Midday Munchies

Don't let post-lunchtime hunger push you to unhealthy choice

Midday Munchies
Young Kwak
Rocket owners Jeff and Julia Postlewait at their original Millwood location with a plate of their oatie cookies.

Mid-afternoon tummies rumble. Three hours after lunch, it’s time to stoke the metabolic fire. But enter the snack zone with caution. For it is here that many of the most alluring but nutritionally empty food choices await. Candy bars, chips and sweet drinks can derail all the day’s previous conscientious efforts.

Knowing my weaknesses, I plan ahead. My favorites are a zipper bag with veggies, half a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat or a crisp Fuji apple, complete with a paring knife and a napkin.

So clearly there’s no need for snacking to necessarily get a bad rap. Well-planned snacks help curb hunger and can reduce over-consumption at mealtime.

Hungry people have been stopping in at Rocket bakeries in Spokane for mid-day nourishment since 1992.

The bakery began when, at the urging of their families, Jeff and Julia Postlewait decided to leave their restaurant jobs in Seattle. The lower cost of living in Spokane and a market ripe for new coffee houses helped them take the risk.

“We love neighborhoods and were excited to provide a hub with great coffee and treats,” reflects Julia.

Their Argonne destination is now an established snack mecca for snow, water and biking adventurers. “People grab sandwiches and snacks for the weekend or come in for something warm to drink. We partner with Spokane Parks and Recreation for special trips — snowshoe, river rafts or kayaking — with the Rocket being an ending or starting point with snacks,” says Jeff.

Their second location in the Garland District had been a bakery where, in the small world that is Spokane, Jeff’s aunt had worked many years before.

The Rocket Bakery now boasts nine locations, and they’re known for their pink-frosted sugar cookies (Aunt Nancy’s sugar cookie recipe) and no-bake chocolate cookies.

While tasty, those items are decidedly in the “occasional treat” category. But there are plenty of options for the health-conscious.

Rocket bakers start by incorporating healthy ingredients.

“We use Shepherd’s Grain flour, and carrots and apples from Green Bluff growers,” says Jeff. “We grow rhubarb and zucchini in the summer for the stores’ baked goods, too.”

For snackers looking outside the bakery case, scratch-made soups, as well as salads and sandwiches, with condiments on the side, make a nice mid-day treat.

“We offer many choices, a variety of sizes to individualize your snacks,” says Julia. “Ask for skim milk, soy or rice milk for your drinks. We even still offer an eight-ounce latte — bigger doesn’t mean better.”

The bakeries also strive to stay on top of new food trends.

“Gluten-free and vegan are big on our agenda now,” says Julia. She recommends the Moroccan carrot quinoa or the spring pea mint rice salad with feta. For those with gluten-intolerance, however, she notes that the Rocket does not have a separate gluten-free kitchen. Customers are informed if recipe ingredients are gluten-free. Mixing bowls are cleaned separately, but gluten-free foods are prepared and cooked in the same space as wheat-based products.

While the Postlewaits hoped the Rockets would become hubs for the nine neighborhoods they now inhabit, they have been surprised by the bakeries’ important role in the local business environment.

“Coffee houses have become a haven for the local business revolution,” says Jeff. “One of the most rewarding parts of business is the people you meet.”

Low-Fat Oatie Cookies

“When I make this at home, I mix in currants, golden raisins and cranberries rather than traditional raisins,” says Julia Postlewait.

3 cups raisins
2-1/8 cups brown sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour
3-1/4 cups unbleached white flour
7-1/2 cups of oats
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups non-fat milk
2 tablespoons vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl, then add non-fat milk and vanilla. Mix together until combined — do not overmix. Place heaping tablespoons on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Yield: 24 two-inch cookies.

NUTRITION: 352 calories, 2 grams fat, 78 grams carbs, 7 grams protein, 4 grams fiber per cookie

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