Decadent bites

"Do you want to build a snowman?!"

"Do you want to build a snowman?!"

Oh, I know I should have used a picture of a luscious Christmasy-looking dessert, but the little snowman was too adorable to ignore!  And I'm channeling that song from Frozen!

First of all, I want to say a big "THANK YOU!!!" to all my fabulous clients who choose to have Beyond Decadence desserts grace their Thanksgiving tables AND Todd of Pita Pit for allowing me to load up his refrigerator for order pickups!  This was the first year (of 5 holiday seasons), I pushed the dessert pickup date a day earlier than normal.  Why?!  Because I wanted to "recover" and drive 4.5 hours to Atlanta to spend the holiday with my daughter and cousins.  I decided to take on less orders this year than normal, so I wouldn't be utterly exhausted and my body racked with pain to make the long journey down I-85. 

As I walked through my friend's heart attack, it brought a new "awareness" of the fragility of life and how things can change without warning, wake-up calls, or flashing red lights.  So when my daughter wasn't able to come to me for the holiday, my decision to go to her became a no-brainer.  

And I did the unthinkable....

I left my laptop at home!  I cleaned up all my email from my phone, but didn't even turn on my laptop until tonight for the first time since last Monday or Tuesday!  I sat on my daughter's balcony in the crisp Georgia air and felt the stress melt away with every stroke of petting my grand-fur baby, Fluffy.  I even completely forgot to schedule all my Christmas desserts to display on 11/26!  Oh well, I didn't have any Black Friday deals anyway, so in the big scheme of things fixing it all tonight was really fine. 

I have some exciting new and familiar desserts on the Christmas menu!  I also lifted the restriction on the states I will ship to since the weather is finally getting colder.  If I've missed one of your favorites on the menu, drop me an email and I'll see if I can make the magic happen for you.  However, please be aware there is a $30 order minimum (in general) and to checkout on the website.  

The ordering deadlines are on the Shipping/Pickup/Delivery page.  I have several corporate private virtual baking experiences on my calendar, so please heed the ordering deadlines.

Let it go, let it go....oh sorry, that's the other song from Frozen...

 

Maria Kemp
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But wait!  There's more!

But wait! There's more!

Well it sure doesn't take long for the tide to change directions does it?  One day, I'm super excited about the possibility of becoming a TV star.  The next day I'm eating consolation chocolate frozen custard in my car, because the dream is put on pause for a while longer.  I won't recap the entire story in this post, but you can read my post on FB about what happened. 

As Taylor Swift would say it's time to "shake it off, shake it off!"

Instead let's focus on the truly amazing things God is doing in Beyond Decadence!  As if being approached by a very large company with a potential order that will be the single largest order I've EVER received isn't enough....but wait, there's more...

That individual had been rallying the troops to do business with me when I thought my email from early October was swirling around in a sea on nothingness.  She said she didn't want to reach out to me until she knew for certain and now we're there.  There are still details to finalize and let's pray this will fare better than the TV gig, but my faith is strong this will turn out the way it's supposed to.  She already referred me to another colleague who I'm working with for desserts to ship along with Champagne to her clients in February.  (I LOVE when clients plan ahead!)

And if that wasn't enough, I've already been approached by 2 different institutions of higher learning to put together proposals or curriculum to teach for them and an encore presentation at Johnson & Wales....but wait, there's more...

I booked my 2nd corporate holiday private virtual baking experience last week!  I'm excited to work with a California-based company to bring a lot of fun, festive cheer, and delicious desserts to this team of 28!  I've had what has felt like back-to-back Zoom meetings with a least 5 other companies that are now ready to book their virtual holiday baking experiences....but wait, there's more...

I've breached the hallowed gates of a WHALE (to use a Las Vegas term) company and may soon be able to them to my list of corporate clients!  I have a team within the company interested in my private virtual baking experiences!  We're still trying to re-connect.  But never the less, my internal contact said they will be featuring my business internally in the next couple of weeks!  I'm going to ask if I can get a copy of the communication!  Of course I'm praying I get business out of it, but it's still very exciting to make the cut to be shared internally as a supplier they want to do business with!

