making her something scrumdiddliupmtious soon! I say soon, and not immediately for a couple reasons:
1. I'm at work, and am not a total social worker slacker. For this reason, as much as I'd like to spend my days watching Glee on hulu.com (flippin' LOVE this show), eating kiwis (ALWAYS the right choice), and exploring my cook books for desserty superbness - I actually have other things I need to do with my time.
2. I don't know what the PERFECT dessert for DJ Caps would be. I find myself listing bits of her personality and things that she likes/dislikes in order to unlock her secret-super-awesome-inner-baked goodness.

I'm trying to answer the question... "If DJ Caps were a dessert, what would she be?" For those who read The Golden Compass, I'm trying to match DJ Caps up with her daemon... only instead of some fuzzy animal, I'd like to use flour and chocolate. Maybe some peanut butter, cause she's saucy.
Seriously, DJ Caps is an aspiring screen writer, PHENOMENAL musician, and one of the greatest creators of mix CDs I've ever met - so this dessert has to be special. She also protected me during my first drive-by... anyone know of any bullet proof edition chocolate chip cookies?

And so, dear Blogosphere Folks.... think of someone you know... or think of someone you DON'T know, but would like to! What is that person's perfect dessert? For example, Hulk Hogan is CLEARLY a fan of brownies with extra melted chocolate and crushed walnuts.... and I don't mean cake-style brownies... I mean gooey-warm, practially chocolate soup brownies. Cause he's mother f*ckin' Hulk Hogan and he just man handles whatever messy dessert put in front of him!

Okay, now your turn! Again, my favorite response will have some home baked goodness delivered post haste!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rules for Employment

As I am both bleeding to death and irate, I will make this BLOGTASTIC PROCLAMATION quick:


Now, I know what you're thinking... "Karli, you're a do-gooder social working PHENOM! How could you not share the love with the hippie population?" Well allow me to explain why I am currently in need of a blood transfusion:

It's a lovely and brisk fall morning. And it's Saturday! A chance to head on down to the Portland Farmer's Market to purchase some local, fresh produce for extremely reasonable prices. While the weather forecasts wind, temps in the 40s, and an all around feeling of itsalmostwinterhopeyourereadyhahahahahahaha, I refuse to give in. So, I put on my lovely sweatpants, fuzzy sweater, and flip-flops - because I'm a rebel like that.
As I saunter through the market, I misjudge a curb and am suddenly HURLING THROUGH THE SKY, ass over elbows, may have found an alternative universe, life flashing before my eyes, I really hope I don't land in dog crap.... and land on all fours. For those who know me - I'm not a quiet woman. I can guarantee a loud animal-like yelp came from my lungs as I launched through the air.
Wouldn't you know it - not a single flippin' farmer hippie took notice of the adorable girl in the Down Dog position, bleeding from the toes, and attempting to maintain some level of self dignity. When I finally stood up, after ascertaining I was not dead, I noticed at least ONE DOZEN DIRTY HIPPIES staring at me... AND NOT ONE ASKED IF I WAS OKAY! I think one might have even been chewing on her dreadlock!

And for this, they must be punished.

So, here are the rules for employment at Strong Cupcake:

1. I don't care what your views are on legalizing marijuana - no stoners allowed.
2. I don't care what your thoughts are on "No Shave November" or whether or not you believe a woman shaving her legs is only a symptom of an oppressive patriarchal society. There will be no icky, hairy armpits floating around in the shop. And if I'm concerned your meals for the last 3 days may be showing from your beard - I will CUT THAT F*CKER OFF!
3. If you in any way, shape, or form smell of patchouli - don't even bother coming in.
4. Dread locks are all fine and dandy - but if I suspect either a bird family or some rodent herd is roaming around in the tangle; I will vomit and make you mop it up with your "I'm just living outside what society wants me to conform to" hair.
5. If you walk too slow because you are trying to truly "experience the moment", I will run you over in my mini and you still won't be hired.
6. If you ever use the phrase UTOPIAN SOCIETY to explain your hopes for the future... I will cut you.

Okay - did I make that clear?
Now, off to bandage my big toe, which appears to have deflated from the massive blood loss.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kosher Kupcake?

