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Life in a Professional Bakery

By Katy Kent  •  Friday, July 31st, 2015

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Recently, I joined our fabulous Bakeshop as the new AM Baker. If you don’t know what “AM Baker” means, don’t worry- neither did I at first. On paper, it means baking fresh muffins, cookies, and scones every day as well as a daily ritual of decorating all the gorgeous desserts made by our unbelievably talented pastry bakers. Sounds simple, right? I mean, I can’t begin to count how many muffins, cookies, and scones I’ve made over the years as a home baker so I thought I was in fairly good shape heading into this position. “How different can it be?” I reasoned.

Long story short, I reasoned poorly. There is a WORLD of difference between making a batch of muffins on a lazy Sunday morning and making multiple batches of different muffins AND cookies AND scones all at once with one big in-your-face kicker: a deadline of 8am. It’s an exhilarating race to the finish every day but what does a typical day really look like for a novice AM Baker? Allow me to give you a glimpse into my professional life…

3:45am: Wake up and get out the door!
4:30am: Greet your coworkers who’ve been at work since about 2am and find out what you’re baking that day. There are three different batches of classic muffins, one gluten-free, one vegan, one gluten-free and vegan; one big batch of sweet scones, full-size and mini, one savory scone; and four classic cookies, two gluten-free, and two vegan. Ready, set, get your ingredients and GO! (Drink coffee.)
5:15am: Cookies first. Lay them all out on sheet trays and spend the next 45 minutes or so rotating them in, out, and around to ensure perfect chewiness and browning. Join your coworkers in singing along to the radio like fools. Meanwhile…
5:30am: Start muffins. (Drink coffee.) Mix each kind in its own bowl, adding whatever fruit and/or nuts are needed that day, and scoop them out into muffin pans. (By the way, home bakers, did you know that ice cream scoops are perfect for this? These and cookies as a matter of fact, so I recommend picking up scoops in varying sizes to use at home.) Don’t forget the toppings! Each muffin has its own topping, whether it be an oat-butter-flour crisp, chopped nuts, cut sugar, blueberries, banana slices, peaches, you name it. Whatever it is, toppings make each muffin oodles more attractive and let’s face it- attractive food is just more fun to eat!
6:15am: (Drink coffee. Start an impromptu dance party with the other bakers.) Start getting muffins into the oven as the cookies are coming out. Barter with your coworkers to use their ovens because space is at a premium and you need every shelf you can get. It’s a dance of a cold trays, hot trays, and oven mitts with bread heading in one direction, pies in another, and cookies and muffins swapping places. By this point, the air is ringing regularly with shouts of “hot tray”, “hot coming ’round the corner”, “sharp”, and other safety calls necessary for a happy and accident-free bakeshop. Meanwhile…
6:45am: Start scones. This is your favorite part, if you’re like me. I love making scones although it’s difficult to explain why. Maybe because it’s more physical than the other items- it requires stirring, kneading, and cutting, and the flour-y dough feels amazing to work with. It feels rustic, as scones are meant to be, and creative. Revel in the creativity (drink coffee) and get ‘em in the oven ASAP as the muffins are reaching perfection.
7:30am: 30 minutes to go! While the scones are puffing up in the oven, you grab your product signs and begin to build towers of baked goods. There’s one devoted to vegan items, another to gluten-free items, one for only cookies, another for only muffins, and the last for scones. Watching them change from empty surfaces to layers overflowing with the fruits of your labor is undoubtedly satisfying but don’t get caught up in how nice they look- zip them over to the espresso & juice bar pronto!
7:50am: Remove scones from oven and let cool as long as possible before moving them over as well. But if they’re maple, remember the maple glaze! They’re just not the same without it and the more maple the better! ¡Viva Vermont!
8:00-8:30am: Breathe. (Drink coffee.) Clean your station, put yesterday’s product signs away, feel good that you won (or did you best and almost won) the race again, and take a lunch break!
9:00am: Decide which desserts will be available for the day, making sure there is ample variety and a good balance between fruit desserts and chocolate desserts, classic, gluten-free, and vegan. Thankfully, you work with some amazing bakers who have supplied all the cheesecakes, tarts, cupcakes, bars, crème brûlées, brownies, cakes, and more that your heart desires. Take a moment to ogle their creations and dream of taking home one of everything ’cause admit it: one never gets tired of excellent desserts.
9:30am: Load up the station with heavy cream for whipping, fresh fruit, blocks of chocolate, confectioner’s sugar, and anything else that might make these already-gorgeous desserts sparkle. (Consider switching to tea but drink more coffee.) With a chef’s knife, a vegetable peeler, a pastry bag & star tip, spatulas, whisks, and- how cool is this?- a blow torch, you’re ready to go! Sprinkle, set, scrape, pipe, spread, torch(!), shake, smooth, and decorate with glee!
11:00am: Cart your masterpieces over to the espresso & juice bar and graciously accept the compliments of standers-by. Yes, they do look tempting, don’t they?
11:15am: Make the biggest batch of cookie dough you’ve ever seen with the biggest mixer and paddle attachment you’ve ever used. They’re not quite Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen-worthy, but they’re not far from it. If you’re like me, you’ll giggle a little bit as you cream a whopping 6 lbs of softened butter with 27 cups of mixed brown & white sugars and come alarmingly close to passing out with joy as you measure 24 cups of chocolate chips. Then grab the ubiquitous, handy-dandy ice cream scoop and get to work scooping out perfect mounds of delectable cookie dough. Eye the gigantic whisk attachment with ill-concealed desire and hope against hope that you’re there to see it being used someday.
12:10pm: Time to clean up and make the area pristine for the next day!
12:30pm: Find yourself telling people to “have a good evening” despite the fact that it’s only just now past noon.

