Some thoughts: Last night I had a fever and a cold started. Today I called out sick from work. I don't have a fever any more, but I'm all achey and I feel sick. I'd like to bake some cupcakes to bring into work on Monday. (I made small sugar roses on Friday to go on top of them). But I'm just too tired and hot to do anything.
Last week I took lots of pictures at work. Here are a few.
Now I'm going to go nap. Until Soon-- Bake Big! & Enjoy! -Christine
It's Halloween time at the bakery! We've been working on some festive fondant layers. Today we made a bunch of monster heads and then some black and orange 'bows & dots' cakes. We had one cake left over, so I made a cute ghost cake. I think it came out well... and I actually took pics, so you can see for yourself!
First, I'm happy to report that all my stress the other night was totally unnecessary. The uniform thing was such a non-issue. I really can't believe I was so worried.
On a more exciting note-- I started to work on some of the larger fondant cakes today! AND... I remembered to take some pictures. I also worked for a total of 13 1/2 hours today, so I'm not going to write much (and instead I'll be tucking into bed soon), but I will leave you with a few PICS! woowho!
Enjoy & Bake Big! -Christine
(just a note: the first cake isn't finished yet... will finish it off with cupcakes tomorrow!)
I'm Currently: stressing. and antsy for Adam to get home.
Some thoughts: Today my boss held a few meetings at work. One for all of the employees, one for the interns, and then one (quick) combined pow wow. I'm not sure what the catalyst for the meetings was, but the basic gist of them was that we should all work together, act professional, and make good cakes.
One thing I took away was that he's now asking all of the interns to wear chef's uniforms to work every day. Now, since I didn't attend culinary school like the rest of the interns, I don't have a real chef's uniform to wear. So I'm not looking forward to looking like a scrub tomorrow next to all the kiddies who think they're hot shit in their white coats.
I mean, before it didn't matter that they went to school and I didn't. We all looked the same, and our ABILITIES are what made us stand out-- not our clothing.
Do I sound petty? Maybe... but truth be told, I'm nervous about being treated differently since I will not be matching everyone else. To me, a chef's coat symbolizes authority and professionalism. The fact that I'll just be in a t-shirt and an apron makes me feel like they've got one up on me.
Anyways, I'm not sure why I'm stressing so much over it. They said it would be fine to come in with what I always wear. And I'm pretty sure all of the employees will still be in t-shirts. Sigh-- I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.
I think I'll be a lot less on edge once Adam gets home... he should be touching down in about an hour... I CAN'T WAIT TO HAVE MY BUDDY BACK!!
Watching Big Bang Theory and eating a piece of bread from Terranova Bakery in the Bronx. (Thanks Vicky!)
Today after work I got a flu shot, went to the bank, and then baked at the Tea Shop in New York. We made Pumpkin Biscotti and Chocolate Chip Scones. We didn't have time to bake the scones tonight, but we got to bake (twice) the Biscotti. They smelled great-- and since we actually finished making them, I got to take some home, too!
I'm Currently: At my old job putting in some hours, helping out, (and getting paid)!
Some Thoughts: I'm sad to report that my baking shoes have seen better days. My sister's puppy was excitedly licking my shoes the other day because they're covered with remnants of icing, fudge, sugar, batter, etc. Good for the puppy-- bad for fashion.
Not only do they now look grungy, but they're not the warmest shoes during these fall months. And to top it all off, although the shoes were SUPER comfortable, they've been silently agitating my feet, and giving me a tiny bunion (gross) on each foot. I've been told that if I keep letting this happen I could eventually require surgery on my feet. (HELL NO!)
So, I must make it official, and after only 2 months of (extreme) use, I am retiring my baking shoes. May they rest in peace... and icing... and fudge.
Enjoying Columbus day & my first 2-day weekend in a while!
Eating an english muffin with peanut butter
First, let me apologize for not writing in so long. I have no excuses. I've just been so darn sleepy all the time. :-P
Second, some good news: My boss told me the other day that I can take all the pictures I would like at the bakery! So from now on, blog entries = text + pics!
