Oh, How Pinteresting!

news Start a conversation about a Pin
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

#Pinspiration Chat: travel the world with Gary Arndt

image

Thinking about packing up your bags and seeing the world? We teamed up with travel blogger and photographer, Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere this Monday for a Pinterview and are joining forces with him again this week for our Twitter #Pinspiration chat.

This theme is all about travel and we want to hear how you’re planning your next trip locally or around the world. Tweet a question (Where’s the best place to swim with sharks? Where’s the world’s highest zip line?) with the hashtag #Pinspiration to @Pinterest and @EverywhereTrip this Friday, 5/23 between 10-11am PST.

We’ll be talking about weekend getaways, packing tricks, international destinations, and more travel tips. We look forward to globe-trotting with you on Friday.

Read "#Pinspiration Chat: travel the world with Gary Arndt"

Monday, May 19, 2014

Gary Arndt: travel blogger & photographer

image

Gary Arndt wasn’t exactly a world class traveler growing up. In fact, it wasn’t until his success as an entrepreneur did he start venturing out and exploring the world. In 2007, he came up with the idea to pack his bags, sell his home and travel the world for a year or two. Now 8 years later, Gary has one of the most successful travel blogs online, Everything Everywhere, the 2012 Travel Photographer of the Year award, and no plans in sight to put the anchor down. See how Gary uses Pinterest to discover, share and curate his travel photography and adventures.

Hi Gary, can you give us a quick peek into your background and how you ended up traveling the world full-time to starting one of the most successful travel blogs online?

I was very involved in academic debate in high school and college. After I graduated college, I started a very early Internet company which I started back in 1994. We did custom web application development back when integrating databases into web pages was hard to do and expensive. I sold that company in 1998 when the firm reached about 50 people. After that I launched a few more companies right when the .com bubble was bursting and eventually went back to school in 2003 to study geology and geophysics.

I eventually reached a point where I didn’t know what to do with my life, so I came up with the idea of traveling around the world for a year or two. I sold my home, tied up all my loose ends and hit the road in March 2007. At that time I also purchased my first serious camera.

Over time, my blog become more and more popular the longer I traveled. What had I had intended to be a 1 or 2 year trip is now into its 8th year with no end in sight.

image

You are also an award-winning photographer. Were you always into the medium growing up or was it a hobby that came out of your travels?

No. I knew absolutely nothing about photography before I started traveling. I never took a class, read a book or had a mentor. I learned everything via reading websites and taking lots of bad photos. I was (and still am) extremely self critical about my photos and am constantly looking for ways to improve.

It cumulated this year when I was named the Travel Photographer of the Year by both the Society of American Travel Writers and the North American Travel Journalists Association. I was the first person ever to win both awards, let alone do it in the same year.

What is one picture that speaks “a thousand words” to you?

I’ve taken hundreds of thousands of photos over the last 7 years. Picking just one is difficult.

The image below was taken during the 2010 Red Shirt protests in Bangkok. I was there during the protests and one day they decided to protest the Prime Minister’s house which was only a few blocks from where I was staying. I grabbed my camera and went over cover the protests. There were thousands of protesters, hundreds of police in riot gear and many members of the media, who also wore body armor. I just had my camera….and an umbrella!

Eventually it started to rain and all the photographers ran for shelter, as did most of the protesters…except for one. This man in full body armor and helmet stood in the rain, by himself, staring down the police in riot gear. As I had an umbrella, I was the only photographer in the street and was able to get this image, which is still one of my favorites.

image

We’ve been tracking your travels and photographs on your place boards, such as Unique Places to Stay and Europe Travel Map. Is there something specific that you try to communicate or curate within your boards?

It depends on the board. I have one board which is dedicated to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I’ve been visiting world heritage sites the last 7 years and documenting my visits on my blog. Every time I visit one, I put it on the board. Same with national parks in the United States and Canada. I’m trying to cover all the sites.

