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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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« life updates from ribbons to resignation, registration to fermentation | Main | A personal tale of overindulgence and a recipe for Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies »
Friday
Aug172012

I want to be a Blue Ribbon baker...

...so, I'm entering things in the Minnesota State Fair!

(Oh, hello by the way. I'm still alive and kicking. I thought I was ready to return to blogging in the spring, but as it turned out, I wasn't. So I took more time away, and now, NOW, I'm really feeling the itch.) 

I have had a lifelong love affair with county and state fairs, a result of my 4-H Club upbringing. So when I moved to Minneapolis in 2004, I was thrilled to discover that the State Fair is a big effing deal in Minnesota. People are serious about entering the fair, attending the fair, photographing the fair, and eating at the fair, and the city of St. Paul pretty much gets taken over by fair traffic. It's really a season all of its own, in my opinion, a lovely punctuation mark between summer and autumn, a way to celebrate the bounty of the harvest season and the energy of summer before slipping in to the cooler days and slower pace of autumn. 

Rewind to last August, when my friend Amanda and I were walking through the Creative Activities building at the fair. We came upon a small glass case filled with a handful pale, saggy baked goods, looked at eachother with a sad gaze, were both kind of like, "WHAT are these sad looking things?!" Then read the labels more closely, and much to our dismay, discovered that they were the gluten-free contest entries. It was at that very moment I decided that I needed to enter the fair in 2012. Those gummy looking baked goods, white as the undriven snow, could not be the only gluten-free representation at the fair. I owed it to the gluten-free community to provide something more! Like, how is anyone EVER going to want to go gluten-free when those are the baked goods they think they will have to eat for eternity? Especially when there are cases and cases and cases of glutenous treats surrounding them. Psssh.

Okay, so fast forward to the first week of August, just a couple weeks ago. State Fair registration has begun, and of course, I'm registering on the very last day possible because I was a space cadet and didn't really realize that HEY it's August already and HEY it's time to make stuff for the fair. 

I decided to enter five baked goods and one cross-stitch pillow. See? Here's the proof, there's no turning back now.

Unfortunately, I was supposed to turn in my cross-stitch pillow this week for judging and I completely blanked. I guess my unicorn cross-stitch pillow will not have an opportunity to shine. C'est la vie! Maybe I'll just have to post it on the blog instead, and I will have to rely on my baking for my state fair fun this year. 

There are some rules and regulations to be adhered to, of course, but my recipes totally fit the bill and I've been baking away to confirm and refine a few things. I am making two kinds of banana bread, one to be used in both the gluten-free and regular quick bread contests, and another one to be used in the honey & bee culture honey quick bread contest. I will also be making sprouted buckwheat crackers and some kind of cookie from my collection, yet to be determined. Tomorrow night I'll be doing the final bake-off for Sunday morning, when I will be taking all my entries in to be judged! 

Preparing for this is taking me back to my childhood days of being a 4-H member, scrambling to get my entries ready for judging. I never had animals to show in the fair, since I was a city kid. Keep in mind, I use the term "city kid" loosely for my childhood self - I grew up in neighborhoods that danced between city and town lines, walking sidewalks that dropped off when they hit corn fields. Nonetheless, my family didn't have fair-appropriate animals, so I kept on the long familial tradition of 4-H with sewing, baking, cooking, and arts and crafts projects. My rhubarb pie was blue-ribbon winning on more than one occasion at the county fair, and more than once I had a sewing or art project make its way to the 4-H building at the Wisconsin State Fair. I was such a successful little 4-H member.

Anyway, I'm pretty darn excited, and I can't wait to stand in line with all the people who are as cuckoo about baking as I am, all of us carting around our lovingly prepared treats. After they are tasted and judged, all the baked goods get put in to big glass cases, where they sit on display for about two weeks while thousands and thousands of people walk past them and take photos. I can't wait to go look at my stale baked goods trapped in a glass case! I'll be sure to let you know how it all turns out.  

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Reader Comments (8)

I am so excited for you! Good luck with all of your entries. I can't wait to see photos and hear about your experience!

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCassandra

I'm excited your back!!! And I'm totally a fair girl too - it must be our Wisconsin roots. I think it is so awesome that you are going to take this fair by storm and have your amazing baked goods go head to head with Standard American Diet creations. I know yours will be better! Will we get the benefit of any of these recipes on the blog, in the future??

August 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate @eatrecyclerepeat

Wonderful! - inspired by your excitement & excited by gluten free anything & everything - Thanks

August 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiza

Good luck! I don't know very much about these blue ribbon baking contests (I live in New England where big fairs are not as common) but I'm somewhat surprised they have so many different categories. I guess I thought they were all about traditional apple pie ;) Nice to know that there is so much room to work. I bet you'll do great!

August 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCara

Looking forward to seeing your creations from the fair! Good luck : )

Hi Kim, so glad you entered the Fair, if their is anyone that can show people how it's done ...it's you...especially when it comes to making very good gluten-free treats and allergie friendly food , I know no one better than you, I don't really know the right words to use so I will keep it simple. I miss you so much for so long now, I was so glad to read you were back , I come back often hoping to read an update but still nothing. I hope you are well, I hope you are so busy having fun and enjoyoing your life and feeling great that you have no time to Blog...please let us know how it went. Big Hugs.

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Hey there, this isn't entirely related to this post, but I wanted to comment and see how you are doing with your Lyme? Have you fully recovered? I just found your blog by chance this evening and I too am from Minnesota!

Reading about your story and everything you've faced is very similar to my story, not identical but I can relate. I started having symptoms of the flu very shortly after finding a tick on me in 2006I never got a bullseye rash either, but I remember thinking I could get Lyme disease. Before I knew it I began not feeling like myself. Depersonalization, Depression, Brain Fog, Anxiety, etc. I went from being a very energetic and outgoing young adult, I was 19 at the time, to feeling like an old woman and reclusive. It wasn't until 2009 that I started looking into Lyme because a family friend suggested it. And then in 2010 I started treating myself as symptoms progressed and got worse, with no help from the doctors. I took venus fly trap extract and cats claw.

My symptoms went away for two years and have started up again after yet another tick being found on myself. So now I am going through treatment again, just started again. Email me sometime, I'd love to connect sometime.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKendra

HI Kendra, thanks for your comment and for sharing your story. Lyme is so challenging, and I'm sorry to hear you've been dealing with a resurgence in symptoms. I hope you are finding good resources for treatment - I'd be curious to know who you are seeing, as I like to collect names of healthcare practitioners that are knowledgeable in treating Lyme. As for me, I am in a pretty stable place but now take herbal tinctures to keep myself balanced. I am just out of the woods, so to speak, and still very diligent about making sure I am supporting my body. I am working on a series of posts outlining my treatment and recovery over the last couple years - it's been quite a journey! Good luck on your own path and perhaps we'll be in touch. -Kim

October 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterKim @ Affairs of Living
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo