Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What inspires me? How do I decide what I'll bake next?

Hi friends, fans, and followers! For a change, I thought I'd write a blog post that actually doesn't contain a recipe... I hope that's not disappointing! ;-) As I've gotten more into blogging about what's baking in the Barbershop over the last few weeks, several people have asked me questions like "How do you choose what to make next?" and "What inspires you to bake?" Well, I thought I'd share my thoughts about these questions in this post.
To be honest, there are really many answers to these questions! I have many sources of my members, friends, and favorite cookbooks. I also subscribe to several e-mail newsletters from different company "kitchens" such as Pillsbury, Kraftfoods, Nestle, Cooking Light, and Hungry Girl. I love reading new recipes, and these e-newsletters really do contain some great ideas!!
More recently, sources of inspiration for me have been other bloggers! On the home page of "What's Baking in the Barbershop" you can see some of my favorite blogs. I love the opportunity to read about the experiences of other people who also love baking and cooking...the personal touches that can be added to a blog are truly inspirational! I really enjoy reading about the helpful hints or improvisations that people can share through a venue like blog...those are not necessarily always listed in cookbooks! A few of my favorite cookbooks are pictured below.
Other sources of inspiration for me are a bit more "random." :) Sometimes if I want to bake but don't want to go out to the store to get certain ingredients, I decide on a recipe based upon the ingredients I already have on hand...there is always something that can be baked without needing more ingredients than you already have! Quite recently, I began a blog to-do list, so this is another source of ideas. The list is growing oh so quickly too! On this to-do list are several recipes that I would like to try and post on the blog. If only I didn't have graduate school, work, friends, etc...then maybe I could actually cross all of the recipes off of the to-do list! Anyway, recipes on the list come about in different ways. For example, one recipe that I'd like to try is for homemade dinner rolls, which is a recipe I copied from my grandmother's recipes a couple weeks ago when we visited her for her birthday. She is an amazing cook/baker, and I'd love to make delicious dinner rolls like she does! Our family loves them, and she makes them for almost every holiday or special occasion. In general, making yeast breads is something I'd like to get more into with time. Another recipe on my to-do list is for Red Velvet Cupcakes, and it's actually a lighter recipe too! My boyfriend's mother sent me this recipe after she saw a segment with the "Hungry Girl" ( on Good Morning America about making lighter treats. Another item on the to-do list is a recipe for Maple Oatmeal Scones from Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) that my sister sent me. of these days I'll get to making them!
I am also inspired to make recipes that may be requests of family or friends, or that might be someone's favorite treat. For co-workers' birthdays, for example, I love to make something that they really love (e.g., one co-worker's favorite dessert is Boston Creme Pie, so I made that for him a couple years ago on his birthday). The same goes for family members too, of course! I know many of their favorite flavors, so it is always fun to find a new recipe they will like (or a classic one that I've made many times!). And speaking of family, here they are...Mom, Dad, sista, and bro!
Oh, and one more thing I just thought of... I am inspired by pictures of delicious-looking food as well! Quality photography can make such a difference in how appealing a recipe seems. I find that sometimes I only make recipes from cookbooks that have pictures! It's nice not only to know what an item should look like, but also that it looks deeelicious. An irresistible-looking recipe definitely inspires, wouldn't you agree? ;-) I am working on my own photography skills too, by the way... Bear with me though, as I really have no training in food photography like those magazine people do! Perhaps with time I'll improve...
Anyway, I hope you've found my sources of inspiration for baking somewhat interesting. Of course, one of my greatest inspirations is the smiles on the faces of people who try and enjoy my goodies...oh, and knowing that their tummies are full and satisfied is inspiring as well!
If you have something you'd like to see me make, please feel free to send it my way! I'd love to hear from you... Thanks for reading, as always! "See" you at my next post. :)

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