Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Do "Christians" even know what they are celebrating on Christmas?









After reading post after post on Facebook about how Christmas has become so commercialized and how these people feel the "true" meaning of Christmas is overlooked (the same people who stand in line on Black Friday to get a good deal on their Christmas gifts), I decided to do some research of my own on the subject. This is what I found:

Christmas originated as Saturnalia (sun worship). It was a week long Holiday of pure lawlessness. Roman pagans began this lawless Holiday from December 17- 25. During this span of several days, courts were closed and people were allowed to break laws without any penalties.  Innocent people were mistreated, abused and some were even raped and murdered. 

In 1466, Pope Paul II, for the amusement of Romans, forced Jewish people to race naked through the city streets after feeding them large quantities of food. As they ran, Romans laughed and made fun of them as the Pope stood on his balcony and laughed at what he saw. 

During the 4th century, Christians tried to convert pagans to Christianity by telling them that they could continue to celebrate Saturnalia just as they have been doing for years.  Since Christians realized that there was absolutely nothing godly about Saturnalia, they changed the Holiday to conclude that December 25th was, “Jesus’ Birthday”. If you study this, you will learn that if Jesus was born, he was born sometime between September and November, so the “Christ-mas” Holiday that Christians celebrate today is truly just a masked version of Saturnalia. 

What is the purpose of this post, you might ask? 

You may be a devout Christian who sincerely believes that Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. If that is the case, believe that Jesus is the son of God…a Holy deity. 

You may believe in your God… that Jesus was a man, a prophet, but not the son of God and celebrate Christmas as a Holiday to spend time with family and friends. 

You may be atheist, believing in no God at all. You may celebrate Christmas simply because it was a family tradition.

Ultimately, it is up to us to decide what is right for ourselves. We should not judge one another. People are constantly pointing fingers at others saying things like:
If you don’t believe what I believe and live as I live you are going to go to hell or if you lie to your kids and tell them there is a Santa Clause you are a bad parent.

Who are we to judge one another? Live your life as you wish and leave everyone else alone. But please, stop pointing fingers and name calling. Everyone believes what they believe is right. It is counterproductive to spend the majority of your life trying to convince others that your way of thinking is the “only” way or the “right” way.

Can’t we all just respect one another?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Homemade butterfingers






 Happy Friday! Yesterday was Halloween and my son and I got in the kitchen together and made our own candy. His favorite candy bar is a Butterfinger...sooooo that is what we made.

The recipe was super easy. I found it in Taste of Home magazine. It used candy corns and peanut butter for the filling.

I melted white chocolate disks for the coating. However, I'm thinking some of the condensation from the double broiler must have gotten into the chocolates.  It did not liquify properly. So, instead of the chocolate covering each bar, I used a butter knife to add it to the top of each piece...almost like an icing. They still came out REALLY good! Just ask the people I work with...as they are eating them today :)

If you are interested in starting to bake your Christmas cookies now and freeze them until Christmas, check out my Christmas Cookie Club page on Facebook! 




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Allow Halloween to bring your family together

Just as any other Holiday can, Halloween can bring family time to your family. Aside from the, Trick or Treating, there are other things that can be done together as a family to celebrate...or not celebrate.

I love to bake! So, last year I started a new tradition with my son. We bake something together at Halloween time. It allows us time together in the kitchen and this brings us good memories and laughter.

Here is a website that allows you to download a free recipe guide for Halloween treats:

Recipe for Togetherness

This may interest you as well...an article I wrote about starting that new Halloween tradition together in the kitchen:

Try a new tradition this Halloween

No matter what you decide to do, the most important thing is that you create happy memories with your family!



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tried a new recipe ....And it flopped

The weekends are the best time for me to try out new recipes. This Saturday morning, before I went to the gym, I decided to try a new recipe that I had brewing in my mind for a couple of weeks. I called it: pumpkin spice fudge and it was going to be the easiest pumpkin spice fudge recipe you had ever seen!

Normally, when I make my fudge I make the no bake kind. I am all about easy and tasty recipes...just in case you haven't caught on to that already. I take a:

Bag of chocolate chips
Can of sweetened condensed milk
Dab of vanilla

And pour them all into a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup and cook in the micro for 1 minute, stir and cook in increments of 30 seconds, stirring between each until everything is all melted together with no lumps. I then pour it into a non-stick foil lined 8x8 baking dish and pop it in the fridge to set. SUPER easy and SUPER good!

