Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baking With "The Sweetie Pie"

Last month I took two classes with Ashley Eller, who owns "The Sweetie Pie" bakery. The classes (canning and baking) were held at Poplar Ridge Farm in Waxhaw, NC, about 10 miles south of my place.

I've blogged about some farm dinners that I've enjoyed at Poplar Ridge, and about owner Marianne Battistone's thoughtfulness. She had a mason jar filled with fresh flowers delivered on my birthday, and that gesture leveled me! Cool lady with a great farm, and a true interest in the community.

Ashley Eller

Ashley follows a dairy free diet, and she showed us some alternatives to using the ubiquitous/processed baking products...

I'm not sensitive to gluten, nor am I a vegan or that "tuned in" to all-organic products. I've been low-carb for 8 months and am down 45 pounds. I'm shopping the fringe of the grocery store for fresh veggies, fruit and lean protein. I'm just trying to make some better choices, and not to get discouraged or confused by all the information and advice out there. It's falling into place for me, and I want to continue to enjoy baking and nibbling on sweets without going overboard. I don't feel deprived at all, and am happy to learn about healthier ingredient choices, that still taste great.

Some easy switches:
 1. Use Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks in place of butter (Earth Balance is a partner with Smart Balance.)
2. Use coconut oil in place of Crisco.
3. Use spelt flour in place of white flour.
4. Use organic cane sugar--it's easier on the system and has the same calories as regular granulated sugar.

Ashley demo'd Roasted Butternut Spice Cake and Apple Pear Crisp and we enjoyed samples of both.
Pix are below. You can read Ashley's blog at

Local NC apples--so crisp and flavorful! What great color.

Apple Pear Crisp with toasted pine nuts.

Marianne gave us all a $15 credit for the farm's market stand, and that was an unexpected surprise.
After class I picked up some peppers, greens, carrots and wild flowers. I loaded up the Vespa and scooted home. What a fun way to zip around and do local errands!

Visit Poplar Ridge Farm at  to learn about their produce, Farm Dinners and CSA.

Keep it local. Keep it Level & Plumb!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this WONDERFUL blog. I hope we get together again next Spring :)