Holiday Pie Mania in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Pomegranate pie, Pie Mania in Santa Fe

Yesterday, I attended a fantastic event called "Holiday Pie Mania" in Santa Fe, NM. As the name might imply, this event was highly magical. 

Put on by The Food Depot, this event was designed as a benefit and fundraiser, including raffles, pie auctions, and demos by some of Santa Fe's most famous and talented chefs. Oh, and proceeds from the pie auction and raffles go directly to The Food Depot’s “Building Hope Project.” The project’s goal is to build a 16,000-square-foot warehouse on Santa Fe's Siler Road that will significantly increase The Food Depot’s capacity, allowing distribution of 10 million meals per year.

So, good pie, good cause, right? Oh, and did I mention that admission was free, and there were samples of all the pies so that you could taste before bidding via auction or entering the raffle? Fantastic deal! And a great opportunity to try desserts from some of Santa Fe's finest eateries. 

Banana Amaretto Chocolate Mousse Pie, Pie Mania, Santa Fe

First up: a Banana Amaretto Chocolate Mousse Pie, from a restaurant called Osteria D'Assisi. Hello, pie. This rich pie had a tantalizingly toasty topping which turned out to be crumbled cookies--I say "buon pie, bambino!". Actually, I don't speak Italian, in case you couldn't tell. But I really, really liked the pie. Oh, and did I mention each vendor/exhibitor had a recipe for the taking? 

Cafe Pasqual's, Holiday Pie Mania, Santa FE

Next up was a big treat: Chocolate Pecan Pie from Cafe Pasqual's. This is a famous restaurant, and with good reason. I can say that because I have now tasted one of their desserts. If you are what you eat then I'm now a jolly millionaire, because this pie is so delightfully rich. Sort of like a re-imagined Derby Pie, this delectable treat made me want to lick the plate. I would have, too, if there weren't people watching. 

Oh, they also had apples baked in pie crust. But between you and I, I thought this was sort of like health food so admired the visual but kept my distance and took another piece of the pecan choco stuff.

Cafe Pasqual's, Holiday Pie Mania, Santa FE


Oh, I love you, Cafe Pasqual's. Promise I'm gonna come eat cuisine there soon, and more dessert.

Jambo's Rum Pecan pie, Santa Fe Pie Mania

Next, I got to try a Jamaican Rum Pecan Pie from Jambo Cafe, an award-winning ethnic cafe. It was like a pecan pie, only more attractive and funnier due to the rum. Funny how alcohol does that, isn't it? The homemade cream to top it with didn't hurt, either!

Green Chile Pumpkin pie, Pie Mania in Santa is pumpkin pie, but not like one you've ever tasted before. It's a signature dessert at Azur, a mediterranean restaurant in Santa Fe.

It had Green Chile! This maybe is not a very Mediterranean thing to do, but it is a very Santa Fe thing to do, in case you didn't know. But it's also highly delicious. It lent the pumpkin a slightly savory, smoky aftertaste - I found it a fascinating flavor.

Pear Almond cream pie

Leaving pumpkin and pecan for a moment...Well, howsabout a Pear Almond Cream pie? This baby came from Ristra, a France-New Mexico cuisine fusion restaurant (no, really). The fellow serving the pie was indeed French, and cute as a button (what Frenchman isn't?). This delicious beast was served in puff pastry, which made for a lovely butteriness and crispiness on the top and outer edges. 

Four Seasons, Pie Mania in Santa Fe

The Four Seasons Hotel of Santa Fe played Showoff in a most whimsical and charming way with their "Pumpkin Pie Candy Bar". It was a rather perfect bite, with rich pumpkin creamy filling atop a buttery crust, with a gorgeous candied walnut and perfect meringue on top. 

Dinner for 2, Pie Mania in Santa Fe

Dinner For Two had mini pies: Butterscotch, with Salted caramel cream on top. Knowing that salted caramel was very trendy, the chef joked "I considered adding bacon". I'm so glad he didn't, because it was so good as it was: buttery, creamy, rich, with that beautiful rounding-it-out-and-making-it-linger-in-your-mouth thing that salted caramel does. Very nice work. 

Next up was a Pomegranate Mousse pie by Walter Burke Catering. We were also treated to a demo by chef Stacy Pearl, who detailed and broke down the baking process. Or rather, no-bake process. Made of a pressed graham cracker crust and cream, pomegranate syrup, and white chocolate filling, this pie is surprisingly easy to make and startlingly but beautifully tart. 

Pie Mania in Santa Fe

Finally, a vegan and gluten-free blueberry pie from Body Cafe. To me, this tasted almost like the pie version of the Vegan Oat Bars I came to know and love at Seattle's Caffe Ladro. The great thing about a pie like this is that you can eat it and convince yourself that you are eating something healthy, like the pie equivalent of oatmeal. Truthfully, you're not. But it's that perception that makes you feel awesome about what you're doing. And it makes you feel ready for chocolate pie to follow up. 

