Monday, May 31, 2010

STUCK for ideas??

Are you stuck for an idea for a layout idea this month?
Head on over to the new home of stuck here on blogger to see this months sketch and all the gorgeous designs from the DT. Of course there are some lovely prizes up for grabs too.

Here is the sketch

My take on the sketch.

Don't you just love that fabulous Australian chipboard frame...not really my style of chippie, but I love it on this layout, of course it is from 3tails . And whats a layout without some whimsy ???

Till next time...

Popsicle of the Week: Creamy Cantaloupe

I hope you all are having a fabulous and long Memorial Day Weekend! This week I am sharing a recipe for Creamy Cantaloupe Popsicles. The recipe for these Creamy Cantaloupe Popsicles was sent to me from one of my favorite blogging friends, Michelle of Ms. En Place. Michelle lives in Louisiana and posts so many wonderful and authentic Cajun and Creole recipes. If you haven't been to her site yet, you will definitely want to pay her a visit soon. Thanks for the recipe, Michelle!

Creamy Cantaloupe Pops
1-1/2 cups cantaloupe, cubed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
8 wooden popsicle sticks

1. Place cantaloupe in a blender.
2. Cover and process until smooth; set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the cream and sugar.
4. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
5. Remove from the heat.
6. Stir in pureed cantaloupe.
7. Pour 1/4 cup into each mold (popsicle mold or 3 oz. plastic cups); insert the popsicle sticks.
Freeze until firm.
--instead of heavy cream, half and half can be used
--for an even lighter version, replace the cream with 8 oz yogurt. Skip the heating instructions and instead toss everything in a blender.

: The good people at Zoku saw my blog post last week where I had mentioned having trouble with my Zoku Quick Pop Maker. They left a comment on my post stating that recipes with a high fat content (like cream, half & half, or whole milk) did in fact result in a "soft pull", whereby the fat doesn't freeze solid enough to adhere to the popsicle stick. Zoku is in the process of writing their own cookbook, but states that using yogurt is a good alternative. In addition, Zoku has their own blog @ and can also be found on Twitter. Both sites have tips and tricks for using your Zoku Quick Pop Maker. Thanks Zoku for your response!
Because the cantaloupe popsicles were going to contain cream, I used my old-fashioned Tupperware molds. I bought one smaller-sized cantaloupe and it was more than enough to yield the 1 and 1/2 cups cantaloupe needed for this recipe. This is good news for us because we love melon at my house and had no problems finishing off the rest of the melon. With three ingredients, these pops were a snap to make and we all really enjoyed them! They had a wonderfully creamy consistency, which was improved greatly if allowed to sit on the counter 3-5 minutes prior to serving. A fun and unique way to enjoy cantaloupe.

I also want to mention that my friend Deb @ Kahakai Kitchen posted popsicles as well. Click HERE to see her
Cucumber, Lime, Mint & Rum Pops. She also made some tasty Mexican Chocolate pops which can be found HERE.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Emeril's 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast

Although I've watched Emeril on TV countless times, I had never tried one of his recipes or owned any of his books, until recently. I found a copy of Emeril 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast in my mailbox, a direct result of my inability to respond to my featured selection at The Good Cooks Book Club. Never one to turn a cookbook away, I opened it up and was pleasantly surprised. Several of the recipes caught my attention and I was quickly enamored with it.

Emeril's 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast is a very approachable book based on 20, 40, and 60 minute recipes with soups; starters; salads and dressings; sandwiches; pasta; rice and beans; vegetables; seafood; poultry; meat; and desserts in each chapter. Each recipe uses easy to find ingredients and offers fresh and simple flavors. A new recipe came to my attention each and every time I picked up the book and I found myself wanting to cook from it more and more for it's ease of use.

Emeril's Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews was the first recipe I made. This chicken stir fry with red bell pepper and hoisin sauce was made even better by the addition of roasted cashews. Better yet, it was on the table in around 20 minutes, perfect for a busy night.

