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Baker with a Big Heart

posted Friday Apr 09, 2010 at 09:21 AM by Anne Yorks — 3 comments

I've missed writing on Tidbits. But, I had orders that needed attention. And, I had to organize our tax information. Yucky taxes. I promised myself that as soon as I got the tax stuff done, I'd reward myself with a little coffee and blogging time. I feel so happy right now.

I have made a few cool cookie donations over the last few months and I wanted to show you those projects. I was happy to make the cookies and help out a few great organizations. My favorite project is the last one...so read to the end if you want to know the super secret ingredient at the Penn State "Iron Chef" Competition.
 
A few monts ago, I was contacted by a representative from the Ringtown Senior Center. They do a program with their seniors called 'Taste and See'. They invited me in to share cookies with their members and to talk about starting my business. Well, a trip to Ringtown didn't fit into my schedule, but my cookies were happy to make the trip!  I sent them two boxes of my colorful Easter cookies. 

   

Here's the sweet note I received in return...

Hi Anne
J
ust picked up the box of cookies at the post office....I felt like it was Christmas morning....I was just so excited to open the box to see the cookies.  All I can say is Thank You....they are so beautiful....I can't wait to share them.  I never really checked out your total website until now.   Be assured that I will definitely promote your website....I can not believe how great it is.  Keep up the great business.

All my blessings
Sincerely,
Bev

Thanks, Bev. I think you're great, too! Keep up your great volunteering work with those seniors. I'm sure they love you!

Then I got a request from my previous employer, the Builders Association of Central Pennsylvania. I worked as their Executive Officer for almost 5 years and then left to start my family. They were wonderful to me and I made some really great friends through the organization. They host the Children's Building Contest at their Annual Home Show. They needed almost 100 cookies to share with the little kids that would be building projects out of Legos and Lincoln Logs. 

Since the contest was only a few days before the first day of Spring, I donated 96 Spring Chicks in Pink, Blue and Yellow.



Here's what was posted on The Flour Box Bakery facebook page after the contest...

Jessica: 
Had one of your yummy cookies yesterday at the home show. It was so cute, I barely had the heart to bite the head off - but I did!
March 15 at 2:08pm 
Flour Box Bakery
Flour Box Bakery 
So funny! Glad you liked the spring chick! I had fun making those!
March 15 at 3:25pm · 
Abbie: 
YES! And then I went to give away an extra cookie to a Little Sister of a Builder and had to tell her to NOT take the cookie with the HEAD bitten off! Hahaha. They were awesome, Anne, thank you so much!

The chicks kept me busy, especially since the donation fell during the same week as St. Patrick's Day orders. I managed fine, of course. But I was up to my ears in cookies that week!

Just last week I donated a gift certificate for a free cookie gift and a 1/2 dozen cookies to A Women's Concern, a State College pregnancy crisis center. The director of AWC is a friend of mine. She was organizing a big dinner for 340 donors and they were also hosting a silent auction with the event. 

I made cute pink and white onesies with the AWC logo on it. Didn't grab a picture, but the onesies looked a lot like this...



This was a recent donation, so I haven't had a chance to chat with my friend about the cookies. I did hear through the grapevine that the entire event was a big success. Great Job, Jenny!

Okay, it's time to reveal the secret ingredient used during the Penn State "Iron Chef" competition. I'm a big fan of the Food Network's Iron Chef program. So when I got this call and found out that the event benefits the State College Food Bank, I was all in!

The secret ingredient was...APPLES!!



I was given the secret ingredient a week before the competition. I had to keep it a secret because the contestants did not find out until a few minutes before the contest started. I was told they would be given a variety of apples...so I decided to make red and golden delicious apples. (in case you were wondering, I believe the apples used during the contest were donated by Way Fruit Farm.)

I wanted to make these cookies super special because they were going to be included in the winner's prize baskets. I decided to make an apple, a bushel of apples, and a chef hat.

The apple was easy. I had made those for Back to School last year and I already had the cookie cutter.



