Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Company

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

When you walk through the doors of Yellow Dog Bread Company, you are greeted by the smell of fresh bread and warm hearts. An artisan bread shop in downtown Raleigh, NC. owned by husband and wife bread makers, Matt and Tanya Andrews, Yellow Dog Bread Company, is focused on traditional hearth breads and Southern inspired pastries. When you bite into a slice of jalapeño cheddar bread or a maple bacon scone, you can taste the love and passion that Matt and Tanya mix into their business. Opening a bakery in an area of Raleigh that was yet to be discovered, Matt and Tanya truly took a real Wild Measure and saw the vision of what North Person Street could become. Now, Yellow Dog Bread Company sits on the corner of one of the hottest up and coming neighborhoods in America. Their perseverance led them on quite a journey. Tanya took the time to candidly share all the details about the long, sleepless nights that has led to their dream becoming reality. 

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

We were apprenticing at a bakery 45 minutes from our house, and the owners agreed to let us rent time in their kitchen to bake and test product. It was wonderful, exciting, humbling, and simultaneously frustrating. We had access to the work space and appliances of our dreams, but it was a lot like camping. We had to bring everything with us, and as the Boy Scouts say, leave no trace. We would pack everything we needed in to the Subaru, drive 45 minutes down to the bakery while holding the starters in our laps, and then proceed to have the most intense bake of our lives. We had a short window of time that we could be in the kitchen before they would need the space again, so we would hit the ground running. Eight to 12 hours later we would load the Subaru with dozens of fresh baked loaves, placing them onto a makeshift rack that Matt built to fit inside the trunk, and drive home. Needless to say, we ate a lot of Cookout.

The days didn’t end with our Cookout dinners. After transferring the fresh baked loaves from Subaru to the house, we would have a bread packaging marathon. I don’t know how we did it, but we would manage to fit in a few hours of sleep before heading to the farmers’ markets. It’s amazing what you are willing to do or endure when you are in love. That’s what it was; it was love. It was intense and exhausting. I’ll admit a few choice words certainly slipped out from time to time, but the experience was wonderful. We would sell out at every market. We’d bake more. We’d sell out again. I can’t express the joy it brought to us, the encouragement it gave us, and the boost it provided us when things got tough. I wish I could hug and thank every person that bought bread from us at those first markets. They gave us far more than we gave them.

It was those markets that gave us the confidence and the legs we needed to chase after this dream. It took 5 and a half years from that point until we would walk through the doors of our own space, but we finally did. Not much has changed from those early days. The shifts are still crazy, we still don’t get much sleep, and the Subaru is still always full of bread!

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

We had graduated college, got married, and found jobs in our “field of study”. Even though we were checking off the boxes, we felt unfulfilled and generally dissatisfied with the direction in which we were heading. We both came from entrepreneurial families, and we were starting to feel that pull. We didn’t know where we were headed, but we knew we wanted to do it together and we were ready to start moving.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

The dream of Yellow Dog Bread Co. took shape very slowly. It started with some chickens. We had purchased a few backyard chickens, and they were laying a lot of eggs. So, we started baking. As time went on, the baking got more serious, and we started baking bread. Neither of us thought much of it or even realized how much it had started to take root. It was on a hike in the woods with Ellie, our yellow dog, that we first dreamed what it would be like if we owned a bakery. That idea took hold, and it became all we could talk about.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

Everything was risky. From the moment we said yes to make Yellow Dog a reality, we made the conscious decision to put all our chips on red and roll the dice. That’s terrifying. We both left salaried positions with benefits for apprenticeships that barely paid minimum wage. We had to get comfortable with the idea that we might lose everything, and there were times where we almost lost everything. Two years into trying to make it happen, we had exhausted all of our savings and were faced with the reality that we could no longer afford our own home. We had to make the decision to rent out our home in Raleigh and move back to Eastern NC to live in Matt’s grandmother’s farm house. Things were just taking longer than we ever imagined. We had to take a step back. We both went back to work full time, and we had to stop baking. There was a period when we thought our dream was done. But when we thought the dream was over, things slowly started to right themselves. We quit our jobs again. The second time was just as scary as the first. Soon things were happening at such a fast pace that there was no time to assess the risks. And to be honest, it no longer mattered. We were all in.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

Two college friends had opened a bakery and we went to visit them. As soon as we walked through the doors, we were overwhelmed with excitement! All the dreaming, all the “imagine if’s” and long conversations had taken shape. We saw it was possible. It was during our trip home that we decided to make this happen. A week later I quit my job.

Patience. Humility. Perseverance. Three things I didn’t truly understand before we embarked on this journey.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

My parents took the responsibility of “devil’s advocate” very seriously. They were not initially sure of this idea. Watching us deliberately make choices that in many ways made our lives harder was difficult for them. Because I respect their opinions so much, it made me seriously question if we were on the right path.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

I don’t know. This is a hard one for me, but I will tell people to fully invest in their dream. If you don’t, how do you expect anyone else to invest?

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

We live in a time where we expect things to happen immediately or we give up. Some dreams require a longer journey before you arrive at your destination. Be patient and trust the timing of your story. Don’t rob yourself of the things you will learn along the way.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

Pie in the sky? To be featured in Garden & Gun, Southern Living, and Bon Appetit!

Learn more Yellow Dog Bread Co. and follow along with their journey at the places below:
Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter

5 Tips for a Healthy Work Life at Home

Tips for a Healthy Work Life at Home  |  The Fresh Exchange

How many of you work from home? If you do, you may agree with me that it can sometimes be a love/hate relationship that errs on the side of love. If you are someone that is highly distracted, then working from home can be a challenge in many ways. You can either be distracted by your work or other life tasks that need attention. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on your work when you have dishes that have been hanging out in your sink for a few days. It’s also hard to stop working when you have endless hours at your disposal. After working in an environment where I walked into an office, sat at your desk, and left when the day was done, I had to re-adjust my mindset. I like to call myself a creative analytic, meaning that I create the best when I have structure. So, what do you do when you work from home and have to create your own structure? Here are 5 things that help me maintain balance.

1. Pick a starting time. Whether you like to begin your workday at 8 a.m. or 1 p.m., it’s important to pick a starting time. Since I work for a creative studio, I have the flexibility to start and end my day at a time that works best for me. When you have this flexibility, it’s important to set your mind at the beginning of each work week with a starting point. The hours between your starting time and ending time can be flexible. Even if you are the type of person who can work sporadically throughout the day, you need to have this structure. When you have a starting point, you know that you will always have an ending point: a finish line. I like to start my day early because my mind marinates on ideas over night. I sleep on them, then wake with anticipation to implement my ideas and take on the world. Depending on when you exert your energy and creative juices, you may start your work day at a different time.

2. Write down your projects and tasks and have a weekly review. When you don’t walk into an office with sticky notes lining your desk or have team members or bosses around the corner, you need to have an organization system and weekly meetings. When you and your teammates each have different tasks and responsibilities it’s important to make sure that everyone is on task in order to make business run smoothly. Your bosses want to know that you aren’t sitting at home watching Friday Night Lights when there is a project deadline. This is self explanatory, but it’s always good to have a reminder that accountability is key. We like to use Podio, Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Sunrise Calendar to keep track of our daily to-do list. When Wild Measure is on the go, we use Google Hangouts or Fuze to have weekly business meetings. With a creative brain it’s easy to veer off task when you have a million ideas swirling around in your head.

3. Find a place that is comfortable with little distraction. No, I don’t mean your bed although it’s tempting and comfortable. When working from home or a home studio, you want to find a place that will be comfortable for you to concentrate for 5 hours or more. I typically sit at my kitchen table. I open the blinds to allow the natural light to filter through the windows, and I turn on music that fits my mood for the day. I know myself well enough to know that I can become easily distracted, so if I feel distractions creeping upon me I will move to a coffee shop after lunch. It helps to break up my 5 hour work sprint. I think I speak for most people that when I am more comfortable, I am more productive.

