Friday, July 29, 2011

How would you like to be trained?

I am developing a comprehensive new consultant training program (I am making good progress but it is not ready yet but as soon as it is I’ll let you know).  I will continue to do Monday team trainings but I have been thinking that for new consultants it would be helpful to have the information organized and easy to assess.  I am in debate on how is best to deliver said training.  So I just thought I should ask.  Right now the choices are

1.  Ebook—A pdf version for sure and other formats like kindle if I can figure them out.

2.  A series of e-mails (sort of like the Monday e-mails I send out but these would be auto sent in a series, so today you get lesson 1, tomorrow you get lesson 2 etc.)

I've added a poll on the side of the blog so please vote or comment on which you would rather.  Or if you have a better idea I would love to hear it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mango Shaved Ice--the most delicious dessert of the summer!

Happy Birthday to my brother!   Handsome Dan I hope you had a great birthday!  Okay his birthday was really a few days ago but I did make this on his birthday in honor of him.  I did develop this recipe just for him,  and I've never developed a recipe for anyone ever before. 

So what does his birthday have to do with 
the most delicious dessert of the summer?  

He and his cute wife are currently living in China.  A while ago they posted on their blog about their favorite dessert in China.  Here is what they had to say: 

It's a finely shaved ice pile with fresh, very fresh mangoes on top with what we think is sweetened condensed milk and mango syrup on top.
Here they are eating said shaved ice: 

Now after I read that description I decided that this was a food I needed to eat. And since I'm not traveling to China anytime soon I better make some myself. You can read more about their adventure in China on their blogs here and here.

 It turns out that Mango shaved ice is actually pretty simple to make.  And it is just as delicious as they said it was.  It is my new favorite summer desert. It only takes a few minutes to make, it is made with things I have on hand, and it is cold and refreshing. I think you will love it. Everyone I have served it to so far has.

Mango Shaved Ice--the most delicious dessert of the summer
Serves 4
Note:  If you don’t have your own Shaved Ice Machine you could try purchasing shaved ice from the local stand without any flavor and then hurrying home to add your toppings.

6 cups Shaved Ice 
1 cup Freeze Dried Mangoes
1 cup warm water
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1.      Rehydrate the mangoes in the warm water. This will take about 5 minutes.  You know they are hydrated when they are soft all the way through.  Drain
2.      Layer in a cup (or as they do in china on a plate) 1 ½ cup Shaved ice, 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, and ¼ cup mango.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Product Review

The product review for tonight beginner training call can be found here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Product Training: Powdered Milk and Instant Milk

Powdered Milk and Instant Milk
For many consultants the difference between powdered milk and instant milk is confusing.   This is how I explain it to customers:
“I store both powdered milk and instant milk.  I store instant milk for drinking, and powdered milk for baking and cooking.“
Often the customer than asks;  “Why ?”
“I really love instant milk for drinking; it is a lot like skim milk.  I love having it on hand so I don’t have to run to the store for a gallon of milk.  I love know that I am storing milk that my family especially my kids will drink. 
I store powdered milk for baking and cooking.  It is a little cheaper and works great in baking and cooking.  You don’t need to store both, you can just choose one.  Both are great products.”
Here is a little comparison about the differences in milk products.
1 % milk
THRIVE Powdered Milk
Thrive Instant Milk
Cost per Gallon
$2.99 *
Aprox $3.60
A can makes

5 gallons
8 g
10 g
Shelf Life
1 to 2 weeks
25 years (2 year open)
25 years (2 open)
How to use
Drinking, baking, pretty much everything
Cooking and baking is its best use.  You can add it to your recipe dry and just add the appropriate water.   It can be used to drink.  If you are going to drink it try adding a little sugar and a little vanilla, and be sure to drink it COLD!
Drinking.  If you make it up with cold water it is great to drink. Very similar to skim milk.  I serve it a lot at parties and it is always a big hit. (once I convince them to drink it).  Can be used for baking any other milk use.  I prefer to reconstitute it and then add it to recipes as I would fresh.
*National Average in Jan 2011  source:
Basic powdered milk conversions:
To Make:   You need
Instant Milk
¼ cup
¼ cup
1-½ T
¾ T
½ cup
½ cup
3 T
1 ½ T
1 cup
1 cup
1/3 c
1 quart
1 quart
1-1/3 c
1/3 c
1 pint
1 pint
2-2/3 c
1-1/3 c
1 gallon
1 gallon
5-1/3 c
2-2/3 c

Recipes I like using Instant Milk
1.     Thrive Instant Milk Whipped Topping:   I know I talk about this all the time but have you tried it?  It is amazing.  I love making whipped topping from my powdered milk.  The whipped topping ends up like cool whip or dream whip.  Love it.
2.    Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream:  Really do I need to say more?
Recipes I like using Powdered Milk
1.     Blueberries and Cream Cookies:  This recipe highlights a bunch of food storage ingredients.  I really love the milk crumbles. They make these cookies amazing, and they use powdered milk
2.    Magic Mix:  I have been making magic mix for year and I love it, (I especially love to make it with powdered butter because it is than shelf stable.) If you are new to magic mix it is white sauce mix that you make using powdered milk (not instant) that you can than make into white sauce, gravy, cream of anything soup, pudding etc. 
3.    Homemade Yogurt Okay I’m a geek and I make my own yogurt.  It turns out that dry milk is perfect for making your own yogurt
4.    Make Your own instant oatmeal:  My kids love instant oatmeal.  One day I was thinking what is in those little packets anyway? Well it turns out that what is in those packets are all things that come from your food storage.  Oats, Dry Milk, Sugar, Dry Fruit. Easy

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blogs--Should I write one? What do I need to know to decide?

