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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Deals: Lindt Chocolates

I don't know about you, but when it comes to chocolate, I am relatively selective. I don't like chocolate to possess an acquired taste that is unbalanced, pungent, or downright disgusting. I love chocolate that possesses an unique flavor, but still remains balanced. The kind of chocolate that tastes sweet, as well as, incredibly appetizing. That is what I love.

One of my favorite chocolate companies is definitely Lindt Chocolates. The chocolate is on the same wavelength as some of the finest chocolate (or what the vast majority of status quo society would consider to be the finest chocolate) on the planet. This holiday season Lindt Chocolates is offering a variety of deals that you just cannot pass on.

To shop from Lindt Chocolates, simply click one of the banners below...


Holiday Felt Bag - 100 for $30

Lindor Truffles Stock Up and Save!


Lindt's Holiday Ornaments - 4 for $20 Savings

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday & Cyber Monday: Candy.com



The holidays are no longer approaching us, as they are here right now. With Christmas less than a month away, what better way to enjoy this wonderful season than with some of the hottest gourmet gifts, including candy gifts.

I absolutely love Candy.com! Not only can you shop by brand and color, but occassion too. In fact, whether you want to purchase for Christmas or even Hanukkah, Candy.com is the wonderful place to do so. Gifts galore! For Black Friday (Friday, November 25th 2011) and Cyber Monday (Monday, November 28th 2011) Candy.com is having an array of sales that range from to "Free 2-Day Shipping" to "GWP" (or Gift w/ Purchase) and much more.

To purchase from Candy.com, simply click the banner below...


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

For those of you traveling this holiday season...

Click the banner below...


Flightnetwork.com -Specializing in Cheap Flights

Black Friday & Cyber Monday: Bebe

For Black Friday (November 25th 2011) and Cyber Monday (November 28th 2011) Bebe is having a 40% haute fashion blowout. Not only are they marking down an array of dresses, shoes, and other styles, as well as, accessories, etc. Bebe is also offering gifts for under $25. Bebe is also offering "Free Shipping" on orders over $150. Use Code: LOVEBEBE

 This Persian inspired clothing store is definitely my favorite place to shop for clothes and if you someone or know anyone who loves wearing fashionable clothing that not only looks good, but makes a statement, as a result, you are going to love Bebe. To start shopping at Bebe, simply click the banner below...




bebe.com

Cocktail Recipes: Afshar

Created by Sarah Afshar, this delicious drink was inspired by the essence of some of Sarah's favorite liqueur savors. These savors include some of the finest flavor pairings into one drink. The Afshar possesses a rather fluent, yet acquired taste that combines the essence of almonds, cocoa, and light cream with a light spicy cinnamon undertone.

Afshar

2 oz. Amaretto Liqueur (preferably Disaronna)
1 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. Hazelnut Liqueur (preferably Frangelico)

1 oz. Irish Cream Liqueur (preferably Bailey's) 1 oz. Goldschlager
3 oz. Milk
1 oz. Cream

Combine the Amaretto liqueur (or Disaronna), Kahlua, Hazelnut liqueur (or Frangelico), Irish Cream liqueur (or Bailey's), Goldschlager, and Milk. Please take note, if you are a vegetarian/vegan, you can substitute the Milk with Soy or Almond Milk.



Once you have combined all of the ingredients, mix moderately, then add the cream. If you are a vegetarian/vegan, use a soy/almond based cream, rather than dairy. Please note that each ounce (or oz.) is equal to one part. The Afshar has a total of 10 parts.



Finally, serve Afshar in a chilled highball glass on the rocks with a maraschino cherry, as a garnish.



Congratulations! You have just made the Afshar.

Cocktail Recipes: Persian Joon

Salam joons. Created by Sarah Afshar, this luscious drink was inspired by the Persian culture. These hints of delectable flavor combinations were mixed together into one cocktail, creating an acquired, yet eloquent flavor. The Persian Joon combines the essence of pistachios, almonds, cherries, and light cream.

Persian Joon

3 oz. Pistachio liqueur (preferably Dumonte Verdenoce)

2 oz. Amaretto liqueur (preferably Disaronna)
1 oz. Maraschino Cherry liqueur
1 oz. Cream


Combine the Pistachio liqueur (or Dumonte Verdenoce), Amaretto liqueur (or Disaronna), and Maraschino Cherry liqueur. Please take note, if you are a vegetarian/vegan, you can substitute the Milk with Soy or Almond Milk.




Once you have combined all of the ingredients, mix moderately, then add the cream. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can use a non-dairy cream substitute such as a soy or almond based product. Please note that each ounce (or oz.) is equal to one part. The Persian Joon has a total of 7 parts.




Finally, serve the Persian Joon in a chilled cocktail glass on the rocks with a maraschino cherry, as a garnish.




Congratulations! You have just made the Persian Joon. Omidvaram rooze khoobi dashte bashid. Falan khodahafez!

A Look at the Best KitchenAid Products of 2011

KitchenAid Stand Mixer
in Tangerine.
(Photo by Sarah Afshar)
KitchenAid is an internationally acclaimed kitchen appliance brand that has changed the way we prepare food. Started in 1919, this worldwide recognized kitchen appliance brand not only has seniority, but continues to demonstrate why they are above and beyond when it comes to kitchen appliance technology and breakthrough. In a lifetime, KitchenAid has managed to develop millions of products total, making them incredibly elite and respected. One thing is certain, there are hundreds upon hundreds of KitchenAid appliances alone, however; there are only a few that are worthy of being the best.




Recently, I had the opportunity of purchasing a KitchenAid 5 Quart Tilt Head Artisan Stand Mixer in Tangerine (it originally sells for about $349.99, but you can purchase it for about $299.99 at select KitchenAid retailers, as well as, on the official website) and I have to say that it is the best decision I have ever made. It has managed to make my life in the kitchen much easier. There are an array of different types of KitchenAid Stand Mixers that go beyond the one that I purchased. Not only can you choose your favorite color (and there are numerous colors to choose from that range from Empire Red and Onyx Black to Pink and Pistachio to Blue Willow and Ice to Majestic Yellow and Pear to even Green Apple and much more, as well as, limited edition colors such as Raspberry Ice, etc), you can choose whether or not you want a Tilt Head or a Bowl Lift. You can also choose the amount of quarts you want which start at 4 quarts (equal to a gallon) to 7 quarts and you can choose the type of mixing speeds you want, as well. Every KitchenAid Stand Mixer includes a variety of features that range from general locking tilt design to the pouring shield and more. Some Stand Mixers include more features then others, especially those that are very high in price range (the 620 6 Quart Bowl Lift Stand Mixer or 7 Quart Bowl Lift NSF Commercial Stand Mixer) that are originally priced at $999.99, but are currently on sale for $899.99. Prices vary and start at about $299.99 and go up to about $999.99. You can purchase the KitchenAid Stand Mixer at your nearest KitchenAid retailer or on the official website kitchenaid.com. Whether you are looking for a gift for someone or yourself, I truly recommend one of the amazing Stand Mixers.




When it comes to kitchen appliances, KitchenAid never disappoints. In fact, they do quite the opposite. One of the best KitchenAid products for 2011 is definitely the KitchenAid toaster. After comparing an array of eminent toasters of high-end quality, I have come to the conclusion that not only are KitchenAid's at the top, they are incredible for the price they are asking. Prices vary depending on the type of KitchenAid toaster you purchase. They start at about $49.99 (4 Extra Wide Slots Toaster) and go up to $129.99 (4 Slice One Touch, Motorized Lift Control Toaster with LCD Display). The features on each toaster are amazing, as you are able to adjust the settings to fit what you want to toast. Whether it be a piece of bread or a bagel, etc. Almost most of the KitchenAid toasters include a removable crumb tray, as well as, a manual high lift lever. You also have the option to choose what color you want. Which varies from Cocoa and Contour Silver to Onyx Black and Empire Red. You can purchase the KitchenAid Toaster at your nearest KitchenAid retailer or on the official website. Also depending on the actual type of plan, you can actually purchase KitchenAid appliances from individual establishments such as QVC which offer that type of option. The holidays are approaching and that includes the demand for a good gift. If you are confused at what to get your friend or your boss, this is the perfect gift because more than likely, they do not own this product.




