The art of baking. What does it really mean anymore? Prepackaged items are normal everyday components that bring relieve and pardon to all of our lives. I mean really: who makes their own maple syrup anymore? Don't get me wrong! There's absolutely nothing wrong with pure maple syrup that's tapped from winters trees in the beautiful state of Vermont. I love that pureness in life. From boxed rice mixes to cereal, we all do it. Making less from scratch is just a way of life. I really laughed to myself when I was in the grocery store the other day. It was a local from a nearby restaurant buying prepackaged cake mix for his make everything from scratch restaurant. He actually told me this about 5 months ago when he told me in an interview, "We make everything from scratch here, including the desserts." I mean, who does he think he's kidding! I've never eaten at that restaurant and now I'll tell all my friends to do the same. It's a matter of truth with baking: you either created it from scratch or you didn't. Heavy baking was on the menu today. In the morning, I made Honey Scones with Dried Turkish Apricots, Chinese Five Spice Powder and Bittersweet Chocolate Chips. It was baked for a contest that I ended up not entering. Half was eaten by my family and the other half was given to a local hospital. Thank you physical therapy for all that you do. Later, I did 2 Dutch Apple Pies for a charity event. They were raffled off to two lucky winners. The event was great: a Spaghetti Dinner to help a family who recently lost their house to lightning about 5 weeks ago. There were prizes to be given away, stories to be told and hearts that were touched. Stomachs were filled and happiness was fulfilled. Bread was donated and salad was served. Direction is needed to bring warmth and comfort to those we honestly care about. The night was special. My dessert was back at home. You see, after I made the pies from earlier in the day, a thought process occurred through the eyes of my relatives: Pecan Puffs. These are not sophisticated. They are pecans that have been finely ground and then mixed with other simple ingredients to create a type of miniature snowball effect once you put it in your mouth. A pillow of sweet air is pushed between your lips and a nuttiness of pure delight is channeled into the cavities of your mouth. Bliss 101! These cookies took about 90 minutes to prepare. The time involved was not mandatory. It was voluntary. There were no prepackaged materials used. Food is art. Some you like and some you don't like as much. Art is food. A blank canvass. A knife. Pure ingredients. A lifestyle of integrity and ambition. Scratch!