As Michiganders, we are accustomed to the beauty of our state. The large expanses of crystal clear lakes, the white sand beaches, and the abundance of greenery. Trees, particularly maples, sumacs, dogwoods, and oaks tower above us and provide a spectacular display of color in the chilly fall months. There is no better way to describe our state than as being #PureMichigan!18 Oct
Hot fudge sauce is the tall dark and handsome of the liquid toppings family. If it were at a bar, it would be the Hitch watching every other pick up line attempt fail while smirking into its G&T. If it were an athlete, it would be captain of the basketball team and quarterback of the football team.
Chocolate sauce begins with chocolate (cacao beans to be precise). Cacao beans have a very long and rich history beginning with ancient South American cultures. Aztec cultures were said to have ground the beans into a paste and created a rich drink similar to modern day hot chocolate. The bitterness of the drink was said to turn off the conquistador. In order to temper the bitter flavor of the chocolate, the conquistador’s added honey and/or sugar.23 Sep
Do you ever wonder how the first pastry was invented? As a chef, sometimes I wonder these things. Especially about the complicated recipes like mini pies. What happened, someone decided they liked the least desirable part of bread and ripest fruits available so much that they wanted to wrap them up together and roast them over flames?
Allegedly, pie has been around since the ancient Egyptians. It is said that pies were originally made simply to store the filling for eating later and not to eat the crust with the filling. Thank god someone made the mistake of taking a bite out of the full pie...09 Sep
We all have smells or tastes that take us back to a place in time of significance. The smell of honey and oranges takes me back to a very special time and place in my life.
I have lived in many places, traveled to far away countries, explored hideaways, and have had the opportunity to explore my passions and true callings. The places I have traveled and lived all have significance in one way or another, whether it is the people, the place or time in my life.30 Aug
By now many of you know that I am a former professional pastry chef and food/product photographer. Yes, that was a shameless promotion for myself as a photographer! But seriously, I pull a lot of my recipes from experiences, trials, and errors from working in professional kitchens. Over the years, many of my recipes have evolved and grown into popular creations for many professional venues. I am always tweaking, adjusting or adding to my core bank of recipes.29 Aug
Cheesecake is a simple dessert that provides an incredibly rich and decadent flavor and creamy texture.26 Aug
Coffee. The alarm clock buzzes each and every morning at an ungodly hour; you slowly wake up, check your emails, update your Facebook status, scroll through comments and likes on instagram. Slowly the realization that you need to get out of the warm cocoon of blankets creeps up on you, thoughts of freshly brewed coffee convince you to place your feet on the floor, and you slowly head to the kitchen. One, two, three scoops of beans are placed into the grinder; the blades whir and the distinct aroma of freshly ground beans assault your senses.10 May
Homemade Chocolate Cherry Soufflé
By now many of you know that I was a chef for many years, a pastry chef to be exact. I loved the fast-paced, creative outlet that working as a chef provided. What I did not like was the 14-hour days, odd hours and lack of time I had to spend with my family and friends. You definitely form a camaraderie, a bond with your kitchen staff, they essentially become your family. Continue reading06 May
How To Make Soda
Soda, pop, or cola all regional names for the iconic drink we have all grown up with. A sugary sweet carbonated beverage that gives us the kick of caffeine that has gotten us through long nights of cramming for exams and early mornings. Soda is a relatively new creation that only dates back to the 1780’s. Chemist Joseph Priestly invented the process of carbonating water while attempting to carbonate the beer brewing process in Leeds, England.04 Apr
Homemade Almond Milk
I was having dinner with a few of my close girl friends and even though we are strong businesswomen our conversations rarely drift to talks of business. Children, home and husbands dominate our personal conversations. We are all at different points in our lives; some have small children still at home, a few of us have transitioned into school age children and one or two have children that are almost at the point of transitioning into adulthood. Food, care of children and our husbands fill the few precious hours that we have together. Being a former chef and a health conscious consumer, the health of family and what they eat on a daily basis is of utmost importance to me. Anytime that I can eliminate unnecessary processed foods or I can create it completely from scratch I do. It is not always possible due to time restraints and the availability of fresh seasonal ingredients but when I can I do. Homemade Almond milk is a great example of a recipe that is simple and the ingredients are available all year long.27 Mar
Recipe: Peanut Butter Candy Cookies
The peeps are out; bright yellow, green and shocking hot pink round out the line up. I’m referring to the fluffy marshmallow concoction covered in colored sugar that only makes their appearance during the Easter holiday. This is the time of year that sweet pastel candies of every shape and flavor hit the stores, some traditional to the Easter holiday and others created in a new shape or flavor to add to the traditional Easter morning basket.26 Mar
Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe
It's been a long week, your eyes open slowly and the warm sunshine kisses your cheek. You realize it’s Saturday; a day for sleeping in, a leisurely cup of coffee in the sunshine filled dining room and the aroma of freshly baked pecan sticky buns fill the house. The warm aroma of cinnamon and roasted pecans slowly wafts down the hallway and up the stairs to greet the rest of the family. Gradually the teens begrudgingly make their way down to the breakfast table with hopes of a strong cup of coffee and a slice of whatever woke them from their 14 hours of beauty sleep.
