My hands feel naked...I have not had my camera in them since late March!
While I was at the beach, my little wonder-camera had an issue with the lens. I took it to the seller...who in turn sent it to the manufacturer for repairs (It was still under warranty!).
After 3 long weeks...and missing the photo ops of 2 trips, plus a week on the beach...my camera was returned to me.Oh, bliss!
Now I could stalk the herons, egrets, wood storks...and the Ibis, who's been tearing up my front yard! Not to mention all the picture-taking I could do with my little grandbaby!
Except for one problem...
When I replaced the battery, THE LENS STILL DID NOT WORK! The "lens error" warning flashed in ugly red letters. It was not repaired.
Back it went... to the manufacturer.
What I did learn from the Geek Squad...the extended warranty with guaranteed replacement of my camera did not specify that before replacement...items must be returned to the manufacturer for repairs FOUR TIMES. The "Geek" called it the "dirty little secret". Buyer beware!
So...for the time being (and I have no idea how long this is going to take), you'll have to make do with photos I took earlier...or borrowed photos...
Like this one of my granddaughter...isn't she cute!
A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by an old friend re: an interesting business proposition. She wanted me to fly to Michigan to take a look at this business and to try out some wonderful cooking/baking products. These uniquely designed silicone-woven glass products have been used, for decades, in professional kitchens and bakeries all over the world, but only recently were they introduced to the US consumer market. She described them...saying that food did not stick...you did not use oil, butter, non-stick sprays...nothing(!) in the pans and the food slid right out. (Yeah, right!) So I did my research...and decided that I needed to see for myself, if these products were really THAT good.
Well...I can say from firsthand experience...YES, THEY ARE!
Monday, I arrived in Milford, MI, a delightful village outside of Detroit...and the US home of Demarle at Home. Like most of us, I had never heard of Demarle at Home, but I knew and used one of their products...Silpat. I received my first Silpat as a gift, and it was well used as a liner when I baked cookies. That's all I knew to do with them...UNTIL NOW!
Starting with a champagne toast, I joined a few other women, from around the country, for three days, in the discovery of a new way of cooking...no oils or butter or non-stick sprays...and foods pop right out of the pans! They really do!!! (Which also means, easy cleanup and less time in the kitchen!) Hors d'oeuvres were served as we began the adventure of cooking and tasting...and learning about Flexipans.
OK...I know you are scratching your heads, asking can this really be true?
YES! And for the next 2 days, we cooked, baked, and ATE...using nothing but these products.
On Monday evening, we began our culinary journey with a seafood appetizer...crab and shrimp filled wonton twists, baked in mini muffin pans. (These are truly addictive!) Our dinner, consisted of a Chicken Caesar Salad, served in a bowl which was made from our Herbed Pizza Dough mix. Next was a Chicken Alfredo Pizza Bowl. Both bowls were made by rolling out on a Roul Pat (no flour needed...and dough does not stick!), then formed around the bottoms of round Flexipans and baked. The salad "bowl" was placed on a plate and filled with the freshest ingredients. Then it was sliced and served. The same technique was used for the pizza, but this "bowl" was placed on a Silpat...which was on a perforated baking sheet, then filled with sliced chicken breast (baked in the oven on a Silpat!), fresh spinach, tiny cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and topped with Alfredo sauce and grated Mozzarella cheese. This pizza was absolutely delicious...and the cleanup was a snap! A technique for roasting veggies on the Silpat was next demonstrated. These veggies had only a tiny sprinkling of olive oil...maybe 1 teaspoon...and balsamic vinegar...3 kinds of peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, and asparagus. We tasted Rosemary shortbread, drizzled with Apple Spiced Balsamic Vinegar. Sounds strange, but it was yummy! And we tried molded (in Flexipans, of course) ice cream flowers, tarts, and fresh fruit.
Tuesday, we hit the offices around 10 and feasted on a crustless quiche (see the above photo) and a sausage and cheese strata, made in Flexipans. Both dishes came right out of the pans...little or no residue was left to clean up. Hashbrowns were made on the Silpat...slightly mounded Simply Potatoes Hashbrowns...Even I can make these...and they were perfectly cooked, soft on the inside, crispy on the outside...AND NO OIL! (Hashbrowns cooked in a skillet have defeated me for years...they are always too oily...and "Hash Blacks". I gave up on them...)
Lunch was a salmon nicoise salad...Salmon cooked on the Silpat and chilled roasted asparagus...tiny almond tarts and fabulous chocolate chip cookies (all made using Flexipans and Silpat) were served for dessert.
With all the warnings today about common nonstick cooking surfaces leaching into food at cooking temperatures, BPA contamination from plastic storage containers...especially if reheated in the microwave, and microwave popcorn* packaging, the time for these silicone-woven glass bakeware is timely. Silicone and glass are inert materials...
they DO NOT LEACH.
After experiencing all the wonders of Flexipans and Silpat, I became a believer...and joined the company. When I got home on Wednesday night, I quickly made a cake, using a plain cake mix, in one of the molds so Mac Daddy could see what I had been doing. The cake popped right out of the mold...complete with the design. And the pan was CLEAN...just needed a little swipe with a damp cloth! He loved it!
Beginning this week, I will be conducting Cooking Workshops or "Rendevous" (French term for party) in my home and in the home of others. You can check out these products at Demarle at Home's website or better yet, have your very own "Rendevous" and get some free stuff. You can contact me for more information. (I love to travel!)
*You can make microwave popcorn in a round Flexipan, topped with a small Silpat...no oil needed!
***My camera had to be returned to Nikon for the second time...it's not back yet! I used photos from the Demarle at Home site...and from images of Milford MI, JRA Computers...a local business.
As I wrote this...my husband came into my office with the confirmation of our company's first SALE! And I was just invited to fly to Michigan (all expenses paid) to train to teach in-home cooking classes next week...
My camera is in the shop...so I decided to do a repeat. This post is from Easter 2010. This year, I plan to recreate the edible centerpiece. It cost much less than the flowers...and it's usable!
While looking for flowers at my local Fresh Market, I decided to use colorful, fresh veggies for our Easter centerpiece...
1 LARGE basket...found at a garage sale for $1.00
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 bunch of spinach
1 bunch of radishes
1 bunch of carrots with green tops
2 bunches of green onions
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
1 dozen hard-boiled eggs, dyed with onion skins and blueberries
1 sweet onion
(Flowers - $21 minimum!)
1 BEAUTIFUL Centerpiece...and salad for the rest of the week!Add some bunnies, candles, candies, and dishes, and the setting is complete!
Dishes: Crate and Barrel (coral) Placemats: Home Goods...made from dishtowels, cut in half and stitch Napkins: Dillards (about 10 years ago) Egg cups: Crate and Barrel (turned upside down to hold Cadbury eggs) Bunnies: Home Goods and TJ Maxx Candlesticks: Steinmart Candles: Home Goods Candies: Cadbury Eggs and Reese's Peanut Butter bunnies Veggies: The Fresh Market (cost less than half of buying flowers...and it's edible!)
Company... My sons, their ladies and the dogs.....PRICELESS!
For dessert, we will be having the Hill family tradition...Cupcakes or Easter Bunny "Nest" Cake using Great-Ma's (my Momma) marshmallow bunnies. You can see the tutorial here: