Monday, April 30, 2012

A bit of bittersweet news...

We started Better Bites Bakery in hopes that it would benefit other families just like ours. Folks just trying to feed their kids fun and safe desserts that actually tasted like the “real thing”. The Austin community has been amazing in supporting our efforts and we have been so blessed to share our desserts with some remarkable families for birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations.
 Helping to lay the foundation for this business has been a dream come true. My heart skips a beat every time I see a little one bite into one of our goodies knowing that they are enjoying food the way little kids should be able to, without worry. Leah and I have poured our time, energy, and hearts into bringing Better Bites Bakery to life over this past year, and I feel proud of what we’ve created. The time has come, though, for me to shift my focus back to my family for awhile. With 3 boys at home (one still a toddler), I feel that they are still needing all of the time and energy that I can give them. So, I will be taking a step back from the business, knowing that it will continue to grow and thrive because of the foundation that we worked so hard to lay and because of the wonderful families who have helped build it.
 Business will continue as usual and, being left in the capable hands of Leah, it will undoubtedly grow and continue to help more and more folks who value the mission that we started with. We are so grateful for the support, prayers, and continued business. We both feel so blessed to have met some amazing folks through this venture.
 And for those of you who wish to stay in contact with me, I would love to hear from you! I will eventually stop checking our business emails, so please shoot me a line at chrystalsmith003@gmail.com . I’ve thought about starting up another blog down the road as a way to stay connected with this great community of folks that we’ve met through Better Bites Bakery, so let me know if you’d like to be added to an email list.
 I cannot adequately express my gratitude in words to all of you who have shared your lives and stories with us. This business has been a blessing in so many ways, but connecting with all of you great folks has been inspiration beyond measure!
 Thank you for letting us share in all of your sweet moments.
 All the best, Chrystal

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Banana Walnut Pancakes (GFCF, egg free and soy free)

These are a staple around our house. We often make a few batches and freeze the leftovers to have ready-to-warm-up breakfast handy. Adding in some Enjoy Life chocolate chips can also add a little fun to the mix ;)



1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons hot water
3/4 cups sorghum flour
1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup hemp milk
1/2 large or a whole small banana
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup walnuts


Mix the flax seed and 3 tablespoons warm water together and set aside. It will become somewhat gelatinous.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, oats, and baking powder and set it aside.

In a blender mix together all the remaining ingredients except the walnuts. When they’re thoroughly mixed you can drop in the walnuts and pulse it a few times until they’re chopped up a bit. If you don’t want to mess around with a blender you’ll need to mash the banana and whisk it with the milk until smooth. Then whisk in the spices, oil, vanilla, brown sugar and flax gel. Chop the walnuts and stir in.

Pour about half of the wet mixture into the bowl with the flour and oats. Gently begin to stir together. Pour in the remaining wet ingredients and gently mix until everything is fully incorporated. At this point you can assess the texture of the batter. It will be thick. If you prefer thinner batter add some water a few tablespoons at a time until you reach the right consistency.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium high heat. You’ll know when it’s ready if a drop of water sizzles or dances over the surface. Scoop small ladles of batter onto the griddle, flip when you start to see bubbles forming and the pancake is browned.

Serve warm with banana slices, walnuts and maple syrup!

This recipe makes about 12 three-inch pancakes.

Note: You can probably substitute your favorite GF flour mix for the sorghum, any non-dairy (or dairy if you can have it) milk for hemp milk, and any vegetable oil for the grapeseed oil. Also, I used a very small amount of Earth Balance to grease the griddle and it worked perfectly.


(Recipe credit: The Sensitive Pantry www.thesensitivepantry.com)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A special message from the Better Bites Bakery mamas...

