Category Archives: Baking

…it’s still morning somewhere, right?!?

Mmm …. pie!

Sunday afternoon on the WIBC-Facebook page I said that I had a progress announcement about my baking book — and that I was going to post this morning …. and it’s now PIE’o’clock (3:14PM) …. and I’m realizing I didn’t get to it*, ACK! I’ve been busy getting my BagpiperDon website working right so it’s as equally as awesome as my recent updates to this site. ANYWAY…

I had a conference call with my editor, Linda, on Sunday. She is A*W*E*S*O*M*E — she’s bold, she’s brilliant, she’s hilarious, Linda Makes Work FUN! (And yes, Linda, you may quote me on that for your portfolio.) We nailed down a number of things both having to do with my book and my plans to re-release it after paper publication as an e-book. I have a check-list of the things I need to satisfy (as provided by my friend & e-publishing coach, Tom) — toward the end of my call with Linda I ran down the list and updated it.
(PSST! – Linda has a bran-new website COMING SOON – see here at CheckChick.com!)

Here’s the HURRAH Announcement

There are 18 total To-Do items on the list, I have 11 DONE, I have only 7 more to go!

Now — real quick — what does that mean?  Simply speaking, there are big tasks and small tasks in writing and publishing a book.  Usually writing the book is a huge task — DUH, obviously!  Other tasks may take a few hours, days, or weeks, and those are considerably short …. even if that means taking two days to craft a few paragraphs for the wings or back of a book.  There’s still the final edit work to do on my book, and the other tasks are really pretty small … but they add up & take time.  For DIY boot-strappers like myself that just means nose-to-the-gumption-grindstone!

“So when is your release date, Don?”

I am hoping to publish by Black Friday, however with everything going on I think it will be closer to Xmas. As many of you know I experienced a hard-drive crash early this year and have had to re-start my project working from old back-ups, e-documents I thought I had lost completely, and most but not all of the photos I had planned to include. Having received Linda’s added involvement has been nothing short of a GIFT! The book has been coming back together, and while it’s not done Right Now it is a better book than I had written last year. Do you think that this adds to my excitement???

OH YEAH!

So, work to go!
Back At It — Don

Tom and his many abilities at TrimbathCreative.wordpress.com
Linda, my editor, at CheckChick.com and her Check Chick Facebook page

* So here’s a little insight about being a small business owner….
It’s said that in ancient times if the gods wanted to get revenge on some humans they’d make them go crazy — and to accomplish this they make them fall in love. In modern times, I think gods make people go crazy by making them think “Hey, I can start & run a small business!”  Is a small business Love?  Well, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing…. then, Yes!

Kitchen Tips – Yours & Mine

Do you ever find yourself in your kitchen making something tasty thinking to yourself “You know, that one thing that I do in my kitchen is a good idea and other people would benefit from knowing about it.”?  Yeah, me too.  Well, here’s your chance!

Over this past weekend while doing a little baking I thought of something I might add to my current in-process baking book — KITCHEN TIPS!  What’s a Kitchen Tip?  Well, one of my ideas — and I would hope this should be obvious — is to always keep your oven mitts or hot pads in a consistent place so you’re not scrambling for them when the timer rings.  I thought up & wrote down about another 5 and then I thought “ENGAGE YOUR PUBLIC” — so……..

WHAT ARE YOUR BAKING-RELATED KITCHEN TIPS?  Comment below ….. yes, I’m actually going to allow comments for once.  These would be suggestions related to setting up your kitchen for baking or around the process of baking (etc).  Write your tips, hints, & ideas here — they might get included in my baking book!

“Collect your cookie crumbs – they go great on top of ice cream! For best results, serve soon.” Marion C. – Milwaukee, WI”.

If I publish your idea I will try to let you know in advance.  Also, I would like to put your name & location as written above.  Now, I should also say — while I like this idea for my book, I’m not sure how I might include them.  My original idea was to disperse these notes throughout my tome but that doesn’t fit with my mental image of the contents – so these might end up as their own section instead.

Submit your ideas & you just might get your name in print!
Enjoy ~ Don

Baked Goods On The Horizon

Products I’m Considering

  • Scones – I considered scones, experimented with them (Blueberry, brown sugar, and a little lemon zest), but I have decided to shelve the idea for the time being – scones only hold (decently) for 24hrs and don’t travel well.
  • Muffins – I’m thinking of a variety of muffins.  Like some of my products I think they’re going to come out in two general classes.  Products that are ‘healthier’ and tasty and tasty products that are relatively no better than other things on the market.  Still, no added preservatives & blah blah blah.
  • Breakfast cookies – I frankly don’t know much about these, but they seem to be quite popular right now.
  • Granola – I’ve been turned on to this idea.  Sounds easy, sounds like something I can express with, sounds like something people enjoy.

GF products

  • Other Cookie Square flavours – Chocolate Peppermint, Lemon Orange, Lemon Ginger, Lemon Cranberry, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
  • Experiment with biscotti flavours I’ve had in mind

If you have biscotti flavours or other cookie/baked-good ideas, please send them to me.

Make it Tasty,
Don

M33ting

(30January2015)

Late this morning I had a meeting with … well, before I get to that, let me say this – my meeting was both expected and unexpected, and it was GREAT!

So what does that mean?

