Thursday Things

Time for this week’s Thursday Things:

1. The Huffington Post named me as one of The Best Food Bloggers: HuffPost’s Top 10 Picks

I’m honored to have been chosen. Some fellow bloggers whom I’ve gotten to know over the years are also on the list, making it even nicer to be named among friends. I never would have thought I’d be seeing my name on a list like this, but I’m very grateful and highly appreciative. Seriously, I am humbled.

I’m on Slide 7 of 11

2. 10 Tips, no matter the recipe, to bake a better chocolate chip cookie, including don’t overmix, chill the dough, use a cookie scoop.

I thought this point is particularly interesting with regard to not using fancy butter: “When you swap regular butter for European style without otherwise changing the recipe, the cookies wind up with more fat than the flour can reasonably absorb, giving them a greasy mouthfeel.”

I bake all my cookies, including these Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, with Trader Joe’s unsalted sticks of butter, $2.99 for a pound which suits me just fine. Kerrygold is my splurge butter but I generally don’t bake with it; it’s for eating on things rather than baking with.

3. I wrote a Baking Supplies post nearly a year ago about some of the things I use and do to make cookie-baking results as optimal as possible.

4. Monday, October 8 was National Fluffernutter Day. I didn’t know this until Glamour Magazine featured my Fluffernutter Smoothie

5. I’ve been baking more cakes lately and I want this Fondant Marble Cake Stand, Anthro $128. Even if your cake isn’t perfect looking or perfect tasting, I’m sure that putting it under the glass dome of white marble and carved sheesham wood pedestal would make anything look more beautiful and taste more fabulous.

6. Do you consider yourself to be a positive person? 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

7. Olive Wood Paddle Boards, $19 to $39 at West Elm which is a steal and they can be monogrammed.

“Gorgeous grains. Beautiful marbling, amazing durability and warm, earthy tones—three reasons to go with olive wood for your next wine and cheese party. As functional as they are decorative, these boards can be monogrammed with different letters to separate veggies from meat or gluten-free from wheat.”

8. I’ve started baking bread. Real bread with yeast instead of quick breads and I’ve been having so much fun. I have recipes coming in the weeks ahead for bread and if you’ve ever feared yeast and real bread-making with yeast, don’t. If I can pull it off, so can you because generally speaking, I have the patience of a two-year old and always thought that bread-making was an exercise in waiting around and a big production and wouldn’t it just be easier and faster to buy a loaf at the store. I’m here to say I wish I had started baking bread years ago because it’s incredibly rewarding and the process is gratifying. But in the meantime, make this bread if you need a seasonally-appropriate quickie quick bread.

9. This pink Cuisinart soft serve ice cream maker is on sale for $100 at Neiman Marcus. I think that’s a stellar deal and I’d love it.

10. Chunky throws on sale for $37.90 at Nordstrom. Another thing I’d love. But I also need to buy groceries, pay Skylar’s tuition, and not run up my credit card on ice cream makers and cute blankets. Darn.

What are your Thursday Things?

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

Do you have any tips or tricks to baking the perfect cookie?

In general, I get better results when I cream the butter rather than melt it, but I love the flavor of  butter that’s been browned, cooled, and incorporated into cookie dough. However, I never get quite the thickness I want in my cookies if I melt the butter compared to creaming it. It’s a flavor versus texture trade-off.

Chilling the dough is mandatory. Above all else, if you do one thing, chill it before baking. Chilled dough spreads less and your cookies will bake up thicker, chewier, puffier, denser, and just better with dough that both has had a chance to rest and chill. Most cookie dough can be chilled for up to four days or so before being baked off which gives you time to mix it up, chill it, and then bake the cookies off at your leisure over the next few days.

I always use a cookie scoop because it ensures domed mounds of a uniform size. I linked my $3.99 el cheapo scoop in this post. I recently bought an Italian-made scoop at Williams-Sonoma and it’s fine but I’m not sure if it’s as amazing as it should be for the price; however it’s growing on me the more I use it.

Are you a bread-maker? Would you like to learn? Fave recipe?

