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Pinterest has become one of the top and most important sources of traffic for the food blogger. 2013 has been by far my best year on Pinterest going from just under 1,000 views in 2012 to over 7,000 in 2013. The main way I have increased my traffic on Pinterest is through better photography, after all Pinterest is all about images. Here is an example on how my photography has changed over the last year. Both of these pictures were taken in December of their respective years.

2012 vs. 2013

I am for sure happier with the pictures of the Mini Chocolate Peppermint Donuts than those sugar cookies. Increased Pinterest traffic has gone along with increases on food photo submission sites. This summer I got on Foodgawker for the first time. I also have been regularly submitting to other sites. I always see a spike in Pinterest traffic whenever one of my posts goes live on a photo site. They are very important key to increasing your Pinterest traffic.

With that being said let’s take a look at the Top 10 posts of mine in 2013 that landed me the most traffic from Pinterest. With a few days left in 2013, you could still effect the final standings by pinning some of these yourself!!!!

MostPinned2013

Number 10

Pumpkin French Toast

Pumpkin French Toast

Number 9

Broiled-Sirloin (1)

Broiled Sirloin Steak

Number 8

Homemade-Lozenges

Homemade Honey Lozenges (Cough Drops)

Number 7

Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

How to Perfectly Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Number 6

Beef-Barley-Soup

Beef & Barley Stew

Number 5

Spaghetti Nests

Spaghetti Nests

Number 4

Dry Brined Turkey

Alton Brown’s Dry Brined Turkey

Number 3

Dried Apple Chips

Dried Apple Chips

Number 2

Hatch Chile Creamed Corn

Hatch Chile Creamed Corn

And the Number 1 post of 2013 is…..

Bottom-Round-Roast

How to Cook a Tender Bottom Round Roast

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Normally I don’t comment a lot on fast food, but in this case I have a chance to put my “Eat Like No One Else” spin on things. Yesterday it was announced that Taco Bell was pulling an advertisement for their 12 pack taco ad, due to numerous complaints. What were those complaints? That Taco Bell was bashing veggies. The guy doing the voice over for the ad said that bringing a veggie tray to a party is “like punting on fourth and one”. Being someone who is all about eating your veggies and who practices what he preaches would be all in agreement with why they pulled the ad. Actually I agree with the ad – to some extent.

I feel most people’s mindset when bringing a veggie tray to a party is to make sure they were are eating our vegetables – which is good. But the way it is done is not really as healthy as you make at first think. I really don’t think people love eating the raw vegetables, but what they do love is the dip most of the time – it’s ranch. Full of fat. People are ok to choke down the vegetables because they can dip in in mounds of delicious fat (although I personally find ranch dressing to be anything but delicious). Those trays can cost a pretty penny too. Is there a better way? I think if you are really serious about having vegetables at your party you need to give them more time than just picking out a tray that some grocery store put together for you.

Alton Brown on an episode of Good Eats came up with a better way – a Fresh Broccoli Salad. He takes the broccoli and slices it thin using a mandolin. He then dressed it up with a tangy vinaigrette featuring white wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and salt & pepper. This sounds like a much better way to eat broccoli then dumping in ranch. Learn more about how to make this dish by watching this YouTube video.

Another good way to serve veggies as a party as if you can get your hands on some freshly picked sugar snap or snow peas. Just place them in some boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes to blanch them, then dump them into a ice water bath to stop the cooking. This will just soften them up enough without taking away most of the nutrition. If you get garden fresh ones – they are sweet like candy. Your guests won’t need to dip them in anything (although you could do another vinaigrette if you like).

While I don’t think Taco Bell was out to “diss veggies”, they certainly had a right to make fun of the standard vegetable platter. I hope after reading this you will re-think bringing one to your next party and do what Taco Bell does “think outside the (in this case) tray…”

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I have covered several different aspects of the pink slime or finely texture beef issue from what it is, to how to avoid, to what has it in it. Now I want to look at whether or not you will find it in your favorite neighborhood restaurant. With so many restaurants dotting this country, it’s not easy to come up with a list. Most places especially now aren’t going to come out and tell you. This is what is important to me. There is a lot of debate whether or not the beef filler is harmful to you, but I want to know whether or not I am getting it. On this page I am going to keep track of what information I find concerning it’s use in resturants.

