Collard Green Chips

I love farmer’s markets.
I try to unravel where exactly this comes from?

Does it come from my childhood and that roadside corn stand?

Do it come from being a Midwestern girl, surrounded by fields?

Was it that first trip to Seattle and the Pikes Place Market that sealed the torrid affair?

I don’t know. I think there are things we are inherently drawn to things. Things that attract us. Often things a part of our calling and a gateway to the talents we possess. Do you ever feel this way? Pulled or drawn into something or someone (I would say I felt that way about my husband too before he was even really a friend)? I feel this way about nature. About a hiking trail. That they seem to call my name. They beckon me to come play and explore.

And markets.

When I had a vision of my own baking business (while hiking a mountain), my immediate answer to merely starting was: a farmer’s market. I researched how to start. I applied. I got turned down. Once. Then once more. Then I got a surprise email in October that there was an opening for a baker at the market and I was hooked.

Even when my husband talks about future goals and suggests maybe transitioning out of markets, I shut that one down pretty quickly. Because it is more than the business, more than the money. I bake because I feel called to do so. Because I’m good at it. I’m creative. But also maybe most importantly it brings me joy, and I like to think that it brings others joy as well. And even though wholesale sounds exciting, selling to restaurants and grocery stores, being able to get my product to a larger audience (who I feel needs it), it’s missing something. I love markets because of the connection.

I thoroughly enjoy talking to the people eating my product, that truthfully I work really hard for (and also it is a little frightening because you feel vulnerable, your brand and product is an extension of you, which you honestly want people to like). Putting all your energy, your heart and soul, your creativity, all your love into a product is a blissful high, but also a little bit of a drain afterwards because you put so much into it. But it is so rewarding. It’s rewarding to be able to express fully as an artist and baker. It is rewarding to have someone stop at your booth (even if it’s just to talk). It is rewarding when someone lights up and is excited about you and your product. When someone needs what you have, and you can help them, wow, it’s amazing and humbling.

This last year I switched markets because we moved and it has been so amazing. This past couple of weeks have been amazing. And I am humbled and truthfully want to cry afterwards because I am so grateful. It is a bustling market. There are lots of vendors. BIG produce sections that take up 4 slots. There is variety. A variety of meat vendors, soaps, bakers, food trucks, arts, jewelry and more. There are musicians playing interspersed throughout. It’s lively. And beautiful and bustling.

Making a connection to my customer is essential and why I do markets. That’s why I want. To know the person either raising or creating my food. That a human is there, loving and nurturing, using their God-given talents. I love learning from other vendors (and customers).

You form a bond with your fellow vendors. I have friends from the Terre Haute market that I’ve been to their home, went kayaking together, and collaborated with. The people behind your food, are often beautiful and amazing people. So in a society with distractions and a skewed view of connection, because of modern technology and social media, actual human connection and conversation is relevant to me.

I have always found myself surrounded by wonderful neighbors at the market. Often times, produce vendors may have too much of something or they don’t want to take it home, so they’ll give it away. Over the years I’ve had lots of vegetables just given to me at the end of a market. For which I am extremely grateful. Continue reading “Collard Green Chips”

Mango Lemonade Kombucha Gummies

IMAG4285A few weeks ago I shared a blog about my adventures into kombucha making. I will note that I have been intrigued by kombucha for about 8 + years now, but I had a dear friend who made wonderful kombucha. When we moved, though, I had to be a big girl and learn to make my own though.

Always putting a twist on things, I started thinking of how I could use kombucha, beyond the realm of merely sipping on it.

In the past I have made some ice cream (which now I would probably consider it more sorbet-like) with it.

But I had seen some gummies floating around on my pinterest.

Hmmm….

My husband is a fan of gummy bears. He, however, hates kombucha. I can’t even drink it around it, he doesn’t like the smell and frequently makes fun of me for it.

But, what if I flavored the kombucha nicely and paired it with a flavorful, delicious fruit?

Even if he doesn’t like (or even tastes it), it sounded good to me. So I began envision myself snacking on mango kombucha gummies. And my mind began reeling with loads of ideas for flavors.

Cherry because they’re my favorite food. But what if I added vanilla bean? Or lime zest or juice?

What about Pina Colada flavored? Let’s throw in some coconut and pineapple.

What about a strawberry banana.

