Last year when Frisco mom Julia Landon gave birth to her twin daughters, Nathalie and Layla, she found herself with two colicky babies and a complete lack of energy.
“I had these two daughters that I was breast feeding, and one was sensitive to dairy and one was sensitive to grain,” Landon said. “As a pastry chef, I was trained on white flour and white sugar, so I had to do all my Pinterest searching and buy all my cookbooks. I discovered this whole world of grain-free baked goods.”
Landon also discovered that eating grain-free and dairy-free gave her a boost of energy that she had been lacking. She began creating baked goods for her family, and once her daughters got a bit older, she had more time to expand on her repertoire, eventually starting her business, Bun in the Oven Bakery.
“I love that they can eat anything that comes out of my kitchen right now,” Landon said of her girls. “It’s important to me that I’m not cooking all this stuff in the kitchen they’re around all the time and then say, ‘No, you can’t have that.’ I’m giving them something that’s really healthy that’s doing their body a favor and not harming them in any way.”
Tasty by design
In order for her Bun in the Oven products to be grain-free, Landon doesn’t use corn, soy, rice or potato-derived products.
“I don’t really call myself gluten-free because that’s really a bit of a fad right now, and gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy; it just doesn’t have gluten in it,” she said. “I make stuff that’s grain-free, using nut butters, nut flours, tapioca flour and coconut flour.”
Landon currently sells her products at the Dillon Farmers Market and through her website, www.bunintheovenfrisco.com, and she’s generated some devoted customers. Karyn Blanco discovered Bun in the Oven through a post on the Summit County Moms Facebook page.
“I’ve been buying her goodies weekly from the start,” Blanco said. “I’m allergic to everything and have very little time to make food for myself with work and family life, so Bun in the Oven has been my salvation.”
Blanco said she usually buys enough items to have at least one healthy yet decadent snack a day, like Landon’s Scout Bars, which she compares to Girl Scout Caramel deLites.
“I absolutely love that Julia makes high-nutrient snacks that are so darn delicious and she uses organic ingredients and farm-raised eggs in most, if not all, items,” Blanco said. “I am the biggest fan of the Maple Pecan Gooey Bars. They are so yummy and often serve as a meal replacement on my busiest mom days.”
Landon said her recipes are great for your body in terms of health, but she strives to also make them really delicious.
“The brownies are way better because they are fudgier,” she said. “A lot of the stuff that I’ve run into, finding the perfect texture for the perfect cookie, when I’m using these other ingredients, that comes naturally. I have this thin and crispy chocolate-chip cookie, and it’s thinner and crispier than what I’ve ever been able to accomplish with traditional ingredients.”
Though muffins, cookies and bars are her main staples for the farmers market, Landon has also done custom treats such as granola and nut butters, which she sells on her website, as well as cupcakes and birthday cakes.
“That’s the sad thing for kids with these allergies,” she said. “They can’t have the cake (at the birthday party). They have this sad granola bar they brought with them.”
The farmers market gives Landon an opportunity to interact with potential customers and learn their different combinations of food intolerances, so she can figure out a solution that works for each individual.
“I want to be able to offer people something, even if there’s only a handful of things that I can make for them, working with their dietary needs to get something that’s really tasty and fun for them to eat,” she said. “Everyone wants to have a cookie.”
Landon told a story of two girls who wandered up to her tent at the farmers market and reluctantly asked if her products were gluten-free. When she replied that they were, one of the girls asked with little hope in her eyes whether they were also dairy-free. Landon confirmed that they were.
“She was just so excited to have something,” Landon said. “There are so many kids that come up that can have something they can eat, and the kids who can eat anything they want love it, too. It’s not just a decent substitute; it tastes good. It just tastes like a good cookie, and that’s the standard I hold myself to. It tastes like a good whatever it is. It’s not a substitute; it’s an alternative.”