Despite what the rumors say, the state of Maine isn't exactly The American Jewish Homeland. Shops don't close early on Shabbat, mothers whose soul point of existence includes smothering their child in guilt are far and few between, and we don't all head to Tampa once we reach 67 years old. (I know, it's a shunda!)

However, we do have a fun and vibrant little mini-Jew village here in the greater Portland area running about 3,000 strong... not too shabby for a city where many women choose to purchase matzoh as part of a weight loss program. And amongst our army of 3,000, we have a small faction of families who maintain a Kosher lifestyle.

What's kosher? WELL, it's one of the most complicated set of dietary rules you've ever heard of -all dating back to Adam, Eve, and that friggin' apple. (On a side note, Eve was framed... FEMINISTS UNITE!). Kosher laws set forth what foods are consumable by the Chosen Ones (that would be me!) and how to properly prepare them. For an extremely comprehensive list of rules, feel free to take a gander at www.oukosher.org. The Orthodox Union are the Kosher Food Barons of the United States and what they say goes - kind of like the mafia, but instead of putting out hits on our enemies, we revoke their loans.

Here are some kosher basics:
-No mixing meat and dairy... EVER... seriously, you decide to put cheese on that burger and somewhere out there, a fairy dies.
-No pork... EVER... Porky, Wilbur, Babe - all these Hollywood friendly swine are totally safe. To all you anti-semites out there, Jews did not create the Swine Flu, so quit blaming us! Oh, and your shaven head make you look like a penis.
-No shellfish...EVER... this really sucks for those of us in Maine because lobster is one of life's perfect foods. I may or may not have heard a rabbi once say, "G-d had never tried lobster when He made the kosher laws."

If you'd like to know what meats are kosher:
**** What the frick is an Addax or Ibex?? Kosher or not, if I've never heard of the animal, I don't plan on eating it. Oh, and how interesting is it that it's okay to eat a Giraffe? How would one go about preparing such meal? Yeah, you're going to think about that question all day!***

What is all this kosher rambling about? WE-ELL, I have it on good authority that there are no kosher bakers in greater Portland. For a bakery to be kosher, it would require Orthodox supervision, proper cleaning of utensils, and no plopping bacon into the middle of the chocolate chip cookies.
On the downside, going kosher is EXPENSIVE - like, ridiculously expensive... like, I would have to ask myself what's more important - eletricity or a cinnamon bun? But if Strong Cupcake were the only kosher bakery around, there could be a nice market. And I do love me some cinnamon buns.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Zombie Muffins & A Challenge!

I love zombies. Not sure why. While the world seems all caught up in vampire madness - I toss those bloodsucking bastards to the side and would rather get me a zombie any day of the week. And with Halloween just around the corner, I've been thinking to myself - if zombie's weren't so into eating human flesh, and all that jazz, what would they eat? What sort of cakes, cookies, muffins would get them more giggly-happy and less cannabilistic brain munchy?

I made some muffins over the weekend - Pumpkin/Apple/Cranberry. Perhaps it's still the ick-factor I feel when dealing with pumpkin-puree, but I suspect zombie's would have been all up in these muffins' business.
Or apple pie filling - the warm cinnamon, butter, apple magic getting all mushy and delicious... that seems PERFECT for zombie consumption! (On a completely separate note - I made an AMAZING apple pie this weekend FROM SCRATCH and I'm all but positive my own father thinks I bought it and tried to pass it off as my own.... I will resume therapy next week.)

What does this have to do with the greatest bakery that has yet to exist? I would love if Strong Cupcake offered some special treats just for the holidays. And I mean ALL HOLIDAYS! There'd be the basic Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving type provisions - but I'd want to provide desserts for the most ridiculous and little-known holidays one can find.

So, your newest challenge... for the many holidays I've got listed below, I want your thoughts as to what the perfect dessert would be to represent this holiday. For the ones I like - I will attempt to make said dessert and send it to you! Sound good?

Here you have it (I'm not making these up!):
National Talk Like a Pirate Day
White Cane Safety Day
For Pete's Sake Day
Lips Appreciation Day
Chuck Norris's Birthday (That would be March 10, and though not an official holiday - I celebrate all the glory that is Chuck Norris!)
National Wheelchair Beautification Day
Volunteer Blood Donor Day
Get Organized Day
Hand Washing Awareness Day
Holy Humor Day
Frog Day

Okay, you've officially been challenged. Don't let me down, people!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crockpot Splendoriffic!