And to begin with the pics-- last week I spent many hours making 'Bells of Ireland' out of gum paste. The little suckers were very time consuming-- and they were all for ONE cake! I think they turned out pretty well though. Here's a picture of the bells (and a picture of the cake is above):
Another little project I worked on last week was making animal faces for one of our children's birthday cakes. We needed samples of the animals to show customers, so I made all new faces out of fondant. I think they came out pretty cute:
These animals will go on top of one of our 'dot' cakes complete with a colorful party hat. ;)
Anyways, I'm looking forward to this week. I want to try and take lots of pictures, so I can show you about the cakes I keep referring to. Adam is away on business, so I should have lots of free time to write... We'll see how it goes.
Well, off to start the day. Until next time, Bake Big! -Christine
I feel like the past two weeks have been a blur. An event in D.C. My birthday. And lots of days at the bakery in between.
The event in D.C. went very well. It was super exciting to share my knowledge of food and food presentation with other women. I truly felt like some of the women would go home and make changes based on what they learned from me. (yeay!)
My birthday was fun, too. Adam got me a new belgian waffle maker!!! (Along with a gorgeous pair of earrings). haha I'm such a baker! I also got to see both my brother and my sister on my birthday weekend. I'll get to celebrate with my friends tomorrow night, as well.
As for the bakery, things have been going extremely well. I learned how to make sugar roses (from scratch, all by myself). My boss has been really pleased with my work. I think he's coming to see me more and more as an apprentice and not 'one of the interns'. Tomorrow we're going to be making a new flower, which is exciting. It's so rewarding to keep learning new skills!
Anyway, I feel like there is so much more to tell, but my soup is ready and it's time to watch the judging panel on ANTM! haha!
Have a good night! Until Soon, Bake Big! -Christine
I'm happy to report that dinner went well, and the cake... WAS DECLICIOUS! It's so exciting when you cut open something so pretty and it tastes awesome too! I think everyone was a little suprised by how good it was :-P Can't really go wrong with carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. mmm mmm good!
Time to finish my wine and watch the game. Will write more soon...
Finished cleaning the apartment, showering, and making myself look nice (for a change!).
Listening to Z100.
Tonight my parents and my grandma are coming over for dinner and to celebrate my (early) birthday. My gram has never seen our apartment, so I spent most of this morning straightening up and making sure everything looks perfect. I also prepped everything for dinner. I'll be making fettuccine with red sauce and chicken cutlets. My mom is bringing a salad and some fruit. And then comes the best part of the meal: the birthday cake.
Yesterday at work I made myself a small birthday cake. It was so much fun thinking of what I wanted to make. The possibilities were pretty endless. In the end, we decided that a 'serious' cake would be best (since my gram is coming over). So we passed on making a cake with elephants and bubbles, and instead I made a carrot cake with cream cheese filling, covered in sage green fondant, white dots, and a bunch of hand made gum paste flowers. I think it came out really well! A few of my coworkers guided me through it and showed me how to best attach the flowers. It was a great learning experience, and it was fun to make something that was my idea, and not something a client requested.
Overall, I'm really pleased with the results-- AND I had a blast making it. Now, well just have to see if it tastes as good as it looks. (I'll keep you posted!)
Now off to have a quick snack/lunch. Then tonight early dinner/birthday party! woowho!
I'm currently: Acting busy while Adam does an interview for HGTV. (long story)
Some thoughts: I made my first full fondant cake today! I mixed the fondant colors, covered it, decorated it, etc.! It was an 11" round light blue cake with a lavendar bow, and lavendar/white dots. Not my cup of tea, but I'm sure the kid who's getting it will love it! I also made a Giants football field cake-- complete with (cake) football on top! I had help with that one, but it was still fun. I'm learning so much, and I can't believe how much I'm doing after only 3 short weeks!
Now I'm pretty sore and tired, but also very happy that I no longer have to work two shifts on Fridays! Tomorrow morning is the end of the week. On Sunday most of the bakers are going down to Atlantic City for a baking convention. I wanted to attend too, but since I work on Monday and dont ahve my own transportation (other than the bus with the old ladies), I decided to sit this one out. I'm sure on Tuesday I'll have aan earful of stories from their adventures in AC...
Anyway, the film crew is gone now. Time to make dinner. (I'M SO HUNGRY!) haha!
I'm currently: Watching 'The Biggest Looser' Enjoying sitting down.
Some thoughts: Today was good (and long). I worked at the bakery from 7am-2:30 baking and from 2:30-8:00pm in the store.
