DREAM Out Loud

Dreaming is terrifying! No, let me rephrase that… dreaming OUT LOUD is terrifying! It feels so good to dream up a future, an idea, or lifetime achievement  you’d like to see through to completion. That warm and exhilarating feeling of what “could be” feels AWESOME right?!  Can every dream just stay in this cozy little cocoon forever? Nope, sorry friends! Not if you want those dreams to become a reality…

Growing up, I didn’t consider myself very creative, or more specifically, a “dreamer.” In fact, I still RARELY remember my dreams! I never had an imaginary friend as a kid, and always learned from the triumphs and mistakes of my older siblings. I didn’t dream because I didn’t have to. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great childhood, I was very artistic, and had built-in friends with my siblings and cousins!  But dreaming was not my instinct, my logic steadily became dominant, and my dreams remained in hibernation… until now.

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalms 138:8

I am currently in a season of dreaming… dreaming of what my business will become and the next steps I will need to take to make this a reality. This word “dream” has been ever-present these last few months… and if you’re anything like me, you know to pay attention to instances that seem like coincidences! I quickly embraced “dream” as a word God is speaking into my life and wants me to live out.  My initial reaction was “Oh, cool, I get to have a fun season for a change!”…  that lasted a few weeks or so. Then, reality sunk in, the honeymoon period wore off, and I realized “Holy CRAP… I have to actually follow through with this!”  If I’m being totally honest I resisted it HARD when I fully understood this would be no cake-walk…. [oh, baking-related puns!] A dream is safe when it is in your head, only for you to know about, it reaches a vulnerable state once it is spoken out loud. All these dreams I have stored up have so much hope and freedom because they have yet to be spoken into existence. The moment we speak our dreams they become a target, at risk for future failure, and I am TERRIFIED of failure… who’s with me on the failure train?! 🚂🙋🏼‍♀️ 🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏽‍♀️ Once other people know about your dream, there comes a moment when you realize they also will know if you fail at that dream.  The challenge is to alter our perception of failure and view it as a positive step along the journey; failure is inevitable to some extent, it’s how you react to it that determines if you fall even deeper or rise to the occasion.

You can imagine how out of my comfort zone this is to start dreaming! It’s just not something I’m well-versed in. So, in an effort to keep this word at the forefront of my mind, I went out and bought myself a Giving Key with “DREAM” engraved on it. If you aren’t familiar with this company, the idea behind a Giving Key is to wear a word until you’ve conquered it, then pass it on to someone else who needs the word more than you do.  I LOVE this idea so much, and always thought if I got a key one day, it would be for something strong, like courage, or faith… no, God knew this was the word for me, the place I’m most vulnerable right now! Once I accepted my word and started wearing my key, it was like the sky opened up, and “dream” came pouring down on me… 

I thought about sharing all the ways this word has impacted me, all the instances it has shown up in surprising and bizarre situations¹… but there are just too many! Instead, I want to encourage anyone who has a dream out there, I can’t think of a person who doesn’t… whether it is that job promotion or total shift in careers; starting a family, or traveling, having the courage to step out and show the world what it is you’re made of… KEEP DREAMING THOSE BIG DREAMS!!!

“Now glory be to God, by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” Ephesians 3:20 (LB)

Sitting in this season of “dream,” I have learned to be bold in my dreams and prayers. At a recent retreat, one of the biggest takeaways for me was hearing that prayers that are ordinary and not “out of this world” are insulting to a God who can do all things. If I don’t pray for impossible things, that means I don’t think He can do the impossible. Shouldn’t we take the same approach to our dreams? You see, God has given each of us unique talents for a reason, specific strengths² that we need to succeed in the plan/dream He has in store for us! Are we using our strengths to glorify His Kingdom? Or do we think that is a job for someone else “more equipped” than us? He has already perfectly and uniquely equipped you for what’s ahead!

The first step, I’m realizing, is to say what your dream is out loud. Dreams will NEVER become a reality unless they are spoken. Yes, it’s scary to know that your dreams may not come true, but it’s so silly to be trapped in the fear of failure when the possibility of success overshadows each small failure every time. Accepting the notion that I will fail, I will fall, but I WILL get back up and try again and again because this is what I’m passionate about, what I’m gifted at, and what God has called me to do!


