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Sunday, March 9, 2014

What's With the Chicken Salad?

At Sugar Bean Bakery we have this ammaaazzzing Chicken Salad that we use in two of our menu items - Chicken Salad Sandwich and our Chicken Chicken Salad.  Can I say, I LOVE Chicken Salad.  Every time I have a bite it takes me back in time......

.....When I was a little girl, there was only one time during the year that I would truly look forward to having Chicken Salad.  That was Easter Sunday.  Yep, plain and simple - Easter Sunday.  The Saturday before Easter Sunday, our house would be in full prep mode.  Decorating the Easter Eggs, packing the car, and all excited for what a fun day we would be awaiting us at the park.  Echo Park in Los Angeles, California.  Yep, back then it was a very nice, green, family oriented park.

My mom would poach 2 full chickens.  I remember helping her bone the chicken and shred it by hand. Oh, the old fashioned way of doing things.  She chopped all the fresh ingredients - small.  Funny how people in your life influence you.  I like my veggies chopped large - I want to bite into them.  Lauren, my daughter/partner, likes them just like my mom - small.  Back to the Chicken Salad.  Mom would put it all in a large green tupperware bowl with a clear lid.  It almost seemed as soon as the Chicken Salad was done, all the prep work for Easter Sunday at the park was done.  To bed we went.

In the morning we would "hunt" for our Easter baskets, which always included the outfit we were to wear that day.  My dad loved donuts.  Our breakfast would consist of donuts and milk.  We would race to the car and count the landmarks until we reached the park.

We would hunt around looking for the relative who "saved" our spot.  It was so exciting to see all our aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Being able to run off and play on the playground, and then the massive Easter Egg Hunt.  All of this was fun, but what I was constantly thinking was, "When is it Chicken Salad Time?"  Guess I was kind of a foodie from way back when.

I couldn't wait until I received clearance from Mom to go ahead and have my Chicken Salad Sandwich.    And when I did, I took out the fresh bread, spread a thick helping of Chicken Salad, sat down, took a huge bite, and was in Heaven.  Sitting on the picnic table, listening to the radio in the background, and eating my sandwich - fresh Lays Potato Chips too!  Back then, there was just our Classic.  And to this day, that's what I love.

Today, every time I have one of our Chicken Salad Sandwiches - I'm 10 years old again, in Heaven, at Echo Park, enjoying my mom's Homemade Chicken Salad.

So when I say all our food at Sugar Bean Bakery is related to family - yep, I am absolutely correct.  From my relatives teaching, sharing history, technique, and all the how-to's - that's what makes us stand out.

Made From Scratch, Fresh, Everyday!

Come on down and try some of our Chicken Salad.  You won't be disappointed.

Until Next Post - And I will try to not make it so long in between.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving - Already?!

