Social Media Strategy in a nutshell

I’m going to drop one of these gems into my communications plan for the next FY. And. No. One. Will. Question. It.  Ah, social media. My husband’s 90-year-old grandfather just got a Facebook account. Cool for him. Fun for us. But has his customer experience has been maximized? Is the brand alive for him?

Good grief.

If you care about social media, or don’t give a rat’s arse, read Eat Sleep Social. Insightful dude.

Giant cookie

I’ve done more baking in the last month than I’ve done in a year. Blame the baby. But now that I’m catching up again, here’s another from a recent spate of cookery…the GIANT cookie made as a birthday cake for my husband.

Fresh from the oven, placed beside "The Cake Bible" for scale.

So so easy, and so much fun. Use the standard Tollhouse cookie recipe, but instead of butter, use butter-flavored shortening. I like the Crisco ones that come in bricks because one brick equals the 1 cup of butter you need. Using shortening means the cookie is more prone to rise rather than spread. And you want this cookie to rise!

Other tweaks: I used both dark and milk chocolate chips for a little texture variety in the chips and scaled back a bit on the walnuts for fear of it tasting too dry (wasn’t an issue). I also added a shot of bourbon, and was heavy handed with the vanilla. It gave the cake a more adult dimension, for lack of a better word.

To eat? Grab a pizza cutter and a big glass of milk.

Googling “dark chocolate cake”

I’m making a wedding cake for a dear family friend and her fiance.  I was feeling unimpressed with the chocolate cake recipes of the past, so I Googled “dark chocolate cake.” Turns out this one from All Recipes has been tried by some 22,000 people. It’s a 4 1/2-star cake with 850+ reviews. Who am I to turn my nose up?

Glad I didn’t. This is one yummy chocolate cake and, as many comments note, even better after a night in the fridge. Meaning it’s perfect for a wedding cake that must be baked a day or so in advance.

Here’s the raw data from a test run:

Wow…you really don’t get a lot of time to blog during a baby’s first year unless it’s about…well…the baby. Anyway, I’m poking my nose out from my long hibernation too just turn your attention to a cool new food blog started by a friend of mine called She’s embarking on a glutenless lifestyle for her health and sharing the fun of her discoveries with the world.

And if you want more from me…er…wait until the kid turns 1.😉

Meringue Challenge

I’ve been going through old photos (in a digital sense, which means I’m clicking on folders), and I came across this photo from my trip to Ireland of the Husband’s and my 3rd anniversary:

Strawberry Merguines

This is a pile of meringues — strawberry, I think — from a bake shop in Galway called Gourmet Tart Company. I didn’t get to try them. It was too late in the day when we got there and the shop girl told me that they sell out of these amazing confections by noon. And regardless, they wouldn’t consider selling them past noon anyway because the consistency would have been shot (too chewy).

I’m feeling inspired. I want to recreate these meringues I never tasted. My dear friend Lisa is coming into town next week…the same one with which I made those scones eons ago. Perhaps she’ll join me in the challenge? I’ll keep you updated. In the mean time…aren’t these just divine?

***Ooh! Edited to add this link to Travel Sweet. Apparently I’m not the only one to have been denied a meringue on a quality contingency!

Bottle Warfare

You knew a baby-related post was bound to sneak in here. But since I do more food-prep with bottles these days than I do with my Kitchen Aid, I thought you might give me a free pass and consdier this entry at least partially in the baking category.

Long story short: For the first three months of Baby E’s life, she was not enthused about taking the bottle. Daddy C and some stalwart friends could get her to take the Dr. Brown’s every once in a while, but she would mostly just chew on the nipple and dribble the rest of the bottle out on her onsie. And as a result, Mama Me was freaked–freaked that I’d go back to work and my wee-one would starve and scream herself to death because I’d failed to introduce her to the bottle early  enough in my selfish desire to nurse and cuddle her.

So, like I’ve done with piping tips and fondant and baking pans, I proceeded to purchase just about every model on the shelf. A particular draw? Anything that sported the assurance:  “best of breastfed babies.” Picture me going through the store and sweeping an entire shelf of  “desperate mother” bottles into the cart and you’d have it about right.  Below you see the collection I amassed.

(Left to right) Adiri Level 3 and 2, Breastflow, Dr. Brown's (two variations), Avent and Playtex Drop-In

(Left to right) Adiri Level 3 and 2, Breastflow, Dr. Brown's (two variations), Avent and Playtex Drop-In

Continue reading