Friday, September 28, 2007

Crisp mornings, pumpkins & cranberries

I hope that all of you out there have been enjoying the cooler weather we have had lately. I personally love it! My husband and I walk our spoiled rotten westie every morning; amazing how motivating a puppy can be (walk the dog or have him wreak havoc in the house hmm...) So we have all been enjoying the pleasant morning temperatures, especially the very furry puppy!

So the cooler temps have me thinking about autumn meals. What is more autumnish than pumpkins & cranberries? I love pumpkin anyway, ask my husband about how I sneak a can in mac & cheese, chili, etc. It is so mild flavored no one will ever know, and you're adding vegetables!

Ok enough of the sneaky vegetable discussion. I'm adding a new item to my line up. Pumpkin cranberry spelt baby cakes Let me break that down, I started with a pumpkin bread and swapped whole spelt flour for wheat flour and the baby cakes refers to the mini bundt cake pan I bake them in. Now even though I'm calling this a "cake" it is much healthier than the standard cake. There is more pumpkin in this recipe than most other pumpkin breads, as a result the texture is moist & creamy. I cut down the amount of sugar to have a lightly sweetened cake, but not a toothache. The fat is primarily canola oil with a little bit of butter. There are yummy spices to lightly flavor but not overpower the mild taste of the pumpkin. Oh yeah other healthy stuff like cranberries & flax seeds (a great source of omega 3's that doesn't taste fishy!) What about the spelt? Well I have had several customers request spelt yeast breads & I have stayed away because of the difficulty of making a yeast bread with entirely spelt flour- it doesn't rise as well. Whole spelt flour is great in quickbreads (cakes, muffins...), it is more tender than whole wheat & has a milder flavor. Although it has gluten, people with gluten intolerance may be able to handle spelt. This is a good list of facts about spelt, there is plenty of information out there.

My reason for wanting to include spelt in my lineup of goods is to increase the diversity of ingredients I bake with. With any diet it is best to have variety (of good nutritious choices of course). Spelt has advantages over oatmeal and vice versa depending upon the nutrient.

Ingredients: organic stone-ground whole spelt flour, pumpkin, sucanat, organic raw cane sugar, cage free eggs, water, canola oil, flax seed, egg whites, butter, dried buttermilk powder, cake spice, baking soda, salt, powdered vanilla

Most importantly my Pumpkin cranberry spelt baby cakes are yummy! So please come try some, I'll be at the market Sat, October 6th.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You are what you eat...

Yeah that old saying really is true and we seem to hear more about it these days.

But people still like cookies, muffins, biscotti, cinnamon rolls... So my philosophy is eat those things, but healthier versions and in moderation. When I say my cookies are better for you I don't mean substitute one for the piece of fruit you were going to eat! There is room in a healthy diet for treats.

So how do I make "healthier" treats? Pay attention to the ingredients I cook with. Yes using higher quality, healthier ingredients is more expensive, but I don't want to sell baked goods that I wouldn't bake for my own family. So let me break down some of the products I use and give you more information. I think for now I'll touch on sweeteners and leave the other ingredients for later.


Honey- I use local organic honey to help support our local farmers and to decrease the amount of pesticides we are ingesting. Here is a link to some nutrition info.

Blackstrap molasses- I love the flavor of this nutritious syrup, so hearty & rich. I use it in my ginger cookies, wheatberry bread, pumpernickel bread. The organic, unsulfured molasses I use has the best flavor of any molasses I have ever tasted. I love the fact this is a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium among other nutrients.

Sucanat- b/c I can't always use molasses in baking I use this unrefined dried cane juice in place of brown sugar. It is in my cinnamon rolls and ginger cookies. I figure it's better to get some nutrients with your sugar. On the very bottom of this page is some info nutrients found in sucanat.

Organic raw cane sugar- in some recipes (toffee biscotti, chocolate cherry muffins) I don't want the flavor of molasses overpowering more subtle flavors. So instead of using completely refined sugar I use this. Although it is not as nutrient rich as molasses it does have some of the nutrients that refined sugar is void of.

Organic barley malt syrup- has a distinct malted flavor that is nice in my barley apricot bread. This is not the brand I use but here is some good information malt.

Boiled apple cider- it is what it sounds like, a fruit juice that has been reduced to a syrup. It is sweet, but in a mild unassuming way. B/c it is mild & expensive I can't use this for everything. It is a nice subtle sweetener for my malted apple bread & the only sweetener I use in that bread. Certainly it can not be considered a fruit, I know the fiber & nutrients were lost in processing, but it is a less refined sugar for sure.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Kick off your fall with my Toffee Biscotti!

Ok, Daniel & I have missed quite a few market days lately. We've been out of town visiting family. And to tell you the truth the heat did make it a little harder to spend an entire Saturday morning outside. But last Saturday was beautiful, truly a blessing. We had a good many visitors to our booth and at the market in general. Thanks to all my loyal customers once again, without you buying my bread I wouldn't need to bake it!

So autumn begins next Sunday, I think a great way to celebrate that would be to come & check out the Belhaven market (a day early of course). And a delicious way to enjoy your time there would be to try some of my new Toffee Biscotti! Crispy, buttery biscotti with chunks of toffee are especially delicious dipped in coffee or milk. Did I mention they have 3/4 the butter of regular biscotti & are 100% whole grain?

Ingredients: organic stone-ground white whole wheat flour, organic cane sugar, canola oil, butter, cage free eggs, organic stone-ground whole barley flour, toffee bits, baking powder, vanilla extract, baking soda, salt

Nutrient analysis: 1 biscotti: 205 kCal, 30g carb ( 14g sugar, 2g fiber), 8g fat (3g sat, 3g monounsat, 1g polyunsat), 5g protein

I will be adding some more delicious breads to my line-up for the up coming holiday season. So come check the Hearth Leaven Loaves booth out!