Hi! My name is Melissa. I kind of can't believe I'm actually doing this - but here goes nothing. I've been gobbling up food blogs (pun very much intended) for the last four years or so. I would spend days reading through their archives, looking at their beautiful photography of amazing looking food. Knowing the whole time that I could never create the delicious treats they were showcasing.

I'm not hopeless in the kitchen, I've been cooking since I was old enough to use the stove (and maybe even a little before that - its amazing what you can cook in a microwave). I come from a home where we never ate frozen meals and take out was a special treat. Dinner may have been served at 8:30pm but it was cooked fresh every night. My mother is a terrific cook. She's from Brazil and dominates flavors in her platters of pork and beef and beans and even her rice is delicious. But like my mother before me, I've never been a baker. We are horrible at following recipes and I never had the patience to weigh out my ingredients or buy special flour or add items in a certain order. The thought of cutting butter and ice cold water into a pastry dough still gives me hives. But that was fine, I was content to be able to make a delicious meat sauce with sausage and purchase a fancy dessert. Until one fateful day.

The first thing I ever made off a food blog were these cupcake bites by the amazing Bakerella. I was hosting my cousin's baby shower. She is a huge Martha fan and I knew she'd really appreciate a personalized and cute little edible favor. These little bites looked pretty easy and were really more semi-homemade then most desserts.

(my very first cupcake bite. The chocolate got a little weird but they
were still impressive)

I will never forget that day, the look on her face and the reaction of all the party goers. They soon became my signature treat to bring to a holiday party or pot-luck. Co-workers raved about my baking skills. I would always demure and correct them that I wasn't a baker, I was an assembler. I could take boxed cake mix, canned frosting and candy melts and make a pretty cute little treat. But I really couldn't bake.

I moved on to the amazing Pioneer Woman. After all, she was more my style. Give me a list of ingredients, some tips on how to put them together and give me some wiggle room to omit an ingredient I didn't like (mushrooms, bell peppers) or add one I did (cheese, olives, cream). The first recipe of hers that I made were these delectable short ribs. I dreamt about this recipe and planned it for a week. I can not describe the satisfaction of trying a technique I'd never even contemplated, following a recipe to the letter and getting results. Next thing you know, I was standing in line at her book signing and planning dinner parties with friends around her cook book.

(Me, Jen and Annette geeking out as Ree signs our books)

Fast forward six-months as my new hubby and I were unwrapping wedding presents and trying valiantly to find counter and cupboard space for all my new kitchen gadgets. He boldly stated that I would NEVER use the KitchenAid Stand Mixer I was lovingly placing in a prominent spot on our limited counter space. I turned to him and said "Challenge Accepted." What followed was a 4 month hiatus from work (unplanned) where I filled my days with cookie baking - I had a craving for ginger bread cookies and didn't want to go out to buy some; pie making - still using store bought crust (see above: hives); and of course, cake ball making. It seemed as though every day he'd come home, take a deep inhale and groan "what are you baking now?" But really, I was still mostly just assembling. Cookies are easy. You don't have to worry about the right chemical reaction occurring to allow for a fluffy, yet stable cake. If they don't rise, that is fine. They may be a little flat but they still taste good.

When I got my new job, the mixer went back into the corner and much like the Velveteen Rabbit, it started to feel a little neglected but still remained hopeful that one day I'd come back to play. And eventually, it was right. (Yes I did just give my inanimate, hard, metal mixer a personality. Why do you ask?) One day in early March, my hubby came to me with a new challenge. He wanted GREEN cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day. Hmmm. They don't sell green cake mixes. And I couldn't add green food coloring to a boxed red-velvet cake (hubby's flavor of choice.) So I turned once again to my beloved food blogs. Surely they'd know the answer. And they did. Bakerella to the rescue once again, she had posted these adorable cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day last year. I scanned the recipe and deemed it simple enough. Best of all, it didn't call for cake flour or unsalted butter. I could use things I already had. Win! People loved them. They were shocked that I had baked something from scratch.

(If/when I do these again, I'd use less green so they are a little more Kelly and
less Forest. I've also learned to double line when I use a cute cupcake liner
and a dark batter)

And the rest, they say, is history. I was officially bitten with the baking bug. I couldn't get enough. I started trying out new flavor combinations on cupcakes and the whir of the KitchenAid hasn't stopped since (much to my hubby's chagrin.)

I'd post pictures on facebook whenever I baked something new and friends would comment that I needed to do something with this. So here we are. If you've made it this far, you can see where the name of this blog comes from "Melissa you've said a mouthful!" I'm a talker, what can I say? Please join me as I experiment with more and more baking techniques and adventures. I'll also share some sure fire family recipes and meal options along the way.

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