If you have anything at all to say about bread or a fave recipe, please speak up and link up. I’m all ears because I’m learning as I go.

Thanks for the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies + Book Giveaway entries

   

71 Responses to “Thursday Things”

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    Ellen — October 11, 2012 at 12:52 am

    So terrific you got recognized by the Huffington, congrats! You should get that pink ice cream maker as a reward present to yourself.
    As for my Thursday things, how about muffins and a pretty milkshake?:)
    http://scrumptiousgruel.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/boyfriends-and-bran/

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 9:06 am

      The muffins, and the shake, look great! I like the way you think regarding rewards :)

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    Michelle @ Eat Move Balance — October 11, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Congrats on the recognition in both the Huffington Post and Glamour! Nice work! :)

    I finally posted my healthy pumpkin bread recipe that I had mentioned a while back: http://eatmovebalance.com/protein-pumpkin-bread/

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 9:01 am

      It’s funny that you adapted the recipe from Cory, who does the tech side of things for me on my site!

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    Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit — October 11, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Wow, this is awesome news, Avie! Congrats :)

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    lindsay — October 11, 2012 at 4:08 am

    you my dear are amazing! Well deserved recognition. What took them so long?

    xxoo

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Can’t believe we’ve known each other since the beginning, too! 4 years and counting :)

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    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum — October 11, 2012 at 4:30 am

    I saw you on that list and had to stop by to say congrats. ;) And your photos are looking as gorgeous as ever!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Thanks, Lindsay, for stopping by and the compliments! Means a lot regarding my photos coming from you and your gorgeous images!

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    Heather (Where's the Beach) — October 11, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Look at you all famous ;-) I love it! I enjoy making breads, but I will readily admit that usually I let my bread machine do the work of kneading and rising then I’ll take it out, shape, and bake it. I’ve played around with several recipes over the years to get them how I like. But, there is definitely something to be said for true artisan bread.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Thanks, Heather! And that’s good to know you make bread, in a machine or otherwise. I guess I didn’t even know that about you or somehow have missed that in all your posts over the years!

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    Paula — October 11, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Congratulations on being chosen as a top 10 food blogger!! Your passion for this is evident in so many ways–from the time you’ve put in to your photography and blog, and all the hours you spend in the kitchen to give us great recipes. I don’t make a lot of yeast bread, but once you dive in and do it a couple of times, it’s pretty easy. I like dense,rustic whole wheat loaves and my favorite recipes are from the Williams Sonoma kitchen library series (simply titled “Breads”). I tend to use fast rise yeast to save a little time and I am diligent about making sure my liquids are in the correct temperature range. I might just have to make a loaf to go with that soup tomorrow!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 9:04 am

      Thank you for the kind words and for commenting on every post, Paula! And you, and maybe 3 or 4 other women, to my knowledge or at least the ones who tell me about it, make more of my recipes than anyone else and I appreciate that! I wouldn’t do all this if I didn’t want people to actually make the food :)

      That’s so funny you mention the W-S ‘Breads’ series b/c I was googling some recipes last nite and came across one from W-S. Not from that series but it’s a W-S recipe and I feel like I can trust it even more now!

      Reply

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    Cassie | Bake Your Day — October 11, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Congrats on the list, so happy to be there with amazingly talented people! And those olive wood boards – amazing!

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    jackie @ marin mama cooks — October 11, 2012 at 6:41 am

    CONGRATULATIONS Averie! You deserve it girl. You work so hard on your blog, posting every day and all. I’m proud of you ☺ What I love about you is that you connect to your readers. You don’t just put out posts, but you interact with your readers and answer questions and keep lines of communication open. I have been to many blogs and asked questions about a recipe or what not, and I have never gotten a response or even seen them respond to anyone else’s question. I think it’s important to answer at least a recipe question. That’s what I love about you and your blog, your honest and open and friendly! I hope someday that we can connect in person. I’m sure we would get along famously!

    I love the chocolate chip cookie tips. I’m definitely going to try the different types of chocolate and topping the baked cookies with some extra chocolate. I did that on my last skillet cookie and it made it look so pretty and the chocolate chips did stay glossy.