I recently had a consultant ask me if I had any advice about starting a blog to advertise her Shelf Reliance Business.  As I wrote back to her I found that yes, I do have quite a lot to say about it.

1.  Think it through before you start a blog. Blogs are time consuming, do you have the time to devote to having a successful blog.  Do you have something to say that isn't already being said?  I find blogs that are original and are content driven are the most successful.

2.  There are a slew of blogs out there right now being written by SR consultants most of them are solely a marketing piece.  Focusing on "buy from me."  I think that these types of blogs will have limited success.     The successful blogs will be ones with original interesting helpful content.  So as you are thinking about what kind of blog you would like to have think of what content you can add to what is out there already.

3.  Think about the platform of your blog:  My blog is hosted on my own website.  Notice it is  I did not start that way I originally had a blogspot address.  If I was doing it again I would start with my own domain name.   My blog is a blogger blog.  But I think if I was doing it again I would use wordpress.  I did look into both before I started and I chose blogger because it is easy to use. But now I wish I had taken the time to learn wordpress because you have so much more control over the layout, format, etc. 

4.  Blogging is a long term strategy.  I do think it is a good strategy but it is slow going at first. It took me months before I had anyone reading my blog, and months more before I had a purchase from my blog. 

5.  Before you launch your blog have some content.  I recommend having 12 to 15 good posts up before you start marketing your blog at all.

6.  I have really benefitted from the e-book  31 Day to build a better blog by Darren Rowse.  He is the author of ProBlogger and the book is great. You can check it out here

7.  I don't worry about SEO although I know a LOT of bloggers are obsessed with it.  I blog to share my content and since I think I have good content I think people who are interested in it find it and share it.

8.  Think about how often you are going to try to push people to your online store.  Many of the SR consultant blogs are very heavy handed in pushing people to purchase through them. Personally I don't like this approach.  I do post about Shelf Reliance and its products but I try to be selective about how often. 

9. Decided from the start that you are going to be an ethical blogger.  I define this as:  disclosing that you are a SR consultant, being honest in your opinions of products,  and not doing anything sneaky to your readers (like linkbaiting, hiding cookies, or anything else sneaky).  I have found that doing these things drives traffic AWAY from your site.  I know which blogs I read do these things and I won't link to them.  The bottom line is they decrease your readership and have little impact on sales. Good content = more readers, more readers = sales.   Don't be seduced by the dark side. It is VERY tempting.  I know I have been tempted too. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Biscuits and Gravy Food Storage Style

Have you tried the Thrive freeze dried meat yet?  I am in love with the sausage.  Okay well I always love sausage, but this sausage is precooked and shelf stable. So I can have sausage in anything in just a few minutes. No more running to the store to get sausage, no more splattered kitchen. I've been using the freeze dried sausage for a while now and we recently decided to give it the biscuit and gravy test.  It turned out wonderful!  I might never buy fresh sausage again.  

Start re-hydrating the sausage before you start the biscuits. It will be ready to make into gravy by the time the biscuits are in the oven. 
 The gravy recipe has a range of sausage in it. That is because my husband and I can't decide on how much sausage should be in it.  I think it is gravy with sausage, he thinks it is sausage with gravy.  So measure accordingly.

Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup cold buttermilk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (about 5 minutes), plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing biscuits

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475°F. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 8 tablespoons melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps.

2. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl. Using greased 1/4-cup dry measure, scoop level amount of batter and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (biscuits should measure about 2 1/4 inches in diameter and 1 1/4 inches high). Repeat with remaining batter, spacing biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.

3. Brush biscuit tops with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Sausage Gravy
2 1/2 cups water  (save excess water in cup after re-hydration is complete)
1 1/2 cup to 2 1/2 cups sausage

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 cup reserved water

1. To rehydrate sausage place sausage and water in a large skillet (the pan you want to make the gravy in).  Heat over medium heat to rehydrate. About 5 minutes. 

2. Remove from heat and drain excess water into cup.

3. Cook sausage for a minute to dry it (water makes the gravy clump) add oil and cook for another minute.  Add flour, stir and heat over low heat until the oil and flour form a roux.

4. Add milk, reserved water, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.  Additional water may be necessary if gravy is over-thickening.  Remove from heat and serve over biscuits.