Posted in Planning

Being the “bad guy” can be a good thing

The company that I work for is in the process of becoming DCAA compliant. I won’t bore you with what that means. You can Google it if you have to know. I tell you this to tell you that recently I have assumed the role of timesheet cop. Part of a company being DCAA compliant is ensuring you have strong timekeeping processes. Therefore, every day I run reports that show me all the time that was logged for a certain historical timeframe. I make sure that our team members are logging their time each day, make sure they’re logging all of their time each day, and making sure that they aren’t changing their time day-to-day. Yep, I’m the guy from Office Space running reports that literally no one else will look at but need done every day. Don’t get me wrong these reports take very little time to run and pivot. The soul drain comes when I send a message out to my teammates that didn’t log their time, changed time for a day in the past or entered time but forgot to enter a complete day’s time. I get GIFs of Lindsey Lohan shrugging her shoulders and rolling her eyes, I get middle finger emojis, most don’t respond at all – I’M THE BAD GUY. I totally get it.

I’m also a rule follower and when I get a list of criteria to check for I operationalize the heck out of it and I love a good ol’ Yes/No the criteria were met. It’s holding people accountable for having met said criteria that sucks. Many of these people on our team are my friends and we’ve worked together for years. I send my message in the nicest way I know how even anticipating the reaction, for example “_______, __________, ___________ [insert eye roll], This is a friendly reminder to enter your time for yesterday, Wednesday, November 28, and make sure that you’re entering your time each day. Thank you.” While we are no longer in the infancy stages of becoming DCAA compliant, we aren’t yet to the point that not meeting these criteria is punitive. At our recent in-person team meeting me and our VP of Operations did our little song and dance of why this is important and letting folks know that we would be reviewing timesheets every day, but it’s a big shift in business operations and I get that, but if we want to continue winning work (aka having jobs) then we have to change.

DCAA compliance aside this could be about anything. Me playing the role of the “bad guy” is me being victim to how I perceive other’s perception of the new task I’ve been given. No one asked me to play that role and it certainly has no merit. I’m personalizing reactions as if they have those reactions towards me and they’re not, the reactions are to the new process.  My job is to run these reports and send out the requisite messages. It would be a far bigger disservice to my team, my friends, if I didn’t do my job, we failed our DCAA audit, aren’t eligible for future work, and we all lost our jobs. My real friends will still invite me out for drinks after work timesheets aside. It’s not personal, it’s business. Occasionally business rules don’t make sense but if you want to win you have to play, and that’s why my new bad guy title is Chief Winning Officer (CWO). I’m willing to play the game so that we can continue to win the work.

Moral of this story: Next time you’re feeling like the victim or the bad guy – go high. Look for the bigger picture and ask yourself “what would happen if I didn’t do my job/this job?” Then think about the alternative scenarios that could play out if this new thing didn’t happen and you kept on business as usual. If you can’t answer this question or see the alternatives then talk with your supervisor and get to the root of why this is so important. Knowing why we do things as opposed to just doing them will build your credibility as a leader within your team and help you establish the changes that need to be made.

Posted in Planning

My Top 5 Podcasts Right Now

I’ve fallen in love with podcasts in the past few years and I’m going to share with you some of those podcasts that I tune into regularly. Before I list them I want to tell you that I don’t listen to podcasts for the entertainment value, but rather for the education. So, if you’re looking for a dramatic or theatrical podcast suggestion this isn’t going to be valuable information. I tune-in to listen to people smarter than me or steps ahead of me in something I’m interested in so that I learn from them. My time listening to any content is often limited to the 20 minutes or so of commute to drop kids off at school or when I workout. I’ll confess that sometimes I’ll slip out of the house for a walk or drive an extra block on my way home for a little more uninterrupted podcast listening time. We do what we’ve gotta do, am I right? Well without further delay here are the top 5 podcasts that I’m listening to today and why.

