California Delicious: Not your Ordinary Gift Box and Basket Company

A gift basket is always welcomed in our home and not only do I enjoy the variety but I love trying new items. As of late with the holidays not too far away from us, I noticed that many baskets cost a pretty good penny but the thrill of the “good stuff” is not present. It’s almost the place where snack food goes to get stale! Not great when you bite into something and wonder if you would have liked it if it were fresher.

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In comes California Delicious with not your ordinary baskets. They offer everything from baskets and gift boxes with fresh fruit, chocolates, stuffed animals, wine, beer, and you name the occasion……they have it covered. The one thing I love is that if you live within the state, shipping is a whopping $0.00. Very nice. So the price point you see is what it is with no hidden charges. If you live out of state, they offer a reasonable rate starting at $9.00 (standard ground) for most of their selections. Very fair pricing and if you sign-up for their mailing list, you get 15% off promotion. Navigate the site and a $10.00 off a $75.00 purchase coupon pops-up as so does a $5 off of $50.00! I believe in getting the most out of your dollar and right now, California Delicious has a heck of a perk! Be part of the “Give a Gift, Get a Gift” program. Just purchase a basket and each purchase gets you a $50.00 gift card* to http://www.NakedWines.com. The only small catch is you can only use one gift card yourself but you will get one with every item you buy. Great way to pass the perk forward and share with others. Make your basket purchase twice as nice!

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I ordered the Starbuck’s Coffee gourmet box. It’s item #9966 and it’s the first gift basket I have been 100% content with from top to bottom. I always have items in baskets and boxes that are just not for me or I plainly do not enjoy…..not this one! The Starbuck’s Coffee Mornings Gift box has a reasonable price point of $59.99 and it even has a stainless steel travel tumbler that can be used again and again. I always like gifting items of this kind that not only yield food for my family and friends to enjoy, but you want a reusable gift so there is something always left to enjoy again and again. Every item in the box is Starbuck’s branded…..no fillers to make this box seem more than it is. See for yourself and California Delicious discloses all contents, no need to over examine a picture to see what really comes in the basket (“Is that a candy I see back there?” kind of thing). I like that California Delicious is open and upfront because its just so tacky to inquire when you send someone a gift basket or box and hope they got everything as pictured. The last thing you want to ask is for a run-down! This is what my beautiful box came with http://www.californiadelicious.com/starbucks-coffee-mornings-gift-box.html:

  • Starbucks Pike’s Place Blend Coffee
  • Starbucks Sumatra Blend Coffee
  • Starbucks Blonde Roast Coffee
  • Starbucks Café Estima Coffee
  • Starbucks Hot/Cold Travel Mug
  • VIA Ready brew Coffee
  • 3 – Spiced Biscotti
  • 1 – Vanilla Biscotti

Other things I want to share is that I have never received a Biscotti cookie in “as-pictured” shape. They are usually baggies holding something what was once a cookie but is not a dry cracked baggy of dust. My chocolate swirl was even intact and every cookie was whole. I got to break it myself and enjoy it…..fresh and “biteable” with no regret or staleness! Ever item has an expiration date and just the bagged coffees alone the date was 6 to 7 months from when I received it. The VIA coffee is an entire box with 8 servings and that doesn’t expire until September. You can actually take your time enjoying your treats. The bags included have a 10 to 12 cup serving each so you get plenty of sevings for a very reasonable price. You add that you get a $50.00 gift card to NakedWines.com and it’s a perk that makes buying from California Delicious a must! Try them today and especially with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. California Delicious is not your everyday basket and gift box company, they deliver not only beautiful looking treats but it’s filled with items you will actually enjoy and love!

Connect with California Delicious and place and order just in time for Valentine’s Day:

  • On-line- http://www.californiadelicious.com/
  • Twitter- https://twitter.com/caldelicious
  • Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaDelicious
  • Pinterest- http://www.pinterest.com/calidelicious/
  • YouTube and Video Blogs- http://www.californiadelicious.com/california-video-blog

Hint: I will be posting a giveaway soon, so get ahead and connect with California Delicious by connecting with the above links!  

 

Nakedwines.com Perk detals, as disclosed on California’s Delicious site:
No kidding…We will send you a nakedwines.com gift card valued at $50 for every gift* that you send from California Delicious. It’s our way of saying Thanks for your business! *What’s the catch? If you buy more than one gift, we will send you a card for every gift you send but you can only use one of those gift cards yourself. You can pay it forward by giving your extra cards to all of your friends and relatives…sounds too good to be true? Well it is if you live in MA,MO,VA,WV,TX,HI,NC or VT because unfortunately those states have prohibition era rules.

