Archive from March, 2012
30 Mar
2012
Posted in: Food
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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

A few years ago I had a friend mention to me that she had discovered a new ice cream place. She said it was an amazing place but considering she lived in Ohio I wasn’t going to make the drive. Besides, the had mentioned that her favorite flavor was olive oil. Olive oil? In ice cream? I was unconvinced.

Then one day I discovered this amazing book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home by Jeni Britton Bauer. Flipping through the book I quickly realized this was the Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams that my friend had told me about. The book even had the recipe for that same olive oil ice cream.

The book is so much more than a cookbook; Jeni shares advice on ingredients, entrepreneurship, and her growth in the kitchen. I really love how Jeni shares her failures and how owning a restaurant is so much more than knowing how to cook. It’s very refreshing. I read the book, saw all the amazing recipes and fell in love. I wondered in my head if I wasn’t overhyping how good her ice cream really was. I had to find out for myself but there was no way I could drive to Ohio.

Enter Straub’s Markets. Jeni’s has retail partners across the country that stock the ice cream flavors Jeni created. In St. Louis, Straub’s is the closest location to me that carries her ice creams. I was already across the river at a museum so I stopped by Straub’s to see their selection. They didn’t have that infamous olive oil flavor but they did have Jeni’s Gooey Butter Cake Ice Cream. As STL locals know, gooey butter cake is our thing. Did an outsider have what it took?

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams- Gooey Butter Cake

Jeni nailed it. The hype around Jeni’s is that her ice cream isn’t full of ice crystals like all those other ice creams. It was weird taking that first bite and not hearing or feeling that usual crunch you feel when you eat most ice creams. This really was just like eating cream. Cream that was flavored with honey, butter, and butter cake. You can tell this is quality ice cream from your first taste to your first look, with so many vanilla beans lacing the ice cream.

jenis flavors

Gooey butter cake ice cream is one of the many recipes Jeni includes in her book. She has 53 ice creams, 7 frozen yogurts, 9 sorbets, and 13 desserts in her big book of recipes. She divides the book up into seasons so you can mimic her love of fresh, seasonal goods in your ice cream making. For spring she has a twist on classic strawberry ice cream with her version- Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk Ice Cream. Summer has a more dramatic twist in the Sweet Corn & Black Raspberry Ice Cream. You can tell Jeni loves autumn because most of her recipes fall in this category and this is where you’ll find that olive oil ice cream, her most famous salty caramel ice cream, and even a nod to her beloved Ohio with The Buckeye State Ice Cream (Honeyed Peanut Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Freckles). Winter is where Jeni keeps her top chocolate recipes so feel free to indulge.

Expect lots of posts coming up this spring and summer as I start making some recipes from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home as I attempt to fill up my freezer with some amazing treats. I’m already searching the stores for rhubarb so I can tackle one of her frozen yogurt creations.

Have you been to Jeni’s? I’d love to hear your favorite flavors so I know what to make next.

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28 Mar
2012
Posted in: DIY Projects
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Watercolor Easter Art

Looking for a simple Easter art project? This one can be done with supplies from the Dollar Store and it’s a great project to do with kids.

Watercolor Easter art

Supplies

You’ll need:

  • watercolor paper
  • watercolor paints and paintbrush
  • white crayon
  • glass filled with water
  • pen and ruler
  • frame
  • tape and scissors

easter egg art supplies

How To Do It

1. Split your watercolor paper into 9 sections using a pen and ruler. You want the sections to be taller than they are wide.

watercolor Easter art

2. In each section, draw a pattern using your white crayon. It’ll be hard to see so use simple patterns or try to look at an angle in the light to see where you’ve drawn.

3. Wet your paintbrush and dip it in the paint until wet. Use one color per section of your grid and paint it up.

watercolor Easter art

4. After the paint dries, draw a template of an egg and trace it onto each section. Cut out the egg shape.

5. Use your frame to determine how your eggs will be laid out. I had made 9 eggs but used my favorite 6 for my final design. When you find a layout you like, attach them to a background with an adhesive like mod podge or double-sided tape. Once you like the look, close up the frame and admire your work.