Upstairs baking, we made about 3,000 cannoli's today. And we pulled the dough for sfogliatelle and lobster tails. I was mostly greasing the dough (with shortening) for the guys as they pulled, but after a bit the guys let me try to pull a few batches by myself. I pulled two rolls of dough, which they marked... tomorrow when they cut the rolls open they're going to inspect mine and tell me what I did wrong. haha! I'm looking forward to it ;)
We also 'dirty iced' 1 1/2 dozen layer cakes to be covered tomorrow with fondant. The guys wanted to have a competition between the interns as to who could ice one best. The icing needs to be perfectly smooth and the cake needs to be perfectly centered. Mine, though not great, were really good. They wound up not having the competition, but I think that if they had, I might have won... All that practice doing the layered cakes in the mornings is paying off!!
Anyway, so much more to tell, but I'm so sleepy! Today was a loooong day. Tomorrow, only working from 7-3ish. yeay! Then we need to food shop!
Until Soon... Bake Big! (and Sleep Well!) -Christine
I'm currently: Eating a whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter (thanks Adam!) Rooting on the METS (in HD)!!! Whoooooo
Some thoughts: What day is it?! Haha! It's already been a long week, but a very good one. Yesterday I helped my boss with a few of the 'dummy' cakes for the window display. One was a fondant cake with a tree and a multitude of fall leaves. I got to paint all of the leaves for the cake and even had some input as to where they show go on the cake. I also painted another one of the dummy cakes with an edible copper paint. Then painted a few of the hydrangeas for that cake.
Today I spent time working on layer cakes on the turntable. This is so much harder than it looks! The guy I've been working with has been doing it for 20+ years, so it's easy to feel mediocre next to him. But as they say, practice makes perfect, and I'm sure over time, I'll get it down!
We also made a bunch fo character cupcakes today. (The 'yellow bird', 'little red monster', 'little blue monster with a cookie in his mouth', etc. haha!) I also decorated another tray of the pumpkin cupcakes. One of the guys has started calling me the "Cupcake Queen". Not a bad nickname... especially when I think of all the other things they could be calling me....
Anyways, time for bed! Anther day tomorrow. Until soon, Bake Big! Christine
I woke up this morning at 6:45am feeling completely rested and amazingly sated. I guess that's what working in a bakery will do for your sleep habits!
Yesterday was a great day of work. The guy who had been training me how to do the morning cakes was out, so I was on my own-- and I didn't screw anything up! I made 6 tiramisu and 6 layer cakes all by myself! I also iced a bunch of cupcakes, helped make 2 racks of hydrangeas, and decorated a fondant cake.
By about 2pm, the guys were even crazier than normal. Two of them were (play) fighting. One guy jumped up onto one of the large tables (with a blowtorch) to chase after the other guy. He finally chased the other guy into the freezer (where he tried to lock him in). All in a days work... haha!
A little before 3pm Adam came to pick me up. It was the first time he'd ever been to the bakery. I introduced him to my bosses and everyone upstairs. They all seemed to like him, and they chatted while I finished up my work. On the way out, my boss stopped us and made us take home a box of the specialty cupcakes that I've made. (One pumpkin, one boston creme, one caramel, and one red velvet.) Adam and I split two of them last night. He liked them both, but his favorite so far is the pumpkin.
Today is my day off. Tomorrow I will be working at my old job (and getting paid!). Then Tuesday I'll be back at the bakery for a long day of baking in the morning and working in the bakery at night. I'm anxious to hear what all the guys have to say about meeting Adam. I also can't wait for the next week to begin! Yeah, it's tiring and a lot of change, but I'm really loving everything so far. It's amazing to think about how much I've already learned in just one week. I can't wait to see what week 2 has in store!
Ok, off to find breakfast (and to wake Adam up!) Until Soon. Bake Big! Christine
I'm currently: Just typing tonight. Too tired to multitask.
Some thoughts: This morning I got to the bakery at 7am. Did all the cakes for the front of the bakery, made flower parts out of gum paste, cut dots out of fondant, etc. Overall a good morning.
Around 2:45pm I went downstairs to the front of the bakery-- where the customers come in-- for my first day of training. More training? Front of the bakery? Yes and yes. You see, having a dream of becoming a baker and quitting your job to do so is all well and good-- except that leaves you without any income while you apprentice. So, I taked to the boss, and he agreed to give me some hours in the front where I can get paid.
