The Bizz by AnyPromo.com

Business & marketing advice, news and features, design inspiration, and the art of gifting.

Recipes to Boost Focus in Meetings: Crème Brûlée Maple Apple Tart


Pitching to a hungry audience is shooting yourself in the foot, so bring along some tasty treats - preferably sugary stuff - to boost focus and mood. It WILL make a significant difference in the success or productivity of your meeting. This week’s #RBFM sugar spell: Crème Brûlée Maple Apple Tart.


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By Fausto Mendez

    Crème brûlée maple apple tarts are some of the best dessert tarts that I’ve ever tasted, and this recipe, courtesy of Sugar for the Brain, certainly hits the spot if you’re a fan of such delights.

    It’s a relatively easy recipe if you have the crust ready to go, but I tend to be a fan of from-scratch crust. Below, I break down your shopping list for the grocery store.

The Grocery List

+ Two Cortland apples, peeled. Cut the apples into eight wedges. 

+ Eight cups of sugar.

+ Six egg yolks.

+ Third cup maple syrup.

+ Half teaspoon maple extract.

+ One and one fourth cups of 35% cream.

+ Half teaspoon vanilla extract.

+ Two tablespoons powdered sugar.

+ One shortcrust pastry (store bought or from scratch).

Step 1: The Setup

+ Lay your crust over a 14” x 4” pan. 

+ Lay the apples over the crust. Fit them in how you like. Sprinkle sugar over all of it.

+ Then, bake the crust & apples for 40 minutes.

Step 2: The Filling

+ In a medium bowl, mix together the egg yolks and maple syrup. Whisk and whisk.

+ Throw in the cream. Drop in the vanilla. Then, pour the concoction over the crust & apples. 

+ Bake for an additional 15 minutes. 

Step 3: The Finishing Touch

+ Sprinkle sugar over the tart and caramelize the sugar with a gas torch. Alternatively, a quick broil in the oven can achieve a very similar effect. 

+ Sugar for the Brain recommends to eat it cold, but I think it’s better hot. It’s up to you. If you’re going to chill it, let it cool down to room temperature. Then, put in the fridge. 

Illegally Perfecting All-Natural Ice Cream with Nitrogen in Silicon Valley


Stanford Grad Robyn Fisher started her business by illegally selling all-natural ice cream on the street next to unemployed chefs. Today, she’s the proud owner of the super popular Smitten Ice Cream shop.


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By Fausto Mendez / Photo by Robyn Fisher

    Wired interviewed Stanford Grad Robyn Fisher on her recent successes as the owner of a made-to-order, all-natural ice cream shop that started out as an illegal operation on the street.

Wired: When you launched, it was sort of a pirate ice cream enterprise wasn’t it? Not strictly legal?

Fisher: At that time I started getting my ice cream out there in 2009, all these chefs had been laid off from restaurants. So they went to the streets to sell their food, and I joined them. We used Twitter and Facebook and about 12 of us would set up in a park or on the street and say “come and get it before the cops come.” It was totally not legal. We would get hundreds of people coming, and it was amazing. I learned so much from all of those street food chefs about pricing, marketing all sorts of things.”

    Fisher partnered up with laid off chefs to improve her recipes and business model. Around the same time, she also perfected the art of using nitrogen, all-natural ingredients, and a custom mixer to instantly freeze the ice cream sans freezer, and it’s not just flashy tech for flashy tech’s sake.

    The nitrogen technique creates the perfect texture in ice cream because the instant freeze enables her to skip some of the chemicals that ice cream makers inject into their product in order to achieve similar textures. Fisher does a really great job of explaining the science behind the cream during the interview.

"Wired: I know ice cream is cold, but what does the nature of ice crystals have to do with how good the ice cream is?

Fisher: The general gist of it is freezing speed makes all the difference in crystal size, and the smaller, the better for mouth taste and creaminess. Freezing speed is correlated with freezing temperature. So if you can freeze it really, really cold, you can get smaller ice crystals.

And if you can freeze really cold, you can freeze really fast. The benefit of that is if you make small enough batches you can freeze to order. Therefore you don’t need any of those extra ingredients that make ice cream far from natural.”