I concocted this pumpkin spice fudge recipe in my head...following the same directions as above, but using a:

Bag of white chocolate chips
Can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup pumpkin pure
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dab of vanilla

Sometimes when I come up with recipes that I JUST KNOW will work, I publish them right away on my Raleigh Cooking Examiner page. But, this one....for some reason...I was unsure about and wanted to test it first. It's a good thing I did!!!!! It was a complete disaster...a complete flop!

Apparently, there are more dark chocolate chips in a bag then there are white ones. And even though I know that white chocolate chips really aren't chocolate at all, I still thought this would work. NOPE! The chips did not melt properly...they were all lumpy and it was a liquid mess. It smelled fantastic, but that did not matter. It would not mix or set, so I labeled it a flop.

Thankfully, this doesn't happen too often. I cant remember the last time I came up with a recipe and it was a disaster as this one was. Well, we live and learn! What exactly did I learn you might ask...let me tell you:

Go with your gut, chances are it is right!
White chocolate chips do not melt as well as dark chocolate chips.
There are less white chocolate chips in a bag then there are dark chocolate chips.
Test your recipes if you are unsure.
Always shop for ingredients where you get the best prices: just in case you need to throw your food away (you won't feel as bad).

I think this was a great learning experience. Now, to come up with that pumpkin spice fudge recipe : /




Thursday, September 5, 2013

Baking and cooking and baking and cooking

With Fall about to arrive in just a few weeks, it seems like all I can think about is trying out new recipes! I think about cooking new dishes and baking new treats.

This is no surprise really...it happens to me each and every year. I have already generated a few new recipes and I think it is safe to say that there will be many, many more to come.

We always hear people talking about the crisp Autumn breezes and smells of pies baking in the oven. And trust me, those are two of my favorite things when it comes to the season.

Something else I like to think about are the Holidays which to me signifies spending time with friends and family. People celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas for different reasons. Some celebrate their religious beliefs, others celebrate the parties and exchanging of gifts. Whatever the reason is that you celebrate be sure to try out a new recipe this year. You never know, it may become a family fave!

I did that a few years ago. I made a batch of homemade Reese's brownies. My adult nephew made me promise to make them year after year! So, for him....I make Reese's brownies :)

Here are a few recipes you can either try or add to to suit the tastes of your family and friends:

Brownie baking ideas

Shortbread recipe: Try adding chocolate chips, instant coffee, powdered sugar icing or fruit jam for a topping.

Apple crumble recipe: Try using different fruits for this recipe.



Friday, August 30, 2013

Weekend thoughts...


Its Friday! Whooo Hoo! I am very happy to announce that I will be off from work for 3 days! Thank you Labor Day :)
It has been a minute since I updated the blogging universe about my life.
I learned some valuable lessons over the last month or so:

1. People who try to control others are very insecure with themselves.

2. Cats are spiteful creatures.

3. Dogs love you no matter what and understand multiple languages.

4. Smile, smile, smile!

Let me elaborate:

People who try to dominate others do so to try and make themselves feel important. They try to make others fear them so they feel good about themselves, meaning a feeling of superiority. It is up to us to make sure that we do not allow these types of people to control us. We have a brain and no matter how much they try to manipulate us, we can not let the succeed!

Cats, ugh! I swear my cat, Tybo just tries to tick me off. He is afraid of aluminum foil. So when I want to make him stop doing something, I crinkle a piece and he runs away. Soooo....me and my brightness decided to place a piece on top of the stair rail post, where he likes to jump up while scratching with his claws. I walked in and saw that little booger playing with it! I guess the fear only works when I am holding the foil :(

My cute, adorable, sweet puppy on the other hand tries so hard to please us! He listens better now and tilts his little head when you speak to him in English OR Spanish! My bilingual little pup!

When in doubt, smile! If you are sad, smiling brightens your mood. If you are nervous, no one will know. If you are angry, people will leave you alone. Just smile no matter what! :)

Have a fantastic day!
Try making something new this weekend...try:

Ice box cake

or

Banana latte chocolate chip bread

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Recipes that remind us of Fall


Picture taken by: 4 Seasons Photography

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that Autumn is my favorite season! I love the fresh, crisp air...the cool breezes and new recipes!

Pumpkin recipes, apple recipes, squash recipes, bread and baking recipes... I can really go on and on. But, you get the point :)

Here are a couple of new Fall inspires recipes that I have already put together for this wonderful season!

