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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hey, what is everyone doing for Black Friday tomorrow?

Well, tonight is Thanksgiving (at least in the United States) and that means tomorow is black Friday. My question to you all, is what are you all going to be doing for Black Friday tomorow.  Are there favorite stores you like to visit?  Are you vacationing this week (my family is vacationing at Whistler British Columbia)?  Are you planning to shop online?  I have created a quick poll below that you are welcome to fill out:

What are you doing for Black Friday?

pollcode.com free polls

As for me, if I wasn't up at Whistler British Columbia with my family, I would probably be working at Kohl's either tonight or tomorow morning (or both considering that some people are working both tonight and tomorrow).  I remember last time I worked at Kohl's, I had to work from 7 am to 3 pm, though that was about 2 years ago.  I don't really have shopping plans myself yet, but I am sure I will visit some of the shops at the Whistler Village tomorrow.  Might also hit up Mongolie Grill for lunch and later Dubh Lin Isrish pub for dinner tomorrow night.  I wouldn't mind going by the Chateau too this weekend.

By the way, I am a part of both Amazon and Walmart's affiliate programs and I am sure they all have plenty of special deals and offers you can take advantage of.  Saves you from having to go out and "fight" the crowds.

What are you having for Thanksgiving?

Here is an open ended post for you all: what are you having for Thanksgiving dinner tonight?  My family is making:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Yams
- beans
- Rolls
- Cranberries
- Pumpkin Pecan Pie
- Apple Pie
- Possibly Hot buttered Rum as well.
- Stuffing

That is a general list of what we are having.  What are all of you having tonight?  Are there any recipies you want to share?  Feel free to post below.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sausage, egg and cheese casserole muffins recipe

As you know, on Sunday, in adddition to serving sparking grape juice at QFC in Seattle, I also baked and served sausage, egg and cheese casserole muffins.  I meant to keep a copy of the recipe hand outs for myself, but forgot to keep one before handing them over to the QFC store associates.  On the positive note, I still have the reciepe according to my sales letter.  Here it is.

Equipment you need.  Don't have one? I will post links to them on Amazon in case if you want to buy them (yes I am a part of their affiliate program in case if you don't know, same with Walmart).

Toaster Oven (or conventional oven if you have one)
Extension Cords (if ypu plan to use a toaster oven or skillet)
Pot Holders 
Medium bowl 
White Cutting Board (though any cutting board will do)
Measuring Cups
 Small bowl with lid
Skillet (or large pan)
Scissors (for cutting open the sausage package)
Fat Trapper Holder
Spoon (Silverware)

Items you will need:
- Jimmy Dean Regular Sausage Roll, 1 lb.
- Kraft Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese, 8 oz.
Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls, 8 oz.
GoodCook Mini Muffin Pan, 12 Cups (though any muffin plan will do).  I used one with 6 cups
Kroger (Store Brand) Canola Spray, 6 oz. (though just about any cooking spray will doo)
- Kroger (Store Brand) Break Free Eggs, 32 oz. (though regular eggs and egg beaters can work too)
- Kroger (Store Brand) Salt & Pepper Shakers, 2 ct.

Recipe instructions:
Step 1: Prepare (assuming you are using a skillet and toaster oven)
 Preheat skillet to (250) degrees F.
 Open the tube of sausage using the scissors.
 Empty sausage into the skillet.
 Cook sausage in skillet for (8-10) minutes until completely browned.
 Drain all the grease into the fat trapper.
 Place paper towels into the bottom of the small bowl and empty the cooked sausage into the bowl. Let cool.
 While sausage is cooling, set out the white cutting board, muffin tin, canola oil spray, and knife onto the top of the table
 Spray each muffin cup with canola oil.
 Open (1) tube of crescent rolls.
 Using the perforated lines in the dough as a guideline, cut the dough into small squares.
 Work the dough with your hands and create a very thin circle that will fit inside each muffin cup.
 Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the muffin cup, ensuring that it covers the entire surface of the muffin cup.
 Repeat this process until all (12) muffin cups have dough in them.
 Set out the medium bowl and rubber spatula onto the top of the cart.
NOTE: Thoroughly shake the liquid eggs container before opening.
 Measure out (1 1/2) cups of liquid eggs into the medium bowl.
 Open (1) packet of cheese and empty the contents into the bowl.
 Add (1/2) teaspoon of salt & pepper. Stir thoroughly.
 Fill the bottom of each muffin casserole with a (1/2) tablespoon of sausage.
NOTE: Fill with sausage just enough to cover the bottom of the muffin.
 Using the silverware spoon, fill each cup (3/4) of the way full with the egg and cheese mixture.