This is my dream… to open up a cafe/bakery of my own… No, not just a shop, more like a second home! I want it to be a place where people feel like they are going to a friend’s house… where they feel comfortable to have real and honest conversations from across the table… where they can sit back and enjoy a few laughs over a cup of coffee… where love prevails… where encouragement and self-worth are spoken… where you can DOMINATE at a game of Yahtzee or corn hole, or just as easy sit and study for an exam… where healthy eating is encouraged, but decadent desserts are occasionally indulged!  This is MY DREAM, my HOME and my Heart, and hospitality runs deep in my veins (almost as deep as the Dodger Blue my family bleeds)!  I’m excited to see the ways this dream will grow and blossom… and I invite you to witness it unfold… in all it’s imperfect glory. Everyday we have a choice… a choice to be bold, to be confident in our own skin and the talents that are unique to us, to be positive and respectful to others, and ourselves. What will you choose to do with the time and gifts you have been given?

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

What is that dream you are too terrified to speak out loud? I encourage you, speak it! SHOUT IT OUT!! The only person standing in your way it YOU! Seriously take a few hours to sit and dream… and, if at the end of your dreaming session you realize this is doable… then your dream isn’t big enough. Dream big friends, for anything is possible with our God, and dreaming small dreams that don’t require mountains to be moved by Him is not really dreaming at all.

Thank you for dreaming with me, I hope you feel encouraged to pursue your dreams, there’s honestly nothing like it!

Steven Tyler sang it best… “DREAM ON…”

Footnotes:

¹Seriously!!!  Sermons, unexpected conversations, an impromptu toast at a book launch, and even a movie I saw recently… “The Greatest Showman.” OH friends, It was so exceptionally inspirational, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack ever since! If you know me, you know how much music is a part of my life…  I mean, what is life without music right?! Oftentimes I use music to express how I’m feeling, it has helped me dig deeper into my emotions… in particular being comfortable with crying [insert visual of me crying, singing “The Last Five Years” soundtrack, while sitting in traffic on the 110 freeway]  Music speaks to me, it’s a feeling of indescribable connection when the words match perfectly to a sequence of notes. But I digress… sorry to all my non musical nerds out there! I was inspired by the entire show which was all about dreaming and embracing who you are and who you were meant to be with confidence. If you get a chance, listen to “A Million Dreams” and “This Is Me”… they embody this season of dreams and confidence I am experiencing now. God has given me this challenge to be bold and speak my dreams… and has grown my confidence through it all.

‘Cause every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake. I think of what the world could be, a vision of the one I see, a million dreams is all it’s gonna take, a million dreams for the world we’re gonna make.

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down, gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out. I am brave, I am bruised I am who I’m meant to be, this is me. Look out ’cause here I come, and I’m marching on to the beat I drum. I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, THIS IS ME!

²If you haven’t taken the “Strengths Finder” test, I encourage you to do it! After taking this test, I was able to ground my dream around my strengths… which are specifically geared toward being an entrepreneur!

Keeping Tradition

True confession… I am a five-year-old at heart and will always be the first awake on Christmas morning!  When I was a kid, this was purely because of the excitement of opening presents. I would scan each package under the tree and organize them into piles depending on who they were for; this shortened the “passing out” process so we could get straight to the “opening phase”.  Now, as an adult my routine has changed; I’m still the first awake, I start the coffee and pop in a movie while I wait for everyone else to either wake up or arrive that morning.   It is so peaceful in the early morning on Christmas day… this is one of my favorite traditions, and trust me, my family has tons of traditions to choose from!

Traditioooooooon… TRADITION!

I often tell people that we have TOO MANY traditions… it can be exhausting trying to keep up with each one, and disappointing if one is passed over. It wasn’t till recently when chatting with my good friend, Ciara, that I realized how much I truly love Christmas and how traditions play a big part in that. Ciara and I each love different holiday and couldn’t really understand why the other had an extra pep in their step during “their” holiday… so, we each tried to enlighten the other by inviting them into our world and how WE experience the holiday.

Ciara’s SPOOKY Halloween Bash!

