Monthly Archives: October 2017

Look! New Menu Items…Just in Time for Thanksgiving

Quality restaurants do it on a regular basis (add things to or alter their menu) and since we are a quality restaurant that delivers to your home rather than your table, we decided to do the same thing.  But don’t freak out…we’ve kept our popular favorites and still offer specialized menu items for our patrons with special dietary needs.  So why did we make the decision to expand our menu?  We did so in order to provide you with more options and greater variety for yourself and your sometimes hard to please family.

We are especially pleased with our expanded Thanksgiving menu that now includes a whole, fully cooked turkey or ham as the entree in our complete meal packages which include seven sides, a desert and serves up to six people.  Our deluxe herb-roasted bird weighs between ten and twelve pounds and arrives with apple sage stuffing, buttered mashed potatoes, green beans in herb butter, cranberry-orange relish, turkey gravy, smashed maple-butter yams, nine grain dinner rolls and a nine-inch pumpkin pie.  You say some of your guests prefer ham rather than turkey…then tell them to get stuffed…wait, don’t do that, simply add a hickory smoked, spiral sliced honey ham to your order and everyone’s happy.

We also fully understand that some of you would rather cook your own bird (turkey or goose) or ham, but you would rather have root canal than prepare all the sides and dessert.  Not a problem, just order as many sides as you need from our a la carte menu and add buttered carrots, creamy spinach, Dutch apple pie and raspberry-rhubarb pie to your selection process from our sides and desserts menu.  Or maybe your guests are bringing the sides and desserts and all you’re responsible for is the turkey and/or ham.  Then just visit our special Thanksgiving page  and order a succulent turkey, ham or both.  Like I said at the beginning, we’ve provided more options, so you can make more people happy…yourself included.

Now that we’ve got Thanksgiving covered, let’s talk about our additional new menu items.  We hate to brag, but with our expanded menu, we’ve now got the beef!  And here’s the proof…we will soon offer a family-sized beef Pot Roast, BeefTeriyaki, Beef with Bordelaise Sauce and California Beef Stew.  We also have new items coming to our complete meals menu to include, but not limited to: chicken alfredo and penne pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach; creamy mac and cheese with grilled chicken, garden peas and carrots; and tangerine orange chicken breast with stir fry vegetables and brown rice.

So why not make your Thanksgiving and/or upcoming holidays a bit less stressful by letting us remove all the meal preparation items from your to-do list.  Heck, we here at MagicKitchen.com can alleviate the stress from any busy time in your life by delivering delicious, fully cooked meals right to your door.  So enjoy the upcoming holiday season and let us do the cooking.  After all, it’s what we do best.

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It’s Here!…Our New Website, that is.

It’s time.  It’s time we here at MagicKitchen.com redesigned our website to better meet the needs of our customers…you!  We realized that the primary functions of our webpage should be to readily convey information about us and our products and to easily facilitate the ordering of those products by our customers…you! (again).

We also realized that we could better meet those two demands with a new, next generation website which we have been working on for quite some time.  Simply stated, our new website improves your ease of use, whether you’re looking for product information or making a purchase decision.  And oh, by the way, it looks great too!

Believe it or not, we’ve been working on this “little” change for a year or more due to the fact that we wanted to get it just right and we think we finally have it.  Yes, we improved the graphics, color schemes and contrasts, but we’re most proud of how much easier it is to navigate around the new site.  Not only have we modernized our site, but we’ve also made it more streamlined and it’s now fully compatible with all mobile devices.  It will now be a breeze to locate exactly what you are looking for, whether it’s gluten-free meals, to-die-for desserts, or a family meal package.

One of the first things you’ll encounter on the new site is a simple three-step process in order to have the same delicious, nutritious chef designed and prepared meals delivered to your door.  The process is as simple as browse, order and then anticipate the arrival of your meal.

However, if you’d care to get a bit more in-depth into our selections, we’ve divided our menu into two sections: a la carte and complete meals.  Beyond that, you will be able to search for exactly what you’re looking for using our “search by course” feature through which you can locate breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or snack items.

But wait!  There’s more!  Soon our new site will also permit you to filter your search results by course, type of food (meat, poultry, pasta, etc.), or dietary interest (low sodium, diabetic-friendly, dairy free, etc.).  So you see, it will now be so much easier to find just what you’re looking for when it comes to you or your loved one’s dietary needs from MagicKitchen.com

And look, this isn’t like we’re rolling out a new version of Windows here, so please do not worry about having to relearn how to use our redesigned site.  We recently tested it on the eleven individuals left on the globe who have never encountered the internet and they were able to locate all their dietary needs and place orders within three minutes of learning how to operate a mouse.  I jest, of course, but it really is that easy.  Trust me.

