Cake Decorating 101

Decorating a cake is not as hard as it can appear. Even a beginner can finish with a beautifully decorated creation. You just need a few basic supplies and a creative imagination as well as some uninterrupted time.

Start with your favorite cake. You can use any shape or size. Layers as well as single cakes can come out well too. Start with whatever you are comfortable with. Know your limits and stick to what you can do with your supplies.

Make sure your cake is completely cooled. This is very important. A warm cake will make the frosting run and ruin the decorations. Layers will not stay together and decorations will fall off. If you are taking the time to make something special start with a well cooled cake.

Next make your frosting. Make a little extra to make up for mistakes. You can make your own or buy it. Butter-cream frosting that hardens works best if you are going to add frosting decorations. The frosting decorations will stick to the butter cream frosting and will hold its shape. If you are going to use sprinkles or small items your favorite frosting will do.

Frost your cake using clean utensils. Spread the frosting to the desired thickness. If you are adding frosting decorations do so now. Pipe the frosting into shapes or designs according to what your occasion is. You can buy tips and frosting tubes to make the designs you desire. They work well and are great for the beginner as well as the talented pro. Practice with the tubes of frosting on a piece of paper first. This will help you get a feel for the grip and pressure you will need to decorate your cake.

For those of us who would love to but just can’t get it there are always mini toys, flowers or cookies or candy to top our cakes with.

When the cake is completely decorated and you have let it sit for 1/2 hour you need to cover it. There are a few ways to do this. If your cake is in a pan that has a cover put it on. You need to be careful not to ruin your hard work. You can carefully put toothpicks into the top of your cake and then cover with tinfoil or handy wrap. Put the toothpicks in spots that will be covered later with candles or other decorations. Put the candles in and then cover with a covering. The toothpicks and candles will hold the covering above the frosting and will keep your beautiful cake from being damaged. Anything that is hard on your cake will hold the covering and protect your frosting decorations.

Store your cake in a cool location or the refrigerator until you are ready to show it off. Heat and humidity will make your frosting and decorations melt. Transport your cake in a flat pan or on the floor of your car. Serve your cake and eat it as soon as you arrive or have eaten your meal. The fresher the cake the better your guests will like it.


Diabetes take out take away Fast Food

Eating out is sometimes unavoidable.  Shopping chores can keep us away from home for hours.  Travel keeps us from our own kitchens too.  Therefore, some fast food tips for diabetics are essential.  Planning, choices and tricks can help one cope with one´s diabetes while eating out.

Type 2 diabetes is a bit different from type 1.  And, depending on the severity of the illness, some discretion and primary care or dietitian consultation may be advised. People who don’t have diabetes can also use the following tips.

Planning for a fast food meal out can save money and be beneficial to one’s diet.  This process involves keeping a food journal and knowing about food portion sizes and exchanges.  The glycemic index can be useful.  But, it shouldn’t replace exchanges.  Keeping a small to-go bag by the door for any trip away from the home can help manage blood sugar levels and fast food choices. lists for fast food restaurants.

A small backpack with bottled water and ready to eat snacks can be useful.  Menu’s and nutrition guides for your favorite restaurants with healthier choices marked are also a good choice.  Fast food nutrition lists.  Healthy snack choices can be things like small packages of nuts, Freeze dried fruits with no added sugar (like from Brother’s All natural), or some protein bars.

We don’t always make the best choices when we’re hungry, when our mouth is bone dry, or when fatigue breaks down our resolve and good judgment.  Planning where and what to eat ahead of time will keep one on track.  The water and snacks one takes with them (every time) can act as a physical or psychological buffer against ordering too much or the wrong things at the counter or drive-thru.

Choices one can make at a fast food restaurant go beyond just ordering salad.  Sometimes we just need something hot to warm our tummies.  Start by ordering child’s meals.  Men or athletes may require a little more.  Additional items like a snack wrap (where one doesn’t eat all of the flour tortilla) or chicken nuggets may fill the gap for those people.