    Smitten Ice Cream is now one of San Francisco’s favorite ice cream spots, and it continues to reach new heights of fame as travelers from around the nation and the world visit the shop during their stay at the Bay Area.


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Bring-Your-Own-Lunch Recipe: Fast & Lazy BBQ Chicken


Every week, we suggest a fascinating, delicious and not-so-unhealthy dish that is easy to reheat in your office lunchroom. This week’s #BYOL recipe: BBQ Lazy Chicken. 


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Author: Fausto Mendez / Photographer: INeedCoffe

    Another week, another fast, easy and delicious recipe. This week, we feature an original recipe, straight out of the mind of my other half. She makes this chicken several times every month, and each time, she makes extra for me to take to work the next day. It heats up well in a microwave, and pairs well with a variety of sides, my favorite being macaroni & cheese to accompany the main course. 

    This BBQ chicken recipe is incredibly fast and easy, and you may find yourself in utter awe at the taste of this utterly delicious chicken. Unfortunately, she usually eyeballs measurements, so I don’t have exact measurements for you. You may require a second attempt at getting it just right, but even if imperfect, it’s hard to ruin this recipe, unless you overcook the chicken. In that case, it’s really easy to ruin it, so that’s the most important part of the recipe. Don’t overcook the chicken!

Step 1: The Ingredients

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Photographer: Phú Thịnh Co

+ Chicken: legs, thighs, whatever you like. I prefer thighs.

+ Lawry’s Chicken & Poultry Rub

+ Coconut Oil

+ Homemade BBQ Sauce: minced onions, garlic butter, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, worcestershire sauce and water.

+ You may substitute the homemade BBQ sauce for your favorite bottled brand, but I really love my wife’s BBQ sauce recipe.

Step 2: The Chicken

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+ Liberally smear the Chicken & Poultry rub over the chicken pieces.

+ Perfectly sauté the chicken pieces in coconut oil. BHG has a great guide on how to perfect sauté any piece of chicken, if you’re not sure how to do it.

Step 3: The BBQ Sauce

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Photographer: K.M. Gong

+ If you opt for bottled sauce, you can skip this step. Just pour it on your chicken when you’re ready to eat.

+ If you’re making the homemade BBQ sauce, grease a new pan with butter, and sauté the onions until translucent. 

+ Add garlic, and “sweat”, chef’s slang for “cook out the juices”. 

+ Add ketchup and a small amount of water. Mix. Add a splash of vinegar and a splash of worcestershire sauce. Mix, and simmer for ten minutes.

+ Taste the sauce. You’ll have to adjust your sauce by adding sugar, worcestershire sauce and ketchup until you’ve discovered the perfect blend for your tastebuds. 

+ Simmer until the sauce thickens.

+ If you’re not eating the chicken immediately (maybe because it’s your lunch at work tomorrow), don’t store the chicken in the BBQ sauce. Add the sauce only when you’re ready to eat. Don’t let it swim in the sauce for days.


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Creative Advertising Gone Wild: Print Ads for Hovis Bread


British brand Hovis just launched a new advertising campaign, and it’s really hard to stop staring.


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By Fausto Mendez

    Creating an effective ad that keeps your eyes glued for more than a few seconds is actually pretty hard to do - unless you’re exploiting sex. In that case, it’s actually pretty easy. Whatever the product, just make sure a naked model is holding it. That’s why we’re really impressed with a new set of ads out of agency JWT in London for Hovis, a popular bread brand in the UK. The ads keep eyes glued without the use of sex.

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     As you can see, there’s a lot to look at. The ads spark a sense of nostalgia (or parenthood in those of us with kids). The longer I stare, the more I seem to appreciate the smaller details, the more I long for that simple time when life was just about school grades, silly pranks, quick sandwiches and lots of dirt. Ah, the good-ol’ days.

    I think I want a sandwich now. I guess the marketing effects are kicking in, or maybe it’s just lunch time.


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(Source: ibelieveinadv.com)

How the Government Shutdown Affects Your Nachos


The government shutdown is in full effect… kind of. It’s in full effect on your nachos, at least.


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By Fausto Mendez

    We should all be aware of the government shutdown by now, but are you aware of how it will affect your nachos? We’ve already summarized the effects of the shutdown using yesterday’s top memes (with time-tested journalistic principles), but today, College Humor has a very educational and insightful piece on the shutdown’s effects as it relates to your nachos, including future nacho meals. 

"After Democrats and Republicans failed to find common ground on the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, the United States Government has shut down. Although we have seen many articles detailing how this will affect our day to day life, no one has yet addressed how this shutdown will affect everyone’s favorite party food: nachos.

Will this shutdown affect the taste of my nachos?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: It shouldn’t. The government shutdown causes many nonessential federal employees to be placed on furlough, but it should not affect the way that cheese tastes when melted onto tortilla chips and dipped into salsa.”

Finish reading What The Government Shutdown Means For Your Nachos


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Recipes to Boost Focus in Meetings: Slutty Brownies #RBFM

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By Fausto Mendez

    Pitching to a hungry audience is shooting yourself in the foot, so bring along some tasty treats - preferably sugary stuff - to boost client focus and mood. It WILL make a significant difference in the success or productivity of your meeting. This week’s #RBFM sugar spell: Slutty Brownies!

    Who doesn’t love a well-made dessert smashed into some Oreos, which is then smashed into another delicious, delicious dessert? If you don’t love that, I suggest you leave now because we’re about Frakenstein a brownie, a blondie and some Oreos into one amazing concoction, otherwise known as the “Slutty Brownie.” Let’s start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 0 - What You’ll Need for 15 to 20 Slutty Brownies

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+ The blondie mix: 8 tablespoons butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup chocolate chips (add more chocolate chips, if you want). 

+ The brownie mix: 1 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cup cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2/3 cup butter, 1/2 boiling water, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 eggs, 1 cup flour, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup chocolate chips (add more chocolate chips, if you want). 

+ One package of Oreo cookies

+ One 9” x 9” brownie pan

Step 1 -  Make the Blondie and Brownie Layers (No Baking Yet)

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+ The Blondie mix: Add melted butter and brown sugar into a bowl. Beat that mix until she’s smooth and ready. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat some more. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Next, mix both mixtures together. Stir in your chocolate chips. 

+ The brownie mix: Add sugar, cocoa, baking soda to a clean, empty bowl. Then, slowly mix in the melted butter. Add the boiling water. Stir, stir, stir. Next, add the vanilla and eggs. Stir some more. Add the flour and salt. Keep stirring. Finally, add the chocolate mix.

Step 2 - Stack the Layers in the Baking Pan

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+ Line the baking pan with aluminum foil, which you’ll grease with baking spray.

+ Slutty brownies are, of course, made of three layers. Start with the blondie mix at the bottom of the baking pan. The middle layer is just cracked and broken Oreos, and you can use as many cookies as you prefer. The top layer is the brownie batter. If you’re feeling extra sinful, add another layer of Oreos at the top of the brownie batter. 

Step 3 - Let’s Get Baked

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+ Bake the dessert for 35 minutes. The key is underbaking in order to achieve a soft, almost gooey texture, so be careful not to overbake. 

+ Eat your masterpiece. Then, take a nap. Wake up. Repeat until all Slutty Brownies have been vanquished. 

+ I conveniently forgot that we made these brownies for an upcoming meeting or pitch. You may need to make another batch if you took my above advice to eat all the brownies. 

+ Thank Julia’s Album for the original recipe!

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Bring-Your-Own-Lunch Recipes: Turkey Cranberry Monte Cristo Sandwich #BYOL

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By Fausto Mendez

    Every week, we suggest a fascinating, unique and delicious dish that is easy to reheat at your office lunchroom. This week’s #BYOL recipe: Turkey Cranberry Monte Cristo Sandwich. 

    We don’t often feature sandwiches for the bring-your-own-lunch recipe showcases, but this one really stood out to me, especially since I majored in English. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a count to access the privileged flavors of this sandwich, nor do you need the skills of a count’s chef to make this delicious delight. More importantly, it offers a nice alternative to my daily ham sandwich at the office.

    The Turkey Cranberry Monte Cristo, courtesy of Paula Deen, is the perfect sandwich for Thanksgiving leftovers, but if your taste buds are anything like mine, waiting for November to dive into turkey slices and cranberry sauces is not an option. Enough talk. Let’s cook some ingredients… errr.. or layer them, I guess. 

Step 1 - Gather the Ingredients

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+ Keep in mind that this recipes serves four adults, so reduce all ingredients to a fourth for a single sandwich.

+ Soft Bread (potato bread, challah, or other)

+ At Least One Cup of Grated Fontina Cheese

+ Eight Slices of Cooked Turkey Breast

+ Half Cup of Cranberry Sauce

+ One Cup of Baby Arugula Leaves

+ Three Eggs

+ One Third Cup of Milk

+ Pinch of Nutmeg

+ Two Tablespoons of Butter

Step 2 - Layer the Ingredients

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+ For each sandwich, place two tablespoons of the fontina cheese, two slices of turkey, two tablespoons of the cranberry sauce, and a few arugula leaves.

+ Finish it off with more cheese (as much as you want). 

+ Press down on the sandwich to seal in the ingredients.

Step 3 - Cook the Layered Ingredients

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+ Beat the eggs, milk and nutmeg in a bowl.

+ Add butter to a large skillet. Warm up the skillet over medium heat.

+ Dip each sandwich into the eggy mixture. Then, cook the sandwich on the skillet until the outside of the bread turns golden brown. Cook both sides of the sandwich. Add more butter as necessary.

Step 4 - Eat the Cooked and Layered Ingredients

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+ Drain the sandwiches on a thin stack of paper towels.

+ Assimilate sandwich according to desired hunger level. Rinse, and repeat steps one through four as necessary.

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Recipes to Boost Focus in Meetings: Bacon-Strip Pancakes #RBFM

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By Fausto Mendez

    Pitching to a hungry audience is shooting yourself in the foot, so bring along some tasty treats - preferably sugary stuff - to boost client focus and mood. It WILL make a significant difference in the success or productivity of your meeting or pitch. This week’s #RBFM sugar spell: Bacon Stuffed Pancakes. 

    I’m not the first person to stuff bacon into pancakes, but this recipe is actually mine, though I don’t think I can call it a “recipe”. I was merely making pancakes one late morning, and I laid some bacon strips into the batter on the grill. I usually eat bacon with my pancakes, so it was certainly the logical thing to do.

    It’s a greasy, delicious idea, and it seems to have been around for a while now (see the above image from an old school Aunt Jemima ad), but the concept is rather simple. You just take any pancake recipe, like one of these 21 pancake recipes, and you make the batter in a bowl. Next, you start cooking some bacon on a larger skillet. When the bacon is almost done, you pour some batter over the strips. Alternatively, you can cut the bacon into bits, but I prefer the entire strip. 

    Of course, this recipe is probably more relevant for morning meetings, but I’m sure most bacon fanatics wouldn’t mind a mid-day bacon-strip pancake at the start of another mundane meeting or pitch.

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Bring Your Own Lunch Recipe: Sweet “Chick-Fil-A-Style” Nuggets #BYOL

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    Every week, we suggest a fascinating, unique and delicious dish that is easy to reheat at your office lunchroom. This week’s #BYOL recipe: Sweet “Chick-fil-A-Style” Nuggets.

    There’s no interesting backstory to this recipe. Apparently, Amy at My Name is Snicker Doodle has a deep love for nuggets that come from a certain fast food chain that does not sell cow meat, and she also loves to reverse engineer recipes for fun. Now, let’s get started on this week’s #BYOL recipe.

Step 0 - Gather Your Ingredients

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+ Skinless and boneless chicken breasts

+ 1 cup milk

+ 1 egg

+ 1 1/4 cups of flour

+ 2 tbsp powdered sugar

+ 2 tsp salt

+ 1 tsp pepper

+ Peanut oil

Step 1 - Cut & Marinate those Nuggets

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+ Whisk the egg and milk in a bowl.

+ Slice the chicken into bit-size cubes.

+ Place chicken in milk mixture. Let the chicken marinate for 2-4 hours inside your refrigerator. 

Step 2 - Flavor Infuse those Nuggets

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+ Mix the flour, powdered sugar, pepper and salt in a large (gallon-size) zip-lock bag. Throw the chicken into the bag, and shake it up. 

Step 3 - Fry those Nuggets

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+ Heat up two inches of oil in a medium pot over a medium-high flame. The oil will be ready at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

+ Cook up to eight nuggets (or whatever fits comfortably) at a time. Turn them when they’re half done. You’ll know when they’re half done when the edge of the chicken whitens. You only need about a minute for each side, but double check each batch by cutting a nugget to find any pink (under-cooked) meat.

Step 4 - Eat & Enjoy

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Bring Your Own Lunch Recipe: Enchilada Casserole #BYOL

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By Fausto Mendez

    Every week, we suggest a fascinating, unique and delicious dish that is easy to reheat at your office lunchroom. This week’s recipe: Cheesy Enchilada Casserole.

    We stumbled upon this enchilada casserole last week, and we instantly knew that it was the perfect dish to launch our #BYOL (bring your own lunch) series. Thanks to Six Sister Stuff for the original recipe. 

Step 0 - Gather Your Ingredients

+ 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean) 
+ 1 large onion, chopped or season with Onion powder or minced onion 
+ 2 1/2 cups salsa 
+ 1 can (15 ounces) black beans or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 
+ 1/4 cup reduced-fat Italian salad dressing 
+ 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning 
+ 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 
+ 6 flour tortillas (8 inches) 
+ 1 small can of drained corn, or about 1 1/4 cups of frozen corn (optional) 
+ 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream *Note: I used 1/2 cup 
+ 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend 
+ 1 cup shredded lettuce 
+ 1 medium tomato, chopped
+ 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro  

Step 1 - Cook the Beef

+ Cook the beef and onion over medium heat in a large skillet. Drain the pan when its done.

+ Stir in the salsa, beans, dressing, sour cream, corn, taco seasoning and cumin.

Step 2 - Lay it Out

+ In a two-quart baking dish, spread some of the meat mixture to the bottom. Sprinkle the mixture with cheese. Place corn tortillas over the mixture. Repeat as necessary.

+ The top layer should be tortillas under a fat stack of cheese, but you can do whatever you want. The sky is the limit.

Step 3 - Get Baked

+ Spray some cooking spray onto some foil, and use that foil to cover the casserole. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

+ Pull it out. Let it stand for five minutes, and top it off with fresh tomato, cilantro and lettuce. 

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Recipes to Boost Focus in Meetings: Peach Wontons #RBFM

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By Fausto Mendez

    Pitching to a hungry audience is shooting yourself in the foot, so bring along some tasty treats - preferably sugary stuff - to boost client focus and mood. It WILL make a significant difference in the success or productivity of your meeting or pitch. This week’s #RBFM sugar spell: peach wontons.

    Last week, we combined a cheesecake with a cinnamon roll to make a tasteful absurdity I sometimes call a cinnamon-roll cheesecake, but this week, the American South meets the Asian East as we turn wontons into a delightful peach desert. Surprisingly, peach wontons are pretty easy to make. Now, let’s stop talking about it, and let’s get to cookin’ - I’m hungry!

Step 0 - Gather Your Materials

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+ Two pounds of RIPE, sweet peaches

+ Two tablespoons of all-purpose flour

+ Three tablespoons of brown sugar

+ Wonton wraps

+ Canola or vegetable oil

+ Powdered sugar

Step 1 - Prepare the Delicious Peaches

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+ Cut up the peaches into small slices. Grab a big bowl, and toss the peaches with some flour and brown sugar. 

Step 2 - Wrap the Delicious Peaches

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+ Lay down the wontons on a flat surface. Place a small pile of sliced peaches on each wrap. When you run out of peaches, it’s a good idea to drop a little bit of the leftover peach juice in the center of each pile.

+ Next, wrap the peaches by rubbing a tiny amount of water to the edges of the wonton wraps; then, fold them into any shape you want. For more intricate folds, you might need to apply more water as you do more and more folds.

Step 3 - Fry the Delicious Peaches

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+ Heat about one-inch of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. The temperature  of the oil should reach about 375°F. 

+ Dry each wonton with a dry paper towel before frying. Fry them in small batches for about two or three minutes. Turn the wontons as they cook for best results. Once they appear golden brown, they are done. 

+ Lay them on some paper towels to absorb some of the excess oil; then, sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

+ Now, eat ‘em up! And take a few seconds to thank She Wears Many Hats for the original recipe, and these beautiful pics. Check her page for more delicious photos.

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