    I can’t wait to see your from scratch bread recipes. I have been talking about making homemade bread for sometime, (were talking years) and I still haven’t gotten the courage to do it. Zoe and I are working on a cooking with kids post this weekend and she wants to make homemade pretzels. Those require yeast, so wish us luck as it will be our first times using yeast.

    Ok, my birthday boy is up! I gotta sing him a song!

    Have a great day Averie and congrats on your amazing week ☺
    Jackie

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 8:59 am

      What a lovely comment, and as always, your support means the world, Jackie! I too know about the blogs that you read, ask a question, get nothing back. Or leave 100 comments and they never reply to one or you’re not quite sure if they know you exist from any of the other readers they have, even after years of reading.

      Good to know you tried the glossy chip trick. Every once in awhile I do things kind of like that just on 1 piece or 1 or two items that I know will be photographed, hand insert chocolate, crumble topping, breadcrumbs, etc. I stage my ‘hero food’ as it’s called in food styling books so it’s primed for the camera.

      Your bread-making sounds fun! The only reason I didn’t begin with pretzels is I know that you have to boil them to really get a nice finish and after all that work, I don’t even want to deal with boiling. I’ll let you go first :) LMK!

      Reply

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    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — October 11, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Congrats on your feature, Averie! That’s so exciting and deserving–your blog is simply stunning and I am so glad I’ve found you and come to get to know you through this crazy world of blogging :) celebrate by buying that soft-serve machine which, OMG, is sooooo going on my Christmas list this year. Holy cowabunga.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 8:53 am

      You better get it now. It’s on sale and by xmas, they’ll have replaced pretty pink with shiny red. Tis the jingle bell season. And it’s awesome to have connected with you, too, Hayley! Your dessert posts and creations always make me smile to see what creative thing you’ve come up with next! :)

      Reply

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    mary @ what's cookin with mary — October 11, 2012 at 7:33 am

    WOW ! That’s such an accomplishment!! You put a lot of time and effort into your blog Averie & it shows. Very very cool. Congrats girl!!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 8:52 am

      Thanks and we’ve known each other since the beginning – almost 4 years I’d say. Wow! :)

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    Erin@LawStudentsWife — October 11, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Averie, CONGRATS on the feature! That is wonderful!

    Excited to see your upcoming bread posts! I’ve just started getting into baking my own bread, and you are right: it is SO approachable and seriously anyone can do it! Every the worst bread you bake at home would beat the crust off anything commercially produced!

    This is a good post to pump up beginnings (or pros!) to tackle this Rosemary Olive Oil bread. It’s whole wheat and makes your house smell AMAZING. Hope you enjoy!

    http://www.thelawstudentswife.com/2012/10/rosemary-olive-oil-bread.html

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 8:51 am

      That little round looks easy and do-able – but I really want your cinn rolls. Now THAT’S the bread I’m coveting!

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    Ed — October 11, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Congrats on your success and making the list!! That is a hella cool accomplishment!

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    theresa @ aspoonfulofsunshine — October 11, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Congrats Averie! Yes, I am a bread-maker but only via a bread machine. I am a little scared to attempt it all by myself! Those chunky throws from Nordy’s look like something I would love to snuggle up in!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Well at least you’re making bread, machine or otherwise!

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    bev @ bevcooks — October 11, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Congrats on the Huff, lady! Noice jorb!

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    Erica — October 11, 2012 at 8:25 am

    CONGRATSSSSSSSSS!!!

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    Elaine — October 11, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Congrats on the HuffPost and Glamour features!! That is such an accomplishment-one that you absolutely deserve!

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

    I am getting one of those Olive wood boards! so cute! And Congrtas on your success, I love ur blog!

