Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What eBay sellers should expect from 11/20 to 12/15

  1. If it is a Christmas / holiday item it should be listed.
  2. Auctions should be listed with Buy it Now.  Buyers may not want to wait for an auction to end and are willing to pay a little more for their treasure.
  3. Have all your shipping supplies on hand.  Nothing worse than a last minute order and you have to search for mailing supplies like a box or priority envelope.
  4. Expect buyers to be anxious for delivery.  Ship quickly and offer 2 ways to ship with one of them being an expedited service (priority or priority express).
  5. Some sellers shut down around 12/15 until the beginning of the New Year.  It is important to remember that many people are off work, out of school, on vacation, may be stuck inside because of weather, etc. and have time on their hands to browse and hopefully buy.  Many may scale back on their business activity but are readily available to answer questions and to ship sold items.
  6. Sales slow drastically after the 15th so that is a perfect time for sellers to get ready for the 1st quarter onslaught of sales.
  7. January has always been a very good month for sales. Folks may not have gotten what they wanted or they have money or gift cards to spend.  It is the time they buy for themselves and fulfill their collections, jewelry, media or clothing.
  8. And finally enjoy the ride.  This is the season sellers work towards all year. Learn from it and plan accordingly for the next holiday selling season.
  9. And please visit our eBay store.  Thanks

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Brussel Sprouts

I have always liked eating Brussel Sprouts but never thought about how they grow.  While we were living in New York we would go to the farm stands on the eastern end of Long Island.  One day there was the Brussel Sprouts on the stalk. Wow - Who knew!! 

Last week we saw this at our local Safeway.  What a pleasant surprise.
So I just break them off and use a few at a time. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How I cook our perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

I am a self taught cook and have perfected our turkey.  My Irish grandmother always used Salt Pork on the bird .

I truss it with butcher twine and slip the slices of salt pork under the string so the whole breast, wings & legs are covered.  I start  roast it according to the directions on the package, but typically I do it at 425 degrees for 1 hours and then lower to 350 until it reaches 165 degrees. It might take longer because I put the stuffing inside the bird.  After the 1st hour the salt pork starts to melt creating juice in the bottom of the pan.  I baste the turkey and then continue to bast every 45 minutes.

When the salt pork looks like it is pretty well cooked, I remove it and set aside. 
It will look like a naked jay bird - hee hee. Baste again and now the skin will start browning.  Continue cooking and basting alittle more ofter.  If the skin looks like it is getting too dark, I make a loose tent with aluminum foil.  
Take it out of the oven and set aside to rest.
I then make the gravy from the pan drippings. Here is the blog I wrote to make wonderful, smooth, tasty gravy without all the fuss the TV chefs put into it. ;)) 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homemade Applesauce - Jonathan Apples

 Fall is the time for Apples and there is nothing better than home made apple sauce. I don't use a recipe because it is so easy.

These were Jonathan Apples. Add alittle water so they do not stick until the juice starts to come out. Add a squirt of lemon juice so the apples do not turn brown (Sometimes I use Fruit Fresh instead.)  If desired add cinnamon sticks while they are cooking.
Cook until they are very mushy.  Remove cinnamon sticks.

The tool on the right is invaluable.  You want the core out, but peel left on. Process the cooked apples in a food mill.  The red skins will give the apple sauce a pink color.  Add sugar and more cinnamon, if necessary or wanted.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Grill Roasted (Charred) Potatoes

When I was growing up on Long Island, NY our house was surrounded by old maple trees.  In the fall we would rake the leaves, make big piles and burn them in the gutter. (Back in the 40's & 50's there were no laws / rules to prevent us from burning the leaves).

I don't know how it started, but my grandfather would throw a few potatoes into the fire.  They would cook while the leaves were burning. 
When they came out of the ashes they were all black and charred but the inside was so light and fluffy.  They added butter and salt and the taste was indescribably good - Soft, buttery, smokey.  Yummy. 
We wanted to recreate that for my kids so we do them on the grill until they are very black and soft inside.  It is impossible not to get some black ash in the bowl, when we scoop them out, but a little carbon never hurt anyone and any dirt is burned off.  

When we do them depending on the size of the potatoes, we do 2 -3x more than we would for a normal meal.  Alot of the flesh gets cooked to the skin so there is less volume when they are done. Try this method of cooking potatoes when the grill is on.  You will be surprised how good they are.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pinterest and the eBay Seller

As an education Specialist, I am always trying to help my students in becoming successful eBay sellers. A few weeks ago eBay announced some changes to their user agreement.  

