Sunday, April 12, 2015

Understanding OCD

(Im about to get super serious, so bear with me)

OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A name. A label.

Last week, I started my therapy at the Santa Rosa Cognitive Behavioral Center, and learned precisely what has been my constant struggle over the past few years of my life. It's both relieving to know, and  somewhat unnerving. I hadn't heard much about OCD before studying it in college, but I think the common stereotype is someone who needs to wash their hands multiple times in a row or spends a huge block of time double checking/ triple-checking that everything in their room is just right before leaving it. And these are not wrong, but they are such a narrow view of the bigger picture. Even at this point, after reading so much about it and talking it over with my therapist, I also only have my limited knowledge to go on.

However, I do know one thing, having OCD does not mean you're crazy. I've come to hate the word crazy, but that's another post for another time. It means that you have a certain type of brain, an extremely brilliant and quick brain, that has lost control of its ability to let go of intrusive/ distressing thoughts. So they circle, over and over, until you've spun yourself so deep into a web of disillusion  that you feel you can't get out. These are called obsessions. We all have strange thoughts from time to time, one's that kinda freak you out, disgust you, or make you shiver. However, for a more level-functioning brain, these thoughts can easily be rationalized and released, a balance restored. The issue is not so much the thoughts, but the reaction to the thoughts that causes the problem for people with OCD.

So there you are, keyed up with anxiety over the possibility of an extremely terrifying event or "truth" . At this point, all you can think to do is something to get rid of that anxiety, something quick because you feel you can't deal with the discomfort. This is where compulsions come in. Compulsions are some sort of action taken to reduce anxiety caused by the obsessions, and it varies depending on the person. Hand-washing, checking, seeking reassurance, repeatedly touching or counting, etc. The mind is trained that these actions will reduce the anxiety, for a brief period of time. However, this does not get the anxiety under control, it only delays it until the obsession resurfaces, which it will. But an individual will continue to use them, because the feelings that are hiding beneath the surface are too monumental to be faced.

Its an extremely scary and debilitating disorder, one that steals any power you have away from you. The deed to your life is handed to the anxiety, and it rules for however long it takes until you decide that you are going to fight back.

Now, I've heard a lot of jokes and referencing to OCD throughout my life, but you never quite understand the reality of a situation until you or someone close to you experiences it. And I have to say, there is nothing funny with this kind of struggle. Or any mental illness struggle, for that matter. That's not to say that there isn't a positive side to the experience and the recovery, because there is supreme growth in accepting that part of yourself. But damn, its a hell of a fight. There's no way I can really describe the inability to trust your brain, but its one of the most chilling experiences I have ever had.


I felt like a lot of that just needed to be said, for me and for others. If you ever want to learn more about OCD, you can check out the International OCD Foundation. Or read some blogs online, because every person gets to tell their own story, and no two are exactly the same.


So, on a lighter note, you might wonder why I haven't been posting pictures of treats. This is supposed to be a partial baking blog, right? Well, my friends, that is because I smashed the front of my phone into smithereens and it is revolting against me (understandably). My other camera was forgotten in Santa Rosa. Or maybe its hiding there, hoping it won't be subject to the same fate as my phone. Either way I don't have the means to take pictures, which is a major bummer. However, I will have both fixed/ in-hand by the end of the week, and there will be pictures aplenty to share. I'm baking my friend a birthday cake that's going to need to be documented. Unless it's ugly, in which case....well I might post it anyways but then hang my head in shame.

Think cheesecake. Think red velvet cake. Think of their giant, layered love child.

Yes. It will be a mighty sight to behold.

As for now, you'll just have to stare at my words and pretend they are food pics. Ugh.

<3 Lia

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mindfulness (How to Stay in the Moment)

What is the trick to living in the moment? And is that even possible?

I've always been a worrier. Well, actually I think my main concern as a child was candy and how to get it in my mouth as fast as possible, but other than that my brain loves to worry. Whenever I find myself in a new situation in my life or am confronted with a new problem, I find my mind in a constant negative tornado, picking up speed quickly and destroying everything in its path. Its rumination, the mind's true enemy. 

