Time for this week’s Thursday Things:

1. There’s a large recall extending to 76 items made by Sunland, a Portales, New Mexico-based nut butter maker due to salmonella concerns. I had an unopened jar of their creamy Valencia peanut butter and I brought it back to my local grocery store yesterday, no questions asked.

Natural Peanut butter squeeze packs advertisement

Sunland opted to pull all the 76 different products from stores, including almond butter and peanut butter. Sunland’s nut butters are sold in a variety of grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s pulled its Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter from shelves after it was linked to 29 salmonella cases in 18 states. I know many bloggers and blog readers who use this particular peanut butter in abundance.

Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter jar

As much as I love Trader Joe’s, and am a contributing author in this Trader Joe’s Cookbook, a salmonella outbreak is scary stuff.

Cooking with trader Joe's easy lunch boxes by Kelly Lester

2. I think making your own Homemade Peanut Butter in about 5 minutes in the comfort of your own kitchen rather than buying it sounds like a better and better idea all the time.

Jar of Homemade Peanut Butter

3. Mini Kraft Paper Bags, set of 10 for $4.50 from Papercookie – What adorable little gift bags these would make without breaking the bank at just 45 cents each

Mini paper bags with colorful tape closing them

4. Want to be Fox’s next Master Chef?

“What kinds of cooks are you looking for?

We are on a nationwide search for talented amateur cooks from all types of backgrounds, and with a range of cooking styles to audition for season 4. Whether you enjoy cooking delightful desserts or hefty main courses, whether you cook fine French cuisine or prefer a great tasting burger, we want to hear from you. If cooking is your passion, you cannot miss out on this opportunity.”

They have open casting calls all over the country in these 11 cities if you want to try out.

Master Chef Season 4 Casting Call

5. Wondering what’s in those mystery containers in your freezer?

Just write on the containers with dry erase crayons and the mystery meal problem is solved.

6. Cory of Zesty Blog Consulting, is hosting a 4-class online WordPress Workshop. For the past couple years Cory has done all my site maintenance and he’s a great resource. If you need help with your blog, how to make your blog better, how to do things on your own without wasting tons of time trying to figure it out, or want to run your own blog better, you may want to check out the workshop.

“The workshop is a live, four-week comprehensive WordPress training program.  We teach you how to customize and manage your current WordPress website or blog with ease and confidence.  No more wasting time trying to figure things out on your own. In just four, one-hour classes, you’ll master all the basics: how to build custom pages, links and posts, use plugins, update widgets, manage media, and much, much, more. You’ll also get homework and worksheets to make sure you really get it, and you get to ask me all your questions as you go, so you’ll never feel like you’re on your own. Don’t worry if you’re not a “technical” person. I promise, no experience with computer graphics, coding, or web design is required.  At the completion of the course you will have the skills required to run your blog or website effectively — all by yourself.”

7. Top Tips for Baking Cupcakes in Bulk including, “Measure out batches of dry ingredients in advance, keep in ziplock bags – This saves TONNES of time and really can be done whenever you have a spare hour or so!”

Lines of cupcakes with icing and blue flower candies on top

8. Miso Maple Sweet Potato Tacos with Coconut Cilantro Sauce – I am in love with each and every ingredient and flavor in the recipe title

Miso Maple Sweet Potato Tacos with Coconut Cilantro Sauce

I can’t get enough sweet potatoes lately from Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Caribbean Seasoning

To using them in three-ingredient and 15-minute Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Coconut Milk Soup

And I have a sweet potato recipe coming tomorrow.

Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Coconut Milk Soup

9. After all those hot potatoes, ice cream would go down so easily.

It’s probably a good thing that I don’t own an ice cream maker because Brown Sugar Bourbon Ice Cream sounds a little too amazing, and it’s plated next to Apple Croustades

Brown Sugar Bourbon Ice Cream

10. Felt Coasters, Set of 4 for $9 from West Elm – Great price and I think felt is a great material for coasters because it’s absorbent.

I have ruined nice leather coasters, and more importantly, ruined an expensive dining room tabletop because said leather coasters didn’t actually absorb the condensation that dripped from the water glasses.  Instead, the moisture pooled on top of the leather coasters, spilled over, and left water-rings on the table, bigger and more pronounced than just setting glasses directly on the table would have been.

Leather coasters are pretty, but in my opinion, not functional or practical. Kind of like a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, but I’d much prefer a pair of those to a pair of coasters.

Felt Coasters

What are your Thursday Things?

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

Do food recalls scare you or cause you to say, hmmm, I wonder just how safe, or not, our food supply is?

They are un-nerving, but the overwhelming vast majority of us can’t grow all the produce we need to survive nor do we have the agricultural land, climates, or resources to grow things like sugar beets for sugar, wheat for flour, soybeans, grains, or any large-scale crop. We live in an era in which we need to depend on purchased food.

I think most food is safe, and our immune systems are strong and humans are resilient creatures, but when these outbreaks happen, it does give me pause to wonder what, if anything, I could do differently to stay as safe and healthy possible and protect my family.

I also don’t necessarily think buying organic or locally-grown will always keep one safe, either. Unfortunately, food-borne illnesses can strike anyone at anytime. I got a horrendous case of food poisoning from a 5-star restaurant about 10 years ago; bacteria didn’t discriminate.

Thanks for the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies + KitchenAid Stand Mixer + $200 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card Giveaway entries

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