Friday, November 29, 2013

First World Problems: Sick for the Holidays

Where to start?  The week before last was crazy busy!  I was downtown everyday but friday for an event of some kind.  But it did win me a brand new Ninja Blender and we got to see Simon Tofield draw Simon's Cat it did end up being a good week.  :)

I think I caught kiddie germs at the Chicago Toy and Game show.  I woke up Sunday not feeling so hot and it kinda went downhill from there.  Let me say I'm not deathly sick, but I've got a persistent cough, a fever and a sore spot in my throat.  So just uncomfortable sick.

I spent most of Tuesday playing with my new blender!  Did you see the photos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter?  OMG, my Ninja Ultima is hands down the strongest blender I've ever owned.  I used it to finish pureeing that huge blue hubbard squash I got at the Chicago Food Swap in November.  I also made a butternut squash and apple soup, which is to die for.

Wednesday I was supposed to bake bread, make a pie and squash for Thanksgiving.  I slept off and on all day, but really enjoyed the smoothies from my Ninja.  My mom did the bread and pie.

Susie and I went to two Thanksgivings on Thursday where everyone loved the roasted acorn squash.  I feel kinda guilty that the squash was the only thing I made for Thanksgiving.  But its probably for the best as I'm still not feeling great.  I'm still up tonight because I put off baking my Blogger Cookie Swap cookies pretty much until the last minute.  They have to be mailed by Monday.  Guess who's getting up at the crack of dawn to bake and dip cookies tomorrow?  This girl!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Salted Apple Sliver Cake

Around the holidays, we tend to go big.  Usually this  means a lot of work for the payoff of great flavors.  Yet, this time around we wanted to keep it a little simpler.  Certainly there are a few components to this dish, but altogether it is a cake with fruit filling and frosting.  Not too complicated when you break it down.  Of course, this time the flavor is not just impressive but the size as well.  We went big with three whole layers.  Let's just say when you cut a slice of this for your family they will be stunned. 

As for the ingredients well, it uses some of our favorite new creations.  With spiked apples, salted caramel and whipped frosting.  If you can make all of those things plus a cake, then you are certainly able to pull this off.  Over all we wanted to do something different for our fall treats.  We're used to the same variety of pies at this time of year.  So, we wanted to switch our focus on other fall flavors.  We traded in gourds for apples and the results are splendid.  The cake is definitely large, but it is also definitely disappearing at the same rate as any other.  Which is more impressive because it seems to be three times the size of a regular cake.

I picked up everything for this recipe at the Sunset Foods in Long Grove.  They truly have the most amazing selection of groceries.  I just knew they'd have all the ingredients.  That's the great thing about Sunset, I can easily find what I'm looking for in one trip.  Whereas if I'd shopped elsewhere, I'd have had to go to multiple stores.

I'd recommend making the caramel and apples the day before to make things easier on yourself.  I went with McIntosh apples for this recipe because to me they just taste like sweettarts.  If you use different baking apples, you'll need to taste and adjust the sugar as needed.

Also the cake should be refrigerated at least 1-2 hours before serving.  This will make it a lot easier to slice as the buttercream frosting will firm up nicely.

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup raw sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

In a medium saucepan, cook sugar until it starts to melt and then whisk continuously until it's melted.  Remove whisk and occasionally swirl pan until caramel reaches 345 degrees.  Whisk in butter, be careful because mixture will bubble up a lot.  When butter is fully incorporated, slowly whisk in cream and then whisk in salt.  Allow to cool to room temperature, pour in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Spiked Apple Filling
8 (2 1/2 lbs)McIntosh apples, peeled and thinly sliced
5 tablespoons raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 ounces of your favorite whisky

In a large saute pan combing apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until apples release their juices.  Meanwhile, whisk together cornstarch and lemon juice in a bowl.  When apples are juicy, slowly stir in cornstarch mixture and whisky allowing apples to cook until the juices have thickened.  Remove from heat and refrigerate until ready to use.

