Tag Archives: Tips

Time/Mess Saving Tip for Portioning/Pattying Ground Meat For Burgers

6 Apr

*Note:  I copied this directly from my SparkPeople blog, so just ignore the ‘since you’re on SparkPeople’ statement later on in the post.

 

If you’re anything like me, you might run across a few pounds of ground beef on sale, pick it up, come home and stick it in the fridge with every intention of portioning it out before it goes into the freezer, then realizing almost too late that it’s been sitting in the fridge for days, and you don’t have time to portion it right now, so you just toss the whole thing in the freezer to be sorted later.  When later finally rolls around, and you decide you want to make hamburgers out of that thriftily priced protein, you have to haul out this large, frozen lump of ground meat and wait forever and a day for it to thaw, wash your hands, portion it, wash your hands, patty it, wash your hands, then cook it.

While my time saving idea won’t do you much good if you toss the burger in the freezer, it WILL help you save lots of time & mess if you’ll take the initiative to go ahead and portion it straight away.

First, while portioning, rip off a small piece of plastic wrap and cover the weighing portion of your scale with it.  If you have a scale with buttons, pull off another small piece and cover the ON/TARE button.  Now you don’t have to worry about any nasty bacteria because you can simply remove and toss the plastic wrap when you’re finished.

There’s nothing fancy to this part.  I simply weigh out 4 oz amounts of ground beef until the container is gone, putting each one in it’s own zipper lock sandwich baggie.  The last portion very rarely has an even 4 oz, so I like to have a permanent marker on hand to write down the precise weight (I measure almost everything in grams, for more precise calorie counting, but I’m occasionally neurotic, so…).

After everything is weighed and bagged, simply toss into the freezer for when you’re ready to make burgers.

Again, if you’re like me, you grew up eating ‘Momma Burgers’.  You know the kind I mean; they take 15 minutes (if you’re lucky!) to cook, and by the time they’re done, they’ll give you lockjaw just trying to get a bite that includes both sides of the bun, the burger and all the fixins.  This is the precise reason I rarely ever ate burgers-by-mom once I reached a certain age.  While they were delicious, they were just too much of a pain to try to eat.  Hot dogs were just easier.

I’m going on the assumption that if you’re on SparkPeople, you’re not making ‘Momma Burgers’ (a 4 oz serving would more closely resemble ‘Momma Meatballs’!)  so you’re intending a nice, thin, uniform patty.

Pull out your previously portioned burger and thaw.  Open the zippered baggie (but don’t take out the burger yet!), add your desired spices (I prefer garlic powder and onion powder on mine), reseal the baggie, and smoosh the meat around so your seasonings get worked into the meat to your satisfaction (you may find you need to let some of the air out or allow some in, it’s what is easiest for you).  Once you’ve gotten the seasoning worked through the meat, let most of the air out of the baggie and reseal it.

Now make your patty as usual INSIDE THE BAGGIE.

With this method it is quite possible to never touch the meat after you’ve weighed it out after purchase.  I do, because I don’t feel like taking the time to cut the baggie open as I’m putting the patties on the grill or in the pan, but technically, you don’t have to touch it if you don’t want to.

This saves countless minutes of time, especially if you’re trying to make several dishes while you’re making your patties or your phone rings, or you have little ones who need your attention or help, because they’ll always need it once you’ve put your hands in the burger!

Hope you found this tip useful!

~A

10 Things I Do To Get (And Keep) Readers

21 Aug

The other day, I was answering a question posed in this post, over at SFoxWriting’s Blog and in replying, I came up with the idea for this post.  I hope you enjoy, or at the very least, find something helpful.

  1. I always use tags for every post, without them, my posts don’t show up when people search using keywords.
  2. I try to always link to related posts at the end of my own (using Zemanta), not only is it helping other bloggers to become exposed to new readers, I almost always get a view or two from people coming to check out who left them the pingback.
  3. I try to take a moment to acknowledge comments left on my page.  I truly appreciate it when people take the time to not only read my posts, but to make a comment, and the least I can do is say thanks.
  4. I visit, like and comment on other blogs, but I don’t leave comments just to get people to come back and visit me, I only comment when I have something valid to say or add.
  5. I follow the people who follow me, because if they like what I have to say enough to follow me, chances are, I’ll like what they have to say, as well.
  6. I try to post about things that people have shown they like to read.  If I notice a sharp increase in views with a certain subject, I try to incorporate that subject into my blog.
  7. I always try to be nice to everyone.  Like the old saying goes, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
  8. Whenever I get an idea for a blog post, I always try to make a draft of at minimum, the title for the post, so that I have starting points when I’m low on ideas.
  9. I try to schedule posts ahead of time (like this one!) for days I know I might not be around the computer.
  10. Write!  The more you post, the more you’re out there for people to see.
  11. BONUS TIP:  Always try to give a little more than expected.  People appreciate it.

I’ve gotten a higher than usual influx of readers and followers lately because I’ve been writing about kindness the past week or so.  People want to read about kindness, acts of kindness, and more ways to be kind, so they come.  I also seem to have a lot to say on the subject, so I have made several posts a day, which also brings in more readers, naturally.

Posts about myself are always (usually) short, and posts about social issues are usually longer.  I also take the time to promote other bloggers, because some of my favorite blogs have been found through someone else mentioning them, so I try to offer the discovery of something new to my readers, as well.

Eventually, I would definitely like to monetize my blog.  I’m a homemaker, and I would like some pocket change to buy gifts for my fiancee for Christmas and his birthday, because I always feel guilty using money that he has worked for to pay for them, and I do promote my art on my blog on occasion, but for the most part, I try to write the sort of things I enjoy reading on other people’s blogs, so I know that in time, I will have plenty of readers just by doing what I’m doing.

I know a lot of people suggest following and commenting on other blogs to gain followers, and while this does work after a fashion, you really need to be careful with this, because if people feel like you’re doing this for the sole purpose of getting more readers/views/followers for yourself, you’ll get a not-so-stellar reputation.  I make sure that when I comment on a post on a blog that I’ve just run across, my comments are thoughtful, and add something to the blog.  Sure, ‘Great post’ is nice now and then, if you mean it, but if you want more meaningful follows and comments, you have to make sure you’re doing the same.

It might be a slower process, but in the end, if the people follow me because they like what I have to say, then they will be more loyal.  At least, that’s the plan 😉

How about you?  Any tips to add for getting and keeping readers?

Point Me In The Right Direction?

17 Aug

Hi, guys.  I’m sorry to put this out here on you, but I really don’t know where else to turn.

As you see, I just posted about my art and my decision to donate 25% of my proceeds to charity/acts of kindness.  What I need your help with (in the form of suggestions, tips, pointers, etc.) is how to get people interested enough in my artwork to want to purchase it?

I figured already that I would need to have matted (at the minimum) copies of several pieces to show prospective buyers, but what else can/should I be doing to help generate more sales?  My town doesn’t really have a lot of festivals and things where starving, unknown artists can set up a table and peddle their wares (or if they do, they’ve kept the secret really well!)  I already plan to create a website, also, as soon as I (again!) make enough sales to cover the cost of a domain name and the services of a website designer.

So how about it?  Anyone have any ideas on how to help me generate sales?

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