Friday Things | December 21, 2012


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Time for an installment of Friday Things:

1. We went on a Sunset Sail a few days ago. With sunsets, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, right. I liked the birds flying in this one, the ship in the background, and that the sun still appears to be a big ball of fire even after sinking below the horizon.

It was the best I could do with an iPhone camera in one hand and a drink in the other.

sunset in aruba

We went on a sunset sail when we were in Aruba in August and it was so much fun that Skylar had been talking about another sail, nearly daily, since then.

She drank virgin Pina Coladas and line-danced to The Macarena. I drank Rum Rummers with cheap liquor that gave me a headache and we all had a blast.


2. Eating locally has taken on new meaning here in Aruba with local eggs, and I do mean ultra-local. When we’re here, I’ve been running the same path for years and about a block from my house, there’s chickens that just wander around someone’s front yard. Every morning I hear those chickens and when I run, I see them.

My regular grocery store was out of eggs, in addition to being out of butter, cream, fresh herbs except cilantro, Kleenex, peanuts, and many other things, but that’s nothing new. I went into a mini-mart if you could call it that, which is across the street from the house with the chickens in the front yard, and discovered where all those eggs from the front-yard-chickens go. Score.


I’ve been putting them to use in many things like Browned Butter Caramel and Butterscotch Bars

Browned Butter Caramel and Butterscotch Bars

And Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies

Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies

3. Thanks to Fave Healthy Recipes for including many of my recipes in the Top 100 Recipes for 2012

I wouldn’t necessarily call all them healthy per se, but they taste good. Recipes for Baked Macaroni and Cheese Balls, Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Skillet, Chocolate Saltine Toffee, and others made the cut.

Top 100 Recipes for 2012 pic collage

4. Mulled Wine – Cloves, tangerines, merlot, cinnamon, cardamom, lady apples, apple cider. I’ll need refills.

Mulled Wine

Reminds me of a darker and more sultry version of Coconut Water Champagne Fruit Punch (Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free, No Sugar Added)

Coconut Water Champagne Fruit Punch

5. This piece from Williams-Sonoma lends new meaning to a Kitchen Island. I wish I had the budget or space for that kind of island because it’s stunning.

A natural stone top with distressed reclaimed-pine base, built-in drawers, and removable baskets on each side, add it wheels. Oh the bread I could knead on that surface and bowls, gadgets, and supplies I could store in the drawers.

6. Skylar lost her second baby tooth that was hanging on by a thread. As she was biting into a Biscoff Marshmallow Chocolate Bar, out it came.

It’s amazing how small it looked in my hand compared to being in her mouth, and it feels like just yesterday I was trying to console a teething baby, who’s now planning our next sailing adventure. Time flies. Luckily Santa had stashed some Christmas gifts in the suitcase on our way here, and the Tooth Fairy was able to raid that stash. Whew.

Biscoff Marshmallow Chocolate Bar

7. I’m in love with everything from ThreadScene. The whole vibe just speaks to me.


It’s like Free People met a Grunge Band and went 80s punk for a minute before detouring to Anthropologie

threadscene jewelry

I could spend a fortune.

threadscene clothing

8. Please put these Nutella Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze on your Christmas morning breakfast or brunch menu. They’re some of the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had, and ready from start to finish in 15 minutes. Spending more time with your family and less time in the kitchen, with the scents of bread baking and Nutella wafting throughout the house, are all good.

Nutella Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze

And if pumpkin knows no seasons for you like it does for me, this Pumpkin Cinnamon Overnight Pull-Apart French Toast with Vanilla Maple Butter is a make-ahead, easy, scrumptious, breakfast bake.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Overnight Pull-Apart French Toast with Vanilla Maple Butter

9. Rustic Wall Organizer from Pottery Barn. I could use all the help I could get and this may help.

“The Burlap-covered sliding pinboard/chalkboard design lets you pin up cards and calendars and write notes on chalkboard surface. The Activity Center has six cubbies to organize accessories and display special momentoes with space for to-do lists and notes. Burlap-covered pinboard design was re-created from vintage postmarks.”

Rustic Wall Organizer

10. I know that fruitcake gets a bad rap and maybe it’s because I haven’t had any in nearly a decade, but I’m craving this Christmas-Upside-Down-Cake, chock full of fruit. Not a fruitcake, but a fruity cake.

The recipe is from King Arthur, my gold standard for flour, baking wisdom, and how I would have loved to be here. Since I wasn’t there, The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook is a cookbook I use nearly every week.

he King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

What are your Friday Things? Doing anything holiday-related this weekend from baking to shopping to celebrating?

What’s on your holiday menu?

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!

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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  1. It looks like you’re having so much fun in Aruba! I love the local front yard chicken eggs :P And how Santa is so kind as to lend some things to the toothfairy.

  2. I had my family over for dinner last night, and served turkey, stuffing, potatoes, parsnips with carrots, corn, gravy, cabbage rolls and cranberry sauce. Tonight we are headed to the other side for drinks and munchies, and then turkey dinner at Chris’ parent’s the on Christmas day.

    1. Wow you deserve to put your feet up! That sounds like a ridic amount of cooking for you! I hope Santa brings you some special goodies :)

  3. I would love to see free-roaming chickens while I’m running! Aruba sounds like the perfect dream, realized. (So does that Williams-Sonoma island!) :D

    1. There are pitfalls like any place, i.e. the food supply and grocery store provisions are always iffy but hey, we manage. There’s always cookies to eat that I’ve made. Lol :)

  4. That wall organizer is too cute! And that sunset photo is from an iPhone?! Well done! Why do we even need DSLR’s?

    1. And granted, I did edit it but still..on BOATS I’d rather my iphone gets wet than my camera body + lens!

  5. i love that kitchen island! ahh…whenever I finally get a kitchen makeover….and the sunset photo beautiful!!! on our holiday menu…for Christmas Eve hubby family is over beef tenderloin and lots of appetizers.

  6. a gorgeous sunset sail for you and the family, Averie. Lord knows you deserve a gorgeous evening like that! Skylar sounds like my idea of a good time! dancing, pina coladas (mine… not virgin! That kitchen island… holy heck!!! I want that right now! and the rustic wall organizer! this post is bad for my shopping addiction Averie! And I haven’t shopped for myself in a long time… so you can imagine the pain i’m going through! Threadscene? I’m obsessed. I’ve never heard of it before. And I want to drink ALL that muleld wine. We are having pineapple infused vodka later today – just real pineapple and vodka, infused for 5 weeks. It’s going to taste like juice! So dangerous and amazing. Skylar gets the toothfairy, Santa, AND biscoff marshmallow bars… that gal is lucky. :)

    i want that king arthur upside down fruit cake. now.

    1. A 5 week infusion – now that sounds amazing! A friend of mine in San Diego did the photography on an infusions cookbook/drinkbook and he had something in a state of infusing for like…months..can you imagine the photographic planning that would require?! I know when I did vanilla extract with an 8-9 week lead time, that was as much as I could handle.

      Oh that blinged mixer..I once linked to a woman in my Thurs Things who does hand-painting on mixers, but she doesn’t gem them. Just paint I think.

      Contrary to how these posts seem, I actually don’t shop for myself much either! Kitchen gadgets and food, a dishes here and there, but almost never clothes! I have a kid in private school. Nuff said :)

  7. Oh wow, that sunset is stunningly beautiful. Seriously inspiring photography- Unbelievable that it came from a camera phone!

  8. I love local eggs! The yolks are a much brighter, deeper color and I think they taste so much better! I love getting my eggs at the farmer’s market when it’s open.

  9. Stumbled upon “Savory Spices” in Sellwood, Oregon. Yes, they are online. They have black garlic,powdered tomato and a smackin’ pesto parmesan for popcorn ( I am addicted). They have the usual spices and more. They buy in small quantities so the product is fresh. I usually buy at Penzy’s in Beaverton, Oregon (on-line, too)but the people here seem to be friendlier. They also have a dehydrated corn that is very good and their jellied ginger is a new favorite of mine. Getting back to the powdered tomato, it just might save me with winter blah tomatoes. I was thinkin’ of sprinkling some on my eggs?Give ’em a try, you will be glad you did.

  10. I love a gorgeous sunset. It always makes me stop in my tracks and take notice. I like some fruitcakes. The best I’ve had is from Collin Street Bakery. I ordered it because it was on The Best Thing I Ever Ate and it did not disappoint. Can’t wait to order another one.

    1. That’s good to know about the fruitcake. I know you’re a fan of mail-order desserts (I have way too many of my own to be ordering them…LOL) & glad that one was so good you’ll order it again!

  11. Suddenly I want to go on vacation, eat tons of decadent desserts and shop till I drop! Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration :)

  12. Awwwww, Skylar looks SO adorable in that picture!!! I wish we lived closer to the water… your sunset pics get me ready to move West every time!

