Edina native Ellie Schlaefer combines her passion for food, photography and design to serve up fresh flavor to followers on her Instagram page @fullbellyellie created in August of 2019. Schlaefer began her foodie journey to share how she utilized fresh fruits and vegetables from the local farmers market.
Emphasizing the notion that creating healthy meals can be fun, Schlaefer’s content is aimed at showing followers how they can fill their bellies with nutritious, yet delicious food.
With too often a taboo type of approach to dieting in pop culture, Schlaefer says “there is no shame in having a full belly, a belly full of healthy, colorful food.”
Drawing inspiration from global cultures, Schlaefer looks to other foodie accounts such as @halfbakedharvest, @fitfoodiefinds and @taste.of.yum for guidance on how to achieve these unique, bold tastes. Using these resources as a base to build from, Schlaefer says her posts help provide a sense of understanding and ease of cooking for not only herself, but her followers as well.
What began as a hobby is now a way for Schlaefer to connect with the world around her, one fork-full at a time.
A Loaf of Love
While living alone during quarantine, Schlaefer turned to baking bread. Making sourdough to pass the time, a 24-hour process, she began to give friends and family samples of her delectable creations.
Expanding her efforts to gluten-free banana bread to accommodate her sister’s allergies, Schlaefer eventually gained traction for both types of bread and began making upwards of 30 loaves a week during the month of April.
“I perfected my baking skills and people loved it,” she says.
Selling each loaf for $5, Schlaefer hand delivers them to customers’ doorsteps to help minimize additional outings to the supermarket.
Schlaefer describes this type of bread as holding a tangy bite that is chewy on the inside yet has a crisp and crackly crust. What makes sourdough so unique is its process. The preparation of the bread begins with a starter of water and flour that must be regularly “fed” until thick and active. Forming carbon dioxide, acids and ethanol through the process of fermentation, the dough is then ready to bake. Given the variety of conditions in a given environment, each loaf will look and taste slightly different than the next.
This healthy alternative to a sweet treat might surprise you. Made up of simple ingredients like bananas, oats, eggs, maple syrup and baking soda; this bread has no additional sugars and is also gluten and dairy free. To order your loaf, visit fullbellyellie.com.
Three Kitchen Essentials
- Food processor or blender for easy and efficient chopping.
- A cast iron skillet is multi-purpose, durable and nonstick.
- A sharp knife ensures more control, consistency and enhances safety. Without one, you adhere to applying more pressure which increases the risk of slipping and causing injury.
Three Tips for New Cooks and Bakers
- You don’t have to follow a recipe. Instead, make it your own by adding or subtracting fruits and vegetables to accommodate dietary restrictions, enhance flavor and increase the nutritional value.
- Stock up on vegetables that are new to you and challenge yourself to incorporate them into new recipes.
- Schlaefer emphasizes the taste difference between unsalted and salted butter, this is an instance where you must follow the recipe.
Gluten Free Banana Bread
- 3 medium ripe bananas
- 2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup of pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. of baking soda
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9x5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined and smooth. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
*Optional* Garnish the batter with sliced banana, walnuts or a few chocolate chips before baking.
- Let the loaf cool in the pan. Store bread in an airtight container or in the refrigerator.
- 1 large butternut squash cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. of sea salt
- Cooking fat of choice: 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil or butter
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 1 lb. of pork sausage
- 1 large apple chopped
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 1 tbsp. of dried poultry seasoning
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 egg whisked (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss butternut cubes in olive oil and salt and spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast squash for 35 minutes, turning over once for even browning. The squash should be soft and toasty brown.
- While the squash is roasting, melt 2 tbsp. of cooking fat in a large skillet (cast iron is ideal) on medium-to-high heat. Once warmed, add in the onion and celery. Sauté vegetables for 5 minutes.
- Add ground sausage to skillet, break up the lumps and stir as it cooks until browned and then lower the heat.
- Add apples to skillet and cook until softened. Stir in salt and poultry seasoning and let simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and let sit.
- Combine squash with the sausage mixture and toss in dried cranberries inside an ovenproof dish. Fold in whisked eggs and bake in the skillet for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.