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. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to Self Promote eBay Listings

I have been asked to describe the different ways we promote our eBay listings  Many think we pay enough to eBay and they should be doing it for us.  Let me do an analogy that I have used several times. 

Imagine the largest shopping mall near your home.  There is probably an anchor store in it.  Around the holidays the mall will advertise the mall, the anchor store will advertise themselves, and every little business is there hoping to benefit from their advertising. I am that little store in the corner and I want to stand in the hallway waving at folks who are there in the mall already.  So it is with eBay, too.  I don't want to be the little store off in a corner just waiting for someone to drop by.  I want to go out and try to snag folks to visit me. 

Ways to do that - 
  • A blog such as this one - see the top right corner - there is a link to my eBay store. Blogger (a Google product) is easy, WordPress (for the more computer savvy).  Write about anything that you can think of.  It is more important to get keywords.  A few ideas - a local restaurant; things and scenery from your town/city; hobbies; cooking hints. I found I had better luck (and better use of my time) just writing without researching the subject and am huge-ly surprised on the subjects that get searched on Google resulting on hits for the blog! ;
  • Bumping - not sure how much they help but the more exposure I can get for my listings the better. Click link for my blog on what bumping is;
  • Pinterest - A social media site where we do post listings on various boards, but be careful 2 ads for every 8 social posts.  Don't sell to your followers.  Build your followers based on your interests. Facebook Pinterest Addict group;
  • Same thing goes for Facebook Shares.  Friends & family don't want to see your listings so be selective what you choose to share - same formula applies - 2 ads for 8 social posts on your wall;
  • Twitter - same (sorta) as Pinterest - a social media site we also need to be careful not to spam
  • Facebook groups - I own a closed group where you can share 2 listings every day.  There are several others too but mine is alittle different because we all click on the listing giving it a click up in eBay search and then can share on a social media site too. We approve all requests for membership to keep out the spammers and have to see something in the profile that tells us the potential member is involved with eBay. 
  • Facebook seller group - I have another closed group for sellers to help each other brainstorm, problem solve and just be the water cooler where we can chat about our business.  Closed just means anyone can see who belongs but can not see the posts. There are many different groups each offering something alittle different from the other ones;
  • And last is not really a way to self promote but very important for all eBay sellers - join a near you or attend an eBay event at least 1 time a year.  
Another hint is to have the .com for your eBay name or store and the .net for the blog. Then have that URL point to your listings or store.  When you want to share your eBay info you just have to give or for blog -