September 16, 2010

About the short past of CaffeIna and about her long future!

When I first read about the Project Food Blog competition organized by Foodbuzz I thought: ”This is going to be a great incentive for me and my blog to grow!” That’s how I see this competition: as a way to grow. Not to increase the numbers of followers, or of comments to my posts, or of “page hits” in my stats (although, that would be really nice too!). But to grow as a person and as a blogger. I started to blog 6 months ago and still consider myself a newbie. I think I will always consider myself a newbie, even 5 years from now, because blogging put me in touch with a whole new world, of which I knew very little and that is continuously changing and expanding. This, for sure, keeps up pretty well with my insatiable curiosity.

Yep, I've always like to eat! And, yes, this runs in the family

I never thought I would one day have my own blog! I sure never thought I would have a blog about baking and kids! I migrated from Italy 4 years ago for my PhD in agricultural economics. In the middle of the fourth year of the PhD program I decided to drop out – yep, it took me that long to decide.  I then became a pre-school teacher, got married after dating my husband for a mere six months (!) and started my blog a few months later. Baking had been a real passion only for a few years and I had just started to organize cooking activities with the kids at school. I wanted my blog to put these two big but unexplored passions together.

Well before blogging, I was already sharing my baked goodies...I started by making my wedding cake

I cook probably 90% of our meals. Cooking at home (instead of eating out) is very much part of my cultural heritage and of my family habits. Cooking is something somehow “normal” that does not challenge my mind. Baking, instead, is a whole different story!

“Oh, you are Italian! You must have learnt to bake amazing goodies from your family!” That’s usually how the story goes when I tell people where I am from. Wrong!! Nothing could be further from the truth!  I come from a family that was always forced to be frugal. My parents were born right after WWII and both in poor families. Baking was “not a necessity”. Yes, my mom used to bake for family occasions but they were the same 4 or 5 cakes. She never had a chance to try new recipes, or to experiment.  And she never wanted to – she has no sweet tooth at all. 

In a way, it is exactly this lack of family baking tradition that defines me as a food blogger. I am a sweet tooth. I could survive on desserts alone (although I don’t)! It was during my PhD years that I started to bake. Despite having little money and limited ingredients (which I made up for with passion and curiosity), I found that my friends loved what I was making! Needless to say, I made many new friends J

I sure had lot to learn about photography: for the first two months the pictures on my blog were terrible compared to the most recent ones

Baking quickly became a very important part of my life. It became clear to me that it was an effective source of stress relief and that it satisfied my strong curiosity and desire for challenges. At the time, I knew very little about “serious” baking and I decided to find the answers to all my questions by myself. This was my first introduction to baking books, tutorials, videos, and the whole food blogosphere. My curiosity was insatiable. As one question was answered it gave birth to many more. That’s why I’ve decided to focus my blog on baking only. Sure, a blog about baking limits the number of posts per week I can actually have but I chose quality and challenge over quantity.

Some of my favorite goodies of all times!
Well, it's very hard to pick but usually the simplest recipes are the ones I prefer

There is another important thing that I immediately developed: the love for sharing what I bake and for sharing my passion with the children. Sharing my passion for good fresh ingredients and the focus on the process more than on the end result is now an integral part of my teaching. So, if for my family baking was “not a necessity” it became that for me. Sharing my baked goods is in perfect harmony with my nurturer nature, the same that brought me to become a pre-school teacher.

All this is shaping my approach to blogging. I try hard to keep my blog true to myself: comforting, loving, and, yes, also opinionated. But more than anything simple. I’ve always been a simple and in the same way I try to keep my blog unpretentious. I’m not a professional baker (I wish!) and I have never done photography until a few months ago (and you can see that from my pictures!). I have a lot to learn and I love sharing what I learn, even my failures. I love to challenge myself with more complicated recipes from time to time and I like to surprise myself in actually succeeding. But at the end of the day, when I make something for my loved ones I like to make those simple yet comforting recipes.

And some of my challenges! I still have an unfinished business with some of these goodies!

Now, if all I’ve written makes me deserve to move on with the challenges and eventually even win….I think it’s up to you to decide. I’m probably one of the less competitive persons of this planet but this does not mean I’m not excited about this competition. I’m thrilled at having a chance to share my thoughts with you and I hope I am able with this blog to show you my passion for all I make.  So, thank you for reading and thank to Foodbuzz to organize this competition.

Uh oh, and voting starts on the 20th of September so, check out my profile if you want to know a bit more about myself!

Have a sweet day!

ps the first few terrible pictures of this blog were not taken by myself but by friends of mine with iphone. I do not remember exactly who took them so I can't give full credit, but I'm sure they don't mind 'cause they are really bad :)


  1. What wonderful photos! Speaking as someone who is just starting a blog, your photography is fabulous. And I can relate to your sweet tooth. Good luck in the competition -- I'm going over to check it out right now!

  2. Good luck for PFB! I'm going to post my first entry this weekend, still struggling with what to say! Oh, I love your blog and your recipes, btw. I keep coming back for more!

  3. So lovely to learn more about you! And I love the little pictorial - especially the before and after pic showing your improving photography skills - I was only familiar with your more recent awesome pics. :)

    I also find baking relaxing - it's one of the things I love best about it.

    Good luck with the competition!


  4. I've been following your posts via FoodBuzz for a few a while now, but this particular post taught me a lot about you. I had no idea you were from Italy! I think you've come up with a great blog in a mere six months, and you can only grow from here! Good luck in the PFB challenge, I'll be following you along the way and I know you'll do great!

  5. Hey Sara, what a lovely post and a little insight into your life. Its always so nice and interetsting to learn a little bit more about people... Good luck with the competition.... Fingers crossed.

