Friday, October 14, 2016


The definition of networking is "a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest" and "an association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual assistance, helpful information, or the like."  When it comes to business, and especially a small business, building a referral network can help drive revenue!  Networking may seem like a foreign concept to some people, but really it can be easy.  This is all to ensure repeat business!

I guess I should have first started this post out by saying my menu is so very close to being finished.  What I mean by that is, I have come up with my list of baked goods along with the prices; but, I just need to get it into a PDF or printable format.  Until then, you can find it here on my blog. I've decided to create a seasonal pie list.  So, this will change and rotate through the seasons!

Apple Oatmeal Crumb

So, please please (if you live in the area) let me know if anything strikes you and you would like to order anything.  For now, you can simply email me what you want with a 48 hour notice.  Whether you have an event coming up, a dinner party, or even planning on watching football all day on a Sunday and don't feel like making the dessert just let me do it for you!

Here are a few ways of networking:

1) Stay in touch with your local community.  Starting and building, and strengthening relationships or partnerships with other local business owners can only help drive business for you and others.  Stop in other small businesses, after talking with the other owners see if there is a way of developing a 'Shop Local' partnership.

2) Be active on-line.  This may seem pretty easy for most people now-a-days with social media.  I, only a few weeks ago, began an Instagram account.  Which, btw, please follow-me @philadelphiabakingexperiment.   The more you read, comment, and like other businesses, topics, and events in your area the better.  I have already found out so much information about things happening in my neighborhood that I otherwise would never have known.  After noticing your on-line activity, other businesses may add you as a business contact. This alone is incredibly valuable and promotes online word-of-mouth.

3) Out-and-about networking.  While you are taking part in your everyday life routine there are opportunities for networking.  If you strike up a conversation with someone in line in front of you at the grocery store, see if it makes sense to bring up your business.  You never know who you may meet by being friendly and outgoing and talking to the people around you.

4)  Follow-up as promised.  One pet peeve I've mine is when someone, in business, says they'll call me back and they don't!  Be sure to follow-up after 24 hours and remind the person where you met.  This is a way of letting others know you are professional and courteous.  

5) Use your own friends and family to build your network.  Telling as many people as you can about your new business adventure can only lead to a bigger network.  Friends will tell other friends and so on.  This leads me to the 2nd portion of my post for today...

I've decided to make a  "Friends of PBE" page right here on my blog where I have listed a few friends and family members who also have businesses that I think you should check outBecause I understand the importance and power of networking I reached out to a few of my friends who have direct marketing businesses or other businesses that I think anyone reading this blog could find useful, interesting, or appealing.

Kierstyn for Arbonne : Arbonne skincare products, based on botanical principles with
both inner and outer health and beauty products.
Joy for Younique : Younique, most famous for their 3D Fiber Lash, also have a full skincare and cosmetic line. 
Cheryl for Stella and Dot : Stella and Dot is a boutique-style jewelry and accessories company.
Valerie owns Dermagrafix : Dermagrafix is Pennsylvania’s premiere Permanent Makeup and Training facility.
of course
Sal and Josephine (my parents) own Sicilian Trattoria: Sicilian Trattoria is a BYOB Italian restaurant.

I realize this list is really only a few people who I know running their own businesses.  So, if you would like me to add your website to my friends page, just leave me a comment or send me an email and I would be happy to!

"We all have two ears and one mouth for a reason, start by listening and seek to help, then your new contact will of course treat you the same way." -Huffingtonpost

Things are moving for me now, slowly, but they are moving!

Till next time,


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cookies Please...

Summer is officially coming to an end and for a lot of people starting school or going back to school, Fall can actually be a whole new beginning.  September can be seen as a reboot to the year.  We can all take time to reflect on what's happened so far this year, how far have we come along to our goals and resolutions we created months ago in January?  If we've forgotten these goals at this point, now is the time to start back up or make adjustments and try again.  With that being said, I've still been working on my business by doing lots of baking.  I spent some time focusing on cookies!
Here are a few photos of some "experiments" I've worked on in the kitchen.  My Brown Butter Chocolate Chip cookie is super soft.
Who doesn't love a good chocolate chip cookie?  I decided to add coated candy chocolates to some, for even more fun!  September not only reminds me of back to school, but after school snacks.  There's not too much more comforting than a warm cookie with a glass of cool milk.
I made a few twists to the classic Peanut Butter Cookie, I ditched the flour and added chocolate.  Well, chocolate in the form of Nutella!  These Nutella Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies did not disappoint.

You will never miss the flour in this rich, dense cookie.

Yummy Nutella hidden inside.
 The last cookie I experimented with was the ever classic Sugar Cookie.  How could I amp up the simple flavor of the sugar cookie with out really changing it completely?  I decided to increase the vanilla flavor by adding fresh vanilla beans.
Some people might be scared to work with the fresh beans.  But, after a couple of times, scraping a bean is pretty easy.  And the results are well worth it.  The tiny little black flecks in the finished product, not only add big flavor, but add a hint of elegance as well.
I had my little helper with me for these cookies.

Baking, for me is fun, my son Adler also has fun helping me.  He loves the dough, rolling it out, mashing it, and cutting it up.
Things tend to take much longer when he helps.  Mostly, the clean- up part.  On the other hand, having him share the joy with me, is well worth it!

Now, I may have mentioned before that I am not the best cake decorator, I guess I could say the same when it comes to cookie decorating.  However, these simple cut-out cookies are buttery, soft, and the fragrant taste make up for the simple decorations.  I have a set of seasonal cookie cutters with lots of shapes, there are obvious shapes like pumpkin for October and Umbrella for April.  But, what shape represents August?  I figured you can't go wrong with a flower and sun shape for the hot summer month. 
I decided to use a simple sprinkling of Cane Sugar to top the cookies.
The soft dough needs to be chilled for at least 2 hours before rolling it out.

Pulling the cookies out of the oven at just the right time is key.  Just when the edges turn golden brown, results in a soft chewy cookie.  Of course, if you like a little crisp to your cookie keep them in a little longer.                                   

Partner baker, as well as, taste-tester.
These cookies came out so good that they made Adler giggle till he fell over!

I've also come very close to finishing my menu, with prices!  Of course, I thought I would have this done by now.  But, I just have a couple more recipes that I want to try out first.  So, by the end of the month I'll have a final draft ready to post!  Until then, I have partnered with LocalStove.  LocalStove is a platform offering meals prepared by local cooks.  It's a great way for busy people to have access to home cooked food.  Please check them out!  I will be posting weekly offerings available for pick-up for now, possible delivery coming soon.

When I first sat down to write this post, I had the intention of talking about networking; but, I'll save that for next time...

Till then,


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Seasons of pie

Since I've decided to make Pie my business (literally) I started pondering some questions in regards to Pie...
Where did pies originate from?  What were some of the first pies to please Americans?
Do people eat more pie during during the summer or winter months?
What kinds of pies are most popular?

First, shame on me for not knowing about the APC (American Pie Council) beforehand.  While researching the answers to my questions I came across their website and let's just say it got me distracted.  Anyway, I found some interesting information about the history of pie.  Pies have been around since ancient Egypt and were made by the early Greeks, then the Romans.  And "coffyn" or coffin was the original term used for pie crust in England, as far back as the twelfth century.  The original purpose of the pastry shell was mostly to serve as a vessel and not really to be eaten with the filling.  Check out the APC site for more interesting facts.
It seems like the early English settlers brought their love of pies with them.  The types of pies made, as far back as American history began, have always been extensive.  The ingredients included meat and fowl, fish, fruit and berries, and cream and custard.  Pie was a standard breakfast dish for rural families, especially for the men who had to wake up and begin their chores before breakfast was prepared by the women.  Pies were made in large quantities during the winter months and kept frozen.  Making pies was so common in America that it's actually hard to find recipes in many old American cookbooks for such classics like Apple, Cranberry, or Pumpkin.  It was kind of assumed that every housewife had her own recipe for pastry.  This was also true for many Amish communities.  Growing up in Pennsylvania, and not too far from a large Amish community out in Lancaster County, I had always associated classic American Pies with Amish cuisine.