I never actually considered that there was a way for me to change. And to be truthful, subconciously, I found comfort and stability in worry. At least I could be prepared for any negative possibility that could occur, right? At least I would be safe. I think it has taken me this long to realize that you really can't prepare for some of the scariest things in life. You don't know when bad things are going to happen, and does it really make your life that much better to be mentally prepared for them? Not usually. Obviously this is my own person experience, but I find mentally preparing myself for negative consequences to leave me both fearful and paralyzed. And I don't want to live my life that way, I don't know anyone who does. 

I've encountered the idea of mindfulness many times over the past few years, and I've only just started understanding what it truly means to me. Mindfulness is the reinserting of yourself into the present moment. Its releasing control of your thoughts and fears, and allowing them to drift in and out of your mind. It's allowing both the positive and negative of a situation to exist, not just attaching yourself to one or the other. It's just being, not judging or controlling, but being. Looking at our society, especially in the realm of education, it is really really difficult to be mindful. We are constantly bombarded with a slew of technology, media, and expectations for our success. If we are not part of the constant race to be somebody, we don't exist at all. If we don't create an image of ourselves that is so unique, and yet so conformist, we are lost. 

I am a slave to social media and technology as much as the next person, and I do find numerous benefits to the connections that it provides. And yet, the time that I devote to it really isn't fulfilling. It's more a distraction. A way for me to find stability in a persona that I create, as opposed to focusing on the rather uncontrollable aspects of my own state of being. I started reading a book recently called the The Mindful Path Through Worry and Rumination. Aside from the obvious cheesiness of the title,there's a lot of really good insights in there. While reading it, I was reminded of all the complexities of the brain and how rumination can cause such distress and hopelessness in one's life. It also reminded me that the best way to "cure" myself was to accept the way that my brain works, and use it as a tool to increase my happiness and ability to enjoy my life.  My stability is within myself, surprisingly enough. I would recommend it to anyone who deals with uncontrollable worry or rumination in their life. Here are a few techniques that I've been reminded of while reading:

1) Breathing exercises: I've gone in and out of using these consciously, but they are surprisingly helpful. Even on days when I don't make a point to sit down and take slow, calculated breathes, I find myself taking these when I am out and feeling overwhelmed. It kind of resets the body and allows you to take a step back from the situation that is causing you distress. I find it good to do whenever I have a moment in the day, but usually in the morning and at night.

2) Exercise: I always find myself falling off track with this, but for all the mental energy I have, this is an unbelievable help. I find myself feeling so positively stimulated when I exercise, not to mention stronger and healthier. I don't usually get too intense with it, but a little bit everyday keeps me grounded. It's not so much a competition for me, I'm just in it for the endorphins. And being outdoors,  thats a big one. I'm hoping to fit in a walk and climbing today!

3) Radical Acceptance: Radical Acceptance in mentioned many times over in this book. It's extremely simple but can be extremely difficult. Its about accepting every aspect of your life, both good and bad. Its about realizing your life is the only vehicle you have to happiness and contentment, and its up to you to use it. You can't get too caught up in the negative or distressing aspects of life, because those will always be there. Everyone suffers, that is a solid fact of life. But, everyone also has the ability to find the beautiful aspects of life as well, as those are much more easily located when we stop giving the negative aspects so much power. They ain't all that.

4) Negative thought challenging- Sometimes I like to use this and sometimes not, it just depends what will suit my mind the best that day. Basically, this is just taking each negative thought that you have, and challenge it using its neutral and positive opposite. For instance, if someone blows you off when you had plans, you could spend the rest of the day assuming that they didn't really want to hang out with you and that you are boring. Or, you could realize that it probably had more to do with them than you. Perhaps they were feeling stressed or sad, or they had some work that they needed to finish.  Usually, its more likely that they had something going on in their own life that prevented them from hanging out, not because they don't enjoy your company.

5) Its the journey, not the destination: Huge, huge realization. I think we've all probably heard this before, but life is absolutely, 100% a journey. There is not going to be a moment when you suddenly have everything you every wanted and it is perfect. There are always ups and downs, always things to work on or work toward. Thats why its important to enjoy the things that are in front of you right now. If you are constantly looking forward or behind, your whole life may fly by without you every getting to experience it. I would hate to feel like I missed out on some of the most enjoyable aspects of living because I was so busy worrying.

