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Everything posted by ChocoMom

  1. You could check with www.packagemachinery,com . They show machines online, but, you'd have call them for more detailed specs and pricing, but they do carry food-wrapping machinery. For my own caramel-wrapping needs, I lure my teenagers into the shop with the promise of cold, hard cash, in exchange for a couple hours of work. It's nice on a couple different fronts. I get to spend some quality time with them; their hands are completely gloved and occupied -so no texting, etc.; and when they're done, I can send them off with some cash- so they don't take up any space in my shop. ;+)
  2. I'll preface this with some background on the situation. I do craft shows, and have for some time, in an effort to boost sales. This weekend was the first time I'd done a pop-up store in a mall. Most venues supply tables and chairs- sometimes free, sometimes at a charge. The mall provided tables for me at no extra charge, which was fabulous. I assumed ( my bad) that there would be some seating available- like a folding chair. THERE WERE NONE. (There was a music concert going on in the mall - and apparently, all the seating had been used up for the 400+ guests.) And, I didn't bring any seating with me. The car was packed to the gills with product, displays and packaging...but if I'd thought for a second that I'd not be able to scavenge a seat, I would've crammed one in. End result is, I sold a ton of chocolate, but my feet are so sore I don't want to climb out of the recliner!!!
  3. Try visiting Worldwide Chocolate. They carry a vast array of brands, email coupon codes pretty frequently, and have fabulous customer service. In most cases, I've been able to get free shipping.
  4. I will never again leave my workshop door unlocked when I am airbrushing chocolate molds. Nor will I leave the window on the workshop door in a see-through condition. Why? Because my smarty pants daughter and her boyfriend snapped pics of me with goggles, mask, gloves, and a hat on. If she posts it to my Instagram page, I am going to die.
  5. Lovely work, @Alan_strt ! That shine is incredible. Would you mind sharing what the flavors are? And, welcome!
  6. ChocoMom

    Grocery Shopping

    They just re-modeled the Aldi's near a couple of hubby's work locations, so I texted him a shopping list. He arrived home with a massive salmon fillet- that was nothing short of amazing. Along with that, a huge bottle of wine- which we tested out Sat. evening----it was wonderful. Along with that, he picked up the usual butter, cheeses, chips, yukon golds, turkey bacon, and some frozen chicken breasts. I am excited to have the opportunity to do a pop-store at a mall about 3 hours away from where I live. There also happens to be an Aldi store right nearby...so I am looking forward to perusing Aldi should my pop-up store's open/close times work with theirs.
  7. I know I'm coming in late on this, but as @Jim D. mentioned, the AUI is a great alternative. I have not purchased the SOSA fillings, but I have tried three of the OSA fillings from Felchlin, and WOW! I tested them out on several long-time customers, and got rave reviews. The tub is larger than what you're getting @JeanneCake, at 5kg / 11 pound buckets, but for that, most of the pricing lingers around the $107 area. And, its keeps a LONG time. My last order wasn't very large, but I did get free shipping with a $240 order. Its something to keep in mind, maybe, for the future. I have yet to try anything from Felchlin that does not absolutely blow me away.
  8. Nearing the end of deer hunting season now. After arriving home from a business trip this evening, hubby headed straight out to the blind. And sure enough, 10 minutes in the blind, and we heard a shot fired. Hubby bagged No. 2 for the season. He's out gutting it right now, as I have tired of that process a bit over the past few years. I don't mind skinning and butchering the meat. But, I am battling a pinched nerve in my right hand/arm/shoulder, and I feel like it just needs rest, so I can get on with the booming chocolate business.
  9. ChocoMom

    Breakfast Cereal

    No Strawberry Rice Krispies up here yet.....
  10. Hey all-- I've got orders for some dairy free chocolates. Normally, to skate around the whole dairy issue, I'd make liquor filled bombs, but this is going for the waaaayyy underage group. So....my plan is to use full-fat coconut milk/cream rather than heavy cream. I've not done this before, so I am a little concerned that coconut flavor might come through where I may not want it. The other common dairy component is the butter. So what other fat might I use in place of the usual butter? I was thinking coconut oil, or cocoa butter- just not sure about which way to go. Any help or suggestions would be most appreciated!! Andrea
  11. The light colored pies are buttermilk pies. The other two are pumpkin, made with fresh pumpkin.
  12. ChocoMom

    Breakfast Cereal

    I will likely go for the Strawberry Rice Krispies. I like strawberries, and I like Rice Krispies. How they work together with the fake flavoring might be interesting. If it is completely intolerable, well....I do have those chickens that were not blessed with a discerning palate.
  13. ChocoMom

    Grocery Shopping

    I haven't tried Walmart's online shopping, but I have tried Boxed.com - and except for a couple mishaps with mayo and bread, I've been exceedingly happy with product selection and availability. They've started carrying a few meats and seafood items, but I'm always a little leery about purchasing "fresh meat" without seeing it first-hand and examining it. Some of the pricing is a little out there- like cereal, but there are some fantastic deals. Everytime I purchase there, I can select 2 free sample items, as well. In the beginning, it was the big bulky items from Boxed, like TP, Papertowel, tissue, etc. that I'd get. Having that stuff delivered to my door is wonderful, esp in the winter. Compared to what Wallyworld charges, there are fantastic deals to be found with the Prince and Spring brand name items. Rarely have I found things out of stock. And ladies, if you are of that age group or have daughters that are----there is no "Pink Tax" on those kinds of items. Razors and pit are included in that grouping. They've got all kinds of condiments, snacks, cereals, snack bars, canned goods, drinks, bread, crackers, English muffins, bagels, etc. And, yes, they do have a fair selection of organic items. So, for your first order, you get 15% off the total. Sometimes they kick in other sale items. So, if you're not happy with what you are currently getting with other retailers, maybe take a look there.
  14. Deer Hunting Season- opening day here. 25 minutes into the hunt, hubby and the 13yo daughter got #1. Not quite as big as the one last year, but darn good in size. We have 6 more tags .....shall see how the afternoon hunt goes!
  15. ChocoMom

    Keto Puff Pastry?

