In Knead

Being a loyal member of a fandom does not just mean being a fangirl or fanboy. It goes much deeper than that. In addition to watching/reading the art-form, feeling emotional connections to the characters, watching/reading AGAIN, quoting and referencing with other members of the fandoms, possibly cosplaying or dressing up as characters from said fandom (or in some way paying homage to one's love of said fandom), and then more watching/reading until you get sick of the art-form itself (which never actually happens so you end up watching/reading over and over again until the day you die), being a part of a fandom ALSO means being an active participant in a beloved community - a family if you will. In fact, with our pun-loving nature, we're inclined to call it a "famdom". 

So far, every non-profit organization, charity event, and/or school/theatre/arts fundraiser that has approached us for a contribution, we have been over the moon to donate. Usually, it is either a large dessert bar for a large event or a small gift for an auction, but none of it has ever been quite enough. None of those events really made us feel like we were making enough of a difference on a big enough scale. Until two of our fandoms in particular inspired us. "Supernatural" and Zachary Levi, respectively.

It takes more than words to describe the feeling of support and togetherness that the SPNFam exudes. Unlike almost every other fandom ever, you will NEVER see negative comments on ANY thread posted by someone in the SPNFam, nor will you ever see someone comment a heartfelt confession that is not responded to with UNCONDITIONAL love and emotional support from a random stranger. Part of this love stems from the long-running sci-fi show about two brothers who fight supernatural beings in order to save the lives of many, many people. The show itself is wonderful on many levels, and is loved by a broad demographic. But the main strength of the fandom stems from the actors/crew themselves who have dedicated their lives - and their fame - to raising money, awareness, and support for SEVERAL different charities and social issues. Not only have some of them founded and/or curated charity organizations, but others have run multiple social issue campaigns and built actual suicide-hotline call centers. The SPNFam has helped to raise an amazing amount of money. This is not only helpful to the people in need, but also to the fans who may be struggling with some of these issues themselves. These positive and healing messages help fans feel comfortable in reaching out to other fans going through these issues - which inspire them to donate and contribute which then help those in need. It is quite an amazing circle, making a difference on a global level. It is a beautiful and wonderful famdom that we are SO proud to be a part of.

Now, I know what you're thinking, Zachary Levi himself is not a "fandom" per say, but in the most pure form - he is. He is the President-Elect of all fandoms. The Emperor. The Elven King. The Captain. The star of "Chuck" and Tangled is more than just a talented actor and thespian - he is a FAN, and he has empowered other fans in an immeasurable way. The Comic-Con weekend is the largest example of this (though his loyalty in standing in the pouring down rain just to sign autographs and take pictures after every single performance of his Broadway show "She Loves Me" is extremely note-worthy). Every year during the San Diego Comic-Con International, Zac runs his own nerd-convention, "Nerd HQ" through his all-things-nerd-world company, "The Nerd Machine".

Unlike Comic-Con, Nerd HQ is much more intimate. Attendees pay-per-panel to get a guaranteed seat in a personal conversation with their favorite panelists. Also unlike Comic-Con, the main convention area is free for all attendees. And again, unlike Comic-Con, ALL proceeds of panel ticket sales go directly to Operation Smile, an absolutely honest and wonderful organization helping under-privledged children born with facial deformities gain access to safe surgeries. In creating "Nerd HQ", Zac has essentially helped bridge the gap between fans and celebrities, and in turn made everyone more comfortable in connecting to each other. It is no longer about crazy, weird, mega-obsessed fans trying to breathe the same air as "Sorry, I don't take pictures.", and more about a community of individuals who all have a common love for the same art. In the same way he helped the fans get closer to the artists, he also helped the artists get closer to the fans. They are no longer on a pedestal high above their fans, but they are now part of the fandoms. The artists who appear at Nerd HQ, all understand the importance of connecting to their fans and the joy that can grow from that connection on BOTH ends. Generally they are appreciative and gracious of their fans, and they also know that being a panelist at Nerd HQ means raising money for an amazing cause. What Zac has done, is create a more intimate, concentrated, cheaper, and - in our opinion - better "Comic-Con", with some of the kindest people. Fans and celebrities hanging out and talking about their craft which is what these conventions should be like - and why not help children while they do it?

Which got us thinking. We are a tiny, barely profitable company who has weaseled our way into the Industry, simply because we are fans. We thought this was a really awesome way to merge our pop-culture obsession with our love of baking and creativity. We are lucky to be able to live in a country where two young women in their early 20's can wake up one day with an idea, quit their soul-sucking day jobs to start a business (with literally NO money and HORRID credit), and make it grow into something they can be proud of. Something that makes people happy, and makes them laugh, and makes them nostalgic for their favorite movies, and makes them sick from eating too many Lord VoldeS'Mores (which we are not liable for..). But what if we took a page out of the SPNFam and Zac's book, and merged our fandoms with a way to give back? The solution was simple: donate $1 of each dozen treats ordered to the favorite charity of that treat's fandom. For instance: $1 of each dozen of Rice Krispin Glovers ordered, will be donated to the Michael J. Fox foundation

Eat your fandom for those #inKNEAD.

Disneyland Hitch Day

bluebayou.jpg

We are dead broke. We hardly make rent every month, we never get to eat out, shopping for fun is absolutely out of the question, and I can't remember the last time we bought each other any presents for birthdays or anniversaries. Our one splurge that we allow ourselves is a Disneyland Ditch Day, with the help of our annual passes (thanks, Mom and Dad!). For the past two years, we have not been able to even do this because we were saving up Disney gift cards that we've asked for for every single birthday and holiday in order to get enough for a pass. Finally, with the help of my mother, we were able to get the cheapest passes available, and to celebrate our fifth anniversary, we ditched work to go to Disneyland.

