All posts by Laura Townshend

Laura's a native Texan. Besides loving Texas and horses, she's a marketing consultant, writer, and blogger who lives in the western Hill Country of Central Texas. Reach her at Keep up the the Horse! Follow us @BigGreyHorse on Twitter.

Sweet, Savory, Pulled Pork Tacos Recipe

Pulled Pork Tacos Recipe Have you ever stumbled upon a recipe that you just knew would be right? A few years ago, Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives went to a kick ass restaurant where a lady made awesome, homemade Mexican food. Guy Fieri was able to film the lady making her family’s pulled pork tacos recipe. Needless to say, I was in heaven.

The ingredients sounded a bit strange, but I was ready to give it a go. Afriel and I bought what we needed during our next shopping trip. This recipe takes patience while the pork cooks, but it’s one of the easiest recipes I make. All you have to do is put the ingredients together in a pot and let it cook. That’s it!

Top the pulled pork tacos with chopped white onions and fresh cilantro. You can use corn or flour tortillas. Both are equally good, but corn tortillas are traditional. The only thing I don’t like about them is they tend to fall apart. Corn tortillas taste better with pulled pork, in my opinion.

This recipe is my version of what I saw on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. I didn’t write down exactly what was put in the pot during the episode, but what I make is very, very good. Enjoy!


Pulled Pork Tacos


Pork shoulder

1 bottle of Coca Cola

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

1 head of garlic

1 T cumin

sea salt to taste

Cut off the bottom of the head of garlic so the roots are gone. Take off a few layers of the outer skin. You don’t have to break up the cloves or take off the skins completely, although I’ve cooked the pulled pork tacos this way, too. It depends on the end result, and if you want to pick out the garlic skins or not.

Put the pork shoulder into a large pot that’s heated to medium high heat. Add the other ingredients. I put in the cumin to taste, but I’d say you need at least a tablespoon. I also use about about a tablespoon of sea salt, too. Stir the liquid to mix everything up and add water until the pork shoulder is completely immersed.

Bring the pan to almost boiling and then turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and check it periodically. Let it cook – slowly – until the meat’s falling apart. This takes hours, folks, but it’s definitely worth the wait.

When the pork is so tender it melts in your mouth, put it on warmed tortillas and top with chopped white onions and cilantro. That’s all you need and I guarantee you’ll be back for seconds.

Pulled Pork Tacos Recipe Up Close



Fast and Easy Ways to Get Facebook Likes for Your Fan Page

Facebook Like
Image courtesy of Master isolated images/

You set up a Facebook fan page for your business. You want it grow. But nothing happens. If you’re baffled because no one came except friends and family (who don’t buy from you anyway), it’s okay. Facebook isn’t that difficult to figure out. Once you do, you’ll get Facebook likes without a problem.

We grew Big Grey Horse Media’s fan page from zero to 112 fans in less than three months. While that number may seem small, it gigantic in terms of growth with very little exposure or advertising.

However, you can grow your Facebook fan page to even larger numbers of fans. Through targeted advertising and promotion, you’ll easily surpass what we’ve done with our Facebook fan page.

Best of all, you’re doing this legally. You never want to put your web property in jeopardy by succumbing to black hat methods like buying traffic. Never. Ever. Ever.

Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts with your business. The internet is vast and it can take awhile to conquer your part of the web. Frustration about traffic means you need more promotion. And most of that promotion takes effort and time.

The fastest and easiest way we’ve found to gain Facebook fans – and quality fans, at that – is through advertising. The first promotion I did was deliberately broad, and we only picked up a few handfuls of new fans. It was a good experiment, however, because I found that across the U.S., there’s not much interest in a Texas destination blog. The other thing I could have done to increase our fan base was to run more than one ad. I remain pleased with the first campaign because it taught me where my real fans are.

It was money well spent. How much did I spend? $35.

For our second advertising campaign, I bought three ads at $5 per day with a $35 cap. I then targeted those ads to Texans, and further targeted those three ads based upon what I know about our fans. There’s a high population of mobile users, our fans like animals, many like horses, and they’re foodies. Based upon this knowledge, we gained 75 fans in seven days.

