Monday, February 28, 2011

Mark Ferrell Just Put a Feather in My Cap

It's official. I am a charter member of the MFSTMAS...

I woke up this morning and checked in on Twitter and what did I see? A tweet about this blog post "Featured on The Flirty Blog" written by my friend, wedding industry colleague and public speaking mentor and coach Mark Ferrell.

I felt flattered even as my face heated up and I could feel myself blushing as I read words like "omnipresent," multi-talented," "accomplished" and closing with a completely capitalized "AWESOME!" and this...
"Oh there’s more. Stacie is incredibly intelligent – a very quick study. If I may say, she just really kicked butt in the MC workshop last year in San Jose. Stacie was the first non-DJ I’ve had in my workshop and I must say that it was a distinct pleasure to work with someone who had barely ever used a microphone in front of an audience before."
So that's a picture of me, feeling very flattered and more than a little embarrassed by the many kind words Mark wrote about me. Me, charter member of the Mark Ferrell & Stacie Tamaki Mutual Admiration Society (MFSTMAS). LOL


But seriously, learning to be a more effective public speaker, being able to connect with an audience and have fun doing it? I never would have thought it was possible. But taking the MC Workshop showed me the way. Since then I've accepted as many public speaking engagements as I've been able to and can honestly say that it gets easier and more fun to get up there and hold a microphone each time.

I had posted about Mark's newly launched, 2011, nationwide workshop schedule last week, which was (in part) what prompted him to write his very kind and flattering post about little ol' me today.

Because each workshop is limited to 8 attendees I wanted to make sure that you were among the first to learn his schedule in case you are interested in meeting and working with Mark yourself. And, btw, I'm not a sales rep for Mark. I'm just a sincere believer that sole proprietor entrepreneurs should be able to present themselves confidently and effectively to clients, potential clients and their colleagues at all times.

If you're interested, here are Mark's 2011, two day Workshop Dates & Locations one more time:

April 18-19, 2011 Mobile, AL
April 26-27, 2011 Gainesville, FL
May 9-10, 2011 Atlanta, GA
May 16-17, 2011 Knoxville, TN
May 25-26, 2011 Greensboro, NC
June 7-8, 2011 Frederick, MD
June 20-21, 2011 Hartford, CT
July 6-7, 2011 Akron, OH
July 13-14, 2011 Chicago, IL
August 2-3, 2011 Minneapolis, MN
August 16-17, 2011 Kansas City, MO
August 29-30, 2011 Denver, CO
October 12-13, 2011 San Jose, CA
November 1-2, 2011 Seattle, WA

As I read Mark's post I felt I was channeling Stuart Smalley. Remember him? Years ago he was the "Daily Affirmations" expert on Saturday Night Live. His most famous quote (slightly edited here) was:
"I'm gonna help people because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggonit, Mark Ferrell likes me."
LOL I have to admit I'm feeling a bit like "Stacie Smalley" this morning.

A BIG Thank You to Mark Ferrell for the blog post. It was a nice message to wake up to and a great way to start the day :) I hope many DJ's and Non-DJ's realize what a valuable experience you are offering in your MC workshops and sign up while there's still still space available.

You can learn more about Mark and his workshops at www.MarkFerrell.com.

(ETA Thanks to Ron Grandia for spinning "people like me" to "Mark Ferrell likes me." Classic!)

If you liked this post you'll probably like these too:
• Mark Ferrell's 2011 Public Speaking Workshop Schedule
• Mark Ferrell's Master of Ceremonies Workshop
• Shout of Mouth with Mark Ferrell

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Daring Bakers: I Made Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies!

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies. (Pronounced "Pan-ah Cot-ah" which in Italian means "cooked cream.")
If you've never had Panna Cotta before it's cream with sugar, vanilla, honey, gelatin and a pinch of salt cooked in a saucepan on your stove top then chilled in typically a clear glass container or a mold.

And it's amazing! Imagine a fine pudding that sets like Jello. It is strikingly light and silky smooth and can be made with milk and gelatin (derived from animal by-products) for omnivores, or using almond or coconut milk and agar agar for vegetarians and vegans (aka "kanten" derived from seaweed and often available in Asian markets). Panna Cotta is the epitome of a "Creamy Dreamy" dessert.

To get a better grasp about what Panna Cotta is like I conducted some aesthetics and texture "research" with this Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta from the "Miette" Bakery at San Francisco's Ferry Building

The Panna Cotta was so easy to make! I made chocolate in the hopes my hubby would try it and I did substitute agar agar powder for the gelatin to keep the dish vegetarian.