Ooh or a mixed berry?

Or a strawberry mint?

Or a lemon blueberry?

Do you see how my brain works? Once an idea starts, it just rolls and rolls with more. Sometimes I suffer from too much creativity or ideas. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I do have to really practice editing (especially for my markets, otherwise I would show up with tons of different stuff and the selection would probably be overwhelming for many shoppers).

Anyways, my first adventure into gummies was a mango lemonade. The juice I added to my kombucha was a mango lemonade, which I did a second ferment on for three days. Add some fresh mangoes and lemon juice to the gummy mix and you have a great flavor-packed little bite. Continue reading “Mango Lemonade Kombucha Gummies”

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Tortillas

IMAG4156.jpgWho doesn’t like tacos?

I’ve played with different tortillas in the past. My first experiment was shaping bacon into the shape of a taco shell. But I’ve also used cauliflower and zucchini. A few years ago I made ones plantains and ones with sweet potatoes. I’ve made spinach ones for wraps. And a month ago I made kale ones (again for BLT wraps).

So I set out to revisit the sweet potato tortilla. Something super simple.

It was pretty mush mashed sweet potatoes and tapioca flour. My husband (the chef) did an awesome job helping me cook and flip them.

My own personal verdict is that I liked them MORE than the ones I’ve made in the past. The tapioca added a nice little stretchiness to the tortilla, so I could pulls and wrap it up nice and tight.

And I liked the flavor. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Tortillas”

Gluten-Free Asparagus + Goat Cheese Tart

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Sometimes the hardest part of the market is talking about food all day………

This is true. Five in the morning is too early to eat for me. By noon, when the market ends, however, I cannot seem to get food fast enough. The struggle is real to be surrounded by food. All morning I’ll eye people carrying a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Add to that, that my neighbor has gorgeous asparagus. And you know it’s good because he sells out by 10:30 every weekend.

All morning my brain races with dishes I want to make. I am constantly conceptualizing. And talking with people who stop by my booth, typically leads to more food conversations (I am a baker, this should be expected). I am talking and creating at the same time. My excitement for a new recipe grows as the day goes.

When I was brainstorming Easter recipes I had thought asparagus tart.

And every Saturday as I sit next to my neighbor I think: asparagus tart.

Finally we bought some asparagus. And finally I have made a tart.

There are some vegetables, which are so good, I could eat them all the time. One woman claimed that by the end of asparagus season, she is over asparagus. Blasphemous.

I could eat asparagus every day.

I could eat cabbage every day. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Asparagus + Goat Cheese Tart”

Pavlovas: Mango + Coconut & Caramel Banana

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Lesson yesterday: don’t make assumptions or let anticipation hold you back.

My lesson of course comes from food, it’s part of my self-expression.

I’ve told myself for a long time I don’t like meringue. And although I was excited to make these pavlovas today, it was not because I wanted to eat one but because I thought they were beautiful.

My anticipation was that I wasn’t going to like them. How often do we do this? Judge something/someone/an experience before we try it? I can think of countless instances in my life where I’ve done this, where I have held off on something because of my anticaption of how something was going to taste or feel or how a conversation may go. It is very often self inflicted and limiting.

Because these were delicious and my anticipating thoughts would have denied me of trying and enjoying this. Just as anticipating thoughts can hold us back from our dreams and potential. Or we deny ourselves friendships and connections because we are quick to judge or have a pre-conceived notion of how someone might be.

Sometimes we just have to stop anticipating and step fully into and embrace what is happening.

What made these so good?

I think the texture, I can’t even fully describe it, plus the flavor of the maple sugar, it all was just amazing.

IMAG4118Have fun. Play around. Try out different flavor profiles. Like:

Lemon Curd + Fresh Blueberries

Chocolate Ganache + Raspberries

Cherries + Toasted Almond Slivers

Caramel Apple

Lavender Blackberry

Get Creative!

Paleo Pavlovas

Pavlovas

  • 5 oz. egg whites (about 4 eggs)
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Whipped Cream: 

  • 1 can coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Topping: 

  • Mango Curd (click the link for recipe) +
  • Toasted Coconut Flakes (bake @ 350 for 5 to 10 minutes)
  • Honey Fried Bananas (cook in a skillet, drizzle with honey, brown) +
  • Paleo Caramel

IMAG4114Let’s Make it happen: 

Separate eggs while cold, then allow them to hang out until they reach room temperature.

