Thursday Things

Time for this week’s Thursday Things:

1. Vanilla Bean Sampler – 3 beans each from 9 countries = 27 beans for $44.95

  • Madagascan
  • Mexican
  • Ugandan
  • Indonesian
  • Tongan
  • Indian
  • Bourbon (Papua New Guinea)
  • Tahitian (Papua New Guinea)
  • Tahitian (Tahiti)

High quality beans for less than $2 bucks each? Score.

I love vanilla in anything. From body spray to candles to….



Puffy Vanilla Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

3. These lamps from Pottery Barn – love the eggplant base and the rustic burlap shades

4. I heated some milk for a recipe I was working on, forgot about it, and a skin formed. Milk skin. Lovely.

But it going me thinking and I researched what milk skin actually is.

When milk is heated, the water the starts to evaporate and the other elements, namely protein and fat, become increasingly concentrated. The proteins – casein and whey – also have a tendency to coagulate once the milk reaches a temperature of about 150°F.

Stir more and the problem is solved. More than you ever wanted to know, but I like food trivia.

5. Congrats to the Top 100 Mom Food Blogs 2012

Many of friends are named in this list – nice going, ladies!

I didn’t make the list but Skylar still thinks I’m a Top Mom. She thanked me yesterday for making her hair look cute and told me I was the best mom ever. I melted.

6. I have tomato jam and chutney on the brain and need to make my own.

My inspirations include:

Spicy Tomato Peach Jam from Lindsay

 Spicy Heirloom Tomato Jam from Brandon (a fellow San Diegan – I told him I’d buy it off him)

Tomato Chutney from Liz (also a fellow San Diegan – and I’d buy hers, too)

Clearly I need to make my own.

7. Would you like 2 boxes of the new Cascadian Farms Ancient Grains cereal?

Made with whole grain oats, crisp rice, a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon, a touch of quinoa, spelt and kamut khorasan® wheat, our Ancient Grains Granola is an excellent source of fiber while also packing in 35 grams of Whole Grains per serving and 5 grams of protein

Leave a comment on this post telling me at that you’d like to be entered in the giveaway and what your favorite cereal of all time is.

I’ll announce the winner in my next post.

8. I’ve been thinking about something gooey with caramel and chocolate all day and these came to mind.

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation)

9. Enamel-dipped servers from Antrhro – $36 for the pair which I think is a great price.

They remind me of something Tiffany without Tiffany pricing and for Anthro, pretty darn cheap.

10. The winner of the Magimix by Robot-Coupe Food Processor & Juice Extractor Giveaway (1000+ entries later)


Michele Sparrow July 5, 2012 at 11:23 pm

I think the first thing I would make in the food processor is a homemade salsa or some kind of coconut yogurt. That processor is AMAZING!!

Congrats, Michele!

What are your Thursday Things?

If you’ve made anything, done, seen, or bought anything fabulous, feel free to link it up in the comments.

Do you like vanilla or ever make your own vanilla extract?

Yes and yes.

Split open 3 or 4 vanilla beans, put them in a tall jar with 1 cup of vodka with a lid like a canning jar, let them sit for at least a month, probably 6 to 8 weeks, shaking the jar a couple times a week.

In two months, you have vanilla extract. You can strain out the seeds if you want before you use it, but don’t. They are little flavor bombs – keep them and your food will have flecks of real vanilla beans in it; so pretty.

Top off your jar with more vodka and keep the cycle going.  Add more vanilla beans every now and then.

Voila, homemade vanilla extract for a fraction of the price of storebought.

You can also use rum (dark or light) or bourbon, but they are not as clean-tasting as vodka. Sometimes not clean is a good thing though.

Thanks for the Zoku Quick Pop Maker and Chocolate Station Giveaway entries


98 Responses to “Thursday Things”

  1. Ellen — July 19, 2012 at 12:57 am (#

    I do make my own vanilla extract! It’s so easy…
    As for a Thursday thing, I am in love with summer berry pudding, the purple color is soooo lovely!

  2. j3nn — July 19, 2012 at 2:30 am (#

    Milk skin always reminds me of the Jell-O chocolate pudding my nanny used to make me when I was little. The skin was the best part! Sinking your spoon into it to get to the creamy bottom. So, so good. I need to have it sometime for old time’s sake. :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 2:44 am (#

      Jell-O pudding memories..the stuff potluck dinners in school gymnasium basements, complete with pudding skin and all. I remember them well :)

  3. Melissa (Better Fit) — July 19, 2012 at 2:35 am (#

    That’s so sweet about Skylar’s comments. No wonder your heart melted! :)

    Interesting milk trivia. One of my colleagues loves milk skin. I just don’t get it!