1. I already reported earlier this year that McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell were all getting rid of the filler.

2. Red Robin does NOT use pink slime and they never have. I read an article on eater.com, expressing the frustration that is causing the restaurant chain. They have people asking all the time whether or not they use it. According to this article, Red Robin has commissioned a survey that shows that 22% of people surveyed said that they decreased or stopped eating foods with ground beef at restaurants.

3. Wendy’s has come out saying that they have never used the filler.

I will be adding more to this list as I gather more information, so stay tuned.

I always say that if you want to be sure pink slime or finely textured beef is not in your food, then it’s best to grind the meat yourself. There are a couple tools I recommend for the process:

You can get a hand powered meat grinder or if you have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer you can buy an meat grinder attachment.

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In so many households, the only time you see someone cooking a ham is for a holiday like Christmas or Easter. But ham is good any time of year. Plenty of Americans buy deli ham for their lunches. When they do they spend $5, $6, $7 a pound! You can buy a bone-in ham (I like the shank cut) for under $2 a pound regularly. That is a huge savings. It’s something I am getting in the habit of doing. I cook the ham, eat for 2 dinners in a row. And then freeze the leftovers into individual servings, that I pull out when I need them for a lunch time sandwich. And even greater reward is the ham bone that comes with. This can easily be thrown into a pot of soup (bean or split pea are delicious).

Now that I am cooking a ham more often, I want to have try out some different recipes. I like Alton Brown’s recipe for ham that includes a ginger snap/mustard/brown sugar crust. The downside of that recipe is the crust doesn’t hold up well for leftovers. So I am going to save that recipe for when I have more diners at my house.

This last week I came up with a root beer glaze to rub on the outside of my ham. Instructions are below.

Ingredients
10-14 lb bone-in shank ham
3 cups root beer
1 cinnamon stick
5-7 whole cloves
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground mustard

Instructions
I like to use the method Alton Brown uses. It involves slowly heating the ham up at 250 degrees and removing the outer skin to apply the glaze directly to the meat. The outer skin is removed after the ham reaches 135 degrees (usually in about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours). To make it easy to remove, use a paring knife
or clean utility knife to score the ham from top to bottom in a diamond like pattern. Then stick your probe thermometer into the deepest part of the meat without hitting bone. Cover in heavy duty aluminum foil and bake in a roasting pan at 250 until the temperature is 135.

To make the glaze
While your ham is cooking, you can prepare the glaze. Start by placing all the ingredients into a sauce pan and bringing to a boil. Then let sit for 30 minutes to steep the cinnamon stick and cloves. Then remove the cinnamon and cloves. Bring back to a boil. Stir often until the liquid has reduced quite a bit and is the consistency of a syrup. The time it takes depends on the weather and your stove. Anticipate over a half hour at least. Make sure to keep your eye on it, so it doesn’t burn. There is a moment when it’s done and then moment it’s burned. When finisihed set aside until ham is ready.

To add glaze to ham
Pull the ham from the oven when it has reached 135 degrees. Remove the foil & probe. Turn the oven up to 350. Pull off the outer skin of the ham. Then using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the ham, trying to cover as much area as you can. Then put back in the oven uncovered for 30-60 minutes, until you get a nice caramelized color on the outside of the ham. Be watchful so that you don’t burn it the glaze you worked so hard on. Let the ham rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

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This article was written exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family-owned business dedicated to growing Georgia Peaches and Georgia Pecans.

For all those who eat pecans simply for the flavor, the nutritional world has now discovered another great reason: there great for your health! Research conducted over the last several years has led health specialists to conclude that pecans also have tremendous health benefits. Through this research, nutritionists found that pecans impact four areas of the body in a powerful way. Thanks to the nuts antioxidant and nutrient rich qualities, pecans have been shown to impact:

1. Brain Health: With its high concentration of Vitamin E, pecans have proven to be effective at maintaining neurological health. Further evidence of this effectiveness comes from a laboratory study of mice that were fed a steady diet of pecans. These mice showed a marked delay in the decline of motor functions compared to those mice that were not given any pecans. In addition to delaying neurological degradation, pecans have been shown to slow or even inhibit the development of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

2. Cholesterol Levels: A clinical trial published by the Journal of Nutrition provided evidence that pecans are able to lower cholesterol when it compared cholesterol levels in adults who ate a pecan rich diet with those who did not. Pecans contain plant sterols, which are known for their ability to reduce cholesterol. As a result, they were able to lower total cholesterol in testy subjects by 11%, double that of those who were not given pecans.

3. Weight Maintenance: Another publication, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recently brought forth evidence that pecans may have an effect on weight loss and maintenance. The journal referenced studies showing that regular pecan consumption has been shown to increase one’s metabolism as well as provide a feeling of fullness.

4. Heart Health: Coupled with its proven effect on lowering cholesterol, pecan’s dense concentration of antioxidant Vitamin E has made it a recommended dietary addition by the American Dietetic Association for those needing to maintain optimum heart health.

Pecan lovers can rejoice in the fact that one of their favorite snacks is not only delicious, but is great for them as well. For those who may not previously thought about pecans as a snack; improved brain, cholesterol, weight, and heart health are all good reasons to give these nuts a try. So, next time you are at the grocery store, consider picking up a package of pecans. Your body and taste buds will thank you!

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My kids love their fruit. I never have a problem with them eating enough fruit. The only issue ever is having too much fruit to finish as in an apple or pear that is too big for them to finish. Stores seemed to be attracted to selling large sized fruit, particularly with most of the winter available apples. This isn’t always a good thing for kids. However, Stemilt Fruit Growers are providing the public with another option. They have introduced their Lil Snappers bag. They are apples or pears that are smaller in size. The perfect size for my kids. I have come to trust that the fruit grown by Stemilt growers is going to be of high quality, another plus for this product.

The fruit comes in a resealable bag with a nice handle on it. The bag itself is very colorful featuring fun fruit characters and lady bugs. It is easy to spot in the grocery store. I give their marketing department a round of applause for coming up with this product. Also the price is great. You get 3 pounds of fruit in each bag. I purchased my bags at Mejijer for $2.99, which equals just about $1 pound, making it cheaper than the other apples or pears in the store. So even if you don’t have kids, I would recommend this product as it’s a great value. The price will vary from store to store, so keep that in mind, but even if you find them to be $3.99 a bag, I still recommend them.

Here is a list of varieties you will find in Lil Snappers. Selection will vary based on store and time of year. I have only been able to find 1 or 2 varieties at a time in my Meijer store.

Gala apples
Granny Smith apples
Honeycrisp apples
Pink Lady apples
Pinata apples
D’Anjou pears

Here are some grocery stores that carry Lil Snappers:

Bi Lo
Giant Carlisle
Harris Teeter
Hy-Vee
Marsh
Meijer
Mollie Stones
Pick n Save
Price Chopper
Rouses
Safeway (in March)
Save-A-Lot
Schnucks
Shoprite
Stop & Shop
Winn Dixie

To learn more about this product, watch the video below:

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Lady Alice Apples 2015

Even thought fall has long come to an end, new apple varieties are still showing up in the stores. In the winter of new apple varietites (see bottom for list) to try, you can now add the Lady Alice apple to the list. The Lady Alice has an interesting story behind it. It was discovered by Don Emmons in his farm outside of Gleed, Washington. In the year 1979, he was culivating his orchard, when a disc from this plow hit at the bottom of a red delicious tree. The tree send out another branch which did not look like the rest of the tree. The fruit it would go on to produce was also very different than a red delicious. This new variety was thus created by accident, so the actual parents of this apple are a mystery. Upon looking at the apple it has some yellow patches that look like a Golden Delicious.

So now onto the important part, the taste. It is a sweet apple with a rich taste and enough tartness so that it’s not overly sweet. I felt it tasted much like a Honeycrisp, just not as crispy, but still quite crisp. It’s amazing for out of hand eating. I haven’t used in any baking applications, so I don’t know how it would work for that. If anyone has tried baking with them, let me know how that turned out.

Where to Buy/Find Lady Alice Apples
Here is a list of stores that have carried Lady Alice apples. Check with each store for availability. Leave a comment below to tell us where you are finding them.

Kroger
Meijer
Whole Foods Market
Schnuck’s
Sam’s Club
The Produce Station (Ann Arbor, MI)

For your viewing pleasure I included a video below about this amazing apple:

Check out this page to learn more about the newest apple varieties on the market.

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WELCOME TO MY BLOG

I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.
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