Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sporadic, at best.

I know my entries have been sporadic instead of compulsively habitual. Strange, huh? I have been so busy physically preparing for the holiday market, stressed financially preparing for the holiday market, and drained emotionally by holiday market crossed with a holiday where I chose to NOT go to Lafayette and do the family thing. Heather was angry because of that choice and my parents may have been hurt. I just have so much money tied up in the business I felt like I had to be ready! I have leftovers, however, which is wasted money. I took some bags of toffee to the bar where we go karaoke and gave to the waitresses who take my abuse nearly weekly. I also plan to make a gift basket to take to David, the owner of Inner Chef. Michael and I go in there constantly, ask a million questions and can never afford to buy anything. The night I really HAD to have the food scales, however, David let me in after hours and helped me as pleasantly as could be. I figure he deserves a treat or two! I will either take some up to the nursing home and staff tomorrow or donate the rest to one of the shelters on Monday. The Focaccia bread has to go quickly however, it has a quick mold growth because of the moisture and no preservatives.

I did make some money today. Not enough to cover expenses I think. Most of the expenses were for ingredients so that is what I really need to recoup. Items like the food scales and some additional cooking utensils I purchased would be included more in the start-up costs in the cost analysis, which counts as part of the pricing structure too. I don't know where I am with all that. I have been saving receipts forever, but I need to take a couple of hours and really see what I have spent on equipment and "permanent" things, and what I spent on ingredients for developing recipes and for tastings, and what I spent on ingredients for sale items.

I have a meeting Tuesday to talk with a woman about a program community kitchen is going to run called "Backpack Buddies" They will send backpacks full of nutritious foods home with the children of the really financially challenged families on Fridays to help them get through the weekends without their free school breakfasts and lunches. I have one recipe for Nutritious Breakfast Cookies that are very high fiber, have powdered milk for calcium, applesauce, and whole-grain oats. I am going to make some Monday night to take to this meeting to see if it will work out. The Kitchen and Local Growers Guilds have a grant to pay for the items so it's not just out of the goodness of my heart (although my heart is good, I promise), but I hope for it to be additional income, even if it is small. If they need their foods to be produced in a licensed kitchen I wonder if I could use Community Kitchen's. They have volunteers work in there all the time under the supervision of a certified Food Handler, and I am certified so maybe we could do that. I will return and report on that.

I stayed up ALL NIGHT baking - took a shower about 7:15, planned to leave for the market which opened at 10:00 at about 9:00 to get all set up. I don't even remember lying down, but I woke up at 10:15, yelled, "Oh shit!" Threw some clothes on, threw the stuff in the car and got there at maybe 10:45. Everybody was worried about me, yet at the same time, they took all the premium space in the booth so I was kind of stuck in the back. I was able to move up after a while and then I sold a little more. I was surprised that I sold A LOT of ginger bread cookies and I don't think I sold one box of oatmeal chocolate chip. The choc. chip has been what I have taken to tastings and everybody LOVES them. I guess it's more unusual and holiday-ish to have gingerbread. My gingerbread is vegan, 50% whole grain and fat free. I use a little bit of canola oil in the frosting to keep it frm turning into cement, but that is the only fat.

Jennie, the flour lady, gave me two bags of a new kind of pastry flour to try today. She said they only grew a little of it this year as an experiment. It is a white wheat berry, which they are able to grind to a finer texture than the gold wheat berry I bought this time. I am going to try it with the cookies and try some pie crusts or yeast rolls or breads also. She wants feedback on it to know if they should plant more. Just looking at it (they use clear, cello bags) I have a good feeling about it. They call the gold wheat berry flour their pastry flour, but some people don't like the grainy texture in a sweet if they are not used to eating whole grains. Using a finer grind and a softer wheat might be able to ease some people into the whole grain life. If it is fine enough I might be able to go 100% for some of the products. I might even try 100% to start out. Pretty exciting. I like experiments like that.

Speaking of experiments... Amber, I need help with the homemade caramel thing. I have never been the world's best candy maker, but I followed directions EXACTLY and used a thermometer and everything. There were no dipped pretzels for sale at the market today, however, and a picture will be posted on the "Spectacular Disasters" album on Facebook soon. I almost want to wait until I manage it successfully before I post the picture, so people will know I can do it before I tell/show them how I failed! I need to clean the house before I can take the picture. I did very well on the "clean as you go" while all the baking was going on. That last run though that ended at 7:15 this morning - well, it's still there and even though I napped, I am still pretty damn tired, AND I am driving to Lafayette tomorrow and then to Greenfield to get Michael. I can't make any promises to myself about starting the week with a clean house the way I like to, but that's the way it goes!

I must miss blogging. I'm so tired I thought I'd just get on here and quickly report that I am not dead. I guess it's hard for me to write just a little at a time in here. I wish it were more difficult to write in here and less difficult to work on my actual books!

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