Although one may state that they have found a fabulous waffle maker, I guarantee that if they did not say the KitchenAid Pro Line Series Waffle Baker, they obviously have found a good or decent one, but nothing amazing. The KitchenAid Pro Line Series Waffle Baker is amazing on numerous wavelengths, making it one of the best KitchenAid kitchen appliances of 2011. Not only does this device (and yes, this product is so amazing, it can be considered such) include a double-sided baking unit that allows you to rotate the actual batter, it produces two exceptionally giant sized Belgium waffles that measure 7 and a half inches by 1 and 1/4 th inch thick. The actual baking time is incredibly consistent. It is very easy to clean, as the entire system embraces the non-stick concept. The KitchenAid Pro Line Series Waffle Baker can be purchased for $249.99 at your nearest KitchenAid retailer or on the official website kitchenaid.com. Can you actually name someone that doesn't like waffles? I know that I can't. In fact, I know many that love them. Whether you are looking for a gift for that special cooking connoisseur in your life or yourself, this is a great investment.

Top 10 Gourmet Gifts for Under $25

The holidays are coming! What a better way to celebrate the holidays, then to give the perfect gourmet gift without breaking the bank. After doing a little bit of shopping and research, I have found so many great gourmet gifts for under $25, so I have decided to narrow down the many gifts that I have discovered to only the top 10 best gourmet gifts for under $25.



10. Cheese Bars with Slicer. What a better way to celebrate the holidays than with great people and great food. One of the best gifts one can give, as well as, receive is definitely the gift of gourmet and what a better way to do that than with the Cheese Bars with Slicer gift. This wonderful Swiss Colony addition includes four Swiss Colony cheese bars in Edam, Swiss Blend, Brick, and Cheddar cheese. It also includes a chrome plated metal slicer. The Cheese Bars with Slicer gift is available at your nearest Swiss Colony store for just $19.95. You can also purchase this great gift on the official website swisscolony.com. This is a 5-piece gift set for under $20. If you are looking for a great gift, while saving money as a result, the time is now to get this one, as it should be in your shopping cart right now.




9. Giant Dipped Fancy Berries. One of the things that I love most about the holidays is the idea that this time of year lets you be creative. If you are searching for a great gourmet gift for under $25, you cannot go wrong with the Giant Dipped Fancy Berries. The Giant Dipped Fancy Berries includes not one, but six (or half dozen) giant sized fancy dipped strawberries. Two of the berries are dipped into milk chocolate and topped with almonds, two of the berries are dipped in white chocolate and then topped with chocolate swizzles, and two of the berries are topped with dark chocolate and topped with dark chocolate chips. Can you say YUM?! You can purchase the Giant Dipped Fancy Berries gourmet gift at your nearest Sharis Berries store for just $24.99. You can also purchase this amazing gift on the official website berries.com. I am really hoping that I get these for Christmas from someone this year. *hint hint*




8. Christmas Dose of Good Fortune. What is your favorite part about the holidays? One of the best gourmet gifts of 2011 is definitely the Christmas Dose of Good Fortune gift. The Christmas Dose of Good Fortune includes 8 oz. of decorated fortune cookies that cater to the holiday season. This wonderful addition to Dylan's Candy Bar also comes in a novel gold colored round tin, making it ultimately gift worthy. It is original and creative and more than likely, before you read this article, you probably had no clue it even existed. You can purchase the Christmas Dose of Good Fortune gift at your nearest Dylan's Candy Bar, as well as, Dylan's Candy Bar retailer for just $25. This amazing gourmet gift is also available on the official Dylan's Candy Bar website, dylanscandybar.com. I love fortune cookies and I think everyone can agree with me when they say that they want to have good luck in the year 2012.




