Tastings and Truth Telling

House tidied up, CHECK. Music playing, CHECK. Candles lit, CHECK.

Am I waiting for a date to arrive or a wedding cake tasting client? That’s when it hit me… my story has brought me here; my imperfect past, disappointing failures, and quizzical stints of random hobbies have all perfectly aligned to make me excel in this industry!

When I invite a couple into my home for a tasting, it’s less about flavors and more about gaining a better understanding of who they are and what their vision is for the big day. I make it clear that flavors can be altered and textures can be changed. They think the tasting is about the cake, but I’ll share a secret with you… it’s not. The most important thing for me is the inside scoop I get when I see how they interact with each other, the subtle glances they give each other when making a decision together, the genuine smile when I hit the nail on the head with a cake that matches their personality and style. Suddenly, this couple who I’ve never met before starts to shift from stranger to friend.  It’s now more of a relationship rather than just another baking order… and my BEST work comes out when it is for those I know and love!

It wasn’t alway this way, I used to be terrified of wedding tastings… I know, odd considering I LOVE the actual wedding day itself. I think the reason tastings scared me so much is because I was nervous of what the couple would say; it was just me, this couple I didn’t know, and their raw approval of my baking skills. How terrifying is that?! The anxiety would build and the tasting would never go the way I had imagined, due to my stupid nerves and desire to be accepted as a REAL baker.

The truth is that I graduated with a psychology degree. I didn’t go to culinary school. I didn’t spend a semester in France learning how to bake classic French desserts. No, in my eyes I was a freud. I did my best to seem professional, to look like the real deal, but was always afraid that my secret would be discovered, after all… who we perceive ourselves to be will eventually be projected onto those around us. When friends would tell me how delicious my pies were or how talented I was… I would smile and say my “thank you’s” in politeness, but would never truly accept the compliment. I knew the truth. But there was a truer truth God was waiting to reveal to me…

I am LOVING the Jenna Kutcher “Goal Digger” podcast… if you haven’t checked it out… you should definitely get on that! She is not only successful and inspiring, but authentic and true to who she is and what her WHY is.  And guess what? She felt like a fraud in the beginning too! I thought I was alone in this, but am realizing that nowadays, so many of us young entrepreneurs are excelling at careers we never went to school for. The truth is in your work, not a piece of paper saying you are now qualified to do the work. God will work everything for His glory… even my seemingly useless degree in psychology.

Who am I, and what is my WHY? My WHY is not merely baking tasty treats. Those are the lure for my WHY… and let me tell you, they work like a charm. It’s about the people, the relationships that are forged over a late-night session of milk and cookies when you’re exhausted from being up all night because the baby won’t sleep or the toilet overflowed. It’s the chance to be a good and honorable person in an industry that can take advantage of a couple at the first sound of that magic work… WEDDING (we all know that prices go up the moment that bomb is dropped). It’s the opportunity to teach a skill to someone who didn’t grow up learning how to pack brown sugar the correct way, and the deeper relationship that can stem from that. It’s not really about the baking; although, yes, the baking is important. It’s about the people, and guess what… that’s what I got a degree in… understanding people!

You see, God has tailor-made each one of us to fulfill a certain purpose. Things in my past that seemed like failures at the time circle back and peek their head through in moments of clarity. God’s truer truth for my life is much more than a psycho-wanna be-baker; although that does sound like a great working title for my memoir! His truer truth is beautiful and alway evolving me into the person He created me to be… a woman of God, a woman who is capable and kind, who’s all about family (biologically and forged through friendships), loves nature, design, whiskey, musicals, Jesus, and lives to glorify His name… oh, and has a slight obsession with trying to find the best burger joint out there… so far, Oinkster takes the cake!

I encourage you to revisit those moments or seasons that seemed pointless or disappointing in the moment… you never know when they will be redeemed.

“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” -Philippians 1:6 (the Message)

When Life Gives You Blood Oranges…

When Life Gives you Blood Oranges...When trying to decide what to write about today, my mind went a million different directions… honestly, a lot of them were bleak.  It took a few minutes of stillness to refocus, remove the negativity, and replace it with something uplifting.  Let’s be real, this world is broken and dark; it’s what we choose to do in the moments of darkness that define us.

I have been watching a TV show called “This is Us” recently… it is such a beautiful mess of a family that has their fair share of struggles.  Early on in the series, [and heads up, spoiler alert!] a young couple finds out they lost one of their triplets during childbirth.  In a sweet moment overlooking his two newborns, the doctor says to the father:

“I like to think that one day you’ll be an old man like me talkin’ a young man’s ear off explainin’ to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade. If you can do that, then maybe you will still be taking three babies home from this hospital, just maybe not the way you planned.”

