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.