    Also, I’m loving those lamps! My husband and I are moving into a new place in a few weeks, and I’m definitely into getting all the decoration inspiration I can at the moment. I’ve been a bit lost on Pinterest on a few occasions recently- where does the time go on there!? haha

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 2:43 am (#

      Pinterest is one of my biggest time sucks – and I love it. Good luck with your move!

  4. April @ Queen Acres — July 19, 2012 at 3:29 am (#

    I’m loving all those varieties of vanilla. I’d love to make all sorts of extracts and see which is my favorite. …ummm probably all of them! :)

    I’d use them to make more cupcakes. Speaking of cupcakes, here’s my Thursday Thing: my new cupcake holder. Squeeeeal!!

  5. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama — July 19, 2012 at 4:41 am (#

    Found you through a friend sharing your protein bar recipe, and have now been sucked into your site – and am chomping at the bit to try some of these recipes. You’ll make that top 100 list next year, easy. And you make me want to be a food blogger ;)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 8:32 am (#

      It’s been 4 years – they never pick me. Not on their radar screen but that’s okay :) Glad you found me and LMK if you end up trying any recipes!

  6. Ali @ Gimme Some Oven — July 19, 2012 at 5:11 am (#

    Love Beanilla! And LOVE those burlap lamps — way too cute! :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 8:31 am (#

      And Gina/runningtokitchen just mentioned your earl gray jam in her comment to me and I agree – I want it!

  7. Megan — July 19, 2012 at 5:11 am (#

    I love Cascadian Farms cereals so I’d love to win some! My favorite cereal is Peanut Butter Puffins but I rarely buy them because I can finish an entire box in about 2 days (if I’m pacing myself!).
    I do love vanilla too, I bought a solid perfume from Lush a couple weeks ago called Vanillary, it’s a great, light vanilla scent

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 8:31 am (#

      GREAT tip on the perfume – I’m going to check it out. And I too adore Puffins and am on the same pace as you with a box!

  8. Heather (Where's the Beach) — July 19, 2012 at 5:12 am (#

    Ok love those spoons. Gorgeous. Let’s see, favorite cereal of all time? Gonna have to go with Apple Jacks. I could eat that stuff by the box when I was a kid. Let’s just say we didn’t get it that often. I’ve not tried the Cascadian Farms cereals – had granola bars but not cereal so would love to get 2 boxes.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 8:30 am (#

      That’s a cereal I haven’t had or thought about in oh, about 20 years…and now I want some!

  9. Emily P — July 19, 2012 at 5:17 am (#

    That peach jam looks wonderful!! I happen to LOVE cascadian farms and i would have to say my favorite cereal is Quaker Oat Squares, in any flavor.

  10. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh — July 19, 2012 at 5:32 am (#

    I want to slam my face into those gooey bars. Sigh. I love my vanilla extract. I got my beans in Hawaii and it feels like a taste of the islands with every recipe. Cute utensils from Anthro but man I’ve gotta wait until they have a sale because I got into financial shock otherwise!

  11. katie @ KatieDid — July 19, 2012 at 5:33 am (#

    I had no idea thats how you can make vanilla extract, so interesting! I bet you could get creative with different versions and liquors.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 8:29 am (#

      You can – but like komboucha making, I’d do it AFTER I had my “mother batch” already made; like don’t put orange extract in your main batch type thing.

  12. Erica — July 19, 2012 at 5:37 am (#

    That Jam sounds so good! I’d love to win the cereal! I’m trying various cereals with Kay right now. My favorite cereal of all time? oh gosh…mini wheats. I rarely buy them because I have 0 control ;) I also adore pb puffins

  13. Laura Dembowski — July 19, 2012 at 5:39 am (#

    Those vanilla beans look amazing. I love vanilla. I’ve thought about making vanilla extract before but haven’t because I make so much and the stote bought stuff is of very high quality.

  14. Nutmeg Nanny — July 19, 2012 at 6:03 am (#

    That vanilla bean sampler looks awesome! Oh and now I want some totally expensive lamp…thanks :) Also, congrats to the winner…although I’m sad its’ not me…haha ;)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 8:28 am (#

      It’s amazing you don’t know what you just have to have til you see it online, right? :)

  15. Haley — July 19, 2012 at 6:27 am (#

    I looove Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereals. I have never tried Cascadian Farms. But it looks tasty! (:

  16. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — July 19, 2012 at 6:30 am (#

    2 things:
    -we went to Tahiti on our honeymoon and vanilla bean plants were EVERYWHERE. I seriously contemplated how to smuggle them past customs for days on end. (I didn’t in the end)
    -Ali @ Gimme some oven posted an earl grey peach jam that I absolutely cannot get out of my head. It has to happen this weekend!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am (#

      I’ve seen her jam and have been thinking about it too! And your honeymoon…I would have been more than tempted, too. Probably would have taken action :)

  17. Emily — July 19, 2012 at 6:33 am (#

    i’d have to say my favorite cereal of all time is raisin bran. even when i was a kid. seriously. so good.