I created two finished versions of bittersweet chocolate Panna Cotta and several shapes of Florentine Cookies. The first was to turn the cookies into mini ice cream cones, dip the edges into melted bittersweet chocolate and fill with the Panna Cotta.

They looked like this. Yum! The flavors combined were incredible! The Panna Cotta tasted like the filling in a French Silk Pie and the Florentine cookies were thin, crisp and crunchy. By themselves the cookies tasted rather bland. But with just a bit of bittersweet chocolate and as the complement to the Panna Cotta they were perfection! Here the Panna Cotta softened a bit because it was taking me so long to take the photo and I suspect I should have used more agar agar. I may have to make this a few times to perfect the right amount when substituting the agar agar for the gelatin.

My second version was less sweet, omitting the chocolate from the cookies and topping the Panna Cotta with frozen raspberries I ran through the food processor without adding any sugar. I was planning on making a raspberry gelee to pour on as the top layer but the unsweetened, frozen, raspberry topping was exactly what the dessert needed to cut back on the sweet. And it was ridiculously simple to make!

Success! How Florentine Cookies should look: Thin and Lacy

The second part of the challenge was to create Florentine Cookies, filling or decorating them with chocolate. This is one of the sandwich cookies I made with a thin layer of melted, semisweet, Ghirardelli chocolate spread between two cookies. I was thrilled it looked so pretty but next time I may experiment and add in some nut flour while subtracting some of the white flour just to give the cookie a bit more flavor.

If you want to try this challenge at home Download the PDF of the full recipes (below) from The Daring Kitchen website by CLICKING HERE

Giada's Vanilla Panna Cotta
Fruit Gelée
Chocolate Panna Cotta
Coffee Gelée
Nestle Florentine Cookies

The cream cooking on my stovetop.

Here is the Chocolate Panna Cotta Recipe I Used from the PDF
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups (480 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
½ cup (115 gm) (4 oz) sugar
¾ cup (145 gm)(5 oz) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) vanilla extract


  • Pour milk into a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top, set aside for 2-5 minutes.
  • Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil.
  • Add chocolate and whisk until melted. Whisk the milk/gelatin mixture into chocolate cream mixture. Whisk until gelatin has dissolved.
  • Transfer to ramekins, or nice glasses for serving.
  • Cover and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight

The Ingredients for the Florentine Cookies

I found the cookies baked best when I placed the dough on a preheated or hot baking sheet. The next time I make this recipe I will put two cookie sheets in the oven as it preheats. Then as soon as I take the sheet out of the oven, and after removing baked cookies from their sheets, I'll drop the next batch on immediately, flatten as much as possible and let the heat soften and melt out the dough. The image above shows the difference between dough baked on an unheated sheet at left and after putting the dough on hot sheets on the right.

See how the heat melts and softens the dough before baking?

Important Tips I Learned During this Baking Challenge:
  1. To create a mini ice cream cone shaped cookie make sure you heat the metal pastry tip. I rolled the metal tip along the hot cookie sheet while the cookies set for one minute right out of the oven. But be careful not to burn yourself, it gets really hot! I tried to roll two cookies onto a room temperature metal tip and they broke each time. Finally it dawned on me that if it were heated the cookie would remain more pliable.
  2. The easiest way to pour the cooked, liquid, Panna Cotta mixture into narrow glasses is to first pour the exact amount of the mixture you want to use into an extra glass. Then carefully pour it from the first container into your final serving glass. It worked like a charm.
  3. As illustrated above the cookies bake best when the dough is placed on a preheated baking sheet. Make sure your baking sheet is hot and I used my fingers to flatten down each ball of dough as much as possible.

And one of my favorite parts about the Daring Bakers' Challenges: Showing you the range of finished desserts some of the other Bakers made! You can click on their blog names below to visit their blogs and view many more recipes and fantastic creations!

