Friday Things

Time for an installment of Friday Things:

1. Cooks Illustrated Tested Whole Wheat Flour and if you thought all whole-wheat flours are created equal, you were wrong.

I used to think that flour was flour. It’s not. I am so brand loyal to King Arthur and it’s all I use, with the exception of a random specialty flour. I draw the line at mail ordering flour and buy what’s in the grocery store and sometimes on a unique flour that I buy once a year, I’ll brand-hop but otherwise the King and I are tight.

2. Manchester Glass Set, $128 at Anthro. A wall-mounted set that would be handy for mounting so many things.


 You don’t have to put fresh herbs in it, but I’d like to.

3. Need easy, fast, No-Bake Cookie Recipes?

The Huffington Post featured a couple of mine in their No-Bake Cookie Recipes (Slide 2 and Slide 3)

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Coconut Cashew Sandwich Cookies (no-bake, vegan, GF) are fast and easy, with No Added, Sugar, Salt, or Oil

4. Dorothy’s 5 Tips for Creating Business Cards post – Over and beyond about what to put on the business cards, she shares info about how to change your Facebook name, what a QR code is and how to get one; that Google Voice exists and you can have phone numbers forwarded to your cell so you don’t have to put your cell phone on your business cards.

A cornucopia of helpful tidbits and even if you don’t need business cards, you could probably use some of the sidebar trivia and tips.

5. The Kitchn did a story about What Have You Been Most Surprise (or Embarrassed) to Learn in the Kitchen

The reader comments are great. Sometimes it’s nice to know you’re not alone on just discovering certain things.

For me, I’ve recently discovered that whole wheat pastry flour and graham flour are the same thing.

Or despite knowing better, I’ll read recipes that instruct to combine butter with chocolate chips and melt them. This never works for me and the chocolate always seizes. I’m always surprised when I read recipes that indicate otherwise because in my experience, chocolate chips are finicky and don’t like to be mixed with butter. Bars of chocolate are a different story. But I ruined a bag of chocolate chips and a stick of butter the other day because I didn’t listen to my gut that was saying wait a minute, don’t do it. The water in the butter is the kiss of death for chocolate chips.

6. This Stephanie Johnson Torino Train Case, $78 at Kitson. Crocheted anything reminds me of my grandma and my childhood. I fear that this wouldn’t be durable at all and would snag and look horrible in about a week, but it’s sure cute.

7. Smoked Cashew Salsa – It reminds me of the coating mixture I make for Cheezy Kale Chips (raw, vegan, GF)

The Kale Chips are the best kale chips I’ve ever tried because of that coating. Those little bags of (mostly crushed) chips from Trader Joe’s that are really pricey or from Whole Foods that will break your bank account don’t hold a candle to homemade kale chips. You’ll never buy storebought and you can make them in a low 200F oven.

I’ve adapted the coating mixture for “Spicy Doritos” Cheezy Dip as well and it’s great with veggies sticks, on crackers, on bread, or just about anything.

8. Lauren Conrad featured my Cookie Dough Balls on her site

When I created the recipe in 2009 and I never could have imagined that they’d appear on Lauren’s site.

I have memories of putting my then two-year old down for a nap, turning on some guilty-pleasure episodes of The Hills, and eating cookie dough balls.

9. Do you like Sriracha? Here are 20 Sriracha Recipe Ideas

10. Do the Ripe Thing from Cooks Illustrated. If you thought your bananas had to be black as the night for banana bread, they don’t. Nicely freckled and speckled, but pitch black is not necessary and there’s little difference in sweetness between heavily freckled and completely black.

Meaning you can make this Browned Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread with Strawberry Butter sooner rather than later.

However, my favorite banana bread recipe of all time is this one. No frills, fast, easy, with amazing bread results, guaranteed, every time.

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.

Anything you’re surprised to learn in the kitchen? Mistakes that plague you?

Flour preferences or loyalties? Freckly vs. black bananas for baking?

St. Paddy’s Day Plans?

Have a great weekend and check back for a giveaway!


55 comments on “Friday Things”

  1. My Friday thing is (although I can’t eat them unless agar is substituted) jello molds! I had a party and my neighbor brought one in the shape of a brain that was pretty awesome, now I want to get some molds and play with agar. There’s a pick of it here if you scroll down a bit:
    There’s also a recipe for a new gin-less take on the Negroni, my Friday drink;)
    Congratulations on all your recipes being featured! You deserve it, the stuff I’ve made from your site rocks.

    • Oh you’ll have to LMK what all you’ve made! I’m sure you’ve told me, but refresh my memory next time you comment!

      • I know I’ve made and posted about an EZ Cheezy bake, and the cookie dough balls. I’ve also made the cinnamon roll baked donuts- tho I made them in the shape of muffins. I’d have to look through my list of stuff I’d tried to see what else. Hah, my to make list is even longer though!

