Friday, February 29, 2008

Article Writing For Your Home Business

One of the most common questions I see asked is “how can I advertise for free?” I have never supported methods such as free classifieds. Nobody reads these. If you look, thousands of folks come and post an ad and never read a thing.

I am a very strong supporter of article writing. Article writing allows you to determine exactly what keywords you are targeting and to get very targeted visitors to your site.

I would rather see someone write 3 articles per week versus placing 100 free classified ads in a week.

If you sell children’s toys or children’s books, write parenting articles. Those who read the articles are the very people who are buying toys. If you sell dietary supplements, write health and wellness articles. Again, those who read your articles are going to be people looking for the very product you offer. If you sell make up and skin care, write articles about fashion and beauty.

Who do you want to visit your site? You want potential customers and potential new sales distributors to visit your site. So, how can you make sure that those coming to your site want what you are offering? Write about the topics that relate to what you are selling. Those who search for your articles or find your articles through a keyword search are interested in what you are offering. Parents need toys. When you write about parenting, your audience is the very people who just might buy from you.

Choose a few keywords or keyword phrases that your potential customers might be searching for. Now write about them. Become an expert writer in your field. Write articles that solve every potential problem or question someone might ask you.

Article writing is the best method of free advertising I’ve ever found. Try it. See if you don’t see increased hits to your website that I hope will lead to sales for you.

Audrey :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Neither of my kids are big meat eaters. So we eat a lot of chicken. Here are several chicken recipes for you. I fyou are a dark meat eater, substitute thighs or legs for the chicken breasts.

Cranberry Chicken

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 - 16 ounce can whole cranberry sauce
1 large apple, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon curry powder

Place chicken in baking pan and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Combine remaning ingredients and spoon over chicke. Bake until chicken is done.

Lemonade Chicken

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 - 6 ounce can frozen lemonade, thawed
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine lemonade, soy sauce and garlic powder. Place chicken in baking pan and cover with sauce. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover, pour sauce over chicken and bake 10 more minutes.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 - 11 ounce jar chunky salsa
1 cup peach preserves

Cut chicken into 1/2 inch cubes. Place chicken in Ziploc bag. Add taco seasoning, shake and coat chicken.

In a skillet, bronw the chicken in a bit of oil. Combine salsa and preserves, add to skillet and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and cover. Simmer until juices run clear. Serve over rice.

Oven Fried Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

In a small bowl, combine breadcrubms, cheese and garlic salt. Dip chicken in salad dressing, then roll in breadcrumb mixture. Place in baking pan and bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

For Bread Lovers

I am a bread lover. One of my favorite parts of going out to dinner are the many breads I've been served over the years. A few of our favorites are the biscuits at Red Lobster and the garlic bread at Elephant Bar. Here are a few very simple bread recipes:

Gingerbread Muffins

1 egg
1/4 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin cups.In a medium bowl, beat egg, applesauce, oil, molasses and sugar, mixing well. Stir together dry ingredients in a medium bowl; add to egg mixture. Stir in water, mixing well. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full, then sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until muffins test done.

Ranch French Bread

1 loaf of french bread (uncut)
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tablespoon dry ranch salad dressing mix

Cut bread in half horizontally. Blend the butter and dressing mix. Spread on bread. Wrap in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Lemonade Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1 - 6 ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Mix dry ingredients. Combine egg, 1/2 cup lemonade concentrate, milk and oil. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Gently stir in nuts. Fill greased muffin cups and bake 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until done. While hot, brush with remaining lemonade concentrate and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Chile-Cheese Bread

1 loaf of french bread (uncut)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 - 4 ounce can diced green chiles, drained
3/4 cup grated monterey jack cheese

Slice bread into 1-inch slices. Do not cut all the way through. Mix the butter, chiles and cheese. Spread between sliced. Wrap in foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Apple Roquefort Bread (bread machine)

3/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
1 tablespoon shortening
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup bread flour
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Add the ingredients to the bread machine as directed by the manufacturer. Add the cheese and juice together. If possible, use the light crust setting for best results.

