Monday, January 12, 2015

Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza--a great party demo/sample

Recently I’ve changed up my party presentation (the entire presentation is coming soon) as a part of the presentation I’ve started having the guest make sugar cookie fruit pizza. 

It is super fun.  Guest LOVE participating and everyone I've done this with has loved the fruit pizza.

Purpose:  This activity is used as a part of the party presentation to help guests understand freeze dried food and how to rehydrate and use it in their kitchen.

You need:

        Powdered pineapple--blend dry freeze dried pineapple in dry blender or food processor
        Frosting-homemade or store bought *See recipe below.
        Pre cooked sugar cookies--use the Thrive Vanilla Sugar Cookie Mix
        Freeze Dried Strawberries--not rehydrated
        Freeze Dried Blueberries-not rehydrated
        A food grade water squirt bottle
        A water tight clear tupperware container with lid.
        1 paper plate and napkin per guest (you can have the host provide this)
        Knife for spreading the frosting (a bent frosting spatula works great, but any knife is fine)
        A plate for the strawberries.

How to  do the presentation: 

1.  Eat  Freeze Dried Food Dry

Pass around samples of dry freeze dried strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple.  Briefly discuss the freeze drying process as the guests are eating. 

List some ways your family eats freeze dried food dry and ask them for more ideas.  Here are some of the ideas I have used:

    A quick healthy snack on the go

    Camping--men love to eat the meat dry

    School sack lunches--my kids love dry corn.  Crazy I know.

    As a salad topping, the FD tomatoes are amazing dry on a salad, it is like a tomato crouton that bursts with flavor.

2.  Rehydrate by Spritzing:

Select one guest to assist.

    Have them spread out a bunch of strawberries on a clean plate.  You only want a single layer of strawberries.

    Give them a food grade squirt bottle filled with warm water (it is delicious with a little lemon in the water)  and have them spritz the strawberries. 

    Tell them:  Some foods are delicate when freeze dried.  These foods only need a little water in order to rehydrate.  Foods like berries and cheese rehydrate well when spritzed with warm water.

    Have the helper turn the strawberries over and spritz the second side. 

    Let the strawberries sit.

3.  Rehydrate by tumbling

    Select one guest to help.

    Add blueberries to the watertight clear container.

    add water until they float--point out that most freeze dried food only needs enough water to float.  Don’t drown the blueberries just float them.

    Add lid, and secure so the container won’t leak. 

    Give the container to the helper and instruct them to tumble the blueberries by gently rolling the container in their hands. (they’ll do this until you tell them to stop)

4.  Add it to your favorites


One of the best things about thrive is you can add it to your favorite recipes to make it fancy with out a lot of hassle. 

Select one guest to help.

    Instruct them to add  the pineapple powder to the frosting and stir. 

    While they are doing that.  Explain that at the bottom of each can there is a little powder from the freeze dried fruit.  This powder is magic.  It adds intense flavor to your food.  We love to add it to frosting or smoothies, or use veggie powder to dust pizza crust or flavor soup.

    I powdered this pineapple in my blender because I love it in frosting so much.

    Have the blueberry helper stop tumbling and drain any excess water.   

    When the frosting is well mixed have the helper demonstrate how each guest will assemble the fruit pizza.  Cookie → Pineapple Frosting → rehydrated strawberries. →  rehydrated blueberries. 

    Have each guest make one and then eat them as you explain the Q.

Pineapple Glaze Recipe--from Chef Todd at Summit Saturday

1 cup Thrive Freeze Dried Pineapple Chunks, dry

1 ½ cup powdered sugar

½ teaspoons Thrive vanilla powder

3 Tablespoons water or milk

    Place pineapple in a ziplock bag and crush to powder or blend in food processor. 

    Mix all ingredients together and stir until smooth

    Think glaze to desired consistency with addition water.

Serving ideas:  This glaze is great on cookies, cakes, muffins, and more!

Weekly Goals-Jan 12th

This week is a little crazy for me.  I have two LARGE parties this week and that is pretty much all I’m going to get done.   

 I usually limit myself to 1 party a week because that is what works best for my family.  But sometimes it just works out that I have two in one week.  This is one of those weeks. 

The first party is a Meal in a Jar party for a Women’s group.  So far we have 58 women who have RSVP’d, and ordered their meal in a jar.  They had to order and pay in advance, so I could have all the supplies ready.  This party with have a short presentation and then we’ll assemble their meals in a jar.  This party is about 2 hours away from my home so on party day the travel will take up a lot of time.  

