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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Good Ol' Ebay

I have a confession...I am sort of an Ebay junkie.  Mainly vinylmations (see here) but I have bought a few purses as well.  More than just buying though I love to sell things on ebay.  I dont really have a lot of big items for a mass of things so it makes no sense to have a garage sell but at the same time there are things that I want to get rid of but try and make money from at the same time. 

The last month I have been on a selling tear, going through every room in the house and posting whatever I can to try and get rid of things in the house.  So far I've made over $200!  Pretty impressive right!  I was actually shocked when some things sold but very happy all the same. 

I know Ebay can be a little tricky for the first time seller so I decided it might be a good idea to give you some tips.

  • Make a detailed title description to cover as many searches as possible
  • Be accurate in your product description, make sure and mention any defects/marks/imperfections
  • Be reasonable in your shipping charges, I like to use the fixed rate boxes so I know exactly how much shipping will be
  • Ebay now allows 11 free pictures, dont get carried away with pictures but post as many as you need to give potential bidders as much detail as possible
  • Do a little research before posting on prices so you can be fairly priced.  You want to be in the same range as like items so you dont price yourself out of the bidding
  • Honestly...nothing is too silly to post and get bids on.  I have sold a few things on ebay that I thought would never sell.
  • Make sure when the items sell you send invoices out same day and once payment is received you prepare the item for shipping same day.  Remember that buyers leave feedback based on shipping so you want to get the items out as fast as possible.
  • When taking pictures you want a clear background with nothing in the background to distract from the item.  Research says red backgrounds draws people in but I just use plain white to keep it clean and simple.

Of course I dont post my blog address on the picture on ebay but it gives you an idea of how my pictures look.  I have sold a lot of things on ebay and to be honest I have no clue if there are buying trends but rest assured posting in December is more likely to be a busier bidding time than any other time of year, what with Christmas shopping and all.

I hope these tips help you with selling on ebay and dont forget me when your little ebay shop becomes so successful you can retire and live off the profits...ok that probably wont happen but one can dream!

-Rachael

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vanilla-Rhubard Jam

Back in April I was at a fancy black-tie event that had favors for each guest to take home.  The theme for the party was Titanic, but search me as to why the favor was Vanilla-Rhubard Jam.  I have to say though, Im glad they did that because it ROCKED MY WORLD.  I have never had rhubard anything before I always thought it was a little weird but I had this jam on a biscuit and nearly died from taste bud happiness. 

This jam had a nice mix of rhubard, lemon, and vanilla bean.  You had me at vanilla bean :)  I decided to try and make it myself because, well I ran out and was craving some :)  I was to be real up-front with you guys...rhubard is not cheap.  When I found it the price was $4/pound and I needed 5 pounds (for a double batch).  I dont know the season for rhubard so maybe it was an off-season but I just want you to know that its not cheap.  Oh and vanilla beans are really expensive too but I think thats pretty much common knowledge lol.  If you are prepared for the cost then prepare your brain for some delicious goodness that Im bringing your way!


Vanilla-Rhubarb Jam
(A Food in Jar.com recipe, modified by Rachael)


Servings: 4pints      Prep Time: 5min       Cook Time: 15min        Difficulty: Moderate

Ingredients
·         10 cups of chopped rhubarb (approximately 2 1/2 pounds of stalks)
·         5 cups sugar
·         1 cup water
·         1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
·         1/8c lemon juice (more or less depending on your flavor preference)
·         pinch of salt
·         1 packet liquid pectin

Instructions
Sterilize your jars in a large pot of boiling water. If you’re making refrigerator jam (it will keep nicely unprocessed in the fridge for 2-3 months), skip this step.

In a 4-quart, non-reactive pot, bring the rhubarb, sugar and water to a boil. Add the vanilla bean, lemon and salt to the pot and let it bubble gently for about ten minutes. After ten minutes have elapsed, add the pectin, stir to combine and let cook for a few more minutes.

At this point, dip a spoon in the jam and see how it coats the back of the spoon. If you get a nice, even sheet, the jam is done.  Its important to note that your jam will NOT be the consistency of jam but more like a very runny caramel so dont be alarmed if your jam isnt thick, this will happen as the jars cool.

You can also taste at this point, to see if you like the balance of flavors. Add a little more lemon juice if you feel it needs additional brightening or additional vanilla to match your preference.

If you are making freezer jam pour the jam straight into containers but if you are going to store jam in the pantry or give as gifts follow the next steps.
 
Pour into hot jars, wipe down the jar to remove any spillage then apply lids/rings. Place jars in a boiling pot of water with the water covering the tops of the jars for at 10 minutes.  Remove jars with tongs or special jar tongs (you can find them here) and let cool.  I like to place my jars on wire racks to help with the cooling process (like when you cool cookies).  As the jars cool you will hear popping noises, this is good it means your jars have sealed properly.  You can check your jars to make sure they sealed by pressing the tops if they are popped out in the middle they are sealed, if not then you can reprocess them in the hot water bath.

When its all cooled ENJOY!  I love this on biscuits and english muffins but Im sure you savvy people out there can find some really great uses or it as well.  If you have a really great idea share it!  I would love to hear what you would do with it!!

-Rachael


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

German Chocolate Goodness!!

I think its about time we have another dessert posting because desserts make everything better...especially a dessert that has chocolate and coconut.  I love coconut it makes me happy :)

On a side note, I do hope to not make this completely a food blog because I by no means am a chef and as of yet cant really 100% make my own recipes so Im just sharing other recipes (with some tweeks of my own).  I always link back to the original source so please make sure you stop by their blog, let them know I sent you and if you really love their blog as much as I do then follow them!

Today's recipe is from Six Sisters Stuff blog.  These girls are seriously talented and have some super stellar recipes that I have used on multiple occasions with always fantastic results.  Today's recipe is no different and to tell you just how awesome this recipe is...my dad had me leave 4 with him!  He never asks to keep desserts because he likes to eat healthy and doesnt eat a lot of desserts.  Its really a high compliment if he wants seconds :)


German Chocolate Cake Bars


Servings: 16    Prep Time: 7min   Cook Time: 24-30min       Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients
Crust:
  • 1 box devil's food cake mix (not with pudding added)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
Filling:
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (fat free is fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter and egg, and press into the bottom of the prepared pan. The crust should not come up the sides. Bake for 7 minutes and remove from the oven. The crust will not look done.

While the crust is baking, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, egg, pecans and coconut. Pour evenly over the warm crust and sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips. Bake for 24-30 minutes, until the top is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.

Now get out there and make some baked goodness!  I really loved these and I know you all remember that Im not a huge fan of chocolate :)  You know I think I might just have to go and make some more they were THAT good!!

-Rachael

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yummy Chicken Bundles

What's this...2 food posts in 1 week!  It must be your lucky day!!  Truth is I cook a new recipe each week whether we make a new project or not so I pretty much an guarenteed to have at least 1 recipe to share with you.  Since its been about 3 weeks since my last post I have a couple recipe posts waiting in the wings to share! 

Since yesterday was a dessert post I want to share main course recipe with you today.  I have made this one a few times because its fast, easy, and makes great left overs!  Doesnt get much better than that right?!?  So are you ready to try a new recipe??  YES!!  I was hoping you would say that!


Chicken Enchilada Puffs
(A TidyMom blog recipe, modified by Rachael)


Servings: 8     Prep Time: 15min       Cook Time: 15min            Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients
·        2 packages regular crescent rolls
·         3 oz cream cheese
·         1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
·         2 cup cooked chicken (diced or shredded)
·         2/3 cup enchilada or taco sauce
·         4 teaspoons enchilada or taco seasoning mix
·         1/2 cup Mexican shredded cheese for sprinkling

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375° and line cookie sheet with foil and spray with no-stick spray

Place cream cheese and Mexican cheese in small bowl and microwave for about 30-40 seconds, to soften.

Add seasoning mix, sauce and chicken to cheese mixture and stir until combined.

Unroll crescent rolls (leave the 2 triangles of each section together to make a square) on prepared pan.

Scoop 1 large heaping tablespoon of chicken mixture into the center of the two short ends of the crescent roll.

Pull outer corners of the crescent roll over the chicken mixture, and then pull the long end over, completely enclosing filling.

Sprinkle tops of puffs with additional shredded Mexican cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.


I doubled this recipe because it only made 4 and thats not enough left-overs for me and its just too easy to make this doubled.  I serve this with steamed veggies and rice (if I have it on hand) because...well just the puff a balanced meal does not make :)  I hope you are your family enjoys this version of the chicken bundle as much as mine does!  Oh and by the way we have tried 3 different versions of the chicken bundle and I found that this version was our favorite...if my opinion counts for anything :)

-Rachael

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Long Time No See!

Hey gang!  Sorry for the radio silence but with the new job and lack of funds there have been no new projects for me to share.  Right now we are working on a plan to make a shelf in the laundry room and a bookcase in the study but until we have the funds to get all the materials those projects are waiting in the wings.  Its not really a bad thing though because my creative juices havent really been flowing lately and I havent been inspired by anything either :(

What I have been doing is cooking...probably too many desserts but who cares!!  To make up for the absence...(well not really since its just one dessert post, but its a good one) I want to share with you a cookie I made a while back and have been waiting to post about it.  These are tasty and light and not too terribly bad for you...as far as cookies go that is.  I think this is more a holiday time cookies, but I dont think any cookie (save eggnog cookies for obvious reasons) should only be made 1 time a year!!  I hope you try these and love them



Lemon-Coconut Snowballs
(A Myrecipies.com recipe)


Servings: 2dozen   Prep Time: 25min     Cook Time: 20min      Cool Time: 35min   Difficulty: Moderate

Ingredients
·         1 cup unsalted butter, softened (if you only have salted butter just leave out the salt!)
·         1/2 cup powdered sugar
·         1 teaspoon coconut extract
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon rind (I used jarred since I dont keep fresh on hand and it worked fine)
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted
·         1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and extracts, beating well. Add flour, lemon rind, and salt, beating until combined. Stir in coconut. Cover and chill dough 30 minutes.

Shape dough into generous 1" balls; place 1" apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden on bottom, but pale on top. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool 5 minutes.

Place 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar in a bowl, and roll warm cookies in powdered sugar, coating well. Cool cookies completely on wire racks. Roll cooled cookies in powdered sugar again, coating well.


My husband took these to work and they liked them...not as much as my fantastically awesome sugar cookies but they did like them.  My problem when I made these was I cooked them about 2 minutes too long so they were a little dry.  In my opinion its better to cook a little less, you can always add more time later.  I also used my silicone baking sheets rather than the parchment paper so the bottoms didnt brown.  Nothing wrong with parchment paper I just prefer the silicone baking sheets for a more even color.  

I hope you enjoy these!!

-Rachael