Friday Things

Easter Basket

1. The Easter bunny gave me an Easter basket with some golf socks for my new hobby, peanut butter eggs, a gift certificate for a facial and a few other little goodies. That’s one awesome bunny!

2. I’m happy to report that I made it through all 40 days of Lent without a smidgen of peanut butter. Success! However, I’ve devoured my fair share of peanut butter eggs since Sunday 😉

3. My Chief Culinary Consultant and I found out that our soon-to-be new house isn’t serviced by Comcast, which is what we both have now. We’ve been looking into DirectTV as an alternative to the other local cable provider. Has anyone switched from cable to DirectTV? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the service in general, reliability, channels, etc.?

4. I’ve tried making hi-hat cupcakes three times now. I’ve failed three times. I’m beginning to think that I’m just not meant to have these cupcakes.

5. Wrapping paper that makes a stack of presents look like a hamburger? Genius!


[source: Gift Couture]

6. I’ve seen a number of articles over the last couple of weeks about how social media is skewing our perception of real life. Lots of really interesting points in the posts; here is the latest one I’ve seen: Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life.

7. This is 100% true, right?

Love to eat!

8. T-minus 40 days until we close on our house! Not that we’re counting or anything…

9. A quick admin note – I know some of you were having issues saving recipes to the recipe box connected with ZipList… Good news – it’s all fixed! If you have any issues moving forward, please be sure to let me know!

10. TGIF! I’m suddenly inspired to lounge in pajamas all weekend! 🙂

Pajama Party!


67 Responses to “Friday Things”

  1. Pat on April 5, 2013 at 2:44 am

    You post the absolute sweetest pup pictures: the pj shot is so great it had me in tears. We got a 3-month baby onesie for out JR as he tends to get chilled easily.
    We have had Directv for several years and have been happy with the programming and the service. The only time service has been interrupted has been with heavy weather interference. It is getting to be a bit expensive but, “What are you going to do?”


    • Cate on April 5th, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      I held my iPad up to my face to kiss therapy and tell him I love him. That’s not odd, is it? 😉


  2. Emily Hancock on April 5, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Don’t give up on the hi-hats! Try adapting the Martha Stewart recipe maybe? That’s the one i use and it worked really well 🙂


  3. Jennifer on April 5, 2013 at 6:53 am

    We got DirecTV when we moved into our current house in 2002, because it wasn’t serviced by Comcast either. We’ve been happy with it! It can get pricey, but it has way more channels than Dish. We looked into switching at one point, but changed our minds when we compared. I guess it depends on how much TV you watch – my hubby watches a lot!


  4. Kristen M. on April 5, 2013 at 6:56 am

    What source recipes are you using for your hi-hat cupcakes?…i had great success on my first try but only bc I used the recipe from Martha Stewart combined with Bakerella’s post about the same. DO NOT GIVE UP…they are sooooooooooo worth it!


    • Michelle on April 5th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Kristen, First I used the Martha Stewart recipe, then the Bakarella version, then King Arthur. Gah! I guess I need to try again 😉


  5. Maria G on April 5, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Been with DirecTV for quite some time now. Great customer service, tons of channel alternatives if you’re trying to keep your bill down, a smart DVR (when I had cable last time, the “record series” option would record EVERY SHOWING of a show, regardless of old or new, even if you specified you just wanted the NEW episodes only). The only downside is, reception goes to hell in case of a rainstorm/snowstorm/high winds, but I’d totally go for it in your place. Hell, if you decide to get it, contact me privately for my account number as reference.

    Have a great weekend!


  6. Shari on April 5, 2013 at 7:42 am

    If you get Directv be sure to get the HD Genie DVR. You can record up to 5 programs at once with it. They have good package deals on premium channels too if you’re a new customer. That bakery your birthday cake came from looks sensational! How’s your copycat attempt coming along?