  18. Erin — July 19, 2012 at 6:51 am (#

    I love cereal and would love to be entered into your giveaway! I could (and sometimes do) eat a bowl for dinner on busy nights. My favorite is actually good old Kellogg’s corn flakes. They taste a little sweet without tons of added sugar.

  19. Lily — July 19, 2012 at 6:52 am (#

    Hi Avery! I would love to try the cereal you are giving away. I would have to say my favorite cereal of all time is either Honey Bunches of Oats or Reese’s Puffs. My mom never lets us have sugary cereal(and I’m 16 haha) so whenever my brother and I get the chance to eat a bowl at a friends house, we do! :)

  20. Claire — July 19, 2012 at 6:56 am (#

    I love Cascadian Farms cereals but my guilty pleasure is probably Life Cereal… Dry right from the box. :)

  21. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — July 19, 2012 at 7:03 am (#

    I think Skylar is definitely lucky to have you as a top mom :) That serving set from Anthro is so cute!

  22. sally @ sallys baking addiction — July 19, 2012 at 7:28 am (#

    Vanilla bean sampler… want! How incredible. Just think of how those different high quality beans could take your recipes to the next level. I’ve never made my own extract!

    Very interesting about the skim milk incident. You know I love food science and food trivia too Averie! And those puffy PB cookies… and gooey chocolate caramel bars…. mmm I love the looks of both! Have a great Thursday Averie! :)

  23. Rebecca W. — July 19, 2012 at 7:32 am (#

    I’ve recently become obsessed with cinnamon chex cereal! That granola sounds delicious though!

  24. marti — July 19, 2012 at 7:35 am (#

    favorite cereal of all time? does special k bars count? hehe :) yyuuummm… those lamps are gorgeous! oh and milk skin reminds me of my mom making pudding when i was younger! i would scrape it off! she knew i didn’t care for it so after she poured the heated pudding in my bowl she would top it with wax paper..this attaches to the skin and makes it easy to remove

  25. marla — July 19, 2012 at 7:35 am (#

    I need the spoons + those gorgeous lamps! Great finds Averie :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 8:23 am (#

      If only we could have a shopping fairy come and grant us all our wishes, right! :)

  26. Rhyann — July 19, 2012 at 7:35 am (#

    Those vanilla beans are gorgeous! I’ve never cooked with them before but would love to try sometime. And I enjoyed learning about the milk skin too ;)

    I would say my favorite cereal is probably Honey Bunches of Oats. It’s like three cereals in one!

  27. Athena R — July 19, 2012 at 8:00 am (#

    I love those lamps. Would love to try this cereal from Cascadian Farms. I don’t know if I have a favorite cereal anymore. I’ll eat anything as long as it tastes good…haha.

  28. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — July 19, 2012 at 8:08 am (#

    I love your Thursday Things posts. So many good information and tidbits around the interwebs that you put in one place! Those serving tongs? Gorgeous! I wouldn’t want to use them! Also, I love Cascadian Farms granola.. it’s the only one my store that I like and it’s great for “granola beginners” like myself who don’t know about all the versatility granola has to offer! The vanilla almond one is my favorite for putting in parfaits :) Happy Thursday, Averie!

  29. Stefania @ Revitalize with Stefania — July 19, 2012 at 8:12 am (#

    That homemade vanilla tip is GENIUS!

  30. Laura (Tutti Dolci) — July 19, 2012 at 8:16 am (#

    Oh, that vanilla bean sampler looks amazing!

  31. Kris — July 19, 2012 at 8:18 am (#

    I love those serving utensils.

    I have been making chutney lately, several flavors. my Dad is from Hawaii, and when I was growing up Hawaii Grandpa made chutney all the time. He would send some over to us, and my Dad would open the package and immediately eat some with a spoon. So I’ve been making chutney for Dad lately :)

  32. Neena — July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am (#

    I love Honey Bunches of Oats. So addictive!!

  33. Elizabete — July 19, 2012 at 8:39 am (#

    Well, i’d sure like to try those ancient grains cereal ;)
    Also i don’t have one favorite brand of cereal, might be whole grain Cheerios?