After being together for five years, my Disneyland attire was built for comfort, and doing my make up or hair was not in the stars. I DO apologize sincerely that I cannot be one of those girlfriends who wears heels all day at Disneyland, but that is just not happening. Who am I, Elle Woods? Michael doesn't seem to care. He takes Disneyland as seriously as I do, and we were both on the edge of our seats to FINALLY be going to Disneyland again after all these years.

Not to brag, but we are kind of experts in the ways of Disneyland, and we make Fast Passes our bitch. Our routes are ingeniously planned, and after getting passes for Indy, we headed over to Pirates first thing. We walked by the Blue Bayou as we always do, wishing we could have a fancy romantic dinner at our favorite restaurant, but alas - BROKE AF. Michael seems to be in a good mood, however, because it was our anniversary. He said they probably didn't have any reservations available, and I said we couldn't afford it anyway. After saying that maybe we could split the cheapest dish, and maybe someone cancelled, Michael told me I may as well ask if they had any reservations - one could hope! No, they were booked full. I suggested we could just swing by Taco Bell on our way home if we got hungry. Sounded good to me...

We literally had the best day ever. We took romantic strolls on the wishing well bridge, we cried over Jungle Cruise being closed, we got sick from going on Star Tours and HyperSpace Mountain too soon after each other, we blew off the Matterhorn line because "ain't no body got time for dat", and we had margaritas and Ghirardelli samples from CA Adventure.

Then it started to get cold, and we had just met up randomly with Michael's aunt, uncle, cousin, and her betrothed. We decided the Matterhorn wait had died down, and I joked about how "at least you don't get wet on this ride" because I was freezing. That's the wonderful thing about El Nino in Southern California, (no, not that it cures the drought), but it fills up all the water in all the rides! Going through the last splash got us SOAKED and Michael's aunt was DETERMINED to grab a picture even though I literally looked like Jon Voight after he got regurgitated by an anaconda. I'm glad she did, though, because it was the only real picture we got from that day.

(I try to forget about the Space Mountain picture....)

 

After a stop at the locker, and my change from a cute tank top to a DRY men's flannel button up and a beanie (which is really elegant to be proposed in), it was about 6:30PM and Michael suggested that we get "coffee and a snack". I laughed...why don't we just leave and pick up TB? Getting a SNACK at 6:30???....he looked at his watch and responded "It's not time for dinner yet."

Well, right there I knew something was up. I thought, maybe he had some nice dinner planned, but we have no money for Blue Bayou so it can't be there, but I'll just go with it. We got coffee, which made him a little jittery, but we were both so excited and in love, and having the most magical anniversary celebration! During the final parade and right before the fireworks, we thought it would be the perfect time to sneak onto It's A Small World which we walked right on.

But Michael kept asking if we could go on Pirates again. Yes, Love, we can go on Pirates again even though we've already been on it twice today. I never get sick of that ride. The very beginning is my favorite of any ride ever. The smell right when you walk into the line- that unforgettable smell that smells like rain and happy. It's always dark no matter what time of day. The fireflies are out. It is so wonderfully quiet when the boat starts to cruise down the bayou. You can hear the old man on his porch listening to a banjo version of "Yo Ho Yo Ho". You never quite know if those people eating in that restaurant are real, or if they are animatronics. You can smell the food, though, that spicy gumbo...mmm ...those warm bread and butter rolls. How long have those multi-colored lanterns hung there? For sure since I was a kid. No matter how many times I have eaten at the Blue Bayou (which isn't many), it is still the most mysterious, magical, and wonderful place in all of Disneyland. And of course, the water tables are the best spots because you can feel like you're just sitting in that boat on the beginning of the ride throughout the whole dinner and there's no place I'd rather be. So, of course, my dear, let's go on Pirates. I want to go on Pirates. That's a perfect last ride to go on to celebrate the love I have for you, and the appreciation I feel for being with you, and being HERE with you, and feeling like we are still kids without a care or worry in the world. 

But we never made it to Pirates. We took a swerve into the Blue Bayou before I could even blink, and Michael made me sit down in the lobby to wait for him to check in. He's not the smoothest of criminals, and I knew SOMETHING was up (even after telling me I should ask for a reservation to throw me off track!), so I guess I wasn't completely SURPRISED that he had made reservations to the Blue Bayou - but I was just completely overwhelmed at the generosity and romance behind that move. We don't have the money for this dinner, and usually I'm the one to just say "We're Rich!" and pretend like we can afford anything now, and ask questions later. I love when he's in the mood to put his worries aside and just have a blast. He works so hard and deserves to spend money where and when he wants, and he decided to spend it with me. Tonight. For our five year anniversary. And it was the ultimate romantic dinner. He had me wait in the lobby while he asked for a water table. What a smart, perfect man.

I started crying at the dinner table. Anyone that knows me personally would not be surprised by this act. I cry at everything. But it's usually happy tears. And my happy tears tonight were from having the absolute best day, with the absolute best friend and companion I could ever have, and (later that night I was to know) ever WILL have. I'm not used to a lot of romance in my life. We are the Mulder and Scully of romantic couples. We get along swimmingly, we are the only ones who "get" each other, we have each other's backs, but when the cameras are off - we are the most in love you could ever be. But in public we just have a blast being best friends and that night he kicked up the romance to eleven, and I was over the NOLA moon. That's why I cried. He had given me the best anniversary present - a romantic date, at the most romantic place, after the most romantically fun day. What more could a girl asked for.

