Latest baking victory: Holiday cupcakes

Our office holiday party was Friday! And I actually made something other than brownies and pasta salad. To be honest, I was planning on making brownies — until I discovered we didn’t have any of the ingredients at home. At nine at night. The evening before the party.

So, in working with what was available, I found a white cake mix in the pantry. After Mom walked me through properly blending some of the ingredients together, I quickly had a batch of goo to pop in the oven. Twenty minutes later, my goo had magically become fluffy yellow cupcakes — and I had the perfect holiday frosting to make them look festive! I had to “borrow” the green frosting and sprinkles from Mom, who was planning on using them herself for the holiday party, but everything turned out all right.





With the finished product!

With the finished product!

And here were my creations at the dessert table:


end of a retail era

Last night was pretty monumental for me — after five years (and two at my bookstore), my career in retail is over. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I would see this day . . . even after I graduated from college and took my editor position at the newspaper, I couldn’t give up my part-time stint at the store.

The time has come, though. My life is different, the store has evolved, so many co-workers have come and gone . . . after years of waving goodbye and throwing them parties and presenting cakes, it was my turn.

It was definitely an unassuming affair, though. Through all the turmoil, crazy customers, long hours and insanely busy events, my exit was devoid of fanfare. Times like that make you wonder why you really remained so loyal for so long . . . but I don’t want to reflect with bitterness on anything! I loved working at the bookstore, loved my friends and co-workers, and will sincerely miss helping (most) people who came in looking for a book to get them through a bad break-up, help with a school paper, shed some insight into a new faith or governmental practice or just lose themselves in a good story.

Obviously, I love words . . . reading them, writing them, reflecting on them. So I might not be practically living over at the store anymore, but my memories and love of books will stay with me forever.

Continue reading

Desserts are the way to say goodbye

In fitting office fashion, we bid farewell to our dear friend Leslie by throwing a big party — with tons of food. And not just any food, either — desserts! Lots and lots of . . . desserts. We wanted to do something different for this extravaganza, which was just fine with me. I can only make my pot luck staple pasta salad so many times before people just want to punch me.

Classic favorites were banana pudding, several types of (delicious) pumpkin pie and Pauline’s ice cream cake (which was gone in about five minutes).

What remained of the ice cream cake

What remained of the ice cream cake

My brownies didn't exactly come out alive, either!

After all the food was eaten, the cards were signed and the presents were given, the only thing left to do was say goodbye. Leslie was my editor and partner-in-crime for more than a year; she trained me well, worked with me on tons of new projects — and taught me everything I know about special sections. I’ve taken over her post and I hope I make her proud! We’ll miss her greatly around the office — me, especially. But she’s moving on to a new, fulfilling position and I’m thrilled for her.

It’s hard watching people go, though. When you work with someone eight hours a day, five days a week for months or years, their absence is sometimes shocking. I’m sure it won’t really hit me until Monday that I’m on my own.

But in farewell, I say to you, Leslie . . .

Dessert drama Wednesday

Kelly's birthday cakes

Kelly's birthday cakes

It was a fun-filled day of desserts and birthday celebrations as we all gathered for Kelly’s big day . . . before the big day. In true office style, we had cheesecake, cookies and chocolate cake . . . a fruit punch (courtesy of Brandon!). I missed out on the fruit punch but did have plenty of other treats! And I had pumpkin cakes my grandmother gave me yesterday . . . I saved a few and left them locked in a desk drawer. Sweet!

Needless to say, I didn’t have much trouble polishing everything off.

The carnage

The carnage

Then dinner came around, and Mom, Kate and I were more than happy to kick off the real start to autumn with — what else? — pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie! With whipped cream! I love you, Bob Evans.