Making Simple Meals

So many of us struggle with making healthy meals and trying to stay on our diet.  I know I struggle all the time.  I know it didn’t take me a few months to add on the extra weight so I have to change my eating to include eating more times a day and eating less at each meal.  The hard part is when you are cooking for yourself and you just don’t want to get out the skillet or grill and make something.  It is easier to reach for something out of the freezer and throw it into the oven,  ie a pizza.  Diets will take some weight off, but can we continue to eat that way the rest of our life?   I can’t.  I am trying to change my way of eating for the rest of my life.  More healthy eating, less fast food.  🙂

For a long time, I will admit I threw in the pizza or frozen food to eat for a meal.  I also admit at times I will grab a frozen dinner and put it in the microwave.  They are lower in calories but, unfortunately, they are high in sodium.  I keep telling myself I am cutting back on the portion and the calories so it is going to good for me.  Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with eating a frozen dinner every once in a while, just not all the time.

The other day I opened my fridge and I found some bacon and fried all of it up.  I put it in a food saver and placed it back in the fridge.  Earlier I had pulled three pieces out and cut them into smaller bites.  I then reached in and pulled out my romaine lettuce.  (*First Hint: I purchase my romaine lettuce in the stalk, not cut up in a bag.  It seems to keep longer and stay crisp. I also put the stalk I am using in a gallon bag and roll it to get all the air out of the bag when I seal it up. ) Looking for something sweet on my salad, I grabbed three strawberries and sliced them.  Then it was time to think about pulling my salad together so I reached into my refrigerator and grabbed my salad dressing.  I am in love with the Opa Feta Dill Greek Yogurt.  It is thicker than most dressings and is found in the produce section of the grocery.

All of this only took me about 10 minutes to put everything together.  The salad was so good.  During the summertime, we tend to lean towards cooler foods to eat.  Salads are a great way to get your protein and also your vegetables.  You could add some cucumbers to the salad if you would like.  I added the strawberries to give it a little bit of sweetness to kill the craving for an after dinner sweet, which I try not to keep anything in the house that resembles cookies or cakes lol.  Now like everyone I just die for a candy bar or a cookie.  lol

When I grew up we lived on a farm and times were tough.  We ate a lot of meat because we butchered it on the farm.  There was also a jar of jam or jelly on the table at our meals and we were encouraged to make a jelly bread to fill us up more.  Mom always had a sheet cake made and sitting on the counter for us to eat so we weren’t munching on other things.  Every few months my mom would make up breakfast rolls and they could be found rising all over the kitchen.  She would freeze them and pull them out as needed.  So was I raised on a lot of carbs?  Yes!!  But, we worked hard on the farm and we burned off the calories.  It is a new generation and we are more sedate than we were back them.  Time to eat healthier and feel better.

I hope I have given you some inspiration and maybe you will find yourself walking through the grocery and hitting only the aisles around the outside of the store.  Most of the healthier foods.  🙂  Have a great week!!

Pam

 

Salad plate

Independence Day 2017

Yesterday was July 4th, 2017 and over the past few days I listened to a lot of people and sat watching them.  I was raised that July 4th was a day we celebrated our independence, becoming our own country.  As a child, we would go up to the local park about dark and the local American Legion would carry the United States Flag in as they played the Star Spangled Banner over the speaker system.  We would stand and put our right hand over our heart.  I wonder how many people think about this when they get together.  Have you thought about why we shoot off fireworks on July 4th?  Is there a reason the tradition started?

The reason we shoot off fireworks is “because John Adams wanted us to. Before the Declaration of Independence was even signed, he envisioned fireworks as a part of the festivities. In a letter to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776, he wrote that the occasion should be commemorated “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777. The Pennsylvania Evening Post wrote that in Philadelphia, “The evening was closed with the ring of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks (which began and concluded with thirteen rockets) on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.” The paper noted that “Everything was conducted with the greatest order and decorum, and the face of joy and gladness was universal.” That same year, fireworks also lit up the sky in Boston, where they were exhibited by Col. Thomas Crafts over the common. By 1783 a large variety of fireworks were available to the public. In 1784 one merchant offered a range of pyrotechnics that included “rockets, serpents, wheels, table rockets, cherry trees, fountains, and sun flowers.”*

What would the 4th of July be without fireworks?  I know as a child I learned all the ooohhhs and awwws as the big ones exploded in the sky above me.  Our mom would bring along a big blanket and we would sit on the grass and watch the fireworks as they lit up the sky in brilliant colors or a big bang would go off and we would cover our ears.  These are all times we remember and I hope we are teaching our children what the 4th means and why we are celebrating.  It is about all the military who have fought for this country and our ancestors who wanted more for this country than being controlled by another country.  We are a proud nation and we are struggling right now.  It is so easy to forget the important things and make it all about us as an individual.  Each firework going off is a representation of each of us.  A different color, different design, or a different size but we are all Americans who care about this country and will stand up for it with our last breath.

https://www.facebook.com/AnthemLights/

fireworks0212211

*Slate website

Kids and Easter

I was bitten by the flu bug the past few weeks, adding in an upper respiratory infection and I was down for the count.  When I finally made a trip into town, I ventured to the Walmart and passed by the Easter section.  I stopped only long enough to make the decision to work on that project another day.  It was my first outing, and the doctor’s instructions were to not tax myself and pay for it later.  LOL, I have learned that was good advice because I did and regretted it.