Don’t drink soda or juice.  Opt for weak tea (unsweet) or water.  Ask for a large unsweet tea with ice filled to the top or ask for a half water and half tea mix.  Black tea can steal water from the intestines just like type 2 diabetes.

Meal choices at fast food places may involve just a sandwich and drink (tea or water).  At least half the bun can be removed from sandwiches in most cases.  If lettuce and tomato are not included, try the sandwich plain or plain with cheese.

CHICKEN:  If a chicken sandwich is desired, either opt for a grilled one or eat the breaded one without any bun or condiments at all.  Skip the dipping sauce on nuggets or strips.  On whole chicken pieces, remove the skin with all the breading.  Avoid chicken altogether if one’s blood type is AB. blood type diet.  book.

FRIES:  If the fast food place sells packaged fruit (like apples at McDonald’s), opt for those instead of fries.  If one can’t resist the fries, opt for a small size.

DRESSING:  To reduce the amount of salad dressing used, try it on the side.  Dip each fork-full into the dressing.  To use even less dressing, dip the fork tines into it first then get the salad on it.  To extend a small amount of salad dressing, add a bit of cottage cheese to it.

ASIAN: Avoid the breaded and/or deep fried chicken if possible.  If not possible, delete the rice from the plate.  Too many fast carbohydrates will turn to sugar in the blood too fast.  Fill up on a bit of salad before eating the main menu items to limit temptation. 

MEXICAN:  Allow the refried beans (especially if they don’t contain lard).  These will add a bit of protein and fiber.  Skip the rice if possible. 

PIZZA:  Order the thin crust to reduce the amount of bread.  Have a side salad with dressing on the side.

BUFFET:  American food fare buffet restaurants usually have a salad bar.  If one is lucky enough to get fresh broccoli and toasted almond slices on the salad bar, this makes for a good combination of food.  Eat a bit of both in the same mouthful.  This is great for people who don’t like fresh broccoli.  Broccoli is a super food for those who have type 2 diabetes and other health problems. 

Buffet foods that are hard to resist can be eaten in very small portions.  Try a tablespoon size on those and exercise some restraint on the number of those bad foods.

Fast food tips.


How to Make a Fast and Easy Dinner

The secret to a fast and easy dinner is not very complicated. In fact, most Food Network shows that promise a great meal in 30 minutes or less all share the same secret. Do you want to know what it is? Read on.

Most of us are busy and often the last thing we feel like doing is coming home at the end of the day and having to fuss with making dinner. Too many times we take the easy way out, order a pizza or throw a processed frozen meal in the microwave. We would love to have a healthier, tastier dinner but really, who has the time?

The kids are tired and hungry, you just want to relax and cooking a meal from scratch is not always what you want to do. You can make your family a nice dinner that is healthy and easy to prepare in not a lot of time. This is the “secret” for how to make it happen.

Preparation!

When the tools are there for the job it makes it much faster to take the stress out of preparing a fast dinner. The first step is to plan ahead before you even go grocery shopping for the week. Make up a menu of meals to prepare. Check your cabinets or pantry to make sure that you have all the ingredients you will need for the meals that you want to make.

The next step is to see how much you can do ahead of time. Mixing up a homestyle meatloaf and pre-cooking it while you are baking something else will give you a headstart on another night’s dinner. You can do side dishes like steamed vegetables very quickly by using your microwave and a steamer basket.

On the weekend when you are home catching up on laundry, cook a double batch of spaghetti sauce and then portion it into freezer containers. During the work week all you need to do is defrost it in the microwave, cook some pasta and throw a salad together. Multi-tasking by cooking in bulk and freezing food is one easy way to have a home-cooked meal without putting in a lot of time.

Another way to make a fast and easy dinner is to prepare your produce when you purchase it. For example if you bought a bunch of fresh baby spinach, before you put it in the refrigerator, wash it and put it in a storage bag or container. Pre-cut vegetables and have a ready-made or homemade dressing so all you need to do is toss it in a bowl when you want to serve it.