      • Well thanks for trying all of those and now that you say so, I do remember you telling me about them over the year(s)! <--- Wow :)

  2. Congrats on being featured on Laurens site! VERY cool and well deserved!

    I hope all is well! Has been a while! Hope your daughter is doing great! <3

  3. FLOUR. I could write an entire blog post on it. I am a loyal KAF baker. I recently picked up a bag of Gold Medal because that was the only flour my local store had. I was disappointed in my baking results…. and the amount of lumps I had to sift out of it. KAF is like silk. I have been asked before if I work for them because I mention it so often. Nope…. just really love their product!

    Also congrats on being on Lauren’s site! How awesome is that?!

  4. oooooh, love the wall mounted glass containers! And if it makes you feel better, I’ve never even heard of graham flour. :) Sriracha recipes?!? Yes, please!! Congrats on your cookie dough bites being featured on Lauren’s website. Happy Friday!

  5. Great compilation – I have to keep an eye out for your Friday Things from now on! : ) I also use King Arthur and I’m a big fan of The Kitchn! Your cookie dough bites look terrific!

  6. I can’t stand ripe bananas. Even too yellow, not even brown spots yet, is too much for me. Jason thinks I eat them “raw.” And Sriracha? Other than ketchup, I don’t need any other condiment! Ok, maybe mustard ;-)

  7. Interesting post Avery, I definitely did not know that whole wheat pastry flour and graham flour were the same thing. I guess this means graham wafers are….healthy? ;)

  8. King Arthur forever! The only flour I do not get from them is einkorn – I buy Jovial. When I got married last year, my favorite wedding present was from my aunt who gave me a huge gift card to King Arthur, so I actually do mail order my flour often! It’s one heavy shipment! :)

    Heading over to check out that Sriracha list right now…

    • I love that someone gave you a KAF gift card for your wedding. Some people want fancy china patterns and fancy appliances; you wanted flour. THAT is awesome and what a great, great gift that clearly got put to use! I wish more people gave practical gifts like that!

  9. I love Lauren Conrad… you are lucky!

  10. Wow so may good Friday Ideas! Where to start…..

  11. Congrats on the features, so exciting! :) I loved that article in The Kitchn too – some of those things were absolutely hilarious!

  12. I love the sound of the smoked cashew salsa, but I’m not sure I want to take the time to smoke those nuts. I could try a short cut with a couple of drops of liquid smoke, but I know a little goes a long way. If I’m not careful, I’ll bring out the “ash” in those cashews. Ewww…that would be some dreadful salsa! I am a fan of King Arthur (my mom is too), but I also buy Bob’s Red Mill for smaller amounts of specialty flours. Hubby just put whiskey on my grocery list, so I think that’s a hint he wants his homemade Bailey’s tonight. I’ll let you know how we like it (but I already know we will)!!

    • I would totally be buying smoked cashews if I was going to make that! Ashy cashews and liquid smoke…yes, oh boy, that wouldn’t be good! They sell Bobs and Hodgson Mills in the groc stores here for the real specialty flours whereas with KAF it’s mail order so sometimes I’m in a jam and HAVE to have the flour I need right then and there and deviate from KAF so I don’t have to order it. Ok Lmk how the Baileys turns out!

  13. I love that Cooks Illustrated test! They are amazing, I trust them complete when it comes to kitchen test. Congrats on the LC feature :)

  14. I love Siracha! Those recipes will go to good use!


  15. Oh my those cookie dough bites look heavenly!

  16. wait… what?! WW pastry flour and graham flour are the SAME THING? I feel silly for not knowing this. Congrats on the HuffPost features! And that smoked cashew salsa – oh my heavens. I could do MAJOR damage to that salsa. We’re going out for mexican tonight and obviously the salsa won’t compare. PS: yes I’ll have a margarita and YES I will think of you! and LAUREN CONRAD featured your cookie dough balls on her site! OMG! I was obsessed with her when I was in college a few years ago when the Hills was on TV :) Those little recipes from years ago always seem to make an appearance again right – the ones you never thought would be huge… are! Congrats girl!

    happy friday!

    • Re the flours, it’s only b/c of a recipe I have coming up that I did a ton of research that I know this. Otherwise, would have had no idea!

      Re Lauren & the Hills…About 5 yrs ago when the show was still on and Skylar was a baby and would go down for a morning nap or pm nap and I had an hour to kill, I’d sit on the couch, eat THOSE cookie dough balls and watch DVR episodes of the Hills. I remember thinking this is weird..I have a baby now. But I liked the Hills girls. Such ironic twists.

      And yes, it’s always the ‘little’ recipes that blow up. The hard ones or ones with good photography..don’t. lol

  17. I hadn’t even heard of graham flour until just now, but I apparently use it all the time! Maybe it’ll be easier to find now. For some reason, it’s near impossible to find ww pastry flour where I live.

    controls on being on LC’s website!