Optional: you can actually cook the eggs, sausage and cheese all in the skillet (much like a breakfast skillet and then pour the mixture into the muffin cups).

Step 2: Cook
 Place the muffin tin into the oven.
 Cook for (15) minutes, until the edges of the muffins are golden brown.
 Remove the muffin tin from the oven using the pot holders.
 Using the thermometer, check that the internal temperature reaches (160) degrees F or higher
 Let the muffins cool for (3-5) minutes.
 Once cool, pull each muffin out of the tin.
 Set the muffin onto the white cutting board and cut in (1/2), though you could also serve whole ones as well.

Step 3: Serve
 Each batch yields up to 12 muffins (following the guidelines above), more or less depending on what kind of muffin pan you use.  You can also cut them in half if you want to you want to yield more servings.
 Place (1) piece of the casserole onto a plate or napkin.

You could serve the muffins with coffee, juice, sparkling grape juice, or whatever you want.  For my demo I was serving sparkling grape juice with the muffins.

Monday, November 24, 2014

No Demos for me this week, out of town for Thanksgiving

Just some heads up, I am on vacation this week at Whistler British Columbia (gone through Sunday) and so I am not scheduled for any demos this week.  My next demo is tentatively scheduled for the Sunday after I get back, interestingly at the new Walmart coming in at Monroe.  I did to a demo in Seattle yesterday at the QFC there (making breakfast casserole muffins as well as serving sparkling grape juice).  Of course, with black Friday coming up this week, I am sure there are other special sale events and demos all around the Seattle area.  By the way if any of you are looking for hot deals going online at various retailers, feel free to check out my other post at rjstoredemos.blogspot.com/2014/11/black-friday-promotions-from-my.html.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

First time doing a demo in downtown Seattle tomorrow

Street View picture of QFC from Google Maps in Seattle
In all of my years doing demo I have never done a demo in downtown Seattle.  Sure I have done demos in the U District (like the time I was helping with the Jamie Moyer calendar autographing event at the U Village many years ago), Wallingford QFC (that time I was promoting Green Genius garbage bags), Northgate, Capitol Hill, and even the QFC off of Holman Road.  Of course, that is all about to change tomorrow.  I am supposed to do the QFC store right off of Mercer Street tomorrow.  For tomorrow's demo, I am supposed to make breakfast sandiwches as well as serve sparkling cider and grape juice.  I am a little nervous, but I can handle it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday gift ideas part 1 - housewares

You know, Christmas season is just around the corner and if you are looking for the perfect gift(s) to get people, I have some suggestions myself.  This is going to be the first of several posts I make on holiday gift ideas.  By the way, if you are interested in buying these products I will share the links (Amazon.com) for them in case if you are interested.  Most of these products I would be interested in buying someday if I could.  In this part, I will talk about housewares and kitchenwares you might like that I have used and liked.