Anyone who has had the opportunity to speak with me or Jay in the last 24 hours may have noticed an odd, muppet-like quality to our voices.
No, we haven't busted into Juliette's catnip or started taking hits off helium balloons. And, despite what you may think, though the hippies who do their laundry in the basement have POTENT patchouli stink detergent - we are not being slowly poisoned (at least I think we're not - if I start to wander the streets of Portland naked, singing Kumbaya, someone better get me to Maine Med... STAT!).

The sad truth is - summer is gone and it's that time of year to get sick. So, my beloved and I have been dragging our butts to bed by 8:30 every night, snoring, snotting, and wheezing our way through Sudafed-induced comas, and throwing mini-tempertantrums every morning when the alarm goes off and it's rainy and gross outside. To top it off, I finished the final book in the Twilight series (a shame that will never leave me)... and the ending SUCKED! HARDCORE! WICKED LETDOWN! I am so filled with anger about this book series, I kept Jay up for an extra hour just to yell about its craptasticness! Seriously, it really, really sucked.

This morning, however, their was hope in the air! Since the idea of getting up one minute before 7am to make our lunches made me rageful, I had the stroke of sheer brilliance to whip out the good ol' crockpot, toss in broth, chicken, onions, and carrots and call it a night. What did I wake up to this morning?? JOY! Utter, perfect, hot, and delicious JOY! The whole apartment was filled with the fragrance of comfort and warmth! And I could actually smell! Now, it's been 3 hours since this modern day miracle, and my sinuses have decided to stage a coup... but, it's too late! I was filled with crockpot hope that the Swine Flu will pass me by!

I'm not thrilled crockpot season has set in, but I do wish a Nobel Prize could be awarded to whomever invented this technological glory! It's brilliance ranks right up there with the cure for polio and zombie movies.

What is your favorite crockpot recipe? As I continue to create Strong Cupcake fantasyland, would a crockpot option on the menu be something to consider? Does anyone know of a drug more potent than NyQuil that will keep me in a deep enough coma so I won't hear Jay's sasquatch-like snores?
Feel free to answer any and all the above mentioned questions.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pumpkin Love

Seriously, why hasn't someone written a Dessert Treaty to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

The world has a problem with Iran? If President Obama knocked on Iran's front door with some hot cider donuts (of which I ate 6 on Saturday - Paleo Diet can kiss my patootie!), I guarantee any and all nuclear weapons would be handed over without a second thought.
Republicans and Democrats need to learn how to play nice? I assign the Democrats to make all the Republicans a warm batch of Snickerdoodles and the Republicans must make all the Democrats toffee crunch cookies. JUST YOU WATCH how quickly we suddenly have bipartisan cooperation! Health Care Reform would be agreed upon and signed before you could say, "Can I have a cold glass of milk?"

Here's my empirical research supporting my Dessert Solves All Problems hypothesis:

On Saturday, Jay and I had a tiff. I have since discovered, I was the one having the tiff - Jay just thought I was in a mood. In an effort to learn better communications, I will now leave Jay very clearly marked post-it notes by the toilet spelling out:
Why leave the note by the toilet? Because I know he will be visiting the toilet soon, and will have no other options but to take the time to read my passive aggressive declaration. His only other choice is to read old Fox Trot cartoons.

Back to my story - Jay and I had a tiff and after it was clear Jay didn't get my obvious cues that I needed him to get on his knees and tell me what a g-ddess I am, I felt the urge to leave the apartment. So, in the rain, I drove to East Waterboro to Raven Hill Orchard (www.ravenhillorchard.com).
EVERYONE MUST GET THERE SOMEDAY! This place was amazing! An adorable bakery, HUGE orchard, all organic, and heirloom varieties I've never heard of! I took my sweet time picking $35 worth of apples (my counter is now a shrine to all things applelicious), cooled off from my frustrations, and made my way home. Along the way, I recalled Jay mentioning his favorite sort of pie is pumpkin pie.