How can you pick a favorite?  Apple pie is not only the most common, but the most popular.  Pumpkin coming in second, Chocolate Cream, then Cherry, Pecan, and Blueberry, following up with Lemon Meringue, Key Lime, and Peach.  Other findings show that Coconut Custard, Strawberry Rhubarb, and Peanut Butter are among some of America's favorites.  Interestingly enough I found that some pies were more popular based on where the people surveyed lived in America.  Different states had different favorites.
Varieties of pies are, of course, endless.  However, people tend to gravitate towards these classics.
Bringing us to one of my other questions; what pies are typically eaten during different times of the year?  Eating foods that are in season makes sense.  And so does making pies based on what fruits and/or vegetables can be sourced locally.  With that being said, besides the obvious popular choices of say, Pumpkin in October,  here is a list of pies according to season:


Since local fruit is not in season in the winter months, for us here in the northeast, it makes sense that tropical or citrus pies tend to be more popular.  Think Lemon Meringue and Key-Lime Pies.  Of course, chocolate is always in season.


Before the berries begin to ripen, cream pies make for a perfect start to Spring.  Then later when Spring is in full bloom, berries make for a great pie; think blackberry, blueberry, strawberry and raspberry. 


Berries are still plentiful! Apricots and other stone fruits, like plums, make for a scrumptious, non-traditional pie or tart.  Peaches in August, go well in a pie by themselves or add blueberries.

*I made blueberry and a mixed berry pie for the 4th of July this year.

I decided to use blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries.  I wanted to make this with a twist and added a sweet herb simple syrup to the mix.  I melted sugar with water and a mix of basil, mint, and lemon verbena.  It went over with mixed reviews- so, I might just stick with the traditional plain sugar sweetener.
I thought it would be cute to mimic the stars and stripes of the American Flag with the pastry.

I used cookie cutters and a pastry wheel to create the design.  I had never tried creating a unique crust like this before.  It was actually easier
than I thought it would be.
I don't know if I mentioned this before, but, even though I love baking I was never very good at making my desserts beautiful. I guess I'm thinking of my cakes and cupcakes; icing and piping are not my specialties.  Since this was easy, I would like to practice and explore more decorative pastry options.

Here is the finished pie after coating the top with an egg wash and sugar.

The other pie I made was one I have made a few times in the past.  Its a slight spin off blueberry pie, by adding a small amount of pepper.  It's always a crowd pleaser.  I thought it would pair well with my homemade almond milk.  And it did!
Cracked Pepper Blueberry Crumble!

Cracked Pepper Blueberry Crumble Pie with Homemade Almond Milk

I love this pie!


As the weather begins to turn colder and the days shorter baking pie just feels right.  And nothing is nicer than smelling a freshly baked Apple Pie.  Root vegetables are readily available like sweet potatoes, which make for a great pie.  A couple of other classic fall favorites; pumpkin and pecan.

Check out this article from The Modern Farmer for a fun "Pie" Chart with suggestions for a pie a month.
In my next post I will discuss an important part of business- Networking. Which was inspired by a friend who recently contacted me about a business opportunity.  I'll of course go into more detail next time.

Until then...take care,

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Baking as a Business...

I started back at work a month ago and its been that long since my last post!  Wow, working 30 hours a week and caring for 2 young ones while trying to blog and bake and get back into pre-baby weight is not all easy. 

Entrepreneurship, self-employed, being your own boss, and business owner were all words that sparked my interest a couple of years after college.  I grew up witnessing my parents, as well as, every one of my Aunts and Uncles successfully running their own businesses from Auto Body shops to Pizzerias.  Owning and operating your own business is not a foreign concept to me at all; and my family made it look pretty easy (except for the very long hours they would put in everyday).  I guess looking back I did try my hand at business pretty early on, like when my sister and I started a baby-sitting service in our neighborhood.  And, ever since I have attempted venturing into other businesses; some of which just couldn't get started because of funding, while others fizzled out for one reason or another.  Starting this next project/business I feel much different for a few reasons.  I am going to be realistic when setting my goals and understand that not everything is going to turn out as planned, there will be bumps and hills along the way.  This does not mean that I am not also very excited and feel optimistic.  I think because I have such a love and passion for baking that it will come through in many ways; whether in my discussions with folks while networking or in my execution of product.
When I decided to start writing about my newest business adventure in this blog it wasn't necessarily to create a tutorial on how to start a business; however, I think putting myself out there and blogging will help me to be more accountable and thorough.  If this also helps someone to venture into business ownership or start baking more or be motivated in some way then great!

