Digital Clutter: Pinterest

Pinterest was supposed to make it easier to see things that we’ve bookmarked, a giant, uninterrupted digital pinboard so we can see everything at a glance. That only works when you categorize things well.

When I started this project I had almost 900 pins and 300+ likes. Now I’m at 859 pins and 21 likes. I’ve also pinned a lot more things since clearing out.

I didn’t want to end up with too many boards, because then you have the scrolling through of that list and trying to figure out what you put where. Everything I’ve pinned is divided up between 23 boards, none of which seem overwhelming. I’ve also tried to name the boards so there isn’t any easy overlap, taking out the guesswork of what to file things under.

I found, immersing myself in my pins for a few days, that I’d pinned the same images multiple different times, sometimes to the same board, sometimes to different ones. Those got deleted. So did projects I’ve completed. I created a new board for pinned recipes that I’ve actually made and liked.

I’ve been questioning the purpose of ‘likes’ vs. ‘pins’. Anyone have any light to shed on that? People’s likes don’t show up in my feed, just the pins, so it isn’t for sharing. I can’t categorize my likes, so it isn’t for ease of finding things. I decided to use ‘likes’ very sparingly, and spent most of my time either deleting them, or pinning them to appropriate boards. I’m also trying to have my Pinterest account be things that are useful to me. Pictures of pretty interiors or kitchens, recipes, craft projects, style I want to emulate, these are all useful to me. Quotes in fancy fonts? Not so useful. I do have a couple frivolous boards: “Book It” is where a lot of my ‘likes’ went – pretty bookcases, things made out of books; “Shelf of Geekery” is mostly captioned pictures of geeky things that make me smile; but both of these boards only have 30 pins.

Since organizing, I find myself actually using recipes I’ve pinned (I created a few boards for food, instead of one giant one: general food, desserts, slow-cooker food, food I’ve made, cute food that I don’t necessarily want to eat), and referencing style photos I’ve pinned because I want to be that girl. I have a peplum top I wanted to wear to work, but couldn’t figure out how to style it. Check out my board, why yes, I did pin a photo of a woman wearing a peplum top with pants, that must be ok! I don’t need to buy a pencil skirt! (Pencil skirts and I are not friends.) I’ve started knotting my belt. I feel cooler and more organized.

 

PS: My email inbox is now at 306!

Rehearsal Snacks

I have a reoccurring problem. It happens to me every day, between 3pm and 4pm. I’ll be sitting at the table at work, trying to work, and I seem to lose control of both my neck and my eyelids. My eyelids droop, my chin heads toward my chest… it’s a terrible case of what I call ‘the 3 o’clock sleepies’. Between my love carbs at lunch, the buzz of the fluorescent lights, and the fact that we’re in a windowless room, I just can’t help myself. If I worked in an office, I could get up and go for a walk around the cubicles or something. But I’m meant to be recording the blocking the actors are doing, or reading along with what they’re saying (which really doesn’t help the sleepies) in case they need me to yell their next word. It isn’t a situation that I can just leave. What pains me is worrying that people will notice, and think I’m bored or disrespectful. Really, I just can’t control it. Eating protein helps. Endless glasses of water also help, but then I have to pee – see above re: being tied to the desk.

I pinned this recipe on Pinterest the other day, and made a batch of energy balls for rehearsals this week. I made this first batch almost exactly as the recipe says, only substituting cocoa nibs for chocolate chips. I even had the ground flaxseed! Hm, I left out the vanilla just because I forgot it, no other reason.

Here are the balls in action, sitting on my (heavily annotated) costume plot:

As soon as I feel the first drooping of the eyelid, the first little bit of dizziness that resisting that pull creates, I snack on one (or all 3 – they’re tasty as well as useful). It’s helped! I’ve staved off the sleepies for 4 days in a row so far. We’ll see if it still works on Sunday, which is usually the day of me wanting to take a nap all through work, not just at 3pm.

What I love about this recipe is that, even though it’s delicious as written, it is endlessly adaptable. I would love to try putting some cinnamon into a batch. I’d love to try some dried fruit, like cranberries, although I think the balls would hold together best if you chopped the fruit fine. Dried wild blueberries would be delicious, and small enough to begin with. Various different nut butters of course (I used natural peanut butter, but I bet it’d be delicious with hazelnut butter!), different varieties of honey…. As I said, endless. And delicious. And good for you! I think… nuts are good for you, right? Protein?

Pinterest Recipe – Pizza Monkey Bread

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I found this recipe for Pizza Monkey Bread on Pinterest, and just had to try it. Apparently Monkey Bread is a ‘thing’? I’d never heard of it before, but I love the concept! I decided to make this as a treat dinner for us one day when I had the full day off, and P was coming home at dinner time (these days are rare in our industry). I bought a turkey sausage and goat cheese to put in the balls, and a red pepper so there’d be at least some veggies in our dinner that night.

I found it easiest to cut 48 of everything, so I wouldn’t have to go back and cut more sausage in the middle of everything. I rolled 48 little goat cheese balls, and cut 48 little pieces of a red pepper.

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I also divided up the dough before starting to roll, to make things easier.

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I found it easiest to flatten the dough into circles (like making tiny pizzas), put a piece each of sausage, goat cheese, and pepper in the middle, and pinch the dough closed around everything. Dough is stretchy, so it’ll fit around the most awkward pepper slices. Just mold it like playdough until all the edges meet and you can pinch them.

I found it easiest to dip the finished ball into the frying pan of garlic butter (drool) rather than faff about with the pastry brush.

It was at that point my camera died, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that this was one of the most delicious and fun meals I’d made in a while. I did serve it with pizza sauce for dipping, which made it a little messy. If you included a dab of sauce in the ball though, it’d be a very neat meal. We want to try it again as an appetizer if we have people over, with different fillings. I also want to try a dessert version! Cream cheese and jam maybe?

And, as there are only 2 of us, and this was equivalent to about 2 pizzas, it reheats well in the microwave. Just put however many balls you want (heh) on a plate and nuke!

Pinterest Recipe – Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

While I do find Pinterest to be a giant timesuck (but what an amazing + inspiring time suck!) I think I have been cooking more after joining. It certainly makes it easier to bookmark recipes – it’s so great to see pictures of everything, rather than titles in my bookmarks folder. Especially when the title that it ends up being bookmarked under doesn’t have much to do with the recipe, or is so long that it gets cut off.

On Thanksgiving we went to games night at our friends E&K’s house. I decided to take some time off from our weekly D&D sessions this season, but went on that day because it was Thanksgiving, and that gave me an excuse to make dessert. I waffled for a bit about making these bars because E can’t have dairy products, but P gave me the puppy eyes when I said I might not make them, so we got a pie from the grocery store that was safe for E to eat.

The recipe has 4 layers:

Shortbread-y crust. I added some whole wheat flour, and found that the mixture matched my mixing bowls! I love my vintage mushroom Pyrex.

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Then came the important part – the cheesecake. (Happy as a pig in… cream cheese.)

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Then the good-for-you part (apart from the whole wheat) – the apples. I just about never bother to peel my apples when recipes say to. Give them a scrub and you’re good. It’s extra fibre!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, before baking

Then yummy yummy struesel topping. The only way to properly mix this topping is with your hands.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, before baking

For a dessert with 4 layers it came together very fast. I put the shortbread-y part in the oven and had the cheesecake mixed and half the apples chopped before the timer beeped. Then P took over the apple chopping and I squished some flour, butter, and oats together and all the layers were done. P was mixing the apples up with the sugar & cinnamon I’d put in the bowl I was chopping the apples into and he said ‘I don’t think there’s enough sugar in this bowl, it isn’t going very far to cover these.’ I told him to read the recipe to see how much sugar I’d added to all the other layers, and he agreed that the apples really didn’t need any more sugar. I was a lazy baker and bought a jar of butterscotch topping at the grocery store, instead of making my own caramel. In my defense, I think I bought one that doesn’t have any HFCS in it!

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Dessert that night was a hit! I will absolutely make these again, and the great thing is that I think you could do it with any fruit you wanted, it doesn’t just have to be apples. It’s like crumble and cheesecake all rolled into one glorious bar.

I was a bad baker that day and didn’t clean up my mess, just moved it to the sink to soak instead of actually washing everything. The next morning P was off to work before I was awake, and when I finally got out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen I found this scene:

sad pig

I love it when he leaves me silly notes. He didn’t even need to set up the scene, that was how I’d left things.

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