It’s 2017 and I’m Back!

This post is being updated from 2015 when it was initially written.  That was the day that I flipped the switch and started blogging on a self-hosted site with a paid domain.  And now for the good news…  I’m back!  Blogging back here at my old stamping grounds – yay!

Please continue to stay with me as I share my new recipes, DIY projects, photographs, and my simple country life back here where it all began.

Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

Wish me luck!

Brightening a Cloudy Day

Yesterday was a fairly dreary day here in the Finger Lakes. Clouds and rain filled the sky.  However, plans had been made.  My daughter and her husband were going apple picking (rain or shine) and they promised to bring us a taste of their harvest.  In return, I offered to make Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese for dinner.  A fair trade in both our opinions.  We always like to fill our family’s bellies when we have them for dinner, and considering that most of our family doesn’t like to cook, it’s a fairly easy task for us to accomplish. 

When my daughter walked in the door her hands were full with a bright and colorful bouquet of flowers.  Apples were not the only thing she had been picking.  What a perfect way to brighten an otherwise cloudy day. 

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of these flowers to share here on my blog.  As for the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, the recipe will be forthcoming one of these days.  And the apples?  I’m going to make a batch of homemade applesauce.

Hope these help color your day bright!

My First Night of Glamping!

Ready or not – glamping here I come!

Just so you know, I’m writing this post from the Pink Paradise!

With today being the last day of July, I was slightly discouraged because the camper remodel isn’t completely done.  Of course there are a number of legitimate reasons for this.  The extreme heat this summer has slowed us down, family emergencies, illness, broken down vehicles, and lack of money are just a few of the things that have kept us from finishing her up.  Hey, it happens.

And then I had an epiphany… Why does she have to be completely finished to enjoy her?

With that thought bouncing around in my head I quickly tracked down some bedding that would fit the camper bed.  I then asked hubby for a few minutes of his time so we could convert the dining table into the bed; he graciously obliged.  As he disappeared to work on another project that was calling his name, I lit my new Yankee Camping Out candle, poured a glass of wine, cranked the tunes, and hopped up on the bed with my computer to write.  Yep, it’s just me and PInky.

Between the smell of the fresh linens and fresh air I am in heaven. The temperature inside is perfect, the dimmed lights in the camper project a warm and cozy feeling, and looking outside all I see is darkness.

I  remind myself that one of these days soon we will finish this project.

In the meantime, I will sit back, relax, and enjoy using her just the way she is.

I only wish that all of you could be here glamping with me.  What fun we’d have!

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Join Me in My Write a Letter Campaign

What is it that you find in your mailbox these days?  Junk mail?  Bills? Local advertising publications? And more junk mail? 

When is the last time you actually received an honest to goodness letter from a close friend or relative? 

It’s sad to say, but letter writing is nearly extinct these days.  I suppose it’s understandable with text messages, instant messaging, and email at nearly everyone’s fingertips. 

The reason that we  resort to our tablets, computers, and phones to communicate?  Time and convenience.

But honestly, I miss getting notes or letters in the mail (the old-fashioned way).  I miss the personal touch a handwritten letter conveys, and  I miss buying pretty stationery and notecards to  send my letters and notes on.

Can you think of someone you’ve lost touch with, or someone that you know would really appreciate a heartfelt note or letter from you?  If so, consider this post an opportunity to get in on my write a letter campaign.  It doesn’t have to be complicated or  time consuming;  just a quick note on a pretty notecard will suffice.

I happened to have these plain cards and pretty little paper flower kits (that I bought on clearance at  Michaels last fall) sitting around my craft room.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with them until I decided that I was going to write my favorite aunt a letter.  I want my letter to be as pretty as it will be personal.

Do you still write letters and notes and send them by mail?  If you decide to join my write a letter campaign, who will you send yours to?

I’m sharing this post with BeBetsy.com –  one of my favorite websites.  To help promote my letter writing campaign please share this post on your favorite social media sites!

3 Favorite Recipes and 3 Years of Blogging

Today marks my 3 years in the blogosphere.  I hadn’t even given it a thought until WordPress sent me a congratulatory message this morning.

To celebrate my blog turning 3 years old, I decided a virtual party was in order, so here are a few of my favorite desserts for you to indulge in.

These HOMEMADE LEMON CUPCAKES are one of my favorite cupcake recipes. Moist and lemony – these are perfect recipe for any Spring or Easter celebration.

This OLD-FASHIONED CUSTARD PIE WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE is one of my favorite pie recipes.  The smooth sweet taste of custard is countered with the tangy strawberry sauce.  This pie will delight your flavor buds – guaranteed.

And these CHOCOLATE COVERED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE BARS are one of my favorite bar recipes.  These cheesecake bars will take care of any craving you might have for chocolate and cheesecake at the same time.  The caramel is just a huge added bonus.

Thank you all, for reading my blog and helping it grow.  Without you, the readers, it wouldn’t be what it is today.  Your interest is what inspires me to continue baking, writing, photographing, and sharing glimpses of my country life.

 

 

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

Stop and smell the flowers

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I’ve been somewhat absent from my blog the last few weeks.  I don’t like it either.  I have a whole list of things that I want to write about, but no time lately to prepare each post. 

I promise I’ll be back in full swing soon.  In the meantime, stop and smell the flowers.

Lilacs and peonies are two of my favorite spring flowers.  What are yours?

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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!