7. Perfect Pancake Breakfast. There is no better gift than food because not only does everyone need it, but they secretly want it too. Especially you foodies out there that browse websites looking at food pictures of amazing looking food. If you are looking for an amazing gourmet gift, I definitely recommend the Perfect Pancake Breakfast. The Perfect Pancake Breakfast includes: Old Fashioned buttermilk pancake mix, a half pound of Canadian bacon, pure maple syrup, blueberry syrup, strawberry preservatives jelly, and orange marmalade jelly. This incredible Figis addition comes in a red box, so if you just add a bow you are good to go. It's simple and a signature Figis gift. The Perfect Pancake Breakfast is available for just $24.99 at your nearest Figis store. You can also purchase this amazing gift on the official website figis.com. What a better gourmet gift for under $25 that makes a statement then the Perfect Pancake Breakfast. I think anyone who receives this gift will simply love it.




6. Beef Hickory Sampler. I don't think I can name a single person that does not like to receive food as a gift, especially during the holiday season. Recently, when visiting the Hickory Farms kiosk at the mall, I had the opportunity to discover the Beef Hickory Sampler. The Beef Hickory Sampler includes: Hickory Farm's signature sausage, a Smoked Cheddar blend cheese, Farmhouse Cheddar, Olive Oil & Sea Salt crackers, and Sweet Hot mustard. It comes in a regular box, however; gift wrapping is optional and you can pretty much take it anywhere and get it wrapped, as you can wrap it yourself. You can purchase the Beef Hickory Sampler at your nearest Hickory Farms store or kiosk for just $20. It is also available on the official website hickoryfarms.com. If you looking for a last minute gift, I truly recommend this one. The holidays are approaching and before you know it, they will be here.




5. Holiday Classics Meat & Cheese Gift Box. I have to admit, when it comes to gourmet gifts, Figis is definitely at the top of it's game. One of the best gourmet gifts for under $25 is definitely the Holiday Classics Meat & Cheese Gift Box. The Holiday Classics Meat & Cheese Gift Box includes: Cheddar and Colby cheeses, Beef and Beef Garlic sausages, an array of Cheese which also includes spreads and Babybel. Figis signature chocolates and candies, and original butter shortbread. The packaging on this item is amazing, so all you need is a bow and you are ready to go. The Holiday Classics Meat & Cheese Gift Box is available at your nearest Figis store. It is also available on the official website figis.com. Can you guess what the cost of this item is? It is only $15.99. You can give this amazing gourmet gift without breaking the bank or your budget and whoever the recipient is will not only love it, but appreciate it much more so. Happy Holidays!




4. Yule Log Trio. When it comes to the holidays and food, the two just go hand in hand. A holiday without food is like a car without gas. If you are looking for an amazing gourmet gift for under $25, you definitely have to check out the Yule Log Trio. You will get not one, but three round cakes. These Yule Logs are topped with amazing butter crème and décor. You will get a winter penguin (chocolate with chocolate cream), a snowman (vanilla with vanilla cream), and of course everyone's favorite Santa Claus (vanilla with chocolate cream). The Yule Trio is available at your nearest Swiss Colony store for just $19.95. You can also purchase the Yule Log Trio on the official website swisscolony.com. If you are looking for a nice gourmet gift, this is definitely the one. Also, for under $20, can you actually resist such a deal?




3. Christmas Hot Chocolate Trio Tin. I love chocolate and know many others out there love it too. One of the best gourmet gifts for under $25 is definitely the Christmas Hot Chocolate Trio Tin. The Christmas Hot Chocolate Trio Tin includes three individual tins of flavored hot chocolates. These tins include: milk chocolate Belgian shavings, crème brulee Belgian shavings, and spicy hot chocolate Belgian shavings. Whether you purchase this gift from the store or official website, you get a free holiday mug with the purchase, which makes it ultimately gift worthy. The Christmas Hot Chocolate Trio Tin is available at your nearest Dylan's Candy Bar store or on the official website dylanscandybar.com for just $20. Whether you are purchasing the Christmas Hot Chocolate Trio Tin for your mother, your father, your daughter, your son, your wife, your husband, your fiancé, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your sister, your brother, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your mother-in-law, your father-in-law, your BFF, your teacher, your co-worker, your boss, WHOEVER! Anyone who receives this gift is going to be extremely grateful.




