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A discovery about women

Last night I went to a seminar put on by Beth Caldwell and her organization called Pittsburgh Professional Women. I learned some good tips for getting my business to look more professional, but most of all I met some lovely women. I stayed almost an hour after the event was over because I was meeting a new friend and catching up with an old friend. 

I can’t speak for all women, or even all the women at the event, but I loved it. Not all networking events/seminars have that positive vibe about them, but this did. I found myself thinking as I drove home… “How can I do THIS for my life!?” How can I meet and talk with other positive people all day and call it productive (or ‘salable’ even)? 

Now, the next thought may be generalizing, but I have to document it and I ask for feedback from friends and critics… 

Women love that atmosphere! Either because we have further to fight or because we are wired to want it, women’s groups are everywhere… Not men’s. We all seem to crave that community, place for shared growth, encouraging atmosphere. 

I think about what I imagine life would be like for a women not so long ago. Knitting groups, prayer meetings, play dates… Because most women didn’t work. Now we have begun to be the group most active in entering the entrepreneurship realm. Could that be because we want to create those supportive networking atmospheres again? Maybe the working world (employee world) isn’t how we operate as women? 

Like I said… Broad generalizations about things I have been feeling recently and just sorting through. If you have continued reading this far, I urge you to comment and just give me your perspective in a sentence or two to help me align. One thing I got out of the seminar last night was the encouragement to keep moving (and blogging) even if I don’t have all my ducks in a row (or haven’t planned the chickpea flour article at all). 

Thanks for keeping up with me here. I appreciate you all as part of my network.

Have a cookie,

Lauren

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The Flour Series: Buckwheat Flour

In the second installment to the Flour Series on different gluten-free flours, we are going to look into Buckwheat!

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What is it?

So… Buckwheat is a plant with grain-like seeds, sometimes referred to as buckwheat groats. It is not related to wheat, which is in the grass family, but is actually in the seed family and closely related to rhubarb! (I thought buckwheat had gluten for a long time because I assumed it was similar to wheat, but I was wrong!)

Buckwheat has been heralded, like many other foods recently, as a Superfood. I thought I had discussed previously about the dangers of Superfood labeling, because it can cause us to be less balanced in our struggle to eat the most “Superfoods” possible… but now I can’t find any reference to the topic on my blog and I decided to save you from my rants for now.

But why is it considered a Superfood by some? The major characteristic claims include ranking lower on the glycemic index than rice or corn, which means it will be less likely to cause your blood sugar to spike. Buckwheat and buckwheat flour contain high sources of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They are pretty high in protein and fiber, as well as Vitamin B (for energy).

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What do you do with it?

A lot of websites I looked at had recipes combining buckwheat flour with other flours like a gluten-free all-purpose flour.  I personally do not think that is necessary.  I have been successful in cookie recipes using the flour as a one for one replacement for another nutty flour like almond flour (which I use often). So you can either replace 20% of your flour with a coconut flour or all-purpose flour or use it as a stand alone flour.

A Huffington Post article titled “20 Buckwheat Recipes You Never Even Knew You Wanted” has recipes including muffins, waffles, crepes, cakes, crackers, pitas, biscuits, pancakes, cookies, bread and more!

I only tried one recipe, from Cooking a la Mel, for buckwheat chocolate chip cookies and then I made my own recipe up and pinned them against each other in my own personal bake-off of sorts. 0729171613

As you can see the buckwheat flour gives the cookies a darker speckled look than typical flours may, almost mimicking cocoa.

Mel’s recipe (although half the size) is on the left and my recipe is on the right. Both contained the same amount of batter although mine spread out like a cookie more.  I thought mine looked better, but I will say Mel’s were pretty moist because they didn’t spread and dry out. I feel like I can’t give her the victory on my own blog, but I think I will.  Nicely done, Mel.

What does BTN do with it?

My mocha protein cookies actually utilize both coffee flour and buckwheat flour… but other than that I do nothing with buckwheat at this point. I had fun experimenting this weekend, but that’s where I’ll stay for now. Check out some more photos below, including one from the crawfish boil where I brought both sets of cookies. I’ll try to get a good buckwheat flour cookie recipe of my own out in the next few weeks for everyone to have fun trying!

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Have a cookie!

Lauren

Bellevue Farmers Market

Last night was a lot of fun at the Bellevue Farmers Market! I was set up at 3pm and it was 93 degrees and it didn’t go down more than 4 degrees the whole 4 hours, but somehow I managed to stay pretty cool.
I made these cute unicorn cookies for the kids and had a lot of fun with them! I just about sold out of orange chocolate chip cookies and lemon bars, but everything else did well too! The doughnuts and lemon bars seemed to be the favorites over all! 