Today I thought about Easter and the kids. It doesn’t matter how old you are the idea of hunting for Easter eggs around the yard is always fun.  I remember my mom dressing me up in a pretty Spring dress with lots of lace and a hat for Easter Sunrise service at church.  We would come home, and mom would work on Easter dinner while we changed clothes and the eggs suddenly appeared in the yard.  Our Easter bunny came later and dropped off the eggs while we went to church I guess.  We were whisked off to church, so we didn’t have time to check out the yard and see if the Easter bunny stopped at our house.  The eggs always had different kinds of candy in, and we each emptied our eggs into our own bowls.

Now it is my turn to do the egg preparation and egg hiding.  My plan of action is to collect all my change and put some change and a few dollar bills in the eggs before placing them around the yard on Easter morning.  I also purchase a few other things and put special eggs out for each of the grandkids to find, turning them in for bigger gifts.  Sometimes I purchase bubble wands,  ear buds,  hot wheels, or anything else I think would fit the kids.  It makes the hunt even more exciting.

I normally do an Easter basket for each of the kids, but this year I am thinking in other directions.  My oldest grandson is 14, and the youngest is 4.  Lucas would probably like an Easter basket, but now days not many parents put a lot of candy in the Easter baskets and I am sure he won’t be impressed with granola bars lol.  I know as a grandparent I don’t have to do anything, but it is my way of being part of their day and doing something special for them.

What are your ideas for Easter?  Do you have any projects you have done in the past that worked well with your children?  Please share.  Would love to hear them.

Pam Easter-Basket

Everyone Loves a Heart

When I thought about my blog this week, I had several ideas, but only one, because it is relevant to the week of February 14, Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day for many is a day they can share how much they love that someone special and do something they would not normally do for them.  Purchasing roses is a huge deal on February 14, and I have received several dozen roses over the year, and they are absolutely beautiful as a table centerpiece or on your desk.  The stores are packed full of heart designed boxes of candy, Valentine’s Day cards, and other cute ideas.

Valentine’s Day isn’t about going out and purchasing roses or a box of candy for some of us.  Just doing something special and unique means more than a dozen roses.  Now if that means you get your wife an oil change for the car you are destined to spend the night on the couch, but finding a special card and taking her to her favorite restaurant, not yours, is sure to make her smile.

Over the years I have accumulated several nice pieces of heart jewelry I just love.  I had several necklaces and rings given to me many years ago.  I was given a silver heart watch that means the world to me.  I still have it, and it wasn’t given to me on February 14, but on a day I will never forget.  I love that watch and the love that was behind the gift.

When I wrote The Silver Heart, it actually came after seeing a heart necklace at the Ohio State Fair that I fell in love with.  I bought it, and it was incorporated into the story.  I would reach up at times and feel the heart when I was working on the book, which was also written into the story of the book.  Montana Silversmiths had a necklace which was perfect for the cover of the book and for my character.  I have heard from so many people who have purchased the necklace, and they love it.  For my Christmas present, my son and daughter-in-law gave me the silver hearts bracelet, and I love it.  It goes with my heart necklace, and I will think of them everytime I wear it.

Valentine’s Day is not about spending money you don’t have.  Some of my fondest memories are of the cards the kids made me out of construction paper and lace doilies in Sunday school or at school.  A single rose can mean so much if presented with a kiss and hug to follow.  Nothing is worst that “here you go, honey, I am headed out to the barn.”  Stop, take a breath and spend some time showing you mean the gesture you are making.  It isn’t always about the dollar amount spent as much as the feelings behind the action.  Nothing is better than curling up watching your favorite movie with some champagne and strawberries on the bed.  Quality time.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s Day.  I know it is not for everyone, but for those of you who love the idea of Valentine’s Day, do something special for your loved one.  Personalize your present this year.  Think about who the person is and what they love to do.  Make this a Valentine’s Day they will remember forever.

Samantha Sheridan

 

Pick up a copy of The Silver Heart book on any online bookstore or go to http://www.egbertbooksandpublications.com for more information.

