Thursday Things

Here are this week’s Thursday Things:

1. I was getting my hair done last week and I asked my stylist what flat iron she uses and she showed it to me. They sell it at the salon for $145 plus tax.

I went online with my iPhone, googled it, and up came this deal from Overstock: $67.99, no tax, free shipping. Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Variable Temperature.

I now realize it’s sold on Amazon for a similar price and wasn’t necessarily a “hot deal” on Overstock. Either way, it was still less than half the price had I bought it in the salon. Pays to do a quick google on things like that, always.

2. I plopped that sucker into my virtual shopping cart faster than you can say 450 degrees. My other flat iron was nearing it’s last leg. I bought it in 2004 and it gave me 8 great years but I needed a new one.

After just a few days, I am loving the new flat iron. My hair doesn’t get snagged in the plates and they’re five-inches long so I can fit a big section of hair in at one time.

The faster I can flat iron and be done, the better. I don’t go tiny section by tiny section and make it look perfect; I literally do maybe ten huge sections, ten passes, two minutes max, and I’m done.  Good enough.  Just something to tame the frizz, and make my half wavy, half straight, part kinky, part frizzy, definitely confused follicles all get on the same smooth, flat, page.

3. Cupcake Icing Kit – 5 hand-selected jumbo tips and re-usable pastry bag for $19.50. Great value.

Now, if only I could get past my mental issue of wasting tons of glorious frosting as it sticks to the sides of the pastry bag and not having the patience to clean pastry bags. But this set is cute enough that I think I could be swayed.

4. It seems Betty Crocker may be trying to get in Christina Tosi’s league by adding beer and pretzels to cookies. Yes, good old Betty is putting brewskies into cookies.

Betty Crocker (General Mills) is a Minnesota-based company and I grew up in Minnesota and will always have a soft spot for Minnesotans. And Betty Crocker and cookies of all types.

5.  I wonder if beer would work with potato chips, Cap’n Crunch, butterscotch and chocolate chips in Compost Cookies. Actually that may be a little bit too much composting for even me.

6. Remember when I started canning? Well, you may not, but I sure do. Boiling water, time, energy, lots of research, pectin, and hot pepper fumes wafting into my sinuses, I figured it out.

Enter Hot Pepper Jelly

Then I found Stovetop Hot Pepper Jelly and no true canning is required.  Stovetop.

7. Well it seems that Sue from The View From The Great Island has a French friend, Elisa, who grew up making jams and jellies from the fruit of her family’s orchards, which dates back to the 1500s. Her family has been at this awhile.

From Sue’s site: “According to Elisa, for the most basic of all jams you technically need only 4 things: fruit, sugar, clean jars, and a scale.  The scale is essential because you need equal amounts, by weight, of the fruit and sugar.  There are lots of variations and subtle changes you can make, including using special sugars with added pectin, and different combinations of fruit and flavorings…”

And from Elisa: “I’ve never heard of anyone, either in Belgium or in France, boiling the jars after filling them. Sometimes they do it before filling them – but just as a way of cleaning them well. But most people nowadays just put them in the dishwasher. To make sure, I checked more than a dozen websites on jam making in French, and none of them mentioned boiling the jars. However, they all said to turn the jars upside down when the jam is cooling down. This creates a vacuum that allows for the conservation of the jam and prevents contamination from bacteria or molds. You know, like when you open a jar for the first time, it makes this popping sound when the vacuum is filled with air? … and the extremely high sugar content stops the proliferation of bacteria (this is why historically sugar is used for food preservation – just like salt or vinegar). AND, my biggest argument: people in France and Belgium have been doing it like this forever and we’re perfectly fine :-)”

Leave it to the French to make amazing food and have a shortcut. I am so on board.

Sue’s Plum Chutney with Thai Chili and Lime is one example of no canning. Just boil the mixture, pour into jars, and invert. Done.

8. With the abundance of summer fruit, I hope to make jam with it.

Or put it into Creamy Mixed Berry White Chocolate Crumble Bars

9. Ever wondered about seasoning a cast iron pan? The differences between seasoned, unseasoned/bare, enamel, and recommendations are discussed. Short ‘n sweet and very helpful.

10. Have you entered the Champion Sports Bras Giveaway?

What are your Thursday Things?

Feel free to link up anything fabulous you’ve made, done, seen, or bought.

Do you have a favorite flat iron? Favorite pastry bag and decorating tips? Favorite cast iron pan? Ever tried canning?