I am hoping to be able to do the market again and when I do, I will be sure to have a vegan option and hopefully a bread of some kind, maybe a biscuit, soft pretzel, or something less sweet. Thanks to everyone for the support and for coming out and making the market successful. If you have thoughts on something you’d like to see, comment below!

I got a copy of Brad Yoder‘s album who graciously serenaded us last night. He was so much fun to be able to sit and enjoy between customers.

Some other goodies I got last night included delicious sparkling cold brew from De Fer Coffee & Tea and some beautiful wild flowers from Old Time Farm. I love the people that run the market, I loved meeting the vendors and I love being in the community. These are my people. 

Okay, well this is a quick one… Just an update! I’ll let you all know when I’m headed back, but in the meantime support the market (or your local farmers market)!

Have a cookie!

Lauren

More! Coffee Flour!!

I found another way that I REALLY like coffee flour

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Enter: Coffee Flour Coffee Cake! Available for purchase now in the Yum-bread section! Reminder, that’s not chocolate brown, that’s coffee flour brown. This is not a chocolate bread… but still DELICIOUS!

 

Also… I believe that I promised a coffee flour recipe. So here is the coffee flour morning bar that Nick and I like… but I’m not going to be selling regularly because it’s a little “earthy” (I’ve been told).

Coffee Flour Morning Bar (granola bar esque)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond meal (or you can use oat flour)
  • 1/3 cup coffee flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coffee extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup organic brown sugar (can be made with 3 tablespoons maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup organic creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 1 cup nuts (I use various such as walnuts, pecans, macadamia)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • optional 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Directions:

  • Mix the flax seed and water first and set aside for about 10 minutes while you prep the rest.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • Whisk together the almond meal, coffee flour, salt, and baking powder first (and cinnamon if using).  Then add in the brown sugar, peanut butter, coffee extract, flax egg (flax/water mixture), oats and coffee. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips last.
  • Spread into baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, checking at 25 minutes depending on the oven.
  • Let cool completely before cutting into bars and store in airtight container for up to one week (or freeze).

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Give them a try and tell me what you think!!!!!!!! Enjoy!

Stay Delicious,

Lauren

 

The Flour Series: Coffee Flour

First up on The Flour Series is…. Coffee Flour!

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What is it?

Coffee Flour is a new gluten-free flour option making its way into mainstream grocery stores as we speak.

As the Trader Joe’s package above states, coffee flour is made from dried and then ground coffee cherry husks and skins. One benefit of this is that this part of the coffee plant is usually thrown away and this new use is allowing the coffee industry to produce less waste, #wasteless!

Although I assumed the flour would have that fantastic caffeine-inducing smell to it by which coffee reels me in, it does not. The best way to describe the taste of this flour is somewhere between date and raisin. Not what you would expect.

The caffeine content is definitely present but probably won’t give you as much of a kick as you hoped. Claims are that it has about 60mg of caffeine per tablespoon, which sounds like a lot, but most recipes have you replacing less than a quarter cup of flour with coffee flour (or 10-15% substitution) because of the strong flavor. So spread that 240mg of caffeine over an entire pan of brownies and (unless your intent is to eat the entire pan) you are getting a pretty minimal amount.

Benefits of coffee flour include 3x more iron than spinach, 5x more fiber than whole grain wheat flour, 38% more antioxidants than pomegranate, 2x more potassium than bananas, 3x more protein than kale and 84% less fat than coconut flour.       Dude.

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One thing to be aware of is that none of the coffee flours I have seen claim to be organic. Coffee is one of the most chemically-treated crops in the world. So regardless of whether you are a strict organic consumer or not, this is a potential concern and you might not want to add this to every dish your making until more research is available.

What do you do with it?

Because of the harsh, somewhat bitter taste of the flour, most recipes you find on-line are for brownies or something with a lot of chcolate and sugar to help balance the flavor. Check out the photo above and see the coffee flour package has a brownie recipe on the back.

For the sheer irony of it, I am looking for a good coffee cake recipe to try using the coffee flour. Epicurious.com has some good options I’m considering since I don’t have a tried and true coffee cake recipe of my own yet.

Some resources say you can add this flour to other things like smoothies and sauces, but I haven’t tested that personally.

What does BTN do with it?

Well… I’ve tried a number of recipes, some better than others. Apparently the first round of coffee flour cookies I tried only got published in my Instastories on Instagram… Meaning those photos are gone from posterity. But my initial reaction was that they were very date-y and bitter and I did not want to double up the sugar to make then taste like a cookie.

So my next experiment was using the flour to make a morning bar, something you would expect to be more earthy, like trail mix. I did a number of trials trying to get a good bar that people would like… And still the reaction I got from what I consider my “mainstream feedback” was that they were still too earthy.

With that said, Nick and I really enjoyed them based on our palate. And even though I won’t be adding them to my order forms, look for a follow up post with the recipe coming soon!