Until mid- filet mignon, when he abruptly got up and declared "I'm gonna do this now..." and kneeled down.

I was super confused, and thought to myself, "What is he going to do?, tie his shoes?" I donno, maybe his laces were bugging him and he just needed to fix them, so I kind of didn't think anything of it. Until the quietest, most simple and perfect and loving sentence escaped from his lips.

He did it. He popped the question. He asked me to marry him.

No. Bye! And I left. Cuz EFF that dude, amirite?

He thought about getting the waiter to come and take a picture, and I loved that he didn't because it was our moment. Not even the emptying tables around us even heard or noticed what just went down. We had a silent little moment all to ourselves, just like the silent moments we so much enjoy on our boat rides down the bayou. The only ones who noticed were myself, Michael, and that little old man on his porch.

You Knead This DIY Coffee Exfoliating Soap

That one time when the UPS man knocked on the door and I answered it wearing an egg white and coffee grounds mask and scared the caffeine right out of him, was not only indicative of how weird I am, but was also the softest and most refreshed my skin has ever felt.

Then that other time, I was searching for Christmas crafts to make as gifts and stocking-stuffers and came across this basic coffee soap. It is tailored toward men, and had no beauty benefits other than the coffee grounds, so I adapted it and my skin has NEVER felt better or more glowing! It was all made with ingredients that I had in the house, and my boyfriend uses it on his face too so it definitely WILL make a great stocking-stuffer for men!

The coffee grounds not only smell WONDERFUL, but the grounds will act as an exfoliant and anti-ageing benefit. By washing away a layer of dead skin cells, your face will feel soft and cleaner than ever. The caffeine actually awakens and perks up your skin by improving circulation, which will remove excess water from skin and make it appear firmer and tighter (smaller pores and anti-wrinkle!). 

I began by freshly coarse-grinding coffee beans (with amazing coffee I bought in Seattle!), and using my French Press to make the coffee. I used bottled water which I think makes a big difference when 1. you're drinking the coffee so you want to use good chlorine and fluoride-free water, and 2. you're putting it on your face and it is getting absorbed into your skin & pores, so the less weird chemicals and dirt the better - NO TAP WATER!

After I drank the coffee to get my day started, I busted out the Jojoba (and no, that's not your annoying neighborhood Gungan) which has AMAZING skin benefits. The coffee grounds will help reduce puffiness and swelling, while the Jojoba oil will add moisture to your skin.

 

WHAT YOU'LL KNEAD:

  • about 1/3 cup (or 6 tbsp) used coffee grounds
  • 2 tsp Jojoba oil + extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
  • about 1 cup (or 8 oz) of Glycerin (I used about 10 cubes of olive oil glycerin - you can get this at any craft store like Michael's or Joann's)
  • small saucepan (for double boiler)
  • small glass or metal bowl (I used a glass measuring cup sitting on a cooling rack so that I could just pour it right from there without using a ladle)
  • muffin tin

DIRECTIONS:

First get the glycerin melting, and for this you'll need to double boil it. You can heat up water in a small saucepan, and then put your glass bowl of glycerin cubes on top of it (not touching the water, but allowing the steam to heat up the bowl instead of direct flame). Or what I did was get a small pan of water, put my small cooling rack on top of that, and then used a glass measuring cup (covered) on top of that. That was easier for me to just pour in the soap instead of having to spoon it out. Double boil over medium/high heat, but make sure you keep an eye on your saucepan and refill  with more hot water when necessary or it will evaporate away.

While your soap is melting (stirring it once in a while), use the Jojoba oil to grease 5 cups of your muffin pan. Then fill those 5 cups with about a tablespoon of coffee grounds on the bottom of each cup.

Once your glycerin has melted all the way, and while it is still over heat, add 2 tsp of Jojoba oil and 1 tsp of vanilla to the glycerin and keep stirring until the heat makes it as smooth as possible, and then add the rest of your coffee grounds and stir. 

Pour (or ladle) your soap into the muffin cups and let sit for at least a few hours until hardened. I used a butterknife to get the soap out of the cups.

MY EXPERIENCE:

I ended up putting a LOT of coffee grounds in this because I wanted it to be a little rougher, and what happened was, there ended up being a smooth side and a coarse side. I lather my whole face with the smooth side and then I gently go over my larger pore areas with the coarse side. Then I message my face with my fingers or with a gentle exfoliating sponge.

Stay tuned for my amazing Lemon-Thyme Face Toner that I have been using for years as as a brightening and clearing agent. Followed by my DIY face moisturizer! 


Let's Bake a Difference Cancer Awareness Fundraiser

A woman in a cupcake tutu with a tulle skirt and a bedazzled scepter runs by, handing out red bags for holding treats. Cakes shaped like birdcages and layered in fondant line the walls. Children with butterflies and dinosaurs painted on their faces shovel cookies and cakes into their mouths faster than Augustus Gloop shot up that chocolate tube at Wonka’s Factory. A character that looks suspiciously like Ted Danson grabs a few white-chocolate dipped Rice Krispin Glovers from Kneady’s table, causing heads to turn.

Jake Shillan and Whitney Van Laningham help out. 

Jake Shillan and Whitney Van Laningham help out. 


Now, I know what you’re going to ask. Is this paradise? A carnival? A weird crossover episode of Cake Boss and Cheers? The answer is D, None of the Above. (Although I kind of want to see how Option C would pan out.)


