Friday Things

Time for an installment of Friday Things:

1.Looking for healthier holiday appetizers? Check out the Healthy Holiday Appetizers story on the Huffington Post

And a big thanks to them for showcasing three of my recipes

Spinach & Artichoke Dip – Fat-Free, Vegan, and can be served warm or cold. A lightened up version of spinach and artichoke dip for those of us who like a cracker or two with our bowl of dip


Rosemary Chipotle Roasted Almonds (Vegan, GF) – Easy to make in advance of a party or make as guests are arriving, and they make your house smell incredible in the process

Roasted Grapes and Balsamic Reduction with Cheese and Crackers – I could drink balsamic reduction and anything it touches I want more of, including roasted grapes and aged cheddar

2. Libbey Country Fair 16-Ounce Drinking Jar with Handle, Set of 12, $21.40 – So cheap I did a double take. And ordered a dozen.

  • Twelve 16-ounce; handled glass mugs with lug finish and imprinted with a handsome rooster and the words “Country Fair Drinking Jar”
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Lug finish so mug can be used as storage container
  • Ideal for either hot or cold beverages and soups


I want to fill up a mug with Peppermint White Hot Chocolate


Or with Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix


3. Weekend Project: Chocolate Truffles– From Williams-Sonoma, “Make the truffles this weekend and store them in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to 3 months (though we’re betting they won’t last that long). Here’s our foolproof recipe, plus a few ideas for creative, delicious variations.”

4. Speaking of cocoa powder, have you ever wondered if the pricey, high-end varieties are worth it?

Cooks Illustrated tested supermarket cocoa powder

Because I trust their opinions so much, I am inclined to just go with their winner and recommendation and it’s what my mother and grandmother used, and save money in the process. Then again, my usual cocoa powder is from Trader Joe’s, which doesn’t break the bank.

5. Poppy Ring Baking Pan, $36 from Anthropologie. Food is destined to taste better when it’s baked in this.

And there’s matching pieces. I’m a sucker for a cute matching sets of anything, especially cookware.

6. Brite Pink {Neon} 7″ Wood Bowl, $32 from Wind and Willow Home. “Beautifully refined wooden bowl, carefully hand dipped in an electric, transparent neon pink. The colored portion is a soft rubbery plastic which makes them durable and non-slip. The wood is left natural.” Each bowl is hand-dipped.


7. Honeycrisp Apple Conserve, $13.95 from Spoon, ” Our Honeycrisp Apple Conserve melds carefully diced cubes of sweet apple with the traditional warming notes of star anise and the delicate spice of white pepper. Its warm sweet-spiciness is a deliciously sophisticated accompaniment to both sweets and savories. Serve Honeycrisp Apple Conserve with warm banana bread, blue cheese, or pork tenderloin for impressive holiday entertaining.”

They have tons of condiments, relishes, jellies, jams, and preserves I’d love to get my hands on.

I never say no to preserves or anything jelly-filled.


8. I don’t want to say no to these Party Cat Sweatpants, $117 from Shopbop, but I probably should. So cute though.


9. Have you created a Ziplist virtual recipe box yet? I wrote in detail about it here. Save all those great recipes you come across online and want to file away for a rainy day, from any site with Ziplist installed. Your recipes are stored in one place and I like going through my box when I don’t exactly know what I want to make, and knew there were things I saw, but couldn’t remember. Ziplist reminds me of all the gems I collected earlier. Same with my Pinterest boards.

Thanks to Ziplist for featuring my Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies in their Top 12 Recommendations of the Week

10. This week on Pinterest my Chocolate Saltine Toffee, i.e. Christmas Crack, has been going gangbusters. I made it exactly one year ago to the date. Time flies when you’re having melted chocolate.


What are your Friday Things? Doing any holiday baking this weekend? Favorite cocoa powder? Cute dishes or loungewear you’ve seen?

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

Have a great weekend and stay tuned for two delicious giveaways over the weekend!