Man, was this an awesome day! 

I'm happy to share the recipes I've collected - just leave a comment and I will share them with you!

Sweet Interview: Schoolhouse Craft in Seattle

Last year, I was a speaker at the amazing small business conference Schoolhouse Craft in Seattle. Well, I no longer live in Seattle, but I sure do love that conference. It's a fantastic resource for small business owners and those who want to start a small business, full of workshops, panels, and classes designed to help get things going. Ready to buy a ticket for the event this year, Sept 21-23? Click here. And below, get to know the organizer, Kristen Rask:

Schoolhouse Craft, part Deux! How does it feel? It feels good. It is always stressful during this time, getting attendees, making sure the schedule is up and correct, making sure everyone has what they need but I am really excited about the program so that helps!

I'd like to get it out of the way, so let me ask--what kind of sweet treats will be on hand this year? Hahaha yes of course! We have Trophy Cupcakes coming, Half Pint Ice Cream one night and Theo Chocolate. Amoungst other sweet treats I am sure. MailChimp is also sponsoring our happy hour social so that means all drinks and food is on them. How AWESOME IS THAT??

Let me ask--who goes to a conference like this? Who can get something out of it? Man, it ranges from brand new folks who aren't too sure what Twitter is or Blogging to seasoned professionals. I love the range. The common denominator is that the attendees are mostly women. I think we had one guy last year?

What are some of the conference highlights? I think Getting your Crafty Idea Published is a great class! You not only get to hear about the world of publishing BUT at the end of the class you can pitch your book ideas to editors at Sasquatch Books (CakeSpy's publisher!) which has published some amazing books. One of our attendees last year got a book deal. I hope we have another success story again this year. I really think the schedule runs the course so if you are a newbie, classes such as Blogging 101 or Social Marketing for your business will be highly beneficial. Old hats may find Bookkeeping or Wholesaling more of interest. We have it all!

What has changed since the last conference? We did notice that were more newbies at our last conference so this year we really tried to get classes for all ranges. We kinda broke them up into elementary to advanced. I think we have a much larger range this year than last.

If people are coming to the conference from out of town, what do you suggest to do/eat/see in the area for after or before conference hours? Oh man. There is so much to eat: Trophy Cupcakes will be at the event but Jennifer has made such a great place that you should go check out one of her shops as well. The cupcakes are to die for. Salumi is a great place to go if you can get in and like meat. Hot Cakes is awesome in Ballard. I am currently obsessed with Crumble and Flake. So amazing! There is absolutely no shortage of amazing restaurants. Sitka and Spruce is my favorite and if you get the chance, you must eat there! For things to see/do: I think what Seattle is special for is all the great neighborhoods. You could spend hours just walking around the various spots such as Capitol Hill, Ballard, Fremont, West Seattle, etc. The parks are also so amazing such as Lincoln Park, Denny Blaine, Seward Park, etc. I took my friend to Highland Drive in Queen Anne for a sunset when she was just visiting. That view is amazing and makes me love where I live! We now have The Wheel or whatever they are calling it. If you have a large enough party and it's nice out, it could be a nice view. Kayaking is great here or getting on the water somehow, a ferry ride to Bainbridge is fun and inexpensive. There is a lot to do here.

Sometimes I feel like going to events like this, I get REALLY overwhelmed with all of the ideas and inspirations and don't know what to do with it all! Any tips for getting the most from your conference? Take lots of notes and take breaks when you feel overwhelmed. We have spots where you can just network or relax. I do think it can get overwhelming but I feel so inspired my brain feels like it could explode! And in a good way. You just gotta take the breaks when you feel like your brain might explode in a bad way.

Anything else we should know? I have been in business for 8 years and been doing crafty businesses for 18 and I still learn new things and feel so inspired. It's also a great way to network which is crucial to a successful business.

Sweet Times: My Panel at BlogHer 2012 Ruled

Animated Woman

Illustration: The Animated Woman

Recently, I was asked to be a panelist at BlogHer 2012, the premier conference for female bloggers. It was quite an honor to be asked, especially since the panel was hosted by the extremely talented Rachel Nabors and I got to play co-panelist with Shalini of Reading & Chickens. Look at how awesome we are:


Although all of our websites are quite different, what we have in common is that we tell our story using illustrations--and hence, the title of the panel was Telling Stories with Pictures: Incorporating Graphics, Cartoons, and Iconography to Better Engage Readers. I know, a mouthful. But it was as awesome as it sounds.

In case you weren't there, let me briefly tell you some of the things we discussed, and some of the valuable take-aways. 

