Kickshaws Kitchen Grand Opening Celebration

This past Saturday we celebrated the official Grand Opening of Kickshaws Kitchen. It was nothing less than an amazing whirlwind of a day packed with so many people, things and animals! While most of the staff spent the majority of the day slinging burgers, baking bread, getting drinks and washing dishes (SO many dishes!), the pictures that we have seen from the day are simply heart warming.

Three years ago we certainly neve14900407_10209448676267666_1349463543161998628_nr thought that Kickshaws would evolve into a restaurant. We wanted to open a market that would increase accessibility to local produce, meats, eggs, personal care and home goods as well as items that were hard to find in our area for those with dietary restrictions. Of course through building our market and inventory we found that there was a huge need for food options for those like my own family- a safe place to eat good food.

I alwa14915367_10209448680867781_6824761876743445711_nys get a little emotional talking about the people in our lives that have supported and helped us and then those who come and tell us how much they appreciate what we do. One Saturday we had a family come in to eat and after ordering they came to us to tell us that their child, now 6 years old, had never eaten in a restaurant before because he had such severe food allergies. She told us with tears in her eyes how special it was for him to eat a meal just like everyone else. THIS is why we opened Kickshaws Kitchen.

Thank you so much to everyo14915449_10209448847111937_1734236569849480483_nne who helped us get the Kitchen open. We had folks who worked their fingers to the bone disinfecting the kitchen with us, those who painted and patched walls, friends and customers who helped us build shelving and seating and of course those who just encouraged us on an almost daily basis. Opening a business is never an easy task, but once again, we are are blessed and truly grateful to have Fredericksburg support us in such a big way.

Here’s to many more days, weeks, months and years serving Fredericksburg Virginia.

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Sammy T’s, Happy Trails Until We Meet Again

When I was fifteen years old my best friend started to invite me to downtown Fredericksburg for the day. Her dad would pick us up and then drop us off on Caroline Street to wander around for several hours and we would bring a little cash to spend on food and shopping. The day would be spent popping in and out of shops like Corkey’s, the record shop (there was a record shop, I swear), R&R Antiques, Goolricks and many other shops- some still around but many gone.

In high school my best friend was a devoted vegetarian so our lunch options were really limited to the only place that served vegetarian cuisine: Sammy T’s. Even at 15 I still had a sore butt sitting in the benches but we didn’t mind because the place was covered in local art and unique decor and we were treated like adults and not like the children we were. We would sit and talk about the things that young teenagers talk about and fantasize about what our lives would be like when we really grew up. On one visit I remember us talking about the lack of food options in our home town for my friend and I decided that I would one day open a restaurant and make vegetarian foods just for her. (Wow, who knew!) Our visits, at least once a year, to Fredericksburg always ended with a meal at Sammy T’s.

Years later, after having two kids, a failed marriage and moving, I once again found myself back in Fredericksburg. This time it wasn’t for a day visit, but to live. I met my dear husband and we were married. He worked in Fredericksburg so it just made sense to move here. I was in the midst of chronic illness and searching feverishly for anything to help reduce my issues. I had decided earlier that year to remove gluten and casein from my son’s diet which greatly improved not only his health but behavior as well. Through that process I met my good friend Shirley who was running the King George/Fredericksburg Gluten Intolerance Support Group. We decided to meet in town to chat and she suggested Sammy T’s. Having been newly gluten-free, I was scared to death to eat in a restaurant but knew Shirley was the expert in this area. We both ordered crab cakes and enjoyed hours of talk about our lives, being gluten free and the kids. From that day on Sammy T’s once again became a safe place for me to go to eat in town and actually remained one of the only places that I never became ill.

I love Fredericksburg and all that this little city offers. Over the years it has changed so much and transformed into something new and exciting. Though these transformations we hang on to some of the things that have made the city what it has been for decades and Sammy T’s has certainly been one of those places. We are sad to see the restaurant close but are excited and hopeful to see what the new owners have in store for a spot that has held the hearts of many diners; vegetarian, gluten free and of course those who just like good food.

Goodbye Sammy T’s, we hope to see you again soon.

Birthday Cake… in Terraria

It was a busy week at the shop this week, it looks like Spring may actually have sprung. *fingers crossed*

We have lots of exciting things coming up and a full schedule of classes that are filling up. Classes have been going great with lots of new folks learning the basics of fermentation, bone broth, nut milks and more. Our schedule will soon be posted for April with some new classes and events coming to you too!

On the subject of learning, we thought it would be fun to share the process of making of a celebration cake, namely IMG_4358the 14th birthday cake of our kiddo, Alex. My kids have very high expectations for their birthday cakes, I suppose an occupational hazard of being a cake designer. I started making sculpted cakes for their birthdays when they were very little, and each year the ideas got a little grander. This year Alex’s ideas were a little more than I had the time and energy for so we had to make a compromise. I WILL make a Terraria cake, I will NOT blow sugar for said cake. At the end of the day, he hugged me and told me he loved his birthday, which if you know him is a big deal.

I wanted to talk about some of the products that I used for the cake because honestly, I was experimenting and it came out wonderfully. A friend sent me a box of Enjoy Life’s newish All Purpose Flour Blend which is a nice combo of ancient grains like amaranth, teff and buckwheat, rice proteins and probiotics. I didn’t have a recipe for a cake, so I threw one together. (which I will share) The resulting cake was moist and flavorful, a perfect combination for the banana cream filling (which I won’t share because it is a Kickshaws recipe, sorry!). The Enjoy Life Blends we will have in stock this week… as well as all the other major ingredients we used.

The Cake

  • 3 cups of Enjoy Life’s All Purpose Flour Blend
  • 1 Cup Cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut palm sugar
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Icing:

  • 4 cups of organic powdered sugar (we use organic specifically because the sugar is blended with corn starch and we want to be sure it is a non-gmo cornstarch)
  • 2 cups vegetable shortening (Spectrum Palm Shortening)
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • coloring of choice (we usually use India Tree colors)
Icing:

Add the shortening and sugar to the bowel of a stand mixer (for a SUPER fluffy icing, the stand mixer is great) or large bowl for a hand mixer. Start slowly so you don’t blow the sugar everywhere and end up looking like one of the final scenes of Scarface. Combine the coconut milk and vanilla and as the mixer is running slowly add it to the bowl. Once things are starting to look a little more blended, increase the speed of the blender until you get to the highest speed. Blend the icing until it is fluffy and peaks well on its own.

Cake:

First and foremost, heat that oven up to 350 degrees. I used a 10X10 square pan for this cake, but you could to 2-8 inch pans for a two layer cake with some good height. Give the pan a nice coating of vegetable shortening to prepare it. I usually throw things together and am not a stickler on order of ingredients on cake batters (not always true with everything). So I used a large bowl and put in all the cake ingredients and just blended well. Pour the batter into the greased pan(s) and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool 5-10 minutes then remove it from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

Once the cake is cooled you can place one layer of the cake on a serving plate, top it with your desired filling and add the second layer. For the 10X10, I cut it in half and then added the filling. It is best to pipe a dam around the edge of the bottom layer with your icing to keep the filling from oozing out. Of course you can just use your  “butter cream” as your filling too. When you stack the layers pop that in the fridge to set up for at least an hour. I guarantee you, taking your time to cool the cake completely will make your icing job a million times easier.

Once the cake is completely chilled pull it out and add your first layer of icing. This is what is called a “dirty iced” layer. You are just getting all the holes filled and level. Then stick that puppy back into the fridge to let that layer chill.  (again… chilling it makes it so much easier and uniform)

Finally its time to ice the cake for presentation. You want to spread a thick layer over the cake. If you have a straight edge (plastic ruler if you don’t have a cake spreader) you can level out the icing really nicely. From there you can get crazy with decorating or just serve your cake! Obviously… we get a little crazier.

