Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesdays

Spaghetti Bake
Makes 4-5 servings

4 ounces spaghetti
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbs margarine or butter
1 cup cream-style cottage cheese
1 beaten egg
1/2 pound ground beef or bulk italian sausage
3/4 - 1.1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
1/2 - 1 cup shredded mazzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust, cook spaghetti according to package directions. (Can use leftover spaghetti.) Drain. Combine 1 egg, Parmesan cheese, and margarine. Stir in hot spaghetti. Press mixture evenly into the bottom, and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.

Drain cottage cheese; combine with 1 egg. Spread over crust. Set aside.

In a large skillet cook meat till brown. Drain fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Heat through. Spoon over cottage cheese mixture.

Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake about 5 minutes more, or until cheese melts and crust sets. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into wedges.

(May add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/4 cup chopped green pepper when cooking beef. Also, can use spaghetti leftovers to make pie.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cheese Ravioli

3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated, reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
Ground black pepper
24 wonton wrappers
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, basil, garlic, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Place 1 rounded tsp. of filling in the center of each wonton wrapper. Brush the edges of a wonton wrapper lightly with water. Fold the wrapper in half, making sure all the filling remains inside. Seal the edges by pinching. Continue with the remaining filling and wrappers.

Add salt to a large pot of boiling water. Gently add the ravioli, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until tender, stirring gently. Meanwhile in a small pot over low heat, cook the tomato sauce. Using a large slotted spoon, place the ravioli into 4 individual bowls, pour the sauce over each serving, and garnish with the additional basil.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

Caramel Apple Bars III
         Recipe from

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

Recipe from Kraft
Lemon-Cream Cheese Cupcakes recipe

What You Need

1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 pkg.  (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup water
4   egg whites
2 Tbsp. oil
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 Tbsp.  lemon juice
1 pkg. (16 oz.) powdered sugar

Make It

HEAT oven to 350ºF.
BEAT first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer on low speed until moistened. (Batter will be thick.) Beat on medium speed 2 min. Spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.
BAKE 21 to 24 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min.; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.
BEAT cream cheese, butter and juice with mixer until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended. Spread onto cupcakes.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Prepare using PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese.
Special Extra
Blend 1 tsp. lemon zest into frosting before spreading onto cupcakes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

      The second weekend in August is Kool-Aid Day!
                         August 12th - 14th
             Kool-Aid Sherbet
               (paste this link into your browser)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Idea of the Week: Stretch Your Budget with Self-Mailers

Companies can save substantial amounts of money by eliminating the need for envelopes. The possibility of creating a self-mailer should be considered with any direct mail piece. 

A self-mailer is simply a piece of mail that doesn't require an envelope. All of the necessary mailing information is located on one of the outside panels. 

Because self-mailers do not require envelopes, you must be more creative when designing the format, since you don't have the luxury of an envelope to contain any extra sheets of printed material. 

Here are some things to consider when designing a self-mailer:
  1. Will the delivery address be printed directly on the self-mailer, or will self-adhesive labels be used? 
  2. The amount of written material in the self-mailer will determine the overall size of the mailer. 
  3. Information needs to flow quickly and smoothly from the initial pitch to the fine print. The fewer words needed to convey your message, the better. 
  4. The type of closure needs to assure safe passage through the mail. Staples are used often, but many people find them unappealing. Miniature self-adhesives are available in many colors, shapes, and sizes. 
  5. If perforated sections are used, keep them in mind so that nothing can slip loose while being passed through the mail.
Source: Printer@Work, an electronic newsletter from Big Red Printing

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

July 28th is National Chili Dog Day!!

Chili Dog

Chili Dog
The chili recipe makes enough chili for 16-20 hot dogs, which may seem like a lot, but you're just getting a large spoonful with each dog. So, if you have fewer people to cook for, just use the leftover chili as a stand-alone-dish for later. If you're feeding more, just double the chili recipe. You'll be happy you made a big batch. A note on the hot dogs, get the best quality hot dog you can, we tend to look for kosher dogs. The hot dogs themselves only need to be grilled enough to be heated; they are already cooked when you take them out of the package.


  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves
  • 16 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp molasses or honey
  • 2 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • Salt
  • As many hot dogs as you have people to serve
  • Buns for the hot dogs
  • Chopped red onion, for garnish
  • Shredded cheddar (or jack) cheese, for garnish


1 Make the chili first. Fry the bacon over medium heat until it begins to get crispy, then add the chopped onions and fry over high heat, stirring often, until they begin to brown. Add in the ground beef and stir in well. Cook this, still over high heat and stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned. This will take a few minutes. When the beef is about halfway browned, toss in the chopped garlic and mix well.
2 Once the beef is well browned, add the tomato sauce, molasses and beef broth. Add all the spices except the cayenne and stir well. Bring to a simmer and taste. Add salt or the cayenne if it needs it. You can of course add much more cayenne or chili powder if you like things really spicy, but it’s best to taste first and then add more.
3 Let the chili cook on a gentle simmer for at least 30 minutes before you start grilling the hot dogs. You can cook it several hours if you want to, adding a little more beef broth here and there if the chili gets to dry.
4 Grill your hot dogs over medium heat until they get a light char. Grill the hot dog buns briefly if you want – no more than a minute, as they will burn fast. You can also paint the buns with vegetable oil or butter before grilling if you’d like.
Dog goes in bun, chili goes on top, sprinkle on chopped red onion and shredded cheese, and have at it!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Product of the Week: Coasters!

