The Plan to Eat Podcast

#36: Interview with Anna Reid on Being a Self-Taught Baker

October 12, 2022 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 36
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#36: Interview with Anna Reid on Being a Self-Taught Baker
Show Notes Transcript

We interviewed Anna Reid, our long-time blog contributor! Anna is a self-taught baker whose baking experience goes back to her childhood. She started a blog called The Little Blue Mixer and grew her knowledge one recipe at a time. We chat with Anna about her experience as a baker, baking for weddings and events, and she even sneaks in a few baking tips. Enjoy!

Find Anna online:
Instagram: @thelittlebluemixer
Her recipes on the PTE Blog: 

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I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner.

Roni: Hello and welcome to another episode of the plan to eat podcast. Today, we get to share an interview that we did with Anna Reid. She is one of our blog contributors over on the plan to eat blog, and it was so nice to chat with her today.

Riley: Yep. We got to talk to her about her story, how she got into baking, um, her favorite flavors, experienced, she's had baking for events, and just, it was a really fun conversation to hear about, how she's grown her baking expertise over time and how honestly, how her like experience, um, as an engineer has really integrated into it.

I really enjoyed the conversation and makes me really wanna go bake something delicious.

Roni: Well, Anna, thanks for joining us [00:01:00] today on the plantee podcast.

Anna: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here with you guys.

Riley: we are so excited about it too. So for anybody who doesn't know, Anna is one of our bloggers and she makes the most delicious looking desserts for our blog. We love it. Um, and we hope you love it too. so we're excited to interview you, her and share all about her with you.

So Why don't we jump in and Anna, tell us your bio.

Anna: Awesome. Thank you guys so much for having me. It's just been a joy to work with y'all over the last couple years, and then just to come on the podcast and just talk face to face and share my story so fun. Um, but growing up. My mom was always in the kitchen, always baking. Like I just remember she would always invite us in too, to help as kids.

And so like from the time that I was little, like, there's this picture of me standing on a chair covered in chocolate as like a four year old or something just like having the best day ever. And so she was always just very like good about bringing us in [00:02:00] and letting us help from a. Small age. And so I think that like really kind of started my journey with baking.

So like growing up, we would always kind of do that together. She would make us like awesome birthday cakes. Um, I remember in like seventh grade, we had to do this science project and make like a. Making like a cell, like a model of a cell or something. And I chose to do a cookie cake. And so I did like a cookie cake and I decorated it, like all the different, like things in the cell can't even remember 'em now.

But, um, so like, it was just something that I did growing up and then once, um, I had my own kitchen. So like went to college, graduated, got my first apartment. That's kinda when I started doing a little bit more on my own and just kinda branching out on some things. And I started small with just like cakes for different reasons or cookies, but it was just really fun to learn.

Um, and then. One year, my parents gifted me this [00:03:00] cookbook and it's called baking by better homes and gardens. And so I started looking through it. I was like, this looks fun. Like there's a lot of things in here that I haven't tried before. I was kinda willing to branch out new things. And so I just started.

Looking through it. I was, how can I, this can learn these things. And we had just recently moved to a new town. We just moved to Charleston, South Carolina time in wasn't working for a

C for myself. I'm gonna just say, Anna, you can do this. You're gonna bake one recipe, a. Something new something different out of this book. And then I was like, okay, well I need a little bit of accountability because I just need, that was just my personality. I just need something kind of pull me accountable.

And so if you guys have ever seen like the movie, Julia and Julia, or she bakes through that cookbook, uh, by Julia child, I had like recently seen that. I was like, you know what? I [00:04:00] can do that with this book. I'm not gonna do every recipe. So not quite the same. And I don't have like this awesome role model to look up to, but I'm gonna like bake my way through this book.

And so that's what I did. I started a blog and I just like would post, like every Friday I would do a new recipe and post it. And so I learned so much, like we had, um, there were so many new things I, to try where they had so many big goods in our house that we were able to give away to people. Like it was just a really fun season.

I had a lot of fails, a lot of things that I. Didn't go well. Um, but that kind of just like got me in our rhythm of baking regularly, um, and trying new things and kind of challenging myself. And so I did it, I made it through the whole year and I was like, this was really fun. It was cool to kind of like.

Get to share that with people too, like maybe back home who could like, see what I was making or like friends in town who I could just like, bring it over and like, look here, try this out, lemme know what you think. Um, and so it was fun to just share that with [00:05:00] people. And so, yeah, that's kinda how it all started.


Riley: That's awesome. You unlocked this like core? Well, I dunno if core memory is right or not, but you unlocked this. Buried memory in my mind, cuz I also made a cake that was a cell. Um, it wasn't a cookie cake. Mine was actually, I think it was a, I think it was just a regular cake that I like iced white and then used like different kinds of candy for the different parts of the cell.

And it it's buried deep in my mind. Did you ever have to do that in school? Roni

Roni: I, I feel like I probably had to, I think I should do some, some project related to that, but I don't think I made a cake or anything for it.

Riley: well, I know

Roni: mine was probably just like paper mache or something.

Riley: That's too funny. Well, I, I just love that we both did that. Um, So I'd also, I just love your story with your mom and how she was very unafraid to have you guys in the kitchen. The, the minute you said that there's a photo of you covered in chocolate. Like there's part of me that like cringes a little bit, because I'm like, oh my gosh, then [00:06:00] she's gonna have to throw her in the bathtub.

And then 

Anna: Right, 

Riley: does this cleanup process look like? But, um, but that's like hugely impactful to your story of just like building that block building blocks of baking in your childhood. Um, and that makes me feel like, okay, It's a big deal. I should probably like not be so afraid of the mess, but, uh, if you wanna share that photo with us, we'd love to see it.

Anna: Yes, I can dig that out for sure. It's if I would

Riley: that's fun.

Roni: When you went to college, did you, did you go to school for bakery science? Is that what your background's.

Anna: not at all. Um, I studied industrial engineering and that is very, very far from baking and cooking and all of that, but, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I worked in the field for several years before we had our first kiddos and I stayed home, but yeah, I was just an engineer who baked. Um, and actually we I've met a lot of different engineers who have a lot of other interests.

And so it was kinda cool to like, get to share that with people at work too. Cause a lot of times, if I had like, Leftover [00:07:00] things from the week. I would just bring those into work. A lot of times I would send them with my husband too. Who's also. An engineer. And so he would start work on an earlier shift, have to be there at like six in the morning.

So he'd be bringing like sugary sweet treats. Like really early in the morning, like he's arriving at six. So like getting up at like four and five. Um, and they would be gone by like six 30. Like people just like demolished this stuff, like way early in the morning, I was just blown away. I was like, no way it's gone before people normally eat breakfast.

But yeah, so my field. Is not in baking, but, um, that's kind of why I wanted to challenge myself to like grow and learn more. Cause didn't like that science background, there is a lot of science into baking and so it's that's cookbook findings definite line. There's like a plethora of information out there and just a lot of trial and [00:08:00] error too.

Just trying it out. Seeing if it works, it doesn't try something else.

Riley: I don't think they're that far apart. You, you said it's like totally different, but being so detail oriented, I feel like that's, you know, engineers are so detail oriented cuz you have to be, it's like so exact and to me. Particularly with like the kinds of things you've put on our blog. It's like, they're so everything you do is so beautiful.

It's like, so like, just like measured perfectly. Your photos are beautiful. Like I'm thinking in particular about that. The fruit pizza you did and how perfectly all the fruit was like laid on the top of the cake. And like, to me, They, they connect and like your detail orientedness cuz I know that's a word.

Um, it really does connect and it probably makes you a better baker because you're not just like winging it, like, which is a little bit more, my personality in baking is like, oh, well just wing it. And you're like measuring, like where is this key? We gonna go. You probably used a ruler. Like

Anna: I think I did use a ruler for the dough, but not for the laying the [00:09:00] fruit out, but yeah, I appreciate you saying that Riley and there are some similarities for sure. And I am a very like detail oriented person. And, um, my husband would say I kind of struggle with perfectionism a little bit. Um, and so like, but that does, Factor into baking and cake making and decorating and stuff like that too.

And just how, how I address those things. And there's a lot of different ways to do it, but yeah, I, I kinda go that route.

Riley: Yeah.

Roni: I was gonna say in my mind, I view that I view engineering as like. A career that involves a lot of precision. So to me, I see the correlation in this like precision aspect of, you know, baking as a very precise science. If you are, you know, trying to get, like, you're trying to come out with this perfect outcome of this extra fluffy cake or whatever, you know?


Anna: Yeah. There is a lot, a lot of science in it, for sure. Like, um, just making sure like your ingredients are the right temperature to use [00:10:00] so that they come together the right way. Um, making sure that you have the right amount of your ingredients, cause that affects their overall texture or rise or.

You're Leving agent. And so there, there is a lot of science in it and, I am a person who follows the recipe. I'm not quite the, like, just wing it in the kitchen person. So yeah, baking is more my thing. When it comes to like, Making, just like a recipe for dinner where it's just like, just wing it. That is more of like a struggle for me.

So like it's to see people approach the

recipe recipe.

Riley: Well, that will certainly resonate with people. I, I, I think that's why I like to cook more because I can just. Throw stuff together and we'll see what happens and tweak it as we go and with baking, you can't really tweak it. Um, cuz you know, you, you have to put it in the oven or you have to, you know, the, the thing's gonna happen at the end when all the chemical reactions have [00:11:00] happened and it, you know, it's gonna be done.