Audrey :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Appetizers & Dips

I am an appetizer lover. I can not count over the years how many times we've gone out to eat and I've ordered appetizers. No main course, just appetizers. I found a whole slew of very easy dip recipes that I wanted to share. You can serve these with crackers, cut up bread, bread sticks, vegetables or tortilla chips:

Taco Dip

1 pound ground beef
2 - 16 ounce packages cubed processed cheese
1 1/2 cups salsa
several drops of hot sauce

Brown the ground beef and drain. In a seperate saucepan, heat the cheese and salsa until the cheese melts. Add the hot sauce. Add the cooked meat and mix well. Serve warm.

Taco Dip with Beans

1 - 15 ounce cans of bean dip
1 pound ground beef
1 - 4 ounce can green chiles
1 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the ground beef and drain. Layer the bean dip, ground beef, chiles and salsa in a 3 quart baking dish. Top with cheese. Bake 350 degrees until cheese melts, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Veggie Dip

1 - 10 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 - 16 ounce container of sour cream
1 package of dry vegetable soup mix
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Chill to blend flavors.

Spinach Dip

1 - 10 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 package of dry vegetable soup mix
1/2 cup minced onion
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Chill to blend flavors.

Avocado-Onion Dip

1 package dry onion soup mix
1 - 8 ounce container of sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 ripe avocados, mashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix all ingredients. Chill and serve.

Crunchy Asparagus Dip

1 - 14 ounce can asparagus spears, drained and chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients and chill.

Hot Broccoli Dip

2 - 16 ounce packages cubed mexican processes cheese
1 - 10 ounce can mushroom soup
1 - 10 ounce package chopped broccoli, thawed and drained

In a saucepan, melt cheese with soup. Stir in broccoli. Heat through and serve warm.

Cucumber Dip

2 medium cucumbers
2 - 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 package dry ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
several drops of hot sauce

Peel and seed cucumbers. Grate cucumbers. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, hot sauce, salad dressing and garlic powder. Beat until creamy. Add cucumbers and mix well.

Artichoke Bacon Dip

1 - 14 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
5 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour into sprayed 8 inch casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Shrimp Dip

2 - 6 ounce cans tiny cooked shrimp, drained
2 cups mayonnaise
6 green onions, finely chopped
3/4 cup chunky salsa

Crumble shrimp. Stir in mayonnaise, onion and salsa. Chill several hours.

Hope you enjoy these very easy to prepare dips.

Audrey :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Create a Budget For Your Home Based Business

Reading message boards, one of the things I see regularly is “I don’t have any money to invest” or “I have very little money to invest”.

I believe you need to create a budget before you ever begin a business. Without a budget, you are setting yourself up for failure.

I know you can find ads that say “no money required” or “free to join”. However, money can only be made if something somewhere is bought and sold. In order for you to buy and sell whatever it is you are now in business with will require money to invest.

To begin with, whatever you are selling, you need to try yourself. While it might be free to “join a program”, there will be a fee to try the service or product.

Now consider the actual business aspect of your venture. There are fees to purchase a domain and fees to host your domain. “But the program gives me a free website” you might be thinking. There’s not a lot you can do with an affiliate site URL. If you want to advertise, write articles etc, you’re going to need your own domain. Free websites give you what you pay for. They are loaded with ads and try to find 10 people, just 10 people who have made purchases from a free web site.

To put up a website will also take an investment. You’ll either need to purchase a site building program or you’ll need to hire someone to build the site for you. Either way, this too is a financial investment.

What about marketing? How are you going to market whatever it is you are selling? Again, you might be thinking “but I know you can advertise for free”. Yes, there are forms of advertising that are free, such as article marketing, plug boards and message boards. However, these methods of marketing need to be combined with paid advertising. You’ll need to place classified ads, place banner ads and put ads into ezines. This all costs money.

Are there any supplies you’ll need? Often folks will buy a software program to help keep track of inventory, or help them keep track of customers. Sometimes folks will buy an accounting program to help them keep track of money in and money out. What about your work space? Do you have everything you need at home for your work space?

Often in business, you’ll need a long distance service for your phone. I use a combination of the free long distance on my cell phone and a phone card that I pay only a couple of cents per minute on.

I believe one of the first things you’ll need when considering a home business is a realistic budget of how much this business will cost to get off the ground. There really is no such thing as a “free business”

Audrey :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cake Anyone?