Click on the Image to View an Enlargement on flickr

Row 1
Cooking Weekends - Vanilla Panna Cotta with Rasptberries
Heart Soul Desserts Ginger PC with Cointreau Mandarin Syrup
Chez Lucie - Black & White Chocolate PC with OJ & Cointreau Jelly
Half The Sugar Bowl.com - Green Tea Vanilla PC with Raspberry Gelee

Row 2
I Can Do That - Nutella Panna Cotta
There's a Newf In My Soup - Meyer Lemon & Basil PC with Blackberry
Hot From My Oven - Mango PC
Chez Lucie - White Russian Vanilla PC with Vodka & Kahlua Jelly

Row 3
Lady Cakes - Vegan Panna Cotta with Berry Puree
Finger Licking Food - Lychee Panna Cotta with Lychee Gelee
Magpies Recipes - Vanilla Bean Yogurt PC with Blackberry Coulis

Row 4
Crumbs of Love - Coffee Jelly with Cinnamon and Vanilla Bean Sour Cream PC
Thursdays Cooking - Panna Cotta with Caramel
A Little Less Vanilla Clove Panna Cotta with Fresh Fig
Tasty Treats - Vanilla PC with Pomegranate-Blueberry Gelee

My thanks to The Daring KItchen for their terrific website and to Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen for choosing such a great challenge for all of us to attempt! If this looks like fun you should apply to join The Daring Kitchen too! It has quickly become one of my most favorite sites on the internet!

If you enjoyed this post you'll probably like this one too:

• January 2011: Joconde Imprime Entremet
• March 2011: Meringue Coffee Cakes
• April 2011: Edible Container and Maple Mousse

Saturday, February 26, 2011

All By Myself on NetworkedBlogs

I don't mind a little "me" time, eating alone in restaurants, seeing a movie all by myself or even going to the ballet as a single to see The Nutcracker, as I did earlier this year. But I have to admit I sure would love some company over on my brand new, and very vacant, NetworkedBlogs account.


My Day to Day Social Media Experience: Facebook, Twitter, Blogher, Daring Bakers, Flickr

People often ask me "How do you do it?" Meaning how do I keep up using multiple social media accounts. Here's what I did when I woke up this morning. It took me 25 minutes to check in and interact on all of the following social media websites:

  1. Login to my personal Facebook account from my bookmark bar.
  2. Read and catch up on what my friends have been up to.
  3. Reply to comments friends have left on my profile page.
  4. Post about things I want to say or help publicize.
  5. Respond to friend's status updates as shown above.


  1. Login to my Twitter account from my bookmark bar.
  2. Check "Mentions" and thank the people who mentioned me. I had no idea there was a tab for this until about a month ago. Turns out people had been saying all kinds of nice things about my posts on Twitter for months and I hadn't responded or thanked anyone :( As Homer Simpson would say "Doh!"
  3. Follow back new followers I find interesting.
  4. Tweet something.
  5. Check for retweets to see if anyone has cross posted one of my tweets.


  1. Login to Blogher through my bookmark bar.
  2. Check for new comments on my syndicated article "The Hierarchy of Social Media Marketing" and reply thanking each person and answering any questions they may have.
  3. Check out home page for new featured articles I might find interesting.


The Daring Kitchen
  1. Login to The Daring Kitchen through my bookmark bar once I complete my monthly challenge.
  2. This month's Daring Baker's Challenge is publishing tomorrow. I posted my images and description in the private forum 2 nights ago and answered another baker's question about this month's challenge so I'll check back for any comments or questions other bakers may have left so I can reply to them.
  3. Check out the forum and take a peek at all of the newly posted finished projects and be amazed at everyone's creativity!


  1. Login to the flickr photo sharing website by typing in the url. I need to add it to my bookmark bar.
  2. Changed my account email address because I just realized the one I had set the account up with years ago is now defunct so I hadn't received any notifications about  new comments left by other flickr members. Turns out there is an entire community of people who will comment on and favorite your photos. I had no idea. I posted some photos on flickr 8 months ago only to discover this past week that people have been commenting on some of them since then. Double Doh! 
  3. Today I added 3 new images for and added a single image to a group (Daring Bakers Look Good) I joined yesterday. Later when I began this blog post I added the five images you see here and took the above screenshot.
This Afternoon I will
  1. Check back into Facebook, Twitter, Blogher and The Daring Kitchen. It won't take as long this time (probably 15 minutes or less) as it did in the morning though unless I need to reply back to people who have asked me direct questions.
Tonight I will
  1. Check back into Facebook, Twitter, Blogher and The Daring Kitchen (will take probably 15 minutes or less).
  2. Take a peek at my RSS Reader (where I subscribe to the blogs I follow) for new posts
  3. Try to start leaving some comments on other people's blogs after I read their posts
And that's it. A step by step explanation of how I keep up with all of my social media accounts! In the big scheme of things I spend about an hour a day, some days more others less, to maintain these accounts. That may seem like a lot of time but it's worth it (especially) if you don't have the budget to pay to advertise because you're just starting out or the recession has really taken a toll on your sales. It's really a small investment of time with a potentially large return. And IMO it's imperative, if at this point in time, you are only using social media to market your company, cause or interest.