Let's get one thing straight - pumpkin pie is not a dessert I would go out of my way to eat. I find the texture icky, the gingery-y flavor makes my tongue crinkle, and the idea of making my own crust gives me small tumors along my frontal lobe. BUT, since I'm the BEST FIANCE EVER, I figured I would show Jay how much I forgave him by making pumpkin pie. Please, keep in mind, Jay had no idea what he had done wrong, had no real idea why I was angry, and I'm all but positive, he did not feel any need to apologize for anything. Silly rabbit. Someday he'll learn.

So, I did it. I made pie crust from scratch (it involved shortening... ewwww... better than the suggested 12 tablespoons of LARD, but still.... ewwww), whisked pumpkin puree with lots of whoknowswhats, and baked away until my entire apartment carried the scent of a bad Christmas Craft Fair. (Although, my cat did enjoy eating a couple spoonfuls of pumpkin puree - and I love Juliette more than life, so bringing her joy was a highlight.)
And it worked! Jay returned home from his studies (poor, poor bastard) and took down nearly half the pie in one shot. After said gulping o'pie, we got all snuggly and watched some Friday Night Lights (PS - remind me never to be a Texas highschool football player.). It was as if the morning's conflict had never occured. Well, in his mind, I suppose it actually HAD never occured - but that's neither here nor there.

We are all happy and in love again. All it took was one pie!

There you have it - conclusive evidence that dessert solves any and all problems! Think I could receive a federal science grant to open up Strong Cupcake for further research??? How long before our world leaders realize my sheer brilliance and come knocking on my door for guidance and to bask in the glow of my general awesomeness?

Just sayin'.....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Consignment Thoughts...

What is the perfect dessert for a mom? A mom doing the best she can with what she has?
Or, how about her kids - watching their mom and knowing how hard she's working to do right by them?
All snarkiness aside - should Strong Cupcake become a reality, we would develop Bakery Therapy. For anyone having a day... a day that just leaves them beat up and feeling low, you could come into Strong Cupcake and have access to our amazing-state-of-the-art-nothing-quite-like-it kitchen to make your absolute favorite dessert. There'd be no charge. And we'd have one of our Professional Dessert Heroes (that's what we're calling the bakers & pastry chefs) nearby to help out.
And if that person wanted to share his/her recipe with the public, we put that life altering dessert on the menu. And a percentage of what that confection perfection sold for would be pulled aside into a personal emergency $$ account. After all, my brain only holds so much room for original recipes (currently, 2... and one involves a box of pudding, Cool-Whip, pre-made graham cracker crust, and a banana... I'm a simple woman) - it would be criminal of me not to pay the creator of a dessert royalties for his/her brilliance!
Sort of like recipe consignment.

So, back to my original lady. We'll call her Jane.
Jane's had a day unlike any other. She would come to Strong Cupcake, where OF COURSE, we'd have a rocking corner for her toddler bakers-in-training. While her mini-bakers learned the joy of flour fights, she'd have the chance to head into the kitchen and bake whatever sweet treat suits her needs for the day. Knowing Jane, I'm guessing she wants some form of a Seven Layer Bar. She makes enough to share with her little darlings (who are currently covered head-to-toe in flour and laughing like crazy!) and leaves the excess for other customers to try out.
Without a doubt, these bars are a hit, so Strong Cupcake begins to make & sell them, under whatever title Jane prefers - again, I'm guessing she'll call them HadADay Bars. Each time Strong Cupcake sells that bar, a portion goes into an account just for Jane. It'll never be as much money as she needs, but maybe it'll be enough to fill her car with gas one week - allowing her to head to one more job interview.
Jane's not looking for the state to pay for her life - she just needs a helping hand for awhile.

Waddya think? Is this my liberal naivete shining through? Or could such an idea have real merit?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Prophet Sadiekins

I am a cutey-patootie Jewish girl. And don't argue with that. Seen "Will & Grace"? I'm Grace, but with a way hotter rack & bootie... I'm serious, I even lived with a very clean gay guy once... and I notice he may read this, so, "HI!!! Jay & I put your big, white cupboard thing on the side of the road today because it's falling apart."