The couple does in fact end up taking home three babies instead of two, by adopting a baby boy abandoned at a fire station that morning.  You see, they were always meant to have three children, they were destined to be “the Big Three”…  it’s amazing how a change in perspective can turn a situation around.

When Life Gives you Blood Oranges...What are the lemons life has given you and how can you take steps to turn them into something resembling lemonade? Personally, I love lemons and don’t see why they are always depicted so negatively… they are so yummy, sour, and the zest is superb for baking… but for the sake of the metaphor, I’ll allow the connotation.  One of the “lemons” in my life is this season of “middle” I am in… a season of transition, knowing I am headed in the right direction yet eager to JUST BE THERE ALREADY!  It takes everything in me to slow my role and be content with the fact that life is a journey.

Now, I know we’ve been talking a lot about lemons, but I just HAD to share some exciting news with y’all… that BLOOD ORANGES ARE IN SEASON!!! I was at the grocery store the other day and saw them sitting there, smiling back at me, just waiting to be included in an awesome recipe.  How could I resist? I promptly scoured through the Pinterest world for some inspiration and came up with this beautiful collaboration of a blood orange upside-down poppy seed cake with an earl grey glaze… the tartness of the blood oranges pairs lovely with the hint of earl grey, almost neutralizing it, and the poppy seeds add another dimension altogether!

When Life Gives you Blood Oranges...
Blood Orange Upside-Down Poppy Seed Cake with an Earl Grey Glaze

I wish my reaction toward the lemons of life was the same as my reaction to seeing blood oranges in the produce section… I can’t wait to bring them home and transform them into something beautiful and unique.  In that spirit, when faced with “lemons” in the future, I will see them in a different light, and instead, think to myself…

… when life gives you blood oranges, what will you make out of it?

“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.  This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:13-16

Blood Orange upside down Poppy Seed cake with an Early Grey glazeWhen Life Gives You Blood Oranges...Makes 9″ Round

Ingredients

1 cup (230 g) Brown Sugar

¾ cup Oil

4 Eggs

1 ¾ cups (230 g) Flour

2 ¼ tsp Baking Powder

¾ tsp Salt

1 tsp Vanilla

2 Tbsp Poppy Seeds

Juice and Zest of 1 Blood Orange (plus more for slicing)

¾ cup Greek Yogurt (I use 0% Fage)

Butter and brown sugar for pan

Earl Grey Glaze

Earl Grey Teabag

1 cup Milk

2 cups Powdered Sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and prep your 9″ round pan by greasing it with melted butter, sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar over the butter and add slices of blood oranges in whatever design you prefer. OR if the whole “upside-down” concept is just a little too overwhelming for you, just grease your baking pan with crisco and dust with flour to make a normal cake.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar and oil till combined. Add eggs, blood orange juice, zest, and vanilla; stir till combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  4. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour. Mix till smooth, then add poppy seeds and stir till combined.
  5. Pour mixture over sliced blood oranges in 9″ round pan. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes or till cake tester comes out clean.
  6. Let cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Trim the top of the cake if needed (to ensure the cake will be level once it is flipped over) and swiftly turn the cake upside-down onto a cooling rack.
  7. While cake is cooling, steep earl grey teabag in hot milk for about 5 minutes. Combine tea, one tablespoon at a time with powdered sugar in a small bowl. Note: you’ll want to mix till a glaze is created that is not too thick yet not too runny.
  8. Once cake has cooled, transfer to desired plate, cake stand etc. and spread glaze on top, letting it spill over edges slightly.  Use an offset spatula to spread the glaze (a spoon will work just fine too).
  9. Enjoy!

Happy Baking!!

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!!

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!

Oh My Heart… Oh, and Sweetheart Cherry Turnovers

IMG_2261.JPGCan I take a moment to be honest? It being the month of February, I find it only fitting to share my heart with you… both through baking and in my own personal life.  That is why I’ve chosen these amazing Sweetheart Cherry Turnovers as my featured recipe and tutorial! Aren’t they just the sweetest? With little hearts scored on top, they are perfect for Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, or… ANY DAY!!

As much as I love these heart-inspired turnovers, their flaky crust and gooey cherry filling that yearns to escape through every creese and flaw imaginable, remind me how fragile our own hearts truly are.  I don’t often allow myself to be this vulnerable, but can I just say… the month of February is hard for a single girl!  Right as you feel you’ve recovered from the Christmas season, you realize what holiday is next on the calendar… and panic ensues.  February  is a month when the reality of ones singleness is made evidently clear through the constant reminder of love around every corner… literally.