You know those thick, paper coasters that come with your drink at your favorite watering hole?  Sometimes, maybe on a memorable occasion, you might "accidentally" leave the bar with one in your hand still, how'd that happen?!  Steal no more my friend because you can order these functional mementos from Big Red Printing!  Pulpboard coasters come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and thickness, as well as one or two-sided printing, and from one to four colors or full color.  Personalized coasters can be creatively used in several different ways, "Save The Date" cards and give aways for events are just two examples.  Coasters are a fun, new way to market yourself or just give a useful memento for a special occasion.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

(Recipe from

Spring Salad with Baby Greens, Herbs, Meyer Lemon, Almonds and Goat Cheese
serves four
About 6 cups of washed baby greens like arugula and baby spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
About 1/2 cup of fresh herbs - lemon thyme, lemon verbena, Thai basil, and Italian parsley - chopped
1 Meyer lemon, zested
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives or spring garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh scallions
1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
4 ounces good goat cheese
2-3 chive blossoms
Toss the greens, chopped herbs, lemon zest, and chives and scallions with the almonds. Add the vinaigrette. Divide the salad among four salad plates. Pull the chives apart into small flowerets and scatter evenly over each salad. Top each salad with a lump of cheese and serve.
Meyer Lemon and Honey Vinaigrette
1 Meyer lemon, juiced
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shake or whisk until completely emulsified. Taste and adjust sweetening or oil. Toss with the salad greens and serve immediately.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Product of the Week: Give-Aways!

Who doesn't love a useful give-away?  And with your businesses logo on the items, you're sure to attract business!  Personalized items are also fun give-aways for reunions, company picnics, wedding and anniversary celebrations.  We have some fantastic options for summer - sunglasses, visors, plastic cups, even sunscreen.  Give us a call to find out about your many options and any restrictions that may apply.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

Great recipe for hot summer days!

Strawberry Freeze

(Recipe from
Total time: 6 hr 15 min

What You Need

12 CHIPS AHOY! Cookies   (can substitute with vanilla wafers)
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 can  (12 oz.) frozen berry juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup crushed strawberries
1 tub  (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
2 cups whole strawberries, cut in half

Make It

ARRANGE cookies in single layer on bottom of 9-inch springform pan. BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Gradually beat in juice concentrate. Stir in crushed berries. Whisk in COOL WHIP until well blended. Pour over cookies in pan. FREEZE 6 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer 15 min. before serving; let stand at room temperature to soften slightly. Top with berry halves.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Prepare as directed with CHIPS AHOY! Reduced Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies, PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese and COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping.
Prepare using your favorite flavor of frozen juice or drink concentrate, such as raspberry, lemonade, grape or pink lemonade.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Salad
Here's an easy to prepare recipe for potato salad. The creamy, homemade dressing requires no cooking.
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 T. prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 6 medium potatoes - peeled, cooked, and diced
  • 1/2 cup - chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 hard boiled eggs - chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika

Preparation -
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper. Set aside. In a large bowl, stir the diced potatoes, chopped celery , onion and hard boiled eggs together. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the vegetable mixture. Gently stir all the ingredients together. Refrigerate for at for least 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle with the paprika just before serving.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Promoting Your Social Media Presence

Just because you build it, it doesn't mean they are going to come! I'm sure most of you have heard this familiar phrase, but it is very true when it comes to social media. Once you establish your social media presence, next comes PROMOTION, PROMOTION, PROMOTION!

Below are a few ideas that you could use in order to promote your social media presence.

This is an example of an advertisement that Debenhams placed promoting their Facebook presence.

We have signs hung up in our building telling people about our Facebook Page.

One of my favorite ways of promoting social media are Meet Me Me cards. They are social media trading cards, but they could be used in place of business cards. They include basic contact information about, a short bio, a quote and a “special power.” It also includes a QR code which you can choose links and websites to direct people to when they scan it.

QR codes are a wonderful way to promote social media. They are up and coming and you will start seeing them more and more. QR codes are so great because you can lead people anywhere, to your facebook page, to a custom landing page, to your website, to a sign up form, etc. Include QR codes on postcards of flyers promoting your social media presence.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Product of the Week: Mailers

Mailers are a great way to reach potential customers and at Big Red Printing we work with you and the Post Office to find the best way to reach your marketing goal.  Please stop in or call and let us help you choose the best way to promote your business with a mailer!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza

(Recipe from

1 can (11 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated thin pizza crust
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Cut 14 x 14-inch heavy duty foil; spray with cooking spray. Place dough on foil; starting at center, press dough to 12-inch round. Place dough on grill, foil side down. Cook, uncovered, 3 minutes or until bottom of crust is light golden brown. Remove from grill.
  • Using wide spatula, flip crust over so uncooked side is down. In small bowl, combine chicken, barbecue sauce and chili powder; mix well. Spread chicken evenly over pizza crust. Sprinkle with cheese, onion and bell pepper.
  • Place pizza onto grill, foil side down. Cook, covered, an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese begins to melt.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A website you need to!