Making Trees

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A tree!

  • 1 bag of Dandies Marshmallows
  • 2/3 cup Tiny But Mighty Kernels
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Gluten-free Pretzel rods
  • 1 cup Soy/Dairy-free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life or Equal Exchange)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

I decided that I needed trees and would make them by way of Tiny But Mighty popcorn balls. Several years ago (very much pre-dietary cleanup) I had a popcorn ball obsession. If I found them anywhere I would horde them 20-30 at a time. My office desk had a file cabinet and a popcorn ball drawer, pens found a home somewhere else. I wanted to make a popcorn ball a little healthier and functional for the cake design.

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Almost there….

First- pop 2/3 of a cup of the kernels with 3 tablespoons of Chosen Foods Avocado Oil. In a small sauce pan put the Dandies over low heat and add (this is different then regular marshmallows and was a trial and error. Dandies are water based, so an oil or butter added like you would for rice crispie treats DOES NOT WORK) 2/3 cup of water. Let that simmer stirring regularly until it is completely melted and creamy. Add the popped corn to a large mixing bowl and pour the marshmallow over it and get busy evenly mixing it all together. From here you could press this into a pan and make bars, or like I did, into IMG_4300balls for popcorn balls. I wet my hands just a tad and started pressing them together until they held shape. Of course I was making trees, so I made several different sizes. I let them sit and cool and then took a wide basting brush and started powdering them with the Matcha Powder to make them green.

In a double boiler (or microwave in a pinch) melt the chocolate chips (in microwave SLOWLY… you will never get the smell of burned chocolate out of your microwave). When they are starting to melt, blend in the olive oil to make the chocolate smooth and a little more liquid. Then take your pretzel rods and dip them into the chocolate completely and using a fork pull them out one at a time and place them on a plate or cutting board. Stick those into the freezer for a quick chill. When your tree tops are done, pull the rods out of the freezer. If there is lots of chocolate pooled around the pretzels, you can use a paring knife to trim some of it away.

To topped the pretzel, with you finger make a slight indention into the popcorn ball tree top. Dip the top of the pretzel rod into the melted chocolate and press it into the popcorn ball. Set it down on the counter to dry. Once it dries, it should just hold together. From there you can pop those trees on your cake!

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Our handsome birthday boy… err teen.

Your wondering about the eyeball aren’t you? Well… the eye ball is just a big popcorn ball that is twice covered with fondant. The first layer is used to smooth over (I literally roll it on the counter to smooth out all the holes), the second layer to look nice. Then I just hand paint the eyeball, generally if I have to use a “real” food coloring, I make it an element that isn’t going to be eaten. With the eye I used red dye, which I hate, but it gets the design done. So in this case, the eyeball was just set aside as decoration. My kiddo has a horrible reaction to red food dye, so we just don’t take chance.

So that is what I came up with to make this Terraria cake. Did I mention I had no idea what Terraria was before I made it? There are lots of other things I could have done, but I think this was simple enough for our small group and definitely made the kiddo happy. I hope it encourages you to get creative and have some fun on your own cakes! Of course if you ever need to bounce cakey ideas off someone, its kinda what I do 😉

Why Collagen Peptides?

There are several products that I get lots of questions about and collagen peptides are definitely one of them. Whenever the topic comes up I find myself referring to various online discussions about it or write Facebook comments detailing some of the many benefits. I thought it was high time that I actually write a post that explains exactly why I use Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides and why we sell them at Kickshaws.

In the last several years bone broth has been a hot topic in the natural food communities. The Weston A. Price Foundation often refers to traditional foods like bone broth for their ability to miraculously heal the body. Truth be told, bone broth has been used for centuries in many cultures for its healing properties and for very good reason. The broth resulting from slow cooking of healthy bones contains various trace minerals, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous in one of the most bioavailable forms. It also contains chondroitin, glucosamine and gelatin- compounds that are very often supplemented for various joint and tissue issues.

