RECIPES: Memories of mom’s baking inspire Atlanta vegan bakery owner



Leah Parris remembers growing up in Macon in a house filled with the smell of fresh baking. “The aroma of muffins or banana bread in the morning, the monkey bread my friends and I would help bake when we had sleepovers, the lunchbox bars my friends still talk about, those aromas were a warm and inviting part of my childhood,” said Parris, whose Flour + Time vegan bakery has its roots in family recipes.

Although Parris’ mother, Ellen Wilson, kept her kitchen stocked with baked treats for her children and their friends, her daughter’s career path took her by surprise. It’s not where Parris was headed when she went to Mercer University and majored in voice, theater and French, but Parris came to embrace baking in college. Then, out of school and living in San Francisco, she perfected a sourdough bread recipe and experimented with a vegan diet.

And as it turns out, it was the family recipe for Miss Ellen’s Lunchbox Bars that cemented Parris’ move to a vegan diet. “When I went vegan, those lunchbox bars were one of the first things I tried to re-create. I knew if I could hold onto nostalgic dishes like this, I could make this a long-term lifestyle change,” said Parris.

It became not only a lifestyle change but the heart of an Atlanta bakery business that would grow from a pandemic home-based venture to an upcoming space in West Midtown.

Parris and her fiance, Michael Bajalia, were living in Atlanta in 2020 when both lost their jobs.

Deciding the time was right to pursue something they had been considering, they opened Flour + Time, offering a simple menu of sourdough bread and vegan versions of classic treats like the Parris family’s lunchbox bars and brownies. They created a website, went on Instagram, and started baking in their home kitchen and delivering orders all around Atlanta.

“Then we’d go back home and start baking for the next day. We did that for a year, then started selling at the Avondale Estates Farmers Market and began adding vegan pastries, which we made entirely by hand,” said Parris.

Parris said there was always a story behind the family recipes. “We would talk about who it came from, how it had changed. It was a nice connection to friends and family,” said Parris.

For example, Janie’s Brownies were made from a recipe that came from Parris’ grandmother’s college roommate.

“The recipe for Mrs. Fox’s Shoofly Pie came from my mother’s cleaning lady. Several of our family recipes are credited to Mrs. Fox,” said Wilson.

In April 2022, Parris and Bajalia moved Flour + Time into a commercial space in Avondale Estates. Recently, they closed the Avondale Estates bakery, and are building out a space at 1133 Huff Road in West Midtown that they hope to open in early June. Until the new shop opens, customers can order online and pick up at the new location.

“One of the things I enjoy is providing an easy access point for people to try a vegan diet. Try this cookie. Don’t think about whether it’s vegan. It’s just good,” said Parris. “Vegan baking is not hard. Learn the simple substitutions and try them on anything you want to. It will probably turn out better than you think.”


Leah Parris of Flour + Time vegan bakery shares three family recipes she converted from traditional to vegan. Some of the substitutions she suggests are to use a mix of ground flaxseed and water instead of poultry eggs, and vegan butter such as Violife or Earth Balance in place of dairy butter. She prefers Trader Joe’s chocolate chips because they contain no dairy, and uses cane sugar since regular granulated sugar is usually refined with bone char.



Miss Ellen’s Lunchbox Bars

“The original recipe came from the back of a bag of Kroger brand chocolate chips sometime in the ‘90s and quickly became a family favorite. Even my friends remember having lunchbox bars at our sleepovers growing up,” said Parris.

Pie Crust

Use this vegan pie crust to make Mrs. Fox’s Shoofly Pie and Strawberry Turnovers. Any shortening that does not contain animal fat is fine to use.



Mrs. Fox’s Shoofly Pie

“This pie is technically a dessert, but is also often served for breakfast, which is how I grew up enjoying it. Try a slice with a cup of coffee,” said Parris.

The recipe results in a pie that bakes into three layers: a sticky molasses bottom layer, the firm middle, and lots of crumbly topping.

Parris says any molasses will do, but she recommends Golden Barrel or another unsulfured brand for a lighter flavor. Use unsweetened soy or almond milk, not oat, and warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove until it is just warm to the touch.



Strawberry Turnovers

“This is a great option for a quick and easy treat for Mother’s Day or any special occasion, especially for a novice baker who wants to pamper and impress the mothers in their life. It’s also a great recipe for little hands who want to help!” said Parris.

She likes Bonne Maman strawberry preserves in this recipe and, although she uses a heart-shaped cutter, it would be fine to make round turnovers as well. Any leftover glaze will keep refrigerated up to 1 week.

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