While living in Washington, D.C., I launched a hobby business at the end of August 2014 on Etsy.com, an e-commerce site focused on handmade and vintage goods.
I realized that my little hobby business made me really happy—and the prospect of growing it into something bigger was really exciting. I formed an LLC in October and, by December, I decided to take the leap and build a full-fledged website which went live Friday, March 6, 2015.
Since beginning this journey last August, I have learned quite a few things…
1. Time spent doing “Business Stuff” > Time spent doing “Fun Stuff”
When I initially envisioned myself owning a business, I saw myself spending the majority of my time designing and producing my product—the “fun stuff.”
I laugh now (but happily).
In reality, most of my time is spent “running” the business.
Besides actually creating my product, I also handle all the financial and legal matters, the management of the website and social media accounts, the creation of some promotional graphics, taking photographs of the products, physically packing and shipping items sold… The list is long enough to fill up a 5-day workweek…and then some.
(I’m sure you small business owners out there are nodding like bobble heads right now.)
This is the reality of “small business”–but I like it!
2. Read up on State and Local Sales Tax, as well as Use Tax
Longer explanation not needed—just do it and make sure you collect the right amount.
3. You will spend a lot of time doing little things that nobody sees
Business is a lot like building a house. Although people won’t actually see things like framing or subfloor, you have to spend the money and time to install them–otherwise your house won’t be a well-built house!
Before the “OPEN” sign makes its debut, a lot of time is spent framing the business and completing integral tasks that customers don’t see. For example, setting up accounting software to manage sales, opening bank accounts, weighing products for shipping, etc…
Due to the nature of Wisconsin and its zip codes, I had the pleasure of manually entering 800+ zip codes into BOTH of our e-commerce platforms. It was horrific, but taking the time to enter state sales tax rates correctly was better than the alternative: being penalized by the state or paying the tax myself.
If you take the time to frame your business appropriately, business will run more smoothly once you open–and you won’t have to worry if you cut corners.
4. Even if you are small and just starting out, think about long-term growth
I purchased an accounting software and promptly outgrew it within a few months. Initially, the software was purchased because it integrated with my Etsy.com page. However, once I purchased my own website, I found they didn’t work well together.
If I had been thinking about long-term company goals versus immediate needs, I would have initially bought something that worked with more e-commerce platforms and websites. It wasn’t a huge hitch in the plan to switch accounting software, but it did eat up valuable time and a little bit of money.
5. Assign proper value to your work
When I first started out on Etsy.com, my prices were low. I was more focused on offering products at a price-point I thought conservative shoppers (or my friends) would feel comfortable paying versus proper MSRP.
I broke even in two days—so it wasn’t a disaster of a lesson to be learned—but I regret undervaluing my time and my work. If I had priced my products more fairly, I would have a) made a little bit more money and b) had more money to reinvest in my business!
Don’t undervalue your time, effort, and creativity.
Please join the discussion on Twitter. The essay above is the fourteenth in volume 2 of the cultural discussions between the writers of PJ Lifestyle and Liberty Island exploring the history of counter-cultures, the future of conservatism and the role of new, emerging counter-cultures in restoring American exceptionalism. Want to contribute? Check out the articles below, reach out, and lets brainstorm: @DaveSwindle
- Frank J. Fleming on February 26, 2015: What Is the Future of Government? Why It Won’t Look Like Star Trek
- Aaron C. Smith on February 26, 2015: What Is the Future of Superheroes? Why They Need To Start Killing Super-Villains
- Mark Ellis on February 26, 2016: What Is the Future of Gen-X Manhood? Adam Carolla Vs Chuck Palahniuk?
- David S. Bernstein on February 26, 2015: What is the Future of Fiction? You’ll Be Shocked Who’s Fighting the New Conservative Counter-Culture
- Aaron C. Smith on March 2, 2015: The House Loses: Why Season 3 of House of Cards Utterly Disappoints
- Michael Walsh on March 2: What the Left Doesn’t Get About Robert A. Heinlein
- Frank J. Fleming on March 3: 8 Frank Rules For How Not to Tweet
- Susan L.M. Goldberg on March 4: 7 Reasons Why Backstrom Is Perfect Counter-Culture Conservative TV
- Frank J. Fleming on March 5: What Is the Future of Religion?
