Catherine Likes Lists.

  1. I wish I had a punching bag. Heck, I wish I even had a space to hang a punching bag. Anyone want to hook me up? I’m dying here.
  2. Sixties’ music: yes. My dad recorded an Ed Sullivan compilation on our DVR from many months ago and I’m just getting around to listening to it.
  3. Am I the only person in the world who likes the heel of bread loaves? I very well may be. Please, tell me there are more of my kind out there.
  4. The farthest west in the US I’ve ever been was Arizona until a few weeks ago when I and a friend went to visit another dear friend (aka Super Best Friends Reunion 2014) in the Pacific Northwest, specifically, Oregon. I cannot even begin to tell you how beautiful this state is.
  5. I’ve been listening to this album for the past few months on repeat and still can’t get enough of it.
  6. Guess who made her first ModCloth purchase? This girl! Guess who has to wait until school to get it because she sent it to her university address? This girl!
  7. Homemade Larabars: soon to be made and consumed with great fervor. Or packaged and stuck in a container until school.
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Bites from Europe: A Post in Photos, Part I.

I spent four months in Europe, most of that time spent either on trains or somewhere on campus buckling down on schoolwork. One thing I wish I’d done more: photographed more of my meals & snacks.

Train life: One of my European staples, very early one, was the nutty, seeded, grainy bread found in bakeries and grocery stores.

Train life: One of my European staples, very early one, was the nutty, seeded, grainy bread found in bakeries and grocery stores.

Italian food in Budapest: cheese & herb-stuffed chicken topped with tomatoes.

Italian food in Budapest: cheese & herb-stuffed chicken topped with tomatoes.

Tiramisu in Roma on Mardi Gras.

Tiramisu in Roma on Mardi Gras.

Cold "pasta fresca" from a cafeteria on a Roman side street.

Cold “pasta fresca” from a cafeteria on a Roman side street.

More pasta in Roma - the best I had abroad!

More pasta in Roma – the best I had abroad!

Une crepe au jambon et fromage in Lisieux, France.

Une crepe au jambon et fromage in Lisieux, France.

Pain au chocolat in transit from Lyon to Barcelona.

Pain au chocolat in transit from Lyon to Barcelona.

A very unfortunate sandwich (brie and cranberry - delicious in theory, not so much in practice) but wonderful bravas in the background (small potatoes).

A very unfortunate sandwich (brie and cranberry – delicious in theory, not so much in practice) but wonderful bravas in the background (small potatoes).

The best way to finish off a not-so-good lunch: deep, dark, and dare I say deadly, chocolate cake from a professional pastry chef.

The best way to finish off a not-so-good lunch: deep, dark, and dare I say deadly, chocolate cake from a professional pastry chef.

Maria's fancy chocolates; the flavors included olive oil, rosemary, and lemon.

Maria’s fancy chocolates; the flavors included olive oil, rosemary, and lemon.

Churros con chocolata in Barcelona - or, in Catalan, xurros con xocolata. This might have been my favorite dessert in all of Europe. The churros were freshly fried then promptly sugar-coated at a small place down the road; we carried them in white paper cones to a cafe where we ordered our hot chocolate, a drink so thick you can't sip it - it MUST be eaten with a spoon, or consumed on a churro!

Churros con chocolata in Barcelona – or, in Catalan, xurros con xocolata. This might have been my favorite dessert in all of Europe. The churros were freshly fried then promptly sugar-coated at a small place down the road; we carried them in white paper cones to a cafe where we ordered our hot chocolate, a drink so thick you can’t sip it – it MUST be eaten with a spoon, or consumed on a churro!

food for thought.

