Weekend Things

Time for an installment of Weekend Things:

1. I saw my cookbook, Peanut Butter Comfort, on the shelf at Barnes & Noble for the first time a couple days ago and it was an amazing feeling, albeit quite surreal.

Peanut Butter Comfort: Recipes for Breakfasts, Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Candies, and Frozen Treats Featuring America's Favorite Spread by Averie Sunshine averiecooks.com

2.  Pack Your Knives and Go – According to Bon Appetit, a great way to get to know a destination is to rent (or swap) a house that has a killer kitchen and let the markets be your guide to adventure.

Invite your friends on the vacation to share costs to keep it more affordable than staying in hotels. Cooking with friends, staying in a great house, and exploring the local sights and sounds of your destination doesn’t sound too shabby.


Photography credit Bon Appetit/Randy Harris

3. The Secret Lives of Yogurt Containers – Ways to use them after their intended use has been eaten

4. I always have so many empty yogurt containers because I bake with Greek yogurt or sour cream in almost every quickbread or muffins that I make.

One of my favorite recipes using Greek yogurt is Six-Banana Banana Bread. Between 6 bananas, yes six, baked into one loaf, and Greek yogurt (or sour cream), it’s ridiculously moist, soft, fluffy, and tender bread.

Six-Banana Banana Bread - Recipe at averiecooks.com

5. Mayonnaise is one of those foods that seems to carry strong opinions from people; either loving it or loathing it. I like mayo, but I love Miracle Whip. I grew up with it, and I love the Tangy Zip of Miracle Whip.

Cook’s Illustrated recently did a taste comparison of storebought mayos.

Interesting that Hellmann’s Light came in ahead of higher priced, organic, Spectrum brand.

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 12.17.56 AM

More results here

6. You could use mayo in place of the sour cream in Corn and Double Cheese Dip. It comes together in under 5 minutes, and can be kept vegan or light, by using whatever variety of cheese, sour cream, or mayo fits your needs.

Corn & Double Cheese Dip

7. This is what I want my pantry to look like. I keep my sugars in canisters, but my flours I keep in bags. I want to change everything over and use canisters but the reason I haven’t is they take up more space than jimmying a bag into my already tight pantry.

But this just looks so much more appealing than my hodgepodge.


8. Confused about what differences between a latte, cappuccino, mocha, and macchiato? Read this to channel your inner barista.

My favorite coffee drink lately is this Creamy Boozy Iced Coffee

9. However, I’ve been trying to drink less coffee overall. Days can go by without drinking any. Some days are harder than others because I love hot beverages and the act of sipping and nursing a mug of something warm is so comforting, but in the summer it’s easier to go without.

The Liberator tea from Java Tea Company, a local San-Diego area business, helps me get over my coffee hump. There’s some caffeine in it, but not as much as coffee, so I can enjoy the taste in the late afternoons when I crave coffee the most.

It’s a dark chocolate mocha loose leaf tea and there’s little chunks of raw cacao that are mixed in with the tea leaves.

I brew the tea in this Teavana PerfecTea Tea Maker and when hot water is poured over the little chocolate chunks, they dissolve and flavor the tea. Who could say no to chocolate tea.

10. Mother-of-Pearl Boxes, Small Box $34 at West Elm. I think that’s a great price for something so pretty and appears to be solidly made, with a wood interior. I love Mother of Pearl and could stare into that shiny, pearly abyss forever.

Thanks for the entries in the 25 Fast and Easy Recipes In a Snap and Cookbook Giveaway

What are your Weekend Things?

Mayo fan? Would you or have you taken a vacation with friends? Tea or coffee – any favorite kinds? Favorite was to use yogurt? Storing dry goods – any tips?

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


  1. I’m a coffee nut-although in this heat I try to cold-brew it so it is strong and cold! Not a yogurt lover, but I do like what it does for baked goods.
    My weekend thing is work! That, and spicy food (summer is margarita time but it helps to have mexican food to soak it up;)):


  2. I have wanted to try cooking with yogurt to lighten up some of my favorite recipes. I will come back to your wonderful recipes for help! Weekend things … my only thought for the weekend is getting back home! Missing my family … so a plain and simple weekend at home sounds divine! I am actually in the mood to cook. Been on a business trip for two weeks and even though the food in Brasil is scrumptious, I can’t wait to get back to home cooked meal. I have one vegetarian daughter and my oldest wants to tackle either a vegan month or a gluten free month to regulate tummy pains. I don’t know how it will go. We will certainly try. Wish me luck.