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    angela @ Canned Time — October 11, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Wow, no one better deserving of such recognition Averie. I ditto Jackie’s comments about how you relate to your readers. I could write a book full of items that I now make regularly that I’ve found on your blog: peanut butter, mustard, so many cookies and smoothies! Congrats!
    And now I have to change the subject over to the Olive cutting boards………I lost out on a bid for another more expensive one a few months ago on Ebay so when I saw your picture, I had to check them out. The olive wood is gorgeous. I got the small one and it had free shipping even. The Ebay board was over $40 so I’m no longer sad I missed out on it. Can’t wait to get it and I think it would make a great gift as well.
    Thanks so much for all you share with us Averie! :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 12th, 2012 at 1:11 am

      Thank you for this sweet comment and for your support and enthusiastic spirit over the years – your comments are a joy to read! Thank you for all of them!

      And I am so glad you got that board. Now I need to get one! I have been burned so often on Ebay, too. Sadly, I seem to win when the item is overpriced and a week later I’ll see something for a fraction, i.e. these boards. Tell me how you like it once it arrives!

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    Rachel Cooks — October 11, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Congrats on all the fun recognition! You deserve it!

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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — October 11, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Congrats on the HuffPost feature!! Oh I love that marble cake stand too, gorgeous!

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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Congrats on the huffington post feature! I was so happy to see you there because you really are one of my favorite bloggers too :) And I totally need to get that cuisinart ice cream maker! My kitchenaid is pink so it’ll go so well with my pink kitchen decor :)

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    Katie — October 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    First of all, CONGRATS!! You are so famous!!! All accolades are very well deserved indeed!

    I always use a cookie scoop, as you know and have been for years. Every cookie is baked and shaped the same. It appeals to my Type A personality. ;)

    I used to bake all my own bread. For years and years, up until I found out I couldn’t eat gluten anymore. Now I rarely think about it, but I do miss that fresh from the oven smell. Oh, man I miss it. I’m hungry now.

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    Christine (The Raw Project) — October 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Congrats on The Huffington Post and Glamour, that’s awesome! Amazing how your blog has grown in the last couple of years!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      It’s been a fun ride and we’ve known each other since the beginning!

      Reply

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    Jackie @ The Beeroness — October 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Congrats on the Huff list! Very well deserved. And I’ve totally been lusting after those olive wood boards. I need one.

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    sally @ sallys baking addiction — October 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    So many wonderful things on this thursday’s round miss Averie! First, a very well deserved CONGRATS for scoring the top ten favorite food bloggers list! Such an amazing and credible accomplishment, just be being your blogging self! Incredible. guess what? I’ve read that ten tips on a better chocolate chip cookie before! can’t believe I never sent it to you! I saw it on FG. Love the tip of using different shapes and kinds of chocolate. I have to try that out! I always use my grovery’s brand butter, nothing fancy! A glamour feature!!! you go girl. Another stellar mention from a super credible source. You are on FIRE and there’s a reason for it! So much hard work lately. I want that ice cream maker. I want those chunky fuzzy blankets. I want those super cheap wooden planks from west elm!!!!!!!!! Ugh. I need more money!

    the perfect cookie – you know my standards. ;)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      Thanks for all your sweet words and support! I wish I didn’t have so many cookies on hand right now or I’d be baking some…trust me, I have the urge! Just not the need :)

      Reply

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    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — October 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I saw that article earlier and was so happy to see your name in it!! Congrats!! On the bread making, just pulled out pumpkin yeast bread out of the oven – divine!!!

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    Nicole @ Culinary Cool — October 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Congrats on the well-deserved recognition from Huntington Post!
    And a baby pink ice cream maker…hook me up!

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    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — October 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I saw you on Huffington Post the other day – Congrats!!! What a huge accomplishment

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    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — October 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Where do I start?? First – congrats on the nod from Huffington Post. You deserve it. Secondly, pass me a cookie and boy are those wood boards gorgeous!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      Thanks Rachel. Can I have one of your muffins? Been seeing them everywhere all day today!