  1. Congrats on the recipes that made HuffPo, that’s awesome! I totally want to try out the roasted grapes with cheese and crackers, delicious. I don’t have any plans for baking this weekend, but I do next week. Perhaps I’ll make myself some white peppermint hot chocolate to keep me company as I cook. Have a festive Friday! :)

  2. Interesting information about the cocoa powders. Thanks for sharing. I wish they had compared our TJ’s cocoa and also the raw cacao powder I always keep on hand (I think it’s NOW brand?).

    Happy Friday!

  3. Congrats on your features in the Huffington Post! The roasted almonds are calling my name now!!

  4. You’ll love the color difference in Hershey’s Special Dark. Here’s the difference in some avocado pudding I made:

  5. I use the Hersheys dark cocoa powder for baking. I’ve found it creates richer baked goods that people like!

  6. VERY interesting about the cocoa powder. I happily announce that I use Hershey’s special dark & regular unsweetened varieties. I adore them and have tested out a more pricey brand (forget the name!) and was not happy. Cheap & easy ingredients – that’s what I prefer. That poppy ring baking pan is on my wish list for christmas. is my boyfriend reading this? CONGRATS on all the features Averie! Holy smokes. You are killing it lately and it’s so nice to see older recipes come back to life on pinterest, in recipe round-ups for HuffPost, and other features. Holiday baking this weekend… you better believe it. You will LOVE the yeasted recipe I am making and hope to post next week if it all goes well. :) Hope you have a nice weekend and get a chance to relax!

    • Yeast recipe – NICE! I knew you were going to start but didn’t know you did. So happy for you!

      And that poppy ring pan is adorable and so you. And cheap and easy is all I can handle. With trying to pay for a SoCal lifestyle, there’s no way I can afford big bucks on ingredients for recipes that may or may not even work out! the first time or four times I even make them. I am always more than happy with TJs, or Special Dark Hershey’s!

  7. I think I might try to tackle chocolate truffles this weekend!! I’m scared because they’re just mildly intimidating, but I have a delicious one in mind, so that’s pushing me. :) I love that the Hersheys cocoas made the list, I know they’re the “cheaper” cocoas but I swear by them, especially the special dark variety.

  8. I. Must. Have. That. Pie. Plate.

  9. TGIF girl! Of course I love the product that Cooks illustrated recommends with reservations, the Scharafen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder. Oh well, I’ll keep using it because I love it!
    I think those kitty sweats are so darn cute. I definitely couldn’t get away with wearing them but Zoe could, but not at that prices, jeez!
    Love those salad bowls as well. I’m on the lookout for a new salad bowl as I need a second one with all the salads I make. I made two huge batches of my vegan kale and cranberry salad as well as my lacinato salad for the teachers luncheon and my fingers were green after because I massaged 6 heads of kale. It was a lot of work, but so worth it, because teachers rock!
    Pinterest was up for a bit yesterday showing all the pin counts and then went down again. I hope they get they figure it out soon. BTW, I’m loving the quick and friendly response at Foodgwaker. As much as people don’t like them, they gladly and quickly fixed all my old broken links from the Daily meal days. I’ve been hounding tastespotting to fix them and haven’t heard a peep. Maybe I should just re-submit the broken link items and see if they take them?
    Enjoy a run outside for me today. It’s 39 degrees here this morning, brrrrrr…..

    • That’s good to know that FG was so responsive! I’ve never actually had to email them but interesting to know that they’re all over it – I have wanted to fix my URL to just be A.C. rather than LV&Y and worry about broken links, etc but good to hear they’re helpful.

      I so thought of you when I read about that cocoa powder b/c I know you use the pricey stuff! And sounds like you don’t care and will continue to do so :)

      And 10-4 on Pinterest, too. Thanks!

  10. Note to self – never buy Ghirardelli cocoa powder again!

    OMG those pans from anthropologie – WANT. Actually I just want the whole store. In my kitchen.

    • I want the whole store, too. I live about 1 mile from one. It’s in the mall with Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and then I have to pass Tiffany, the MAC and Mac stores, and about 100 other stores as I walk to it. Which is why I never go to the mall..too dangerous :)

  11. I use Trader Joe’s cocoa powder, too – it’s a mainstay in my cupboard! I love that baking pan from Anthropologie – I was there a couple of days ago and had to tear myself away before I blow all my money on their cute kitchen stuff!