But, the bushel...not so easy. I didn't have a cookie cutter for that and I couldn't find one either. So I looked online and found this image:



So I had to hand-cut ALL the bushel cookies ...



... and I came up with this...

  

I also wanted to make the chef hat and didn't have a cutter for that either.

So I hand-cut more cookies...



And came up with these Chef Hat Cookies. [For any Cake Wrecks readers...I was asked by my Penn State rep to put "Iron Chef" in quotes so that they weren't infringing on the Food Network Iron Chef title. I did as requested.]



Here is one last group photo.


Here is the thank you note I received from the donation..

Hi Anne,
I'm happy to report that we had a successful event, in part, thanks to you! Your cookies were a hit! I can't tell you how many times I walked by the prize table displayed with your cookies and wanted to swipe one! They looked so adorable and smelled so delicious!!! I was super tempted to only award each team 5 cookies each. ( :

Please check out the following links for press coverage. $3429 was raised both from team entry fees and from prize raffles. The Nutrition Graduate Student Association and the State College Area Food Bank thanks you for your support.

http://www.centredaily.com/2010/03/28/1879955/iron-chef-contest-helps-food-bank.html

http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2010/03/29/cooking_contest_benefits_food.aspx

Much success to you,

Pao Ying Hsiao

Thanks, Pao. I'm happy to help! I really believe in the Food Bank's mission and I have supported them through personal efforts as well.

I will have more donations coming in the future. I budget for a certain amount each month, and I am already booked through the summer! 

I am just happy that I can say I am changing the world one cookie at a time.

Have a sweet day,
Anne



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My Favorite Scones

posted Tuesday Apr 06, 2010 at 07:35 AM by Anne Yorks — 1 comments

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter (that is, if you celebrate Easter. If not, then Happy Spring to you!) 

My family had an awesome day, mainly because we started the day with a great church service and one of these...



We had lemon scones and cappuccino.This is my favorite scone recipe. I found it in the Family Fun Magazine a few years ago. Click here to view and print the recipe from their site. You won't be disappointed and it's so easy to make! Do you like this picture? Topher took it with his cell phone! Crazy!

Church was great. My daughter was so well-behaved that I got to enjoy the entire service without interruption. Our Pastor is doing a series on the miracles and Sunday's sermon focused on the miracle of the resurrection. You can probably listen to it by clicking here. Our church puts all the sermons on our church site, www.livepraylove.com, as a podcast.

The rest of our Easter day was relaxing, tasty, and so much fun. We had egg hunts, balloon rocket blast offs, and a great brunch. 

***One more thing before I get back to work. 

Do you have any leftover Peeps? Consider toasting them over the fire. We had a little Peep Roast with Topher's parents and it was, as Topher put it, "almost a gourmet experience".

Here's a great picture of my Father-in-Law (aka the nicest guy I know other than Toph) roasting an entire row of Peeps. 



He toasted them to perfection. The outside was a little caramelized and crunchy and the inside was soft, warm and delicious. We enjoyed these after our dinner of bunny-shaped pizza! This was Toph's Mom's creation and my little girl loved decorating the pizza.

Sorry this is a quick post. I have to work on taxes again today. Yucky. I do have tons of cookie pictures and projects to share with you. I can't wait! Coming soon...

Have a sweet day,
Anne

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Peep This!

posted Friday Apr 02, 2010 at 07:13 AM by Anne Yorks — 3 comments

I’m not sure how I came up with this post.

I think it all started with not enough sleep and a bazillion cups of coffee, and this guy.


Look familiar?

Hint: Baby Ruth?

2nd Hint: Hey You Guys!

Still don’t get it? okay, I thought the peep looked like this guy, Sloth, from the movie Goonies. 


See it now?

So then I was thinking. What if I turned peeps into other famous people. I had leftover icing from an order. So here you go, this is for all you peep lovers out there! Happy Easter!! 


This peep knows if you've been naughty or nice. Remember, kids, Santa Peep is watching you!



It's a bird. It's a plane.


 It's Super Peep!!



This next one has some serious Peep Ambition. Only a Peep version of Madonna can pull off that cone bra.