Thanksgiving orders have been trickling in the last couple of days.  I thought I was over-communicating/over-posting to "order now, order now", but I've had more than one person ask "Is your Thanksgiving menu out yet?"  My response has been "Ah, yeah, it's been posted since early October!  Thanksgiving order is closing on 11/16 or when I'm sold out!"  I kept the pie inventory manageable this year since I have just a few irons in the fires, so don't be a slow poke ordering or you will miss out.  And like the old SNL skit with the soup *azi -- "No pie for you!"

 

 

Maria Kemp
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Thanksgiving Tik Tok, tick tock, Tik Tok

Thanksgiving Tik Tok, tick tock, Tik Tok

Well thank God this weekend (so far) is buzzing by with no emergency room visits! 

Are you in disbelief too that the calendar already says "November"?  AND now for 2 days in a row, ear muffs have been a required accessory!  I'm not sure what to say, but the harsh reality is fall is here and for us now thin-blooded Southerners...it's cold!  

That means Thanksgiving, holidays, and Christmas are merely around the corner.  I wish I could say I will send out countless reminders to place your orders, but I don't like flooding inboxes and trying to come up with 20 new ways to say "Order Now or you'll miss out!", I just don't have that level of creativity.  If you aren't ready to order now, I'd suggest putting a reminder on your calendar to do it before 11/16.  However, that deadline date comes with a warning so read on.  

Just as I predicted all the corporate clients I've been building a rapport with over the last 4-9 months are now ready to book their private virtual baking experiences for the holidays.  Can you blame them?!  What better way to end the year with a fun, interactive, immersive experience learning how to make a decadent dessert! To say my days have been filled with a lot of recipe testing, Zoom meetings, phone calls, and coordinating details would be an understatement.  I can't wait to share the name of some of the companies that are currently in my line-up -- household names is putting it mildly. 

A few other major things that have graced my to-do list is Tik Tok.  I was holding out and resisting the wave, but the platform holds some distinct advantages to sell to an even larger audience.  You can find me on Tik Tok under http://www.tiktok.com/@beyonddecadence .  I only have a few videos out there right now, but more are coming.  

The other MAJOR item I'm working on (in my imaginary free time) is testing a zero-sugar sweetener.  It doesn't effect the glycemic index which is a HUGE win for diabetics or anyone sensitive to sugar!  My first test was with my infamous Lemon Bars and to say that was an epic fail would be putting it mildly.  The normally gooey sticky filling became a bit rubbery and the bars lost a lot of the lemon zing.  My next test will be with mini cheesecakes.  I've heard from the supplier and other users of the product that cheesecake does extremely well, so I'll keep everyone posted.  I do NOT intend to develop an entire zero-sugar dessert line.  That would take ions of testing that I simply don't have time for.  However, I would like to develop at least 2 items that will allow those with sugar sensitivity to have a delicious option.

Oh wow, I almost forget -- there's a new calendar app on the website that will make it easier to pick the date for your baking experiences!  Also, I introduced baking experiences for adults and kids (tweens/teens).  

Please order your Thanksgiving desserts if you plan to now.  As my calendar fills up with baking experiences, the available quantity of desserts and/or the ordering window could definitely close before 11/16.

Happy fall y'all!🍂🍁❄️☃️🎄

Maria Kemp
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A departure from the norm

A departure from the norm

Today I have something so heavy on my heart that I feel like I would be an injustice not to share it.  If you prefer to skip to the end and hear about the upcoming holidays and French macaron baking experience for kids, then go ahead and scroll to the last 2 paragraphs.

Yesterday the unthinkable happened.  My friend and I were preparing to go to the gym when she starting vomiting, pain in her chest and arm.  Long story short, we rushed to the emergency room and I waited in my car (COVID restrictions) to see what the diagnosis would be.  I was fully expecting them to say "it's xyz" and send her home with orders to rest.  Instead the security guard came rushing out at the same I was getting out of my car and said, "It's a good thing you got her here when you did, she's having a heart attack!"  The rest was a well-coordinated flurry of activity with a lot of information to retain. 

They had to transfer her to a hospital with cardiovascular care.  The most gut-wrenching moment was when her ambulance passed me with their lights and sirens on.  Just knowing that my friend was in the back and time was of the essence brought me to uncontrollable tears.  It made me wonder how often do ambulances pass us and we don't give thought to the person in the back or we bristle at the inconvenience of missing the light because they are trying weave their way through cars that don't grasp the concept to move off the road. 

