Thursday, February 3, 2022

Calphalon vs Circulon Bakeware: Best Nonstick Muffin Pan

When it came time to replace my muffin pan, I just couldn't narrow it down to one and so I ended up buying two different brands; Calphalon and Circulon.

The judging criteria really came down to four features, in order of importance: nonstick ability, quality & features, warranty, and price.

  • First batch (Cinnamon Bran) came out with three turns of the pan.  Second and third batch (Choco-Nut Bran and Huckleberry Bran) came out after holding the pan upside down and shaking a bit.  There was some residue on the pan which doesn't wipe away easily but washes off easily.  This means that you need to wash the pan in between batches of muffins.
  • This pan is beautiful and matte in appearance.  It is heavy duty and very sturdy.
  • Simply Calphalon's warranty is for 10 years, as long as you follow the company's use and care directions.  I have filed a successful claim with Calphalon fry pans so I know that the company honors their guarantees.
  • At $24.99 this a pretty pricey muffin pan.
  • Nonstick ability: First batch (Cinnamon Bran) come out with one turn of the pan.  Second and third batch (Choco-Nut and Huckleberry Bran) came out after holding the pan upside down and shaking a bit.  There was some residue on the pan with all batches which wiped away easily.  This means that you can quickly wipe the pan and continue baking another batch without having to hand wash in between batches.
  • This pan is beautiful and shiny in appearance.  It is very smooth though not as sturdy as the Simply Calphalon.  It does have a dedicated holding lip for taking in and out of the oven easily.
  • As long as you follow the company's use and care directions, this muffin pan falls under Circulon's lifetime guarantee.  Though it is worth noting that "wear and tear" is one of the warranty's exclusions.  Calphalon's warranty covers wear and tear so I would be wary that Circulon might claim that a muffin pan loosing its nonstick ability falls under "wear and tear".  I called the Circulon company for more details on how long the nonstick feature is supposed to last and she said 15-20 years.  But she also said that they evaluate claims on a case by case basis and that these claims need to have pictures as proof.
  • At $14.99 this is a pretty reasonable price.  And I have seen Circulon going on sale more frequently than Calphalon.
So which one would I recommend?

Right now I would recommend Circulon because it is more nonstick than Calphalon and you can simply wipe it between batches.  It also has that grip lip on the side which is convenient.  It is also way cheaper than Calphalon.  

However, this recommendation is done with reservations because I do not know how this Circulon muffin pan will hold up over time (it seems a little less durable than the Calphalon pan) and I have fears that Circulon would find a loop-hole to their warranty if I ever need to file a claim.  But here's to hopeful optimism and a fatter wallet!

Note:  These two different brands of pans do not nest together, so you probably want to choose two of the same brand so that you can nest them together for better storage.  Also, I did not end up purchasing either of these, but I do think that Wilton and Farberware brands have muffin pans that look like they would really deliver on the nonstick feature.

What about you?  Do you have a great nonstick muffin pan that you just love?  Please comment below.

Bonus Recipe:  Here's a image from the back of Hodgson's Bran, which is my favorite muffin recipe.  I do all kinds of add-ons with it; sprinkled spiced sugar, grated apples, berries, chocolate, etc.  I usually double it and store the extra batch in the fridge for quick future muffins.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Putting Calphalon's Lifetime Warranty to the Test

One of the selling factors for me to buy the Calphalon's Contemporary Nonstick fry pan set from Bed Bath and Beyond was that Calphalon advertised a lifetime warranty.

After years of regular use, the nonstick ability of my pans was mostly gone.  So I decided to test out Calphalon's life warranty.

Does Calphalon warranty work 

I filed a claim online and am happy to report that my replacement pans came in about 75 days.  They sent me an upgrade because they are no longer making the Contemporary line.

There was a lot of emailing back and forth and either Calphalon or FedEx made a mistake with the first shipment, so another one had to be ordered.  

Calphalon did not require me to return the original pans but I did have to take many pictures of each item.  Do not throw away your old pans without submitting those photos.

Here are a couple tips:

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Does Bissell Honor Their Warranty?

I have previously waxed poetic about our old Bissell Powerforce vacuum which is sadly no more.  I sent hubby off to buy the exact thing but he came back with a bagless version called Powerforce Helix.  It worked great, then the cord winder thing snapped off and then it just died this past month.  I'm telling you, people.  There is no school like the old school.  Companies just don't make things like they used to.

I started researching new vacuums to buy and ended up calling Bissell's commercial center because I figured a commercial vacuum would be better than a typical household vacuum.  I learned from the associate some interesting tidbits.  It is better to buy a household vacuum with a long warranty than a commercial vacuum because commercial vacuums are considered even more disposable than household vacuums AND their warranties typically are for one year only.  So then I called the regular Bissell company (1-800-237-7691) and expressed my frustration that my vacuum had died.  Here is what happened.

They asked if they could refer me to one of their repair centers.  I responded that I would rather buy a new vacuum and could he transfer me to someone who could help me decide which model to choose.  At which point he informed me that my vacuum was still under warranty and they were going to send me a new one.

It came.

Bissell honors their warranty
Our new Bissell vacuum already put to work.

It came within a week.  I didn't have to send the old vacuum back.  I didn't have to pay to ship the new one.  All I had to provide was a picture of our broken vacuum.  Honestly, I was shocked.  I just assumed that my warranty was fluff that the company would try to weasel their way out of it and didn't even attempt to go the warranty route.  But the Bissell associate wanted to make things right and honor the warranty.

Isn't that cool?  Bissell actually stands by their warranties.  This whole experience sealed the deal.  I'll probably be a Bissell customer for life.  What a refreshing experience!

NOTE:  I had gone online and filled out registered my warranty with Bissell at the time of purchase last year.  Always fill out and submit those warranty registrations because companies apparently actually keep them on file!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

All the Silver Dollar City Skillets in One Place!

Do you love Silver Dollar City skillets as much as I do?  Then you have come to the right place.  Silver Dollar City lists the ingredients of the food they sell on their website.  But I wanted all the info about their skillets in one place so I could recreate their tasty skillets.  So here you go!  I actually printed this out and taped it to my Cajun seasoning container so I can have it where I need it most.

Silver Dollar City Skillets:

Medley: Red potatoes, onions, red & green peppers, corn, smoked sausage.

Calico:  White & sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, smoked sausage.

Harvest:  Carrots, red potatoes, green & yellow string beans, ham.

Jambalaya:  Onions, red & green peppers, celery, tomatoes, rice, bacon, sausage, chicken

Family Feud Succotash:  Onions, peppers, summer squash, fried okra, corn, chicken

Southwest Chicken: Black beans, chickpeas corn, rice, chicken, pepper-jack cheese, enchilada sauce, cilantro

Fajita Skillet:  Red potatoes, onions, red & green peppers, onions, grilled chicken, chipotle lime sauce

Pulled Pork Skillet:  Bacon (remove and reserve and cook everything in the fat), potatoes, onions, pulled pork, BBQ Sauce

How to Cook Silver Dollar City Skillets:

Cooking skillet or hash meals like this is kind of like cooking Asian stirfry, with only longer cooking times.  

1. Prep all your ingredients into bite-size pieces.

2.  Heat skillet to piping hot (medium-high).

3.  Add in oil/fat and then cook veggies one by one with splashes of oil/fat.  I listed the ingredients in each recipe above in the order that I think they should be cooked.  I listed the meats at the end because I generally cook with pre-cooked meats and you don't want the meats to dry out.  If you are cooking meats raw, then you want to cook them first in oil and remove & reserve them for the end.

4.  Season liberally with 1-3 tsp cajun seasoning throughout the cooking process.

What Seasoning Does Silver Dollar City Use?

After skimming a few recipe discussion boards and threads on forums, I can "hearsay" report that they currently use Black Kettle Seasoning (Silver Dollar City sells it at Sullivan's Mill, I think), although some of the restaurants may also use Tony Sacheres Creole Seasoning.  Each restaurant in Silver Dollar City runs itself, so they don't all follow the same mold.  

If you don't want to go through the back and forth ordering process of Black Kettle, then I recommend you go with Tony Sacheres Lite, Ragin Cajun, or Penzey's Cajun.  Or just do a sprinkling of seasoning salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika.

Want More Silver Dollar City Recipes?

Yeah, me too!  The Food Channel actually did a recipe series, courtesy of the Culinary School at Silver Dollar City.

Do you have any Silver Dollar City food secrets?  Please comment and share below.  Also, you are welcome to print this out and tape it on your seasoning bottle.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

2021 Gift Guide

Best Kitchen Gadget ChopperAlligator Chopper  The key to choppers is how they handle onions.  If you want a crisp clean cut like the one below, the Alligator is the best.  And this brand has a special built-in grid that makes clean-up so much easier than other brands out there.  The Alligator Chopper is my go-to for dicing onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis, mushrooms, and even carrots.  You can use the Alligator Chipper for big half-inch pieces like potatoes/apples.  Use the Alligator Mini for finely dicing/mincing hot peppers and garlic.  But if you are choosing just one from their line-up, hands down the best one is the classic Alligator Chopper.  It is sold on Amazon too.

Best Yogurt Maker: If you love yogurt, then you have got to invest in the Probiotic Maker (previously know as the EZ Yogurt Maker).  I have waxed poetic about them many times!  Seriously the easiest and fastest way to make yogurt over and over again with zero prep and zero clean-up.

Best Teenage Gift:  One of the best gifts I ever gave my teenager was a t-shirt bought on Amazon that featured his favorite childhood Pixar movies.  It was about $20 and I was worried he wouldn't like it, but he loved it AND gets compliments from his peers when he wear it. Take the idea and run with it.

Best Gardening Gift:  After having gardened for many years, I think a gift card to Baker Creek's Rare Seed collection or Victory Seeds is a stellar choice.  And for those gardeners who also like to compost, a worm bin like Worm Factory or Worm Cafe is a great baby step into worm composting, which is vital for understanding how soil is rejuvenated.

Best Gift for Bakers:  I love baking and have a few tools that just make baking so much easier.  Like parchment paper with fun designs, good quality bench scraper/dough cutter, and also Vollrath disher scoops!

Best DVD to bring in the New Year: Gotta love the Bachelor Mother with Ginger Rogers and David Niven.

Let's make 2021 great! Have a favorite gift idea?  Comment below! :)