Three Layer Yellow Whisky Cake
4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups raw sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1/4 cup whisky

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, cut parchment circles to fit three 9-inch cake pans.  Grease cake pans and put parchment circles in the bottom of the pans.  Set aside.

Whisk together first four dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  In a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy. 

A great tip to get your eggs warm faster, place them in a bowl and cover with warm water.  Change water at least once and your eggs will be ready in no time!

Add eggs one at time, mixing until incorporated then add vanilla and mix again.  After that alternate adding buttermilk and dry ingredients, mixing well after each addition.  You'll end up with a super thick cake batter.

Pour cake batter evenly into pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then cool on rack.

Salted Caramel Frosting
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup salted caramel sauce

Using a double boiler, make a slurry with the egg whites and sugar.  Whisk this over medium heat for about 6 to 8 minutes, mixture should be thick, white and opaque.  Remove from heat, scrape into mixing bowl and beat for 6 to 8 minutes until you have a shiny white meringue.

Beat in butter and continue to mix for 3 to 4 minutes.  Drizzle in caramel sauce and beat to incorporate.


Place the first cake layer on a plate, top with 1/3 third of apples and top that with 1/3 of frosting.  Repeat with remaining two layers.  Once assembled, place in refrigerator until frosting has firmed up, 1 to 2 hours.  When ready, slice and serve.  Store remaining cake, covered in fridge.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Delivery Man in Theaters November 22nd

We were able to see The Delivery Man this summer.  We were not entirely certain what to expect from this film.  We do like Vince Vaughn in general but the plot is unlike any other.  A man finds out that he is the biological father of 533 children after having donated to a sperm bank consistently over a period of time because they are suing to find out his identity.
While this elicits laughter, the real key was in how the movie handles such an outrageous number of children.  The funny keeps coming as David Wozniack (played by Vince Vaughn) tries to figure out if he should interact with them.  He's pressed with real examples of fatherhood by his friend and lawyer.  He hears all the naysayers telling him the idea is crazy.  He is a delivery man for his family's butcher store.  Yet, as he begins to secretly meet his children he has the chance to ask himself what he really wants in life.  They allow him the chance to rethink what kind of life he should be living.

We knew it was hit when they managed to take the hilarious situation and fill it with heart.  While he secretively sees some of his children, he still has the relationships with his family and girlfriend.  We find through his interaction with his kids that he is more than what we expected to find.  His true reason for donating sperm is one that will make you feel warm on the inside.  Completely unexpected because the act of donating sperm is not usually one that would make you want to hug anyone involved in the process.  You will find yourself rooting for this unique man as he tries to balance a normal life with an extraordinary amount of children.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Simon's Cat Vs. the World at The Book Cellar November 20th!!

Comics have a dear place in my heart.  I love them.  I learned to read from comics.  The ones in the paper and comic books read aloud to me.  The combination of pictures and words allows everyone to understand what is going on.  Yet, the best comics don't always have words.  This is the case with Simon's Cat.

I discovered him through his youtube channel years ago.  Instantly my family and I were fans of his videos.  Simon's Cat does something special by creating comics without words.  His humor is universal as anyone can understand the behaviors of a hungry cat.  So, we were thrilled when we got the chance to get a copy of his new book!

The best part is that he is coming to Chicago!  Not only is his new book hilarious it's chock full of color so we can see Simon's Cat in a new perspective.  So, you should try to come join us in meeting Simon Tofield at The Book Cellar at 7pm on November 20th!

Not only did we get to see his brand new book before getting to meet him this week, the publisher also graciously offered to give one away!!  To enter use the rafflecopter form below.  Contest open to 18+ in the US.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hachiya Persimmon Bundt Cake

Jenn, who blogs over at Cultivating Me, texted me last weekend to see if I had any ideas for using Hachiya persimmons.  I'd actually never had a persimmon before.  Like never, ever.  I knew there was more than one kind of persimmon, the two most common are hachiya and fuyu.

But as luck would have it, they just happened to be on sale at my local Italian market that very same week.  So I picked some up.  I don't know that I'd recommend eating them plain.  :(  Eating them makes your mouth feel funny.  The astringents in the hachiya actually make your mouth feel furry when you eat one.

Then she suggested that you could bake with them.  Now baking I can do!  I decided to puree the persimmons and use them in a bundt cake with oatmeal flour to keep everything moist.  Besides pureeing, this recipe basically has only two steps. The best part is that a bundt cake looks fancy all on it's own so you don't need to frost it, which means less work and less sugar.  

Hachiya Persimmon Bundt Cake

1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 2/3 cup hachiya persimmon puree
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup spicebox whisky

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 10-cup bundt cake pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients.  In a large bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients.  Slowly mix dry into wet until all ingredients are incorporated.  Scrape into greased bundt pan and bake for about 40 minutes.  Use a toothpick to test for doneness.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

First World Problems: City Driving

I suppose you may think I always complain about driving. While this is true, most cases are not nearly as bad as our drive into the city.

It seemed a good idea to avoid the highway and rush hour traffic.  This is possibly the first mistake.  Mind you we still left nearly ninety minutes early.  The first strike was the one lane that people treated as two. Confusion spread as cars went to the right and were isolated on one side. To panic and try to get back over without getting hit.

Followed by a lag from a tricky intersection. Not the first of the unknowable hold ups.  We stayed true those first few times.  Staying in a straight line not betting on the phantom right lane the third or fourth time we had little choice as the left turns piled up.

This worked out well for the first few blocks we were able to make it through green lights. Sadly this did not work out well when we decided to use the extra space to go around; the car in front of made it across and then stopped with no warning with her car still running and dropped something in the mailbox. While traffic stopped because we were trapped behind her with people wanting to turn right.  It was already past four PM. Which meant there was no reason she had to run out then blocking traffic. Her mail wouldn't even be picked up until morning and we passed many safer mailboxes with her still in front of us where she could have safely stopped.

Shortly afterwards there was a Honda with road rage. He pulled up next to us wanting to go straight.  Most obvious as he continually inched forward he wanted to be in front where there were parked cars and only one lane.  I was forced to let this crazy driver go first or cause an accident.

There was a car who tried the same trick to get around a blockage by using the parking lane, only to find a person in front of him had actually parked.  Which caused him to be momentarily trapped until he crazily decided to just drive in front of our car with no warning.

There were more close calls as a car with a highly suspicious 'license' plate pulled up alongside us at a red light.  The 'license' plate was a laminated piece of paper which they seemed to have printed themselves and was more than two weeks expired.  They proceeded to gesture towards us wanting us to roll down our windows.  As we refused since they had gotten way too close to us.  They decided to talk anyhow asking us how to get to the highway.  As if we knew at that point what direction anything was because we'd been in the car for nearly an hour and dealing with more and more bad drivers.

By far the worst driver we encountered was a black SUV.  The giant hulking form wanted to turn left in front of us while we were stopping at a red light about five cars back.  So, I let them because they seemed to want to park.  Upon finding that they would not fit in the space available, they blindly pulled in front of my car.  Lucky, I was paying attention or we would have hit them.  As we were turning right, I didn't realize that they were intent upon parking.  A space was available directly around the corner, and the black SUV pulled up fully prepared to parallel park.  Unfortunately, I had no idea this was the case because they failed to use a turn signal.  Also, there were other cars behind me and I could not safely slam on my brakes.  Not only were they prepped to park they proceeded to park without looking as they started backing up towards my car.  In full panic mode, I could only wildly turn my wheel.  Our escape was extremely close between this black SUV and a line of cars in the left lane which were waiting for the light to change.  There was just enough room to squeeze past the black SUV which was already beginning to park apparently having no cares about nearly hitting our car.  In conclusion, I wish that people would use their turn signals.  It is not a difficult task and I cannot understand anyone's ability to not use a turn signal when turning.  I actually have to concentrate to not engage my turn signal because the habit is second nature.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ultimate Thanksgiving Twitter Party Monday November 25th 2013

Look what just popped up:

Come Join Good Cook, TheFrugalMom and other Good Cook Kitchen Experts! 

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Twitter Party, Monday, November 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm to 7:00pm EST On Twitter with hashtag #Thanksgivingtips

Join in as we talk about everything Thanksgiving from turkey prep to decorating the table. Plus get a chance to win a special gift and one of three $200 Thanksgiving Baskets that will arrive in time for your dinner.

Be among the first 500 to RSVP by November 23, 2013 and receive a free set of Turkey Lifters 
Click here RSVP.

Coconut Buttermilk + Pancake Recipe!

I know I haven't talked about it a lot, but this past summer we made the choice to eat more a flexitarian diet.  This means we try to eat vegan at least 2 meals a day.  It's not an all or nothing lifestyle.  If some days I feel like eating more protein I do.  You should always listen to what your body wants.  Breakfast is a harder meal for me.  I like my dairy for breakfast.  I like bagels with cream cheese and things like pancakes.  These aren't vegan friendly meals as I also can't have soy.

Coconut buttermilk is helping me to move towards a vegan breakfast.  Using this I can have pancakes that are a step in the vegan direction.  I still use an egg in my recipe, but you could easily sub in vinegar to make it vegan.  To me coconut buttermilk pancakes taste like the ones you'd get at a fancy restaurant.  They're rich and have a great texture.

Coconut buttermilk is incredibly easy to make.  You'll have to start it with a little regular buttermilk to get the cultures grooving in the right direction, but as you continue to make the buttermilk it gets more vegan friendly.

Another thing I should mention, coconut buttermilk is incredibly thick.  We're talking almost frosting consistency.  That's why I've added coconut milk to my pancake recipe instead of using all coconut buttermilk.

Coconut Buttermilk

2 (13.5 oz) cans full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup buttermilk

In a large bowl, whisk together coconut milk and buttermilk.  Transfer to a quart size ball jar.  Top with a square of mesh or cheesecloth and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours.  Once that time has past, you've got buttermilk.  Refrigerate until ready to use and up to 2 weeks.  Make sure to reserve 1/4 cup of the coconut buttermilk to culture your next batch.

Coconut Buttermilk Pancakes

1 egg, or 2 tablespoons vinegar
2/3 cup coconut buttermilk
1/3 cup coconut or almond milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl whisk egg, then add coconut buttermilk, coconut milk and oil and whisk to incorporate all ingredients.

Then add rest of ingredients using the whisk, mix these in until batter still has lumps but is no longer dry.

Grease and heat a large skillet to medium and using a spoon scoop out about 1/4 cup of batter.  Wait till batter forms bubbles before flipping.  Cook until golden brown.  Recipe makes approximately 12 pancakes.

America's Baking and Sweets Show at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel Nov. 15th-17th

If you're baking enthusiasts like we are and you live in the Chicago area, you will not want to miss America's Baking and Sweets Show at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel this Friday thru Sunday.  This weekend is the very first time the Baking and Sweets show will be in the United States, up till now this awesome show has only been in Canada and Europe.  

The show runs Friday November 15th thru Sunday November 17th.  Discounted tickets are available to purchase through the America's Baking and Sweets Show website.  You can purchase a 3-day pass for $30 online, which is an awesome deal!  Otherwise advance tickets are $13 a day, which isn't a bad price at all.

If you've been wanting to learn how to work with fondant or other fancy baking techniques, there are also classes available.  They run $10 for an in-depth demo to $60 for a hands-on class taught by professional chefs.

