Signature – 09/24/15

For those who follow me on Facebook (http://facebook.com/blaisethebaker) or even Instagram (http://instagram.com/blaisethebaker) you will know that on rare occasion, I will post about something personal going on in my life. I don’t really like bringing attention to my personal life, etc. but so many of you have been good at sending prayers and good vibes to me and my family, I really feel like I owe you a look inside some very personal issues – and updates as to what’s going on.

I’m calling this new journal-type section my “Signature” post…

Signature 09/24/15

Grandma Barbra Blaise the Baker

About 5 months ago, my Grandma Barbra became a very sick person. We thought she was having (or had had) a stroke. Her speech was slurred, there was a weakness on her right side and you could just tell that something wasn’t right. That very morning, her blood pressure was sky high, so we just knew it was a stroke. All of the puzzle pieces, that we had, seemed to lead to one thing… stroke.

My Grandpa JR took her to the nearest Emergency Room… twice. They sent her home both times, telling her to “stop taking your blood pressure so often – you’re fine”. Remember – her speech was slurred and you could see it in her face that something wasn’t right. She was even struggling to walk.

I remember feeling numb and panicked. What was going on? What was happening? Why couldn’t people see what we were seeing? This woman, my Grandma Barbra, just a week before, was attending water aerobics class twice a week, driving, getting her own groceries, cooking, cleaning, and crafting…everything!

Her symptoms worsened, so we decided to take her to another Emergency Room. This time – they could tell, something wasn’t right. Several tests were run and ultimately it was determined that she had had a stroke…but there was another spot on her brain too, that they couldn’t really determine or explain. So they sent her to a bigger Hospital, for more tests.

At the other Hospital, she lay in bed getting worse and worse. I felt that the woman who had always been there for me, the woman who I loved and respected more than a lot of people in my life…was slipping away from me. I wasn’t ready for her to go. I didn’t want her to pass away. I knew she was “ready” though… I’ve never in my life met a person who loved God, had so much Faith and had lived her life according to such high beliefs in my life. The only difference though – was that I was NOT ready for her to go…

A week passed, and her symptoms were getting worse. Different Doctors came in with different options…sometimes three or four Doctors a day, and all with a different diagnosis on what was going on with my Grandma.

My whole family came together, some for the first time in years, and my Grandma knew that. I spent my days and nights’ barely holding myself together… crying on most days, staring into space and wondering what was going on, on other days. It was a living nightmare.

Then, finally, a Doctor came in and explained to us that there were two spots on the brain – one spot was the stroke…the other spot was cancer. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact she had brain cancer AND a stroke!? Really? Why? How? How could this happen to someone with such a good nature, like my Grandma? I was beyond upset, I was mad, and I was confused.

I prayed and prayed and didn’t stop. Then, the ultimate shoe dropped. We got an “official” report saying that my Grandma didn’t have a stroke at all. She had two masses on the brain – one pushing against the brain stem – that was classified as “brain cancer”. The cancer had started in the breast and traveled to the brain. There was no treatment. She had three months to live.

I remember feeling like my body had ripped open and my heart pulled out and stepped on. I cried and cried like I hadn’t since my Grandpa Max passed away – another Godly person in my life that had passed a few years before. I remember holding onto my cousin and us both crying. I remember my Mom holding me and trying to talk to me. Everyone was shocked and devastated.

I told myself this was it. I couldn’t live without her…and I wasn’t expecting to. I couldn’t even imagine going on in life without my Grandma there with me… Then two ministers from the Hospital we were at came over to us, held me, prayed with me and put a blessing on our family.

I went home that evening, after telling my Grandma Barbra I loved her and cried myself to sleep.

That next morning a miracle happened.

My Uncle was over at the Hospital with my Grandpa JR and Grandma Barbra, and another Doctor came in with this “diagnosis”. He said the spots on her brain, he thought, could be treated. He said he had someone, several years older than my Grandma Barbra, with some of the same issues – and today, he was fine! It’s a fairly new procedure called “radio surgery” and he highly recommended it.

When I heard this news, I dropped to my knees and thanked God. There was hope!

A couple days later, the “radio surgery” was performed, and we all waited and prayed it would work. The Doctor really had high hopes for the surgery and was really optimistic about it.

In the meantime, Grandma Barbra was transferred to a “Rehab Facility”.

She had the treatment, and the very next day – the very next day – her eyes were wider and she was talking clearer! We were all amazed! The treatment seemed to work!

Over the course of the next three months, my Grandma Barbra got stronger, talked better, became more alert and became more wide-eyed. We were all amazed and so thankful…

When my Grandma Barbra went back for her follow up appointment, the Doctor said it showed NO SPOTS in her brain. The MRI came back perfect, and things appeared to be normal. She was healed! The only thing she would have to monitor would be the breast cancer – which was still there. They had given her a cancer pill, which had helped keep things at bay. They told her to just keep doing what she had been doing, and that she was doing great!

Grandma went back to the Rehab Facility and what they did for her there, I can’t even put into words. They had given her her life back! The therapy, the encouragement and the support they gave her was above and beyond anything that I had originally expected. We were all impressed – and thankful.

I will never forget the day she left the Rehab Facility to come home. A few months earlier, I didn’t think that that moment was even possible… And now it was happening! I cried, tears of joy and thankfulness, most of the way home…

We were all thrilled that Grandma was home again – but none of us were more excited than my Grandma Barbra herself. I remember as soon as she walked in, she said “Wow! Smells good in here…” and just smiled and smiled.

“Home Therapy Care” started soon after, and she did great with the program. Within a month, she was cooking some in the kitchen, crocheting and knitting again, and reading her Amish Romance books. It was almost like things were back to normal. She had been through so much, it was remarkable to see her like this!

She’s currently attending “Outpatient Therapy” and doing great! She’s had several re-evaluations and several more Doctor appointments, and everything is so far, so good… She will continue the re-evaluations and they will continue to keep a close eye on things.

I’m so proud of her, and I love her so much!

I’m sure there are details I’m forgetting, emotions that I haven’t even began to convey through the written word, but I wanted to give everyone the full story (or at least a recap) of what’s been going on, how Grandma Barbra is doing today, how much she means to me, and how grateful and thankful we all are for your prayers and the sending of positive thoughts and vibes. Please keep them coming for my family, we more than appreciate them.

Blaise xoxo

Recipe Published – Cookbook

Guess what!? I got a phone call yesterday, saying a recipe I submitted into a cookbook publication made the book!!! I’m so excited! The book titled “Potluck Recipes” and will be released soon. It contains 350+ recipes. You can put in your orders now! Books are $23 (including tax and shipping and handling) OR if you buy 5 for $100 (including tax and shipping and handling) and get a sixth cookbook FREE! Perfect for gift giving with the Holidays coming up!

Want one? Here’s what you need to do…

Email me at blaisethebaker@gmail.com and I will give you all the contact information you need.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Blaise

Survey

Last year I created a “Blaise The Baker” survey just to get some feedback from everyone. This year – I’ve done the same thing. It would mean a lot to me if you could take a few minutes, and fill this out. Thank you in advance!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SB33X7V

Update: Some of you were having trouble accessing the link – everyone should be able to now. Sorry about the glitch. So far, a lot of responses, and I’m thankful. Thank you.

UPDATE: (08/16/2015) The survey is now closed. THANK YOU to everyone that participated!

-Blaise

Blaise The Baker – Recipe of the Day

If you follow me on Facebook (http://facebook.com/blaisethebaker), Twitter (http://twitter.com/blaisethebaker) or Instagram (http://instagram.com/blaisethebaker) then you know that every day I offer a “Blaise the Baker Recipe of the Day”. Today’s “recipe of the day” is my “2-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake”. It’s delicious, and I’ve made it so many times, I don’t even have to measure the ingredients anymore! Ha! 😉

Well, the original recipe was a little confusing, with “T” markings instead of “tablespoon” and “neutral oil” instead of “vegetable oil” – so I updated it and changed it for easier making.

