A “Neat” Discovery

So, it’s 23 days into my gluten-free diet and I was beginning to run out of dinners that were gluten-free and contained the right amount of protein. It’s expensive to have meat at every meal and there’s only so much beans and rice one can have! So I ventured into a new world.

At our local grocery store there was a packet of this meat replacement called “Neat”. Not only is it gluten-free, but also 100% vegetarian and soy free! The greatest part, the company is also based out of Lancaster County!

Last night for dinner was the first time I used the product and it was absolutely fantastic. I used their Italian Mix to make “neatballs” for a pasta dish, which I used corn noodles in place of regular wheat pasta. The meal was very easy, and tasted exactly like meatballs would. I highly recommend this product even if you aren’t a vegetarian!

To find out if Neat is near you go to their website where they also have more recipes and information about their product!

Two Favorites and One Fail

Well, it’s been a little over a week since I started living gluten-free and most of the things I’ve tried are great, with one exception. My friends always post beautiful pictures of their breakfast parfait, you know the ones with yummy yogurt topped with fresh fruit and healthy granola? Well, I decided to try that for breakfast one day so I bought the cheapest store brand bulk yogurt at our local grocery store and a bag of Viki’s blueberry almond gluten-free granola. I topped the yogurt with some fresh strawberries, blueberries, and the granola and it looked fantastic!

My first gluten-free fail

Except, the yogurt I bought was fat free and extremely dry. My advice, don’t skimp on the yogurt, go for the name brand and don’t be afraid to get one with a regular fat content. Afterall, a good dose of healthy fat before a busy day at work or going to the gym gives you the boost of energy you need!

Besides the yogurt fail I’ve had two great successes, first eggplant parmesan. The only difference between your favorite eggplant parmesan recipe and this one is with the bread crumbs. Gluten-free bread crumbs can be super expensive and sometimes hard to find. In this case, I just took some rice crackers and pulsed them in a food processor until they were the consistency of bread crumbs. It was super easy and rice crackers are very inexpensive!

Yummy and inexpensive gluten-free eggplant!

Yummy and inexpensive gluten-free eggplant!

My second favorite, so far, was my first experiment with Goldilocks Goodies sandwich bread. You see the bread is just the right thickness to be perfect for french toast. So that’s exactly what I made! With my french toast I like to use pumpkin pie spice since it’s exactly the same as any homemade spices one would mix up for french toast. It was quite possibly the best french toast I’ve ever had. I highly recommend making this heavenly breakfast the next time you buy Goldilocks Goodies sandwich bread.

Goldilocks Goodies gluten-free french toast!

Goldilocks Goodies gluten-free french toast!

Thanksgiving Pie Pre-Orders!

Thanksgiving is fast approaching!

If you live in Lancaster County, PA, you may pre-order a pie and stuffing (gluten-free, fresh-baked, from local ingredients) through Lemon Street Market. Check out their form here: http://www.lemonstreetmarket.com/2014/thanksgiving-pre-orders/

(You must hand it to store in person and pre-pay). Deadline for pre-order is Sunday, November 23.

If you live in the DC area, you may pre-order a pie from Salud, the Healthy Pantry (Great Falls, VA) and pick up in store Tuesday, November 25th. Again, orders and payments must be done in store. Deadline to order is Sunday, November 23.

Or, you may pre-order through me by clicking here to pre-pay on paypal. You must pick up from Pleasant Pops between Tuesday at 3 p.m. – Wednesday at 3 p.m. Please write your flavor (apple, pecan, shoofly, pumpkin) in the notes section of the paypal invoice.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family! I’m so grateful for fans and customers like you!

Happy 4th of July!

Quick update before the holiday:

This month’s The Hour* DC is just announced at La Mano Coffee Bar in Takoma Park.  We’ll be meeting in the cafe for beverages and eats and scooping gelato in the grass across from the shop!  Come make friends with the gluten-free community in DC’s one and only exclusively gluten-free happy hour series.   the hour short

Gourmet gluten-free grilled cheese too good to be true?  Not so!  GCDC downtown and Sona Creamery in Eastern Market both have Goldilocks Goodies amazing sandwich bread on the menu.