The second party is my local monthly meal in a jar group.  So far I have 8 people that will be attending.   I love these parties but they are a fair amount of work. 

Host Coaching/Party Scheduling:
1.       Mail Host packets
2.       Do “Day Before” call with Tuesday’s host.

1.      Contact Leads (call Allison Monday to schedule party, Call Lyndsi Wed to update her)

Party Prep
1.      Prep for Tuesday’s Meal in a Jar Party
2.      Prep for Thursday’s Local Meal in a Jar Group

Team Training:
1.                  Team email—My fun new party presentation

 Blogging Goals:
1.      Photograph the Burrito Bowl Meal in a Jar Recipe
2.      Create printable and graphics for Burrito Bowl Recipe
3.      Publish Goals
4.      Publish Burrito Bowls Meal in a Jar recipe.
5.      Publish fruit pizza post

Other goals:
1.  Listen to the Tuesday Night corporate call.  I have a party during the call so I’ll have to listen to it when it is available online. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

This Weeks Goals

Recently I asked on Facebook if anyone would be interested in seeing my weekly goals.  A couple of you said it would be helpful so here they are.

Note I usually make pretty ambitious goals and work like crazy during my "work hours", I don't always get everything done but I'd rather have a lot to do then spend time trying to decide what to do next. 

Goals for the week of January 5th

Host Coaching/Party Scheduling:
  1. Contact all January hosts
  2. Make sure auto reminders (in Google Calendar) are set up for All January and February parties
  3. Close any November or December parties that aren’t closed.
  4. Plan my personal Meal in a Jar Party (move the date, the RS activity is that Wednesday)
  5. Call potential host (that haven’t booked yet) from Emergency Prep Expo.  
 Customer Service:
  1.  Customer Email—including recipe, and tip.
  2. Thank you notes for online orders.
  1.  Contact potential consultant list—email those I haven’t heard from in a while.
  2. Contact those from Emergency Prep expo
  3. Facebook Meal in a Jar group—at least 3 posts this week plus 1 question.
Party Prep
  1. Prep for Scott Sperry’s party (Tuesday night)
  2. Prep for Marilyn’s party (Saturday Lasagna Soup Meal in a Jar, decide on a dessert, last time we did fruit pizza on sugar cookies so choose something else.)
  3. Laminate numbers for party bags & cards for bags
Team Training:
  1. Team email—Goals/Life Vision.  Send link to Ruth’s goal setting workbook.
  2.  Facebook—Share 3 past posts helpful posts.
  3.  Upcoming—new party presentation—finalize slides/handouts and recipes.  Set up a time to video.
 Blogging Goals:
  1. Publish Zuppa Toscana Recipe (already Scheduled)
  2.  Add Meal in a Jar invites to Etsy store.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Get Prepared for Taxes

November is a crazy busy month for my business.  I always have a bunch of parties in November and the huge Black Friday Sale is November, so I choose to do less in December.    
I don’t hold home parties (with the exception of the monthly meal in a jar party I have at my house).    I do keep working on my business.  I focus on organization, preparation, planning, and everyone’s favorite taxes.   

I get all of my tax documentation in order so I can take it to my accountant in the New Year.
I do that using an Excel Spreadsheet, and a 3 ring binder. 
Let me walk you through it.

The Binder: 
I use this throughout the year.  Don’t worry if you didn’t use it this year.  It is still a great way to catch up.
What I do:
I have a binder with a divider and envelop for each month.  I keep track of my finance by month and category. 

Here is what my binder looks like: 

Want to make your own?  Here is how.

You need:

  •  12 copies (one for each month) of  Monthly Expense Record
  • 12 Envelopes (to put receipts is)
  • 3 ring binder—or file folder (to organize it all) 
  • Hole punch

Write the name of each month on each of the monthly expense records.
Staple an envelope to the back of each month.
Punch holes in the side of everything
Insert into the binder.

The Excel Spread Sheet

I love love love this spreadsheet.  It makes going to the accountant to do taxes so much easier.  

Notice that each month has its own page to enter data on.  You enter the data on the monthly pages and it then everything auto populates to the first sheet and you have your income and expenses. 

You can download the 2014 Tax Spreadsheet here.
Disclaimer:  I’m not a tax professional be sure to consultant your own accountant.    