Pasta like vermicelli and angel hair takes no time at all to cook if time is really an issue. Tossed with some olive oil and fresh chopped garlic (kept in a jar in the refrigerator), you have a quick and easy side dish to go with leftover chicken.

Stir frys are another quick meal to make and are fast to make if you follow the rule of pre-cleaning and cutting vegetables when you buy them. Frozen mixed vegetables and diced chicken breast cook up quickly in a little bit of olive oil and make a delicious and easy dinner.

It helps when you know what you are cooking and are prepared by having some of the prep work done for you. Another tip is to have a well-stocked pantry. A can of Italian style tomatoes, chopped garlic and some basil makes a delicious 20 minute pasta sauce. An oven-stuffer roaster can feed a family of four for days if you use the leftover chicken in a stir fry or in a quesadilla.

Dinner in a hurry doesn’t need to be take-out or an unhealthy, preservative-filled processed boxed dinner. You can have a delicious, fast and easy dinner just by taking the time to plan ahead. You will be glad you did.


Seasonal Cake Decorations

The holidays may be over, but it’s still fairly early in winter. And what better to treat yourself to while being snowed in than a Snowflake themed cake?

For this recipe I’ve assumed that the cake will be made from a boxed mix. There are several varieties of cakes that taste just as good as any homemade cake, and mixes, while sometimes bland, are usually consistent. A subtle base taste is good for adding whatever sorts of frosting or decorations and candies that you fancy. Here’s one of my favorite cakes:

Snowflake Cake

Components:
1 devil’s food cake (Recommended: Betty Crocker) and vanilla frosting (recommended: Pillsbury)
Sugar Snowflake
Chocolate swirls
Spun Sugar

Ingredients:
Sugar Snowflakes: 2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 cup water
Chocolate Swirls: 2 cups chocolate chips (dark chocolate works better than milk chocolate), corn syrup to add as needed
Spun Sugar: 2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 cup water

Sugar Snowflakes: Mix all ingredients together in a pot (preferably copper). Place on stove, heat on medium until all sugar dissolves. Then, turn the temperature up. Let the mix sit until it hits 310 degrees, then briefly dip the bottom of the pot into ice water. Put the pot on an unused burner and allow to sit for 1 minute.

Next, move to your wax paper. You’ll want to lightly spray it with some sort of non-stick cooking spray, such as Pams. You will also need something to drip the mix with, such as a whisk with the tips cut off, or a (metal) fork. Do not use plastic utensils, they could melt. Using your utensil, drip strands of the sugar mixture onto the wax paper. Unlike spun sugar, this is meant to be thick. Your strands may be in any shape, though for a snowflake, I’d suggest trying for rounded edges.You should end up with a large, circular piece of sugar made up of overlapping strands. This will go beside your cake, to decorate it. For now, set it aside.

Chocolate swirls: Add 1 tablespoon of the light corn syrup to the chocolate chips. Then, in a microwavable bowl or over a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Drizzle onto a sheet of parchment paper. Again, the chocolate should overlap, though in this case, not so thickly. You want a lot of holes between the strands, almost like a lattice. If you want to do snowflakes and have an appropriately shaped cookie cutter, you can use that to cut shapes when finished. If not, I recommend simple spiral or swirl shapes. Whichever you do, try to keep them small. These will be pressed into the side of the cake after it is frosted. You can also add some on top if you’d like.

Spun sugar: Mix the ingredients together in a copper pot. Allow to cook on low-medium until all sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil, and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Then, turn the heat up. When the sugar reaches 315 F, dip the bottom of the pan in ice water so that it stops cooking, then allow to sit for a minute. Take your whisk or fork, and lay strands out. You may do this over wax paper, but I prefer to set several pots on the edge of a table, and drape the strands over the pot handles. The sugar should be thin and somewhat pliable, though it will be fragile as it cools. Shape the sugar however you’d like. A thin coating could be used to cover the top of the cake, or wrapped around the sides over the frosting and chocolate swirls for a snow fall look. For those who would like something that takes a bit more effort, if you make a layer cake, you can twirl spun sugar up and around the cake in a spiral.

