Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pinterest: The Ultimate Time Waster?

Anyone with a Pinterest account can, on some level, relate to this definition of the noun:

Two weeks ago, I could relate. Now, however, after completing The Pinterest Challenge: Winter Edition, created by Katie Bower @ Bower Power and co-hosted by Sherry @ Young House Love, I feel a little bit more like this:

Admittedly, at times, Pinterest can be a big ol' waste of time. I don't think any of us could deny that. But this past week, I participated in The Pinterest Challenge and put my pinning into action!

Partly because I entered the challenge not having prepared at all, and partly because it looked terribly delicious, I chose to make a Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt loaf, first seen here and pinned here. Even though I love a good craft, I figured for my first ever Pinterest Challenge, I'd do something that would take just a trip to the grocery store and a few hours to complete.

Instead of copying the entire recipe here, I'll let you use the link. I'll simply detail a few things that I ran into whilst baking:
  • I accidentally bought extra-large eggs on my last grocery store trip. On this trip, I had to buy more eggs (large size) since in baking, size matters. I opted for a half dozen.
  • Because I had never baked a loaf before, I needed to purchase a 9" x 5" loaf pan. Luckilly, it wasn't too expensive.
    • I also had to purchase a couple other tools. I probably could have lived without them, but I'm kind of a kitchen tool junkie. I got it from my momma. I purchased a hand grater/fruit zester, much like this one, and a whisk. I know it's strange that I didn't already have a whisk, but I didn't get one for my wedding shower, and I haven't needed one since. Plus, I have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, so ha!
  • I actually baked the loaf for 62 minutes total. Twice the toothpick didn't come out clean when I stuck it in. I wonder why. I guess oven cooking times vary.
  • I let the loaf cool for 10 minutes before putting it on the cooling rack, just like the recipe requested. Depressingly, the bottom of the loaf seperated from the top of the loaf and I ended up with half a loaf stuck in the pan. Aww, bummer! Oh well. I simply fished the rest of the loaf out of the pan and put the puzzle back together. If you make this loaf, let it cool much longer.
Pinterest Challenge: Winter Edition complete! Below are the pictures. They're certainly not as pretty as the original, but the loaf is definitely just as yummy.

The moral of the story?

I'm being too hard on myself. I've actually finished a number of projects I saw on Pinterest. For example,
  • DIY Tile Coasters first seen here, pinned here, and blogged about here.
  • Crockpot Chicken Tacos first seen here and pinned here.
  • Spicy Thai Noodles first seen here and pinned here.

P.S. Did you notice the too-brown bananas in the background of my loaf pictures? My pinspiration plus those bananas inspired me to make another loaf, banana nut bread. I figured I'd better get my $6 worth out of the loaf pan I bought. Since there are no pictures on the website, I chose not to pin the recipe, but it can be found here and here. They're actually two different recipes. I used recipe #1 fully, except I added the cinnamon from recipe #2.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    The Pinterest Challenge: Winter Edition

    A freind of mine, Marilena @ Moves in Circles, introduced me to The Pinterest Challenge. This ingenious idea was created by Katie Bower @ Bower Power and is co-hosted by Sherry @ Young House Love as a way to help us put our incessant pinning to action. Participants challenge themselves to finishing a project that they pinned. Projects include crafts, recipes, artwork, you name it. Anything goes. The best part about the challenge? As soon as the hosts announce the challenge, we only get one week to complete the challenge. No more, "I'll make those DIY grocery bags soon for sure!" Shut up and commit!

    The Pinterest challenge takes place once per season. A couple months ago, Marilena assured me that she would alert me the next time the bloggers posted a challenge. Thanks, Mod! I hemmed and hawed over which pin I would tackle (ouch), or whether I had the time to tackle any pins at all. I decided to follow my own montra: "It's not that you don't have time for it. It's just not a priority." I twisted my own arm (double ouch).

    Meet my pinspiration, first seen here and pinned here:
    Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf
    I've been a blueberry fiend lately, so this picture delighted me (to say the least).
    While I'm in the midst of the challenge (my Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf is in the oven as I type), I think I'd be breaking the rules if I actually posted the results until Wednesday (the one-week mark since the challenge was announced).

    Everyone is invited, so I hope you'll join us for the next Pinterest Challenge (or for this one if it's not too late). Here are the rules:
    • Choose anything that you've pinned on Pinterest that you'd like to complete.
    • Complete the project and take pictures.
    • If you're blogging about it, make sure to link your blog to your pin and to the original source. In other words, give credit where credit is due.
    • If you're blogging about it, include the Pinterest Challenge banner, just like I did, somewhere on your blog, linked either to Katie Bower @ Bower Power or Sherry @ Young House Love.
    • Finally, on Wednesday, share your project by visiting Bower Power and Young House Love and also sharing it here with me!
    • Most importantly, have fun with it.
    That's it! I hope you'll join us!

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Love, Pizza

    Rich and I aren't typically overly romantic. That's not to say we don't love each other to pieces; we just love each other on a more regular basis in more regular ways. For example, there isn't a day that goes by that Rich doesn't make a comment similar to, "You're pretty." We also revel in the 10 minutes somewhere between 5:45 and 6:15 when Rich arrives home from work and we can enjoy hugs from one another. Because we're not ultra-romantic in the traditional sense, we usually don't celebrate Valentine's Day with much fervor. This year was certainly an exception.

    Rich's company had some romantic plans of their own. My husband would spend February 14, 2012 in Brazil. Keeping in mind our usual routines and traditions, we weren't devistated that Rich would spend Valentine's Day away from home (except for the fact that he wouldn't be at home - if that makes any sense). Rich put his thinking cap on.

    For about a month, I had been drooling over the heart-shaped pizzas Papa John's was advertising. My excitement for the Italian masterpieces had nothing to do with wanting to celebrate Valentine's Day, but everything to do with my affinity for hearts and for pizza. My excitement over these delicious looking pies didn't fall on deaf ears.

    At a week before Valentine's Day, Rich considered calling Papa John's and putting in a special order. He figured, and I imagine he's correct, that the company would oblige. A little practice a week before the big day might do  them well. Rich decided, though, that it'd be easy enough for him to create the pizza himself. While on his lunch break, Rich took a trip to Meijer and bought 2 pre-made pizza crusts, pizza sauce, cheese, mushrooms, and green pepper (my favorite toppings). He also purchased a bottle of red wine. For some reason (I'm not sure why), he arrived home earlier than I did that day. This is what I came home to:

    Also adding to the ambiance was the music playing in the background: "Marry Me" by Train -- our wedding song.

    He also gave me this:

    The front of the card reads:
    I love you in so many ways and for so many reasons. Because you know me and understand me like no one else ever could. Because you believe in my dreams and care about my feelings. Because you make me laugh so hard and smile so often. Because you have a way of bringing out the very best in me.
    I love you in so many ways and for so many reasons, but mostly because you are my very best friend. Happy Valentine's Day.

    His personal message was the best, though:
    I love you Sweetheart so much. That is why I tell you every day I can. I just hope that I show you enough. You are my everything, the most dear to my heart (shaped pizza)!

    I couldn't have asked for a better husband or a better, more romantic, Valentine's Day.