Friday Things

Time for this week’s Friday Things:

1. As you’re reading this, I’m either en route to Barbados or I’ve just arrived!

I’m spending the weekend at the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival, sponsored by Food & Wine


It’s the epicurean event of the season in the Caribbean and I’ll be spending time with famous chefs, including Marcus Samuelsson, Anne Burrell, Paul Yellin and others, watching cooking demos, sampling their food, and of course, drinking rum. Barbados is known as the birthplace of rum.

Here are images from last year’s festival and I have been beyond excited about this trip and will be sure to post about my time there.

2. Thanks to ZipList for including my Cranberry Bliss Bars in their Top 12 Recipes of the Week Roundup

If you’re not familiar with ZipList, I wrote about it in depth here. In a nutshell, it’s a way to save recipes from my blog, as well as any other blog that’s set up with the service, to your own online virtual recipe box.

In the upper right hand corner of the recipe section of my recipe posts, simply click the Save button, and it will take you to your recipe box, where recipes from any blogs you’ve saved are stored.

The service also helps you compile grocery lists based on recipes you’ve saved and also helps alert you to grocery stores in your area that have deals on those items and ingredients.

It’s easy to sign up, free, and the service is so handy. I love seeing Ziplist on other blogs so when I come across an inspiring recipe that I don’t want to forget about, I Save It in my virtual recipe box. Or I Pin It, with exploding pin boards to show from all that inspiration.

3. Italian Ceramic Baking Dish from Sur La Table, on sale for $27.49 which I think is a steal

“Celebrate the harvest season in style with our new Italian Mele ceramics collection. This durable dinnerware is gently antiqued and decorated with bright golden apples (or mele in Italian). Durable earthenware is perfect for baking family-sized casseroles, cobblers, sides and more. Easily goes from oven to tabletop for elegant presentation. 15½” x 10″. Dishwasher safe. Made in Italy.”

I want to bake some Honey Dinner Rolls in it, which are my favorite dinner rolls that I’ve ever had

4. These candles from Anthro, $16 each

Pumpkin Souffle: freshly grated nutmeg and warm pumpkin, combined with rich maple syrup, ginger and sweet vanilla
Apple Brown Sugar: warm apples baked with brown sugar and a hint of spice
Vanilla & Fig: a perfect blend of lush vanilla, orchid petals, figwood and black mission figs
Angel Food: sweet vanilla, butter and caramel combine to create this decadent mixture
Sweet Vanilla & Cinnamon: a comforting blend of nutmeg, vanilla bean and cinnamon crust
Whipped Cream & Pear: a decadent infusion of warm vanilla, fresh pear, whipping cream

Or how about coconut macaroon. Swoon.

Skylar and I were recently at the San Diego Anthro store and she had her five-year old nose buried in the Sweet Vanilla & Cinnamon candle.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree because those are two of my favorite things.

5. Easy vegetable sides are always welcome, including Caramelized Cauliflower which uses just 3 ingredients. The trick is to roast the florets in a hot oven to bring out the natural sugars

Maple-and-Soy-Glazed Acorn Squash – Sweet maple syrup, salty soy and spicy ginger combine to form a rich glaze for thick slices of winter squash in this recipe. Look for gluten-free soy sauce, or substitute tamari

6. I thoroughly enjoyed this Publisher’s Weekly interview with Ina Garten

I love her, her style, her recipes, her unabashed use of butter and pounds worth of brie and triple crème cheese. This statement of her really struck a chord, “When I’m done testing a recipe myself whether it’s five times or twenty-five times, I’ll print out the recipe on a piece of paper and I hand it to my assistant. I watch her make every single recipe. And then I find out what someone with no instruction whatsoever is going to do with the printed word on that page. There isn’t a recipe where she doesn’t do something that surprises me. It’s really just astonishing. You think, ‘How many things can go wrong in a recipe?’ And there is always something!”

