My Cookbook!

It’s all said and done!

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Finally, after countless hours in my kitchen baking, photographing, writing, editing, pulling my hair out, biting my nails, and cussing just a little, my cookbook is finally finished.

A while back  I told you that I self-published my own cookbook and there would be more on it later.  Well, it’s later.

With that said, let me get the important stuff out-of-the-way.  First off, let me start by saying that I am not, nor have I ever, professed to be an Ivy League English major.  I am not a copyright editor in any sense of the word,  I am a self-taught photographer who probably values my work far more than any professional ever will,  I am a modest home baker, and I am a sticker. 

By sticker, I mean persistent, determined, and  who doesn’t  give up easily.  Perhaps that is the best quality to have if you ever decide (like I did) to write your own cookbook.

While writing and self-publishing your book may sound easy enough, I eventually concluded that I must have been bordering on the brink of insanity when I made that initial decision.

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My cookbook features a combination of my favorite sweets recipes, along with a full-page color photo for each recipe – 90 pages in all.

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Mission accomplished!  One more thing to cross off my bucket list…

The FLX Files

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In the midst of re-organizing my blog I decided to dedicate a page to one of the most amazing regions of New York State -  the Finger Lakes (FLX).   Over my last two years of blogging  I have  portrayed this region in many of my blog posts, and it only seemed right to give those posts a place all of their own.  While strolling through the FLX files you’ll likely find photos, mentions, and stories about a specific foods, wines, places, and events here.  I welcome you to the place I call home.

Red-White-and Finger Lakes Wine

Are you a wine-ie

Say Cheese

Weekend finds, but no food post

Homemade pizza from the Finger Lakes

Willkommen to Germany

Wine, and more wine…1st stop, Eleven Lakes Winery

Finger Lakes Cork & Fork, an Event to Remember

Kitchen Disasters

A Day of Adventure

A Day at Willard Asylum for the Insane

Black & Blues

Picking blueberries and my mood

Calling All Foodies from the Finger Lakes and Beyond

Apple Filled Oatmeal Cookies

2nd Annual Finger Lakes Cork & Fork Partners & Pairings

Another Great Finger Lakes Cork & Fork

Making Homemade Wine

Writing (and) Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Holiday Gift Ideas with Pumpkin Cheese Bread

Willard Asylum for the Insane – Updates

Sunday Morning and Doughnut Holes

A historic event, a statue, and photos

Shiitake, Almond, Wild Rice Salad with Balsamic Dressing

In The Finger Lakes – Bully Hill Vineyard

A Surprising Walk

Cream Puffs, You, and The Finger Lakes

Get Out Your Soup Making Pot

Cream Puffs, You, and The Finger Lakes

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Cream puffs are one of my most favorite desserts to make.  I first made them when I was fairly new to blogging.  This was long before anyone knew who The Joy of Caking was.  Let’s just say I wasn’t on the radar back then.  And while I still don’t have one of the most popular blogs out there, TJOC has come a long way. 

I’ve made some awesome friends, established some very loyal followers, and had the opportunity to work with some great companies that have great products.  I feel very fortunate, and hope my blog continues to grow.  What do you think my chances are of replacing Martha when she retires?

This batch of cream puffs is in honor of all of you.  Friends, followers, and great companies with great products. 

I have often thought of how awesome it would be to have a huge blogger fest here in the Finger Lakes.  And if that ever comes to be, I hope for all of you to attend.  You really would be wowed with a visit to to my neck of the woods.  Wineries galore, beautiful lakes and New York State Parks, quaint towns, antiques, art, museums, history, and food.  That’s what the Finger Lakes is all about.

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Now, back to the cream puffs.  Don’t be scared of making them.  They are easy and delicious.  My suggestion; follow a recipe straight out of a dependable cookbook.  This batch was made from following a recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.  The ingredients are simple.  Water, butter or margarine, flour, and eggs.  That’s it! Baker’s note: I have had the best luck using margarine over butter.

Cream puffs can be filled with whipped cream, or in this case, I made a vanilla cream pudding from the same cookbook.  And on a scale of 1-10, the pudding was a 10. 

Have you ever visited the Finger Lakes, made cream puffs, or do you want to be the new Martha?

 

A Must Read Guest Post by Denise of BeBetsy

Preserve Your Family History with Recipes

It’s funny how things that once seemed ordinary and taken for granted become so dear to the heart as we move along in our life’s journey.

I can picture our mother with her apron on hard at work in the kitchen of our home that my parents built brick by brick.

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The kitchen walls were lined with cedar wainscot. Closing my eyes I am transported back watching my father take pleasure in our mother’s cooking. Oh what meals she could whip up! Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, freshly baked rolls slathered in butter and fresh plum jam made from the bounty of our grandmother’s tree.

It remains so vivid in my memory.

In winter the kitchen was the place to be with the warmth from the oven and wonderful smells that made your stomach churn in anticipation! I cherish those memories and right this minute I swear I can smell the chocolate, sugar and butter of the Saturday night fudge as it bubbled in that old, heavy saucepan.

Food memories are powerful and an important part of our family history. What a gift it would be to our children, and for generations to come, if through our recipes our family history would come to life!

