Important Change to Membership Fee Reimbursement

The Board recently revised the Co-op membership structure in line with our by-law 2.13. Effective January 19th, membership fees are now non-refundable. For members who joined prior to that date we are offering an 8-week opt-in window following AGM 2015 to retain their right to reimbursement.

Why are we doing this? Our former membership structure created a large liability on our balance sheet—all member fees were actually debt because they could potentially be claimed back.  If memberships are non-refundable, they become an asset of the Co-op and improve our financial stability as a business.

We also found that most members did not think of their membership fee as a loan, but rather as a one-time investment in the Co-op – for which we are very thankful. So that this change does not negatively impact members who do think of their membership fee as a loan, we are offering members the opportunity to exercise the right to future reimbursement by signing an opt-in form.

The Membership Fee Right-to-Reimbursement form is available at the Co-op. Members who want to opt in must fill it out and return it to staff to file. You can also print the opt-in form (click to download the form), fill it out, and email back to the Board (opt-in@mustardseed.coop). It needs to be signed, as it represents your legal request to continue your right to reimbursement. The 8-week opt-in window closes April 20th, after which all fees are non-refundable.

The Mustard Seed is now over 1,800 members strong, and we truly appreciate every member’s contribution to the Co-op! Thank you for being part of building Hamilton’s local food culture.

AGM – tonight!

AGM_Postcard_WEB - croppedWhen: Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Time: Registration from 6:00pm to 7:00; AGM from 7:00 to 9:00

Where: The Hamilton-Wentworth Room (Hamilton Central Library, 55 York Blvd.)

Tomorrow evening is the Mustard Seed’s second Annual General Meeting (AGM). This year we will celebrate our first year as Hamilton’s only food co-operative, share how our co-op is doing financially, and elect new board members, along with other business. Co-ops are democratically controlled, so attending the AGM is one of the best ways for our members to have a voice in how our store functions. Please plan on coming out to learn more about The Mustard Seed and show your support! We will have great local snacks to sample, and other fun surprises – please plan to join us!

Coconut Flour Squares

Baking_With_Marcie_Week_3

Today we’re focusing on the ever-elusive topic of gluten-free baking! Marci is a local baker who has her Nurse’s Accreditation in Celiac’s Disease and a Diploma in Celiac’s Disease and the Gluten Free Lifestyle. She’s also a member of the co-op! She is hanging around the store most Wednesdays and Thursdays and would love to help you with any questions about gluten-free baking, nutrient-dense baking, or dietary improving tips.

Marci is also the creator of the very popular “Well Bread”. This bread is not only gluten-free, but it’s also vegan and contains no cane sugar. It’s fresh and delicious, but each slice also provides a healthy dose of fiber and protein! Marci recommends it for sandwiches or toast, but also suggests it as a great hostess gift with a ribbon tied around it. Pop by the co-op and pick up a loaf for yourself!

Who doesn’t like to have a sweet treat now and then? “I’m more about NOW, rather than then,” says Marci. The tougher question she suggests is: can you indulge in a sweet craving that can actually be healthy too? Oh yes!

Coconut flour is one of the healthiest flours out there, and when you bake with it, you add all that goodness to your treat! It’s a gluten-free flour made from ground coconut meat. It’s also grain-free, low carb, contains more fibre than any other flour available, and has a decent amount of protein. Most importantly, it imparts a really enjoyable flavour whenever it’s used!

When trying to substitute it in your baking for the first time, Marci recommends that you try 1/8 cup in place of your usual flour and increase your liquid by ¼ cup. Since Marci’s Bakery is all about the healthiest, nutrient rich baking they can produce, here is a recipe that uses coconut flour to make a gluten free, vegan, no grain, no cane sugar square that tastes fantastic.

COCONUT FLOUR SQUARES (vegan, nut-free, grain-free, paleo)

Ingredients:

2 large, ripe peeled bananas (preferably organic)

½ cup tahini or smooth sunflower seed butter

⅓ cup coconut nectar or pure maple syrup

⅓ cup coconut flour

1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (artificial may have gluten)

½ teaspoon gluten free baking powder

¼ teaspoon gluten free baking soda

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

3 tablespoons semisweet vegan chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Put all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a blender or food processor. Process, using on/off pulses, until mixtures starts to blend into batter (pulsing helps the machine motor not to be overworked). Then, process on High for 15-30 seconds until smooth.
3. With a spatula, spread the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the top. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown and surface feels dry. Cool completely in pan. Cut into 16 squares. Serve with love!

Enjoy!

Marcie's Treats (edited)