It’s life-altering, working in a bakeshop; among changes big and small, I now eat lunch before 9am, appreciate the difference a sprinkle of oats can make to a muffin, and regard a regular-sized batch of cookies as amusingly tiny. I had no idea what I was signing up for and the reality of the job just can’t be expressed fully on paper. But I love it and am enjoying getting better at it every day. One thing’s for sure: I’ll never make the “home baking must be practically like commercial baking” mistake again!

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New Mother-Baby Unit at University of Vermont Medical Center

By Katy Kent  •  Friday, July 31st, 2015

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We’ve had the pleasure of working on a very exciting project over the past few months! Healthy Living Market and Cafe proudly sponsored the kitchen in the new Glen and Rosemary Wright Mother-Baby Unit at University of Vermont Medical Center. The new unit is a wonderful addition to the hospital, bringing much needed updates that matches the high quality of care new moms receive at UVM Medical Center. There are 22 private rooms, equipped with bathrooms and murphy beds that pull down from the wall for overnight stays from a support person. The unit will open to patients on August 4th.

As for Healthy Living’s role, we sponsored the addition of a kitchen within the new unit. The kitchen has the features you’d expect: a sink, refrigerator, stocked cabinets, and also includes a water cooler that dispenses filtered water. Working with the team at Whole Health Nutrition, we put together information sheets of nutrition tips curated just for new moms, along with recipes. We hope the kitchen offers these new growing families a place to hydrate and refuel during this exciting time.

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Front End Fundraiser: AIM Services Inc.

By Richie Snyder  •  Friday, July 31st, 2015

We are proud to announce our August & September 2015 Front End Fundraiser for AIM Services, Inc. of Saratoga Springs, NY. AIM strives to bring inclusion to the Community for individuals with developmental disabilities, and to be involved in the Community as a whole. We think AIM Services is a wonderful asset to our Community and a perfect pair for collaboration.

AIM Services

The Project

Homestead is a property owned by AIM Services, Inc. located on approximately 5 acres of land. For many years the land has been unused and overgrown with a partial apple orchard in need of clean-up. AIM dreamed of utilizing this land to build a greenhouse and grow vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers. As a result of Healthy Living’s dedication to fundraising in the community, and vast knowledge of organics; they became the ideal partner for making this project a reality.

The Initiative

This project is a component of AIM’s larger initiative for the year; enhancing Respite Services. Respite Services are waiver services that provide temporary relief for families or other caregivers of individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities. AIM’s Enhanced Respite uses in-depth assessments, clinical and behavioral supports, personalized measurable criteria, overarching valued outcomes, and highly trained staff. Within the current structure of the program industry wide, some approaches to respite services do not provide a meaningful experience for the individual, and often respite is not personalized. This is why AIM strives to enhance respite; with a core mission revolved around a person-centered planning approach; Enhanced Respite is another mark in living the mission, and supporting individuals in reaching their own “power of potential”.