Whereas with cooking, I feel like it's never really done until you're like eating it. like, you can still salt it. Like you could still like hot sauce, you know, like. It's funny though. Cuz when I'm pregnant I want to bake and I don't know why. I don't know if it's cuz I want treats, but like I suddenly want to like start baking.

It's very weird. Um, anyway, that was a rabbit trail. Sorry.

Anna: I love it.

Roni: I actually think that it was from, so I think it was last year in 2021, when we did the baking basics. Month with you. And I feel like that was actually the first time that I had ever learned that the temperature of ingredients was really important. In a lot of baking recipes, they say, you know, have your eggs room temperature, have your butter room, temperature, you know, whatever.

The specific things are, and I have always taken it as like, this is a suggestion, but then I'm always the person who's frustrated, like, okay, well I made these cookies last week and they were like fluffy. And then I made them today and they're [00:12:00] flat like, well, what's the difference? And, and so it was it wasn't until I read some of your blog posts that you made for us about.

You know, like some of these ideas of like how it really is important to pay attention to what the recipe says when you're baking that I had this epiphany of, oh, that's why when I bake things there, there is no consistency.

Anna: yeah. Yeah. I'm so glad that that was helpful. Yeah. It's been, it's been a learning experience to kinda like try those things out and. See the science behind them and how they actually work. And it's, yeah, it does make a difference. Cause if your butter is, um, really cold, then it's not gonna be as cohesive of a mixture.

It's not gonna be evenly spread throughout the batter. And that will create differences when it's cooking in the oven. But if it's that right temperature where you just kinda like touch the butter with your thumb and get a little in it, but it's not squishing everywhere, but you get end it, then, you know, you're good to go.

Cause it'll kinda spread. You can. Get it in your mixer and get it mixed around. And, um, you'll just have a very [00:13:00] cohesive thing going. Yeah, it'll just be a more even ready bake. Huh?

Riley: so you may not know the answer to this, but why would you want your eggs to be your room temperature? Is it the same reason?

Anna: Yeah, it's pretty much the same reason. You just kind of want all, unless there are some specific recipes where they might tell you to do it differently, and those will have like a reason behind it, but overall your eggs too, you want them to be the same temperature so that they will mix into that butter and sugar mixture as well.

Um, cuz if they're really cold, they're gonna. Pulled together with themselves and like, oh, there's some hot stuff over there. I don't wanna like mix it. Um, yeah, just if everything's the same temperature, it'll just be a lot more cohesive and 

Riley: awesome. 

Roni: So now that you're done with your cookbook challenge for yourself, where do you get, um, recipe information or recipe inspiration from like when you write recipes for our.

Anna: Yeah. So there's a lot of different ways. Sometimes I find myself just thinking [00:14:00] back to like, um, old family recipes. That's kind of like where I start sometimes just thinking about like, okay, what was. What was in my home growing up or like, what is, what was in my husband's home or like, my grandparents even like kinda going really back and seeing really old recipes is really interesting to me sometimes.

And then Instagram is great. Um, just like seeing just different things that people are creating, um, or Pinterest would be the same. I, I really like Instagram and Pinterest for like decoration ideas, maybe. For recipe. I did so much, but there's like, it's just so cool to see all the different, like, things that people create and the different decorations they kind of come up with.

So that's like a cool source of inspiration. Also like whatever seasonal is a big one too. So, Like right now it's fall. And so that makes me think of like, or it's almost fall to think of like going to pick apples and so like, okay, what can you make with that? Like caramel, apple cookies or something.

I know that's one that I made for you guys. [00:15:00] And I made that after I tasted it at an apple orchard, like I, we had just like gone and picked apples and like went to their little store and they had these cookies and I was like, this is delicious. And I've never had these before. So I went home and I was like, how can I recreate.

And so that's kind of like how it goes for me sometimes just like seeing what's seasonal, maybe I've had something that was delicious or seen something and just trying to kind of recreate that in my own kitchen. Other than that, maybe just like asking my kids, I've got two kiddos and, um, they always come up with just crazy ideas.

And so it's fun to just ask them, what do you think would be fun? What should we do here? Um, and we do not go with all the ideas that they come up with, but sometimes it's fun. Chase after that and make something fun. So yeah, just kinda, if there's an event that I'm baking for, a lot of times it'll have a theme and that will kind of like shape what I'm gonna do.

But yeah, I hope those are some helpful answers. Just kind of, a lot of different ways. Things that I see going on around me,

Riley: What kind of events do you [00:16:00] bake for?

Anna: um,

Riley: baked for.

Anna: I have baked for several different things. So when in the beginning, I guess I've never really advertised for myself, but, um, just through word of mouth and just through like, sharing things that I've had with people, people have learned, oh, Anna bakes. Um, and so like if they have a birthday coming up or a retirement party, or just like a little get together, like Anna, what do you think about this?