Product 1 - Keurig Coffee Maker

Above is a video I posted demonstrating how a Keurig Coffee maker works, though sadly I don't have my own Keurig coffee maker (my agency loaned me one for my demos in my event kits, though I usually had to donate them to the store after the demos were finished), though I do say that I would like to get one someday if I had the extra money.  It can be very convenient to have, especially if you like "coffee to go".  Here is how it works:
- Pour water into the water container
- turn on the power and let the water heat up
- pull up the lever (it will open up a slot with a pin on the bottom)
- Take a k-cup product (such as Tully's coffee) and put it in the slot and pull the lever down
- When the machine it is ready, a blue light will flash (like the ones seen on the buttons) and you can choose which one to pour (I think the one on the left is small cup and the other one is for a bigger cup).
- Usually within seconds, the machine pours coffee into the cup.
- By the way, you can also make iced coffee (though first you have to put ice into the mug or cup you want to use).  Warning: if you use plastic cups, you will need to put alot of ice in it, otherwise the cup can melt leaving you a mess to clean up (I've made that mistake before).
- If you want to brew more, you can take the used k-cup out of the slot and put another one in and brew that one too.
Note: you have to keep water above the sensor for it to work, otherwise you will have to pour more water in.

Personally, I find the product pretty convenient to have.  By the way, if you are in college they could definitely be good to have in a dorm room or apartment since then you can simply brew coffee pretty quickly before heading to class (saves you extra trips to the cafeteria or coffee shop if you want coffee).

Pros and cons to the Keurigs (based on my experience with the products):

- Convienient and easy to use
- Great for making single cups or mugs of coffee
- Many coffee companies now have k-cups they offer for the machines.  My favorite is probably Tullys, but there are other companies that have products for them too, including: Foldiers, Green Mountain, Nantucket Blend, hot chocolate mixes, iced teas, etc
- I think it is possible to use custom k-cups or filters, though I don't really know how to use those things.
- Great for apartments, offices, dorm rooms, etc.  By the way, at the Kohl's store I work at, they do have keurigs in the break room, though usually you have to supply your own k-cups to use them.
- usually brews coffee in less than a minute (unless the water is heating).
- pretty easy to clean up
- Only good for one serving of coffee at a time.  If you want to make coffee for multiple people at a time, a traditional coffee maker might be better
- If you want to make cappaccinos or lattes, a espresso machine might be better.
- Can be expensive to buy.  Also you do have to buy k-cups to brew coffee.  The first time I was promoting the Keurigs, they were selling at $75, but it appears that the prices have gone up since then.

For more information about Keurigs, you can find them on Amazon.com

Comparative shopping:
(coming soon)

If you decide to get a Keurig, here are some k-cups you might like on Amazon:
|| || || (for more k cups, you can browse for more on Amazon or check your local grocery stores)

Product 2 - Espresso Machines (too many different kinds to list).

While we are still on the subject of coffee, do you ever get cravings for lattes, cappaccinos, mochas, etc?  You can go to Starbucks or similar coffee shops to satisfy your cravings, or you can get your own espresso machines and brew your own (saves you about $5 every time you want espresso).  I have espresso machine myself (got one for Christmas back in 2006 and it is still pretty functional for the most part).  Espresso is actually pretty easy to learn how to make (at least in my opinion).  With espresso machines, you can make espresso, americanos (I usually make those myself), lattes, cappaccinos, mochas (my favorite are mochas with rum) or whatever you want.

Here is how espresso machines works (at least the one I use):
It is hard to really explain it without showing you, here is a youtube video showing how to brew espresso:

Pros and cons from my experience:

- Easy to learn how to make
- You don't have to use espresso roast coffee beans (though for best flavor you will probably want espresso roast).
- Usually brews coffee in minutes (mine usually brews within 5 minutes and you know when the espresso is almost ready because you will hear it dripping).
- Can be pretty convenient to have and it does save you extra trips to Starbucks (or similar coffee shops) whenever you want espresso or lattes.
- Can brew multiple shots if you want
Down sides:
- The steamer for steaming the milk and making lattes/cappuccinos does tend to stop working after a while.  I've had 2 espresso makers during my years, and with both of them, the steamer stops working eventually.  I don't really know how to fix that problem and they still brewed espresso for me perfectly but the steamers no longer work.  I am not sure if this happens with every espresso maker but this does to seem to happen with at least some models after a while.  You will know when the steamer stops working when you turn on the steamer and steam comes out of the top of the machine, but nothing comes out of the nozzle.
- Espresso makers require extra cleaning when finished.  Also you do have to replace the ground coffee beans whenever you want to brew more espresso (otherwise they are no longer fresh and it leaves a watery taste).

