When Elisa Breland’s daughter died two years ago, the 47-year-old Puyallup resident fell into a deep depression that lasted months.
One day, her son was craving cookies.
“I said, ‘Well, I can make you cookies,’” Breland recalled.
That’s how Breland discovered a way to help process her grief — through baking.
“Everybody came home from work, and there were cookies and they liked it,” Breland said. “Everybody had smiles and that was nice, so the next day I made a cake.”
Baking also was something her daughter, Myranda Myers, loved to do.
“Her favorites were snickerdoodles,” said Bobbilynn Macomber, Myers’ sister.
Myers was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma in 2014. Doctors found a six-pound tumor pressing against her back and kidney after Myers started complained about being in pain.
Despite being given only months to live, Myers fought her diagnosis for the next three years.
“She kept on pushing past the time lines she was given,” Macomber said.
Myers died on Oct. 2, 2017. Her death shook her family, who had moved in together after Myers became ill.
“We just needed each other,” Breland said.
Breland, whose past profession was in health care administration and only baked off and on at home, baked every day after that plate of cookies for her son. Macomber started pitching in.
“Every day I was baking and it was making me feel better and getting me off the couch,” Breland said.
There was only one problem.
“Everybody started gaining weight,” Breland said.
So they made a change to low-carb, Keto-friendly foods. Keto, also known as a “keto diet,” focuses on low-carb, high-fat foods. The diet also bans any sugar. Instead, Breland and Macomber bake with a natural sweetener derived from monk fruit, native to China and Thailand.
Breland and Macomber shared one of their creations — called a chocolate loaf — on a community Facebook page. They didn’t expect the response they received.
“It went crazy,” Macomber said.
The mother-daughter duo started receiving baking requests, so they set up a Facebook page themselves.
Since then, word of their low-carb creations spread. The two started cooking at a community kitchen called the Gourmet Niche in Tacoma and earned their business license in February.
Now, Macomber, Breland and Breland’s husband, Steve, own Elk Foods LCC — also known as Elisa’s Low-Carb Kitchen.
They sell both baked goods — bread, muffins, cake, pies, cookies and sweet rolls — and ready-to-eat meals, including “PocKetos,” a spin on pizza pockets. The PocKetos are some of the most popular orders, in addition to the bread, Breland said. Each good is labeled with the number of carbs and grams of fat.
Every week, Breland and Macomber bake their orders and then deliver them. In a few weeks, their goods will be available at the Tacoma Boys in Puyallup.
In the future they hope to own their own kitchen and storefront.
Breland thinks her Myers would have wanted to be a part of the business.
“She would have loved the people part of it,” she said.
Macomber remembers her sister making a plate of snickerdoodle cookies and giving them away not long before she died.
“She loved to bake,” Macomber said.