I know I’ve seen the commercials.  I know I’ve seen the advertisements.  And I have even complained about all the Christmas commercials, ads, and decorations popping up and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.  But heck, we've been planning all over the bakery for this week, but now Thanksgiving IS this week!
I’ve been a little off this season.  Opening a new bakery - can you blame me, really?  Usually I have everything planned, purchased and ready for Christmas.  No decorations yet.  I am one of those traditionalist – Christmas decorations only after Thanksgiving.  Actually, its G's rule, so I totally do everything I can to support him, so the tree and decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving.  It’s after, isn’t it?
For weeks I have been telling Lauren that I need to get my planning done, get it written down in my planner,  clean out my gift closet and figure out where I am for Christmas and I just have not made the time to get it done.  Today was the day and that is when it hit me -Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK!  (Notice I didn’t say “I didn’t have time.”  We always have time, it’s what we choose to do with that time that makes or breaks us.)
Every other year is my year to have all the kids home for Thanksgiving (We alternate between in-laws).  This year is my off year.  Although you would not know it - Nic and Cam are coming home, Jess arrived this past Thursday, G should be home.  The only one's not here is the Sanders portion of the family.  No worries, it's Tim's turn to spend with his family with Grandma Gladys.  Such a sweet, sweet lady, so no worries.  But still,we have  people over for dinner, I need to get Crackin!
Since Thanksgiving has been in the back of my mind, when I see an ingredient on sale that I use when making Thanksgiving dinner – I’ve been purchasing it.  Going through everything I was surprised to see that other than a turkey, I just need fresh veggies – which I will be purchasing Tuesday.  Today’s mission was getting the turkey – so I got 2.  One for Thanksgiving, and one for later. Next….
G is always adamant when he is home for me to enjoy time with him and not be in the kitchen cooking all the time.  Long ago it was me who wanted to enjoy the football, the movies, the appetizers, and everything else, but found myself in the kitchen from early in the morning through all day and collapsing late at night with dishes still to do in the sink.
Being tired of that routine, I devised my prep week so I am enjoying Thanksgiving. 
Writing it down in my planner makes things happen – no it’s not a magic book, it just keeps me focused on the task at hand and I accomplish so much more.
So what is my prep week you ask?
First you have to know my menu.  Now these are family recipes that I have had and use for almost 30 years.  Wow! It doesn’t seem that long ago.  Before I get into the menu I have to share how I came to be a Thanksgiving cook.  G is from the south (they do things differently there).  We met and married in California – where I am from.  He had no family in California so holidays were always easy – at least in the early years.  After 2 years at my mother’s he really missed traditional dishes from back home.  That’s when things started changing.  We would continue to have Thanksgiving at my mothers, but the next day, I would do our own.  So here is the menu, and it is so different from my moms:
Turkey stuffed with Cornbread Sausage Stuffing
Sweet Potato Casserole
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans
Cranberries (freshly made)
Cranberry Mold
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie
Appetizers:  Southern deviled eggs; Artichoke Dip; Cheese and Crackers; Chicken Salad and crackers.  
Some things have been added over time, such as the Artichoke Dip – Nic loves, loves, loves this.  G is a pushover for Southern Deviled Eggs and Cheese and Crackers.  
Please note:  No recipes are not shared here.  
Now that is a lot to do in one day so here is the breakdown:
  •  I make my special Cranberries and put them into containers for Thanksgiving.  I actually make a double batch so I have some for stuffed turkey sandwiches.  Mmmm.  Sometimes I think the leftovers are even better.  
  • Then I make the Cranberry Mold – this is a very old recipe and I have to triple it because each of my children take some home with them.  By making it so early in the week, it sets real well and unmolds and slices very beautifully on Thanksgiving Day.  
  • Cornbread – This is another very old recipe – I bake up 3 batches of cornbread for the stuffing and seal it in a sealed container.  
  • The last thing I do today is saute the onions, celery, and seasonings for the Cornbread Sausage Stuffing.  This also gets placed in sealed container and into the fridge, ready to be mixed together on Thursday morning. 
  • It’s time to cook and crumble the sausage.  Once cooked through it all goes into a sealed container and all into the fridge.  
  • Time to prep and put together the Sweet Potato Casserole.  This is not the regular brown sugar and marshmallow type – the sweet potatoes are fresh, peeled, sliced, and par boiled.  Then everything gets put together, covered and put into the fridge.  
  • Lastly for today is to hard boil all the eggs for the Southern Deviled Eggs.  
  • Pumpkin Pies – this is a given.
  • Mashed Potatoes.  Yes, I do these ahead of time, although I only add some butter, after I reheat them that’s when I fluff them and add the cream and the rest of the butter.  
  • Chop all the ingredients for the chicken salad.
  • Cook the chicken and shred it up.  I bag the ingredients and chicken separately to keep the flavors fresh.
  • Prepare the artichoke dip.  I prep, put it into the dish I’m going to bake it in, and cover it.  (Just like the Sweet Potatoes).
Thanksgiving Day:  This is the easy day - 
  • I throw all the Cornbread Sausage Stuffing ingredients together.  Place a cheesecloth inside my turkey an stuff, stuff away.  Truss the turkey, season and butter it all over. Cover with foil and toss it into the preheated oven.
  • After breakfast I finish all the appetizers and get them ready to put on the table around lunch time.  
  • After appetizers I finish all my items – Green Beans, rolls and then the gravy.  It usually takes about an hour prior to the turkey coming out to finish all the sides.  This way as the turkey is setting, the rest of the items get taken out and placed on the table.  While the turkey is setting I take all those lovely drippings and make my famous giblet gravy.  MMMM.
Well that is my prep week for Thanksgiving and for almost 30 years it has worked out well.  I do minimal work, and get to sit and enjoy my family.  
And to my amazement – I posted this before Thanksgiving Prep Time – yeah for me!  
May you and your families have a joyous and loving Thanksgiving.
Until next time, 
Keep it Fresh, Keep it Simple, and Keep it Homemade from Scratch.
Christine and Lauren

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Paranormal Activity at the Bakery...Yes!

