How to Wake Up on the Right Side of Bed Every Morning

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What is the first thing you do after you wake up in the morning?

Do you grab your phone before you even get out of bed? Perhaps you put on the coffee and then plop down at your computer to scroll through your emails and the news? Maybe you lie in bed mulling over your to-do list for the day – or your didn’t-get-done list from yesterday.

“I Can Quit Anytime.”

If the first five minute of your day involves staring at a screen, you’re far from alone. A 2015 study published in Medical Daily reports that 35 percent of people think about their smartphone as soon as they wake up, before anything else. Before their partners. Before the bathroom. Before coffee.

Start Your Day with Waking Dreams

Imagine waking up a different way. Imagine connecting with your personal intention for the day before you connect with social media. Imagine starting your day with beauty, philosophy, art, or laughter. Let go of the leash and trade technology for something inspiring. Take back your first five minutes, and change the way you wake up in the morning.

If you’re used to sleeping with your phone at arm’s reach, it can be difficult to break the habit. Don’t go cold turkey – just put your phone on your dresser instead of your nightstand. It will still be accessible in case of emergency, but out of your immediate range.

Give Yourself Five Minutes First

Wake up in the morning and for the first five minutes, don’t check your email. Don’t scroll through social media. Don’t start frantically thinking about everything you need to do – and for God’s sake, don’t read the news. Yes, go to the bathroom and yes, put the coffee on. And put the dogs out if they won’t wait (they won’t).

But before you further engage with the outside world, take a few minutes to connect with yourself. Try these ideas and wake up in the morning with the right mind. For some, you don’t even have to get out of bed – just don’t fall back asleep!

So Much Better Than Your Smartphone:

  • Count your blessings, literally. Think about everything you are grateful, from the small ones (it’s Friday!) to the big ones (roof over your head).
  • Browse through one of your favorite art books, and try to see something new about the imagery that you love.
  • Spend five minutes reading a book of poetry or philosophy.
  • Step outside, and soak up everything that your five senses are telling you.
  • What word or phrase would you like to describe the coming day? Meditate on your new mantra for the day.
  • Give yourself an internal pep talk, and tell yourself all the positive, uplifting things that you would say to a 10-year-old who was in need of encouragement.
  • Sing a song to your children or dogs. Make a new one up each day or sing Metallica – it doesn’t matter.
  • Sip your coffee or tea – and do nothing else but experience the present moment.
  • Take a moment to forgive yourself from the mistakes of yesterday. Are you silently scolding yourself for doing or not doing something? All is forgiven. Say it.
  • Scroll through some photos of a favorite vacation or holiday.
  • Do a little dance around your living room. This one’s best for morning people.
  • List the top ten things you are looking forward to about the day.
  • Indulge in wake-up cuddle time with your kids or pets.
  • Sit on the floor beside your bed and meditate for five minutes.
  • Visualize yourself reaching your short-term or long-term goals. Paint a mental picture of where you want to be – running your own business, married with six kids, or on top of the Great Wall of China.

Give five minutes to yourself, your dreams, and your state of mind first – and then roll on with the rest of your day. You’ll carry your first five minutes with you. Diet can also be an important part of your sleep regime. Check out safe and healthy life for other dietary strategies for improving your sleep.

Unlock The Power Of Online Sales By Selling Coffee Machine

coffee makerYou will need to be patient when starting your online coffee machine business. Without the right amount of time and effort, your business will fail. Available herein certainly are a few brilliant techniques and concepts which can assist you in boosting your business.

One of the very best methods to showcase and promote the brand of your company is through your website. For visitors, your website is certainly the face of your company online, so make sure to create a right theme. Keep that same theme running throughout the entirety of your website. You will undermine your brand message if you allow inconsistencies to appear on your website; this inevitably leads to lost sales.

Finding new customers is a lot more costly than keeping old ones, which means pleasing customers is definitely the best way to increase profits. Giving the best support and satisfaction during transactions is your greatest asset in maintaining long-standing relationships with customers. Customers are delighted when they’re offered discounts, free shipping or free gifts along with their purchases. Just ensure that the perks and promotions you offer are better than anything your customers can get from your rivals.

When you use upselling, you will be in a position to move an increased number of your coffee machine and services. Supplementary services or complementary coffee machine are both likely to be chosen by your customers if your upselling is persuasive. Upselling is a great promotional approach and can help you to have repeat customers. Customers will be turned off if you’re too pushy, so make sure to use some restraint.

To be successful, an on-line store needs a steady influx of new customers. Gaining new customers is really the result of having a maintained website that stays current. Keep track of the activity happening on your website with traffic analysis tools. Using the right tools will help you to make the right business decisions.