  1. Rise podcast by Rachel Hollis – When I learned about Rachel Hollis I was immediately obsessed and drank all the kool-aid in one gulp. I read Girl Wash Your Face, started Last 90 days, I write in my Start Today Journal, listen to the podcasts, have tickets for Rise in 2019….all the things. Rachel is that mom next door that you can actually relate to. She’s not trying to be better than you and isn’t trying to impress you. She’s living her best life and will push you to live yours. You will not be disappointed if you check out Rise or Rise Together which is the podcast she does with her husband Dave – they are gold together.
  2. The Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher – I learned about Jenna a few months ago and when one of her titles is “professional napper” I knew we are part of the same tribe. I want to be a professional napper so bad. Oh, and the website for her podcast is all notebooks and planners and pens and that’s so me. She is a queen at teaching others about branding and creating social spaces that invite interaction. While I’ve never met her personally (yet), she’s sold me on her being genuinely in this industry to serve others and I love that. She has this coastal vibe that invites you in and has this calming effect on your soul. I could listen to her for hours. I hope you’ll take the time to check her out.
  3. Ed Mylett Podcast – I learned about Ed in a recent Rise podcast (see #1 above) and was instantly drawn to his supportive nature and enthusiasm. Since having listened to Rachel’s appearance on his podcast I’ve been binge listening in my pockets of time. He has been giving 1,000% of himself to life and business and it has paid off 10,000%+. Ed brings you powerful motivation from so many angles; baseball, bullying, entrepreneurial spirit, boxing – he uses his platform to give others a voice and fan the flame of what ignites change in us – ALL OF US. Ladies, his website is masculine and a lot (not all) of his guests are men, but the messages are for ALL OF US, and P.S. I can actually share stories about guy-stuff with my husband and his friends and they are impressed I even know some of these names…just putting that out there.
  4. Tony Robbins Podcast – I mean, how could I have a list of educational, motivational, inspirational podcasts that doesn’t include Tony? Finding your why, breaking free from stress, understanding different personality types, ending harmful relationships, how to innovate….Tony is no-non-sense and pushes the right buttons to get us beyond the superficial excuses we tell ourselves to not dig deep and make progress. Progress is the goal, right?
  5. School of Greatness by Lewis Howes – Lewis Howes I had heard was a professional athlete turned podcaster, but boy was that a bad descriptor. He lives to serve others not use his history has a professional athlete as his platform. Check him out. He believes a life well lived is more important than any money or possessions you may accumulate. He brings names you’ve heard of with stories you didn’t know they had to the table and I find it captivating. Alicia Silverstone talks about self-worth, Tony Hawk talks about creating legacies. With more than 700 episodes, there is SO MUCH CONTENT for you to listen to on topics relating to health, relationships, business, inspiration and more. Guaranteed there’s more than one thing in this podcast library you’ll find fascinating.

I hope this was valuable and maybe you learned about someone new or will learn something new from the podcasts these folks are putting out for you. The listening is easy, the work is the hard part. Enjoy the listening (and learning)!

Thankful for you

In this season of Thanksgiving I want to thank you, the readers of my blog. While this blog is still so new, you take the time to read it and give your thoughts and feedback on the content. More content will be coming in 2019 as we start rolling out series of content with a common theme and I hope you’ll stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I hope that you take the time to count all your many blessings and tell those near and far how thankful you are for their contributions to your life. Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.

Posted in Planning

Owning Feedback

Emily, you are such a great speaker, but your content today missed the mark.

Oh my gosh. She thinks I’m ignorant. I worked so hard on this content and I’m not sure how she missed my point. Was she even listening? She never says these things to anyone else. Why does she pick on me so much?

Hold on!!!! Maybe I over thought the assignment. Maybe I made assumptions rather than seeking clarification before creating my content. Maybe just maybe she’s not picking on me but has me in her sights for promotion, and wants to see me step up my game. Maybe she knows I can do better – heck, maybe I know I can do better, but I was traveling this week, my kids are sick, and I had these other things put on my plate so this didn’t get the attention I had anticipated.