Our building was built around 1912.  It is so beautiful - the original bricks, we are told were brought in from Salina.  Tin ceiling, no longer the original color, but a beautiful white.  Original dark wood floors that we refinished and re-stained with a customized stain done especially for the bakery.  All the things you would expect from an "aged" building.

For us, it reminded us of many wonderful stores, shops, and delicious restaurants in San Francisco, California.  So we were in from the get go (you can refer to an earlier post).

What we didn't consider, nor did it ever cross our minds were........residents who have decided to extend their stay.  In other words, the paranormal, spirits who have long left their bodies, and yes, Ghosts.

As mind boggling as it may seem - I have been able to see, hear, and feel the presence of ghosts since I was 13.  Oh my, can't believe I am even sharing this.  There are many non-believers, my husband use to be one for about 27 years.  My son-in-law is definitely a non-believer.  And that's OK.

I was 13 when I experienced my first "ghostly" experience.  My brother was born when I was 13 (not telling what year!).  The night he was brought home from the hospital, my parents placed him in his bassinet in their room.  My room was directly down the hall and I could see the sitting area of their bedroom from mine.  As it would be, I could see the entire bassinet where my brother was sleeping from my bed.

In the middle of the night I opened my eyes and saw 3 white figures (1 of whom I recognized, the other 2 I did not), one lifting - yes lifting - my brother from the bassinet.  I must have made a noise because they all looked at me at the same time - talk about eerie.  My father must have been awake at the same time because in the morning he spoke to me about what had happened.  Evidently in our family this was not the first time this happened, but the first time I experienced it.  Apparently the past relatives visiting the newborn.  From that moment on - game on.

So back to the building.  It was very unusual for me to walk into a building and not sense some kind of activity, but I didn't at the very beginning. My daughter, my partner was depending on my instinct - but I felt nothing....bad.   About 1 week into the renovation I knew we had a visitor.

My daughter and grandchildren had left for the night and I was locking up when I glanced up the stairs and saw toys up and down the stairs. Thinking Maddie had just not picked up after herself, I stopped and put them all in a pile, of course, always the mom, wanting to make sure no one trips over toys on the steps.  And I left.

The next morning I arrived first, opened the door, and walked in.  By instinct I looked up toward the stairs and saw the toys - no longer in a pile, but up and down the stairs again.  What was different was I looked all the way to the top of the stairs and that's when I saw it.  A shadow of a little one hiding behind the wall at the top of the stairs.  Without hesitation, I said, "Good morning."

Just to confirm the situation, I asked my daughter if she had come back to the bakery with the kids the night before, she had not.  She asked me why, but I told her I was just asking.

All went great without any more situations.  That is until the night before our opening day.  That day was hectic, busy, tiring, busy, and exhausting.  My grandkids were playing upstairs.  We had converted the loft into a child's dream playroom - pool table, TV, sofa bed, Xbox, computer - yep the whole thing.

That night my son-in-law went upstairs to take the kids home for the night.  He found the playroom a complete mess.  Well, like all good son-in-laws, especially the OCD one's.  He made them clean it up before he took them home.  Once they were done, they came downstairs, said good-bye and left.

My mom and sister were visiting for our opening and had not been upstairs yet, so thinking it was nice and clean - up they went.  My sister informed me later that the markers, crayons, and chalk that were in pencil holders for my granddaughters easel were all over the floor - like someone threw them all over the room.  Again I did the confirming thing and asked my son-in-law.  He said everything was picked up.  Now I'm getting curious.

Funny thing is, as soon as we opened the bakery we had dreams the kids would be happily playing upstairs and we would have peace downstairs running our bakery.  That didn't happen.  What happened was all 3 of them did not like being upstairs and they all three huddled in the office (which is about 1/4 of the size of the playroom)  And they were happy to be down there.  We just didn't know why.  But like any good Nana - whatever makes them happy.


