In-Sync Exotics Bake Sale 2012 Wrap-Up

December 30, 2012

In-Sync Exotics Bake Sale

Could I get a drumroll please? The total for 2012′s charity bake sale benefiting In-Sync Exotics is…

$15,192!

You read that right. After all the contributions were counted and our sponsor matched them dollar for dollar, the grand total was $15,192. Unbelievable!

We, first of all, thank God for blessing this event! We experienced a lot of challenges and spiritual warfare during the planning and execution of this year’s sale. When that happens, it’s always a sign to me that we’re on the right track to something awesome if the Enemy is interfering to that extent. He was and we were!

Second of all, thank you to our sponsors. Paper Mart provided us with a generous discount on all of our packaging, which helped us enormously. Since all of our ingredients, packaging, printing and every other expense comes out of our personal pockets, we really appreciated Paper Mart’s help. Thank you, Paper Mart!

City Vet was back as a third-time sponsor, and we are so grateful for everything they’ve done for our event. They help promote it via social media, and have donated gift cards and a wide variety of fun things for us to sell and give away. They’ve also shopped with us, so we’re doubly blessed by them and their friendship. Thank you, City Vet!

We, of course, are extremely thankful for the 100% matching gift provided for the second year by our employer. We hope these checks will continue to grow each year as they have been so far! 2011′s match was $4,175 and 2012′s was $7,596.

Huge appreciation also goes to the In-Sync Exotics volunteer who donated $2,500 to the bake sale total. You, kind lady, are responsible for $5,000 of the $15,192 that went to In-Sync this year. We don’t even know what to say about that, except that your generosity is an enormous blessing to the big cats and everyone who cares for them. Thank you!

Last – but absolutely not least – I want to thank all of the bakers! My co-workers Kristen and Lauren were back with all their goodies, and also recruited Erica and Susan for cookie duty. My SisMama baked 105 pound cakes (!), and Cyndi brought a wealth of brownies in all flavors. Thanks for doing this with me, girls! We make a good team!

Because we were so darn busy (good problem) during this year’s sale, my photography was a little rushed and skimpy. Following are the photos I did manage to snap before the goodies were snapped up by lots of hungry people with Christmas shopping lists and cash in their hands. Thank you to everyone who made this happen for the wild ones at In-Sync Exotics. We are beyond grateful!

~BigSis

2012 In-Sync Exotics Bake Sale…Now!

December 16, 2012

Gideon, baby bobcat

Gideon the baby bobcat is our poster child for this year’s bake sale!

After much planning, shopping, fretting, stressing, and finally baking, wrapping and packaging…the 2012 Bake Sale benefiting In-Sync Exotics is here! The only things left to do now are to sell like crazy, and pray, pray, pray!

I promised to talk about this year’s goodies, but apparently I got too immersed in actually working on the goodies to get that done! I will absolutely put together a post-sale follow-up with a bunch of photos and results from the day.

Before I get back to sale preparations, I have to say again that we just can’t thank our sponsors enough for their support.  We are very, very grateful to City Vet, Paper Mart and Venable Royalty. This event would definitely not be as successful without everything they do for us, so thank you!

Wish us luck. For the wild ones!!

~BigSis

In-Sync Exotics Bake Sale 2012!

December 6, 2012

Gideon

Gideon: our 2012 Bake Sale Poster Boy! Is there a cuter baby bobcat?

Our 2012 charity bake sale for In-Sync Exotics is right around the corner on Monday, December 17th, and we are full of gratitude and excitement about it! It’s the season to be thankful, so let me count the reasons!

  • We have a brand new sponsor joining with us in support of this wonderful charity. Paper Mart – our favorite packaging source for years – has provided us with a generous discount on the incredible items we use to make our goodies look super cute. We know that cuteness helps things sell, right? And moving our goodies out the door is the name of the game at bake sale time. We could probably feed our cookies to the lions and tigers, but we’d much rather sell them to peeps and use the money to buy what the big kitties prefer to eat (and that’s not biscotti). If you’d like to see some of our favorite Paper Mart products, check out my Pinterest Bake Sale Board. Thank you, Paper Mart!
  • We are so happy to welcome back City Vet as a returning sponsor for the third year! City Vet provides us with tons of things to sell and awesome giveaway items. This year they’ve even donated a gracious plenty of the reusable shopping bags that we all love. These will be a big help, and a nice bonus for our shoppers who buy a bunch of goodies. We also have some gift certificates for exams and baths to sell; things that all of us animal lovers need! Thank you, City Vet!
  • Last but not least, we are beyond thrilled that our employer is matching our sales, dollar for dollar, for the second year in a row. That means that we can totally leverage what we’re doing. If we sell $4000 in goodies again, that magically turns into $8000 instantly!  Thank you, our boss!