Pumpkin Pie Dip Recipe

Cinnamon Pumpkin muffin recipes (yes, with the crumbly topping)

Here are some oldie but definitely goodies:

Easy pumpkin bread recipe

Don't for get the cream cheese icing for the pumpkin bread! Cream cheese icing recipe (super easy)

I like to slice the bread into 3/4 inch thick slices and then slather each slice with this amazingly easy yet rich frosting.

And lastly, one must make a hot cup of pumpkin coffee to go with the delicious frosted bread:

Click the here for your simple pumpkin latte recipe.

Welcome Autumn!!!!


Pick up your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Cheesecakes today! An inexpensive mini e-book to help you bake an amazing cheesecake.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Daily series: COFFEE!

I know, I know...You're probably thinking, "Deanna, you are always writing about coffee"! And you know what? You're right! I.Love.Coffee. lol

Today, I am going to share a few articles I have written concerning the rich in flavor, caffeinated brew!

7 coffee storage and preparation tips

How to order coffee

Making coffee

Coffee flavored recipes

and

Coffee-Mate recipes

If you are looking for the perfect sweet treat to have along side of your coffee, try my FAVORITE recipe:
New Jersey Coffee Cake! This cake has more crumb than cake and is found at every bakery in the State of New Jersey!

Happy, happy!



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Recipe series of the day: bread recipes!

Each morning when I wake up I make myself a cup-a-Joe and then I network my recipe articles! I try to stick to a daily theme. Today, I posted bread recipes.

Soooooo....I am going to share them with you as well!

Easy banana bread recipe

Hawaiian bread recipe

Easy cheese bread recipe

Irish soda bread recipe

Bread roll recipe - make 3 different types of bread with this one recipe!

Amish friendship bread starter and bread recipe

For more easy bread recipe that I have published: Click here

Happy baking! As always, let me know if you have any questions about any of the recipes I have written and published.



Sunday, July 28, 2013

New mini-book for sale: The Ultimate Guide to Cheesecake!

Good news! I have written a new mini-book! It is a cross between a book and a pamphlet. I have lovingly been referring to it as a "bamphlet"! haha

The title: The Ultimate Guide to Cheesecake

What you can expect to find inside: Tips and tricks to baking the perfect cheesecake, cheesecake recipes, and most if not all of your cheesecake baking questions answered.

It is a very detailed mini-book containing all the information you need to bake an amazing cheesecake from home.

Look to the right of my blog and you will see a Pay Pal tab for you to purchase the mini-book. It is a secure, quick and easy buying process. The mini-book will be emailed to you within 24 hours of me receiving your payment :)

I am so excited to have this up and running on my blog! Thank you to my friend Kim M. who inspired me to do this and helped me with my Pay Pal widget! Hugs and love to you :)



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tastenc.com: Weekly specials


Tastenc.com will be baking this Friday! 

I have been working on a complete list of baked goods I offer with pricing. When completed, I can email it out by request. 

This weeks special is shortbread!
Shortbread is similar to a cookie bar. It has a rich, buttery flavor and only has 4 ingredients!

There are several shortbread variations you can order:
Regular   $8  or  $11
Mocha chocolate chip  $10 or $15
Lemon iced  $10  or  $13
Strawberry, Blueberry or raspberry with strudel topping  $12 or $17

Shortbread can be baked in an 8x8 pan or 9x13 pan (as indicated by the pricing)

In addition to this weeks special, we also have:

Banana breads ($5 each loaf)
Plain
Banana chocolate chip
Banana nut
Tropical banana (banana, pineapple and coconut)

Brownies (8x8 pan)
Regular $8
Nut $9
Mocha chip $9
Reese's $10

Chocolates
Reese's cups $10 for 12
Mocha (semi-sweet chocolate with coffee) $8 for 12
Chai latte (made with white chocolate and spices) $8 for 12

Cookie dough roll (can be frozen for up to 6 months and comes with cooking directions)

Chocolate chip ($5 per roll)
Sugar cookie
Peanut butter
Chocolate chocolate chip

Oat bars (8x8 or 9x13)
Blueberry $10 or $15
Strawberry $10 or $15
Raspberry $10 or $15

If you would like something that you do not see listed here, please do not hesitate to ask! Chances are I can make it :) 

I can meet you Friday evening at Kohls off Durant Rd or Saturday morning at 10:30 at the same location.