You'll also be able to catch some baking competitions.  Competitors are going to be competing at different times throughout the show.  There will also be some big name chefs in town doing demos at the show.  Gale Gand and Duff Goldman will both be in attendance.  Gale Gand will be there Saturday at 2pm and Duff Goldman will be there Sunday at 2 pm.

If you can't make it to the show, make sure to follow Rosie Discovers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see all the nifty things on display.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November Chicago Food Swap

After a ton of misses, we finally made it to the Chicago Food Swap at the Chopping Block inside the Merchandise Mart this past Sunday.  We'd been signed up a few times now, but something always came up to prevent us from going.

Y'all know by now that I'm a baker more than anything else.  I do occasionally make curds but really nothing else thats meant to sit for any amount of time.  Being our first time I made some of our favorites, buttermilk chocolate pound cake and roasted garlic focaccia.  I wanted to bring something that we ourselves loved, just in case we weren't able to trade it all away.  Luckily that didn't happen.  :)

I also brought something new to us.  I'd just read about coconut buttermilk and really wanted to give it a go.  I made up a batch and brought three jars of it with me.  If you were one of the lucky three to get a batch, I definitely recommend making pancakes with it.  That's what I used mine for and man, oh man were they good!  I was worried there wouldn't be enough "juice" (fermenting power) to give the pancakes lift but they turned out great.

This a photo of our haul.  Some of the things we've already tried and loved was the kimchi, kimbap and the dumplings.  We haven't tried making kimchi yet, but as its Susie's favorite I was glad someone there had it.  She said it was milder than she'd had before but still had great flavor due to it being super fresh.

We took home Farmer Jim's huge Blue Hubbard Squash!  I still can't believe that no one had bid on it by the time I walked back in to trade some pound cake for a smaller squash.  I'm going to have to ask the neighbor to cut it for me, but my family is already looking forward to the treats I'll make with it.

We're signed up for next month's swap already and I know Susie's hoping there will be more Korean treats to be found!  If you love to cook and live in the Chicago area, I definitely recommend trying this out.  Even though our first time was a little disconcerting, huge mobs of people aren't always our thing, it's definitely worth trying,

Saturday, November 9, 2013

First World Problems

There is one thing that always drives up the wall.   Our mom.  Not all the time mind you, but especially times like this week.  She is sick and refuses to go to the doctor.  On top of that she is the worst sick person we have ever come across.  More so because she is a hypocrite to the marrow of her bones.  If any of us were to be sick she would insist on making us soup and take medicine.  Yet, when we try to do the same she grows irritable.  She refuses to take cold medicine instead opting for cough drops and complains about the food.   She wants things that she shouldn't be eating while sick, avoiding the homemade chicken noodle and choosing a heavy meal filled with dairy.  Not something for a sore throat, not to mention that we are not allowed to help her.  She protests saying we wouldn't when she doesn't ask and sneaks around the house.  The day is much longer with a stubborn sick person who is beyond belligerent.  She believes in the medicine cloth to heal all ailments, the medicine cloth is a towel wet with either cold or warm water.  Let's just say it is not an effective cure all.   The only relief is through the hours she spends sleeping instead of hovering sickly in the kitchen out to infect us all.  This week can only be harrowing and hopefully we will get through it unscathed.

There is something else more annoying.  We went to get our eyes examined for contacts.  I already knew that my eyes are different perscriptions.  Don't even get me started on my lack of depth perception.  I was the only kid in T-ball who couldn't hit the ball off the tee, because I really didn't know where it was.   Anyhow, it turns out Alison also has different levels of vision in her eyes as well.  Also, both of us have been over correcting our vision.  Turns out that you can do that way too easily, because a stronger perscription means you can see really well, for us that means far away.  However, I can now read at any distance with my contacts.  Something that was pointed out by me new optometrist as a symptom of my wrong perscription. As I automatically held the piece of paper closer to my face.  I don't have to do that anymore!