Once all your decorations are assembled and the cake has had time to cool, find a plate for the cake. I suggest a plain, glass plate with some extra space. Set the large sugar snowflake on the plate with the cake. You could lean it on an angle with the cake next to it, or if you want and it is large and thick enough, put it under the cake. Frost the cake, and press the chocolate shapes onto it wherever you want. The spun sugar can be wrapped around the cake, placed on top in little “snowdrift” puffs, or wrapped around the sides like snow.


Former Mcdonalds Employee Takes Video of Mouse Stuck in Bag of Burger Buns

A former McDonald’s employee has come forward with footage he’d taken last fall inside of a storage room. The video, taken by a cellphone on Nov. 14, 2011, shows a mouse poking his way around inside a bag of Big Mac buns.

Karruim Demaio, 29, said he was so disturbed by the events he had witnessed while on the job that he wanted to come forward to warn others.  

“That wasn’t the first time. That was about the sixth or seventh time. That’s what made me like, I got to get video of this,” said Demaio told Fox 29 Philadelphia.

The McDonald’s, located at Stenton Avenue at Haines, in West Oak Lane, Philadelphia, shows a small mouse foraging through the inside of a plastic bag with several buns inside.

“I was going back there to get something else and I heard some rustling, so I turned around, and I look, I seen a mouse inside the bread. Not on top of the package, but inside of the package,” he said.

Watching the video, which comes across as blurry and shaky, but you can clearly see a mouse poking in and around the buns inside the bag. At one point towards the end of the video, you can clearly see the rear end of the mouse, along with its tail, lying on the bun before the mouse scurries back down.

Demaio said it was common to find mouse droppings on buns and that his manager would instruct the workers to simply brush the droppings off prior to serving the bread.

“I was working there from October of 2010 to January of this year. There hasn’t been a time when we couldn’t go in the back and see mouse droppings on the bread,” Demaio said.

Fox 29 asked others about the presence of mice coming into contact with the buns. One former employee, who did not identify himself, concurred with Demaio about the mouse incident.

The news agency contacted the owner/operator of the Stenton Avenue McDonald’s, Ken Youngblood, who sent out a statement which said, “After viewing the video, we are going to continue to investigate this claim to make certain we have all the facts. I want my customers to know that I am taking this matter seriously and will immediately address any issues that may exist. Therefore, if necessary, we will work with the appropriate authorities to get the facts.”

Demaio told Fox 29 he has worked at three McDonald’s total, however this is the only restaurant where he saw any evidence of mice.

According to the Philadelphia Health Department,  that particular McDonald’s has had five health violations that date back over a year and currently “is not in satisfactory compliance.”

Other violations inspectors found included live flies in food preparation areas, salads and salad fixings not kept cool enough, and no hand soap near a grill area. Additionally the inspection found malfunctioning refrigeration units. According to a search done on the Health Department’s inspection page, the freezer door was propped open in order to help cool down the walk-in refrigerator.  However, health inspectors do not have any evidence of rodents listed.

The video footage taken by Demaio can be viewed at the Fox 29 website.


Tips for Making the Perfect Cheesecake

Probably one of the most luxurious of desserts, the cheesecake satisfies even the most sophisticated of pallets. A smooth, creamy, velvety texture combined with the crunchy and crumbly texture of the crust makes for the perfect combination in your mouth.

The first place that you need to start is on the crust – and that is one of the easiest parts. Two ingredients are all that you need, which makes this completely foolproof. Melted butter and crumbs pressed into a spring form pan and “blind-baked” in an oven for 8-10 minutes at 300*F. Just enough to “set” the crust.

Cheesecakes aren’t just for dessert anymore, though. Savory, rather than sweet, is delicious for breakfast and lunch. Instead of using things like Oreo or graham crumbs like you would for a sweet crust, try using plain or seasoned bread crumbs or crushed Ritz crackers. In your filling, try adding things like smoked salmon or trout, herbs, spices, and chopped sauted vegetables. Omit the sugar, bake them up, and you have a delightful pairing for a salad or soup.