The advertising was cheap and well worth it.

Best of all? These are real people. This is real traffic. While our fan page is brand new, more people are engaging as time goes on, and we’re not losing fans.

That’s been my objective from the get-go with Big Grey Horse Media. Whether it’s the blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or our Google+ page, I want traffic that matters. I’m interested in people who want to get sticky and engage.

With quality content spread across these channels, we’ve done just that. Our growth across the board in less than six months is phenomenal! You, too, can have this.

What I love about social media is most of it’s free. Gone are the days of paying for traditional advertising methods. Those ways have their place, but know that you don’t necessarily have to use them. In fact, many companies will never need a television ad or a print ad in a magazine.

The money you pay for online advertising is cheap! Compare the cost of my two Facebook advertising tests to what I’d pay for an ad in Texas Monthly.

See what I mean? It’s exciting, the results are measurable, and most of all, social media is FUN.

Facebook has strict rules about how you advertise. Of course, the methods of advertising are self-serving, but hey, we’re all in business, right? It’s fair enough to say I appreciate what Facebook’s doing even if it’s costing the pages more to gain fans. If you’re not clear about the rules, Facebook’s advertising guidelines are here.

Our clients should look at long-term campaigns on Facebook. Growing a new page, or an existing page that needs love, isn’t a short-term strategy or an overnight fix. Social media and content marketing campaigns are planned, targeted, and implemented over the long haul. These campaigns are also a way of life for your brand.

Do you need a social media manager forever? (That sounds scary, doesn’t it? Especially if you have a small marketing budget.) My answer is this: If you don’t know how to work through social media, hire a social media manager. Get started, grow your brand online, and when you’re ready, get trained to do it yourself. You can’t afford to not be online. Seriously.

If you spend $10,000 for a small campaign, and that $10,000 yields $350,000 worth of new business, would you say that $10,000 was worth it?

That’s how social media works.

If you will never have the time for social media, either hire an agency like us to do it for you, or hire someone in-house. Either way, you’ll need someone to take care of your brand or it will die on the vine.

Getting Facebook fans is easy. And fast. Invest the money in your campaigns. We’d love to help you! Click here.


The Difference Between Cheap vs. Expensive Writers

Some businesses complain about it. Many writers are perplexed by it. Content mills, agencies, and brokers take advantage of it. What’s the difference between cheap vs. expensive writers?

In most cases, there’s a world of difference between a cheap writer and an expensive writer. Remember the adage, “You get what you pay for.” It’s so true.

Money’s a funny thing and it’s all relative at the end of the day. I’m sure there are writers you can commission for low rates and get a perfectly good product. For the most part, um, no. How do I know that?

First of all, writers working for one penny a word (or less) are not going to research a topic. Heck, writers that are paid five to ten cents a word don’t want to bother with too much research.

And what happens when your copy isn’t researched?

YOU GET CRAP. That. Doesn’t. Convert.

I know some writers who work for low rates. They can do this because they either have second incomes or they work on volume. They churn out content as fast as their fingers can type.

Some companies groove along with crap on their websites. We don’t do that at Big Grey Horse Media. Never. Ever. Ever.

I think A-list blogger Steve Pavlina wrote that his blog posts took hours to craft and perfect. Guess what? He’s not the only one! Big Grey Horse Media’s blog posts can take days to write depending upon the topic. And yes, we’re extremely proud of producing content that readers enjoy.

Here’s the deal. You can hire cheap writers and get your work turned around quickly, sometimes within 24 hours. Sure, you think that the copy should be easy because it’s a 400 word piece about bird watching.

And when you pay a writer $10 to write that piece, you’re gonna get, at best, five minutes of research that’s been quickly read over and then vomited back onto the page. Regurgitation is the hallmark of cheap writers. I’m sorry to offend my fellow writers who do this and I don’t mean to alienate you. If I were writing for $10, I’d do the same thing.

