Weekend Things

Time for an installment of Weekend Things:

1. I’m en route to Aruba and we’ll be at our house there for the month of December.

We spend December there every year and by the time you read this, I’ll likely have been up for about 36 hours and passed through many airports with a five-year-old in tow.

Red-eyes are well worth this view.

Daily recipe posts will continue, with more no-bake recipes, plenty of white chocolate, and maybe more banana bread recipes, which are things I seem to make in abundance when I’m there.

2. I was featured in a two page spread in the December/January print issue of Bust magazine.

They contacted me months ago about wanting to use my homemade Thin Mints (no-bake, vegan) recipe in the issue.

At the time I remember thinking, wow the holidays seem so far off.

But time flies and the holiday season is here, along with my recipe and name in the magazine.

Opening a print magazine and thumbing through it and seeing my name and recipe on the pages is both surreal and wonderful.

And a big thanks to Bust for the feature.

If you’re looking for a hip, fun and fierce magazine with a bit of an edge, and one that proudly celebrates women with features and stories that go a bit deeper than ‘Ten Tricks for Flatter Abs’, check out Bust.

3. Along with the homemade theme of the cookies, there’s this Butter-Making Kit, $29.95 from Williams-Sonoma. Normally I am not into kits or anything that’s gimmicky, and although you could assemble these items on your own, I think it’s a fair price and the kit would make for a gift that keeps on giving.

You supply the cream and the kit can be used again and again for an endless supply of butter, for both a practical gift and one that connects us to how food is made.

4. And while you’re at it, make some Homemade Peanut Butter – Ridiculously easy and fast and in less than ten minutes you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing this all your life. It’s world’s apart from storebought

Or make Homemade Vanilla Extract – Much more cost-efficient and flavorful than storebought extract and mindlessly easy. The brewing cycle alive indefinitely by topping off the brewing jar as you use your extract and every so often swapping out for new vanilla beans

5. Square Paisley Appetizer Dishes, Set of 4 for $34 from Nordstrom, and they’re ceramic not plastic

6. Raw Eggs – I don’t know why this never dawned on me, but pasteurized eggs are safe to eat raw. Although people in other cultures eat raw eggs, Americans tend to be pretty uptight when it comes to ingesting them. Pasteurization to the rescue.

“Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs are pasteurized in our all-natural, gentle water bath pasteurization process to eliminate the risk of Salmonella. The vast majority of eggs sold in grocery stores are not pasteurized. Safest Choice™ offers peace of mind when making recipes calling for raw or undercooked eggs, and removes the worry of cross contamination. Learn more about our pasteurization process and find store locations.”

7. Slow Cookers vs. Dutch Ovens – A conversion guide with pros and cons to each.

I have both and almost never use my slow cooker and don’t use my Dutch oven nearly as often as I use my cast iron skillet.

8. The Huffington Post featured two of my recipes on Slide 2 and Slide 6 in the in their Gingerbread Recipes for Holiday Baking story

Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies

and Cookie Butter Spread Ginger Molasses Cookies (No Bake, Vegan, with GF option)

9. Reclaimed Wood Coffee Table, $699 from Crate & Barrel – “At once rugged and modern, Seguro unites reclaimed Peroba wood with refined mahogany in a unique design. Solid mahogany supports form the table legs as they band the complex, rustic marquetry top. The inherent differences in the woods are heightened by contrasting natural and ebony finishes. Each table is unique.”

10. Gentle Folding Stops Tough Quick Breads and Brownies and these photos show the differences, and is why I remind everyone, myself included, not to overmix batter and dough.

The brownie on the left is a compact, tender, perfectly fudgy brownie with properly folded, batter.

In the center, the overfolded sample was relatively cakey and tough.

And on the right, the sample whisked with a stand mixer was ‘the worst batch of fudgy brownies ever. They baked up almost twice as tall as the properly folded batch and offered serious resilience.

I never make brownies using a stand mixer, just a whisk, and I melt the butter in the microwave with chocolate, add the sugars, eggs, splash of coffee to enhance the chocolate flavor; flour, and whisk until just combined.

It’s really the simplest brownie recipe and yields fudgy, dense, rich brownies every time. The recipe is as easy as using a boxed mix with far better taste. Nutella swirls and cream cheese frosting optional, but recommended.

What are your Weekend Things?

Do you use a slow cooker? Have a great pancake or brownie recipe? Ever made your own butter or are you making any holiday gifts this year?

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

I’ll be unpacking and getting settled into the island flow of life after a twenty-two hour journey to Aruba. Putting the key in the lock the first time after being away for months is always interesting because I never know what’s going to have gone haywire in my absence. And then it’s off to many grocery stores to obtain holiday baking staples, and of course, the beach.


  1. Congrats on being featured in so many publications! What a great compliment to your work. :)

  2. Well, it’s definitely worth it. Just take a look at these pictures. Beautiful. Congrats on this huge success and enjoy! :)

  3. Aruba for a month! {Jealously} Now if I could only convince my company to let me work remotely during the cold months ;) Enjoy the gorgeous weather – looking forward to your recipes!

  4. Have fun in Aruba! I think I have mentioned pasteurized eggs from Davidson to you before. They are all I use when baking and are a lifesaver! One less thing I have to worry about.

  5. Wow, a house in Aruba, and to go there for an entire month, especially during a cold and snowy month!?!?! I am definitely envious! Looking forward to your Aruba inspired cooking in December.

  6. have a blast in aruba!!! and congrats on all your features! :)

    oh and those cookie butter cookies? to. die. for.

