Growth.

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Spring, and all it’s possibilities,
it’s anxieties… For me. The more anxious I feel, the more I try to bake and learn about what I want to do with this, my passion for baking!
I’ve been contemplating catering small offices. Imagine a nice lunch compromised of fresh baked bread, tasty deli meats and veggies, homemade chips, muffins, cookies, cakes! It would give me a chance to bake and menu make. For now I’m still teaching myself and looking for the next class I want to take. Going to fundraise a bit for it, hope that works.
Also, this: http://www.gofundme.com/pastrycamp

This is what I’ve baked in the past couple weeks…

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Bake for Good

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Bake for Good

My life has changed a great deal since January. Since the polar vortex that took the city under– and I, fighting against a desire to give in, made a choice. A choice to fix my sail and continue to weather life’s storms. The next choice was to start believing that life wasn’t all about doom and the fierce cold that seemed to infect my mind. No it wasn’t about that. It was about joy and laughter and love and the sweetest things in life. I had to stop listening to my fears. (I haven’t done well with that. But the point is that I made the choice and in that respect I am that much closer to achieving a life without crippling anxiety.)  I quit smoking (cold turkey) and started doing. It seems like a lifetime ago I was researching schools and workshops and started fully embracing my passion.

Since then I quit my overnight ‘baker’ position at au bon pain, and got hired in the bakery department at a fresh market grocery store. I work less, only part time now that I am training to do something entirely new.  My other half and I moved into our own place and I’ve been creating the optimal kitchen for myself to bake in. It’s only been a few months and I’ve grown so much as a baker and as a person.

 

I learned about King Arthur Flour when I took a class at The French Pastry School. I just recently started stocking up on it. Whenever I get interested in a product or company I research it. In doing that I learned about all sorts of fun things this company does. I’m really intrigued by their “Bake for Good” campaign they are doing for the month of April. It is going to give me something I’ve been missing with this whole endeavor. And I’ve always, always wanted to do something to help other people. I’m looking for more connections and more ways to get resources. Giving back, and now feeding the underprivileged is a huge goal. Helping someone feel good, it just feels guaranteed to help my anxiety. I want to give joy, and I hope it will all come full circle.

Working on dreams

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My mom has given me the gift of a kitchen aid stand mixer in order to help me pursue my passion. Teaching myself can be intimidating so I’m hoping to scrape together the funds for the workshop in May. But for now, I’ve taught myself a few things I hope I can perfect over time.

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blog’s namesake origins

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I found this article a few years back and I remember the impact it gave me. I know that the title of this blog may seem a bit confusing so I’m attempting to explain. Having panic attacks and having the intense fear of suddenly dying, and then having a subsequent epiphany that I am in fact living, I can identify with what this article explains. In the moments after they jump is when they realise how much they want to live. I can understand in many ways because my difficulties with panic attacks and anxiety have made me harbor both feelings of appreciation and devastation with life. I am grateful for life when I survive the feeling like I am dying, on the other hand that sensation makes life difficult to enjoy. So before I theoretically jumped off the ledge of life (not in the nature of the acts like this article, but more in a general giving up or giving in to my fears of living) but after the fact I’ve already fallen in good and tragic ways due to panic. This has made me want to live more than anything. Anxiety pushes me to find happiness in the basic level of human joy I can find. to be stable and safe.

I share this knowing some will judge me for opening up, but I would rather share my journey and let someone know they are not alone because that matters the most to me.

I hope that it explains why I’m so determined and why I titled a baking blog such.

https://my.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness/201109/the-jumpers-what-happens-after-person-jumps-the-golden-gate-bridge-and-

Stepping forward, falling behind

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Workshop was cancelled this weekend.

I got a call a couple days ago from Kendall College. I had raised enough to pay for their Baking and Pastry boot-camp. It was to be all day today and tomorrow, described as an intensive workshop on the very essentials of baking. I thought, “how perfect!”, this seemed to be exactly the start I needed. The fundamentals and a base knowledge of the craft would have really given me the fuel to feed this fire….. but It was cancelled due to lack of interest for this weekend (Not enough people signed up). It was rescheduled for the last weekend of March, which is great since it’s only a month away… I’m not able to go however, as Doug and I are moving to our own place at that time.  For the past few days I have gone through a lot of thoughts and emotions regarding this change in the course of events. It was discouraging to say the least, but I have gotten over that notion. I’ve begun to piece together all my prior work history and what I’ve done well at all of my previous jobs came down to one similarity. Bread.

