Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Introducing Elf Grams!

Remember when you were in school and you could send a Candy Gram to a friend to show you were thinking of them?  Elf Grams are the same concept except you can surprise your friend or family member with a treat from a local baker.  Our “baker elves” have delicious handmade treats that you can order to make someone’s holiday a little brighter.  You can order the items for pickup or some can be delivered for an additional charge.  (Scroll down to see participants and details.)

This idea stemmed from the fact that this year has been particularly isolating and we haven't been able to see our friends very much.  My hope is to bring back some of that excitement of younger years when you got a surprise little treat from a friend and it made your whole day.  Holiday cheer is so needed right now so let's bring it to our friends and family!

Another reason I'm doing this idea is to help our local small businesses.  Small businesses are the heartbeat of our community and they need us more than ever.  Remember, when you are supporting a small business you are literally helping someone make their dreams come true.  Also, I'm only here to come up with the idea, get some people together, and help advertise it.  Each baker makes their own products, sets their own terms, and keeps 100% of their money.  This blog post is just a resource so you know how to contact them.  Click their links and you can Direct Message them on Instagram to order!  


Sophie's Sweets

Dec 1-24: 1 dozen macarons with 3 flavors per box.  Macarons must be ordered 3 days in advance.  Pick up is in Elk Grove and delivery is offered in Elk Grove and up to 30 miles outside of Elk Grove for an additional fee.  

Kalani Kakes is offering holiday edition mini cakes on sale for $22. This one is blue velvet. The other holiday flavors available are: peppermint chocolate Kona and pineapple butter rum. Mini cakes are 4” 2 layer cakes, and boxes are festively wrapped. Orders must be placed within 5 days, contactless pickup is free and delivery available for $5. This sale and flavors are available until 12/20.

Baklavas With a Mission is participating in Elf Grams!! We have baklava mini cheesecakes for $6 each!! We are available any day in December with pickup at Stoneridge Elementary School in Roseville!

This Holiday season, I will have Poinsettias Cupcakes, Christmas Yule Log, Cakes in Tin cans and Holiday Gift Box.  Early bird Pre orders gets $5 off from the regular price (vegan chocolate in a tub is not included) from December 1-15th.  We deliver or pick up in Elk Grove of your choice.  Orders must be placed 5 days in advance.  

Red Modern Sweets will have Earl Grey Brown Sugar Cookies available for pre-order and pickup in Sacramento.  Pick ups will be Dec 12 and 26, orders need to be placed before Thursday of the same week.  

A box with all the wrapping and everything for $40: 4 cake pops, 2 Gingerbread hearts, box of marzipan fruits and Italian amaretti cookies.  Orders must be place at least 2 days in advance.  Pickup in Arden area 8am-11am or delivery with a fee.
Cake pops flavors:
-Spiced orange, cranberry and dark chocolate 
-Gingerbread and dark chocolate
-Chocolate and peppermint candy cane with white chocolate.
-Egg nog 

Sweet Flour Bakery (100% Vegan)

-Pre ordering starts 12/07
-They’re $3 each 
- delivery 12/19 ($3.99 fee or spend $30 and up for free delivery) 
-pick up in Natomas 12/20-12/23 (8am-3pm)
Order on website : 

I hope you will consider ordering some of these delicious treats and gifting them to your friends or family to spread some holiday cheer!  Remember to support small businesses!  

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Monday, September 14, 2020

The Tailgate Takeout Ultimate Watch Party: Taco Bar

 Hi friends!  Today, I wanted to share a fun idea for The Ultimate Tailgate Takeout!  This is perfect for hanging out with your family while watching the game or you can set it up in your driveway for some fun distance tailgating with neighbors.  It's a Taco Bar Party that can be easily made to accommodate every kind of lifestyle.  Go here for more information about The Ultimate Tailgate Takeout.

