Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to Add a "Tweet This" Button After Your Blogger Posts!

Go to your blog. Click Customize in the upper right corner, then "Layout" and then "Edit HTML". To be safe, check the box to expand your widgets and then click the Download Full Template option before you fiddle with your coding.

With the widgets expanded, search the content for "<data:post.body/>" (you can use ctrl+f to do this search). After this, paste the following:

<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "item"'><span style='float: left; background: url(http://lh6.ggpht.com/_xn2gmPb9TfM/Sb_fZkjAxpI/AAAAAAAAD3E/_9xpsQgFfTg/s128/twitter-16x16.png) left no-repeat; padding-left: 20px;'><script charset='utf-8' src='http://bit.ly/javascript-api.js?version=latest&login=tweettrackjs&apiKey=R_7e9987b2fd13d7e4e881f9cbb168f523' type='text/javascript'/>

<script charset='utf-8' src='http://s.bit.ly/TweetAndTrack.js?v=1.01' type='text/javascript'/>

<a expr:onclick='"return TweetAndTrack.open(this, \"" + data:post.url + "\");"' href='#'>

<span style='display:none;'>I'm reading: <data:post.title/></span>Tweet this!</a></span></b:if>

Where it says "I'm reading" you can put whatever you want the person's tweet to say. In this example, a tweet would show up like this:

Blogger Buster made it easy for me to add a "Tweet This" button after my posts, but I'm still not satisfied with the design. The button only shows up when you click the post title to specify the link to the specific entry. This means the people who read the blogs off of the main page (as I'm betting you're doing now!) won't see my button. Any good remedies for this?

I was hoping to add a summary feature to collapse all but the first paragraph of each blog. This was in hopes of accomplishing two things: one, getting the user to click the link to read the full blog, and thus, see my Tweet This button (a cheap fix, but if it worked I'd be satisfied!) and two, it'd summarize my posts to allow easier browsing.. which was actually more for my other blog, minifad.blogspot.com, which has recently focused very much on the odd food I'm making for this diet... something not of interest at all to some of my readers. Shortening my posts to summaries would allow those bored by my black bean chocolate cake antics to skip on to my post on How to Dance With Girls at the Lantern.

If anyone has successfully combined these two features: the Tweet This button and the expandable summarized posts, do let me know. Or, alternatively, if you have another solution that makes the button show up on the main page but still link to the posts individually.

I know, I know. I'm picky for someone who only barely fiddles with coding. But I know what I want, alright?

-Jess

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chocolate Black Bean Cake!

Check it out. There are two food bloggers that I follow consistently, and others whose blogs I occasionally wander off two. One of the two is Lauren, who has a blog called "Healthy Indulgences"-- absolutely chock full of amazing recipes, many of which are candida-friendly.

This chocolate cake, which entirely follows the candida diet with no changes made, is absolutely, without a doubt, to die for. Yes, it has black beans in it. Just trust me on this one, okay? It's cheap to make, and it's good for you, so there's no reason not to try it. This was a nice relief after spending an arm and a leg on almond flour recently, and holy crap does it feel good to eat chocolate cake and not feel guilty about the sugar. Although it's not at all shy on butter...

Lauren's also a carb counter, so for those of you who care about carbs it's ~65g net carbs for the whole cake with icing. So if you eat 1/10 of the cake you're at 6.5g carbs. I'm not a carb-counter, so that means nothing to me, but there it is.

For those not omitting sugar, replace the stevia/erythritol with regular sugar in the cake and powdered sugar in the icing if you wish. For those using the substitute sweeteners, a note: I used a looot more stevia in the icing than she recommended, so be sure to taste as you go. And salt is a necessity for the icing. An absolute necessity. Without it, it tastes bitter.

Here's my cake. I was feeling lazy and took the picture with my camera phone, so it's not that pretty. Once my digital camera can email my computer, I'll use it more often, but the whole USB process generally means I go for low quality pictures for things like blogging about cakes.

But man is it delicious.

You can see that I added almonds on the top. They really add a lot to the cake- I highly recommend this. I took regular whole, unsalted almonds, crushed them up, threw them on a cookie sheet under the broiler for a couple minutes, and scattered them on top.

Here's the recipe, taken from her blog.