Then there are days which just seem to compile on the level of wrongness.  Be it freight trains nearly hitting your car.  Not entirely my fault because that is the first time I've seen a train there and there were no caution signs or signals to announce the train.  Boy did I notice it though, when the horn blared and I was momentarily confused as there is a commuter track close by and we'd just seen that metra train pass by.  So, imagine my surprise to see a street over that the train tracks I was currently driving over which we hardly notice, not just me you're not supposed to stop on the tracks but people do all the time at that intersection, to see a train coming towards my car.  Obviously it was good I didn't stop as the car behind me also kept moving not noticing the train I assume until the last second.  After that the madness continued, with lots of close calls and distracted drivers.  Lots of lost people seemingly following us.  Or my least favorite the close stoppers.  The type of driver that leaves like six inches between your car and theirs after pulling up behind you at a red light.  Those are only part of the mishaps of that ill fated day.

My final complaint this week are cat kisses.  Seven has been most affectionate these days.  He keeps licking me.  Only I get these strange and oh so wrong cat kisses.  Contrary to Alison's belief, it is not because I am dirty and therefore taste delicious.  If that were the case he would certainly not stop, and I'd have to pry his teeth from my arm.  Instead, I'm left with a happily purring cat on my lap and a wet patch on my arm and the unsettling feeling that sandpaper would have felt better.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Disney Classics Box Set Available November 12th!

I am participating in a blog post campaign from One2One Network and Walt Disney Records. All opinions are my own.

Everyone has a favorite Disney song and a memory to go along with it.  Mine happen to be some of the ride songs at Walt Disney World like The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room where the mechanical birds sing to you.  Whenever I hear the song, I'm instantly transported to the hut where the tiki birds sing.  :)

This holiday season Disney is making it easy to share these songs and memories with friends and family.  The Disney Classics Box set is being released Tuesday November 12th, but you can pre-order it on Amazon right now!  The Disney Classics Box set is going to include 4 discs containing a whopping 94 songs!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Homemade Italian Turkey Sausage

There is one thing that I generally don't make myself.  Italian sausage mostly because I tend to think the process is one that takes a long time if you do it on your own.  Of course if you are only mixing the meat with the spices then there isn't much to it besides perfecting your spice blend.

Sausage is one thing that we generally don't buy at the store.  Mostly because quite a lot of the brands use MSG to which our mom is allergic.  So, we avoid buying it or if we do I am making a meal that not everyone can eat.  Which most of the time I refuse to avoid because I have a love for biscuits and gravy, but that's a different kind of sausage I'll hopefully be tackling soon.  So, this recipe is a perfect solution for me.  I can still get that same flavor without the additives.  Plus using ground turkey means that my protein source is leaner and healthier.  I think it is a win-win solution.

Italian Sausage

1 pound ground turkey
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a small saute pan, combine all spices and toast until fragrant or they feel like hot sand.  When warm, either pulse in a clean coffee grinder or mash with a mortar and pestle.

In a large bowl combine turkey and spices, working with your hands to mix spices in.  Either use immediately or wrap in plastic and freeze for another day.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunset Foods: A Love Letter

Dear Sunset Foods,

We were most pleased when we were introduced to your store.  There is a multitude of variety and at the highest quality.   Where else can you get fish that is caught on the same day?  You can even tell us when that fish was caught and by whom! Your excellence is something we like to call top shelf.

That is not to say that you only have high shelves in your store, as we duly noted you had the usual amount with varying heights.  Yet, those shelves are packed with delightful ingredients.  Be it your organic or gluten free products all arranged in one location so that we no longer have to hunt for them.  A whole wall in the produce section solely for organics!  Like a dream come true, we can swiftly pass down the aisles knowing that we can find anything we need.  You even had fresh squeezed orange juice with the provenance on full display.  Do you prefer oranges from Florida? Or perhaps from California? You are in luck as you will not be lead astray!

