Hi, I’m Maddy!
Thanks for your interest in learning more about me! Needless to say, I love food. When I step into my South Philly home, I drop my stuff and innately walk towards the kitchen. Whether I have my hands full of groceries or I am perusing the pantry for my next recipe idea, the kitchen is my happy place.
Growing up with an Italian mother who loves to cook, food has been a focal point of my life for as long as I can remember. For me, food doesn’t just sustain — it brings people together; it nurtures traditions; it embodies culture and identity. I feel blessed to have found a therapeutic hobby that allows me to channel all my chaotic ideas into something tangible and – most of the time – tasty!
My transition to a gluten-free lifestyle
More than ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. For those who don’t know, Celiac Disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder that is triggered by the consumption of gluten, a thickener and protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. There are potentially horrible side affects to Celiac patients who consume glutenous foods, as well as serious long-term health risks. The only healthy solution for Celiac patients is maintaining a 100% gluten-free diet.
My transition to a gluten-free lifestyle started with me simply substituting all of the carbohydrates I ate before the diagnosis with gluten-free products. Makes sense in theory, right? Especially for someone in college, with limited time or motivation to cook on a regular basis. Then, concurrently with a healthier routine after graduating college, I was incorporating more fruits, veggies, and whole grains into my regular diet. Once I backed off of the “empty carbs” (as I call most processed gluten-free products), I noticed a huge difference in my overall mood and energy level. There are many interpretations of a gluten-free diet. For me, I’ve found that I feel better and happier without carbs all together, rather than gluten-free substitutes for those carbs.
Now that I’ve experienced all of the positive mental and physical changes while on a more natural path, that’s the primary lifestyle I embrace. I connected with a local farm share program called Philly Foodworks, and just love getting my weekly boxes of seasonal produce. It’s been a major inspiration behind my first cookbook! With all that being said, I’m not a nutritionist, and this is not a wellness blog. 🙂 My tip from one Celiac patient to another is to simply listen to your own body and discover the substitutes and modifications that work best for YOU!
My flour blend and cookbook
Gluten-free baking comes with its challenges. In order to modify naturally glutinous classics (like pizza, popcorn chicken, or chocolate chip cookies), you need just the right balance of grains and starches to achieve a similar texture and taste. After years of experimenting in the kitchen, I have rolled out my own all-purpose gluten free flour, which has been a full-proof solution for almost every recipe I create or modify. I’m excited to share this blend with others, in hopes that it will make gluten-free baking a little less intimidating!
In addition, I’ve organized all of my thoughts, techniques, and favorite creations to date into my first cookbook, which I self-published in 2020! The book contains 90 recipes: 10 gluten-free staples, such as breads, pasta, and pastry dough, and 20 recipes for each season of the year. Those seasons are then broken down into breakfast, nutrition-focused, dinner/sides, and dessert. This book is a marriage of my passion for seasonal produce and buying local, and my love for sweet and savory treats that Celiac patients can’t commonly find. I hope the book inspires people to have fun in the kitchen, and share their creations with people they love, whether or not they require a gluten-free diet!
Farmers Markets and Pop-Ups
I am grateful and proud to grow this business in the Greater Philly area – a place that supports and values its small business owners. Prior to moving to the suburbs, I loved visiting Herman’s Coffee, a Pennsport neighborhood coffee shop and staple that not only makes amazing stuff in-house, but supports an endless stream of small business owners and artisans. They have a “pantry” style shop where you can find all the things you didn’t realize you needed, but make you happy. They also host rotating food trucks and pop-ups, including Swheat Escape! Be on the look-out for my next pop-up with them.
In spring of 2021, Swheat Escape linked up with Growing Roots Farmers Marketwhere we sell rotating treats that highlight seasonal produce. The offerings usually include two muffins, a vegan fruit bar, a brownie or something chocolatey, and a scone or hand pie. In addition, we always offer sandwich bread, dinner rolls or burger buns, all-purpose gluten-free flour, and our 90-recipe cookbook. We attend one market a month at the Malvern and Downingtown locations, with hopes to increase our presence over the next year!
Swheat Escape is inspired by my desire to discover and share all the great things natural foods have to offer, and compliment them with both classic and unassuming ingredients. I still create allll the guilty pleasures — sugar-coated, deep-fried goodness that us Celiac patients can’t just pick up anywhere. But I’ve expanded upon that to show that we can all benefit from more natural foods in our diet.