It sounds crazy, but believe me – taking some smoked salmon, dill, lemon zest and capers makes for a delectable savory cheesecake. Whenever I try this, I pair it with tossed Collard greens drizzled with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, sea salt and cracked black peppercorns.

Whichever cheesecake you plan on making, the filling is the most important – it makes up the majority of the dessert. There are two main things that you need to remember when making a cheesecake filling, and that is smooth texture and slow baking.

SMOOTH TEXTURE

Cheesecakes vary in ingredients, so there really is no universal way to tell you how to mix the ingredients. However, there are two ingredients that are in 99.9% of all cheesecakes, and that is cream cheese and eggs.

First things first – the cream cheese. Blend it until it is SMOOTH. This is key for that velvety texture that you are looking for. After a bit of blending, stop the machine and scrape down the bowl to get all of cream cheese in the bottom. It will take a couple stop-and-go’s to complete the process, and to get the cream cheese totally smooth. At this point, your recipe will tell you to add the other ingredients as well. Blend these in until totally smooth.

When it comes to the point where you have to add the eggs, reduce your speed and pour the eggs, already beaten, into your cheesecake SLOWLY. A little at a time maximizes the emulsification of the eggs into the mix, thus creating a more smooth texture. It also keeps your eggs from splashing all over the place.

After you have added the eggs, this is the point where you can add any extras. Fold them in, carefully.

SLOW BAKING

Baking the cheesecake at a lower temperature and slower pace makes for a better product. Try taking your favorite cheesecake recipe and baking it at 275*F for 1 hour. When baking it, put a bigger pan full of boiling water on the rack beneath the cheesecake. This will regulate the temperature in the oven, will help the cake from cooking too quickly, keep things moist, and will stop the top from cracking. Do NOT touch the oven until the hour is over.

When the hour is up, turn off your oven but leave the cheesecake in. Give it another hour. The heat left in the oven and from the water will continue to cook it at a slow rate. When it’s done, it may look as if it isn’t set, but I assure you that it is. Let it cool and cut into it with a thin-bladed hot knife.

If you thought your cheesecake was great before – try following these tips. Your cheesecake will be more spectacular than ever, and everybody will want to know just how the heck you did it!


Unhealthiest Fast Food Burgers

Who does not love a fast food burger? Most people love anything they do not have to cook themselves or the convenience of just going to the drive up window and picking up their breakfast, lunch or dinner. But what are the real consequences of eating those fast food burgers? Clogged arteries and your waistline expanding? What are some of the places you should avoid, who has the most unhealthy fast food burgers? You are about to find out, brace yourself.

These are in no particular order and all the information can be had at the restaurants own websites. Since there are so many to choose from this list is only going to include the top four of the fast food world, McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell and Wendy’s.

Wendy’s burgers to avoid at all costs:

Baconator Triple Burger 1,330 calories and 86 grams of fat Bacon Deluxe Triple Burger 1,140 calories and 71 grams of fat Triple Cheeseburger 1,030 calories and 62 grams of fat

Burger King burger’s you really should bypass if you do not want to have to have a bypass:

Texas Triple Whopper Sandwich 1,310 calories and 88 grams of fat Triple Whopper Sandwich with cheese 1,250 calories and 84 grams of fat BK Quad Stacker 930 calories and 65 grams of fat

 McDonald’s surprisingly does better than both Wendy’s and Burger King in that their burgers usually only have around 40 grams of fat:

Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese 740 calories and 42 grams of fat The Angus Mushroom & Swiss Burger 770 calories and 40 grams of fat

Just a head’s up avoid the large Deluxe Breakfast at McDonald’s it contains 1,150 calories and 60 grams of fat.

 Taco Bell, ok they are not offering burgers, but even their seemingly “healthy” foods are loaded with calories and fat.