The Product

In addition to the array of organic foods, the Homestead project would give an opportunity to the individuals AIM serves to experience and learn first-hand, all that goes into creating the foods they eat every day. With a greenhouse for year round growing, and raised garden beds for individuals with limited mobility; the Homestead garden project will be accessible for everyone. With your help, this project has the potential to support many of AIM’s programs, which support over 600 individuals in our community; from AIM’s newest initiative, Enhanced Respite, where young individuals can learn what seeds can grow into and how to plant them, all the way to Supported Employment, where individuals work on life skills to obtain and maintain employment.

Interested in ways you can help?

Shop at Healthy Living Market anytime during the month of August & September and donate to AIM Services, Inc. at the checkout register! Or you can visit AIM Services, Inc.’s About Us page to learn more. Check out before pictures of the land at Homestead, and with your donations, stay tuned for the after pictures!

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Summertime in Wellness!

By wellness associate  •  Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Whatever takes you into the great outdoors this summer-  from picnics and hiking to swimming or camping- we’ve got you covered with skin care basics to keep you happy and protected while enjoying the beautiful weather and bright sun!
Wellness Products
All-Natural Bug Repellants: Don’t get bugged while enjoying the sun- use Rad Soap Co’s Hoe Down’s bug spray!  This DEET-free formula protects against ticks, mosquitoes, flies, ants, lice, and more!  Hoe Down is kid-friendly and pet-friendly, making it a product you and your family can’t live without this summer!  And you’ve been asking for it so we’ve brought it in: rose geranium essential oil!  This is your singular essential oil for use against ticks (and it smells amazing, too)!
Sunscreens: Kiss My Face has made applying sunscreen to your kids easy with Kids Defense Spray!  Made with non-nano minerals, nourishing superfruits, and a natural fresh scent, this SPF30 lotion is a great choice for all adventures out in the sun.  We’re also proud to carry natural and effective sunscreens from Burn Out, Badger, Acure, and RAW Elements.  Also, we have something special for those of you sporting tattoos: Kiss My Face’s Tattoo Shade, an anti-fade tattoo protection lotion to keep your tattoos looking fresh.
After-Sun Care: Did you forget your sunscreen this morning?  Don’t worry- we can help calm your skin down with Badger’s Certified Organic After Sun Balm.  If you prefer aloe, we have that too!  We’re happy to carry Aloe Vera 99% Gelly from Lily of the Desert, which comes in a tube, is easy to apply, and doesn’t have any of that unnecessary artificial color.
So enjoy the weather and don’t forget to stop in and pick up these summer basics!

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Gin of the Week- Monkey 47

By Saratoga Beer and Wine Manager  •  Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Monkey 47 Gin

We have a new Gin here at Divine Wines and we’re excited to share with you the story behind this delicious new Spirit! In 1951, a British man named Montgomery Collins moved to Germany’s Black Forest and opened a guest house named “Zum wilden Affen”, meaning The Wild Monkey. In this guesthouse, Collins becomes acquainted with the Black Forest tradition of distilling fruit and slowly started developing a passion for Gin, which in turn became a trademark of the “Wild Monkey” right through the 1970’s.

With the discovery of quinine as a form of malaria prevention for the British colonial armies and the introduction of “tonic water”, gin acquired its key significance as an important basis for a variety of cocktails and long drinks. Today, at the start of the 21st century, gin is on everyone’s drink menu all over the world – as the pinnacle of the art of distillation and a secret passion of bartenders. Following centuries of changing tastes and dynamic transformation, the history of gin has now taken on a whole new dimension.

This Gin contains exactly 47 ingredients, one being cranberries. (did I say cranberries? Yes I sure did!) The use of cranberries adds a distinct fruity note to the incredibly floral and complex whirlwind of flavors. As Robert Parker says, “the greatest gin I have ever tasted.” This Gin is bottled at 47% alcohol by volume and is packed with charisma and complexity. With 47 handpicked botanical’s prepared with extremely soft spring water, this Gin is quite unforgettable. In 2011, this Gin won the World Spirits Award Gold in the Gin catefory and Gold for best in class for Gin Worldwide at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London, not too shabby! At a price of $42.99 for 375ml, this Gin certainly doesn’t come cheap, however it is worth checking out!