It is what it is, right? I gave a speech or a talk and the feedback I received was less than glowing.

Has this ever happened to you? Maybe you aren’t a speaker, but you received feedback on a body of work you created. When you hear the word “feedback” does it make you shutter a little? It makes me shutter a lot. I have worked for YEARS to create a reputation for myself in the program and project management space. I want my customers to know that if my name is attached to it that it will be done right and on time. If I agree to something or someone entrusts something to me to complete then I show up. Hell will freeze over before it’s not done or worse – done wrong.

There is a flip side to receiving feedback and one that I hope you will try to embrace. If you can, look at feedback as a gift rather than a direct assault on your character. Feedback or rather a response to any intellectual property you create and share with others – is just that – someone’s opinion. It doesn’t validate you as a person. It doesn’t reflect anyone else’s opinion of your work. It doesn’t have power unless you allow it to.

Next time someone wants to give you their opinion of something you shared with them I want you to fight the instinctual response to take defense. Don’t immediately respond with all of the reasons why you did it the way you did it. Don’t start talking about the other people that you consulted or had review your content before you shared it. Don’t make excuses for why you didn’t have the time to polish your content. None of that matters to your audience.

(Note: I have to make an assumption here that you aren’t on a performance improvement plan or that this feedback doesn’t come after the 4th iteration of you trying to get this right.) The person providing you feedback took their time to listen to your talk or review your content. They had a laundry list of other things they could have been doing instead, but they showed up for you. Their feedback or ideas for changes are a gift. This person is providing you with the opportunity to make your work even better. Thank them for taking the time to hear you out or review your work. Ask questions. Provide them with how you are going to use their feedback to make changes; or not. Let me repeat – OR NOT.

If the person providing you feedback is your supervisor, project manger, or the person who assigned you the work – then their insights are absolutely valuable and should be considered and incorporated. Maybe the person providing feedback has limited knowledge of your role or the project and they are offering you an unbiased opinion as a completely independent third party. Maybe they’re your friend. Maybe they don’t know the details of the assignment (style requirements, assignment details). Thank them for their time and respectfully consider their comments. They may have ideas that you nor your team would have thought of that could take your work to the next level. If not and if their feedback isn’t applicable then don’t dwell on it. Move on.

I won’t belabor this point, but it’s natural for us to take a defensive stance when we feel that we have let others down or that other’s perceptions of our work is less than exceptional. Accept feedback in all forms with an attitude of gratitude. Believe that the comments come with the commenter having the best interests of you, your team, and your project in mind. Fix/augment/revise content as needed to make it the best it can be, but when feedback isn’t valid, don’t take it to heart. Don’t give it power.

*Featured image by Comic House.

Posted in Planning

Reasons for Inaction

The single fastest and best way to build a reputation is to take action; to do something. Not doing something is in fact doing something. Have you ever wanted to do something, but shied away because you didn’t feel you had the prior experience, know-how, or reputation? Let me tell you a little secret – you can do anything with NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE. Guaranteed. Your reputation for being organized, a doer, risk-taker, problem solver can pave the path and open doors for you that you never imagined. I’d also add that your actions need to align with what you want to be doing. If your mission in life is to have a blog and you have no time on your calendar to blog,  then you aren’t ever going to be a blogger. Maybe you’ve filled your days, weeks, years up with work that is helping someone else achieve their goals – the company you work for, your kids, your church, your community. It’s wonderful that you are so generous with your time, but you need to make time to fulfill YOUR dreams. This world will be a lot better place with your contributions.

Take out your calendar right now. If your work and life calendars are separate put them both up side-by-side with a view of the entire month. Same month folks. Take a gander. Look across the days and weeks – those 4-5 short weeks of each month. Does your calendar align with your dreams, plans and priorities? Do you see time blocked for actualizing YOUR dreams or are you making time to fulfill someone else’s dream? Are you on a diet or trying to save money, but have lunch or dinner plans with friends 3+ days per week? If you were to bucket your calendar invitations and reminders into categories would those categories align with creating the life you wan to live?

Life is passing us by so fast! It’s November. When did that happen?!?!? If you’re a New Year resolution type of person are you on track for having achieved those bold goals you set for yourself as the clock struck midnight on January 1? Say you’re not a resolution type of person, but you created a vision board. Maybe you created a bullet journal spread with a grid of thousands of blocks to color this year for new habits you were cultivating. Maybe your dreams are stuck to a Pinterest board. Wherever they are – they are out there. Are you honoring those dreams? Drink more water, make it to the gym more, pay-off your car, read the entire Bible, run a marathon. So many big things had the potential to happen this year. Did you turn that potential into reality? If not, let’s dive into some reasons why. Why don’t people take action on their dreams?

Reason 1: You’re too busy. Visualize all of those calendar invites on your calendar as sand. Weekly “stand-up meeting” with the team to discuss work that needs to be done. Touch base with your supervisor on performance. Mac n’ Cheese competition and draft beer festival. Parent/Teacher conference. Annual mammogram. Women’s group. Reminder to buy Metallica tickets. Gym. Time blocks for blogging. These are just a few gems from my very own calendar over the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, some of these calendar holds are important. Some are time blocks set aside for me to show up for someone else, some of them making time to show up for YOU (you’re reading the blog post, thank you). Some of these calendar holds are not value-add and are not the best use of my time. If you poured all of your sand (calendar invites) into a vessel, would you have enough space to add those bigger milestones that need to happen as you work toward your dreams? Do your little grains of sand make a sand castle when they are all together? Or are they so scattered that they really don’t make any impact on anything? Stop making yourself busy with work that doesn’t contribute to the greater good.

Reason 2: You don’t know how. This is an excuse and a crappy one at that. You’re reading this blog which means you have access to the internet. You can Google, Bing, Ask Jeeves anything under the sun and get FREE information on how to turn your dream into reality. Want a tutorial on how to create a plan in Microsoft Project? Free on YouTube. Want a printable for making a cute, action-oriented calendar? Free on Pinterest. Want a training program for running a marathon with no previous running experience? Free on Runner’s World magazine’s website. Want a real good recipe for apple butter? Free on this here very blog (Food tab). As my girl Rachel Hollis says, in a world with so much free information your ignorance is a choice.

Reason 3: You’re dreams aren’t big enough. Stay with me for a minute. Let’s say that you dream of paying off your credit card(s). You actually look at your statement. You consolidate what you can to a lower interest rate, and you create a real life budget. Great job! The first month you pay all of your bills and what little is left over you put towards your debt. Month after month you chip away at it little by little. Over time maybe you start to reflect on the things you feel you’re missing out on. Maybe you feel like this is taking FOREVER…. It’s certainly not as much fun being fiscally frugal in the hopes of paying off a credit card or two as it was running up the debt on those cards buying stuff you can’t even remember.

Now, make that dream of paying off your credit cards bigger. Bigger than just not owing banks money. Bigger than feeling fiscally and emotionally drained at the end of the month when the money has run out. Take that dream and magnify it as big as you can. Say…..your dream is financial freedom. Financial freedom is not just not owing the banks money. Financial freedom is having actual dollars in your savings account. Having money saved for retirement. Having the money to travel when you need to or want to without feeling like you have to save for it or sacrifice something else. Having enough money to live comfortably and share your generosity with others. Having the freedom to be able to pivot and change course knowing that you’re okay. Now make a plan to make this bigger dream a reality and the pain associated with the sacrifices won’t sting quite so much. I believe that if you get beyond what you know needs to happen (paying off the credit card(s)) and get to true longing of your heart (the bigger dream) then you’ll have the fortitude to create a plan – and stick to it – that will get you to your ultimate goal faster. Those short term sacrifices that need to be made for you to reach your dream won’t be a drop in the bucket because you have your eyes on the bigger picture.

Reason 4: You’re embarrassed. Recently I saw an Instagram post by Brendon Burchard (@brendonburchard) that really struck a cord with me. It was something to the effect of it not being real fear that you’re feeling, but rather you’re embarrassed to have those around you see you start small. Does that ring true to you? Man, it sure did to me. I used to blog years ago and had created quite the following, but 2 kids and a different job later it had been more than 2 years since I had posted any content. I literally deleted the entire site one day in an episode of frustration and self-loathing. I can still hear the internal monologue today…”It’s been years since anyone’s seen anything from you, no one follows this blog any more, no one wants to hear from me. How many mom bloggers does the world need?” It was pathetic. All of the content that took me years to curate was gone with the click of a button. *Poof*

Fast forward nearly 3 years and I get this idea to re-create an outlet to put my voice out there. I ignore and push it away for nearly 8 months and then for 2 months I resign to not having time for it, but the thought won’t go away, and it starts showing up everywhere. That internal self-sabotaging voice crept back in. “You’re ridiculous. You’ll never have the followers that you did on your last blog. You have no content. When exactly are you planning to do this? Your friends and family have seen you try and quit this same thing before, they aren’t going to follow you down this path again.” (Sidebar: I really dislike this voice in my head.) I was embarrassed, not only at my having deleted my previous blog and all of it’s content, but at starting a blog/Instagram site/Facebook page with 1 post. I have some really successful friends and colleagues who follow me on social media. I can see them shaking their head or worse choosing to keep scrolling when they see this pop-up from me. Maybe I won’t share it on my social accounts, but let people find it organically. Emily, come on!

One night I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed this outlet in my life. That feeling was far stronger than the embarrassment holding me back from starting. I stayed up all night (no sleep) creating PowerInThePlan.org. 1 logo, 1 Instagram post, 1 Facebook post, and 2 shares from my blog pages to my personal social media pages in hopes that some folks would be curious and click on the link. Oh, and that one link was me explaining my vision for the site and what I hope to offer you as the reader, it wasn’t actually value-added content. It’s been a few weeks since this site launched. It’s had 3 themes and while we don’t have 1 billion followers – we have more than 1. While this site isn’t yet exploding with content so rich that I need to add a search bar – it’s up and content is getting added all the time. 2 people even commented on different posts which means they actually read it. <insert audible gasp here>

Get this in your brain. Every new things starts from NONE. Every. New. Thing. Starts. From. None. When this was an idea in my head I had no content, no followers, nothing. Don’t be embarrassed to start small. Just start.

Reason 5: You’re the only one with this particular idea. That’s fantastic. Less competition. Please don’t tell me that you think because you are the only one with this particular idea that no one else will love it or appreciate it. Or <gasp> there won’t be a bunch of free information to follow on the internet (see Reason 2 above). This is a blessing. Having this idea that no one else has opens you up for creating more content and you’re the subject matter expert. Get the thing created and out to the people, then create the how-to, create the video demonstration, be the expert. This could be a new branding opportunity for you. This could be your way to monetize your hard work. This unique idea of your has a lot of potential and you need to take action on it. Come on.

Reason 6: Time is against you. Why start if you won’t have the time to dedicate to it? You know this better than anyone. You make time for the things you want to make time for. If you don’t want to do something you’ll find every excuse to not have to do it. On the other hand, if you have a true calling on your heart to make something happen then you will move heaven and earth to bring that body of work to life. Call a spade a spade. Time isn’t the issue. Your embarrassment of starting small, lack of focus or lack of initiative are what’s truly driving your inaction.

There are so many more reasons why people don’t take action. Most of them are excuses. Heck, even some of the reasons I have above are excuses. Bottom line if you have a calling on your heart to do something, you have every reason in the world to find out how to make that calling a reality. Let’s go! Get to work!

Follow me

I hope you’re having an awesome day! If you like what you see here, please follow Power in the Plan and tell your friends. I have lots of new exciting content coming soon. If you have ideas of things you want my thoughts on shoot me a message on my Contact page. Talk soon.

