Tuesday, November 25, 2008

When Customer Service Goes Bad...

When you work in customer service, which I do, you know that the customer is always right. At least that's how it's supposed to be. That wasn't the case when I went to pick up the fresh turkey breast I had ordered for Thanksgiving dinner from our local meat market. Not only did I call the order in 9 days in advance, I even called a few days later to confirm it. I went to pick up my order on my lunch hour today, only to be told that I had ordered a whole, partially frozen turkey. Um, excuse me, but I think I know very well the difference between a turkey breast & a whole turkey. The manager, who happens to be the owner's daughter, offered no apologies, simply telling me that my order had been written on the wrong page of their very professional order system, a spiral-bound notebook. When I inquired as to who had taken the order, I was told that they had 6 different people handling phone orders, so she couldn't be quite sure who was responsible for my order landing on the wrong page. Finding it hard to believe there were no more turkey breasts available, I was told that they were all "spoken for" (by people whose order landed on the "right" page I suppose) and again offered the frozen turkey. No apologies, no discounts, no simple courtesy...nothing. I guess they would prefer having me tell people how lacking their customer service is, rather than how they turned a bad situation into a good one.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Are you ready for Thanksgiving? My favorite holiday is only a week away. My mom is hosting the family dinner this year & I'm responsible for the turkey, stuffing & a dessert. I'm fixing a fresh turkey breast using my tried & true recipe from Martha Stewart. It's a recipe I've used for several years and it does not disappoint. I'll serve it along with my mother-in-law's holiday stuffing. As for the dessert, I'm still trying to decide between my cranberry bread pudding & an apple butter pumpkin pie.

What's on your menu?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chunky Monkey Muffins

Who doesn't love Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream? Bananas, walnuts & dark chocolate...yum! And that combination works just as well in muffins. I took my favorite banana nut muffin recipe from Tyler Florence & changed it just a bit, using walnuts instead of pecans & adding dark chocolate. They made a perfect Sunday morning breakfast.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly butter 12 muffin tins or use paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together like you mean it, for a good 3 minutes. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins to fill them about halfway. Give them a rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Purist bakers out there may not want to read any further. Because for these cupcakes I used *gasp* a boxed cake mix. I saw an ad in Better Homes & Gardens magazine for Duncan Hines new Decadent Carrot Cake and decided to give it a try. This new mix differs from other boxed mixes as it contains a package of raisins & shredded carrots that you soak in hot water for at least 5 minutes before adding to the cake batter. That must be where the decadence comes in because it really does give the cupcakes that homemade taste & texture. I picked up the mix when I did our weekly grocery shopping on Saturday & whipped up these cupcakes yesterday, using the recipe listed on the side of the box. Lightly frosted with a homemade cream cheese icing, they made a pretty tasty breakfast this morning. And even though I love my homemade carrot cake, this mix is definitely worth a try.

recipe courtesy Duncan Hines

• 1 box Duncan Hines® Moist Deluxe® Decadent Carrot Cake
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup water (add carrot/raisin pouch and allow to stand 5 minutes)
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• ½ cup drained crushed pineapple (see below for other options)
• 1 16oz container Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Cream Cheese Frosting

For Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 12-cup* cupcake pans lined with paper baking cups. Add carrot/raisin pouch to the 1 cup of water and allow to stand for a minimum of 5 minutes. In a mixing bowl, add cake mix, flour, baking powder, eggs, oil, drained pineapple, and carrot/raisin/water mixture. Mix by hand until completely blended, approximately 50 strokes. Pour batter into paper-lined cupcake pans 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes for 20 - 22 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans for 15 minute on wire rack, then remove from pans and cool completely on rack before frosting.

For a different flavor, replace pineapple with white chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips.

*Note from Tonia - this recipe actually makes 18 cupcakes.