I remember the first time I heard about Consider It Joy Baking, I was, in fact, overwhelmed with JOY that there was a bakery in town where I could stop by and get a cupcake! I would normally have to bake paleo goodies myself, but it can take a lot of time and money to gather all the ingredients and bake. In addition to their baked goods, I enjoy their delicious pre-made meals. Their chicken pot pie is my favorite! Picking up these meals was a wonderful option for me when I was pregnant and on bed rest. I have also used Consider It Joy for catering. They do a phenomenal job and worked with me to create a seasonal menu that was just perfect for my event.
Elizabeth is the founder and co-owner of the bakery, and she graciously did an e-mail interview with me. I love hearing about her passion for baking and her advice for other moms who need to make changes in their families’ diets.
1. What inspired you to start Consider it Joy Baking? I started baking gluten-free/Paleo at home to address some health problems my oldest son was having. We soon realized that it was very hard, if not impossible, to find safe and delicious options at bakeries and restaurants. At the same time, friends began reaching out to me to ask if I would bake extra so that their families could enjoy healthy and safe food options. I started to realize that there was a great need for food like this, and my dream was to have a place full of delicious options, where my kids could choose from anything … while I knew that all of the ingredients were pre-approved.
2. What is the meaning behind your name “Consider It Joy?” When faced with overhauling our family’s diet, I was very overwhelmed and distressed. I was not a cook or a baker, but I would of course do anything in my power to improve my family’s health. I was in the midst of a Bible study on the book of James and in the first chapter, James says he considers trials and burdens to be opportunities for great joy. At the time, that seemed hard to believe, but as I threw myself into learning more and more, I watched my family’s health improve. I was able to make nourishing food for others, and it became my great privilege and joy.
3. What type of diets and food restrictions does CIJ cater to? Consider it Joy works with people who follow these diets: Paleo, Gluten-free, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, GAPS, and Autoimmune Paleo. We also offer some vegan options. All of the food we make is free of gluten, grains, lactose, casein, soy, corn, peanuts, artificial colors, and preservatives.
4. How should someone order? While we always have meals and baked goods readily available for grab and go, we also offer pre-ordering through our website (consideritjoybaking.com). Each Wednesday, we post the menu for the following week. The menu stays up until Saturday at midnight, when orders are due. When orders are placed, you specify which day you would like to pick up and we’ll have it ready for you!
5. Do you offer special menus during holidays? Yes! Each Thanksgiving and Christmas, we offer everything from turkey and gravy to family-sized sides and a variety of desserts. We love doing seasonal options for other holidays as well. For instance, this year we offered “sugar”, or heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie cakes.
6. What is your favorite item at the bakery? My favorite meal is our citrus carnitas, which is a slow-cooked and slightly spicy pork dish. For baked goods, I love the gingersnaps and the cherry almond muffins.
7. What are your kids’ favorite bakery items? My kids like most everything from the bakery, but there are certain things they get very excited about! Those include waffles, biscuits, lemon poppy seed muffins, any of the cookies, and bacon burgers!
8. What are your most popular items? Our most popular baked goods are our monster cookies, which are sold by the dozen. They are a cold treat made using almond butter, coconut oil, and honey. They are chock full of nuts, seeds, coconut, and raisins, and they are full of protein and good fats. For meals, our most popular is definitely our buffalo sweet potatoes. This is a sweet potato topped with buffalo chicken, bacon, homemade ranch dressing, and green onions. When that is on the menu, we sell out every day!
9. Do you offer delivery? We do offer local delivery from Southside down to Alabaster. All deliveries are made on Tuesdays around lunchtime. The delivery fee is $12, but for offices that receive multiple deliveries, the fee is $6 per person.
10. Can I find CIJ goods anywhere else in Birmingham? Aside from our store, Consider it Joy is at Pepper Place Farmer’s Market on certain weeks and will be at West Homewood Farmers Market every week. We also have meals and baked goods available at Health, Inc. in Pelham, a large chiropractic clinic. Boozer Farms, which operates the Farmstand at many local hospitals, also carries our grain-free granola!