Are you ever in need of a good design tutorial? If so, check out

From Adobe to Microsoft Office to AutoCad, has software tutorials for thousands of software programs. Below is a screen shot of some of the design tutorials that the website offers. There are 190 design training courses on the site, so as you can imagine, if you have a design question, one of's tutorials can help you. There is a fee to view most of the tutorials, but they give you lots of options to choose from. Check it out for yourself, you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesdays

May 12th is National Nutty-Fudge day!

Nutty Fudge

Ingredients [ View Metric ]

2 ozUnsweetened Chocolate
2 cSugar
1 tbLight corn syrup
1 cmilk
2 tbButter
1 dsSalt
1 tsVanilla
1/2 cPecans; chopped

How to Prepare Nutty Fudge

From: (Gourmet Connection) Date: 96-08-18 10:43:17 EDT Butter a 9x5" loaf pan. In medium saucepan, combine chocolate and milk. Cook over low heat until smooth and chocolate is melted, stirring constantly. Add sugar, salt, and syrup. Stir until mixture boils; do not stir again. Cover and cook 1 minute. Uncover and cook to softball stage (236F). Add margarine; place saucepan in pan of cold water to quickly cool to lukewarm (120F). Add vanilla; beat with wooden spoon until thick and creamy and candy loses gloss. Quickly stir in nuts; pour into prepared pan. When fudge is firm, cut into squares. Devour at will. NUTRITIONAL INFO per 1oz. serving 165 Calories; >1g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 6g Fat; 43mg Sodium Recipe Page 18 August 96 From the Gourmet Connection recipe list. Downloaded from Glens MM Recipe Archive, G Internet.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Product of the Week: Catalogs!

Catalogs are and excellent way to promote your products and company - not only do they give examples of what you have but also ideas of what could be.  Catalogs are convenient reminders of what else a person needs - it's always a bad thing for me but great for stores when i go shopping and actually walk AROUND the store, instead of just going to one area.  With catalogs, you can't help but check out the other "areas"!  And while the internet is being utilized more and more to reach potential customers with products, studies show that people still like holding information in their hands.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesdays

May 1-7 Is "Bread Pudding Recipe Exchange Week"

So here's ours.
(Recipe from

Bread Pudding II Recipe

Bread Pudding II


  • 6 slices day-old bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread. If desired, sprinkle with raisins.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Item of the Week: Car Magnets…Promote Your Company While You are on the Go

What a great way to promote your company…there’s no better place to advertise than on your vehicle that you drive every day! Chances are that you regularly drive around the area where your client base or potential clients are. Include your logo, address and phone number so people know where you are located and how to get in touch with you! Make sure it is designed so people who see it know exactly what you do and can read it even as they are driving by!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

Chicken Fajitas with Spice Rub

by Amy Cotler From FamilyFun Magazine
Chicken Fajitas with Spice Rub 

  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks and tossed in 1 teaspoon of lime juice
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh ciliantro, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 1 small red or yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 8-inch flour tortillas

  1. Place your toppings (avocado, salsa, sour cream and cilantro leaves) in separate bowls and set them on your table.
  2. Next, make the rub. Combine the cumin, chili powder, oregano, and salt in a shallow bowl. Lightly rub the spices into the chicken with your fingertips until the meat is coated on all sides. Heat your grill to medium. Grill the chicken on both sides, just until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, slice thinly, and set it on a platter.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, toss the pepper and onion in the olive oil. Set them on the grill, using a vegetable screen, if desired, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, turning once. Remove from the heat and set on the platter with the chicken.
  4. Place the tortillas on the grill for 5 to 7 seconds on each side, turning with tongs, until hot. Set out the grilled chicken, pepper, and onion with the toppings and tortillas. Let guests assemble and roll their own fajitas. Serves 4 to 6.
Kid's Steps: Kids can set toppings in bowls and rub the spices into the chicken (washing hands thoroughly afterward).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Before & After Magazine – A Designer’s Best Friend

I have been a subscriber to Before & After Magazine for the past two years and I still enjoy every article that I read. If you are a designer looking for tips, tricks and inspiration, then you should take advantage of this great resource.

Recently in addition to their regular articles, they have started doing video tutorials as well. These videos are short and sweet, but are full of great information.

The magazine has articles on brochure designs, typography, creating logos, simplifying business cards, designing with words and pictures and so much more. I have incorporated many ideas and concepts from Before & After Magazine articles in my own designs.

Before & After Magainze is not free, but for a low cost you can either have PDF articles emailed to you or you can be a print subscriber. They also have a great of my favorites that I purchased from them is, "Graphics for Business."