I believe cake is one of the few foods that can be eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner. I've had coffee cakes many times in the morning, I've also had pound cake in the morning. Lunch and dinner, I say bring on the chocolate!! I love the Tupperware Cake Takers. They make transporting cakes a breeze. No more ruined frosting, lopsided cakes etc. In fact, the rectangular Cake Taker even reverses and holds cupcakes. So, for all those that love cake as I do, here are some yummy cake recipes to try:

Pinapple Angel Cake

1 - 4 ounce package Jell-O vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie filling
1 - 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice (undrained)
1 cup thawed Cool Whip
1 box angel food cake

Prepare cake according to package directions. In a bowl, mix the dry pudding and pineapple. Gently mix in whipped topping. Cut cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place 1/3 of pudding mixture inbetween each layer. Place remaining 1/3 on top of cake. Chill at least 60 minutes. Top with fresh fruit and serve.

Notes: Use the low calorie cool whip and the sugar free pudding. You'll cut calories without taste. You can create this either as a round cake or a rectangular cake.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

1 box white cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanuts or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan or two 8-inch round pans.
In a mixer bowl, combine the cake mix, water, eggs, and peanut butter; mix on slow 1 minute; scrape bowl. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 30 minutes if using round pans, 35 minutes if using rectangular pan.

Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating after each addition.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, stir in half of the flour mixture, add milk and vanilla, then stir in remaining flour mixture. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.

Banana Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups bananas, overripe, mashed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped fine (optional)
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, sugar and eggs. Add the bananas, nuts and vanilla. Prepare the sour milk by stirring the lemon juice into the milk. Sift the dry ingredients and add them to the banana mixture. Mix in the sour milk gently. Pour into a prepared 9 x 12" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (or until firm in the center).

Audrey :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What Can You Do With Hamburger Meat?

I was recently involved in a discussion about all the things you can do with hamburger meat. So I thought it would be fun to post some recipes here.

Hamburger and Potatoe Casserole

3 potatoes, sliced thin
1 pound hamburger (you can also use ground turkey)
1 small onion
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 - 16 ounce can green beans, drained
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 can of milk
4 ounces grated Cheddar cheese

Place sliced potatoes in the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Brown hamburger and onion (drain). Put on top of potatoes. Add garlic salt. Next add green beans. Mix celery soup and 1/2 can of milk and pour over beans. Top with grated cheese. Bake, uncovered, in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Cover for last 10 minutes of baking.

Note: Play with flavors here. Try cream or broccoli or cream of mushroom soup. Try swiss cheese.

Sloppy Joe Casserole

1 1/2 pouns ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce seasonings for sloppy joes
2 teaspoons chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cans crescent dinner rolls
2 cups shredded cheese

Brown ground beef and tomato sauce in skillet. Add seasonings, onion and salt.

Separate each can of crescent rolls into two large rectangles. Press two into a large 9 by 13 pan.
Spoon on meat mixture and sprinkle the cheese on top. Place two remaining rectangles of dough on top of meat and cheese. Pinch edges and brush top with milk. Bake at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes.

Easy Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
3 1/2 c. (32 oz.) thick spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 c. water
2 c. (15 oz.) Ricotta cheese
3 c. (15 oz.) shredded Mozzarella
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 oz. lasagna, uncooked

Brown beef in 3-quart saucepan; drain off excess fat. Add sauce and water; simmer about 10 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients, except lasagna, for filling. Pour about 1 cup sauce on bottom of 9x13x2-inch baking pan.

Layer 3 pieces of uncooked lasagna over sauce; cover with about 1 1/2 cups sauce. Spread half of cheese filling over sauce. Repeat layers of lasagna, sauce and cheese filling. Top with layer of lasagna and remaining sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Remove foil; bake about 10 minutes longer. Allow to stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Beef Enchilada Casserole

2 pounds ground beef
1 can El Paso enchilada sauce
1 small can chopped green chives
5 ounces Longhorn cheese
1 medium onion
1 can mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pound Velveeta cheese
2 dozen tortilla chips

Cook beef and onion together until beef is done. In skillet, add enchilada sauce, mushroom soup, chicken soup, chopped chives, Velveeta and Longhorn cheese. Layer all the sauce and tortilla into pan and then cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in a 13 x 10 inch pan lightly greased.