Rachel began the session by explaining that, people mostly LOOK at pages upon first visiting a website, not focusing on the big blocks of text--at least initially. So it's vital to have a visual aspect that will draw in readers to see what it is you have to say.

image: Rachel NaborsWe then spoke briefly about how we three all illustrate this idea with our work - using illustrations to stand out from the crowd. In my case, I mentioned the fact that there are a ton of blogs about food and baking out there--but very few that feature adorable illustrations of cupcakes, unicorns, and robots. Therefore, I am able to set myself apart from the crowd by using my artwork.

Of course, this is not to say that you just need to learn how to draw unicorns to find everlasting success. You need to find what works for you. For instance, in the cases of my fellow panelists, Rachel is a cartoonist turned web developer, but she still uses her cartooning skills to make her blogging about internetty stuff more engaging and interesting. Shalini is a humorist, not a trained artist, and she uses her drawings to deliver punchlines on subjects both lighthearted (the differences between NYC and Seattle) and heavy (infertility, weight loss troubles) boosting her traffic through her hilarious images.

It proves that you can use art to carry a message and engage readers REGARDLESS of your artistic ability, what tools you have, et cetera. The idea is to have fun--others will undoubtedly respond to that. 

Another important thing we discussed was some of the barriers one might have to contend with: though artistic talent ought not be a barrier to using illustrations or imagery, criticism, motivation, and maintaining inspiration might be. I have already written a post about some ideas for maintining inspiration and motivation.

Moreover, I found this panel extremely thought-provoking and inspiring, and a wonderful way to explore the simple idea that art makes writing more fun.

I hope that the attendees agreed; if any attendees from the BlogHer conference happen to be reading, you also might find this writeup (not about BlogHer specifically, but appropriate) on getting the most from your conference after the fact might be of help!

Thanks again to everyone who attended, and especially to The Animated Woman, who was so inspired during the panel that she illustrated it in progress! (pictured top)

Tom Douglas Restaurants Cookbook Social This Thursday!

You guyyyys. If you live in Seattle, you simply must come to this star-studded foodie event!

Scan to the bottom of this post to find the link to buy tickets and to see the roster of amazing cookbook authors who will be there.

Here are the details:

Tom Douglas Cookbook Social

Date: Thursday, December 1st

Time: 4-7pm

Location: The Palace Ballroom, 2100 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

Cost: $20 tax included

Ticket price includes entrance into the event, tastes from each author, and one drink ticket.

Kick off your holiday cookbook shopping at Tom Douglas’ 2011 Cookbook Social! Back for another year, this popular event brings some of Washington’s BEST cookbook authors together in one room for one evening only. 

Come join us on the first of December to purchase some amazing cookbooks direct from the authors themselves and try tasty nibbles from one of the recipes in their book.  This is a great opportunity to stock up on gifts for the food lovers in your life OR to build your own cookbook library at home.

Authors: Keren Brown, Lisa Dupar, Jessie Oleson, Amy Pennington, Becky Selengut, Ethan Stowell, Maggie Savarino, Kurt Timmermeister, Sharon Kramis & Julie Hearne, Lisa Dupar, Greg Atkinson, Brad Parsons, Frank Curtis, Mark Klebeck, Dave Hughes and Tom Douglas.

Buy your tickets here!

Cake Byte: CakeSpy at Crafty Wonderland, December 10 and 11 in Portland, OR

OMG, Portland. You thought it was awesome when I came for book tour, but I have news.

I'm coming back. And I'll have books and more to sell you.

That's right: I'll be back in the city of Roses on December 10+11 for Crafty Wonderland!

As they describe themselves,

at the Oregon Convention Center
777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd, Exhibit - HALL C

It's more important than ever to SHOP LOCAL + BUY HANDMADE!

All Ages * Free Admission
Goodie Bags for the first 150 shoppers EACH DAY! 

So, to review:

Dates: December 10 and 11 (saturday and sunday), 2011
Location: Convention Center, 777 NE MLK Jr. Boulevard, Hall C (there will be signs everywhere) - my booth is #173
Times: 11-6 both days.

For more info, visit!

Cake Byte: CakeSpy at Urban Craft Uprising, December 3 and 4 in Seattle!

Oh, get ready, sweeties.

It's that wonderful time of year when Urban Craft Uprising comes around, and as usual, I will be selling totally sweet stuff at this massive and magic-filled holiday art sale in Seattle.

Here are the details:

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, December 3 and 4, 2011
Times: 11-5 each day
Location: Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, 321 Mercer Street (click here to find it on a map and get directions)

I'll also be doing book signings, and of course will have plenty of books, cards, and art to sell you at my booth.

You can visit the Urban Craft Uprising blog to read an interview with me and enter to win a copy of my book in advance; for more info about the sale and the other awesome vendors, visit!