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Free Kids Summer Programming!

By Richie Snyder  •  Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

It’s summertime and the livin’ is… maybe a little hectic?  With your kiddos at home on their summer vacation, you might be looking for some new fun ways to keep them engaged, entertained, (and maybe even a little educated) and we have some great opportunities for you to enjoy!  From 10-11am on various Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays throughout July and August, we’ll be hosting FREE activities for your kids right in our indoor Café seating area!  Check out what we have in store for them (and you)!

Story Hour with Saratoga Springs Publishing!

We’re proud to partner with Saratoga Springs Publishing to bring your tots a free story hour!  Owner and local author Vicki Dodd will be reading children’s books that are sure to engage your little ones, and then she’ll be helping them create a small craft related to the story.  (Plus, if you or your kids fall in love with the book, signed softcover copies will be available for purchase!).

Story Time

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Scavenger Hunts!

Do your kids think grocery stores are boring?  We’re here to change their minds with our very own Scavenger Hunt!  Stop by the indoor Café seating area and Christina Davis, Demonstration Coordinator, will start you and your child off on your adventure!  This is a fun and informative way to learn more about Healthy Living, healthy eating, and trying new things!  Each child will receive a prize for participation.

Pre-registration is not required; drop-ins welcome!

Craft Time with the Learning Center!

Food & craft can come together in many ways, and not just as macaroni necklaces.  This month, we’re starting a brand new summer program for kids to explore the magical world of food crafts!  You and your child can stop by the Café’s in-store seating area anytime between 10-11am and make a fun, food-related craft with the lovely lady of the Learning Center, Instructor Kiya McIntyre!  All ages are welcome!

Craft Time

Pre-registration is not required; drop-ins welcome!

We’re looking forward to seeing you and your kids for these new free summertime programs!  For a complete schedule, check out our calendar by clicking here.

(P.S. Every parent or caregiver who accompanies a child will receive a coupon for a free small coffee or tea from our Café!)

Craft Time

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Guest Post: ‘A Big Dose of Joy:’ The Healthy Living Market

By Nicole  •  Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

We were recently featured in the following article on Vermont State Homes, check out the original article and website here.

With no business experience, Katy Lesser bought a Burlington storefront in 1986 and opened a health food store. “I had a young family and I was interested in good, clean, simple foods as opposed to the highly processed, sugar-laden stuff I found at the supermarkets,” she explains.

Thirty years ago, she says, the health food scene was much different. “Little health food stores (as they were called way back in the early 80’s) were dark, strange places filled with products no one understood.” Today, tofu and whole grains aren’t just for hippies; big brands like Whole Foods and even average supermarkets carry a wide array of health products.

With this increased accessibility to healthy food and natural products, it’s a lot harder to stand out. Marketing Director Nicole Driscoll tells us that Healthy Living distinguishes itself with a commitment to local producers. Partnerships with more than 100 local farms in northern Vermont provide the market’s meat, produce, eggs, cheese, and dairy products.

Healthy Living offers just about anything you could need for a healthy lifestyle, from natural shampoo to local cheese, vitamins, fresh seafood, and even housewares. The café area includes a salad bar, espresso and juice bar, sandwiches and soups, and a hot bar that features a full range of dishes prepared from scratch.

Healthy Living also started a community Learning Center (pictured above), which offers hands-on cooking classes, demonstrations, and lectures for people of all ages who are interested in food. Kids can take a cooking class to learn how to make Vegan Coconut Lime Cupcakes or Greek Veggie Burgers. You can even learn to make your own laundry detergent! Additionally, Healthy Living’s community outreach program supports more than 150 local, small non-profit organizations every year.

Ultimately, says Lesser, the Healthy Living Market & Cafe aims to make people happier through health: “A healthy lifestyle includes a great, clean, delicious diet, a level of activity that feels right, getting out into the beautiful outdoors, being with friends and family, and a big dose of JOY! “

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90 Plus Cellars Wine Tasting!

By Saratoga Beer and Wine Manager  •  Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

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Join us at Divine Wines next Friday, July 31st, as we welcome a representative from 90 Plus Cellars to pour all wines from 90 Plus! Lori will be pouring a selection of fabulous 90 Plus wines for your enjoyment! Not only will there be delicious seasonal appropriate wines there, there will also be recipes from the lovely Demonstration Coordinator, Christina Davis! We couldn’t think of a better way to kick-off the weekend?