I had a meeting scheduled with the Island County Commissioner and the head of the Economic Development Counsel (for a lack of better terms the Whidbey Island small business association) – what I didn’t know was that I was also getting two additional EDC members – it was a committee!

While I planned to meet in the front of the bakery where there’s a nice room, they came right in to the bakery and we started talking. They were interested in what I do & how I do it, how I got to where I’m at with my baking company, what I want to do with it, and most importantly what I need for my company to grow and be successful. Meeting in the bakery was great, I was finishing up a batch of Lemon Cake and Chocolate Citrus Biscotti for my guests – talking here instead of the fancy front room felt like they joined me in my trench. More than that was not only what they had to say but what they want to do. Not only do they serve as an information source for a small business person like me, but they want to get involved. Frankly, I can use and will take the help and be grateful for it.

They want me to send them some of the information I have built for my company up to this point. They want to assess aspects of my production for efficiency. They want to meet with business people carrying my product to get their perspective of carrying my product. They want to see if there are meetings they can help facilitate with other businesses and better align my business with beneficial opportunities.

I have a lot of ideas and a lot that I’m working on for my company, and I’m glad to be doing it. I don’t admit to know or see everything about what I’m doing with my company, and frankly there are things that are working and things that need to be working better. These kind folks are willing to apply their experience to my efforts, and if it will help the question-marks that exist with WIBC and help bring my product to people, I’ll do everything I can to receive and apply all that they have to offer.

So I knew that I was going to have a meet with two great people, and I was given the gift of four great people who genuinely want to help my company to grow in the way it needs. I’m grateful.

Thanks, Don

PS — That “M33ting” title was not me trying to be hip, that was a typeo … I meant to hit “ee” but working fast hit a couple of 3s, and I liked the look of it so I left it.

WIBC – In-Store Demos

(January 10th & 24th 2015)

I got to do my first in-store demos of my product January 10th & 24th 2015 at Goose Grocery in Bayview on Whidbey Island.

The 10th preceded a professional football game. I’m not a game person but apparently this was an important one locally as the Seahawks were getting into the finals going toward the Super Bowl. I don’t know what the Super Bowl is, but by the name alone I suspect it is a very large bowl and people are very pleased about it. I on the other hand wonder if I can mix a lot of biscotti dough in it &/or fill it with biscotti and serve it to many people. I will set the official WIBC R&D Department on finding out the dimensions of this bowl right away – more will be revealed.

I sampled the January flavour array from WIBC – Double Chocolate, Almond, and Espresso. While I planned to be there for four hours I think I was there for five. It was great! Samples went out every minute. People talked with me about my company. A few even shared ideas they had – I love that! The Whidbey Island County Commissioner met me – COOL – saying that she is pleased to see new businesses on the island and enjoyed seeing mine. A few days later she started a very nice email dialogue and now I’m scheduled to meet with her on the 30th to talk about ways to further my company. All in all it was thrilling to get to this point – nearly two years in the making – getting to tell people about my product and seeing many people enjoy it for the first time. By the end of my time I was nearly out of samples and I had (basically) sold-out Goose’s stock.

January 24th I was back … this time having the nerve to do something in the way of marketing I’ve had in mind since early in the inception … I wore my kilt. I figure my biscotto is not like normal biscotti, so why should my advertising be … plain? Besides, it was the eve of Robert Burns Day (a Scottish poet from the 1700s who is still celebrated today … or, well, tomorrow as it was). My product seemed to get plenty of attention – which I saw as good since I really wanted to not get too much personal attention, kilt attention, or confuse the public. Again, samples flew off the table and much enjoyment was had (yea). By the end of my time I was nearly out of samples and I had (basically) sold-out Goose’s stock.

Here’s a few things with these in-store demos …

  • For all the performing I’ve done, wearing my kilt or as with the first week wearing jeans and a fitted dress shirt, I found myself extremely nervous. I believe in my product, and my baking has already made many people very happy; now that I am doing it professionally I have become very critical and I want it to show well. I want people to give it a chance.
  • When talking with people, while I had some speaking points, I wanted to not be scripted. I wanted to connect with people, and that’s what everyone gave back to me. We talked, we laughed, I told them about my biscotti, some told me some of their flavour ideas and baking tips, and I was flattered to hear many compliments on my biscotti.
  • In my now two demo experiences I’ve found that there is an energy level that comes up as you meet many people and talk constantly about your product. A few hours into each demo I found myself about as dingy as I could possibly be. The experience cooks your brains. Although I was pleased with what went on each day, afterward I was tired. I felt like I had spent all day playing my (bag)pipes at a festival with my Celtic-rock band – high energy, hard work, put all of your passion out. As much as it lifts you up, it can also wear you out.
  • In addition to samples I gave out small bags of my cookie crumbs. I’d look for kids, give these to them, and tell them to take them home and put the crumbs on their ice cream. The kids were pleased with this and so were their parents. No kid was more pleased than one little girl who I saw on the 24th. After I gave her a bag of crumbs she said thank you. Her and her mom came by my table about 3 more times as they did their shopping, and each time she said “THANK YOU FOR MY CRUMBS!” and the whole store knew it. As she passed by my table she did a skipping little dance holding up the bag of crumbs. I hope to never forget her – she was AWESOME!

Until the next one,
Don