Where was I? Oh, yes... I'm a cute Jew.
Yom Kippur begins at sundown, so I'll be fasting, praying, and doing the best I can to be inscribed in the Book of Life by sundown tomorrow. Here's hoping.
However, though I may subscribe the religion of Judaism, I listen to the wisdom that is the Prophet Sadiekins.
She is a wise, and all knowing prophet. She can make you a quilt lickity-split, or a tire size pumpkin whoopie pie without breaking a sweat (it's true -I've seen her do it), and will not hesitate to throw some 'bows and take off her earrings if a drunk skank tries to stomp her yard.
Any-hoo, the Prophet Sadiekins is one of the more creative souls existing on this planet, and she gives full approval for a social worker run bakery/dessert shop. In fact, she came up with the best slogan I could imagine, so I needed to get it down for interwebby posterity before I forget:

Strong Cupcake Dessert & Bakery Shop
There is no healthy here - only happy.

This was WAY better than my idea for a slogan:
Strong Cupcake Dessert & Bakery Shop
You will want to make out with me, this sh*t is that good.

We also discussed the chance that one night per week, Strong Cupcake would become a bar serving dessert flavored drinkities! Yummy, fruity martinis, dessert liquers for all! As spoken by the Prophet Sadiekins, it shall be forever written!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What sort of cookie?

There are some days at work where I just have to cry. I'm pretty lucky - I get to come to a job I love everyday and work with some amazing men & women. Still, there are some cases that just get to you and leave you wondering... When can I open that bakery?
Cause everyone's happy at a bakery.

Yesterday was one of those days. Without getting all NASW Code of Ethic screwy, I'm working with someone who could easily be me. Someone who took a risk, it didn't work, and now they're calling a social worker (pride in hand) and asking for help.
On the upside, I think I was able to offer some assistance. Only time will tell.

After a day like that, I usually don't sleep well. Too much running through my head and not enough answers. Last night, I had a number of thoughts. It all made sense in the 2am haze with a background of Jay snoring, Juliette scratching the door, and the occasional car passing by - but I may have trouble articulating it now.

All I kept thinking - if I could have given this person any dessert and his problems would be solved... what would that dessert be? Honest to goodness, I pondered a number of confectionery delights and the potential powers they held.
Think about it - have you ever had a JUST BAKED chocolate chip cookie - all gooey, warm, and smelling like Mom's kitchen on a snowy day when you're home because school was canceled? Is there a better feeling than that? (Okay, there are, but I'm trying to keep this blog "family friendly")
Or what about a scorching hot August night, when it's too hot to move and someone hands you some fresh strawberry ice cream made THAT DAY with handpicked strawberries (Woot! Woot! to Red's Ice Cream in South Portland)? It's a feeling of total satisfaction and happyglee.

I lay awake last night wondering if it would be possible to provide a dessert like that to a person in need and have them experience that amazing feeling for as long as they needed. It's naive and silly, but at 2am, I'm going to indulge my naive side because the only other option is to wake up, turn on the light, and continue to read Twilight (the fact of which I am so, so ashamed).

So, I throw this question into the interwebisphere....
Think about a time you were at your lowest. If a dessert had the power to heal your pain, what would that dessert have been?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cookies for Equality!

Well, my grand schemes of trying out the Banana Pear Ambrosia were quickly dashed when I discovered the avocados I'd purchased were hard as rocks. Oh, well - give it another try at the end of the week.

HOWEVER - I will be volunteering at the No On One office tomorrow and I'm feeling the urge to bring some baked goods for these warriors of justice! Any thoughts?
When you think of legalizing marriage for same sex couples, what sort of sweet treats come to mind?
Please keep in mind, I'll be concocting this confection later tonight, after drinking with an old friend whom I haven't seen in MONTHS... so it's all about simplicity! Cause if Bar Lola offers delish fruity martinis, I'm screwed.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hannafords O'Bliss

I can't help it... the grocery store makes me giddy.
You can keep your yoga - nothing makes me more zen-like than a Sunday afternoon at Hannafords Super Market.
And I'm lucky - the Portland Hannafords is the LARGEST IN MAINE! It's just aisles and aisles of happy!

I am not a freak. One of my favorite parts of any given Sunday includes making up my grocery list, color coordinating my re-usable grocery tote to go with my flip-flops, and doing battle with the squeaky cart up and down the endless aisles of food bliss.