It also made me thank God for the unusual string of events that caused me to be available for my friend in her time of dire need.  I had stopped by to visit her late in the week to share a test batch of cake pops.  I was already walking away thinking she wasn't home when she finally answered the door.  As she was enjoying the cake pops she asked if she could join me at the gym on Saturday.  I said "absolutely!"  I had been trying to get her to come with me for months.  So if this gym date wouldn't have been set, us being in the same place at the right time never would have happened.  What if she had her heart attack alone and unable to call for help or driving back home after she went to get her daily Starbuck's -- right before the symptoms started.  I contemplated calling an ambulance, but she said "no" and we were literally 5-6 minutes from the closest hospital.  I placed my hand on her back and prayed for her the entire ride.  

Today when I went to visit her, we talked about what happened on Saturday.  There were so many pieces that she didn't even remember.   We found laughter over the entire gym fiasco and I wrote on the board in her hospital room under the Things About Me Section; "I'll do anything to get out of going to the gym!"  Even though I knew she was going to be okay, I still cried a lot yesterday.  But at the same time, I was so deeply thankful God orchestrated the events in the manner that he did so I could be there for my friend.  She's getting the care she needs, a ton of people that have never even met her are praying for her, and her prognosis looks a lot brighter than it did yesterday.  

So what's the moral of my story?!  Tomorrow is not promised.  Your life can change in an instant with no signs, symptoms or warnings.  Make time for and peace with those you claim to love.  And the next time you see any ambulance barreling past you, stop and whisper a prayer for the person inside.  Because in many cases, they and their families have just entered into what could be the worst day of their lives.  

On the dessert side -- parents have spoken and expressed interest in a French macaron baking experiences for tweens/teens!  So I'll get something on the website this week.  I am open to suggestions on weekdays and weekend days and times that work best for that age group.   

Thanksgiving -- Tomorrow is November 1 is the "guaranteed" order by date.  November 16 is the "subject to availability" which simply means if you wait a week before to place your order we may already be booked up and close ordering earlier. 

I don't extend deadlines as it jeopardizes the production schedule for those that ordered on time.  Please place your Thanksgiving order sooner than later so you don't get left out.

Be sure to check out the pictures from the Halloween Spook-tecular Family Fun experience!

 

 

 

Maria Kemp
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Let your voice be heard!

Let your voice be heard!

I pretty much have my neighbors trained now.  Whenever I bring them a dessert from a new recipe, the only requirement is they give me a number rating from 1-10.  A one (1) is equal to "it was horrible" and a 10 is equal to "I'd steal the entire batch if given a window of opportunity."   After several test batches last week and then making ANOTHER batch today during the Mixed Up Cupcakes baking experience, I certainly didn't need another batch of cupcakes all to myself.  I know the recipe is a winner, but I didn't want to be tempted to have cupcakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner...again.  So I snapped my photos for social media then gathered them up to give away to some of my favorite neighbors.  I snuck a little coffee extract into the vanilla buttercream, so I think that will give the birthday cake and vanilla cupcakes a nice kick.  

I've been thinking about adding another session of the Family Spook-tecular Halloween Fun experience for kids.  Currently, the only offering is from 4:00pm-5:30pm EST.  But I was thinking about adding a later session to allow families in different time zones to participate.  I was thinking about:

  • 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST =
  • 4:00pm - 5:30pm PST =
  • 6:00pm - 7:30pm CST =
  • 5:00pm - 6:30pm MST

There is a special "entire family" price for this experience.  It does not involve use of the oven, but parents will need to participate to melt ingredients and monitor younger children. 

Let your voice be heard!  I'd love input on adding another session for this offering.  I thought on Halloween was the best choice, but please let me know if Friday or Saturday would be better so Halloween is completely clear.

Maria Kemp
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Final kids, a delicious Zoom meeting!

Final kids, a delicious Zoom meeting!

Oh how I love my to-do lists!  They keep me organized, thinking logically, and on track.  The regular Thanksgiving menu has been done and online since October 1, so I can check that off my list.  The holiday/Christmas menu has been visible since then as well, but I won't move it to the online store for a few more weeks.