We’ve expanded the selection in downtown Lancaster at Lemon Street Market. Just in time for fresh fruit season, gluten-free pie crusts are in the upstairs freezer.    Simply thaw in fridge, add filling and topping and bake 20-30 minutes.  Or thaw and fill, top with whipped cream and no need to bake!  Also look for chocolate peppermint whoopie pies, sandwich bread and cinnamon raisin bread.  mini blueberry pie

A great big thank you to my loyal fans of fresh-baked, all natural and delicious gluten-free treats.  You’re supporting the local farms, suppliers and shop owners in your community – from the gal working the register in DC to the Amish woman gathering eggs in Lancaster County.  Have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Get Goldilocks Goodies to the Big Apple!

Dear Fans,

I’ve made a big decision to attend this summer’s Fancy Food Show in New York City.  This annual expo showcases unique and innovative food products, and champions artisanal food companies.  I’d love to share my cookies with the industry on a national platform, and turn my company into a nationwide brand.

gg in big apple The cost of the show is very pricey; they can demand a high price knowing that key industry contacts will be made.  If I wait for my own profits to pay for it, it will take me another year or more to save.  And the food industry, like most others, is very time-sensitive.  I don’t want to wait until there is a similar (sub-par!) product on the market.

To that end, I’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the booth rental and costs of attending the show this summer.  If you also believe there is a national audience ready and hungry for a treat as special and satisfying as my cookies, I would really appreciate your donation to make it possible this year.  Here is the link to my campaign video and donation page.

I’m really excited about the difference this will make in the growth of Goldilocks Goodies and know that your support and appreciation has gotten me as far as I have today.  Thank you for being a fan.

I can’t believe it’s October already!

pumpkin and gourds in lancaster countyhappy new year!

The change of seasons to autumn always feels like a much more authentic new year to me.  Seems I do my best “spring cleaning,” feel rejuvenated, and set goals in October.  October was when I registered my company and bought my first car.  [And as fate would have it, I have to get a new car this month to replace my beloved Penny who was badly damaged in a hit-and-run.]

It wasn’t too long ago that for our agricultural-based calendar, summers were vacation from school – not so the family could pack up and head to the shore – but because all hands were needed in the field.  It was the busiest time of year, doing exhausting physical labor and sleeping soundly through the shortened nights.  tobacco in field Lancaster CountyAnd now, with the harvest moon a few weeks ago and daylight getting shorter, the fields in Lancaster County look like they’ve all got new haircuts, barns are bursting with dried tobacco leaves, and feed trucks are making the rounds to store up a winter supply.

It’s time to look back at what’s been reaped this year and look ahead.  I’m about to finish another great market season around Maryland and DC, and you’ll now see over a dozen places between VA and PA that you can buy Goldilocks Goodies.  I’ve also offered more resources to my fans through my Pinterest page of recipes, conversions, and health tips.  This winter I’m excited to be offering a baking class through Living Social and some super-exclusive brunches at my home in DC.  Stay tuned for those details and in the meantime, come see me at these places during October:

This Saturday, October 5 I’ll be debuting at the DC Meet Market with my PB cookies, pumpkin whoopie pies, and spice pumpkin bread alongside beautiful handmade ceramics from Cloud Terre designs.

Farmers Market at University of Maryland every Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. in front of Cole Field House.  Or the Maryland Food Collective in the basement of the Stamp.

Pleasant Pops in NW DC is debuting a new brunch menu including my gluten-free quiche by the slice

Last Call! Petworth Community Market closes this month!  I’ll be there 2 more Fridays from 4-7 p.m.: Friday, October 11 and Friday, October 25th. 

My goodies are now up on Relay Foods for every customer between Baltimore to Richmond.  Delivery to your door or pick-up from a convenient location.  On offer: PB chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate pecan cookies and chocolate whoopie pies.

Second Sunday at Ellicott City will be October 13 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. by the Historic City’s visitor center.  I’ll have pumpkin pie, apple pie, pumpkin whoopie pies, and my famous cookies.  Come try some goodies and check out the wonderful produce and products from Friends & Farms on offer (and sign up for a trial basket).

A reminder that East King Culinary is officially open for lunch!  Offering seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients for soups, salads and panini in downtown Lancaster, PA.  Grab some Goldilocks Goodies for dessert!