The training wasn't bad. It was mostly a whirlwind. The hard part is going to be remembering how much things cost, and figuring out which size box to put it in. They have like 500 different cakes/pastries and it seems like no two things are the same price. And after working from 7am, all those darn boxes blur together. But I'm sure over time I'll get it.
The weird part was when everyone from upstairs came down to leave-- and saw me working. They were all like 'what the hell are you doing down here?!' I'm sure I'll hear more of that tomorrow. My friend says to tell them that it's paying my bills, and if they don't want me working up front, they can pay my bills for me. hah!
Anyway, today was a bit humbling. I'm an NYU graduate who worked my way up the ladder at a non-profit to the point where I was training other people, handling the board & committees, and answering questions of executive committee calls. Now I'm working along side sophomores & juniors in high school. Everything I do needs to be overseen by someone else. And everything needs to be explained to me. Even upstairs, it's frequent that someone will grab something from my hand to show me how I'm doing it wrong. Or will yell something at me across the room.
Sigh. I was really bummed about everything. And how overwhelming the change has been (and it's only day 4!!) Don't get me wrong- I'm so happy about the baking. But the enormous change is just a little hard to take in. And to top it off, it's Friday night, and while everyone else is out, I'll prob wind up staying in since I worked 12 hrs today and I have to be back tomorrow at 7am!
So I was bummed, but then I came home and checked my email. My former co-workers, my grandmother, and my cousins had all written me emails inquiring about how I'm doing and telling me how proud they are that I'm following my passion. It really gave me a boost. Thanks all... I needed that.
It's still so early and there's so much more to learn. Tomorrow is another day. And Sunday, my day off, is almost here. Things are looking up.
I'm currently: Chugging a tall glass of iced tea. Watching CNN.
Some thoughts: Today was day 3 at the bakery. I already feel like I'm starting to fit in --meaning they've started to harass and make fun of me. hah! The guys are really too much and too funny. I thank goodness that I'm a girl because if I were a guy I'd be getting it a lot worse. I also thank goodness that I'm Italian and a Mets fan (two things that give me mega brownie points with the guys!)
I've been assigned to decorating the cakes in the morning (with assistance, of course). Today I did a few cheesecakes, some chocolate mouse cakes, white chocolate mouse cakes, and at least a half dozen different large trays of cupcakes. We made a chocolate cupcake with hazelnut butter cream icing and a drizzle of ganache. I tried one of these that smushed. MMMM It was actually the first thing I've tried at the bakery, and it was delicious.
My favorite task today was the new pumkin cupcakes. We decorated these with cream cheese icing, and then topped them with cute little marzipan pumpkins. They're seriously adorable, and I had fun rolling the pumpkins.
Anyways, now I'm home sitting down-- since I stood for almost all of the morning. My feet are a bit sore, but I'm excited for work again tomorrow. I'm anticipating a looong day tomorrow-- I'll go into work by 7am, and around 2pm I'm going to stop baking/decorating and go downstairs to the front of the bakery (where the customers come in!). Then I'll be training/working (and getting paid!) until about 8pm. Whew!
I'm currently: Eating yogurt with fruit and granola Listening to the Yanks vs. Tampa Bay
Some thoughts: I'm officially a baker's apprentice. Today marked my first 'real' day of work at the bakery. It was weird waking up this morning and putting on a white t-shirt and cruddy pants, not 'business casual'. And although it was only about 30 minutes earlier than I am use to getting up for work, it was enough time to make it a lot darker outside.
I had to stay alert on the train to make sure I didn't miss my transfer. I was afraid my sleepy body would be on auto-pilot and take me to my old stop instead. But weirdness and sleepiness aside, all went well getting to work this morning. And when I got there, things were already going full swing.
My first job was to help decorate a few individual and small cakes (Carrot cake, Cheesecake, truffles, Mouse Cakes, etc). A big personal first: I ICED MY FIRST CAKE TODAY! Well, I've iced lots of cakes at home before, but never like this. Never on a pedestal with the correct tools and with precision in mind. The result? Well, I was pretty good. (Nowhere near great, but hey, it was my first day... and my first time!) I also cut forms for some flowers and assembled a hell of a lot of stems. May not sound like much, but this all kept me busy until around 2pm when we all helped throw together more Tiramisu then I've ever seen before.
By 2:30pm I was heading back to the train home. I threw my baking shoes in my bag and put on flip flops. When I got home I realized that the bottoms of my baking shoes were covered in icing, chocolate, batter, etc. Next time I probably shouldn't throw these into my purse... sigh.
Anyway, there is so much more to share... about the people, the atmosphere, the process of baking a few hundred cannolis today, etc. I also can't wait to write about the personalities and the way the men act (I'm sure you can guess about that one!) But all those details I'll save for another time. --I can't give away all the goodies on my first day!
Eating a yummy sandwich left over from today's party
I'm feeling quite sentimental right now. At lunch today my coworkers surprised me with a farewell party complete with scrumptious sandwiches, bright decorations, and my favorite part: cupcake decorating! Everything was so thoughtfully done, and I felt so special knowing how much effort they must have put into it. The cupcake decorating was really a fun touch. They called around the city to find a bakery that would sell them cupcakes without the icing, and then they went out and bought tons of fun icings, toppings, sprinkles, etc.
As if all that weren't enough, they made me a card, which may sound generic, but when I read it on the train home today I nearly got choked up. Everyone wrote such nice messages, and it really struck me how sincere they all are with their well wishes and excitement over my new career. And to top it all off, as a parting gift they gave me a free month of COBRA (a.k.a. health insurance). This may seem impersonal, but it actually couldn't have been more spot on. (They truly got me exactly what I needed!) And they told me about it in a funny poem that my boss wrote herself.
All in all, a really exciting day, and a wonderful party. I can't believe I only have two more (official) days of work in the office. And Tuesday I start work in the bakery!! Wow, I can't believe it's (finally) almost here...
Watching Enchanted (I admit, I still love Disney movies!)
I'm getting a scale! No, not a bathroom scale to get weighed on (which wouldn't be a bad idea with the new profession)... But a cooking/baking scale! For weighing ingredients and making 'professional' recipies. I used one last week at the Tea Shop, and it was the best! (I think I've already mentioned that in last week's blog) My boss at the Tea Shop needs a second one, and she knows I'm interested in getting one, too. So, she sent me the info, and it turns out there is a great sale on buying more than one! Long story short (too late?!), we're both getting new scales. That's right, 15k by .02 grams of excitiement should be coming in the mail soon! woowho!
Anyways, I've got to go check on the coconut pecan brownies that I'm making for Adam to bring into work. (Got to keep the boys happy!)
Stealing some of Adam's fries from White Castle. (Yeah, I said White Castle. I couldn't deny him since I was gone all night having fun up to my elbows in cookie dough.)
What a rush!! Tonight was my first night of baking at the Tea Shop. It was sooo worth the wait! We made scones with apricots, white chocolate, and toasted walnuts, the batter for sesame coins, and chocolate mud pie cookies.
I got to the bakery at 3pm, and we baked until 8:30pm. (Although it felt like I was barely there for an hour.) S was great at showing me new things and trusting me to work on my own. I thought it would be so much more difficult to bake in a bakery than at home-- but I think it's actually a lot easier.
Why do I say that? Well, for one, I like weighing ingredients as opposed to using measuring cups like I do at home. We used an electronic scale which was awesome! It's so much more accurate, and I think it may actually be faster, too!
The other great thing about the bakery is the TOOLS. Working in a bakery you have everything you could possibly need! Aside from the super cool, super-huge industrial mixer, we used simple things like ice cream scoops and scrapers which I'd never used before. S even gave me a scraper to take home! woowho!
I am dog tired right now, and I need to crash, but I'll write more soon! What a day... I hope this is a sign of things to come!!
I'm currently: Eating a biscuit & finishing a decaf iced coffee from D&D
Watching pre-Olympics stuff on tv
Some thoughts: Tomorrow I'm scheduled to bake at the Tea Shop for the first time. (Take Two!) Last time this didn't work out so well, so I'm trying not to get excited until I'm pouring ingredients into a large Hobart mixer. However, it's difficult not to get excited when I keep having to talk to people about becoming a baker, yet I still have to go to my desk job every day and wait until I get to start. I'm tired of talking about this change-- I want it to happen! Sept 2nd seems so far away. Well, at least tomorrow night should be a start!