Easter Egg Art

It’s not quite the watercolor masterpieces I showed off yesterday but it’s a simple way to add some color to your Easter decorations.

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27 Mar
2012
Posted in: Household
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Favorite Etsy Art

I love Etsy for affordable and beautiful art but sometimes I can be overwhelmed because there are just so many good pieces and artists. I’ve favorited many shops and works over the years so I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you. Right now I’m on a big watercolor kick so I thought I’d start there. I’d love to hear who your favorite Etsy artists are or if you have a shop of your own so chime in below in the comments.

DogArtStudio

Despite the name, Ron Krajewski doesn’t just paint dogs. I have seen him make amazing watercolors of sea turtles, cats, horses, and yes, dogs. I love how he’s able to capture the spirit of animals and bring a black dog’s coat alive in color. He even does custom pet portraits based on a photo of your pet.

Created by Storm

Sarah Storm finds beauty in nature. She sells watercolors and watercolor prints of birds and other creatures you might find on a nature walk. I really love how she uses muted colors that still manage to pop in her works. You can save 20% in her Etsy shop through the end of March when you use the code SPRING20.

The Joy of Color

The Joy of Color is such a fitting name because Yael Berger has so much fun with color in her works. As a textile designer based out of Israel, Berger has an eye for color and pattern. Many of her pieces are inspired by nature with vegetables, trees, and fruits as a recurring theme. Her works don’t end there so make sure to look at her full collection.

The Wheatfield

Katie Daisy Art

Artist Katie Daisy mixes whimsical designs with watercolor. She loves the beauty of rural America and inspirational sayings. Her own art has caught the eye of brands like Target, American Greetings, and HGTV.

Share your favorite Etsy artists in the comments!

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26 Mar
2012
Posted in: Gardening
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Flower Bed Season

I think everyone I know spent most of their weekend either outside or at The Hunger Games. Naturally I did both.

My yard has suffered for years. We’ve had trees more than a century old blocking off sunlight from reaching the ground since I lived here but last year we cut down 7 of them. Calm down Lorax lovers, we have plenty of trees and privacy still and we’re replanting as we go. Now our lawn has 7 bare spots and giant areas of lawn that hadn’t seen sunlight since Elvis’s last show. Mud pit would be a nice description for how awful our yard has looked in past years. This weekend we leveled out the ground and put down some grass seed and straw. It was a lot of work but hopefully we’ll see a reward soon.

hostas

Speaking of rewards, remember my post about my favorite plants for a shade garden? All my plants are coming up early so I have something to show off. We have so many varieties of hostas but my most  successful ones were split from my mom’s garden. She knows how to work a garden.

hostas

My mom also picked out a garden peacock for me for my last birthday. What’s that you say, what is a garden peacock? It’s this decade’s flamingo but with more flair. Plus it matches my peacock Christmas tree.

garden peacock

I’ve got some bluebells coming up and blooming for the first time and my pulmonaria are out of control. I thought I had lost some plants after so much hail damage last year but I spied my ginger coming up earlier this week and today I spotted this:

fiddlehead fern

My fiddlehead fern survived! I’m hoping his fellow ferns come right up with him. Spring came so early this year we hadn’t had a chance to clean all the winter sticks out of it or even to remulch it but now that I’ve finished up some indoor projects it looks like it’s time for me to head back outside and maintain that flower garden.

What kept you busy this weekend?

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23 Mar
2012
Posted in: Food, Household
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Bulk Cooking: The Meats

So the other day I shared my top 5 tips for freezer cooking and as promised I’m back to show you how I prepped 26 meals while I cooked dinner and cleaned the dishes. This big project focused on Step 2: Make Your Meals Speedy. Do you ever run into that dreaded feeling around 5 o’clock that you didn’t pull anything out to thaw and now dinner won’t be ready until the end of time when all you want to do is sit on the couch, drink some wine and watch some trash TV? I hope I’m not alone in those kind of days.

