Weekly Update: February 8-14

I finally feel like I am caught up! Over the weekend, I completely exhausted myself with the market and trying to have a social life. I have had a slower week, so I have been able to take some much needed time to myself! With Valentine’s Day, I have also had an extreme obsession with chocolate, and have had a great opportunity to experiment!

This Friday was extra busy because I had a friend over for dinner. We both cooked a different dish and shared, like a very small potluck! It was a lot of fun, and I have really been enjoying sharing my food and cooking with family and friends lately. I have actually done more of that this year than I have in a very long time. It has been a great way for me to socialize and do what I love with people I love! Directly after that dinner, I prepped for the winter market. It ended up being a very late night, as usual. I did my usual spread of cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and a gluten-free pie/cheesecake. This week everything I did was Valentine’s Day themed. Needless to say, there was a lot of chocolate involved! Everything went well, except for the chocolate dipped meringues that didn’t make it to the market. I failed to temper my chocolate properly and the chocolate didn’t set fast enough. I was left frustrated, but motivated to perfect my chocolate skills. All said and done, the market went well. I always love seeing familiar faces and meeting new people who are curious about veganism! I sold out of my gluten-free strawberry/dark chocolate silk pies, only had one brownie left, two cookies left, and a half dozen cupcakes remaining. That was probably the closest I have been to having nothing left (other than selling out, of course)!

My meal orders this week have been average. I haven’t been overwhelmed with orders, but I have still had almost 20 orders total. After the weekend, I desperately needed a break, though. Between having busy days last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, then jumping into Meatless Monday meals, I was very tired.

I thought the last couple days were going to be relaxing, but they started with a very stressful order to fill. My manager from my previous job asked me to make 100+ chocolate curls. That meant that I had to properly temper chocolate, evenly spread it, and try to create nice looking curls with my bench scraper. After my chocolate disaster this weekend, I was excited and nervous. I have been wanting to get better at working with chocolate for a while now, so I used this as the perfect opportunity to do that. The minute after I received the message, I ran to the store and bought some chocolate. I carefully tempered the chocolate, spread it out, let it set, and tried to make the curls. The first 10 pans were a total disaster… I was extremely frustrated with how everything was going. I had about four curls that were acceptable, the rest were paper thin broken shards of chocolate. I let it go overnight and came back to it in the morning. I failed at another few pans before finally getting it just right. I had the pan chilled for the right amount of time, the tools clean, the chocolate just the right temperature, and I was able to make dozens of chocolate curls in the time that it had taken me to make four the previous night! I had never felt more accomplished or relieved! Finishing that task gave me a new energy and motivation. I guess practice really does make perfect.

Now that I’m all caught up for the week, I am ready to relax for the evening. I don’t have my usual Wednesday dinner since it is Valentine’s Day, so I will be spending the night in with my fiancé and cats. Tomorrow will be busy with Thursday dinners, but I am really excited for those! If there is anything I learned from this week, it is that even when things are stressful or I don’t succeed, it doesn’t mean that I’m a failure. It means that I get the opportunity to grow. Each and every minute I put toward Vegan in Wyoming, I am learning and growing. At the end of those difficult days, I just remind myself how grateful I am for that, and it encourages me to continue what I have started.

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