    What I would do, is start with about 1 1/2 cups of almond flour. And, by that, I mean the kind that had the skins removed is really fine. For a more stretchy texture, try adding a tiny bit of Xanthan gum - maybe 1/2 tsp. Then the salt, and maybe a little granulated stevia or xylitol (if you want it sweeter). Finally, add in a 2-3 TBs of melted butter or coconut oil (or some other kind of oil). I always add in a TB or so of ice water as well. Chill the dough, roll out or press into a pie dish. Without the addition of the Xanthan gum, my doughs usually come out more like a shortbread texture, but totally edible. For something on the savory side, using eggs and shredded cheese together with seasonings makes a marvelous bread-like crust.
  16. My photography skills are pretty questionable, but this is what I've just finished for the pre-Thanksgiving offerings. Flavors: agates--- Bailey's Irish Creme/Blonde Dulcey, milk green- Key Lime in Felchlin Edelweiss, Orange/Gold dendrite- Mango Passionfruit in E. Guittard 72%, Pink-silver- Thimbleberry, Center: Kahlua- Macadamia in Felchlin Maracaibo Criolait 38%. Not pictured are the milk chocolate and dark chocolate sea salt caramels.
  17. I'm voting for the chocolate-banana bread. You can make more than one loaf, freeze the extras or give them out as gifts. But the caramels sounds yummy too.....so, maybe do both!
  18. Today was treat.... my oldest daughter and I went out to lunch while I was waiting for my car to get repaired. We headed to La Cantina in Hancock- just over the lift bridge from Houghton. I hadn't been there since new owners took over, and oh my, what I've been missing!!!! She had a rather magnificent ribeye steak, with rice, guac, lettuce, tomatoes, etc...and tortillas. Made little burrito-like things out of it. I had a house speciality consisting of 4 different types of burritos- chicken, steak, ground beef, and I forgot the fourth one. No way could I finish it. I will be returning there very soon! Stunning amount of food for the price. Excellent service from a jovial waiter too. Loved it.
  19. @ptw1953 You are a brave soul, to let a 4 year old work with chocolate on his own! And, despite any mess or debacle, the chocolates are absolutely stunning! Seriously though, mess or no mess, these experiences you've gifted your grandson with may end up fostering a love of working with chocolate- or perhaps something else like pastries. You may have a great little chef in the making! If my grandma hadn't exposed me to confectionery work at 6 years old, I don't know that I'd have the love for it that I now have. If Daddy hadn't spoiled me with hot fudge sundaes at Sander's from toddler-hood well into adulthood, or shared countless Hershey Bars with me....not sure that I'd adore chocolate the way I do now. Much of what I do now was inspired by the most joyous and happy memories I hold dear. I hope your grandson will have those happy memories, and think fondly of them as he grows older.
  20. ChocoMom

    Gardening: (2016– )

    I was on the hunt for some veggies to go with Sunday dinner- and happened upon the heirloom carrots in the garden. Found another almost-ripe pumpkin, and a couple frostbitten spaghetti squash. The larger of the two squash made its way into the oven before I thought to take a pic. Due to our June flood, the squashes, carrots, and many other seeds "replanted" themselves haphazardly around the garden, so we ended up with a baby rutabaga and turnips mixed in the carrots.
  21. Nothing wild and crazy, just sticking to the basics here for my MIL's 80th birthday. Did 20 of these boxes for party favors. The heart is Thimbleberry ganache Guittard 72%. The dark red dome is wild strawberries and cream in Guittard 72%. The milk chocolate cubes are sea salt caramel in Guittard 38%, then topped with a mixture of Maldon sea salt- and smoked sea salt.
  22. ChocoMom

    Gardening: (2016– )

    I picked my concord grapes early this morning, and made grape juice- waterbath canning it the old way. Drop in a cup of washed grapes, 1/2 cup sugar, filled within 1/2" of the rim with boiling water, then can it for 15 min. It has to sit for 3-4 weeks, then ready for drinking. Then, this afternoon, I snuck out to the horse pen- trying to escape being pounced on by Roadrunner- locked myself in the pen, and picked apples from the Northern Spy tree. I could not believe how large the apples are this year! I embraced my inner-nerd, and proceeded to weigh each of the apples- 2 five gallon bucket's worth. The heaviest was 420 grams, the lightest weighed in at 313 g. And I barely scratched the surface. There are so many apples out there, I will processing apples until Christmas! LOL!
  23. This is still a work in progress, but I HAD to post it. This is a sexy looking, tart Thimbleberry ganache, that will end up in a bon bon eventually. I've never successfully made a Thimbleberry ganache--- so I am just freakin happy about it! It is a unique flavor to work with.
  24. @Artisanne Those look amazing!!! I have several of those gum stimulant things, but have only used them (thus far) for cleaning out the tight areas in molds, and trying an occasional stripe here or there. What incredible talent you have!!!
  25. ChocoMom

    Breakfast! 2018

    My feeble attempt at a "Keto" breakfast. Leftover asparagus with a 3- cheese sauce, topped with 2 poached eggs and a dash of black pepper. I know it does not look all that appetizing, but the flavors were there.