You can view that here – https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/10/15/2-minute-chocolate-mug-cake/

Back to the kitchen,

Blaise

Britney’s a fan! Are you!?

Britney Spears is a fan of “Blaise the Baker” – are you!? 😉

Britney Spears Blaise the Baker Fan Photo

Ok – so that might be an altered picture… Hahaha – but I wanted to grab your attention for this posting. I’ve been getting a lot of questions “Ask Blaise the Baker” (blaisethebaker@gmail.com) about what and where my social media network links are. So here they are…

Follow me, like me, friend me, here…

Facebook: http://facebook.com/blaisethebaker
Twitter: http://twitter.com/blaisethebaker
Instagram: http://instagram.com/blaisethebaker
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/blaisethebaker
tumblr: http://blaisethebaker.tumblr.com

Blaise

Change Is Good!

Change Is Good – and things around “Blaise the Baker” are changing for the better…and I couldn’t possibly be any more excited than I am now to share these changes with you!

First – let me start with my mobile site. A LOT of you had been writing in about experiencing problems with my site being viewed on your mobile devices. That is now FIXED and up and running. I apologize for the errors. You can now view this site (as well as my other social media sites) perfectly fine from any mobile device. IF you are STILL experiencing errors – write to me at blaisethebaker@gmail.com and I will walk you through any help you might need.

Secondly – you can view my social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and tumblr) through searching for “Blaise the Baker” on ANY of those sites. Also you can find the links to them here along the sidebar of my blog. I will also include the links here…

Facebookhttp://facebook.com/blaisethebaker
Twitterhttp://twitter.com/blaisethebaker
Instagramhttp://instagram.com/blaisethebaker
Pinteresthttp://pinterest.com/blaisethebaker
tumblrhttp://blaisethebaker.tumblr.com

Please like me, follow me, add me, etc. 😉

Also I would like to introduce a little bit of a “day plan” for my “Blaise the Baker” Facebook page. I’ve had several people ask me questions about baking, cooking, what my favorite cookbooks are, favorite ingredients, etc. AND have commented on how they would like a more “day plan” feel for things – so I’ve set something up…

FOLLOW (or click you “like”) me on Facebook at http://facebook.com/blaisethebaker and this is how we will start off things. If there’s a change – let’s be flexible… but right now it’s looking like the following posts / subjects will be as follows…

SUNDAY – “CHEW THIS / Sunday Recipe”
On Sundays I will post my latest “CHEW THIS” column feature, talk about it and include any pictures I may have of the recipe (“step by step” pictures, etc.) When there’s not a “CHEW THIS” column feature, I will post a “Sunday Recipe” using a recipe off my blog. The “Sunday Recipe” could be an older recipe – or a new one. It just depends.

MONDAY – “Start of the week Survey”
On Mondays I will post a survey for those who want to participate to answer and follow along. It may have to do with a favorite flavor, ingredient, recipe, etc. It could be what you like to have for breakfast, dinner – or favorite snack. Could be asking about what sweet flavor you like the best, etc. Anything that I’m curious about and want to know – I’m going to ask. Feel free to answer and be a part of the group!

TUESDAY – “Ask Blaise the Baker Q&A”
I started an “Ask Blaise the Baker” question and answer service through my email (blaisethebaker@gmail.com) awhile back and I love it. The only thing is – some people ask the same questions over and over without realizing I’ve already answered. So – I’ll be posting anonymous questions and answering those questions on Tuesdays. AND I’m ALWAYS accepting questions so email me anytime (blaisethebaker@gmail.com) and ask me anything. Baking question, cooking question, favorite movie question, favorite magazine, book, etc. ANYTHING…

WEDNESDAY – “Cookbook Corner”
My “Cookbook Corner” used to be on Sundays awhile back, and since moving it to Wednesdays it has gotten a LOT more of a positive response. I’m not sure why everyone prefers them on Wednesdays – but they do…so that’s where I’m leaving them. Every Wednesday I will feature a “Cookbook Corner”. Most of them will be NEW – but there could be an older one I’ve decided to use for a “Look Back” at one of my favorites. It really just depends…

THURSDAY – “Blaise the Baker Throwback Thursday”
A friend of mine suggested I do a “Blaise the Baker” style “Throwback Thursday” so that’s what inspired this. On Thursdays I will be posting older posts, older recipes, older cookbook reviews, pictures, etc. in a “throwback” style that I think people will appreciate. It will be a fun look back at some of the things I’ve already posted!

