Time for an installment of Friday Things:

1. You’re a better baker and definitely more organized than I am if you have time for an 18 Layer Red Velvet Cake

Sounds amazing and I’d love a slice. That someone else made.

18 Layer Red Velvet Cake

2. Thanks to The Kitchn for featuring my Cranberry Bliss Bars. If you make one new holiday or seasonal dessert this year, my vote is for the Bliss Bars.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

I also made Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies which are a slightly less decadent form of Bliss Bars, in cookie form. Cranberry and white chocolate is a perfect pairing for me.

Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

3. These Be Present Long Versatility Pants, $71 – I am digging the color.

Be Present Long Versatility Pants

I’ve posted many times over the years about my love for Be Present, especially their pants. I have five pairs of the Mobility Pants, some with Lotus embroidery, some without, and in a variety of colors. I wear one pair every day, and I’m not kidding.

They dry in minutes, they’re light as a feather yet surprisingly rugged, and I travel in them whenever possible.I’ve been known to wash them out in hotel bathrooms and hang them up to dry overnight and be good as new the next day. And drawstrings are a bonus.

Be Present Long Versatility Pants

4. Want the secret to the best pancake recipe?

Cooks Illustrated made over 1000 pancakes in order to determine the best possible combination of ingredients and both buttermilk and baking soda are instrumental. They concluded that, “Pancakes made without baking soda not only lacked color, they lacked flavor, tasting unacceptably bland. The pancakes leavened with both baking powder and baking soda cooked up deeply golden with rich, nutty flavor.”

Pancake recipe testing comparison

I love all the recipe testing and detective work they do which is why The New Best Recipe Cookbook is one of my most-used and trusted cookbooks.

5. Ina Garten doesn’t think of herself as a good cook. Jump to the last line in this article where she also shares baking tips and traditions.

And I would have given my right arm to be one of bloggers who were with her for this event.

Ina Garten and friends taking a selfie

6. Speculaas (Molded Ginger) Cookies – Biscoff Cookies, Biscoff Spread, and Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Spread are all relatives of Speculaas cookies.

“A specialty of the Netherlands and Belgium, these are cousins of gingerbread, only lighter and more delicately spiced. They’re also showstoppers, thanks to the intricately carved wooden molds used to make them, which form the cookies into images of characters and symbols from stories about Saint Nicholas, or Sinter-klaas, whose name day, December 6, kicks off the Christmas season in that part of the world.”

I’m currently in Aruba, a Dutch island, and the local store shelves are overflowing with speculaas cookies. Although they’re available year-round, they’re in abundance right now. At some point, I’d like to try the Saveur recipe and make my own.

7. Or just use this Dutch Cookie Butter

Dutch Cookie Butter

And make Cookie Butter Spread Ginger Molasses Cookies (No Bake, Vegan, with GF option) – No-bake cookie bites that come together in minutes when you can’t be bothered to turn on the oven or are too busy with all the other holiday hub-bub for yet another baking and roll-out project.

Cookie Butter Spread Ginger Molasses Cookies

8. I want this Brooklyn Epiphanie Backpack Camera Bag, Brooklyn in Mustard $224.99 – Made for a DSLR, 2 to 3 lenses, and a laptop

“Meet Brooklyn – our stylish new backpack/crossbody bag! Brooklyn was designed to accommodate your 15″ laptop, iPad or tablet/eReader, camera + attached lens, 1 long lens, 1 short lens, flash, battery pack and wallet. Extra pockets ideal for storage of keys, cell phone, memory cards, business cards, travel maps and more.”

Epiphanie Backpack Camera Bag

Woman wearing camera bag

However, I love-love my Case Logic SLRC-206 SLR Camera and 15.4-Inch Laptop Backpack (Black) bag, $73.30 – the best deal ever.

The backpack has been with me to Mexico City, San Francisco, Aruba three times, Babados and has logged tens of thousands of miles in overhead bins, dirty airports, and assorted hotel room floors and doesn’t show a lick of wear or tear.

I travel with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II a, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens a Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM lens, and my 17-inch MacBook Pro and it fits perfectly, with some room to spare. Although the bag technically specifies it fits a 15-inch notebook, my 17-inch fits like a glove. Although I feel like a pack mule when the bag is loaded and slung over my back, I couldn’t travel without it.

Camera backpack

9. 12-Piece Le Creseut Bakeware Set, $219.95 at Willams-Sonoma, which I think is an absolute steal and available in six colors.

12-Piece Le Creseut Bakeware Set

I’d buy the cutting board in this picture if I could, too. I have a thing for old wood boards.

Wood boards with stoneware

10. This White Chocolate and Peppermint Cookie Brittle sounds so good.

White Chocolate and Peppermint Cookie Brittle

I’d like to eat a white chocolate and peppermint cookie and then wash it down with Peppermint White Hot Chocolate. Clearly I have a thing for that flavor pairing, and for white chocoalte and cranberries, but they’re combos that aren’t exactly popular in July so I’m taking full advantage now.

Peppermint White Hot Chocolate

What are your Friday Things? Doing any holiday baking this weekend? Any favorite cookie, cake, or holiday recipes? Seasonal foods or flavors you’re especially enjoying lately?

Fun items you have your eye on for the holidays from cute pants to pots and pans to bags?

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!

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