    • Michelle on April 5th, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      I haven’t tackled the copycat recipe yet, but I’m excited to try! 🙂


  7. Dana on April 5, 2013 at 7:55 am

    We have had DirecTV for almost 10 years and love it. It is getting pricey ($110/month with no premiums), but my hubby likes his sports. Their customer service is great though, service is reliable (except in extreme weather) and even though we just changed to cable Internet, we’re definitely keeping DirecTV.
    I’ve never even tried making high hat cupcakes. I so want to get my frosting to look like Gigi’s does, but just can’t get it there!!
    I don’t know how you made it through Lent without peanut butter. That’s some killer willpower!


  8. linda on April 5, 2013 at 7:58 am

    our experience was not a good one…whenever the weather was bad or even a light snow our directv went out…:( …or if it rained it went out…;( …very frustrating.
    on a bright note i love your site & am a huge fan of your cheesecake recipes…always in my freezer: coffee & espresso cheesecake!
    thank you for such a wonderful site!


    • Jennifer Grimm on April 5th, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      Yea, I had that problem too. I live in Columbus, Ohio and we always have bad weather so we switched back to cable. I really liked it though, would have kept it if not for the weather.


  9. Wendy on April 5, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Hi Michelle. Love following your posts. I just went to dish after having cable and the perks on having a hopper are great! Can even watch DVD recordings on my iPad! Congrats on your home!


  10. Tracey on April 5, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Oh my word, dogs in pajamas!! Is there anything cuter?! I’ll be paying attention to your comments to see what people think of DirectTV. Our cable contract is up and we’ve been thinking of switching too. Happy Friday 🙂


    • Catherine Lily on April 7th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Your cutie in PJs is so adorable, I just had to pin that. He looks so sweet, that made my afternoon:-)


  11. Emily on April 5, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Love directtv!! Will have a hard time going back to cable if I ever have to. Works great and we have dsl and I can’t tell a difference in Internet speed.


  12. Robin on April 5, 2013 at 8:15 am

    I live on the Philly side of PA…about 75 miles north of Philly and once switched from our local cable (RCN) to DirectTV. My husband and son are AVID Philly sports fans. On DirectTV we were massed into a Pittsurgh locality market. Hence, I could get the Pittsburgh sports (Pirates, Steelers etc), HOWEVER, Philly sports were typically unavailable and blacked out. Not in my market, and, because DirectTV did not have a contract with Comcast, who has to exclusives to Philly Sports, we could only get Philly sports if a local channel Direct carried aired it. Now to say my husband and son were unhappy would be a gross understatement. The first year of our marriage we lived in Pittsburgh. I loved it. My husband hated it…because he bleeds green (or red). We had to move back to this end of the state posthaste (as soon as work would transfer him). I even bought the MLB package on Directtv to get the Phillies (as their salesman promised) however, Phillies were blacked out on THAT too! SO. the moral of the story? If your sports are important to you, be VERY careful in your questioning of the DirectTV sales reps and do not accept their blithe assurances. Make them PROVE it to you that you will get your sports you want. My husband was so angry I ended up paying the big disconnect charge to go back to cable to watch a couple lousy baseball games. SIGH. I could have gotten him season tickets….


  13. Lisa from the 'burgh on April 5, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I use Martha Stewart’s hi-hat cupcakes (well, the topping, not the cupcake itself). Believe me, you can make them if I can! 🙂 What kind of difficulty are you having?


    • Michelle on April 5th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      That’s the first recipe I tried. I can’t get the frosting to stiffen up, no matter how long I beat it.


      • Carli on April 6th, 2013 at 5:36 pm

        I used whipped cream instead of frosting (I am not a big fan of frosting anyways) and they came out great. Maybe try using whipped cream instead. Then you don’t have to worry about getting the frosting to stiffen


      • Lisa from the 'burgh on April 8th, 2013 at 8:10 am

        Michelle — Are you using “real” egg whites? I remember attempting a recipe using the refrigerated egg whites that come in a carton. However, they are pasteurized and don’t quite act the same was as a real egg white–the recipe was a disaster because of the substitution.


