From David and Angela’s Kitchen

My wife, Angela, and I are big fans of the television show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”. Host Guy Fieri did a show on Kelly O’s Diner and we fell in love with her “Haluski” recipe. I remember having a similar dish when I lived (briefly) in Cicero, Illinois in the heart of a Polish neighborhood. Ethnic foods like this are aromatic, unique and fun to cook. Your kitchen will smell great and its a fun meal to cook with your family.
Kelly O’s Haluski Recipe
Ingredients:
1 Head of green cabbage (core removed and leaves separated)
1 Stick of unsalted butter
2 Large Spanish onions, julienned
1 Tablespoon garlic salt, divided
1 Pound sliced bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
5 Cups wide egg noodles, cooked al dente and rinsed in cold water
1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ Cup grated Romano cheese
Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cabbage leaves and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and julienne.
Melt the butter in a LARGE skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, sprinkle on half of the garlic salt, and let the onions sweat for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the cabbage and cook, stirring all the while, until the onions and cabbage start to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the crumbled bacon, the noodles, the remaining garlic salt, and the pepper. Let the haluski cook for about 5 more minutes until all nice and brown and slightly crunchy. Plate it, and top it with Romano cheese.

5 Steps to Motivating Your Team This Year

Pep talks, performance contests, monthly luncheons… do these things really increase morale and motivate people to perform better? Maybe!!

Not all of us are good mind readers. We tend to believe that we know what our team members are thinking and what motivates them, but how can we be sure?
Simple – ASK.
I have learned a few things about motivating people:
  • You can’t motivate people to do things that they don’t want to do. That doesn’t mean that you cannot MAKE them do these things. It simply means that you cannot MOTIVATE them to do things they don’t want to do.
  • All people are motivated by something!
  • People are motivated to do things for their reasons and not for your reasons.

We have to be in tune with those we work with. Why is it that they come to work? Money? Prestige? Social reasons? Security? Experience? Once you know what each person is working for, what their motivations are, it is easy to design programs, incentives and activities to dial into their personal motivations.

So, how do I “tune in” to my team and motivate them all this year?

1) Set up an informal meeting that allows enough time for everyone to give their input. If possible, center it around a potluck lunch or at least a catered box lunch. People really like to show off their best cooking abilities, or their lack thereof, with a potluck function.

2) Give everyone an index card and ask them this question: “What do you really need to do with your paycheck?” Give them examples such as pay off credit card debt, help aging parents, save for their kids’ education, save for retirement, fund a vacation or trip, buy a new car. Sincerely ask people to THINK about what it is that they work for and what their biggest pressing needs are. Ask them to write this in four words or less on a card in an unusual handwriting, fold it up, and drop it in a big box. Shake the box. Have people pull the cards out, read them, then list what is written on them on a board.

3) Reaffirm that we are all here working together to help one another achieve this or her needs and goals. We all have goals. Some are fun. Some are dire. Regardless, if we are to get what we want we must be willing to help others get what they want. Really show your sincere interest in helping each person attain their real life goals.

4) Ask people to come up with ways in which the company/organization can help foster an environment to help people succeed at their jobs. Suggest monthly potlucks, changing the office around, field trips to other companies/organizations to see how things are being done other places, incentive awards, score cards, etc. Let people have input to the process to achieve a level of “ownership”.

5) Reward good results, invest in motivational tools such as posters and books, be sure to make the days FUN for people and be sure to keep everyone engaged and updated of their individual and joint progress. Foster a warm environment that encourages your employees to achieve their personal goals by supporting each other and working together.

When your employees are happy and productive, your business will reap the benefits!

Cell Phone Travel Tip!

In case you missed my last newsletter, here is the helpful travel tip I sent out!

Forgot your phone charger?

There’s nothing like the feeling of checking into your hotel room late at night, unpacking and realizing that you you’ve forgotten your charger for your nearly dead cell phone.

Good news! Lots and lots of hotel guests check out each day and forget their charging cords in their hotel rooms. As a result, most hotels have HUGE collections of cords to choose from in their “lost and found” and are more than happy to give you one that they’ve collected.

As a precaution though, put an extra charging cord in your usual bag now and consider a “back up battery” that lives in your suitcase.

Do you have a favorite travel tip? Email it to our office and if I use it you’ll receive a gift certificate for lunch for two!

email to: mindy@davidhira.com

How to Throw a FANTASTIC Christmas Party on a Budget

Planning an office Christmas party can be difficult- especially for small businesses that have very limited budgets. My years of planning and throwing holiday parties for my employees have taught me a few tricks I would like to share to help you throw a GREAT party. Use my tips to throw a fantastic party that will show your employees how much you appreciate them while staying within your budget!

A great source to tap for help when organizing your party is your vendors. Many of your vendors may be looking for a way to thank you for your business over the past year, and  contributing to your employee Christmas party is a wonderful way to thank not just you, but also all of your employees who help make your company great! Ask if your vendors can sponsor part of your party: this can be as simple as providing part or all of the food, providing entertainment for the party, or providing the venue and decorations.

Another great way to get vendors to help make your Christmas party a hit is to see if they can provide anything for door prizes or employee gift bags. Most of your vendors are likely to have promotional products that they would love to get into the hands of the people who seek them out to do business! This is a win/win situation in which you get more give-a-ways for your employees, and your vendors get their promotional materials to the right audience. Several may be willing to also donate a “big ticket” item for a door prize, and in return, just asked to be recognized for their donation!

If you do have vendors who are willing to contribute to your holiday party, remember to ask if they have representatives who could attend your holiday party. This shows your appreciation for their generosity and gives them a chance to mingle with the people they do business with.

Local restaurants are another great source when looking for help with your office Christmas party. Try approaching restaurants that are near your office where your employees regularly dine and asking if they might be able to help out by catering your party or by offering you a discount if you have your party at their establishment. Local restaurants may also be willing to donate gift certificates to use as door prizes for your employees as well. Remember, your company’s employees are their restaurant’s customers- and they want them to keep coming back!

The main thing to keep in mind when looking for help sponsoring your party, is to look for companies that will benefit themselves by helping you out, or that you regularly bring business to. Does your company have connections to any local hotels? Do you have a service that you could work out an exchange with an entertainment company or with a decorator? Look for the connections your business has, and how you can help each other out!

Small business can also look to each other for help when planning a Christmas party on a budget. If your office is part of a building full of office suites, consider joining together with your office’s neighbors and having a group party. This is a great way to get to know the other people in your building, and splitting fixed costs lets you save money on your Christmas party!

If you have any other hints or helpful ideas, please post them as a comment below on my blog- I would love to hear what great ideas my friends have!

In next month’s newsletter and blog, I will share with you my wonderful way to reward employees throughout the year, increase your company’s goodwill in your community, and prepare for next year’s Christmas party, plus one more benefit I will reveal when I post. Stay tuned!

Merry Christmas to all!

Recipe from David and Angela’s Kitchen

Okay, I’ve been to nearly 400 events this past year. I didn’t eat at all of them, but I’ve had my share of food “tastings” from cruise ships to 5 star restaurants to private home parties with some of the TOP chefs in the country.

Last Friday night this simple warmed dip took me and everyone at a small office party by storm! It is one of the most delicious and addicting foods I’ve had in a long, long time. This tastes like hot chicken wings, but without the mess. It is irresistible and perfect for any gathering. Serve it with club crackers or tortilla chips (or both). I don’t even eat hot spicy foods and I just LOVED this! It was just enough, but not too much “heat” for me. Try it- you will love it!

Great for holiday parties!

Chicken Wing Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese softened
  • 3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 cup Ranch-style salad dressing
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese and hot pepper sauce until well blended. Mix in the Ranch dressing, chicken, and Cheddar cheese. Spread into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. If oil collects on the top, dab it off using a paper towel.
  • Serve warm with tortilla chips and club crackers

Hope you enjoy- Merry Christmas!