FRIDAY – “Favorite Things Friday”
I’ve tried something like this before (by request) and I just didn’t really get into it. I forgot a couple of weeks, and then after that – it just fell by the wayside. I will pick it back up though and post every Friday what my “Favorite Things” are of the moment. Could be a cookbook, an ingredient, a movie, a song, a book, a body care product – anything!

SATURDAY – “Sharing the Love Saturday”
This is a day I’m really excited about! Every Saturday I will “share the love” and feature other blogs and bloggers that I am impressed with, inspired by and really love to follow that I want you all to know. AND if you think I should know a fellow blogger – email me (blaisethebaker@gmail.com) and let me know…

SO – what do you all think of the lineup?! PLEASE keep the suggestions coming and let me know! I couldn’t do all of this without you! I appreciate each and every one of you and value your thoughts, opinions and ideas. Drop me a line… Again – my email (blaisethebaker@gmail.com) I’m looking forward to hearing from you! 😉

As far as THIS blog – I will continue the “free spirit” and “free flowing” posts that I have done in the past. On the FIRST and THIRD Sundays of each month – I will post about my CHEW THIS column. On Tuesdays I will start to include my “Ask Blaise the Baker Q&A” here so that everyone will get a chance to see them. Wednesdays of course I will still be posting my NEW “Cookbook Corners” and on Fridays I will start posting my “Favorite Things”! Of course my original recipes will be scattered throughout and I’ll be sure to post those as well – both here AND on my other social media platforms.

So – CHANGE is in the air – and I couldn’t be more excited!!!

WHEN does the “change” take effect?!

STARTING MONDAY JANUARY 12th, 2015

Thanks again to those of you who help make this possible by supporting me and being there no matter what. I couldn’t do this without you all… xo

Blaise =)

UPDATE: (01/17/2015) Thank you all for your feedback concerning the “changes” on my blog and Facebook page. I’ve listened – and heard you. I want to make this the best experience for all involved – and I will implement the necessary changes. Thanks again…

Share With Me…More!

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I LOVE getting food pictures of satisfied people who love my recipes! My friend Karen Schwartz Wirima from Stamford, Connecticut just sent me pictures of THIS delicious looking “Lemon and Butter Oven Pancake” from my CHEW THIS column in “The Courier-Times”!

Want the recipe!? Click here…
https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/10/19/chew-this-lemon-and-butter-oven-pancakes/

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(My recipe for “Lemon and Butter Oven Pancakes” – photos by: Karen Schwartz Wirima)

Have a picture of one of my recipes!? Send them to: blaisethebaker@gmail.com

Thanks so much – how fun!

Send away!

Blaise

Blog Tour

Today’s edition of “Cookbook Corner” has been replaced with a special “Blog Tour” posting. Enjoy!

“I don’t believe you can ever really cook unless you love eating.”
― Nigella Lawson

(Favorite Quote)

My good friend Jenny Hartin included me in her “Blog Tour” last Sunday (see link here – http://madrantingsofamiddleclassmom.blogspot.com/2014/08/magical-mystical-blog-tour-and-down.html) and I am returning the favor, and keeping the blog ball rolling by posting my own “Blog Tour”! Here we GO…

First up… A little bit about myself…

I first started cooking (and baking) in the kitchens of my mom and grandma when I was only seven years old. I quickly became interested in the techniques and stories behind each recipe, and still remember trying to connect the recipes with family memories and family history. I always asked my mom and grandma who the recipe came from that they were using (if not their own) and would always try and find out “more” about each recipe and how and why whoever wrote it, wrote it the way that they did.