Chocolate Cake Made with Black Beans

Makes a single 9" layer cake, which can be halved and stacked for the taller cake you see here!

Ingredients:
1-15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans
OR 1 1/4 cup cooked beans, any color
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted organic butter OR extra virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup erythritol plus 1/2 teaspoon pure stevia extract OR 1/4-1/3 cup honey plus 1 teaspoon stevia
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon water (omit if using honey)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9" cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter. Dust cocoa all over the inside of the pan, tapping to evenly distribute. Cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan, then spray the parchment lightly.

Drain and rinse beans in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water. Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla, stevia (if using) and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. No lumps! Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat butter with sweetener (erythritol or honey) until light and fluffy. Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition. Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix. Finally, stir in cocoa powder and water (if using), and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Grip pan firmly by the edges and rap it on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.

Bake for 325 degrees for 45 minutes. You may need a little longer, as my oven runs hot. Cake is done with the top is rounded and firm to the touch. After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again on to a cooling rack. Let cool until cake reaches room temperature, then cover in plastic wrap or with cake dome (I use an overturned plastic chip bowl). For BEST flavor, let cake sit over night. I promise this cake will not have a hint of beaniness after letting it sit for eight hours! If you are stacking this cake, level the top with a long serrated knife, shaving off layers until it is flat and even. Frost immediately before serving.

Healthy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Makes enough to thickly cover one layer, or fill and frost a halved stacked layer

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted organic butter, softened, OR 7 tablespoons nonhydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon erythritol, OR 1/4 cup xylitol, powdered
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons half and half OR coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Good-tasting pure stevia extract, to taste

Optional addition for a glossy finish:
1 fresh organic egg yolk

Preparation:
Cream the butter in a small bowl until fluffy. Powder erythritol or xylitol in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet for a minute or two, until extremely fine. Let sweetener settle in grinder before opening the top. Stir powdered sweetener into butter with a spatula, then beat until smooth. Slowly blend in the cocoa powder (unless you want to redecorate your kitchen), vanilla, and sea salt. Beat in the half and half and egg yolk, if using. Add stevia, starting with 1/16 teaspoon. You'll probably use less than 1/4 teaspoon. Just keep tasting and adjust sweetness to your liking.


Enjoy!!!

-Jess

Monday, May 25, 2009

Blogging for Pay: Can You Remain Credible?

According to the bloggers at Wall St 24/7, internet advertising revenue is in decline. When Google AdSense profits don’t add up, more bloggers are writing entries for pay to support their work.
As a new employee of Handshake 2.0, I sought to dig into the ethics of this model. How can we retain credibility while writing a review a business pays us to write?

Blogs like Handshake 2.0 have two goals in mind:
1) Establish their blog as a credible resource by providing meaningful, useful, and entertaining content.
2) Assure businesses purchasing blog-coverage that they are making a safe investment. A business must be sure they won’t end up paying for a Signature Warm Handshake only to end up with a bad review.

A blogger must write articles that are of interest to their readers, giving businesses positive reviews only if they are warranted. This means a blogger must turn down clients who cannot be represented without compromising these functions. If the match with the client isn’t ideal, it better serves both the client and the blogger to deny that client services. If the blog can’t reach the correct audience with a positive, credible message, the exchange is a failure for both parties.

Besides careful choice of clientele, blogs gain credibility by allowing readers to leave public “comments” below each entry. This is the blogger’s version of EBay “feedback” or www.woot.com’s product discussion forums. If someone or something unworthy gains blog spotlight, readers will speak up. By establishing a strong, active readership, a blogger has more users giving diverse replies. This reduces feedback bias and improves this checking system.
Tip: Encourage comments from readers by asking a question in your entry.

When it comes to remaining credible, just remember this: Nothing remains a secret for long on the internet. If your content isn’t credible, prepare to be Tweeted out.

-Jess

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Candida Cookies and Job Hunting

I'm on the jobhunt, and the stress requires sweets. This recipe was invented to use the ingredients I've got...ingredients I can actually eat on this diet. Many of the ingredients could be substituted. If you aren't on the Candida diet, try this recipe with sugar instead of the erythritol/stevia and stick a hershey kiss on each one. Also, any nutbutter or combination of nutbutters would work, and 1 1/4 cups of almond flour would work if you don't have the crushed pecans. Experiment- have fun!