So, in the spirit of this, with all the pressures of my life on my back (tests on tests, papers on papers), I'm going to slow down and enjoy my life in every way that I can. Why not?

And, here's a quiche picture to hold you over until next time. Bacon, cheddar, spinach, holla.

Catch you later. (Hopefully with a new, shiny baked good)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


First off, I'm about to get real cheesy. I'd like to thank every single person who reached out to me after my last post. It really touched me to see so many people in my life coming to my aid, even those that I don't get to see on a regular basis. It made me realize how people are still willing to help those around them in need, even if they are only an acquaintance. I hope I get the opportunity to return the favor.

This morning I was thinking about the loss of dreams in my life. Over the last few months, I've been so preoccupied with negativity, so bogged down by worry and fear, that I hadn't even thought about my future. Sometimes when you hit a really dark time, you lose the ability to look past what your system is feeling right then and there. You lose the ability to have hope, and to recognize the positive things you have in your life in the present and the possibilities for the future. While I'm still working through my fears, I wanted to take the time to write down a few things I like about the present, and a few things I'm looking forward to. Because, truthfully, what is life if not a platform to do what you like and work towards your dreams?

Here and Now

My friends and family; my support system- Over every up and down I've had in life, they have always been there to pick me up, wipe my tears, and push me forward again.

My dogs- My littlest homies, always down for a snuggle.

The trees and the green earth- I've never felt better than when I am walking through a park or a forest,  where there is a quiet simplicity that can't be replicated. Negativity doesn't have a place there.

Good food- This is pretty much what I think about 24/7. You know those days when you are just looking forward to your next meal? Yeah, that's everyday.

The means to bake and share what I make- One thing that I think I take for granted. If I had a purpose in life, its to use my hands and create things that I can use to connect with others. Baking is just a vessel for that. An extremely delicious vessel.

My body- The fact that I have a body that lets me run a 5k, hike countless miles, walk around campus, do yoga, almost do a somersault ( still working on this one)

The ability to express my emotions


Just hanging out and enjoying now

Hopes and Dreams for the future 

A family

My own business

A dog/ cat/ buddy of my very own

A home- One that I can decorate to my liking. One that represents all of me.

Traveling to new places

Expanding my baking/ cooking skill base

Hiking- Half Dome, Big Sur, Joshua Tree. And that's just in California.

Being able to enjoy the here and now- I think the more I practice mindfulness, the easier it will be. Enjoying my life will be top priority, instead of an after thought

Work on a farm

And those are really just the ones I came up with off the top of my head. I'm sure there are many more to discover.
For instance, baking this braided bread has been on my mind now for the past few weeks. I was all over Pinterest looking at all the beautiful, glistening breads that people had created, and I knew I wanted to try it for myself. Most of the ones I found had sweet fillings, which I'm always down for, but I just ended up using what I had on hand: pesto and feta. I definitely could have used more filling, but the aesthetic is awesome.

Pesto Feta Braid

I'm stoked I actually ended up trying this. Next time, I'm going for the dessert braid. Lemon cheesecake all the waaayy.

Dough from Eat Live Run 

<3 <3 <3

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Reconnecting (And my favorite forgotten cookie)

I haven't posted in quite a while. To be honest, I've felt so many shades of embarrassment about writing a blog. I kept thinking, who is going to read this? Or worse, what if somebody reads this?

I've never been a "writer", and I was sure people would notice that right away. And maybe they have, or maybe they haven't. But the uncertainty was enough to stop me from writing altogether. And yet, here I am, throwing myself out there to reconnect with you and with myself.

The reason that I started the blog in the first place was to have somewhere to put my thoughts and my baking. Today, you'll get a little bit of both. For a long time in my life, I've struggled with bouts of anxiety and depression. I never really discussed it or tried to understand it until I started therapy about 4 years ago. That's when I really began to explore all the dark places inside me that tainted all the good things that I had or would have. The more I talked and listened, the more I realized that I was letting those parts of myself ( because yes, they are not the whole) speak for the entirety of who I am. I have insecurities, I have many, many fears, I have emotions that wake me up in the night, panicking and clutching my blankets. But I have so much more, and it really takes a daily effort to remind myself of that sometimes.

