How I Got my ROAR Back!

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When life throws you a curveball, we can all stumble. It's hard to predict how a loss will affect us, and there is no playbook to give us all the answers. We probably will get advice and encouragement from family or friends, but in the eye of a personal storm that often just feels like noise.

For me it took a wise person to tell me, "You must do something every day." Sounds simple, I bet, but it's not easy when the thought of facing another day is exhausting. I decided that my "something" would be going the gym. Every morning I'd wake up and walk to the motivating music I loaded onto my phone. It helped my mind and soul, and for weeks I would go through the motions. I would walk, but I wasn't present in the process. Little by little, I began to listen to the words of that music I had chosen as I moved through my workout. One song in particular began to take on new meaning for me. It was Katy Perry's, "Roar". I started to think about what it meant to "roar" again and felt determined to get my "roar" back.

During this time the the word ROAR took on its own life for me. How would I overcome these feeling of failure? Could I ever get my mojo back? I started to work towards that goal. 

Heres how I did it. I broke down the word ROAR as an acronym for: reflect, organize, act, rejoice

Now let me explain this a little further:

I realized that in order to heal and move forward after any loss there is a need to reflect on what happened. What went wrong? What could you have done differently? It's important to be honest with yourself. What did you do right? Wrong?  If you can truly look at a situation for what it was, you can begin to understand what might have gone differently and begin to learn about ourselves.

Once I had a clear picture of what went wrong I was able to organize.  That was a time of great adventure again. I was able to put myself on a path to get back to work. This time, it would be with a clearer understanding of what my goals were and how I would achieve them. It's liberating!

Next, it's time to act. I know this can be scary, but you always have to get back on your horse and try again. Get off the couch and act! It's important to take is slowly, but acting will invigorate you!

And lastly, we all must learn to rejoice in our successes. So often we let the small victories pass us by without even recognizing them. Make sure to celebrate the small victories. Learn to enjoy the whole journey and all the goes with it.

Everyone gets knocked down, but it's how you rise that really shows the world who you are. Just remember that anyone can get their ROAR back, but it just takes a little time and a great playlist!

Vanilla - All the Facts

EACH MONTH OUR RECIPES USE SOME TYPE OF VANILLA. OUR PARTNERS AT TAYLOR & COLLEDGE MAKE SOME OF THE FINEST VANILLAS ON THE PLANET. WE THOUGHT WE WOULD SHARE A FEW FUN FACTS ABOUT THIS AMAZING FAVORITE.

 

  • Vanilla vines grow 30-50 ft tall, supported by a host tree or posts. 
  • Vanilla must be grown in a hot, moist, tropical climate, 75°-85°F. 
  • Vanilla only grows10-20° North or South of the Equator. 
  • The vanilla vine is an orchid which is indigenous to South Eastern Mexico. Dating back to Cortez's conquest of the Aztec Kingdom in 1519, it is one of the most ancient flavors.
  • A stick, the size of a toothpick is used to hand-pollinate the vanilla beans.
  • It is possible to grow the same vanilla vine in Madagascar, Indonesia, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea and India, but all five cured beans have their own distinctive flavor due to differing soil and climate conditions.

THE VANILLA ORCHID LASTS ONLY 24 HOURS

  • Vanilla is an orchid, and one of the few that produces fruit. 
  • The flower blooms for 24 hours, and must be pollinated or dies.
  • Indigenous to southeastern Mexico. 
  • Vanilla is extracted from the cured pods (beans) of the orchid flowers from vanilla vines

VANILLA IS THE ONLY EDIBLE FRUIT OF THE ORCHID FAMILY

  • Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid family, the largest family of flowering plants in the world. There are over 150 varieties of vanilla plants.
  • Just like grapes that make wine, no two vanilla beans are the same in flavor, aroma, or color.
  • Vanilla is still the most favorite ice cream flavor in the US.
  • The dairy industry uses a huge percentage of the world's vanilla in ice creams, yogurts, and other flavored dairy products.
  • To accentuate flavors, add a few drops of vanilla to most recipes that contain fruit, vegetables, meat or fish.
  • A few drops of vanilla will cut the acidity of tomato-based foods. Try it sometime!

THE MANY USES FOR VANILLA

  • The United States is the world's largest consumer of vanilla, followed by Europe - especially France.
  • Vanilla is not only used as a flavor in foods and beverages, but also in perfumes.
  • Vanilla has many industrial applications such as a flavoring for medicines and as a fragrance to conceal the strong smell of rubber tires, paint and cleaning products.
  • About 2,000-2,500 tons of vanilla beans are produced worldwide each year.
  • Spiders don't like vanilla. Use whole vanilla beans to drive away those eight-legged creatures.