To find out more or to subscribe, visit their website at

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day! Seven Ideas to Promote Your Business During Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day Everyone! I wanted to share this great article I found about promoting your business during earth day.

Seven Ideas to Promote Your Business During Earth Day
By Robert Piller

1. Give it Away: Promote your company’s participation in Earth Day by giving away custom-imprinted promotional products, from recycled tote bags, biodegradable sports bottles or imprinted seed packets or imprinted live tree seedlings.

2. Spread the News: Notify the media about the ways your company is getting involved in the green movement. It is newsworthy and favorable news coverage will be the best form of marketing.

3. Donate Green: Donate your green promotional products to a variety of organizations or groups, including schools, non-profit organizations, sports teams, churches and synagogues, etc.

4. Cooperate: Work with other local businesses to coop the cost of your green friendly promotional products. Contact other businesses to put each organizations logo onto a recycled tote bag, for example—spreading the costs among a handful of “green community leaders”.

5. Give to Get: Encourage your employees and customers to recycle. When they bring in a bundle for recycling, give them a free imprinted tree seedling or recycled sports bottle. Encourage the media to visit during this recycling effort.

6. Green Fridays: Have your employees wear imprinted green t-shirts and green caps to promote Green Friday. Make the last Friday of each month Green Friday—where employees wear green and must report how they have done an energy saving activity for the month. Top 5 winners get the afternoon off or a free eco-friendly gift.

7. Car Pool: Calculate the savings that your employees will help to make by car pooling, turning off lights, recycling, etc. You can use the US EPA’s Carbon Calculator to see how much your carbon footprint can be reduced. Keep a chart, much like the United Way posters, to track your organizations carbon reduction for the year and hold a party when your goal has been met.

Let’s Make Every Day, Earth Day. It’s a win-win opportunity.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Item of the Week: Eco Friendly Products

Are you looking for ways that you can help save the planet? Now you can. There are lots of options out there for eco-friendly promotional products. Some ideas that we love are:

  • Reusable grocery bags - Not only will your customers see your name every time they pull out their grocery bags, imagine all of the other shoppers who will be exposed to your name!
  • Recycled pens
  • Biodegradable water bottles
  • Earth friendly golf balls - Don't feel guilty about losing golf balls again!
  • Recycled calendars 
  • Water powered clock - No batteries needed. You never have to worry about power outages making you late to work again!
Check out more eco products...Eco-friendly Promotional Products

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Item of the Week: Greeting Cards

Take a second and picture this. You get home from work and check your mailbox and there is a card or a letter from one of your friends or loved ones. If you are anything like me, this makes you feel special and you rush inside to open it.

With all of the technology that is available to us, it is convenient to get in the habit of sending email after email, because at the click of the mouse, the recipient gets your message. It is apparent that because of the convenience of technology, sometimes we forget the importance of the personal touch. Whether they are thank you notes, congratulations notes or birthday cards, a handwritten note will mean more to a customer then an email. It makes them feel special and like they aren’t just another number on your long list of clients.

From generic to customized greeting cards, there is a plethora of options for you to choose from. So, get out your favorite pen and start sending handwritten greetings to your clients!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesdays

Printed from COOKS.COM

Read more about it at,171,155191-247207,00.html
Content Copyright © 2011 - All rights reserved.
2 lb. bag frozen hash browns
1 bar Cracker Barrel sharp cheese, grated
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 c. sour cream
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 chopped onion
Salt, very little
Fresh parsley

Crumble hash browns in a 9 x 13 casserole. Cover with sharp cheese. Combine together remaining ingredients. Spread over potatoes and cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered 2 hours at 300 degrees. Serves 10. Can be made in morning and cooked later.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Developing Your Core Clients

Do you rely on repeat business from current and past clients? If so, have you fully developed your core clients full potential?

Instead of focusing on your “once in awhile” clients, you should focus on the strong base of clients  -- the clients that are and will continue to be long-term clients. Research shows that in most business to business companies that 20% of clients produce 80% of profits.

Follow this five-step approach to help your company develop core clients.

1. Identify the most profitable clients.
2. Learn each client’s needs and wants.
3. Analyze the offerings they need and use.
4. Focus marketing efforts on the profitable client types.
5. Monitor satisfaction levels.

Identify the Most Profitable Clients

Go in to your accounting records and look at the revenues each client generates, what it costs to sell to them and to service them.  This will help you discover which clients are profitable and which ones are unprofitable. Unprofitable clients are those clients that cost you more to market, attract and satisfy.

Learn Their Wants and Needs

Once you have decided on your core group of clients that you want to focus on, the best approach to find out your clients wants and needs is to ask them. Some ways to gather this information is through written surveys, focus groups, face-to-face visits and in-depth interviews.

Analyze the Offerings They Need and Use

Do your products and/or services meet the needs of your customers? Are there some services that your clients do not utilize? Are there some services that you could begin offering to meet their needs better?