Within the past month, I've seemed to hit another road block in my recovery. I started having major, debilitating panic attacks that shook my whole being. I couldn't directly name why they were there or what triggered them, but I don't know that I've ever been so afraid in my entire life. I tried to recover from the first one, seeking help from close friends, taking things slowly, finding solace in my bed when things became too overwhelming, but truthfully my sense of control was shattered. Tears and breakdowns seemed to be an almost everyday occurrence for me. Thoughts like "What is wrong with me?" "Why is this happening?" " Is this the way I was meant to be?". And honestly, suicidal thoughts started to make an appearance. These were so foreign to me, and the fact that they could ever enter my mind was unfathomable. I never thought that fear could drive me to that point. I was confused, I was ashamed, and I was mad at myself for taking my life for granted. I didn't want to admit to it. But at a certain point, I let my family/ friends in, because I knew that I needed them. It's been a few weeks since then and I still feel the panic and the shame, but I want to forgive myself. And that's where I'm at.

I think I've spent a lot of my life trying to appear put-together for people. I wanted to be the way people seem when I pass them on the street. So confident and poised. So easily relaxed. But appearing and being are two completely different things, and I'm realizing that creating an image of a perfect person does not create happiness. And I'm not perfect, and I never want to be. Because now, I associate perfection with burying your demons so deep that they attack you from the inside out. And I want no part of that.

I know I haven't written in a while, and the posts may be spaced out from now on, but I want this to be some part of my life. Because the honesty is so releasing, even if no one ends up reading it. I want to document strides that I make in my life and in my baking, so that I can see them and realize their importance. And if the posts get boring, that's cool. If you resonate with them, that's even better. I hope that people who deal with anxiety/ depression/ any sort of mental illness can read this and know that they've got someone out there who has felt the same. Because yes, you do, and yes, I'm here.

Thanks to everyone and anyone who read through that. Here come the COOKIES.

This is an old school throwback. These are the cookies I used to beg my parents to buy me at Safeway every single time we went. These are the cookies, in amazingly cool teenage rebellion, I used to steal from the same Safeway. The addiction was real. They were my FAVORITE COOKIE. And yet, I've totally forgotten about them and their chewy, sugary deliciousness. Until tonight that is.

M&M Sugar Cookies, everybody.

I know. These aren't the most exciting cookies that ever existed on the planet. They aren't even the best looking ones. But there is something about buttery dough wrapped around crunchy chocolate gems that speaks to my inner child. 

Okay, to be real these are Sun Drops. I just can't stay away from Whole Foods. Shame and more shame. 

Cookies and dough included, I probably ate about 4. And I still have more, so if I run into you, you are getting a cookie. 

I'm glad I had a chance to make these, because activating those simple desires inside yourself is the surest way to happiness. And after all the negative energy that's been floating my way lately, my inner child needed some serious pampering. 

Shout out to The Girl Who Ate Everything for the recipe. Appreciation is definitely in order. 
And shout out to all the people in my life who've been there for me during this time, you all deserve/ will get cookies. 

I'll be back with more corny words and baking adventures. 

<3 Lia 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Food for Thought

Oh, hey, fancy seeing you here. How ya doing?

Last post I mentioned a project that had been swirling around in my brain for awhile, and recently I decided to make a little progress on it. My ideas really boiled down to one simple yet extremely complex question: 

What does food mean to people? 

Some might think of food as necessary nourishment, and nothing more. I certainly know a fair amount of people like that. But for people across the globe, the presence of food in their existence is more than just a means to stay alive. It's a means to thrive. 
From my humble beginnings, my relationship with food has gone in so many different directions it has been hard to keep up. I think it has always been an emotional part of my life, a means to nourish my body and creativity. I know that I always found a sense of comfort in it, and a sense of calm in the creation of it.  Because of this, I began to wonder how other people related to food. How did it shape them as individuals? If they had a passion for it, where/ when was that flame lit? 