Just the other day, I took a detour from my normal commute home to make a quick Target run… in search for a planner for the New Year. Whilst in a stellar mood, thinking about all the things that will soon be accomplish with the help of this handy dandy planner, I strolled down the aisles in pursuit of the next item on my shopping list.  As I turned the corner to look for my favorite toothpaste, I was stopped in my tracks by the sea of red and pink that made up the Valentine’s candy display.  Now, if I would have purchased my planner early in January, like most organized and goal-striving people, I would have possibly glanced at the upcoming month and had more time to process this shift of emotions that would soon come over me.  But alas, I procrastinated, and not only did I get the snickelefritz of the remaining unwanted planners, I was left with a sinking reminder of my relationship status.

The thing is, I am not a love-bashing or cynical person at all; on the contrary, it makes me happy to see others happily in love.  I’m a sap, a hopeless romantic, I LOVE love, and hope to someday join this party you all seem to be so fond of… but the fact of the matter is, I’m not there yet. I know we all go through seasons of life where we feel broken and struggle to see the light.  I would consider myself an extremely positive, strong, and grounded individual… yet somehow, this season of singleness has knocked me down like no other. Just like any other struggle, I know that it potentially has the power to daily take over my thoughts and consume me… Who am I kidding, of course there have been moments where this has happened…

But in the midst of all this, I have a hope… A light that I know will always outshine this darkness.  I know that there is work being done in me that only this time of singleness can accomplish. I know that God is good, that he hears our cries and prayers. I choose to look for the light in the darkness, not merely because it will lead me out of whatever it is I am facing, but it also will reveal what was once unseen.

I know I am not alone in this battle, there are so many who feel the pains of being alone. I encourage you to take heart, and look for the blessings and opportunities that this season has allowed.  Give yourself grace in times of frustration and guilt; your pain is real, valid and felt by so many who don’t often express it.  And know that, when others fail you (as imperfect humans tend to do), God will always be by your side guiding you and even carrying you through this.

You see, the beautiful thing about these turnovers (recipe to follow shortly, I promise) is that they take prepping and mending but also need ample room to vent and let steam loose.  May you take special care of your own heart this Valentine’s Day, whether in a relationship or not, listening and tending to it’s needs but also allowing it to be expressed to those you love.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” – Psalm 73:26

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Sweetheart Cherry Turnovers

Yields: 16 Turnovers

Pie Crust Ingredients (Makes 3-9″ pie crusts or about 16-3″ turnovers)

3 cups (375 g) All-Purpose Flour

1 ½ cups (249 g) Crisco

1 tsp Salt

1 Egg

5 Tbsp Cold Water

1 Tbsp Vinegar


Flour (for dusting)

1 Egg white + 1 Tbsp Water (for egg wash)

Coarse Sugar (for sprinkling)

Cherry Filling Ingredients:

3 Tbsp Cornstarch

3 Tbsp Cold Water

4 cups Fresh Cherries, pitted (or 24 oz frozen cherries, unthawed)

1 ⅓ cups Dried Cherries

1 cup sugar

4 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

¼ tsp Kosher Salt

 

Directions:

First, prep your pie crust! It will need to sit in the freezer for a good 20-30 minutes.  This is a great step to do ahead of time, I like to have some on hand just in case any pie-related emergency should occur… if you have some already made and frozen, just let the dough thaw till it is workable, about 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, measure you flour, crisco and salt; with a pastry cutter (or fork), blend together till dry ingredients are fully incorporated.  In a separate small bowl, lightly mix together the remaining wet ingredients (egg, water, and vinegar), add this to your dough and gently fold until just combined (this step is important! Don’t overdo it!).  Put dough in a gallon-size ziploc bag, press down to flatten slightly, and freeze for at least 15 minutes.

OR you could just go out and buy one of those pre-made pie crusts from the grocery store… I won’t judge you… but this is my favorite pie crust recipe from the Pioneer Woman, it is pretty spectacular!