    • Sounds like a whirlwind! Safe travels back home and good luck with your kids and all their various dietary wishes – thankfully I only have 1 kiddo to keep it all straight for :)

  3. I drink more iced tea in the summer and I love to try different flavors. My latest favorite is rooibos with cardamom, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon (warm or cold with a splash of almond milk)! I also love ginger-peach for iced tea. As for mayo, I kind of got hooked on making my own once I tried it a few mos ago. It’s so easy in the vita (and I’ve read even easier with an immersion blender). I also like miracle whip and would like to try a batch of homemade with a similar flavor. I have decided on the avocado brownies (I’m stocked up on Hershey’s Special Dark). I know they’ll be fabulous, so I’ll report back later today! We got home yesterday from our little getaway in Saugatuck MI. It was a relaxing, peaceful few days on the lake with good weather.

    • rooibos with cardamom, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon (warm or cold with a splash of almond milk) = that sounds so good!!

      I make tea and I doctor it up with vanilla, cinn, nutmeg and vanilla almond milk, too!

      Saugatuck – one of the first ‘trips’ Scott and I went on when we first were together was to Saugatuck! We were living in Chicago at the time and I remember it so well! Feels like a lifetime ago. Glad you guys had fun!

      And yes, can’t wait to hear what you think of the brownies. The blueberry muffins are…amazing. If you change your mind, they are highly recommended!

  4. I can’t even go a few hours without coffee, I’ll get a headache. I need the bean! I don’t like yogurt, but I do enjoy baking with it because I love what it does to baked goods.

  5. What a cool feeling to see your own book on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, I can only imagine. Maybe someday, I’ll know for myself what that feels like. ;)

  6. It’s great to see your book on a shelf in a good place :)

  7. Wow – that yogurt and banana bread looks SO GOOD! Yum! I do use yogurt a lot in baked goods too – definitely adds to the moisture!
    Iced coffee makes me want to put down my warm cuppa :)
    Have a great weekend

  8. Aaaw that’s so great about your book!!
    I often see pantry shots like that one in Elle Cuisine, it is beautiful, but not realistic! My containers get all opaque with time,touching them with greasy baking fingers and all..nothing pretty about that. But you know what would be THE solution? Square containers. Or rectangular. No space wasted!!! That would be improvement.
    My weekend things are..well, having an entire weekend! I got the saturday off and am lying on a blanket in front of the house reading a cookbook and hopefully tanning a bit..

  9. Congratulations on seeing your book! That must have been super cool! I don’t use mayo much but when I do, it’s Helmann’s light all the way. Glad to see it did pretty well. I’m not about to blow all my calories on mayo so light is the way to go.

  10. Lately I’ve been using mashed up avocado instead of mayo- I wish I’d know that substitution when I was younger because I love it!
    Vacations with friends could be wonderful, and also challenging :)
    So thrilling to see your book in Barnes & Noble! Have a great weekend, Averie!

  11. How exciting to see your book on the shelves of barns and noble?? Congrats again, Averie!!

  12. Love that link to the uses for yogurt containers. I always save them and always find uses, but those are some pretty unique ways. I’ve been making my own yogurt with goats milk the past few months and I love it. Homemade yogurt is quite a bit runnier, so I still buy greek yogurt for baking, but I love the goat-y taste so much more for snacking!

  13. How surreal to see your cookbook on the shelf! I’m a tea drinker too, that blend sounds incredible.

  14. Good stuff; I love these kinds of post. must….have…..chocolate tea! I am looking into that, thanks. I drink ice coffee in the summer, hot tea the rest of the year – never chocolate, how have I lived!!

  15. I love that pantry and all its jars, it makes me swoon! It’s hard for me to have open shelves like that as I have adventurous kitties who like great heights. :) Super congrats on your cookbook, must be an amazing feeling – but you totally deserve it (x10!)

  16. I’m so excited your book is in a real live store!! How cool!

  17. SO cool about the cookbook, Averie! What a great and rewarding feeling that must be!

    I love these posts of yours. I just subscribed, literally this morning, to Americas Test Kitchen blog. I also just stole a bunch of old yogurt containers and butter tubs from my parents for using in my greenhouse this spring. They are great for starting seeds too.

    Hate mayo. HATE. Love tea. LOVE. Love chocolate tea even more.

