Red Velvet Donuts

Received my Innocent Baker Box this afternoon! Went out to get the ingredients I needed as soon as I got it in the mail!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I collaborated with them this month and they sent me the box in return for posts on all my social media and here on my blog/website. When I opened the box, they had even written me a card saying they were excited to collaborate with me and looked forward to more in the future!

For February, the product was Red Velvet Donuts with a Dark Chocolate Glaze and Salted Caramel Drizzle. It was so easy to make! All the ingredients they sent were pre-measured to make it simple. They even included a donut pan and a metal whisk to keep!

Now I normally don’t enjoy red velvet anything. I find that the taste of the red food colouring comes through too much and ruins it. However, because they used beet root powder for these donuts, I actually enjoyed them! You don’t get the taste of the food colouring, but you also don’t get the taste of beet. I love being able to use natural products as a dye for baking. The best part is that they used high quality ingredients in the boxes too. The caramel and chocolate were Callebaut which is a great product.

I had so much fun making these and posting about it on social media. I think this has made me want to do more things like this. Bake new things and post about the process on Instagram is super fun and a great way of engaging with your followers! I hope you all can take a look at my Intagram and see what I’m talking about 🙂

If you have any suggestions on what I should bake next, let me know!

Exciting Things Ahead

Pretty sure last year I said that 2017 was gonna be the year I focused more on my business, but that didn’t go as well as I had hoped. However, this year that is definitely going to happen! No more excuses, I just need to focus and get my business growing!

I get a decent amount of business currently, however it is just through friends and family. I’ve had a few customers that found me through Yelp, which is great! And I am hoping that they will be return customers as well. But I want to find a way to get my name out there more so that this can really start being more of a full time thing.

I was on Instagram last week and saw an ad for a new subscription box called The Innocent Baker. I looked into it and was intrigued! They were new and based in Canada. There premise is that in each box they send you is the non-perishable ingredients to create a dessert. I thought this was great! For anyone who enjoys baking or trying new things, this could be really fun. Subscription boxes are a huge trend right now, but most of them contain things like beauty products or clothing. For someone like me, this is more my kind of box.

So I decided to take a chance and message the company and see if they would be interested in a collaboration. They send me a box, and in return I will make the product and share the final product and my experience on all my social media platforms. Considering they are new I thought this would be great for both of us. Luckily they said yes! I am so excited to be doing this. Based on their sneak peeks for the February box, it looks like it will be something really interesting and unique and I can’t wait to receive it so I can start!

So come February, keep an eye out on all my social media platforms for my experience with the box and what the dessert is! Make sure you check out The Innocent Baker website for more information and their Instagram account for some sneak peeks!

Believe In Yourself

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been a year since I’ve finished school. I like to think that I’ve accomplished a lot for myself since then. I’ve moved to Kitchener-Waterloo, I have a job that I love doing what I’m passionate about and I have my own place. I’m also getting my business going in any way that I can so I’m pretty happy about it.

Even though I’ve accomplished a lot, it comes with a lot of stress and questions. Is this it – where do I go from here? How can I get my business to be more than just a hobby on the side? Is Kitchener where I want to live for the rest of my life?

I am the kind of person who stresses out over the littlest things and over things that haven’t even happened yet. I like certainty so things like this stress me out. It’s been a hard few months for me. It’s not easy to go from living at home to living by yourself and having to support yourself in every aspect. It is a huge change and something that takes some getting used to.

The career path that I have chosen isn’t the one that is going to earn me the most money, but it is the one that will make me the happiest. This is something that I strongly believe in following. When I graduated high school, I was on the path to become an accountant, which would have been a safe choice. But you can’t do something that you don’t love. You have to enjoy what you do or you’re going to be miserable and to me, that’s just not worth it.

I know that I am just starting off in my career and I love it already. I am getting more business these days from friends and family, especially with it being wedding season. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring for me and my baking adventures 🙂

Hello 2017!

This is going to be a short and sweet post because it is late and I work early in the morning (sets alarm for 4:30am….)!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas/holiday and a Happy New Year 🙂 I know that people always talk about resolutions and big things when the new year  begins and then it slowly becomes a memory. This year I actually want to make a resolution and stick to it so I figured I will put it out there in writing!

This is the year that I really want to do something with my business. I do cakes here and there and small cupcake orders once in awhile, but so far it is just for friends and family. My resolution this year is to get my name out there and actually get business from people who don’t feel obligated to come to me for all their baking needs! I also always say that I will try and post more, but I actually will do that this year.

So here it is, my resolution written out and published so that I can’t turn back on it. If you know me, please make sure I stick to this by any means possible!

Goodnight 🙂

Starting Young

Today I had the opportunity to visit a kindergarten class and talk to them about baking. One of the owner’s at the cafĂ© I work at asked me to come and speak to her son’s class. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but it was actually so much fun. I went in and talked to the class about going to school for baking and what types of things I bake at work. I also brought ingredients to make a simple chocolate chip cookie dough batter which they all got to help me with! While we were mixing up the batter, they asked me tons of questions about what kinds of things I bake and what my favourite things are (definitely cookies).

I also brought some mini sticky buns for them to all eat afterwards. After that, they got to try on my chef jacket and some chef hats. They loved it and had their teacher take pictures of them. It was honestly such a great experience to see these young kids so interested in baking and actually enjoying talking about it and helping out. I wish that when I was that age, I loved it as much as I do now.

I have memories of baking when I was younger and I think that is the best time to start baking with kids. They don’t mind getting messy and using their hands, plus you get to eat what you make, which is the best part in my opinion! Starting to bake when you’re young is definitely the way to go.

It’s Officially Fall

As soon as September hits it seems as if everyone goes into full Fall mode. Halloween decorations and candy are up at grocery stores, Instagrams of apple picking flood your feed, and of course, the PSL is back at Starbucks. While I am not a huge fan of this beloved drink, I am a huge fan of baking anything with pumpkin. Nothing beats making a homemade pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin. Not only does it taste better, but you get the added fun of scooping out all the pumpkin guts and toasting the seeds for a snack. Yum!

While non-bakers might shy away from homemade pies due to the perceived difficulty, there is a recipe I recently found for Pumpkin Pie Bars that result in a yummy and simple alternative to this. You start by making a simple crust that doubles as the topping. It comes out crumbly, but once packed into the baking pan, it becomes more of a crust. The filling is simple as it includes cream cheese, pumpkin puree and some spices. Pour this on top of the crust, sprinkle on the topping, and it’s ready for the oven! It’s fast, simple and delicious!

End of Summer

As clichĂ© as it is to say, this summer has flown by! I feel like I just moved to Waterloo and started my new job a few weeks ago, but it’s been 3 months. This summer has been busy and somewhat stressful, but a great experience so far.

This also happens to be the first time I won’t be returning to school in September. It feels weird to not be going back, but also feels good to be done. Living so close to two universities, this past week has been crazy busy everywhere! So many students moving out of and into apartments. So many people sad that summer is over and school is starting soon.

For me, it’s hard to say what I’m feeling. Yes the summer is over, but my routine isn’t changing as I’m not going back to school. I still feel that touch of sadness that the warm weather will soon come to an end, but I’m also hoping that this year brings big things.

It’s been hard to go straight into being a “real adult”. No more school, I moved away from home and I started a new job. As hard as it all was, it’s been great. I learned how to live on my own and not hate it, which everyone was surprised at, including myself. I recently got my first car, which has been great. It definitely makes visiting home a lot easier.

I’ve been working really hard at trying to find a way to get my baking business out there. I think that once I do a couple more small orders for people, then I’ll have more to show on my website and more people will see it or hear about it. I’m still unsure as to whether I want to specialize and just do certain products, or kind of leave it open for now and see what happens. There are tons of little kinks that I still need to work out, but I’m optimistic about what will happen in the future!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer and that whether you’re going back to school, starting a new job, or whatever else, that you enjoy yourself!

Change is Good

After graduating from George Brown back in April, I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen next. The thought of having to get a  job and be out in the real world as an adult when I am only 22 was a bit of a scary thought. And even though that’s what is happening right now, I can tell you it’s still scary!

No matter what you take in school, the reality is that it will be somewhat difficult to find a job after you’re done. It is hard to stay motivated when you’ve applied to dozens of places and still haven’t found a job. For me, I was trying not to be super picky with where I applied to. I knew I didn’t want to work in a restaurant, but also didn’t want to work at a place where they only focused on making one type of baked good, like a cake or cupcake shop. I really focused on places that were more of a bakery/cafĂ© style, so somewhere that served breakfast and lunch, but also baked all their stuff fresh in-store.

After a couple of months of looking for jobs in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and Burlington, I still hadn’t found anything. I was getting frustrated as to what else to do. That’s when I decided to try out Waterloo. I knew there were tons of places there, it was close and I loved living there when I was at Laurier, even though that program didn’t work out for me. Within the next couple of days I applied to several places, heard back from one and even had a phone interview. By the end of the week I was in Waterloo interviewing in person this time and starting to look at places to live. Less than an hour after I left my interview I was offered the job and my plan was now to move.

While this all happened so fast, it was definitely a good change for me. I’ve never lived on my own and this is something that everyone kept telling me I needed to do. Now, a week into living in Waterloo by myself and working at my new job, I’ve learned a lot. The job is great so far. It’s early mornings, but it’s worth it and I don’t mind it at all. The people there have been so friendly and welcoming and I feel like I’m fitting in pretty well. Living on my own has been quite opposite of that. I’ve definitely found it more difficult than I thought it would be to be on my own. I don’t know whether it’s just because I’ve never done it before or because it was a lot of change all at once. Luckily I’ve got a great boyfriend and friends here that have helped me this past week and made the move a little easier.