In the meantime, tonight I baked a batch of biscuits to keep myself occupied. Since I felt the need to justify baking (again), I made one into a homemade egg mcmuffin for dinner. mmm That's sort-of healthy, right?
Ok, maybe not. Good thing I have a date with the gym tonight... I need to gorun some of these off!
Yesterday I met up with some friends and took a little trip to Brooklyn... all for something Brooklyn does very well: pizza. The trip was pretty long (PATH train to NYC and then subway over to Brooklyn). The wait was also pretty long (I left my apartment at 1:30pm and ate around 4:00pm). But all in all, it was pretty worth it.
The weather was perfect. Sunny and warm, but low in humidity (and there was actually a breeze!) The reason we had to wait so long for the pizza is that the man who owns the place (and who has been working there since 1964) makes every single pizza by himself. He stretches his own dough, grates his own cheese, snips his own basil... you get the point. This does take time, but can you say FRESH? We ordered a sausage calzone and a 'square' pie (aka Sicilian)-1/2 plain and 1/2 artichoke. My favorite was the square slice with artichoke. Every bite was full of new flavors and tastes. The whole experience was a lot of fun. (You really can't go wrong with good food and good company!) And the best part is, I have two leftover slices in the fridge to enjoy later today!
Now, I need to go fold the laundry I have been ignoring for days, and do the dishes from the chocolate chip cookies I just finished baking. The cookies came out perfectly. Nice and crisp around the edges, but soft and chewy on the inside. YUM. Now if only the dishes did themselves... that would be perfection!
Drooling while thinking about going to a pizzeria in Brooklyn for lunch...
Yesterday, Adam & I went to an Japanese Market in NJ for dinner (and goodies). [I'm happy to report that I did NOT have to drive, which was a stress reliever!] When we got there, we dove right into dinner (dumplings, fried rice, and mixed seafood/veggies). Then we searched around for dessert (my favorite part!) They had an assortment of cakes and confections, but we finally decided to go with a fresh raisin roll. It tasted similar to Challah bread that I've made before. Very soft, sweet, and light. It was the perfect cap to the meal.
After dinner we shopped in the market. We bought makings for homemade sushi, a box of frozen steamed buns, and a container of Lychee ice cream. (Yum!) When we got home, I tested the ice cream. (Double Yum!) It's very sweet, but super refreshing. I can't wait to come home hot and hungry one evening this week... that ice cream will be the perfect remedy!
All in all, a very fun experience. I would definitely go back for more supplies and to try another one of their many restaurants. Our dinner was good, but the lady at the table next to me had something that looked AMAZING. Next time, I'm having what she was having! Oh, and another raisin roll, too!
I'm currently: Checking my email Drinking a decaf iced coffee from D&D (I'm such a Jersey girl!)
Some thoughts: Yesterday was too hot to bake. So I decided to make a smoothie when I came home from work. I blended a whole banana, a handful of fresh cantaloupe, some Splenda, and ice. It was unbelievably refreshing. I don't think I even needed to add the Splenda because the melon was so sweet on it's own.
Tonight Adam & I were supposed to go to the Mets game, but our tickets fell through (There's a long, sad story behind this which I'll skip.) Instead we're going to pick up a rental car-- which I'M going to drive. Side note: I haven't driven a car in, well, I can't remember the last time I drove, but I'm guessing it was over a year ago. Then we're (safely) going to drop Adam's car off at the dealership, at which time I can turn the driving back over to Adam (thank goodness).
Then the plan is to take said rental car over to a highly recommended Japanese grocery store in Edgewater, NJ. I can't wait to see this place! Apparently they have a Japanese bakery there, too! I can't wait to check it out! I will post details and pictures tonight! Until then... TGIF!
At the office spending my lunch hour in my cubicle since its super muggy outside.
Eating a very ripe peach which got sadly bruised by being tossed around in my purse on the way to work this morning. (Sorry, Peach.)
My brother, an aerospace engineer/budding photographer took a series of photographs of me last weekend. Out of these photos, I need to pick a headshot for an upcoming event program. I'd also like to have a few photos handy for when I do other events.
You're probably wondering: Why is an aspiring baker holding a pile of fresh fruit and not a plate full of mouthwatering cupcakes?? A good question. The answer is slightly complicated. I do love baking, but I also love FOOD in general. And while I love to BAKE goodies, I can't always EAT goodies.
The hell you say?!
You see, I have type-1 diabetes. A diabetic baker? Yup, that's me. (Well technically I'm still a diabetic baker's apprentice, but that's just semantics.) Anyway, aside from baking, I do food demonstrations and tastings at events in NYC. One of the main events I work on is a Makeover Event for women with diabetes put on by DIVABETIC. In September, I'll be doing this Makeover event in Washington, DC. I'll have a station and will do food demonstrations, talk about different healthy foods, and show women with diabetes how to enjoy the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables. This may seem a little hypocritical since I'm a baker, but I like to think that both can go together. I don't see any reason why I can't be healthy, eat well, and still bake. Everything in moderation, right? Who knows... maybe someday I'll own a bakery that sells sugar-free sweets!
Anyway, the point being that I switch between two different hats: 'Christine the Baker' and 'Christine the (healthy) Food Expert'. These photos fall under my Healthy Hat.
Sitting next to Adam while he eats a second dinner of left over spaghetti and cheddar cheese. (Can you tell my boyfriend is NOT Italian??)
Dumplings. Ice Cream. Waffle truck sighting. ahhh, what a night.
Tonight I had dinner with fellow foodie, Robyn (aka The Girl Who Ate Everything). We went out for dumplings and then ice cream. Last time Robyn and I went out we had burgers and then donuts. Granted they were delicious burgers, donuts, dumplings, and ice cream, but we do have a habit of being super unhealthy when we eat out together. Taste over calories every time. (And it is soooo worth it.) Anyway, I'm already thinking up new places we can go next time. And Robyn wants to stop by the Tea Shop to visit us while we bake, and so she can write about us. (woowho!) If only I could start baking soooon...
On an unrelated note, on my walk home from meeting up with Robyn, I saw the illusive waffle truck! Some quick back story: Once upon a time, I was walking in the city at night and I saw a truck selling Belgian waffles. (Some back back story: I Love Belgian waffles.) I have told all of my friends about this truck, and on a few occasions we have tried to find it-- to no avail. But tonight, there it was, right where I had seen it last. I was too full to get a waffle (darn those amazing dumplings and ice cream!), but I did get their postcard, so I can now locate them online any time I want. I can see it already: it will be slow at work and I'll be online checking to see the current location of the waffle truck. Just great! Now I'll be dreaming of baking... waffles...
I'm currently: Singing (in my head) the song 'SUGAR SUGAR' by the Archies. Planning a shopping list including butter & sour cream so I can make a batch of super soft sugar cookies tonight
Some Thoughts: I'm still at work for the day. IT'S SO SLOW. I know, it's barely 3pm, but Mondays just seem so long! And it's so hard to concentrate on dong this work when I've already made the conscious decision to quit desk work and go bake.
Speaking of baking... Adam won't be getting home until late tonight, so I'm planning some baking of my own. My friend's co-workers have been requesting more goodies from me (I baked for her office once before). I'm thinking a batch of super-soft sugar cookies will be perfect. I would love to make mini cupcakes or even a layered cake, but I need to transport the goodies via train, and I'm afraid the icing on the cake/cupcakes would melt. Whichever I decide, I will take some pictures and post them here later tonight.
Ok back to work! Only 30 minutes until I can go home and bake!
Flipping channels between 'X-Games' and 'So You Think You Can Dance'
Savoring a ridiculously fudgy brownie that I made earlier today
Tonight's baking session at the Tea Shop turned into a bit of a bust. When I arrived, my employers were up to their ears getting ready for tomorrow's opening, so their focus was on tea and coffee, not baked goods. They were planning to still bake one thing for tomorrow, so I stuck around. However, shortly after I was there, the battery of the scale died, and the hope of baking went along with it.
The ride home on the PATH was brutal. We were packed like sardines... in an oven. When I got off the train the hot platform actually seemed refreshing. I schmoozed with the man selling ice cream in a Mr. Softy truck across the street from the station, and he dug out an ice cold bottle of water for me.
As I waited for Adam to pick me up from the station, I tried to think on the bright side. I capped my nearly drained water bottle and looked down at the ground. The bright side was right under my nose: My crazy baking shoes.