Cake Byte: CakeSpy Book Signing at Portage Bay Goods This Friday!

Guess what, friends? I will be having a little showing of my artwork and products as well as a book signing in Fremont, Seattle, on Friday evening! It will be part of the Fremont Art Walk, at the cutest store in, like, the world (well, ok, it's a tie with my storePortage Bay Goods.

Here's their blurb about the event:

Join us for a very special book signing art walk event! We'll be selling copies of the newly released "CakeSpy presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life." Come meet CakeSpy herself, Jessie Oleson and have your copy signed! We'll also be featuring an array of other products and original artwork by CakeSpy.

Oh, and did I mention that I will be bringing some sweet treats (recipes featured in the book) for you to sample?

That's right. I'll see you there, Seattle!


Friday, November 4, 6-9 pm at Portage Bay Goods, 621 N 35th Street, Seattle, Washington.


CakeSpy Official Book Launch on October 13 in Seattle!

OK, sweeties. Consider this your official reminder: this Thursday is the Official CakeSpy Book Launch Party at CakeSpy Shop in Seattle!

I will be there. My parents (from NJ) will be there. I will have books to sell you. And there will be cake.

Here are the details.

What to expect: an informal open-house type setting where we will have cake and treats (I will have 4-5 types of sweets made from recipes in the book!), alcohol (woooo!), original artwork as featured in the book on sale in the gallery, and my lovely little self on hand to sign the books which you should plan on buying. 

  • Date: Thursday, October 13 (this is also the night of the Cap. Hill art walk!)
  • Time: 6pm-9pm
  • Location: CakeSpy Shop, 415 E. Pine Street, Seattle, WA; online at

But wait, there's more! Because I hate being at an event and waiting for people to arrive fashionably late (don't make me wait all alone in my party dress, people!), I would like to give you an incentive to come early: the first three guests will receive a FREE copy of the book!! That's right. You just mention this post and if you're one of the first three, you'll get the book at NO COST. And I will still sign it for you.

But even if you can't make it to this awesome event of the century, there are more chances to get your hands on my book over the next few days in Seattle:

For the rest of the tour dates, click here! To purchase the book in advance, visit or hit up Elliott Bay Books. Or win a copy here.

Save the Date: Official CakeSpy Book Launch Party at CakeSpy Shop on October 13

People. It's happening.

My book is out. It's called CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life. It rules. It's available for purchase. And on October 13 at CakeSpy Shop, at 415 East Pine Street in Capitol Hill, Seattle, we're gonna have a party to celebrate this momentous occasion.

If you're not in Seattle, don't despair: it's also the kickoff of my lovely and amazing Tour de Sweet book tour, which will span the entire nation (lucky you!). And I sincerely promise to draw a cupcake, unicorn, or robot in every book, free of charge. Um, the books you still have to pay for though.

But back to the launch party at the store.

What to expect: an informal open-house type setting where we will have cake and treats (I will have 4-5 types of sweets made from recipes in the book!), alcohol (woooo!), original artwork as featured in the book on sale in the gallery, and my lovely little self on hand to sign the books which you should plan on buying. 

  • Date: Thursday, October 13 (this is also the night of the Cap. Hill art walk!)
  • Time: 6pm-???
  • Location: CakeSpy Shop, 415 E. Pine Street, Seattle, WA; online at

For the rest of the tour dates, click here! To purchase the book in advance, visit

Cake Byte: Meet Kari Chapin, Author of The Handmade Marketplace, at CakeSpy Shop!

You know what's totally sweet? Making a living doing what you love. And if you're curious about how to make it happen with a handmade artwork (or artisan baking business, for that matter, because many of the concerns are the same!), this event featuring a meet and greet with Kari Chapin may be of interest to Seattleites!

Here's the 411.

It’s an exciting new world for crafters. Handmade is hip, creativity is what the market wants, and there are many profitable sales opportunities that didn’t exist a few short years ago. For crafters who have more confidence running a sewing machine than setting up a website, The The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line by Kari Chapin breaks down and makes sense of the global possibilities for marketing and selling crafts.

Come meet the author of this wonderful book, who is in town for the Schoolhouse Craft Conference this weekend! From 6-8 pm Kari will be at CakeSpy Shop to hang out, eat cake, and answer your questions about starting a small craft business.

About the author: Kari Chapin is a marketing and publicity savvy crafter who has sold her goods online as well as managing a bricks-and-mortar store. She has worked in marketing and publicity for a variety of arts and nonprofit organizations and managed a retail store featuring artisan goods.


  • Date: September 22, 2011 (Thursday)
  • Time: 6-8 pm
  • Location: CakeSpy Shop, 415 East Pine St, Seattle WA
  • Cake will be served.


Buy The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line here!