I received the above product free of charge from California Delicious.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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Easy-Peasy Chocolate Cake……under 1 hour from start to finish

I was inspired by an e-mail I received from King Arthur’s Flour called “Original Cake-Pan Cake Recipe”

I was in an experimenting mood plus short on time, so I dove into this recipe with my trusty notepad, pen and camera.  I always alter recipes because I feel there is so much sugar in the ones I find without any need.  I want to taste the ingredients like Chocolate, not the over the top sweetness, plus I also like to substitute ingredients for the ones I have in stock.  I am not going to buy Pastry Flour again for one recipe for it just to sit there and expire again.  Lesson learned!! 🙂  I doubled the cocoa powder on this one and I still was able to cut the sugar!

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Easy-Peasy Chocolate Cake

This cake can be done in just under 1 hour!!  It’s so easy and dairy free (minus the icing).  A great alternative for those busy days where you did not have the time to make anything and the best part, it’s delicious!  It’s also not a killer when it comes to calories because there is not a bunch of sugar and fats.
Batter:
6 1/2 ounces of All-Purpose Flour
4 ounces of White Sugar
1/2 cup of Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon of Espresso Powder (optional)
1/2 tablespoon of white Vinegar (trust me….you will not taste it, it is just to help the cake rise when it combines with the baking soda.  Want a higher rise?  Up the vinegar to 1 tablespoon)
1/4 of Vegetable Oil
1 cup of cold liquid (this can be milk, water, coffee, get creative).
I start with a bowl and add the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda.  I use a whisk to combine all the ingredients.
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I did not have espresso powder but I know how coffee can punch up the chocolate’s flavor, so I got creative and used a Starbuck’s VIA packet I had received via mail for free.  It was in Italian Roast flavor but any flavor will do.
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I added the entire packet and again whisked it together.
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I then added the wet ingredients, the oil and vinegar.  Now for my 1 cup of cold liquid, I added water, whole milk and then coconut milk until I had 8 ounces in total.  I figured the coconut milk would have less fat and it would add flavor.  My husband dislikes coconut anything but can tolerate it in products where it’s flavor is not present   I disclosed I was adding it and he knows it’s just me playing scientist again!
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I whisked everything until combined and I love that I just dirty one dish.
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I pour the batter into a square pan that is 8 x 13, which has been sprayed with PAM w/flour spray (just in case).  I bake the cake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.
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The cake will slightly rise but I wanted density with a smooth finish, so this is why I only added 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar.  You can add up to 1 tablespoon in total if you wish the effect of a slightly higher cake.
While the cake bakes, I decided I wanted a mousse-like fluffy frosting,  so I wash the same dish I used to make the cake and get started on making the frosting.  This cake is so delicious that if you do not feel like frosting, it does not need it.  You can sprinkle powder sugar when it cools or even pair it up with ice cream.
Frosting:
8 ounces of Cream Cheese (softened)
4 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (softened)
1 tablespoon of Sour Cream
1 teaspoon of Vanilla
1 ounce of Powdered Sugar
1/8 of a cup of Cocoa Powder (unsweetened) *optional
Mini Chocolate chips (optional) to sprinkle on after
I start by using a hand mixer and blend the cream cheese and butter until creamy.
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This takes about 2 minutes.
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I then add the sour cream and vanilla and blend some more.  I add the powdered sugar and blend until nice and fluffy.
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As I was doing this, I asked my Husband if he wanted just a light buttered cream cheese frosting or if he was in a chocolate/chocolate mood?  He opted to go all the way and wanted chocolate.  I added 1/8 of a cup of cocoa powder and finished the frosting with the blender.  You can do what fits your mood and taste buds best!
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I take the cake out and cool it down.  It’s not a huge cake so it took 20 minutes to cool enough to be put in the fridge.  I left it in the fridge, uncovered for another 20 minutes.  It was a cold day and our fridge is set at a nice 35 degrees, so stuff cools down quick.
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Once cooled, I spread the frosting and then sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
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That easy and it went well after dinner with the coffee crusted grilled tri-tip my Husband made on the barbeque.  I figure he got to play with coffee so I wanted to also.  Enjoy!

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