In truth, food means so many things. It can be a means to share and connect with family and friends. It can be a healing source for those who wish to learn about its beneficial qualities. It can be a creative outlet, and a never ending learning experience. It can be joy. It can be the most fun you've ever had. I really wanted to get a better understanding of the draw of food to those who decided to make it a full-fledged career. From my limited experience, working in the food industry can be so exciting, yet so frightening. It's a big leap without much of a net to catch you, especially if you're starting your own business. Yet, I've watched people try and try again, fall and then lift themselves back up to chase their dream. It's inspiring and pretty rad to witness.

I decided I would come up with a few questions to ask some of the people I've met in the SF/ Bay Area, just to get a feel for their unique stories. I'll post them here as I go, and I'm excited to learn more about these individuals!

The first person that I interviewed was Natalie of Natty Cakes,  an up-and-coming a Bay Area business I'm currently working for. Originally from Santa Rosa, Natalie moved to Berkeley a few years back and launched her business marketing treats with comforting, yet decadent air. Her specialties include her well-known cookie sandwiches, with come in both regular and gluten-free varieties,  her cupcakes, and her cinnamon rolls, but there are always new things on her agenda (especially with each coming season).

Where did you see your relationship with food beginning? For instance, was it something that was instilled in you from a young age or a passion you discovered later?
From a young age I was always in the kitchen. Whether it was with my mom, grandparent or dad, I was always trying to help. I wouldn't say those around me had a passion for food, but rather saw it as a necessity and found some enjoyment in it.  It wasn't until I took a culinary class in high school that I discovered how interesting it really was and how much I loved to cook and bake. I found love in the little things, like chopping ingredients, using a mixer, decorating and of course, eating my creations. It is definitely a passion that grew over time.

How would you describe its role in your life?

Baking and cooking have been in my life as far back as my first memory, it is something that I never questioned. My passion for baking has been the most consistent thing in my life, it frustrates me more than anything else can, and brings me more joy than anything else.  Baking is not something that comes natural to me, I am constantly making mistakes and trying to figure out where I went wrong and how I can correct it.  

What's your favorite thing about food? Why do you think it has such as impact on you? ( This could be positive or negative)
I very much enjoy the anticipation and excitement that food brings.  When baking, I love the process of mixing ingredients, forming into an edible shape, baking and decorating because it is all building up to the moment of it being consumed.  Either it will be loved or it will be something that can be improved upon, but either way there will be some excitement surrounding it.  When I wake up in the morning, I think of what my first meal will be, when I eat lunch, I plan dinner and while eating dinner I think about dessert.  The anticipation and joy that food brings is a hard thing to compete with for me.

How did you find yourself working in the food industry? Why were you drawn to that particular aspect of said industry?

After I took a couple culinary classes, one of the last lessons we had was how to decorate a cake, and from there I started to look for work doing just that.  I had a friend that was working at Oliver's in the bakery department and she took a lot of pride in what she did.  I found myself fantasizing about becoming a cake decorator there; so I got my work permit at 15.5 years old and applied for the cake prepper position. I was drawn to cake decorating because while it was a job that often received a lot of recognition, I knew it was something I would have to work really hard at, it would be something I would have to practice over and over until I finally produced something I was proud of.  It took years until it felt natural, but it never seemed monotonous, that is how I knew I could do this the rest of my life.

What did you hope you gain from your career in food? What are your aspirations?
I hope to have a bakery that is warm and inviting, but never predictable.  While many bakeries have that "wow" factor (i.e. unimaginable concoctions, impeccable displays, etc) I have never seen my self opening a bakery with this element.  In order to survive in that industry, you have to prove that you are better than the best, and to be honest, I have never been a competitive person.  I would much rather collaborate with another bakery rather than try to beat their sales.  
With that being said, I want a bakery that has feel-good baked items that are comforting and delicious while still being up to date and excitable. I want a bakery that can withstand all the fad diets and trendy treats.  More than that I want to, in a small way, make a difference.  If there is a way for me to show younger generations how to bake simply, with great ingredients and the way grandma used to do it, I would feel accomplished.