If you are overwhelmed by their staggering selection and are afraid to choose, then fear not! They are there to back you up with their prepared dinner menu Monday through Friday excluding Holidays.  Not only can you get an entire meal already cooked to perfection, but you can sample all of the components in the store!  Not that you have to purchase the entire meal they provide but you can pick and choose what you wish.  Be it a side dish, main course, wine or dessert that you seek, they will have one or more at their peak.  Their hot foods vary from fried chicken to pasta to Chinese to soup.   Their bakery is also putting out more fresh breads and goodies baked in the store.

Not only is this staff on hand to craft delightful tastes.  They also provide specialty services with their catering and cakes.  Where else could you find a three tier wedding cake for a hundred dollars? One that is made according to your desires!  Their breads are crusty or soft, whichever you prefer can be found in a glance.  Even their coffee cakes are made by hand!

Their salads are versatile premade in the deli.  Or you can venture to the salad bar to craft your own.  There is even an olive bar and one for trail mix.  You can create your own mixes from the fresh ingredients!  All of their foods are made on demand if you see something you want then they can make more! Nothing sitting out for hours in this store.  There meats and fish come raw or seasoned.  If you ask, they can even provide a recipe for what you want out of the case.  They even have aged beef for that steakhouse taste!

 Their own line of organic deli is delicious.  Their turkey is sourced from Michigan. Truly all their foods can be easily traced.  Most picked over the others for the quality and local origins.  The best part is that you can ask any of their staff and they will be able to tell you about the food you are purchasing.  No longer will you wonder where your food comes from.

There is a sandwich grill that can assemble your lunch.  Or perhaps you need assembly of a different sort, such as a gift basket! Well, you are in luck as they have a gift basket service at hand so you can share these foods with everyone.  They even have organic wines and craft beers.  Plus a florist to craft beautiful bouquets and arrangements.

If you prefer not to shop, then you can have everything delivered! Or you can even pick up your groceries! They'll put them in your car!  You can order online for delivery as well.  Truly there is no end to their customer service!

All we have left to say is that we can hardly believe what we have found!  A store with such selection!  The quality is beyond compare we almost wish we could live there! Or that they had an even closer store! We would gladly drive a great distance but hope for even more Sunset Foods to appear.  We know we certainly would shop there for all of our needs!

With much love and appreciation your newest loyal customers,

Alison and Susie

Saturday, November 2, 2013

First World Problems

I have awesome news to share!  My dad bought us our first DSLR camera.  Up to now all of our photos have been shot with a digital point and shoot Sony cybershot.  The Sony is a great camera, but I'm super excited to be upgrading to the Nikon D7100.  I've been researching cameras and lenses since this summer and I'm stoked to be getting this.

Now for the bad news....I decided to order on amazon because they said with two day delivery it would be here Friday November 1st.  I ordered thinking that would be perfect because we're going back to Nielsen Massey Vanilla on Monday!!!  Unfortunately after I placed the order, my delivery date changed to Monday November 4th.  :(  

Needless to say I immediately contacted customer service, who was actually pretty great.  When they saw how much the I spent, the CS rep immediately told me they were getting their manager involved to make sure the packages were delivered on time.  In talking to the warehouse, they were only able to correct 2 packages but assured me they'd all be delivered Friday.  I checked Thursday morning and the most important parts, the camera and lense, were still set for delivery Monday.  :(  Another chat with CS and I was assured it was just a glitch in the system.  Everything should be here Friday!!!

Halloween.  Yes, we like Halloween as much as the next person.  Yet, our Halloween is always low key.  REALLY low key.  I think we only had about fifteen trick or treaters.  Seems like most people in our area suffered the same low numbers.  Of course, Miss Rosie is most distressed by Halloween as she is sequestered in a room for no good reason.  She would love to greet and announce the children at her door but the rest of her family members do not understand her love.  So, she was unjustly imprisoned even while dinner was cooking.  She could not clean the floor or ask for samples of the vegetables. She was left to smell from afar hoping that her humans would soon release her.