For me, I've chosen to predominately market with social media because I think it will bring the right readers over to my blog and website. Those with a genuine interest in the content I'm producing because they either sought out the information they found through a search engine, or someone gave them a word of mouth recommendation via their blog, social media website or a direct email to come check out The Flirty Guide and The Flirty Blog.

But what about Blogging?
  • I'm classifying Blog Posts into an entirely different category than the other methods in this example but will say that I try to post 4-5 times per week with posts that range from 15 minutes to an hour or more to create. Why do I invest so much time into blogging? Because I've found what I create in my blog has the furthest reach and brings the most new visitors to my website and blog. It's mostly because of my blog that I have things to post about on Facebook, Twitter, Blogher, The Daring Kitchen and flickr!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mark Ferrell's 2011 Public Speaking Workshop Schedule

 Almost a year ago I took on one of the most daring challenges of my life to become a better public speaker! How? I signed up for Mark Ferrell's two day, bronze level, MC workshop.

These screenshots are worth a thousand words.

The workshop is designed to give each participant maximum attention with each class size limited to 8 attendees. Yup, that's me with a room full of Professional DJ's and Mark, showing us the way.

There I am at the end of the second day. To say it was a transformative experience would be an understatement. If you ever speak to small or large groups under any circumstances, this workshop is for you.

CLICK HERE to read my account of what it was like and what I gained by really digging deep and challenging myself.

The 2011 Master of Ceremonies Workshop Schedule - Bronze Level

From Mark Ferrell.com "The Bronze Level is an introduction to being a true Master of Ceremonies, including the definition, duties, and elements for proper execution of those duties. The workshop covers the basics of the physical, technical, and emotional aspects of of the job and puts you on the path to “Mastery”.

Please check for date, location, and availability before purchasing.
This workshop is required before attending Master of Ceremonies Workshop - Silver Level.
Each workshop is limited to 8 attendees."

Dates & Locations:

April 18-19, 2011 Mobile, AL
April 26-27, 2011 Gainesville, FL
May 9-10, 2011 Atlanta, GA
May 16-17, 2011 Knoxville, TN
May 25-26, 2011 Greensboro, NC
June 7-8, 2011 Frederick, MD
June 20-21, 2011 Hartford, CT
July 6-7, 2011 Akron, OH
July 13-14, 2011 Chicago, IL
August 2-3, 2011 Minneapolis, MN
August 16-17, 2011 Kansas City, MO
August 29-30, 2011 Denver, CO
October 12-13, 2011 San Jose, CA
November 1-2, 2011 Seattle, WA


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Flirty Blog is Syndicated on BlogHer.com!

I was syndicated on BlogHer.comWhen I was contacted by BlogHer.com asking if they could syndicate a post I did at the beginning of the month about the Hierarchy of Social Media Marketing my reply was: Absolutely! The article was just published today and is running on BlogHer's home page.

You can click on the link above to visit BlogHer and learn why, especially when it comes to image indexing, the way to go is to blog first, then cross post your blog post to Facebook and Twitter. The post contains a real world Google example, with photos, of why I do.

About BlogHer: BlogHer is an online community, and a huge one at that, of predominately female bloggers who are tech savvy, informed and influential. With over 23 million visitors each month, BlogHer is filling a void that existed before co-founders Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins decided to create a website by women, for women.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Light, Late Lunch at Burlingame's Il Fornaio Restaurant

Something to keep in mind... When not shopping at a mall not all restaurants stay open from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Such was the case when I recently found myself in Burlingame at 2:00 in the afternoon looking for somewhere to enjoy a late lunch while acting as tour guide for my friend Michelle, an out-of-town guest visiting from Australia.

We tried to go to two of my favorite restaurants.

First we went to Straits Cafe, a place that serves great Asian fusion. Their door was open, but once inside they kindly and regretfully told us they were closed until dinnertime.

Next, we tried Stacks, a very popular coffee shop. Turns out they had just closed too.

They say third time's the charm and it worked for us. We ended up at Il Fornaio, a spacious Italian restaurant and bakery with a stellar reputation for good food.