The minimum to place an order is $10 :)

Thank you so much!



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Baking and Ingredients class with AIB


Hello, all! I have been a busy bee!
I have created a weekly schedule for myself in order to get in everything I would like to do each week. It's a process juggling work, family, baking, writing and studying! However, it can be done. They key is to be sure to take time for yourself doing things you enjoy because the moment you set aside doing the things you enjoy is the moment you begin to feel stress. (Thanks to my husband for pointing that out to me.)

However, all that being said, I have completed my first class with AIB! I made an 80 on my first quiz and then I made 100 on it when I took it over again.

The final exam was very detailed, but I put all of my focus into it and made a 96! I was very excited about that...it has been years since I took classes for school :)

My next class will be a cookie baking class...this I am very excited about! I will keep you posted as to when I begin and as to what great things I am learning.

Today is Thursday...it is the day I have allotted for myself to workout! I am looking forward to doing my cardio today :)

Lesson learned: Stay consistent. Continue to do the things you enjoy no matter how crazy life can be. Make time for yourself no matter what :)

The picture above is my award winning: Mascarpone cheesecake! Click here for the recipe.

You can also follow Tastenc.com on Facebook!!!


Sunday, June 30, 2013

My favorite chocolate chip cookies!

If I was asked to pick my all time favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, it would be this one! These cookies are about two to three bites big, but pack a punch of flavor!

I have a basic recipe for these cookies, but never stick to it, lol. I always add more chocolate chips, more flour, different extracts and different pudding flavors.


When I was a little girl, I remember the itty bitty Entenmann's chocolate chip cookies that my mom would bring home from the grocery store. They were sooooo good! I have to say that these do remind me of those scrumptious cookies! 


My husband likes it when I make chocolate latte cookies with this cookie recipe! For these I add coffee and cocoa to the mix. Those are his favorite cookies :) 



Get creative and enjoy your chocolate chip cookies! 


For more great chocolate chip cookies information, tips and recipes, check out the following links:









Friday, June 28, 2013

Baking class: Studying!!!!

I have gotten started with my first class with AIB: Baking and Ingredients! I have been studying whenever I can make the time.

After this week, I will have more time because I will be adjusting my work schedule to give me several more hours each week.

So far, I have learned about ancient bread making, types of leavening, evolution of baking machinery, yeast and chemically leavened products, 20th century baking conditions: laws, advances, mass and small bakery production.

It has been very interesting to me to learn about how things began and where things are today. The first cereal was simply raw seeds in water! Imagine eating that today? Ewwwwww!
Although, it was much healthier than a lot of the cereals today :) I bet the raw seeds got stuck in their teeth...but, I digress.

My next chapter will be on Science and Baking...it makes me feel like Alton Brown from "Good Eats" on the Food Network! lol



Monday, June 24, 2013

Palmolive Dish Soaps: Perfect for cleaning your baking dishes

If I am going to be baking more, now that I am back in school, I definitely need a good dish soap to clean up with! Not only does the dish soap need to work on greasy, buttery pots, pans and bake-ware, it also needs to be kind to my skin.

I was given a sample of all three of the dish soaps in the above image. We decided to try out the pink one first. The bottle of pink Palmolive soap indicates it will also help with soft hands. And I have to say, it really does!
In addition, the soap has a fresh, pleasant fragrance and lasts a long time. Meaning: One squirt goes a long way!

I have not been paid to give you my opinion about Palmolive dish soap...this is an honest review from me :)

If you are interested in putting your dish soap to a challenge or want to try out Palmolive dish soaps, try this recipe: Pecan Pie
This pecan pie recipe will truly test your dish soaps capabilities! :)


Sunday, June 23, 2013

THE Internship

The latest and greatest news is that I have an open door to work an internship at a local bakery!

The reasons I think this is necessary:

If I am going to open my own bakery, I need to learn how to run one
Learning to use all the big equipment is a must
PRICING: it is important for me to learn how to price my baked goods
Oh, I could go on and on!

I have been in touch with the owner of the bakery via email. I am going to call her this week to make an appointment to meet with her!

In addition, I am going to begin my History and Ingredients course this week! Lots of new things going on and that makes me happy...these are great steps in the direction of my future :)

If that picture of my peanut butter and chocolate no-bake pie looks good to you...give it a try, Click here



Monday, June 17, 2013

The newest Baking School information

I am here today with good news! The American Institute of Baking (AIB) it is!!!! I Called today and spoke with a representative and am going to try a free course. When I like that, I will pay for other courses to take. The course descriptions are very detailed, so it looks like I will be learning a lot of new things.