Shortly after opening I was speaking with what was becoming - one of our regular  customers.  No one was around us and all of a sudden a 9 oz Solo cup went flying about 6' right behind me.  Immediately, she said, "You have a ghost."  I was shocked because I knew we did, but that was me.  Without hesitation, fear, or disbelief - she declared what I had already known.  Then she said she saw the Solo cup shaking on the stack of them, then all of a sudden, with full force go flying in back of me.

I spoke with the owners of the building and they informed me Traps Ghosts (our local paranormal investigation group) did an investigation but found nothing.  Hmmm.

Now that It has made itself known, It kept going.

  • The next incident happened in front of one of our employees - She was mixing some frosting at the counter, just the two of  us in the kitchen.  Lauren was in the office.  Then a plastic cup went flying from our produce sink all the way to our employee - about 15'.  Wow, we tried to explain it in every way, but nothing made sense.  It's too heavy for the fans to have blown it away.  And besides, we had about 8 square ceramic plates stacked in front of it.  
  • During the evening clean up another one of our employees was washing dishes, I had just gathered up trash (including a lightweight disposable water cup), and tossed into the trash can by her.  Then I hear her saying, "Chrisssss."  I turn around and see a cup just like the one I threw out spinning right by B.  I look in the trash and the cup is not there, it has to be the one on the floor.  So I tell her it's the ceiling fans that is making it spin.  Then out of the blue she stands next to it and it stops.  She steps away, it starts spinning, steps over it and it moves and continues spinning.  We put another cup down and nothing.  So I tell her to just leave it alone and when it stops we will put it into the trash.  
  • We have a 3 tier metal rolling cart that we keep knives in the top section, our mixer attachments in the middle and miscellaneous items in the bottom.  On of the attachments (which if anyone has a mixer with attachments - they are not quite light weight), the paddle attachment "fell" out of the middle section and started spinning too!  This kid loves to spin things.  Now Lauren is starting to believe - but we are never there at night so it's not bothering her.
  • I was washing dishes and I kept hearing someone call "Moooommm."  I would turn around and look into the office (the kids new playroom), and they were playing on the computers - all happy and content - not the look of kids calling out for their mom.  Even after seeing they were not calling for Lauren, I still heard the call.  I had to leave for an appointment and when I got back.  Lauren was still drained of color and B was a little shaky.  So what happened?  After I left, Lauren started hearing the same thing. She kept going in to check on the kids and they were fine.  She even went so far as to ask if they were calling her.  They said no.  She went on to finish cleaning and B was prepping for the next day.  All of a sudden B started saying, "Mooommmm."; "Mooommmm."  Lauren stopped in her tracks and asked her if she heard it too?  B said, "Yeah, your kids are calling you."  Lauren informed her, "No.  No their not."  B ran into the office and asked if they had just called their mom,  they all said no.  Now B has had more than one experience, and now she was hearing "It" too.
  • I was running late one morning and Lauren was already in the bakery.  She was putting away the last of the dishes we washed the previous day.  She started hearing banging on the brick wall and someone yelling, "Help!"  It continued for about 20 minutes.  We do know there is about 12" of space between our brick wall and the next brick wall.  She was a little shaken all that day.  No explanation. Everyone in the upstairs apartment was fine. Again, no explanation.  
  • Maddie would go upstairs every now and then, but she would come down crying saying the monster was being mean to her.  Sometimes she would have marks on her arm, like someone pinched her.  Now I am getting very curious as to what is upstairs.  They don't want to be upstairs with all their toys, and Maddie comes down crying, and now she has physical injuries.  
  • One morning right before we opened, Lauren walked around front to make sure the guest bathroom was all clean.  When she passed the cold case she stopped and said how dirty with fingerprints it was.  We all thought it was Maddie touching the glass.  Lauren cleaned it and went into the bathroom.  When she came out she suddenly stopped and called us all over to see the cold case that she just cleaned.  It was full of little hand prints again.  Maddie and the boys had not arrived to the bakery as of yet.  That is when we stopped cleaning the cold case at night, and clean it right before we open.
  • Lauren was gone from the bakery for 4 days (2 of the 4 was the weekend - just to be fair).  Wednesday morning I phoned her and told her I was running late.  Can you blame me?  2 days from 4 a.m. to about 5 p.m.  I was exhausted and still had 4 more days to go!  About 10 minutes later she phoned and asked if I was at the bakery.  Uh, no I just phoned you from home.  She said the lights were on.  Now I have been tired, but I knew the lights were shut off because I had gone back to the bakery when it was dark to drop off fresh fruit, produce, and meat from the grocery store.  I would have seen the lights on.  And when she returned late that night she passed by the bakery and the lights were off.  I asked her to stay on the phone while she went into the bakery.  I heard a child laughing, and happy.  So I asked her if Maddie was with her.  She said no.  She spoke to me as she was walking in.  Still I heard a child laughing, talking, like it was completely happy to be there.  So I asked again, are you sure Maddie is not with you.  She said no again.  This time, all the extra child noise stopped.  It stopped so suddenly that I told her to get out now.  I don't know what happened, but she said she turned off all the lights and went out in her car and was reading a book.  When I arrived, all the lights were on and she was speechless.
Time to call Traps Ghosts!  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Yes! We Really Don't Do Donuts

