Auburn University Cooking & Baking Club

Love cooking and baking?

Love eating?

Love chatting with fellow foodies?

If you said yes to any or all of these questions, then you’ll love Auburn University’s Cooking and Baking Club.

I know, I know, it sounds too good to be true. A club where you get to cook, hang out with the greatest people AND eat incredible food?

Two years ago in October I found myself at my first cooking and baking club meeting. Surrounded by apple crumb cake, butternut squash soup and pumpkin in more forms than I could count, I was hooked!

Cooking and baking club is a group that meets once a month. We all bring a dish that matches that month’s theme, share our recipes and dig in!

Themes are typically related to food trends on seasons. After baking our way through fall and Christmas we reel it in with healthy recipes to start the year off in our January meeting! The spring semester is usually filled with recipes featuring fresh and bright flavors.

The club began in September 2011 when a student saw a need for a creative outlet that brought people from all different kitchens together.

That is one of the best parts about this club. It unites people from all different social groups and creates a common theme for them to bond over.

The club even had one of their members from China teach them how to make authentic Chinese dumplings!

“The goal of cooking and baking club is to create an outlet for any Auburn student to express their passion and improve their skills. “

Meeting people with the same interest opens doors to learn recipes and make new friends.

Cooking and baking club also strives to connect members and inspire them with new recipe ideas by holding a contest at every meeting. Every member casts their vote on their favorite dish at the meeting. After the votes are tallied, the top three recipes are shared in the monthly newsletter!

So, if you’re a foodie looking for an excuse to test a new recipe or a freshman searching for fun and unique ways to get involved, join the club! Don’t let lack of experience hold you back. It’s all about learning and building community through a common passion.

Cooking and baking club was created on the belief that food can turn anything into a celebration. So why not join a club that will equip you to bring joy to those you love most?

After all, in the wise words of the daring Julia Childs, “A party without cake is just a meeting.”

True40: A Local Fitness Studio’s Success

It’s no secret that True40 has created a buzz of loyal members since they opened their first location in Auburn, AL almost two years ago. But what is it that has made the fitness chain so wildly successful?

The many aspects of True40 can be summed up in three words.

Mind. Body. Spirit.

True40 not only embodies strength and fitness, but strives to instill mental health by building community and a positive body-image.

Events and perks for members, passionate employees and a workout designed to build strength while protecting joints has classes full and people asking for more and more of True40. With their new Birmingham location and studio in Tuscaloosa on the way, this new workout chain is only going up from here.

The Workout

These high-intensity, low-impact classes include aerobics, barre, TRX, Pilates and yoga. This unique combination was specially designed by owner and founder Allie Weingarten. “I wanted to hit each muscle group equally,” says Weingarten, “and make sure the class flowed the way your body is supposed to in an exercise.” Weingarten created the workout to mirror the vinyasa flow, which is practiced in yoga. Vinyasa can be described as, “arranging something in a special way”. It is not an actual posture, but means to seamlessly and safely progress from one position to the next while matching your breath with every movement. In a similar fashion, True40 classes are specifically intended for smooth transitions between sections in a way that feels natural to the body. Safety was also a priority for Weingarten when creating this workout. That is why a True40 workout is comparable to what one would do in physical therapy. Even down to the way you stretch, beginning with large range dynamic movements to heat up the body then working in static stretches once the muscles are warm.

The Community

While her sore quads from yesterday’s class are proof that the companies saying, “Shake. Sweat. Burn.” is no joke, member Annie Hamm explains that there is another bonus to being a member at True40.

“The community I have at True40 is something that I never knew could exist in a gym type atmosphere.”

Everyone craves like-mindedness, which is why Weingarten has built the company to be relationship oriented through offering childcare, participating in local events and having fun themed classes and monthly challenges for members. Bro-vember, The Sorority Challenge and classes with holiday themed playlists have cultivated an environment of excitement where members can grow, improve and have fun together. “Group fitness is a great way to encourage people and we’ve seen a lot of friendships form here!”, says Auburn studio manager Kristen Taylor, “We’ve created an atmosphere that is welcoming and free of judgement which motivates people even more.”

The Mission

Pursuing fitness can be intimidating. The process is often emotionally draining when people feel like they aren’t seeing results. And while your body will see positive changes by committing to attending classes, True40 promotes being the best version of yourself rather than striving to look like someone else. “We want our members to love the body they are in and get excited when they see their own personal improvements along the way,” says Weingarten. The 60-minutes classes at True40 are often a member’s one bit of “me time” in their day. “It is so special to get to play a role in that,” says Weingarten, “There is nothing like seeing how refreshed and accomplished members feel after a class.”

True40 stands out for many reasons, but one of the most significant is the foundation that it was built on. The “40” in the name comes from Isaiah 40:31 in the Bible.