26 meals

The best way to avoid those days is to cook your meat ahead of time. I don’t suggest cooking all meats ahead of time by any means but ground beef and chicken cuts are the perfect thing to prepare and have ready in a pinch.

Supplies

Pay close attention to these supplies as you plan your freezer cooking. You’ll be cooking several meats so save money by shopping the sales (rule 5) and visiting Costco (rule 4). I also had luck at my local Aldi store since you can’t beat their celery prices most days.

You’ll need:

  • An empty dishwasher
  • A clean stockpot
  • A clean crockpot
  • 10 pounds ground beef
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 9 chicken breasts
  • Water, chicken broth, or a combination of the two
  • Measuring cup
  • Containers (I used Ziplock bags)
  • Labeling tools (sharpie, address labels)
  • Bonus: A kitchenaid mixer, a strainer, and a food processor

Preparation

The night before your cooking day, thaw some chicken breasts. Some people will stick frozen chicken breasts straight in a crockpot and while some modern crockpots may keep your food in a safe zone, it’s safer to put thawed chicken in your crockpot so that’s what we’ll be doing for this project.

About 4 hours before dinner, place your thawed chicken breasts in a crockpot. I have a small Rival crockpot so 9 chicken breasts fit about perfectly. This will vary based on the size of your crockpot and chicken pieces. You’ll want to fill the crockpot at least halfway with liquid. I like to pour in one can of chicken broth and fill the rest with water. Set your crockpot on high and cook about 4 hours.

Let the cooking begin!

I was making a long but hands off meal in the kitchen so I prepped my meal and my bulk cooking at the same time and finished assembling while dinner was in the oven.

The Beef

chopped celery

First, I chopped up the entire stalk of celery. Rather than waste time with a knife I just threw it in my food processor attachment and chopped it up very finely. I had two separate packs of ground beef I had gotten on sale so I chose the smaller pack (3.4 pounds) and threw it and the diced celery into the preheated stockpot on the stove. I use my Pampered Chef Mix n Chop to separate the beef, then I throw the lid on so the meat cooks faster. After about 10 minutes with some occasional stirring, all my meat was cooked and finely chopped. I poured the meat into a strainer to drain the fat and let it cool. While it was cooling I cooked the other 6.6 pounds of meat I had in the same method, sans celery. You can season these meat batches any way you want while cooking them.

The Chicken

chop up chicken

While the beef was cooking and dinner was still in the oven, I had strained my chicken of all the liquids. I then threw the chicken breasts into my Kitchenaid mixer with the batter blade attached and in seconds I had perfectly shredded chicken. I could easily chop the chicken by hand but remember, this is a speed run.

Packaging

measuring chicken

My dinner was nearing completion as I rushed to finish my last pre-dinner task. I used my handy Pampered Chef Measure-All Cup and set it for 2 cups. I had quart sized Ziplock bags* set aside and I filled each bag with 2 cups (1 lb) of whatever meat I had prepped. I threw an address label on some bags and wrote out what was in the bag (1 lb ground beef + veggies) and the date. I left all the bags open and on the counter to finish cooling (since steam=water=ice crystals=freezer burn) and I served up that night’s dinner while the cooling took place.

After dinner I came in, sealed the bags after squeezing out as much air as possible, and stacked them flat in my freezer. After frozen you can store the bags upright in a mail crate in your deep freeze. One person takes care of the bags while the other loads the dishwasher and you can still fit in your wine and TV time.

*Some people might freak out at Ziplock bags but here’s the deal: since you’re working with cooked meat you can reuse the bags and they take up the least amount of space in a freezer. Just cover up your old label with your new one each time you cook and you are good to go.

The Results

oamc meals

My chicken batch produced 7 1/2 cups of shredded chicken. This meant I had 3 bags plus a small container set aside for a lunch. I can thaw a bag of cooked chicken on the counter in 30 minutes, under hot water in 5 minutes, or it can go straight onto the stove. I use the shredded chicken for chicken salad, chicken pot pies, chicken burritos, or many other dishes. The chicken batch created 4 meals.