Why would someone use brown sugar instead of white sugar? Why would someone use cornstarch while others would use tapioca? Questions like this always floated around my mind – and still do. I am (I admit) a compulsive recipe researcher as well as a compulsive cookbook reader (I have thousands).

My love of food has followed me all my life. Through high school, when my Home Economics teacher asked me to make my “Pumpkin Pie Crunch Cake” for not only the Teacher’s Holiday Luncheon, but requested a couple to serve at her own family Holiday. Even in college, I would make and deliver goodies to my professors that happened to be on campus the same days that I were.

Several years later, I discovered a passion for food writing and started writing privately about my experiences with food. Soon after, I started writing and developing recipes and taking pictures to go along with each finished dish. It was something that I not only loved, but something that quickly became a form of relaxation and happiness.

I would develop and test recipes with my mom, Darla, and my grandma, Barbra, and there were a lot of good family memories (and recipes) discovered throughout the process. I credit both of them for my extensive love of cooking, baking, eating and wanting to feed the people that I love.

I started publicly sharing some of my food recipes and writings on social media in June 2013 and the encouragement and support was overwhelming. Soon after, I thought about starting an actual food blog for people to read and become a place for me to really start to share my passion with other people.

“Blaise the Baker” officially opened on Valentine’s Day 2014 with only a handful of subscribers. Skip ahead just five months, and “Blaise the Baker” has thousands of subscribers and offers not only recipes, but cookbook reviews, food tips, and a “Ask Blaise the Baker” feature where people write in their food questions to get an answer directly from me within minutes! I have been overwhelmed and thankful for the support to say the very least. It means the World to me to know that my love and passion for food is being shared with those who have and share the same interests.

I am in the finishing stages of typing and formatting my cookbook and putting together book proposals to send to interested publishers and I can’t wait to see my family memories and recipes in print!

I still can’t believe the roller coaster ride that I’ve been on in the past two years. Moving forward, I hope to continue and expand my blog in many ways. I’m planning on interviewing professional chefs (and bakers), starting an “international food and flavor” feature, a “Pop Up Shop” bakery, as well as a YouTube channel where I share recipes and put together “how-to” segments for people to watch.

Ultimately I really hope to continue this journey doing what I love – food writing, recipe developing and sharing my love for food with the people who share the same passion.

Email me your food related questions here – blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My Featured Favorite Bloggers…

“Mad Rantings of Andrew’s Mom” is written and powered by my friend Jenny Hartin. I’ve gotten to know her through Facebook, and I’m so lucky to have her in my life. She’s really a “Superwoman”! Her blog is described as “the joys and struggles of autism with recipes, cooking and baking thrown in for good measure.” Check it out here…
http://madrantingsofamiddleclassmom.blogspot.com/

She’s also the Leader, Organizer and Developer of “The Cookbook Junkies” on Facebook – a place where cookbook lovers (as well as food and recipe lovers) get together and talk about cookbooks, recipes and form bonds over food. Check the group out here…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/220973497999519/

“An American Girl” is the creation of my dear friend Shelby Irwin! She has blogged on and off for several years now, and just recently gave her blog a “facelift” and it has never been better! She writes about food, fashion, tips and tricks of all kinds, and is currently writing about her experience moving to Montana! I highly recommend following this blog for great stories, beautiful pictures, recipes and advice! Check it out here…
http://shelbyirwin11.blogspot.com/

“Bakerella” is the genius creation of Angie Dudley. Ever heard of “Cake Pops”? Yep – she is the inventor (or at least I would like to think so). I’ve followed her blog from the very beginning and have been a fan since day one. Her blog has amazing photographs and recipes for all things sweet! Check it out here…
http://www.bakerella.com/

“Baking by Design” by Chris Falman was one of the very first “dessert” blogs that I found and started following. I have been a loyal follower since the first time I clicked on his blog, and have followed every since – even on Twitter and Instagram. We share so many things in common (love for Nigella Lawson and Ina Garten to just name one) and I really find him fascinating. He has followed his dreams and I admire that. Check him out here…
http://bakerbydesign.com/

Have a blog? Let’s continue the “Blog Tour” and use this post as your starting point!

Blaise