Preheat oven to 300.

Beat the egg whites on high. Once peaks start to form, slowly add in the maple sugar, a little at a time. Keep beating until it is glossy and the meringue doesn’t feel gritty to the touch. Add the vanilla and tapioca flour. Mix briefly, just until incorporated.

Lay a piece of parchment down on a baking sheet. I used an angled spatula to make four different meringues. I smoothed each into a circle. Then put another layer on top and smooth it out, as well as building it up on the sides to make a well in the center (so the topping could fit in). I repeated this with all four.

Place in the oven and bake at 225 for an hour and a half. Turn the oven off. Leave the pavlovas in the oven to cool down.

While they were baking I made the whip. Simply remove the solids from the coconut milk and beat with vanilla and honey.

Make the mango curd. Toast some coconut.

Fry up the bananas. Make caramel.

Now you are ready to assemble!

Dollop whip cream into the center of each. On two of them, smear mango curd and sprinkle on some toasted coconut. On the remaining two, drizzle caramel, layer on bananas, drizzle a little more caramel.

Just like that you’re ready! Eat and enjoy! Have fun

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Continue reading “Pavlovas: Mango + Coconut & Caramel Banana”

Crispy Coconut Chicken with Cilantro Lime Jicama Rice

IMAG3936.jpgI love coconut.

I think I have started each post this week with a food that I love (or have loved previously, as with potatoes). But I really do love coconut, which I have found in my years of baking, is a hit or miss. Often people love it or they hate it.

But I do a pretty good job of using different coconut products with turning people off. Because I bake with a lot of different coconut products: coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut cream, and shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut. Usually the flaked and shredded are the ones I get the most feedback for, although I do with coconut flour sometimes. But I’ll confess I like the nutritional value of coconut flour more than almond flour, but it is tricky to work with. It can get chalky or dense. I have found it lends itself well towards cakes.

This last year I have done a decent amount of coating chicken in different flavors. I’ve made chicken tenders. Parmesan chicken. And my personal favorite, buffalo chicken strips.

So why not make a coconut chicken?

What pairs better with coconut than lime?

I’ve been wanting to play with making some jicama rice for awhile now. Why not now? Why not add some lime zest and juice? Maybe a little cilantro…..

Granted I ate this one solo, my husband is a trooper in my recipe experiments (I can’t tell you all the ways I am blessed to have such a man by my side), but there are certain things he doesn’t like. Coconut is one, he’s not a big fan. So I can respect that. Buffalo for him, coconut for me.

This was AWESOME. I loved the flavor combination. The crispiness of the coconut. It was pretty easy to make. And it was filling.

I will definitely be playing with this jicama rice more in the future as well! Continue reading “Crispy Coconut Chicken with Cilantro Lime Jicama Rice”

Strawberry Pie Bites

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I saw little bites like this, probably about a year ago. I have been waiting for the perfect moment to try them. I think part of what held me back was uncertainty. I wasn’t sure if my dough would hold up. Sometimes it is softer, so I wasn’t sure if the shape would hold.

I put it on my market menu, holding myself then for actually making them.

I was determined. So I started brainstorming on how to remedy my problem. I cut down the amount of butter. And refrigerated the dough long enough. And this did the trick. I was able to shape them perfectly. I placed them in the freezer to keep the shape. Filled each little well with strawberry filling. And stuck them back in the freezer. I have learned with making gluten-free pies, freezing is my friend. I freeze to keep shape. Plus this helps me stay organized. I prep my pies during the week, working on them a little here and a little there. Then on Friday’s all I have to do is bake them fresh. This means I no longer spend all day prepping and baking. I feel less rushed. And I am able to give greater focus and energy to what I’m making. Plus I get to give each pie the attention it needs each time I work on them. I walk away feeling like I have truly done my best.

My vote is that I loved these little bites, if I did them again I would probably make them a tiny bit smaller. But I like the proportion of filling to salty, flaky crust. It’s my kind of thing. Plus one little bite, makes you feel treated without feeling guilty.

Strawberry Pie Bites

  • 1 patch of Paleo Pie Dough
  • 1 pint of strawberries
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Continue reading “Strawberry Pie Bites”