Oh Hey! Remember Me?!

Y'all, it's been a minute. And by minute, I mean a really long time... ya know, the way the kids use "minute" these days. 

I'll tell you about some things that have happened since I've last opened up this here blog:

We have been to Disney World THREE times.

I have renovated my kitchen.

We have potty trained AND regressed.

I've earned A-List status on Southwest again (technically I earn it upon completion of my work trip this week).

I have attended some weddings and some funerals.

I've been to Boston, Houston, DC, San Francisco, Orlando, LA

There has been a massive flood... again.

I low-key started a side business selling cookies and teaching cooking classes.

AND I've use my instant pot successfully a whole bunch of times. 

So, how have Y'ALL been? I'm really excited about getting back on this blogging train. Specifically, I'm excited to merge what I'm doing here with the business I'm starting... look out for the "merger" soon. I'm also excited to do some mini gift guides for the super last minute shoppers. Basically, it's gonna be me telling you about all my favorite things AND my favorite cookbooks.

Oh, and speaking of the merger, you have probably noticed (all two of you), that I don't use my @ontheimaginaryblog insta handle any longer... if you've been missing food pics and photos of my crazy life, check out @counterspaceBR. That's gonna be the new home for all things food, hosting, and imaginary!

Just in case you want a taste of my favorite things right now, here are the 5 cookbooks you should gift this holiday season (in no particular order)

1. Over Easy by Joy Wilson

2. One Pot by Martha Stewart

3.  Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat

4. Cherry Bomb: The Cookbook by a whole bunch of awesome ladies

5. Sweet (and actually buy this for me cause I don't have it and I want it really bad...) by Yotam Ottolinghi

6. BONUS CAUSE I LIED: Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman

I'll tell ya this, I have cooked out of Deb Perelman's new book countless times already including a really awesome delicata squash and brussel sprouts salad that I brought to Thanksgiving dinner. It was a delight!

I can't begin to stress how awesome cookbooks are for gifts. ESPECIALLY for someone who loves food. You really don't have to love to cook to enjoy most of these books... The photography alone makes them stand out additions to a coffee table or bookshelf!

Ok, I'll end here for now. But I'm telling myself I will be writing a lot this December and into the new year. Get. Excited. 

To Bake or To Blog {that is the question}

Most days I have to ask myself if I will take time to blog OR if I will watch TV/go to bed early/clean the kitchen... you know fun distracting stuff. But last week I had a different bug keeping me from blogging: COOKIES!

I jumped on the opportunity to participate in a local Maker's Market which involved prepping and baking about 150 cookies last week. Now, I think we all know I have a real job, so this meant 2-3 hours of extra work every night AFTER putting my squirt to bed. In case you were wondering what it looks like to prep for a market of this variety here it goes:

1. Frantically email your designer so you have a logo ready to print stickers.

2. Find someone to PRINT stickers! 

3. Order cellophane baggies for the cookies.

4. COMMENCE the baking!

Last Monday night I prepped a double batch of the "New York Times BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe." Then Tuesday I prepped a quadruple batch of Joy the Baker's "Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookie." Both types of dough need extended refrigeration so it worked out! Wednesday night I didn't do any baking or prep work. Thursday I began baking. I got through the chocolate chip cookies with ease. Then realized I should probably bake more (good idea cause they were the second to sell out after the donuts... yeah, there were donuts), so I prepped a THIRD recipe of cookies to bake. Friday was when the real fun started. I began bagging and sealing the cookies + baked ALL OF THE CONFETTI COOKIES. I basically spent the day putting a tray of cookies in the oven, taking a tray out, putting another tray in, sealing one cooled tray's worth of cookies and so on... times 5 trays of cookies!

LATE Friday night the process became a party! I had neighbors come over and shell a costco package of pistachio's while I baked a double batch of tahini butter cream oreos. I fear I would have thrown in the towel if it weren't for dear friends sitting and chatting with me while I worked... oh and they brought wine. :)

Saturday morning was the final countdown to the big show! I planned on baking fresh pistachio donuts for the market that morning (just about the only goodie that wouldn't hold well past a day or so). And that was when my brain stopped working. I not only curdled the eggs with hot butter THREE times, I LEFT OUT THE SUGAR. It was one hurdle after another, that I blame wholeheartedly on lack of sleep. But gosh darn it, I finished them! 34 donuts in the end! BOOM!

I packed up the goods and went to set up, both nervous AND excited. I have NEVER in my life EVER sold something to strangers at a market. Sure I've done retail sales in college and baked for friends... but to SELL my baked goods was a whole new ball game. BUT I DID IT.

The first items to go were the donuts... followed quickly by the chocolate chip cookies, and finally the tahini buttercream oreos. After 4 hours, I left having made almost $300 and only 10 cookies left! What a RUSH. And not a sugar rush, cause I didn't let myself eat any of the goods throughout the week or the morning of. 

What's even more exciting, is this is gonna be a thing. I'm gonna start selling my cookies! On the regular! How cool is THAT?! Have you ever taken the plunge into the creative economy? It's terrifying and AWESOME all at once. So, look out for me next month at the Mid City Maker's Market in Baton Rouge; and if you can't wait till then, shoot me a message about ordering some of my treats!!