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup--Meal in a Jar

If you are new to making Meal in a Jars please read this how to post about How to Make a Meal in a Jar--Two Methods

Chicken Noodle soup is my kids all-time favorite meal.  They always eat it well without complaining (insert happy dance here).    

I’ve been making Chicken Noodle soup for them using freeze dried Thrive Foods for about 5 years and just recently realized I could speed up the process by making a bunch of Chicken Noodle Soup meals in a Jar.   So I made 12.  

Best idea ever.  Now I have a bunch of meals ready to go that I know my kids will love that only take 10 minutes to make.  Love it.

Chicken Noodle Soup in a Jar
For printable recipe and mason jar labels see below.

1 cup Freeze Dried Chopped Chicken
2 Tablespoons Chicken Bouillon
1 tsp Chef’s Choice Blend
1 tsp Salad Blend
½ cup  Celery
¼ cup Carrots
1/4 cup Freeze Dried Onions
2 cups Egg Noodles

8 cups water (to be added during cooking)

Jar Directions:  Layer ingredients in a wide mouthed, quart-sized jar, shaking the dry powder ingredients into the bulkier items. Top with an oxygen packet (300 cc) for longer-term storage, or seal with a food saver.  Cover with a new canning lid and hand-tighten the metal ring. 

Cooking Directions:  Add contents of jar to 8 cup of rapidly boiling water.  Stir well.    Simmer 10 -12 minutes until noodles are soft.  

A note on Food Safety:
The Meal-in-a-Jar method is a form of Dry Pack Canning.   The food inside the jars is preserved because the food is free of moisture and oxygen, the lack of which inhibits bacterial growth.  Jars should be stored in a dark environment to prevent any nutritional degradation due to light.  
When packing your jars remember to always
  • Sanitize all equipment before use. Be sure to dry all equipment thoroughly before using.
  • Wash hands and or wear food handler’s gloves.
  • Keep work area clean and dry. 
  • Use either method 1 or method 2 to remove the oxygen from your jar.

Read more:
Recipe Card
Regular Mouth Mason Jar Label
Wide Mouth Mason Jar

Interested in Learning More about Making Meals in a Jar?  Join my meal in a jar facebook group.

Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Make a Meal-in-a-Jar Using a Food Saver OR Using Oxygen Absorbers

I’m excited to share of my favorite Meal-In-A-Jar recipes with you.  I’ve been making these easy recipes for my family for just over a year and I love how easy they are to prepare.  I am concerned about the quality and nutrition in the foods my family eats but I don’t always have time to cook from scratch, these Meal-In-A-Jar recipes have become the solution for my family.  

How to Make a Meal-in-a-Jar:   Two Methods

Method 1:  Use a Food Saver to Seal the Jars
Step 1:  In a clean, dry quart jar, layer ingredients. Shake the powder down into the jar if needed. 
Step 2:  Place the lid on the jar.  Don’t add the ring. 
Step 3:  Attach one end of the hose to the accessory port and the other end to the jar sealer.  Place the jar sealer over the jar.
Step 4:  Turn on your food saver and remove the oxygen from the jar.  
Step 5: Remove the jar sealer (it is easier to unhook the hose from the jar sealer first), add label and ring, store in a cool dry place. 

Method 2:  Use Oxygen Absorbers
Step 1:  In a clean, dry quart jar, layer ingredients. Shake the powder down into the jar if needed. 
Step 2:  Wipe the top of the jar with a paper towel to remove any powder.
Step 3:  Top with a 300 cc oxygen absorber. Seal tightly. 
Step 4:  The lid should seal within a few hours.  Add label and date.  Store in a cool, dry place.

I purchase my oxygen absorbers from Amazon.  Oxygen absorbers are a onetime use product, they can NOT be reused, if the jar does not seal after one hour remove oxygen absorber and discard.  Then add a fresh oxygen absorber and reseal. 

A note on Food Safety:
The Meal-in-a-Jar method is a form of Dry Pack Canning.   The food inside the jars is preserved because the food is free of moisture and oxygen, the lack of which inhibits bacterial growth.  Jars should be stored in a dark environment to prevent any nutritional degradation due to light.  

When packing your jars remember to always
·         Sanitize all equipment before use. Be sure to dry all equipment thoroughly before using.
·         Wash hands and or wear food handler’s gloves.
·         Keep work area clean and dry. 
·         Use either Method 1 or Method 2 to remove the oxygen from your jar.