        • Michelle on April 8th, 2013 at 11:52 am

          Yep, real egg whites! It looks like I’m just going to have to try, try again 🙂


  14. Alycia on April 5, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I have Directv and absolutely love it. Whenever I’ve had a problem with it (maybe 2 times in the past 13 or so years) their response has always been quick and effective. The customer service reps have always been nice and helpful. I used to have problems with losing the satellite connection during storms but they have better equipment now and it doesn’t happen. No, I don’t work for Directv! My brother also has it and loves it. (if you give them my account number when you sign up we both get $10 off our bill for 10 months 😉
    Love your site! I’ve only recently signed up for emails but made several things already. Not good when trying to lose weight but we only live once, right!? lol


  15. Jodi Pavlik on April 5, 2013 at 8:20 am

    We have had DirecTV for about 6 years and have had very few issues. When there is a weather interference it is almost always from extremely heavy rains. I live in NE Ohio so I imagine our weather is fairly close to your weather. My hubby insists on DTV because of the NFL Ticket. Their customer service is awesome compared to Time Warner Cable customer service which is our alternative. Oh and I completely agree with #7! Have a great weekend.


  16. JennCutt on April 5, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I can’t personally speak about Direct TV but my sister has it and she absolutely hates it and can’t wait for her contract to be up so she can switch back to cable. They claimed they fixed the problem of service going out even in bad weather but that hasn’t been true in her experience. We were watching playoff football one weekend and it was a beautiful, bright, sunny day and her system went out. She was pretty embarrassed because she had a lot of people over. Customer service claimed it must be a tree branch blocking her signal but her dish points into a clear path without a branch in sight. On a different note, love that pup picture!!


  17. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks on April 5, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I’m dying over that puppy!


  18. Aimee St.Germain (Cooking the Strip) on April 5, 2013 at 8:33 am

    I absolutely LOVE Julia’s quote about people who love to eat. (Of course, I am one of them!) 🙂

    Happy Friday!


  19. Terri C on April 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Your puppy is darling! Have had Direct tv for a year. The channel selection is nice. It does go out with the weather but usually back on right away. My pet peeve for it is the way they have the weather channel set up. I was so excited when the installer said you could push a button to get your local weather. It’s a really nice feature…..but! It does NOT show active radar! It’s just still. That really gets me. You can’t see where the rain is going or if more is on the way. What man decided that was a great idea! So you have to try to catch the radar when they show it in your area…. Not good direct tv! I’m in the middle of tornado ally!


  20. Tieghan on April 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

    That puppy! Cutest puppy every! You just made my morning!


  21. Mary Ann on April 5, 2013 at 9:38 am

    We went from DSL cable to Dish Network for our television. Dish has a terrible reputation for treating it’s customers badly, but I can tell you that I have always been treated respectfully and promptly by customer service and technicians there. We don’t have Dish’s internet, though, depending on Hughesnet where we are in the country.

    Am going to go back and read the Instagram piece right now… my husband and I had this very conversation last night! Have a good weekend!


  22. Nancy on April 5, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Michelle, What area are you moving to ? Could it be raught 30 near your favorite Italian store ? I live in the North Hills and get phone, cable and internet for 135.00 a month from Verizon.


    • Michelle on April 5th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Nancy, No, I’m actually moving in the complete opposite direction – more to your neck of the woods. We checked and the area our house is at isn’t serviced by Verizon FIOS, so that’s not an option. Thank you for the recommendation, though!


      • Melanie on April 8th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

        I am from around the Saxonburg area and know a couple of friends who have tried Direct TV / Dish. They said that in high winds/snow/rain they would have absolutely no picture. Armstrong and Consolidated Communications have good offers for starters. Good luck! Hope the move goes well!


  23. Mary Ann on April 5, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Second comment, Michelle… I’m so glad you featured the Instagram article… what a wonderful blog post and a great blog… another great discovery from the BEB!


  24. Diane W. on April 5, 2013 at 9:47 am

    We used to make hi-hat cupcakes at the bakery where I worked. What trouble are you having?


    • Michelle on April 5th, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      I can’t get the frosting to be super stiff enough to sit high on the cupcake. I used two different seven-minute recipes and both failed; then I tried a recipe using just a simple syrup and meringue powder. It piped up stiff, but it tasted horrible and it squished and oozed as soon as I tried to cut into the cupcake.