On Saturday, March 1st, Kneady Bakery participated in the Let’s Bake a Difference fundraiser for Cancer Awareness. The event ran from 12pm – 4pm at the Westlake Village Inn, overlooking the beautiful golf course. Participants were able to purchase tickets at the door, which were traded for baked goods from each stand. Kneady felt that it wasn’t fair to make people choose only one treat—after all, our booth was well-stocked with Ed MacaRooneys, Rice Krispin Glovers, Sith-A-Mon Roll Wookies, Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Wookies, Movie Candy Wookies, Liz Lemon Bars, Robert Brownie Jrs., and Lord VoldeS’Mores—so we let participants in on a sweet deal: two treats for one ticket.

 

In addition to showcasing local bakeries and raising money for cancer awareness, Let’s Bake a Difference held a baking competition with various prize categories for each professional bakery to participate in. Kneady entered in the following categories:

 

-       Most Creative Sweet Treat (Lord VoldeS’Mores)

-       Most Unique Ingrediants (Movie Candy Wookies)

-       Best Tasting (Liz Lemon Bars)

 

When Gary Bryan (host of KRTH 101) announced that Kneady had won 1st place for Most Creative Sweet Treat, we absolutely couldn’t contain our excitement. Gary presented us with an awesome jeweled cake stand that we couldn’t wait to use at our next event. We were also given a cucumber melon scented candle as a “thank you” gift from Let’s Bake that smells amazing in our home.


The event was so much fun that we were the last booth to leave. To be honest, we were also kind of in the middle of a spirited debate about whether or not we had really seen Ted Danson or not. Sometimes that just takes priority over packing up and heading home.


Okay, but seriously, that's definitely Ted Danson...right?!

Okay, but seriously, that's definitely Ted Danson...right?!

 

 

For more information on Let’s Bake a Difference, you can visit their website: HERE

 

And for all of our wonderful friends and customers who couldn’t make it to the event, all of our treats—including our award-winning Lord VoldeS’Mores—are available for purchase and delivery (in Los Angeles and Ventura County) by the dozen on our website, www.kneadybakery.com

How to Not-Bake Oreo Truffles For A New Years Party After You’ve Run Away From Home

Step 1: Remind yourself that it isn’t really running away from home, because you’re an adult, dammit. It’s liberating your personal effects from your parents’ house. At age 23. In the middle of the night. After a huge screaming fight with your mom that sounded a lot like the pilot episode of GIRLS.

 

Step 2: Call up the coolest guy you know in Los Angeles. Invite him to the New Years’ Eve party at Kneady Bakery, provided that he gives you a ride in his car to help you nab your stuff. No dude can turn down a heist AND a bundt cake.

 

Step 3: Wear the same clothes you’ve been wearing for three days, because your mom changed the lock on your front door while you were out getting baking supplies. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

 

Step 4: Sit in the front seat with a bag of Oreos, a block of cream cheese, and two different kinds of melting chocolate on your lap. Your getaway driver will kiss you on the cheek and tell you that your hair doesn’t look that greasy. Remind yourself to check the Internet to see if Clyde ever said anything that romantic to Bonnie.

 

 

Step 5: Separate the Oreo halves like you and your brother used to do when you were kids. Scrape out the frosting with a butter knife. Have a moment of silence for the giant lump of goo that will not be included at all in the mix. Sneak a little scoop into your mouth before dumping the cream into the trashcan.

 

Step 6: Move all the cookie-halves into a plastic bag. At this point, your New Years date will wander into the kitchen, offering to help.

“I always listen to the Stones when I bake,” you’ll say, and he’ll smile, turn on Beast of Burden as loud as it will go.

 

Step 7: He’ll pull out an empty whiskey bottle, and help you smash the Oreo bits in the sealed ziplock bag. When Mick Jagger howls, “Ain’t I rough enough? Ooh! Ain’t I tough enough? Ain’t I rich enough, in love enough?” he’ll press you into the kitchen counter, wrap his arms around you from behind, cover your jeans in cookie dust. You won’t mind.

 

tumblr_mwud2en21a1sj8rpeo1_500.gif

 

Step 8: Pour the ground bits of Oreo over the cream cheese. Wash your hands. Knead the grainy cookie smush into the entire block. You’ll think that you have way too much Oreo in there, but trust me, you don’t. Squish it like Playdough between your fingers until entirely combined. The cream cheese should be completely covered. Close your eyes and pray that the bodega below your apartment in NYC starts spreading schmear exactly like this on all of your bagels from now on.

 

Step 9: Roll the mixture into balls, approximately 2 inches in circumference. High five yourself mentally for using a math term correctly.

 

Step 10: Microwave the dark or milk melting chocolate per the instructions on the package, careful not to burn it. Use a fork to gently lower a cookie-ball into the chocolate, covering it completely. Shake off any excess chocolate before transferring to a cookie sheet.

Place them in the fridge for a few moments to harden. In the meantime, microwave the white chocolate and give your date a kiss. What! He’s cute!

 

Step 11: Decorate the top of each Oreo truffle by drizzling the white melting chocolate on top. Check the time. Realize that you are late, as usual, for the party, and hastily text Kati to let her know you’re leaving right now. Right now being 10 minutes from when that text is sent. Obviously.

 

Step 12: When you arrive at Kneady Bakery, set down the goodies, settle onto the couch, and be super thankful. You might not have pretty hair or clean clothes, but you do have good friends. Friends that are willing to hang out with you even when you haven’t been home in half a week, friends that will show you Scream for the first time and chime in when Stu shouts, “YOU HIT ME WITH THE PHONE, DICK!” Friends that will eat your Oreo truffles and tell you that they’re kind of good.

 

Friends that love you and support you and bake you yummy things. 

 

To read more from the brilliant New York blogger of Kneady's heart, please direct your attention to her contributions to Thought Catalog HERE !

 

All the Questions You Have Ever Wanted Answered About Why We Cage

As some of you may know, especially our Instagram followers (@KneadyBakersLA), “every night” (except for Sunday) at “midnight” (roughly), a new and inspiring picture of Actor/Icon Nicolas Cage appears in your feed. Since not everything is in black and white, different feelings and emotions may start to surface at each glance of the sometimes frightening, sometimes comical, always thought-provoking #MidnightCage.

We will not apologize.

We will, however, thoroughly clear up for you ANY AND ALL confusion you may have as to our motives that surround our, as some of you so gently put it, “OBSESSION” with The One True God.

Aside from the fact that we have gotten hundreds of followers simply for our #MidnightCage posts, but end up staying for dessert, and aside from the fact that, as business owners, we can literally do whatever the fuck we want, and aside from the IRREFUTABLE fact that Nicolas Cage may be one of the most brilliant actors to ever grace the big screen, some of you still question us.

The most common question we get on the daily:

Don’t feel bad! You’re not alone in this! However, there are some who don’t KNEAD to ask any questions about why we cage…you “get it”:

We’ve even gotten ourselves a hardcore fan:

(Hope it's ok we didn't censor out your name, Fitzy. Just thought you deserved a shout-out.)

(Hope it's ok we didn't censor out your name, Fitzy. Just thought you deserved a shout-out.)

Hell, we’ve even gotten OTHER Nic Cage users to follow us, because obviously we’re better (jkjKJkjklollololkllol).

Exhibit A, just one little past #MidnightCage post for the jury:

image.png

We even make some of you BEG for it:

Heh heh, calm down, there, buddy... Patience. 

We do, however, suggest at least a 16 and up age limit with parental guidance for all Cages:

That being said, I will now begin to answer your Frequently Asked Cage Questions:

Q: How and why did you get so into Nicolas Cage?

A: Well, I’m one of those fortunate people who like my job, sir. Got my first chemistry set when I was seven, blew my eyebrows off, we never saw the cat again, been into it ever since.

Q: What would you say to those who would rather NOT see pictures of Nicolas Cage every day?

A: Put… the bunny… back… in the box.

Q: Could you recommend some hobbies for people to do who do not wish to partake in #MidnightCage?

A: You can get some tuuuunes or go to a puppet shooooow.

Q: How do you get so many people to like your Nic Cage pics? What's your secret?

A: Sorry boss, but there’s only two men I trust. One of them’s me. The other’s not you.

Q: What are some of the most common questions you get asked about Nic Cage?

A: WHOSE DESK IS THIS?

Q: How do you respond to all the Cage H8as out there?

A: Killing me won’t bring back your god damn honey!

Q: If you ever met Nicolas Cage, what would you ask?

A: How in the name of Zeus’ butthole did you get out of your cell?

And finally,

Q: What makes Nic Cage so fascinating to you?

A: The answer lies with Charlotte.

Well, we truly hope this clears things up.

How to Bake Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes* When You’re Not In Love Anymore

Step 1: Go to the grocery store after work. Throw your purse in the cart so that there’s no room for actual ingredients. Text your roommate: “We have nutmeg, right?” Flirt with the cashier shamelessly.

 

Step 2: Carry all six heavy, brown bags up Third Avenue by yourself. Your fingers will probably freeze to the handles. Don’t panic. This is normal. You will want someone to kiss them warm again when you get inside, but remember, nobody loves you this Fall. Kiss them warm yourself. It’s for your own good.

 

Step 3: Put on your Star Wars apron with your name embroidered at the top and Boba Fett ironed on the bottom. Try not to think about the picture he took of you wearing it last Thanksgiving when you made dinner for him in your old apartment. Set an iPhone reminder to burn that picture. (When you’re done baking, of course.)

 

Step 4: Combine 3 ¼ cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 ½ tsp cloves, 1 tsp allspice, 1tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp salt in a large mixing bowl. Turn up the volume on “Stealing My Heart” by the Rolling Stones. Nearly break the flat, rubber spatula your aunt gave you using it as a microphone to scream, “I THOUGHT YOU WERE DINNER, BUT YOU WERE THE SHARK!” Fall off your step-stool. Wipe stray flour from your chin.

 

Step 5: Place 2 ¾ cups granulated sugar and 1 cup veggie oil in a smaller mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until fully incorporated. Crack four eggs into the mix by tapping them aggressively on the side of the bowl. Separate the shells with your fingers. Pick out the bits of shell that will inevitably get lost in the sugar-oil. But don’t worry. No one’s going to sigh impatiently if you crack eggs badly this year. Add 15 oz. of canned pumpkin to complete the wet mix. When you’re all finished, detach the metal appendages from your mixer.  It’s more fun to lick them clean without having to share with anyone, anyways.

Step 6: Pour the pumpkin goo into the spice-flour, stirring slowly with a wooden spoon. Pretend that you’re Hermione Granger mixing Poly Juice potion in the girls’ toilets. Pretend that you’re a smart, independent, badass heroine who would punch Draco Malfoy in the face whenever necessary. Stop pretending. Realize that you actually are that person. Realize that the Dementors can’t catch you as long as you keep sample-tasting the chocolate frosting. Promise yourself that the next person that you kiss won’t be there to suck away your soul.