VANILLA'S HISTORY AND HERITAGE

  • The definition of the word vanilla is "little pod" in Spanish.
  • The Aztecs called vanilla tlilxóchitl, meaning black flower. This indicates that they were more interested in the cured bean, which is a dark brown, rather than the flower itself which is a greenish white.
  • Vanilla first left Mexico in the early 1500s on ships bound for Spain. It was originally believed only to have value as a perfume. It wasn't until Cortes arrived in 1519 that the Spaniards learned it was also a flavor.
  • Vanilla is the world's second most labor-intensive agricultural crop. During some growing seasons, vanilla bean farmers will "tattoo" their beans with small markings (made with toothpick-sized instruments) to prevent theft and protect their labor investment. 
  • French vanilla beans have the distinction of being called "Bourbon" Vanilla because the cultivation first started on the island of Reunion, East of Madagascar. At the time, it was known as the "Island of Bourbon.” Now beans from Reunion, Madagascar and Comoros are considered “Bourbon” Beans.
  • Until the late 19th century, Mexico had the monopoly on growing vanilla plants, but now Madagascar and Indonesia grow the majority of the world's crop. Additional countries that grow vanilla includes Guatemala, Costa Rica, Uganda, China, India, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, and the Philippines.
  • The aroma of vanilla is known as calming, relaxing, and sensual, and used as an aphrodisiac in some cultures.
  • A 1990s study of patients undergoing tests at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York found that the scent of vanilla soothed patients -- especially while undergoing magnetic resonance imaging.
  • In some cultures, vanilla was a sacred medicinal herb, used to heal and soothe. Dr. John King wrote in the American Dispensatory of 1859, "vanilla is an aromatic stimulant useful in infusions for treating hysteria, rheumatism and low forms of fever. It is said to exhilarate the brain, increase muscular energy and stimulate sexual propensities."

Starting from Scratch

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If at first you don't succeed, try something new!

Sometimes life can throw you a curve ball. It almost always comes at a time when it's least expected.  Maybe you lose a job, a relationship ends or even a business fails.  Most of us don't walk around with a Plan B in our back pocket...

Or do we?  

I know all of us have a "bucket list."  You know, that list of things you might do someday.  After a loss it's hard to imagine doing anything at all, let alone something new.  I had a hard time getting out of bed some days after the loss of my business. It was hard to imagine having the energy to do anything most days, but then after some time passed something changed for me; something clicked.  I started to allow myself to get excited by the freedom I had to start something new.  I flipped my switch and looked back at that time in my life with gratitude.  I wanted to start a new project, something that would force me to learn something new and different "from scratch."  My love of baking was always part of who I am and my love of sharing my sweet treats with others would always leave me feeling fulfilled.  So the answer seemed simple, why not take these two passions and find a way to start my career over again.  That's was the beginning of the idea that launched Rise Baking.  I'll admit, I have never run a website or written a blog before now but I know how to bake and I am so excited to share all my knowledge with each of you.  

Rise Baking is the perfect way to start your baking journey

I know that it's easy to make excuses when we feel like we may fail at that "thing" we've been meaning to try.  Baking is that "thing" for so many people I meet.  I have heard others tell me hundreds of times in the years I have been in the baking world that people just feel intimidated.  I am here to tell you there is nothing to fear!  It is a science, there are some rules but in the end it's a magical way to express yourself.  I find baking both relaxing and creative.  I can float around my kitchen like a painter maneuvers their brush.  Once we teach you the basics of baking just like anything else creative, your imagination  will flow and all those wonderful flavor ideas you have been dreaming about will be your next dessert!

BAKE IT HAPPEN!

Don't dream about baking like your grandma, mother, aunt, or best friend: Make it happen! 

Hi, I'm Pam Turkin. I'm a mother, wife, daughter, friend and entrepreneur. I have been in the retail baking business for 10 years and in that time, I have sold millions of baked goods.  My love for baking is part of who I am.  During this time I have talked to hundreds of people about baking, as everyone always has a question or a story when they find out what I do for a living.  Every conversation I have brings back the memory of a baked good they may have long forgotten.  Everyone has a favorite recipe from a grandmother, an aunt, or a neighbor that always comes up when I meet someone new.  Most people talk lovingly about the way it looked, tasted, or smelled, and I can often see them floating away to a distant memory.  In each case I love to ask this question next, "why don't you learn to bake that?" The usual response is, "I'm a horrible baker."  

I am here to say: there is NO SUCH THING AS A HORRIBLE BAKER!

Baking, unlike cooking, is an exact science.  You need to follow instructions, or your delicious cake just might crumble, or those cookies may look like little golf balls. When I designed Rise Baking, I took out the "baking intimidation" by making sure all your ingredients are perfectly measured.  I am a believer that anyone can bake, and I am on a personal mission to teach the world to bake, one baking box at a time!  

So won't you join me?  Let's go on this baking adventure together. Over the coming months, we are planning to have Rise Baking Box Bake-offs that will have us all baking our boxes together through Facebook "Live".  Make a party out of Rise Baking by enlisting your friends to sign up and have your very own bake off right in your neighborhood. When you finish baking your amazing treats, send us your photos and stories about your Rise Baking adventures, and we can't wait to share it with our baking family so they can see what each of you have done!  Everyone has a great baker within them, but you just need to unbox it! 

Remember, we are always  "scratch baking, made simple"

Happy Baking,
Pam

Introducing Monthly Baking Boxes From Rise Baking

The forecast called for sprinkles, how I survived my personal Tsunami.