      Reply

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    Anna @ On Anna's Plate — October 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Look at you, blowing up all over the place! Congrats, girl!! Can’t wait to see some of that bread you’ve been baking… :-)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      You make some great bread – wish I could get a tutorial from you :)

      Reply

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    Michele Sparrow — October 11, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Aren’t you just loved all over the world wide web??! Congrats on your Huff post recognition – so great!! – and for your flutternutter smoothie in Glamour! You deserve it, Averie! (You deserve that ice cream maker, too!) ;-)

    Reply

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    Nicole — October 12, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Great list and congrats on the features.
    My dad worked at a bakery during college to help pay tuition – he still breaks out the yeast and flour at times to make fresh bread. The thing I’ve learned when trying my own hand at bread baking was to not bake on a humid day!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 12th, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I am quickly learning that, too. Too easy to incorporate too much flour into that wetter than usual dough!

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    Jennifer Osborn — October 12, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Congrats on the Huffington Post and Glamour press! You deserve it.
    I’m not a big bread baker. I make maybe a loaf or two a year. But when I want to bake bread specifically for sandwiches, I really like Baking Bites recipe for soft yogurt sandwich rolls. They’ve turned out perfectly every time and everybody loves them.
    http://bakingbites.com/2008/04/soft-yogurt-sandwich-rolls/

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 12th, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Those look awesome and love how soft it looks like the yogurt makes them!

      Reply

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    Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings — October 12, 2012 at 6:10 am

    CONGRATS!!!!

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    Valerie — October 12, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Congratulations on making the Huffington Post!

    What a great post! It allowed me to play catch-up on all the things that I’ve been missing out on. And I admit that I stared at your recipe supplies photo for a good 2 minutes (baking supplies make me feel like kid in a candy store)! Also, I just added an olive wood paddle board to my holiday wish list! :D

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 12th, 2012 at 9:39 am

      I love baking supplies. Like, I should not even go into BB & Beyond, Williams-Sonoma, or cooking stores b/c I never want to leave! Glad you enjoyed the catch-up post:)

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    CJ at Food Stories — October 12, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Congrats on the HuffPost Feature, Averie :-)

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    Laura Dembowski — October 12, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Congrats on the Huffington Post and Glamour! I love baking bread and am always surprised at how easy it is. I always use a cookie scoop for cookies, though sometimes I get overzealous and over scoop them anyway ;)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 12th, 2012 at 9:36 am

      I love that you’re into bread baking! I wish I had started years ago! But no time like the present!

      Reply

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    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — October 12, 2012 at 11:03 am

    1. CONGRATULATIONS on your VERY well-deserved mentions in HF as well as Glamour!! You are seriously the hardest working blogger lady I know and I am so happy when someone else recognizes that about you! And the photos that were featured are also perfect representations of your lovely visual style, as well as your healthier approach to sweets. Just fantastic – kudos to YOU!

    2. As usual, we’re on a prop mind-meld – I seriously sat in the home goods section of my local Anthro yesterday just STARING at those reclaimed wood boards. I. Want. Them. So Badly. The cake stands too. I’m thinking resistance is going to be futile and if I have a good week next week, I’ll likely be celebrating with a board or a cake stand.

    3. Sorry I always end up leaving lists everytime I comment – I just have so much to say.

    Cheers, friend!!! :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 12th, 2012 at 11:43 am

      1. They chose the photos so I’m glad to hear you think they represent me and yes, you know I put more than 5 mins a day into my blog & photography :) and thank you for your kind words and friendship…always!

      2. Anthro stores are a dangerous place. I cannot go in unless I have money to burn, b/c I burn it fast in there!

      Reply

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    Jenny — October 12, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Well, you really are a great food blogger, so congrats. You always offer plenty to choose from. I’ve been very absent from commenting since I had my last baby, but I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. I sooo want that pink soft serve machine.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 12th, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Thanks for re-appearing, Jenny! And congrats on your new baby. I cannot imagine blogging with a new baby. Mine was about 18 mos when I started and I couldnt imagine blogging the way some of these ladies do right away with a newborn and no sleep!

      Reply

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    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — October 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    WOW!!! Congratulations on being chosen in the top ten! That is awesome!

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    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance — October 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Congrats! What an amazing opportunity to have so many fabulous features. It is well deserved and know that you will have many to come in the near future.

    I adore those olive wood boards!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — October 13th, 2012 at 10:09 am

      Thanks, Christina, for all your support over the years, too!

      Reply

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