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Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We will enjoy and appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food and drinks. We would also like a clean bathroom and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest.

Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


WHAT????

Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for your party, make it clear. Do not let your creative thoughts have you writing a description that requires an interpreter.  We do not want to force our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP.

  • Alina Gersib

Severed Beef Wellington Taste Test



Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!


I try not to pick favorites often, but my goodness, this meal is a new favorite. The flavors play off of each other in the most wonderful way. From the tanginess of the mustard to the earthiness of the mushrooms and the crunch of the puff pastry, this meal gets 10s across the board. Both my fiancé and I went back for seconds, we could not get enough. A favorite show of ours is Gordon Ramsey Uncharted. If I received this meal in one of his restaurants I would be absolutely blown away, that is how good it is. The best part? It is not too difficult to prepare.


If you follow the recipe closely and plan things out well, it will flow seamlessly. A few suggestions, start the mushrooms early as they need to chill for an hour before being placed on the puff pastry. Also, the puff pastry takes about 40 minutes to thaw so make sure to pull it out early.


I started by making the Mushroom Duxelle. While it was chilling I washed all of the dishes I had accumulated from the mushrooms. When I hit 40 minutes left on the mushrooms I took the puff pastry out to thaw and measured out all of the ingredients for the next steps. After prepping, searing, and covering the meat with mustard, I was ready to start assembling the ingredients on the thawed puff pastry. Once the beef Wellington was in the oven, I washed up all of the dishes and started making the sauce and a side of asparagus. With working while things were cooking (or chilling) everything was ready right at the same time for this delicious meal!


Severed Beef Wellington



Severed Beef Wellington
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.32MB

Makes 5 servings

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

Cooking Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:

*2 pounds beef tenderloin

*1/2 cup yellow mustard

*2 cups Mushroom Duxelle (recipe follows)

*Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed and rolled out 10” x 10” x 1/8”

*Salt and pepper, to taste

*1 whole egg, beaten, for egg wash

*1/4 cup olive oil, for searing


Preparation:

*Season the meat with salt and pepper to taste, and sear to golden brown on all sides in a pan on high heat.

*Take it off the heat and reserve on the side.

*Preheat oven to 400F.

*Spread the Mushroom Duxelle over the prepared puff pastry making sure to leave 2 inches free on all sides.

*Brush the egg wash on this 2 inch free space of pastry.

*Brush the mustard all over the seared tenderloin, and place tenderloin on top of one end of the prepared puff pastry.

*Now, carefully roll meat and dough, making sure it is nicely tucked in. Keep rolling until meat is fully incased. Pinch and press the ends to seal meat, making sure there are no openings or gaps on either end.

*Carefully place meat/dough on a sheet pan and brush egg wash on all sides.

*Put in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, then remove and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

*Slice in 1 to 1 1/2 inch thickness.

*Accompany with grilled asparagus and Marsala Wine Sauce.


Mushroom Duxelle (for Beef Wellington)



Mushroom Duxelle
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.32MB

Makes 5 servings

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

Cooking Time: 35 Minutes


Ingredients:

*2 pounds mushrooms, minced in a food processor

*1 cup onion, finely chopped

*2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced

*1 tablespoon butter

*2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

*1/4 cup dry white wine

*1 teaspoon salt


Preparation:

*In a large sauté pan, place the butter, onion and garlic and cook on medium heat until onion is translucent.

*Add the minced mushrooms, rosemary, wine and salt.

*Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is completely dry. (Mixture should have absolutely no

moisture.) This entire process should take about 15 to 20 minutes on low to medium heat. (It took mine about 35 minutes but my pan does not have a huge surface area)

*Turn heat off, spread onto a sheet pan, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

*Mushroom Duxelle is ready to use.

Marsala Wine Sauce



Marsala Wine Sauce (for Beef Wellington)
.
Download • 2.32MB

Makes 1 Cup

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

Cooking Time: 15 Minutes


Ingredients:

*2 tablespoons olive oil

*2 tablespoons fresh onion, grated

*1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

*1 cup Marsala wine

*2 cups beef or chicken stock

*2 tablespoons cornstarch slurry, or as needed for thickening (A cornstarch slurry is equal parts water and cornstarch mixed together. I combined 2 tbsp of each and used almost all of it.)

*2 tablespoons butter

*Salt & pepper, to taste


Preparation:

*In a medium saucepan heat the oil to low smoking point.

*Add the onion and garlic, cook until translucent.

*Turn heat to high and add the wine.

*Reduce to half, then add the stock and reduce to half again.

*Turn the heat back to medium and add cornstarch, whisking as needed to lightly thicken the sauce.

*Season to taste and add the butter.

*Whisk to melt butter in the sauce.



Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib

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