  18. I’m also a loyal fan of King Arthur and use the company’s whole wheat pastry flour for just about everything. I feel so dumb now that I know it’s the same thing as graham flour. I had no idea!

  19. Oh my gosh, thanks for turning me on to your cookie dough bites (they look like a must-try) and for turning me on to Lauren Conrad’s lifestyle blog (never knew she had one) and congrats for your recipe appearing on her site!

  20. Great post Averie, I’m rushing over to read more about business cards. Happy weekend!

  21. I’ve seen a DIY wall mount that uses mason jars (of course) that I pinned about 2 years ago. I love the look of that, and want to put it in my bathroom for q-tips and things like that.

    Sriracha is my staple condiment. I put it in/on everything. It doesn’t have to be asian either. Eggs, pizza, veggies, salad….it all gets hot cocked. (Yes, hot cock. That’s what I’ve called it since I first discovered it in Hawaii in 2001.)

    I totally remember that cheesy doritos dip….in fact, I’ve made it several times. I recall when you posted that kale chip recipe too. my, how time flies.

    That is the CUTEST crocheted bag! It would definitely snag and for $75 bucks, no way, but still…cute!

  22. Totally loving everything on this list, Averie! Happy Friday!

  23. I don’t know where to begin! I love everything you posted! I need to click on all the links! I did see the Test Kitchen on Wheat Flour and I’m happy to say I use King Arthur’s!

    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  24. Homemade Bailey’s–my husband said something along the lines of Oh that’s darn good! He asked me what all was in it and is certain he can make more for himself tomorrow. It tastes like the real stuff to me–and so quick! Great recipe!!

  25. I was totally addicted to The Hills when it was on. Sad, but true.

    I should know more about various flours having to be gluten-free, but I tend to stick with what’s easiest. That usually means using all coconut flour or all oat flour. I can’t do xanthan gum either, so a lot of recipes are out for me. If I were better in the kitchen I would be able to learn how to adapt my own things. And I do some experimenting…I just hate having to throw out truly inedible mistakes.

    • Throwing out food is the WORST feeling…I hate it. When I was strictly GF and tried to play around with flours, yes, I threw out a ton of food. I also have a hard time tolerating XG. Something in it does not agree with me. And if you over do it anyway, your food turns into this gelatinous sludge. Lovely :)

  26. Ooh, must try that cheezy dip recipe! I have been wanting to cook more with the ginormous bag of nutritional yeast that I bought long ago. Yum!

  27. Thanks SO much for featuring my business card post Averie!!

  28. I also use pretty much only King Arthur Flour witg only a few exceptions. I had no idea butter and chocolate chips won’t melt together!

    • Well they can; but the TJs chips I use tend to hate butter. And whenever I try to melt chips with butter, I don’t have great luck. Regular chocolate is fine (in a bar) but not with chips. I can melt chips on their own, OR pour hot cream over them (ganache) and get them to melt but not just chips + butter. I end up with a clumped up mess!

  29. Most Embarrassed to Learn In The Kitchen

    That you just CAN’T get steak right indoors using only one cooking method! If you want a nice hard sear AND a juicy medium-rare interior, you MUST sear the outsides in a pan then finish (very quickly) in the (extremely hot) oven. 2-3 minutes per side for the sear, on high, then 3-5 minutes in the oven at 500, depending upon the thickness of the meat. Ladies and gentlemen, fire up your ventilators and open all your doors — or be prepared to beat the bejeezus out of your smoke alarm with a baseball bat :)

    Given that your oven is notoriously the most energy-intensive appliance in your house, I’d always balked at the notion of preheating for 15 minutes to get up to 500 for only 3-5 minutes of cook time. But now that my teeth are old and sore, I wouldn’t be able to eat steak at all if I hadn’t finally bowed to this 2-step method (“which makes sense for restaurants which keep their ovens running all shift,” I’d tell myself, “but not for a home kitchen”).

    To think, I’d been doing it wrong for FORTY YEARS. This proves that sometimes you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

  30. Another guilty Hills watcher here. One time I was on a road trip, and it was the season finale, and I stopped about an hour before it so I could be sure to be comfy and ready to watch it live. That’s SO COOL that Lauren featured a recipe of yours!

    Also, bananas. My favorite way to get bananas perfect for baking is to let them get overripe (not all over brown, but maybe a day past the “just ripe” picture, and then peel and freeze them. When I need them, thaw them and KEEP the juice. Use it all. Oh, yum.

    Now don’t go telling my secret to people at work who think my banana bread is just goshdarnitallamazing, okay? :-)

    • Banana juice. I was reading a Cooks Illustrated article, actually it may have also been in a different section of the one I posted that factoid from – anyway, they recommend cooking down bananas til you get the juice and using that in banana bread. So you’re onto something, for sure!

  31. I always love these :)

    And omg congrats on being on Lauren Conrad’s site! That is super cool

  32. That smoked cashew salsa has my name on it! :D

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