Beef Noodle Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 - 46 ounce V8 juice
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 package ramen noodles, beef flavor
1 - 16 ounce package frozen vegetables

In a large saucepan, on medium heat, cook beef until pink is gone. Drain. Stir in the onion soup mix, V8 juice, seasoning packet from the ramen and the vegetables. (do not add noodles yet)

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes uncovered. Return to a boil and add noodles. Cook for 3-4 more minutes. Noodles should be tender.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Layway in Direct Sales

Have you ever had a potential customer say “oh I’d love to buy that but I can’t afford it?” Most of us are taught to overcome that objection, to prove the worth or value of the product. However if the buyer truly can not afford the product, then no matter how convincing we are, a sale is not going to be made.

Have you considered offering a layaway option to those customers who can not afford the item right now? Many years ago, most major retail chains offered a layaway plan. Due to the cost of maintaining these programs, most stores did away with the layaway option. This is your chance to offer what the retailers don’t.

Write up the receipt for the product (s) that your customer wants and then set out the terms. Perhaps their order is $100 and they want to pay $20 per month, over 5 months. Why not accept this? In the end, you’ll have your $100 sale, they’ll have their products, and you’ll have a customer.

Remember, you are not a bank. If the customer comes to you wanting their money back, you are not a bank. When you write up your receipt be very clear there will be a $20 fee for any cancelled transaction.

Depending on the product (s) you sell, you may be able to order the product (s) 5 months down the road, once they are paid for. If you do have to order the product (s) up front, then again, on your receipt be very clear that if a payment is missed, the items will be sold and no money will be returned.

Usually customers are grateful for this service and you’ll get the $20 each month as promised.
Offering layaway to customers is a wonderful way to make yourself stand out as being different and unique.

Try advertising this service and watch your customer base grow.

Audrey :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cookies and Bars

My friend Hilary asked me for some bar recipes, you know, lemon bars, oatmeal bars etc. I told her I'd write a blog post and include an assortment of bar recipes. For those that know me, you know that I love peanut butter and chocolate. What could be better than a peanut butter and chocolate brownie?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Chocolate Batter:
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter chips

Peanut Butter Batter:
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
2 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 to 5 tablespoons water

Grease and flour a 13x9-inch baking pan. In mixing bowl, cream 2 cups sugar and 1 cup butter until light and fluffy. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and 4 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gradually add 1 1/2 cups flour, cocoa, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. to the creamed mixture. Mix well. Stir in peanut butter chips.

In a small bowl, cream peanut butter and 1/3 cup butter. Add 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour; blend well. Add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until smooth. Spread half of the chocolate mixture in prepared baking pan. Spread the peanut butter batter over chocolate batter. Spread remaining chocolate batter over top. Gently cut through layers with a knife to create a marbled look.

Bake brownies at 350° for 40 to 50 minutes, or until top springs back with lightly touched in center with finger. Brownies should begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan.
In a medium saucepan, melt 3 squares of chocolate with 3 tablespoons of butter, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in confectioners' sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, along with enough water to make frosting smooth and spreadable. Spread frosting over the cooled brownies and cut into bars.

Cherry Bars

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pitted and halved fresh sweet cherries
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Put butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 3 to 4 minutes, or until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Grease the sides and bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan; set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Add to butter mixture; beat 3 to 4 minutes, or until smooth batter forms. Spread half the batter in prepared pan. Scatter cherry halves over batter. Place spoonfuls of remaining batter on top of cherries; gently spread to cover fruit. Sprinkle almonds on top. Bake in a preheated 350° F. oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until wooden pick or skewer inserted in middle comes out clean.

Carrot and Spice Bars

1 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 cup bran flakes cereal
2 eggs
1 jar (2-1/2 ounces) puréed baby food carrots
3/4 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat 13X9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Combine milk and margarine in large microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until margarine is melted; add cereal. Let stand 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk to blend. Add puréed carrots, grated carrot, raisins, orange peel and vanilla.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add to carrot mixture, stirring until thoroughly blended. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Insert tines of fork into cake at 1-inch intervals. Spoon orange juice over cake. Sprinkle with pecans; press into cake. Cut into 40 bars before serving.