969301_10201732379365702_959429393_n.jpg


Step 7: Reach into the cupboard and pull out a set of cupcake holders covered in roses. Frown. His mother bought you those for your birthday. Plan to donate them to a holiday food drive in the coming months. Put them away for now. His family was never your family.


Step 8: Run down three flights of stairs to the bodega below your apartment. Buy cupcake holders leftover from a Halloween sale. Black bats and witchy hexes and Frankenstein bolts. Fill them ¾ of the way up with batter. Can you guess what comes next? Lick the spoon.


Step 9: Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, or, until you can stab a toothpick in the middle without goop pouring out. I’d tell you to let them cool, but who wants to wait?  Break one of those bad-boys open and burn your fingers a little on the steam. Pop a crumbly chunk into your mouth. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,”? Bullshit. These taste better than being in love. 

*Kneady Bakery does NOT make cupcakes, because they are too busy creating wonderful confectionery delights that don't resemble any of the boring stuff you'd find at a Stepford housewife bake sale. So, if you really want one, you'll have to come to Brooklyn. OR make your own using my recipe. Sorry. That's just how this works. If you'd like to complain about this, send a Howler to @WhitneyPuppy.


To read more from the brilliant New York blogger of Kneady's heart, please direct your attention to her contributions to Thought Catalog HERE !

EJ (left) and Whitney (right) - our honorary 3rd Baked Girl.

EJ (left) and Whitney (right) - our honorary 3rd Baked Girl.

The Awkward Business of Catering

Maybe in the future, a person will be able to be in two places at once. But considering there aren’t even Hover Boards yet, I’m just not sure I’m going to witness it any time soon. So, for the time being, and last I checked, Ashley and I were solely in charge of baking and catering entire events by ourselves. And glamorous, it is not.

 

Don’t get me wrong, this is our dream! But there are a lot of….we’ll go with- comical awkwardness that comes with the job.

 

You show up at a red carpet VIP event lookin’ intimidatingly FLY. You’re starving because this particular party decided not to have any entrées and hardly any eatable appetizers, because if there were, they’d be gone in two seconds, amirite? So, you get a few over-priced drinks, and realize that you’re starving for something sweet. You notice a dessert table over yonder with a large array of delicious-looking treats – none of which are cakes and cupcakes, cuz what is this 2007? Come-ahn. – and you see two young women standing by the table.

 

You lock eye-contact and the girl at the table looks away as you approach. She smiles at you with a smile that seems genuine enough, but has a weird awkwardness that you can’t place. You say, “Hello, what do we have here? Oh, this is just DANGEROUS!” And she says in her most ‘Archer’-esque high pitched voice “DAYYYYYYY-NGER ZOOONEEEEE!” a little too loudly.

 

The other girl, trying to cover this unfortunate incident, quickly says “Here we have some Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Wookies…” But the music is pretty loud, and so you say “WHAT?!” and the girl is forced to yell “SEA SALT CHOCOLATE CHIP WOOKIES!...COOKIES, they’re cookies.” You get a cookie, enjoy it IMMENSELY (definitely more than you thought you would), and leave the table forever, not bothering to pick up a card. You probably whisper to your date as you both look over and then walk away.

 

Let me make one thing clear, THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT!

 

Please pretend that was a horrible scene in a teen-angst movie, and allow us to go back a little to the beginning…

 


As usual, Ashley and I are sitting on the couch drinking wine when it occurs to us that our event is in less than 24 hours according to the picture above. Now, we’ve done most or all of the preparation that is possible to do ahead of time. Please understand, everything we make is fresh, and everything for any event needs to be made the day of, or at the earliest, the night before. So, this is perfect for procrastinators, because the excuse for not preparing is, “We can’t!”


Assuming that we already have thought of our décor, and prepped all our catering platters, and gotten together all the name cards and promotional materials, there could be a good chance that last time we were at the kitchen, we pre-made some cookie dough or s’mores dough, but I wouldn’t always count on it.


So now, we’re in panic mode. We can only use our kitchen for a certain allotment of hours, and since we share this commercial kitchen, the only hours that we can use it are from 8pm until 8am. So we do all the prep work we can, and then haul over to the kitchen for a nice 12-hour middle of the night baking session.


Ashley brings her computer so that we can watch Netflix and listen to music while we bake. After all, this is our dream! This is the time we’re most alive! When we’re falling asleep with our heads literally IN THE OVEN, or crying at RDJ in Heart and Souls, trying not to ACTUALLY make cookies with “blood, sweat, AND tears”.


IF we can get through the night without incident (i.e. Accidentally getting locked in the walk-in freezer, or accidentally locking us out of the entire kitchen facility with the oven on, but that’s a story for another blog post…), then we’re usually having a blast. We truly love to bake and so the feet and lower back pain is totally worth it, as is the lack of sleep. We are actually doing what we set out to do, and tomorrow a hundred people will be eating all these delicious treats, and they will love them and that will make us happy. We’re in high spirits.


Then comes 8:01am. We very, very, slowly, pack the car, and head home. We power-nap if we’re lucky. We wake back up at about 9:30 am when we furiously try to get ready by putting coffee grinds on the bags under our eyes, or putting baby powder in our hair to make it look “fresh” ---ok that’s just one of us, I won’t say which. Then we try to put on something glamorous. Because we are glamorous people, damn it, and we can totally fit in to the glamorous vip clubs. #glamour 


We somehow are still rushing out the door, trying to carry every single thing ourselves to make it in one single trip while our boyfriends sit on the couch sipping iced coffees. Which come to think of it, is probably all we managed to eat this morning…


We are only driving 6 miles, but this is LA and so that will take 20 minutes.