“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

It’s possible so many are drawn to True40 because in a world that says, “try harder and be better,” True40 says, “Come as you are and join us on a journey to be our best selves.”

Press Release



CHARLESTON, SC (June 20, 2016) – To celebrate the grand opening of their home décor store, Salt & Soil is hosting a block party at the Brooke Street Park on July 10. Gavin Devaw performs and the event is from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“We have a great team of designers and customers will be very pleased with our merchandise,” says owner Linda Moore. “Customers should expect to see a combination of farmhouse and industrial style.”

The company’s grand opening is a community wide event. The event takes place in the Brooke Street Park right across the street from the location of their new store.

Food trucks including Gourmet Grilled Cheese, Devin’s Doughnuts, Pop O’s and Chicky’s Southwest are attending the event. Guests can also enjoy lawn games for kids and various contests for prizes. Local vendors will have booths and tents set up throughout the park.

The vendors and food trucks are open from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Gabe Devaw performs at 5:30 p.m. Guests can walk across the street at any time and shop at Salt and Soil Home Goods.

“Our goal is to build stronger relationships with the community we love and to support other local business while showcasing our new store.” says co-owner Don Moore.

Admission is free and open to all. Each guest that makes a purchase receives a 30 percent off coupon for their next in-store purchase and a free Salt and Soil t-shirt.


Salt and Soil is a real estate company attending the needs of Charleston residents. Trained agents who are dedicated to their customers will use their expertise to buy, sell and flip houses. The mission of Salt and Soil Realty is to turn these houses into homes through renovation of old properties and selling their own line of home decor. They work with each customer’s individual needs to help them accomplish the home of their dreams.

Healthy Finds in Auburn, AL

Let’s talk food. And I don’t mean hot dogs, fried Oreos and decadent doughnut flavors. Those things have their place. But when it comes down to it, people want to know what they can eat in Auburn on a daily basis that will leave them ready to take on the day without skimping on flavor.

Students at Auburn tend to complain about the food choices. But living in Auburn for the past 21 years has given me quite a different perspective. Just a few years ago there wasn’t a trendy coffee shop in sight. Authentic spring rolls? Nope. Decadent granola crusted French toast? Try again.

Auburn has really taken a turn for the better in the world of food. With the increasing population growth, the restaurant industry had to keep up.

“Auburn…. has been adding hundreds and even thousands of people with each passing year to now reach 62,000 residents. That’s up from 53,000 just five years ago”, writes Challen Stephens from

So… here it is! A local health nut’s guide to five dishes you HAVE to try in Auburn, AL.

Ross House Coffee – Baked Oatmeal

OK, raise your hand if you picture a beige bowl of mush when you hear the word oatmeal. The stuff gets a bad rap, but this baked oatmeal from Ross House is the opposite of boring. Baked fresh from the coffee house, it starts in a big rectangle, then gets a bath of creamy steamed milk of your choice. Say “everything on it” when you order for dried cranberries, toasted pecans and loads of fresh blueberries topping your bowl. And they’ll even put it in a to-go coffee cup if you’re on the run!

The Hound – Veggie Burger

I am not a vegetarian by any means. So, don’t ask me what I was thinking when I ordered this burger. In the past, I have found veggie burgers to be lackluster and unappealing. But after ordering this burger on a whim, I was blown away at how delicious it was. It’s a sensational blend made mostly from quinoa, beets and mushrooms. The wonderful earthy flavor and the melted Swiss cheese gives it a hearty feel. I didn’t miss the meat one bit!

Plains to Plate – Peanut Butter Banana Waffle Sandwich

This restaurant on Auburn University’s campus is known for thier locally grown products and completely gluten free menu. But P2P has another advantage up their sleeve, these people know breakfast. If there’s one combination that I can’t live without it’s bananas and peanut butter. The sweet and salty duo is unparalleled on its own, but smash them between two thick and crispy whole grain waffles, and something special happens. The warmth from the waffles completely transforms the flavor of the bananas and makes the peanut butter all melty and smooth. Good morning is right!

Pho Lee – Chicken Spring Rolls

When I heard that Pho Lee served healthy Vietnamese dishes, I went to try it as soon as I could! My go-to here has been the chicken spring rolls from day one. This traditional roll wrapped in rice paper is filled with egg noodles, fresh veggies and chicken that has a nutty, warm curry flavor. The rolls come with either an amazing peanut sauce or a sweet and spicy red sauce. (Or both if you’re indecisive like me).

Amsterdam Cafe – Crab cake Avocado Sandwich

Now, this one might push the envelope by stamping it as healthy. But, hey, there’s a little green somewhere in there, right? This crab cake avocado sandwich, named one of the 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die, is worth every bite. Sandwiched between a buttery croissant is a flaky and tender crab cake bursting with flavor. Accompanying the crab is avocado, creole remoulade and mango Pico de Gallo. The sandwich is served with one side item – I’d go for the sweet potato chips!