  13. Sunset sail = code for “booze cruise”. :D
    I’m in a CSA and we get fresh eggs every week. They just don’t compare to store-bought. A different thing completely. Delicious. So flavorful! I also got a bunch of beets, which will be made into something Christmas-y. Not sure which of the recipes from beet week, but one of them for sure.
    Your description of ThreadScene is so intriguing….just my style.

  14. So nice you could get local eggs! We just finished some creamy tomato soup for lunch. Such an easy and quick recipe…and I definitely needed that after a busy morning. I went the Italian route for seasonings. I like cilantro so will have to try that next time. I am traveling to my parent’s house for our family Christmas this weekend, so all the shopping and wrapping is officially done and it’s almost time to hit the road. Congratulations on the recipe features!

    1. So glad you made it and enjoyed! Italian sounds perfect – it’s one of those hard to turn out wrong type soups :) Safe travels to you guys as you hit the road!

  15. Yay for Friday Things! I loved this one in particular, so sweet the details about Skylar! And note to self for future babies to keep emergency Tooth Fairy treats on hand – nice save on that one! :) Thanks for turning me on to Thread Scene – totes my style. I may purchase every single thing from the ‘Cali Winter’ section. And with regard to my holiday menu – I’m still stumped… will be working on it tonight on my horrible redeye flight to the family. Let’s hope inspiration strikes!

    1. Ugh good luck on the red eye. From Cali and the west coast, heading east, it seems to be the only way for us. We ALWAYS have to take them! And yes, being a mom is an exercise in preparedness..and scrambling. Because I could have 10 bottles of children’s Tylenol packed, need none of them, but the strap on the one pair of sandals we have breaks, or a tooth falls out, etc. And it’s always.something.yes. :)

  16. What a beautiful sunset photo, Averie and oh my god, that island!!

    I need to get on my menu! I know I’m making roast beef and my Reese’s bread pudding so far…that’s all I know.

  17. That Christmas upside down cake looks amazing! Hope you are having a wonderful time in Aruba…I’m already counting down to my 2013 vacation there…but this year with my sweet baby girl in tow :) Happy holidays!!

    1. Well you guys are going to have a blast – little one in tow this time! I bet you’re counting the days already :)

  18. That kitchen island is gorgeous!! I just pinned for inspiration :) Have a Merry Merry Christmas, Avery!

  19. That mulled wine looks incredible! Your views are gorgeous…and all along I thought here in Arizona that we have the most beautiful sunsets!

    1. I didn’t know you live in AZ! Well hopefully you’re enjoying a few months here of cool weather before the heat again :)

  20. Thank you for the warm-weather photos. We’re sitting under 18″ of snow and a forecasted low of 7 degrees tonight!

  21. Your Friday things posts always make me so hungry! Also, I love that your eggs are ULTRA local. Talk about from farm to table! :P

  22. Oh my goodess, I want that kitchen island (and that fruit upside down cake) for breakfast!
    Glad you are enjoying your time in Aruba. It looks beautiful! Have a very happy holiday Averie!

  23. I love, love, love that kitchen island! It is gorgeous. I plan on making the Nutella cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. My kids are going to go nuts!

    My weekend will be spent doing last minute shopping and lots of wrapping.

    Have a great one!

    1. If you make the rolls, come back & LMK how many minutes (not hours) the pan lasts with your family :)

  24. Oh my gosh, that’s awesome! Your friendly neighborhood chickens, love it! I’ve never been to Aruba, but it sounds absolutely fantastic. Love these stories!

    1. It’s sort of like a circus most days…you know after your time in India that when you’re traveling, especially to certain countries, that you’re just going to be in for an adventure and that even the smallest things like trying to obtain a lightbulb could take a half day and involve 10 markets, all with directions to them that start out with…well when you see a blue house, you make a right…. ummm, yeah :)

  25. I’ve been wanting to hunt down some local, farm-fresh eggs! I’ve heard I’ll immediately be able to taste and see the difference and will never want grocery store eggs again. But I can’t seem to find any! I’ll keep looking though. Happy Friday, Averie!

    1. To say these are fresh & local is an understatement! In San Diego, they sell them at the farmers markets or if you go on Craigslist or local-in-your-area holistic/natural type chat boards or city forums, there are always ways to connect with locals for eggs. It can be a bit underground but worth it!