I want to hear about all that stuff!

   

56 Responses to “Thursday Things”

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    Ellen — May 31, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Oh wow, I so need to get a decent flat iron…I’ve been way too cheap but I dare say the damage I’m doing with my cruddy one may be sending me to get my hair cut more often so maybe I’d save in the long run.
    As for Thursday things, I’m getting sort of obsessed with Campari and Champane cocktails. The culprit behind this obsession here: http://scrumptiousgruel.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/keep-the-love/
    Fortunately I know my tolerance so I only can take down about one before I quit…

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    Alyssa (Down_To_Earth) — May 31, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Woohoo – frosting! I just bought my first frosting tip kit and I’m looking for an excuse to make cupcakes using a recipe from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.” As for not wasting any frosting (which would be a crime), I think the perfect solution would to be to turn the bag inside out and lick the rest off! lol

    Reply

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    Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope — May 31, 2012 at 4:48 am

    I’ve had my straightener for years and I love it, but it is definitely running out of steam. I think they just lose their power after so many years? I’ll need to look into that one whenever I buy a new one!

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    Angela / Canned Time — May 31, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Great info Averie, thanks! Canning isn’t really so bad if the process and safety are already in your head so you can enjoy making stuff. I think the real botulism threat is probably more with canning meats and some vegetables but fruit and sweet stuff can be really fun. Especially when you can experiment like ‘Plum w/ Thai chilies’, awesome!
    I recently posted some of my canning recipes on a ‘Canning’ website and the author got so bent out of shape that I wasn’t following every detail of traditional canning. She kept responding over and over again picking apart line after line of my recipes. Really pissed me off to be honest and I ended up removing all my post because of her responses even though I had tons of hits on those recipes from her own readers wanting to know more. I think canning has a bad rap sometimes of being stuffy and uncreative is all I’m saying. I’ll be trying your jar sealing method asap! Thanks.
    Did some candy that was pretty cool yesterday that was awfully easy for, candy that is: http://cannedtime.blogspot.com/2012/05/raw-cane-sugar-sea-glass-candy.html. So easy that I wanted to do it in more and more colors. It’s called Sea Glass Candy.
    Great luck with your fruit canning and BE CREATIVE! I know you’ll have some great recipes for us from it ;)

    Reply

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    Heather (Where's the Beach) — May 31, 2012 at 5:27 am

    I have a pastry bag set as well as a cookie cutter set from childhood. I’m terrible with using them both though. I always want to make pretty cupcakes. Never really turns out that way though.

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    katie @ KatieDid — May 31, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Need to re-season my cast iron, thanks for the reminder. My thursday thing today is all about popsicles! Having fun experimenting.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 31st, 2012 at 9:03 am

      It’s probably super old and a hand me down, but if you have a recommendation, LMK!

      Reply

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    Erica — May 31, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Just wanted to pop in and say I flat iron my hair the same way ;). Who has time for all that fuss?

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 31st, 2012 at 9:03 am

      especially with a small child!! Seriously! Life’s little details like that ( i.e. perfectly sectioned hair) REALLY change after a baby :)

      Reply

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    Alicia @ Treble Tart — May 31, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Don’t you love finding things online for a WHOLE lot cheaper than in the store? Especially hair/beauty products, I’ve noticed. It’s so interesting to me that there’s usually such a huge difference in prices. Oh well! I’m super excited to start canning, as well! I’ve got a ton of strawberries that I’m hoping to turn into jam (or at least some of them, anyway). :) Have a great Thursday!!

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    Jennifer — May 31, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Just wanted to drop you a quick note that I absolutely adore your blog. I’m always using the yummy treat recipes for gatherings and they are always a hit. Thanks for all this! Can’t wait to see what comes up tomorrow:)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 31st, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Thanks, Jennifer for reading, saying hi, and LMK you always use my recipes!!! :)

      Reply

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    AmandaRunsNY — May 31, 2012 at 8:10 am

    The link to the beer cookies is broken! I’m really curious about these, even though it doesn’t sound appetizing to me, they have potential – especially if Guinness is involved.

    Reply

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    Kris — May 31, 2012 at 8:19 am

    as far as pastry, you would spend less (or same) to go to a professional baking store (or even a hobby store like Michaels?) and buy individual tips you would actually use. then get the converters and buy a box of single use bags! I have one reusable bag and I … NEVER “reuse” it! ;)

    *sigh* each week I see Averie’s Thursday Things come up in my reader… and I think GEEZ, please tell me she is posting early! it cannot be Thursday already!! :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 31st, 2012 at 9:01 am

      I know, the weeks just fly by sometimes!