I have lots of baking to do, and ribbon to cut, and tags to make, and tweets and pins and instagram photos and facebook statuses to post, so I’m out for now. I’ll report back this weekend with our list of goodies to entice you.

For now, thanks, thanks, and more thanks to our supporters! If the wild kitties at In-Sync Exotics could thank you, they would, so I’ll speak on their behalf. Oodles of thanks, chuffs and purrs to you all!

~BigSis

Graham Cracker Pralines (Accidentally Vegan)

November 25, 2012

Graham Cracker Pralines Vegan

It’s bake sale time, which means recipe testing time, and that means this update will be short and sweet! I’m up to my eyeballs in recipes, treat bags, press releases, and save the date postcards!

So let’s get to it. One of my co-workers brought these Graham Cracker Pralines to the office, and I thought they were super delicious. Nabisco Original Graham Crackers are accidentally vegan, so I only had to swap an Earth Balance stick for the butter to veganize this simple little recipe.

There are lots of recipes for this treat online; I started with Betty Crocker’s Quick Praline Bars recipe. Basically, you lay graham crackers out on a cookie sheet (I lined it with non-stick foil). You combine brown sugar with the Earth Balance, and let it boil for one minute. Then add vanilla, pour the mixture over the crackers, sprinkle pecans over it all, and bake it for 8 to 10 minutes til bubbly. Pretty easy, right?

Some of the reviewers online had various problems with this recipe, but I had none of them. Whew! They firmed up nicely, they didn’t stick, they didn’t fall apart, and they taste pretty darn good!

I think these are going to make the cut for this year’s bake sale, which is scheduled for Monday, December 17th and benefits In-Sync Exotics. BTW, we’re looking for individuals and companies to match what we raise, so let us know if you can help with that endeavor!

I’m off to try a new Almond Biscotti. I’ll let you know if it gets to come to the party or not!

Note added later:  Nope, the Almond Biscotti has to sit out this party. That’s ok though, we have plenty of winners to bring!

~BigSis

In-Sync Bake Sale Update

December 4, 2011

Our bake sale for In-Sync Exotics is only a week away, so our ovens are in turbo mode and there’s lots to do!  Here’s a quick update:

  • These glittery cookie boxes are finished and waiting to be filled with goodies.  I’ll give you a quick little how-to on making them as soon as I can get the chocolate and sugar off my hands.

Christmas Glitter Boxes

  • Remember these painted cross magnets I made around Easter? They make great Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers, so I’m getting them dressed up in Christmasy boxes for the sale.

Painted Cross Magnet

  • SisMama has already baked oodles of pound cakes in vanilla, chocolate, lemon and brown sugar/caramel flavors. Go, SisMama!
  • K & L have baked breads in apple cinnamon, spice, cranberry and blueberry flavors.  They’re also working on doggie treats and bunches of cookies this weekend.
  • I have pumpkin walnut and banana chocolate chip gluten-free breads done, plus 3 varieties of biscotti (gingerbread, chocolate/chocolate chip and dried cherry orange), and 3 kinds of brownies so far.
  • We have some nibbles on matching our sales, and continue to market the event as well as more baking this week.
  • CityVet is graciously sponsoring our event for the second year in a row.  They have donated items for the sale, and are considering doing more for this worthy charity.  A huge thanks to CityVet for their support!

That’s it for now, I have cookies to check on!  Stay tuned for more!

~BigSis

Charity Bake Sale 2011 for Big Cats!

November 6, 2011

It’s official, we’ve chosen our charity for this year’s Bake Sale. Drumroll please…it’s In-Sync Exotics in Wylie, Texas!

In-Sync Exotics Lioness1

In-Sync Exotics may be new to many folks.  It was to me and my fellow bakers until a year or so ago.  In-Sync is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the rescue of unwanted, neglected and abused felines.

