Category Archives: Bakeries

Life Lately: Wedding Edition

First off, congrats to reader Georgiana for winning the Bee’s Knees Giveaway and a big thank you to everyone who participated!  You might have noticed a brief disappearing act from the blog over the past week, but if you follow me on instagram then you know that the Englishman and I got married a couple of weekends ago!  Since the past couple of weeks have been pretty focused around the wedding, I thought I’d do a life lately: wedding edition update.

life lately wedding edition aviatorsWant to know the best way to get rid of pre-wedding jitters? Go wine tasting with your mom the day before.  Works wonders on the nerves I promise.

Standing Sun WinesI finally got to meet the wonderful Christine from Standing Sun Wines and ended up leaving with four bottles I can’t wait to open later.  If you are ever in Buellton be sure to check this gem out.

Our rehearsal dinner was held at Avant Tapas and Wine in Buellton.  One of the highlights of the evening was an appetizer called “Yuppie Crack” which was a date stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon.

avant tapas The picture doesn’t do it justice but it was amazing.  And since my maid of honor is a vegetarian, she was kind enough to let me eat hers too.  SO GOOD.  I will be making this at home this summer.

Of course it wasn’t all just wine and bacon wrapped dates.  There was water, green smoothies, sandwiches and these handy pumpkin seed snack packs the Skout Organic team sent me.

Skout Organic TrailpaksIf you are ever looking for a quick snack, these raw pumpkin seeds definitely hit the spot.  I’ve sprinkled them on salads and just eaten them straight out of the bag.  So good.

I plan on doing a more detailed post highlighting the amazing food at the wedding, but let me just say that Trattoria Grappolo did NOT disappoint.  And neither did Solvang Bakery, who created this gorgeous cake.

Wedding CakeI had various guests coming up to me telling me the cake was one of the best they had ever had, so I consider that to be a resounding success.  I made sure to help myself to a lovely slice of chocolate with lemon butter cream.

If you find yourself in the Santa Ynez area, be sure to check out Sunstone Winery (our wedding venue) and try their Grenache Rose.

Wedding Aviators RoseI personally find it more fun to drink rose while wearing aviators, but it tastes just as good without them.  Sunstone also has an amazing Cabernet and a Grenache Blanc that are also highly recommended.

And now it’s back to the real world for a couple of weeks until we leave for Maui on our honeymoon!  If any one has any good Maui food recommendations please leave them in the comments.

Wedding Cake Tasting at The Solvang Bakery

I haven’t posted much about wedding planning on the blog, but with less than 2 months to go until the wedding, most of my days/nights/weekends have been devoted to getting ready for the big day.  This past weekend I did a quick whirlwind trip up north to finalize some of the details, which included wedding cake tasting at The Solvang Bakery.

Wedding Cake Tasting Solvang Bakery SliceNot going to lie, the cake tasting was one of the things I was looking forward to most when I began planning our wedding.  I love cake (who doesn’t?) and I feel your wedding cake choice is a fun way for people to see who you are as a couple based on your taste preferences.

The one thing I was a bit nervous about when it came to the wedding cake tasting at The Solvang Bakery was my food allergies.  I emailed the owner Melissa and explained that I couldn’t have anything with corn, soy or walnuts.  She was incredibly nice, and when they brought out the cake for us to taste, she labeled everything and listed out all the ingredients which was fabulous.

Wedding Cake Tasting IngredientsNot only were all the cakes at Solvang Bakery delicious, they brought us very generous slices as well.  I’ve never seen so much cake and frosting in my life.  Fortunately I had the Englishman and my parents to help me wade through all the cake, and we even managed to give a few pieces to people who were visiting the bakery as well.

Wedding Cake Tasting SliceThe overall process was a blast.  We got to taste a variety of different cakes and were given little cups of frosting in case we wanted to mix and match some flavors.  One of my favorite frosting flavors was a coconut one made with sunflower seed butter.  I’ll definitely try to recreate that one at home.

Wedding Cake Tasting FrostingThe flavors we tasted included chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, carrot (made with pecans!), vanilla, lemon and almond.  While I don’t want to reveal what we decided on quite yet, I will say I’m quite pleased with our final cake and the fact that we have a couple of different flavors on different tiers so I think everyone will end up with something they like.