Next I'm circling back with my new corporate clients to finalize orders.  However, I must have sensed some gaps in my calendar since I decided to add a baking experience series specifically for kids!  In my head I thought, "piece of cake!"  Then I realized the series of holiday baking experiences need to be created in unison -- intro, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and holiday/Christmas.  The research is done, so reworking, recipe testing, and continuing development of 3 other courses for different organizations charges forward.  

My network of friends were invaluable providing feedback on the kids series.  My own daughter is almost 35, so I don't claim to be current on all the things to consider pertaining to parents of young children.  After 45 minutes on the phone with Shopify  I finally figured out the least confusing way to offering a price break for siblings in the same house.  

This week will be brimming with excitement to see how it all goes!  I have the Halloween series almost ready to put online, but I will wait to gather feedback from the parents of the first wave of experiences.  The days and times all got 2 thumbs up from the parents, so I'm hopeful no major changes will be needed. 

Gather your friends to join your experience!  Each one has a minimum of 5 students and a maximum of 15.   Please contact me for private groups, 1-on-1, in-home, or for week day baking experiences.  

This blog is publishing ahead of the experiences in the online store, so the hyperlinks in the PDF will not work until the experiences are published later today.   

Private Virtual & On-Site Baking Experiences for Kids | Beyond Decadence

Downloadable PDF

Maria Kemp
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Baking experiences for kids & adults + Thanksgiving is 11/25....

Baking experiences for kids & adults + Thanksgiving is 11/25....

As usual my mind is a steady flurry of tasks, ideas, recipes, and things that need to make their way onto my to-do list.  After spending the last 1 hr 45 minutes watching a Jason Statham movie which was oddly disappointing, my thoughts turned to my blog.  

As I was mapping out a series of baking experiences, I had an epiphany.  Why not create a series of private virtual & on-site baking experiences for kids!  I need to separate kids and adult offerings, but this idea hit me like a lightening bolt and it'll be online in the next few days.  There are plenty of available options for adults or kids that prefer to go to a facility to take a class.  However, my offerings will focus primarily on those desiring to learn remotely via Zoom.  (I'll also offer private and an in-home option.  Of course any in-home/in-person will be subject to strict COVID restrictions.)  But for those not ready to attend in-person classes, this will be perfect for you! 

Let me take you down a little trip down memory lane about my teaching background...

Long before I started offering virtual classes here in North Carolina, I had a completely different life pre-pastry school, pre-brick & mortar bakery, and pre-IT Consultant that included teaching part-time.  I taught baking classes at a local community college in IL, private in-home classes, classes at a health center affiliated with a local hospital, a local store that conducted cooking/baking classes, and taught a variety of software applications and operating systems years ago.  I've done public speaking in auditoriums filled with 100-200 people with ease and laughter and given presentations in front of multi-million dollar industry giants.  As an extreme extrovert, I know how to "dial it down" when needed, but also rise to the occasion to present with poise, confidence, and land a $10,000 donation from a billionaire, a $5,000 scholarship for a multi-million dollar company, win pitch competitions, podcast guest, TV guest chef, and a panelist/speaker. 

I'm a firm believer that all my seemingly unrelated experiences are all part of the intricate fabric of my life's story God is still handcrafting.  Each experience builds upon another and equips me to be sufficiently prepared for the next adventure or is bringing me full circle -- the jury is still out.  I'm so excited to launch the new baking experiences!  I hope you will leave a comment or email with ideas of topics/concepts your kids would like to learn.  The adult offerings will focus on recipes to help you dazzle your holiday guests or create gifts recipients will actually love.     

BTW, just in case you are confused --Thanksgiving is the same date on the calendar every year.  So embrace it, start planning and order now.  I do NOT deviate from the order deadlines as it causes chaos, jeopardizes my production schedule and delivery dates. 

I couldn't resist the graphic, but I NEVER EVER use the fake whipped cream from a can!  Geez Louise, please Google a recipe and make it from scratch!  It takes 2-3 ingredients and under 5 minutes. 

 

Maria Kemp
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Baking hiatus is over!  Welcome to fall, pie, pumpkin, and cozy sweaters!

Baking hiatus is over! Welcome to fall, pie, pumpkin, and cozy sweaters!