Layered Bars

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup peanut butter chips
1-1/4 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup candy-coated candy or baking bits

Preheat oven to 340°F. Lightly spray sides of 13X9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Pour butter into pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly over butter. Pour condensed milk evenly over crumbs. Sprinkle with coconut, peanut butter chips, cereal, chocolate chips and candies; press down gently on candies.

Bake 25 to 27 minutes or until top just begins to brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Black Forest Brownie Bars

2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter or margaine, cut into pieces
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups whipped topping
2 cups cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, melt one cup of the chocolate chips with the butter, on very low heat. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in eggs. Gradually stir in flour, sugar, vanilla nad baking soda. Stir in remaining chocolate chips. Spread into greased 13x9 pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Spread on whipped topping. Top with pie filling. Cut into squares.

Raspberry and Chocolate Bars

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine

2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup raspberry jam
2 cups chocolate chips

To make the crust:
Prehead oven to 375 degree. Combine flour and sugar in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Dough should be coarse crumbs. Press onto bottom of greased 9x9 pan. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Should be set, but not brown.

For topping:
Combine flour, pecans and brown sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blend. Your dough will be course crumbs.

Spread jam over hot crust. Spring with the topping and chocolate chips. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Should now be golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Minty Brownies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips divided
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (16-ounce) container prepared vanilla frosting
1 (4 1/2-ounce) tube chocolate decorating icing

For Brownies: Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Combine sugar, butter and water in medium saucepan. Bring just to a boil, over medium heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat.

Add 1 cup morsels, peppermint extract and vanilla extract; stir until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir in flour mixture and remaining morsels. Spread into greased 9-inch-square baking pan.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

For Frosting: Spread vanilla frosting over brownie. Squeeze chocolate icing in parallel lines over frosting. Drag wooden pick through chocolate icing to feather. Let stand until frosting is set. Cut into bars.

Audrey :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tupperware Heat N Serve and Microware Recipes

I remember when my mom got our first microwave oven. Oh my gosh, she used to love cooking meals in this square box. (yes I'm dating myself). She would make a whole chicken in the microwave, mind you it didn't brown but it certainly was cooked. She then began making desserts in the microwave also.

Today, there are many products designed specifically to be microwave safe. Since Tupperware's Heat n Serve Containers are on sale in February, I thought I'd share some microwave recipes:

Popcorn Mix

1 bag Pillsbury Microwave Popcorn
2 cups crisp wheat square cereal
2 cups Cheddar cheese-flavored goldfish crackers
1 (1 3/4 ounce) can shoestring potatoes
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare popcorn as directed on the package. Remove any unpopped kernels. In a Thatsa bowl, combine popcorn, cereal, crackers, shoestring potatoes and peanuts. Place margarine in the 3 cup Heat n Serve container. Microwave on HIGH for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir in parsley flakes, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. Drizzle seasoned mixture over popcorn mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Toss until evenly coated. Transfer half of mixture to the Heat n Serve 6 1/4 cup container. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring once halfway through heating. Spread on paper towels to cool. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Beef and Potatoes with Gravy

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup water
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 envelope brown gravy mix
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes and water in either the 6 1/4 or 8 1/4 Heat N Serve container. Cover and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, in large Tupperware skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in garlic powder and onion powder, using ther Saucy Silicone Spatula Prepare gravy mix according to package directions. Place potatoes in a Thatsa bowl; add milk, butter, salt and pepper. Beat on medium speed until smooth, again using the Saucy Silicone Spatula. Serve beef and gravy over mashed potatoes.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 cups milk
3 cups hot cooked rotini pasta
1 (12.5 ounce) can tuna, drained and flaked
1 (2.8 ounce) can French fried onions, divided
1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas and carrots
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
In 8 1/4 cup Heat N Serve container, mix soup and milk. Stir in pasta, tuna, 2/3 cup French fried onions, vegetables and cheese. Cover; microwave 10 minutes or until hot, stirring once. Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Microwave 1 minute.

