Guess what I did?
I started my own business!
Let me explain.
To help you understand better, let me give you a bit of history.
Five and a half years ago, when Sofia was a baby, I eliminated gluten from my diet. Any type of gluten or wheat left my diet. Breads, noodles, pizza, and everything like that. Prior to this drastic decision, I noticed that I had been feeling really, REALLY lousy for many years and I just did NOT know why. To make a long story short, I started to do some research and came up with a list of symptoms that perfectly matched mine, and they all pointed to celiac disease or at the very least, gluten sensitivity. I bet all of you reading this know what celiac disease is, so I won't go into details about that, but I went on a very strict diet.....
And the difference in my health within just the first two weeks was remarkable. Almost miraculous. I kid you not. I felt so much better within the first two weeks that I was able to start excercising, which is something I had never done. In the first 5 weeks of my lifestyle change I lost 20 lbs. You see, I was extremely overweight, to the tune of 220 lbs on my 5 foot 6 inch frame of small bones. A size 18 was tight on me, and I was terrified. I did NOT want to go up to a size 20. Something had to give. Enter my lifestyle change. All told, in a year from the date of The Change, I had lost 80 lbs and was wearing a size 10. But the most amazing thing to me was the way I felt. I felt like a new person!!
Anyway, over the years I've tried many, many prepackaged gluten free items and found most of them to be severely lacking in flavor and texture. How does eating a bowlful of sawdust sprinkled liberally with sand sound?? Not very appetizing, does it? So I have been on a quest. Let me tell you about my quest.
Recently I decided to investigate different gluten free flours and prepackaged flour blends to bake my own things. I bought a gluten free cook book and set to work. The book gave a recipe for making your own flour blend, which, in the beginning, I found passable. Okay. Mediocre. By this time I had gained enough confidence in baking and cooking gluten and wheat free to be able to start playing around on my own. So I did.
I created my own flour blends! I created a muffin/loaf mix and an all-purpose flour blend.
And I started making muffins. Specifically muffins, at first. I came up with some original recipes. People started to sit up and take notice of my muffins. And an idea bloomed slowly in my mind.
Why not make muffins for people? Why not offer muffins to those of us who have food allergies? What about making muffins for school parties? How about baby showers or bridal showers or business meetings?
And my business was born.
I knew my muffins were extraordinarily good. In fact, the feedback I was getting was that my muffins were the best anyone had ever had. Okay then. Well then.....
I have a favorite coffee house in town. You all know how much I adore my coffee drinks. And I had established a warm and loving relationship with the gals at the coffee house too. These gals were becoming close friends. So one day I brought my Peanut Butter Muffins in to give to the owner and some of the gals.....and the rest, as they say, is history.
My favorite coffee house now sells my loaves. And my brand new business card is there too. It's terribly cute. I came up with the template myself and then my oldest daughter Hannah designed it for me. She rules.
I'm thinking about branching out a bit too, locally. Heck, I'm even thinking about entering a few recipe contests!
My business is called The Muffin Mama. The back of my business cards say "Gluten Free Organic Loaves and Muffins". I use organic eggs, flours, organic evaporated cane juice (which is a natural sugar), organic baking cocoa and chocolate chips, and organic flavorings. My muffins and loaves have no preservatives or artificial flavors. I use aluminum-free baking powder. And since I cook and bake exclusively gluten and wheat free in my home, there is no risk of cross-contamination. I mix up batches of my muffin mix and all-purpose mix in bulk and store them in large, air-tight containers.
The most important thing, however, is that I have dedecated my business to the Lord. I have placed it in His hands and asked Him to do with it what HE wants to do. I am explicitly Christian and I run a Christian business and I recognize the fact that my baking and cooking talents come straight from our Father, Who is the giver of good gifts and Who gives without stinginess or selfishness.
I've heard that there is a need for my products out there. Listen gals, Starbuck's doesn't even have gluten free pastries! I think, if you're going to be a forefunner for innovation, you need to be paying attention to customers and their needs and the comments you're getting and even their suggestions. After all, a business should exist solely for the customer and making them happy, or else, what kind of business is it going to be?
I'm hearing that this will be a potential income producer for my family. I think I want to take it all the way, as far as I can go. I'd love to "get noticed" by a network and have my own cooking show. Maybe a specialty bakery is in my future. I know that I want to stay kind of small, and I know that I'm hoping one day to hire my girls to be a part of my business. I will be copyrighting my mix recipes and all of my recipes and leaving them to my girls in my will. I want it to stay in the family.
So this is just a small glimpse of what I've been busy with the past few months. Everyone is excited for me. I'm excited for me. And scared. And contemplative. I wonder what my future holds. Somebody recently asked me if I was ready for what may be in store for me. Yikes and Yay at the same time!
That's enough. I've got a loaf in the oven and I need to get it over to my gals. Bye!