As you have read before, I'm not from Utah.  Born and raised in Southern California.  In California, I don't remember many "bakeries" that sold anything other than baked goods - certainly not donuts.  If I wanted a donut I went to Winchell's, Dunken, or even Krispy Creme.  OK, that's a donut - fresh out of the fryer - there is no other.  So why, why, why, why, would people from this area assume we have donuts.

I mean no disrespect - I love the people in our community - here in Richfield and also in Monroe.  But seriously - we have never made donuts, we don't normally eat donuts, so we have had no plans to make them and sell them.  Speak with my DH and there is a different goal when it comes to donuts.  However, he is on the road 6 days a week and Lauren and I are at the bakery - we win!

So you can imagine our dismay since we have opened - a lot of people came in and asked for donuts.  Didn't even look at what was on our menu or on our shelves, simply, "I'll take a dozen mixed donuts."  Then we have those that are angry, those that are disappointed, and those that are glad we are doing our own thing.  Lots of comments such as, "Well Parson's sold donuts."

Who's Parsons?  Parsons Bakery (I am told, as I never had the opportunity of eating there) was an icon in the community.  From what I hear - freshly made donuts, bagels, and everything I probably would aspire to (if I didn't have my own aspirations I guess).  But they did what they did very well.  By the time I moved here, they were no longer in business - so I  never had the pleasure of tasting anything they baked.

It had been roughly 7 years since Richfield had a bakery.  Well, other than WalMart and Fresh Market bakeries.  As excited as they are about Sugar Bean Bakery, I think many thought we would walk in the footsteps of Parsons and they would be able to get what they were use to purchasing there.  Surprise!

Since we make everything fresh, from scratch, everyday - and we arrive at 4a.m., we just don't have time to make donuts from scratch - we barely get out what we do, when we do.  We are not a franchise with financial backing of a corporate business, so we will grow and expand as needed.

One day, two sweet ladies who have lived here all their lives, came into the bakery.  Asked if we had any loaves of bread, and we struck up a conversation.  They were the sweetest ladies, and gave us some great insight and uplifting words.  In a nutshell:

1)  Don't follow in someone else's footsteps - make your own.  (Great words - we are doing just that).
2) Parson's Bakery did not become all they did overnight, nor did they do it all at once.  (Even better, and once again, we felt more confident - we began with little debt and are taking one step at a time adding more, perfecting more, and growing more)
3)  Do what you do, the best that you do.  (Wow, all the things we have decided on and these women were so uplifting to us).

We are so thankful for everyone who comes in and tries us.  There is no other place in our town to get things baked from scratch, fresh, everyday, homemade sandwich hoagie rolls, meats - roasted everyday for our sandwiches, homemade soups from the stock on to the fresh - in season vegetables.  And we do it all!  Everyday!

So donuts?  No, we have no intention of making donuts - ever.  But on the other hand - never say never.  Who knows what the future will bring.  But for now - Yes!  We really Don't do Donuts.

Until next post,

Keep it fresh!

A Signature Item is Born - Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

We have a signature item!  I am so excited!  Can you tell?

So how did this come about you ask......

Mother's Day Weekend - that' the when.  The why is - we had leftover mixed berries. The how is gonna take some explaining.