The Perfect Friendsgiving: Tips for Success

Friendsgiving is every holiday guru’s dream. Adding one more gathering to the plethora of parties to attend during the holiday season? I’m in! Even though Friendsgiving has been around since Monica stuck the turkey on her head in the show Friends, the trend has taken off in the last few years. If just the thought of it has you itching to throw your own Friendsgiving but you’re not sure where to start, look no further!

There’s one word that can take your Friendsgiving from hectic to foot-loose and fancy free. Potluck. Regardless of your well-intended determination and infatuation with control, I promise, it’s called FRIENDSgiving for a reason.

A good Friendsgiving is one where everyone gives a little along the way. One great way to stay organized and let your guests know what they can do is to use the app goHappy: Group plans & sharing. This app allows you to send invitations, let your guests RSVP and provide a list of food to bring. Here’s a little timeline to keep you on track:

· Two weeks out: send invites

· One week out: nail down who can come, and who’s bringing what

· A few days out:  grocery run and food prep

· The day before: decorate and clean your house/apartment

· The day of: cook anything that needs to be served warm, smile and party on!

Now that the technical side is out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff: decorations and food!

In terms of decorations, simple is always best.You want the food to be the star of the show, so your decorations should complement the dishes, not over power them.

The produce area of the grocery store is a goldmine for table decor.

Keep your table light and airy by decorating with simple greenery and beautiful fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Consider making your décor interactive. Butcher paper is my go-to for this. Last year, when my position as event coordinator for my sorority came to a close, the last big event I planned was a Friendsgiving. I created a “What are you Thankful for” wall that everyone could write on while they stood in the food line.

And don’t throw out those random odds and ends after you cut your butcher paper. Use the leftovers as a table runner or customized place mats!

When deciding what to make for your guests, pick what gets you excited! And remember, we’re going with potluck style here. If you’re anything like me you have a list a mile long of recipes you want to try. But trust me, just pick two or three recipes, do them well, and be done.

To wrap up, these tips are truly priceless, but this isn’t about being the perfect host. At the end of the day, there is just something special about opening your home and serving those you love. So, if the turkey is dry, just spoon on a little extra gravy, count your blessings and give the warmest welcome you can to everyone who walks in your door.


Pocket change for a shopping spree was at the top of 12-year-old Kaitlyn Tiller’s Christmas list. Her passion from a young age has been her closet.

“I would take the money, go out and buy cute pajamas and little presents,” says Tiller.

But the new goods weren’t for her.

“I can remember the first time my school had casual Friday,” says Tiller. She grew up attending a private school, and casual Friday was the highly anticipated school day free from uniforms.

“My mom let me pick out an outfit from Forever 21. I wore cheetah print leggings and a purple sweater with a matching cheetah barrette,” says Tiller.

Walking down the halls, one perfectly coordinated shoe after the other, she felt radiant. Beaming with confidence, her enthusiasm for fashion only grew.

From this experience, however, a deeper passion was ignited.

Kaitlyn couldn’t help but think of all the girls who would never get a chance to feel such confidence. “ I have a really big heart for young girls,” says Tiller, “I told my dad that one day I would have a store to help them.”

So from the mind of an eighth grader, an idea for a boutique that caters to underprivileged girls was shaped.

“In the store, I want there to be a room where girls who can’t afford a nice wardrobe can come in and get their clothes for free,” says Tiller.

Obviously, there are many logistics to be worked out. But she explains that the store will eventually be a non-profit. So, any profit that would be made from the clothes will go solely to buying items that these girls can get for free.

And the quality of these clothes won’t be compromised. Tiller makes clear that she wants the girls to have quality clothes that they would be thrilled to wear on the first day of school, just like she was as a little girl.

Kaitlyn is not only the brains behind this whole idea, but also designs the products herself and will use her personal photography business for any shots needed on the site.

For now, the store will have its debut online. Tiller has plans to launch the site as soon as her first shirt and sweatshirt designs come in.

Kalon is the company name, the Greek word meaning inner beauty.

The name is more than fitting for this future company. For it is true inner beauty to take ones gifts and use them for something bigger than us. The heart and soul behind this is that our gifts are God-given and therefore to be used for His kingdom.

“The whole goal is to show these girls that when the whole world rejects you, your heavenly Father accepts you, chooses you and loves you,” says Tiller.

Her hope is to create a community with these girls and become a part of their lives through movie nights and other various events.

Kaitlyn Tiller has leveraged her passions in a way that will equip others and most importantly, glorify the name of Jesus. Though only in the beginning stages, her vision, compassion and impeccable sense for style predict great success.