Here is a very rough outline of some basic concepts and steps to think about before starting a home-based baking business.  But, you can find a very thorough guide of how to start a small business in Pennsylvania here.
  •  What makes my product different from the competition?  Having a specialty or signature product will help distinguish yourself from your competitors. 
  • Selecting the kind of bakery... On-line, and baking from home or a commercial kitchen.*
  • Create a business plan, including goals, plan to generate revenue, list expenses, client base, examine competition.
  • Pricing my baked goods.**
  • Marketing, networking, branding, social media.
  • Focus on customers, ask for feedback, talk to customers, etc.
  • Grow and diversify.

* My parents decided to come out of retirement a couple of years ago to open a small Italian Restaurant called Sicilian Trattoria in Elkins Park, PA.  I try to help them out as much as possible.  I bake some of their desserts, serve tables when I can, among other things.  In order to help with food safety I took an accredited class; and I now have my ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification.  My Certification is valid through April 2020.  When I start getting orders I will be able to use a licensed commercial kitchen for my baking. 

** This is the area that I feel is one of the most important parts of a business.  After all, I am in this to make a profit (or at least not fall short of the costs).  I did a lot of research and found a great formula to follow to determine my pricing.  A couple of key things to keep in mind when figuring out prices are not only ingredients, but including cost of supplies, equipment, and operating costs into each recipe.

Here is a check list that I will be completing (not in consecutive order) over the next couple of weeks and months to really get my business started...

  • Register business, obtain a tax ID # here, 
  • Open a merchant account
  • Register new domain name
  • Set-up social media avenues
  • Create menu and price out product
  • Let people know how and where to purchase goods
  • Begin campaign, tell friends, family, co-workers, neighbors
  • Look for events, reach out to potential wholesale clients

I'll be working on all these things, of course while baking along the way.  The last thing I baked was last weekend (at least when I started writing this post). 

              My lemon thyme had survived through the mild winter we had and I just love it.  It smells so much like lemon and the petite little variegated leaves are so pretty.

I decided to try and make the Lemon Thyme Shortbread cookies again. 
This recipe is interesting because it uses cornmeal as well as flour which gives the cookies a slight savory taste and texture. 

 Nothing beats the smell of fresh lemon zest!  And the lemon thyme is so pleasant, too.
Using honey as a sweetener in this recipe adds to the earthy taste.
 I just have to take them out of the oven a teeny bit sooner next time so the edges don't brown so much.  But, other than that, they turned out really well!

Lemon Thyme Shortbread drizzled with honey

Next, I'll post some pictures and tell you about a couple of my summer pie undertakings. 
Till then take care,


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pies vs. Tarts...

The list of things I need to do to start a baking business is quite long.  Including legal matters, finding clients, and (now-a-days) having a place in the social media world.  Now, this is only naming a few things of course.  But, in order to be successful [besides having courage, discipline, and the like] is having a kick-ass product.  A couple of posts back I mentioned that I would focus my baking attention to perfecting pies.  I started thinking of some classic pie recipes that I could practice making and after doing some research I found a few tart recipes that sounded very tasty, too.  Well, what really is the difference between a pie and a tart.  They both have a crust and a filling right?

In my opinion, with pies and especially tarts, the crust must be a 10 out of 10.  Sure the filling of said pies must be delicious, too; but, to have an unforgettable, leave you wanting more crust is my first priority.  The component that is most important to me at this point is not the fillings; but, the pastry used to create an unforgettable crust.  I can still remember the peach pie I tasted years ago with the buttery, flaky, delicious crust.  Because really, when it comes down to it, you really don't have a business with out having a need and I know there are folks out there who need a good pie (or tart) from time to time.  I just thought of another post idea and area to explore... When is a good time for pie?  No - this can be answered with one word, Anytime.

