Meet Diana

I am a Registered Dietitian and have had a lifelong interest in good nutrition. My dad had Type I Diabetes and watched his diet very carefully, so I was aware of nutrition and it’s health implications from an early age. As a teenager I became intrigued with natural foods, especially whole grain baked goods. I experimented with muffin, sweet bread and cookie recipes, substituting whole wheat flour, honey and brown sugar for traditional refined flour and white sugar. In college, I majored in Dietetics and Food Administration. After working for many years in diet counseling for patients with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and weight management issues, I returned to my first passion, baking with whole grains.

Inspired by concern for my two daughters, I set about experimenting with recipes, hoping to develop some healthy baked goods that they would eat. I didn’t have to worry about my husband, Dan. Early in our relationship I had weaned him off breakfasts of Twinkies and Snoballs, washed down with strawberry soda (shudder!!!) and onto oatmeal with raisins and walnuts, PB & J’s on whole wheat bread and whole grain muffins. Our kids were more challenging, because like most kids their age, they were not big fans of whole grains. After lamenting my dilemma to a neighbor, she suggested I try making granola. I knew that to tempt my kids, my granola would have to have a good balance of sweetness and crisp texture, but the dietitian in me also wanted it to provide some nutritious ingredients that they might not get elsewhere. So, I brought together traditional granola ingredients, like rolled oats and honey, then added in some of my own nutritional favorites.

littlebarnbakeryMy granola was a hit with my family! Even my sister, who had a reputation for eating chocolate cake with her morning coffee, raved about it. Buoyed by my granola‚Äôs success at home, I decided to show my support for my kids’ volleyball teams by modifying my home oven, so that I could bake granola in 12 lb. batches for matches and tournaments. It felt good, as a mother and nutrition professional, to be providing a nutritious snack for these hardworking athletes. I also started giving my granola as gifts to our doctors, dentist, chiropractor, auto mechanic, postal workers, UPS drivers and others, to thank them for helping to keep us moving forward in our daily lives. My sisters asked for granola in gift bags to give to friends and co-workers for special occasions. Dan shared my granola with colleagues at the community college where he worked.

Pretty quickly, requests started coming in for more granola. When a small barn (that was originally part of a Christmas tree farm) became available in my town, I took the plunge, leasing the building and setting up The Little Barn Bakery (now The Bread Barn). In this commercial kitchen, I developed a variety of granola recipes, as well as cookies and muffins. My “Wheat-Alternative,” recipes, while not guaranteed to be gluten-free, are made with white and brown rice flour. I also bake several flavors of traditional shortbreads, because it’s hard to beat a really good shortbread with a cup of coffee or tea.

In January 2016, I transitioned to a Cottage Food Operation and do all my baking in my home kitchen, with oversight by the county health department. The Bread Barn, as the bakery is now called, sells amazing handmade breads, rolls and scones, and continues to stock my baked goods in the shop.

Plans for 2017 include moving to Columbia Falls, Montana, to be closer to our kids and where my biologist husband, Dan, can be near his beloved Glacier National Park. I plan to continue baking!

You can get in touch with me at dianasgranola@att.net

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