Monday, December 19, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Here's an ingenious way to make sure you eat salad everyday: Make jars of salad on Sunday night that you can just grab to bring to work. If you layer the ingredients correctly, the salad stays fresh for up to four days.
I love having cookies around. Whether I need a little pick me up or just a quick sugar fix. Having cookies handy is comforting. And knowing I can have one and be good or eight and feel good, cookies equal comfort for me.
And chocolate cookies. well they just make it all even better.
Chocolate cookies with chocolate chips.
Uh huh. That’s the stuff.
I found these dark chocolate chips at the grocery store and had to use them right away.
I guess they’re new from Nestle. It’s about time they joined the party. I love dark chocolate.
Oh, I forgot. The cookies are kissed with peanut butter, too.
Start out by creaming the butter, sugar and peanut butter.
Add the eggs and vanilla.
Beat it all together.
Add whisked cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt to the creamed mixture.
Then add in those dark chocolate chips and stir it all together. Oh yeah.
Take the cookie dough and roll into small balls roughly 1 1/4″ in size.
Place on parchment paper and bake away.
They’ll be on the smaller side, but they’ll bake up nice and thick.
And oh so good.
If you’re a nut lover, you can also roll them in chopped pecans right before baking.
Just like so.
I baked some plain and some with pecans to play.
But, I like the plain ones better. Plain, slightly under baked and warm – right out of the oven.
Hard to resist. Basically, I like to torture myself. Then I can seek comfort with more cookies.
It’s probably good to be alone when you take them out of the oven. No one needs to see that behavior.
Just curious. Raise your hand if you’ve ever eaten an embarrassing amount of cookies before they can even cool.
Dark Chocolate Chip Comfort Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 oz. dark chocolate chips
chopped pecans, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt using a wire whisk and set aside.
- In another bowl, cream butter, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined.
- Stir in dark chocolate chips.
- Roll cookie dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. (If desired, roll balls in chopped pecans.)
- Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet.
- Bake 10 minutes.
- Place cookies on cookie rack to cool.
- Makes about 30 2-inch cookies.
Sunday night, I emailed off 497 pages containing 80,392 words to my editor (846 photos had been sent over before the weekend), went to bed at 2 a.m., woke up at 6 a.m. and a few hours later came home to a completely empty apartment and two entire hours to myself — two hours to nap or just stare slack-jawed at the ceiling fan and think about nothing for a while — and decided instead that I’d had enough of this pumpkin-free November I’d been having and went back into the kitchen to make pudding. That’s normal right? That’s what normal people do, right? Wait, don’t tell me.
So, a manuscript has officially been delivered, a whole 6 hours in advance of its deadline. I am the eternal college student, apparently, though if you’d asked me 18 months ago when I was going to finish my book I could have probably told you right then “Five minutes before it is due.” I’m classy like that. I would hardly say that the cookbook process is finished — we’re still ironing out some kinks, there’s copyediting (I can’t be the only one who pities the copyeditor who must deal with the madness I pass off as grammar, right?), some reshoots, they’ve been kind enough to offer me design input though they’ll probably regret it when they see what bad taste I have… I won’t bore you with the details. But for the most part? I’m back! Whee! And there’s no place else I’d rather be.
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And then, just like that, I decided not to work anymore. It’s weird, I finished my manuscript and I was raring to go — reshoots! edits! let’s talk design! — for about two days and then, almost out of curiosity, I closed the elaborate spreadsheet that
The good news is that being here doesn’t feel remotely like work; I am simply delighted to be back. And so, let’s talk about the gingersnaps that I also made just for the heck of it, just because I could, earlier this week. They’re thin and intensely spiced and quite snappy — buttery crisp at the perimeter, tentatively approaching tender and chewy towards the center, but not committing to it. I know that ginger junkies tend to like gingersnaps that are closer to ginger bombs, with grated fresh ginger and/or nuggets of candied ginger, but these (unless you make a couple tweaks, which I will attempt to suggest) are not that kind of snap. These are the kinds your grandmother might have made, as evidenced by the healthy helping of dark, funky and impossibly thick molasses.
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Friday, September 23, 2011
Some of the world’s most masterful marketers are, first and foremost, master teachers.
You’re a teacher when you write a blog post that helps solve a tricky problem your audience is facing.
You’re a teacher when you lead a webinar.
You’re a teacher when you overcome objections on a landing page. When you troubleshoot with a client on the phone. When you craft a product, make a video, give a speech.
Understanding yourself as a teacher, no matter what your business, makes your business more profitable and more fulfilling.
As an entrepreneur, you know the importance of finding a need and filling it, of knowing your market, of writing compelling copy.
Yet it’s tempting to overlook an equally important part of the recipe: how you actually teach.
- How you develop your content and deliver it.
- How you connect with your students.
- How you adapt to different learning styles.
- How you take care of yourself so you can teach without burning out.
All these are as vital as what you teach and how you get the message out.
But because many of us don’t see ourselves as teachers, we skip learning how to teach. And then we wonder why our businesses falter or our energy drains away.
Some people are natural teachers … I’m not one of them
The Woman’s Comfort Book became a bestseller when I was 29 years old.
I was instantly thrust into a teaching role. I did workshops and keynotes because I was invited to and I wanted to sell books. I had zero idea what I was doing. I flailed about. I would waste days over-preparing, then collapse when my teaching didn’t go the way I’d imagined.
And if the students didn’t rave? I was crushed. I felt so ashamed and alone in my failures.
Then I started to befriend other “famous” teachers at places like Omega and conferences, and joy! I learned the secret of “successful” teachers: most of them felt the same way.