In-Sync Exotics White Tiger

And by “felines” we aren’t talking about little housecats. We mean BIG cats; much much bigger than my 16 pound Gaby whom LilSis calls the fat cat with the little head.

In-Sync Exotics Lion1

In-Sync was founded in 2000 and is currently home to 59 tigers, lions, leopards, bobcats, cougars, cheetahs, lynx, servals and one honorary cat named Nugget who is a Coatimundi.

In-Sync Exotics Serval

This is the fifth year for our Charity Bake Sale, which has been held to benefit the SPCA of Texas for the last three years.  We decided to select a smaller charity this year – a bit below the radar – who might benefit from our little fundraiser and the attention it could bring to a group in need.  We still support the SPCA of Texas personally, and continue to appreciate the crucial work they do every day in North Texas.

In-Sync Exotics Cheetah

Back to In-Sync now.  I had the chance to visit their big kitties last weekend, along with a couple of my fellow bakers.  We spent a few hours enjoying the annual Pumpkin Bash, where the cats all get a pumpkin to play with/eat/destroy/ignore.  We absolutely fell in love with the cats and the place, and the work that’s being done here.

In-Sync Exotics Khan Sheila

In a perfect world, these cats would be running free in their native habitat but this world isn’t perfect.  Not even close.  These guys have suffered at the hands of humans, and needed a safe place to recover from the physical and emotional damage inflicted on them.

In-Sync Exotics Tiger 2

In-Sync is that safe place.  Big wild cats can’t be placed in furever homes like cats and dogs can, and they can’t be released into the wild.  Big cats need a place to live out the rest of their days, where they can receive medical care, a clean environment, nourishing food, enriching playtime, and love.

In-Sync Exotics Tiger Toes 3

Since these cats will stay at In-Sync forever, and more cats continue to unfortunately come in, In-Sync’s need for funding will only grow as time goes on.  They are currently trying to raise $30,000 to build a home for the two cheetahs who recently joined them.

In-Sync Exotics Tiger Paws

The four of us girls are going to bake our little hearts out to try to help in our small way.  Stay tuned for more details as we approach this year’s Bake Sale on December 12th.  Meanwhile enjoy a few photos of Jett the spotted leopard enjoying the Pumpkin Bash!

In-Sync Exotics Jett 2In-Sync Exotics Jett 3In-Sync Exotics Jett 4In-Sync Exotics Jett 5In-Sync Exotics Jett 6

For the record, the final score was Jett 1, Pumpkin 0.  ^..^

Note: All photos were taken by BigSis and published with the permission of In-Sync Exotics.

~BigSis

SPCA Christmas Bake Sale 2010: Done!

December 19, 2010

The 2010 SPCA Christmas Bake Sale is now history!  We held the charity event last Monday, and contributions are still coming in but the total amount raised so far is $3,265.  We’re short of our $4,000 goal, but considering all of the obstacles that confronted us this year, we’re pretty happy to have raised that amount!  We wanted to beat last year’s $4,023 total but we’re thankful for what we have.

Our conference room wasn’t available this year, so our management company allowed us to use an empty suite on the first floor.  We liked the accessibility of the ground floor space, but the large concrete-floored room presented an ambiance challenge.  We used lots of signs and color, and fabrics on our tables.  The focus was on the goodies available for purchase to benefit the animals anyway, not the interior design, right?

We had a wide selection of cakes, breads, candy, treats, cookies and brownies to choose from.  The biggest change this year was that all 15 items that I baked were vegan, and I was really happy with how they came out.

Here are some photos from our wild and crazy day!

SPCA Bake Sale Cake Bread

Cakes and Breads

SPCA Bake Sale Pound Cake

SisMama's Cream Cheese Pound Cake: DEEEElicious!

SPCA Bake Sale Cookies Brownies

Cookies and Brownies

SPCA Bake Sale Vegan Cookies

Vegan Cookies

SPCA Bake Sale Biscotti

Vegan Cranberry Orange Macadamia Biscotti

SPCA Bake Sale Biscotti Reindeer

Reindeer Bucket O' Biscotti sold out quickly!

SPCA Bake Sale Treats

Treats and more treats

SPCA Bake Sale Santa Treats

Santa's Spiced Pecans surrounded by more goodies!