As we were cleaning up on Saturday (the day before Mother's Day), we had some cinnamon rolls left over, and we had about 6 cups of mixed berries left over.  I don't know what made me do it, but I made a beautiful and delicious mixed berry bread pudding.  Just decided to not waste the cinnamon rolls nor the delicious fresh mixed berries

G is from the south.  And the south loves their bread pudding.  So years ago I came up with not only a buttery sauce, but I also made it creamy.  Add a"to die for Bourbon Sauce" and it has been a winner for many years!

I used my recipe and all the while we are in great anticipation of what was going to come out of the oven.   It was so good,  we kept eating and eating.  We kept taking spoonfuls of it and couldn't stop

We packed up the leftovers and took them home.  The next day - I warmed some up, but, it wasn't as good as the day before.  G and I decided the mixed berry cinnamon roll bread pudding needed to be eaten the same day it is baked or it is just not as good.  So there goes my plans for using it at the bakery, but a fresh batch at home!  Yes sir!

On Monday, Lauren asked me to make a batch of the yummy syrupy, buttery sauce I make for the bread pudding.  So I do.  Then she cuts up the cinnamon rolls, adds the liquid and bakes it.  No berries, just the cinnamon rolls and my sauce.

It was so good, even without the berries!  So now, when we have leftover cinnamon rolls - we make Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding.  And if it has been a while since we have had leftover cinnamon rolls - Lauren just makes an extra batch so we have our fresh Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding.

What do we top it with? Our customers have a choice of a dusting of powdered sugar or Vanilla Bourbon Sauce.  Right now there doesn't seem to be a favorite.  That's OK, I think the Vanilla Bourbon Sauce will soon takeover.

At Sugar Bean Bakery, we feel food should have a history.  Whether it is a recipe Nana use to make, something we grew up on, our version of a dish we remember having, or just something we dreamt about - that is how the many versions of what we serve have come to be.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Opening Day - May 4th, 2013, and the rest of the first week.

Our opening day was fantastic.  We didn't know how we did it, how we brought it all together - we knew there was so much we missed or just didn't have time to do.  Priorities and first things first.  We came up with our motto during construction time, and relied on it all during our first week 'Keep Moving Forward'

And we did.  With but 2 hours sleep, we were up and baking at 4am on our Opening Day.  My mom, sisters, daughters, and I cooked and cooked, baked and baked and at 7am we were open.  The crowds came, and they kept coming, and coming, and coming.  We knew we would have a big crowd on our first day, but we didn't know how well received it would be.

We didn't even do our sandwich bar that day, just a lunch special of carne asada tacos, tastings of all kinds, 3 kinds of cupcakes, cookies, muffins, cinnamon rolls, sticky buns - it was sweetness galore!  Then the unthinkable happened - we ran out of food!!!

How could this be, we purchased enough food for a month, or so we thought.  We had people coming in for a cupcake and returning purchasing 1 - 2 dozen at a time.  But they were so yummy that we had people waiting for the next batch to come out of the oven.  Oh my gosh!  It was overwhelming.

We had a ribbon cutting by the Chamber of Commerce, pictures were taken with all of the out of state family in front of our building.

I think it was at that time my husband's favorite saying hit me - "Be careful what you wish for."  If this pace keeps up on a daily basis there is no way Lauren and I can keep up, we may have to hire before the 30 days that we have in our plan.

When we closed that day, we collapsed. We were amazed at what we have accomplished in less than 30 days!

Sunday we wanted to enjoy our family, but we were so exhausted, we slept.  Then later that day Lauren and I began our trek into the bakery to get tamales ready.  It was then G decided to take care of a few things around the bakery.  I felt so bad he was not resting, just as I was drying my hands to have him stop, he came running in holding his left hand up.  He cut his thumb, right down to the bone on the table saw!

Really!!!  He didn't want to go to the emergency room, so off I went to get first aid supplies, because what we had was not nearly close to what I would need.  When I returned he was ashey white and completely ready to go to the E.R. 2 hours and 150 stitches later, we returned to the bakery.  So instead of him heading out on the road on Monday, he would be with us a few more days.

Monday morning we started out great.  My family stopped by to say goodbye right before they returned home.  Jess was with us all Monday, and she was heading back home to Tennessee on Tuesday.

