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!


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/café 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 cliché, 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 café 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 cafés. 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.


Miracle Cookies

I realize that I haven’t posted anything in awhile, and I’ve been meaning too, but it was one of those things that just kept getting pushed back because more important things came along. Anyways, with school over and work starting up for the summer, my family had started mentioning to me that they missed having desserts and sweets in the house. There was always something to fill that desire for something sweet during the school year because I would bring home whatever I made in my labs.

Last night my sister asked me, “what can you make with what we have in the apartment?” I took this as a challenge even though she said it somewhat jokingly. In my spare time I browse Pinterest for hours looking at recipes and seeing what kinds of things are out there. I went straight to my pins and found the perfect recipe: chocolate espresso brownie cookies! This recipe called for pretty simple ingredients, like butter, chocolate, and baking powder. Being a baking student you would think that I had these in supply at all times. However, these three items proved to be somewhat of a challenge. 

I opened my fridge and all my cupboards and managed to scrounge up enough chocolate for the recipe. Surprisingly, there was no butter anywhere. What I did find though was a cup full of Tim Hortons individual butter packets. It was times like these that I was happy that my mom literally keeps everything. As for the baking powder, I also didn’t have any of this in supply. Luckily I was able to Google a substitute by using baking soda and cream of tartar. To say that I was iffy about whether these cookies were going to turn out or not is an understatement.

To my surprise, they actually turned out really well and were delicious! They tasted like brownies, but weren’t as rich. Definitely a recipe that I will keep for the future, and hopefully make when I actually have all the required ingredients! 

 


Cakes Galore!

One of the main things that we’re learning in our labs this semester is different types of cakes and the techniques used to mask them. All this means is that I’m bringing home about 2 cakes every week, not that any of my friends or family are complaining!

Considering this is my first time properly masking cakes, they’ve all turned out pretty well. The first week we made Strawberry Shortcakes and Sake Mixed Fruit Cakes. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Sake Fruit cake, only because I found the Sake flavour a little too strong in the cake. Last week we made Swiss Roll Cakes, Chocolate Dome Cakes and Black Forest Cakes. I loved doing the Swiss Roll because it wasn’t like all the other cakes. I enjoy the roll shape versus the classic cake, plus we used a chocolate ganache that we poured over the top and decorated it with a little gold dust for added effect! This week was my favourite so far. We made a Hazelnut Mocha Torte and a Banana Chocolate Torte. The Hazelnut Mocha one had caramelized pears in the centre and a buttercream frosting, which turned out to be surprisingly tasty even though it seemed like an odd combination at first. The Banana Chocolate was also a huge hit with my family!

Next week we move on to some more intricate cakes, which I’m looking forward to making and posting on my blog!

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Sake Mixed Fruit Cake

Sake Mixed Fruit Cake

Chocolate Dome Cake

Chocolate Dome Cake

Swiss Roll Cake

Swiss Roll Cake

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Hazelnut Mocha Torte

Hazelnut Mocha Torte

Banana Chocolate Torte

Banana Chocolate Torte


My First Semester Finished!

Between school and the holidays, I realize that I have barely posted anything about my baking at school and at home. I figured I would try and make a condensed post with how my first semester went!

The first half of my first semester was learning to make a bunch of different breads. While it got a little bit tedious after a while, it was actually really interesting, and not to mention, delicious! Learning to make all the different types was great, and is definitely something I would like to continue making in the future.

The second half of the semester was filled with cookies and pastries. I got to make a lot of different cookies, tarts, pies, puff pastries, and even quiche! While the cookies were not as challenging to make as the rest of the stuff, it was fun to learn new recipes. Tarts, pies and quiche were interesting because of all the different fillings and methods to doing it. Puff pastries were probably my favourite, but most difficult to master. We got to make turnovers, strudel, palmiers, and even cheese sticks. Definitely time consuming, but a great skill.

Even after baking for a semester, I still had the energy to make a whole bunch of desserts for Christmas. I made a pecan pie, a chestnut roll cake, cream puffs, ginger molasses cookies, and thimble cookies.

My first semester was incredibly busy, but an amazing experience! This second semester should be just as good. I will try my best to keep this blog as updated as possible!

2015/01/img_0019.png

2015/01/img_0018.png

2015/01/img_0016.png

2015/01/img_0017.png

2015/01/img_0015.png

2015/01/img_0013.png

2015/01/img_0012.png

2015/01/img_0014.png


Halloween Fun!

I’m not really a fan of Halloween and dressing up. But what I do like is theme baking. So any holiday I have a chance to bake for is fine by me!

I couldn’t decide what I wanted to bake so I spent countless hours (as usual) on Pinterest, liking any recipe I thought could work. After going through way too many, I decided on two types of cupcakes: Frankensteins and brains.

The Frankenstein cupcakes were probably the cutest cupcakes I have ever made. They were chocolate cupcakes with a mint frosting that was bright green. I made eyes with white chocolate and M&M’s, used chocolate sprinkles as the hair and chocolate chips as the bolts in the side of his head. They were pretty time consuming, but looked great in the end!

The brain cupcakes were a lot easier to do. They were a spice cupcake with almond buttercream that was a soft pink colour. The brain was easily done as I just spread icing on top and then piped some squiggly lines on top. Looked pretty gross/creepy, but that was the intention!

Happy Halloween 🙂

IMG_7088.JPG

IMG_7082.JPG


Catching Up

I’m a third of the way through the first semester of this Baking program and it has been amazing so far. The amount that I have learned already is incredible and being able to have fun while doing so is the best part.

We’ve been mostly baking breads so far, but it just means that my house is always supplied with fresh bread! Bringing home what I make three times a week is definitely a treat. Surprisingly, I don’t get tired of baking with all that I do at school.

This past weekend I made cookies for my old school’s homecoming. While I’m not a sports fan at all, making the cookies was really fun. I was able to find a cookie cutter set that included football themed shapes, so I used those. I ended up making too many cookies than necessary, but you can never have too much! I was actually very happy with the way they turned out. And seeing my friends enjoy them was definitely a big plus!

With Thanksgiving coming up, I have to decide what I’m going to make, but I know that my family will be happy with whatever it is. Hopefully I’ll remember to update this blog more often with the stuff that I’m making in school!

IMG_6875.JPG

IMG_6771.JPG


A Fresh Start

For about 2 weeks now, I’ve been getting anxious for school to start. So when Tuesday hit and I had my first class at a new school in a new program, I was pretty excited. After having gone through the first week of class, it has been an amazing change!

Finally being able to do something that I love is great! It’s a lot of early mornings and is hard work, but it’s worth it.

Although this week was fun, it was also one of the most stressful weeks I’ve had in awhile. Between school, work and baking cookies for a wedding, I was extremely stressed out and was lacking a lot of sleep! But as usual, everything worked out with the help of family.

I will try to keep this blog more updated now that I’m back into the whole baking scene. But to start off the year, my first dish at school was a Crème Caramel with a fruit salad and spun sugar!

IMG_6693.JPG