Pecan sticky buns can awake even the laziest of teenagers with its sweet aroma and tantalizing warm cinnamon and roasted pecan aroma but the long list of ingredients and even longer preparation can seem like a daunting task.
Continue reading18 Dec
The smell of ginger cookies baking is in my opinion one of the most beautiful aromas. The combination of ginger, cloves, and cinnamon are intoxicating and permeates the entire house. One of my first big “corporate” positions as an executive pastry chef was in a restaurant where I had the distinct pleasure of helping to build from the ground up. Endless hours were spent purchasing equipment, assisting in the design of the kitchen, and creating recipes. Our team was incredible and the desserts that we produced were some of the best in the area. Although I loved pretty much all of the products, my favorite is, and will always be, our ginger cookies. Soft and chewy with beautiful hints of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Our ginger cookies are a delightful treat!01 Dec
Over the past several months you may have noticed a sizable increase in
the price of vanilla. This occurred not only within our brands, Beanilla and
SpiceJungle, but in stores around the globe.
Vanilla is a perennial crop that is harvested in late summer, cured and processed
in the fall, and sold to the market in October, November, and December.
Most companies purchase the majority of their vanilla during these
months. In typical years, demand slightly outpaces supply, resulting in relatively
stable pricing with a little carryover of inventory from year to year.
This year the market is drastically different. Madagascar, which is responsible
for approximately 80% of the world’s vanilla, had a terrible growing season
in 2015. Last winter the orchids had very little flowing, and then several
months of poor weather conditions prevented fruit growth. This year, the total crop is
estimated between 1,100 and 1,300 metric tons, which is nearly half the
total supply of last year! With demand being constant at approximately
2,000 mt per year, the result is much higher prices. Prices at the current
time at 3X what they were just 12 months ago.
What can we expect prices to do for the rest of this year and into 2016? We
believe prices will only increase for the foreseeable future. The companies
that did not buy well during the 4th quarter of 2015 will be forced to pay
very high prices in order to secure what little supply is left. We anticipate this
will cause prices to increase through October and November of 2016.
The good news: early signs are showing that the 2016 crop is progressing
well and the overall yield should be close to normal levels. A couple years in
a row of strong yields should help normalize the market and hopefully bring
prices back down to pre-2015 levels.
We thank you for continuing to support our efforts to procure the most astounding
quality vanilla from around the world.
Your friends at Beanilla25 Nov
A shrub... you may be wondering if we have completely lost it and have resigned ourselves to creating recipes that incorporate outdoor coniferous materials. A shrub is an outdoor plant that we all can agree upon, however the type of shrub I would like you to introduce you to is a delicious concoction of tart cranberries, acidic vinegar and sugar. The result is an infused base you can use in combination with club soda for a non-alcoholic holiday beverage or combine with your favorite scotch, whiskey or barrel aged gin.