Hi everyone – please visit my new site @ http://www.beckiswholelife.com. Thanks for coming to take a look!
When I want to surprise my family with a dinnertime treat on Sundays (and when we have lots of extra eggs in the fridge,) I make deviled eggs. Mine are pretty traditional, but I really think they are the best this way. This is pretty much the way that my mom made them, too. They are a little bit tangy, a little bit salty and a little bit creamy – I mean, what is there to improve on?? I have made these eggs enough times that I have developed a few “best practices” over the years. So, without further ado…here are my GREATTTT tips for making deviled eggs.
1. Use the oldest eggs that you have in your fridge (FIFO for you accountants out there.) They peel the easiest.
2. Crack them all over and run water over the eggs while you are peeling them. I feel like when the water gets under the shell and into the cracks they peel a whole lot easier. Also peel them with the side of your thumb so you don’t break into the white. You have more surface area with the side (vs. the tip) and therefore a wider area of shell gets peeled at once..
3. Scoop the mixed up yolks into a ziploc bag, cut off a corner of the bag (maybe a half inch wide) and then you can pipe the yolk into the egg whites. Makes for some very pretty eggs.
4.) Martha Stewart has a great way to hard boil eggs. You can find the directions here. I always use this method and they turn out great every time.
5.) If you want to lighten up your eggs you can substitute plain greek yogurt for the mayo. You can also use lighter mayo of course. I will tell you they are still good, but you do notice the difference a bit. I hate to say it, but there is just something about using good **cough**Hellmans’ mayo in these things. There is a time and a place for Miracle Whip, but its not in eggs IMHO.
6 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayo
1 Tbs prepared mustard
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
a few splashes of hot sauce (optional)
Garnish options – Paprika, sliced green olives, dill, drumbled bacon
Split eggs in half and put yolks into a bowl
Add mayo, mustard, vingar, sugar, salt and hot sauce to yolks
Mash together with a fork until smooth
Divide mixture evenly amongst egg white halves
Sprinkle tops with garnishes of your choice.
I have a sad story that I would like to share with you. Its sad for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason is because it could have been prevented with just a little bit of foresight and restraint. Ok. Ready? Here it is.
Johnny had a job. He didn’t love it and it was by no means perfect, but it was a job nonetheless.
Johnny quit his job and on his way out the office door he burnt some bridges because he figured, hey, what the heck…I won’t see these people again and I really need to get some things off my chest.
Johnny went to look for a new job and when he found one they asked him for a reference from his old job. Johnny said, sorry, I can’t provide that, but I have some other folks that will say real nice things about me.
Johnny didn’t get the job and he cried all the way home.
So what is the moral of the story here? Easy, right? Don’t burn bridges! Make a respectable exit when you leave any position because chances are you will need someone from that job to say something nice about you one day. While many companies don’t check references these days (for various reasons) many companies will want them and chances are they will want references from your most recent companies and from people that you worked for.
So when you make your exit, do it gracefully and you might just need to let some things go. If perhaps in hindsight you realize that you didn’t make such a graceful exit, reach out to your former manager and let them know that looking back at your time there you learned a lot and had a great experience. Fall on your sword if you need to because a good reference can help lock in a job while a bad reference (or a lack of reference) can prevent you from getting an offer.
Here are a few things that will burn a bridge when you leave a job.
1) Leaving without giving notice – its unprofessional and any employer that will ask you to leave your job without giving notice is questionable.
2) Not returning property to your former employer – this can be keys, laptops, or money.
3) Slacking off and not doing your job during your notice period. There is nothing more annoying than working with someone on their way out who’s head is not in the game. That type of info very often gets back to the boss in the form of a big fat complaint.
4) Writing derogatory posts about your former employer on social networking sites. Chances are this type of info will get back to them. Don’t forget that these sites are in a public domain so even if you are super mad, its not a good idea to slam your former employer anywhere.
5) Complaining to other employees about your job/manager during your notice period. Inciting other employees when you are on your way out is a surefire way to burn some bridges. Don’t be that disgruntled person. Chances are, even if people are listening to you, they will just remember you as a complainer.
So just remember, when its your day to give notice, take the high road if at all possible and make a graceful exit. Your employer will move on and although you will probably be missed, you will most likely be replaced. As much as sometimes it feels great to unload and make them pay for all of the torment and anguish that this job may have created its still important to remember one thing. You may need them down the road more than they will need you – so don’t burn that bridge!
Photo Credit – Photobucket
The Zucchini are coming, The Zucchini are coming!!
I wonder if they had zucchini back in Paul Revere’s day? I don’t know what made me write that. I just said it once to myself and then I couldn’t stop saying it. Then I googled Paul Revere and read all about his midnight ride. Then I started to read about the Revolutionary War. Its easy to get sidetracked with Google. I never did find out if they had zucchini…oh well.
I remember while growing up my parents would always give away lots of zucchini over the summer and these things were HUGE!! Why are they so small these days…or rather, why were my parents so huge? The great thing about zucchini is that you can use it in savory dishes or sweet dishes – my favorite being zucchini bread – my mom’s.
However, a real close second over the last few years has been Zucchini Quiche. When you cook zucchini in some olive oil or butter its a great veggie for absorbing other flavors because it has a pretty mild flavor. It also has enough substance to it that it stacks up real well in something like a quiche or a lasagna. The addition of a little egg, cheese, and herbs packs lots and lots of flavor!
We had this with some smoked salmon on toast with cream cheese and it made for a great
breakfast dinnner. Enjoy!
- 3 1/2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, dried basil, dill and oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups (8 ounces) part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
- 1 pastry shell (9 inches)
- In a large skillet, saute the zucchini and onion in butter until tender; drain. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, parsley, salt, garlic powder, dill, basil, oregano and pepper. Stir in cheese and zucchini mixture. Spread mustard over pastry shell; add egg mixture.
- Cover and freeze for up to 2 months. Or bake, uncovered, at 400° for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and crust is golden brown (cover loosely with foil after 25 minutes if needed to prevent overbrowning). Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
Adapted from Taste of Home
So, lets say that today is the day that your job search begins. There can be several different reasons why you might be starting out, but whatever your reason, its a great time do some things that make yourself feel and look your best! We all know that whether you are hired or not should be based on the skills that you possess and how they match up to the role that you are interviewing for. However, lets be honest, the interviewer is assessing how you will perform in the role and fit into their team so there is nothing wrong with making a great impression and letting your interviewer know that you’ve got it all together. With that being said, doesn’t it make sense that this is a great time to not only take care of your resume, but also YOURSELF?
So here is my list – in no particular order, of five things that you can do for yourself to help land that next job…..
1) Get some exercise. Not only will it get your blood flowing and maybe take a few pounds off, but it will give you some extra confidence that can always help when you are searching and interviewing for a new job. You don’t have to go out and join a gym, but get outside and walk 30 minutes or ride that bike that has been sitting in the garage collecting dust. Exercise is a great time to clear your mind and release some of the tensions that a job search can sometimes bring on. Regular exercise also helps you to sleep better (see #5.)
2) Get your interviewing wardrobe together. Assess the outfits that you have in your wardrobe and then determine what you will need. I always say that 2-3 good interviewing outfits is what you will want to have in your closet. If you are buying a new jacket or suit, the last thing that you will want to do is have to get something tailored at the last minute before your interview. You will probably have enough stress on you without having to worry about that. Don’t forget that you can also mix and match so you could wear your black skirt for two interview days or a while blouse with two different jackets. If you don’t have a ton of money to spend on clothes take a trip down to the local consignment shops or the goodwill. You might be surprised what you find and remember – your interview wardrobe doesn’t have to be cutting edge, just professional and clean.
3) Get your hair done. First impressions mean a lot and if you show up with roots that are an inch long or hair that has grown to a point you can no longer see, then its just time. I don’t know about you, but I always go up a few confidence levels when I have a fresh “do.” This probably isn’t the best time to try something really new – you will probably want to stick with a cut and color that is tried and true. This is another area where you just don’t want to wait til the last minute because you will probably have enough to do before your big day!
4) Eat healthy and drink lots of water. When you eat healthy it not only effects your weight, but it also truly effects the way your brain functions. If you want to be sharp enough to answer whatever curveball questions then you want your brain to fire accordingly. Eating foods that have Omega-3’s such as fish or walnuts can help memory and brain function. Along this line, cut back on the alcohol – especially the night before an interview. There is no quicker way to make a bad first impression that to go into an interview smelling like a brewery! Drinking lots of water on the other hand, will help your skin look healthy and hydrated and you will feel great!
5) Get plenty of sleep. This might be a stressful time for you and there are plenty of studies to show how getting a good night sleep is one of the best ways to prevent undue stress. You will want to be sharp and on your toes in your interviews and some interviews last for several hours so its really important that you have lots of energy. Try to be consistent about when you are going to bed at night as this helps with concentration and attention.
This is a great time to take wonderful care of you because lets be honest you are selling YOURSELF! Your resume will get you in the door and quite honestly, if you have the skills they are looking for, you should be able to talk about them quite easily in the interview. So why not do all that you can to set yourself apart from your competition by taking good care of YOU!
Photo Credit – Luigi Diamante http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=879
I don’t know about your kids, but mine are ravenous when they get home from school. I am usually still working so its nice to have a snack prepared for them when they walk in the door. My Kindergartener’s lunch starts before 11 and they are only supposed to bring one item for snack so its really no wonder that they are so hungry! I also love to have snacks that I have prepared for them every once in a while, vs. them grabbing an apple or a bowl full of crackers (or yes, sometimes chips.) I don’t know why, but I have these visions of them looking back when they are older and having fond memories of the snacks I made when they got home from school. Some days that snack might be cookies or others a smoothie. Hey, I can always hope, right?
I had some bananas that I needed to use up and some strawberries that were on their last leg so I thought this would be perfect! You could probably mix up the gelatin flavor that you use and swap out the whipped cream for yogurt and I don’t think the kids would complain too much. Its definitely a nice easy treat that’s super refreshing on a hot 90+ degree North Carolina day…
Strawberry Banana Delight
1 package (.3 ounce) sugar-free strawberry gelatin
1 cup boiling water
6 ice cubes
2 medium ripe bananas, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons whipped topping
4 fresh strawberries
- In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water; cool for 10 minutes. Add enough water to ice cubes to measure 1 cup. In a blender, combine gelatin and ice mixture; cover and process for 1 minute or until ice cubes are dissolved. Add bananas; process 1-2 minutes longer or until blended.
- Pour into four dessert dishes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until set. Garnish each with 1 tablespoon whipped topping and a strawberry. Yield: 4 servings.
What you have done in the past, does not necessarily reflect what you would like to do in the future.
So, when you are writing your resume its critical to remember that you don’t necessarily have to include everything that you have done in your past if 1) its not something you want to do in the future 2) its not something that will help to sell you for your next position. While we don’t want to mislead an employer by purposely omitting information there is nothing wrong with putting the focus in the right places.
Enter, the targeted resume. So, here are a few things to sit down and do before writing (or updating) a targeted resume.
- Do a quick search for jobs that would be your ideal “target job” Don’t limit it by geography, just find about four or five good listings that match what you would like to do in your next role. They should be thorough, well written postings or they won’t work for this exercise.
- Write down everything that is listed as “Required Skills” from each posting. Just start combining all of these items into one big list. Pay attention to years of experience each skill is looking for. Although we won’t focus on it for this exercise it is very important to understand how much experience is typically required for any given skill.
- Finally, for each of the required skills start listing what you have done as it relates to that skill. List as much as you can think about for each area and get as detailed as you can.
This is a great exercise as it not only shows you how well you will match up to your “target job”, but it also provides a framework for writing your resume. Now you can start to fill in your job history with content that will not only be relevant to the hiring managers but targeted to the job YOU want. Don’t forget that the last step is a bit of a brainstorming exercise so don’t be afraid to let your thoughts flow. You might be surprised what you remember!
I ran outside last night for the first time since its gotten real warm. Ok, so there is a huge difference between running outside when its 40 degrees in the AM and when its still 80 degrees in the evening. Its not even humid yet and it was still quite a workout. Today at lunch I was back at the gym running on the treadmill and I really appreciated the fans blowing on me! I’m also going to have to figure out a better solution for running with my iPod. I can’t stand having the bands around my arm when they are bare, and I just can’t get comfortable with it anywhere. So I am going to loo around for a new carrier. It would be nice if I could find something that attaches to my waistband? Not sure, maybe that would end up being uncomfortable as well. If I do some research I will post my findings on here. I also need some new songs for my iPod. I guess I will add both to my list:-).
These green beans have become a weekend dinner staple. They are pretty southern and this is actually a Paula Deen recipe. Before I made them I didn’t think that I would like beans and potatoes together, but its really a great combo! I have used different types of fats in this from salt pork to bacon to pancetta and they all work quite well. I have also used fresh as well as frozen green beans and quite honestly, although I probably prefer the fresh, the frozen didn’t taste all that much different! I get Trader Joe’s frozen hericot verts. Enjoy these with chicken barbeque on a hot Sunday…..and don’t forget the deviled eggs and sweet tea!
3 pounds fresh green beans
1/4 pound salt pork, sliced
1/4 cup bacon grease
2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
2 to 3 teaspoons House Seasoning, recipe follows
12 small red potatoes
1 onion, cut into slivers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, sliced
Ground black pepper
Remove the ends from the beans. Snap the beans in 2 pieces, place into a colander, wash, and set aside to drain.
Meanwhile, in a large cast iron Dutch oven, lightly brown the salt pork in the bacon grease over medium heat, turning often, for approximately 10 minutes. Toss the green beans into the pot, stirring them with a wooden spoon to coat well with the pork fat. Add the broth and House Seasoning. Cook over medium-low heat, covered tightly, for approximately 30 minutes, or until the beans are half done.
While the beans are cooking, peel a center strip from each new potato with a potato peeler. At the end of 30 minutes, add the potatoes and onion to the beans; add 1/4 cup more broth, if needed. Cook, covered tightly, until the potatoes are tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes, periodically checking the pot to make sure a small amount of liquid remains. When the potatoes are tender, tilt the lid slightly, off to the side of the pot, and continue to cook until the green beans are wilted, approximately 15 minutes. While cooking, add the butter and season with pepper.
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
What could sound more fun than that title? Nutella and a Girls Night Out? Going to see Katy Perry tonight at the RBC Center, can’t wait! If you go to her site you should watch the video for “Last Friday Night.” I am not sure if she is old enough to have grown up during the 80’s or not, but it was definitely funny for me to see Debbie Gibson, Corey Feldman and Kenny G (Uncle Kenny.) Anyways, its going to be a fun concert!
So these little crescents are from one of my favorite recipe magazines, Simple and Delicious. I never add the toffee bits because I don’t always have them and quite honestly I don’t really think they are needed. I mean, does Nutella need any help – honestly? But you can add them if you like – I bet they would be really good. These are great for the kids to help put together and they are best right out of the oven!
- 1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
- 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, warmed
- 1/3 cup chocolate-covered English toffee bits
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Unroll crescent roll dough; separate into triangles. Spread each with 1 tablespoon hazelnut spread; sprinkle with toffee bits. Roll up from the wide end and place pointed side down 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Curve ends to form crescents.
- Bake at 375° for 11-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Yield: 8 servings.