3d-jpga

Going from Self Publishing to Publishing Company

Today there are fewer and fewer publishing companies who give you an advance, for your book, and you then write the book, turning in chapters set up by the publisher. The movies show that, but normally a publisher does not work that way for a first-time author. They want a copy of your manuscript to see the quality of your work.  More and more authors are self-publishing their own books and marketing them through companies like BookBaby for this reason.  This is an easy way to publish your book and have it sold on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Advantages to self-publishings:  You make more money, and the money goes into your pocket.  When you self-publish you end up with 100 percent of the eBook sales. Bookbaby does not take any commission from the eBooks.  You also make more money if your sales come from your Book Store on Bookbaby.com.  Spreading the word about your book on social media sites, LinkedIn, etc. helps to bring more readers to your book.

The only negative to self-publishing through sites like Bookbaby is you have no control over distribution.  If your book takes off and sales go sky high, the book sites will run out of books.  They only order so many books, and this could hinder your sales.  You have no control over the number of books being sent from the distribution center to the bookstores online.  They also do not have any control over a book physically hitting the book shelves in the box stores.  Publishing companies have the links to the box stores to get your book on the shelf, in view of the consumer.

Do you need your book in the physical big box stores?  There are a lot of people who are now consumers of places like Amazon, and they have the Prime account to get their goods in two days.  Does that make it easier for them to order?  The only thing you are missing in your sales is the impulse buyer.  How many people walk into a store and look for a book to purchase?

According to Publishers Weekly, “According to the “2010–2011 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics & Buying Behaviors Annual Review,” only 11% of book buyers who bought a book online said they did so as an impulse purchase, while 44% said the book they bought online was the one they intended to buy. The results were significantly different at physical bookstores, where the ability to browse through the shelves resulted in 26% of book buyers saying they bought a book on impulse, compared to 28% who bought the specific book they had intended to buy. Browsing also helped buyers choose a title, with 30% of shoppers at stores reporting that they bought a book that they had not planned on buying compared to only 17% of online shoppers.”

Self-publishing means you cover all the cost of the book.  No matter how good of writer you are, you NEED a good editor.  One very wise person once told me you never edit your own work.  How many times have your read something you have written and your mind reads what it is supposed to say, not what is typed on the page?  If you publish a book, you do not want to have grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Depending on the expertise of the editor and the length of the book this could cost you a few thousand of dollars.  In the end, it is a great investment.  Do you want a book review that tears your book apart because of writing errors?  As an author you want your book to stand up to the best of them.  Who doesn’t want their book on the New York Post Top 10 list?

Another cost is the book cover.  You will pay several hundred dollars to have your book cover produced.  The book printer needs high-quality graphics, and they need the book cover done printer ready.   If you only want to put your book on eBooks, you can list the book through Amazon for a very low cost.  The cost to go through BookBaby is again going to cost you a little bit of money.

I am in no way discouraging you from self-publishing your book.  I am so glad I didn’t start my book with a publisher.  Since I began my book project, I have learned so much.  Understanding what the publisher goes through helps with negotiating a contract with them.  If you start out self-publishing, you have more control over what the book cover design looks like and how the book is put together, from the front page to the acknowledgments/author biography.  My goals were to prepare you for the steps to publish your book.

The Silver Heart is my baby.  I have believed in the book since the last word was put on the page.  I was offered a deal with Harlequin, but they wanted me to split the book into two books, creating a sequel.  This idea just didn’t feel right for me.  I put the book in a file drawer and let it sit,  I knew one day I would pull the book out and work on it again, and I did,

Enjoy writing and never forget to have fun with it.  When it becomes work you tend to put it away.  Make every day an adventure and smile as you follow your dreams.

samantha-and-pete-signed-book

 

 

Adjusting to Gluten Free-Mashed Potato Pancakes

So many of us are finding out we have a slight, moderate or severe problem with gluten products.  I thought I was one of those people who was good and could eat anything I wanted.  My brother told me to watch my gluten because his entire family had problems eating gluten.  Well, not me I am good.  I wasn’t listening to my brother, he was wrong this time.  So I went on with my regular diet and didn’t think another thing about it.

The problem with not taking good advice is you shut out the possibility you could have the same problem as your sibling.  Over time I blamed some of my ailments on allergies or a cold, finding out later some of the symptoms I was having was symptoms for people with gluten allergies.  Now, I am not having major problems, but I am taking care and watching what gluten I eat.  I limit my gluten intake and am selective what I eat and when.

Today I had some leftover mashed potatoes, and I remembered my mom making potato pancakes when we were kids.  The problem with the old recipe was it had flour in it.  I thought about how I could make the potato pancakes without flour, and it came to me, shredded cheddar cheese.  I substituted a half cup of cheese for the flour, and it worked great.  It also added a little extra flavor to the pancakes and made them a little crispier around the edges.