Monday went well, and we still had a lot of customers.  Tuesday was a little edgy because we not only had run through a lot of food, but Jessica's ride to the airport had a last minute emergency and was not able to take her.  G was still on medication so he could not drive, so it was me and George at the bakery and Lauren had to take Jess by herself.  I was really concerned that we were not on a regular schedule  like I had hoped.  But - "Keep moving forward."

Wednesday - We started at 3:30 a.m. and baked and baked.  But by 9 am we were running out of food!  How could this be?  We kept baking, cooking, more baking.  And by 2 we were out of everything!  From our cinnamon rolls, to the cupcakes, on down to all the meats - cheeses - and homemade bread for our sandwiches!  We had nothing to offer!  And after consulting with our husbands, we closed the doors, put signs up, and spoke to as many customers that had come to our door as we could.

Then we sat in the back and let it all out!  We had a 30 day plan.  Now we had no choice but to hire help because we cannot keep this pace and we can't loose customers because we have no product.

Welcome Brianne and Janie!   Although we knew we should hold out as long as possible, we felt we had and it had only been 3 days!  What the heck!

The rest of the week seemed to go much better.  We were "moving forward"  in everything we were doing, and we ended the week on a positive note.

With week one down, we grew, we learned, we became employers, and we now had regular customers.  And in it all - We kept moving forward!

Here's to seeing our dream come true - now the work begins.

If you're in Richfield, Utah - come and see us - you won't be disappointed.  It is the only place where you can get delicious sandwiches with homemade hoagie rolls, whole meats, and fresh veggies!  And while you are at it - don't forget a homemade cinnamon roll!

Until next time, Keep it Sweet!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Where Does the Time Go?!

Our stay at Andy's Market was fabulous, rewarding, enlightening, and very educational.  However, 30 days went fast and we needed to make some major decisions.

We outgrew Andy's Market.  With the demand for product, special orders, and requests for catering - we simply could not accommodate it all, therefore, I, we, had to move on.  Now we just needed to find the money and the perfect location.  Sounds so simple huh?

First, had to make sure my partner in crime was up to the challenge.  My daughter Lauren has 3 young children.  Those demands, plus the demands of a new business are going to be hard, challenging and rewarding - all at the same time.  So, the question was - Are you up to it?  It came down to an absolute YES!  Whew!

Lauren looked for the perfect place while I transitioned us out of Andy's Market.  Then one day she said we need to go to the realty agencies and ask what commercial property is available.  This great leasing agent took us to a facility in the Young Building.  It use to be a research/marketing facility for as long as I have lived her - over 7 years.

When we walked in, Lauren and I gasped.  I'm sure the leasing agent thought - great they don't like it either.

But, it was the completely the opposite.  It was everything we wanted.  Brick walls (they date back to 1897).  Original tin roof, original wood floors, an office, a loft - which would become the Littles play room, rear access, bathrooms, and areas where we could have seating for customers.

We saw it all, ceiling fans replacing the barely hanging there shop lights.  The chalkboard menu, the old fashioned counter top, a bright and open old time bakery - just like the ones we use to visit in San Francisco!  It was perfect.  Now to just convince our husbands.

It took George 4 trips to finally "somewhat" see our vision.  Tim, I think he went completely on faith in Lauren.

It took us an additional week to finalize the lease.  Let me just say, our landlords are wonderful - if there is anything above wonderful, that is what they are, but wonderful is all I can think of at this time.  They helped in so many ways - financially, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Once the facility and money was secured - there was nothing to do but get moving!

So let's start with what we started with:

This is a view from the front looking towards the back.  See all those blue cables?  They were everywhere!  We filled an entire dumpster with all those cables, and it took an entire day!  Who would have guessed, we planned 2 hours.  This should have been our first clue that whatever time we aloted, double it.  Check out those shop lights at the top - ugly.

We are taping off our space.  We, well, I came to the conclusion that the bathroom in the back would have to be shortened by 4 feet.  You can do that sweetheart-right?  And it has to be done first, before we do anything else.

See - I knew it could be done.  Just have a little faith.  Tim, Nic, and George moved everything - to give us more room for the kitchen.
Although, their initial response was, "Sure, we can do that."  By the time they finished, I'm sure they were asking why, why, why did we say we could do this!  But they did and we are so thankful for the extra 4 feet.