Wedding Cake Tasting FlavorsIf you are ever in the Santa Ynez Valley be sure to visit The Solvang Bakery.  They make a variety of Danish pastries in addition to cakes and other confections.  Plus, everyone who works there is incredibly nice and their desserts are GOOD.

Now that the wedding cake is ordered, I just need to decide overall presentation of the cake.  Any recommendations?

Sensitive Sweets

I love bakeries.  I love the smell of fresh-baked bread, muffins and cookies wafting through the air and watching the excitement on people’s faces as they pick out their favorite baked good.  What I don’t like is constantly having to ask the ingredients in a particular baked good due to my food allergies.  But then I found Sensitive Sweets, a bakery that specializes in allergen-free desserts.

Sensitive SweetsAt first I thought it was too good to be true.  Could there really be a bakery where I could enjoy almost every item in the shop?  The answer is yes, yes there is.  Sensitive Sweets was created by Melanie Hohman, who is a mother to a son with severe food allergies including gluten, soy, eggs and dairy.  Instead of having her son miss out on birthday cakes and other treats, she developed Sensitive Sweets which creates bakery goods free of soy, gluten, nuts, and dairy.

Sensitive Sweets CupcakesOf course, the first misconception is that a baked treat can’t possibly taste good without the classic eggs, flour and butter, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Melanie’s treats are absolutely delicious, and I was able to enjoy them without worrying what was in it (she does list all ingredients for bakery items on her website).  A few of the baked goods contained a small trace of corn and Melanie was quick to point those out to me so I knew what I could and couldn’t eat.

Sensitive Sweets CookiesMy favorite items in the shop were by far the cookies.  I can already tell I’m going to be stocking up on the gingerbread men this holiday season, and the snickerdoodle and sugar cookies were a delight!  The cookies are lighter in sugar and so flavorful.

Sensitive Sweets Cupcakes 2I also loved some of the other treats as well.  The dark chocolate cake was rich and moist and the lemon bars had a nice burst of citrus flavor and was airy and light.

Sensitive Sweets cakesSensitive Sweets also specializes in birthday cakes, which is perfect for anyone with food allergies or if you just want a vegan cake.  The bakery also ships cupcakes, breads, muffins and cookies across the U.S., and has a variety of baking mixes available in the shop.

I really loved this bakery and cannot wait to make a return trip.  Melanie was a delight to talk to, and I love how passionate she is about creating delicious allergen-friendly baked goods.  Hopefully more bakeries will take notice and follow in her example!  I’ll be returning soon, especially to get my sugar cookie fix.


Quinoa Almond Muffins

Lately I’ve been into experimenting with different kinds of flour.  First there was almond flour, then I found a way to use coconut flour, and now I’ve stumbled upon quinoa flour.  Since I’m a big quinoa fan, I figured I’d love baking with the flour as well.  For my first run with the quinoa flour, I kept it simple and created Quinoa Almond Muffins.

quinoaalmondmuffins_3First things first, these muffins definitely have a strong quinoa flavor, so if quinoa is not your thing, I recommend trying a different flour such as whole wheat instead.  Second, I view this recipe to be more of a “base” with ample opportunity for add-ins such as bananas, pumpkin, chocolate, you get the idea.

I love that these muffins are low in fat and sugar, and are perfect for anyone with wheat, soy or corn allergies.  Again, I definitely recommend adding some stuff to these muffins such as fruit, nuts, goji berries, the sky’s the limit!

Quinoa Almond Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

Quinoa Almond MuffinsIngredients:

1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup almond milk
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water


Preheat your oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a muffin pan or use muffin liners.

In a medium-sized bowl mix your quinoa and almond flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until well blended.  In a smaller bowl, mix your coconut oil, egg whites, maple syrup, almond milk and water.  Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture and continue to blend until the batter is wet and sticky.

Gently place spoonfuls of batter into the muffin tins (be careful not to fill too high) and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Quinoa Almond MuffinsRemove from oven and cool.  These muffins taste the best on the day they are baked but also freeze well.