How would you describe your experience growing up in the Western food culture? How would you say it affected you?
I think in a lot of ways, I have seen how wasteful we can be.  When you think about how much we deep fry, and cover in butter or cheese, it is pretty disgusting.  But at the same time, some of those "cooking methods" have created some of my favorite meals.  While I wish that obesity weren't such a problem, I feel that our society has to take something, such as food, to a level above and beyond where it needs to go, in order to see where that line is.  Our society tests the boundaries, and while that is often looked down upon,  I think it is a very natural thing to do, so it is hard for me to be ashamed of the Western World for doing so.  
From those boundaries being pushed,  I have learned the importance of being choosey about my recipes and ingredients.  I have also seen the importance of looking at other cultures to draw inspiration from.  While I love a twinkie as much as the next person, there is some so elegant and dainty about a french macaroon, that far surpasses my love for a cream filled cake.  This is how I came up with a cookie sandwich.  While oreos and ice cream sandwiches have been around for decades,  never before had there been a chewy chocolate chip cookie with a buttercream filling.  It essentially has the same shape and idea of a macaroon, but is much more substantial and, to me, more comforting.  It may seem over the top and excessive, but isn't that was America is all about? ;)

Would you describe food as a social aspect of your life or something to be enjoyed singularly?

Food is definitely a social affair to me.  I would have never been allowed to bake had there not been an occasion, I would have never learned to grill a steak without a planned dinner.  Cooking and baking is a passion, that is for sure but it is a realistic career because everyone needs to eat, and why not feed others with something you created and are proud of?

Check her out on Facebook or Instagram! She also sells at Manifesta on Wednesdays and the Vacaville Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Thanks to Natalie for giving me a little taste of what food means to her! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Real Blogging?

I apologize for the lack of blog posts lately. Work has been a whirlwind, in a good way, but it definitely leaves me little time to collect my thoughts ( and shower, let's be real). I did have some cool baking experiences that I'd love to share, but first I wanted to talk about something that has been on my mind over the last few weeks.

I was thinking a lot about food culture in Western countries, as well as on blogs that I read everyday. In general, its strange to realize how negatively we perceive our bodies and how skewed out relationships with food are in the U.S. I can't go a day without hearing toxic language being used about the human body, or obsessive talk about its natural shape. And to be honest, it feels damaging to the psyche. I didn't grow up comfortable with my body or with a good view of fueling it, and that shaped a large portion of my youth. Everyday felt like a struggle, and although I've come a long way since those days, there are still days that are tough for me. 

When I started reading healthy living blogs, I felt like I had finally come across a group of women/ men who were doing things right. Eating in a balanced manner, exercising, and enjoying life. They seemed like they had it all figured out. Eventually though, I found that so many of these blogs were only showing the "put-together" side of their life. One where they had everything in control, they only thought happy thoughts, and they could accomplish anything. I loved the messages that the blogs held, but I also found that they made me feel extremely inadequate because of how much I couldn't measure up. Every one of those individuals was a marathon runner, a mother, an accomplished foodie, and a go-getter in their job field. There didn't seem to be any days that they would lie on the couch and watch episode after episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or eat two cupcakes for dinner and call it a night. Guilt would get the best of me because my idols would never "stoop" to such pathetic levels. And even when I started this blog, I thought that I should try to sugar coat ( ha) everything to make it seem that I was having a blast and had the most perfect relationship with food all the time.

The more I think about it, I realize that a lot of the guilt associated with these blogs was my own mistaken ideas that I had to be exactly like these people. They were merely living and cataloging their lives the way that they wanted to, and although it was fun to learn about their daily lives/ thoughts, it didn't mean that I had to be that way at all. Furthermore, it didn't mean that their lives were truly how they portrayed them, or really that much better than your own. However, knowing my own sensitivity to the blogs, I have decided to take a little break and refrain from reading them to make room for other things in my life. I think a big part of healthy living has nothing to do with what you eat/ how you exercise, but have everything to do with what you do each day to stimulate and treasure yourself. Sometimes, I can forget that, but I'm always glad to be reminded of it. 

Anyways, back to the bakes! 
Since I last checked in, I have a new job at Natty Cakes, located in the Berkeley/ Oakland area. I found out about Natalie's business because we happened to be from the same hometown, and all the stars aligned so that she was also looking for an assistant baker. I leaped at the chance, and have been having a great experience being involved in her business. Its small, but definitely growing, and I like being a part of that growth.