Lauren and I knew we wanted an open kitchen - why hide behind a wall.?  We wanted our customers to see me crack fresh eggs, and scramble up their ingredients for their breakfast burrito.  We wanted them to see us pull our cupcakes from the oven and want more.  Where else can you go and see them put together your food.

Next, all we had to do was paint, replace carpet, strip and refinish the floor, repair the tin ceiling, more paint, seal the flooring in the kitchen, redo the flooring in the office, and let's not forget more painting, move electrical outlets, put up a 300 lb venting system, clean and repair the exposed pipes, and much, much more - all in 3 weeks!

Not to mention - shopping for equipment, supplies, planning, vendors, and the list goes on and on.  Can we do it?  At times, we just were not sure.  But this is how it played out.
Up went the walls for the counter and storage in the kitchen.

Chalkboard Menu.

Up went the vent.

Now we started putting in the equipment.

Part of our front window and eating area.  The picture is a 1907 picture of the building when it was newly built.  A gift from our landlords - The Palmers.  We love it.
This is the other half.  I could tell you lots of stories about this countertop and how it ended up like it did.  Nothing bad - we just overcame much adversity for this look.  But it works and we love it.  So do our customers.

Our beautiful chalkboard - Thanks George!
Our first sign is up.
And here is our entire kitchen the week before we opened.  Yes we get a lot of sun, and we love it.  The ceiling fans really give it a great look and if you think this looks big - you should see all 5 of us in the kitchen at the same time - Me, Lauren, and our 3 new employees - it can seem crowded.  But how awesome is that - we have employees!

Now that the floors are done, holes in the walls filled, all the construction, plumbing and electrical is done - we are so excited to start filling it in with supplies and food!

We did all this in 3 weeks.  We tentatively set a date of May 4th, then our family from California and Texas started inquiring and we said May 4th.  Before we knew it flights were booked and our tentative date now became solid.  Talk about a rise in stress levels.

That last week - we planned it down to the minute.  But as they say, the best laid-out plans don't always work out.  And they didn't.  What we thought would be a relaxing cooking day before we opened turned into our rush trip to Ikea, Costco, Staples, and many other stores.

In my Tahoe we had 3 extra tables, 6 extra chairs, and what we thought would be 1 month's worth of food (7 Costco Carts).  How did we do it?  By the grace of God.

And all the way home I was so thankful we secured the fridge we did.  We were running over our budget quickly that last week, and we purchased a regular household refrigerator.  But at the last minute a business in town had a commercial 3 door fridge within our budget.  So we returned that fridge and purchased the big one.  Lauren arrived at the bakery first and the guys were there to help her unload.  By the time I arrived everyone was waiting for me to go look in the fridge. Wow!  Was I glad we purchased the commercial fridge -it was packed!

We prepped and prepped until 2 a.m., then called it a night and agreed to be back at 5 am.  And we did.   Barely.  If I expand, ahem when we expand - we will be doing this completely with contractors.

We are so thankful to all the people that dropped in and helped us get to our opening day - John Vetter of Vetter Plumbing, Peterson Plumbing, Nic @ Farmer Brothers, Thomas and John from Coke.  Then there are those that stopped by to see how we were doing and just picked up a paint brush, sander, or just started doing - Ryan and Rachel Palmer, Randy and his family, Nic and Cameo, and Dale and Lori Herbert.  Jim, Lauren's father-in-law, who devoted 3 entire days before our final inspection to make sure we passed.  And let's not forget our wonderful husbands, who believed in us and worked long hard, late nights to get us to our opening day.

Then I have to thank my mom, my sisters - Brenda and Pauline, and daughter #2 Jessica - when they arrived in Utah the day before we opened - they were like the energizer bunnies helping and going and going.

But most importantly, to my Littles - ages 8,6, and 3, who had to endure many loud noises, many days and nights and early mornings at the bakery.  It was stressful for them, hard to endure, but they did.  And one day - I know it will all make sense to them - They are the sweetest things that have blessed my life and they are the Sugar Beans of Sugar Bean Bakery.

How did opening day go? Or that first week?  Stay tuned for the next post.

Until then - Keep it Sweet!