For Ciara, it’s Halloween… so I joined her big SPOOKY bash, I dressed up, committed to the scavenger hunt, and even bobbed for apples that night! You know what? It worked! I left with a greater love for a holiday I thought was pointless for anyone over the age of 13!  But the biggest thing I learned is that Halloween encourages people to let loose and let their inner child out! I guess it’s true that expressing and sharing your passion with others becomes somewhat infectious!

When the calendar rolled around to MY favorite holiday, I had the opportunity to sit down and really contemplate why I feel so warm and toasty this time of year (and I don’t mean staying inside from the cold weather… cause Los Angeles is NOT that cold… although I’m a wimp… so I guess it applies to me).

I first thought about all the family traditions we continue throughout the years, even the silly ones like throwing candy wrappers at the Christmas Tree to give it that extra glisten, and stealing the Twilight Edward ornament back and forth from each other’s trees.

Newport Boat Parade

Traditions are definitely NOT the meaning of Christmas, but they do something greater subconciously. Traditions ground me to the notion that my family will always be there for me. When I think of the Christmas season, I know we will try to see the Newport Boat Parade at our favorite spot on the beach. On Christmas Eve, I know we will be having tamales and a full house. When I think of Easter, I look forward to the night before when everyone comes over to help roll grape leaves in preparation for our big Armenian feast. When I think of Thanksgiving, I can’t wait to see the family and friends that will be in town at our open house breakfast.  Once summer rolls around, I long for the quality time I will get with friends and family during our Shaver Lake camping trip! These are the traditions I will keep. They are traditions that are based on bringing people together.  They root me to the idea that family matters… and this has been the foundation of joy during the holidays for me.  But this year, I have had a hard time knowing that there are so many families and relationships that are broken. It lead me to question if my holiday joy was selfish or not… a kind of a Cindy Lou Who moment!

Then, I realized that family ties run deep… they are bonded together by blood. How fitting is it that our brothers and sisters in Christ are also connected through the blood He shed for us!

The grounding factor of traditions in my family therefore ALWAYS extends to our brothers and sisters in Christ and the friends who have become family over the years… if you’ve ever joined our family for one of our holidays, you can be assured that we consider you a part of the family! Traditions represent dependability… not only in family, but the dependability that can be found in Christ. You see, the world is not perfect, WE are imperfect, our families are imperfect, but we can be adopted into God’s family.  He is the one true rock and firm foundation that I can ALWAY rely on!

The funny thing about traditions is that they can be created intentionally or accidentally, yet can last for generations! That’s insane! So enjoy all those quirky family traditions this year; and if you don’t have many traditions, I encourage you to start your own focusing on bringing loved ones together!!  The reason for the season is bigger than presents and parties… it is a celebration of the greatest news and hope for all mankind! Let us celebrate this season and never forget the powerful meaning of Christmas… the birth of Jesus Christ!

My heart is so full yet so heavy… it is such an odd feeling! It is my instinct to look for the positive in each situation, but sometimes you sit in the middle and cry, and guess what… that’s ok! In fact, that’s more than okay, it’s necessary! If this season has been a tough one for you, allow yourself to feel those feelings, but remember that this is a season and it will pass.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Maisano Family Christmas Day 2017

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

~Beth

Cinnamon Rollers

#BAKEITBETH

If you are just now discovering #BAKEITBETH, let me fill you in on what it is and how it led to these amazing cinnamon rollers this past week.  #BAKEITBETH is a challenge that brings free and delicious baked goods into your life; even better, they are sweets that YOU choose!  Sounds too good to be true? It’s not.

Have you ever seen a picture on Pinterest and thought, “That looks easy! I could TOTALLY make that!”  Then, halfway through the recipe, you realize… this is not going well; only to have your fears confirmed in the end, joining many a Pinterest fails.  This is where I come in to help.  #BAKEITBETH has been created to walk you through a recipe and steer you away from common mistakes with tutorials and helpful tips & tricks.  Each week on Friday morning, Sweet Creations by Beth randomly selects a winner for the week, who will be the recipient of these delicious treats.

img_4430So, how do you enter? Great question!  Simply find a picture on Instagram and send a direct message to @sweetcreations_bybeth with the hashtag #bakeitbeth.  If you don’t know how to direct message on Instagram, see the helpful diagram I’ve created above! ☺️ This will enter you in for that week’s drawing.  You may enter as many times as you like.  Didn’t win this week? Don’t be disheartened, hold your head up high and enter again for next week… you’re bound to win eventually!