Nutella Pudding Tart
Back to my original question...  What is the difference between a pie and a tart?  The article I found on refers to pies and tarts as cousins.  Some of the significant differences are that pies are typically served "from the dish in which they were baked" and a tart is "unmolded before serving."  Which makes sense when you think about the next difference which is the texture and thickness of the crust.  Since the tart is served without a mold; it needs to hold up on its own more than a pie would need to keep its shape.  Jenni Fields talks about the pastry differences here, noting that, traditionally, pies have a flaky crust and tarts, traditionally, have a crumbly crust.  I mention the word traditionally because this is not a steadfast rule.  Other differences in the pie crust vs. the tart crust is the number of crusts.  A tart only has a bottom crust where as a pie can have a single or double crust, a lattice crust, or a crumble topping.  The blog post here spells out the differences between the two pretty thoroughly.  The last major difference that I'd like to point out is the filling/crust ratio.  A pie tends to have a thinner crust that is far less in proportion to the filling.  On the other hand, a tart has a thicker and higher crust to filling ratio.

It certainly peaked my interest when I came across a recipe from Martha Stewart for Pate Sucree; because this pastry could be used for pies or tarts.  And, since I am mostly interested in the crust, as mentioned before, I thought this recipe would be perfect to try out.  I also decided I wanted to do a simple tart with ingredients I already had in the house.  I made two types of tarts today so I could compare the taste, crumble, and firmness of each.  I made a tart with a traditionally rolled out pastry using the Pate Sucree recipe
The Pate Sucree came out beautiful.  I actually had no problems rolling my dough this time!

and another with an Almond crumble crust that is pressed into the forms.  The almond crust expanded a little more than I anticipated; which wasn't such a bad thing, I just would have put a little less crumble in each tart.
I didn't spend too much time trying to make most of tge edges look very pretty.  I actually kind of like the rustic look of them when they came out of the oven golden brown.
I decided to make fig & poppy seed, strawberry & sesame seed, apricot & coconut, and blueberry & almond.

I couldn't decide which one to try first.  The smell was amazing.

I was worried to fill the cups too much; but, the overflow was not too bad.

Again, I was trying to use ingredients I had already in the house and I thought the strawberries would pair well with the Nutella and chocolate.  And they did!
Martha, as usual, did not let me down.  The crust was flaky, yet sturdy enough to hold up on its own.  I will certainly be using this dough in the future!  The only thing I would do differently with this tart is to make the Nutella filling more prominent in flavor.  To me, it tasted more like chocolate, not Nutella (which wasn't a terrible thing of course).

Flaky crust.

There are a few more tart crust recipes I will be experimenting with, like shortbread and puff pastry.  Then, on to the basic pie crust.

I'll keep you posted...


Thursday, May 5, 2016

What am I doing wrong this time?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had success the first time attempting something, only to find that the second attempt was somehow not as easy as the first.
Well, honestly, I have baked many pies in the past that have turned out awesome.  I'll have to confess there was a period of time when I cheated and bought frozen pie crust from the grocery store.  As with most people it made for a quick easy task of baking a "home-made" pie.  I then tasted a friend of mine's mother's peach pie and was in awe of the crust!
Since then, I've always attempted to make my crust from scratch.  Like I said, my pies have come out good for the most part.  Then, my husband introduced me to an Amish recipe last summer that was totally different from any recipe that I've seen before, calling for vegetable oil and milk.  It was the best pie crust I've ever made!

Since I've decided to go with Pies as my signature baked item; I've also decided to do as much research and study on pies and pastry I can so, I can create the best pie my family, friends, and potential clients have ever tasted.

In my last post I talked about my successful first attempt at baking mini pies.  The two biggest take-a-ways from my first mini pie attempt was; one, the pies need a nice finished look, like with a sprinkling of sugar crystals.  And two, the filling could have been a tad less tart and a little sweeter.

Well, my second attempt at mini pies did not pan out quite as I hoped.  My dough kept sticking!!

All of these thoughts are racing through my mind as I just want to get this done (after all I only have so much time in between feedings for my little new born).