Coffee bean brands you might like:

|| ||

Product 3- Quesadilla Makers

Do you ever get cravings for Mexican food?  How about Quesadillas?  I tend to get cravings for chicken quesadillas sometimes myself.  There are multiple ways to make a quesadillas.  The old school way is to get a frying pan (preferably a good one), then take 2 large flour tortillas (or whatever kinds of tortillas you use), add shredded cheese, add meats if you want meat (like chicken, steak, pulled pork, etc), add spices and/or salsa if you want, and then using a frying pan and spatchula to make it.  Of course a down side to that method is that it can get tricky sometimes (for example, can you flip them over without messing them up?).  Quesadilla makers like the El Paso kind (I have that kind) or similar makers make cooking quesadillas much easier.  They operate much like forman grills (for those of you who are familiar with those).  Here is how it works
- Take 2 tortillas (a top one and bottom one)
- put on shredded cheese
- Add meats of your choice (I usually use chicken or steak)
- Add spices and salsa if you want (as well as other fixins of your choices
- Then put a tortilla on top of the bottom one
- Open the quesadilla maker
- Feel free to add cooking spray to keep the tortillas from sticking
- put the tortilla on the grill
- close the grill and plug in the machine (I don't recommend pluging in the machine until you are ready to cook the quesadilla, as it heats up fast and you can burn yourself if you are not careful when placing the tortillas on the grill)
- The quesadillas usually cook within 5 minutes.  You know when it is done when the tortiallas start to turn brown.  Warning; be careful not to cook for too long, otherwise the quesadillas will get burnt.
- By the way, I recommend using a pizza cutter for slicing the quesadilla (pretty efficient way to cut it up).
Yeah, it is pretty easy and convienient to use.

- great for making quesadillas efficiently.
- Pretty easy to set up and put away
- Usually not quite as messy as using a frying plan

- You still have to clean the quesadilla maker after using it, and it can be greasy (especially if you use cooking sprays or oil), which can make cleaning a bit tricky
- There is no timer on the machines and it is possible to overcook the quesadillas if you are not paying attention.  I recommend checking in on the maker every 5 minutes to ensure your food is not over cooked.
- Be careful when adding salsa, guacamole, etc when using the quesadilla makers since sometimes the sauces can boil over grill, leaving you an extra mess to clean up.  Also, quesadillas can fall apart if you used too much sauce.

Warnings and disclaimers:
- Be sure to use hot pads when opening the machine after the quesadilla is cookedn and I recommend using tongs or spatchulas to help get the quesadilla off the grill when done.  Otherwise you might burn yourself since the surface of the machine will likely be very hot when it is done.
- You will need to let the machine cool off before cleaning it since it will be hot at first and will take time to cool
- Never leave the machine unattended while cooking quesadillas.

Product 4 - Waffle Makers (like the black and decker kind)

Do you like waffles?  I know I do.  I remember back when I was in college (particularly at Northwest University), in the cafeteria sometimes they had a waffle maker bar set up (not always of course) where you can make your own waffles.  You can spray the machine with cooking spray (to help prevent sticking), pour waffle mix on the hot waffle iron, and let it cook for several minutes and valla, you have a nice belgian waffle.  Of course, you can always add syrup, fruit, etc if you want too.  I made waffles earlier this week myself.  Waffle makers come in many different shapes, forms and sizes, but they are all pretty similar in my opinion.