My ground beef mixed with celery started off as 3.4 pounds of meat but the vegetable added stretched it to 12 cups. I would have had 7 bags of meat but I cheated and used one bag’s worth of meat in that night’s dinner. I thaw it the same way as the chicken and I use the meat+veggie combo in tomato based dishes like sloppy joes and spaghetti. The ground beef plus veggies batch created 7 meals.

My plain ground beef batch started as 6.6 pounds of meat and created 25 cups of beef. I separated these into 10-2 cup batches that I’ll use for tacos and lasagna and 5-1 cup batches when I want a meal light on meat like ziti. The ground beef batch created 15 meals.

The average cost of my beef packs ended up at $1.40 per pack since my original 10 pounds of ground beef turned into 22 meals. I don’t remember the chicken price but I’ll take a look the next time I stop by Costco.

While I don’t have 26 complete meals on hand, I prepped ingredients so now none of the above recipes will take longer than boiling noodles. That’s a huge way to shave time off your cooking and with most of your prep work done on those meals, you’ll have more time to watch Game of Thrones or How I Met Your Mother.

Bonus

freezing pesto

I had some Costco pesto in my fridge nearing the expiration date so the night before my cook day I threw it into ice cube trays and froze it. While I was bagging all my other goods I put the ice cubes into some bags and stored them back in my freezer. Now I have perfect servings of pesto for baked potatoes or pasta, I didn’t waste my goods and I followed rule 5: freeze seasonally. If you can fit all 5 freezing rules into one cook day, you know you’ve done well.

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21 Mar
2012
Posted in: Food
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Homemade bread

Today is National French Bread Day. I’m sorting of doubting this is the kind of day you can ask off for work but it is a good excuse to eat some bread. I’ve been slowly going through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and it’s fascinating but I wanted to start with a much simpler bread recipe that you can actually serve up tonight.

french bread

For this bread I made some slight tweaks to a recipe from Jamie Cooks it Up! eventually ended up with a bread I could make in 90 minutes. It’s a little longer than a typical dinner takes to throw together but a lot of it is hands off. If you have a Kitchenaid mixer you got for a wedding and just use it to make cookies, this is the time to break it out.

french bread

Homemade bread

Prep Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 90 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon shortening
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 5 - 6 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. Measure out 1/3 of a cup of water that's warm to the touch. Pour it in a small bowl and proof the yeast in the water. see more details on how to proof yeast
  2. While yeast is proofing, mix together shortening, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Make it crumbly, then pour it in Kitchenaid mixer. Add the dough hook to your mixer.
  3. Boil 1 cup of water (or run on high for 3 minutes in the microwave) and pour into mixer. Immediately add cold water.
  4. Pour proofed yeast mix into your mixer and begin to stir on low.
  5. Slowly add one cup of flour at a time. You want the dough to be wet but not sticky. I used 5.5 cups for mine but in summer you may need all six due to the humidity.
  6. When the dough starts pulling from the sides of your mixer, put your mixer on high and let it run for 8 minutes. (You may want to grease the bottom your bowl before putting in the mixer stand because kneading can make it get stuck. Trust me on this.)
  7. Turn off the mixer, remove the bowl, cover it with a towel and let the dough rise for 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 170 degrees
  9. Separate dough into two equal halves
  10. Roll one half into a small rectangle. Fold in half length-wise and pinch sides together. Roll into another rectangle, you'll notice this one is slightly longer than your last. Again, fold over and pinch. Roll into one last rectangle. Start rolling the long side to the other long side, like a cinnamon roll. Pinch and seal, then place on a jelly roll pan. Repeat with second dough ball.
  11. With a sharp knife, slice bread 4 times diagonally. You don't want to go to deep; just skim the surface.
  12. Whisk egg with tablespoon of water. Brush it on your bread, making sure to brush inside the cuts.
  13. Place the bread in the oven for 15 minutes at 170 degrees.
  14. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Leave the bread in the oven while the temperature rises and even after it reaches the new temperature. The goal is to have the bread in the oven for 5 minutes past your initial baking time.
  15. Lower temperature to 350 and leave bread in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  16. Check if bread is done by tapping with your finger. If bread sounds hollow, it is done!
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2012/03/homemade-bread/

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20 Mar
2012
Posted in: Food, Household
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5 Deep Freeze Tips

Shortly after I got married my parents passed down their aging deep freeze to me and my husband. I had a great time filling it and using it to store goods long term. Sadly, last year our freezer passed on and went to freezer heaven. It chose to go around 5 in the morning so we spent the early hours running items from a deep freezer we once loved to our tiny refrigerator’s freezer. Some goods didn’t make it while others were cooked up that day. The unexpected loss of our freezer put an end to our bulk cooking days.

Early this year a family member had to downsize her home and during her downsizing sale I managed to snag a great deal on a chest freezer. I immediately shifted some of our items down to the new freezer but since then I haven’t done any bulk cooking or baking to stock it up. I wanted to really plan out what I wanted to stock it up with and what were my favorite ways to use it.

Tip #1: Freeze Seasonally

Think about what you should be freezing this very moment. It’s spring right now so I want to be freezing food that will last our household the next 3 months. In the summer it is hot, I’m usually doing tons of projects, and I certainly don’t want to be running my oven on 90 degree days. In contrast, at winter time I’m always so cold that I want warm meals without having to get out from under my blankets to cook a huge meal. I’ve created a calendar to show what I like to freeze and when.

freezing calendar

I’m always trying to flash freeze seasonal ingredients and quick meals but these are all specialty items I like to do each season to keep my freezer well-stocked. In the fall it’s the perfect time to roll out sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies and freeze them in fun cut out shapes. That way come winter you just need to decorate them. When you make your winter cookies like chocolate chip, make a triple batch, scoop the dough into balls and freeze so you have cookies all spring long and you don’t just eat cookies over the holidays.

Tip #2: Make Your Meals Speedy

I love the idea of freezing entire meals but they tend to take up so much space or lose a certain amount of quality when frozen. I do have exceptions that I’ll be sharing in the future but in general, I don’t freeze entire meals. I do freeze ingredients though. I love freezing pre-cooked and seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken. They come in so handy on a night I need a quick meal without going out to eat.

My other tips are to freeze breads and doughs. I buy buns and freeze them or I make a double batch of pizza dough and freeze the dough for later. I just pop the dough out of the freezer in the morning, place it in a bowl on the counter and when I come home I just roll it out.

Tip #3: Buy Quality Packaging

I try to buy top Ziplock and gladware products for freezing because I know my items will be better preserved and it increases the chances of me being able to recycle the containers. If you buy foil pans, look for ones with flat lids instead of plastic ones. The plastic lids crack easier and you could experience the dreaded freezer burn when that happens. It also makes labeling your containers easy and that’s a must. I love using blank address label stickers to label my frozen meals with the item and date. The best flat-topped foil pans I’ve found at my local stores are actually from the dollar store. 3 pans for $1 is a deal I can’t resist.

Tip #4: Invest in Costco

There are no words that accurately describe my Costco love. I love that I get quality meats there, I love that they have frozen herb cubes, I love their rotisserie chickens, I love their cheap flower bulbs, I love their dog food, I love their cheap gas, I love their smoothies. For a deep freezer they are a dream. I buy boneless skinless chicken breasts there and the cut is so perfect I don’t waste a bite. I can get steaks, pot roasts and pork roasts there for a rate much cheaper than I can at my local grocer. I buy frozen berries for smoothies and I can’t wait to try the new herb cubes my friend Wendy just told me about. Right now I already buy a huge jar of Costco’s pesto and freeze it so I can’t wait to try more herbs from them. My membership more than pays for itself with the discounts I receive and my membership allows me to get cash back.