What can we make? Can you do some cookies for my little girl? Can you make a birthday cake for my son? Um, and so that's kinda how, like I've started just like word of mouth and just. Friends, whenever they have an occasion, they just ask and pro the most recent thing was like a retirement party for our pastor at church.

And so I just made like a. They were already gonna have a table of cookies there and they needed something to kind of tie in like the theme of the night. Um, and so they had like a little logo, so I made a cookie cake and [00:17:00] just put that logo on the top, just using icing. Um, and so that just kind of like tied everything together.

And so I've also done some weddings, and that was a really fun experience. So it's kinda. coming to me and asking, I'm not really like going out and marketing myself much. But yeah, people ask me and if I'm available, then it's really fun to get to bless them in that way. And it's an enjoyable thing for me.

Riley: That's awesome.

Roni: you made like a multi, a multi-tier like pretty big wedding cake before, or, uh, are the things that you do more like cupcakes or.

Anna: I have actually, yes. Um, so I've done two, three tier wedding cakes. So that was for two different events. Um, and actually those were also gluten free and free. And so. That was a cool experience for sure. There's a lot that goes into like preparing for a [00:18:00] wedding. That's a big thing in someone's life. And so like, you want it to just come out.

Perfect. Um, and so there was like a lot of. the bride in the groom and their families beforehand and seeing like, okay, well, what, what do you envision for your perfect day and for your cake and, how many people are gonna be there? What flavors are you thinking about? Do you have any allergies?

And so there's just like a lot of conversation on the front end, just figuring out, okay, well, what do you need? And then me taking a step back and saying, okay, is this something that I can do? Um, am I equipped to do this? Do I have, Recipes for these things that you're looking into. Do I, can I like, is your decorating style?

My decorating style. When is the event like, am I available on that day? Like, there's just like a lot to consider and then it gets down to like making a quote, which was honestly the hardest part for me. Just valuing your work, valuing your time, and then putting the right price. Down on paper. And so that's another side of [00:19:00] baking that I hadn't really thought about before I started baking for people is like the monetary side of it.

But it's a huge thing to consider, especially that are more allergen for specific. Ingredients get really expensive, really fast. And so, um, you need to be aware of what you're spending so that you can value your time and your product well. And if you're gonna get any kind of profit, you have to just kinda be aware of that along the way.

That was a really fun experience getting to do those weddings. So after the hard part was done of figuring out those things and their requirements, it just got down to like, okay, let's just make some cakes and let's try it out. I did a lot of test runs. So the first wedding cake that I did, the couple was gluten and dairy free, and that was completely new for me at the time.

And so I was very upfront with them at the beginning and I said, I am willing to work on this, but I'm gonna let you know, it's something that I've not like done before, especially dairy free. Um, and [00:20:00] so they kind of let me know. They're like, well, we're totally fine if you wanna try out some different recipes and come back to us.

And so we did that. Like I tried out some things, um, try out a lot of different, like gluten free products that are already like available in the shelf in your grocery store. And that was really helpful. And then tried to find like a really good solid. Dairy free butter. That was the hard thing. I ended up finding one at whole foods.

They have a brand called MEOS. I hope I said that. Right. But it was the most. Texture wise, it was the most similar to regular butter. And so that really played into the buttercream cause you needed that same similar texture. And also it was, they have one that specifically for baking, so it wasn't salted.

And so that made a huge difference in a buttercream cuz you don't want salty butter cream. That's just. I don't think anyone's really gonna enjoy that. Um, and so, yeah. So the next part, like we figured out the [00:21:00] hard stuff up front, then figuring out your ingredients and your recipes and doing lots of test runs.

I made them like a, just a smaller size cake of like what I was thinking just for them to taste. And then that was really fun. They enjoyed it. So there was like a lot of feedback back and forth. Um, and then when it came down to planning for wedding day, I was like, OK, they want a three tiered cake. And so my next thing was to figure.

How to do that. And so I made a three tiered cake, um, and that was a really fun process trying to figure out too. There's a lot of like structure that you have to think about. Um, you have to think about the temperature of things too. Like where's this cake gonna be is air condition place, because that is vital.

Um, cuz if you put a cake outside in the middle of summer, which it was in the middle of summer, it's just gonna melt and fall. And so, It was cool to get to experience all of that and figure it out. It was stressful at times, you know, it's, it's a big, um, responsibility to bake for someone's wedding.

And so, um, overall I [00:22:00] really enjoyed it though. Once we just got down to the day of it, I kind of had a schedule of like, this has to be done by this day and this day and this day, and we put it all together. With it being the middle of summer and having to go across town is like an hour drive to their reception area.