Focus Marketing on the Profitable Client Type

The feedback you receive from your profitable clients should be the basis of your marketing efforts.

Monitor Satisfaction Levels Religiously

To keep ahead of the game, you need to understand your clients future needs, what will they want to do or need in the future. You can do this a few ways, (1) by asking the right questions and listening during your every day interactions and meetings with your clients, or (2) by using focus groups or user groups for feedback on what upcoming trends your customers are paying attention to or interested in.

Source: Selling in Deep Carpet: Developing Core Clients by Clare G. Ross

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Item of the Week: Promotional Products

What better way to say thank you to your customers for their business then giving them a gift to show them your appreciation. Wouldn't it be nice to give them something that will be both useful and will also remind them of your company every time they use the product? A few lower priced items that I have had success with in the past have been as follows:

  • Tape Measures - You can never have enough tape measures!
  • Stainless Steel Water Bottles - These water bottles are durable and will keep your drinks cold all day long. I personally use one everyday!
  • Multi-Tools - The guys love them. A screwdriver and a level all in one place! These are so small that they can fit your glove box.
  • Jotters and Padfolios - A jotter can fit in someone's purse or glove department and a Padfolio is great for taking to meetings.
  • Post-it-Note Cubes - These were a HUGE success. There is nothing better then walking into a clients office and seeing your post-it-note cube sitting on their desk. (HINT: Make sure your name is towards the bottom of the pile so they can see it as long as possible!)
  • Stocking Hats - A great idea for winter, wouldn't you want your customers to walk around town with your logo on their hat!?

A few higher end items that I have had success with in the past have been as follows:

  • Poker Set - Complete with poker chips, cards and dealer chips.
  • BBQ Set - Everyone needs a heavy duty set of grilling tools for their spring and summer cookouts.
  • Car Emergency Set - Jumper cables, flares...anything that you might need if you have car trouble.
  • Binoculars - A great tool for nature lovers is a high end pair of binoculars!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What to Cook Bake, or in General to Make Wednesday

Spinach, Tomato, Feta & Egg Wrap

(Reipe from


    2 La Tortilla Factory Whole Wheat Low-Carb/Low-Fat Tortilla, Large Size 1 C. chopped fresh spinach 1-1/3 C. Egg Beaters 1-1/2 T. Athenos Red. Fat Feta Cheese 1-1/2 T. Athenos Basil & Tomato Feta Cheese 2 T. Hunt's Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes w/Garlic 4 halves sun-dried tomato in oil & spices, chopped


Spray medium sized skillet with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat. Add chopped spinach and both types of tomatoes. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 1 minute (until spinach has wilted). Add the cheese to the pan and cook for an additional 30 seconds (cheese should be melty). Removed from heat.
Spray a small skillet with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat. Add 2/3 C. of the Egg Beaters, and cook to form an egg patty (flipping and folding until firm). Remove egg patty and set aside. Cook the remaining 2/3 C. of Egg Beaters the same.
Heat tortillas in the microwave until slightly warm. Place 1/2 the veggie/cheese mixture in the center of each tortilla. Place an egg patty on top, and wrap the tortilla up envelope style (folding the sides in first, and then rolling it up from the bottom). Place the wrap in a warm oven or toaster oven (with seam side down and bake for 1 - 2 minutes (until thoroughly heated).

Number of Servings: 2

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Designing Visually Pleasing Materials

Have you ever completed a design and have not been pleased with the end result? If so, it is possible that you are missing one of the four elements of design: balance, visual syntax, unity or proportion. I’m going to explain a little bit about each of these four elements.

Balance – In order to achieve balance, you should focus on optical weight. Optical weight is a visual system of measure.  Optical weight is based on the following six rules:

  1. Anything located in the upper left hand quadrant of a layout has the most optical weight.
  2. Large items are noticed more, seen for a longer time and remembered more.
  3. Elements that are dark carry more optical weight.
  4. Color conveys more optical weight than black and white.
  5. White space draws attention to the other information on the page.
  6. Rectangles are normal shapes, everything else conveys optical weight.

Visual Syntax – Typically a person’s eyes go in a Z pattern when looking at a piece.

So, to increase visual syntax, you should try to use a Z page layout.  You should include the “What’s in it for me” across the top, filler text in the middle and a call to action across the bottom.

Unity – There are seven elements that contribute to the unity of your piece. They are as follows:

  1. Typography – try to stick to only using 2 fonts. You can have an additional font if necessary, but two is the key number.
  2. Paper – The heavier the paper, the more important people perceive something is.
  3. Style of Art – Don’t mix and match different styles of art.
  4. Color – Don’t overdue it on colors, stick to a color scheme.
  5. Size – 30% of your design should be white space. Let the content determine the size of your piece.
  6. Graphic Elements – You can use repeat graphics throughout the page in order to grab people’s attention.
  7. Grid – Don’t go from 1 column to 2 columns, keep things consistent.

Proportion – The underlying skeleton of your layouts.

To make your piece proportionate, you should consider whether you are going to use a one-column (newsy or important perception), two-column (formal and conservative look), or a three-column (flexible, friendly and casual look) grid layout.

The grid is the key to your design. You can make your piece graphically appealing by carrying headlines, text and graphics through two or more columns.

These are just a few things to think about when you are designing a piece. When you complete your design you should go back and make sure your document has used these four elements correctly.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why Is Customer Service So Important?

       You are important to us, and to our business.
   Surrveys show that 85% of customers who take their business to
a new supplier, do so because of customer service issues.
   You're the reason we're in business, so it is our goal to keep you
happy with service and products you receive from us at Big Red
   We want your products to meet and exceed your expectations
every time, and the best way to get what you want is to ask, we're
here to listen!
   If you're not sure what you want, we will be more than happy to
offer you our tips and advice.
   We'll be the first to admit that we are not perfect, but when things
go wrong, you can be sure that we'll make it right.
   You're opinion is important to us, so if you have any suggestions
on how we can serve you better please let us know.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesdays

(Recipe from "Baked")
These cookies are every bit as delicious as they look.

S'mores Cookies
adapted from Make and Bake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash of cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups miniature chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 Hershey bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, salt, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes, and remove from the oven. Push 3 to 4 marshmallows and a few pieces of hershey bar into each cookies. Return to the oven and bake an additional 3-4 minutes until fully cooked. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Reasons Your Marketing Materials Are Going Unread

  • You are using the "We-We" approach. Your marketing materials might be too "we" oriented instead of customer oriented. Your customers are interested in learning about you, but instead of talking about the new and improved equipment that you purchased, explain instead how this new equipment will benefit the customer.
    • Test - Perform the "We-We" test by counting the number of times you use we in one of your marketing pieces. While it will be impossible to delete all of the we references from your literature, work to cut the number in half.
  • Too much technical jargon. Depending on your audience, you should dumb-down the language in your literature if it is technical. You can have a technical person write the test for your materials, but you should always have someone in marketing, or a different department, reword the text into layman's terms.
    • Test - Have someone from outside your company read your marketing materials. If they can't understand what your message is, then chances are you need to rework your wording.
  • You haven't answered, "What's in it for me." You might be stating too many generalities in your literature. Be sure to focus more on the benefits instead of the features.
  • No call to action. Have you ever gotten a piece of mail encouraging you to purchase a product, but the literature contained no information on how to purchase the product? Make sure you include a call to action on every marketing piece that you send out.
  • Poor grammar, punctuation and lack of proofreading. This one doesn't require a lengthy explanation. Bottom line is that if people see mistakes, they will probably dismiss your marketing piece.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Product Spotlight: QR Code Business Cards

Some may say it’s a fad, but QR codes are here and they won’t be going anywhere any time soon. As I have mentioned in some of my previous blogs, business cards are still one of the most important tools that you can use to promote yourself and make a good first impression! So, what is the advantage of having a QR code on your business card? One distinct advantage of having a business card with a QR code is that you are making print interactive. People you meet have instant access to whatever you choose to share with them. Some examples include, your website, blog, Twitter profile, Facebook page, event sign up, and etc.

Here are some great examples of QR Code business cards that I found on

Geng Gao - QR code leads to his creative portfolio.
Reblis - QR code leads to a live Twitter feed as well as has links to Facebook, Linked In and Flickr.
QR Code leads to his photography portfolio.

Check out the links for each of them to see what creative ways people are using QR codes on their business cards! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What to Cook, Bake or In General Make Wednesday - Beer Cheese Dip

In honor of National Chip and Dip Day...a Wisconsin Favorite...

Beer Cheese Dip


Servings: 3 cups

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 packet (1 ounce) Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix
1/2 to 3/4 cup beer
Chopped green onions and shredded cheese, for garnish
Pretzels, Chips or assorted vegetables, for dipping

Combine Cheddar cheese, cream cheese and dips mix in medium bowl. Gradually stir in beer until mixture reaches desired consistence. Garnish with green onion and additional Cheddar cheese. Serve with pretzels, chips or assorted vegetables.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Considering Color when Designing a Logo

Color is an important part of visual arts….more importantly your logo. Different colors have different meanings and are used in logos to convey a specific message.  So, when you are designing your logo for the first time or you are going through a redesign, be sure to pay attention to the definitions of colors below and choose wisely!

Red: Action, Adventure, Aggressive, Danger, Drive, Energy, Excitement, Love, Passion, Strength and Vigor.

Red is an extreme and emotionally intense color. It is often used in logos to grab a viewer’s attention, raise one’s blood pressure or make people hungry.

Pink: Appreciation, Delicate, Femininity, Floral, Gentle, Girly, Gratitude, Innocence, Soft and Tranquil.

Pink conjures feelings of innocence and delicateness. It is often used in logos to add a feminine flare.

Orange: Affordable, Creativity, Enthusiasm, Fun, Jovial, Lighthearted, High-Spirited and Youthful

Orange is a common color seen in logos that offers a sense of openness and friendliness. Its bright and cheery nature captures the attention of viewers. Orange is used in logos to create playfulness or stimulate emotions and even appetites.