You may have heard of the Legend of Peepy Hollow, staring the Headless Peepman.



It's peepy and it's kooky. 
Mysterious and spooky.
It's all together ooky.

It's Cousin Peep.

Ba-da-da-dum *snap* *snap*



I wish I had a mini peep 'pigeon' named Bernice...Peep Bert's favorite pet.



And then there is the Peep with the silver glove. Michael Peepson. The King of Peep.


I Dream of Peepie. She crosses her elbows and nods her head to make wishes come true. Wait a minute. Peeps don't have elbows. Hmmm.



This last Peep isn't famous, but I promised a shout out, so here it is. Peep Narber. The Peep with the biggest heart on earth and a wonderful friend!



And with that I conclude the 2010 Peep Show. 


Peeptastic, right? I'm already working on my list for next year! Feel free to send or post your ideas :)

Happy Easter!

Have a sweet day,

Anne


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Hello Winner!

posted Thursday Apr 01, 2010 at 09:12 PM by Anne Yorks — 3 comments

Hello! 

Before I announce the winner from my recent contest, I wanted to share this adorable Hello Kitty cookie favor with you. I just finished and delivered the order to the customer today. 



And now some business...the winner of the contest. First, I'd like to say thanks for all your wonderful comments on my previous post about my family day. Your responses were so great that we now have a ton of fantastic ideas for future Team Yorks family days!

So here is the winner (drawn randomly from a hat):

Congratulations to Jill! This is Jill's response to how she would spend her family day:

I would have my sister, BIL and sweet nieces here for the day and we could replicate your beautiful Bellefonte spring outing, or perhaps we would go visit a farm, since they live in the city and don’t often get to see the animals whose sounds the little one is still learning.


Jill - I'll be in touch with the details on your prize.

That's all for now. Thanks for playing.

I have a few final Easter orders to finish up. Plus...I'm working on a top secret, super special, really weird project. I plan to share it tomorrow as a kick-off to Easter weekend.

Have a sweet day,

Anne

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An Adventure in Victorian Bellefonte

posted Sunday Mar 28, 2010 at 05:15 PM by Anne Yorks — 14 comments

(Welcome to longest blog post of all time. If you make it to the end...you could get a special prize.)

Two Christmases ago Topher gave me an Italy calendar. Seemed like an ordinary calendar until I opened it and found the real gift inside. He had blocked off one day a month with a highlighter and wrote, "Team Family Yorks Day".  My Christmas gift was family time. With our crazy schedules of coming and going, he decided that we would make time just for each other and some family fun. This started a tradition. Since that Christmas Team Yorks has enjoyed a number of activities from a snowy day making homemade pizza, to a trip to the Hershey Gardens, to an adventure at Whipple Dam, to a 10-minute shopping spree at Daffin's - the largest candy store in Pennsylvania, and so many more! We always look forward to TYFD!

Yesterday we decided to take Team Yorks to our very own town and explore the treasures of Victorian Bellefonte. The weather couldn't have been more perfect, a sunny March day in the 50s. 



First stop on the list was the town coffee shop, Cool Beans.



This is the same place we go for my daughter's weekly art class. The motto at Cool Beans is, "Where Bellefonte Gathers." It's true. They have great traffic and everyone is so friendly. We were first greeted with this sign.



So the three of us hurried in to get warmed up. This is where we met up with Bubba (Toph's dad), Kim (our sister-in-law) and her son, our little cutie nephew. They were coming along on our Team Yorks adventure. I'm in the blue. Do you see what I have? Those are our Contigo's, a.k.a. the best coffee travel mug on the planet. Don't worry about spills with the Contigo. The lid really seals shut. But best of all it keeps the coffee so nice and warm. Can you read Bubba's shirt? It says "Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting." This made me smile. Oh Bubba. How we all love you!



While the adults enjoyed the coffee (I had the medium roast and I highly recommend it!), the kids enjoyed Saturday morning cartoons on the big screen. Cool Beans offers cartoon fun every other Saturday from 9-11 am. If you become a fan of their shop on Facebook, you'll get all the updates on their fun specials and activities!



Once we polished off our coffee and homemade breakfast treats (I had the cranberry white chocolate scone) we bundled up to make a visit to The Plaza - a very, very large antique shop/mall.



This antique shop is a renovated Theater which was designed by Anna Wagner Keichline, the first woman registered as an architect in Pennsylvania. Cool, huh? We actually got lost inside. I'm not sure how many square feet it is, but there are multiple levels and shopping areas. 

This was my first cool find. A super cute tote bag that I plan to use as a laptop bag. 



Isn't it great? It is the perfect size for my laptop and a few other supplies. I love the yellow - my favorite color! I'm sure J. Crew could charge an arm and leg for this bag, but I only paid $14!!

Then I discovered these...



A tall pedestal antique cake platter and an antique marble cheese plate - both with glass domes! Together they were under $30! That seemed like a great find to me.



I love the detail! I just don't think you can find stuff like this at Wal-mart or Target!



I didn't have any fancy cheese to put on the plate, so I used cupcakes. They are little favor boxes that I found in the $1 section at Michaels. They open up so that you can hide a little treasure inside. I think they look so cute under the glass.

But, the best find of the day was scored by Bubba.



A tan leather jacket worn exclusively by a model on a runway in Philadelphia. Well, actually, we're not 100% sure on those facts, but that is what we think is this history of this jacket. It was sold by a former model that sells many of the items she wore on the runway, including furs, suits, and evening gowns. It's really quite a collection. The model is now 70 (although I would have guessed that she wasn't a day older than 50. Really, she looks that good), and is now parting with a few items in her collection. She did mention that there are some special garments that she couldn't part with and they were safe at home in her wardrobe. I told Bubba we need a night out on the town with that jacket! Maybe karaoke. Is there a karaoke bar in Centre County? I would love to go. 

So that is our crew, trucking down High Street to Talleyrand Park, to visit these guys.



At the park we fed the ducks      

and the fish too.  

We sat around, 

went down the slide, 


lost a shoe, 

and enjoyed the scenery. .

But then after all that coffee, I had to use the little girls' room. So I mosied on over to my favorite joint in town, The Cafe on the Park. Great food, great people, and a great atmosphere.  I knew my mom was having lunch with her friend Edna. I was excited to say hi.



By this time it was lunch time. So, Bubba, Kim and the little guy took off. Toph and I decided to grab a bite to eat with our little sweetie. And with Nana and Grammy Edna at the table, she was spoiled with a delicious lunch!

Here we are...



My mom is next to me and Grammy Edna is next to Toph. See how we are all smiles. 

It's the atmosphere, it's just so great!



After lunch, we had one more stop to make, the Victorian Rose. 




It had been quite a while since my last visit (I think last June). The details in their displays are like nothing I've ever seen. So much planning, so much work. 

             

This next one is my favorite. So Sweet!



I found two lace doilies to go with the two platters I picked up at the Plaza.



Plus, the owner of the shop was so nice. She gave my little girl a cute pink sparkly bracelet for "being so well behaved". Wow. 

And with that...Team Yorks was exhausted and ready for naptime. We left Victorian Bellefonte with some really great memories! I hope we'll get back downtown for more fun. There are so many other treasures to explore - more shops, the Bed and Breakfasts, and the architecture. And I know we won't miss this summer's Jazz Festival, the Arts and Crafts Show, or the Victorian Christmas Celebration. 

When I moved to Bellefonte a few years ago, I had no idea how much I would grow to love this little town. Team Yorks is just so happy here!

Have a sweet day,
Anne

PS - Did you make it to the end? Here's your chance at a prize...post a comment by Wednesday, March 31st and let me know what you would do during a family fun day. To see the comments box, you need to click on the blog post title. The comment box will appear at the bottom. I'll pick one comment (randomly through a hat drawing) and give away a $20 gift certificate to 'Cafe on the Park'. The winner will be announced on Thursday, April 1st! Good Luck!

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