Skinny Chocolate Cake

1 package (18.25 oz.) chocolate cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup fat-free salad dressing or mayonnaise
3 egg whites or 6 tablespoons liquid egg whites
In a Mix-N-Stor® Plus Pitcher, combine first 5 ingredients, blending well with Saucy Silicone Spatula. Spray Heat 'N Serve™ 6 1/4-cup Round Container with cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared container and place in microwave uncovered. Microwave on High for 7-10 minutes, (depending on microwave power) rotating container during baking; cake should pull away from sides slightly and be a little sticky on top. Toothpick should test clean when inserted into center of cake. If necessary, microwave an additional minute and check; repeat until done.Cool 4-5 minutes and invert onto serving plate. Serve plain or with a dusting of powdered sugar or simple glaze.

Gooey Chocolate Brownies

1 (15.1 oz.) pkg. fudge brownie mix (8” x 8” pan size)
1 large egg
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 (12 oz.) jar caramel sauce (optional)
In a 6¼ cup Heat ’N Serve™ Container mix together fist 4 ingredients using a Saucy Silicone Spatula. Microwave uncovered on High for 5–6 minutes (rotate every 2 minutes if you don’t have a turntable) until toothpick tests clean. Cool slightly before scooping out of container; serve warm with 2 Tbsp. of caramel sauce (optional) drizzled over each brownie.

Broccoli Dip

1 package frozen broccoli pieces
1 block of Velveeta Cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder

Cook broccoli according to package directions and drain. Cut Velveeta Cheese into small pieces and place in the 6 1/4 c. Heat N Serve Container; add in the garlic powder and onion powder. Microwave on medium-high power for 3 minutes. Using Saucy Silicone Spatula, stir cheese mixture. Place back into the microwave for an additional 1-2 minutes until its all melted and smooth. Stir in the drained broccoli pieces and mix well. Serve warm with crackers or appetizer breads.

To order any of the Tuppereware Heat n Serve containers or any other product, please visit

Audrey :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


When the weather is cold, many of us enjoy a hot bowl of soup. I'd like to share some soup recipes to warm even the coldest winter night.

These first recipes are for the meat lovers:

Easy Ramen and Beef Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 - 46 ounce can V8 Juice
1 envelops onion soup mix
1 package beef flavor Top Ramen noodles
1 - 16 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables

In a saucepan cook meat until all pink is gone. Drain. Stir in the V8 juice, soup mix, seasoning packet from the Ramen (not the noodles) and the mixed vegatables.

Bring to a bil. Reduce heat and simmer for 6-8 minutes (vegetables should be tender). Bring to another boil and add noodles. Boil for 3-4 mintues (noodles should be tender). Serve.

Vegetable and Steak Soup

1 pound sirloin steak cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups cubed red potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 can beef broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced chives
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil

In a saucepan, cook beef and onion in oil until all pink is gone. Drain. Stir in potatoes, carrots and peas. Add beef broth, water, vinegar, parsley, chives, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

And now for those who prefer chicken over beef:

Chicken and Rice Soup

2 - 14 ounce cans of chicken broth
2 cups uncooked instant rice
1 cup water
1 - 16 ounce package of frozen mixed vegetables
1 - 6 ounce package of grilled chicken strips cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoone minced fresh parsley

In a saucepan, combine the chicken broth, water, vegetables, chicken, poultry seasoning and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in rice and parsely. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tomatoes, chopped (remove skin)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 green chile, seeded and chopped
Shredded cheese
tortillas, cut in strips and fried

Sautee onions and garlic until soft. Combine all ingredients in pot and cook at least 30 minutes. When serving, add shredded cheese and tortilla strips.

And for the non meat/poultry readers:

Spinach Soup

1 tablespoon margarine
2 - 10 ounce packages frozen spinach
1 - 11 ounce can cream of potato soup
1 soup can of milk
2 tablespoons white port wine
salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

In a microwave dish, combine the spinach and margaine and microwave for one minute. Add remaining ingredients and microwave for six minutes. Serve hot.

