A Short Stint

16 05 2013

Well hello there! Long time no see, eh? I’m back and hoping to get some more regular posting in now that my world has calmed down a little. Why was my world so crazy you may be wondering? Well, take a peek a the picture below.


(photo courtesy of the Children’s Cancer Center)

Um, why are you showing us a bunch of desserts Steph? Let’s take a closer look at the blonde behind the counter.



(photo courtesy of the Children’s Cancer Center)

That’s right, it’s yours truly! I recently took up a part time job at Dough,Tampa’s favorite restaurant Datz’s newest endeavor.


(photo courtesy of the Children’s Cancer Center)

If you haven’t checked out Dough yet, you must, must must! They are whipping up incredible pastries (ever had a clichy?), delectable doughnuts (maple bacon anyone?), unique flavored gelatos (sriracha peanut butter has just the right amount of heat!), artisanal espresso drinks (nutella latte > mocha any day), and much more. Dough is more than just sweets too- they offer a variety of savory bistro-fare  lunch options.

I’m not here to advertise; I think Dough’s really got something great going on. And actually, I don’t even work there anymore!

Let me back up some…

I currently hold a full time, grant-funded position, which means that eventually the money will run out and either my current company will absorb me on regular payroll, I’ll find another grant to work on within the same company, or I’ll work for another company. I’m currently at a place where I honestly don’t know which of those options I want to choose, if choosing one is even an option. And because I’m at this uncertain place in my career, I’m exploring alternatives to what I currently do. Hence, picking up some part time work at Dough.

In a lot of conversations I’ve had with various people, I’ve been repeatedly told that when your job is something you love, it doesn’t feel like work. If you haven’t noticed, I love food. So working with food seems like a logical place for me. Unfortunately, my experience is limited to serving up water ice and soft serve with my best friend at Custard’s Last Stand when I was 16 years old

Custard's last Stand

Food service is so completely different than what I currently do or have done in the past, so I wanted to at least dip a toe in and see if I  liked it, should I decide to take a giant leap of faith and switch career paths all together. It freaks me out that I even typed that sentence and am putting it out there that that’s even an option at this point. Gulp. So, I interviewed and got a job as a barista at Datz and Dough back in March.

Anywho- my “real” aka full time job just so happened to get really busy right after I started at Dough. In addition to my regular hours, we were working Friday nights and all day Saturday every other weekend since the end of March (thankfully, that just ended for a few weeks). Then, I would work at Dough all day on Sunday and sometimes even Saturday night, if needed. To say I was exhausted would be an understatement. And to be honest, I just wanted my weekend to run errands and go for a bike ride with friends. Something had to give. I was really enjoying my time at Dough and I was learning a lot- which was essentially the whole point of why I started the job in the first place, but in the end, I needed to give priority to my full time job and I really just wanted my weekends back. So, after a little over a month on the job, I quit. I hate, hate, hate that I had to quit something- I despise the “q” word! But it has definitely been a good decision for me.

So, how was it, you ask? It wasn’t a “let me go ahead and quit my job now because I love this so much”, but it also wasn’t a “oh my gosh I hate this so much make it stop.” If I had to place my feelings about it on a continuum, they’d definitely more on the positive side than the negative.

Even though my time was short, I learned a lot-

I learned that I really enjoy greeting the customers and telling them all about the amazing things that were coming out of the kitchen. I even liked some of the more challenging customers-I just didn’t let their comments get me down.

I learned that I’d rather be at a smaller bakery-type place like Dough, than a big kitchen restaurant like Datz.

I learned what a “porto filter” and a “tamp” are.

I learned that I really despise mopping and sweeping white and black floors.

The list goes on, and I’m really thankful I had the opportunity. Was the experience enough to convince me one way or the other? I think the jury’s still out on that one.

So, thanks for listening to probably one of the more personal blog posts I’ve written on here. I hope you’ll stick around for the adventure!


Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

1 10 2012

On Saturday morning, I made some pancakes and I decided to make a fun topping rather than making them flavored. I sliced an apple, and tossed it in a frying pan with some butter. Then I decided it would be a great idea to add some cinnamon and brown sugar. While I was at it, why not add some chopped dates and pecans?

The aroma that filled my house was intoxicating! I was immediately taken back to my childhood, when my mom would make her famous sticky buns.

My pancakes were devoured in about .2 seconds, but I had already decided that I was going to make some of my mom’s sticky buns before the weekend was up.

Being that it is fall, I have been craving pumpkin everything. So why not put a spin on my mom’s recipe? I did a little googling to see what others had done, and borrowed some ideas from this recipe for my experiment.

I also wanted to get some more exact measurements for some parts of the recipe…


I had also planned on taking some pictures with my DSLR, but I had taken it out in the morning to take pictures of my pancakes and then my cats, and it all of the sudden stopped working. 😦 The battery was fully charged too. I tried again later, and still nothin. Anyone know a good camera repair person in the Tampa Bay area? So, pardon all my iPhone photos.

I started by making the dough on Saturday evening, along with some other recipe experiments.

doughnuts anyone? (recipe coming soon)

On Sunday, I woke up with plenty of time to make the rolls before church. Unfortunately, I hadn’t read the recipe in its entirety, as I have been known to do. I didn’t realize the rolls needed one more rise when they were rolled and in the pan. Doh!

When they had about doubled in size, I popped them in the oven until they were browned.

And flipped them to see pure sticky deliciousness.

Now I know why mom’s recipe had said “lots of Dark karo syrup”.

The verdict? delicious. but, not sticky enough.

That’s better.

They could still be a bit more pumpkiny, but overall, I was quite pleased!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

yields about 16


1 package yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 egg
1 cup scalded and cooled milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

~10-12 dates, roughly chopped
~1/4 to 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted
brown sugar

Molasses (~1/4 cup, or more, to taste)
cream cheese frosting

How to:

Sprinkle yeast into a large bowl. Add warm water, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. It should become a little frothy.

Add egg, milk, butter, salt, sugar and pumpkin and whisk until blended.

In a separate bowl, mix flours and all of the spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves). When blended, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Beat until smooth and elastic. (Note: I halved my mom’s recipe, which would have only required 3 cups of flour. However, I used 4 cups, because I felt the dough was too sticky.)

Place the dough into a buttered bowl, and cover it until it doubles in size. (~2 hours or so) When doubled, take it out of the bowl and punch it down with your fist. Divide it into thirds. Wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

When chilled, take out one part at a time. Flour your working surface and rolling pin, and roll into a rectangle shape (or the closest you can get to a rectangle)

Brush melted butter all over the dough, and then sprinkle on brown sugar, several dashes of cinnamon, the chopped dates and pecans.

It might look like a pizza, but make sure you get those edges!

Roll it up like a jelly roll, and then slice to the desired thickness. Repeat with the other balls of dough.

Butter a pie pan or cake pan and then drizzle in the molasses. I was a little too stingy here, and wish I had opted to be a bit more generous with the molasses. My suggestion is to put in enough to just cover the bottom of the pan. You could also add some chopped dates in here too.

Add the rolls to the pan, but be sure not to overload the pan, since they need to rise one more time. Cover the rolls and place out of draft until they double in size.

When they’ve doubled, bake at 350°F for about 25-30 minutes or until the tops are browned, and when you tap on them, they sound hollow.

When the rolls are done, immediately take them out of the pan, flipping them onto a wax-paper covered plate or pan.

And of course, if you’d like to add a little more “sticky,” frost them with some cream cheese frosting. 🙂 Enjoy!