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Sweet and Savory Treats for All at Sunset Foods’ Gluten-free Expo

Sweet and Savory Treats for All at Sunset Foods’ Gluten-free Expo

Gluten-free eating has been an increasing trend in diet and nutrition in the U.S. for the last several years. On April 26, Sunset Foods will answer the local community’s call for alternatives to wheat and gluten when it hosts its annual Gluten-free Expo at its Long Grove location. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the family-owned store, located at the corner of Route 83 and Aptakisic Road, will play host to more than forty vendors who will share samples of how delicious and nutritious gluten-free eating can be.

“This event is a chance for people eliminating gluten from their diet to enthusiastically say yes to great food. With over 40 vendors, it’s one of our largest events of the year and it offers a terrific assortment of foods you can feel good about eating,” comments Thaddeus Tazioli, Sunset’s Vice-President of Marketing.

Breads and sugary snacks are often among the first things those looking to reduce or eliminate gluten cut from their diet. Texas bakery Deborah Kay’s Cookies will provide samples of adapted heirloom cookies, and Hinsdale’s Sweet Ali’s Bakery will offer cakes, quiches, and pizzas. Several Chicago-area favorites are represented on the savory side of the aisle. Kelsey D’s Giardiniera will be on hand with its unique Italian flavors, and for those looking to indulge their inner gourmand, Isola Imports’ line of truffle butters will spice up any meal.

Snacking is another gluten trap for many, and companies like Snikiddy and Tiny But Mighty Popcorn offer alternatives from cheese puffs to baked fries, which deliver “all of the flavor with half the fat.” Tiny But Mighty takes particular pride in its line of ancient heirloom popcorn, which is also available online.

Other confirmed vendors include Oasis Hummus, Uncle Bob’s Premium Sauce, Enjoy Life Plentils, I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter, Jennies Macaroons, Haig’s Delicacies, Gratify Gluten-Free Pretzels, Nuovo Pasta, Manna Organic Bakery, Highland Pop Gourmet Popcorn, Omena Organics, and Danny Macaroons.

For more information, call Sunset Foods at 847-478-8150 or visit sunsetfoods.com.

Herb-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Lemon Pepper Green Beans

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There are many simple ways to help our planet, and it’s not just about turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth or using reusable shopping bags.  Buying your food locally helps support your community and local economy, and also reduces the amount of pollution created when products are transported in from afar.  This Earth Day you can feel great about serving up a more sustainable meal with this recipe, featuring delicious, local ingredients, like Miller Amish Country chicken breasts and fresh herbs from The Herbal Gardens, all of which can be bought at your local Sunset Foods.

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Hot Cross Muffins

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Delicate and sweet, these hot cross muffins are a real treat and something different for the Easter Bunny to serve up this year. You can also experiment with different combinations of dried fruit or add in chocolate chips!

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Chocolate Matzo Toffee Crunch

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Whether you’re preparing your own Seder dinner this Passover or attending one elsewhere, you might just start a new dessert tradition with this sweet matzo treat.  Crunchy toffee coated matzo and almonds are layered with rich semi-sweet chocolate to create a truly delectable and unique addition to your traditional Passover meal.

 

This week’s recipe: Chocolate Matzo Toffee Crunch

 

Why we like it:

 

This dessert is incredibly simple and requires just a few ingredients, so it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, but will definitely become a new Passover favorite!

 

Ingredients:

 

2 cups coarsely crumbled matzo (approx. 4 sheets)

1 ¾ cups sliced almonds

½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp water

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Crumble your matzo into a large bowl (about 4 sheets for 2 cups).

 

Add your sliced almonds and mix them together.  Set the bowl aside for later.

Crumble Matzos

 

To a medium-sized saucepan, add your butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  The color should turn golden brown, and the syrup will start to look frothy and bubbly.  Keep stirring for 1-2 minutes and then remove from the heat.

 

Heat Brown Sugar

 

Immediately drizzle over the matzo and almond mixture in the bowl, stirring together as you go to incorporate all the syrup.