To go along with the Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews, I made Emeril's Aromatic Jasmine Rice with one of my favorite new ingredients: coconut milk. Jasmine rice, ginger, lime zest, coconut milk, chicken broth and cilantro combine to make one tasty and extremely aromatic rice that will have you coming back for more. We enjoyed the rice and are busy thinking of other ways to use it.

Last week I had a couple bad days and only comfort food would do. I turned to Emeril's Creamy White Beans with Sausage. This dish was fantastic and featured one of my favorite ingredients: beans! I'm pretty sure I've shared my love for beans with you several times before today, but just in case....I adore beans. They definitely fall into the category of being one of my top five food cravings. In this recipe canned cannellini beans, garlic, spinach and smoked sausage are cooked with diced tomatoes to make a truly creamy, soul-satisfying dish that is sure to please. I went on carb overload, using a slice of toasted country bread slathered in garlic to sop up the beans. Carbs make everything better! The next time I make this, (and there will be a next time near in the future)I will leave out the smoked sausage. I do like smoked sausage in general, but would prefer the smooth creaminess of the beans without the interference that the sausage provides.

Speaking of cravings, I had also been craving a delicious and wonderfully messy steak and cheese sandwich. Emeril's Steak and Cheese Sandwich fit the bill very nicely. Onions were cooked until caramelized with thinly sliced sirloin steak, local KY Worcestershire sauce and crumbled blue cheese then placed on a buttered and toasted baguette. This was a delightfully messy sandwich with tons of flavor from both the blue cheese and the Worcestershire sauce. The steak was especially tender and cooked to perfection. A definite repeat for any future steak and cheese cravings.

Emeril's Cucumber Ribbon Salad looked so beautifully presented in the book that I had to give it a try. I was a little intimidated to try my hand at cucumber ribbons, but it was actually very easy with a vegetable peeler. The cucumber ribbons were mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, mint, and dill. Twirling the cucumber ribbon around on a fork like spaghetti was really fun and the salad was a total hit.

I am submitting both the Steak and Cheese Sandwich and the Cucumber Ribbon Salad to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sundays roundup. Every Sunday Deb features a tasty roundup of soup, salad, and sammies over at her site.

Overall, I am really enjoying Emeril's 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast. It has many great family-friendly recipes and also some wonderful and unique recipes for vegetables and side dishes. This is definitely a book I will enjoy pulling out and cooking from in the future.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Blogger Burger Club: Caesar Salad and Flank Steak Burgers with Garlic Crostini

Today is National Hamburger Day and with the holiday weekend coming up, it is a great time to cook up some tasty burgers! I was very happy when Reeni of Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice asked me to host this month's Blogger Burger Club! I am always inspired by Reeni's tasty creations and was honored that she asked me. After careful consideration, I chose this Caesar Salad and Flank Steak Burger with Garlic Crostini. The recipe comes from a book I bought awhile back called Build a Better Burger and contains recipes from Sutter Home's annual burger contest. There are some stunning burger recipes in this book. However, it was this Caesar Salad and Flank Steak Burger with Garlic Crostini that stole my heart.

Imagine a thick, juicy, tender steak burger with a homemade Caesar salad, sitting atop a thick garlicky crostini, showered in Parmesan cheese. Heaven, pure heaven! This is definitely a fork and knife burger. Enjoy it alone. It needs no accompaniments, except maybe a glass of wine.

Caesar Salad with Flank Steak Burgers with Garlic Crostini
Adapted from Build a Better Burger (Makes 4 large meal-sized burgers)
Estimated Time: 30-40 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 flat anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained and chopped (I use 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1-1/2 pounds ground flank steak
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Zinfandel (feel free to use any red wine or even beef broth)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for brushing the grill rack
Garlic Crostini:
8 (1/2 inch-thick) sourdough bread slices
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing on the bread
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
You will also need:
1-1/2 cups washed, dried, and shredded romaine lettuce
Shredded, freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese to taste

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.

To make the dressing, combine the olive oils, vinegars, and salt in a small jar with a lid and shake until well blended. Mash the anchovy fillets and garlic together on a cutting board until they form a paste; transfer to a bowl. Add the oil and vinegar mixture, lemon juice, and parsley and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

To make the patties, combine the steak, parsley, shallots, garlic, Zinfandel, salt, lemon pepper seasoning, and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the bread slices.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with olive oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference 5-7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, to make the crostini, brush the bread slices to taste with olive oil on both sides. Place the bread slices on the outer edges of the rack, turning once to toast lightly. Remove and rub each side of the toast with 1/2 garlic clove.

To assemble the burgers, combine the lettuce and the dressing in a large bowl and toss lightly. On 4 of the bread slices, place an equal portion of the salad, a patty and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining slices and serve.

Notes: This was the first time I heard about ground flank steak. I live in a very small town, with limited grocery options and had no trouble getting the butcher to grind me some flank steak. It only took 5 minutes and I was in and out of there. The ground flank steak was extremely tender and if you can get it, I highly suggest it. However, ground beef would also work well in this recipe. You may also be tempted to use a store-bought Caesar dressing. I say don't do it! This homemade dressing was delicious and was nothing like the bottled stuff you see in the supermarket. The last thing I want to mention is in regard to 3 tablespoons of Zinfandel that go into the patties. I didn't have Zinfandel, but I had another red wine which worked just as well. If you don't drink wine or don't have any on hand, just use a beef stock. Either way, you will need this liquid to help bind the burger together.

Want to Join Along??

Burger Club Guidelines:

-Make the Caesar Salad and Flank Steak Burgers with Garlic Crostini, blog about it with your rating and other thoughts on it, link to me and let me know by e-mail or by adding your link to the MckLinky below by midnight on June 20th.

The ratings are based on a four-star rating:

1 Star = Didn't like and wouldn't make again.

2 Stars = Liked but wouldn't make again.

3 Stars = Liked and will make again.

4 Stars = Loved! Will make often.

-I will average out the ratings to give it one singular rating and also include a round-up of your burger and ratings.

-Join in as often as you like.

I really enjoyed this burger and am giving it 3.5 stars!
The steak burger was very tender and flavorful, the salad dressing on the romaine lettuce was very light and herbaceous, but it was the garlic crostini that pulled it all together. A special occasion burger that I will be sure to make again.

Also, I want to give a huge Thank You to Reeni for letting me host this month's burger!!

Happy National Hamburger Day!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

three things thursday

Three things I love:

One: I love sets of bowls, but I especially adore these mini bowls from Anthropologie. They are the perfect size for so many things. They catch extra buttons and baubles in my studio. They're great for snacks for Ella (she uses mini spoons with them) or for just the right amount of ice cream for me. I could never decide on just one color, so I have one of each. They just came out with this delightful robin's egg blue. I also like to mix and match and stack them around the holidays for splashes of color. The mini bowls are $2.50 each and the regular size in the same design is $5.00. 

Two: I have this thing about foam soap. I love it and I notice when stores and restaurants use it in their restrooms. I've been purchasing this specific brand and scent in bulk for years. It's the Coconut Lime Verbana from Bath and Body Works. So many people I gift it to or use it in our home end up buying it again. One year I gave it as the $5.00 prize at Bunco and added a sparkly snowflake ornament tied with a red and white gingham bow--simple and so nice. Some of the girls are still buying it. I also love that it matches my decor. That's so important! :) I have one in each bathroom and one at the kitchen sink, so we go through it quickly. Bath and Body Works has specials often, so I stock up when the price is right.

Three: I love these colors together. Those green shutters are delightful. I'm a pretty neutral person and have been trying to add more color to our home lately. Patrick told me a few weeks ago, that our home was pretty "basic" or something like that. Whatever it was, it's true. Then I told Ella that Patrick would be moving out soon (not because he made the comment about the lack of color in our home :)) and that the hallway bathroom would be hers. She looked around at it and said, "It's not very cute." Seriously, I get the message!


larsen was such a chilled relaxed baby, and thankfully still is now at 17 months. I found this old photo of him and loved it so much I wanted to do a layout about this side of his personality.
Ahh can you do any better than a little October Afternoon, hambly and maya mist!!!
Just check out that 3 layered little owl from 3tails which will be available at the paper craft convention in Brisbane in three weeks, isnt he the cutest, it comes in three seperate layers.
I have also used that fun little frog button from lilredrocketbuttons .
I also have some other exciting news I have been asked to join the DT over at handmadewithsuzanne ,along with the awesome Chloe, Marelize, Liz, Kathy and Sue...soooo exciting to be working with you girls! Thanks for stopping by.
Till next time...

Pasta with 12 Whole Cloves of Garlic or Rather One Whole Head of Garlic!!

How many cloves of garlic are in one garlic head? Have you ever stopped to count? Yesterday I did just that. Mark Bittman's pasta with whole cloves of garlic called for 10 whole cloves. I went into the pantry and dug out one head of garlic. As I started to remove the cloves, I noticed that there were about 12 cloves on my garlic head. When you're already making pasta with ten whole cloves of garlic, what is two more cloves, right? I decided to use the whole head of garlic in this pasta dish!! That's right..... pasta with an entire head of garlic, now that's exciting stuff. What can I say? I live on the edge, especially on Wednesday afternoons.

Look at all that beautiful garlic!

Just look at all those cloves of garlic...yum!

Pasta with Whole Cloves of Garlic, AKA Maccheroni alla San Giovanniello
Adapted from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
1/3 cup olive oil or butter (I used a mix)
10 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed (I used 12-13 because I'm crazy like that)
1/2 cup prosciutto or other salted ham or slab bacon cut into cubes or strips (I used bacon)
6 plum tomatoes or 1-1/2 cups drained canned tomatoes (I used canned)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound cut pasta, such as ziti or penne (I used ziti)
1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese, or a combo
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Combine the oil/butter, garlic, and ham in a medium to large skillet over medium-low heat (I used the #2 setting on my electric stovetop, anything higher would've burnt the garlic). Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the garlic becomes deep golden, nearly brown, all over, 10-15 minutes.
Core and chop the plum tomatoes (or crush the canned tomatoes) and add them, along with salt and pepper, to the skillet. Stir and simmer while you salt the boiling water and cook the pasta.
Drain the pasta when it is tender but firm, reserving a little of the cooking water and adding it to the sauce if it appears dry (quite likely if you used fresh tomatoes). Toss the pasta with the sauce and most of the basil, along with the cheese. Mince the remaining basil, garnish the pasta with it, and serve.

Notes/Results: I loved it and thought it was a very restaurant worthy meal. The sauce had a wonderful mellow garlic flavor. Yes, I said mellow garlic flavor!! Hard to believe that 12 cloves of garlic could produce a mellow garlic flavor, right? Well, the garlic was definitely present, but was not overpowering at all. There were times when I looked down at my fork and saw two whole cloves of garlic on my fork at the same time. I was convinced that I was going to have some powerful garlic breath, but that wasn't the case at all. In addition, the sauce had a creaminess to it from the Parmesan cheese. I loved the little chewy pieces of bacon, which pleasantly found their way inside of the pasta. Bacon inside of pasta is always a good thing! Overall, this was an excellent meal and the leftovers, although short-lived, were even tastier the next day!

This is my submission for this week's Garlic Breath theme over at I Heart Cooking Clubs, where we are celebrating the recipes of Mark Bittman.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cooking with the Kids: Ellie Krieger's Crispy Chicken Fingers

We all know that kids LOVE chicken nuggets. The trouble is we don't really know what is in them, do we? I love to cook with my kids, but with my son's allergies it can be quite difficult. When I received my copy of The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger, this was the first recipe that caught my eye. The reason is simple: healthy chicken fingers that even my little guy can eat!! Pretty exciting stuff. Jackson is allergic to many things, but his allergy to eggs and flour can be the most challenging. The great thing about Ellie's chicken fingers is that she marinates the chicken in buttermilk, which makes them incredibly tender, and then coats them in crushed whole-grain cereal, like Corn Chex. Hooray for Corn Chex because it is actually one of Jackson's favorite snacks on the planet! I knew that Jackson would be thrilled to arm himself with my rolling pin and whack the heck out of the Corn Chex. Jackson specializes in destruction and this project was right up his alley! I can honestly say that he really made dust out of those corn chex. I was happy for him.

Crispy Chicken Fingers with Honey-Mustard Sauce
Recipe adapted from The Food You Crave, but also found online HERE
1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut across into 1/2" slices
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
Cooking Spray
4 cups whole-grain corn cereal such as Corn Chex or corn flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Honey-Mustard Sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Combine the chicken and buttermilk in a shallow dish, turning the chicken to coat it with the buttermilk. Cover and chill for 15 minutes. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray.
Put the cereal in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Transfer the crumbs to a shallow dish and season them with the salt and pepper. Dip each piece of chicken in the cereal to fully coat and arrage on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Leave the chicken on the baking sheets to cool slightly It will become crisper. Serve with the mustard sauce on the side.

Honey-Mustard Sauce
1/3 cup Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons Mayo
2 tablespoons honey
In a small bowl, stir together the mustard and mayo until smooth. Stir in the honey.

This is a fantastic recipe. If you have children or grandchildren who love chicken nuggets then this is a recipe you must try! My son loved crushing the corn chex and could hardly wait to try the chicken fingers. The chicken fingers were easy and I couldn't believe how tender the buttermilk had made the chicken. The Corn Chex made a wonderful crispy coating. Once again, Ellie's measurements were perfect! Everything measured out perfectly, with no wasted buttermilk marinade or wasted corn chex crumbs. I really like how Ellie's recipes are so perfectly measured out. In fact, I can't quite say enough about it! I do want to note that I adapted the recipe slightly by breading the chicken and then letting it "dry out" in the refrigerator for ten minutes. This is a trick I learned from Tyler Florence who says that this ten minute "drying out" method makes for a much crispier coating. This recipe makes about 40 chicken fingers, which is plenty to feed the whole family and still have leftovers. I highly recommend these crispy chicken fingers. They were a hit on all accounts!!

Crispy Chicken Fingers: Serves 4 - Serving Size 10 chicken fingers (You won't be able to eat them all) 262 calories, 2g fat, 35g protein, 23g carb, .5g fiber

Honey-Mustard Sauce: Serves 5 - Serving Size 2 Tablespoons
97 calories, 3g fat, 1g protein, 19g carbs

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

hogle zoo

Ella's preschool class took a field trip to Hogle Zoo the last week of school. Lynn and I both tagged along. The weather was a bit chilly, but we had a good time.

(left to right) Olivia, Sam, Ella (totally posing), Peyton, Abby, Addie, Ella B., David, Hunter and Colton. Way cute kids.

Sam, Ella and Peyton.

I love these sweet little shots.

The elephant show was interesting. There were signs everywhere announcing the new baby girl elephant.

The kids thought it was pretty cool too.

Ella and David stuck pretty close the entire adventure. They'd check out the map and head for the next exhibit.

This was my favorite little guy.

Ella said her favorite animal was the giraffe. And the little monkeys in the "stinky" place.

I'm loving that Ella's finally willing to sit, smile and let me take her photo (at least more often).

Checking out the map again. Ella carried it around with her for a couple of days after the trip. I have this exact same photo of her at Disneyland last year. She was pointing to the princess greeting area though. She knew exactly where it was.