I was like, how am I gonna keep this cool in the, in the car? And how am I gonna keep it stable in the car? So my husband was really helpful. He rigged together like this styrofoam ice chest, he cut a hole in it. He put dry ice in it and put a fan on it. So like it was blowing in and then he put another, like I do it hole on the other side.

So basically he created like an air conditioner for the back of my car or, and so like, it was great. Everything had a spot, it was a place, it was like locked down. And then he had like this extra air conditioner going. Got there. Everything was perfect. That was probably the slowest I've ever driven ever.

Like it was just watching out for every pothole. You want anything to bump? But then once you got to the venue, that's kind of, when I put the cake together, I had like the three layer separate, and then it was able to stack on there. And it turned out [00:23:00] wonderful. It was a beautiful wedding. Yeah, it was a really fun experience.

Riley: Okay. I have so much, there's so much to unpack here, but the first thing I'm thinking is you're. So, um, this is when it's, you're really in a good place of having an engineer, husband who just like built you this, like. Refrigerated air conditioning for your cake? 

Like, I mean, 

Roni: engineering and baking Dodo. Go do, go

Riley: they do. Yeah.

oh man, that's too funny. I'm just picturing this. Like he's basically he is turning the back of your car into a refrigerated van, but

I mean, 

Anna: coldest ride I've ever had. Like, it was so cold in there, but it was perfect. It was outside and I'm freezing on cakes. I actually had a bunch of cupcakes too. Made it.

Riley: That is amazing. That's amazing. Um, another thing I thought that was really funny that you said was that the hard [00:24:00] part of doing the dairy free gluten free cake for this wedding was not the baking part, but the logistics beforehand, cuz you're like cuz then once the hard part was over, then I went and did this and I'm just cracking up because, um, I don't know that I would think that that was the hard part.

Anna: Yeah.

Riley: In that situation, especially like, as somebody who is like new to gluten-free dairy free baking, but again, you're using those engineering tactics and you're trial and error, all those little pieces, um, finding the right butter, like figuring out that it was even available at your, at a store and then utilizing it.

It's like, it's amazing. All those little pieces.

Anna: Yeah. Yeah. There's a lot to think about that goes into a, into a big event that you're making for like that. 

Roni: Do you have any other, um, interesting baking stories to tell us? I really, I really enjoyed the back of your car. Tr getting turned into a refrigerated truck.

Anna: So another wedding that I did, the first wedding, it wasn't a cake, but it was, I [00:25:00] made favors for them and they wanted pie pops. And so, That was really fun. I did like just a couple different flavors, small pies, and they're kinda like on a Popsicle sticks. That's what I thought it's really cute. But the logistical thing about that one was that I was in Charleston, South Carolina, and my friend's wedding was in Memphis, Tennessee.

And so I was like, okay. How are we gonna figure this out? I need to bake these things. I need them to be fresh and then I need to get them to Memphis. And, um, we were attending the wedding. So that was a plus I didn't have to worry about trying to ship things. Cause that would just immediately say, no, I just wouldn't be able to do this.

But so I was up cause I wanted these to be like as fresh as possible. So I was up like the night before we flew. Finishing them up and making them, so I've been baking like all day and then I got the packaging part. And that's part of that you didn't really like, think about on the front end is like when you, of, when I think of baking, I think of like, I'm I finished [00:26:00] and I'm. But if you're doing this for an event, there's a lot of packaging that kind of like goes into it. And so I was like individually wrapping these in these little plastic baggies and then tightening them up with like a little note on it. And it takes a lot of time to tie up like 150 pie pops. And so again, I've got my awesome husband in with me and he's just sitting there at the table at 1:00 AM.

And then now it's 2:00 AM. And finally he was like, looking. I'm done. I gotta go to bed. I was like, you're awesome. Go. I've just got a few more. So I finished it up. We get up early the next day to fly over and then these pipe pops are literally my carryon on the airplane. So I'm like treking these through the airport.

I've got, 'em like in a box, all packaged up. I'm like, okay, what. Is it gonna be like getting through like the security line? Like, how is this gonna go? It's like, I'm just gonna carry these up here. And I'm just praying that they don't make me unpackage everything and dig through em and mess them up.

[00:27:00] Thankfully got through with no issues. I think the TSA agent said like, okay, this is, um, we've seen some different things, but this is the first, um, and. Carry him through the airport, had him in the flight. I don't remember. I think I probably stuck them, like, cause they didn't let you hold stuff in your lap.

Especially at the beginning. I think I stuck them like under the seat in front of me. Cause thankfully they fit there. But yeah, so those pops were my carryon. They were just, then we got to the airport, we like flew into Nashville and had to drive to Memphis. For some reason our flights were like that.

So I got our rental car tuck 'em in the back seat. So yeah, I've had some interesting stories of just like transporting these bake goods for sure. To like get to the events, but it came out beautiful. They had like this really cool stand where everything was just kinda thes were hanging around it. And, um, it was really fun and they were delicious.

I, that was a while ago, but those were so good.

Riley: Hm. Well then maybe you should revisit those

Anna: maybe I should. They were good.

Riley: Um, my mom has like seven or eight [00:28:00] blueberry bushes in her backyard. And so she was flying to visit me and brought. A pretty large, like topware container full of blueberries through TSA. And she said they gave her a really hard time about it. So I was really curious what they were gonna, what you were gonna say that they told you, um, the blueberries did make it to my house, but it was not after it was, you know, it was after some, you know, like conversations with TSA.


Anna: Yeah, thankfully, I didn't have any issues. Um, that, that would've broken my heart. That would've been really hard if I did.

Riley: Yeah.

Roni: I'm curious if there's anything you've done a lot of different recipes for our blog. Uh, is there anything that you really don't like to.

Anna: See. So. For me, it's all about the cleanup afterward. Like that's kind of how I weigh the pros and cons. It's like, how messy is this gonna be? Like, is it really gonna be worth it? Um, and so like, if I am gonna have to bake a whole cake in one day, I'm [00:29:00] just not gonna look forward to that. There's a lot of like cleanup involved and like, you've got your cake batter and all of like, Kitchen tools.

You've had to make that you've got your cake pans, then you're making icy. Like that's just a lot of cleanup washing the same things over and over again. It just kinda like makes a mess in the kitchen. So I've kind of. When I do cakes, I spread 'em out over like a couple days. First I'll make the icing, um, like on day one and then I can stick it in the freezer and it's totally fine until like day three or four, whenever I'm gonna put it together.

The next day I'll bake the cake layers. And then once they're cooled, I will wrap them in like plastic wrap and put 'em in the fridge or the freezer, if it's gonna. Couple days. Um, but they will stay fresh and delicious long as you Haven 'em wrapped well and stick them in there. And so then I have like on day one, I've got one set of cleanup day, two, another set of cleanup.

And then on like assembly day, I'm just taking out the things I've already [00:30:00] made and putting it together. So that makes it a little bit easier for me. So. If I'm doing all that in one day, I'm not gonna be looking forward to it. I'm not really gonna wanna do it. So I kinda just have to like, think about those things ahead of time and plan it out.

So yeah, I think a lot of it is the complexity of the things too. And just considering like how much time do I have, um, with little ones running around. And so like, if it's a really complex recipe, I'm not gonna be very excited about it. I don't think I have like one. Type of food that I'm just like, no, I will not do this.

But it's, for me, it comes down to the cleanup and how much work is gonna be involved afterwards?

Riley: I mean, let's be real. That's so relatable. Like everybody listening to this one, that's a great tip. Like to, to stagger it. Like I would never consider doing that because I'm just not an experienced baker. And so I wouldn't know. That wrapping a cake and freezing it, or like, I wouldn't even think to do the frosting a couple days ahead of time.

But if I'm, I mean, I'm not baking professionally by any means, but if I'm ever gonna make my kid a birthday cake or a friend, a birthday cake, like thinking through [00:31:00] staggering it to help alleviate some of that, um, it's a, it's a brilliant tip. Um, but also it's super relatable that people, I mean, people don't, I mean, I don't like to clean up the kitchen, so

Anna: Yes.

Riley: yeah.

Anna: Yeah. It, it definitely has been a game changer for me too. Especially if you're. Planning say your kid's birthday party. Like there's a lot that goes into it besides, Hey, I wanna make my own birthday cake here. There's like a lot of other prep. And so that would just be way overwhelming if you're like, all right, the day before I have to make a cake and get all these other ingredients and like make dinner and do decorations and presents.

So it's an easy way to like spread out one thing, um, and just make it a little bit less stressful and more manageable to do.

Riley: Yeah. So on the flip side of things you don't like to bake, what is your favorite thing to bake?

Anna: Ooh. Okay. So I really love macarons. Those were one that really surprised me. I was scared of them for so long. I did a blog post for you guys. [00:32:00] Um, maybe two years ago. And. I have always enjoyed them, like finding them at bakeries and stuff, but I just had always been a little bit nervous to try them, cuz I had always heard they're so difficult, so many things can go wrong.

But then one of Brian's coworkers, like had made some and brought them to work. And there was like one left at end, the end of the day. And Brian was like, I'm bringing this home for Anna to try. And it was the best macaroni I ever had. And I had had so many from so many different bakeries. I was like, someone made this at their house.

That means I can do it too. Um, And so I was like, Brian, you need to talk to your coworker, get me this recipe. I would love that. And so you guys have that recipe now. It is shared on your blog. Everybody gotta check it out. It's so good. And it's so much more achievable than I thought it would be. And so those are really fun to do.