Tip #5: Shop the Sales

Costco isn’t the only place I get deals. After the price of bacon shot up nearly $5 a pack, I realized I didn’t want bacon to be a luxury. Now I stock up on bacon, hot dogs, and butter when there’s a great sale (watch during Superbowl, BBQ and Christmas seasons respectively) and freeze all the items. I’ve never had a problem with the quality and it ensures I don’t pay the $7.50 cents my grocer tried to charge me for bacon when there wasn’t a sale.

I’ll be back later this week to show you how I prepped 26 meals while I made dinner and cleaned the dishes.

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19 Mar
2012
Posted in: Food
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Deviled Eggs

hard boiled eggs

Last year for Easter my mom left town for a family wedding. Not wanting my brothers and dad to starve or eat pizza, I decided to cook my first Easter dinner. I made a ham, a potato casserole that I’m sure every family has their version of, some carrots, and a dessert. One dish that went over very well was the deviled eggs I made. My mom got home from the wedding and found a plate of leftovers waiting for her sans deviled eggs and just yesterday she complained that everyone ate them all before she got to try them.

deviled eggs

The key to my deviled eggs is that I hate pickle relish. I don’t want it touching my eggs. The second worst thing about deviled eggs is that they can be very bland so I wanted more of a kick than the sprinkle of paprika on top of them. I had some horseradish leftover from a steak and potatoes dinner I had made and I wondered if the combination of eggs and horseradish might work out. Spoiler alert: It did.

deviled eggs

Spicy Deviled Eggs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 24 deviled egg halves

Serving Size: 2 eggs

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
  • paprika

Instructions

  1. Hard boil your eggs the day before and let them cool down in your fridge overnight.
  2. On Easter morning, peel the eggs under running water.
  3. Cut each egg in half lengthwise and remove the yolks.
  4. In a small bowl, place the yolks, mayonnaise, ground mustard and horseradish sauce. Mix with a whisk or a mixer.
  5. Spoon or pipe the mix back into the eggs.
  6. Sprinkle with paprika and chill in fridge until guests arrive.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2012/03/deviled-eggs/

 

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16 Mar
2012
Posted in: Household
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The New Pinterest Profile

I mentioned in yesterday’s post how Pinterest planned to roll out new profiles and they’re here! The new layout takes some getting used to but as far as I can tell we’re gaining functionality instead of losing it so it seems like a move in the right direction to me.

What Changed

Here’s what I’ve already noticed in the last hour. Did you find any more changes? Share your insights in the comments!

1 Convenient Location

new pinterest profiles

The real convenience comes on your profile page. People previously had a hard time finding how to edit their profile but now it’s located right on your profile page, where the red arrow is pointing to. Learn tips for updating your profile to protect your privacy.

The purple arrow points to where you’ll now click if you want to rearrange your boards. Just click it and you’ll see instructions telling you to “Drag around your boards to reorder them” and I have to say, I’m pleased to say it’s much easier to move boards around. Just click the box again when you’re done sorting. This is a great way to create a food row, sort your home boards by theme, or put all your to do pins next to your completed pins.

The blue star is next your activity feed. It’s a new link and it shows what you’ve recently been clicking on, who you just followed and what you just liked. It replaces the old side bar you may remember from the old profile. I like the idea of it but I still need some time to test it out to see if it’ll change how I use Pinterest.

The green box is around the new “Repins from” box. I’m not sure how it calculates who goes up there since I have repinned a ton from one person, a lot from another, and I’m not even following the boards of a third. I still have a lot to learn but I’ll be watching to see if my “repins from” box changes over time.

A New Preview

Thank goodness I had some open tabs I hadn’t sorted through when the big change went out. I had Under the Sycamore/Ashley Ann Photography’s Pinterest page open so I will show you a quick before and after of the boards from her page. (click to enlarge images)

Profile

Boards

new pinterest profile

The new boards look more modern and what I really love are the new previews. Even better, by moving all the profile information to the top of the page there are now 6 boards in a row instead of 5. (Note: This will vary based on your screen resolution) I think it’s a better look, do you?

new pinterest look

Just the Profiles

Everything else looks the same. Sites like Facebook tend to overwhelm people with all the changes but Pinterest seems interested in letting us get used to the new look before switching anything else around. I like that. Not all change has to be bad and Pinterest hasn’t changed any privacy settings with this new look (much different than Facebook) so already I feel a little better. This isn’t Pinterest’s first makeover and I doubt it will be the last. Make sure to follow the Pinterest blog, twitter page, and facebook page for their latest updates.

Follow Me on Pinterest!

 

Julie @ The Hyper House

for everything home, food, renovation, crafting, and garden related

Julie @ TravelHyper

for everything travel and wanderlust related

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15 Mar
2012
Posted in: Household
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More pinterest tips

My last Pinterest post has been more popular than I ever imagined. The discussion in the comments has been full of some great questions and some great tips so I wanted to follow-up in case you missed all the extra tips we’ve been sharing.

How to Share Your Own Work on Pinterest

How to Share Your Designs on Pinterest

This has been the #1 question in the comments and you’ll be surprised how easy it is. If you have a blog, you just need the Pin it Button but if you’re like most people out there you probably just have photos of your creations saved to your computer. Don’t worry, this is really easy. Just look on your top bar on the right for the Add button. Right where the red arrow is in the photo below.

pinterest upload your own work

Now choose the center option, Upload a Pin and browse until you find it in the right folder. Then just place it in your board and type a description.

How to upload your own creations to pinterest

Writing a Good Description

Speaking of descriptions, we had a nice discussion in the comments on how important a detailed description is. While a word like “yummy” might describe how you feel about a recipe, try using keywords like “salmon” or “dinner” so other people can easily find the recipe. I tend to forget to write a good description when I’m in repinning mode but I’ll definitely make an effort to do better in the future.

Don’t forget that you can use the @ sign to alert a friend to a pin. You can also use the # symbol to tag a pin. That makes them very searchable (that is, when Pinterest’s search is working) and if you want to still say “yummy” for your recipe then just say “yummy #salmon #dinner” and you’re good to go. The last special symbol I use is the dollar sign. Just press $ and insert the current or approximate price of an item and it shows up on your pin. I do this to track the price on my favorite items or to help do a quick budget of a project’s cost. Below is an example of a good description. I used keywords like Target and dress and listed the price. (By the way, I tried on the dress, it’s adorable but you’ll probably want to size down.)

Nancy reminded me in the comments of another great way to write a description without having to type. If I see a post I like with a descriptive title and a cute picture, I just highlight the text of the description and then click my “Pin It” button. All the words I just highlighted appear right in my description box and I just have to choose a board and hit pin.

How Does Pinterest Work?

I really have no clue. I assume there’s some sort of fairies or magic at play. Really though, the site has a ton of web developers working on algorithms and mechanics and I am not one of those people. If you want to know more about the company and just how it has taken off, Business Insider has a great graphic and background story on Pinterest. One neat nugget of info- Pinterest users spend an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes on Pinterest a day. I’m so glad they aren’t tracking my usage!

What’s in Store for Pinterest?

Pinterest was at SXSW this week and they shared that they hope to rollout new Pinterest profiles (update: they’re here! see the details about the new Pinterest profiles) that make it easier for us to connect with others and show off our pins. (Details over on my facebook page) I can’t wait to see what that’ll look like but I do expect some glitches to come with it. Don’t forget that Pinterest is still in beta mode (that’s why it’s invite only) so glitches are to be expected. I like to wait an hour and try to be productive. You can always tell when Pinterest is acting up because usually I decide to do some huge crazy project.

Pinterest also announced they were hoping to rollout a new iPad app this spring so all you iPad users will finally get what you’ve been asking for. While you wait, go do like some commenters suggested and invite the people asking to join Pinterest over on Pinterest’s main facebook page. Consider it a good deed and share the love.

What pinterest feature do you want to see next?

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