Stop by between 4pm and 7pm and enjoy some of these treats we have waiting for you! The best part? This event is FREE.

21+ only; please bring a valid ID.

See you there!

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Bell’s Brewery

By Saratoga Beer and Wine Manager  •  Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Bells Brewery

Founded in 1983, by Larry Bell, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Bell’s Brewery has grown remarkably.  Bell’s sold its first commercial beer in 1985, selling 135 barrels in 1986, and is now producing over 310,000 barrels of beer a year! That’s amazing! Originally Larry and his staff bottled and delivered all of the orders by themselves, and now Bell’s is available across a 20 state area, in addition to Puerto Rico! In 1993 Bell’s became the first Michigan brewery to open a pub on site. Bell’s also owns a farm where they grow barley for a select number of their specialty beers and they have built a Bio-Energy building where they treat their own process water waste. Also a majority of their beers are VEGAN FRIENDLY! Woohoo!

Despite repeated expansions at the main production facility, they haven’t forgotten their roots and continue to brew at the original Kalamazoo location. They use the same equipment from over 20 years ago and use this space as a home to several specialty projects, including an extensive array of brands typically only available at the Bell’s pub. I suggest a visit if you’re ever out that way!

Bells

Amber Ale- I love amber ales, they’re one of my favorite types of beer out there! In my opinion they’re some of the most well balanced beers, and the Bell’s was no exception. It is no surprise that this beer is their flagship, it is simply wonderful! It’s light, toasty, slightly floral, and not very bitter at all. At 5.8% alcohol this beer was clean and went down very easy…maybe too easy. I highly recommend this beer to any beer drinker, especially to someone who is looking to branch out a little bit. It’s available year round which is great if you fall in love with it like I did; this beer has earned a permanent spot in my refrigerator for sure!

Two Hearted Ale- I have to say this beer surprised me. I had heard so many great reviews about it, I didn’t think that it could possibly stand up to all the hype. Well, it did! At first smell, I was expecting this beer to be huge; the nose was quite hoppy and malty, I was expecting a rather bitter IPA. I soon realized that the smell was extremely deceiving. This American Style IPA is very well balanced especially at 7% alcohol. Hints of pine and grapefruit, and a malty body are refreshing and not overly bitter. The Bell’s yeast also gives the beer a lovely fruity aroma. This is a great all around IPA! Available all year round I highly suggest grabbing a 6 pack of this the next time you find yourself at Healthy Living!

Oberon- This is Bell’s Seasonal Summer Wheat beer. Considering how much I loved the other two beers, I was unsure about this one because most wheat beers are a tad too light for my liking. Oberon reminded me of most typical summer ales; a little bit hoppy, fruity, citrusy, and smooth. It was delicious and is perfect for sipping on a hot summer day. It was crisp and clean, and I wouldn’t turn it down if offered to me, but I’m not entirely sure that I would buy it on my own. With that said, if you love summer wheat beers then definitely give this one a go, and form your own opinion. It’s only available in the summer months so grab it while it’s in stock! We’d love to hear what you think of this delicious wheat beer!

Stop into Healthy Living, make your way over to the beer aisle, and check out all of the Bell’s products we carry! Then stop over to Divine Wines and tell what you thought! Cheers!

-Lauren, Divine Wines

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Summer Squeeze at lululemon athletica on Church Street

By Katy Kent  •  Monday, July 13th, 2015

This blog post was written by Healthy Living Taste Maker Mindy Elmergreen. Mindy teaches yoga at Tapna Yoga in Burlington. When she’s not in the studio, you’ll often find her in our cafe enjoying juices & smoothies with her adorable son

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On Saturday June 27th, we teamed up with lululemon to sample some of our favorite juices and smoothies at their store on Church Street. We chose our favorites from the café menu to spread the love. The Tropical Probiotical, a smoothie featuring locally brewed Aqua Vitea Kombucha, mango and pineapple, was the first to go. There’s something special about fizzy kombucha in a smoothie. The runner up was the Pineapple-Citrus Spin juice made with pineapple, orange and spinach. It’s always amazing to see people try a bright green juice for the first time – and love it! We’ll keep you posted with our next juice sampling around town or in the store.

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