I chose the following two items and both were delicious!

Insalata del Fornaio
Mixed greens, garlic croutons and shaved parmesan; house vinaigrette. ($6.99)

The Rustichella
Housemade flat bread topped with goat cheese, mozzarella, tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, basil, oregano; baked in the oven. ($7.99)

The Rustichella alone would have been enough for a meal but I wanted the salad just to have something fresh and green. All of the parmesan probably negated the healthy aspect but I was glad I ordered both.


Michelle ordered the Cappellacci di Zucca which is fresh ravioli filled with butternut squash and walnuts, tomato sauce, brown butter, parmesan and crispy sage (10.79). The raviolis come in two portion sizes: three pieces or five. They are BIG and Michelle said three turned out to be more than enough.

Funny thing is I always thought Il Fornai was a local, small chain. Nope, they're located in 6 states with a total of 22 restaurants!

So if you're dining during off hours in Burlingame you might want to just head on over to Il Fornaio and save yourself the walking around. Unless you enjoy walking around, then Burlingame Ave is a really fun place to walk, eat and shop.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Photo Editing Contest on Louisiana Belle Forever's Blog

Last night I took a peek at my blog RSS reader (where I subscribe to dozens, maybe even hundreds of blogs) and came across a photo editing contest that caught my eye. You see, just a few days ago I had a conversation with a Twitter friend about the lack of entries to online contests we had run. We'd both noticed that responses were often very low for what we thought were easy-to-enter contests with great prizes. For instance there are only 7 full days left to enter to win a custom, "flirty," cartoon version of you right here on The Flirty Blog in my monthlong contest and your odds of winning are really good because I'm choosing two winners and only 24 people have entered. You should enter by February 28th if you'd like a flirty cartoon of yourself!

So, I've been subscribed to Louisiana Belle Forever for at least two years now but I don't think I've ever left a comment before. Following last weeks discussion about lack of response in contests I decided I would enter Louisiana Belle's contest to be supportive but more so because I knew she was right that there was a beautiful picture waiting to come out...

From her blog:

"Yesterday I posted my photo of these Mute Swans doing their mating ritual. Above is the original (resized). Pretty atrocious, huh? They caught me by surprise with their lovemaking, and turns out I only had a brief window of time to capture them before they sailed off into the sunset, which didn't take long once they noticed the telephoto pointed right at them. My camera was on all the wrong settings, naturally. But underneath this awful photo there is potential for something beautiful, just like the story of the ugly duckling maturing into a graceful swan. I believe that with all my heart. ♥"

I've attempted a few times to edit this photo, but I don't like anything I've done! So, I've decided to throw down a challenge to whomever can salvage it best, with a prize for the best edit. Yes, I am bribing anyone who will take the bait because I need help. This photo needs YOUR help!

This is my entry.
  1. To edit I made a second layer (always save your original as a back up) and manually corrected the lighting using Adobe Photoshop.
  2. Then I made another layer from the lighting corrected layer and edited the water color turning it blue by adding more cyan and blue to the color balance.
  3. Final steps, I erased the swans from the now overly blue water top layer and did a light clean up of the swans necks and removed the dark object in the water using the clone tool.
I cleaned up the sawns just a bit but not too much because I thought the image would look more beautiful left more natural.

If you enjoy photo editing as a hobby you should enter Louisiana Belle's photo contest too! There's less than two days left before her contest ends at midnight Central Time on 2/22/11.

CLICK HERE to visit her blog and learn how.

P.S. In case you're wondering how I learned to photo edit, it was all by poking around Photoshop and playing with the tools when I got my first Limited Edition of Photoshop for free with a printer 9 years ago. Back then then I had a film camera and my photos were often under exposed or had a weird color balance so I'd scan them and fix them as much as I could. Thankfully as I've improved my photography skills over the years I've done far less post edit work on the photos you see here in my blog but like Louisiana Belle sometimes I see the potential in what could have been a great photo, it just needs a little help to get there.

But there is an ethical aspect to photo editing worth mentioning. I only use my powers for good, not evil. If I were to edit a photo for a client, or myself, I will correct anything that doesn't directly effect the quality of the product in the image, making it appear better than it was, because that would be misleading and wrong. To me editing is all about bringing the picture back to look as close to what a moment really looked like in real life. The one exception to this is in something like a public photo contest where artistic expression and being creative is openly stated and disclosed :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Four Soon to be Released Books I'm Super Excited About

Never before have I ever been so excited because several books I want to read have all recently announced their upcoming release dates. One author is a friend, two are favorite food places I've been to and one is a person I stalk around the internet because he's an entrepreneurial genius. Here they are with brief descriptions in case you're interested in them too.