My name is Pam Turkin.  I am a mom, a wife, a daughter, a baker and admittedly, a serial entrepreneur.  For as long as I can remember I was always doing something.  There were studded gloves and children's phone books and Forrest Gump T-shirts to name a few.  Most of these early businesses kept me busy enough to stay at home with my kids. That was always my goal.  I never was trying to create anything more than a bit of extra income for my family.  

When my kids were very young, my first marriage fell apart and I found myself the sole supporter of my family.  I did what I had to do and went to work.  Though it was hard for a single mom, I relished the opportunity to be involved in a growing company where there was opportunity everywhere.  I joined the marketing team and learned quickly that I had found a place for my creativity to shine. I learned all that one could learn about the marketing of a successful brand and I also found the love of my life, Todd, while at that company.

Through my career I worked with many brands: Ralph Lauren, Caterpillar, M&M MARS and Nike, to name a few.  I was always intrigued by the power of a name and what it could mean to individuals.  I traveled extensively, working with many big box retailers and listened to their challenges.  During this time I also began to notice the "cupcake craze" starting on each coast of our country.  I would travel home to Detroit on the weekends and tell the tale of the endless lines at places like "Sprinkles" and "Magnolia Bakery".  

How could such a little gem make such a big splash in the food world? 

My curiosity morphed into action, and I decided that Detroit needed a "gem of their own." Just Baked was born.  I spent a year crafting recipes and testing them on my five teenage children and their army of friends, and when this hobby became a business I knew I was on to something special.   

The next 7 years were a whirlwind of great adventure as we grew from one small cupcake shop to nearly 20.  There were investors and partners that advised us to take the business in directions I never dreamed it would go. It grew quickly and with great momentum and enthusiasm, as we cemented our place in the bakery world.  

Looking back, I can now see that the company was growing at warp speed and somewhere along the way, I lost myself. I lost my direction and let the business wander from the core goals that it had been started with.  And true to many businesses that lose their way, it all came crashing down in an instant.  

Let me tell you about January 5, 2015.  

I had taken a few days to go visit my mother out of town and hopefully clear my head to allow the next course of action to become apparent to me. January 5 started like the many days leading up to our demise: with fear and apprehension. You entrepreneurs understand what I am talking about. But on this morning it would be different. My oldest son called, with tears in his voice and told me of my partners’ decision: "they closed the business mom,” he said, “it's over."  Though I heard the words I could not process what I had heard. How could that be? My partners had pulled their funding during a major expansion, without warning or explanation. I was devastated. Without warning or financial backing, we were now on our own trying to figure out how to save the jobs of dozens of people who depended on Just Baked to feed their families.

I was crushed.

I spent a good deal of 2015, as I like to say, "Laying on my bathroom floor".  I went over what had happened like a bad horror movie on loop, always ending up in a wounded place I couldn't seem to shake.  There were calls from interested employers, new business opportunities but I was not able to see past the wounds that were still there.  I listened, but knew I wasn't able to accept any of the kind words that people tried to motivate me with. 

I do remember one phone interview in which the owner of a very large local business on the other phone said these words.  "Pam, you are not done yet.  This last business prepared you for the next BIG adventure.  You still have greatness in you.  I am not going to hire you, go figure out what's next."  At the time I thought he was crazy.  I would NEVER do this again!  But looking back on that call, I heard those words often over the year as a kind and gentle reminder that I would be OK again.  

And then the impossible happened. I was on a call with one of my oldest and dearest friends who was "stuck" in her life. As I had done often before, I began to brainstorm with her about all the opportunities she had at her disposal to go out and create a business for herself. And just like that, I began to dream again.  Not about her new business, but about one I had been contemplating.  I had been thinking about a new idea but had given up on myself to properly execute it. However, in this moment it all came pouring out of me like a bathtub that had hit the top and couldn't help but spill out on the floor.  I did my research and realized my idea was solid.  I left my comfort zone and shared my idea with a few trusted mentors, who encouraged me to get up and move on.  

So here is the part where we all can stand and cheer. 

I would like to introduce Rise Baking.

Rise Baking is a monthly baking subscription service that ships premium ingredients with original recipes directly to your door. The process is simple. Each month you will choose recipes that suit your taste. Then, your shipment will arrive fully stocked with pre-measured and color coded ingredients making the baking process simple.

Rise Baking is a new business that I collaborated on.  I have taken all of my baking skills, knowledge and love of real food, and created a program that will allow any home baker to rival a professional one.   I am very proud of Rise Baking for many reasons, but mostly because it shows that anyone can pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start over again.  I had many kind, local entrepreneurs who encouraged and helped me develop Rise Baking as well as encouraged me to believe in myself and get back up again. I plan to do that BOLDLY.  

Everyone makes mistakes, and though I’ve made many, I have learned a lot.  I hope my story continues to motivate all the entrepreneurs, dreamers and doers out there to remain positive and to create your story the way it CAN and SHOULD be.  

Anyone can "RISE" again even after the most difficult of circumstance and I plan to do just that!

Happy Baking!  

Pam