While you’re waiting for your pie crust to freeze, start prepping the cherry filling.  In a small bowl mix together cornstarch and water; this will be the thickening agent for later, so set it aside.  In a large saucepan, combine remaining ingredients (cherries, dried cherries, sugar, lemon juice vanilla and salt), cook on medium heat till cherry juices are released, stirring occasionally.  This should take about 5 minutes for fresh cherries; I used frozen cherries and it took closer to 8 minutes.  Add thickening mixture and bring to boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

While that is cooling, we will go ahead and prep our pie crust and egg wash.  In a small bowl mix together egg white with water to make the egg wash, plop a brush in that and set aside for later.  On a lightly floured surface, knead dough slightly and roll out to about ⅛” thickness.  Now at this point, you can choose what shape you’d like your turnover to be! Isn’t that exciting? If I’m being honest, the ones I made were shapeless, I had extras from a Native American baby shower where I made these cherry turnovers in the shape of little TP’s.  I would recommend using a 3″ circle cookie cutter and make tops and bottoms from that; you can also do the folding-in -half method, just make your shapes larger.

By this time, hopefully your cherry filling has cooled down. Scoop about 2 Tbsp onto a 3″ pie round, then brush egg wash along the edges.  Place another 3″ pie round on top, press down the edges lightly and seal using a fork to crimp.  Using a sharp knife, create slits on top for venting; you can draw a heart, or just a few lines… whatever suites your fancy.  Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle a little coarse sugar on top.  Place turnovers on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375° for about 30-40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack.

And there you have it!  I am so pleased to share this Cherry Turnover recipe with you… it has been adapted from  a couple of different recipes, with an amazing end result (crust from the pioneer woman and filling from mybakingaddiction.com).  I look forward to sharing my future recipe collaborations with you, thanks for stopping by… and…

Happy Baking!!

Back to Basics

I’M BACK!!!!

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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.

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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.

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#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

January Special!!!

Every Month, I offer special deals on a particular baking order… in the past I’ve done Chocolate and  Regular Croissants, Thanksgiving Pies, or various Christmas Cookies. For the month of January, I will be doing something different…

I will be making Safari Cookies and selling as much as possible! Why, you might ask? Well, I recently had the opportunity to go to a fundraiser dinner for a non-profit organization that is very close to my heart… Kenya R.E.A.L.

Kenya R.E.A.L. is Reaching, Empowering & Acting in Love to make a difference in the slums of Nakuru. This organization is involved in making a difference in Kenya through feeding programs, orphan care, and water projects (just to name a few).  This amazing organization TRULY CARES for the children of Kenya!!

While attending this fundraiser last month, I began to brainstorm ways I could help… I’m not the wealthiest person out there, but I DO have the gift of baking… what if I did a bake sale… but on a larger scale? So, for the entire month of January, all my baking proceeds will be going to this wonderful organization!  I will be taking orders for Safari Cookies (available for pick up Saturday, January 25th)…

Jungle Theme Baby Shower
Safari Cookies

Normally, these cookies are $2.50 each… but I encourage you to go above and beyond and donate more, if even a dollar or two… ALL PROCEEDS WILL GO DIRECTLY TO KENYA R.E.A.L.!!!

Cookies not your thing?

You won’t be disappointed with these delicious Sugar Cookies covered with Royal Icing… but if you aren’t a big cookie fan, or think… “That’s a great cause Beth, but I don’t want cookies, I REALY need some cupcakes!!” … well then, I’ll just have to make ALL MY JANUARY ORDERS GO TOWARDS KENYA REAL!!! Yes, you heard me, order those cupcakes… it’s for a great cause!!

Place your Order Now and see the good that can become of just a few cookies!

Email sweet creations@gmail.com

~or~

Send your request here:

Introducing… ME!!!

Hello, my fellow bloggers!!!

Well, I’ve FINALLY done it… I am officially a blogger! I have a blog!! I can now ponder ideas throughout the day and think “That’s TOTALLY going on my blog!!” Secretly I’ve always wanted to say that… but now that I CAN… I think I’ll choose to exclaim it at LEAST once a week, or day… it’s really hard to say at this point.

You might be wondering what type of blog this will be… should you commit to OFFICIALLY following me? I’m just gonna throw this out there and say YES!! Yes you should! After all, everyone loves a good baking blog! I plan to make mine as exciting and diverse as possible… filled with tutorials, DIY projects, party planning tips, exciting new baking orders, and much, much more. I not only want to share pictures with you, but bring you along with me in the creative process that is Sweet Creations by Beth!!

A New Year… and a New Beginning!!

I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Resolution type of girl… but strangely, this year I am! Instead of “resolution” (since I associate that with people NOT KEEPING THEM), I will be making “Goals for 2014!”

One of my goals is already being fulfilled as we speak… This past year has been such amazing growth for Sweet Creations, which leads me to expand my horizons to the blogging world!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

and… Happy Baking!!

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