2. Candy Cane Sampler. When it comes to the holidays, there is nothing better than giving a gift that has meaning. What better way than to give the gift of something everyone loves, food. One of the best gifts I have discovered this year is definitely the Candy Cane Sampler at Figis. The Candy Cane Sampler includes an array of mini Figis products in a cute little novelty candy cane. The mini Figis products include: Steakhouse sausage, Beerwurst sausage, Ham sausage, Sharp Cheddar cheese, Colby cheese, as well as, three cheese spreads and peppermint puffs. The Candy Cane Sampler is just under $20 and is available at your nearest Figis retailer or on the official website figis.com. I don't know about you, but I think the Candy Cane Sampler is looking quite amazing for as affordable as it is. Give one to your mother, your sister, your wife or girlfriend, your mother-in-law or girlfriend's mother, or anyone in your Christmas list and you are good to go.




…and the number one gourmet gift for Holidays 2011 under $25 is…


*drum roll*



1. Merry Christmas Cookies. After doing my research and shopping for the perfect gourmet gift for under $25, I have come to the conclusion that the Merry Christmas Cookies gift is the number one gourmet gift for the holidays 2011. It is the best and I can tell you why. You are getting over 5 dozen (which in a nutshell is 30) Christmas cookies in a beautiful, gift worthy Christmas tin. The cookies range from pinwheels and brownie rounds to jelly stars and chocolate fudge to much more. It is just getting better. Did I mention that the tin is reusable? Merry Christmas Cookies can be purchased at your nearest Figis store or on the official website figis.com for just $24.99. They are one of Figis biggest sellers for a reason. If you are looking to give the best gourmet gift for under $25, I truly recommend this one. Happy Holidays!

Homemade Gourmet Gifts: Decorative Deep Fried Oreos

One of the best things
about the holidays is definitely
the amazing food.
(Photo by Sarah Afshar)
When it comes to the holidays the word creativity should always be in your forte. I am not saying that the holidays are the necessarily the epitome of creativeness, but they do allow you to get inspired. I love everything about the holidays. Whether it be the music, the decorations, the love in the air, the entire ambiance, the food, etc. It is a well known fact that money doesn't grow on trees and not everyone can afford to spend an obscene amount on the latest item. Homemade gourmet gifts are not only incredibly affordable, but highly effective as everyone can appreciate them. Do you know anyone who doesn't love food?


Recently, I had the opportunity to discover one of the best homemade gourmet gifts. I was inspired at the local grocery store when shopping for cookies. I know there are many people that cannot stand Oreo cookies at all, however; once they try a decorative deep fried oreo they are hooked. Before you decide to make oreos, you can look at what type of oreos you want to buy. I like to buy all different types, however; I am fond of the original oreo cookie the most because it's the most common and it is what everyone expects when they bite into an oreo, especially a decorative deep fried oreo. Let's get started!


What you will need for the Deep Fried Oreos:


Deep Fryer (If you don't own a deep fryer, a thick cast iron pan is helpful and will work.)
Paper Towels
Metal Tongs
Oreo Cookies
All Purpose Flour
Granulated Sugar
Brown Sugar
Powdered Sugar
Vanilla Extract
Vegetable Oil
Milk
Butter
Eggs

 
 
What you will need to decorate the Deep Fried Oreos:

Icing Edibles decors (Everything from sprinkles of sorts to actual images, whatever you intend to use to decorate your deep fried Oreos.)
Powdered Sugar (optional)


Preparation:

Pour about 2 quarts of vegetable oil into your deep fryer. If you are using a thick cast iron pan, you want to pour about 1 quart of vegetable oil into it. You want to set the stove on high, but do not walk away from it. You want to only put it on high for about 5 minutes and then set it to a medium temperature.

As you continue, you want to make your batter. Although you can use pre-made pancake batter, I do not recommend it because the deep fried oreos taste better when you use homemade. You want to add 2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of melted butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar into a big round bowl.

Once you combine the ingredients, using a mixer (I love to use my Kitchen Aid for this, however; any mixer with do) you want to mix them together until you have a relatively thin consistency. It should not be watery, but it should not be thick either. For those of you that have made crepes, it should be on the same wavelength. If you are looking to create a flavored deep fried Oreo, you can add just about any type of spice or extract to the batter.

Sit aside your batter. You want to get the oreos together. It is important that you look at each Oreo to make sure they are not cracked. Although some people like to take melted butter and apply it onto the oreos before applying the actual batter, I usually leave that step out. I tried it once and the batter didn't turn out the way I wanted it to turn out.

Using a pair of tongs, take each Oreo and dip it into the batter. If you are skeptical about doing several oreos at one time, try one and see how it turns out. You want to fry 6 at the most. You want to fry the deep fried oreos until they have reached a golden brown color. Most of the time, they will rise to the top when they are done, however; if you are confused, just set the time for 5 minutes, as that is the maximum time they can cook.
 
 
Now this is where the paper towels come into play. You want to make sure you have several paper towels laid out. They must be laid on a hard, flat surface so any flat plate will do. Also, make sure they are not crowded together because you are going to decorate them later. Using the pair of tongs (and they are highly recommended) you want to remove them from the deep fryer and apply them on the pair towels to dry. Let them dry for at least 10 minutes minimum.


Once they have dried, you can start decorating them. Some people like to leave them the way they are and just sprinkle powdered sugar. I like to decorate them. I love to apply icing all over them and apply an array of different edible decors. During the holidays I love breaking out my crystal sprinkles, as well as, sprinkles of seasonal things such as Christmas trees, snowman, and Santa Claus. You can be simple or you can be like me, creative. I also like to decorate my deep fried oreos a little over the top because it's fun and exciting.

Congratulations! You just made your first decorative deep fried Oreos. Now, all you have to do is box or bag them up and give them to your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son, your wife, your girlfriend, your husband, your fiancé, your boyfriend, your BFF, your father-in-law, your mother-in-law, and everyone else you can think of. Trust me, in the end, people not only love, but appreciate homemade gourmet gifts and the Decorative Deep Fried Oreos are one of them. Enjoy!


Happy Holidays!

A Time to Love the Beauty of Christmas Day

I love Christmas!
(Photo by Sarah Afshar)
The holidays are looming towards the present, as the stars up above shine ever so brightly. A holy night where we come together with everything we are grateful of, ever so tightly. Near the old, habitual chimney lies the stocking and greeting cards given by friends and foes. Under the Christmas tree lies gifts and presents worthless to and worthy of those.


Dead leaves continue to fall off the leafless trees, as the ice continues to cultivate and grow. Splendid wind chimes move readily, as you're inside wrapping each gift alone, with a bow. Unanticipated guests show up at the front door, hoping to earn your admiration and overall respect. The phone rings off the hook, as you occupy your precious and treasured time to reflect.


Mucky incognito populace attempt to ruin the moment and encourage the plight. Optimistic people who live in the moment with goals and accomplishment have the spotlight. Holiday galas have their ups and downs, the life we inhabit is sublimely imperfect precision. The life we choose is the life we befall, one big accomplishment, one big mission.


Santa Claus, Christmas Gifts, Cards, Fruitcake, and Old Fashioned Egg Nog. Glossy chestnuts roasting peacefully on a fresh new wooden log. Christmas is a celebration that promotes immaculate joy and splendid glee. Despite the adversity endured, we are approaching a special day. Can't you see?


This is the time to cherish, a time to bear, the love of God and the birth of his son. Christmas is the time that brings us together, together as one. The old and the new, the rich and the poor, the black and the blue. The weak and the strong, the fat and the thin, no matter who we are, no matter what we do, we all belong.


The circle of life, controls the prosperity and richness of the soul. Peaceful meetings of sublime happiness are in our control. Stillness is golden, in that final month, six hundred hours until the day. A time to give, a time to receive, and a time to love the beauty of Christmas Day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Foodgasm































More pictures to come. Stay tuned!

Photos by Sarah Afshar

Foodgasm, a new feature...

Hey everyone. I have added a new feature for sarahafshar.com called "Foodgasm" where I will posting pictures of food. Although I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian, not only will I be posting vegetarian, but I will be posting pictures that I personally took of meat and fish, simply because I am well aware that not everyone follows my individual eating lifestyle. I really hope all of my readers enjoy it. If you want to use one of the pictures, feel free, but please make sure that you give me credit and if possible, link back to this website. Thank You.
Foodgasm































More to come, so stay tuned!
Photos by Sarah Afshar