      Single use bags are the way to go…I bought 2 reusebale bags and there is no way I would EVER reuse them?! I mean who cleans that all out?!! It’s SUCH a big mess, I just cannot see spending all that time doing it! I totally agree with you!

      Reply

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    Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy — May 31, 2012 at 8:25 am

    wow, the colors in those berry white chocolate crumble bars are stunning! they literally jump off the page! very artistic and very scrumptious looking! thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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    Alysha @Shesontherun — May 31, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I would give my right arm if I could have someone teach me how to can the old school way. I made apple sauce with my BF’s parents a few years ago. But I have no idea how to do it on my own. Instead, I do a ton of freezing (tomatoes, jams, green beans, peppers). We have chest freezer in our apartment kitchen, so I have the room!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 31st, 2012 at 8:59 am

      I taught myself and basically my hot pepper jelly post http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2012/02/hot-pepper-jelly.html details it in layman’s language. Making the mixture is not the hard part; it’s the boiling water and processing those jars and truly canning that’s a bit tricky and cumbersome. But according to this woman, NOT necessary…at least in France since the 1500s :)

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    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — May 31, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I have a Babyliss hair dryer and it is A-mazing! I have super thick locks and it dries them in no time. I just pray that my precious hair dryer never dies :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 31st, 2012 at 8:58 am

      Really? I need a new hair dryer, too. I have been buying $19.99 ones from Target every 18 mos or so the past few years after YEARS spent buying really expensive ones but them giving out on me. I will look into their dryers!

      Reply

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    Anna @ The Guiltless Life — May 31, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Ooh fresh homemade jam just sounds heavenly. Did you find canning quite easy to pick up? It sounds daunting to me but then again, homemade jams and chutneys sound very tempting…!

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    sally @ sally's baking addiction — May 31, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Averie! That’s the same hair straightener I use! I bought it for $99 on Amazon, though… you managed to find a much better deal. ;)

    Beer in compost cookies… hmmm… while I think my boyfriend would LOVE that, I don’t think I’d be a fan!

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    Catalina @ Cake with Love — May 31, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I love your Thursday things, I always find things that I want to eat and buy at the same time LOL! The cupcake decorating kit is very nice, I need one! And I really need an iron cast pan, do you have any favorite brands? Can’t help you with the hair straighter, my hair is VERY, VERY straight, I can wash it and just go to sleep without even blow drying it and in the morning it is perfectly straight!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 31st, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      I don’t have a fave brand…I have been researching them and have more options and maybe’s than I had hoped. So many choices!

      Reply

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    Katie — May 31, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I was just thinking about canning again because I opened my last jar of homemade strawberry jam. The stuff I made last July lasted almost exactly a year! I don’t do the boiling thing either, but I do freezer jam. I think people are scared of the bacteria/botulism. The french are just so much more laissez-faire. ;)

    I’ve made quite a few things lately. I just made an awesome wardrobe / clothes hanger in my bedroom this morning. I’m blogging about it soon!

    Reply

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    Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers — May 31, 2012 at 11:18 am

    What a deal! Shopping around pays off. :) My Thursday things are 1) my run today, 2) my appt with the physical therapist this afternoon, and 3) the new shirt I’m wearing.

    Reply

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    lindsay — May 31, 2012 at 11:19 am

    i just broke my flat iron, maybe i need this one now, yes? and i love alll your thursday things. Especially the treats. Your flavor choices are right up my alley

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 31st, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      THanks my friend. LMK what flat iron you end up getting if you replace yours.

      Reply

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    Leonor@FoodFaithFitness — May 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I just broke down and bought a new flat iron after several months without one. I got a deal because the salon promised me a certain kind at a crazy discount. They never came in, so they sold me one they had- HALF OFF! I’ve only used it a few times because I’m too lazy to flat ion my hair. lol!

    Reply

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    Amber K — May 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I tried to flat iron my hair once, and that was when I discovered that with my incredibly thick hair I would need about 10 times the amount of patience that I actually have. Not gonna happen! lol

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 31st, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      And if you don’t care and don’t have the patience…rock the wavy! :)

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    Melissa (Better Fit) — May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Sounds like a great new straight iron! I am too impatient to use mine every day, but I am so pleased with the results when I can be bothered to pull mine out! I may be inspired soon :)

    Reply

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    Erin Motz — May 31, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I want to eat 100 of those pretzel cookies! That is all.