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Shortly after our mother died my sister Sharon and her family put together a collection of our family recipes in a beautifully handcrafted scrapbook of my sister’s own design. Included were pictures of our mother’s handwritten recipes cards.

This precious memory book reminds me of how our mother’s home-cooked meals brought us together around our kitchen table. Thinking of that I smile and cry all at once.

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So scour your family’s cupboards and locate those old cookbooks and recipe cards. Spend time with the older women in your family and consider recording them talking of the foods they would prepare for their family.

What a great treasure that would be to pass on to your own children.

Please share your own precious memories!

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”
— Tenneva Jordan

I’m so glad to share Denise’s post with you.  There are few things more precious to me than my mother’s and grandmother’s hand-written recipe cards.  The preservation of their recipes is important to me, and my memories of watching them stay busy in their kitchen’s will always make me smile.

Denise and her sister Sharon are the masterminds of BeBetsy.com, a  FREE on-line lifestyle magazine. 

BeBetsy features great articles on health, beauty, fashion, money, gardening, home décor, food and drink, DIY, tech savy tips, along with information on today’s hottest products. 

Oh,  I almost forgot to mention the printable coupons and great giveaways and contests they share with readers too.

My suggestion, subscribe to their site so you don’t miss a single thing.    And why stop there? They can also be found on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook

Now, a bit more about Denise, the author of this  post.  She is the editor and co-founder of BeBetsy.  She is a writer, self-proclaimed musician, food junkie and sometimes funny person, who enjoys spending as much time as possible with her husband and family.

She loves classic cinema and indie movies and most forms of musical expression.  She loves to hike, camp, fish canoe and howl at the moon.

When she’s not howling at the moon, she spends time working-out, swimming, singing, writing, sewing, reading and telling others her opinion on any subject.  She ignores age and pretends she is 27.  (Don’t we all?)

Originally from Salt Lake City, she now lives in Southern Nevada enjoying the daily sunshine and serenity of the dessert.  Lucky girl…

 

Humility, Blogging and My Philosophy

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Do you have humility as a blogger?

Wikipedia’s definition of: “humility (adjectival form: humble) is the quality of being modest and respectful. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of egolessness.”

While everyone probably has certain criteria or expectations when it comes to blogging, I believe every blogger should exercise a little humility.  Wondering how I see a blogger showing their humility?

1.) They realize that everyone has a busy life, and while there are hundreds of thousands of blogs for people to visit,  they are fortunate that their blog was found and read by these busy people.

2.) They pay a return visit (even if just occasionally) to the blogs of other bloggers that have taken the time to drop by theirs.

3.) When visiting other blogs they take a minute from time to time to let the author’s know that they’ve dropped by; either by leaving a nice comment, hitting the like button, or sharing that post with others.

4.) They frequently reply to comments left on their own posts to graciously acknowledge them.

5.) They reciprocate and follow those who follow them on social media venues like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

6.) They answer emails from readers.

7.) They remain humble by never forgetting where they came from.

From time to time it’s understandable that a reader get’s missed in the busyness of it all, but that’s really no excuse.  Blogging isn’t all about taking, it’s also about giving.

I’d like to think I have displayed humility in blogging. Unfortunately, I have to admit I’ve seen the lack of it during the last two years since I created The Joy of Caking.  And while I’ve seen the lack of it, I’ve also seen an abundance of it.  I suspect most bloggers can easily answer the question I posed at the beginning of this post.

So, in case you don’t know it, I truly appreciate everyone that stops by to read my blog, comment, like, or follow me in some way.   Thank you!

 

 

 

 

My Sunday Morning

I’m sitting here thinking about all the things I should be doing.

1.) Start my spring cleaning

2.) Finish a blog post I’ve already started

3.) Make breakfast brunch

4.) Finish an awesome DIY project I’ve been working on that I plan on sharing

5.) Make a second cup of coffee

6.) Bake something

7.) Build my light box

8.) Edit some of my photo’s

9.) CELEBRATE MY BLOG TURNING TWO YEARS OLD TODAY!

And yet, here I sit. Finishing the last drop of my first cup of coffee and scouring Pinterest.  Don’t believe me?  Just look at my Pinterest Board.

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Happy Sunday morning!  It’s time for me to get busy…

Revisiting the oatmeal cookie

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Last spring I shared my recipe for Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies with you.  Sadly, it’s been that long since I’ve made them. 

These cookies are the perfect breakfast.  They are hearty and have sustenance.  Grab one (or two) and go. I don’t add raisins to mine but you’re certainly welcome to. 

I  told you that I’ve been writing a cookbook.  It’s finally finished and I have my first proof – yea!  This oatmeal cookie recipe appears in my book. 

Let me give you a quick glimpse of another recipe that appears in my book.

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Writing and self-publishing your own cookbook is a real chore. There are advantages and disadvantages to it which I will be discussing in a future post.  You won’t want to miss this post if you are considering self-publishing a book of any type.

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Do you have a favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, or have you thought about self-publishing a book?

I’d like to accomplish…

What’s in store for the new year?  The other day I sat down and thought about what it is that I’d like to accomplish in 2012.  My list didn’t spill off the front page and onto the back of the paper I was writing on at the time,  but the paper felt a lot heavier when I was done. 