As always, you can find my goodies at TPSS Co-op, Kefa Cafe, Friends & Farms, Lemon Street Market, Salud Healthy Pantry and La Mano Coffee Bar. If you’d like to order a personalized treat or gift, e-mail me (emily@goldilocksgoodies.com) and pick up at UMD or Pleasant Pops with no delivery charge!  Or order on-line and receive in the mail.

Thanks for reading and thank you, as always, for your support of Goldilocks Goodies!

Behind the Design (Part 1)

So much went into designing and finishing the brand for Goldilocks Goodies I hardly know where to begin.  Soon after I started brainstorming, I realized this needed to be a multi-storied approach, so here is the first.

I knew the most important concept to me was that I come from a very talented line of bakers.  Growing up, I’m pretty sure my mom had something in the oven every day of the week – baked oatmeal, bran muffins, chocolate chip cookies, zucchini bread . . .  The smells would wake us in the morning and greet us when we got home from school.  Everything she made would be gone that day so it was a constant array of treats every week.  (She also canned vegetables, made jelly and pickled beets, rolled pasta and sewed our clothes but I’ll try not to veer off course here).  She learned most of this from her mom, but she’s also been very diligent at collecting recipes from friends, potlucks and even restaurants.  The first bite of something she loved, she would say, “I could make this at home.”

Her mother is a legendary baker – I swear she can make a pie crust in her sleep and she never uses a recipe.  Like most farm girls that married, she was expected to cook for her husband (and his family at times) according to their tastes.  She was shown how by her mother-in-law; Taught in the kitchen, by watching and doing, so there were never recipes written down.  Her grandkids all swoon over her spaghetti sauce, cooked down all day on an iron skillet from her own canned tomatoes.  She would make legendary pies out of the huckleberries our pop-pop would hand pick in the mountains every summer.  The cookies for holidays are momentous  – one entire closet held all the hand made cookies – sand tarts so thin and crispy they were heavenly, raisin-filled cookies, ranger cookies, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate dipped peanut butter crackers, turtles, snowballs, and regular ol’ chocolate chip.  The cookie tray would make the rounds of the table to protests, after huge portions of ham, oyster stuffing, venison, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, string beans, sweet corn . . . but we couldn’t say no.  Then came the pies, pumpkin pies, minced meat pies, shoo fly pies, pecan pies. Groans! Pie!  No more!  My grandmother would also make her own doughnuts, a great-aunt was known for her bear claws, and my grandfather would make his own potato chips and churn ice cream.  We would call them up after the first good snow to see if they were making ice cream up the road.  Such treats.

Her mother-in-law was the maker of the family-famous old-fashioned caramel icing.  Let me tell you about this icing.  It adorns chocolate cake at special occasions throughout the year.  When I was little it was mostly at family picnics and my grandparents’ annual corn roast (If you haven’t had sweet corn, picked that day from the field, and roasted in burlap bags over a charcoal pit, my friends. …).  My mom and a few aunts continue to make the cake upon request for holidays and I think all of us kids say we request it for our birthdays (and I’m happy to say there are no gluten ingredients in it so I continue to enjoy it on a wonderfully rich, soft, gluten-free chocolate cake).  Ahem.  Back to the story.  I wonder if she learned from her mother, or her mother-in-law and I think about the history and traditions behind the food we eat.

To that end, I didn’t know much about my grandmother’s side of the family.  The farm she lived on during my lifetime was from her husband’s side of the family, with the father (my great-grandfather) and a great uncle running the dairy farm attached.  Combined, they had hundreds of acres, for potatoes, corn, sheep and cows.  This was my backyard.  I could literally walk through the woods to my great uncle’s dairy farm, and from his house down a farm lane to my great-grandfather’s house.  Then through another path to one of my aunt’s house and finally to my grandparents house.