  1. "Duh, Why am I not using the silicone matte?" - Dough continues to stick to rolling pin
  2. "Wax paper!"
  3.  "I should just give up, Adler will love playing with this dough."
  4.  "No, I'm not giving up, iIve done this countless times before."
  5.  "Maybe it's too hot in here, I am starting to sweat."
  6. "Double wax paper (which I've never had to do before)"

After over an hour of rolling and re-rolling, and freezing and refrigerating, and breaking into a sweat.  I realized that if I lift the dough after every other stroke or so, and turn it clockwise a little each time the dough wouldn't stick to the wax paper.  Finally, I was able to get the dough large enough that I decided to just go for one large pie.  The pie was completed and tasted good.  However, of course the crust was not the consistency that I wanted.  On the other hand, I used a little less lemon and did a combination of white and brown sugar that created a tasty, not too sweet, not too tart apple filling.  Next, is to perfect the crust; I want a flaky, melt in your mouth kind.

I did decide to do a little research in ways of rolling out dough and how to prevent sticking; so, in the future I don't break into a sweat again.  Also, I felt like using wax paper was somehow cheating.

A few tips I've encountered were:

- Chill dough (I already knew that)
- Chill counter top (using ice-packs)
- Use powered sugar or cornstarch instead of flour to dust work surface

Here are a couple of really helpful articles...

Let them eat pie...
How to roll..

My next post I will discuss the different kinds of pastry; I think I might actually hold a taste test to compare all butter vs. butter and shortening vs. butter and lard, etc.

Till then...


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

If at first you don't succeed...

I wasn't quite sure what the title of this post should be because I wanted to tell you all about the story of my recent jump into putting myself out there.  But, I also wanted to talk a little bit about my successful first attempt at mini pies using Mason Jar lids.

First, I'll explain how my husband helped push me towards my first step [on this journey I'm beginning] to becoming more than just a home baker.  I had mentioned many times to him that I would love to be able to bake for a living and that I thought a great starting point would be to bake for some local coffee shops and small eateries.  
The Sunday, two weeks before my baby was due, we decided to check out the newest coffee shop that just opened up in our neighborhood.  As we entered, I noticed right away that there was no sign of baked goods in sight.  Not even a cookie jar of Biscotti or even prepackaged granola bars.  My husband, son, and I took a seat to enjoy our coffees, sans any type of baked treat, and I mentioned my observation.  We also observed that the next group of customers asked what selection of baked goods they had and the cashier told them that since they are so new they weren't sure how much to order and that they had sold out for the day.  (Mind you this was about an hour before closing.)
My husband immediately told me I should go up to the counter and say, "I bake, can I bring you some samples?"  I was hesitant and felt intimidated.  He said, "OK, I'll do it for you."  So, on our way out he went for it.  He told the barista (whom we thought was the owner) that my wife bakes, can she bring some samples.  He asked me what I can bake, I rattled off some things and he mentioned that he would be interested in scones.
So, the pressure was on, I really had to do this.  I needed to bake some samples for my first potential client.  The next couple of days I spent time trying to find the perfect font for my business name, started a rough draft of a menu pamphlet, bought some supplies I needed, and looked up recipes for things to bake.  It was eventually the end of the week and I hadn't really completed anything.  I had wanted to present myself in a professional way, to show this coffee shop owner that I was a legitimate baker.  My husband said that stuff doesn't matter, just bake the goods and write your name and number on the box.
So, Saturday came and I had my list of what I was going to bake.
And, oh what a list I had:
  1. Bagels
  2. Almond Biscotti
  3. Orange Pistachio Biscotti
  4. Ricotta Blueberry Scones
  5. Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
  6. Apple Cinnamon Muffins
  7. Chocolate Chia Seed Muffins
  8. Amish Cinnamon Buns 
One could say I was over ambitious with this list.  I baked for over 15 hours that day, all while being nine months pregnant.  This was a Saturday, I wanted to deliver everything Sunday morning, one week after we had first visited the coffee shop, and only 5 days till my due date.  But, I did it.  I even had to bake the Poppy Seed scones twice, because the first batch did not come out right.  The bagels did not come out the way I wanted either, they were deflated and some of them were soggy and a bit raw.  That didn't matter so much though, because I had plenty of other things to showcase my baking skills.
Sunday morning came, I placed two bakery boxes full of my creations in a bag and was off to make my first delivery.
I walk into the shop and my heart began to sink a little as I see the, once empty counter top, filled with glass cases of what clearly looked like professionally made baked treats.  No matter, I told myself, he could still like one or two of what I made and add it to his collection.
I ordered a Vanilla Chai and said with a smile, something to the affect of, here are the samples I said I would bring. 
Joe, who turned out to be the owner, did remembered me.  As I was waiting for my Chai, he said he hoped it wasn't too inconvenient to have baked for him.  And I thought to myself; man, you have no idea how long I spent on these things.  But, with a smile, saying, "Oh no, not at all."  He said he would give them a try after it slowed down a little.  He thanked me for bringing the samples and I went on my way.
Here we are one month later and I still haven't heard back from Joe.