As we get older, we find more and more there are more ailments, aches, and pains in our body than we had as younger adults.  Sometimes we have to change our diets and work harder to stay healthy.  Adjusting our diet is hard.  Sometimes it is like being an alcoholic, or someone hooked on drugs, it is hard beating the habit of eating toast for breakfast every morning or having a Big Mac sandwich.  It is an every hour struggle to remind ourselves to cut back or stop eating the food making us sick.

You aren’t alone if you find yourself adjusting to new diets, giving up things you have loved all your life.  I am sure if you ask a friend they are battling the same problem with something they used to be able to eat.  Talk to them and work together to be strong and tackle the problem.  We are all tougher than we think we are.  We sometimes fall off the wagon and have to start over, but that is okay.  Starting over is a show of our strength and determination.

Age changes our bodies and changes our ways of thinking and how we do things.  Pay attention to your body and find creative ways in your diet to eliminate food allergies bothering you.  Join a group online and talk to people with the same problems.  Who knows you may make some new friends.

Have a great weekend and travel safe.

Pam

Mashed Potato Pancakes.

http://www.justataste.com/cheesy-leftover-mashed-potato-pancakes-recipe/

 

mashed-potatoe-pancake

How to Market Your Project

The other day I was asked how I market the businesses I work with and my personal projects.  That question was tough for me because I have been doing this so long it is a habit for me to do what I do.  Over the years things have changed in the marketing and promotions department because now we have social media.

When I first started booking shows for festivals and events the best way to reach our target audience was fliers and the newspaper.  The local radio stations would run Public Service Announcements, P.S.A., and did a weekly talk show with local residents on things happening in their world. When I worked for WAXC/WZOQ radio station, I did their weekly talk show and interviewed the local Mayors, festival and fair organizers, and other noteworthy residents.  Television and radio stations are still required to donate a certain amount of time each week to public service.  Local television stations run event calendars for local fundraisers to post their information. Some television stations do a daily segment in their newscasts highlighting local events or people.

When you start up a new business or want to promote your present business, you need to look for your target audience.  It doesn’t do any good to advertise baby diapers at the Senior Council on Aging.  Figure out your demographic and then search all the places you can get your message out to those people.  If you want to put your product in a local retail store you need to put everything together for the presentation. Show them that your product will bring revenue to them and bring in more foot traffic.  Every business is looking to grow and expand their sales.  Bringing in your product should not be something that decreases their sales because of you.

Another idea to market your product is conventions, Home Shows, craft shows, etc.  You purchase a space and set up your products.  Make sure you don’t only have product there.  Use your Microsoft Office programs and create a flier to send home with them.  If that consumer isn’t ready to purchase something right now, they may decide next week they want to buy your item.  If they don’t have your contact information or website information you just lost a sale.  Never let a potential client walk away without your contact information.

Contact information is another thing to think about.  Business cards.  Make sure your business cards are professional looking, clean and the information is easy to find.  Too many graphics make for a messy looking business card.  Use a flier to put graphics and information on, or a postcard.  Keep the business card professional looking.

This past year I took a class on website design and a website is so easy to create these days.  I have used Site Builder and Wix.  Wix is free, but the problem is you can’t find your website if you don’t pay to have it listed on Google.  You WANT your website listed on Google, Yahoo, Bing,  FoxFire, etc. so people can find you.  Make sure you list all the keywords to find your website.  How many times do you put three or four words in the Google search to find something?  If you are selling something, use the words defining your product and find out what is out there, what pops up when you hit the search button.  This helps you to refine the keywords you need.

I am a risk taker with my marketing and advertising.  When I started to market The Silver Heart book, I looked outside the box.  I have a book called The Silver Heart so now what?  I contacted Montana Silversmiths and sent them a prospectus on The Silver Heart and one of their necklaces marketed together.  I needed a silver heart necklace on the front cover, and I wanted something people could purchase.  When it came to advertising on YouTube, I knew I needed background music.  I had an original song for a former client, and I asked the songwriters if I could use the song for my book.  They were more than happy to let me use the song and give them some extra promotions as well.  Think outside the box.

Running a business is never easy.  These days there is always someone out there who has the latest program to contact more potential customers or have a social media department that does nothing all day, but post on all social media sites.  In 2017 being shy and non-communicative on social media does not get you new clients or people looking at your product.  If you are going to a trade show, post it!  Get more people there to see your product.   I am always searching the internet for more places to post information.

I hope this helps some of you and helps those that ask me how I do it.  I have over 30 years of experience in marketing and promotions, and I can’t claim to know it all.  I am learning things every day.  Good luck with everything in 2017 and think outside the box.

Pam Egbert

 

samantha-and-pete-signed-book