One option I did really like was the Mocha Protein Cookies! The addition of a stevia-sweetened protein powder actually made the cookie quite delicious! I will be adding that to my offerings this month! It is packed with protein,  low on sugar, includes all the coffee flour benefits, and pretty good for a morning snack!

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I hope this helps to answer your questions and assumptions on coffee flour! I had a blast testing it this last month and I’ll keep you all in the loop as I continue to understand it’s benefits.

Have a cookie,

Lauren

The Flour Series

I am going to be starting a series on different types of gluten-free flours, what they are best used for, key nutritional benefits and some of my favorite recipes. Stay tuned! I will come back and link them all here as I post them.  Comment below if I don’t have a flour listed that you are particularly interested in.

POSTS COMING SOON:

Coffee Flour

Buckwheat Flour
Banana Flour

Chickpea Flour

Almond Flour vs Almond Meal

Coconut Flour

Oat Flour

Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour

Rice Flour

New Friends

Today I interviewed Katelyn Lesk on Gluten Free-Way! Although we only met a few short months ago, it seems like it was a long time coming because we knew almost instantly when we met she would be a great guest for the show! Check out the link below on how gluten-freedom has become her lifestyle and her whys behind it! We had a great time chatting and I hope you see more of her in our Baked True North news moving forward.

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Have a cookie!

Lauren

And the Winner is…

Katelyn!

Private Message me on Facebook and we’ll work out the details of the cookies! 🙂

 

Thanks everyone for commenting and creating the buzz! I pulled names out of a lunch box… for lack of a hat. But I loved all your favorites and they gave me some good ideas. Stay tuned for the giveaway cookie new release coming in the next month!

 

Have a cookie!

Lauren

Giveaway TIME!

In honor of spring and everything good in life… I am going to do a giveaway now! But it’s only going to run now until midnight on April 1st! Comment on this post as to what your favorite type of cookie is and I will pick 1 lucky winner to get 4 large cookies either in that flavor (if it makes sense) or in another flavor I offer.

Ready? Set? COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!

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Have a cookie!

– Lauren

Green Baking… eggs, but no ham.

Half of this post is an exciting science mistake/discovery and half of this post is a promotional product pitch.

It all started with an order.  For me it usually does. I may have launched my business on the fact that I make darn good gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, but I have since realized  that most of the time people order bakes goods, they are looking for something special.  Chocolate chip cookie are a regular delivery for me to Good L’Oven, but this particular week they asked for half of the order to be Snicker-doodles.

For those who don’t know, snicker-doodles are cinnamon sugar cookies. So, I knew my usually cookie dough base, boasting a peanut buttery taste, was going to be too strong for this cookie.  I do love baking with butters though. Nut butters are a staple for my cookies.  So in the quest to find a more mild flavor that wouldn’t drown the cinnamon, I got some sunflower butter to experiment with. Sunflower butter is just like a peanut butter, but is not as strongly flavored.

So, after I whipped up a batch with the sunflower butter, I split one in half for Nick and I to try, and you wouldn’t believe what I saw…

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The middle of the cookie was bright GREEN.

At first I panicked… and I was trying to remember from high school chemistry if it was possible that my blender and metal bowl had caused some chemical reaction with an ingredient. So what other choice did I have but to go to Google. I searched “why is the middle of my cookie green?!!” For some reason I was sure Google would know and this time I was not let down.

Apparently, I was on to something with my limited chemistry memory, but it was the sunflower seed butter and the baking soda! The chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds reacts with the baking soda when I baked it, causing the green color to appear in the middle when the cookies cooled. Thankfully the cookies were edible! And we sure did eat them up. So, I gave one to my trusty, foodie, health friend Meredith to test and make sure she survived. She did. I however did change the recipe before delivering said baked goods to my customer. (phew!)

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(side note that I bragged to my best friend and high school chemistry lab partner about my discovery… and we determined that this was more than we may have ever learned in high school…)

Now I promised there would be another part of this post that is more promotional product pitch… Green Tea Mini Muffins! I recently received an order for a few batches of green mini muffins for St. Patty’s day.

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So here they are… green tea mini muffins! They have a light green color, so I left some plain, some with crushed pistachios and some with mini chocolate chips. Great morning treat for the breakfast event and so cute too! I might try to make them a touch greener, but I am very happy with them and they are now available for order!

  • $6/dozen for the plain minis
  • $7/dozen for either of the toppings

Let me know if you want to order these for your St. Patty’s get-togethers by shooting me an e-mail at bakedtruenorth@gmail.com or message me on my Facebook page… or scroll up to the Contact link and shoot me a note there!

Thanks to everyone for tuning in for some green fun! Happy St. Patty’s Day (a bit early)!

Have a Cookie,

Lauren