SPCA Bake Sale Sponsor CityVet

Huge thanks to our first SPCA Bake Sale Sponsor: CityVet!

Thanks to CityVet and to everyone who helped us raise a bunch more money for the SPCA of Texas!  We appreciate you and look forward to next year!

~BigSis

SPCA Bake Sale 2010 Today!

December 12, 2010

SPCA Christmas Bake Sale

As I mentioned with great enthusiasm and anticipation last the week, our 3rd Annual Bake Sale for the SPCA of Texas is TODAY, Monday, December 13!  100% of the proceeds go directly to the SPCA.

Last year, our sale raised over $4,000 in one day, and we hope to repeat that success this year.  Here are the details:

Location: Dallas, Texas (If you can come, please email me for the address)

Time: 8 am until 6 pm or sell-out, whichever comes first!

If you can’t attend but you’d like to support the SPCA of Texas, you can contribute through this web page:  http://www.spca.org/bakesale

Thanks in advance for your support!  Stay tuned for photos and the scoop on the outcome of the day!

~BigSis

SPCA Christmas Bake Sale #3!

December 8, 2010

This December 13th will be our 4th charity bake sale, and the 3rd one we’ve done at Christmas for the SPCA of Texas.  Since I stopped eating and using eggs and dairy products this last January, I needed to find some great new recipes for this year’s sale.  We’ve been blessed with great success and happy customers that return year after year, so scrapping all of my old recipes and starting over was a daunting proposition!  I was especially motivated to find some fabulous goodies after a hater told me I’d be disappointed because no one would buy “that vaygan stuff”!

I bought several vegan baking cookbooks and did a lot of online research, and finally swooped into the kitchen to get my hands dirty.  I’ve been baking up a storm in my lab (aka kitchen) for the last several weeks, trying out new recipes.  The latest test: Oatmeal Dried Cherry Cookies adapted from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.

Vegan Oat Cherry Cookie

These cookies had a great flavor, and would have been excellent if I hadn’t over-baked them by a couple of minutes.  That’s why I test though.  I have a rule that I never make a recipe for the bake sale without taking it for a test drive first.

I’m pretty excited with the successes I’ve had.  I actually have well over a dozen things to choose from.  These are my favorite options.

  • Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Coconut Cookies adapted from Epicurious
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie with Peanuts and Almond Meal adapted from Cookie Madness

There’s much more baking to be done so I’m dashing back to the kitchen for more baking frenzy.  I’ll be back next week with photos from the sale, and hopefully a big donation to the SPCA to report!

~BigSis

SPCA Bake Sale Wrap-Up!

December 31, 2009

We have one more little topic to wrap up for 2009 just as we fly into 2010…the SPCA Bake Sale results, of course!  The sale was held for one day only on December 14th, and we thankfully sold every crumb we had!  We also had a web site set up for donations from out-of-town folks, or for local friends who just couldn’t make the sale.

So here are the results.  Drum roll, please!  The web site donations are $405, and the one-day sale of baked goodies brought in $3618.  That makes our grand total so far $4023!  Woo hoo!!

We are enormously grateful for the support of our friends, family, fellow tenants, our building’s management, and an awesome SMU fraternity.  Thank you so much for showing your love to the animals and to the SPCA of Texas in a huge way! We baked our fannies off, but without all of you, it would have been for nothing!

Here are some photos from the sale.  You can get an idea of how much we started with, but what you can’t see is that we have boxes and boxes of more goodies under the table!  We sold it ALL!


Cakes and breads all lined up before the sale started at 8 am.

Bars and brownies are ready to be snatched up and gobbled up!

Cookies were all huddled together here.

All the treats were organized in happy little rows here.

Almond Toffee and Soft Peanut Brittle went into these cute little totes.

Cakes and breads were packaged in tall treat bags from PaperMart.

Brownies and other bars got these cute Treat Toppers from Hobby Lobby.

3 kinds of fudge were molded into shapes, and then decorated.

Cinnamon and Peanut Butter Fudge close-up.

Pretzels got a dip in chocolate, and then a swoosh and a drizzle of cuteness.

The cutest gift bags ever were donated by LilSis!

Thanks again to everyone! We can’t wait until next year!

~BigSis