Actually, most of what I’d like to accomplish this year appears to be a continuation from works in progress from last year.  Some things on my list are simple things like projects that need to be completed around the house, others are a little more involved.  Here are just a few of the things that made this years list.

#1 – Finish my cookbook.  I started writing a cookbook in 2011.  It’s one that I plan to self-publish.  And it’s finally nearing completion! As I’ve found, writing a cookbook can be quite time consuming.  I created my own cover, took my own photos, wrote and edited the book myself, and now I’m researching the publishing process.  My next hurdle?  Getting it printed at a reasonable price. Have you ever edited your own work before?  It’s a daunting task.  Just when you think you’ve dotted every I and crossed every T you find one that you didn’t.

#2 – Capture the attention of our New York State politicians.  I would like to see transparency in the medical billing for uninsured, self-pay patients in New York State..  Currently, the uninsured are at the mercy of each provider.  Medical fees are unregulated, uncapped, and unavailable for review in advance.  Fees for the an identical service can vary significantly from one patient to the next. I feel legislation concerning this issue is necessary.  My letters have been sent and I’m waiting for replies.  Does the state or country you live in have similar legislation?

#3 – Blog more often.  My posts can be quite infrequent.  I’d like to start blogging more and build my readership.   The tricky part of this?  Finding the time, and enough interesting things to blog about.  Any suggestions on what you’d like to see more of this year?  

# 4 –  (Promise you won’t laugh?) Learn how to take better pictures of a layer cake.  This means making more layer cakes doesn’t it? This is one of those things as a food blogger I find considerably difficult.  Does anyone have any tips that would make this task easier?   Is it a matter of having the right lens, or is it an acquired skill from lots of practice?

My conclusion after reviewing my list of things to accomplish in 2012?  Every item on my list is quite achievable.  I’m going to sign off now so I can finish that darned cookbook! 

What’s on your list of things to accomplish in 2012?

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Sunset -January 06, 2012

Writing (and) Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Once a month I write an article for a local Finger Lakes publication where my assignment is pretty straight forward.  I meet small business owners in the area who  produce foods or wines.  Some businesses have been around awhile, some are new on the block. It’s not a bad gig.

So far I’ve written about a Blue Oyster Cultivation, a local gourmet mushroom farm that grows fresh, hearty oyster and shitake mushrooms.; Lively Run Goat Dairy, a family run homestead cheese maker who produces some pretty awesome artisan cheeses with goats milk; Eremita Winery, a new winery that opened it’s doors in a beautiful, old historic church in the Finger Lakes Region this past August; and most recently,  Stony Brook WholeHeartedFoods, a company that produces the most delicious food grade roasted squash and pumpkin seed oils you’ll ever touch to your tongue.

I enjoy the challenge of interviewing and relaying information I’ve garnered from those interviews to others.  I understand that I’m the eyes, ears, and conveyor of words.  It’s my job to process, write,, and share what I’ve learned in each interview.

Writing articles for publications isn’t typically that difficult for me.  But it’s not always as simple as writing posts for my own blog either.  There are several freedoms we take for granted when we write for ourselves, versus writing on a professional level.  

When you write (blog) for yourself you can pick the topic you want to write about.  There are no assignments.  This is an advantage because you don’t have to meet someone else’s expectations.  There is no pressure.

There are usually no deadlines involved – unless of course you are have a type A personality and enjoy creating strict deadlines.  My poor brain works against itself when I know I have to interview, write, and submit my work on short notice.  An unexpected deadline almost always leaves me with a case of writers block. I don’t get that same feeling when I’m sitting in my pajamas working on a post about a batch of peanut butter cupcakes that I just made and have decided to share with my readers (on the spur of the moment).

Another freedom we take for granted when we write for ourselves is the freedom to be a little quirky. So what If I got upset with the manufacturer of our (good for nothing) refrigerator that broke after only four years of use and I decided to tell the world about it.  Yes, quirky. 

Also, as bloggers, we generally don’t have to (speed) write clear and concise notes to review later on either.  In a professional setting it can be tough trying to keep up with what the person you’re interviewing is telling you.  Especially when you doubt your aging memory. 

So think about this the next time you’re sitting at your computer trying to figure out where to start your post – remember it’s not that bad.  Relax, throw on your pajamas, be a little quirky, and write freely.  It’s a freedom we have as blogger’s.

Now, I know I mentioned peanut butter cupcakes in my title and post so I must deliver.  These cupcakes are a perfect treat anytime!

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This recipe is adapted from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 stick of butter, softened

3/4 c. peanut butter, creamy

1 c. brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. milk, any fat content

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 3 dozen mini-cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl; with electric mixer, beat butter, peanut butter and brown sugar until creamy.  Add egg and vanilla; mix thoroughly.  On low speed add in flour, baking powder, and salt and continue to mix while adding milk until batter is smooth. 

Fill each paper liner 3/4 full and bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean.

Once cool, frost with your favorite buttercream icing.  I chose vanilla and colored it purple to pretty it up a bit.

Enjoy!