Earlier today I stopped at Macy's in search of a pair of comfortable (and close toed!) shoes that I can wear to the bakery. The result? A pair of multicolored keds complete with cherries, badminton rackets, and lots of plaids. The shoes are a little out there, which I think fits quite well with this whole endeavor-- it's ALL a little out there! Quitting my job? Crazy. Deciding to work for free as a baker's apprentice? Crazy. Multicolored Keds-- well they actually seem a bit normal in comparison.
I was invited to attend a 'tasting' at the Tea Shop where I'll be baking. I had no idea what an official tasting event was, but I wore a cute top, skinny jeans, and my most comfotable (yet sexy) peep toed pumps, figuring that I might as well look good. On my walk over I stopped into a little Thai food place and ate some Chicken Pad Thai with lots of lime. (my favorite!) My friends told me I proably shouldn't eat before something called a TASTEing, but I didn't want to show up starving and grumpy.
Well, good thing I ate.
The tasting turned out to be very laid back and relaxed. The door to the Shop said 'Private Event', which made walking in special (in it's own small way). But after that, everything was a blur of crowds and passing cups of colored tea with bubble and big straws. I didn't stay too long. Just enough to have a cup of decaf red tea with tapioca and to congratulate my two new employers.
I'm very excited to go back there tomorrow night and bake. As much fun as it was to be in the crowd watching the opening, I have to admit that sometimes I'd much rather be in the kitchen watching the oven...
I'm currently: Daydreaming about baking strawberry cupcakes topped with vanilla frosting and maraschino cherries.
Super excited about the tasting tonight at the Tea Shop!
Some thoughts: Instead of giving my current job two weeks notice, I decided to give them two weeks... plus a full month. This seemed like a good plan for everyone: I knew it would be difficult for them to find (and train) someone in only two weeks, and on the flip side, having me start at the bakery in September was best for my new boss. I've also quite enjoyed working here. Although this is not my passion, my coworkers have been wonderful to work with, and it will eventually be sad to go.
However, as I sit here in my cubicle, I can't focus on emails or spreadsheets any longer. The hum of the AC is all I can hear aside from the faint tapping of computer keys around me. My mind keeps drifting to tonight's Tasting at the Tea Shop (PS- How exciting is that?! I don't even know what a Tasting is, but I'm imagining it will be extremely glamorous and fun!) See, there I go on another tangent. I can't stop daydreaming about baking...
I've got to admit that I'm developing a severe case of senioritis! In front of the blurry text in my inbox I'm imagining images of assorted baked goods and me happily piping icing onto cakes while tuned into my ipod.
The thought is enough to make even a stronger person fidgety... and hungry, to boot! August 28th is only 30 days away... let the countdown begin.
I'm currently... Eating yogurt with peaches & 'morning mix' granola out of a fabulous bowl from Fishs Eddy. Contemplating going to the gym.
Listening to Yankees vs. Orioles on tv. Also listening to Adam shread a never ending pile of junk mail. Some thoughts: Many people have told me that they dream of quitting their desk jobs to pursue a fantasy job where they live out their passion each day. Well, I took that dream one step further.
As you may know from my baking blog, I Heard You Bake Cakes, I have a serious passion for baking. Over the past few months I've thought more seriously about this passion, and about what it would be like to bake for a living. I looked into Culinary Schools, I called numerous bakeries in NY/NJ, and I talked to past professors in the NYU Food Studies department. The more I learned, the more I loved the idea of baking professionally.
So, I've taken a huge leap. I've quit my (steady, well paid) job, and I've accepted an offer to be a (lowly, unpaid) apprentice at a well known bakery in NJ. I've also agreed to bake one or two nights a week at a small tea shop in NYC. On top of all the baking, I'll be working retail in bakeries, too (since a girl's gotta afford rent!) This experience can make or break my dream. And I'm hoping for the former.
I hope to write in this blog daily to keep a record of this extreme change in my life, and to hopefully give some wisdom (or warning!) to others who might be considering the pursuit of their secret dreams...
I recently quit my job as a Senior Coordinator at a non-profit organization to pursue my dream of becoming a professional baker. This blog is a snapshot of stories from this interesting time in my life. Enjoy! -Christine