Recipe Corner: Roasted Asparagus Salad with an Over Easy Egg

April 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Roasted Asparagus SaladWhat’s in season right now? Asparagus!

Take advantage of what’s in season with this super easy salad! I love asparagus and this is one of my favorite salads that is simple, quick, and delicious. Any salad is easily taken to the next level with an egg and this recipe also has a delicious mustard onion vinaigrette.

 

Serves 2

Dressing:
-1 tbl of olive oil
-1 1/2 tbl of white balsamic
-1 tbl of mustard
Ingredients-2 tsp of soy sauce
-2 tsp of honey
-Sriracha or hot sauce to taste (optional)
-1 medium garlic clove, minced
-1 medium scallion or spring onion, finely chopped

Salad:
-2 eggs
-A small bundle of asparagus
-Lettuce (I used a baby spinach blend)
-1 tsp of olive oil
-1/4 tsp of salt
-Pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Trim the asparagus and then toss in the 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Roast the asparagus until it starts to become tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

To make the dressing, whisk together olive oil, white balsamic, mustard, soy sauce, honey and hot sauce. Then add in garlic and scallions.

Cook both eggs in a non-stick pan on medium heat. To get them over easy it should take about 3 minutes.

To assemble the salad, chop the roasted asparagus into bit-sized pieces and combine with the lettuce. Toss with the vinaigrette and separate into two portions. Top each with the over easy egg, some fresh pepper, and enjoy!

-Emilie Nadler

Photo Credit: Emilie Nadler
Photo Copyright (c) 2015 Emilie Nadler. All rights reserved.

Photos are not to be used without prior permission & license.

Are You Ready for Google’s New Settings?

March 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

5267464508_7326039635_nDid you hear the news?

Google is making major updates to its search results. And if your company’s website is not super mobile friendly, you could be losing some major hits!

Not sure how your website ranks? Try using Google’s Webmaster Tool to see how your site adds up. You can also use their Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to see just how “friendly” your site is. If Google says it’s not so friendly, they will give you a list of options on how to proceed to the next step.

Time is short to make these updates. Google is already beginning to implement these changes, with the major impacts starting on April 21st.

While you’re updating your site’s coding, take a look at your content. How effective is it? Have you been getting the results you need off of your website? When is the last time you changed your content? If it’s pretty much the same content you started with, you should think about making some updates. Fresh content impacts your Google ratings as well, and a stagnant site will not get as much attention as one that has recently been updated.

Also take a look at how professional your content is. Does it portray your business in the best possible manner? Or are there grammar issues? Typos? Elementary sentence styling? Can you tell that an amateur wrote it, or does it sound like you paid a lot of money for a true professional to write it? Does it relate to your audience, in their “language”?

The answers to these questions are all important considerations. You don’t just want a web presence. You want a web presence that will reach your target audience. You want a presence that will get you and your business true results!

Your website is a reflection of your business and you want to appear as professional as possible. You want people to have confidence in your products and services. Believe it or not, if people are searching Google for a service, the “tone” of the site will determine whether if you get a call or not. If the site looks too amateurish, they will move on to the next one on the list. If all other considerations are the same between two businesses, people will pick the one with the better site, every time.

If you’re not sure if your content is at the standard it should be, contact us. Silverpen Productions does free consultations and estimates. Let us help you make your site the best it can possibly be and be sure that you stay at the top of Google’s rankings, regardless of the upcoming changes!

 

Photo Credit: Google Main Search via photopin (license)

A Winter Thought

March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

FrozenThe Snow Man*
By Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

For most of my life I have had a love hate relationship with winter. Every year I fall into the same trap – eagerly awaiting the first snowfall only to scorn snow that comes in the deeper months of winter. However, as someone who has lived in the Northeast their whole life, harsh winters are an inevitable part of the year. You have to make the most of it with winter sports, time spent with family around the fire, and appreciating the beauty that comes with the snow and cold.

This poem by Wallace Stevens has always been one of my favorites and I think sums the life of a Northeasterner during the winter. It is easy to focus on the negative aspects of winter – it’s freezing, you spend less time outdoors, snow can be hazardous and cause many transportation issues, and many other annoying things. However, I think to be a true Northeasterner, you have to bravely face the weather and find the beauty in the “nothing that is.” To be truly one with winter, as Stevens asserts, is to appreciate the beauty that is in winter, in the trees that are “shagged with ice” and in the “distant glitter” of the white snow. Though winter can be seen as nothingness, as barren, there is a life to winter, a beauty and simplicity to its silence. Cold can often be the most beautiful.

-Emilie Nadler

*Copyright (c) 1923 Wallace Stevens

Photo Credit: Emilie Nadler
Photo Copyright (c) 2015 Emilie Nadler. All rights reserved.

Photos are not to be used without prior permission & license.

Recipe Corner: Orange Glazed Chicken Salad

February 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

Make the last of orange season with this fresh salad! I had a few oranges that I needed to use up and I decided to try to make an orange vinaigrette for a salad. This recipe is very simple and healthy; it only took me about 20 minutes from start to finish and tasted delicious! Cooking the chicken breast in orange juice really made the meat flavorful and moist. The orange glazed chicken in this recipe could also be a meal on its own served with stir-fried vegetables and rice.

Orange Glazed Chicken Salad by Emilie Nadler

Serves 2

Chicken
-2 chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2 inch
-1 tsp of olive oil
-Juice of half a medium sized orange (any variety should work, but I used navel)
-Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp of each)

Dressing
-Juice of half a medium sized orange
-1 tbl of olive oil
-2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
-2 tsp of low sodium soy sauce
-1/2 tsp of mustard
-1 medium clove of garlic finely chopped
– Sriracha or hot sauce to taste (optional)

Salad
-Lettuce (I used a Spring mix, but any greens will work)
-1 medium sized orange
-1/4 cup of slivered almonds
-1/2 tsp of sesame seeds
-Cilantro (If you don’t like cilantro, try replacing with basil)

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and put them into the skillet. After you first flip over each piece of chicken, pour orange juice over the breasts. Allow the chicken to cook thoroughly as the orange juice begins to thicken (about 4 minutes on each side). Once chicken is done, put aside and let cool.Orange Glazed Chicken Salad Ingredients by Emilie Nadler

Roast the almonds and sesame seeds under the broiler for about 2 minutes or until they begin to brown. Watch carefully, this can happen quickly! Put aside to cool.

To assemble the dressing, combine olive oil, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and mustard. Whisk together ingredients and then add the garlic. Put aside.

For the garnish, segment the orange and finely chop the cilantro. Put aside.

Slice the chicken breasts. Then toss the lettuce with the toasted almonds and sesame seeds, orange segments, and most of the dressing, reserving some for the top. Put chicken on top of the salad, drizzle on the extra dressing and top with cilantro. Enjoy!

-Emilie Nadler

Photo Credit: Emilie Nadler
Photo Copyright (c) 2015 Emilie Nadler. All rights reserved.

Photos are not to be used without prior permission & license.

Just A Thought – The Importance of Reading the News

February 11, 2015 § 2 Comments

I have to admit, I am bad at keeping up with the news. For various reasons, I often tend to avoid staying on top of many of the ongoing topics in the media today. However, whether if you are looking at it from a voting point of view or from a writing point of view, that is a poor decision to make. Having a reliable, unbiased news source is very important for any writer, business owner, or general citizen. It not only allows us to be more informed and active citizens, but it also allows us to do our jobs better. How can you really write without knowing the full experience of what is going on in your world? How can you effectively run a business without knowing how current events may be affecting you and your future business? Emilie makes a very good point below, and includes some tips on how to get a more “clear” picture on what is going on in the world so you can make your own decisions without the hyped up “stories” that the media likes to portray lately.     –JC

 

With the amount of free news widely available, it seems almost criminal to noNewst be informed about current events. However, in this media soaked environment, it’s not only important that you stay informed but also that you get your news from a variety of different sources.

Most Americans get their news by watching television, opting for networks like CNN, FOX, or local channels.* Though watching the news is sometimes more convenient and is free and easily accessible, it is often the most biased and skewed way to receive information, especially political news. Getting the news from another person can greatly influence our own opinions, and therefore, it’s important to take the time to actually read the news.

I think the best way to navigate through the hyperactive media environment of today is to read the news either in print, online, or on your cellphone. Especially when considering political issues, it’s important to read about both sides of the issue and make up your own mind before being influenced by the prejudices of other people.

I personally believe that one of the best news sources available is the Associated Press. I generally read AP news on my cellphone through their free app, but they also have a free website and twitter account. The AP provides free, unbiased breaking news and often does specialty pieces where they assess the truth behind divisive political issues. Recently the AP put out an article, “Fact Check: Both Sides in Keystone XL Debate Bend Facts” where they investigate both sides of the debate surrounding the construction of the Keystone oil pipeline and reveal that, as with most issues, each side stretches the truth to make their argument.

It’s especially important with political issues to read about the issues from a more unbiased source like the AP or the Washington Post (which also has a free app and website). Most television networks and many other media sources skew their information to place blame on one political party or another for the inactivity and constant debate in Washington, when really both sides are playing an active role. Clearly newswriting can be highly biased as well, but at least by reading the news you can discern the facts for yourself. Reading the news and varying your sources of information is also a way to actively participate in politics; it allows you to understand for yourself what policy decisions are being made and which politicians are involved. To be a conscious voter, it is important to be informed and hold politicians accountable for their actions.

When I was recently in Washington, D.C., I went to one of my favorite museums, the Newseum—a museum of news and journalism. Written on one of the walls is this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Knowledge is indeed power and staying informed, especially about political issues both foreign and domestic, gives us power in our government. Just a thought.

-Emilie Nadler

*http://www.gallup.com/poll/163412/americans-main-source-news.aspx

Photo Credit: Emilie Nadler
Photo Copyright (c) 2015 Emilie Nadler. All rights reserved.

Photos are not to be used without prior permission & license.

Our New Intern

February 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

SP would like to welcome our new intern, Emilie Nadler! Emilie will be with us until May, and will be contributing to this blog, The IF Factor, and our Facebook page, in addition to helping out in other areas of the business as well. She brings a new perspective to the mix and we are very excited to have her!

Emilie is a senior at Skidmore College, majoring in Government and English. Her formal writing experience has been with the Conway Daily Sun in New Hampshire, where she photographed, wrote, and had stories published. She has also interned in the marketing department of Kroll Bond Ratings in New York City and at the Cypress Group, a financial lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. Her interests include travel, politics, the news, photography, and environmental issues. After graduation, Emilie hopes to pursue a career in environmental policy.

Facebook Issues

January 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

We have been experiencing severe difficulties with the Facebook Page for the last few weeks. It suddenly stopped working properly and Facebook can’t (or won’t) seem to fix it. It has been very frustrating!

But just wanted to post this so you would know what is going on. Hopefully they will be able to get it together and get us up and running again soon! At that point, we will resume with the updates, discounts, and all the other fun stuff we have for our Facebook followers.

We’re sorry for any inconvenience. If you are trying to get in touch with us and can’t access our page, please feel free to email us at info@silverpenproductions.com.

Looking forward to connecting again soon!