Um, just cuz they're a little bit different from your normal like cake or cookies. And they're [00:33:00] just, they're just delicious. Aside from that, probably I'm gonna go back to just whatever is easiest. Like if I'm baking for, um, like a group of people or like someone's coming over for dinner, then I'm just gonna love to bake something that's very simple and delicious and has an easy cleanup.

And there's a few recipes that fit into that category for me. I have some brownies. I've done them for you guys. They're on the blog as well. And they're just one bowl. You just have one bowl, simple ingredients, flour, sugar, chocolate, eggs, butter, chocolate chips, stir it up, put it in the pan, bake it. And it's done.

And you just have one bowl to clean up. It's so nice. Um, and so that's perfect. Like if you have someone coming over for dinner or you usually wanna have something to take over to a friend's house, I also love doing like a cookie cake. That way you don't have to like portion out individual cookies, you bake it all in one shot.

Um, you can put frost on if you want to, or you can just leave it. Um, so I like the simple things, [00:34:00] um, that also taste delicious. So yeah, I think that'll be my answer.

Riley: This is really, um, I love cookie cake, but now I'm gluten free. And so I've ne I haven't had a cookie. Like

Anna: Oh, my

Riley: five years. So would you make me a recipe?

Anna: Um, 

Riley: I love cookie cake. And you talking about that, I'm like, oh man, I love cookie cake, but I can't ever have it.

Anna: yeah. For you. I will figure out I definitely,

Riley: thank you. Um, so what about flavors?

What are your favorite flavors? Is it seasonal that you kind of just like gravitate towards, or do you have like a number one flavor profile that you.

Anna: Um, sometimes I'll go seasonal, but all the time, number one, for me, it's gonna be chocolate. I just love chocolate. Like. It's hard to go wrong with chocolate. I know there are some people, my brother doesn't like chocolate. I'm just like, I dunno how you live life this way. Um, but me I'm always gonna go for chocolate.

A [00:35:00] close second would be caramel. I wanna do some more with caramel. Like I've never. Made my own caramels. I think that could be kind of fun. But yeah, I, I just love chocolate, always chocolate and then caramel. I am kinda wanting to branch out on different flavors in my cakes and stuff. Like it's fun to do different, like.

Fruit fillings and stuff in there. And I've done, I did like a raspberry wine with a friend recently, and that was pretty delicious. It was like a raspberry lemon cake and it had like this raspberry filling and that was really good. So I am kind wanting to start and out in more flavors. Um, just my resume a little bit there.

Riley: What, what about you Roni? Are you a chocolate person or do you have a number one flavor?

Roni: I'm totally a chocolate person. I can still remember. Okay. For my, I have two chocolate cakes that I will remember for the rest of my life. I think one of them was the chocolate cake that my mom made me for my 16th birthday. It was just an out of the box cake, but I think she did one of those things where sh you know, she, [00:36:00] messed around with the added ingredients.

Like she didn't quite follow the box. She did, you know, like the extra egg or the extra oil or whatever the things are that like elevate the boxed cake. It was so good. It was, she even admits that it was like the best cake she ever. And then we used to have this dessert place here in town. That was called the chocolate cafe and they had this, like, it was called like the ultimate chocolate cake or something like that.

And it was like a three, I think it was like three layer chocolate cake. And it was like chocolate on chocolate, kind of a cake. and I think I got it one day when it was like, they had just made it. So I got like the freshest slice of chocolate cake and it was so, so good. And I mean, it's like a, it was like a giant piece of cake too.

So like, you could hardly eat one piece of cake in one sitting, but it was amazing. It was so good. And I will never forget those pieces of cake in my life.

Riley: I think nostalgia tastes better than anything else. Like there's like these like desserts of your memory are never, like, if you had. It doesn't matter. It doesn't [00:37:00] matter. Desserts of your, in your memory are like, they always taste better. So

Roni: I know. Yeah. What's your favorites, Riley.

Riley: oh definitely chocolate.

Roni: Yeah. That's what 

Riley: grew up, I grew up, yeah, I've had that chocolate cake at the chocolate cafe. It's closed now, but that's the bummer, cuz that was the best cake ever. Um, but I grew up in a very chocolate household. We were not a fruity family. like fruity, like we ate like fresh fruit, but not a lot of.

Fries or anything like that at all. Like, we were definitely chocolate. And so I married this guy who grew up in a very fruit, like filling like fruit, whatever fruit, pancakes, fruity, I mean like chocolate or not chocolate, um, like orange cinnamon rolls or like something like that, like fruit flavors and everything.

And so I've had to kind of evolve a little bit. He loves pies, like fruit filled pies and he loves fruit flavored desserts. Um, but chocolate's still, uh, number one for me. So

so you're in good company, Anna 

Roni: My husband, [00:38:00] also like prefers pie. I think the only cake that he might prefer more than pie is the Chani cream cake that you can get from whole 

foods, which is quite, quite delicious. Um, but yeah, otherwise I'm like, why would you choose pie over cake? That's nonsensical to me.