A little over 6 months ago... we sat on a warm, summery evening and chatted over a glass of wine. One of our many conversations about yummy foods, recipes, and the crazy challenges of trying to feed our kids with multiple food allergies. One glass turned into a few and the conversation quickly snowballed into a frenzy of “you-know-what-we-should-do”s and “what-if”s. We both grew excited at the idea of sharing our hard-fought battle to bring taste back to gluten free, allergen free foods.
But we were “just moms”. Not business women. Not entrepreneurs. We wouldn’t know the first thing about starting a food manufacturing business. So, we thought, we can just make our fun, tasty treats and offer them to the many families that we knew who also struggled with food allergies/sensitivities. That, we were qualified for.
The next several days we spent digging and pestering our business-savvy friends for answers. It seemed like a lot of work to make our little idea “legit”. So, we decided to just take it slow and see what happens. In a matter of a few weeks, we got the necessary legal requirements to manufacture and sell food and run a small business and found an extremely kind-hearted commercial kitchen owner and mentor willing to let us use her kitchen while we gave our little idea a go. Our hope was to just somehow make back the initial investment and have some fun sharing our specialty desserts.
We pieced together the necessary elements to run a business, found a young, home-schooled girl on Etsy to put together a logo and website for us, and we started to share with others what we were up to. Soon word spread. We did no advertising, and yet we were getting orders. Lots of orders. And it continued to grow, week after week.
Now... here we are, 6 months later. We have a full-time business that is growing faster than we could have ever anticipated. We went from being stay-at-home moms to full time business owners and bakers. And while we still are a small, scrappy little business, we feel that opportunity and demand has some great plans for our little “bakery baby”.
This week we are full steam in Valentine’s-Day-bake-a-thon-mode. Similar to the holiday rush, we anticipate little sleep and moments of borderline insanity. We decided that, while seemingly crazy, this is perhaps the best time to share with all of you what is in our hearts. To reflect on why we love this little business and why we are excited to know that the sky is the limit for our tasty, safe-for-all creations.
On almost a daily basis we receive a call or email from someone telling us how grateful they are for our mission to provide taste-good, allergen-free foods. You all have shared stories with us that move us to tears on a regular basis. Families who say that their child would not have otherwise been able to eat their own birthday cake because no one else was able/willing to make a cake free of the multiple, off-limits ingredients. Parents who have shared that now, after eating one of our treats, they’re still able to love on their babies without first needing to rinse out their mouths and wash their faces to clear away potential dangers left behind. Folks who are excited to be able to share their first cupcake as a married couple that they both can eat, together. Moms who have told us that they get to see their little ones find joy in food again and light up with excitement when they go to make their weekly stop for special treats. Teachers who have shared the excitement felt in the room when all of the students discovered that they can all eat the same treats provided for a friends birthday. We cannot tell you how much your stories mean to us. We have moments where we get lost in the stress of trying to create and maintain a business, and in those moments, we turn to these treasures you have shared with us. And we feel inspired and motivated to continue, and driven to grow. We are reminded that it isn’t just cupcakes, cookies, and cakeballs that we’re creating... it’s new family traditions, first bites of cupcakes and donuts, shared memories, worry-free desserts, friendships, awareness, and a togetherness around food.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for giving purpose and meaning to this little idea that 2 inspired moms came up with over some wine. We appreciate all of the referrals, feedback, kindness, prayers, and patience that you all have shown us... more than you know. Thank you for bringing us into your homes, special occasions, and family traditions. We pour our love into everything we make and to hear that it is actually felt just motivates us to continue to reach more families.
We have some big plans for 2012 and ideas abound. We appreciate your support throughout the likely growing pains and welcome all input. Among our many goals for this year, we are working on acquiring our own commercial kitchen space, which will allow us to greatly increase our volume and have a dedicated (and eventually certified) gluten free, peanut free, and dairy free environment. While this process will likely take longer than we’d like, we are excited about all of the growth to come in the (hopefully) near future.
Initially this started as a little business between the 2 of us, but we feel it has grown to become a community collaboration to fill a definite need in the Austin area. We are honored and humbled to be in the position that we’re in and we look forward to continuing this journey with all of you!

With Grateful Hearts,
Chrystal and Leah

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Duck Eggs and Munkebo Farm

As an added substitution option, we are teaming up with the local folks at Munkebo Farms in Manor, Tx to bring duck eggs as an alternative option in any of our baked goods (our products are generally egg free, unless noted).
Duck eggs differ in protein from chicken eggs and many people with chicken egg allergies find that they do not have a reaction with duck eggs. 4 out of 5 of our our collective group of boys have either an egg allergy (IgE) or egg intolerance. So far, they have all done well with duck eggs, so we thought we'd extend the option to our customers!
What are the benefits of using duck eggs in baking, you ask? More nutritious AND fluffier baked goods!
Check out some of these interesting facts:
A duck egg contains about 130 calories; an extra large chicken egg contains about 80. Of the calories in a duck egg, about 86 are from fat, mostly monounsaturated fat. One duck egg contains 205 percent of the daily value for cholesterol, 18 percent of the daily value for protein and 15 percent of the daily value for iron; 100 grams of duck egg contain more of the vitamins B6, B12 and A than the same amount of chicken egg.

Other Nutrients
You receive many nutritional benefits from eating a single, cooked duck egg. You'll get over half of the amount of vitamin B-12 your body needs each day for blood production and neurological function, and 19 percent of the DV you require of vitamin A for healthy bones, a strong immune system and good vision. Duck eggs also provide the following daily value percentages of B vitamins and minerals: 13 percent riboflavin, 8 percent B-6, 5 percent thiamin, 1 percent niacin,15 percent iron and phosphorus, 10 percent folate, 7 percent zinc, 4 percent calcium, 3 percent magnesium and 2 percent calcium.