    I store all my flours in glass jars. I find they are so much easier to find and see and much less messy that way. I have several large old glass pickle jars that I use and they are just labeled with a Sharpie, nothing fancy but it gets the job done. I like that they are clear too, so I can just look quickly when I’m on my way to the grocery store and pick up whatever I need to refill. Super easy!

    • I get the ATK feed and while some days I just hit delete all, there are some gems in there! Some days they send out like 4-5 posts and then other days, none.

      You would loooooooove that choc tea. It’s as close as a tea can get to dessert just on it’s own, without adding whip cream and chocolate shavings, etc like you’d see on dessert-coffee drinks.

      Glass jars for flour and dry ingredients. I need to get some. I was going to get square. I have my sugars in random sized plastic and it’s so…random. I want everything the same! I have tons of old Veganise big 32 oz glass jars that I store so much in. But they’re an odd shape and not great for dry good and they don’t stack.

  18. Gosh — congratulations on seeing your book in stores. I don’t think that could ever get old. Definitely surreal and completely amazing!

    Also, I happen to like mayo.. in moderation. I mean, I guess that made it sound like I go around scooping it out of the jar onto a spoon, but when used in dips and things like egg salad, I love it. Your cheesy corn dip looks SO good.

  19. Congrats on your book Averie. I enjoyed reading your post, I learned about the home exchange and I admired your six banana banana bread (which goes straight on my must-cook list).

  20. I love that you were able to see your book in the store. I bet that was such a very cool moment.

  21. I always love these posts :D It is SO cool that you were able to see your cookbook on the shelf at B&N! Cuhraaazy!

    And I want my pantry to look like the KAF one too, alas I shall have to wait to have more space than my tiny nyc kitchen affords me :P

  22. First off, congratulations on seeing your cook book at Barnes and Noble. I would have pulled it out and put it on top of the main cookbook table that they always have near the cookbooks.
    I am a lover of mayo, but I like the classic mayo Hellman’s, which is strangely called Best mayo out here on the west coast.
    I love the idea of renting a vacation home with a killer kitchen. I love taking a vacation, but I also hate eating out every night or eating junk. There is nothing I enjoy more than cooking in a fabulous new kitchen and checking out the local farmers markets or grocery stores. Whenever we go on vacation to visit family, I always hit the local Whole Foods or grocery store to stock up on my favorite things, just so I’m not having to eat what my mother or mother-in-law stocks up on. I need to have my kale, tofu and the works! ;) xoxo, Jackie

  23. I soooooo badly need to put my flour in canisters! I have one for all purpose, but the top is small-ish and it’s not quite functional enough. All others are in bags ang I tear them and it makes me nuts!!!
    Yaaaay for your book! I can’t even imagine! Super weird. Super awesome. I think I’d grab a mocha and stare in confused awe for awhile.

    • Lol I was in confused awe. So what do I do…instagram it. lol

      My flour set up sounds like yours! My one can was too small so I went back to just keeping it in a bag. My sugars are in different sized plastics and they dont match, therefore don’t stack. A total hodgepodge!

  24. Ugh. I measure my flour from a small glass canister – it goes Everywhere when it’s leveled off. Maybe keeping it in the bag is a better idea – but I have a deep seeded fear of paper cuts. (I really, really, want a huge flour canister!) :D

    I’m a mayo girl through and through – it’s nice to see Hellmann’s near the top!
    Also, how cool to see your own book on a bookstore shelf!! Only one copy left, I see. :) xo

  25. I’m SO happy for you! Truly! Congratulations on all your successes!

  26. I drink much less hot tea and coffee in the summer, however have become obsessed with Costa Coffee (UK coffee chain) iced vanilla lattes. Very dangerous!

  27. Congrats on your book Averie! I can’t wait to see it here in Canada, on the shelves of Chapters. I also loved you even more when you said you’re a Miracle Whip fan…it’s hard to find those who love it ;) I grew up on it too so it’s all I know, plus mayonaise just doesn’t have the same zip! Have a great week! :)

  28. SOOOO excited to see your book in the store!! Woo hoo!!

  29. Need to try that banana bread!

  30. It must have been so amazing to have seen your book at B&N. You’re a rockstar, Averie! And I’m so glad to call you my friend – not because you’re famous and all but because you’re awesome :)

  31. I’m trying to kick my coffee habit and am on day 3. I think tea has been an okay subsitution for me so far when it comes to having the hot beverage in the morning.

  32. Love this post! you are so inspiring Averie :)

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