4. Take time for breaks and vacation. Working with two entrepreneurs, I know that breaks and vacations are few and far between. When you own a small business, your work does not end. There is never an 8-9 hour work day at Wild Measure. We work around the clock. We all love what we do, and we inspire each other to do our best work. One thing we have to tell ourselves is that it’s ok to take breaks or a mini vacation. When I spent time working in Northern Michigan for two weeks, we worked as soon as the sun came up and found ourselves working when the sun went down. We would have to remind ourselves to take breaks to walk to the sandwich shop or run on the dunes. Mike and Megan wanted to show me as much as possible, but we had to work before we played.  People may think that when you work from home you get more vacation time, which can happen, but often times it’s quite the opposite. You face the danger of allowing work to consume your life 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Remember to breathe and enjoy the few minutes you have between projects.

5. Don’t forget to socialize. I am a social person and get energized when people are around me. However, when I am immersed in work I tend to crawl into a little shell and forget my need to be social. This summer I worked remotely and had to make sure I had coffee, lunch, and dinner dates everyday. If you are introverted then working alone isn’t a problem, and is likely exactly what you need. I still believe, even if you are an introvert, you need to push yourself to socialize, because we draw inspiration from human interaction. For me, it is the best inspiration to grab coffee with a friend then snap back into work mode. After having a good conversation or volunteering, I feel more energized to finish my day’s work with fresh ideas.

These are just some tips that have helped me manage and balance my time, work, and social life since I work from home. If you are an entrepreneur who works from home, what are some tips that have helped you manage your time? How have you created a structured yet creative atmosphere?

An Any Day Recipe: A Simple Salmon Recipe

A Simple SalmonDinner with Target  |  The Fresh Exchange

I have always believed in buying food from local markets and places that use a sustainable model that ultimately help – not hurt — the world around us. When I put food into my body, I want to know that it was cared for in the most natural, environmentally friendly way possible.

Growing up in Northern Michigan by the fresh water, we would always have fresh fish on the dinner table. We would get smoked fish from fisherman friends, or my dad would bring fresh fish home after a day on the water. Fish was always abundant and I never had to think about where it was coming from.

As I have gotten older and started cooking for myself, I have found that it is hard to buy quality fish and food. We have grown to love the fact that markets and local options are fairly abundant in Raleigh. On a busy day when I am running errands to find items for a shoot or am on the run for meetings, I don’t always have time to stop at five places to get ingredients for dinner. Even in cities where quality food is  available, it isn’t always as easy as we would like it to be.

A Simple SalmonDinner with Target  |  The Fresh Exchange

When Target shared their recently-launched Sustainable Salmon model with me, I was pretty pumped. I love cooking fish. It is easy and takes little prep on a busy day. I watched the video they created to share their vision of connecting consumers to a great product, and I was really impressed. The ability to connect people who love what they do to a consumer who is looking for a sustainable and quality product made me happy to consider adding this to the menu. By 2015 Target plans to have all their fresh and frozen seafood both 100% sustainable and traceable. Meaning that not only where you will be able to know where your fish was harvested, but also know that it is coming from a source that is not jeopardizing the structure of an ecosystem. This makes me feel good that on days when I am running around doing errands, that even if I cannot make it to my favorite fish market I can still know that because of Target’s commitment, I can have a quality product that is not harming an ecosystem.

To celebrate such a great movement, I wanted to share a favorite salmon recipe that is healthy and easy. Find the full process and ingredients below:

A Simple SalmonDinner with Target  |  The Fresh Exchange

12 ounces of Wild Caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
2 cups of Wild Rice
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 lb. green beans
1/2 a medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 large lemon thinly sliced
1 tablespoon local honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small knuckle of ginger
2 handfuls of flat leaf parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

A Simple Salmon Dinner with Target  |  The Fresh Exchange

1. Begin by cooking the rice according to directions.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Prep for baking by layering tinfoil with parchment paper on the pan, and then place the filets onto the foil and paper..

4. Rub coconut oil onto the filets and layer on the sliced lemons to cover the top of the salmon.

5. Place the chopped garlic and half of the chopped onions on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6. Once the oven reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit, wrap the salmon with the parchment and tinfoil, and bake for 30 minutes.

A Simple Salmon Dinner with Target  |  The Fresh Exchange

7. While the salmon cooks, check the rice. When it is done, turn off heat and let it sit.

8. Next, chop the green beans and the cilantro into small pieces. Toss them into the rice along with the rest of the chopped onion.

9. Mix the dressing by blending together the honey, balsamic vinegar, ginger, salt and pepper in a high speed blender.

10. Once the salmon is done cooking, set it aside to cool off.

11. Place the rice, green beans, and onion into a salad bowl and mix with a few dashes of the dressing.

A Simple Salmon Dinner with Target  |  The Fresh Exchange

12. Plate the rice and place one filet (or a half) onto each plate. Lightly drizz le more dressing on  top and squeeze fresh lemon.

13. You are ready to eat.

A Simple Salmon Dinner with Target  |  The Fresh Exchange

I hope you enjoy this simple dish, as well as take the chance to experience what Target is doing to help build a more sustainable company.

This post is brought to you by Target. With helping hands, Target is committed to building healthy and sustainable communities.

5 Ways to Make Your Morning Better

5 Ways to Make Your Morning Better  |  The Fresh Exchange

I will be the first to say that I am not a morning person. I am almost 28 years old, and I still do not have the desire to wake with the sun. For the longest time I felt like a complete failure for not having this desire. Since I was a little thing, I loved staying up late and sleeping in late. Just ask my mom. Instead of making myself feel bad about not being a morning person, I have created ways to make waking at the crack of dawn more desirable. Lately we have been embracing slower mornings until we really feel bright enough to tackle our tasks. Today I am going to share 5 things that I have started doing to help make mornings better and less challenging.

See below for details on each one of the things we have added into our mornings to make them just that much better.

5 Ways to Make Your Morning Better  |  The Fresh Exchange1. Begin with a good Stretch:
I learned from a friend who is a yoga instructor that you should always wake up and do 15 minutes of stretching. It helps stimulate your nervous system and muscles, which results in you becoming aware more quickly. After a long day of travel or a really tough workout, it shakes out any tension that settled into your body during sleep.

5 Ways to Make Your Morning Better  |  The Fresh Exchange2. Make the Bed:
When I was young, I hated making my bed. Now I love beginning the day with this simple task. Sure it takes about 10 minutes, but there is something about the process of making my bed in the morning that makes me feel more put together. When I return to my bedroom at the end of the day and see the crisp bed, I feel a sense of accomplishment after a tough day. I can pull down the sheets, slide into my clean bed, and release my day. This feeling makes that 10 minutes in the morning 100% worth it.

5 Ways to Make Your Morning Better  |  The Fresh Exchange3. Drink Warm Lemon water:
I started doing this when I was cleansing, and now I love beginning my day with this warm, simple drink. After 6-8 hours of no water, I always wake up parched. So, drinking water before I grab the coffee makes me remember the importance of hydration. It also keeps me from guzzling more coffee than I should.

5 Ways to Make Your Morning Better  |  The Fresh Exchange4. Add Almond Milk into your daily smoothie:
Somedays when I want a little something extra in my smoothie I add Almond Milk. Though I love making my own, I don’t always have time with travel and work so I will usually pickup Silk Almond Milk that is unsweetened and without added flavor. It adds the just that little extra treat even though I am consuming a lot of antioxidants, greens, and protein, but goodness does it taste good.

What I put in my smoothie from the video:
1/2 cup Silk Almond Milk Unsweetened
1 tbsp fresh ground Almond butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp hemp hearts
1 banana
1 cup wild organic blueberries
1 tbsp local wildflower honey
3 cups fresh spinach

5 Ways to Make Your Morning Better  |  The Fresh Exchange5. Allow time for inspiration:
Mornings are not about emails and tasks to me. They are about putting on my game face to create great work. So, I love beginning my day by giving myself anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to find inspiration. Typically this is while I enjoy my smoothie and coffee (after my lemon water of course). I will look through Pinterest or Feedly to see what is happening in the world and what new trends are surfacing. I always walk away from that time ready to tackle the day’s tasks.

I would love to hear how each of you make your mornings better. What are your morning rituals? Do you do any of the things I do?


Thank you to Silk for sponsoring this post and asking us to share what makes our mornings better. The opinions and text are all mine.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.