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Affirmations offers bright outlook on baking

POULSBO — Shannon Thomas has long loved to bake. Cooking, canning and whipping up tasty delights with her grandmother and mother as a young girl, she went on to even earn illustrious experience at Mrs. Fields’ Cookie College.

But Thomas always dreamed of opening her own shop, one she could fill with her own unique creations. After moving to the Poulsbo area in 1998 and selling her taste bud tantalizing wares at the Kingston Farmers Market, Thomas’ dream has finally been realized, and local residents and companies with an appreciation for fresh and well-made foods should be glad.

Affirmations, Inc. is open for business, and Thomas’ mouthwatering recipes are on a roll.

Or make that a scone.

Boasting a “positively yummy” array of salads, sandwiches, scones, sweetbreads, cookies, brownies and bear claws, Thomas and her partner, Scott Sutherland, have opened up shop and are now providing snacks, meals and catering services to the area. Selling both retail and wholesale goods either frozen and vacuum-sealed or freshly-baked, the feast Affirmations has to offer is both a hefty and a healthy one.

Staying away from high fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate (MSG), Thomas has created recipes without preservatives and additives using ingredients from right here in the area.

“We’re not organic but we believe in buying local as much as we can,” she said. “We believe in supporting the community and the other small businesses. We want to try and live life as positively as possible in all aspects, including what we put in our bodies.”

And knowing the difficulties of starting a business from scratch, Thomas is also offering her certified commercial kitchen up for rent for those trying to get their own baking or cooking feet beneath them.

A business with a mission to reinforce community, family and food values, Affirmations opened its doors in April. Thomas’ goods are now carried by a variety of other local businesses, including CBC Chocolates.

Orders for business box lunches, catering, or just a few ready-to-be-baked frozen goods to have on-hand for Christmas morning can be called or faxed in. Vacuum-sealed for ultimate freshness, the sweet treats come with baking ingredients, ready to be warmed when convenient.

Walk-ins, too, are welcome, and will find a menu full of original meals, including the popular roast beef, apple and Gorgonzola cheese sandwich or calico macaroni salad.

Sutherland said when it comes to Thomas’ creations, she’s ready to give customers just what they’re looking for.

“She’ll bend over backwards to make someone something that they’ll walk out of here happy with,” he said.

Many of her recipes have been passed down through her family, coming even from the kitchen of her great-grandmother. And while Affirmations boasts some classic, can’t-miss items, Thomas has worked to put her own spin on things, creating a taste unique to her own foods.

“I like to try and keep a twist in things,” she said.

Affirmations also offers natural, old-fashioned sodas.

The Affirmations Inc. Web site was recently launched, and Thomas and Sutherland are looking at more ways of expanding their business to be even more available to customers. They already offer limited delivery services. But for Thomas, it’s clear in the cheery store atmosphere and creative concoctions she’s enjoying doing what for many is rarely achieved: living her dream.

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