...every year, I get together with my friends Roxanne and Courtney for a day of serious holiday baking. The tradition began 5 years ago when Roxanne and I were roommates. We lived in a tiny but nice 2 bedroom apartment in San Francisco right next to Harris' steakhouse. We loved our little apartment (well, except that it was little!) and had some great adventures living together (one thing we learned: a health insurance card DOES NOT pass as acceptable proof that one is over the age of 21, but that is another story for another day!)
... in 2005, Roxanne and I thought it would be fun to do some holiday baking on a Saturday, and then hit our favorite neighborhood bar in the evening to relax and enjoy the season. We called our new venture "Bake-O-Rama", and the title has stuck. And Bake -O-Rama WAS a good idea, to be sure! However, our kitchen was approximately 4 square feet, we had an oven that a friend of ours affectionately describes as "Holly Hobby's Oven", a plastic mixing bowl, and a hand mixer. Looking back, it was quite a crazy idea! But, we managed to each make about 3 or 4 recipes that day, and every surface of our tiny apartment was taken up with cooling cookies... the counter, the table, the coffee table, the storage unit...we were up to our ears in cookies!
... we lovingly packaged up our creations and gave them as gifts to people we knew that season: friends, co-workers, even the valet guys at Harris' next door who always helped us find cabs when we went out on the town.
... much has changed since that first year, I got engaged and moved in with my now husband, and suddenly had a much larger kitchen for Bake-O-Rama. My husband's sister Courtney moved in with Roxanne and we invited her to join our baking frenzy. I got a Kitchen Aid mixer for my wedding, as did Roxanne an year later. Courtney's mom lends her Kitchen Aid, so long gone are the plastic bowl and hand mixer days. I still have my good sized kitchen, but now Roxanne also has a good sized kitchen with double ovens for our days of baking. Gone are the small kitchens,Holly Hobby ovens, hand mixers, plastic bowls, ancient cookie sheets and Safeway brand spatulas... now we have Kitchen Aids, better kitchens, double ovens, Calfalon cookie sheets, silpat mats, stainless steel and glass smixing bowls, and silicone spatulas of multiple sizes.
... but you know what? No matter what sized kitchen we are in, or what quality tools we have to create our goodies, it's the time spent with my good friends, baking, talking, gossiping, and laughing that is the best ingredient of the day.
... Cheers and love to Roxanne and Courtney for another successful Bake-O-Rama!!
...a shot of *some* of the ingredients (thanks court! I stole these pics from you!):
... a shot of *some* of the finished products:
... at home yesterday, I was eager to try some packaging ideas that I had seen in Martha Stewart. I made a goodie package for my friend Kim with whom I run (I just took some quick shots yesterday before I had to run out the door to deliver them, so they aren't the worlds best pics):