Allow me to share one of my favorite past-times, hobbies, and stress-relievers: baking! Tantalizing aromas wafting through the house, happy faces, and good friends gathered with good food make recipes shared on this site worth making every time.

friend's review of the brown sugar cinnamon cake

Baking for others has become one of my pleasures in life. As I have gotten older, I realize the effects food has on people, their moods and feelings. I have these same feelings when I cook. Having other people enjoy food that I 'created' makes me feel good and I love to see others smile. Baking has also helped me meet new people and make new friends.

Upon arriving at UF, I didn't know many people. After meeting a core group that enjoyed working out and competing in triathlons, I attended a few parties, tailgates and shindigs and brought baked goods. This helped expand the number of people I knew more than anything! Newly acquired friends loved to eat and I left every party with a name or number as a way to send recipes. But my bank account whistled a different tune to the amount I baked.

As much as I love to bake, I can't hide the fact that baking gets expensive quickly. Chocolate is one item that you get what you pay for. Ghirardelli puts Nestle in the doghouse every time. Jif peanut butter is also tastebuds away from generic Publix or Walmart brands. Eggs have to be fresh and butter isn't cheap...

At the end of the day, I have to make decisions. I do have to cut some corners, often buying generic brands of butter, sugar, eggs, milk, and oatmeal. But the chocolate and peanut butter are the real deal. The results are delicious and friends continue to ask for recipes. Therefore, I have decided that I would much rather have friends and bake than money in the bank.