Category: thoughts (page 1 of 10)

It’s Squirrel Appreciation Day!

Squirrel Appreciation Day

It’s only appropriate that a blog called “Squirrelly Girl Bakes” take part in Squirrel Appreciation Day! I mean, it’s my namesake!

I haven’t baked any squirrel-shaped cookies lately, but I DID make a stunning “everything” challah last night.
Challah baking process

Anyway, just a quickie today. Work has been super busy, but I have been in the kitchen baking. Now to find the time to post!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Here’s to more baking in 2016, finding inspiration in unexpected places, and lighting up faces with smiles of delight.

Happy New Year to you and yours … let 2016 be everything you hope for.

Have yourself …

Merry Xmas

… a Merry Little Christmas.

It’s National Cupcake Day … and I’m back!

Mocha cupcakes, dipped in ganache, topped with vanilla bean buttercream and finished with salted caramel
Hello my dear, sweet lovelies. It’s been awhile. You probably already had a feeling that it would be that way from my post “When you feel like you’re failing at your hobby.”

In June, I started posting my Table Matters recipes, but even that stopped. This summer I fell into myself, fell into some bad habits, and focused obsessively on training for the 2015 MS Ride. And what happened? The ride was canceled due to Hurricane Joaquin. I parted way with bad habits and influences, and now I’m here.

Baking again.

The gorgeous cupcakes you see above (more on that later in the week!) were whipped up as a fundraiser for PAWS. Thanks to a lot of hungry coworkers, I was able to raise $79, and then upped the donation amount so it’d be an even $100.

That cupcake resulted in a gig I was just hired for mere minutes ago, and since a darling gentleman friend was not able to partake in the PAWS cupcakes, I’m whipping up something custom for him this weekend.

And today is National Cupcake Day … for what it’s worth (I think every calendar day is a freaking food holiday, to be honest).

So, what are some of the good things I’ve been up to?

My new bike, out for a beautiful ride

In July I bought a new bike and sold my old bike, and I love this new bike so, so, SO MUCH. She’s fast, she’s lightweight, and together we kick some major ass.

Manhattan cupcakes

My friend Ryan has been working on bringing our group of friends together monthly to have intellectual discussions over delicious shared meals. For our first meetup, I whipped up these Manhattan cupcakes, which were a hit.

Gorgeous people at Noshhh

Liz, me, Michelle and Kevin at Noshhh, a speakeasy-style food and drink event. Gorgeous people, gorgeous night.

Tiny Japanese squirrel puzzle

A tiny squirrel puzzle brought back from Japan for me. It’s adorable, and took 90 minutes to carefully assemble.

Earl Grey Waffles

I own a waffle maker now, and in honor of my friends Ryan and Jess coming back from their wedding in Japan, I hosted a Welcome Home Waffle Brunch for them. This is a stack of Earl Grey waffles, which I HIGHLY recommend serving with honey.

I don’t have a firm plan for Squirrelly Girl Bakes, but I do know I have a backlog of recipes I’d like to share. And since I’ve begun blogging for my day job as Sass Marketing, the writing bug is back. Writing … baking … I’m feeling like myself again.

When you feel like you’re failing at your hobby

Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s been over 3 months since I last updated, and while I needed to take the time away from my stand mixer to deal with the challenges life was throwing at me and focus on moving and then going on my very first international trip, I still felt guilty about not keeping up with the things I loved doing: Baking and writing about it.

Clearly, having to pack up the townhouse, move into a smaller apartment, unpack and settle took time and energy. But it’s done now. I have my kitchen and work table set up; my Kitchenaid has it’s place on a freshly painted bookcase (it’s teal, which makes the red mixer pop … I’ve even had guests mention how I’ve displayed it as functional art); and all my bakeware is tucked into cute over-the-cabinet baskets … that are so high over my head I have to grab a step stool. Ok. So maybe I didn’t make it TOO easy to get back into the swing of things.

Treat Yo Self Waffle Cupcakes

Before moving, I made “Parks and Rec” themed Cinnamon vanilla “Treat Yo Self!” cupcakes with maple buttercream for a coworker’s bridal shower, and it felt all right. It was like I was on autopilot when I was baking. But my coworker loved the dessert, and her smile reminded me of why I, and so many bakers, do this. But it didn’t kick my butt back into gear.

It’s a weird place to be in … baking was what I did to relieve stress. To be creative. And then I’d come here, post my Instagrammed photos (très chic, eh?), and share a recipe and some words of advice. And sometimes I’d get feedback! And it was awesome. So why is it so hard now?

I think this is natural … I baked my butt off for 3 years, and now I’m in a lull. I’m not doing a cupcake a week (though there’s a chance people would be up for it). I finished up my caramel corn/cookie club. Even my writing gig with Table Matters came to a close as a new editor came in and shelved that site at the end of 2014.

But between reader Lori T. leaving a comment about how much she enjoyed making my Root Beer Float cupcakes the other day and knowing that my parents would enjoy some cookies as belated birthday and Mother’s Day gifts, I got back into the kitchen last night. I started with a simple snickerdoodle, and as the dough chilled, I started making a variation on my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (mainly because I was out of brown sugar and molasses).

I scooped. I rotated pans in the oven. I slid warm cookies off their baking pans and on to cooling racks. And while I didn’t necessarily feel triumphant, I remembered that I AM a baker. Even when I’m not doing it regularly, or when I’m not creating some sort of off the wall recipe.

I don’t have a firm plan for this blog. I want to get back into baking and sharing, but I think it’ll need to be done in a more relaxed, non-scheduled way (which is SO different from my editorial multi-schedule day job!). And when I don’t feel like writing about baking, but want to put SOMETHING out there, find me over here: Back to Philly.

2015: What will be the ‘new cupcake’?

What's the new cupcake infographic

Source: Slate.com

Thanks to the Will Write for Food newsletter, I came across the chart above from a July 2014 post on Slate.com titled “Every Food That’s Ever Been Called ‘The New Cupcake’ in One Chart.”

I find it pretty fascinating that for the past 8 years, so many food writers have been calling for “the new cupcake.” From the Slate.com article:

Since the mid-2000s, food journalists and publicists have announced new trends by calling various foods “the new cupcake” literally hundreds of times. What is “the new cupcake” according to all these trend stories? We searched news database Nexis for the phrase “the new cupcake” and tallied every instance of its use in English language publications, whether it was a writer declaring doughnuts “the new cupcakes,” wondering whether frozen yogurt was the “new cupcake,” or quoting someone else asserting that pie was “the new cupcake.”

How about this? What if we stop looking for “the new cupcake” in 2015 and simply recognize new and interesting desserts as they come along? Or acknowledge when a retro dessert makes its way back into the limelight?

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