Some mistakes to avoid next time I put myself out there...

  1.  Don't spread myself too thin and attempt to bake too many different items.
  2.  Present myself more professionally, be prepared with some information about myself in writing along with a menu/options for them to review.
  3. Be sure the samples I bring are stellar; not over baked, dry, or lacking in presentation.  
  4. Follow-up, don't be afraid to give a call a few days later.
After researching and reading articles about creating a baking business.  My biggest take-a-way is, become great at one signature item.  I can be more creative and expand on more items down the road; but, with most successful bakeries, they are really good at one particular product.

After lots of thought and consideration, I have decided that my key item will be pie.  The great thing about pie is that the options are limitless.  I can still be creative in my flavors and my ingredient combinations as long as I perfect the crust.

My first attempt at mini pies using Mason Jar lids turned out great!

My son loved them, too!  After all, who doesn't love pie?

I will continue writing about my adventures in making pastry and perfecting my pie crust in the next few posts.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

An (overdue) time for a change...

I struggled with the title to this post because I couldn't quite pinpoint the exact intent on my next move.  What do I mean by, "my next move"?  Well, I've been reflecting on what would make me happy to be doing everyday (as I tend to do from time to time).  And, I'm sure lots of people also do.  However, not a lot of people have the ability, freedom, courage, instinct, or know-how to choose a career that makes them truly happy.  I can't say that I regret every decision I've made up to this point but, I would have surely picked some different ones, if only I could go back.  After several hours, days, even years of contemplating on:
What should I do?,
What am I good at?,
and of course more importantly,
What do I have a passion for?
I have, with no doubt now, decided that I would really love to make a career out of my love of baking.

With that being said; I am going to shift the purpose of this blog to become one that showcases my journey into building a baking business.  Using baby-steps, I plan on practicing and perfecting recipes, researching the competition, reading and self-teaching myself about new cooking and baking techniques, as well as, finding ways to put myself out there.  I'll map out some of my goals and plans of exactly how I can accomplish these goals.  I'll, pretty openly, share my successes and failures along the way.

Realistically, with a new-born baby, a three year old son, and a husband that all rely on me for many different things, as well as, a part-time job; this journey will not be an easy one.  But, I'm pretty sure if it were easy then it might not be worth it.

I have already made a few steps into my journey that I will share with you on my next post.  I'll talk about how I dove head-first into my decision with the help of my husband.  I'll give away the ending it was my first "failure."  Although, really, with every defeat comes a learning experience.  So, I've looked back on it as just that.

I'll explain it soon...  Here are a couple of pictures of one of the recently baked products (and oh, there have been many).  I made authentic, classic almond biscotti.

Till next time,


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Oh, how time flies...

I can't say that an entire year has gone by and I have not thought about writing a post on my blog.  But, I can say an entire year has gone by and I have not actually written a post on my blog.  I actually have done a lot of bagel eating, as well as, baking myself over the last year.  I've baked batches of bagels, sweet breads, cookies, and pies.  I actually have a "bun in the oven" right now (ie: I'm expecting baby #2 in March).  Anyway,  I could make a list of excuses as to why I haven't sat down to write a post; but, why?  The truth is that I just didn't.  So, as we are here a few days into the new year of 2016, I guess I could say that a resolution of mine will be to continue on my mission of exploring the Philadelphia bagel scene.  And, since the scene is quite small, most likely expanding the content of this blog.  I will try to post on a regular basis; bagel related findings, experiments of my own, or any other new baking discoveries. 

Be talking to you soon,