Happy Thanksgiving! 2012 has been an amazing year for me. After so many years of tough trials, health problems, financial woes, and other worries, it’s been so wonderful to have a lovely, fun and successful year.
This year I began working as the social media manager for Degreesearch.org, a website that helps prospective students make informed decisions about their education choices. Not only is this job a great fit for me, but I have a lot of fun with it. Although our site is higher education focused, we also like to have a good time for holidays and other seasonal events. We work on creating content that is not only engaging, but is also shareable. Joseph, our creative director, decided to make a really fun “pie chart” infographic about Thanksgiving pies.
It turned out fabulous, didn’t it?
If you look closely at the pictures in the infographic, you can see…it’s made with real pie!
Infographics have become a popular marketing tool in the last few years. It’s a great way to make visually-appealing data representations, and can bring in new audiences to your website if done correctly. For as many infographics that are made well, there are just as many that are made poorly. For this infographic, Joseph used data from a recent survey from Pillsbury revealing that 94% of Americans plan to eat pie over the holidays, and two-thirds of Americans prefer holiday foods over gifts. He took the percentages from a Schwan’s survey (the makers of Mrs. Smith’s pies), where Americans were asked what their three favorite pies were.
Joseph made lots of phone calls to local bakeries and pie shops to see where he could buy the pies he needed for the infographic. After realizing all of the photography and footwork would be hard with one person, he recruited me to be his assistant for the day. We started out the day by driving to Marie Callender’s, which was halfway across the Salt Lake Valley from us. Marie Callender’s had all but one of the pies that we needed for the infographic. We purchased traditional apple, apple crumb, chocolate cream, key lime, peach, pumpkin, pecan, lemon meringue, and blueberry (which used up our November “creative budget” for the department).
At first, the plan was to get all the pies, then do the photo shoot back at the office. As the pies were being boxed up, we realized that they may be too damaged if we waited to take them in the car (especially the lemon meringue). So we asked the manager if we could set up the camera and tripod in the back of the restaurant at a table with the best natural lighting. Dozens of pictures later, we boxed the pies back up and carefully arranged them in his trunk. I held the lemon meringue pie in my lap (with the box open) to make sure that it survived the drive back to the office. We drove a few blocks over to Granite Bakery, which was the only place we found (after many phone calls) that had a cherry pie in stock.
Once we were back at the office, Joseph began working his creative magic. Because most of the fruit pies had a pastry crust, it was hard to see the fruit inside. Joseph used a sharp knife and commenced in crust excision and pie surgery to remove the tops of the pies. He cut the pastry tops on 4 of the pies to the percentages that he would use for the bottom half of the graphic.
Once all of the photography was finished, Joseph uploaded the pictures into PhotoShop and began creating the layout of the graphic, and editing, formatting and resizing the images. The finished product published on our blog, and we’ve been promoting it since it was complete.
Oh, and are you curious about all the pie we had? After all of the pictures had been taken, all of the pies were taken into the break room for employees to eat. Ten pies, twenty employees….you do the math.
What do you think? Do you like how it turned out? Does it make you want to try making your own infographic?
(PS Just so you know, the cupcake was for Rosie. I just went to the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM just to say that I’d been there. Not going to sabotage myself like that yet. I’m down 40 lbs.)
For the best cheese you’ve ever had, check out Beehive Cheese!
Oh wait, can meat tweet? Maybe if it’s chicken.
What I meant to say is, come join in on the Rodizio Grill Tweetup! This Monday evening, May 23rd 2011, the Salt Lake City location of Rodizio Grill in Trolley Square will be hosting a #RodizioTweetup. From 7-9 pm, enjoy a specially priced 4 course meal with dessert for only $19.99 per person. Dinner, without dessert, is regularly priced at $24.99.
Rodizio Grill was my first experience with Brazilian churrascaria. I went on date date with a boyfriend, and it was my first time meeting his parents. I struggled with the inner turmoil of eating everything I wanted, and acting sensible and eating like a lady. At first the thought of giant slabs of meat being carried around with a big knife sounded a little strange, but one bite of Linguiça and I was a believer. The Abacaxi grilled pineapple was one of the most glorious things I had ever put in my mouth. Top it off with some Guarana Antartica, and you’ll have a meal you’ll never forget!
If you want to follow the event on Twitter, follow @rodiziogrill and the hashtag #RodizioTweetup. In order to get this special deal, let them know that Cuteculturechick/@cuteculturechic sent you! Offer is only valid this Monday night. Bring a date, bring your kids, and enjoy a night of good food and good company. Because really….do you want to pass up a dessert like this?
600 South 700 East -Trolley Square 2nd Floor
Salt Lake City
Thanksgiving Dinner with my in-laws was lovely. Especially the stuffing. And the jello. And the mashed potatoes and gravy. And the spinach souffle. And the glazed yams and apples. And the turkey. And the sweet rolls. And the pumpkin pie.
And the best part? My skinny pants still fit the morning after!
Hope all of you had a great holiday with your families. Now….bring on Christmas!
This week I had a few friends over for dinner when my husband was in town. I decided to make one of my favorite comfort foods…homemade soup in bread bowls. This is one of my “throw together” soup recipes, which always ends up better than if I follow a recipe exactly as written. Here’s my best approximation of what went in…feel free to spice it up to your liking.
1 pound of boneless/skinless chicken, cut into cubes
32 oz box of chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes*
1/2 packet of taco seasoning mix
2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained
1 10 oz can RoTel diced tomatoes and green chilies (with liquid)
1 small can diced green chilies
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 T. cornstarch
Cumin, to taste
Chili Powder, to taste
Brown chicken cubes in frying pan, seasoned with cumin, chili powder, and a splash of chicken broth. In a large (8 quart) stockpot, combine chicken broth, taco seasoning mix, chicken cubes, diced tomatoes, green chilies and Great Northern Beans. Simmer until 10 minutes before serving, then add frozen corn, whipping cream, cumin and chili powder. Thicken with cornstarch till liquid is desirable consistency. Serve in bread bowls.
Garnish with sour cream, tortilla chips, and shredded pepper jack cheese
Preparation time: less than 30 minutes. Makes approximately 8 servings.
*Depending on what brand of chicken broth you use, the soup may have a weak chicken flavor once all ingredients are in. I dissolve 2 chicken bouillon cubes in a small cup of hot water to make a runny paste, and mix splashes of the thick bouillon into the pot until it’s got the right chicken taste.
I have won two chili cook-off awards with this recipe: one for most original, and one for best non-beef chili. If you like it with more beans, throw in more beans (it’s really good with black beans). You can spice it up as much as you want, such as a splash of Chipotle Tabasco, pico de gallo or diced jalapenos. For those faint of tastebuds, omit the small can of green chilies and garnish with cheddar cheese.
I love fondue, but I only indulge in it occasionally. I have a few friends that make a killer fondue spread, but my chances to partake are few and far between. My favorite fondue spot is The Melting Pot. I went there for the first time the day after Taylor and I got married, and our meal was more expensive than one of the hotels we stayed at on our honeymoon. We’ve gone back for the cheese or dessert courses a few times, but it’s way out of our budget to go for the $80/couple “Big Night Out.” Esther and I went to Cafe Zupa’s for dinner last week before the Mat Kearney Concert. I noticed that they had a Belgian chocolate fondue spread, and I couldn’t resist. It’s $9.99 for 2-3 people, you get the warm fondue, strawberries, bananas, brownies, and marshmallows to dip. We asked to have our fondue brought out as we were finishing our dinner.
The store manager brought out the platter, he told us that they use chocolate so fine that they have to pay $200 per brick. Only a few employees are trained to prepare the fondue to their precise specifications. I have to say…this may have been the best milk chocolate I’ve ever had. I made sure to go back and talk to him to let him know how lovely it was…and told him I’d definitely be back for it again.
Zupa’s has locations in Draper, American Fork, South Jordan, Provo and Cottonwood. They are what I’d consider “fast casual,” nicer than fast food, but not too pricey. They have a large variety of unique soups, salads, and sandwiches. And meals come with fresh baked baguette and a chocolate dipped strawberry. I highly recommend Zupa’s…both for the food and the fondue.
Before I left Atlanta, Chick-Fil-A started offering peach milkshakes. I got one and was in love. I’ve wanted one ever since.
When I got to Spanish Fork, the Arctic Circle by the freeway had big banners for peach shakes. Upon each driveby, I was tempted. When I decided to finally indulge, Arctic Circle was out of peaches for the day. The next time we went back, Rosie begged me for slushes at Sonic across the street instead. A few days later I was in Sandy and decided to go to the location there….but it’s now a Walgreens. The day after that, I went to the one in Murray…but it’s now a Beto’s. Two days ago, I went back to the location in Spanish Fork…only to find out that they stopped serving peach two days prior.
This goes along with my other luck I’ve had in the dessert department in Utah.
I’d been following a bakery in Provo called the Sweet Tooth Fairy on Twitter, and have wanted to try their delicious looking cupcakes. When Taylor visited last week and we were in Provo, I talked him into getting a treat. We pulled up to their store, only to find they were closed on Mondays. Haven’t had a chance to go back yet.
I went to McDonalds to get a caramel sundae, only to find out they no longer have caramel sundaes available.
I went to 7-Eleven on Free Slurpee day, only to find that they were out of 7.11 oz cups and we’d have to pay for our slurpee. At least they had my favorite flavor – pina colada.
But all is not lost…I DID find a bakery I adore called Flour Girls and Dough Boys in American Fork. My new friend Angie and I met with our kids for dessert last week. I am hooked on their orange cupcake with pomegranate filling and buttercream icing. And their coconut oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
(I’ve seriously had food on the brain for the last month)