And in case you're wondering, no, I don't receive any kind of kick back if you purchase a copy of any of them. I'm just sharing them with you out of pure excitement because I'm so happy they're all available to pre-order now and they'll all be released by the end of summer :)

Book 1: I have never met Guy Kawasaki but I was fortunate enough to receive an early release copy of Enchantment.

Because my blog is listed on Guy's "Alltop" blog directory website I was given the opportunity to apply to receive a copy of Enchantment (to review) back in December. Knowing who Guy knows, he knows a lot of influential people who have already reviewed the book like Sir Richard Branson, Steve Wozniak and Robert Scoble, I was quite surprised when I received a copy at my PO Box just a couple of weeks ago. After reading the book however, it made perfect sense that he sent me a copy even though I fall somewhere between a fairly well known nobody and a barely known somebody in certain small circles :)

I'll be posting a review on March 8th so if you're curious about what I thought of the book be sure to check back.

Amazon Product Description
 Kawasaki argues that in business and personal interactions, your goal is not merely to get what you want but to bring about a voluntary, enduring, and delightful change in other people. By enlisting their own goals and desires, by being likable and trustworthy, and by framing a cause that others can embrace, you can change hearts, minds, and actions.

This book explains all the tactics you need to prepare and launch an enchantment campaign; to get the most from both push and pull technologies; and to enchant your customers, your employees, and even your boss. It shows how enchantment can turn difficult decisions your way, at times when intangibles mean more than hard facts. It will help you overcome other people's entrenched habits and defy the not-always-wise "wisdom of the crowd."

As Kawasaki writes, "Want to change the world? Change caterpillars into butterflies? This takes more than run-of-the-mill relationships. You need to convince people to dream the same dream that you do." That's a big goal, but one that's possible for all of us.

Book 2: I've been to, and fell in love with, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams when I visited her "Short North" location in Columbus Ohio in 2008.

A friend even sent me 6 pints in the mail once, packed on dry ice!

My favorite flavors have been her Salted Caramel ice cream, Mackenzie Creamery Goat Cheese with Cognac Fig Ice Cream and Poached Pear Riesling Sorbet (above left). Since her ice cream isn't available on the West Coast, and I own a Krups electric ice cream maker, I will be ordering her soon-to-be-released recipe book for sure!

Amazon Product Description
Unique flavors, prepared from top-quality ingredients combined with minimally processed milk from grass-fed cows, transformed Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, a small artisanal scoopery in Columbus, Ohio, into a nationally acclaimed (and beloved) brand.

Now with her debut cookbook, Jeni Britton Bauer is on a mission to help foodies create perfect ice creams, yogurts, and sorbets—ones that are every bit as perfect as hers—in their own kitchens. Her recipe for a milk-based American-style ice cream contains no eggs, which allows her amazing flavor combinations to shine. Filled with irresistible color photographs, this cone-tastic book contains 100 of Jeni’s signature recipes—from her Goat Cheese with Roasted Cherries to her Salty Caramel to her Bourbon with Toasted Buttered Pecans. Fans of easy-to-prepare desserts with star quality will scoop this book up. How cool is that?

Release Date is: June 15, 2011

Book 3: I've not only known, but have been friends with the talented, sweet and overall awesome human being, wedding and boudoir photographer Critsey Rowe for several years now. It's kind of a wonder that we ever met because she lives on the East Coast in North Carolina and I'm all the way out here on the West Coast in California. But the internet is an amazing medium that can close a gap of 2800 miles in moments.

When Crisey was out in San Francisco during her International Boudoir Tour two years ago, I was fortunate enough to book a session with her and despite my nervousness, I hate to have my photo taken at all, she put me at ease and captured some really nice images.

Amazon Product Description:
Named one of the top wedding photographer's in the US by Ines Del Mar magazine, Critsey Rowe has been at the forefront of the growing trend for more intimate portraits through her Couture Boudoir service, a venture which has been so successful she now offers it as a workshop for upcoming photographers. Her pictures have been seen in numerous magazines, including Today's Bride, and television shows, including Platinum Weddings where she is a featured photographer.