Interested in a particular recipe? Keep an eye out for tutorials and tips & tricks on the blog! More often than not, I will combine multiple recipes together, provide links to those recipes, and give you ways to succeed before starting the recipe.


Now, for the main event this week… Cinnamon Rollers!

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetFor this recipe, I stuck with the classic Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls recipe and another gem I quickly found on Pinterest for the cream cheese filling.  Here are some quick tips on mastering this somewhat daunting task:

1. Don’t Triple This!

First off, I will say that I made TWO triple batches of cinnamon rolls… looking back, I think, or rather KNOW this was a mistake. The original recipe yields 8 cinnamon rolls, so, I figured 24 seemed better, and if I offer them to the world, I may need more than 24!  My logic was sound. I felt good about this decision… that was until my dough started spilling out of not only the original pot used, but the second larger pot needed once I realized how much the dough expands after adding the yeast. 😳

2.  Make Dough In Advance


It’s always a good idea to read a recipe in its entirety before trying to tackle it.  In this case, you can make the dough a day (or even two) before.  In fact, you SHOULD make this the day before your cinnamon roller consuming desires must be met.  This dough needs lots of time to cool, (about an hour) and rise (an additional hour) before you are free to refrigerate it.  Additionally, the cream cheese filling must be made in advance and plopped into the freezer for about an hour!  Have I mentioned
that being a baker requires LOTS of patience?!

*note: while making the filling, I used less milk in my recipe to speed up the freezing process.  You’ll want this pretty solid to create a good base for wrapping the strips of dough around.

3. Work Fast-ish

Once you have a hankerin’ for cinnamon, sugar, and buttery goodness, grab half the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.  You’ll want to work quickly from here on out because the dough will start to rise and be squished by your working fingers as you roll up these yummy treats… hence the previous tip to “grab half the dough.”  Once the dough is rolled out, spread evenly with a thin layer of melted butter, and sprinkle generously with sugar and cinnamon.  Now, you can either roll the dough (horizontally) to make cinnamon rolls… or use a pizza cutter and slice a gazilion strips in preparation for the ROLLERS!!


The way I decided to do this was to fold the dough in half before slicing.  This not only made things cleaner for my pizza cutter, it made the rolling process go faster having the dough already doubled… but, to each his own.

Now, if you would like a cream cheese filling, scoop ½ Tablespoon of the frozen filling into your hand and begin wrapping individual slices over it, in alternating directions.  Your goal here is to cover the filling pretty well so it doesn’t fully escape during the baking process.  If you would rather not deal with the messy filling, go ahead and grab a strip that has been doubled, make a knot to get the ball rolling… haha (I couldn’t resist, sorry), then use single strips to complete the look of the cinnamon roller.

Place these on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and let sit for 20-30 minutes to rise.  Once these have risen, bake at 375° for 14-15 minutes, or till golden brown.  Transfer to cooling rack and drizzle with icing. ( I used powdered sugar and a splash of milk till the right consistency was reached, but now that I think about it, you should use the Pioneer Woman’s maple frosting, I’ve heard of it’s magical powers!)

3. Tasting Time


That’s it! Congratulations, you’ve made a seemingly difficult recipe look easy!  You are a pro, a master in the kitchen… you can do anything now!  I hope these tips helped! Please let me know if you get stuck on a certain step, I’m happy to help and solve any problems you may come across.

Happy Baking!!

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

Ok guys, lets be real… these cookies are AMAZING!! Really, I am drooling over here thinking about how soft and rich with white chocolate each bite is… then, the perfect crunch of a macadamia nut hits you, and, BAM! Game Over. No need to look for another recipe. I will be giving you some tips and tricks for making these cookies, but please visit Joy’s site for the full recipe and step-by-step instructions.

Confession. I messed up quite a few times making this recipe.  I find though, that it is how you recover from your mistakes that really shows who you are as a baker.  It is the same in life; we are all imperfect and will make many mistakes in our lifetime, it is how you learn from them and press forward with integrity that establishes true character.