Volcano Nachos 1,000 calories and 62 grams of fat Chipotle Steak Taco Salad 900 calories and 57 grams of fat Chicken Ranch Taco Salad 910 calories and 54 grams of fat

 How depressing is that?  Never fear, there are many other options and remember what makes these items so unhealthy and loaded with fat is most often the double and triple part of the burgers along with the many condiments and other topping choices offered to please the public and curb all those nasty hunger pains. The best options for “fast food” is to grab a piece of fruit to hold off the hunger beast until you can eat a more appropriate meal, plus the added bonus of less fast food in your life is extra cash in your pocket.


Candy Making Basics

Whether it is the smell of grandma’s cookies, or the sight of a beautiful and elaborate wedding cake, many people are impressed by baking creations. However, learning to bake, or to make candy, can seem intimidating. There are a lot of unusual supplies that aren’t needed in other forms of cooking, and things like sugar candy can be tempermental.

The Basics:
No matter what sorts of candy you plan on making, there are a few ingredients and supplies that are nearly universal. Here’s a basic list of what you should keep on hand:

– Granulated sugar.
– Powdered sugar / confectioner’s sugar. Don’t be alarmed if the ingredients also list corn starch, many manufacturers put a small amount of corn starch in to keep it from getting too compacted.
– Light corn syrup.
– Parchment and wax paper.
– Newspaper or something else to protect the floors of your work area and minimize clean up.
– Corn starch
– Candy thermometer

If you have some spare cash on hand, I would strongly suggest getting a Silpat mat. Silpat baking mats are made of silicon, and function much like parchment paper. However, they are reusable. If you are working with something sticky, a Silpat mat is priceless.

Avoid: Many people make the mistake of assuming they don’t need a candy thermometer. It is possible to tell the stage that sugar is in without one. However, having one is a very good idea.

Even someone who has been cooking for years will do better with a good candy thermometer. First, when it has reached a high temperature, sugar cooks quickly. While you are testing some of it, the temperature of the rest of the batch will keep going up. Some recipes call for an exact temperature, down to a specific degree. This means it is important to know where the candy is at that moment. Also, while you can tell what stage the sugar is in by putting it in water, this won’t tell you the exact temperature.

For recipes that name a stage, not a temperature, this might not seem like a problem. However, a lot of things can affect candy making. The humidity, using a different pot, or even the natural slight differences in heat on different parts of the burner can cause slight changes to a mixture. Sure, they might not seem serious, but it is silly to take uneccesary chances.

Another important thing is to check the thermometer for accuracy. Theoretically, when you buy a thermometer, it ought to be set up properly. However, not all of them are. When you get your thermometer, place it in a pot of water, and turn the heat up. When the water begins to boil, check the temperature. Water boils at 212 F / 100 C, though these numbers change based on elevation from sea level. If your thermometer is off, note by how much, and keep that in mind when using it in the future.

What to make?:
Another common confusion is what candies are easy for beginners to make. When I began to bake, I spotted a very simple recipe for spun sugar. It only called for 3 ingredients. That seemed doable. However, when I tried to make it, I realized that perhaps it wasn’t the best thing for a first-time cook to make. Sugar recipes can be difficult to make, since things like humidity may affect the results.

Personally, for those who are sure they want to make sugar or chocolate candy right away, I recommend something like lollipops. Because they are made of a sturdier mix than spun sugar, and are poured into molds, they are easier to do correctly.

What to avoid: Chocolate can be even harder to cook with than sugar. Tempering chocolate takes practice, and a tiny mistake can cause the chocolate to ‘seize’. Beginners should work on easier candies before thinking about anything chocolate related.