- Aaron C. Smith on March 5: The Future of Religion: Why Judeo-Christian Values Are More Important Than Science
- Spencer Klavan on March 5: Not Religion’s Future: ISIS and the Art of Destruction
- Chris Queen on March 7: 5 Reasons Why Big Hero 6 Belongs Among The Pantheon Of Disney Classics
- Frank J. Fleming on March 11: 6 Frank Tips For Being Funny On the Internet
See the first volume of articles from 2014 and January and February 2015 below:
2014 – Starting the Discussion…
- Sarah Hoyt, March 22 2014: Interview: Adam Bellow Unveils New Media Publishing Platform Liberty Island
- David S. Bernstein, June 20 2014: What Is Liberty Island?
- Adam Bellow at National Review, June 30 2014 kicking off the discussion: Let Your Right Brain Run Free
- Dave Swindle on September 7, 2014: Why Culture Warriors Should Understand the 10 Astounding Eras of Disney Animation’s Evolution
- Dave Swindle on September 9, 2014: The 50 Greatest Counter-Culture Films of All Time, Part I
- Dave Swindle on September 19, 2014: The 50 Greatest Counter-Culture Films of All Time, Part II
- David S. Bernstein on November 19, 2014: 5 Leaders of the New Conservative Counter-Culture
- Liberty Island on November 22nd, 2014: A Unique Team of 33 Creative Writers
- Dave Swindle on November 25, 2014: 7 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Will Be My Last Day on Facebook
- Kathy Shaidle on November 25, 2014: Is America Overdue for a Satanic Revival? (Part One)
- Dave Swindle on December 2, 2014: My Growing List of 65 Read-ALL-Their-Books Authors
- Kathy Shaidle on December 3, 2014: Is America Overdue for a Satanic Revival? (Part Two)
- Mark Elllis on December 9, 2014: Ozzy Osbourne and the Conservative Tent: Is He In?
- Aaron C. Smith on December 22, 2014: The Villains You Choose
January 2015 – Volume I
- Paula Bolyard on January 1, 2015: 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Conservatives
- Susan L.M. Goldberg on January 1, 2015: The Plan to Take Back Feminism in 2015
- Kathy Shaidle on January 4, 2015: Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part One)
- Andrew Klavan on January 5, 2015: In 2015 The New Counter-Culture Needs to Be Offensive!
- Clay Waters on January 5, 2015: The Decline and Fall of Russell Brand
- Mark Ellis on January 5, 2015: How Conservatives Can Counter the Likable Liberal
- Audie Cockings on January 5, 2015: Entertainers Have Shorter Lifespans
- Aaron C. Smith on January 6, 2015: How Mario Cuomo Honestly Defined Zero-Sum Liberalism
- Stephen McDonald on January 10, 2015: Why the New Counter-Culture Should Make Strength Central to Its Identity
- Stephen McDonald on January 16, 2015: The Metaphorical War
- Kathy Shaidle on January 19, 2015: Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part Two)
- Frank J. Fleming on January 20, 2015: What if Red Dawn Happened, But It Was Islamic Terrorists Instead of Communists?
- Mark Ellis on January 21, 2015: Adam Carolla: The Quintessential Counterculture Conservative?
- Aaron C. Smith on January 29, 2015: Objection! Why TV’s The Good Wife Isn’t Good Law
- David Solway on February 2, 2015: For a Song To Be Good, Must It Tell The Truth?
- Mark Ellis on February 6, 2015: President Me: Adam Carolla Vs. the Scourge of Narcissism
- David Solway on February 6, 2015: ‘Imagine’ a World Without the Brotherhood
- Kathy Shaidle on February 9, 2015: Was Rod McKuen the Secret Godfather of Punk Rock?
- Aaron C. Smith on February 10, 2015: Kick NBC While It’s Down: Use The Williams Scandal to Set the Terms of the 2016 Debates
- Spencer Klavan on February 12, 2015: How to Apologize for Your Thought Crimes
- Kathy Shaidle on February 16, 2015: David Byrne: Creepy Liberal Hypocrite
- David P. Goldman on February 18, 2015: Understanding This Bloody Truth About the Bible Will Save Your Life
- Lisa De Pasquale on February 20, 2015: Why American Sniper Is a Much Better Love Story Than Fifty Shades of Grey
- Spencer Klavan on February 24, 2015: How Bad Ideology Destroys Good TV: Why Glee Crashed and Burned
1. De Tomaso Pantera
What do you get when you combine an Italian sports car built by an ex-racer and a Yankee Ford V8? The Pantera (and, if you’re Elvis, a new target for shooting).
De Tomaso and Ford teamed up in the early 1970s to produce a mid-engine sports car that was affordable. The project seemed like a good idea—Italian styling and American power? It could work. When the Pantera debuted, it caused a sensation; however, it soon became apparent that the product of this union was extremely unreliable.
Elvis’ Pantera refused to start one day. He shot it…
The Pantera was plagued by shoddy construction, an over-heating engine, complicated wiring, and expensive repairs. It also had a penchant for drinking oil… Ultimately, the ailing Italian-American monster was killed by the gas crisis. Ford stopped importing the car in 1975.
1. Citroën SM
In 1961, Citroën began development on a vehicle called “Project S.” By 1968, Citroën had acquired Maserati and, subsequently, all of their high-performance technology. French and Italian forces combined, resulting in the Citroën SM which contained a Maserati V6 and a Citroën suspension. The SM’s speed, power, dynamic styling, and ingenious technical features were extremely innovative for the time. The SM even set a land speed record in 1987 at the Bonneville Salt Flats!
The SM might not have been wildly popular, but it definitely deserves a place on this list.
This list is an amalgamation of the winning-est, most iconic, and most talented Formula One drivers to ever live. I purposefully left off drivers who are currently active because their history is still being written.
10. Mario Andretti
Mr. Andretti is an icon in the United States’ race world—and rightfully so. With wins in NASCAR, IndyCar, the World Sportscar Championship, and Formula One, Andretti is one of the most successful Americans in his sport.
Andretti moved from Italy to the United States when he was 15 years old. Having already been bitten by the racing bug while in Italy, Mario and his brother Aldo continued racing on dirt tracks near their home in Pennsylvania. Andretti came to F1 in 1968 and held the pole at his debut race, the 1968 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. He was active in F1 for fifteen years, eventually winning the 1978 championship. Out of 128 starts, he had 12 wins and 18 poles.
1. Ferrari 250 GTO
I admitted in my Ferrari post that this is one of my favorite cars of all time. I mean, just look at it!
This GT car was produced in two distinctly styled bodies from 1962 to 1964. The ’62 and ’63 GTOs were Sergio Scaglietti designed and produced and came to be known as “series I.” In 1964, a limited number of GTOs were produced by Scaglietti, but fitted with a body designed by Pininfarina. This styling was subsequently known as “series II.” In all, thirty-six GTOs were produced.
This car is not simply famous for its Ferrari good looks or small production numbers, but for its dominance on the track. The 250 GTO had several successes: winning the GT category at Le Mans in 1962 and 1963, winning the Nurburgring 1000 km in 1963 and 1964, and taking the Tour de France in 1963 and 1964 (just to name a few).
To many car collectors, the 250 GTO has become akin to the “Holy Grail.” In 2012, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that was specifically built for Stirling Moss reportedly sold for $35 million.
1. Ford Mustang
Where does one even start when talking about the Ford Mustang? This car has become the embodiment of America’s love affair with speed and muscle. This iconic Ford instigated the creation of the “pony car” classification of automobiles and prompted competing car manufacturers to crank out America’s other favorite muscle cars. For Ford, the Mustang was (and continues to be) a smash hit.
The first Mustang debuted at the New York World’s Fair in April of 1964. It was originally equipped with a 260-cubic-inch (4.3L) V8 but was quickly upgraded to a 289-cubic-inch (4.7L) V8 in its first year. By 1968, the Mustang was outfitted with a 302-cubic-inch (4.9L) V8. The following year, Ford released several performance packages for the Mustang including the Boss 302, Mach 1, and Boss 429. The speed and power had arrived.
1. Helene (de Rothschild) van Zuylen
Ms. Van Zuylen is a name that many people probably find unfamiliar. It is a shame because this adventurous French socialite is credited as being the first woman to compete in an international motor race.
Helene’s husband, Baron Etienne van Zuylen, was the president of the Automobile Club of France, and thus responsible for organizing the 1898 Paris-Amsterdam-Paris Trail, a 889-mile city-to-city race. Helene participated (and finished) The Trail, becoming the first woman to ever compete in an international race.
I attempted to make a list of the world’s most beautiful cars but it turned out to be way too long for any sane person to read in one article. However, during my list making, I realized that I was strongly favoring the Italians. I decided to compile a list of the most beautiful Ferraris.
Before anyone chokes on their spaghetti because I did not include their favorite Ferrari, please note that this list only includes Ferrari road cars. There are no sport prototypes/ racecars or Ferrari collaborations (i.e. Dino and Zagato). (My own favorite isn’t even included here because it is technically a racecar.) We can cover them later.
Enjoy my numerous horse puns–as well as the gorgeous cars.
It’s always a special treat when a trip to the grocery store or dentist turns into a rare car-spotting experience. A forgotten classic or exotic is seen prowling the streets or, even better, appears in the parking lot next to your car. Cue daydream starring you in that exotic car. Maybe you’re in Monaco, driving into the sunset when…
Then you see it. Your daydream starring your gorgeous, oil-drinking darling is shattered as one of the many eye-sores on wheels pulls into the parking lot. Tragedy.
Why oh why can’t everything be as glamorous as the Alfa Romeo Touring Berlinetta or as muscular as the Shelby Cobra?
Yes, sometimes the most misunderstood of car designs become iconic classics; but sometimes, they don’t. This is a list of the latter.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in February of 2013. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…
Automobiles are everywhere, so it might come as a shock to some that the culture surrounding their creation and appreciation is dying. America has a long, rich history with the automobile — to the extent that you could call it a love story. Many a man and woman have been bewitched by the thundering horses under the hood, the smell of rich leather, the pulsing power felt underfoot, and the consequential adrenaline rush from a short spin around the block. The automobile is an essential piece of the cultural fabric of America. We helped to invent it, fine-tune it, unleash it… and, in the end, we fell in love with it. Owning a car became a source of pride, as well as a symbol of success and freedom. What’s more American than the image of a green, 1940s Chevy pick-up driving down a stretch of Route 66, a tan arm resting on the rolled-down window, fingers feeling the wind? It makes you want to yell, “America!” and go drink a Coke on the 4th of July.
Unfortunately, I’m not so sure this vision is a reality anymore. The vibrant love between car and man that inspired an entire culture of auto devotees now seems to be dwindling. The gear-head enthusiasts will always motor on, I am sure, but what happened to the average American? Simple respect and appreciation for the metal beast has shifted to sheer disinterest in cars. The following is the sad, draft-obituary of America’s car culture…
“Exercise more” or “lose weight” are both popular New Year’s Resolutions. Unfortunately, sometimes our busy lives, lack of willpower, insecurities, or confusion as to where to start keep us from accomplishing exercise goals. It doesn’t need to be this difficult. You need to do as Nike says and “just do it.”
Here are 7 steps to get you started:
Step 1: Make Exercise a Priority in Your Life
Only YOU can force yourself to work out, run, play kickball–whatever you do. You need to make the conscious decision to make time in your schedule to get some activity in. Look through your calendar. Make two categories—label one MUST-DO ACTIVITIES and the other WILD CARD ACTIVITIES.
“Must-do activities” are things you have to complete that day in order to survive/avoid jail—such as, take a shower, cook dinner, pick up the kids, do laundry, or complete your taxes.
“Wild Card Activities” are things that you would like to do after the “must-dos” are done and aren’t necessarily time-dependent. Examples are: spray-paint the ugly, rusty mailbox, finish the last chapter in that funny book, watch that movie you borrowed from your neighbor, etc. Sort your activities into these two categories. For most people, “exercise” ends up in the WILD CARD ACTIVITY section. This is a no no. The key is to train your mind to view “exercise” as a “Must-do” activity–and follow through. As soon as you convince your brain that exercise is a priority, your body will follow.
Step 2: Hold Yourself Accountable
Tell your spouse, friends, kids that you are planning on making a lifestyle change. They are sure to be encouraging and might even join you! If others know about your new commitment, they will be sure to ask you about it…and you won’t be able to hide on the couch, eating chips.
- Join a work-out class or running group—having other people around you, sweating and feeling miserable (with you), will motivate you to keep going.
-Bring the family dog on that jog or roller-blade ride—he will have limitless energy and will keep you smiling through it all.
-If you really need someone to keep you in line, hire a trainer or get your fitness-guru friend to help out.
Breakfast for dinner is one of the best dinners a person can have. I made Ina Garten’s roasted asparagus and prosciutto with homemade Hollandaise sauce for dinner this week. Good ole’ eggs, meat, and veggies!
1 lb. fresh asparagus
6 large slices of prosciutto (or bacon!)
1 ½ tablespoons butter (unsalted)
3 large eggs
Ina’s Easy Hollandaise Sauce (recipe below)
Ina’s Hollandaise Sauce:
2 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
a pinch of cayenne pepper
Let me just start by saying that this is a delicious recipe—and that it might be one of my favorites so far. Now that I got THAT off of my chest, I’ll tell you how to make it.
To begin, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. I also put a sauté pan on the stove at medium heat.
I snapped the “woody end” off of the stalk of the asparagus and spread them out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Before placing them in the oven, I drizzled the asparagus with olive oil and dusted them with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Next, I prepped the bacon (I decided to use bacon since it was already in my freezer). I placed the thawed strips onto a baking sheet and placed them in the oven with the asparagus. I roasted the asparagus for 10 minutes. For the bacon, follow the baking instructions (mine was done in 10 minutes—perfect timing with the asparagus!) If you are using prosciutto, bake for 5 minutes.
You win some. You lose some. This will be the unfortunate theme for today’s recipe. (Don’t worry, I didn’t burn the house down.)
This week, I elected to make Ina Garten’s spinach with feta and pine nuts.
2 ½ tablespoons good olive oil
1 ½ cups yellow onion (chopped)
1 pound fresh baby spinach
1 ½ tablespoons toasted pine nuts
½ cup feta (diced)
1 lemon (1 ½ tablespoons juice)
kosher salt (1 ½ teaspoons)
black pepper (1 teaspoon)
I chose to halve the recipe because a) this type of dish doesn’t keep well and b) I didn’t want to eat 1 lb. of spinach by myself.
First, I heated the olive oil in a sauté pan and added the onion. I cooked the onion over medium heat until it was tender (about 8 to 10 minutes). Next, I added the lemon juice (about 1 ½ tablespoons if you are making the full recipe) and the spinach. I used tongs to turn the spinach in the pan until it was slightly wilted. Then, I topped the spinach with a bit of lemon zest and removed the pan from the heat.
Now, here is where the problem started. “Frailty, thy name is Salt.”
Ina says to mix in 1 ½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, the Feta cheese, and pine nuts after the pan has been removed from the heat. I halved these amounts because I was making half the recipe. Unfortunately, even with half the salt, the dish was too salty. When I attempted to choke down the final result, I felt like I was reenacting James Bond in Casino Royale after Le Chiffre poisons him and he is forced to drink salt to vomit… It was that bad. Way too much salt!!
This recipe is good in theory—it is very simple to make and the lemon is a nice touch–however, the proportions for the ingredients are a bit off. I suggest starting out with ½ teaspoon of salt in your dish and going from there. Don’t forget that Feta in itself is quite salty!
I hope you all have better luck than I did with this recipe. If you manage to get the proportions correct, let me know! I will try to make this one again in the future—but with less salt.
Love you, Ina. This time, it just didn’t work out.
Kiev in in flames and Caracas is rioting.
Here are some pictures from protests happening around the world via Instagram.
Change is in the air.
The U.S.A. (the well-established, dominant power in speedskating) has had an abysmal performance at the Olympics this year. Big names like Shani Davis and Heather Richardson haven’t held fists full of medals as predicted. So far, they haven’t even been close. A piece in The New York Times (as well as several other news sources) are reporting that the equipment was possibly to blame. The victim? The U.S. speedskating team’s racing suits. (Of course, it must be the equipment’s fault…)
At the games, the U.S. team debuted state-of-the-art skin suits made by Under Armour and Lockheed Martin. The suit was called the Mach 39 and was crafted in a wind tunnel. It was cutting edge.
Athletes and coaches decided not to unveil the suits prior to the Olympics because they didn’t want anyone to steal the technology. Ah, ze secret veapon!
Suits worn but no medals.
It is whispered that the suits must have been defective…
Nope. Stop blaming the suits–and here’s why…
Sometimes, the decision to make (or not to make) a recipe comes down to cook time. Will I be slaving over this meal for hours or will I be able to eat within 30 minutes?
I wanted an easy recipe this week—less cook time and fewer dirty dishes—as well as a dish that reheated well for lunches and dinners throughout the week. Thankfully, Ina Garten’s cookbook had me covered. This week, I made Ina’s orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage.
½ pound sweet Italian pork sausages
½ pound hot Italian pork sausages
1/3 cup good olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 (14.5 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes
½ cup dry red wine
¼ cup tomato paste
1 pound dried orecchiette pasta (I used radiatore)
2 bunches broccoli rabe (2 to 2 ½ pounds total) (variation: use broccolini)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in October of 2013. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists of 2013. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…
I was what every freshman girl in college was: new, bright-eyed, and looking for friends. Although my campus was small (2,100 people total), I wanted to find my niche. I decided to go through the sorority-recruitment process in order to meet other girls on campus and, hopefully, find a home away from home. Although recruitment season usually indicates long days, sleepless nights, and over-caffeinated, stressed-out girls, this process does teach life lessons–such as how to be strong in an interview or a good conversationalist.
I know this last sentence sounds preposterous. How could going through the process of recruitment or “rush” to join a “house” of women on a college campus prepare anyone for life? Or a job interview? Or how to carry on a conversation?
Hear me out.
Having a bad day? Need something to make you smile or chuckle? Love animals?
Instagram has become my new source for “cuteness.” Here are some of the cutest “must-follow” animals on Instagram. Check them out and enjoy!
1. Biddy the Hedgehog
Instagram Account Name: biddythehedgehog
Watch Biddy explore the world, take a bubble bath, or run his hilarious little hedgehog butt through leaves and grass. I really want a hedgehog now…
Editor’s Note: Spend your Valentine’s Day with Frank Underwood! Catch up on Netflix’s House of Cards with this collection of articles Washington D.C.-based Becky Graebner wrote analyzing the first season, concluding with her predictions of the highly-anticipated season 2 that becomes available on February 14.
Here’s a table of contents for the nine articles Becky wrote last summer and her season 2 preview from January; jump to the ones that interest you or just dive in from the beginning in this 9000-word collection:
Part 4: Why We Love to Hate Politicians
Part 5: Can Evil Sometimes Be Good?
Part 6: A Cast of Master Obfuscators
Valentine’s Day is coming up which means some of you may be running around trying to decide what to do for the occasion. If you’re staying in and cooking, here are three, simple dessert sauces that can pair easily with things already in your kitchen. Sometimes, a simple and classic dessert is the best dessert. Spend less time cooking and more time with the people you love!
All of these recipes an be found in my favorite, handy-dandy sauce cookbook, The Top 100 Quick and Easy Sauces.
1. The Classic: Chocolate Fudge Sauce
heaped 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
heaped 1/2 cup sugar
2 oz. good-quality semi-sweet chocolate (broken into squares)
4 tbsp. butter (diced)
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
vanilla extract (a few drops)
4 tbsp. light cream
Grab a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the sugars, chocolate, butter, and corn syrup. Heat the mixture slowly until it is smooth. Stir continuously.
Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer over low heat for five minutes. Stir continuously.
Remove from heat.
Add the vanilla extract and cream. Mix well.
How to serve: pour this over ice cream, sliced fruit (strawberries), or baked goods (hello, double chocolate brownies!) Add some pink, red, and white jimmies for decoration.
I was in Naples, Florida last week and was introduced to a local gem—a restaurant called Greek Gourmet. Their food was great, and their tzatziki sauce was to die for. I knew Ina had an “Easy Tzatziki” recipe in her “Foolproof” cookbook and I planned to see how she stacked up to my new favorite restaurant in Naples… (Spoiler Alert: It makes the cut.)
2 (7-ounce) containers of Greek yogurt
1 hothouse cucumber
¼ cup of sour cream
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (I think this is too much–start with 1 teaspoon and go from there.)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(No oven to preheat this time!)
I placed the yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, garlic, and pepper into a bowl. I only added in 1½ teaspoons of salt. (Start with 1 teaspoon and add more to taste.)
Next, I grated a large cucumber into a separate bowl. In the process of grating my cucumber, my mind decided to check out and I succeeded in grating part of my finger. This was my first kitchen injury… maybe the Greek gods don’t like me? (The cut made dealing with lemon and garlic a little tricky.)
The next step in the recipe is to pull the cucumber “guts” out of the bowl, ringing out most of the liquid, and then adding it to the bowl with the other ingredients. I wasn’t about to put my maimed finger in a bowl of grated cucumber, so I created a “press” with a large slatted spoon. If you aren’t privy to getting your hands dirty, or if you also grate part of your hand, use a slatted spoon so scoop out the cucumber pulp and then press the “guts” with another spoon, pushing the liquid out.
After pressing out all the liquid, I mixed up the ingredients into a thick sauce.
Ina suggests serving the tzatziki with olives, feta, and toasted pita breads (you can also use pita chips if you don’t want to toast your own pita breads). By the way, is it “kitchen legal” to eat this sauce with just a spoon when I run out of pita breads? Just wondering… it’s that good.
For some reason, whenever I enter the produce section of a grocery store I am afflicted with temporary amnesia. I forget what veggies and fruit I have at home and I tend to duplicate what I already have in my fridge. “It’s ok…I’ll use it up…”
I am notorious for serial buying onions. Onions do tend to last forever, but this week I really wanted to get rid of at least one sulking in the back of my refrigerator. (What one person needs three onions?) I decided to consult my magical book of sauces.
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped (red or yellow)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups milk
freshly ground black pepper
Knife (for chopping)
- Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in the saucepan.
- Add in the onion and fry for 10-15 minutes (or until soft). Remove pan from heat and set aside.
- In the second saucepan, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter.
- Add the flour and cook for 1 minute while stirring.
- Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk.
- Return the saucepan to the heat and bring to a boil. Stir/whisk until sauce thick and smooth.
- Simmer sauce for 2-3 minutes and stir continuously.
- Add the fried onion.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
This recipe suggests pairing this sauce with roast chicken, baked ham, broiled haddock, or monkfish.
Yum yum yum! Enjoy! (and hooray for one less onion!)
1. The players were puppies.
2. There was no crying in the stands after plays
3. Kittens! (one even used a parachute)
4. You didn’t cringe after the ball was snapped…
5. You stayed awake.
I usually shy away from meatloaf. A. It is called “Meat-loaf”…it just doesn’t sound appetizing. B. The shape…it is meat trying to masquerade as banana bread. C. Meatloaf seems to be one of those dishes that is either REALLY good or REALLY bad.
Despite my misgivings about meatloaf, I decided to try Ina Garten’s “1770 House Meatloaf” recipe that is featured in her cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. This recipe isn’t a Barefoot Contessa original. It actually comes from one of Ina’s favorite restaurants, the 1770 House, in East Hampton, New York.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped Spanish onion (I used 1 large white onion)
1 ½ cups diced celery
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons kosher salt (I used only 1 tablespoon since I had less meat)
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 ½ cups panko
I edited this recipe (as usual). For starters, I only purchased 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of ground pork. (The meatloaf was PLENTY big with only 2/3s the meat). I also went without chives (a no-go at the store), substituted regular milk for the whole milk, and halved the amount of salt (only 1 tablespoon). If I had had them in my fridge, I would have mixed in carrots and bell peppers too. (I love veggies).