(This post is a paid collaboration with Prairie City Crossing/Regency Centers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

I headed over to Prairie City Crossing to pick up the ingredients and supplies for my Tailgate Takeout Ultimate Watch Party.  I was able to pick up everything I needed at Safeway!  One of my biggest tips for entertaining is to pick up items that you can heat and serve or are already ready to go.  My biggest focus when I'm hanging out with my family and friends is to enjoy quality time with them.  I can't do that when I'm standing at my stove since it faces the wall.  I like to have a mix of items that are ready to go and super simple recipes so that I can enjoy eating with my loved ones.

The best thing about this taco bar is that everyone is eating the same thing.  Often times when I make food for family that have different dietary needs or lifestyles, I end up making several different things.  I really like how inclusive this taco bar is to everyone.  This taco bar is friendly for people who are vegan, vegetarian, keto, gluten free, and even picky kids.  It does mean putting things out in separate dishes with separate serving spoons but I've collected so many little bowls over the year, it's the perfect way to use them!  

Here's a list of the ready made items I purchased:

- Chile Verde 

- Grilled Chicken

- Guacamole

- Tortillas

- Pickled Jalapeños and pickled veggies

- Sour Cream

- Shredded Cheese

- Salsa and hot sauce 

- Shredded lettuce

- Romaine lettuce 

- Tomatoes

-  Limes 

- Tortilla Chips

- Mexican Wedding Cookies 

- Mexican Sodas

- Paper Plates 

Here's a list of items I quickly prepped:

- Cilantro and onions - chopped and mixed together

- Pickled red onions - I made a brine of vinegar, salt, and sugar then pickled thinly sliced red onions for a few hours in the fridge.

- Cucumbers - I sliced the cucumbers and dressed them in lime juice, salt, pepper, and chili powder. 

- Chickpea taco filling - I took a can of chickpeas and sautéed them in a little olive oil and added taco seasoning to taste.  I used a jar of pre-made taco seasoning.  

- Taco Tater Tots - I air fried some tater tots and tossed them in taco seasoning when they came out of the air fryer.  

-  Mexican Style Corn Salad - I heated frozen corn and dressed it with lime juice and sour cream.  Then I topped it with Tajin and Cotija Cheese.  

I put together some sample plates to show off some of the different creations I came up with for different diets.  I'm especially proud of my Totco creation (aka tater tot taco.)  I'm sure it's been done but I've never seen it before and I'm pretty amused by the play on words.  

Vegetarian tacos on the left, vegan taco on the right.  The Totco can be made vegan if you leave off the cheese.

Keto friendly tacos that are also gluten free.  

Once you put everything out on the table, your job is done and you can enjoy the game with your family.  Everyone can make their own plates to suit their lifestyle and tastes.  Personally, I don't have any dietary restrictions so I just love to mix and match all the different flavors and textures.  This kind of spread also encourages my kids to try different foods and get creative with their meal.  If you have a taco bar, please tag me in a picture on social media so I can see and don't forget to check out Ultimate Tailgate Takeout!  

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Sunday, April 26, 2020

Mother's Day Gifts - Support Local

Hi friends!  Mother's Day is coming up really fast and this year is going to be a bit different than others.  As always, it's so important to support our local businesses.  I have put together a list of local mom and pop businesses that are offering some Mother's Day specials.  Get your orders in soon since not only is Mother's Day coming up fast, but people are going to sell out!

Photo by Capture Create Studios

Bloom Sacramento is a flower farmer and florist who makes bouquets with flowers sourced from Northern California.  They are teaming up with Burly Beverages to deliver a fun Mother's Day gift where your mom can make a cocktail or mocktail or you can get flowers by themselves.

Kitchen Table (East Sac) is a great shop full of wonderful kitchen items!  They have everything from treats, to kitchen tools, linens, pantry items, and more!  They are offering delivery in their immediate area, porch pickup from their location, or shipping.

A Gift Inside is a Lodi based company that makes gift baskets with fresh fruits and snacks.  They also have treats and dried fruits.  They have organic baskets as well.