Yes, there is always something. Two of my most popular recipes are a smoothie that tastes like an Orange PushUp and crackers dipped in chocolate for a no-bake version of Girl Scout Thin Mints and I always think, what can possibly go wrong with a smoothie and how could opening a box of crackers, melting chocolate, and dipping them cause any issues whatsoever, but I’m always amazed at the emails and comments I get with people who have trouble.

It’s strangely comforting to know that even Ina is surprised by what she sees and hears after all these years. In the interview she advocates keeping it simple, not needing a million side dishes, and to focus on people, not food, when planning events. I couldn’t agree more.

7. Vintage Blacksmith Flatware Caddy, $49 Pottery Barn. Three mango wood coffers are set inside a blackened iron frame to create this handsome caddy, perfect for sharing serving utensils, napkins and flatware. Curved handles make it easy to pass around the table.

This would be so handy at holiday meals where you spend more time passing things than eating.

8. Lifehacker featured my Homemade Peanut Butter in their story, DIY Peanut Butter is Healthier and Tastes Better Than the Stuff You’re Buying Now

Lifehacker is a site devoted to showcasing tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done and is wealth of info my eyes have now been opened to.

9. The hanging chalkboard planter I posted last week is probably a little more impressive, but for $39 this Hanging Bag Planter is a budget-friendly fun option

10. I’ll likely be drinking rum in Barbados this weekend but Bananas Foster Shooters (vegan, GF) are a good way to work more rum into your life in case you need suggestions.

What are your Friday Things?

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

Have you tried Ziplist? Any fun recipes you’re making or thinking about making for Thanksgiving?  Fan of Ina Garten? Rum?

Do tell.

Have a great weekend and stay tuned for a giveaway coming up over the weekend.


  1. I’m more of a tequila girl than rum! ;) Have fun in Barbados!!!

  2. oh my gosh! Have so much fun! Cannot wait to read more about your trip. I’m all about the simple sides too! I think we have a tendency to get into crazyyyyyyyyy sides.

  3. Wow, how fun! Are you there representing your blog? That’s too cool :)

  4. LOVE ina! have a fabulous time in barbados! p.s. trying your honey dinner rolls out this weekend :)

  5. Have such a wonderful weekend in Barbados Averie! That sounds like a lot of fun and I can’t wait to hear about it! Congrats on the Ziplist and Lifehacker features – both very commendable. I’ve been thinking more and more about Ziplist lately. Or some recipe plug in! I love that statement from Ina. It’s very true. Sometimes I wonder how puppy chow can go wrong. But apparently is does! And yes, I love rum. in any form. now I want a daiquiri! sigh. Safe travels my dear friend!

  6. Oh my gosh, Barbados?! Food and wine? Festival?! That sounds awesome. Drink a tropical drink and soak up some sun for all of us!

  7. I love those glasses. And I’m jealous of your trip!!! ;-) Enjoy!

  8. Can’t wait to hear more about Barbados ~ sounds like a blast!

  9. I had no idea you were going to Barbados!! So jealous.

    The hanging planter, the soy/maple glazed winter squash….too many links, too little time!

  10. Rachel @ the Avid Appetite Reply

    I’m so jealous of your trip!! Have the best time and I cannot wait to read the recap!

  11. I wish I was there with you girl! The Daily meal offered up the trip to us, but I thought to myself, how am I going to pull that off. You’re awesome that you got up and went. It would have been so fun if we both could have met up there. Maybe the next sponsored trip?
    I love Ina as well, she is so approachable and thats how I feel you are, and that’s how I want to always be on my blog as well. Approachable is good, snooty is not!
    My girlfriend is trying to covert my site over to wordpress, but I’m not sure if I want to move. It looks to complicated and I am so use to blogger. I am a bit peeved at blogger right now because pinterest keeps going down among other things and it gets frustrating. I also want ziplist and you can’t get that on blogger.

    Oh, I wish I was better with HTML. Have a great trip girl and I can’t wait to hear all bout it.