My lovely brother has assigned me the Paleo Diet to help me get all Wedding Dress Hotness. Basically, if the cavemen didn't eat it, I shouldn't either. I can have one meal to myself each week, otherwise it's meat, eggs, meat, fish, meat, root veggies, meat, berries, meat, water all week long. We're talking A LOT of meat. I hate violent movies and I've now watched 3 Tarantino flicks all in one week - who knows what sort of hormones are raging freely through my veins. And I had a dream where lots of fat bald men were missing the top part of their skulls. Go figure.

As much as I miss my bagels, pasta, and cream of wheat (aka Nectar of a Merciful and Loving G-d) - I get all excited to search out recipes and head to Hannafords for the weekly purchase.

On tap for this week:
Italian Chicken
Rosemary Salmon (if the salmon is cheap... one would think with the ocean 10 yards from my kitchen I could get some reasonably priced seafood)
For Dessert... I'm going to try Banana Pear Ambrosia

For Banana Pear Ambrosia I have to blend a pear, a banana, some lemon juice, some honey (no refined sugar on this diet o'mine), and an avocado for texture. I'm highly intrigued and a bit weirded out.

Any bets on what it will look like? While you ponder this thought, I'm off to Hannafords, my own little Graceland.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A bit more direction...

Happy 5770!
It's the New Year!

I've just returned from a fabulous wedding (Yippy for Jenn & Casey) and I find myself with a couple of hours on my own before the return of Jay. That lucky SOB had the fortune of spending a GORGEOUS day inside, studying, and becoming WAY smarter than I will ever be. And I'm okay with this, because it gives me a chance to stare at this blog and figure out what comes next.

And I think I have an idea...

The first thought that crossed my mind as I came home and learned my hubby-to-be wouldn't be home for a bit was, "Hey, I should make him some kugel! It's Rosh Hashanah and Jay loves kugel." (For those of you non-tribe members, kugel is like a Jewish casserole - my version includes sour cream, cottage cheese, apples, golden raisins, and cinnamon... it's DELICOUS!).

Back to my story...
Once I'd decided kugel was the way to go, I became very calm and happy. And the proverbial light went off. I work in a setting where I spend my day solving problems, hearing terribly sad stories, and stepping into unknown situations that usually involve needing some hand cleanser afterwards. The idea of coming home and baking, cooking, whipping up frosting, slicing up fresh fruit... it's all so appealing because I know the amazing aromas it will produce, I know how each bite will help ring in the New Year, I know Jay is going to enjoy it. I'm not going to dread what my apartment smells like, or argue with Jay over ethical dilemmas regarding my treatment of egg noodles (though, I dare him to try), and it's a relatively simple project (even though peeling apples is on my Top 100 lists of Things That Make Me Want to Punch Kittens).
I suspect, I'm not the only one out there who feels this way - and maybe that's why my Facebook Status about opening a dessert shop was so appealing. Not the business end of it; the simple enjoyment end.

And so, friends and colleagues, I have a global assignment for all of you.......

Don't worry, I'm not going all Julie/Julia on you and plan on making a billion recipes in 10 days. I want to know what baked goods (or regular meals) bring you joy. Bring you to that happy place.

I want to know:
-Recipes - All sorts!
-Memories of recipes from family, friends, clients, co-workers, teachers - you name it... why did Grandma Mary's pumpkin pie make you happy?
-Favorite stories about food
-What desserts you think could help bring world peace

Yes, this is extremely cheesy and silly. You may begin the mockery and I will take it in stride. But I'm 100% serious. Why a dessert shop?

Okay, enough time on this - I've got apples to peel!

Friday, September 18, 2009

What adventures may come...

This log is a response to a Facebook Status. After a difficult day at work, I took a moment, closed my eyes, and imagined owning my own bakery.
Now, I'm no fool - I have no preconceived notions that owning a bakery is anything short of extremely difficult work. But I still find myself daydreaming about the glories of owning my own shop o'happiness on days when I just feel like I'm banging my head against a wall.

But - back to the Facebook Status. I posted:
Hey, Social Workers! Who's up for ditching our careers and just opening a dessert shop?

It was a pretty harmless post... and received nearly as many responses as when I posted I was engaged. Actually, I received more responses the next day - from teachers, development staff, counselors, students. I even got a phone call.

So, this got me thinking - what to do with all this creative energy?

Short answer - I have no idea. So, against all better judgement, I've opened this blog to see what formulates.