Saturday, January 30, 2010

I wish it was mine.

my vase close up, originally uploaded by BeadsInTheBelfry.

This vase belongs to a Jewelry maker named Beads in the Belfry. Saw it on her flickr stream and just had to post it here. I am sooo inspired by this piece. It is literally causing me to really reconsider my quitely tucked away surface design/home decor passion. Thinking~

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tofu & Vegetable Calzones

I know somewhere there's an Italian person cringing at the thought of Tofu and Vegetables in a CALZONE!!! Sorry dude, my family can't get enough of this stuff.

I started making this years ago during the height of my family's vegetarianism. Though we are no longer vegetarians, I still cook like one for the most part. We eat only chicken, but I don't even cook that at home very often. I usually save the Chicken for my Nigerian Stew (which is just not the same any other way) or for when I go out with friends. I only occasionally cook chicken, simply because I don't like working with raw chicken. We do like our vegetables, and I actually LOVE tofu, as do my kids, so I use that often.

This has been a favorite in my household for years now. In my household it's actually known as "Favorite Rolls" not Calzones. I just now got it to where it's not quite so labor intensive and time-consuming as it once was. Thank goodness for Trader Joe's! Really good ingredients at really reasonable prices! I get the pizza dough from there for 99cents, and that shaves off a huge amount of prep. To think that I used to make pizza crust from scratch. Que'lle Horreur!

A little bit about tofu:
Don't be scared! True, it doesn't have a flavor/taste of its own, but that's what makes it so good to work with. It will absorb whatever flavor you want it to. It is a literally a flavor sponge. Use whatever spices you want. In this recipe I use an italian spice blend.

This isn't so much a recipe as a guideline. This isn't like pastry baking, where everything has to be exact. Cooking is more forgiving. Use your own combination of fillings if you'd like. If you use everything in the pictures as I've used, you should end up with about at least 13 small calzones, depending on how filled each one is. If you have issues, leave a comment below, and I'll help you out.

1. The aforementioned TJ Pizza crust. Awesomeness! Freezes really well. Even though this picture has one bag of dough, I use two bags. Make sure you put it in the fridge to thaw a day ahead if you freeze. On calzone day, I usually set it out on the counter with the bag open at least an hour ahead so that it can get to room temperature

2. Get your vegetables together. Everything I put into my filling is below. The only thing not pictured is the spice mix and salt. Everything is to your taste. I use italian spices.

3. Here are the veggies all chopped up. Make sure to crumble up the tofu into a colander. You want to drain out as much water as possible because the vegetables will also ooze water into your filling mix. A 'too wet' filling mix will make your calzone soggy, yuck.

4. I usually saute/pan fry the tofu first (with a little oil) until it gets a light brown crust on it. This is to further reduce the water content. Then I add the onions and garlic, saute a couple more minutes, then add the rest of the veggies and spices/salt. Another couple more minutes, then I add the Ragu spaghetti sauce and let the flavors marry for about 10-15 minutes, stirring the whole time.
This is what it looks like when it's ready to go.

5. After the filling's done, I let it cool down for a little while because if you fill while the filing is piping hot, you could make holes in your dough. For this reason, it's a good idea (when possible to make the filling a little bit ahead of when you want to fill the dough.

I then spread out the dough onto a floured surface and roll w/a rolling pin. I use a pizza wheel (or knife) to cut the dough into eight pieces like below.

6. Lightly stretch out the dough (not too much, you don't want it thin) and scoop some filling into each piece. Roll up and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper (or foil). Bake at 350deg, until lightly browned on top.

7. And Voila! Here it is, all ready to eat.

8. Here's what the inside looks like if you break it apart. Yummy!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

And the winner is:::::

Shonda Swallow! Step forth and claim your prize!

Thanks to everyone that entered. I will have another contest next week, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Romantic Playlist Contest!

So, I think it's time for a contest!

In light of the upcoming Valentine's Day, I think this contest is apropos, don't you think?
Far be it for me to judge your musical tastes, so the winner will be selected with a randomizer.

Contest ends: Friday January 22 at 5pm
Winner Announced: Friday January 22, 2010, 6pm

The Rules are:
1. You must leave a comment either in the comments box or the Taiwo Bath and Body Facebook Fan Page.
2. You must have 10 songs on your playlist.

Good luck, and happy playing!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Help, I can't stop making fizzies!

I'm up to my eyeballs in Bath products...bath fizzies, foaming bath salts and bath oils! So excited to make and present these products. For some reason, making something so simple is so immensely gratifying! The minute I pop out the perfectly spherical fizzy I know I've accomplished something. Fizzies, as simple as they are, can be quite complicated to make. Just one too many spritzes of liquid and your batch is totally unusable. I've been having a really great time making them and can't wait to take photos and load onto my etsy site. Stay tuned....