The overall some part of existing electronic business markets are outfitted towards individuals who’re neighborhood English speakers. They represent the largest customer base, so focusing on them first is an excellent idea. If you’re successful in building a customer base among the English-speaking community, you can then put some effort toward gaining a foothold with customers who speak other languages. Make use of a budget to allocate resources towards English-speaking and non-English speaking advertising.

For a business to thrive, it needs to establish a strong base of repeat customers. A website with visual appeal and that is not hard to use is much more likely to get you repeat customers. Things that have been created to remind your customers that you will always be available to them, such as email newsletters, certainly are a great tactic to persuade customers to return for business. Regular promotions, that occur every month, can help produce a sense of loyalty to your brand and help with overall sales.

How to Find Great Recipes on Pinterest

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pinterest logoWe have been using Pinterest now for about two years to find awesome recipe ideas and kitchen guides and we talk about it all the time on the blog. But, many of our readers right in fused about interest and how to use it so we thought it would be a good idea give a quick step-by-step guide on how to sign up for an account so you can start finding great recipes today!

Register for your account

It used to be that you needed an invite to join Pinterest, but now anybody can sign up that means no more waiting and you can start finding great recipes right away.

Signing up is as easy as going to Pinterest.com and clicking the sign up button to start your account.

Create your profile

When creating your profile interest gives you the opportunity to link together social accounts you arty have. It’s best to stick with a consistent username if you already have one on other accounts. This way, when someone goes to find you, they will know they are following the right person.

Make sure your settings are correct

pinterest recipes and kitchen reviewsAfter you receive your activation email and activate your account, the first thing we recommend doing is setting up your email settings. Luckily, all of these are pretty straightforward. When you first start using Pinterest, it’s a good idea to keep all of these notifications turned on. It’s the best way to see who is interacting with your board, who is liking what you pin, and other important alerts.

Finding great recipes

Once you’re all signed up and have your settings, it’s super easy to start finding great recipes. Just use the search box just search for what you are trying to cook, and you will have an endless by recipes to choose from

Cleaning Your House Naturally and Other Tips

kitchen tipsOf any room in my house, the room that needs to be cleaned most often is definitely the kitchen simply because I use it the most. Probably more than I’m in my actual bedroom. What makes it so difficult is that there are all types of surfaces, and because the come in contact with all sorts of bacteria from our food. In addition, if these surfaces aren’t cleaner, it can be harmful because of cross-contamination and food-borne illnesses.

So in this post, I’ll be giving you guys my best tips for cleaning the kitchen naturally in no time. If you feel like I missed anything, please make sure to let me know in the comments. This is a new kind of post for us and a departure from our kitchen appliance reviews and guides, so if you like it please let us know in the comments.

Counters and Eating Surfaces

For these, I generally default to all purpose cleaners. It works wonders on most surfaces. It can even work on more exotic surfaces like marble and it doesn’t discolor or stain it. I have used cleaners that are specially made for cleaning marble, but I have found them to contain some of the worst chemical so I don’t reccomend them. Even though you might be tempted, when it comes to marble, please don’t use acidic cleaners like lemon with vinegar as it can really damage the surface.

Floors and Cabinets

Floors can be tricky to clean. It seems like each type of floor, wether it is wood or tile has a special way it needs to be cleaned. For example, for laminate floors you can use a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and some water, and using a mop it is really easy to clean things very well.

Again, you can use all-purpose cleaner to pretreat stains before going at it with a tougher solution.

When dealing with things like tile and grout that runs between them, I like to use baking soda first, and then spray it with a little hydrogen peroxide and leave it for a while before wiping it away. This is one of the best ways I have come across to keep that grout in between tile looking great and white.

Cleaning your oven

cleaning-ovenMany people have a self-cleaning oven, but I personally don’t find that it works that well. One of the best ways I have found cleaning the oven is to take some water and spray it over the bottom and then pour a ton of baking soda, followed by more water, to make a paste on the bottom of the oven. I then take a abrasive wire brush and rub out any tough to remove spots. Once the baking soda has been removed, I hit it with a vinegar and water mixture that will leave your oven looking like new.

Cleaning doesn’t have to be hard and the are plenty of tips out there to clean naturally so you have no excuse not to.

Coffee Dessert Recipes

 

WHERE AND HOW DO I ENTER?

To enter online at the OC Fair Competition site;

1. Go to: http://www.ocfair.com/competitions/How_to_submit.aspx2.
2. Click on Culinary/Beer/Wine
3. Down load PDF of the online Culinary Arts Guide
4. Read all the Guidelines on page 2 and 3.
5. Entry information on the Blog Post Recipe Contest is on page 13.
6. When you enter, provide link to the post in the description line of the online entry form.
7. You may enter 1 entry in each category.

WHERE IS THE CHURRO RECIPE?

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The contest is new, but the churros are from an old post I did last year on the opening day at the fair. To get the recipe and read more about the Orange County Fair, click here.

My Favorite Coffee Recipes

ground coffeeCoffee has been gaining popularity in the past years. From speciality coffee stores on every corner to our favorite coffee subscription out of New Mexico, it’s no wonder that it has become a popular flavor for other foods. Coffee also has a ton of health benefits that include the most known benefit of increased energy and focus. Drinking coffee can also help burn fat, fight depression, and prevent certain types of cancers. It has also been said that coffee can help prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as diabetes. For those of us who swear by a strong cup of joe to get us going in the morning, it goes without saying that coffee is a big part of our morning routine and has a permanent spot there- but what if it can be part of our evening routine, as well? Here are 3 delicious coffee-infused desserts to make your mouth water.

Espresso Brownies

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
6 cups espresso coffee

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Prepare an 8 inch square cake pan by covering the bottom with parchment paper and then buttering the sides.

3. Mix cocoa, flour and salt together.

4. Melt chocolate and butter together, and add sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat after each addition until they are completely incorporated.

5. Fold dry ingredients into chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until outside is crunchy, but inside is still moist and soft.

7. Let cool in cake tin for 4 hours, and remove. Garnish with espresso.

Tip: Espresso can also be mixed right into the batter. Simply add it to the dry ingredients and follow the next steps.

Coffee Walnut Shortbread Bars

1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 cups flour
2 tbsp ground coffee
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 vanilla beans, no seeds
1 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1. Combine butter, icing sugar, corn starch, sea salt and vanilla.

2. Add flour and coffee slowly.

3. Add the walnuts.

4. Mix and bake in an 8-inch square cake pan.

5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until edges are golden brown and firm to the touch.

Chocolate Espresso Pot de Creme

1 cup and 2 tbsp dark chocolate, chopped small or slivered
1 cup whipping cream
3 tbsp Kahlua liqueur
1/4 cup prepared espresso coffee
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp butter
8-10 espresso cups
Crushed raspberries

1. Place chocolate in a large bowl

2. Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a medium sized sauce pan, and then add Kahlua and espresso. Allow mixture to be heated thoroughly and then pour over chocolate in bowl.

3. Let mixture sit for 1 minute and then stir it together gently. Add the egg yolks. Add butter one table spoon at a time until it is all mixed into the batter.

5. Place raspberries into bottoms of empty espresso cups.

4. Pour chocolate mixture into espresso cups and chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Tip: Fresh out of espresso cups? No problem. Small dessert wine glasses or shot glasses are good substitutes.

Nothing is better than coffee in the morning- except for coffee in your dessert, of course.

So preheat that oven, get cooking, and enjoy!

Fall Fest: Roasted Apple and Squash Soup

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Do you ask yourself, what’s in season?
Do you know the difference between availability and seasonality?
Have you been to the farmer’s market lately?

Answering these simple questions can change your direction as a cook and you might even find your food tastes better, much better. Here in Southern California, because of our Mediterranean climate, the transition from summer to fall is a little slower than most other places where the weather has already changed dramatically. There are farmer’s still selling strawberries and pushing out the last crop of heirloom tomatoes and peaches. Of course it is nothing compared to the bounty of summer, but like a street vendor trying to sell you a knock off Gucci purse, they are nonetheless, trying to convince you that their fruit is delicious and you have to take it home. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to eat peaches in October any more than I want to see Santa Claus on the 4th of July! I’m ready for fall food and have no appetite for spring asparagus or summer berries.

Remember- just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Apples are a perfect example of availability vs. seasonality. There is never a shortage of apples, an apple picker’s strike, or ever a fear they might run out. You can pretty much find apples everywhere from the grocery store to a Mc Donald’s Happy Meal – apples are available twelve months out of the year. Right now is apple season and there is no comparison to the flavor of an in season apple. If you have ever bit into a crisp, perfectly sweet, tart, juicy, apple that drips down your chin- then you know what I’m talking about. These are just a few of my favorites; Braeburn, Jonathan, Jonagold, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Cameo, and Jazz.

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This apple squash soup is a staple on my fall menu, both my clients and family adore it. I’ve tried many different ways over the years to perfect the combining of these simple ingredients- simmering, sweating, thickening, pureeing… The method I ended up with that produced the best flavor? …roasting. I roast the onions, squash and apples to caramelize the natural sugars, and then puree everything with a bit of broth, season … and it’s done. It’s a warm and comforting balance of sweet and savory flavors with just a slight earthiness from the herbs. It’s wonderful with a basket of crusty bread for lunch or paired up with some spicy bratwurst or chicken apple sausages for dinner.

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Roasted Apple and Squash Soup
serves 6 dinner size portions

3 pound butternut squash- peeled, seeded and cut into large dice pieces
4 sweet/tart apples- peeled, cored, and cut into large dice pieces
1 cup yellow or white onion- cut into large pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sage

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Adjust rack to the upper third of the oven
Place squash, apples, and onions onto a lined baking sheet
Toss with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and sage
Place into the oven and roast for approximately 15-20 minutes or until fork tender and slightly golden brown
Remove from the oven and place half of the roasted, onions apples and squash in a blender
Carefully puree in batches with chicken broth and pour into a large soup pot
Simmer soup over low heat and season with nutmeg, thyme leaves and adjust seasoning with the last teaspoon of salt
If soup is too thick it can be adjusted with additional chicken broth or water
Serve warm

Churros with Cinnamon Orange Dipping Sauce

pie eatingCaramel apples, cotton candy, deep fried frog legs, giant turkey legs, deep fried Klondike bars, funnel cakes, zucchini wienies, and last but not least…cinnamon sugar kissed- Churros. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about “fair food”. As many of you know I work as a private chef which allows me the freedom to explore a variety of different opportunities. Most recently I was asked if I might be interested in working at the Orange County Fair here in Southern California. With naivety and childish anticipation I agreed. The fair opened last Friday, and I’m not sure I’ve caught my breath. In a nutshell this has turned out to be, by far, the largest catering event I’ve ever been a part of.
pie eating - 2Weeks before the fair actually opens the fairgrounds begin to buzz and day by day from the ground up the fair becomes a city of it’s own. Busy streets, lights, music, racing golf carts, cranes and trailers. Until all hours of the night, each branch of the fair is hustling to create something magical. I’ve experienced more in the last 4 weeks than I can even begin to wrap my mind around. We transformed our 22,000 square foot empty airplane hangar into a culinary arena, including a kitchen stage, ice museum, and a replica of Julia Childs’ kitchen. As soon as we had finished this monumental transformation, our attention shifted to a 6:30AM shift of receiving jams, pickles, jellies, brownies, cookies, and cakes for the contests. I have to admit that judging day was my favorite. I learned from women who had been cooking for 50-60 years how to taste a pickle and how to know if a strawberry was fresh when it was made into preserves.

I’ve also learned that people LOVE pie eating contests and winning a first place blue ribbon for your peach jelly is priceless. I have a new found respect and genuine adoration- let’s call it… a love a “fair” that I never would have imagined. The fair is so much more than rides, music, art, and food…It’s a gathering of the community, it’s tradition. I am proud to say that I am the 1st “Orange County Fair Chef” 2010. Yup that’s me, Louise Mellor – chef – carny- fair folk. It was only fitting that my first demonstration on stage would pay tribute to the fair, so I did – Churros with Cinnamon Orange Dipping Sauce.

Churros
1 cup water
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
canola oil

1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a medium sauce pot bring water, butter, salt and sugar to a low boil
Add in flour and stir until mixture comes together and begins to roll into a ball and becomes shiny
Turn off heat and continue to cook, stirring for an additional 2 minutes
Remove from heat and allow to cool
Once cooled but still warm stir in eggs and vanilla one at a time until incorporated ( you may use a mixer or stir by hand)
Place dough into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip
Heat 2-3 inches of canola oil to 375 degrees in large heavy bottom pot or a shallow saute pan with high sides
Carefully squeeze 3 inches of pastry dough into the hot oil, cutting off each churros by swiping off at the tip with your finger or a knife.
Oil will bubble around the churros vigorously- when bubbles begin to die down and churros are golden- flip over and repeat, about 1 minute on each side.
Place cooked churros onto paper towel to drain off excess oil and toss in sugar and cinnamon
Serve warm

Chocolate Sauce
8 oz of semisweet chocolate
8 oz heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick
Zest of 1 orange

In a small sauce pot warm cream with cinnamon stick and zest- for about 5-10 minutes
Place chocolate into a bowl and pour strained cream over the chocolate- allow to sit for 5 minutes
Whisk smooth and serve warm