What I despise hearing even more is “I just write it off the top of my head!” Ugh. Really? I’m sure your clients don’t appreciate that. And if they do, all the more power to ’em. If I pay a writer, I expect quality, not the top of someone’s head or vomit on the page.

We have a completely different mindset around here. I dig:

  • Interviewing my clients.
  • Determining goals.
  • Researching and digesting marketing collateral.
  • Working out strategies to reach those goals.
  • Defining what didn’t work in the past.
  • Refining copy until it fits.
  • Testing as we go.

There’s more, but that’s the core of what we do at Big Grey Horse Media. When we’re hired, we become a partner. We’re just as invested in your business as you are. When you succeed, so do we.

Your business with Big Grey Horse Media is an investment. We see your need to grow and reach higher and we help you climb. We take your goals seriously and we’re in it with you, every step of the way.

Why are some writers so damn expensive? Again, money’s relative. A small business that’s boot-strapping isn’t going to appreciate paying $500 per blog post when the biz doesn’t have a marketing budget. A large corporation or a well-funded start-up takes $500 a post in stride and places an order for a package of 15 posts. Consider that the $500 blog post has unique photos, is placed within the company’s content management system by us, is fully linked, optimized, and part of the company blog’s overall structure, brand, and also is part of a specific content marketing campaign.

That’s the difference between a $10 post and a $500 post.

It’s not to say one writer is better than the other, because I truly believe many cheap writers would love to increase their rates and work for better clients. Most writers won’t because the truth is, they don’t want to. And that’s fine.

When you’re building your company brand, however, do you really want what’s basically spun content on your site? Think about it.

When you work with us, the sky’s the limit. Grow your brand the right way.

We love content marketing – click here for more information.


Twitter Decoded: What Does #FF Mean?

TwitterIf you use Twitter (and who doesn’t – except my mom) you’ve seen it: the #FF hashtag. But what does #FF mean? Do you know how to use it properly? I’ll explain some Twitter mysteries and etiquette in our Twitter Decoded series.

#FF means “Follow Friday.”

How to Choose

How do you choose who’s worthy of tweeting about and following?

  • New Twitter accounts that only have a small group of followers but are HOT and need to be noticed.
  • Brands that you love and want to share.
  • Individuals or brands that you want to shout out about simply because those people and businesses are awesome.

How do you use #FF?

Use #FF on Fridays. Write a tweet and include #FF in the message.

Here’s some examples:

Check out @BigGreyHorse for Texas eatery reviews! #FF

#FF My recommended list of cool friends @MaryeAudet, @PinOakHouston, @KarinHernandez3, @UncleBillys.

When your followers see your #FF tweets, hopefully they, too, will follow the folks you recommend. It’s exposure, PR, and a personal recommendation neatly wrapped up in 140 characters or less.

Twitter Etiquette

Twitter etiquette dictates that you send a “thank you” tweet if you are recommended via #FF.

How do you thank someone properly? You send a tweet back saying “Thanks.”

Here’s an example of the right way to do it:

Thanks @BigGreyHorse for the #FF!

Do NOT thank someone for a #FF by sending the entire message back.

Here’s an example of the wrong way to do it:

Thanks @BigGreyHorse! #FF My recommended list of cool friends @MaryeAudet, @PinOakHouston, @KarinHernandez3, @UncleBillys.

Never send back the exact tweet you were mentioned in. It’s lazy and laziness isn’t professional or thankful.

Another thing to remember is clarity. Twitter moves at lightning speed. I recommend not mentioning more than four of your tweeps in #FF lists. Some people say that #FF tweets shouldn’t have more than one individual or business mentioned. That isn’t a bad way to go, but you can list up to four names. (Some folks recommend a list of up to five names.)

Twitter isn’t hard to understand. Once you get on board and play with your account a bit, Twitter becomes easier to understand. The help section is informative, too.

Need help maneuvering through the Twittersphere? We can help. Contact us for more information. We LOVE socializing Texas style!