Monday, January 4, 2010

Looking Ahead to 2010

As I mentioned in my last post, I feel that this is going to be the best year yet! To make that happen, certain plans have to be put in place. I won't disclose everything just yet, but there are a couple of changes coming to Taiwo in the immediate future. Here they are:

1. Moving back to Etsy from Artfire.
I like Artfire, but I LOVE etsy, even with it's limitations and sometimes wonky configuration. I've just never bonded with Artfires interface like I did with Etsy.Effective January 15 2010 Taiwo will move back to it's original Etsy site. You can always still find it at though.

2. Taiwo is changing focus.
As I mentioned in the last post, I have found a niche to focus my body products offerings in the vast bath and body marketplace. This is a hard decision because like I said, I like to make everything. I can make everything, but again that does not mean that I should. I have decided to focus my offerings specifically to Bath Products only. It is something I've really enjoyed making and using. I, a staunch shower lover am now a convert to the joys of taking a long relaxing bath.
I feel particularly confident to offer a line of products JUST for Baths because I realize the importance of baths. First of all, it's something that people are passionate about. Those who take baths really take baths. They soak. For Bathers, bathing is far more than just a cleansing ritual. I once had a friend who loved her baths so much that her kids new better than to try to talk to her while taking her baths. She took them NIGHTLY. It was her one thing she looked forward to at the end of each day.
I have identified different reasons why people take baths for relaxation. For some, it's a chance to daydream and visit distant lands in their minds. For others, it's a ritual they do before going out for a night of fun, say a girl's night out, maybe. For yet another group of people, it is the prelude to romantic evening. For some others, it's a therapeutic ritual, like soaking sore muscles, or dry itchy irritated skin. Sometimes it's all these reasons at different times of our lives...
I am excited to offer my latest offerings: Bubbling Bath Fizzies, Bath Oils, and Dry Bubble Bath and Bath Powders. As things progress I may add some related items, but in the meantime, it will be strictly these products.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The obligatory New Year's post

So it's a new year, yay us!

I am very excited about the upcoming year. I know it's going to be a good one professionally and personally. Not in the same way I've 'known' it's going to be a good one for the past few years, and it's (the feeling) just fizzled by february. This is different. Call it getting older, wiser, feeling more comfortable with who you are...whatever. I just know it's going to be the BEST year ever!

Professionally, I think I've learned to let go of worrying about what I think I'm 'supposed' to be doing, and just following what I want to do. I think I've reached a point where I'm giving myself permission to follow my heart, passion whatever, instead of what I think will make me some money (that never works...for me anyway). I've realized that it's okay to be broke, because broke is temporary, but poor is a state of mind that lasts forever.

I've always known that I could never do a regular 9-5 job, not that there is anything wrong with that. I feel terrible admitting this publicly because I know billions of people do it everyday. My dear sweet husband does it everyday without complaint. He says he's fine doing a job that's not necessarily his dream because he has things that fulfill him outside of that job. I'm not like that. For me, a 9-5 is like a slow death (at least the jobs I've had, which are really kind of the bottom of the barrel.) I know I'm very fortunate to be married to someone who lets me be me...who goes to work everyday without putting pressure on me to earn an income. In fact any pressure I've ever experienced about that has come directly from myself. Never mind that I earn my keep around here with all that I do being at home. I still feel this nagging urge to contribute financially, which is (partly) what's led me down the path of entrepreneurship. I've always been trying to work for myself for as long as I can remember because I just can't stand the thought of building someone else's empire while breaking my back for peanuts. I fell for a lot of work at home schemes along the way, but I guess that may be par for the course.

My most recent job, a seasonal part time job just ended, and I couldn't be happier. I feel like that job (for a lot of reasons) took me away from what I want to accomplish in my life. The only thing that got me through and kept me from quitting was knowing it was temporary. At that job I watched people sweating every little detail because their very livelihood depends on it. It made me sad to watch these people with families spend 10, sometimes 14 hours a day at at his call center. I would often ask them when they see their kids. This lady who sat next to me told me that she sees her kids just long enough to feed them dinner and get them started on homework. Everyday. Until the weekend (which by the way you are obligated to work one of those weekend days.) This sucks. Bigtime. Even though this was a sh*t job, is it really any different from a high-powered corporate gig? Nope. In fact the higher you go on that ladder, the more your obligation and time commitment.

Please don't get me wrong. I know that business ownership is NOT for everyone. I also know that having your own business takes just as high a level of commitment. I just know that it's where I prefer to be.

I know that I'm very blessed to have the skills and talents that I have. I realized today that it is my obligation to share these gifts and talents with others. I will find a way to do this in 2010.

Anyway, like I was saying before I got on a tangent. I'm a little older, wiser and more comfortable in my skin and I think I'm finally able to let go of certain things that have held me back in my quest for successful business ownership.

Aww drat. This was supposed to be a post about my plans for Taiwo in 2010, but I guess that will wait till tommorrow.