One thing that will impact sellers is that eBay wrote not all listings will appear at any given time.  It is unclear exactly what that means, but to me it means I must help myself by doing self promotion of all my treasures that are for sale on the eBay site.  Just like the blog I wrote on bumping - Pinterest is a big part of my daily tasks. I really believe none of us can rely solely on eBay to bring visitors to our eBay stores.
Assuming one belongs to Pinterest and knows their way around here are a few hints that I think have helped me and others to make more sales

** Keep in mind, first and foremost, Pinterest is a social site and you do not want to blast your followers with ads of your product;
** Having said that tho', 1 listing for every 5 other kind of pins is OK;
** I like to spread out my postings through the day, not all eyes are looking at the same time;
** There is one board called "eBay - Today's New Listings". Every day I post brand new listings that went live yesterday; 
** Many times I have been surfing the main board and have seen an image of something I have waiting to be listed.  I pin it to a special board called "eBay for Research". Then I can go back later and get more details when I am ready to list that item;
** I belong to several groups on Facebook and there are postings all the time of things folks found that sold for more than one would expect.  I pin those items to a private (secret) board called "BOLO" = Be on the Lookout! (I share that list with the members of my Meetup Group at every meeting);
** When pinning, anything, make sure you add some keywords in the description.  Anyone can search for those keywords right on Pinterest. The Search Engines are looking at them too; 
** The boards - I have ones just for listings by subject but other folks have them by color, style, season, holiday or whatever. And my product boards are mixed in amongst the recipes, travel, holidays, etc.  boards;
** Arrange the boards for eye appeal.  I have mine sorted in alphabetical order (for the most part) so I can find them.  My group boards are separate at the bottom and boards I want alot of attention on, are 1st.

** This is just a start to make Pinterest a resource for promoting listings.  I do have a group on Facebook to talk about Pinterest and to help stay updated. 

Please visit my boards and if we are not friends please follow me and I will follow back.  Thanks.
Email for student info

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pumpkin Should have been 100 Pound-er!

 The middle pumpkin should have been a record breaker.  LOL

Last year we planted seeds for huge 100#pumpkins and not one sprouted.  This year we did not plant any and one volunteer came up all by itself in late July.

After all the rain in Aug. and Sept. there was only one that developed and is over 20 pounds.
  If it had started earlier we think it would have had a better chance of being a big one.
The stem is what is so interesting about this guy.  It would have been big enough to support a huge one.  Notice Gene's finger next to it.
A little mousey or squirrel started nibbling on it so we harvested alittle early.
Besides saving the seeds for next year, do we carve it, use it for a decoration or cook it!!??

Monday, September 30, 2013

Roasted Tomato Pizza (Pasta) Sauce

 Roasted Tomato Pizza (Pasta) Sauce
Another recipe I found on Pinterest.  After it cooled my son tasted it and said, don't want this to sound not nice but it tastes --- and I said commercial! He said yes, it was that good, well rounded and rich. Recipe is at the bottom of photos so it can be copied & pasted in it's entirety.

4 pounds Plum tomatoes halved
Mixed with the herbs and other ingredients
After they have been roasted.
Next was to process them in a food mill.
The finish product, which we then canned in a water bath.  This made 3 pints.  

Roasted Tomato Pizza (Pasta) Sauce
Some of the ingredients seem odd but when all added together you can not tell they are there.
  • 4 pounds Roma tomatoes, or other ripe tomato (if using other tomatoes de-seed and try to get rid of as much excess liquid.)
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 3-4 anchovy filets from a can (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint minced
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dry marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
To add after roasting - 
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (honey may be substituted)
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut each Roma tomato in half the long way. If using other tomato types, remove core and discard. Then cut them in half from top to bottom.
  3. In a large bowl place tomato halves, diced onion, anchovy filets, garlic, oregano, basil, mint, pepper flakes, marjoram, salt and oil. Toss to combine then pour out onto a sheet pan. Arrange tomato halves cut side up and roast uncovered for one hour. Remove from oven, flip tomatoes and roast for 30 more minutes.
  4. (Note: different tomato varieties have different water content. The above step should be monitored. You are looking for a good deal of the water content to evaporate but not burn the tomatoes)
  5. Using a food mill, process the cooked tomatoes and all liquid through the mill, discarding seeds and skin left in the mill.
  6. To the pureed tomatoes, add the remaining ingredients - tomato paste, agave nectar, onion powder, butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and adjust seasoning. Use on your favorite pizza or can for later use.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Turkey Wing Whisk Broom

 We found this in my Mom's house and had no idea what it was until we went to list in on eBay.  Well I take that back, I knew it was a whisk broom but that is all.  Turns out it is a Turkey Wing Whisk broom.  
This one has a tag that says Lucern, so I assume it was made in Switzerland. 

They are made by taking all the straw and bunching it together to make the handle. Then letting it flare at the other end  This one is tied with red nylon string with a plastic cap on the end. 

In my research I found out that Ben Franklin used this style broom to help promote his vision that the Turkey be the National Symbol. 

Never know what we will learn in our research for eBay.  LOL 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pine Tree Stump as a Planter

View from our front window looking out at where our 60 year old, 70' Colorado Blue Spruce once stood.
Back in June I wrote how we hollowed out a pine tree stump and made planter.  Now 3 months later the flowers are growing and blooming.

White Cosmos, pink Zinnias
Morning Glories, Marigolds

Trumpet Vine climbing, bright green is Sweet Potato
Drainage hose under morning glory vine
Mums, Geraniums, decorative grass and Sweet Potato vine

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We remember 9-11-01 12 years later

On this 12th anniversary of this most horrible event, Sept. 11, 2001, I wonder how many are functioning and saying it is put behind us, but the fears from the moments and days immediately following that tragedy are not far below the surface for so many of us?

We were living in Franklin Square and I guess about 20 miles or so from ground zero (line of sight) and watching a morning show, when it turned to a news alert.  When we went out of the house there was the smoke to the west.  Within an hour or two we heard sirens of emergency vehicles on the main road 1 block from our house. The sirens were constant for hours so we went to go see what was happening.  There were emergency vehicles coming in from eastern Long Island (more than 60 miles away) to be staged at Belmont race track. Fire trucks, fire chief cars, ambulances and rescue equipment, etc. We knew what happened, but were so afraid of what they were not telling us.  Was there more?

Belmont Horse Race Track is just over the border from Queens, NY (about 3 miles from our house). Since all fire and rescue vehicles from Queens and Brooklyn were in the city at ground zero, the other equipment was being staged in the parking lot to be dispatched to local emergencies if or when they were needed.

As days went by we heard stories of survivors.  One such story was while I was having my nails done by a lady who told me her husband worked on the top floor.  He pushed himself into the elevator before the building collapsed.  When he got to the bottom, the doors of the building were being closed not to let anyone onto the subway - and yet again he forced his way out and had to pull the doors of the subway car open to get onto the last train out of that station.  

Everyone on his floor was lost and he was suffering with "why was I spared"?  So not only did the families of those who were killed suffer so are the survivors and their families.  
7 members of our church - St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church were lost.  The actual church only holds 400 so for the funerals, audio speakers were set up in the school auditorium and many speakers outside on the street. The inside of the buildings and outside on the street was packed with over a thousand folks in all sorts of uniforms - fire - police- military and regular folks, like us, just there to pay our respects.  

2 firetrucks with their high ladders extended formed a point from which a huge American flag flew.  When the casket was carried from the church it was placed on the back of the fire truck for it's trip to the cemetery.  We were told that traffic stopped all along the way as the truck passed.  

After everyone came out of the church, the NYC Police helicopters flew over with the missing man formation.  There were 2 trumpeters  echoing each other, playing taps.

We were at all 7 funerals and Mayor Guilanni and the police chief was at each and every one.  Even now writing this it brings back tears to my eyes!!!

Another thing I need to share too - Some folks went into an dollar store in our small town and the owners/staff/family were all cheering  - celebrating while they were watching the replay.  I don't mean to judge all dollar store owners, but just sayin' that one group was happy!!

And so on the anniversary of the day that impacted our lives we need to remember a few things - one the fear of the unknown and what would or could happen next - if anything. Our kids think we are over exaggerating being cautious / aware, but on the other hand - why not?  What does it hurt to be prepared?
And lets also remember those few days/ weeks afterward and how we were all united as one people suffering for all the lives lost, the damage to families and our nation. No matter what event we went to - everyone stood and sang God Bless America with pride and conviction.  And of all that has been said and will be said that is a very profound memory to come away with. 

Lastly but really foremost our prayers go to the families directed impacted by this tragic event, not only in NY but all over this country.