So what’s the big deal with Collagen Peptides and are they any better than bone broth? While bone broth contains 12247794_717527565057577_372727050220126687_osome of the most important minerals and compounds, collagen peptides contain high amounts of certain amino acids (glycine, lysine and proline) that promote collagen and cellular development in the body. That helps your body more effectively rebuild protein structures like joint and connective tissues. This can help to reduce inflammation, improve joint stability and benefit skin condition. While collagen gelatin hold most of these same benefits, the molecular structure is larger so collagen peptides (hydrolysate) are much more easily absorbable like bone broth.

Should I do bone broth or peptides? My honest opinion is that generally speaking you cannot really over do it with these healing foods. I use both bone broth and collagen peptides on a nearly daily basis. I suffer from a number of issues including rheumatoid arthritis which causes pain and discomfort in many of my joints. Consuming broth and collagen peptides helps support my joints and when I am regularly using them, I rarely feel pain. We always recommend, like any healing food, go slowly and see how things go. Because we are not medical or nutritional professionals we always recommend speaking to an osteopath, natural doctor or nutritionist who can offer you some good guidelines on the best way to introduce collagen peptides for you.

For more information about Collagen Peptides and the benefits check out these sites:

Wellness Mama: http://wellnessmama.com/3058/collagen-hydrolysate/

Vital Proteins: http://www.vitalproteins.com/collagen-supplements-natural-protein-nutrition-benefits

http://www.vitalproteins.com/collagen-supplements-joint-and-bone-health

Great Lakes: http://www.greatlakesgelatin.com/consumer/CollagenFAQ.php

William “Bill” Greenlaw and The Pantry Shelf

If you have ever taken a stroll down by the river on Sophia Street in Downtown Fredericksburg, you have undoubtedly come across The Pantry 11951410_471649436293533_8799003306401123740_nShelf. The Pantry Shelf, owned by Bill Greenlaw has been a cornerstone in Fredericksburg for a very long time. If you had ever asked Bill how long he has been in business, his answer, with a smirk on his face would have been “longer than you and your momma probably been alive.”

Since we opened Kickshaws Downtown Market, we have known Bill Greenlaw… well, really before that. Bill was eager to introduce himself to us before we opened the doors to our market and ready to give us all the advice we needed to make a go at business in the ‘burg. I remember the day I first met Bill, I was working feverishly on sanding and painting and I looked over to the covered window to see his face peeking in at the edge. I walked out of the shop and introduced myself. Bill stood outside, what would soon be Kickshaws  and talked for quite a while asking what we would be selling and if we needed help. I fully admit I was very wary of him to start off with as I had heard a number of colorful anecdotes about him from folks in town. And again, admittedly, he wasn’t always the easiest person to talk to. But there were a few really huge redeeming factors for Mr. Greenlaw; he was passionate about health and passionate about teaching people. These are two things that we have built our business on and with that Bill and I were comrades.

Over the last year and a half, we worked together a few times on supplying our markets, splitting items that we couldn’t possibly completely use. He came over many times to bring us organic vegetables that he had grown on his land and of course, lots of advice on how to more effectively build our business. The funny thing is though, that while we were technically competing business, Bill was never adversarial. He sent folks my way for items and of course, I sent folks to his end when they needed certain items I knew he carried. While not all of his advice was completely useful (ie “who needs a computer these days anyway!”) he had his heart in the right place and for that he was loved by many loyal customers in Fredericksburg.

I heard yesterday that Mr. Greenlaw had passed away this week. I think for us, and probably many folks in town, we all knew he was growing older, but he was still kicking about (as he said), tending his land and tormenting college kids who ambled into his shop. I guess we just thought he would always be there.

Thank you Bill for being such a pioneer, keeping natural living, eating and health in the forefront of the minds of everyone not only in our area, but even farther. Thank you for keeping your focus on us and our well being, thank you for dedicating your life to making us better. Rest in peace Mr. Greenlaw, although they might not all admit it, Fredericksburg will miss you.