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    Amelia — May 31, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    That straightener is sometimes on home.woot.com for $50… that’s where I got mine. Would be a good place to get a back-up or get it as a gift for someone else. :)

    Reply

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    Sue/the view from great island — May 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Oooh, I need to try both versions of hot pepper jelly, and you are right about google checking prices, I memorize labels and tags in stores and then look them up online and almost always find stuff so much cheaper.

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    Paula — May 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I always love the idea of piping pretty looking frosting on cupcakes, etc. but in reality, I hardly ever want to have one more item to wash. I have a Pampered Chef cake decorator which is basically a plastic tube with a plunger and various tips. It does wash up easier than a re- usable pastry bag and the frosting doesn’t stick to the sides. Maybe I would use it more if I didn’t keep shoving it to the back of the cabinet ( out of sight, out of mind)!!

    Reply

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    MELANIE — May 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    you are my guilty pleasures soul sister!! so glad to have stumbled across your blog!!! keep it coming! :)

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    Ryan @ Spicy Richmond — May 31, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    I’ve had a Sedu straightener for like 5 years and have never had an issue with it. It was about $120 at the time but has certainly been worth the money!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 31st, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      sounds like a good value! My one that died was probably in the same price range and I had it for 8 years but all good things come to an end!

      Reply

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    Christine (The Raw Project) — May 31, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Very interesting on the flat iron, maybe I’ll try that one when my Chi dies which probably won’t be long since I’ve killed two already dropping one and the switch breaking on another! Great list, lots of good canning info!

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    Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes — May 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    The cookies with the pretzels on top look amazing!

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    Julie — May 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I knew the owners of Bake It Pretty from where I was living and they were amazing. They just sold it last year. :/

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    Matt @ FaveHealthyRecipes — June 1, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Thanks for sharing this great tip about canning! I’ve been wanting to make my own preserves at home for the longest time but I didn’t have a pot large enough for submerging glass jars. I will definitely have to try just inverting the jars. If this technique is really hundreds of years old it must work, right?

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 1st, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      And I only do about 4 jars at a time IF I do the water bath. I use a big pot that I bought at the grocery store for like 9.99 about 10 years ago. It works just fine :) But the stovetop method and then inverting them is my what I will be doing in the future, for the most part!

      Reply

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    Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple — June 1, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I have crazy straight hair, so no flatiron. Spent much of the 80′s perming. Ugh. Grew out of that.
    I want a cast iron pan, but don’t have one. I also don’t decorate cupcakes much.

    But canning…yes. I grew up in rural PA and canned with my mom – vegetables, tomatoes, pickles, jams, jellies. Then I didn’t start up again until my 30′s. We probably only can one thing per year (kid and pesky full time jobs). In the last few years, it’s been: marinara sauce, salsa, strawberry jam, tangerine marmalade (we have a tree). I’ve always wanted to try pickles and relishes. Maybe this year. But with a new baby this summer, I’m betting more on a December tangerine marmalade.

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    CJ at Food Stories — June 1, 2012 at 9:20 am

    It is hard to believe that the year is moving so quickly but it looks like you had some tasty stuff for May … Can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

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    askvivi — June 1, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Great article, that flat iron looks a lot like my Karmin G3 Salon Pro Styling Iron. It was such a good idea to invest in this professional flat iron! The plates are pure ceramic tourmaline and they go up to 460F so they work on all hair types. Great flat iron!

    Reply

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    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — June 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I have a cast iron pan that I got for Christmas but I haven’t seasoned it yet. Haven’t used it!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — June 1st, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      keep me posted if you like it and what the brand was after you break it in.

      Reply

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    Patricia @ thecastironvegan — June 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I am really impressed that you straighten your hair every day. Really, really impressed. You do a good job, too, because I had assumed it was naturally straight!

    Reply

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    Nisha — June 2, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Have been a subscriber but reading a lot of your posts just today. Enjoyed reading your ‘Thursday Things’. Seemed like a “news this week” kinda thing :D
    My hair is so obedient; I don’t use any hot iron or rollers, or any appliance on it. Not even a hair dryer. And may be it’s because of it – the appliances and any chemicals haven’t made it a brat, that’s why it obeys me :D
    I want to get those pastry bags and tips. May be will get some cheaper ones from Wilton or somewhere first to practice with. And I need an iron skillet, something long lasting than my nonstick cookware..

    Reply

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