My first hiccup with this recipe started at the grocery store… as I strolled down the aisles of Smart ‘n’ Final, I reached the section that would host my final and most important ingredient (besides butter)… macadamia nuts.  Now, as I compared the different brands and prices, I finally decided on purchasing the large bag of roasted macadamia nuts… mainly because I like to have a little extra just in case disaster strikes.  It wasn’t until I began chopping them at home that I realized they were SALTED!!  Now, this really isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but as you may know, bakers like to control the amount of salt they use in a recipe. I am no exception to this rule.  In fact, I would say I pay more attention to salt now that I’ve fallen in love with using coarse salt in most recipes.  You can imagine the slight moment of panic that followed this realization of added salt… accompanied by a Phoebe-esque “Oh No!”  Luckily, I’m quick on my feet and promptly washed off the excess salt… no biggy.

Now, the first thing you’ll want to do when you have all your ingredients is to brown the butter… this needs to cool slightly before you can continue.  Browning butter really adds to the flavor of a recipe, bringing in a nutty flavor which pairs nicely with the macadamia nuts in this case!!  To brown butter, use a pot that has a lighter bottom (to track the color of the butter) and melt the butter on medium heat, past the foamy stage, till you reach a yellow then finally brown color.  Once the color of the butter is to your liking, transfer to a heat proof bowl to cool.  Don’t worry if you accidentally burn the butter on your first go around because you had the heat up too high and weren’t using the correct pan, like I did… oops… just try again.  Note: you will find little black sediments at the bottom of your pan, this is normal and can either be sifted with a mesh cloth or added to the recipe if you prefer a slightly burnt flavor.  In my second attempt at browning my butter, I over-corrected and didn’t brown it enough.  I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes and become the fearless butter browners I know and admire.

While you wait for your browned butter to cool, you may prep your dry ingredients for later and chop up your white chocolate and macadamia nuts.  I would recommend LARGE chunks because, why not?

From here on, the recipe is pretty standard… cream the butter and cream cheese with the sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla.  Towards the end of your mixing endeavors, you’ll need to whisk the dry ingredients together before adding them to the dough, THEN fold in your large chunks of white chocolate and macadamia nuts. I made a mistake here too, and thought the recipe said to fold the chunks into the dry ingredients before mixing altogether… my bad.  The dough turned out fine though, at the expense of my poor mixer, working extra hard and, I’m sure becoming off balanced… I should have known better, I should have known. Oh well!

Before you get too excited about your cookies, please, PLEASE refrigerate your dough for at least an hour… this makes all the difference!  Chilling cookie dough solidifies the fat which takes longer to melt than room temperature dough; this means that the cookies won’t spread thin and look like wafers. (this has been a problem of mine for such a long time… patience is a virtue my friends)  Once your dough is chilled, scoop out 1.5″ sized balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350° for 11-12 minutes or till golden brown, yet still slightly gooey inside.  A tip I LIVE by is to always rotate your baked goods at the halfway mark… this will correct any hot spots you may have in your oven and evenly distribute baking.  Once cookies are out of the oven, I tend to leave mine on the cookie sheet for another minute or two till they settle in and are solid enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

You are now free to taste your cookies!  All that hard work melts away in your mouth with each bite.

Happy tasting… and happy baking!

Luck o’ the Irish Soda Bread

Well, Happy St. Paddy’s Day to you all!

I must begin by telling you how much fun I had in doing this photo shoot for my most recent Sweet Creation… Sweet Irish Soda Bread! My roommate Karley and I recently discovered our shared passion for blogging… and have utilized our unique gifts to make this photo shoot a success.  Karley is the one to thank for these amazing shots… she has such an artistic eye and gift for fashion, sure to make any girl a fashionista!  I have lived under the same roof as her for less than a year and can confidently say she has improved my overall sense of fashion and style since moving in with her… I was a boring mess!  Karley is such an inspiration to me; she pursues her passions and gifts full force and strives to devote time to things in life that will build her up and help her thrive!  She is a go-getter, my dance soulmate, face mask partner, harmonizer, and last but not least… has become a great friend!