The month has elapsed and my baking hiatus has come to an end!  You may have envisioned me with my feet kicked up, watching endless Netflix movies, and eating desserts from my secret stash all day.  Ha ha ha!  Nothing could be further from reality!  

During my hiatus, I was a Zoom queen!  I'm still attending the 6 hour per week program through the University of Richmond, met with numerous potential corporate clients, CVMSDC meetings, formed relationships with new colleagues, created menus for the 2 biggest holidays of the year, overhauled the private virtual or on-site baking experiences, exploring another opportunity to provide desserts to a local establishment, and I accepted invitations to teach a few in-person baking classes at a local Charlotte studio and a virtual series for a community college.  Whew!  I’m tired just recalling it all!  

Nothing like writing class content for 3 different classes AND another Nielsen-Massey feature recipe AND holiday planning all at the same time!  I was also approached to be a speaker at another event, but they opted for someone that sells on Amazon instead.  Oh well, it was still an honor to be asked.  I'm almost ready to put the private virtual & on-site baking experiences back on my website. They are perfect for corporations, private groups or Girls Night Out (GNO) since an experience has an 8 person minimum.  Last but not least, I just submitted my next monthly article for LKN Connect.  

Heads up -- the website is purely focused on Thanksgiving right now.  I added some new pie flavors this year which I hope you'll find exciting!  I moved Thanksgiving and Christmas order pickups to 11/23 and 12/23; instead of the eve of each holiday. PLEASE READ the Shipping/Delivery/Pickup page for all the order cut-off, shipping, and pickup dates.  It would be too confusing to open up the Holiday/Christmas ordering now, so I'll find a home for that menu on the website very soon.

I encourage you to place your Thanksgiving order sooner than later.  Quantities and raw ingredients are not unlimited.  Forecasts are already warning of rising shipping costs and shipping chaos.  My website automatically calculates the real-time discounted UPS rate based on the weight, destination and size of the package.  The desserts weights are inflated to cover the weight the ice packs, insulation, and the dessert(s). 

I don't get too many orders shipping West of the Mississippi, but I still disabled those states on the website.  If you contact me, I can manually override it.  However, you will need to upgrade shipping (options with a guaranteed delivery date) to ensure food safety of temperature controlled desserts.  Why?  Because unfortunately, UPS Ground service delivery dates are estimates and are NOT guaranteed.  I learned that the hard way when a order going to Texas took 6 days instead of 3.😩🤦🏾‍♀️

Happy fall y'all!

Maria Kemp
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Dory the blue fish with yellow fins "I can't eat another bite....Oh look! Pie!"

What's your favorite Thanksgiving pie flavor?

Well I wish I could say my "baking hiatus" has been pure relaxation!  However, nothing could be further from reality and those who know me well know it's nearly impossible for me to sit entirely still.  There's plenty of backend work that requires zero time in the kitchen.  Although, I still average a minimum of 3-5 Zoom calls a week.  It's all just part of being an entrepreneur; constantly thinking, getting in front of the right people, and articulating why they shouldn't go another day without doing business with me.  Okay, maybe that was a tad dramatic, but you get the idea.  

After being in business over 4 years in North Carolina alone, I've learned a thing or two:

#1 - Stop wasting time creating an innovative Thanksgiving menu!  PIE is the only thing that matters at Thanksgiving.  Period.  I could count on one hand and have a lot of fingers left over of the other items that sell during Pie-mageddon. 

#2 - Everyone absolutely must place their order via the website.  Exceptions always lead to mayhem in the final count.

Now is the time to let you voice be heard for the flavor pies you would like to see on our Thanksgiving menu!  (The Thanksgiving menu will go live when the online store re-opens on October 1.) 

Please post a comment to this blog post with your favorite flavor!  It could end on this year’s Thanksgiving menu.  

Maria Kemp
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A look behind the curtain

A look behind the curtain

For some odd reason the movie "The Wizard of Oz" came to mind and I was recalling the scene where Dorothy peeked behind the curtain and saw the wizard ....

So here's your peek behind the curtain for what it takes to execute an on-site class.  (Obviously, the mixer I also took isn't in the sink.)  