    • That is crazy that you turned a trip down to Barbados! But as a mom, trust me, MAJOR effort and machinations went on to pull off being gone for 3 days. I get that. Crazy that we could have met up in Barbados rather than CA :)

  12. Barbados?! How fun, soak up the sun for me! :)

  13. Food and wine AND RUM?! I love it!
    Enjoy yourself! :)

  14. Barbados?!?! Lucky you that is awesome…enjoy and dont forget the sunscreen!

  15. Have fun! Have fun! Have fun and drink some extra rum for me!

    I absolutely adore the Contessa – she has always been my favorite and actually was one of the original inspirations that got me into the kitchen so long ago. She is just so thoughtful and intelligent about her cooking, and yet so unfussy at the same time. I had read a similar comment that she made in a previous interview about giving her recipe to someone else and then watching them attept it and I actually think about that when I am developing my own recipes. It’s amazing what you can learn about recipe development and sharing by simply watching someone else cooking…

  16. Whoa! Have an amazing time, Averie!!! I know you will ;)

    And I have every single scent of those anthro candles – Love them so much!!!

  17. Have some rum for me too, please! I need one, really. :) I am so happy and glad that you have a chance to represent your blog on Food and Wine festival. Oh, yes, and rum too! :) Have fun, lots of it and show us some photos, please!

  18. Barbados Food&Wine&Rum Festival?!?! How fun and yummy..and so exciting. I bet you’ll have a blast! I’m excited to report on a successful afternoon of baking the dinner rolls…I had to have a taste and they are delicious. My kitchen smells amazing right now with freshly baked rolls and a pot of stew simmering on the stove. No rum for me today but I did dump a boatload of red wine into that stew! I’m loving the ziplist and am developing a nice collection of recipes.

  19. that looks awesome to be at have so much fun cant wait to read the stories! and those bliss bars look great! and those rolls get me everytime i see a picture i just want to eat them asap, def gotta try them this wknd they look to good not too lol

  20. Wow, Barbados, that’s amazing! I saw those cranberry bliss bars at Starbucks today and almost got one, thought of your blog and recipe when I saw them! The comment by Ina reminds me of the lesson in school when kids have to write directions for making a PB & J! I don’t know how you have the time to do all you do, impressive indeed!

  21. I want all the details, all of them! You are going to have a blast!

  22. Have fun on your trip!

  23. So jealous!!!
    That looks like an incredible festival!

  24. Barbados! I am sooooooooooooo jealous!! Have fun!! I can’t wait to hear all about it! By the way, I want to say Thank you! I LOVE my coffee maker! Love it!!! Enjoy your weekend!!

  25. Have fun at the festival! I can’t wait to read about it. Those candles sound fab. I love candles, but so many if them don’t smell like they’re supposed to.

  26. Ooooh lucky lady! Have so much fun in Barbados!!!!

    And congrats on all the awesome features and such! :)

  27. Oh, Barbados!! A place I’ve have always, always wanted to visit (or live!). Just the name evokes scrumptious exotic food, lush greenery, and turquoise water! I’m sure you’re already on a beach, sipping on a rummy cocktail! :D Have fun! And congrats on making Ziplist’s top 12!

    Also, I love Ina even more for painstakingly going through each recipe. Not all celebrity chefs bother to check everything…I’ve had a handful of flops from Martha Stewart’s site. o_O

    Thanks for the Pin! (=

  28. I subscribe to your email list!

  29. Love Ina Garten. My mother and I always give each other Ina cookbooks for Christmas. We like her recipes because they don’t involve a ton of ingredients. I’ve never made one of her recipes that didn’t turn out and perhaps it’s that extra step with the assistant.

  30. I recently started using ZipList and I LOVE it! I didn’t know you could do so much with it though! Thanks to your post I have learned how to better utilize it! :)

    xoxo Nikki

  31. Have a great time in Barbados! I’m so jealous that you’re out there!

    Oh and that Vintage Blacksmith Flatware Caddy is a must-have!

  32. Oooooo – I’m so jealous of your Barbados trip! I honeymooned there a couple years ago – incredible food and drinks! Have a great time – can’t wait to see pictures.

  33. Barbados!! Nice!! I hope you had a great time :-)

  34. wow have fun…and congrats on the articles! i love that silverware holder!

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