Over the past few weeks we have been baking up a storm of cookie sandwiches, shortbread, cupcakes, cakes, galettes, and cinnamon rolls. I love being able to work with the variety of baked goods, and getting to give creative input. We bake mostly in the evening, so it was a transition for the late hours, but I can also see it as a chance to sleep in!
Her website is here:, or you can find her on Facebook or through Good Eggs.
I going to be putting in my last hours at Three Babes Bakeshop over this upcoming weekend, which is a bummer but I'm glad that they allowed me to get the experience I have over the course of the summer. It was tiring, hard on the body, and one of the best learning opportunities I've had in a while, and I am truly grateful.
Here are some pastries I made with Natalie on my first week. From left to right: two cinnamon rolls, an oatmeal cookie, red velvet sandwich cookies, a lemon curd fruit tart, and a double chocolate sandwich cookie with strawberry buttercream.

                                      And here are some other pictures from the last few weeks!

At the farmers market with the coveted peach blackberry crumble pie.

Making the crumble at the bakeshop for the week's pies ( its best when eaten raw and in great quantities) 

The product of a hard days chops. Fresh strawberries for strawberry rhubarb pie. 

My bosses sent me to Facebook HQ in Menlo Park to set up a Three Babes pop-up! So fun and stole a ton of their free snacks<3

Here was my table set-up at Facebook! Including Beyonce bumping from the jam box. 

Here are Kahlua and Cream cupcakes I made when feeling fancy one night. They were delightful, and the leftover Kahlua made me one happy lady. 

There you have it! There is a food-related project I've decided to start working on, but i'll save that to talk about next time ( I am pretty excited about it though.) Thanks for stopping in, you da bomb! 

Love, Lia

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Key Lime for Quite a Guy

So Father's Day came and went, and I never even posted about it. For shame!

I'll get to his Father's Day treat, but I want to spend a little time gushing over my pops, because he is truly something special.

There he is, fez and all. I can't say I'm only a "daddy's girl", but I definitely have a special relationship to my father. He's always been there, slangin his patented puns and wielding a plastic Lord of the Rings sword that he bought himself on a wim. He's got stacks on stacks of comic books, and even action figures. Growing up, I got a lot of my sense of humor from him, and certainly my nerdiness. Needless to say, my friends loved him 

And when it came down to the more serious aspects of life, he was an amazing provider, and always took care of me when I was ever sad or in pain. I know I cried in front of him many a time, and he was always there to rub my back and raise my spirits. I remember talking to him about relationships, anxieties, any emotional topic you could think of really, and he always knew how to give advice. Plus, it doesn't hurt having two doctors as parents when sickness strikes. 

So, on his day, I decided to make him a key lime pie After all, I've spent all this time learning how to make pies in my internship, I might as well use the skillz!

I made it with a standard graham cracker crust, crumbed using the food processor. 

I packed the grahams with butta and sugar into the pie tin. I let it get nice and toasty in the oven, it smelled so goooood. I think I have a soft spot for toasty graham cracker. 

Then I made the filling, juicing enough limes for about 5 ounces of juice. 
And damn were they gorgeous. 

I combined that with condensed milk and eggs, poured into the crust, and let it bake until it firmed. It's always kind of tough to figure out if a key lime is done, but after much internet research I felt like I was in the clear. 

I topped it with whipped cream, using old pastry tips we had lying around my parents house and a plastic bag ( the ol' stand by when you don't have a pastry bag)

There she is, in all her glory. Why I've decided its a female, I couldn't tell you. Reminds me of all those feminine nautical terms people use. 

My dad loved it! My mom too, judging by the three pieces she had. I think we polished off over half the pie, and then my dad decided to take it to work to save us all. I can't remember ever liking key lime pie when I was younger, but things have definitely changed :D It complimented the steak sandwiches we had rather nicely. 

It was great getting a chance to do something nice for my dad.  It never really feels like you can repay your parents for raising you, clothing you, feeding you, and putting up with your teenage bullshit. It would probably take quite a few more pies than this, but I'm willing to keep at it. 

Happy Father's Day, Ray Frey. Better start planning for your birthday, gotta top that key lime!