On-site classes are open to all customers, not only corporate clients.  However, they do take a significant amount of planning in order to execute the event flawlessly and there are minimums that apply:  

  • Pre-baked final shortcake
  • Assemble student gift bags
  • Prep and pack all tools, ingredients, and supplies
  • 2 trips to load car at kitchen
  • 2 trips to unload car on-site
  • On-site setup
  • TEACH CLASS
  • On-site cleanup
  • 2 trips to reload car on-site 
  • 2 trips to unload car at kitchen
  • Restock ingredients
  • Wash/sanitize all tools and supplies
  • TOTAL APPROX.  10 hours (not including the actual class)

I've taught private on-site baking experiences and baking classes at a community college in Illinois, so I've perfected my system of handing the massive Rubbermaid containers of items that I bring back after the experience is over.  I put all the refrigerated items back in the fridge, replace any dry ingredients, put up supplies, and toss ALL the tools that left my kitchen in the sink.  I sanitize the Rubbermaid containers and return my collapsible wagon to it's designated space.  (Currently, the sink is still brimming with the tools shown in the picture from Fridays class as the dishwasher will be loaded this evening.) 

The upside is I had every tool I needed for the class with me.  I did forget to pack an optional offset spatula, but it wasn't the end of the world.   

The on-site classes are considerably more expensive as they require approximately 10 hours of additional time to execute a 1.25 hour demo.  If you are looking for a cost conscious way to enjoy a private baking experience, I would suggest the virtual option via Zoom.  Over my hiatus, I will be building a series of baking experiences ideal for the upcoming holiday season. 

Final August orders go out this week!  I'll be working behind the scenes just not baking until October 1. 

 

 

Maria Kemp
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Every now and then...

Every now and then...

I had every intention of sitting down Sunday and writing the weekly blog post, but at this point (Thursday evening) I don't even recall what was vying for my undivided attention instead.  

I often wonder what my readers expect when they open up my latest blog post.  Are they looking to get to know me better as a person, humor, a new recipe/tip/technique, or "I'm just here for the latest menu item"?

Well I'm just going to roll with what's being going on and coming up.  So get your favorite adult beverage, relax and find the levity in my words. 

In most of my social media posts, I uses pronouns like, "we, us, she" etc.  But in reality, many of you know that I am Beyond Decadence.  There are NOT any food suppliers pulling up to my back door delivering my weekly ingredients, there's no staff to dedicate to specific aspects of the business, a dedicated shipping department, social media expert, admin person, customer service, or Shopify expert, delivery driver, order drop-off driver, webmaster, or volume discounts from suppliers, etc.  It all begins and end with me and a plethora of trips, errands and tasks.  Welcome to entrepreneurship or solopreneurship as it often called!  It won't stay that way forever, but it's not time to farm out or hire just yet.

God has obviously blessed me with an abundant amount of energy, stamina, focus, dedication and technical skills.  As I mentioned previously, I can get an incredible amount of work done 95% of the time without any nudging, encouragement or even music on in the background.  I simply make a list of what needs to be done and chip away at it bit-by-bit.  But last week, I set aside donning my standard baking ensemble and got dressed up to attend the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce - Diversity Council Woman's Conference at The Peninsula Club.  The title was "Renew Your Mind, Body and Spirit".  

You know usually when you go to conference there's always at least one speaker that is a dud?!  Well not this time!  Every single one of the ladies and one brave man that took to the podium were AH-mazing!  They each focused on a different aspects, but the bottom line was self-care, living in your "why", health, avoiding burn out, and the importance of rest. 

After having what has felt like the most stressful July and August ever, I decided to heed the conference's message and take the month of September off to recharge, rest, and plan for the holiday season.  This year has been filled with some unimaginable blessings for which I thank God for every single day.  My mind is continually blown every day that I am now cultivating relationships to do business with Fortune 50 and Fortune 100 companies.  ME, a pastry chef originally from a blimp on the map town in Central IL articulating my value with confidence, poise, knowledge and a proven track record with billion dollar (with a B y'all) corporations.  Nothing BUT God!

I can't wait to share with you the latest things that are unfolding, but I haven't been given the green light just yet.  I'm excited about what the future holds, but regardless I'll still be the same lady when given a choice puts on her favorite smiley face shorts, my jazzy hat, and loves bright colors that nearly sear your eye balls. 