Onion and Apple Soup

3 tablespoons margarine
8 cups chopped white onions
2 cups water
4 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup port white wine
1 medium apple pared and grated
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

In a soup pot, saute the onions in the butter until browned. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tupperware 3-In-1 Container

New in February, Tupperware 3-In-1 Container


1. Q-tips – cotton balls – soaps
2. Drink center: hot chocolate – tea bags – coffee
3. Drink center accessories: powdered creamer – sugar – low calorie sugar
4. Chocolate chips – nuts – powdered sugar
5. M&Ms: plain – peanut – almond
6. Colored bath salts: blue – pink – yellow
7. Ice Cream center: nuts – sprinkles – candies
8. Pastas: shells – bows – spirals
9. Red hots – heart-shaped candies – licorice
10. Nuts – bolts – nails
11. Paper clips – rubber bands – binder clips
12. Pencils – pens – markers
13. Batteries – A – AA – AAA
14. Gum – mints – candies
15. Thread – needles – buttons
16. Emery boards – fingernail clippers – cotton balls
17. Legos – Bright Lite lights – marbles
18. Barbie accessories: shoes – purses – hats
19. Dog treats – cat treats – birdseed
20. Postage stamps – stickers – address

To order this product or any other Tupperware product, visit

Monday, February 4, 2008


I hope you all enjoyed the game yesterday. Not only was the game a good game but we actually enjoyed many of the commercials also.

Since my blog is combination of recipes and business ramblings, I wanted to offer some thoughts on networking, true networking today.

I was surfing the net yesterday and found a blog. I left a comment on a custom card that was made by a blogger. I loved it. It was a lone heart in the bottom right hand corner.

Imagine my surprise when I received an email this morning that the card was mine. The card can be viewed at Scroll down to the January 30th entry. That's my card you're seeing there :)

After getting the email I revisited the blog and saw Rachel's business links and began clicking. Turns out Rachel sells rubber stamps Everyone who knows me, knows that I'm a scrapbook fanatic and rubber stamper. Whose site do you think I'll be adding to my recommend list when folks ask me about rubber stamping? Yep, Rachel's.

Try saying hi to others and see what happens. Sometimes it's magic.

Audrey :)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Superbowl Appetizers

When I think of the Superbowl, I think of football, commercials and appetizers. Here are some of my favorite appetizer recipes:

What would a superbowl party be without chicken wings?

Apricot Brandy Chicken Wings

2 1/4 pounds chicken wings
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup apricot brnady
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a sauce pan cook the apricots in water until soft. Tranfer to a food processor and puree. Return to sauce pan, add brandy sugar and cinnamon. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Broil chicken wings for 10 minutes on each side. During last 5 minutes of cooking brush apricot sauce on wings. After cooking brush on sauce again. Serve hot.

Salmon Stuffed Cucumber Slices

1 english cucumber
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup minced smoked salmon
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoon dijon mustard

Pare the cucumber and cut into 1/3 inch lenghts. Remove the center pulp and seeds with an apple corere.

Marinate the cucumbers in a mixture of the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper for about 2 hours. Drain.

Mix together the salmon, mayonnaise and mustard. Stuff the mixture intot he cucumbers and slice into bit sized slices.

Tortilla Wraps

Lox and cream cheese or
Spinach dip or
Chicken salad or
Ham and cheese

Lay tortilla out flat. Spread a thin layer of your favorite sandwich filling. Roll tight and then cut into bit sized circles. This works best if fillings are chilled.

Enjoy the game!! Go Team!!

Audrey :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Saying Thank You

I read the most wonderful blog post today. In her post Michelle talks about writing thank you notes and offers several tips on who to thank and what to say.

As I read her post, I thought about all of the pens my daughters and I own. We own fine point pens, medium point pens, roller pens, ball point pens, fine tip marking pens and an assortment of other pen styles. We own pens in so many different colors that storage used to be a problem.

After joining Tupperware I began using the products to truly organize all rooms of my house. The Snak Stor and the Cold Cut Keeper are excellent for storing pens, pencils, crayons and markers.

These containers are only 2 1/2 to 3 inches high making all items inside very easy to see and get to.

For plane trips, not only will these containers hold the pens and markers, but paper, a deck of cards and for those with electronic games, these are great containers to hold the games, the rule books etc while traveling.

I'd like to offer my own personal thank you to Michelle for her great post that led me to think about pens and the many ways our pens can enhance paper to say thank you to someone else.

Audrey :)