For other boards, like my Italy, Spain or Australia boards, I’m just trying to showcase the best images from that country.

Overall, I am at one extreme in the Pinterest ecosystem. While many people are actively pinning and sharing photos, I’m out creating images for people to share on Pinterest. I’ve always been very open about letting, and even encouraging, people to share my photos on Pinterest.

I also work as a brand ambassador for G Adventures, the world’s largest adventure travel company. My business is sharing the world with people through my camera, and encouraging them to explore the world for themselves. Pinterest is a fantastic way to do that. I keep very close track of my statistics and I know that Pinterest outperforms every other social platform for me. Since Pinterest adopted maps for their boards, things have only gotten better as more people now view Pinterest as a resource for travel.

Follow Gary Arndt’s board Unique Places to Stay on Pinterest.

Selling a home and leaving it all behind seems overwhelming to most. What has been the best and worst parts about having this level of freedom?

The best part is having the freedom to go where you want, when you want. Since I’ve started traveling I’ve been to over 150 countries and territories around the world. I’ve been able to see more things than all but a small fraction of humanity will ever see.

The downside is not having any stability or being able to have any sort of regular schedule. I often get exhausted and have to rest for a few days. I’ve been trying to slow down my travel schedule so I can get more work done and not be so tired.

image

Where are you right now? Where do you plan on going?

I am writing this in Cape Town, South Africa. I’m here for 2 weeks in between trips. I just got back from the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. On Sunday I’m getting on another ship to spend a month traveling up the west coast of Africa with G Adventures. This summer I’ll be on a road trip through western Canada and this fall I plan on being in Europe. I’ll probably visit at least a dozen countries in the rest of 2014.

Gary, thanks for taking us around the world. If you want to see more of Gary’s adventures and what he’s photographing next, visit his blog and Pinterest boards!

Read "Gary Arndt: travel blogger & photographer"

Friday, May 16, 2014

Pin Picks: your dream tree house

image

A lot of us have visions of escaping to a magical hideaway somewhere in the wilderness. This week, tree houses are trending on Pinterest and it seems like a lot of you are dreaming of what it’d be like to live or play high above in the canopies.

From recreational playhouses to isolated living in the forest, Pinners are letting their imagination run free with creative tree house inspiration. So for this week’s Pin Picks—and with a little help from our Pinners—we discover your dream tree house.

Childhood memories - You don’t need to be secluded to have a private sanctuary. In fact, if you have kids, Lee Howard shows us how to build outdoor tree and playhouses in the backyard, even with salvaged materials.

Follow Lee Howard’s board Kids - Tree-houses on Pinterest.

Grown-up dreams - From design to architecture, Martin Salzmann shows us functional tree house ideas from around the world.

Follow Martin Salzmann’s board A Tree House for Adults on Pinterest.

Feline freedom - Claudette Darnell shows us how to build indoor and outdoor tree houses that allow our furry friends to climb and explore.

Follow Claudette Darnell’s board For the Home - Cat-friendly Decor on Pinterest.

A discreet hideaway - For those looking to escape into wonder, Amalya Haver shares tree house concepts that’ll let you slip into the sky without being bothered.

Follow Amalya Haver’s board Treehouse Getaways on Pinterest.

To live in the canopy - If you’re done with city life and looking for alternative living, Jesse Gaskins has boards with fully operating tree homes with bathrooms and libraries!

Follow Jesse Gaskins’s board Tree House Living on Pinterest.

If you have other ideas on how to have fun with tree houses, share them with us below! But even if you don’t plan on living in the trees, keep browsing Pinterest for more ways to celebrate. And of course, tune in next week for more Pin Picks.

—Pari Mathur, Content Guru, Currently pinning to Story Time

Read "Pin Picks: your dream tree house"

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pin trends of the week

image

Are your Monday Pins different than your Friday Pins? We were curious about what people Pin on different days of the week, so we took a closer look at what Pinners are up to when the week kicks off on Monday and then eases into Sunday.

