Shrimp Jambalaya! Say yeah yeah baby!

PaellaJambalaya is a New Orleans tradition that originated in the Caribbean  islands and it related to the dish known as paella. The many variations of this dish are a direct attempt by Spanish settlers to make paella in the new world where saffron was not readily available; tomatoes became a substitute for the costly seasonings traditionally used. As time went on, French influence became strong in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish.

Creole jambalaya, or red jambalaya as it is called by Cajuns, is found primarily in and around New Orleans, where it is simply known as ‘jambalaya’. Creole jambalaya includes tomatoes, whereas Cajun jambalaya does not.

Here’s how to make it!

1. Cook onions, garlic, green pepper and celery (trinity)  in bacon drippings or cooking oil until onion is browned.

2. Add parsley, ham, thyme, and bay leaves.

3. cook 5 minutes, stirring often.

4. Add salt, hot sauce, tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, and 2 cups of water.

5. Simmer 5 minutes.

6. Add rice.

7. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.

8. Add shrimp and smoked sausage.

9. Cover and simmer 10 or 15 minutes longer or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

10. Season to taste with salt and more hot sauce.

This is one of my most favorite dishes to make for parties, or for the holidays – it’s a nice and more simple way to get a little cajun flavor when you are low on cash for seafood (cuz you can always add more rice!) or just don’t want to anger the creole gods by making a less than perfect gumbo. :D

*edit: Some folks have brought to my attention this recipe lacks exact measurements…

Let me say this:  I don’t remember ever seeing grandma measure nothing, else she was baking (at which she was a *master*). This kind of cooking was just in her blood.

How much rice? Well, enough to “take care” of the water. How much garlic? How much you like, honey? That’s what she’d tell you if she was teaching you to make it; that’s pretty much the instructions I have in this old family cookbook. :)

Don’t worry, there is a ray of hope here. I will now provide for you a slightly different recipe (say hey to Ocean Springs, MS) .

1-2 quarts shrimp (peeled)

Chop: 1 large onion, 3-4 stalks celery, 1 small bell pepper, garlic.

Simmer in water until tender, no grease.

Add: 1 can tomato soup, sauce or paste, 1 can of water, 2-3 bay leaves, salt pepper to taste,1 teaspoon “cajun” seasoning

Simmer on low.

Add Shrimp.

Cook rice (2-3 cups?) and then add to simmering shrimp – add enough rice to take care of the liquid.

Stir ONLY once.

Keep on low.

That’s the only other recipe for it I know – hope it helps! – and if you make it send pictures!! Always love seeing other foodies dishes!

Next Time: Just in time for Christmas!
The Highly Awaited Turkey N Dumplin’s recipe!
 

Categories: FOOD, Personal Blog | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Myths About Social Media

To dispel some common misconceptions: social media success isn’t determined by driving up website traffic, but that *can* be a side effect if it’s done especially well. Social media success isn’t necessarily determined by providing better customer service, although it can be used as a powerful tool accomplish that. How does one determine success in social media?

Don’t you know, it’s smoke and mirrors and buzzwords, it’s mysterious and confounding algorithms and formula’s that would curdle Merlin’s blood! Not only that, but to pay to manage social media is insanely expensive and doing it yourself is far beyond the comprehension of any mere mortal! :P

Uh, yeah…about THAT.

Success in social media is both more difficult to obtain than you might imagine, and easier to accomplish than most will admit – but often all it takes is patience, and three even harder to find elements:

Relevancy. Effort. Consistency.

The last one is harder than you might think.
The second one is where most stumble and fail.
The first one perhaps hardest to grasp of all as it’s fleeting.
If any one element is missing the effort will fail – perhaps not horribly, but worse: by being nothing more than mediocre.

Are you an individual or small business owner interested in learning more about what social media really equates to for your business, and how you can leverage it to gain improved online exposure?

I love meeting great progressively minded folks who are interested in taking hold of their digital destiny; am always glad to talk a little shop over coffee, and even offer full web consulting services or social media training to help you get started. Drop me a line so we can get connected!

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, social network management | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Boise SEO: Keyword Research

Lots of #SEO companies promise they can get you to #1 in Google – and honestly IT’S EASY! Especially if they get you there for keywords no one is searching for! Your site may be optimized, but that doesn’t mean it’s optimized for the best terms.

Case in point: for YEARS the highest sought after phrase for REALTORS® in Idaho’s Treasure Valley has been “Boise Idaho Real Estate” and because of that it has some of the highest competition in the region. Sad Fact: it was searched for over HALF as many times as Boise Homes.

How do you know what to optimize for? RESEARCH. There are a number of great tools out there for doing just that but the latest and my current new favorite comes right from the big brothers at Google, called Insights.

Check it out
http://www.google.com/insights/search/

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization, social media, social network management | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

These last two weeks have been particularly difficult. Work, and stress, and more work. A million things, met confidently and beaten back. The elation of this week being nearly done is great, especially as it was even more frustrating by the fact that I know I did a lot, yet still don’t feel like anything got done. It feels like there should somehow be two more work days yet in the week, even though it’s Thursday. And then I realize, there will be…oh. There Will Be…. ; )

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Social Media Fu: Be Like Water

 The Master knew what he was talking about when he said “Be like the nature of water”…and like many deep profound truths it is a philosophy so elementally pure that it can be applied to nearly any concept – even social media.

A true social media master will be like the nature of water. Like Bruce says: First, empty your mind. Don’t get caught up in what you think you know. Social media is alive and ever changing, as such we must be centered and willing to accept it’s constant flux.

Be formless, shapeless, like water. Don’t limit yourself to just one network, one mindset, one way of looking at a goal. You must free your mind. Diversify your message for more powerful content. If you are managing a  account on Twitter, become Twitter. If you want to succeed with your Facebook page, become Facebook. Learn the networks and how to use them, more importantly: USE THEM. The best way to learn is to do.

Water can flow, or it can crash. So can your social media strategies. While one can’t always predict changes in cultures or how demographics may accept experimental new marketing techniques ( no matter how “liquid” of a marketeer they are! ) a larger percentage of how much success you will see is limited only by you.

If you want to expand on creating a consistent message across multiple profiles, try presenting it on each network in a different way. This  can not only allow you to create more enticing content for cross-network followers but also help to cover more keyword ground. Spin it to win it.

Water is the softest stuff on earth, but it can penetrate rock. Don’t forget, be persistent. When your efforts, no matter how small a drop in the bucket they may be, are combined over time you can still see tremendous effects. The rain doesn’t carve away the mountain all at once, but one drop at a time.

Be Like the Nature of Water My Friends…stay social. : )

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Search Engine Optimization, social media, social network management | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Building a better business sometimes means taking care of the things that are truly IMPORTANT instead of the things others consider URGENT…I had a long time client call the office today to cancel her service. She loves her site but is getting out of the business due to a recent breast cancer diagnosis.

She was devastated and broke down on the phone, so much so that even though I only knew her casually that I too was in tears. I had many many things to get done that other clients considered ab-so-lute-ly URGENT…without thought I set all of it to the side so that I could put together a nice card with some good words on holding on to HOPE for her to let her know we would be thinking and praying for her because (to me) reaching out and letting her know someone cared was more IMPORTANT than anything else…

Time for mortals is finite. In fact, we never really know when we’ll run out of it. To make matters more complicated, there turns out to be truth in the old saying that you never have enough time to do everything you’d like to do. So you must decide what is really important, and what others simply consider urgent…while my actions may make for long hours this week as I play catch-up I know that if I helped bring even a single grain of comfort into her life that I accomplished something far greater than simply checking another task off my queue…

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Exceptional Boise Home

Boise Mountain Living15 Rocky Canyon
Boise, Idaho

I don’t like to do a lot of advertising and market pushing on my blog here, but I recently did a website for a Boise REALTOR and found this home so amazing that I wanted to share it with all of you — not to mention I wanted to do a little horn tooting about the web design I did on the job. The design itself is simple, but attractive, and was able to be put together without too terribly much trouble – and for a cost that I know would have rivaled any other design house in the Northwest. This is typical of the real estate web design I do at Tour Real Estate Inc – effective, affordable online presences; all backed up by some of the best hands on customer service in the industry. But I digress…

Elegance in the Heart of Idaho Mountain Country

Boise Luxury HomesGorgeous Custom home. Spacious, open floor plan. Hardwood floors, distinctive stairway featuring wrought iron spindles and wood hand rail. Large functional kitchen with breakfast bar, black appliances, tile back splash, cabinets w/ crown plus pantry. Family rm boasts stone framed fireplace with hearth and wood mantle. Main level master has corner soaker tub, dual vanity and separate walk in shower. Plenty of storage and large closets. Fantastic curb appeal. Stunning Mountain Views!
Check out the website for more details!

This is the kind of home I can only DREAM of living in, stunning inside and out and also primely located in the heart of the Idaho mountains. WOW!!

Say, are you a local Boise business or website owner who needs a little help getting more traffic and improving your search engine visibility? I can help! Contact me for the best Boise SEO services and innovative web design in Idaho!

Categories: Boise SEO, Boise SEO Clients, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

…praying for focus. praying for vision. better my feet take me to hell than to indecision…

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Stuffing is for Thanksgiving, Not Websites…

Stuffing Should Only Be for Thanksgiving
When most people get interested in SEO and find out some of the basics it is natural habit to fall into “big hammer” methods of getting results by cramming as many keywords into one’s site content as possible. And it isn’t uncommon for those methods to get results – even good results – quickly and with seemingly little effort. Making keyword rich content can easily get out of hand quickly. How much is enough? How much is too much?

Most people aim for a keyword density of 2% (i.e. use the keyword 2 times for every 100 words).


It’s a fine balance. Generally you want your main keyword to appear a several times either in your text or as the title of a paragraph (in bold), with keywords that are your secondary focus trailing along in frequency.

You will know for sure that you are stuffing a bit too heavily if every other word in your content is a keyword. You want your text content to have a natural flow for human readers while still being keyword dense; there are a few good methods for this.
Use keywords as a title of a paragraph or section, using bold, and/or “H” tags in the html code itself. Search engines will give a bolded word (and especially an H tag) slightly more weight than regular text on your site. H tags may just look like big text, but search engines read them differently and give them extra keyword power.

This is an H1 Tag:

Boise Search Engine Optimization

This is an H2 Tag:

Search Engine Samurai

This is an H3 Tag:

Coldfusion Cowboy


this is an alt tagUse alt-tags on your photos in place of repeating keywords over and over where users are forced to read them.

It’s not JUST about the number of times your keywords appear either. WHERE they appear also can play a big role. Make sure your keywords appear in these places as good rules of thumb for best keyword visibility:

The Title Tag.
The Page URL.
The Main Heading (H1 or H2).
The first paragraph of content.
At least 3 times in the body content (more or less depending on amount of content and if and only if it makes sense).

Search Engine Optimization isn’t some mystic art, it comes down to easy to understand elements created and managed in balanced proportions. It takes time and it takes effort to see lasting results, especially as algorithms are constantly changing.

Don’t understand any of this? Just don’t have time to manage your SEO or social network marketing? I can help! Contact me to find out how I can help you develop your digital presence to work for you.

Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

there will be no mac jokes at the office today. #geek #love

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