Umm...I think it's gonna take a little longer than that, Daddy....

Umm...I think it's gonna take a little longer than that, Daddy....

 

We get there, half awake, try to find the assistant or coordinator, and ask where our table is. They show us to a strangely lit, and awkwardly shaped area and we set up. We can totally roll with this. At this point, it’s still all about the fun and we’re having a blast so far. We make sure everything is perfect, and say hello to the host, but they are busy rushing around making sure everything else is in its place. Then we wait.

 

People start to arrive, they’re filling up the room, munching on snacks and getting drinks at the bar, and our feet are killing us. We are exhausted. We haven’t eaten anything. Ashley starts to eat about 5 Cinna-mon Roll Cookies, and I start to snack on about 6 of the Rice Krispin Glovers, and the sugar is helping to make us jittery, which we mistake as pure energy. Combine this all, with the fact that a live human is approaching us. We panic. We forgot that now we have to be “on” and talk to people, and BOY are we bad at small-talk.

 

This human is absolutely beautiful and dressed to the nines in a gown, and probably had her make up done by some sort of professional. Here’s where the anxiety sets in, we start to notice how obvious it is that we’ve gotten virtually no sleep whatsoever. She’s super nice and makes a sweet comment about how dangerous it is at this table because of how delicious all the treats look, and how hard it will be to resist and what is everything? And I panic because I’m awkward at taking compliments and decide to try and be funny by quoting an adult cartoon. Ashley steps in and tells her about the Wookies and she may or may not get the Star Wars reference but it’s really loud in there, and somehow screaming a really bad baking/Star Wars pun in a large group of well-groomed people seemed inappropriate at that moment in time, and so she just takes a cookie and we watch her eat it.

 

Yes, as if our performance wasn’t hideous enough, we actually stand there and WATCH YOU as you eat something that we baked. We’re not sure what else to do – we have already gone to the bathroom a million times, and taken a little lap around, but obviously we don’t know anyone. So we just….stand there….and watch you eat.

 

And the conversation usually goes like this:

 

“Oh my god this is the BEST cookie I’ve EVER had!”

“Seriously? Oh my gosh thank you SO MUCH!”

“Did YOU make these yourself?”

“Yes this is our company!”

“Wow!” *takes card…maybe….and leaves*

 

We are flattered beyond words, but then the realization sets in of how even MORE awkward that is: that it’s not two professional cater waiters, but the actual owners of the company, who ALSO bake, AND who cater the event. We are supposed to be good at talking to people and selling ourselves, and making our company sound interesting and delicious, and all we do is yell nerdy words at you and watch you eat chocolate.

 

One day, we will be able to afford our own wonderful commercial kitchen that we can use whenever we wish to, and hire our own employees who professionally serve food, and have a super bubbly personality, and are splendid at small talk. But for now, we will write this off to purposely wanting to make our company the most personal it can be, and leave it at that.

 

And the more I think about how lucky I am to be baking all night with my best friend, watching nerdy movies as we work, and having dance parties to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack while stupidly handling very hot metal sheets, and how our names are on the cards, and our recipes are making people smile, and how WE DID THAT OURSELVES, -the more I think about how ridiculous it is that “being tired” is the only complaint I can come up with? That means it’s a job well done, and a day not wasted, and I can’t help but think that Beyonce would be proud....for a second, until she sees us trip and fall down the stairs...

 

Preheat your oven to Blink-182 °F

frank the tank.jpg

I used to think they were just like every other punk/rock band of the late 90's. I used to think they were just a bunch of boys whining about girls that dissed them. I used to think that "dissed" was a cool term. Only in the past couple of years did I realize that Blink 182 was a rare voice that knew and understood the angst of pre-teens, the cruelty of girls, the stupidity of boys, and the perspective of it all.

Moreover, I also used to think that what was arguably their most popular song, "What's My Age Again?", was just another catchy pop-punk chart topper. WRONG AGAIN.

Here are the five main ingredients of "What's My Age Again?" and how it bakes an all-around perfect song:

+ 1 tbs of Structure:

In perfect poetry, the boys tell a hilarious story with clever lyrics that are perfectly repetitive when needed, but never boring. Listen, I'm not trying to over-hype them on the brilliance of lyrics, okay? I'm just saying - they hit all the marks. If a high-schooler were to turn in these lyrics as a poetry assignment, they'd get an A. I appreciate that they don't repeat the same exact lines every stanza, but that the differences between them are not contrived.

"What the hell is ADD?"

"What the hell is Caller ID?"

"What the hell is wrong with me?"

+ 2 heaping cups of Mark Hoppus:

Obviously he gets the mad cred for writing the song, but the vocals are what sets this song apart from others. Not to say that he has the most unique, incredible voice of all time, but he sings with heart. He truly believes the words that he's singing, and he's singing them directly to ME. While DeLonge has the tendency to sound a tad emo and whiny at times, Hoppus sounds like my friend, and I trust him, and I feel for him, and I know what he's going through. And if he would like to call me sometime to talk about his feelings, I mean, I would be a friend to him as he has been to me, I mean, that's only fair, right?

+ A dash of The Feels:

Let's not beat around the bush, here, it's...really catchy. It makes me feel good. I turn it up and sing to it and don't think twice when my fellow commuters are staring at me through my open window. Maybe they're just staring at my shattered side-view mirror but ERRONEOUS! If a rock/pop song isn't catchy, then WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? And the breakdown at the end where I turn my volume up all the way? Yeah, I like that part.