  6. Great post! Good luck with the PFB challenge I will be following along :o)

  7. Awesome post! Good luck in the challenge! I hope to see you in the next round. :)

  8. Sara, that's a lovely post. Your writing style is so natural and friendly. Even though I'm not a baker, I usually read your posts just to read what you've said. You've got my vote :-) Kate@kateiscooking

  9. What a cool post--it was great to learn more about you! I totally agree that the whole blogosphere has been an incredible resource for any and all culinary questions I've ever had. Good luck in the competition!

  10. A wonderful entry...have fun and good luck :)

  11. @Beth: thanks for stopping by! For sure my photography improved but there is still a lot of work to be done on that side and that's what I love...having more and more to learn
    @Foodiva: it took me a long time to write this post and I'm still not satisfied but at a certain point I just thought: oh well it has to be fun taking part to the competition not a trouble and I just went for it!
    @Patty: I know, the before/after is shocking to me too. When I look back I'm horrified of my old pics but hey...nobody was born already great at taking pictures right? I had to start somewhere
    @Stephanie: I'm in love with your blog! thanks for stopping by and for following!
    @Joudie: it's always reassuring to know you are out there....somewhere on the other side of the pond reading me from time to time :)
    @Susi @Torontoview@Joy@MagicofSpice: thank you guys! I sure will have fun with this competition
    @Kate: I totally share this with you. I check out as many blogs as possible, even if I will never make some complicated recipes because I don't love cooking as much as baking but there is always something to learn from others! And thanks for the compliment on my writing...I'm always afraid of being boring :)
    @Koci: what? you are not tired of reading more about me? jk! I'm having a lot of fun reading all the other bloggers first post to know a bit more about them!

  12. @Lindsey: I'm sure I will see you in the next one! I just drool for hours in front of your blog!

  13. I'm surprised to find that you are such a newbie. I am too! Like you, I think I will feel "new" to this for a long time. In the time I've been on Foodbuzz, I've learned so much and come so far, but there's still a long way to go.
    I am cheering you on in the PFB. Good luck!

  14. Sara, I have no doubt you have a long future! I've loved reading all your posts and your photos have gotten so good. I like reading people for more than their food, that's why I've enjoyed reading you so much! Good Luck with PFB! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right!
    p.s. Please come get some doughnuts and save me from myself! He He

  15. Dear Sara,
    Once again, you outdid yourself and it must give you great joy to know you give so many people joy with your words..including me! :-)

    Keep doing what you do and I am going to write mine probably tomorrow after I figure out what is wrong with the site that I post my feature stories for restaurants. It is not loading pictures properly so I am going to have to move it to another hosting site.

    Any suggestions??

    I love your cookies with the filled hearts! Boy did you outdo yourself with those!

    Polly Motzko

  16. we sound so similar! Good luck with growing your blog, and growing who you are as a person. I love the time I have spent baking with kids - they make mess in a kitchen a pleasure :)

  17. Lovely post Sara!! Loved learning a little more about you :) And your collages of food look spectacular! I didn't realize there were so many newbie bloggers out there!

  18. You're just a couple months "younger" than me in the blogging realm. I started right at the beginning of the year. Your writing is so natural and your photography so gorgeous I thought you'd been at it much longer. I think it's funny that you left your PhD program just before finishing. I did the same with nursing school. :)

  19. Great post Sara! Best of luck to you in the challenge!

  20. @Carolyn: I have learned a lot through Foodbuzz too! And most than anything I've met some super cool bloggers like you guys!
    @Gina:thanks! I enjoy reading you a lot too! And I'm glad you guys don't find me too loquacious :)
    @Paulette: thanks! As for the only thought at the moment is that maybe they are too big in size. Try to resize them and see if they load more quickly
    @tandysinclair:yeah, I really mean it. These past 6 months as a blogger really marked me as a person a lot!
    @Evan: bloggers are like mushrooms...they keep growing and growing!
    @Christiane: well, I don't know if I was almost done...i still had 3 years to go but yeah....I was well into the phd and I couldn't go on anymore. I was miserable. I needed to do something that allowed me to stay with people and not in front of a laptop for 12 hours a day!
    @Josie: thank you so much. It's an honor for me that you stopped by. I always get very much inspired from your blog!

  21. this doesn't look like a newbie's blog. if so, then you've gone a long way dear! all the best of luck to you for the future challenges :)

  22. You made your own wedding cake?!? You deserve to win PFB for that feat alone :) And also because your writing is genuine and it's so clear that you love food! You've got my vote! :)

  23. @Renate and @Jan/Tella: thank you so much for reading this long post (and for liking it!)
    @Azmina: it's funny how I usually underestimate the fact that I made my wedding cake. I usually answer "oh, yeah, I made my wedding cake" so casually..that happened two months before I started my blog so it never became a post and I never really talk about it. but it was fun..and the cake was really good!

  24. A nice post and a better picture of you! I'm a newer newbie than you, and have a lot to learn, but have learned a lot already. Blogging is a journey, just like life, so enjoy the trip. You've got my vote.

  25. Loved the post gal! I'm a fellow contestant too, and can totally relate to your story!! your pics are much better than many others, so good luck, and keep up the good work!:)

  26. You have got my vote! Hope you check out my entry as well :)

  27. wonderful post! I voted for you.. All the best!

  28. hey ya! you have a lovely blog here. Stumble upon your blog through foodbuzz. :) I voted for your blog. hope that helps. feel free to drop by!!

    have a lovely weekend
    jen @

  29. I'm glad new people got to know my blog through this competition! Welcome to CaffeIna! And for those of you who don't know me well enough yet...the best part is that I get to know your blogs 'cause I pay extra attention in visiting back everybody. I'm loving all the new blogs I've also found!

  30. Congrats sarah ..good luck in the second round :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.