    As for a fabulous thing I made recently, I took Milk Bar’s corn cookie recipe and added white chocolate chips and rice crispies – and the cookies turned out wonderful! :)

  12. Love that baking dish from Anthro!!

  13. I’m not gonna lie, those cat pants kind of freak me out, but my niece would love them!

    I’m partial to the hershey’s cocoa myself. I like the regular, but the special dark is really where it’s at. I agree about the toll house cocoa – very bland, almost like chocolate milk mix. I’m excited to hit up Trader Joe’s this weekend! Big city shopping, here I come!

  14. Confession: I’ve never been to Anthropologie. This could be a good thing for my wallet (and my husband’s!) but needs to be remedied stat!

    I signed up for Ziplist a few weeks ago. I’ve got so many recipes on there and Pinterest that I could probably not make the same thing twice in a year’s time!

    Love your Friday Things posts, you always have such a great variety of stuff. I really want to make that spinach and artichoke dip, one of my all time favorite dips.

  15. Those party cat sweatpants are to die for!!!

  16. I treated myself to a massage today–heaven!! I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks. I just started using Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder and I like it. I think it reminds me more of dark chocolate. It’s a little pricier, but not up there like Ghirardelli or Scharffen Berger. Congrats on the recipe features! I remember trying the roasted grapes with balsamic–yum! I have sampled some very good cheese on my last couple of trips to the grocery…I might have to buy my favorite and revisit that recipe!

  17. My Friday thing is Peychaud’s bitters that I am going to try in this cocktail:
    As a change from the usual angostura!

  18. Congrats on making Huffington’s Post!!! I tend to follow what Cooks Illustrated says! I’m like you I’ll by the Hershey’s or Trader Joe’s unsweetened cocoa! Love the mason jar drinking mugs and that is so cheap! I have to put it on my Christmas list!! Ohhh, making truffles sound like fun!! Not sure what I have planned for baking this weekend!! I have so many things I want to make, it becomes over whelming! lol Have a great weekend!!

  19. I need those mugs in my life, they are adorable!

    Congrats on the feature. You are amazing :)

  20. I can’t stop thinking about that American Spoon Honeycrisp Apple Conserve either. I saw it on their site while ago and think it sounds so good. I have tried and baked with many of their preserves as they are made in Michigan where I live so lots of stores carry their products. They are all fantastic with little added sugar. The spoon fruits are my favorite. They also make a great whole seed mustard.

  21. Thank you. I really look forward to your list of Friday Things each week. Thank you for sharing your lovely recipes and weekly finds. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  22. I officially feel MUCH better about buying Hershey’s cocoa powder, lol!

  23. OMG, LOVE the Chocolate Saltine Toffee!!!

  24. congrats on the recipes at Huff…I so want to make your spinach dip….the wooden bowls how fun…love them….I baked orange cran muffins, cranbanna bread, brown butter cookies, peppermint cookies and the saltine crack…making your thin mints tomorrow for our family Christmas Cookie Baking day!!! oh and cocoa powder…I am trying to go with brands that are fair trade organic.

  25. Congrats on the features! They’re very well deserved! And those baking pans are super cute. Maybe I can get them for Christmas.

  26. I’m so glad I don’t have to break the bank to get good cocoa! That anthro stuff is to die for, but then again, what isn’t from there? Hope you had a great weekend!

  27. Those sweats are too cool!!! Hahaha, I love them! I’m not even a cat person, but I’d totally wear those :-) I wish Anthro was near me, or would ship to Canada for a reasonable price. Any item from there costs nearly double once I get it here :-(

  28. Pingback: Friday Things

  29. Oh no… I so know the walking past the beautiful shops full of amazing stuff you have to try and resist buying. And browsing online is not much easier as I found when I clicked on the cat pants link and now I have a huuuge wish list on SB – what a great (but expensive) site! I didn’t know it before so thanks (I think). Eagerly waiting for their sale….

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