I’m hoping that it will get easier to be on my own, but for now I’m just going to take it one day at a time. I’ve got a new place to live, a new job, and now a new website for all my baking endeavours. It’s a lot of change happening all so quickly but I believe that everything happens for a reason and this was all meant to be. So here’s to change and new beginnings!

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

With only 11 more weeks left of my program, I’ve been reflecting back on my choices in the past couple of years, as well as thinking about the future. I know that I have many more years ahead of me and this is very clichĂ©, but these past few years have definitely been some of the best years of my life.

As scary as it is to make such a big life decision as completely changing career paths when you’re more than halfway done a program, it is also a very freeing and empowering moment. When I realized that accounting wasn’t going to work out for me and I wasn’t enjoying it like I thought I would, I had a panic attack. It was my first day back into a new semester, not even overwhelmed by work yet and I was freaking out about how I was going to make it through another year and a half. After many conversations with my sister and late night, half crying phone calls with a good friend, they both helped me realize that it wasn’t worth the stress to continue in a program that I didn’t absolutely love.

Looking back, leaving my program for a new school and new program was definitely what I needed and a great choice that I don’t regret at all. It was definitely hard though because I was leaving a place that I had grown to love over the years that I was there and was leaving behind some amazing friends and new ones that I had barely gotten to know yet. It was worth it though because I have never been happier and my friends have stuck with me and helped me throughout it all.

So far, this baking program has been amazing. I have made so many new friends, had some amazing chefs teach me, and even gained experience in the field. I spent half of my last semester doing an externship at a local restaurant. While it was a great experience, it did help me learn that a kitchen is not where I want to be once I’m out of school. The atmosphere is not something I enjoy. A bakery or cafĂ© is more of what I’m hoping to find since that’s the type of place I would like to open on my own, many years down the road.

It’s crazy to think that in just a few months I’ll be done school and have to be out in the real world. I’ll have to be an adult and that kind of scares me. A lot. So many things go through my mind when I realize how soon that is. Where am I going to work? What if I can’t find a job? Do I want something long term or short term? What if I move and the job I have is no longer convenient? The questions don’t stop there, but you get the idea.

I obviously have a love for baking, but I’m still not sure what aspects of it are my favourite. Do I want to do a lot of bread? Maybe pastries and cookies of some sort? What about cakes? This is something that I need to figure out before looking for a job, because I don’t want to be stuck doing something that I don’t completely love.

I think I need to start visiting more bakeries and cafĂ©s. I’ll pretend that it’s for research, which it kind of is, and then everything I sample will be guilt-free. I figure that by checking out a variety of places, I can see what types of things they do and what parts of it I like, and then go from there. Plus, I’ll get to try copious amounts of delicious baked goods and that’s not a bad thing.

For now, I just need to focus on these next few months. Focus on finishing up my last semester as best as I can and stop worrying about the things that I can’t control. I know I promise this every time, but I will try and post more, especially any upcoming bakery adventures!

Whatever the Future May Hold

I realize that I have been really bad about keeping this blog updated, but I should have some more time on my hands these days and will try my best to keep posting!

With the month of October nearing the end, it is crazy for me to think that I am already finished my classes for the semester. I am currently on my intersession week to have some relaxation time before I start my externship. For the next 7 weeks I get to focus on learning baking skills first hand in an actual kitchen. I will be working at Luma, which is an Oliver & Bonacini restaurant. The place is really nice and their staff is very friendly. It is only 3 days a week, so it will be an intense few days every week and then a few days of relaxing. I’m really looking forward to actually working with a pastry chef in the kitchen and seeing the operations of everything. I think that it’s going to be a really good experience.

Lately I’ve also been thinking about how my program is almost over. After these 7 weeks of an externship, I only have 4 months of school left and then that is it. Time to head into the real world. Am I ready to be an adult and be out in the workforce? Not at all. But it is all part of life and will definitely be an experience. Best case scenario would be to get a job with my placement after I am done and have somewhere to go to right when I’m done my program. If not, hopefully it won’t be too difficult to find a job in the area.

These past 7 weeks of classes I’ve found extremely helpful for what I hope to do in the future. We had a cafe production lab where we learned to make soups, sandwiches, salads and preserves, on top of the baking aspect. I think that it has definitely helped me determine what I want to do after school is done. I have always thought that my long term plan would be to open up my own place, and that’s still my plan. But now I have a sense of what I want it to be like. Yes, a nice bakery is something that everyone likes, but I believe that it is important to incorporate the cafe aspect as well. To be able to serve fresh baked goods, but also homemade food for sit down eating or taking out would definitely give me an edge over some other places. Plus, I have come to realize that I enjoy the cooking part of it too. While I could never do a culinary program, I think that this cafe production lab has given me enough guidance to know what to do for simple items.

It is crazy to think that at the age of 22 I will be done school and in the workforce. While this time is still far away, it is something that I’m stressing out about constantly (just ask my family)! I like to have a plan and know what’s going to happen. Uncertainty drives me crazy, but for now I will try and focus on these next 7 weeks at my externship and deal with my future at a later date.