  7. Aruba and a 2-page spread?
    Life is good my dear!
    Have fun. I am so tempted to come join you and rehab my knee in the sun.

  8. I made some delicious mocha brownies that came out super moist!

  9. Congrats on your recipes being featured, that’s awesome! Great list and have a blast in Aruba!

  10. Congrats, Enjoy Aruba, still looking to make our first trip there!

  11. Lucky girl, Arbua’s on my travel list!

  12. Have a great time in Aruba!!! Can’t wait to hear about it!

  13. Aruba!!! Take me please I wanna go sounds so lovely especially during the winter!!!

  14. Congratulations on having your recipes featured! I made the cc cookies in the toaster oven and was happy with the results. I’m used to my gas oven so I had to really watch them but I managed not to over bake them…and I now have a new favorite cc cookie recipe. The cornstarch does make a nice difference! Have a great time in Aruba and I’m looking forward to see what you are creating!

  15. Congrats on BUST! And I am going to get to making those sweet and salty pretzels- Enjoy Aruba!!!

  16. I LOVE Aruba! That’s where my husband and I honeymooned. The food there is fantastic =)

  17. My word you have good taste! I’ll have one of everything please. ;)

    May you get to Aruba all safe and sound! (Heck, you’re probably already there because I just commented after you on Kath’s blog. How was your trip?)

  18. Another December in Aruba where I get to drool over your gorgeous pictures from snow filled Chicago! I can’t believe how quickly the year as flown by!

  19. I’m so jealous that you have a house in Aruba (although my grandma has a 2 condos-1 on top of the other-in Treasure Cay in the Bahamas so…I prob. have no room to talk lol).

    Congrats on all the features esp that amazinggg magazine article! You so deserve it :)

  20. You’ve probably already arrived by the time you read this, but just in case, have a safe trip. I’ll be thinking of you with envy whilst wrapped up in my Snuggie and shivering. :D

    Congrats on the Bust magazine feature! (The photos look stunning!)

    Have fun! xo

  21. Congrats on your publications. I am fairly new to your blog. I am looking forward to making some of your cookies during my annual family cookie bake. You have inspired me to make my own vanilla extract. It won’t be ready for baking this year, but I will be making lots up to hand out to the bakers so they can use next year. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and beautiful pictures which accompany all your blogs! Have a wonderful time in Aruba!

  22. What a wonderful space you have here, love it! I am crazy about all things food & photography related so I stumbled across your blog and have been hooked for hours. I love your photography tips and hints, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

    Have a great trip!

  23. Congrats on the feature in Bust Magazine! Enjoy your time in Aruba, I am insanely jealous of the clear blue water and sunny blue skies. In Seattle, we have had gray and more gray.

  24. Have an amazing trip, I feel a little envious as I sit here in the gloomy rain in Oregon. We once did a 2 week cruise in December through the Carribean and it was so warm and gorgeous. Great time to be there.

  25. First of all, congrats on being featured in Bust! The spread looks absolutely gorgeous! And I’m a little jealous of Aruba, but I think I would miss the snow at Christmas time.

  26. Congrats on all of your features; that is amazing. Have a fabulous time in the sunshine! xoo

  27. Have an amazing time in Aruba!

  28. That coffee table is gorgeous! I wish there was a Crate and Barrel in my city. We have no good stores here.

  29. Awesome! Congrats on getting publish in a magazine! Also those blue ocean shots are amazing, makes me want to fly down south stat!

  30. SO glad you made it to Aruba safe and sound and bring on the white chocolate and no bake recipes! Did you make your white chocolate pb puppy chow in aruba last year? I know you made your saltine toffee last year in aruba too – what a killer recipe that is. Congrats on the BUST feature! Are those step-by-step shots yours? What an honor girl! And congrats on the molasses cookies/Huff Post feature as well! You are on practically every HuffPost slide feature, and I love it. Adding vanilla extract to my next homemade PB – yep, that’s happening!!!! Glad your PB recipe came back to life – it’s my most-made recipe in the kitchen! Well.. “recipe” lol

    • I made the white choc puppy chow and white choc fudge last year here at this time, yes! And the saltine toffee, too. That recipe all of a sudden has come back to life. Must be a seasonal thing.

      The step-by-steps are not mine; they wanted to shoot their own and thanks for the HuffPo congrats.

      Yes, add vanilla to your homemade PB, just kicks it up a notch! And sometimes I’ll separate batches of it and add a ridic amt of cinnamon or white choc chips or whatever…so good!

  31. Congratulations on being published! Yey! Let me do a happy dance for you….
    OK, now, what was the question?
    Sometimes I think of getting a slow cooker, but don’t have one now. I do use my Dutch oven almost every day though, that’s a must have in my kitchen! :)

  32. have a great trip! jealous of those tropical views :)

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  34. safe travels…I am just getting caught up on blog posts from our trip to Punta Cana…can never get enough of the beaches! Love the tip on brownies…I did not know that…and slightly bummed since I love my stand mixer :-( but I love brownies so I will use my whisk!!! And congrats on the 2 page spread that is awesome girl!!!!!

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  37. My only time of making my own butter is when, as a new bride, my husband wanted real whipped cream for a pumpkin pie. Well, I mixed it a bit to much and got – BUTTER – unsalted and all!

  38. congrats on your publications!

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  42. With those gorgeous blue waters beckoning you from the window, your holiday appears destined for magical times, Averie.

    Congratulations on all your publication successes and thank you for sharing your gifts and goodies for and from the kitchen.

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