I really began making sandwiches back in Ohio. When I was 19/20 I was living in downtown Toledo with a couple of friends and working as a manager at a Quizno’s right in the heart of the city. Back then, I had a nice assortment of things to play with and I started to discover more flavors. I enjoyed all the different breads we offered, and I was good and fast at putting together something tasty. That experience did help me in my move to Chicago, enabling me to come here with a job secured at another Quiznos. And although I didn’t continue working for the company much longer after my move,  it kept me here long enough to get another job. That would be at a Jimmy Johns downtown. I worked at several different ones for years until I started working for the current company I’m with. I was originally hired at this company for the sandwich area based on my previous experience. In the time I actually worked as an MTO (made to order) I used my time trying to make the most of sandwich making. I often arranged the meats, the cheeses, the veggies, and sauces in such a way it was more of an art form than your standard bread and meat pile.  I had more than a few customers remark to me that I was “meticulous” and that my creations were going to taste better. I often agreed, remarking that it was because of the care I was taking into making it for them. However, in my view it was easier for me to interact with the ingredients than it was the people. 

Basically I enjoyed playing with their food instead of engaging them. Eventually due to the nature of the location I worked at, I didn’t get a full 8 hour shift at the sandwich bar. I had also worked several different stations besides that one by the end of my time there before becoming strictly a ‘baker’.

So this is where my thoughts have funneled into. I am going to gather up my ambition and move into some specialty of baking and perhaps that will lead me into bread baking, or turning bread and bread pastries into works of art. I made the decision to get the refund from the workshop that was rescheduled and now I’m using that toward a three day workshop at The French Pastry School. This was a really difficult decision for many reasons but the most basic is that this class is at night; exactly during the hours I need to sleep in order to participate in working overnight for a living. Now that I have thought this through, I feel better about what to do with my newly discovered passion for baking. The sacrifice I am going to make for this workshop is easily remedied by resting up the weekend after. I’m excited also because the chef instructor is the same Frenchman from when I first went to experience the school. He was engaging, funny, informative, and I just looooved his accent! I even went up to him after the demonstration that day and asked him how to pronounce the name of the company I work for.

Now to acquire my own chefs coat before March 11…. 🙂

INFO ABOUT THE CLASS:

Baking with yeast can be intimidating but your chef will guide you through the process – and teach you how to troubleshoot – while making a crusty French baguette.  Your chef will teach you how to add a little more sweetness to your repertoire by making the two-bite desserts that the French call petits fours.

You’ll learn how to make the iconic French macaron and to achieve its perfect balance of crunchy, chewy meringue cookies filled with luxurious ganache – and you’ll get to take everything home at the end of class.

Whether you want to learn more for your home kitchen or are considering taking on of our full-time programs, this class is the perfect way to begin your pastry education.

Bake Life

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Bake Life

This is a representation of what I do everyday (please note, I am not a trained pastry chef and I have not made the dough or fillings of these pastries. I do bake them everyday for a company who supplies me the frozen product. From there I thaw, proof, bake and decorate.

Bake Life 101

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Well, this is blogging, eh?

I’m more into baking these days. So much so that I am now blogging about it. I’ve always been a passionate person, but I’ve never had an outlet. Sometimes when someone has an intensity about them like I do, things get a little displaced. I have all these odd traits about me, that if used for bad could make life miserable.. and it was. I had this perfectionism and this feeling of always rushing and trying to get things done (now known as ‘sense of urgency’), and to subsequently run away from the anxiety of all the possibilities in the world…. but then I became a Baker.

Baking brought out this machine of a woman in me. I have always been a fighter, and awfully stubborn too. When this job came along at this really fragile time in my life I was just trying to keep going. Then it became a challenge. I wasn’t trained well for the baking I’m doing, I taught myself. After only a month and half of solo baking I was told I’d have to start training. I have never been good with people, nor have I ever been able to truly explain my thoughts. Most of the time I’d rather stay silent. This was an entirely new challenge now.. to work along side of a stranger and then explain myself and this new job I was doing. The anxiety! Boy, oh boy. But I said i was a fighter, so I fought my thoughts and my doubts and I did what needed to be done. I think I’ve trained maybe 30 people now. It’s never easy, but I am skipping ahead. When I started caring about the job I was doing, it was when I realised I worked in a place (not the best) in downtown Chicago, in a huge, well known building and I had a literal hand in the production of business in this massive structure. I also started to find it really neat that I got to do things on a whole other schedule than everyone else. I have never fit in with anyone, anywhere and I’m okay with that. I was working overnight and by myself. The thing that pushed me was I really didn’t want to give up, Doug and I had just made the commitment to stay together and I was really falling for him. But I was so angry that I was now in a position that was simultaneously difficult and interesting. I mean I am a baker,  I know how to work with dough, and bake the dough, and decorate the pastries, and I can lift heavy boxes (all the time, ugh) … I can pull all of these things from a freezer, proof them and make them beautiful but I don’t know how to get from point A to Bake. And that’s how I knew I didn’t want to give up on myself. I had an honest desire to produce beauty. I fell in love with making food into art. I guess it saved my life, and all I want is a future filled with hard work, love, and treats.