The children all rode the carousel. We waited until after lunch to ride the train. Unfortunately it started to rain, which apparently stops the train right on the tracks. We ended up not being able to ride. All the way home, Ella kept saying, "I'm so disappointed we couldn't ride the train, I'm so disappointed." We still have our tickets, so we'll try again another time.

On the way home, I asked Ella what her favorite part of the field trip was. I don't know why I was surprised when she said, "When Miss Ginny (her teacher) gave me a pink sucker!"

Monday, May 24, 2010

No pattern paper...what the!!!

Over at scrapawhile we had our first Cyber Crop last Thursday. One of the challenges the girls proposed for the DT was to create a layout without pattern paper YIKES!! You don't really realise how much you depend on something till you can't use it. We also had to use RAW chipboard YIPEE!!, stars, no bling and pleating. Here is what I came up with, I used a transparency instead.

I was in charge of the blind challenge and used some old photos from our first trip to Hawaii for this one.

Tracey challenged us to use orange, aqua and pink , to use a flower and a large circle or frame on our layout.

Kylie asked us to use her sketch and I came up with this one.

More awesome chippie pieces from 3tails. on all my layouts, thanks for popping by.

Till next time...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Popsicle of the Week: Orange Cream

This week I decided to try my hand at a smooth and creamy popsicle, Orange Cream. Freshly squeezed orange juice and half and half are blended with sugar, sour cream, and a touch of corn syrup to create a thick and creamy orange pop. I questioned whether or not the mixture was too thick for the Zoku Quick Pop Maker, but the book showed that they had in fact used the Zoku to make this pop. I decided to go for it.

I poured the orange cream mixture in the Zoku Quick Pop Maker.

Seven minutes later, I used the special tool given to remove the popsicles from the base. You can see how well that turned out in the picture below.

The tool pulls the popsicle stick out just fine, but the popsicle remains in the base. Not really the result I was looking for! This happened one other time when I made the Rhubarb popsicles, which were also thick and creamy.

I really like my Zoku Quick Pop Maker. It's great for making juice-based popsicles and it's a lot of fun to use. However, I'm starting to think that it isn't a great idea to pour thick and creamy mixtures into the Zoku (even if they do it in the cookbook).

My frustration with the Zoku Quick Pop Maker is this: You place it into the freezer and let it freeze overnight, or at least 24 hours. Twenty four hours later, you pour your mixture in and seven minutes later, if your popsicles release from the mold, you have a freshly made popsicle. Everything is right in the world. However, if the mixture doesn't release from the mold, it is rather frustrating. In the case with these orange cream pops, the mixture was very thick. When the pops didn't unmold, I didn't want to ruin the machine by scraping the popsicles out with a spoon....SO I was forced to leave the Zoku on the counter to THAW OUT. Not only did my popsicles stick in the machine, now I cannot use the Zoku for another couple days. The Zoku will need to thaw out so that the mixture can be poured out. Then the Zoku will need to come to room temperature before it can be washed. After it is washed, it will need to be completely dry before placing back into the freezer. It normally takes the better part of a day for the Zoku to thaw out, get washed, and dry completely. Kinda frustrating, right? Not to mention that you will have to wait another 24 hours for the Zoku to freeze up AND you still have a popsicle mixture sitting on the counter.

Somewhat defeated, I resorted to my good old-fashioned popsicle molds from Tupperware. They never let me down.

Notes/Results: The orange cream pops were okay, but not our favorite. I think the half and half somewhat masked the orange flavor. We ate them, but I don't think I would make them again.

In the meantime, the Zoku is back in the freezer. I talked to the girls over at Williams-Sonoma this weekend. They are constantly having demos using the Zoku and I wanted to ask them if they ever ran into trouble with it. All of the girls praised the machine and said that none of their popsicles ever stuck to the base. Hmmmm.....could it be user error on my part? I don't really know, but I am thinking about calling the manufacturer. Would do you guys think? Should I give them a call? Maybe they can give me tips?