Here’s a look at the most popular categories on each day of the week:

Monday: the week starts with good intentions in fitness

Tuesday: next up, gadgets are all the rage in technology

Wednesday: need a little something to get through the week —- inspirational quotes

Thursday: threads lead Thursday with fashion

Friday: GIFs bring some comic relief to the end of the week with humor

Saturday: summer vacations are top of mind with travel

Sunday: the week closes with food and craft ideas

See what’s trending

Humor is one of the fastest growing categories on Pinterest and holds the top spot on Friday. More than 3 million humor Pins are saved each day. And, in the five months since the GIFs launch, more than 400,000 GIFs are Pinned everyday. Here are some of the most Pinned GIFs:

  

On the fitness front, CrossFit is becoming a Pinner obsession, along with Paleo challenges and Tough Mudder Boot Camps.

By Saturday, Pinners are ready to hit the road or jump on a plane. We’re seeing all kinds of hiking trails in Portland, museum crawls in DC, and summer roadtrips through Boston. If you’re planning a European holiday, some of the most popular cities include Capri, Italy; Chamonix, France, Segovia, Spain.

Tell us which Pins have been your favorite this week!

—Mithya Srinivasan, PR, Currently pinning to thingamajigs

image

Read "Pin trends of the week"

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

#Pinspiration Chat: get thrifty with Kids Stuff World

image

If you’re looking for ways to save, we’ve teamed up with blogger Stacy of Kids Stuff World for our next Twitter #Pinspiration chat.

This week’s theme is all about tips and tricks to help you save and we want to hear all about how you think about tightening budgets around the home, classroom and beyond. Tweet us your frugal living #Pinspiration tips to @Pinterest and @stacyofksw this Thursday, May 16th, between 10am-11am PST.

We’ll be talking about gardening hacks, backyard camping, home-cooked meals, activities with the kids, and many other thrifty ideas to pinch the pennies. We got a chance to chat with Stacy on how she evaluates budgets and uses Pinterest with a large family of five:

image

Hi Stacy, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start your website, Kids Stuff World?

Hi Guys!!! Wow, so excited to be here on the Pinterest blog today. Thanks for having me, I started Kids Stuff World while I was serving overseas. I was a new mom and for the first time I realized how far from home, friends and family I really was. Instead of arranging play-dates and attending baby showers, I was surrounded by single people living in dormitories and lots of testosterone. I needed to make some connections with people in the same life stage as me, and quick.

The idea of starting a blog was suggested to me by a combat unit while we were deployed to Africa. I still laugh picturing those sweet, burly guys helping me set up my mom site.

Can you share a few simple and easy frugal living tips for families?

My favorite tip for frugal living is growing your own food, even if it is just herbs and cherry tomatoes. Nothing feels more satisfying than going out in your backyard and harvesting food to feed your family. You’re not just saving money, but teaching your children a valuable life skill as well. Added bonus, it’s a fun activity the whole family can get involved in.

We make almost all of our meals at home. I love to cook and feeding a family of five is expensive no matter where you go. By doing the cooking myself we save a ton; I use Pinterest to find new recipes and create weekly meal plans. Over time, I have learned how to make up to 4 meals with just one rotisserie chicken. We save our vegetable scraps to make homemade broths, and other scraps to use as compost for our garden beds. Herbs are used in dishes as well as simmer pots on the stove to make our home smell wonderful. All of these things I have learned through posts I’ve found on Pinterest. I have an entire board dedicated to store bought things you can make from scratch (The Handmade Way). Right now, we’re developing our own household cleaners using essential oils and herbs from our garden.

I save money on family purchases by having set price limits in my head whenever we go out. I know how much I am willing to pay for my child’s clothing or even my own and no matter how much I love something, I won’t purchase anything until it comes into my price range. Even big ticket items, that’s why I love getting emails from Pinterest when a price drops.

You’ve started planning a fun and frugal summer in your “Making Plans for Summer” board. How has Pinterest helped you discover great ideas?

Yes, Making Plans for Summer, that’s one of my favorite boards! We aren’t taking a family vacation this year, and there’s no budget for summer camps, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have a memorable summer. A summer filled with homemade popsicles, ice cream, fresh-squeezed lemonade, sun tea and solar s’mores, all inspired by links I find on Pinterest. This year, I am most excited about backyard campouts, learning about astronomy, outdoor movie nights, there’s even talk of starting our own children’s book club, another awesome idea we found on Pinterest.

Perhaps the neatest thing for me is the relationships I have made with the people behind the Pins. Overtime, several of us have formed group boards, worked on projects together, become real friends, and even met in person. Pinterest isn’t just a place where I discover great ideas anymore; it’s where I connect. It’s that community I was looking for when I first started all of this.

Follow Stacy of KSW’s board Making Plans for Summer on Pinterest.

Thanks for the feedback, Stacy. Don’t forget to join us on Twitter this Thursday and share your #Pinspiration with Stacy and the Pinterest team. Also, be sure to check out her website and Pinterest boards. See you Thursday morning!

Read "#Pinspiration Chat: get thrifty with Kids Stuff World"

Monday, May 12, 2014

Brian Samuels: Photographer & Food Blogger

image

When Brian Samuels was growing up, he was the official taste-tester for his mom in the kitchen. Following his culinary upbringing, he combined his love for food and the arts by starting his popular food blog, A Thought for Food. See how Brian travels the world, shares his recipes and gets inspiration from the food community and beyond.

Hey Brian, tell us a bit about your background and how food, photography and blogging all became main ingredients to your career?

Like most food bloggers, writers and photographers, I have always loved food. As a child, I spent time in the kitchen with my mom, absorbing everything she did. She had me participate; stirring, whisking and, ultimately, tasting her creations. Often I’d be the tester, and she looked to me to help with seasoning. That’s where my passion for cooking originated.

But I’ve I also always been a film buff and, when I was a kid, I watched everything I could. There were pretty much two paths I could have gone in. Either I’d study filmmaking or I was going to culinary school. I ultimately decided on film school because I knew that cooking would always be a part of my life.

When I started my blog, A Thought for Food, I realized that my love for the visual arts and food could be combined. Of course, I never thought this would become my profession. It really is my dream job. Sometimes I have to pinch myself.

image

We caught your delicious recipes, cocktail photos and my idea of heaven boards. What is your dream dinner party setting?

A dinner party, for me, is all about being surround by people I love and to express that love through food. My husband and I just purchased our first house and I really can’t think of a better spot for a dinner party than in our backyard. I see everyone gathered around a long table; eating, drinking, laughing.

I’d definitely be the one cooking. And, as much as I like to put the camera away when I’m hosting friends, I might need to take a shot of the table to capture the moment.

Follow Brian - A Thought For Food’s board + Delicious Recipes + on Pinterest.

We’ve been drooling over your “My food photography” boards. How do you use Pinterest to share your culinary creations?

The reason I was drawn to using Pinterest as a way to share dishes is because I saw that it had a following beyond the blogging world. As much as I love the food blogging community, I wanted to make sure that the general public was seeing these recipes. Pinterest has certainly helped with that.

The way I use it is by posting my work (as well as the work of my peers) on boards… some of which are my original boards, while others are group boards that I curate with other food bloggers, photographers and writers. While I work hard to make my own boards as appealing as possible, I love the community element of group boards. These tend to either be general recipe boards where we share our favorite blog’s work or it’ll be very specific (cakes, cocktails). I recently spearheaded a board for drinks; mainly cocktails, but non-alcoholic drinks have been included. Over the last few years, I’ve dabbled in mixology and I thought it’d be fun to get a group of my favorite bloggers to share our mutual love of cocktails.

I do use Pinterest to promote my work on my blog, which I consider my portfolio. I’ve had companies contact me because they came across a picture that was pinned. So, I don’t use it directly as a business tool. It’s just turned into that inadvertently.

image

Okay, so I want to follow in your “foodsteps” and make something quick and healthy. Where do I start?

Creating a quick and healthy recipe isn’t as complicated as people think. The first place to start is with fresh ingredients. Seasonal produce; local, sustainable seafood. Roasting is a very simple way to prepare dishes with these items. I will often just season fish with a bit of salt and pepper, some fresh herbs, maybe a bit of olive oil (for a recipe, try this whole roasted mackerel). Or if you’re cooking carrots or cauliflower, or even brussels sprouts. Their natural sweetness really comes out when you roast them.

What smells good in your kitchen right now?

Right now, I have a pot of tomato sauce simmering on the stove. I had some leftover canned tomatoes from a white bean and sardine stew I made recently. This sauce has an onion and seven cloves of garlic in it. It smells pretty amazing actually.

image

Brian, thanks for showing giving us a peak into the world of food and photography. If you want to see more of what Brian culinary creations, check out his blog and Pinterest boards

Read "Brian Samuels: Photographer & Food Blogger"

Monday, May 12, 2014

The next phase of Promoted Pins

image

In September, we told you about our plans to experiment with Promoted Pins on Pinterest. Now, we’re working with a small group of brands in the U.S. to roll out a paid test in our search and category feeds.

These brands will help us test Promoted Pins to make sure they’re tasteful, transparent, relevant and improved based on your feedback— so that Pinterest continues to be a great experience for everyone.

Tens of millions of people have added more than 30 billion Pins to Pinterest and brands are a big part of this. We hope Promoted Pins help you find inspiration and discover things you care about, whether it’s ideas for dinner, places to go or gifts to buy.

Let us know what you think, and we’ll keep working to make things better.

—Julie Black, Product Manager, Currently pinning to Lego

Read "The next phase of Promoted Pins"

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pin Picks: 5 ways to survive life after graduation

image

Congratulations! You’ve hit your academic goals and are now now at a turning point in your life to make some big decisions. Graduation is trending on Pinterest and it seems like a lot of you are planning the next chapter.

But there’s no reason to be nervous about what’s in store for your future because in this week’s Pin Picks—and with a little help from our Pinners—we discover 5 ways to survive after graduation

Revive a resume - If you are looking for ways to brand yourself and show off your skills for the job market, Rick McCawley shows us a board with tips, tricks and templates on how to enhance your resume.

Follow Rick McCawley’s board Resume on Pinterest.

Set the stage - Public speaking can send all the butterflies in your gut into a frenzy, but Jake Shannon shows us how to bring out the confidence in any setting with ease, especially in a job interview.

Follow Jake Shannon’s board Public speaking on Pinterest.

Rock an interview - When chatting face-to-face about new opportunities, Vera Chapman shares ways to prep for all types of questions, have the best body language, and even wardrobe tips.

Follow Vera V. Chapman’s board Interview Prep on Pinterest.

Take the scenic route - Sometimes the best way to figure it out is to step away from it all. If you’re looking to find some new perspectives abroad, take some travel tips from Caz and Craig.

Follow Caz and Craig @yTravelBlog’s board Travel Tips on Pinterest.

Dorm 101 - If the next stage is at college or a university, Lenora Ramsey shows us how to organize and coordinate a seamless education experience.

Follow Lenora Ramsey’s board College Survival on Pinterest.

(Wildcard) Blow of some steam - If all else fails, pat yourself on the back and know you’ve come this far. Carrie Bispring shows us the key to figuring out the next steps is to first stop and celebrate every milestone.

Follow Carrie Bisping’s board Graduation Party Ideas… Food, Drinks, Decorations on Pinterest.

A huge congratulations to everyone looking forward to the next phase of their lives after academics. But even if you’re not graduating or in school, keep browsing Pinterest for more discovery ideas. And of course, tune in next week for more Pin Picks.

—Pari Mathur, Content Guru, Currently pinning to Life is Funny

Read "Pin Picks: 5 ways to survive life after graduation "

Friday, May 9, 2014

10 ways Pinners are celebrating mom

image

To honor Mother’s Day last week, we asked you to submit favorite memories of mom. And thanks to you, we were inspired by your wonderful moments of nostalgia, remembrance and all good things that make mom mom.

We just wanted to take some time to share a few boards that made us laugh, get teary-eyed, and reflect on what makes mom special. Here are 10 boards that has us admiring your mom:

Memory Lane with my mom - Shirley Hamm thanks her mom for enabling her giving her a sweet tooth. Growing up, she was allowed to pick penny candy at the local store.

Make mom happy for Mother’s Day - Scott Daly remembers his mom’s recipes, but more importantly, her love and warm hugs.

Follow Rachel Monday’s board Mom: From A to Z on Pinterest.

Mother’s Day - From hand-written love notes to the exhilaration of Christmas morning, Donnie Young treasures 20 years of joy with her mom.

Mom: from A to Z - With Pins, Rachel Monday shares a creative ode to her mom and grandma using every letter of the alphabet.

25 things I love about you (Mother’s Day challenge) - Support, positivity, optimism and love are all qualities Melissa Anclaux cherishes about her mom.

Maman je t’aime - Emille Benn was raised in France and given a Spanish heritage all thanks to her mom. Even though they’re miles apart, this board helps her stay close to her mom’s heart.

Follow New mommy Melissa Anciaux’s board 25 things I love about you (mothers Day Challenge) on Pinterest.

Memories of my Lovely Mother - From cologne she wore to the rings on her hands, Barb Keltner shares beautiful experiences about growing up with her mom.

Supermom - Brooke Barton’s mom never missed a single recital for her three daughters, among all her other “super-powers” outlined on this board.

This is my mom/best friend and my inspiration - No matter how tired or exhausted Debee Morelli’s mother never failed to tell her kids that she loved them each day.

My mom became a genius when I turned 28 - It was only when Heidi Britz turned 28 and had a baby of her own, did she realize how many fantastic qualities her mom instilled in her today.

Follow Heidi Britz’s board My mom became a genius when I turned 28 on Pinterest.

Thank you for everyone who participated. And if you haven’t already, there’s still time to create a board with all the best memories of mom and send it to her this Sunday.

Happy Mother’s Day to all, and happy Pinning!

—Lauren Michaels, Marketing, Currently pinning to Ode to Mom

Read "10 ways Pinners are celebrating mom"

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mike Hultquist: chili pepper & jalapeño chef

image

Bored of bland food, Mike Hultquist needed to add some more flavor to his palate back in his college days. So, he decided to combine his love of pepper and spice and start his websites, JalapenoMadness.com. Today, he writes and creates culinary recipes for people brave enough to handle habaneros or those simply looking for just a little kick of heat. Come see how Mike uses Pinterest to share chili techniques, connect with other chefs, and even promote his new book!

Mike, can you give us a quick peek into your background as a chef, writer, and spicy food blogger?

I’ve cooking with chili peppers and have been a chili pepper enthusiast for over 20 years. I have a background in writing – novels, feature films – but have always had a huge passion for peppers and spicy food. I started the site JalapenoMadness.com to explore my love of jalapenos, and it naturally grew from there to ChiliPepperMadness.com where I expound on all things chili peppers, though I have a heavy focus on cooking.

image

How did you get into experiencing, blogging about, and cooking with chilies?

It started back around the college days when I had to learn to cook. I quickly grew bored of bland food and needed to spice things up. I realized an affinity for cooking the more I did it, mostly because of the passion for it. I use the blog and my sites as a way to share what I learn and what I am passionate about. I love to share my love of peppers and spice.

We’ve been looking through your “chili pepper spicy food recipes” board and preparing our taste buds to try some recipes. How do you use Pinterest to discover a new side of spice?

I use Pinterest as a way to share the visual side of what we do here. I blog with my wife, Patty, and she is becoming a heck of a photographer. Food is highly visual and we are working to improve that part of our work. People love the visual nature of Pinterest and it’s only natural for us to utilize such a great system. I also use Pinterest to explore what other cooks and bloggers are doing, as well for other non-cooking related interests, like design ideas for my new office.

Follow Chili Pepper Madness’s board Our Jalapeno Poppers and Stuffed Chili Peppers Cookbook on Pinterest.

I also have boards dedicated to books. For example, I produced a book called “Jalapeno Poppers and Other Stuffed Chili Peppers” and I have a board dedicated specifically to that here:

With food being so highly visual, it is important to promote your work through photos, especially a cookbook. Pinterest also allows me to add photos that aren’t in the cookbook, which helps potential buyers to see the recipes or variations thereof.

For someone looking to put a little spice in their meals, where do you begin especially now with Spring and Summer rolling around?

With planting season upon us, it is time to get those seeds plants or get those seedlings in the ground, depending on your zone. Some people in the south are already harvesting, those lucky dogs. With access to fresh peppers, I say incorporate them into anything and everything. Freshly harvested peppers are incredibly delicious and can add both zing and heat to your meal. Consider roasting them for an even different flavor. With salsas, the possibilities are endless. So many fresh ingredients! It is fun to play with different combinations and cooking techniques, which I explore in the book.

image

What do you recommend for someone who can’t handle spicy foods?

There is a huge range of spice level in chili peppers. I like to cook with peppers of all types, even bell peppers, which have no heat, to poblano peppers, which have only a low level of heat, all the way up to the superhots. If you’re not used to spicy food, start low and move your way up. I started with jalapenos and used to think they were crazy spicy. Now I eat 4-5 at a time. I moved up through habanero peppers, which I LOVE, and regularly eat superhots like 7 Pots, Ghost Peppers, Scorpions and more. Also, keep a dairy product on hand, like milk. Chemicals in the dairy will help counteract the heat element in the peppers if you go a little overboard.

Follow Chili Pepper Madness’s board Spicy Seafood Recipes on Pinterest.

Do you have any advice for growing chilies in the garden?

Same as with cooking. Check the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on a particular pepper type before growing. The higher the SHU, the hotter the pepper. Jalapenos are about 5,000 SHU, while a habanero is around 300,000 SHU. The hottest is over 2 Million SHU. Whoa! Chili peppers are pretty forgiving when growing, but treat them with care. Be sure to pick often to keep them producing, and learn some simple preserving techniques so you can eat them throughout the winter season.

image

Any crazy chili stories or adventures that added some heat to your life?

When I was about 5 years old, my sister dared me to chomp on a chili pepper she pulled from the fridge. She knew it was hot, but I didn’t. I took a bit and felt the burn immediately, but wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of reacting. But when my eyes teared up, she laughed and laughed. Little did she know she got me hooked!

Now, I think I’m the one who is adding heat to others’ lives. I’m known around the neighborhood and in the local restaurants as the guy who likes it hot. We throw a fiesta party every year and people look for my superhot blends or homemade sauces. When I walk into my favorite local Mexican restaurant, the cook automatically tosses peppers on the grill. I bring my own spicy chili powders when I go out for pizza and that always sparks a conversation. People often want to try the powders and get a real kick! My preferred powders is a blend of scorpion and 7 pot peppers. Quite hot!

I enjoy encouraging people to bring chili peppers into their lives. They’re so great! One of Nature’s perfect foods.

Thanks Mike for showing us how to add some spice into our lives with food! If you want to see more of how Mike is heating up his dishes, check out hiswebsite and Pinterest boards!

Read "Mike Hultquist: chili pepper & jalapeño chef "