 

mix

 

Spread the matzo mixture evenly onto your parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and smelling like toffee.  Be careful to not let it brown too much.

 

Take the baking sheet out of the oven and turn off the heat.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips all over the toffee crunch.

 

Place the baking sheet back in the oven with the heat off and let sit for 1-2 minutes, until the chocolate chips look glossy and soft.

 

mix chips

 

Remove the baking sheet and, using a heatproof spatula, spread the chocolate chips into an even layer of chocolate on top of the toffee crunch.

 

Place the tray in the refrigerator and leave until the chocolate hardens completely.

 

refrigerate

 

Break the chocolate matzo toffee crunch into pieces by hand.  Don’t go smaller than bite-size or it’ll just be messy to eat.

 

break apart

 

Enjoy this delectable Passover treat; no utensils needed!

 

enjoy!

Scouting for Food

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Scouting for Food Does a “Good Turn” Collecting Over 170,000 Meals for Northeast Illinois Food Pantries

The phrase “neighborhood grocery” is more than a slogan for Sunset Foods; it sums up the chain’s decades-long commitment to being a good neighbor in Northeast Illinois, especially to those in need. Sunset proved its commitment to the community in an outstanding way this year by supporting the 23rd Scouting for Food drive.

During the first two weekends of March, Boy Scouts stationed at Sunset stores – which provided specially marked bags – collected more than 16,000 pounds of food for public pantries. Thaddeus Tazioli, vice president of marketing at Sunset Foods, estimates the donations – enough for about 13,000 meals – to be but a fraction of what more than 10,000 Scouts collected and delivered to pantries in northeast Illinois.

“It’s truly an amazing accomplishment which has a profound impact on the lives of families throughout our communities. As a new parent, I am always worrying about ensuring my child is properly nourished. It is hard to fathom what that must feel like for families in need,” said Tazioli.

Sunset’s efforts on behalf of the local food pantries have not gone unnoticed. Moraine Township Food Pantry published its appreciation in a Highland Park newspaper.

“Many thanks to the Northeast Illinois Council of Boy Scouts and Sunset Foods for the 100 bags of groceries delivered... on March 6.”

The pantry, which serves the underprivileged in the Highland Park area, said the food will help offset the growing food insecurity in the region.

“Highland Park’s Sunset Foods has been a valuable partner, and has been generously donating produce and bakery items to our pantry.”

Family Service, which offers counseling and other programs in the Highland Park region, also gave high marks to Sunset’s support of the food drive.

“Our many congrats to Sunset Foods and to Moraine Township for your wonderful partnership that is making these great resources available to our friends and neighbors in need! On behalf of Family Service, we are proud and fortunate to partner with all of you in the service of our community,” Executive Director Paul Dean said.

Sunset Foods and the Northern Illinois Food Bank have worked together on the food drive for the past 11 years. This year, they worked with Scouts from Antioch, Buffalo Grove, Fox Lake, Grayslake, Green Oaks, Gurnee, Island Lake, Kildeer, Lake Villa, Libertyville, Long Grove, Mundelein, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Heights, Round Lake Park, Vernon Hills, and Wauconda.

Tazioli projected the drive collected a total of more than 200,000 pounds of food for at least 170,000 meals.

Free Personalized Nutrition Tours

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Sunset Foods is offering FREE Personalized Nutrition Tours April 7th through April 14th at your neighborhood store! Each tour is customized to fit your lifestyle and goals. Tours are developed with our Dietetic Intern and may include information on nutrition, meal planning, healthy eating habits, and restricted diets such as gluten-free, low sodium and non-dairy.

A Nutrition Tour will help you:

Identify the most healthful foods that Sunset Foods carries

Plan meals and snacks that meet your nutrition goals

Compare foods to determine the best value

To schedule your FREE Personalized Nutrition Tour, call 847.681.5513, text 312.310.8200, or email sunset@sunsetfoods.com. It’s a simple step on the road to a healthier you.