Posted in Planning

Save yourself. Get out of the fray.

I have been in a season of churn and burn for what feels like years. Managing a multi-million dollar contract, having 2 school-aged kids with schedules of their own (that no one coordinates with my schedule mind you)… I’m also over here trying to develop personally, professionally and spiritually….it seems too much sometimes. More often than not I have a tendency to feel like I’m failing at everything. Have you ever felt that way?

Over these past months I’ve learned so much and so much of what I’ve learned is that the “work” is always going to be there and *NEWS FLASH* I don’t have to do all of it! Read: YOU don’t have to do it all. Seems so simple, but when you’re in that chaotic surf, crashing into rocks and gulping water it’s hard to see the many lifelines rolling on top of the waves waiting for you to grab hold. Here are some of the life lines that I look for when it seems like I’m doing all I can to tread water:

  1. Ask for Help: People want to help. Your friends, family, co-workers. I believe they genuinely do, but you HAVE TO ASK FOR IT. Believe me, I’m giggling to myself as I type this out. It’s so hard for me to feel like I need to pull anyone into the fray with me if I can just work harder or faster or longer – what’s wrong with me – why is this so hard?!?!? Take inventory of what needs to be done, sort by due date and those things that don’t have to be done by you, ask someone to help you out – even if it’s just part of the overall job. I guarantee that the final product will be so much better by letting someone else provide a fresh perspective. Think about it. Will this body of work be better if someone helps you make this project the best it can be with a new and different perspective or you pushing through without 100% to give it. BONUS: That person that you ask for help may learn something along the way that they can add to their toolbox, OR BETTER YET they may find that they actually loved helping you with it and want to start focusing on it. Then you can start sharing more of that very thing with them.
  2. Let go of Control: This coincides with #1 above and similarly is so hard to do for those of us Type A, control freak personalities. Can I share with you that this work or whatever it is that has you feeling like you’re drowning won’t follow you into eternity. It was constructed as a temporary fix to a temporary problem in this life. Try your best to put this task or obstacle into perspective with the rest of the world and the rest of the things in your life that mean something to you. Give it the attention it needs, but don’t go crazy.
  3. Wrap it up: Do you have something on your to-do list that has been lingering longer than 72 hours? Just get it done already! The longer that thing sits on your list the more anxiety it collects around it. No one likes waking up everyday remembering something they didn’t get done the day before. Be like Nike and Just Do It!
  4. What’s not getting done? When you have 40+ hours of work to complete in a 40 hour work week (or whatever your ratio of work to available time is) then I suggest you take 30-45 minutes to write it all down. {Tip: When I do this exercise I literally write it all down. I take an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and mark it into 4 quadrants and each quadrant has a list. My quadrants are Home, Kids, Me, and Work.

    My home list may look like charge the doorbell, make vet appointment for the dog, take down Halloween decorations, pay bills.

    My kids list tends to look like don’t forget teacher workday on Monday, Parent/Teacher conference on this day, PTA meeting 11/6, schedule Cole’s 4 year old doctor’s appointment, purge toys.

    My me list includes things like sign-up for Chili cook-off at church, write new blog post, order Rise ticket, make workout plan for the week.

    My work list includes submitting my time sheet, booking rooms for meetings, drafting contracts to get out for review, proofing edits of proposals, finish my development plan, finish quarterly review for my team.

    Maybe you need more than 4 lists or maybe you need a legal-sized sheet of paper. You do you! Get whatever materials you need and get it out of your brain and into the world. In each list highlight those things that are a priority in whatever color draws your attention to it. Beside those highlighted things write down when it needs to be done by and who owns it. Remember friend it doesn’t have to be you. You may not know who needs to own it, but it’s not you. For those things put a big “?” beside it. Tada! You now have a more concrete idea of what’s on your plate that you need to tackle and what you don’t need to give any more power to.

    For those things that you don’t need to do or own – have some conversations with the folks whose names you wrote down and let them know that this was on your list but you think it really belongs to them or that they are better suited and pass those things off. For those things that had the “?” beside them, talk to your supervisor, your significant other, or your kids and ask them for help in determining who can take those things from you. Be honest and genuine in what you do and don’t have the bandwidth to do and let them help. Communicate. Be the team you know you know how to be!

    For everything that’s left on your list un-highlighted and un-assigned…ask yourself: Do these things need to be done at all? Chances are if it made it to your list – someone put it out in the universe. If you put it out there is it still a priority if you didn’t highlight it? If you didn’t put it out there circle back to the person that did and get some clarity on their vision, who needs to own execution of it and the timeline.

  5. Seriously, make some “you time”: It may sound cliche’ and you are probably thinking to yourself “I’m reading this because I already don’t have enough time. How am I going to find extra “me time?” It is so important that you do. I recently heard a story that I want to share with you. Go with me on this visualization exercise for a moment. Pretend that you’re a glass vase. You are being filled up with water. In this analogy water = love. You are being filled up with love by those around you. As you start to feel your thirst for love quenched you start to tip yourself to the side to pour some love out on those around you who have been thirsting for your attention. You tip and tip and tip until you fall over and break. You can’t keep making yourself uncomfortable and pouring out on those around you while risking your own safety or you will break. Now, let’s look at this another way. You’re the same glass vase being filled up by love (aka water). You let yourself stand tall being filled with love and resist the urge to tip over. Collect as much as you can until your vase will hold no more. Do you know what happens when your vase becomes too full? That love starts to overflow. It naturally pours out of you to those around without you needing to do any extra work at all. You’re still just standing there; tall, strong and beautiful – oh and by the way, not a hazard for those that could fall into your broken glass. Let this sink in. Take time for you. Be intentional about it. Let those who support and care for you love on you, help you grow, and build you up. You stand tall and LET THEM! Soon enough you will be so full of love and energy that it will naturally pour out of you and onto those people and things surrounding you and work won’t seem like work any more. You’ll have watered the seeds that promote teamwork, business continuity and new life (read: innovation).

    You’re awesome and I want you to make the best decisions about how you spend your time and energy. Do great things!

Posted in Food

Apple Butter

Apples with scarecrowThere are few things in this world that say “fall” like apple butter. It’s one of my favorite spreads for toast. It’s great on pork tenderloin. I use it in butternut squash soup sometimes. It’s versatile and also makes excellent gifts for friends, family, teachers, bus drivers, etc.

For this recipe I used 6 lbs of apples (3 lbs of gala and 3 lbs of red delicious). Because both of these apple types are really sweet, I used a fraction of the sugar you’d normally use if you were using more tart apples like granny smith. I also canned some of my apple butter using the water bath method so that I can gift some this holiday season.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs of gala apples
  • 3 lbs of red delicious apples
  • 2 c. white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 6 c. water

kitchen aid cutterI made light work of coring and peeling my apples by using the spiralizer adapter for my Kitchen Aid mixer. This tool is quite the handy helper when you’re staring at 6 lbs of apples. It also slices them really thin which helps speed up the amount of time it takes to boil the apples to tender.

apples cookingDirections: Add apples and all other ingredients to a large heavy pot. Boil until apples are tender; about 15-20 minutes. Once the apples are tender use an immersion blender to blend apple mixture to smooth texture. There may be some small apple lumps and that’s okay. Blend until it’s the texture you’re looking for. I personally like little chunks remaining. Continue simmering the apple mixture until it thickens up. If you spread a small amount of your apple butter on a chilled plate, it should hold and not run off the plate. That’s it! Your kitchen should smell amazing and you should have a healthy batch of apple butter ready for eating.

Above I provided a hyperlink for water bath canning. Can some to have apple butter available for gifts or throughout the rest of the year. I also usually put some in a fridge-safe container for immediate consumption.

final apple butter