Jillian B Designs is a jewelry designer based out of Elk Grove.  She hand makes beautiful and sentimental jewelry pieces.  She is taking orders until May 3 for Mother's Day and also has gift certificates available.

Salt and Shea is a small batch handmade apothecary.  Jayme is a licensed esthetician who has allergies so she created a natural line of skin care items that are good for your skin and soul.

Sola Bee Farms is a wonderful honey farm that has partnered with lots of local partners to put together adorable gift items.

Imagine Play Elk Grove is offering Mother's Day bags full of fun finds for the trendy mom like color changing lip sticks and scrunchie.  They have shipping, local delivery in Elk Grove, or pickup options.

Sheldon Wine Shop is putting together wine and champagne gift baskets wrapped in cellophane and perfect for gifting.

Be the Light Collective is a jewelry store with a 3 year old CEO who hand makes gemstone and diffuser jewelry.

Andy's Candy is a local Sacramento basked candy shop that sells fun and unique candies.  They have boxes of chocolates available or gift sets of different kinds of candies.  They offer free local delivery to the Sacramento area for orders $30+, curbside pick up, and limited delivery.

Bailarin Cellars is delivering their wine within an 20 mile radius and they are shipping wine as well.  For local people, kits of cheese and charcuterie can be added on as well.

Strapping Store Oak Park is a gift shop that offers a variety of different gift items from elegant to funny.  They have Mother's Day gift sets and a variety gift items that can be shipped.

The Pomegranate Boutique in Midtown has clothes, accessories, and gift items.  They have free delivery in Sacramento and free shipping on orders of $45 or more.

These are just some of the options for buying a great gift for your mom or the special mom in your life while supporting local businesses.   It is so important to support our local businesses in this time as many were not able to get any loans from the government.  Not only that but they are bending over backwards to help us by offering delivery, inexpensive shipping, and great deals!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins - Grandma's Recipe

Hi friends!  Today, I'm sharing a Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe that was created by my husband's grandma.  I saved the recipe from a blog post that his aunt and cousins wrote a long time ago but they have since deleted that blog.  I asked permission to write this post and they told me yes, roughly a million years ago.  I get asked for the recipe for these muffins every time I post them on social media so I figured I should write a blog post.  Also, as for all recipe blog posts, I will take you on a journey of 900 words about that one time I visited a banana farm in Connecticut with my great aunt Patsy in her vintage Mustang...  But wait... none of that is true or makes sense...

I will preface this recipe by saying that it is a plain and simple recipe and it's not particularly healthy. It has bananas so that's healthy, right?  I find that a lot of older "grandma" type recipes tend to have few ingredients and fewer steps.  If you are looking for gourmet or interesting muffins, these are not them.  These are literally the basic muffins that your grandma used to make.

My daughter goes crazy for these muffins.  I have so many pictures of her staring lovingly at these muffins... how come no one every stares at me like that?  She is also a strange little girl that doesn't like chocolate chips so I just bake up some batter for her before adding the chocolate chips for plain banana muffins and they turn out great.  She loves them.  Is that enough rambling for the Google?  The world may never know...

Grandma V's Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 stick of butter (I use salted)
1 cup of white sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups of flour (you can substitute half for wheat flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 mashed RIPE bananas
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream soften butter and sugar.  I use a stand mixer but you can use a handheld mixer or beat by hand.  You can also use 1/2 cup of shortening instead of butter if you want to.
3. Add vanilla.
4. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.
5. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined.  Don't over mix muffin batter.
6. Mash your bananas and add to batter, mix.
7. Add in chocolate chips or nuts or toffee bits or whatever mix-ins you like.  Or don't for plain muffins.
8. Scoop batter into lined muffin tins and bake for 20 mins.  OR pour batter into a greased bread ban and bake for 1 hour for a loaf.  You can check doneness by poking a muffin or the loaf with a toothpick and it should come out clean when it's done.  Avoid poking a chocolate chip.
9. Cool and eat!