Riley: Why would you choose fruit over chocolate? Like that's, that's why

Anna: Yes. Yeah.

Riley: that's awesome. Well, you're in good company, Anna, we got chocolate across the board. If you're listening and you're a fruit flavored person, um, we still love you. So hopefully you still love us, but.

Well, it's, it feels funny cuz we just talked about, um, you know, flavors you like, but we always end our podcasts on, um, something, a recipe you've had recently that you really loved. So. For us typically it's not dessert, but if it's a dessert recipe for you, please feel free to say that. But what's something you've had lately.

That just was amazing.

Anna: Hmm, let me think. this is my most recent blog for you guys. And it was [00:39:00] really, really fun to do. And it was so easy. I've talked about how I love easy. But just like, it was really fun and like my kids and I, we had so much fun with it. We did like a, um, char board, but dessert style.

And so kind of tied in, like, I know we were talking about chocolate and fruit, chocolate covered strawberries though are always like, they, they just have my heart, like they're. They're just so good. And so like, that's just like a simple pleasure for me right there. And so, like, it was really fun to like tie in some things like that and get some favorites.

And then like even some store bought stuff like, goodness, what are they called? It's like the Hershey's. Cookies and cream, the white chocolate with like the Oreos in it. Like some of those in there, like we just like picked all of our favorite things and stuck 'em on a board to enjoy. And that was just like a really fun one to have recently.

And it was just, yeah, the kids loved it as well. I'm trying to think of another amazing one that I've had. I love to. [00:40:00] to just different re like bakeries and try stuff out. Um, but we're relatively new in town here and I haven't found like a good bakery yet. So that's kind of my list to do so, man, I might have to get to back to you on that.

Like some, like something just really amazing that I've had here in town. Cause that was one of my favorite things to do in Charleston and we just recently moved to Oklahoma. And so I haven't like gone out and ventured out and tried other people's stuff yet. 

Riley: It's funny because we just talked to, um, We just interviewed somebody else on the blog. And she was talking about how her kids, like one of their go-to snacks is charcuterie boards and they know exactly kinda like what they're allowed to put on it and they can kind of go build it themselves.

I think her kids are a little older. Um, but it's fun. I think kids really love the like excess sometimes that a charcuterie board can like, I'm just thinking about if I got my kid involved in making a STR board of desserts, 

Anna: Oh, yes. 

Riley: It would just be excess of sugar and like, but I mean, it's fun. I think kids like just like pile a bunch of things on the plate.

And so it's fun that you said that that was one of your favorite things recently, [00:41:00] cuz

Anna: Yeah. They,

Riley: her.

Anna: yes, they absolutely loved it. They're like, this is a dream come true right in front of my face. Like what in the world? They're like, mom, how much can we have? Like you just pick a couple things and we'll save the for later. But yes, it was just, it was a dream for them. It was.

Riley: That's

Anna: So I think that's part of it too.

It's just seeing the joy in like your kids too, that they can bring about it's it's a, it's a fun thing for.

Riley: That's great. I love.

Roni: Okay. We're going to link to, your blog articles, uh, at plan to eat. Um, but are there other places that people can connect with you?

Anna: Um, if you wanna go check out my like old stuff, I do have a blog called the little blue mixer, but I will just put a caveat. I have not updated it in years, so yeah, if you wanna see any micro things, please go to the plan to eat blog and just search for my name there. Um, you can also find me on Instagram at the little blue mixer and I post a little bit more frequently [00:42:00] there.

Riley: Awesome. 

Roni: Well, thanks for joining us today. It was awesome to chat with you and get to learn a little bit more about you, cuz you've been writing a law blog for us for I think three years now. So

Anna: Yeah, and it's, it's been an absolute joy and just been so fun to just kind of stretch myself and make some new recipes for you guys. And it's been an honor to work with y'all it's been really, really, really.

Riley: We've loved it too. And we have a really exciting project coming up in December. So stay tuned for that. Um, we're gonna partner with Anna on something a little bit, um, bigger than normal. And so we. Forward to that. And we can't wait to just continue to work with you. We think you're the best. 

Anna: Thank you guys. Thanks for having me.

Roni: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Plan to Eat podcast. We love hearing different approaches to food, and we hope that you enjoy hearing it too.

Riley: We would love to invite you to find all the recipes mentioned on the Plan to Eat podcast, um, in our podcast account on Plan to Eat you can go to E pod that's PT, E P O D and the variety of recipes that [00:43:00] you've heard about and the variety of eating types that we talk about, those can all be found in that account.

Roni: Thanks again for listening.