I went out sight-seeing with my grandmother one day for her to show me where she grew up, and where her relatives were from.  The barn in the picture is where her father grew up – it would have belonged to my great-great-grandfather.  It took some trouble finding it since the farm path that used to connect from the main road is no longer there.  We had to explore some smaller paved roads to reach it and it’s now Amish-owned.  I’m glad to see it is still a working farm.  Thank goodness there are places like Lancaster County.

barn sepia

Of course, there’s a lot to be said about using local (and hyper-local) ingredients in baking and cooking.  But the precious time and skill that these farm women had while raising kids and driving a tractor is absolutely awe-inspiring.  After a long day in the kitchen, I think about my grandmother hand rolling a hundred sand tarts and seeing them gone in a day.  Or my mom making thousands of meals for our family from scratch and gone in 30 minutes. It’s truly humbling.  I love the fact that everything I make under Goldilocks Goodies is made by hand, and as the audience grows, I vow to stay committed to the care and skill that my foremothers had every time they wrapped an apron around their waist and rolled up their sleeves.  It’s about taste.  It’s about quality.  It’s about care.

To be continued.. . .

Turning Over a New Leaf

This time of year has always felt like a more appropriate New Year than in January, when the light is always quick to go, the cold nights are all the same, and it’s hard to get motivated to start something new.  During Fall, the harvest happening outside my window in Lancaster County feels like a fresh start.  One cycle is clearly coming to an end, and as bales are tightly packed with twine and corn is filling the silo for the winter ahead, it seems a more appropriate time to reflect on the past year and start brainstorming for the year ahead.  Before the busy holiday season, and travel plans and party hosting, October is the best, with sunny days and crisp air, to set an inspired to-do list.

With a warm cup of apple cider in hand, I’m thinking about how many products I’ve made and shared with you.  I started with flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in the summer of 2011 with friends and family.  They’ve remained a best seller, but I’ve been so happy getting creative with seasonal cakes and muffins that are based on my mom’s recipes that I enjoyed when I was younger and had to convert to gluten-free.   Goldilocks Goodies is also about to go through a physical change with a new brand reveal coming soon that more reflects my family ties to Lancaster County, my objective to maintain the farming lifestyle here with local suppliers and to one day buy back the farmland that belonged to my great-grandfather.  I’m excited to debut it this month and to continue expanding my markets, along with appreciative fans and new friends.

I’m still a one-woman show, (plus my mom giving incredible support of her time and talent in the kitchen!), and will try my best to accommodate holiday orders, care packages and new vendors for Goldilocks Goodies as well as getting in the test kitchen with your wonderful ideas of savory items, sandwich breads, handmade chocolates and more.  I love to hear your feedback and recipe ideas, and of course, your continued support of my goodies keeps me going!   What do you have planned for the new year?

Shiny New Penny

With the start of this business, I also had to face the reality of a car purchase to shuttle between DC and Lancaster, PA. It was one not made easily, as I took pride in the fact that enough public transportation modes were available when I needed it (and many kind friends and family members to pick me up from the station!). The fact that there are great hybrid cars available now though made this a little easier. And the fact that it was love at first sight. My Prius, Penny is just the right size for me and my crates, boxes and tables and is so much roomier than she looks on the outside. She also had great qualities that I came to realize in the coming weeks.    penny

Most of you know that Lancaster County has a very large Amish community that utilizes the ultimate oil-free/non-fuel dependent vehicle there is: a horse-drawn carriage. My part of the county is particularly made up of farmland and I don’t go a day out of my driveway without passing an Amish buggy. With country road driving also comes narrow roads and bends on roads without painted lines (or sidewalks or utility poles). It was on one such bend that I was driving behind an Amish buggy and my consumption of gas went to 99.99 gallons per mile. I looked at the speedometer to see I was going about 9 miles per hour. As my engine switched off, I was able to hear the clip-clop of the horse’s shoes on the pavement in front of me, and thought, “How perfect. Penny is right at home here in the countryside, practically designed to trot alongside my horse-drawn neighbors.” It’s a nice thought that helps push away the impatience of being “stuck” on the road.

The following week on my return to DC I turned onto the Baltimore-Washington Parkway only to come to an immediate halt. A bad accident farther up had brought the highway to a crawl. It took me almost 3 hours to get from Baltimore to DC, but again I had a comforting thought to outweigh the long drive – Penny delightfully crawled and coasted her way down the road and managed to use only about 1 gallon of gas for the entire trip!

So, it’s not a zero-carbon-footprint situation, but don’t you agree this is a match made in heaven? She’s perfectly suited to her city life and small parking spaces and stop-n-go traffic as much as she is on an open country road. Happiness on wheels!