Pros about Waffle makers:
- Great for making home made style waffles
- Can be pretty easy to use (though sometimes there can be a learning curve when it comes to using waffle makers effectively.
- Usually cooks the waffles in minutes.
- Can be a good alternative to making pancakes or french toast

- Can get messy.  Sometimes waffle mix can stick to the waffle iron (even when using cooking spray) and leaves you a good size mess to clean up.  Sometimes, you can lose an otherwise good waffle that way too.
- Waffles can burn if you leave the machine unattended for too long
- Sometimes waffle batter can overflow (especially if you use too much), so you will need a pan or something underneath it to help contain the waffle batter that overflows.
- Can be tricky to clean too.

(stay tuned for more products, will try to add to the list over time).

Do you know of products you want to recommend?  Feel free to share them below.  Have you used these products?  Feel free to share your experiences with them.

FTC disclosure: my opinions and recommendation on the products are based on my own experiences with them and may or may not reflect the experiences everyone else has, and the products might not necessarily be for everyone.  As an Amazon and Linkshare affiliate (for example, Cafe Britt is part of the Linkshare affiliate network), I might earn a commission if you buy any of these products listed on this page.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Black Friday Promotions from my affiliates

Well, Thanksgiving is almost here (only over a week away) and Black Friday is coming right afterwards. If you are looking for information about hot deals and sale events going from various retailers online, you have come to the right place. Here are the latest sales and ads from retailers (note that this is not every ad each affiliate has, if you want more offers or looking for something specific, feel free to PM me or leave a comment).  Note: I will add to the list as I see more deals and offers.

 1. Walmart

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC
 2. Petsmart -
Save 20% Sitewide (Food, Flea & Tick Limited to 10%). Offer valid 11/24 to 11/26 at PetSmart.com.
 3. Cafe Britt:
Cafe Britt 100% Organic Gourmet Coffee - Free Shipping on 6 bags or more! Cafe Britt sells gourmet South American Style coffee.
4. Cherrybrook:

5. Tiger Direct - Formerly Compusa
Free Shipping On Home Security Systems at TigerDirect!

6. Toshiba - Shopping for laptop computers this holiday season?
Save over 50% on Toshiba Special-Value Bundles! - Starting at $24.99.
7. Amazon.com
Bonus ad: Inbox Dollars
Thinking about shopping online why not get rewarded for it?  Check out Inbox Dollars (sign up is free by the way, they even pay you $5 just for joinining).

Few notes about Inbox Dollars:
- Minimum payout threshold is $30 and they pay you via check in the mail (I've been paid at least once).
- Multiple ways to earn, including reading emails ads from advertisers (btw sometimes you can earn extra for responding to the ads), filling out surveys, playing games for cash, taking advantage of the paid search system, taking advantage of special offers and shopping at partner sites (earn cash back).  BTW, most retailers don't pay you to shop so the extra rebates can be nice to have.
- you also earn extra whenever you refer new members that take advantage of what Inbox Dollars has to offer too.

This week's demo schedule.

Just fyi, here is my demo schedule for this week (not counting today):

Tomorrow (Wednesday)

Store: QFC
Location: 926m 164th St SE
Bothell, WA (Mill Creek QFC)
Times: 10:15 am to 4:45 pm
Notes: will be giving out free samples of Chobani yogurt
Product(s) promoted - product links via Amazon


Store: Albertsons

Location: 12811 Bevely Park Rd, Lynnwood, Wa 98087 (technically Mukliteo area)

Notes: Ritz-Eckrich Recipe - basically cheese and crackers with polish and smoked sausages.  Did the exact same demo at the Monroe Albertsons a few days ago.

Products promoted:

Store: QFC

Location: 500 Mercer St Ste 101, Seattle, Wa (downtown Seattle)

- First time doing a demo in downtown Seattle
- Basically doing breakfast sandwiches and sparkling grape juic
Products promoted: