Saturday, August 30, 2008

Perhaps the second times a charm?

Today I'm blogging from the beautiful city of Portland for my cousin's wedding. Being my first time here, I was of course crazy excited about the famous Portland Farmer's Markets. Besides Costco, where else can you go and eat a full meal just off samples? And even better when it's all fresh, organic, unique, and so good. I love it! Anyway, it got me thinking about trying a second swing at the San Diego Farmer's Markets again. For about four months at the beginning of the year, I used to be at the La Jolla and Scripps Ranch markets, but each week the costs and efforts severely outweighed the benefits. It was very disappointing and I was sad to leave, especially since I loved the community of people and delicious products I would pack my car home with each week. However, now that the Little Italy Market, which literally is in my backyard, is getting great publicity and great vendors, I may decide to take another crack at it. I keep saying that all it'll take is for the cookies to get in the mouths of the massess and what better way to get the massess to come than to offer FREE SAMPLES?

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Should I love you, should I leave you? Oh so many choices!"

With the crazy chocolate craze that's hit America recently, sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all the choices choice and more choices we have. I want to make sure my cookies are super high quality all the way but between Ghiradelli, Bakers, Joesph Schmidt, Lindts, Callebaut, Scharffen Berger... well you get the do you decide? Based on a little research and a few baking epxeriments, here's what I've found.

The best is NOT necessarily the most expensive - praise God! and in all cases check check the label! If it lists any fat other than cocoa butter, it's not the good stuff.

What to look for:
Semisweet Baking Chocolate: Ingredients should read (in this order): chocolate (unsweetened), sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract. No other fat other than cocoa butter. I like to use chocolates that contain 72% cocoa solids for the chocolate toffee crunch and orange chocolate coconut truffies.
Unsweetened Baking Chocolate: This is the juice of the cacao plant. It should list one ingredient...CHOCOLATE. Way too bitter for my taste.
White Chocolate: It can't be chocolate if it's white...can it? If the ingredients listed on a package are sugar, cocoa butter, milk, soy lecithin, and vanilla extract then it can. Remember, no other fats! I only use white for the white chocolate cranberry pistachio truffie, although I've had increasingly more and more requests for a white chocolate macadamia nut one as well. It may be coming in the near future!

After that - I guess it just comes down to preference. Happy baking!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Finally focused

It's true I can be all over the place and wantin' to do a thousand things all at once. Can you blame me though? I'm on a constant sugar high! But after a little voluntary "intervention session" with some friends last night I think I've finally found a focus for The Cookie Chew, at least initially. When we first sat down to discuss what I wanted to do with my business I must have listed a hundred areas that I really wanted a strong cookie presence, like having my storefront, distributing to specialty food stores and catalogs, starting an after school baking program,corporate catering. wedding favors.... pretty much anyone and anywhere I thought might want a cookie, I was certain to get them one. Problem is, right now it's just me. So, instead of trying to do a little everywhere and in everything and getting only a little in return, I've decided to focus soley on getting a solid footing in the wedding and events category. Trying to hook up with all the planners and caterers and gettin' a cookie in their mouth!

So, first I think I need to get some cookie exposure. A fellow sweets connoisseur, Michelle Michel of Couture Cupcakery ( has given me a few sites where I can set up a cookie profile and help get The Cookie Chew name and uniqueness known.

Thanks Michelle!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cookies on a Mission

Today was spent mostly volunteering at the Invisible Children office and it really made me start to think long and hard about the mission and vision of The Cookie Chew. It's so cool how our generation has really stepped up and truly taking initiatives in our schools, universities and companies to take action for the social injustices occurring around the world. It totally blows me away!! I always knew in establishing a cookie company that I wanted to be involved in the community but I wasn't sure in what capacity or to what extent. After today, I know it's not just an involvement that I want but a total dedication to making a difference. So back to cracking on that business's never ending! Saving the cookie at a time!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cookies and Jazz

I'm beginning to think cookies go with EVERYTHING - even Jazz!! In celebration of Eric Chambers, a super cool DJ at Smooth Jazz 98.1 (for those of you who don't know) and 15 yrs of service to the station, yesterday was Fesitval of the Jazzspel at the Jacob's Center Market Creek Plaza. And even though I'd mentioned that I'm not the biggest fan of networking events, I totally loved networking there! Through my awesome friend Jen, she was able to connect me to Eric and he allowed me to come and hand out some cookies to all the VIPs at the event, which included some amazing Jazz artists, a few DJs, inlcuding Kelly Cole who you can see eating a cookie, the charger's girls and a ton of other pretty cool dudes in the industrty. I love it when people love my cookies!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Discount for Heros on the Harbor Event

I've just been informed that since I'll be a sponsor for the Heros on the Harbor Event on the U.S.S Midway honoring our wounded soilders (see two blog entries below), I can offer a discounted rate for tickets. So, if you want to attend a super cool event at a discounted rate - send me an email and I'll send you the offer code for when you purchase tickets. It's for $15 off!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Baking and they mix?

Everyone knows it not what you know but WHO you know that makes all the difference and last night was all about building my portfolio of all the who I knows. Since I've become a foodpreneur, I've attended quite a few networking events, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm really the networking type. Maybe I was just kind of in a funk last night becuase I do love meeting and talking to new people and of course getting a cookie in their mouth but when I'm at these events it sometimes feels as though everyone has these secret hidden agendas. Or that they can't talk to you before looking at your name tag and finding out who you're with. I was talking to a lawyer, super nice guy for sure, but I could tell if he couldn't get something out the conversation other than a delicious cookie and a sweet smile he was kind of over it. At one point he mentioned how you needed to be cut-throat at these events or you wouldn't have time to meet the right people and I couldn't help but saying, " I bake cut-throat do you think I am?" Anyway, I did meet a few really cool people that actually could really help me expand and people that hopefully I can help out too. Besides isn't there only six desgrees of separation between us all?

Which reminds me I must start my baking today. I'll actually be networking and sampling cookies again this Sunday at the Festival of The Jazzspel down at the Market Creek Center Plaza Amphitheater from 3-6 if anyone's in the neighborhood. Off to the market....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Heros and Cookies

So, I'm kind of not sure whether I should be totally stoked or freaking out right now!! I just agreed to participate in providing samples of the cookies at the 2nd annual Heros on the Harbor event in San Diego honoring our wounded soilders aboard the USS Midway ( . It's a super cool event that features artist Michael Israel, who's absolutely incredible when he performs, ( pretty rad stuff right?; some cool bands, fireworks, and best of all wine, chocolate and food - my three weaknesess. So why should I be freaking out? Becuase they're expecting around 1,500 people! I know it doesn't sound like that much and for some, maybe most, it's a piece of cake making 1,500 samples but when it's just me and my two hands that just sounds ridiculous!! According to my calculations from start to finish it takes me about 5 minutes to make one cookie...i know working on it.. but at that rate it'll take me five days to make them all..if I work 24 hours a day without snacking on any of them!! That's just insane. Anyone know someone who's in the mood to bake? For real though I'm stoked. I think the exposure's going to be fantastic for the cookies and it's such a great cause to support. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Still Adjusting

I know it's actually been a couple weeks since I've been home but I must admit I'm still adjusting. Even though I've lived all my life in the states and was only in Uganda for a short two and a half weeks, I feel as though my heart was left there and but that that's where it belongs. The country is absolutely beautiful and the people are incredible. I've never felt such a joy and passion for God and life as I did over there. Their love is so passionate and genuine that it completely overwhelms you. I wish I could share it with all you guys but I don't even know how to put it into words. Pictures probably portray it better than I ever could so I plan on posting a video somewhere soon! I'll try to keep it short and sweet but it's hard when you have 16 gigs of pictures to go through!Hopefully, one day I'll find myself back in Uganda and in Lira and with the people I now love! If anyone wants to hear me ramble on and on - cause seriously I could talk for hours about Africa and my experience - let me know. I'd be happy to share! :)