Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 New Blogs! Really....

Springtime Isle of Man

Scotland In the Spring! This countryside is an inspiration.

Happy Spring 2013. It has been a long time since I blogged and we are trying to make it a priority this year.

After 4 years of renting kitchen space, we purchased the commercial kitchen that we cook in!!

Now we have all access all the time and we are ready to roll. We are planning to start selling in a few new farmers markets, The Palisades and West Hollywood as well as toying with the idea of selling our fresh scones, with fresh market berries and hand made whipped cream for consumption at the markets...take that food trucks!

It has been a very busy year, this being a family business. Our two eldest are now in college, Gabi at UCSB so she is not doing much baking these days. Ian is in school here locally, so he is now our lead baker and shift supervisor. Morgan is still in high school and works when she can and I have gone back to school myself, so we are all busy.

Tim's work in real estate is finally picking up and he is working hard on both businesses!

We have added a few new festivals this year, so check on the web site for where you can find us.
We hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and happy.
Have a wonderful Spring!
From all of us at Mclaren's.
 Festivals coming up!
Las Vegas Gathering and Highland Games
April 20th - 21st

May 19th - 20th 

Costa Mesa, CA
May 26th - 27th

Santa Cruz, CA
June 15th - 16th

San Diego Scottish Highland Games & Gathering of the Clans San Diego, CA
 June 23rd- 24th

Monday, May 7, 2012

Well, Mother's Day is almost here!
As you can tell from looking at our blog, we don't get a chance to blog often, but I did want you to know that if you need a gift shipped, order by May 8th for standard priority shipping.

We have gifts that include free shipping, check it out!

 Click here

After May 8th your procrastination will get very expensive, as we can only guarantee Mother's Day arrival with Express shipping for order placed after May 8th. Last Day to ship Express is MAY 10th.
So order by May 9th!

 In any case have a great week, we will be at the Costa Mesa, CA Scots Fest, Memorial Weekend
 May 26 & 27. We hope to see you there!
 Andrea & Tim

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Scottish Shortbread Cookies

It's that time again! The Holidays are upon us and McLaren's Original Scottish Shortbread Cookies are a great gift. My husband Tim's family has been making these buttery morsels for 5 generations. I was accepted into the small circle of  initiates, (who are keepers of the recipe), which includes kneading and baking specifics, soon after our wedding. My mother-in-law liked me-she really liked me!
(aka Sally Fields-)

When our children were very young, Granny would come to visit and they would help her to make the dough and press it into the pan, a considerable task for such wee fingers. Then slowly she would help them prick the entire surface of the dough with a single fork, in tidy Scottish rows. After 40-45 minutes of building buttery aroma, out came the golden treasure to cool on the counter, be cut into squares and lightly sugared. Often devoured before it cooled, Scottish Shortbread had forged it's permanent place in our family, the 5th generation. So it began. We gave some to our neighbors, we gave some to teachers and brought it to parties. Soon it was, "Hey, if you're baking any shortbread this year, could I get a box for my 80 yr old Aunt?"

The rest is history...well, recent history. We officially formed Mclaren's in February of 2009 and we are pleased to say that we have doubled our business each year since we started. This is our third Holiday season. We have re-designed our gift baskets and expanded to include some Gluten Free Products and imported teas as well. We began with only shortbread, added 3 jams and now we have many hand made products all ready and willing to help Santa with his/her list.

We have begun to add our tea ware, antique and vintage tea cups, silver tea sets and items, to enhance your gifting and tea time experience. We hope that you will visit our web site for your gift list and stop by a farmers market or Scottish Festival and say hi!
Happy Holidays!
From all of us at McLaren's
                                                             British Tradition Gift Basket

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Harvest and Holidays, I believe that some of the magic has gone from the seasons.

The time has flown by, and the season we called Fall, (when I grew up in New England) but this year called "SWELTERING" in CA, has come and gone. Gone with it are the fresh summer fruits that linger in my memory from childhood, juicy peaches, nectarines, apricots and strawberries, actually berries of all kinds. Again, except if you live in Southern CA where we can still buy fresh strawberries, and the new crop will arrive as early as Februaury of 2012.

Can you tell that this Fall in So Cal was hot? I love CA but 102 degrees in Late September is too hot. My Connecticut Yankee genes are screaming for sweater weather by Sept 20th.

I mean really, it did not even cool of by Halloween this year, which is usually the weather marker, when the mercury finally dips below 85. Too much for a big girl with a penchant for cool temperatures.
So now we are are at the end of November, Thanksgiving has come and gone, leaving in it's familial wake a host of memories; Fall, Autumn, the regal foliage of October in New England and the traditions that go along with the season.

I believe that some of the magic has gone from the seasons. Growing up in New England we had definitive seasons and times for doing certain things and eating certain things. You swam in the summer-only, trust me. No wet suits, ice fishing maybe, but summer was the time to swim in the ponds and lakes and the occasional trip to the seaside. Basking in the sun, savoring it's short lived warmth, wading through the humid days and sleeping to the music of the crickets, tree frogs and bull frogs, exuberantly performing their nightly symphonies.

It was at these times that we would anxiously await the first strawberries, fresh and ripe in June and July. You ate as many as you could as often as you could, soon their season was over and frozen was never quite the same. And so the seasons progressed Spring into Summer offering; apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, raspberry's, blueberries, wild grapes and apples each arriving with a fanfare of Pies, Jams, Cobblers, cereal and pancake toppings etc.

I believe that some of the magic has gone from the seasons. The world is a smaller place than when I was young. You can buy fruit from around the world at any time, strawberries are available almost year round in CA somehow cheapening their sweet ruby glory.

Fruit is harvested too early, gassed to make it appear ripe and often a grave disappointment when consumed. Flavor is not allowed to mature, fruit rarely ripens "on the vine"  anymore.

 I wonder, if I am lucky enough to live to see grandchildren, will Apple Butter simmering on the stove and Pumpkin Pie baking in the oven represent the very real fruits of the Fall Harvest, anticipated all year? Or, will they be a fulfillment of the advertiser's representation of what we should eat in the Fall  at Thanksgiving. Or, the product of a first grade fall pageant, when they learn of the Pilgrims first feast, a history lesson so removed from children's actual experience.

I believe that some of the magic has gone from the seasons. For those of us that live in suburbs or urban areas, the availability of international-seasonal produce year round has somehow further removed us from the seasons, and the earth who graciously repeats them each year. Removed from the inner knowing of time to plant, nurture, harvest and rest. The Byrd's said it best, they had good source material.

 So...go to your local farmers market and buy local produce that's in season and get back to your "roots".

1For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not a Fan of Corned Beef & Cabbage? Try this!

 Shepherd's Pie is a Celtic tradition in both Ireland and Scotland! Delicious...

Happy St Patrick's Day to all my Celtic Cousins!

There is an old legend that the McLaren Clan sprang from the union of a Mermaid and a Highlander..
so in the spirit of the day....

Check out our Hot Toddy marmalade, fitting for the day! & A Sea Shanty for you!
Organic Orange Marmalade with Jameson Irish Whiskey & Clove.

May your blessings outnumber
The Shamrocks that grow
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What if Charlie Sheen had received the Shortbread?

 it probably would not have changed the world, but if I write "Charlie Sheen" and " Buy McLaren's Shortbread" enough times in a blog or facebook page, will my organic SEO rating go up?
 Everyone else is using him to increase their ratings!