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new, stupendous, supercalifragilistic (but not expialidocious) website – let us know your thoughts.  Bon Appetit!

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A Tale of Two (Thanksgiving) Dinners

It was the best of dinners, it was the worst of dinners, it was the age of entertaining, it was the age of cooking, it was the epoch of presentation, it was the epoch of preparation, it was the season of isolation, it was the season of socialization, it was the autumn of family, it was the autumn of folly.

A man, let’s call him Tim, realized that it was late October and thus, was time to begin the laborious process of planning to host his family for Thanksgiving dinner and he began to despair.  He loathed the hours he was about to spend planning, shopping for, preparing and, most of all, cooking the family feast.  For it was the cooking that relegated him to the loneliness of the kitchen while his family conversed, laughed, reminisced, and reveled in each other’s company.  Yes, Tim despaired mightily.

Another man, let’s call him Roger, also noticed that the porch pumpkins had arrived in his neighborhood which meant the time of giving thanks was not too far behind.  However, he did not despair, instead, he rejoiced.  He rejoiced because it meant his far-flung family would soon converge upon his home and he would be immersed in the warmth that is his family, if only for a short time.  Roger would spend little time planning, shopping for, preparing or, best of all, cooking his dinner of thanks.  For you see, Roger, years ago, had discovered a way to host his large family for Thanksgiving while spending every precious moment in their company.

Tim, days after the trick or treaters rang his doorbell and accepting of his fate, began preparations for the fourth Thursday of November.  He counted the confirmations, planned the menu, and then trudged to the local, oversized supermarket to play grocery cart bumper cars with soccer moms, octogenarians, and other work-from-home dads.  He, as always, purchased the staples: a frozen bird, potatoes, rolls, corn, green beans, pumpkin and apples pies, and canned, gelatinous cranberry jelly.

Roger, days after moving all the time-keeping devices in his home back an hour, began his preparations for turkey day by turning on college football, grabbing his laptop and logging on to MagicKitchen.com.  He then browsed their extensive Thanksgiving menu, located and purchased everything his family requested, from appetizers to apple pie.  This simple process took him a total of 30 minutes, but 15 of those minutes was spent yelling at the TV as his alma mater was losing once again.

When the Pilgrim’s favorite holiday finally arrived, Tim just wanted to get it over with, rather than enjoy it.  He got up at 6:00 AM, after imbibing a bit too much the night before, to baste and shove the bird in the oven and then began to prepare the sides, to include mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.  By the time the guests arrived, he was exhausted, still slightly hung-over and began to resent the very kitchen he had so loved after it was remodeled.  That resentment stemmed from the fact that he was trapped in that kitchen along with the new granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and Italian tile floor, cooking for the family whose company he so enjoyed.

A few days prior to Thanksgiving, Roger’s entire meal from MagicKitchen.com arrived at his door, fully cooked and flash frozen.  He then placed it in his freezer until just prior to feast time.  Next, he simply heated it to the necessary temperature and then served it, buffet style, to his guests.  Prior to that, he spent his day conversing with his siblings and parents, playing board games with his nieces and nephews and watching football with his dad and father-in-law, and a grand time was had by all.

The moral of the story: ‘tis better to spend time with family and friends on Thanksgiving then to spend time with kitchen appliances.

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Mid-October, the Perfect Time to Start Your Christmas Shopping

When I was a much younger man, a kid actually, I used to poke fun at my mother for beginning her Christmas plans around this time of year.  She would (and still does) make a list of all the people she planned to purchase or make gifts for and then agonize over what to get them.  She would also plan out her Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and develop her guest list for each family gathering.  And there I was, the prince of procrastination, telling her to begin planning for the Fourth of July while she was at it in the most sarcastic voice I could muster.

Well, it turns out she was correct (as EVERY mother is about everything) in her October planning for a late December event.  She was always the “Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today?” type of mom and it’s a shame that if that philosophy came in apple form it fell very far from the tree in my instance.  Anyway, it wasn’t until I was a fully (ahem)mature adult that it dawned on me why mom was fully justified in her autumnal holiday planning and the reasons why she was correct are as follows:

She was the master of the spacing out of holiday spending.  For mom, the worst part of Christmas was when the credit card bills arrived in January.  To avoid that single, massively depressing January credit card bill that took damn near the rest of the year to pay off, she spread those bills out over November and December as well.  Needless to say, mom didn’t need to read last week’s blog about financial planning.  She was, and still is, the princess of pecuniary policies.

When she went shopping (the physical form of shopping which involved a car, walking from store to store in the mall, hauling the presents home, etc.) in October there was always a wide selection of “stuff” to choose from.  No matter who she was buying for, kids, dad, grandkids, co-workers, friends, relatives back in Ireland, she shopped from fully stocked shelves.