Writing With Steve: How to Make Lots of Money During a Recession

Money MoneyIn his blog post “How to Make Lots of Money During a Recession,” Steve Pavlina gives the upside of a down-turned economy. All in all, I agree with Steve’s sentiments.

Here’s the truth, folks. You can make money whether the economy sucks or everyone’s riding high on a great wave of money. And if you don’t know that you can make lots of money no matter what’s going on in the world around you, it’s time to re-educate yourself about how money works.

When the economy’s heading south, the best thing you can do is sit still. If you’re employed, hang in there. Don’t offer to leave in lieu of a nice severance package, don’t start a business that no one wants, and don’t listen to the media.

The worst thing you can do is make hasty decisions based on what others are doing. Truth is, the crowd usually gets it wrong.

Ways to Not Freak Out or Be a Freak During a Recession:

  1. Turn off the television.
  2. Ignore negativity from family, friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who spews bad vibes.
  3. Stay balanced and peaceful.
  4. Create your own reality.

Steve says, “We can live without…gas-guzzling SUVs for a while. Those non-essentials can be put off.” Obviously Steve Pavlina’s never been to Texas. Bigger is better here, whether you’re rich or poor! (Not that I disagree with Steve – SUVs and pick-em-up trucks on Texas roads do nothing but guzzle what little gas we have left on this planet. Just try taking those big, ugly toys away from the Texans that own ’em. Them’s fightin’ words!)

I’ve heard, first hand, from middle class folks who lost their jobs in 2007 and 2008. These were good people, working in the high-tech industry in Austin, with families, mortgages, car payments, and credit card debt. Add to that no income, no severance pay to speak of, and no more health insurance. The result was a group of ashamed, bewildered people who were down on their game. Things like losing your job wasn’t supposed to happen to them. After all, Austin’s a happening place with plenty of money, right?

It’s very true. Central Texas continues to attract businesses, and people from around the nation are flocking to Texas. Doesn’t mean there won’t be some companies that have to pull back and tighten their belts due to over-expansion.

I hope that by now the people I met back in 2007 to mid-2008 have started their own businesses and are doing fine.

I know the recession happened. I’ve heard how hard it’s been for plenty of folks over the past five to six years. I still don’t see it, however. Maybe it’s the area where I live, maybe I see what I want to see, or maybe the reality I’ve created is bomb-proof. Not sure where the insulation comes from, but I truly believe that if you don’t buy into it, it’s not going to happen. Or at the very least, you’ll be minimally affected.

What to do During a Recession:

  1. Fill the void and provide what people need and want.
  2. Remember that no matter how bad times are, some people still have money and are spending it.
  3. Be creative and think from a higher place.

There are holes everywhere that need to be filled. There’s always a way to make money, and it makes me sad to see people thrashing about and agonizing over not having money. I don’t know, call me overly ambitious I suppose, but if I wanted money, it’s never been a problem. If I told myself there was a cap on my income, then I had problems with money. When I felt unworthy and undeserving of having money and nice things, guess what? I had no money and I didn’t have nice things. And those little opportunities to make money in different ways were non-existent.

When I’ve looked for ways to make extra money or start a new job, the path was always wide open. All I had to do was make up my mind that things would be a certain way and so it was.

Manifesting Money and Providing Value

Steve isn’t shy about the fact that he’s against manifesting money. Course, it’s easy to say this when you’ve got plenty of money. I disagree on this point, too, simply because manifesting money and financial abundance doesn’t mean your focus is only upon separating cash from people’s wallets. I think that you can focus on manifesting financial abundance and money AND deliver quality, value, and good will.

It depends on your personality and what you’re about.

Steve is absolutely right when he suggests businesses that don’t offer value for their customers will find themselves without any customers.

I think having money goals, and very clear ones at that, are the foundation of creating money. For me, knowing how much money I need in order to create a better lifestyle or simply pay the bills is imperative.

Focusing on money to the extent that you mistreat others through manipulation or lies or tricks is wrong, however.

Being at Peace No Matter Your Financial Situation

Steve speaks from the heart when he says, “If I could learn and apply this lesson while going bankrupt and having less than $100 in the bank, surely you can apply it today.”

Since I walked away from my healthcare position and into the world of self-employment, I’ve had the mindset that being self-employed would work for me. No. Matter. What. In spite of some speed bumps, self-employment has worked for me, and is infinitely better than being someone’s employee.

And I think this is what’s carried me through the past six years. Guts, determination, and a clear vision of where I was going and what I wanted to do.

How can you find peace when everything around you is falling apart? Sit still! Like I told you in the first few paragraphs of this post, sometimes doing nothing is the only way to go. It’s especially the best way to go when you’re tempted to do things you’ll regret. Or engage in non-productive activities that lead you away from your goal instead of moving you towards it.

Some people find peace through mundane activities like doing dishes or cleaning the house. Others find meditation or deep breathing to be relaxing and balancing. However you get to a place of peace, do it and stay there. Balance is how you move forward and make good decisions for your future.

When you’re broke and bill collectors are nipping at your heels, the urge to hide and panic is real. Hiding isn’t going to solve your money problems, but work will. Panicking doesn’t help you work efficiently, so forget about being a freak. Go about your business as usual and make money. This economy offers a multitude of solutions. The money may come quickly or it may come slowly, but I promise there’s a variety of new ways to create cash flow into your life.

Where Steve and I Disagree

Steve says recessions are necessary and that they weed out businesses that aren’t needed. Steve also says it’s better for thousands of people to be out of work than to continue to work for businesses that are antiquated. I disagree with this – it’s never better for people to be looking for work when they could be productive. This latest recession is living proof of what happens when people get laid off or fired – we have millions of people who’ve existed solely because of unemployment benefits and state programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and WIC. While I agree that some companies are dinosaurs that need to get with the times, people out of work isn’t good for our country, and it’s not good for the economy.

As I see it, people who are out of work are looking at employment the wrong way. Just the other day, there was a woman who was discouraged about finding a job. I hear this complaint again and again. Thing is, this woman, like so many others, has marketable skills. She has a good education. She knows and understands people and this woman knows her way around the online world. Why not start a company using the skills she has? That’s exactly what I told her, and I hope she takes my comments to heart. There’s no reason why she shouldn’t be able to start a viable, money-making business.

People want to be employees. It’s a sickness in the American culture. What blows me away is that people still crave being an employee – people who are perfectly able to freelance or start companies. I, too, used to think this way, but I moved with the times out of necessity.

You must move with the times if you want to succeed. Being an employee is dangerous in today’s world where nothing is permanent. Starting your own business or freelancing is the only way to fly, as I see it.

And folks, that’s how you make lots of money during a recession.

  • Figure out what you want to do.
  • Determine if there’s a market for it.
  • Create a product/service that delivers high value to your market.
  • Rinse and repeat.
  • Move with the times. If the market changes, change your business model.

What have you done to make money during the recession?


If you want to read Steve’s post, you can find it here.


Festive, Fresh, Delightful Broccoli Con Olives Recipe

Broccoli Con Olives RecipeIf you’re looking for an easy, tasty recipe, this broccoli con olives recipe delivers. If you’ve seen my other recipes on this blog, then you know I’m all about food that’s quick, no fuss, and delicious. Broccoli con olives has been one of my favorite dishes since way back when I lived in Houston.

This recipe came from Houston Home & Garden. As of today, I’ve absolutely no idea what that means. Probably a magazine, but who knows. I copied this recipe onto a little recipe card many, many moons ago (I was around 18-19 years old), stuck the card into my recipe holder, and forgot the source except to write down the name. If any of you know who and what Houston Home & Garden is, or was, let me know.

There’s not much to this recipe. Don’t let the list of ingredients fool you, however. You’re getting plenty of good nutrition from the fresh broccoli, olive oil, garlic, and olives. The combination of spices and lemon add that special something that tops off the taste.