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe!  Tag me on social media if you make them!

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Support Sacramento Area Businesses from Home

ETA: With the new recommendations, it is more important than ever to help our local businesses!  Thank you for taking the time to visit this page and to support local businesses!

Hi friends!  We are in an uncertain time and I know that most people want to hole up in their house.  However, our local businesses are suffering due to the fact that people are too afraid to visit.  While looking on Facebook, I saw a GREAT idea that is a simple way to help your local businesses without even leaving your home.  All you have to do is go online to their website and buy a gift card.  Then, as soon as you feel comfortable, you can go get your meal, salon service, gift items, etc...  To take it a step further, I am compiling a list of local Sacramento area small businesses that offer online gift cards and I'm linking them here.

Please keep in mind that these businesses are owned by FAMILIES in our community who have to feed their children too.  The brick and mortar places still have to pay the rent and utilities for their spaces as well as the bills at home.  If you are able to contribute to them a little bit in this time, they will be so thankful.

Don't forget that this is also a WONDERFUL way to shop for gifts.  Easter is coming, maybe get your kids a gift card to their favorite ice cream or boba place.  Mother's Day is in a couple months, get your mom or wife or whoever a massage or meal at their favorite restaurant.  If you have a kid who is going to have a birthday, you can get them a gift card to a play place or a store to pick out their own gift.  There are also local store who have put their inventory online which I will list as well.  We have to ban together to help our local businesses!

Here are the businesses that have reached out to me or been sent by friends:

Imagine Play Elk Grove is offering 20% off gift cards.  They are an indoor play space for children.

Craftopolis Crafting Club - water marbling classes and events.

Flatland Brewing Company - 21 years and up, craft beer.  Gift cards and merch online or order beer online and pick up with ID.

Safe Space Bodywork - massage therapy.

LashesxGiselle - eyelash extensions.

Bloom Sacramento - beautiful farm to table floral arrangements.

Maycup by Yenisei - Elk Grove based makeup and beauty services.

The Kitchen Table - kitchen boutique, also offering curbside pickup.

A Seat at the Table Books - progressive, inclusive book store.

The Pomegranate Boutique - clothes and accessories for women, men, and children in a variety of sizes.

River City Sass - handmade wooden and leather jewelry

Kalani Kakes - island inspired desserts

Comic Crate - Comics for kids delivered to your home.

Tomato Alley Collective - Kitchen goodies and tools.

Baby Face Makeup - non toxic pretend makeup for kids.

Tough Little Piggies - soft sole shoes for babies and children.

Snug Bub - stain resistant expandable baby clothes.

New Glory Craft Brewery - 21+ craft beer gift cards and merch.

Ruby Dot Designs - Personalized gift items.

Beautigirl Esthetics - Rocklin, CA based salon.

Tanya Martin Skincare - Folsom, CA based skincare studio.

Harlow's Music Venue - 10% off gift cards to redeem at later.

Gather Studio and Market - Granite Bay, CA studio for arts and crafts with local makers market.

Sugar Coated Cupcakes - Elk Grove, CA home bakery

Bogle Vineyards - 21+ Clarksville, CA winery 20% off wine until April 1, free shipping for Bandwagon Members.

Little Chances - Woodland, CA children's boutique with gift cards and their inventory available online.

Green Gifts Elk Grove - delivers package free or refillable household and personal care products right to your front step

WaxBare Elk Grove - gift cards for body hair removal.  Use code STAFF for a discount AND to have your proceeds help supplement staff member income during slow downs.

Crystal Rising - Healing crystals, gifts, and accessories.

The Good Rub - Plant powered body care, use code LOCAL10 for 10% off.

Lodi Wine Tours - Limo tours through Lodi wineries.

Hoshall's Salon and Spa - Folsom, CA gift cards and products available to ship to your home.

Another resource is DapIt App where you can find local gift cards and purchase from the app.

I will be adding more to this list.  If you'd like to be added please leave or send me a link directly to your gift cards or online products.

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