Welcome to my virtual kitchen, foodie friends! 

 So much has been happening in the kitchen lately!  I'm an official business owner, working for myself, and baking for more than just family and friends. I'm learning how to run that business.. the taxes, the accounting, the marketing.. the "not so fun" but very necessary stuff to make this business work. 

I wanted my first blog post to be good, but I could never think of what I could possibly come up with that hasn't already been said. I planned on writing about my experiences in the foundations program at Frontier Kitchen, but found myself so busy with course work and baking that I couldn't find the time to write. I still plan on writing about my journey there.. it's not over yet! A few more weeks and I "graduate".  For tonight, I'll focus on Thanksgiving, and being thankful for all that I have in my kitchen.  

I wouldn't be in the kitchen if it weren't for my Grandma Maisto.  At a young age, my Grandma encouraged me to help her in her kitchen. As I  grew up, Grandma made sure I had recipes and simple tools for making baking and cooking in  my own kitchen a reality.  I'm thankful she did that. If you have ever had one of my Italian Pizzelle cookies, you should be thankful too! She bought me my first and only pizzelle iron 26 years ago. I think of her every time I use it. Her handwritten recipe is taped to the box. For that, I am eternally thankful. 

I'm thankful for family and friends who have encouraged me to start my own baking business after years of baking for fun.  I still bake for fun, but for an expanded audience thanks to the many referrals I have been blessed to get. 

 Born out of my love for all things baking, cooking, and entertaining, "From Gina's Kitchen" is truly just that.. homemade goodness from MY kitchen, to yours, helping you and YOUR family and friends celebrate life's joys, no matter how big or small. For inviting me in to be part of your family celebrations, I am thankful. 

I'm thankful for my husband, Randy, without his help I would not be using a computer much less writing a blog or posting anything anywhere. He's the IT in my kITchen, lol! He encourages me to go beyond what I think I can do. For that I am thankful. 

I'm thankful to be mom to three amazing gifts from God.  They, along with Randy, are the heart of my kitchen.  I bake and cook for them, and by extension, the friends they invite over.  Friends that over the years have become "adopted" Michaks. You know who you are! 

I'm thankful for friends who are happy to taste test my latest recipes and insist on paying me even though I hate taking money from them. For all the kitchen table talks, laughs, and good cries, and long walks that have ended up with coffee around the kitchen table, I am thankful. 

I'm thankful for my long distance besties who encourage me from afar and have stayed close to my heart from our days at Pitt.. for those weekends spent around my kitchen table laughing and drinking, I am thankful.

I'm thankful for my Pittsburgh family who cheer me on long distance and have encouraged me along the way, especially since I started my small food business course. For their love and support I am thankful. 

Many of you have trusted me to bake for your birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and graduations. With the holiday season upon us, you have already placed orders for gifts and desserts, and for that, I am thankful! 

Taking time to be thankful and gathering around the kitchen table to eat, talk and enjoy each other's company is important not just during the holidays, but everyday.  Life goes by at lightning speed these days, and we find ourselves catching glimpses of family and friends lives on social media.  That's not a bad thing.  You can sit in the kitchen and log into your laptop, or scroll through your social media feeds on your phone.  But can you smell cookies on Facebook? Can you taste cake on Instagram? 

I just don't want snaps and posts to replace what's really valuable.. time spent together. In the kitchen, the living room, the family room. With family, friends, and good food. I'm thankful that I can enjoy all of those things regularly with my own family and friends. Through my new business endeavor, I am thankful that I can help you all enjoy the same. 

My goal in this virtual kitchen is to make togetherness a priority, a "real time" priority.  There is always time for cake, for cookies, for celebrating, for sharing. Always time to be thankful. In person. Around the kitchen table. With a cookie. Or cupcake. And a cup of hot coffee. Or wine. I am certainly thankful for that! 

So.. log off, hang up and hang out in the kitchen!  You'll thank me later. 





Gina Michak