Do yourself a favor and follow her blog NOW!!

Click here for Karley’s Blog!!

If you know me at all, you know that I am very enthusiastic and love, love, LOVE to celebrate any and every occasion imaginable! One only needs to step foot in my living room and glance up at the golden deer named “Rolf” mounted on the wall to see the current celebratory season and/or holiday displayed on his antlers (full disclosure… he is fake and from target).  One of my favorite holidays to celebrate is a day where it’s not only acceptable to pinch people, but is encouraged; a day where ordering a “Jameson on the rocks” it TOTALLY normal; a day where it’s impossible to hold back feeble attempts at an Irish accent (go ahead, let’s hear you say “Top O’ the Mornin’ to Ya!”); and a day where the color green is EVERYWHERE you look. As an Irish girl myself, I just had to devote my March blog post to this joyous day… St. Paddy’s Day!

You see, I am a myriad of different ethnicities… really though, I’m a mutt… I look like an Irish girl, claim an Italian last name, and love to see the shock on people’s face when they hear that I’m Armenian!  Sometimes I wish I could claim ownership of just a few nationalities to make my story and background a little LESS cmplicated…  but that would be so dull!!  I love the fact that my family is diverse and celebrates each part of our history, no matter how small a percentage we may actually be.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has always made an effort to make each holiday special… and St. Paddy’s Day was no exception.  She carried on many traditions, including making corned beef and cabbage for dinner and blarney stones for dessert.  As a baker myself, I strive to make connections between my heritage and the baking realm… and through the years I have grown to love the tradition of Irish Soda Bread!

Traditionally, Irish Soda Bread was a poor man’s bread.  It is made with the most basic ingredients that are also quite inexpensive… flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk (also known as soured milk).  Baking soda is used as the leaven in this recipe instead of yeast; making this a quick and easy bread to throw together in a pinch.  Also, traditional irish soda bread is made in a round shape with a scored “x” on the top (to ward off the evil spirits)… learning about these faith-based rituals is quite fun for me (I’m sure Hot Crossed Buns have a similar meaning, being popular during the Easter season).  Through the years, there have been additions to this classic bread that, in my opinion, only enhance the flavor!  The recipe I’d like to share with you is more of a sweet bread; perfect by itself and for anytime of the day.  I just know you will fall in love with this recipe and will feel comfortable making it in your own home to celebrate the day… because hey, everyone’s a little Irish on St. Paddy’s Day!  😉

Sweet Irish Soda Bread 

 1 Cup Raisins (150 g)

1 Cup Dried Cherries (125 g)

3 Cups Flour

1 Cup Sugar

1 Tbsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

¼ Cup Shortening

1/12 Cups Almond Milk

2 Eggs, slightly beaten

Sugar in the Raw (for sprinkling on top)

Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to boil. Add raisins and cherries and continue to boil for 3 minutes (this will plum the dried fruit a bit). Drain and lightly coat with flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add shortening and use your CLEAN fingers to blend ingredients together until well incorporated. Stir in milk and eggs until fully moistened.  Finally, fold in dried fruit mix until evenly mixed.

Pour batter into a well greased and floured loaf pan and sprinkle generously with sugar in the raw.  Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before removing bread from pan.

Enjoy!

Happy St. Paddy’s Day… and, Happy Baking!

Back to Basics

I’M BACK!!!!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

After a long absence, I have returned to the blogging world… refreshed and ready to start baking and blogging up a storm!!  This last year has been extremely eventful, and has forced me to put my blog on the back burner… figuratively speaking, that is.  But no more!  My love and passion for baking will not subside; I feel as if I may overflow with excitement at the mere mention of anything in the baking realm.  So here I am, leaping full force into this exciting adventure God has placed before me and intentionally steered my path toward. I’m here, I’m fierce, and I’m ready to PARTAYY!!!

Firstly, I’d like to fill you in on what has been happening in my life… For the past year and a half I have been working full time as a receptionist for an investment firm and baking any chance I can get (usually at night and on weekends).  This new position has been such a blessing in so many ways; it has given me structure and a scheduled lifestyle in a time when I needed it most.  God knew this year would be full of transitions, He never ceases to amaze me with his constant provision and protection.