4 Nut Cookies
* 1 cup almond flour
* 1/4 cup finely crushed pecans (reeeally fine- the stuff used for pie crust)
* 1 teaspoon guar gum
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg
* 1 cup erythritol
* 1 tsp stevia extract
* 1/2 cup nut butter (I used 1/2 cup cashewbutter, 1/2 cup peanutbutter)
* 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
* 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a blender on low, cream the erythritol and stevia with the egg first. Then add the butter and vanilla. Next, add a cup of nutbutter (I used half each peanutbutter and cashewbutter.. I technically shouldn't have peanutbutter on this diet, but I'm almost through my 1st month and I couldn't resist adding juuust a little bit). My Mom's tip: Put 1 cup of water in a measuring cup, then add nutbutter to the water until it raises to 1.5 cups to measure. This way it's easy to get out of the cup- just scoop it out of the water with a spoon.

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, blending on low. When you're done, carefully lift the beaters out of the ingredients but keep them as low as possible in your bowl and turn the speed up a little to get all the ingredients out of the beaters.

Make small balls and drop them onto a greased cookie sheet. Criss-cross the tops with a fork to give them the standard peanutbutter cookie appearance.

I baked mine for 13 minutes, didn't wait long enough for them to cool, and burnt the heck out of my mouth. But.. they're delicious!!

-Jess

Go Two Point Oh

My old man's business is constantly looking for ways to reach the younger generation, and recently dinner has become a nightly advice session on using Web 2.0. For those not yet in the know, a quick Google define: Web 2.0 gives the wiktionary definition: The second generation of the World Wide Web, especially the movement away from static webpages to dynamic and shareable content.

There's not a business I can think of that couldn't benefit from knowledge of Web 2.0. Even those gearing their services toward our oldest generation can benefit from the business networking and open collaboration our new internet allows.

As a 22 year old recent college grad (Go Hokies!) my focus to date has been primarily reaching my own generation using the internet. I've worked for artists like Bassnectar and Basshound developing guerilla marketing campaigns that seek help from fans in spreading a message- often with an attempt at going viral. These were good projects to take on- entirely different scales and resources, and both open to creative ideas and new tactics. These campaigns combined with street work helped each of them to establish a strong presence on the east coast. Further, I've worked with United Way of Montgomery, Radford, and Floyd in developing Web 2.0 strategies that will be enacted in the coming year, and won first place in a contest to write an integrated marketing plan written for a proposed web offshoot of the Roanoke Times.

I'm a creative marketer, an internet junkie, and an avid blog reader with a growing Twitter addiction. I'm going to try to add some Web 2.0-specific content from here out. If you like my ideas and your company could use someone like me, hit me up and give me a job, won'tchya?

Looking forward to sharing my ideas and learning from the process.

-Jess

Sunday, May 3, 2009

How to Dance with Girls at the Lantern

There's this awkward exchange I keep having, and I'm not sure the solution to this. I'll be dancing at a club, and some guy will come dance with me. So we're dancing together, I'm having fun, and then he'll ask me to dance with him.

But... we already are dancing.

What he really means, isn't, "Can I dance with you," but rather, "Can I touch you." To which, the answer is, "No."

I love dancing with guys when they don't invade my space. A guy who can really dance moves with you without being all over you. I love to dance with a guy who can play off of the way I move. And I'll play off of the way he moves. And yeah, it's possible at some point we'll end up touching each other, but the whole ordeal isn't two people seeing how many parts of their bodies can possibly be smashed up against one another at the same time. See the picture for a good example. Notice the large space between us?

I mean no hurt feelings to anyone with whom I've had this awkward exchange. I appreciate, at least, the politeness of asking rather than just grabbing like some men do. But you'll earn a lot more points by figuring out how to move with a lady. And if you can't do that, don't try! Just dance next to her and have fun and let her do her own thing. I'm going to be more attracted to a guy who's rocking out next to me having a blast than the same guy attempting to dance with me and failing at making me comfortable. The women around here are free-spirited. We go out to dance and move to the music. If you hold our hips too tight and take away our ability to choose our own pace, you're not earning any points.

-Jess