January Resolutions?

December 31st isn’t the only time to set resolutions.  I actually find it is usually the worst time for me to set resolutions, because I am putting so much pressure on starting the New Year right that I blow it and can’t mentally recover for months. So this year, I have eased into resolutions.

In early January I created a road map for my business with goals for each month, so I could focus each month of doing something better or different instead of making a list of all the things I wanted to fix instantly. Similarly, Nick and I broke our year up into quadrants for personal development, allowing each quarter of the year to be focused on something specifically, including books, learning, and actions.

So, even though I was behind in reading my various newsletters, I pulled up the December issue of Celebrate Gluten-Free Magazine and noticed an article titled Gluten-Free Resolutions. The author’s three resolutions, in summary, are 1) convert a family recipe to gluten-free at each holiday, 2) get involved with the gluten-free community, and 3) cook more.

It got me to thinking how much those resolutions jived with my goals, both personal and business. One of my BTN big picture goals is to create a community of people centered around both gluten-free education and food.  Food in-general is known to bring people together, but specifically allowing gluten-free food to do the same in our community, north of Pittsburgh… and HERE in this little virtual space I’ve created.

So maybe it’s cheating to steal other people’s resolutions, but I also really liked the first one about converting family recipes and it has inspired me. Just being honest… we don’t have very many “family recipes”, and even less family recipes that are baked goods.  One of those was the peanut butter chocolate kiss cookie… which I did end up making gluten-free for this Christmas! Then in anticipation of Valentines day and spring, I have remade the sugar cookie, and I suppose every family has some tried and true sugar cookie recipe.

So be on the look out for future holidays where I reveal some family or simply traditional recipes that we have remade, gluten-freedom style. What old family recipes can you add your own twist too this year? Comment below and share with the community! I’ll try not to steal any of your ideas!

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Have a cookie,

Lauren Marts

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Community of Educated Eaters

One of my personal goals as a business owner, beyond bringing you delicious gluten-free goodies for purchase, is to build community. That is something personally I have desired for years, but has become part of my Baked True North vision now…

To create a community of educated eaters.

So, I am embarking on a new side of my blogger-hood and business ownership… A YouTube channel! It is all just a lot of fun, in effort to bring the local gluten-free community together. It is not an opinion video, not of me telling you what I think… But rather sharing experiences of others in order to learn and come together. And as a brain-child, it was born…
Baked True North’s Gluten Free-Way: a “carpool karaoke” type interview with the gluten-free community.

Gluten Free-Way YouTube Channel – Episode 1

So check out the link above… It is the very special of all guests to kick off the channel. The one, the only…

Nicholas Donald Marts!

That’s my husband! So, please enjoy the show and share with your friends! Also, if you have any specific questions for Nick or questions you’d like to hear me ask future guests, comment on this post!

Have a cookie,

Lauren Marts

Oktoberfest at Baked True North

I am reading this great book right now called “Bread and Wine” by Shauna Niequist. My fiend Kim lent it to me and I have been TEARING through it.  Nick is thoroughly surprised as I usually do not read through book suggestions this quickly… or through any books at all! I have this wonderful habit of reading a book 1/2 to 3/4 through and then starting another book and forgetting about it.  I actually did this twice consecutively this summer leading up to this book.  But it won’t happen this time as I can hardly put it down and will definitely have it finished within the 2 week mark.

Shauna’s simple and honest chapters have drawn me in and I have connected with them.  They seem to be teaching me a few things.  One, to experiment more with food and test and grow my boundaries. Two, she has rekindled my love for entertaining and instilled in me a desire to throw fantastically normal get-togethers at our house.  What I mean by normal… is just, the reminder that things don’t have to be perfect, they will never go how you planned, but people, love, and community are the important parts to make central to the event.

I got to practice this “let go and host” mentality for an Oktoberfest event for our small group.  I was only asked to provide dessert and open my doors and everyone else would bring the rest.  I invited a few last minute guests as well to test my welcoming spirit and 2 out 3 invites came and made the party so much better!

The recipe I chose for Oktoberfest challenged me as a baker to make something pretty, not just good tasting.  Most of the things I make are not difficult or detailed in presentation and I am not a detailed person so I do not often try complicated recipes. “The Best German Chocolate Cake in All the Land” was the base for my cake. I made a few adjustments based on need and preference, but just about followed this recipe from Yammie’s Noshery.

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This picture describes the massive, messy, chocolaty German cake we had.

The alterations I made to the recipe (linked above) was as follows:

  • Cake:
    • Midnight Cocoa (high in protein) instead of dark cocoa
    • Canned coconut milk instead of cow’s milk
    • 2 cups sugar + 1/2 cup Stevia instead of 3 cups sugar
    • All-purpose gluten-free flour instead of rice flour
  • German frosting:
    • Unsweetened shredded coconut instead of sweetened
    • Pecans only for the top layer, not throughout
  • Milk Chocolate Frosting:
    • 4 cups powdered sugar instead of 5 cups
    • Leftover evaporated milk instead of cow’s milk

So, a few of those things I changed out of necessity and might not have otherwise… like the pecans.  I didn’t have any and by the time Nick got home with them the cake was done, so I sprinkled them on top. I do try to replace some sugar with Stevia when I can, and there is SOOO much sugar in this recipe that you will NOT notice a difference in taste. I also almost never put as much powdered sugar into frosting recipes as they call for, just on general principle that I am appalled at how much sugar it takes to make frosting!

Although I am not adding it to the Baked True North menu, it has inspired a few new recipes that I will be experimenting with and you may see those on the menu in the next month (German chocolate cookies…?)!

Overall I had a blast making this recipe and everyone loved how rich it was, even though they couldn’t eat more than a small piece.

HAPPY OKTOBERFEST!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Our FIRST EVENT!

Sunday was Baked True North’s first event and our first sales ever! And it went awesome!

For comic relief, the most challenging part was getting the tent set up in the morning… Our dear dear friends were nice enough to let us borrow both a table and their tent for the day. Admittedly they had only used the tent once and told us “good luck” when handing it off. Neither Nick (my awesome, wonderful husband) or myself had ever put together a tent like this before. But thanks to Nick’s willingness to try-fail-adjust, and me biting my tongue occassionally, we got it figured out! Only 75ish minutes later.

But anyway, our table set up was awesome and we got many compliments on it.

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I thought the tablecloth and flowers gave a nice touch. We sampled the cookies all day, and had a very high turnover rate of skeptical people trying to hurry by, but when I convinced them to try the Signature Chocolate Chip, they were hooked, purchased, and signed up for the dozen cookie giveaway.

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The 2 cookies we sold and sampled were the Signature Chocolate Chip and the Pumpkin Waffle Cookie. We got great feedback again on the waffle cookies as I try to perfect them… “Surprisingly cakey” and “oh, there’s nuts in here!”

My lovely friend Brianna and her beautiful son came and helped for a while, and it was so great to have some Bellevue friend support. Over all I hit my personal sales goal and got my name out there! We made some new friends as well!

After the event was over we ran up to the main drag in Bellevue where a car cruise was happening. I brought with me a few cookies to deliver to the lovely family that loaned us the table and tent, and I got stopped in the street and asked where he could get some homemade cookies like what I was carrying!

So… Next time we join the car cruise. Done. Successful day for Baked True North! Thanks for everyone that came out and supported!

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