Truth

In reflecting on the new year, I have been inspired to go back to the basics; to explore the purpose behind this passion of mine, and seek to make the most of every opportunity I have in this life, glorifying God along the way.  I must start with the basics, what do I know to be true?

This journey is constantly proving to expose layer after layer of insight on my life and the ways in which I am to be of service.  I am constantly seeking opportunities to use my gifts to glorify His kingdom, after all, that is the underlying purpose of all our lives.  There are two key truths that have been revealed through my passion for baking. First, it comes naturally to me. Now I know that may sound a bit old fashioned; that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, but it doesn’t make it any less true… the kitchen is my jam, the place I feel most confident and at home, the first room I explore in a vacation rental, and the audience of many a musical performances.  I am confident that God can work wonders anywhere, this includes the sometimes dirtied tiled floors of my kitchen (ok, they are more frequently dirty than I’d like to admit).  The second thing I know to be true is that I have always LOVED sharing my time through baking.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Honestly, one of my favorite pastimes is chatting with friends across the marbled counter of my kitchen.  Many a good, deep, and raw conversation have occurred there… as I’ve seen that kitchen change and transform throughout the years, I can see the similar transformation it has had on my life and relationships that have blossomed because of it. Conversations about life and purpose have taken place as I’ve sat at the breakfast nook, on the countertops, and even the floors.  It is more than just another room in the house; it is a platform in which trust is built, and lives can be changed.  The fact that I come from a strong Italian AND Irish family may have some influence on my love for feeding people and wanting to love on them using my talents in the kitchen. That being said, I know that turning back and holding onto these basic truths will continue to guide me in the future; I don’t want to bake merely to provide a tasty treat, but to influence and inspire lives along the way, and to hopefully spark a flame for a passion one may have laying dormant deep inside.

Adventures with Mabelle

Recently, I was blessed by the presence of an old friend in my kitchen once again.  It had been about two years since I last saw her, yet we were able to pick up right where we left off (kindred spirits often do).  We spent the night baking sugar cookies for a bridal shower and catching up on the things we’d missed and looking toward the future, to our hopes and dreams in life.  This may sound like a fun night to some, but the significance of it was so touching in both our lives… you see, Mabelle was there at the start of my Sweet Creations.  She is a witness of a time my love for baking truly came alive!!  Every week, I would get together with Mabelle, a then high schooler from my church youth group, and we would bake. I’d show her the basics that my mom taught me so long ago, and we would make cupcakes and experiment on lucky charm rice crispy treats! I will always cherish those weekly sessions with Mabelle; the small kitchen we had at our disposal, the shallow countertops with seemingly zero space to roll out even the smallest pie crust, and the seeds that were planted in our young conversations.  That small kitchen has since been remodeled into a bakers dream with ample counter space, and it’s two bakers have been transformed as well.

IMG_2121
#adventuresofmabelle #mybearwitness

Mabelle is now recently graduated from college, with a passion for photography, traveling, and physical education for those with special needs.  She is an inspiration to many and shows her love for life, adventure, and others through her exuberant nature.  I am blessed to know her, call her a friend, and be a small part of her story as she seeks to pursue her passions in life and use her God-given gifts.  We are each a part of the other’s story… it was through Mabelle’s need to learn the basics that sparked a deeper love for baking in me; and through those weekly sessions, Mabelle’s perspective of the kitchen forever would be transformed to one of peace and comfort.   After spending time with Mabelle in my kitchen, I realized that small, seemingly ordinary acts, done with great love, can be extremely impactful.

Isn’t it funny how God works? For me, I had to go back to the basics, both in baking and in seeking Him, to find the path God dreamed for me.  So, here I stand, at a new chapter in my life… balancing a full time job by day, and baking by night.  Sometimes life can get overwhelming and hectic, but I choose to pursue God whole-heartedly and respond to His promises.  I am so thrilled to be diving back into the blogging world and vow to share not only the talents I have been entrusted with, but also to approach this revamped blog with an open heart and mind.  Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this… I can’t wait to continue on this journey with you!

‘Til next time… Happy Baking!!

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”  -Jeremiah 29:13

%d bloggers like this: