What I've Learned From Trying New Recipes on Pinterest

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

As you know by now, I really love Pinterest.

One of my favorite things about it are the pictures of desserts that I find. (Here's my board of chocolate desserts!) Ever since I joined Pinterest, I've ended up trying new recipes and baking more often. There's something about seeing the beautiful picture of the ooey-gooey dessert that tempts and taunts me.

The pins of those desserts are literally picture-perfect. And so of course, that also leads me into believing the dessert can't be anything less than perfect either.

One thing I've come to realize in trying all those recipes is that it often takes trying several recipes before I finally find one I really like. In other words, not all the pictures live up to the glamorous enrapturing vision I had of the dessert.

For example, I made these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dream Bars. The bars look yummy and the recipe easy. But when all was said and done, they didn't meet my expectation. They were just okay (although my kids finished the pan in less than twenty-four hours–but that's nothing new!).
I also made this Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread. While I normally love any baked good from Starbucks, I immediately had an "uh-oh" moment when I pulled the bread out of the oven. The sugary layer on top had made the bread crumbly, and it didn't taste like anything I'd ever eaten at Starbucks.

I always have to wade through several dud recipes before landing upon one that I finally print out and add to my "must keep" binder.

One of my keepers is this Sour Cream Pumpkin Bundt Cake. It's soft, moist, flavorful, and best of all not too hard to make. (In fact, I just made it again last night and it was wonderful! Although my frosting ran all over the place unlike the picture!)

So what's the main lesson I've learned from all my Pinterest recipe-hopping?

Don't be afraid to try new things. Yes, we may end up a few false gems in the mix. But we won't find the real diamonds unless we're willing to try the NEW.

Of course, this lesson can also be applied to books! With so many authors out there, it's easy to stick with the few we know will deliver the kinds of stories we like. Often we're a lot less willing to try a debut author or new-to-us author for fear of what we'll get (as I mentioned in this post: What Makes Me Pick Up the Book of a Debut Author).

But over the past couple of years, I've begun to experiment with a wider variety of reading, different genres and new authors. Part of it has come as a result of trying to stay abreast of what my teens are reading. And the other part is because I've wanted to grow as a writer, to challenge myself to read popular books in order to discover what's made them successful.

In trying new books, I've come across some duds. But I've also discovered some that I've really enjoyed, books I wouldn't have read if I hadn't been flexible or daring.

Every day there are more and more books available. There are more genres, more authors, more choices for readers. And while it's overwhelming to browse through the immense number of books available, it's also an exciting time to have such a wide variety at our fingertips.

We as readers have to take the bold step forward and TRY NEW BOOKS. We can't be afraid and cling only to our tried and true authors. We also can't let the false gems we encounter derail us and keep us from our experimenting, because we never know when we may land upon a diamond in the process.

How about you? Are you brave enough to try new recipes you find on Pinterest or other places online? What about with books? How daring are you with trying new authors?
Congratulations to Beth Bulow, the winner of my "I Love My Readers 5 Book Giveaway." Thank you to everyone for participating in the giveaway! I loved hearing from so many readers! Stay tuned for another giveaway in the future!

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