I am very excited!

I also have contact information to a bakery that offers internships. I plan on looking into that now that I have the school situation straight. Things are coming along!

Thank you to all those who placed baking orders for Father's Day this past weekend! It felt so good to be baking again :)
Above is a picture of my Reese's brownies!!!!



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Baking school update #1

I would love to write and tell you that I am all set and good to go for the Baking and Pastry Arts certificate program at Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh, NC. BUT...I am not :(

I have had problem after problem with the administration at the college. Someone tells you one thing and then after digging in and calling different departments, I would find out I was supposed to do something completely different.
The administrative staff is completely disorganized and because of that, it looks like I will not be able to begin the program this August.
I am very sad, but am looking into other options right now.

On a positive note, Chef House, who appears to be the head of the program has gone above and beyond to help me get in contact with the correct administrative individuals. Thank you Chef House! You are amazing!

At this point, I feel as if I do not even want to give my money to a school that dropped the ball regarding my enrollment to the extent that they did. The website that all of the administrative staff continually directs you to is extremely difficult to navigate...and that is coming from someone who is very computer savvy.

I will continue to keep you posted on the progress of my Baking future!

Side note: There is a time and place for everything...this may not be the time or place for me to pursue this avenue of my life ...and I am finally OK with that :)




Monday, June 10, 2013

Going back to school...

For many years I wanted to go to school for Baking and Pastry Arts. Now, thanks to my wonderful, loving, supportive husband, Greg I can! I am in the process of getting registered at a local college for the course and I am beyond excited!

My goal is to get registered and start school in August of this year. I plan to post my progress along the way!



Friday, May 17, 2013

The Baking Queen is Back!

Hello, all!
I have been gone for some time...still in Raleigh, just working a LOT! Now that things are calming down, my plan is to get back to baking. Boy, do I miss it!

I have been researching local Farmer's Market again...hoping to get back into selling my baked goods there. I really enjoyed it when I sold at the North Raleigh Farmers Market.

My banana breads have always been a huge seller, along with the NJ coffee cake! I plan to bake some banana breads this weekend!

The flavors I make are:
Banana
Banana chocolate chip
Banana nut
Banana strawberry
Tropical (banana, pineapple and coconut)

I also make:
Apple cinnamon
Pumpkin
Pumpkin chocolate chip

These sell for $5 each loaf.

If you would ever like to place an order, please contact me! I have just a $15 minimum.

I will keep you updated on the progress of the Farmers Market :)

My email address is: tastenc.com@gmail.com

I also have a Tastenc Facebook page you can check out to see some of the things I make!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tastenccom/231457073535687







Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Illumination thoughts...

Sometimes during my quiet times, illuminating thoughts come bursting into my mind. As I sat this morning, it occurred to me that we are all going through something in our lives. Some of us are going through situations that are tougher than others. Or at least we think we are.
No matter, we all think our problems are harder than everyone else’s. My mom would say, “Deanna, there is always someone out there with problems worse than yours” and there is so much truth to that. That statement ties in with mine, “You never know what someone else is going through”.

Someone may be rude to you. Someone may yell at you. Someone may ignore you. Always keep in mind that chances are the cause of their rudeness is not because of you.

The person who was snappy with you at the grocery store today may have been in court yesterday, dealing with a life changing issue.
You know, there are so many court cases each and every day. Right now someone may be being convicted of a crime they may or may not have committed. At this very moment, somewhere in the world, someone is dealing with the stress of being in court…awaiting a much-anticipated answer.

These thoughts were running through my mind this morning as I reflected on being in the courthouse yesterday. Imagine how many people sat where I sat, having their heart pound through their chest just as I did.

Thankfully, for me my case was a case to protect me. But, imagine all of the individuals who sat waiting to find out their fate.

My heart goes out to those who are in trouble. My heart goes out to those who are in need of help and may or may not get it. My heart goes out to those who made mistakes in their past, have changed and are still judged because of those past mistakes.

If we all walked in love and not hate…If we would see the good in people instead of the bad…If we could find it in our hearts not to judge one another because of past mistakes…If we could only involve ourselves in the lives of those who ask us to…If, If, If.

Love not Hate
Good not Bad
Accept not Judge
Help not Hinder or Hurt

Move on with our lives and leave others alone.
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