How to Handle a Dissatisfied Customer

Customer service Most everyone who has worked in customer service can relate to this photo; a dissatisfied client or customer has contacted you with the problems x,y, or z and you are now responsible for rectifying the situation. While it is true that some clients may feel very heated, shall we say, there is an approach that will be more likely to not only neutralize tension, but benefit your relationship with the client.

Click here to view my infographic on successfully handling these clients

5 Reasons You Need a Food Dehydrator

5 Reasons You Need a Food Dehydrator

Tiffany Magennis

Image provided by Urban Homemaker
Image provided by Urban Homemaker

Most everyone wants to be healthy. However, it’s easy to be deterred by the high prices of healthful dehydrated foods can leave a bad taste in your mouth.  So then, what is the health conscious person to do when feeling a bit peckish, but not wanting to stray from their diet, or budget?

Enter the mysterious food dehydrator. Many people who think of dehydrated food have images of astronauts opening pouches of dinner, or jerky hanging in a store room fit for a horror movie.

How would you use this thing, anyway?

The real life story of the food dehydrator is far closer to home than is given credit for, and incredibly useful for more than homemade jerky, which raises the first point of why everyone should own one.

1) The Food Dehydrator is a Multitasking Tool

The food dehydrator is a machine which uses low temperatures to slowly dehydrate its contents, which makes it an excellent candidate for gentle cooking.  For example, if you need to gently heat a delicate sauce, it can be placed into the food dehydrator and have zero risk of scalding. Better yet, the cook doesn’t even need to watch the sauce while it is being warmed! If you practice the raw food diet, the food dehydrator will be a vessel for placing your raw cookies, bars, or chips while still being true to your lifestyle.

2) You Will Be Encouraged to Eat More Healthfully

It’s hard to deny that living a healthier lifestyle would be far easier with whole, ready-made snacks on hand.  A few of these snacks are fruit and vegetable chips (think potato chips without the oils or preservatives), fruit leathers, and fruit gummies. Kale chips in particular have become a recent food trend, and are easily made in a food dehydrator in any spices you choose. Better yet, have the kids help you make new combinations and flavors!

3) Increase Storage Life of Food 

Since the water is reduced in dehydrated fruits and vegetables, their shelf life is greatly expanded. Less water means less opportunity for rot, which in turn means less waste. Gardeners in particular benefit from food dehydrators, since they can preserve their food at its prime, and then re-hydrate them if desired. This can also be applied to herbs! To rehydrate dried food, all that needs to be done is add twice as much water than dehydrated fruits/vegetables and wait.   After the food is hydrated, it is ready for cooking.

4) Crafts 

This is a lesser known use for the food dehydrator that relates to the multitasking point above. Flowers can be dried to perfect specimens for scrapbooks or wall decoration by setting the food dehydrator on a low temperature. Potpourri can be made using the same method, and has the benefit of being customized to your preference of scents. Paper can also be made in the food dehydrator by combining paper pulp and/or flowers and spreading the mixture onto thin sheets.  This may take some time because of the low temperature, but the result is having handmade paper!

Dehydrated flowers can make tea
Dehydrated flowers can make tea

5) Jerky

Make your own, however you want it, for a fraction of the store bought price. Spicy, savory, umami, or sweet, in any type of meat, you are the master and commander of your jerky.

photo provided by
Oh yes

Review of Robin’s Nest Restaurant

The Robin’s Nest: a Hidden Jewel in Mt. Holly

Tiffany Magennis

            To the passerby, Robin’s Nest seems a quaint, but unassuming little building on the corner of downtown Mt. Holly.  Walking into the doorway, however, customers are greeted by a bounty of sweets in a large glass case and thoughtfully laid out shabby chic décor. During my visit, my husband and I were greeted by our smiling hostess, who seated us promptly on the spacious outdoor deck overseeing a rivulet from Rancocas creek. The deck had a relaxed cottage feel, with string lights, umbrellas, and sizeable outdoor bar with seating. I grabbed the opportunity to sample one of the specialty drinks, a Rice Pudding martini, and ordered an appetizer of truffle oil French fries.  The martini was potent and tasted exactly like rice pudding, while the fries were heavenly, albeit a tad greasy with additional oil.

            With appetites whetted from the truffle oil fries, we quickly ordered entrees, a Thai chicken salad and Mahi Mahi fish tacos. Service was moderately paced, which fit the comfortable atmosphere, and our glasses were never empty. When the entrees arrived, we were pleasantly surprised with the crispness of greens in our food and well-proportioned servings.  The tacos were full of fresh, meaty fish and perfectly seasoned; the salad was bursting with vibrant ingredients and had only enough dressing to retain the bounciness of the greens after use. In terms of seasoning, the Thai chicken salad did require some salt, but was otherwise full of flavor.  On the other hand, the tacos needed nothing except the occasional napkin to prevent dripping sauce.

Robin’s Nest is a hidden gem in the Mt. Holly area, and a perfect to spend time with your brood for a satisfying experience in a casual setting. On a five star rating, it would earn four stars, lacking the fifth for servers being a bit too paced and the food somewhat pricey.  However, the atmosphere, unique food, and quirkiness make Robin’s Nest well worth a frequent migration.

What is a Cat Cafe?

What is a Cat Cafe?

cat cafe
Cat mocha by Tzejen CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

What is a cat cafe? If this is your first time hearing this term, images evoked may seem confusing and unappealing. Why would cats have anything to do with a café? Twenty-four year old Kanchan Singh, owner of the newly opened cat cafe Crumbs and Whiskers in Washington, D.C., simply explains the cat cafe business as a place to have friends, coffee, and an opportunity to bond and play with adoptable cats for a small fee.

Crumbs and Whiskers is opening June 2015, and Kanchan has partnered with the local humane society to provide feline companions to her business. As for food health regulation concerns, Kanchan has joined forces with a bakery across the street, so no baked goods are made on the premises. In the video below, Kanchan describes her inspiration and process of opening her cat cafe.

The success is simple: people love cats, edibles, and knowing that they are supporting an ethical cause. Aside from bringing happiness to patrons, the cat cafe is a vessel for the dignified adoption of cats. These cafe kitties are never caged, and are more socialized than their counterparts in a traditional adoption center, making them excellent candidates for a forever home.

Are There More Cat Cafes? Will There Be More?

Crumbs and Whiskers is not the only cat cafe in business. The trend first emerged in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998 as a tourist attraction and place of relaxation. Word traveled to Japan, where the internet then made cat cafes a viral phenomenon. Though the current number of cat cafe locations in the USA is few, their positive reception is bound to promote growth. At it’s current rate, we may expect to see a dramatic increase in awareness of ethical treatment of cats and adoption, one latte at a time.

cat cafe
DSC_0162 by Cocoa Dream CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Let us know in the comments below: are you just dying for a cat cafe to open up in your neighborhood? Or, could you live without one?