  34. Sarah — July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am (#

    I’d like to make a strawberry cheesecake pop!

  35. Sarah — July 19, 2012 at 8:45 am (#

    I followed Zoku on Twitter. @sarahbrodsky

  36. Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats — July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am (#

    I would like to be entered into the Cascaidian Farms giveaway! My all time favorite cereal is Kashi Golean Crunch!

  37. vanillasugarblog — July 19, 2012 at 9:13 am (#

    LOVE the vanilla bean sampler!
    How insanely cute is that?

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 9:34 am (#

      I totally thought of you as I was posting this…perfect for you and your bloggie name :)

  38. Jolene ( — July 19, 2012 at 9:19 am (#

    I really like vanilla extract (only the real stuff), and I also really like using the vanilla beans. My Thursday things:

    – Can’t wait for lunch in the park with friends and a sweet concert!
    – Need to pack for a music festival I am leaving to go to tomorrow
    – Need to pack for Vegas because that will happen right after the music festival
    – I want to find apricot coloured makeup, but no stores I have checked have any – booo!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 9:33 am (#

      I love outdoor music festivals and have fun in Vegas – girl it’s 80-85F in San Diego today and Vegas is usually 20 to 25 degrees hotter. It’s gotta be scorching over there (about a 6 hour drive east). HAVE FUN!!!

  39. Katie — July 19, 2012 at 9:26 am (#

    It’s uncanny, really. I posted about vanilla bean paste yesterday, I was thinking about tomato jam this morning…I can’t find the link, but I did find my recipe for Buttered Corn Ice Cream and Tomato Raspberry Ice Cream. I can’t wait to make those again!

    Bourbon vanilla?!?! YUM.

    I made tomato jam last summer and it was fantastic! I was just out in my garden, taking photos and wishing that there were more fruits. I’ve got a lot of flowers though. I just need to be patient.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 9:32 am (#

      we are always on the same wavelength & I remember those cookies!

      the bourbon vanilla…for $3.99 TJs sells it and if I want a stronger vanilla, that’s my storebought go-to. For “cleaner” vanilla, I either make it or buy it but for bourbon, you really cannot beat the TJs, unless of course you make your own :)

  40. jeanne — July 19, 2012 at 9:47 am (#

    I would love to try that cereal. I’m a serious cereal monster so picking a favorite is hard but I guess I would say Quaker oatmeal squares in brown sugar. Thanks for the giveaway!

  41. Sue/the view from great island — July 19, 2012 at 10:01 am (#

    I’m all over those vanilla beans!

  42. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy — July 19, 2012 at 10:35 am (#

    great post! i love those lamps and that silverware! i love that it’s a spork!! old school meets shabby chic:) I made a delicious Veggie Curry over Millet the other night — it’s Gluten Free, Vegan, and Body Ecology Diet friendly! Have a great day!

  43. Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) — July 19, 2012 at 10:44 am (#

    Can you believe I’ve actually never done anything with a vanilla bean? Yet I absolutely LOVE vanilla bean ice cream. I would love to make vanilla bean chocolate chip cookies!

  44. Jackie @ The Beeroness — July 19, 2012 at 10:55 am (#

    I think I need everything on that list to be a part of my life. Vanilla bean sampler and puffy vanilla cookies and spicy peach jam?? So much win.

  45. Amber K — July 19, 2012 at 11:12 am (#

    I tried another homemade vanilla extract recipe, but it said it should be ready in less than a week. Now I know why it didn’t work AT ALL. I totally need to try again and actually wait the proper amount of time.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm (#

      Yes at least 4 weeks, but the longer the better and like komboucha, you can just keep topping off..continuous brewing method :)

  46. deirdre — July 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm (#

    every time you show those cookies = insta-craving! i would also love that vanilla sampler- great gift idea! cheers!

  47. bakerbynature — July 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm (#

    I want those lamps! I’ve been furniture shopping lately, and it’s been way too much fun ;)

  48. megan — July 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm (#

    Quaker oat squares!

  49. Alysha @Shesontherun — July 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm (#

    I want to be entered in the Cascadian Farms giveaway! My favorite cereal of all time is Blueberry morning by Post. I’m not sure if they even make it anymore. I haven’t seen it in ages.

  50. Marina@ Picnic at Marina — July 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm (#

    Ooh, those spoon looks great, my favorite color. Vanilla? Ooh, yes… I use to make my own extract in brandy, but it’s hard to come by vanilla beans in this parts of the country. Scratch that, vanilla beans in this parts cost like fuel to a NASA space Shuttle…

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