Yellow: Caution, Cheerful, Cowardice, Curiosity, Happiness, Joy, Playful, Positivity and Warmth

Yellow is the most difficult color for the eye to take in. Yellow is often used in logos to get attention, create happiness and warmth.

Green: Crisp, Environmental, Fresh, Harmony, Health, Healing, Inexperience, Money, Mature, Renewal and Tranquility

Green is calming, refreshing and conservative. You can often find it used in companies that want to portray themselves as eco-friendly.

Blue: Authority, Calm, Confidence, Dignity, Established, Loyalty, Power, Success, Secure and Trustworthy

Blue is the most popular color in logo design. It is used extensively in government, medical and fortune 500 company logos.

Purple: Ceremony, Expensive, Fantasy, Justice, Mystery, Nobility, Regal, Royalty, Sophistication and Spirituality.

Purple symbolizes rank and authority. Purple is rarely used in logos because it is rare in nature.

Brown: Calmness, Depth, Earth, Natural, Roughness, Richness, Simplicity, Serious, Subtle, Utility and Woodsy.

Brown suggests utility, earthiness, woodiness and subtle richness. It is the color of earth and is abundant in nature. It is widely used in legal logos.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

What's In An Address?

When we use the United States Postal Service (USPS) to deliver our mail, we need to be very specific and give all the information needed to insure the mail piece gets to the intended person(s). This information is placed on several lines of the label or mailing piece.

Line:                        Type of Information
First                        Name of person(s) or Company Name
Second                        Attention line or Address 1
Third                        Address 2
Fourth                        City, State, Zip

"Mail prepared by a Mailer Service will process the address data record and add the +4 (digits) to the Zip Code and also add a barcode--POSTNET barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode. Automated mail pieces have a barcode to allow for electronic mail sorting by the post office." 

Automated mail systems use the ZIP+4 to sort. Which identifies the city & state. Then it looks at the line directly above the City, State, Zip. This line must tell then the exact place to deliver the mail item. This can be a PO Box number or a location address. There is a +4 number assigned to every location address in each postal area (City) of every State.

The location address (see Third line of address example: Address 2) consisting of:
Example —818 E 23rd Street  or 2408 13th Street
Primary Number + directional (E,W,N,S) + (name of or number for) + (ST, AVE, BLVD, DRIVE, LANE, ROAD) + (SUITE #, ROOM #, UNIT #, APT #)

Larger cities with high rise buildings begin to add more complex sequence to the address structure, but keep in mind that it is important to have all of the parts to the address to provide complete and correct addresses. We are mailing this important letter to this person. With accurate and complete addresses the mail will arrive on schedule just at the exact location we included in the address block on the envelope.

Watch for discussions when we review considerations for planning, creating and managing our home or business mailing list database.

Questions and comments to:

Gary at Big Red Printing           

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Design Tutorial: How to Package a File in InDesign

When you package a file, the folder that you will create will contain all of the images and fonts that are used in your document. Packaging a file means that you do not have to outline your fonts before sending a file to a printer. Be sure to check with the printer to see what Suite of Adobe they are using. If you are using a higher version then them, there will be an additional step that you will have to do.

STEP 1: If you are using a higher version of Adobe then the print shop you will be sending your files to, you will first need to export your file to an IDML (InDesign Markup File). If you are using the same or a lower version of Adobe, then you can skip STEP 1.

STEP 2: Go to File> Package

When you click on package, the screen below will automatically pop up.

It appears that all links and fonts are found. If it appears that links and/or images are missing, you can go to their individual summary pages by clicking on the list on the left hand side of the box. 

If any of your fonts are missing, you will be able to correct that on this menu by using the find font feature.

Same goes for links. If any are missing, you will be able to update and find them here.

STEP 3: When you are done checking the details of you document, click PACKAGE. A box will pop up and say that  the publication must be saved before continuing. Click SAVE.

STEP 4: After you click save, a Printing Instructions box will pop up. (see below). You should fill in your basic contact information as well as any special instructions you have for the printer.

STEP 5: After you click continue, the Create Package Folder will automatically pop up.  Make sure that Copy Fonts, Copy Linked Graphics and Update Graphic Links In Package are all checked. Then click PACKAGE.

After you click package, a warning box will pop up where you have to verify that you have rights to the fonts that you used. Click OK

Below is a screen shot is what your packaged folder should look like.

Once your file is packaged, you can either burn your files to a disk or compress your folder and either upload it to the printer’s website or email the file directly to them.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The CMO's Guide to: The Social Landscape INFOGRAPHIC by @Mashable

Do you subscribe to Mashable’s Social Media Newsletter yet? If not, I would highly recommend it. It is a great resource for all the latest and greatest happenings in the social media world. I read their newsletter on a daily basis and enjoy every minute of it. In addition to Social Media news, they also have news on the latest Tech & Gadgets, Business & Marketing, Video, Mobile, Dev & Design, Media, Social Good and Startups.

Today I was intrigued by one of the articles that they had up. An infographic of “The CMO’s Guide to: The Social Landscape.” Mashable creates infographics on a number of topics, but I think this is by far the best yet. They graphically display which of the most of the popular social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Linked In, You Tube, Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit are good, bad and okay for customer communication, brand exposure, traffic to your site and SEO.

Check it out!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What to Cook, Bake, or in General to Make Wednesdays

(a Rosarita recipe)
FAJITAS (fa-hee-tas)

1 LB skirt steak, cut across grain in 1/4" strips - or cubed, boned and skinned chicken
2 TBS each: Corn oil and lemon juice
1 tsp each: garlic pwd. and seasoned salt
1/2 tsp each: ground oregano and pepper
1/8 tsp liquid smoke flavoring
1 c. each: green pepper strips, thin onion wedges and thin tomato wedges
1/2 c. Mild Chunky Taco Salsa
8 hot corn or flour tortillas

In medium bowl, combine first 8 ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours to marinate. In a 10" skillet, heat 3 tbs oil over high heat until very hot* Saute half of meat until beginning to lose redness, about 30 seconds. Add half of green pepper and onion and continue cooking 1-2 minutes or until crisp-tender; remove all from skillet. Repeat with remaining meat, pepper and onion, in additional oil if needed. Return all of meat mixture to skillet. Add tomato and 1/2 cup of salsa; simmer, tossing meat and vegetables, 1 minute longer. Serve immediately with additional salsa. Makes 4 servings.
*Note: Oil must be very hot to quickly sear meat and seal in juices.
Serving suggestions: Pieces of fajita meat and vegetables can be wrapped in a tortilla, pick up and eat taco-style.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Design Tip: Prepress Checklist

Once you have finished laying out and designing a job, you will need to figure out how you are going to send your files to the print vendor that you have chosen. Here’s a great resource for making sure your documents have high resolution and are press-ready.  Keep it handy and reference it when you are pre-flighting a job to send to a print vendor.

Preflight Checklist
  • Ensure that all graphics and images are in their final size and correct resolution, 100% at 300 dpi
  • Rotate, scale and edit images and graphics prior to placing them in page layout applications such as InDesign, Quark or Publisher
  • Image file formats should be EPS or TIFF (if possible, not JPEG) and your should verify that you do not have any broken links
  • All spot colors should be designated as spot colors and not as CMYK
  • Spell check your document as most print vendors do not take responsibility for editing
  • Remove any trapping (allow the print vendor to apply the trapping)
  • Check for transparency and either flatten or notify the printer so they can flatten the file
  • All bleeds should generally be set to .125 in. unless otherwise specified by the print vendor you plan to use
  • Gather all source files: fonts, graphics, images and layout documents. Use the Package feature in InDesign or send the print vendor a high resolution PDF
  • Prepare a mock-up to give the printer as a finished sample
Stay tuned…next Tuesday we will be posting step-by-step instructions on how to correctly package a file.

Source: Digital Job Preparation Guide for Designers, Zimmerman Printing Company

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Item of the Week: Meet MeMe Cards

Are you looking for a creative way to compliment your business cards? If so, Meet MeMe cards might be just the product you are looking for.

It's as easy as 1-2-3. Image taken from Meet MeMe Website

Meet MeMe cards are customized trading cards that contain a QR code on the front where you are able to link to as many social profiles or websites as you wish. What a great way to help people remember you long after your first meeting. Anyone with a smart phone will be able to scan your QR code, which will bring up a menu of the links you have chosen to connect your card to.

In addition to the QR code, the Meet MeMe card also offers you the space to include a Bio, a “Special Power” and a Quote. Consider your own personalized Meet MeMe trading card a tangible representation of your social media personality.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Taking Stock of Your Paper Options

Ahhh paper, I love it!  The creative horizon is wide open with so many colors, textures, and prints - it's exciting!  An interesting paper can put a personal stamp on any project, therefore, it requires some consideration.  Before choosing your paper, decide how it's going to be used and for the purpose of this blog, we're deciding that it's going to be used for print purposes.  I've chosen 3 properties to touch on: finish/smoothness, impurities, and opacity.

  • Finish/Smoothness - this is the texture of the paper, the smoothness or roughness of its surface.  A smooth finish is good when copying a photograph or designing with full color in general.
  • Impurities - specks, spots, and general imperfections that are left over from the paper-making process, which is all very normal.  In recycled paper, these imperfections come from inks, adhesives, etc., which are nearly impossible to completely remove.  When a best image or a clean look is required, choose a high quality non-recycled paper.  Otherwise, the look of recycled paper can be charming as well as make a statement about your ecological views!
  • Opacity - this refers to how much light a sheet of paper blocks.  The importance of this comes into play when your project is two-sided or heavily inked.  The higher the percentage of opacity in a paper, the better that paper is for printing on both sides because the images will be less likely to show through.
Whether your project is personal or professional, in the printing world paper is the mode in which your message is carried.  Paper can give the underlying impression of class, environmental awareness, whimsy, or sensibility, don't be afraid to express yourself through it!