Homemade Ice Cream and Frozen Treats 101

Two years ago, my mom bought me an ice cream maker for Christmas. Now my freezer is filled with ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet. I’m addicted. My friends jokingly refer to me as the ice queen maker. Luckily, I love them.
I was overwhelmed with excitement when I opened the package that Christmas. As you can see, I’m addicted to ice cream. If I had it my way, I would eat ice cream for breakfast (banana ice cream on a waffle cone topped with bananas and almonds), lunch (peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chips – for protein), and dinner (chocolate ice cream with marshmallows and walnuts). However, my digestive system has a history of of fighting me on this. I always seem to become sick on the few attempts that I’ve made in my lifetime.
When you have your own ice cream maker at home, the flavor possibilities have no limits. You can add any mixture in. You’re at home. You’re free to do so. You won’t see anyone’s eyebrow’s raising when you think of an unlikely combination (some people may not be ready for your vision, nor will you find frustration when the ice cream shop does not have the topping you want. It’ll be your little version of heaven. Plus, it’s a little healthier for you since you aren’t likely to add any preservatives and can control how much you measure ingredient-wise.
The most basic to make is vanilla, and as I’ve stated previously, you can add in anything you want (chopped up Rollo’s, macadamia nuts, caramel syrup, minced garlic – ha! just kidding!). Vanilla ice cream has four main ingredients:
heavy cream
whole milk
vanilla extract
sugar
It’s at your discretion if you want to substitute for sugar free vanilla or Splenda, skim milk or low fat heavy cream. If you opt for skim milk, just be warned that the texture won’t be as creamy; similar to soy, rice and almond milk. In addition to the four main ingredients, you’re free to experiment with add-ins.

Be sure that your ice cream container (it looks like a little rice pot or bowl) is freezing. For optimal results, leave in the freezer overnight.

1. Stir the four main ingredients together.
2. Turn the ice cream maker on so that the machine is churning.
3. Slowly pour in the ice cream mixture.
4. Let run for 15 – 20 minutes before you start mixing in additional ingredients, or 5 – 7 minutes less than machine instructions.
5. Slowly sprinkle your add-ins into the ice cream machine and let run for the duration of the time per machine instructions.
6. Turn off machine and pour ice cream into a bowl or container.
7. Let sit in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes.
8. Dig in and enjoy!


You Deserve a Break Today but maybe not at Mcdonalds

American Consumer Satisfaction Index  released its June results on Tuesday, June 19th and the “Home of the Golden Arches” was dead last in the limited service restaurant category. So while you may deserve “A break today” you certainly deserve more than the giant is dishing out.

In all fairness to the food and service at McDonald’s, even though they rank last, they have been showing some improvement. They have ranked dismally last since 1995 and at one point in 2000 their level of satisfaction was only 59%, in 2012 it is 73% which is an increase from 2012. McDonald’s executives take these findings seriously and have been trying to give the customers what they want.

The response from the company to the results was “At McDonald’s, customer satisfaction has, and continues to be, a top priority. We take all customer feedback seriously. Our internal and third-party research shows that we continue to make progress in satisfying our customers. Business results also reinforce this. In fact, the producers of the American Customer Satisfaction index said that McDonald’s customer satisfaction is at an all-time high. Still, we know we can do more by continuing to offer our customers great value, menu variety and a positive service experience every time they visit our restaurants.”

What can McDonalds do to make customers happier with their products and services?  The company seems to think that providing WiFi in its restaurants is the place to start. They spent over a billion dollars in 2011 to bring the Internet to their customers along with McTV and better seating. They have also made some healthier options available to their customers including the oatmeal and fruit addition to their breakfast menu, smaller snack wraps to the dinner menu and great Paul Neuman coffee at a set price of $1 per cup for all sizes. The latest additions to the menu includes smoothies along with scones, muffins and banana bread.But is this enough to get them out of the basement? It appears at the moment that it is not.  

In a very politically correct move, the company has started to look at the way that the meat that the company buys is handled.  They will no longer be buying pork tfrom pigs that have  been confined in small pens through the maternity and birth process.

68 million customers are served by McDonalds around the world every day. With that many customers, there is bound to be some dissatisfaction. What most customers want from a fast food restaurant is fast service, good value and tasty food. If the food can be somewhat healthy as well, that is an added bonus. While McDonalds seems to have addressed the tasty and the healthy issues to some extent, it is their service that has most people complaining. Long waits, surly staff and rising prices  are not going to get this giant retailer out of the toilet anytime soon. No one wants to wait more than a minute or two for service in a fast food restaurant even if they do have WiFi.