+Mix in The Music Video for about 2 minutes and 27 seconds:

Ahh, the good old days of MTV. (Golly, if you asked a kid what MTV stands for they'd have NO idea.) It's not a video of a band standing with all their instruments playing the song (well, heh, not clothed anyway...), and it's not a hot girl drenching herself in water wearing some weird chain-mail outfit (I think I just made this video up, but just go with it), and it's not some random costumes and puppies in outer space, and/or artsy filmography trying to trip you out and give you deeper meaning, blah blah blah. It's just some rowdy boys streaking through LA. That's all - simple and absolutely perfect. They take the most immature, yet lovable, and timeless prank of all time, and symbolically match it with this Peter Pan-Complex story. The fact that it's in my hometown, and that they really did run through the busy streets, is just an added bonus. Like I said, Mark, if you need to talk, I'm HERE FOR YOU.

+And the most important - let Reality set in, until cool, then serve:

When I was listening to this as a teen, I laughed at how funny this dude was. He's watching TV while um....yatta yatta yatta, and then he's got the stones to prank call her mom, and majorly diss (there's that word again) her dad? He's the class clown and the loser rolled into one! And I grew up thinking he was pretty cool and that 23 would be pretty cool and that growing up is pretty cool. And I couldn't WAIT. 

Now that I'm here, I had never realized how much he "got it". His immaturity was just a reflection of his inner child and his yearning for all things fun in life. And growing up SUCKS, and 23 SUCKS, and responsibility sucks, and parents suck, and in order to counter-balance all of that, you need to enjoy yourself.

It’s a small town, I suppose you gotta make your own fun.//

Everybody makes their own fun. If you don’t make it yourself, it ain’t ‘fun’, it’s ‘entertainment’.
— -State and Main (2000)

Yes, he's childish, but he also knows that there are more important things in life than being grown-up and sophisticated. 23 is that perfect age where you think you are grown up, and yet you are still clinging to your inner child. You're starting to get tainted by people in general, and you desperately want to keep fresh in your mind how it felt to just be free and not give a crap about anything. And DGAFing feels good at any age. And when those haters called "friends" 'say I should act my age - what's my age again?' - it's really whatever you want it to be. You for sure have 23 years worth of wisdom and no one can take that away from you, but "acting your age" is the most infuriating term, and I will always find prank calls funny.

"No one should take themselves so seriously
With many years ahead to fall in line
Why would you wish that on me?
I never wanna act my age"

 

...don't even get me started on "Adam's Song"

...don't even get me started on "Adam's Song"

SummerThyme, the Livin's Easy


Ok, so it's not summer anymore... but SoCal weather could have fooled me. 

On a sunny day listening to Buena Vista Social Club...I can't think of anything better than ice cold lemonade.  I realized we had a plethora of lemons and since our apartment seems to have some sort of grudge against fruit - I felt the need to use some of them up quickly. 

You could use any herb of your choice - whatever herb you think would be a good pairing. We happened to have thyme in the fridge ...so my decision was easy.

Variables:

+ 1 cup of lemon juice

+ 3/4 - 1 cup of simple syrup w/ thyme 

+ 3 cups of water ( you can use less - I happen to like a less sweet lemonade)

+ thyme for garnish (optional, but recommended if you feel like getting fancy)

Making simple syrup is a cinch - boil 1 cup of sugar, 4 sprigs of thyme and 1 cup of water. When the sugar dissolves... let the thyme stew in there for 10-15 minutes but make sure you take the mixture off the heat. When cool you can store the rest tightly in the fridge. 

When life gives you lemons - oh you know the drill.

Quick Tip: If you find yourself with a lot of herbs and are worried they will go to waste - plop them into ice cube trays and fill with olive oil and/or butter. The best herbs to preserve in my opinion are rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano. What a perfect way to start out a recipe!

Cheers!

Milkshakes and Photo Booths.


It's 12:45 AM and one of the girls has just watched Amelie for the first time...even though the soundtrack has been a regular in her "recently played" for years now. "Where do I go from here?" she says... struggling to find the answer. "How can we make our lives more mysterious and meaningful?" she says again...hoping for some sort of exciting rebuttal that satisfies even one ounce of her deflation from this amazing piece of cinema. These are the conversations of 2 aspiring entrepreneurs in the middle of the night - because life isn't like the movies. It isn't resolved or completed within a span of two hours. It's not always rewarding and it's not always forgiving. Life is struggling to pay rent in an overpriced apartment in West LA. Life is struggling to sustain a small business in a heavily populated foodie world and some of the priciest real estate in the country. Life is worrying that you're four years from thirty and you haven't done half of the things you feel like you were born to do. But this isn't the story we are ready to tell.  

What we are REALLY here for is:

Kati: "Let's go to cafe 101 for milkshakes."

Ashley: "I'm down to go in 5 hours... for coffee... in the morning... at an un-godly hour....?"

Kati: "Well THAT doesn't sound appealing."

 

But they were Le Tired, so, the 2 Baked Girls channeled their inner Alton and decided to make some Banana Ice Cream:

+ Frozen bananas (3 to be exact)

+ Nutribullet (Food Processor or Blender also does the trick)

+ 1 Tbs cocoa powder

+ A splash of almond milk (optional)

+ Freezer (at least two hours for ice cream-like consistency)

= And that was that. Bonne Nuit.