I dig eating this dish by itself, but you can pair broccoli con olives with a pasta entree, seafood, fish, a side salad, or even a hearty soup. The best time of year to serve broccoli con olives, in my opinion, is during the holidays. The colors are so vibrant – the fresh pimento, broccoli and black olives are quite festive.

Steamed broccoli for the broccoli con olives recipe.
Steamed broccoli.

My tweaks on this recipe include adding more garlic and steaming the broccoli. I used two cloves because one isn’t enough for my tastes. If you’re not a garlic freak, or are feeding others, I recommend going with one clove. If you don’t want to steam the broccoli, simply cook it in water over medium-high heat for about eight minutes. The main thing to remember is the broccoli should not be mushy. You probably could stir fry the broccoli and get good results, too.

Cooking the Broccoli Con Olives Recipe
Cooking the broccoli con olives. All that’s left to add is the pimento!

Once you get going with this recipe, you’ll find it cooks quickly. The key is to have everything prepared and ready to go. Enjoy, happy holidays, and let me know what you think. Cheers!


Broccoli Con Olives


1 bunch fresh broccoli

1 clove garlic, minced

4 T olive oil

1 lemon

1/2 cup chopped, pitted black olives

salt and freshly ground, black pepper


Cut the broccoli into medium-sized pieces. Julienne the stems. Steam the broccoli until it’s tender, but not mushy. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute the garlic in olive oil for two minutes. Add the juice and zest of the lemon. Add the chopped olives. Add the cooked broccoli and season to taste. Gently toss to combine.

Garnish the dish with strips of pimento. Serve hot. This recipe serves four.

Manage Your Online Reputation: My Company Got A Bad Review

Manage your online reputation: Reading bad online reviews.
Reading bad online reviews is shocking.

Your company’s rockin’ along and enjoying success. Sales are up. The feedback has been great. Your customers seem to be loving everything that you do. And then it happens: Your company gets a bad review. How do you manage your online reputation?

First and foremost: Don’t panic. It’s a review, not a death sentence.

How you respond to the review makes or breaks the moment.

There are three ways you can respond to a bad online review:

  1. Ignore it and move on.
  2. Have a knee-jerk response and scream that the bad review needs to be taken down. NOW!
  3. Plan a strong defense and work it, baby.

We advise clients to set up a campaign that will negate poor reviews.

It’s easy to do, but it takes manpower and time. That’s why reputation management firms are literally cleaning up these days. It’s popular to have a company take care of those pesky, bad reviews. When you hire professionals to do this job, you’re sending out a special army to ferret and weed out the negativity.

Most companies don’t have time to chase down all that’s said, the damage that’s been done, and fix it properly.

When you set up a campaign to avenge your company and rid it of poor reviews, look at the strategies you’ll implement.

Where did the bad review come from? Twitter? Facebook? Your blog? An online review site? Somewhere else?

How will you respond to the bad review? Will you write a response? Ignore the bad review? Have your happy customers write positive reviews?

How will you keep your finger on the pulse of future reviews? Your company should be aware of everything that’s said about your brand as it happens.

Manage your online reputation: Upset about online reviews.
It’s easy to be upset about online reviews.

Your strategy will be based around where the reviews are coming from, and why they are happening. For example, if you’re producing a product that sucks, you’ll want to fix that immediately. Maybe these negative reviews are a sign that you’re not the bees knees after all.

If you’ve got a hot-headed customer who’s fond of complaining, it’s time to listen to what she’s saying, even if you think she’s wrong. And it may be time to give her something. Sometimes the squeaky wheel needs a bit of grease. Many customers who openly complain can be satisfied. All they want is to be heard.

When the entire crowd, or a significant percentage, is writing bad reviews, it’s time to look at your business model. One or two complaints is a given in any industry. More than that, and on a regular basis? Time for you to head back to the drawing board to determine what you’re doing wrong.

We help businesses overcome poor reviews by attacking the problem. Rallying your customer base with surveys is a great way to start. Implementing a strong plan to respond directly to angry and dissatisfied customers is a given. Changing what’s wrong is imperative.

One more thing about less-than-stellar reviews. Your customers are your company’s most precious resource. Remember that. It’s not your product, it’s who buys it.

Repeat that one more time. It’s a big one.

Your customers are your company’s most precious resource.

If your customers aren’t digging what you’re doing, it’s a wake up call. Instead of seeing the feedback as negative and something to erase (and forget once it’s gone), listen to what’s said. Your brand is not so special that it’s been singled out. Every brand on the planet’s received feedback that asked for change.

Maybe that dirty shop you work in needs to be cleaned up. Why would you assume your customers enjoy standing around in filth? Get a duster, mop, and cleaning supplies. Throw in a few rags get busy. It’s not your customers fault that you kept a nasty environment. Change it!

Perhaps your product does suck. If it doesn’t work, breaks, or isn’t what the customer ordered, fix it. Do it with a smile and a sincere apology. Thank your customer for giving you valuable feedback. Start delivering a product that works.

Feedback is good. No one wants to hear scathing, profane responses, and I’ll be the first to say that’s a bit over the top. But if someone is telling you that your business needs to be fine-tuned, bless your lucky stars that someone had the balls to tell you how your brand appears to the world.

‘Nuff said. Happy holidays!


Does your brand need a quick fix? While we can’t promise an overnight change (beware those that do), we guarantee we’ll clean up a bad rep. Hire us!


Images courtesy of HubSpot.

A Family Favorite: Lou Percy’s Shrimp Dip Recipe


Lou Percy's Shrimp Dip Recipe with ChipsI am proud to share this family favorite with you. My family’s eaten Lou Percy’s shrimp dip recipe since I was at least a teenager, and maybe before that. It’s one of my mom’s recipes.

Who is Lou Percy? That’s the mystery! Did she (or he) give my mom this recipe? Or did my mom find this delish combination of shrimp, spice, and cream cheese in a cookbook? I’ve searched high and low, but have no answer. And you know what? I dig mysteries. Sometimes it’s better that way.

Lou Percy's Shrimp Dip Recipe Ingredients
Some of the ingredients that make Lou Percy’s Shrimp Dip recipe flavorful.

My mom began making this recipe for holiday festivities throughout the year. When she’d have parties, Lou Percy’s shrimp dip was one of the guests of honor. My first husband and I, along with one of my favorite cousins and her husband, used to clean up as soon as my mom put this dip on the table.

I didn’t make this dip for years. It was a part of my distant past and something I didn’t think about until Christmas rolled around. My mom continued to make the dip for her annual New Year’s Eve party, however. I’d know the holiday season was coming and ask my mom to be sure and make some to share with me, too. My kiddos never took to the dip, and that was fine, because it meant I could have Lou Percy’s infamous shrimp dip all to myself.

Boiled Shrimp for Lou Percy's Shrimp Dip Recipe
Boiled, fresh shrimp.

My mom’s growing older and I’m transcribing all of her recipes as quickly as I can. A few years ago, Afriel and I sat Mom down and made her share the best of her recipes. I say we made Mom sit down – if you don’t know my mom, then you aren’t aware of this 80-something ball of fire. In spite of a serious back condition and two rounds of cancer including two rounds of radiation and one surgery, my mother remains a force to be reckoned with. Getting her to sit still for more than five minutes is next to impossible. The lady is always busy!

Lou Percy’s shrimp dip is a great addition to any party. The recipe can be used throughout the year, too. I love the dip at Christmas time, because it’s my favorite time of year. Having a shrimpy-cheesy-spicy treat while you’re partying with friends under the Christmas tree is something you shouldn’t miss.

Shrimp and Green Onions for Lou Percy's Shrimp Dip Recipe
Chopped shrimp and green onions.
Preparing the Veggies and Fruit for Lou Percy's Shrimp Dip Recipe
Preparing the veggies and fruit.

Everyone – and I mean everyone – loves this dip.

I’ve had another version, and that person used more ketchup than my mom does. My mother said that dip was frightful, but I disagree. It wasn’t a knock-off that could hold a candle to my mom’s shrimp dip, but a bit more ketchup adds a rich, red tone to the dip. And a bit of tomato taste isn’t so bad. What I’m conveying here is you can definitely spice this recipe up your way.

As with all of my recipes, feel free to improvise. I always do.

What’s not negotiable: Don’t use canned shrimp. For heaven’s sake, that stuff is nasty. The shrimp should be fresh, fresh, fresh. It’s the base of this recipe. I use green onions and probably more spice than others may like. That’s how my mom always made it, but you can cut back.

It doesn’t take long to make this recipe, either. Like the majority of what I make in the kitchen, this recipe is easy, quick, and delightfully tasty. Serve with tortilla chips, Ritz crackers, or Keebler butter crackers. We’ve used each of these and the results are spectacular.

Lou Percy, whoever you are, thanks for a mighty yummy dip!


Lou Percy’s Shrimp Dip


1 lb. peeled, deveined, boiled shrimp

1 large package cream cheese, softened

6 to 8 green onions

1 dozen stuffed olives

1 cup mayonnaise

Fresh lemon juice

6 T ketchup

12 shakes hot pepper sauce

6 T Worcestershire

Garlic powder, seasoned salt, and black pepper

Chop up the shrimp, onions, and olives. Mix the cream cheese with mayo. Add the remaining liquid ingredients and blend. Slowly add the shrimp, green onions, and olives. Add garlic powder, seasoned salt, and black pepper to taste.


Texas Cookbooks for Your Kitchen

I love to cook. I think just about every Texan does. Cooking is something we’re proud of in the Lone Star State, and an art we take seriously. I’ve compiled a nice list of Texas cookbooks for you. Each of these books are Amazon best-sellers and rank at the top of the list. How can you go wrong with that? I know that as a busy as the holiday season gets, I need all the help in the kitchen that I can muster.

Texas cookbooks are an easy way to get the food cooking and on the table, whether you replicate the recipes or use them for inspiration. Most of my recipes are tweaked and re-birthed into customized dishes that I like. But it all starts with the basic recipe, and I typically get that from a well-loved cookbook.

Want to know how else you can use these groovy cookbooks? Give them as presents and gifts. Share the love with family and friends. Especially if you’ve got a loved one who’s moved out of state and is craving some down-home, Texas eats. We’re all about soul food in Texas: BBQ, salsa, Tex-Mex, chili…makes me hungry thinking about our special cuisine!

Heck yeah, ya’ll! Texans are the best about knowing how to follow our hearts and put a whole lotta love into our food.

Free Download: Seth Godin’s The Bootstrapper’s Bible

Seth Godin 2009
By Joi Ito (Seth Godin) via Wikimedia Commons

This cool book is a must-read if you are serious about being an entrepreneur. Seth Godin’s The Bootstrapper’s Bible is a manifesto based on his book by the same name.

It’s funny how timely this little book is. Godin packed quite a bit of wisdom and practical advice in a mere 103 pages. I like that Godin doesn’t help you find the ultimate business to run (how could anyone do that?), but he does tell you what not to do.

I think we’re all looking for a magic bullet when we read other entrepreneur’s books. If you’re looking for advice and a well-worn path, you’ll appreciate this free download. If you’re looking for someone to hold your hand, then you’ll be highly disappointed. Thing is, you gotta have balls to be successful. It takes a whole lot of courage and a big heart to start a business and to keep it going. Self-employment is not for the weak.

Being an entrepreneur is highly personal. Being an entrepreneur is about risk. It’s also about making quick decisions and knowing what the market wants. I think I’ve been living on another planet for the past ten years because last night was the first time I’d seen “The Bootstrapper’s Bible”. I’m thrilled that it remains a free download, too. I haven’t always liked what Godin wrote (Poke the Box) and I find his blog…a bit unusual. But “The Bootstrapper’s Bible” hits some points on the head that every entrepreneur should know.

I’ve included a few of Godin’s books below that you might find interesting.

Enjoy, ya’ll. Hope you’re doing well after Thanksgiving!