533979_465523490184379_1655917906_nThere seems to be no better impetus towards delicious gluten-free baked goods than a mother’s effort towards normalcy for her child. That’s how Hannah Balliet developed her gluten-free whoopie pies that earned her a spot on Lifetime’s cooking competition, “Supermarket Stars.”

Balliet’s son was diagnosed with a disorder similar to Tourette syndrome, resulting in facial tics that were relieved by muscle relaxants prescribed by his doctors. Unfortunately, the medication left her young son very lethargic, hindering his ability to act like an average first-grader. Balliet then began experimenting with a gluten-free diet, both for her son’s disorder and her own symptoms of lupus. Fortunately, after just a few weeks, she, herself, was less achy, while her son’s facial tics completely disappeared, encouraging her and her son to stay on the gluten-free diet.

The only hiccup to their new diet was the lack of gluten-free goodie options that were close to their gluten-filled counterparts. All the products seemed too dense or crumbly, and her son was embarrassed to bring gluten-free products into his classmates for his birthday. Balliet then came up with the idea to experiment with a gluten-free treat that kids may not have tried before. Instead of trying to make a gluten-free cake, brownie, or cookie that kids would scrutinize as compared to the gluten-filled version, Balliet started experimenting with whoopie pie recipes because they are so unique, and many eight year-olds may not have tried them before.

Not surprisingly, the pies were a hit, leaving her son’s classmates asking for seconds. The experience has since left Balliet as a co-owner of the company called Melinda’s Gluten Free, selling products around the Santa Cruz area.

Balliet will participate in the Lifetime competition “Supermarket Stars,” competing for a $10,000 prize with additional financial product development. Her episode will air tonight –  August 5.

For more information about Melinda’s Gluten Free, check out their website at www.melindasglutenfree.com!