  1. Considering a blog name change. Yea? Nay? Eh. Oy vey.
  2. Periodically I experience the desire to chop off all my hair. Then I remember I’ve spent the past two years trying to grow it back out and digress.
  3. We need to start using words like “exquisite” and “ardent” more frequently.
  4. Victoria’s Requiem Mass. I can’t even.
  5. Any sort of emotional recovery after Jane Eyre is probably impossible. Please tell me there are now-stable people who have adjusted to life after reading this book. Please.
  6. Why does wearing cute underwear automatically make me feel uber confident and babely? No one sees my underwear except the person at the register when I buy it. No one knows it’s cute unless I go out of my way to announce to someone how adorable my underpants are. It’s psychological feminine magic, it must be.
  7. My summer booklist is growing and growing and I’m acting like I don’t start my (nearly full-time) job next week. Whoops.
  8. Since my boyfriend is coming into town at the end of the week(!!!!!!), I decided to be cute and take him on a picnic one day. But while the Pinterest-ers of the internet have 8 million totally-doable (ha!) picnic ideas, it’s all…well, overwhelming. And a little above my skill levels. I haven’t totally given up on the Mason Jar ideas yet, though! Any suggestions? Or maybe I’ll just make pb&js…

Bonjour!

I made an important decision today.

I decided to start a blog.

Hi, nice to meet you.

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I’m sorry, I’m shy.

Actually, I’m a little less shy on the Internet than I am in normal human social situations.

Let’s forget about my social anxieties for a minute and get down to business.

To defeat the huns? No. (Well, we can move onto that once you’ve finished reading this post)

I’m Caty. That up there is a picture of my face, or at least most of it. I’m  a poor college student with a passion for music, reading, cats, and food. Once upon a time, my family instilled within me a love of food – all kinds of food. Only I didn’t embrace it at the time because I was still stuck in my “picky eater” stage (although I willingly drank grape fruit juice and ate garlic by the clove). At some point or another, when I realized I either had to eat whatever was in front of me or go to bed hungry, I (sort of) truly began to appreciate food.

You know what I specifically appreciated? Baked goods.

cake

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I mean, I’ve always appreciated them. What kid doesn’t love risking salmonella and sneaking cookie dough behind their mom’s back, or smelling a freshly opened bag of milk chocolate chips, or parking themselves in front of the oven and watching as a cake slowly but surely rises? My favorite dessert as a child were Monster Cookies – oatmeal, peanut butter, M&Ms, chocolate chips, even a little (gasp!) food dye. Mmmmm. Going to the mall was always something exciting – enough persuasion would earn me a hot M&M cookie from Mrs. Field’s. Back then, I didn’t care about the calories or chemicals lurking within the soft dough – all I cared about was the sweetness, the warmth of the crumbs on my tongue, the tantalizing scent that remained on my fingers long after the cookie had disappeared into my digestive system (seriously, though, why has no one made cookie-dough scented perfume yet?).

Then, one day, my mother decided to “retire” from being queen of the kitchen (at least, when it comes to sugary sweets) and set me in charge.

For a while, I was content with box mixes. Easy, simple, delicious – open the box, aim the mixture into a large bowl, add oil, make sure you don’t get any egg shells in the batter, mix it all up for a few minutes, throw it in a pan…and, 35 minutes later, you have pure bliss. Or the “break ‘n’ bake” cookie dough cubes. And store-bought cookies? Nothing beats finding out how many Chips Ahoy! you can fit in your mouth.

Then, a few summers ago, I realized that homemade baked goods completely from scratch not only taste better, they are better. Not only are you liberated from unknown (and unnecessary) ingredients, you get to tweak. You get to experiment, take chances, be a little (or a lot) risky and creative. You are given liberty to completely screw up a dish because you deviated slightly from the recipe even though it sounded incredible in your mind and then have a mental breakdown over the apocalyptic catastrophe, just as long as you collect yourself before you start swearing you’ll never bake again. Yes, you’ll invest more time – but you’ll also invest more love.

Go scratch or go home.

Ok, so I still make exceptions.

angel food

That, my friends, is an exception.

But usually?

I’m a scratch kinda girl.

This blog was inspired by Joy the Baker, who is, in my mind, the queen of clever, relatable, delicious food blogging. In addition, this is a tribute to my grandmother, who, unfortunately, I never knew very well. But we have many things in common – including the preference of red lipstick to any other color, a tendency to laugh very loudly, and a love of baking.

So, this is Cakey Bakes. Because I bake, and sometimes cook (hopefully, this is the beginning of broadening culinary horizons), and want to share it, even if I am an amateur. This is an experiment. This is an endeavor. This is an adventure to embrace mistakes, embrace learning, embrace experience. For the first time in my life, I know I’m ready for this.

I can’t wait to see how everything turns out.