Here are this week’s Thursday Things:

1. I was getting my hair done last week and I asked my stylist what flat iron she uses and she showed it to me. They sell it at the salon for $145 plus tax.

I went online with my iPhone, googled it, and up came this deal from Overstock: $67.99, no tax, free shipping. Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Variable Temperature.

I now realize it’s sold on Amazon for a similar price and wasn’t necessarily a “hot deal” on Overstock. Either way, it was still less than half the price had I bought it in the salon. Pays to do a quick google on things like that, always.

Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Variable Temperature straightener

2. I plopped that sucker into my virtual shopping cart faster than you can say 450 degrees. My other flat iron was nearing it’s last leg. I bought it in 2004 and it gave me 8 great years but I needed a new one.

Packaging for Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Variable Temperature straightener

After just a few days, I am loving the new flat iron. My hair doesn’t get snagged in the plates and they’re five-inches long so I can fit a big section of hair in at one time.

The faster I can flat iron and be done, the better. I don’t go tiny section by tiny section and make it look perfect; I literally do maybe ten huge sections, ten passes, two minutes max, and I’m done.  Good enough.  Just something to tame the frizz, and make my half wavy, half straight, part kinky, part frizzy, definitely confused follicles all get on the same smooth, flat, page.

3. Cupcake Icing Kit – 5 hand-selected jumbo tips and re-usable pastry bag for $19.50. Great value.

Now, if only I could get past my mental issue of wasting tons of glorious frosting as it sticks to the sides of the pastry bag and not having the patience to clean pastry bags. But this set is cute enough that I think I could be swayed.

Cupcake Icing Kit

4. It seems Betty Crocker may be trying to get in Christina Tosi’s league by adding beer and pretzels to cookies. Yes, good old Betty is putting brewskies into cookies.

Cookies with frosting and pretzels

Betty Crocker (General Mills) is a Minnesota-based company and I grew up in Minnesota and will always have a soft spot for Minnesotans. And Betty Crocker and cookies of all types.

5.  I wonder if beer would work with potato chips, Cap’n Crunch, butterscotch and chocolate chips in Compost Cookies. Actually that may be a little bit too much composting for even me.

Compost cookies

6. Remember when I started canning? Well, you may not, but I sure do. Boiling water, time, energy, lots of research, pectin, and hot pepper fumes wafting into my sinuses, I figured it out.

Enter Hot Pepper Jelly

Hot Pepper Jelly

Then I found Stovetop Hot Pepper Jelly and no true canning is required.  Stovetop.

Stovetop Hot Pepper Jelly

7. Well it seems that Sue from The View From The Great Island has a French friend, Elisa, who grew up making jams and jellies from the fruit of her family’s orchards, which dates back to the 1500s. Her family has been at this awhile.

From Sue’s site: “According to Elisa, for the most basic of all jams you technically need only 4 things: fruit, sugar, clean jars, and a scale.  The scale is essential because you need equal amounts, by weight, of the fruit and sugar.  There are lots of variations and subtle changes you can make, including using special sugars with added pectin, and different combinations of fruit and flavorings…”

And from Elisa: “I’ve never heard of anyone, either in Belgium or in France, boiling the jars after filling them. Sometimes they do it before filling them – but just as a way of cleaning them well. But most people nowadays just put them in the dishwasher. To make sure, I checked more than a dozen websites on jam making in French, and none of them mentioned boiling the jars. However, they all said to turn the jars upside down when the jam is cooling down. This creates a vacuum that allows for the conservation of the jam and prevents contamination from bacteria or molds. You know, like when you open a jar for the first time, it makes this popping sound when the vacuum is filled with air? … and the extremely high sugar content stops the proliferation of bacteria (this is why historically sugar is used for food preservation – just like salt or vinegar). AND, my biggest argument: people in France and Belgium have been doing it like this forever and we’re perfectly fine :-)”

Leave it to the French to make amazing food and have a shortcut. I am so on board.

Sue’s Plum Chutney with Thai Chili and Lime is one example of no canning. Just boil the mixture, pour into jars, and invert. Done.

Sue's Plum Chutney with Thai Chili and Lime in jars

8. With the abundance of summer fruit, I hope to make jam with it.

Strawberries

Or put it into Creamy Mixed Berry White Chocolate Crumble Bars

Creamy Mixed Berry White Chocolate Crumble Bars

9. Ever wondered about seasoning a cast iron pan? The differences between seasoned, unseasoned/bare, enamel, and recommendations are discussed. Short ‘n sweet and very helpful.

Cast Iron pan

10. Have you entered the Champion Sports Bras Giveaway?

What are your Thursday Things?

Feel free to link up anything fabulous you’ve made, done, seen, or bought.

Do you have a favorite flat iron? Favorite pastry bag and decorating tips? Favorite cast iron pan? Ever tried canning?

I want to hear about all that stuff!

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