(source: www.livestrong.com)

And while people who are allergic to chicken eggs may be able to eat duck eggs, keep in mind that it depends on the severity of the allergy and what, specifically, in the chicken egg the person is allergic to. Some people are allergic only to chicken eggs, some are allergic to all poultry products and all bird eggs. We recommend checking with your doctor first to help decide if it's an acceptable substitution.

We are excited to be working with Munkebo Farms and encourage you to learn more about their wonderful mission to bring local, organic, humanely-raised foods to Austin and surrounding areas. www.munkebofarm.com

Let us know if you're interested in trying any of our products with the duck egg substitution and we'll give you all of the details!

Monday, January 16, 2012

GFCF Asian Chicken Wraps

These are just like the ones available at Pei Wei and are great for lunch, snack, and on the go. Gluten Free and Dairy free. You can even lay out a variety of shredded veggies, rice, and other healthy ingredients and have everyone pick their own fillings. Our kids love coming up with new things they can add and then we have fun coming up with a unique name for their custom rolls :D
Here's the classic version...

Ingredients
1 pound boiled skinless chicken breast, sliced thinly
1/2 cup rice vermicelli, cooked
8 sheets of rice wrappers (approx. 8 inches in diameter- can be found in the Asian food section of most grocery stores)

1/4 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup carrot, shredded
8 leaves of butter lettuce
1½ tablespoons Thai basil leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped

For the dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons crunchy Sunbutter or peanut butter
4 tablespoons GF Hoisin sauce (can be found at most specialty grocery stores or you can use a mixture of a simple vinaigrette blended with honey to taste)


1. *Soak the rice wrappers briefly in a little warm water to soften.

2. Laying the rice wrappers flat, lay the butter lettuce in the center of the wrapper and add the desired amount of ingredients on top, leaving about 2 inches space on all sides.

3. Fold in two sides and tightly roll the spring roll.

4. To make the dipping sauce, heat the Sunbutter/peanut butter, lime juice and hoisin sauce with a little water to thin it out.

5. Serve the spring rolls with the dipping sauce.





*Working with the rice paper may take some getting used to since it's sticky and tears easily once it's wet. Think of it like a super thin tortilla and be sure not to soak it too long (it continues to soften after you dip it in water). After a few practice rolls you should have the hang of it ;)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quick & easy snack ideas!

We're often asked for ideas on healthy, allergen-free snack options that are kid friendly. Here are a couple quick and easy favorites of ours that are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and nut free.
Here's what you'll need on hand to pull off a sweet snack and a savory snack in 5 minutes or less...
Sweet:
1 banana
Sunbutter Natural Spread
Brown Rice Rice Cakes (we like the lightly salted version)
Honey (or agave syrup can be substituted)
Salty:
Food For Life Brown Rice Tortilla
Daiya Dairy Free shredded cheese (cheddar style or mozzarella style)
Your favorite sliced deli meat (Applegate Farms is our favorite brand)
Vegenaise












Goin Bananas
This is even one that the kiddos can put together themselves. So quick and easy!
Spread Sunbutter (made with sunflower seeds and tastes great!) on top of a plain rice cake. Drizzle about a tablespoon of honey on top and add sliced bananas. Voila! Super yummy and quick snack that actually has nutritional value!














Rockin Rolls
We start with a rice tortilla (The Food For Life brand is our current favorite), spread a handful of Daiya dairy free cheese in the middle, and add a slice or 2 of your lunch meat of choice. Warm up open-faced in the microwave for about 30 seconds or on the stove top for about 5 minutes on low to medium heat. It's done once cheese is "melty" and the tortilla is soft. Spread a dollop of Vegenaise on top of the meat. Roll it up from one end to the other and you're ready to rockin roll! You can even slice it into smaller rolls and add some grilled veggies to spruce it up if you're feeling adventurous. Yum!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Announcements!

With the holiday mayhem underway, we wanted to update everyone on a few things going on in Better Bites Bakery land for the remainder of December...
December 15th: Deadline for Austin Tidbits order with freeee goodies:
http://austin.gotidbits.com/tidbit/the-mother-of-all-desserts
December 16th: Tasting event at Hill Country Ranch Pizzeria in Dripping Springs (more details coming soon!)
December 21st: deadline for all holiday orders!
December 24th-30th: We will be hanging up our aprons and giving our whisks a break to enjoy a holiday break with our families! Please make sure you have all the sweets you need to get you through the week, prior to the 23rd.

January: Exciting announcements for 2012!