She always managed to find great deals prior to December in the form of Colombus Day, Halloween, Election Day, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving Day or “just for the hell of it” day sales.  She would scour the newspaper inserts in search of sales and deals that would keep her gift buying budget as low as possible and she was amazingly successful at it.  Now, you can just scour the internet machine looking for great October and November deals.

She would spend a great deal of time planning for Christmas dinner and the earlier she started this process, the smoother it would go on December 25th (unless my drunken uncle caused “issues”).  Of course, today MagicKitchen.com can eliminate a lot of that planning, prep work, and actual cooking by delivering a savory holiday dinner right to your door.  Our prepared foods also make a great gift for not just yourself, but for any busy family or senior during the holiday season.  Why not give someone the gift of time in the form of a pre-cooked Christmas dinner delivered right to their door?

Finally, and most importantly to mom, she always said that the more Christmas chores she could take care of prior to December, the more time she could spend with family and friends once the holidays arrived.  To that end, having all her shopping done prior to the start of December gave her many advantages, but the most significant to her was the time it granted her which she used to spend with the people most important to her, her family.

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October: National Financial Planning Month…Who Knew?

Yes, the designation of October as National Financial Planning Month could be a contrived creation foisted upon us by certified financial planners (to a cynic like myself).  Regardless, it’s still a good time to make or review financial plans for your future.  After all, it was created to, “Promote financial literacy and raise awareness among the general public of the value of financial planning.”  And who among us doesn’t need to improve our “financial literacy” and be made aware of the “value of financial planning?”

As someone quite a bit more intelligent than myself once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”  These words to live by apply to many situations, especially to setting financial goals like being secure in your retirement, or purchasing a new home, or saving for your child’s college education.  Sure, they’re noble goals, but how are you going to get there?  That’s where financial planning comes in.  Look, most of us do not plan to travel somewhere we’ve never been before without mapping out the route, whether the old school way, utilizing a paper map, or with a GPS.  We still know how we’re getting to our destination and getting to, or achieving our financial goals is no different.

Full disclosure, I am NOT, in any way, shape, or form, a certified financial planner, but I play one on TV…I jest, of course.  However, I don’t need to be one in order to remind people to get their financial house in order and to plan for their, and their family’s future.  And this doesn’t need to be rocket science.  All we’re talking about here is the “b” word (budget) and using it to plan for your financial future and goals.  It does, however, include more than just placing your extra money under your mattress or in a simple savings account…they’re essentially the same thing since the interest earned in a savings account and under your mattress are just about equal…oh yeah, there is that big shiny vault.

First step towards creating a budget: a list of your assets (car, savings, investments, home equity), and liabilities or debts (mortgage, student loans, car payment, credit card debt).  The difference between the two is your net worth…it can be positive (hooray!) or negative (crap!).

Step two: list of your monthly expenses (utilities, groceries, fuel, insurance) and monthly income, from all sources.  Hopefully, your monthly income exceeds your monthly expenses.  If not, you’ll sink deeper into debt and use more and more of your income to pay off interest rather than your actual loans.  You might also want to track your spending habits for a month or so to see exactly where your money goes, from your smallest impulse purchase (Starbucks) to your largest unplanned indulgence (picking up the bar tab after guys/ladies night out).  Most are quite surprised at the money “wasted” on non-essentials, aka disposable income that’s actually thrown in a disposal.

Once that’s all done, you should now be able to determine how much money you can set aside to reach your financial goals, whatever they may be.  Just remember, it’s never too late or early to start planning for retirement or your kid’s college expenses.  One of the most popular and safest investments to help save for retirement is a Roth IRA (individual retirement account).  A Roth IRA is simply a special retirement account funded with post-tax income and there is no up-front tax deduction for Roth IRA contributions as with a traditional IRA.  Also, access to your contributions, but NOT the earnings from those contributions, are tax and penalty free.  Roth IRA’s make the most sense for those who expect to be in a higher tax bracket during retirement than your current bracket.  This is usually just about everyone, but they make the most sense to young, lower-income workers.

As for college financial planning, most state’s offer what’s known as a 529 plan, so named from section 529 of the IRS code.  They differ from state-to-state, but they essentially allow you to pay all or part of in-state tuition for a public college education well before the potential student enters his/her college years.  In other words, they permit you to pay tuition costs for a specific year, before tuition increases in future years.  For example, you can pay 2017 tuition costs even though your child won’t enter college until 2030.

As previously stated, I am NOT a certified financial planner, so if you’re interested in learning more about listing your assets, liabilities, and monthly expenses or about a Roth IRA or a 529 Plan, please seek the assistance of a reputable certified financial planner…and that ain’t me.

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