Many teachers fear they suck, most of the time
We were all making it up as we went along. Sometimes that worked. A lot of the time: not so much.
I started researching: What makes an effective teacher? How do I get better? What do I do about those students who never talk? Or the ones who never shut up? Why am I so exhausted after teaching? How do I know if I did a good job?
Over my years studying teaching and learning, I’ve discovered several keys to sustainable, fulfilling teaching:
1. Don’t try to be the expert — Be the creator of safety and context
Trying to be the world’s foremost expert (especially when I was the youngest one in the room) tripped me up again and again.
Yes, you have to know your topic, but that doesn’t mean you have every answer. Truly, you can’t. Let “I don’t know” become your favorite words.
Besides, what you know is far less important than your real job, which is fostering:
Safety: Helping your students feel safe enough to take in what you offer and to ask questions — they’re as afraid of not knowing as you are!
Context: Showing students how this learning can benefit their lives. It’s just like writing good copy — you have to sell them on why they should care.
2. Nobody anoints you but you
Would-be teachers often hold back and wait for someone to dump holy water on them and say, “Yes, you’re ready to teach now. You know it all!”
At the same time, seasoned teachers can burn out when they get tired of beating themselves up for not being “legitimate” enough or knowing enough (see #1).
Sidestep all that mess: give yourself permission to teach. Ground yourself in what you do know, keep learning, stay humble — but stop waiting!
3. Know thyself
It’s so tempting to think teaching is all about establishing a niche or finding that “perfect” market, and has nothing to do with who you are.
I’d so love that to be true! But knowing yourself, warts and shining talents, and being willing to be honest with yourself will do more to increase your effectiveness than anything else you do.
For example, I really want everyone to like me and think I’m smart. When I can face that, and not pretend it’s silly or beneath me, I am more present, supple, and able to focus on my students instead of my own neediness. It’s hard inner work, at times, but skip it and you — and your students — suffer.
4. The best teachers teach as part of their own learning
Of the dozens of master teachers I’ve interviewed — they teach everything from writing to meditation to 3rd grade — most make mention of this.
It’s not only about staying on top of your topic — “sharpening the saw” by perpetually improving your skills.
Nope. It’s way deeper than that. Their teaching is always in service to their own learning.
They remain lifelong students. Especially in the front of the room. Teaching well is a powerful opportunity to learn. Learning is a life-long, perpetual, constant cycle for them. What they learn feeds their teaching, and vice-versa.
5. Self-care really does matter
As someone who has written volumes (literally!) about self-care, I find it highly adorable that this has been the hardest thing for me to learn.
I thought teaching meant serving myself up and giving everything to everybody. When I found myself schlepping baggage at one of my own retreats, I started to rethink that.
What do you need to feel your best when you teach? If that’s a cup of tea and Twitter turned off while you write, great. If it’s a day alone before and after an event, and (gasp!) a massage, make it so.
Teaching is a high calling to be of service (yes you can make money while being of service, but that’s another blog post) and teaching is a transmission of your energy and heart to another’s.
If you are called to teach, in whatever capacity, you owe it to yourself to give thought and attention to how you can best do that. You don’t have to flail and fail, I promise! Instead, learn how to teach. And then teach so you can learn.
About the Author: Jennifer Louden is a best-selling author with almost a million copies of her six books in print and she teaches an on-line program with Michele Lisenbury Christensen called Teach Now. It’s only open for a short time, so go check it out today!
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In this day and age, substance matters.
What you say must be meaningful to the people you’re trying to attract.
Your content must solve real problems and satisfy real desires.
So why should it matter how you say it?
The reality is, how you say it has always mattered, and it matters even more today.
For content marketing, it’s basically the difference between success and failure.
You’re in a battle for attention. A headline that doesn’t specifically convey a compelling promise results in content that is too often simply ignored.
Beyond that, your copy has to hold that precious attention, sentence by sentence, until the conclusion.
Even the appearance of your content on the page matters when trying to make a substantive point.
Finally, the way you convey information, no matter how independently valuable, affects everything from clarity to engagement to retention at a psychological level. Your ideas and advice must stick in people’s heads for you to succeed.
In short, how you say it is what you say.
Here’s an example:
If someone asks you what’s for dinner, you can stick with the substance:
Tonight we’re having pasta for dinner.
Or you can add a bit of craft and style to make it more tangible:
Tonight we’ll enjoy a dinner of tender linguini, topped with a homemade marinara sauce featuring vine-ripened tomatoes, fragrant basil, and fresh oregano straight from our garden, accented with just a hint of garlic and red wine flavoring.
Same basic information — we indeed will be having pasta for dinner.
Is one more enticing and memorable than the other?
Let’s look at another example.
Popcorn is bad for you
The book Made to Stick gives us the case of Art Silverman, a guy with a vendetta against popcorn. Silverman wanted to educate the public about the fact that a typical bag of movie popcorn has 37 grams of saturated fat, while the USDA recommends you have no more than 20 grams in an entire day.
Instead of simply citing that surprising — if dry — statistic, Silverman made the message meaningful by making it real. He said:
A medium-sized ‘butter’ popcorn contains more artery-clogging fat than a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, a Big Mac and fries for lunch, and a steak dinner with all the trimmings — combined!
Ummm … I’ll go ahead and skip the popcorn, thanks.
Make the benefits tangible
Yes, substance matters. Your content must be more than just relevant — it’s got to be meaningful to the people you’re trying to attract.
But never forget that it’s the relevant and tangible expression of that substance that creates meaning.
People have to get connected with your content in the first place before they comment, share, buy, or recommend your products or services.
Make your messages as real to people as possible, and you’ll find that content marketing has a payoff way bigger than the investment. Really.
About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Google+.
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