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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Evan Thomas: Vegetarian and gluten-free foodie

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Evan Thomas, a New York-based recipe developer for Stonyfield and General Mills is the man behind the popular vegetarian and gluten-free food blog The Wannabe Chef. In this week’s Pinner Portrait, he dishes on healthy hacks for homemade meals and the trick to better cooking.

What was the first thing you ever made? Frozen pizza doesn’t count.

Banana oatmeal cookies for a yearbook bake sale. They probably tasted awful, so I feel bad that people actually paid to eat them, even though they were only 75 cents.

When did you start your blog The Wannabe Chef?

I was a sophomore in high school and created it over the course of a weekend. In the beginning, I posted really simple recipes like maple-curry acorn squash. It sounds fancy, but only requires three things: Maple syrup, curry powder and acorn squash. You don’t need expensive ingredients to make something delicious—fresh food has all the flavor you need.

What motivated you to focus on gluten-free and vegetarian meals?

When I was a freshman in college, my weight dropped suddenly and I never seemed to have an appetite. I realized I was getting sick from gluten. As soon as I cut it out, I felt “normal” and more healthy. I focused on eating only naturally gluten-free whole foods like fruits, vegetables and brown rice. When I had cravings for pizza, bread or ice cream, I bought the gluten-free alternatives—they’re just as delicious.

When I was a freshman in college, my weight dropped suddenly and I never seemed to have an appetite. I realized I was getting sick from gluten. As soon as I cut it out, I felt “normal”, more healthy. I focused on eating only naturally gluten-free whole foods like fruits, vegetables and brown rice. When I had cravings for pizza, bread or ice cream, I bought the gluten-free alternatives—they’re just as delicious.

Follow Evan Thomas’s board My Gluten-Free + Vegetarian Kitchen on Pinterest.

What about dairy?

Without cheese, I’d have a hard time enjoying meals! But seriously, most of my recipes are dairy-free or include very little. Almond and coconut milk are great alternatives. I like the flavor, they’re shelf-stable and perfect in a pinch. When you switch things up, cooking gets really exciting. For instance, in a French risotto, I’ll swap the cream for coconut milk and add Thai spices.

You have a board called Just Cinnamon Rolls. How do you spice up this breakfast basic?

A good cinnamon roll should have lots of cinnamon and brown sugar, of course. Molasses, orange zest and vanilla are underrated flavors you can use, too. For a gluten-free version, Bob’s Red Mill makes a gluten-free all purpose baking flour.

Follow Evan Thomas’s board Just Cinnamon Rolls on Pinterest.

How do you discover new recipes?

Pinterest is a big source of inspiration. We eat with our eyes first, so saving photos of recipes is like a feast. When I find something I like, I’ll make it as is or swap out ingredients to make it gluten-free or vegetarian.

Follow Evan Thomas’s board Drool Over This on Pinterest.

Have you created any patent-worthy food discoveries?

Chocolate mug cake. It only takes three minutes in the microwave and the ingredients are simple: Cocoa powder, banana, egg and almond butter. It’s really popular in the Paleo and CrossFit niches.

What’s next on your must-make list?

A gluten-free peanut butter and Nutella tart with a pretzel crust.

And the trick to being a good cook?

There’s no trick. It takes time and practice. Take something you love and recreate it—that’s how you get better at any art (great advice from my photography teacher). As a beginner, follow the recipe step by step. The more you cook, the more comfortable you’ll be improvising and experimenting with different ingredients. Eventually, you’ll be cooking from your gut, not the cookbook.

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What’s your Pinterest story? Don’t be shy—we’d love to hear from you.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pin Picks: 10 ways to trick out your bike

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Not that you need another reason to trick out your bike, but Pinterest is packed with accessories, from leather wine carriers and waxed canvas saddle bags to wood fenders and copper bells. Here are 10 gadgets, handpicked and Pinned by cycling aficionados from around the world.

1. Bell

A small yet significant detail, bike bells are available in a variety of materials such as copper, steel and zinc, but some say brass makes the clearest sound.

2. Handlebar tape

Compliment your bike and keep a comfortable grip with traditional leather handlebar tape as seen in this Pin from Gizem Önal in Turkey.

3. Basket

A lightweight basket with a handle helps carry goods on and off the bike.

4. Saddle bag

Organize your bike tools in a compact and expandable roll bag.

5. U-lock holster

An alternative to your back pocket or bag, mountable holsters keep your u-lock secure and rattle-free.

6. Wine carrier

If you’re headed to a picnic, don’t forget the wine. William van Beek found this black leather bottle belt.

7. Frame handle

Peter Mueller found a handy way to haul a bike up and down stairs.

8. Pedal straps

Keep your feet where they need to be with hard-wearing leather straps.

9. Wood fenders

Reclaimed wood fenders add a classic touch to your bike, and keep water and mud off your back.

10. Sidecar and canvas bag

Gerald Chia found a solution for transporting large loads with this smart combo. The bag is crafted in durable canvas to withstand all types of weather, and the sidecar collapses for easy storage.

—Amy Schaefer, Writer, currently Pinning to wheels.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Follow whatever looks interesting

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You may notice something new the next time you visit one of your favorite categories on Pinterest: now each category has a whole new selection of specialized interests to explore. You can even follow along to get Pins from other people who share that same interest delivered right to your home feed.

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So if you go to our great Outdoors category today, now you’ll see related interests like Hiking, Camping and Running right at the top of the page. Dive into Hiking and you’ll discover all kinds of Pins from other hike-minded Pinners. While you’re there, you can navigate your way through to Canoeing, Rock Climbing and other topics hikers tend to enjoy. And so on, and on…and on.

Who knows? You may even discover a few new things you didn’t even realize you were into along the way.

Get a fresh supply of Pins from Pinners like you

When you find a topic where people are Pinning lots of stuff you like, click or tap the Follow button and a selection of those very Pins will start appearing in your home feed. That way there’s always something interesting waiting for you whenever you drop by Pinterest.

If you ever want to stop seeing these Pins, just go back to the interest to Unfollow. Or you can always manage your interests in the newly updated Following section of your profile, where you’ll now also see all the boards and Pinners you follow.

We’ll be rolling this out in English to start with, and it will be available on Android, iPhone, iPad and the web. If you don’t see it yet, just wait—it should be arriving soon!

—Ningning Hu, Software Engineer, currently Pinning to The World

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Follow the (live!) red carpet looks at the ESPYs

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The red carpet is rolled out, fans are screaming, the cameras are flashing and it’s award season all over again. But tonight when the limos pull up, instead of George and Julia, you’re more likely to see LeBron and Serena. This is the ESPYs, ESPN’s annual awards show, when the biggest names come together to give props to the players, teams and moments that made this a wow-worthy year in sports.

But there’s a twist! For the first time ever, ESPN and espnW are Pinning live from the red carpet so you can see, in real time, how your favorite athletes and celebs clean up for a night out. There are some big names in the house—from host Drake, to presenters like tennis ace Maria Sharapova, 49er Colin Kaepernick, boxer Floyd Mayweather and actors like Jason Segel and Jessica Alba.

To get in on this, follow ESPYs on the Red Carpet for real-time Pins in your home feed as the show starts tonight, July 16th at 6pm PST. Even if you can’t settle in to watch, you’ll still get to see your sports heroes turn into style icons for a night.

—Anna Bofa, Partnerships, currently Pinning to Ahhmazing Moments in Sports

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jeff Parrott: Video game artist

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Giant sci-fi guns, skull-faced toilets and talking axes with hipster beards are all in a day’s work for Jeff Parrott. Since second grade, Jeff knew he wanted to be a video game artist, and now he’s working his dream job at Telltale Games. In our featured Pinner Portrait, he talks about how he got started, his design process and where he looks for inspiration.

When did you know you wanted to be a video game artist?

I decided I wanted to draw and become a video game tester when I was in second grade. Growing up, I was always sketching and had a fascination with computers, so my parents eventually bought Pixar’s RenderMan for our Mac. I used it to render images of spheres and simple shapes.

How did you turn your passion for art and technology into full-time work?

After college, I was job hunting for a graphic design position, but there wasn’t much opportunity in the field. I took my father’s advice and went back to school for video game design. With the fundamentals of art already down and a strong work ethic, I was able to focus on the technicalities of 3D art. I freelanced for awhile after graduation, then a video game production company took a chance on me and I got my first full-time position.

Walk us through your design process.

I do loads of research—I take photos and search for images online and on Pinterest. Then I sketch or paint concepts, model and sculpt in 3D space and add texture. I finalize the presentation in Marmoset Toolbag or Unreal Engine. I keep a process blog on my website.

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How do you use Pinterest?

Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration when I’m developing a project. There are tons of talented artists out there, but they’re hard to find, especially with places like CGHUB.com disappearing. When I started doing this over a decade ago, an online community barely existed. Now with Polycount.com, Twitter and Pinterest, it’s easier to find a community—worldwide.

Follow Jeff Parrott’s board 3d_Environment_Inspiration_Art on Pinterest. Follow Jeff Parrott’s board 2d_Inspiration_Art on Pinterest.

You’ve worked on multiple titles, across various platforms like Xbox, Playstation, iOS and PC. What is the biggest challenge?

I like to include some degree of storytelling in my props or the environment. Some platforms have limitations you need to work around, but that makes me a more efficient artist and forces me to be technically creative. That’s actually one of my favorite things about working in such a technical field.

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What are you working on now?

I’m part of the team at Telltale Games. It’s always been a dream of mine to work there—I grew up playing their games. Now I design and help develop new games with these talented people every day. It’s surreal.

Any advice for someone following in your 3D footsteps?

I’m a firm believer in improvement though iteration and practice. Your work quality, artistic eye and workflow will get faster and better over time. Look for new ways to learn. There are great tutorials online. Once you learn the basics, make characters, props, weapons and environments in a variety of different styles. This will help you figure out what you enjoy making. Then make that. A lot.

Also, find and become an active member of a game art community. Polycount.com is a good place to start. On Twitter, search #gameart and on Pinterest, search for low poly, sculpting and game art, and follow boards and people that inspire you.

Follow Jeff Parrott’s board Art_Tutorials on Pinterest.

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What’s your Pinterest story? Don’t be shy—we’d love to hear from you.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Luke Dean-Weymark: Extreme sport and photo guru

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Luke Dean-Weymark is a Ducati-riding, music-loving, ocean-dwelling extreme sports junkie and travel photographer. And he’s not one to just sit back and snap—he gets in on the action. From the Golden Hand wall ball championship to canoeing the Kangaroo River, Luke doesn’t miss a thing. Here, he shares how he got started, his dream destination and what he gets out of Pinterest.

First question—it’s an easy one—who’s your favorite band?

My playlists generally consist of music from the ‘60s and ‘70s like Pink Floyd, The Doobie Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton. But above all, Led Zeppelin is my all-time favorite band. I’m a bit of an old soul.

An old soul who needs an adrenaline rush every now and then.

I love extreme sports—skating, snowboarding, BMX, surfing, downhill mountain biking, motocross and motorcycle racing. I spend most of the time bodyboarding or riding my Ducati. I get in the ocean for a surf or out on the open road a few times a week to get the blood pumping.

You just returned from shooting—and competing in—the Wall Ball International Golden Hand Championships in Australia. Do your hands hurt?

Yes, they’re sore! Wall ball is a high-impact sport, so after a full day on the court, I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. And this was the first ever “official” wall ball competition. Two hundred men and women went head-to-head, determined to take home the prestigious Golden Hand trophy. It was very exciting and the vibe was incredible.

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Tell us about riding in the Ducati tour around Tuscany.

It was a seven-day tour through the crème de la crème of riding territory, including the Futa Pass, the road used to test Ducatis and Ferraris. We stayed in four- and five-star hotels, drank Tuscan wine and had enough red meat to give you the sweats. At the end of the day, there was nothing better than sitting by the pool drinking a much-deserved ale with your tour mates.

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Do you bring your camera along when you’re just hanging out with friends?

I always have my camera. Last Fall, I went on a kayak and camping trip on the Kangaroo River with 20 of my friends and a few essentials (cold beer and cask wine). Every day, we paddled for about four hours through Morton National Park. One of the highlights was my buddy Nick dressing up like a pirate for no particular reason. He definitely looked the part paddling down the river.

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When did you get the travel bug?

It all started in 2010. My partner Natalie and I always wanted to travel through Europe so we packed up our lives in Sydney, Australia and setup basecamp in London, England. As soon as I touched down on foreign soil, a giant-sized travel bug bit me! Over the course of a few years we visited Iceland, Scotland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Corsica, France, Switzerland, Morocco, Norway, Spain and probably a bunch more that I’ve forgotten. My favorite memories are from this time.

Travel is such a rich experience and shouldn’t just be about ticking off destinations from your bucket list. It’s about the people you meet, the unique cultures and the history you experience first hand. The feeling is unbeatable.

When did you pick up photography?

Photography was part and parcel with traveling. I started a blog, LDW Photography, to keep our friends and family updated on our trip. I’m self-taught, although I keep saying I’m going to do a proper course. Thankfully, I learn from my mistakes. My skills come from lots of experimentation and loads of error. I take my camera everywhere—persistence and repetition help me learn.

Where are you going next?

My dream destination is about to become a reality. This September, I’ll spend five weeks in Central and South America. I’ve always been drawn to locations with natural beauty, rather than cityscapes, and these are huge countries with a broad range of culture, landscapes, history and people. I’ll shoot in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and the Galapagos Islands off the west coast of Ecuador.

Follow Luxury Travel Destinations’s board Travel Bucket List on Pinterest.

When people see your photography, what do you want them to experience?

A personal connection. All my photos are of my life experiences, they’re not commissioned. They give me great joy and I hope they do the same for others.

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You have a diverse profile on Pinterest with boards ranging from Men’s Fashion to Magnificent Machines. How do you use Pinterest?

I use Pinterest to research new travel destinations, buy things (which I do quite often) and just for general inspiration. Group boards are a great way to band together with like-minded people. I contribute to group boards like For Men Only and recently paired up with the San Diego Zoo on my Animals board.

Now that I have so many followers, people often approach me with campaign ideas, collaborations and new business ventures. Pinterest has opened up a lot of opportunities.

Follow Luke Dean-Weymark’s board Men’s Fashion on Pinterest.

Follow Luke Dean-Weymark’s board Magnificent Machines on Pinterest.

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What’s your Pinterest story? Don’t be shy—we’d love to hear from you.

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Pin Picks: Last-minute things to bring to a BBQ

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If you haven’t baked a four-layer flag cake or filled five hundred mason jars with red, white and blue jelly beans yet, don’t fret. Here are a few easy ideas of things to bring to all your Fourth of July festivities this weekend.

Fruit sangria

Sangria is always a party pleaser. It looks and tastes fancy, but it’s actually super simple to prepare. Mix white wine with fruit, and put it in a large pitcher or glass beverage server with a spigot.

Photo booth props

Put some pop in your party pix. You’ll need thick card stock, an x-acto knife or scissors, a hot glue gun and wooden sticks. Design your own, or print this template pinned by Lauren Hooker.

Bingo, giant Jenga and beer pong battleship

In thirty minutes or less, you can create an outdoor game that friends, aged two to seventy-two, will have a blast playing in the backyard.

Happy 4th everyone!

—Amy Schaefer, Writer, currently Pinning to things.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Christy Woodrow: Photographer and travel blogger

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If you’re looking for travel inspiration or advice, look no further. Christy Woodrow and her partner Scott Calafiore have been touring, surfing and photographing the world since 2006. Their blog Ordinary Traveler chronicles their journeys from the Lot Valley in rural France to the remote villages in Nepal. In this Q&A, Christy talks about balancing life and leisure, how they use Pinterest for business and where they’re dying to go next.

Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to travel the world.

Scott and I are in our mid-thirties and live in coastal San Diego. My passion for travel began at an early age. Ever since I can remember, I dreamt about getting lost in faraway lands and learning about other cultures. I realized I wanted to be a professional travel photographer when I was a teenager, but it seemed like an unattainable dream. Now I’m constantly in awe of my life. I feel so lucky to do what I love every day—travel, take photos and write about it.

Scott’s a traveler at heart. He works full-time for a software company, but joins me on several trips throughout the year. We make a good team. He grounds me and I bring a little adventure to his life.

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What inspired the title of your blog Ordinary Traveler?

When we started our blog in 2009, many of the popular travel blogs were written by permanent, or soon-to-be permanent, nomads. They got a lot of press, which gave the impression that this was the preferred way to travel.

Not everyone wants to quit their job and sell all their possessions to travel. People who want a family, home and adventurous life are the “ordinary” people we wanted to connect with and inspire. That’s the idea behind the name Ordinary Traveler.

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How do you balance career, life and leisure?

We’ve found a good balance over the years. I’ll turn down long trips and limit my travel to once a month. Sometimes my schedule can be a little crazy though. This month, I’m only home nine days because of work trips to Bologna, Bonaire and Mauritius. I’m learning to juggle travel while nurturing friendships and enjoying where we live.

How do you use place boards to share your adventures?

I use various apps to check in at locations, but they don’t incorporate photography as well as Pinterest does. With Pinterest, I can pin the exact destination, see my photo and view all the photos on one map. This makes it easy for our readers to get a sense of the destination and plan a trip based on our recommendations.

Follow Ordinary Traveler’s board Things We Love About San Diego on Pinterest.

Follow Ordinary Traveler’s board Vacation Ideas Near the Beach on Pinterest.

How do you use Pinterest for your blog and business?

Pinterest drives more traffic to our blog than Google search and helps sell my photography. I easily pin photos from my fine art photography portfolio and those Pins send targeted traffic to my photos. If a person clicks through, they’re more likely to purchase than someone who found it somewhere else. Plus, the group boards are a great way to team up with a brand or fellow blogger.

Where do you want to go next?

Scott and I really want to go to New Zealand for a few weeks, and spend some time exploring the remote areas of Canada—the natural beauty is astounding! I just returned from a scuba diving trip in Bonaire, part of the ABC islands in the Caribbean, so would love to explore Grand Cayman and St. Martin next.

Follow ✈ 100 places to visit before you die’s board Places to visit before you die on Pinterest.

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What is a common travel misconception?

That the world is a scary place. Yes, there are some dangerous places in the world, but you can find danger anywhere. Never leaving the country doesn’t eliminate risk in your life. If you do your research and find people who’ve been there before, you’ll be better equipped and can avoid risky situations.

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Any advice for the timid traveler?

I always get anxious before a solo trip to a new country. For years, I was dying to visit Nepal, but on the drive to the airport, I felt scared. I didn’t know what to expect and was nervous about not speaking the language. The fear of the unknown keeps many people from traveling, but trust me, once you’re there, you’ll be thankful you pushed past that fear. And honestly, I feel more safe in the busy streets of Kathmandu, Nepal than I do in some parts of Los Angeles.

So just book a ticket and go. If you think about it too long, you’ll talk yourself out of it. Travel can be a life-changing experience if you open yourself up to the world and put your trust in strangers.

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What’s your Pinterest story? Don’t be shy—we’d love to hear from you.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Proud to Pin

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It’s been a momentous year for the LGBT community. An unlikely hero brought down DOMA, a St. Louis Rams defensive end came out as gay, and a bearded drag queen won Europe’s biggest music competition. Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in 20 U.S. states, including Washington D.C., with Utah being the most recent.

We have a lot to be proud of. Toronto kicked off World Pride 2014 last week, and Pinterest is celebrating with a pub crawl in San Francisco tonight.

But there’s still work to be done. Stay connected by following the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorite boards on Pinterest to discover LGBT news, history and project ideas.

How far we’ve come

Follow Fil Pat’s board Gay History on Pinterest.


Ideas for your wedding

Follow Gigi LaFemme’s board Lesbian Wedding Ideas on Pinterest.


Follow equallywed.com’s board Real Weddings: Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Queer on Pinterest.


LGBT News

Follow G Philly’s board Gay News 2014 on Pinterest.


Follow Transgender Resources’s board Trans* News & Media on Pinterest.


So you can sissy that walk!

Follow Stormy Nytz’s board Drag makeup ideas on Pinterest.


For your next kiki

Follow Shelia Miller’s board Pride Month Ideas on Pinterest.

Happy Pride!

—Victor Ng, Brand Designer, currently Pinning to Proud Mary

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Pin Picks: Fire pits and food for the 4th

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Explosive pyrotechnics. That’s usually the first thing that pops into our minds when we think about the Fourth of July. But there is another key component that can make or break the celebration—food. Read on to see how you can make your backyard BBQ even better.

Fire pits

Give your electric grill a break and gather the gang around a fire pit instead. Roast your favorite cookout grub, or just toast your toes after dark. It’s kind of like camping, but with clean, functioning bathrooms a few steps away.

Find instructions and design inspiration on these boards put together by pit-pros Dustin and Ron. Bonus if you build one by the Fourth of July.

Follow Dustin Edward’s board Fire Pits on Pinterest. Follow Ron Wallace’s board Fire Pit Ideas on Pinterest.

Recipes

When you’re planning your fire pit feast, think beyond marshmallows. Bacon cheese hot dogs, dutch oven Kentucky biscuits, campfire bananas—sounds pretty good, right? Well don’t just stand there, get cooking! Amy and Savanah dug up 90+ easy-to-make recipes on these boards.

Follow Amy Balls’s board Fire Pit Fun on Pinterest. Follow Savanah McGoldrick’s board Fire Pit Fun on Pinterest.

Tip: Add sage to your fire pit to keep mosquitos and bugs away (thanks Oscar!).

—Amy Schaefer, Writer, currently Pinning to home.

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