The final day to order before my break is Wednesday, August 18.  UPS orders will ship Monday 8/23 - Wednesday 8/25.  Free Pita Pit pickup days will be Tuesday, 8/24 and Thursday 8/26.  I'll still be "around" on social media during my break, but just not baking until October 1.  I did add the Spiced Pumpkin Cake back on the menu since it's officially fall now, right, kinda....not really???!

Maria Kemp
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It's FALL 🎃🍁🍂!

It's FALL 🎃🍁🍂!

The calendar officially says it's AUGUST, so now it's time for the humidity drenched days to end...right?!  Ah, who am I kidding?!  This is North Carolina!  We likely won't get a noticeable break until late September or October!  Well, either way I'm sure it's time for Starbuck's to start pushing everything pumpkin or caramel, so I'll jump on the bandwagon!  

The Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake is the first autumnal flavor to welcome the season!  Perhaps your like me and not a lover of cheesecake.  Well then this is “the dessert” for you!  The magic of whipped cream elevates this from a cream cheese tasting dessert to a light airy mousse creation.  There is too much whipped cream gently folded into the batter for the texture to resonate as a traditional cheesecake. The addition of pumpkin’s favorite spicy friends will warm your palette in the most delightful way — fresh cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and a hint of clove.  And wait, there’s more!  All that lusciousness is hidden under a billowy blanket of even more whipped cream topping the mousse cheesecake!  There’s a total of nearly 2 cups of heavy cream (before it’s whipped and nearly doubles) between the mousse and the topping.  Take it to ANOTHER level by choosing optional Heath toffee or toasted coconut to grace the whipping cream topping.  No graham cracker crust in sight!  It’s gingersnap crust all the way for the perfect finish.

I had some of my friends very excited when they read one of my FB post and thought I was opening a retail storefront.  After reading a few comments, I realized the word "digital" was down at the very bottom of the post.  🤦🏾‍♀️  If you know any my story, you already know I've been down that path right of pastry school and have ZERO, zilch, zippo, nada desire to do so again.  

I feel like I have enough activities going on in a given week for enough material for a sitcom, so I'll share 2 key "festivities" with you. 

After an automatic iPhone update my (ancient) 6S Plus would no longer connect to WiFi and then needed to stay plugged in constantly or the battery drained at an accelerated rate.  I was leaving on my birthday weekend getaway to my friend's lakehouse in Tennessee, but when I fired up the phone's GPS it immediately flashed a "temperature too high" or "phone too hot" warning.  It promptly shut itself down never to come on again.  Thankfully, I had already received my replacement phone -- I'm up to an iPhone 7 Plus now!  So only 5 minutes away from home, I was forced to turn around and setup the new one in order to have a working phone for my trip.  The new one connected to WIFI like a champ and within an hour all my apps had downloaded.  I made note of my passwords for a few key apps then hopped in the car to start my mini vacation.  I didn't realize until I arrived in TN, I wasn't logged into 99% of my applications after the upgrade, didn't have any of those passwords with me, so I was cut off from email the entire trip.  Not the worst thing ever since it was supposed to be a mini vacation.  

As for my frost-free freezer fail...

I discovered ”the store” will close your service ticket if they don't have an ETA on the required part AND offer you a buy out BUT for the price you ORIGINALLY paid.  Don't take the buy-out until you check the NEW selling price for the appliance.  When you get the buy-out email you only have 1 BUSINESS DAY before they start issuing the payment and cancel the remainder of your protection plan, so you have to move quickly.  Thankfully I got on the phone first thing the next morning and found the service company had just received notification from their distributor that TWO of the parts I need just came in!  Thankfully again, I wrote done the reps name, the time, and exactly what she said.  This turned out to save me as this whole event unfolded as a 2nd rep (45 minutes later) at the service company was giving me the "we don't have that part" response.  I was on the phone for 1 hour getting everything straightened out, but it was worth it!  The part for my freezer is scheduled to be installed this week.  Thank you Jesus!  Now I don't have to spend many hundreds of dollars more on a new unit AND pay for the old one to be hauled away.  

I'll save the rest of my adventures for a subsequent post!

Be sure to check out my new article in LKNConnect!  It's scheduled to post on 8/3! Until then, order the Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake -- it's truly love at first bite!

 

 

Maria Kemp
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