■ A one-stop guide to boudoir, from equipment, make-up, and styling, through the
shoot itself, to a full range of digital post-production techniques.
■ Thirty poses that will make any subject, whatever their build, look beautiful.
■ As well as the author's own insirational photography, the gallery chapter opens up a
range of exciting possibilities for photographers new to the genre.
■ Realize the very real commercial prospects in boudoir photography with the tips
and advice in the "pro tips."

Release Date is: September 6, 2011

Book 4: I've been to Miette numerous times and am a huge fan of their desserts. Once my Birthday present was a shopping spree at Miette!. Now that I'm a "Daring Baker" I know I have the confidence to take on anything Miette is ready to throw my way with their new cookbook.

Amazon Product Description
Renowned for beautiful cakes and whimsical confections, Miette Patisserie is among the most beloved of San Francisco's culinary destinations for locals and travelers. Miette's pretty Parisian aesthetic enchants visitors with tables piled high with beribboned bags of gingersnaps, homemade marshmallows, fleur de sel caramels, and rainbows of gumballs. This cookbook brings the enchantment home, sharing 100 secret formulas for favorite Miette treats from chef and owner Meg Ray. More than 75 gorgeous color photos capture the unique beauty of Miette desserts and shops. Scalloped edges on the book block enhance the preciousness of this fetching package. Just like the adorable cakes, cookies, éclairs and tarts for sale in Miette's case, this book is irresistible!

Release Date is: June 1, 2011
Pre-order Miette on Amazon.com

I hope you'll find one or all of the books interesting and be inspired to become a more effective and enchanting entrepreneur, a better boudoir photographer, an artisan ice cream maker or a more daring baker!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

San Francisco's Ferry Building Scores a Win with Pepples Donuts

OMD. Oh My Donut. Thing is I don't even really like donuts. But yesterday I saw a display of donuts that was so eye catching and so intriguing I had to have some.

Pepples (reads as and formerly known as "Peoples") is a well known East Bay donut company that's now also available in San Francisco at a kiosk inside the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero. Located right across from the Sur la Table kitchen store you can't miss them if you know where to look.

The eye catching part is obvious right?

In the foreground on the white boards were the glazed cake donuts and in the background on brown boards were yeast raised donuts like glazed, twists, bars, a pineapple fritter and jelly filled.

The intriguing aspect I alluded to earlier was this sign I noticed above the kiosk. That's right. 100% Organic & vegan donuts. I'm not vegan but turns out I love vegan donuts!

Prices seemed to range from $2 to $3 per donut and the list of flavors for the glazed cake donuts was pretty WOW. That day there was Apple, Matcha Green Tea, Kaffir Lime Leaf, Philz Coffee, Blood Orange, Salted Caramel, Coconut Whiteout, Chocolate Cookie, Maple Candy Cap, Vanilla Cookie, Cinnamon Sugar and many more...

That's owner Josh Levine bagging my donuts. I love that he uses an eco friendly iPad as his cash register. Why do I say eco-friendly? I thought it was super cool that he emailed me a copy of my receipt instead of printing one!

So, what did I order?

1 Salted Caramel Donut

1 Apple Donut

1 Blood Orange Donut

They were soooooooo pretty! I brought them home and waited until this morning to sample them because I wanted to photograph them all pretty-like to share with you here on the blog.

It was a close tie for favorite flavor but out of this batch I think the Blood Orange nudged Salted Caramel out of the lead. It was really good. So good I kind of forgot they were vegan while I was sampling them. The cake donut dough is dense but very light and didn't taste greasy at all. Not wanting to eat three entire donuts by myself, I ended up sharing them with a friend I met over lunch so that she (a full time vegan) and her hubby could sample them too.

The next time I go to the San Francisco I think I'm going to try the Blueberry, Orange Creamsicle and Lemon Poppyseed. I'll be sure to post a follow up when that happens :)

Find Pepples Donuts:

San Francisco: The Ferry Building:
7 days a week
Monday-Friday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Oakland: Pepples Donut Farm
6037 San Pablo Ave. Oakland 94608
Open 3 days a week
Friday 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Saturdays 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
sundays 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

The Donut Farm also serves Vegan Brunch from 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM Saturdays & Sundays.

Bay Areawide:
Or CLICK HERE to view a list of the forty locations Bay Areawide that sell Pepples Donuts from Berkeley to Santa Cruz and San Francisco to San Jose which includes cafes, coffee shops, grocery stores and restaurants.