11. Do you have any tips for baking paleo/gluten-free at home? Baking paleo and gluten-free is very different from traditional baking. Many people ask me how to change a traditional recipe to paleo. That’s fairly simple when you are cooking a meal, but for baked goods, I recommend that you start by searching online for a recipe for that item — there is a good chance an experienced Paleo baker has already mastered it! Paleo ingredients are very expensive and it is painful to waste them on experimenting. Once you’ve baked some tried and true recipes from a cookbook or website, you’ll get more comfortable with how the ingredients work. For instance, coconut flour is very dry and requires lots of moisture. At that point, you might feel comfortable tweaking a recipe or trying something brand new!
12. I hear you are a CSA (community supported agriculture) pick-up. Can you tell me more about that? Yes! We work with Boozer Farms, a small family farm out of Chilton County. My family had participated in a CSA with them for a year before we offered to be a pickup location. This will be the second year we are working with them. You pay in advance to receive ten weeks (one box per week) of farm-fresh, local fruits and veggies during the summer. You can sign up through them here and choose Consider it Joy as a pickup location!
13. Do you source any local ingredients? Yes! We use free-range eggs from Gravel Ridge Farms in Cullman, which are delivered fresh each week. We also use grass-fed beef from Miller Farms in Delta, AL, and we serve Piper and Leaf iced tea!
14. What are the health benefits of some of the ingredients you use? The flours that we bake with (almond and coconut) are high in protein and fiber and lower in carbs. For that reason, our baked goods are very satiating and you are usually satisfied after eating just a little versus being able to eat and eat the empty calories in other baked goods. We also use coconut oil. Its main fatty acid content comes from lauric acid, which is supposed to be the easiest fatty acid to digest. Lauric acid also has natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Avocado oil, which we use for our mayonnaise and ranch dressing, contains loads of vitamin E, B vitamins, potassium and fiber. Paleo ingredients are typically nutrient-dense, versus many of the empty starches used in typical gluten-free baking.
15. Can I eat at your bakery? We don’t have a dine-in option; however, we do have a small cafe table and chairs outside that you are welcome to use. Our Bento boxes and chicken salad are ready to eat, and you can also buy water or Piper and Leaf tea to enjoy with your meal.
16. Do you have any new seasonal items you will be offering this summer? We love changing our menu with the seasons! Recently we offered a new blueberry cobbler, and next week, we’ll be offering our summer berry salad with raspberry vinaigrette.
17. Do you cater? We do — just contact us to discuss your event. We don’t have a set catering menu; rather, we work with each client to see what would best suit their event. We have also begun to do small wedding cakes.
18. Any advice for other working moms you would love to offer? As a matter of fact, everyone who works at Consider it Joy is a working mother. Among us, we have kids in elementary, middle school, high school, and college! One thing never changes, though: we have the understanding that our children and families come first, always. I’m lucky, because the bakery is a passion project — not just for me, but for my entire family. Because I love it so, it makes the long days and tired nights worth it. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by other wise and wonderful women who pour into this business.
19. I feel like a lot of moms are really intimidated and overwhelmed by making dietary changes for their family. As a mom yourself, what is some advice you can offer to other moms who need to make dietary changes for their family, themselves, or a child? It is very intimidating to start. I truly think that getting the entire family on board is key. For one thing, that shows a true commitment, and even if just one person is requiring the change, that person will feel supported. Also, the person preparing the food will be worn out from making different meals for everyone! Tackle one meal at a time. Maybe the first week, you just work on making compliant dinners. Then the second week, you add in breakfasts. Look around for local places that cater to the plan you are beginning. Having a few pre-made items on hand can make it seem a lot less overwhelming.
20. Where are you originally from? I grew up in Andalusia, a small town in south Alabama. I attended Troy University and got my degree in Biology with a Chemistry minor. I moved to Birmingham after college and fell in love with the city. I left for a few years and lived with my husband in central Florida, but Birmingham was home to me. When we were ready to start a family, we moved back. My husband’s family is nearby and by that time, some of my family had moved here as well. I am so enjoying the evolving Birmingham food scene. We truly love this city.
Consider it Joy is located in the Piggly Wiggly shopping center in Bluff Park. Their hours are Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Note: Whenever dining out, make sure to let your server know of your allergies and ask any questions you may have about the menu.