      • Diane W. on April 5th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

        We used more of a meringue frosting…we beat it until stiff peaks (like 12-13 min). We also refrigerated the cupcakes (sometimes popped into the blast freezer for a short time) after they were piped before we dipped them.


  25. Theresa on April 5, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I agree with other comments about DirecTV. We’ve had it for almost two years now after switching from cruddy Time Warner and we’ve loved it. We don’t feel that we are paying any more for it than for other cable companies. And as for bad weather: During snow storms if we still had power, we would go knock the snow off the dish and then it would be fine. Even when we went through Hurricane Sandy last year, I don’t think we had that much disruption.


  26. Beth B on April 5, 2013 at 10:07 am

    The best and worst thing about the Reese eggs are they are super cheap after Easter!
    As for DirceTv we made the switch from cable and love it. More channels, less money and less problems. The only downside is it doesn’t work during really bad storms.


  27. Michelle on April 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I have a great cable company that keeps me happy and isn’t super expensive (Suddenlink), so I’m not thinking of switching, but my parents had a bunch of billing issues with DirecTV. My mom had them turn off the pay-per-view option with the remote if you didn’t have her code (which she never shared with any of us – she couldn’t even remember it because we never ordered anything!) Multiple times a bill would come in with lots of pay-per-view (much of it adult or expensive sporting events) and with three or four movies ordered at the same time. Service reps never could explain it. They did a one-time “courtesy” removal of the charges, but refused to the next time. No one at DirecTV could ever explain to her how someone could order without the code, or how someone could order multiple movies at the same time (usually around 5:30 in the morning…my mom is a light sleeper, if someone had turned on the tv she would have been awake instantly), and they swore there was no way the card could be hacked. They switched to Dish and haven’t had any issues! The weather issues affect all satellite dishes in my experience…we’ve had multiple through the years, starting with the giant white fiberglass one that actually rotated based on the satellite station you programmed!

    I have never heard of hi hat cupcakes…I guess I’m going to have to do some research! 🙂


  28. Marcie @ Flavor The Moments on April 5, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I don’t know how you made it through Lent with no peanut butter! Congrats on that — you’re a bigger person than I am. I’ve never heard of hi hat cupcakes! I love that hamburger wrapping paper, and the Julie Child quote. Hope everything goes well on your new house! That’s so exciting.


  29. Ashley on April 5, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I don’t have DirectTV I have Dish Network instead. I have had zero problems, they have been the best “cable” provider I have ever had.


  30. Tracy on April 5, 2013 at 11:04 am

    That wrapping paper is awesome!!!


  31. Kaitlyn on April 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

    OoooOooh. You should make peanut butter high-hat cupcakes!


  32. Karen on April 5, 2013 at 11:09 am

    We were always Comcast customers until we moved to our new house. We got tired of paying a high bill with Comcast and had terrible reception – to no reception when it would storm or rain lightly. We’ve been with DirecTV since 2008. We love it. It has, over the past 5 years slowly went up in price. We rent 3-4 pay per views a month and have Showtime a premium channel package and Stars comes with it. Our bill runs $158 a month with the extras. Without them, it’d be around 86.00 a month. Not bad. Lots of channels to choose from and as other said, their customer service is impecible. In the 5 years we’ve been customers of theirs, we’ve never had any troubles with billing, equipment, or service.


  33. Bridget on April 5, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Usually I find dogs in clothing ridiculous, but this is ADORABLE! The article you pointed out is a great reminder. Good luck with your recipe for the cupcakes. Thanks for doing all the work for us. I never have a problem with any of your recipes because of all the hard work you put in getting them just right for us.


  34. Darcie Naylor on April 5, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Sorry, but we hated DirecTV. I live in AZ and we switched from Cox Communications to DirecTV. During the summer monsoons, we lost our signal whenever it was stormy. If we had shows set to record and it was stormy outside, the recording was interrupted by a stormy satellite signal so the picture was all scrambled or it skipped. It was horrible. My mother HAD DirecTV and just ended her 2 year contract. Every single time they came out to service ANYTHING, her fault or theirs, they charged her a $49.95 service fee. EVERY SINGLE TIME. That’s crazy to me. I didn’t think we saved any money at all with them and I was super unhappy with their customer service and their overall service.


  35. Rebecca on April 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Love Directv. If you have a friend to refer you you can save $100. The customer service has been great as well. If you see something they are offering new customers just call and ask, they usually give you something. Also, NFL Sunday ticket which is why we will never leave.
    I’ve been contemplating HiHats as well but haven’t tackled them yet.


  36. Kate on April 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I’ve had Dish for the last 2 years and have totally loved it. I switched from DirecTV after dealing with them for a year and paying for a service that I didn’t even receive for 2 months (since the techs couldn’t figure out the problem). Haven’t had any real signal issues with Dish for the past two years and I live in Colorado – yay for lots of snow!


  37. Dennie on April 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I switched from comcast to direct tv several years ago and we love it. I, like one of your other posters, live in Arizona and have had just a few occasions where the storms have knocked out service. However, you get the same thing with comcast. In fact when I had comcast it went out more often than just a few times a year. But, i guess my question is what are you going to use for internet? I still have comcast for my internet provider. I don’t know if Direct tv offers that???


    • Michelle on April 6th, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      Hi Dennie, In our area it looks like DirectTV bundles with an Internet service provider. There is also the option of the local cable company, which also offers Internet service.


  38. Deborah on April 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Ok I was all set to rave about DirecTV (we’ve been with them for almost 15 years, like 6 moves and 3 states!!! =D) But then you had to post that adorable pup in pj’s!!!!
    All I could do was say, “awwwwww”!!!!


  39. Mari @ Oh, Sweet & Savory on April 5, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    It’s ridiculous how absolutely adorable your puppy is!!! And great Julia Child quote!


  40. Patty on April 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I have DirecTV and LOVE it! One of the things I love about it is in the approx. 8 years I have had them I think my bill has gone up by about $5. In the past when I had cable every single year they were raising my bill. I have never really had a problem with reception either.


  41. Rebecca on April 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    We’ve had pretty good luck with DirectTV for 8 years now. I like that they offer both the cooking channel and food network. Another thing I like about them is that I have been able to get them to apply a special offer to our account every year to reduce our bill. The most I’ve gotten is $20 off per month for 12 months and the least I’ve gotten has been $10 off per month for 6 months, but they always give me something if I ask! It helps offset the ever increasing costs of their service.


  42. Pam on April 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I would take DirecTV over Comcast in a nanosecond! DVR options are much better, as is reception. Roomate has Comcast and doesn’t want a dish on her house… 🙁 I didn’t appreciate the consistency of DirecTV charging until I started seeing Comcast bills that were different (and higher) every month… I’m happy to see the comments on hi-hats — thanks!


  43. Sandy on April 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I prefer Dish Network over DirecTV. We have had them both. Dish is cheaper where DirecTV just kept raising their prices. We also had a bad experience with DirecTV customer service.


  44. Verna Madrid on April 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Just wanted to say that we dumped Comcast for DirectTV, and we only wish we had done it sooner! Good value for the money, and much superior customer service. We record lots of shows on the DVR, so we still have something to watch during a storm. If a storm messes up a program while recording is in progress, they repeat many of the programs, so we can usually catch it later.


  45. Susan on April 5, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    We’ve had Directv for 15 years and love it. Great service and channel selection~


  46. Martha in KS on April 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I’ve had DirecTV for about 4 yrs & love it. I had Dish & Time Warner cable & DT is definitely the best. Lots of packages and reasonable prices if you don’t get carried away with “extras”. I’ve got a cheap basic $30 pkg. I have an outage a couple of times a year when there’s a big thunderstorm to the south, but I always have something on the dvr to watch. Let me refer you to get a discount – in fact we both will get $100 ($10/mon.) off. Seriously. Email me


  47. Laura on April 6, 2013 at 12:02 am

    We had DirectTv and liked it, but made a dramtic switch a few years ago and now have no cable- just a digital antennae and an apple tv. We get basic channels (abc, nbc, etc ) free in hd thanks to the antennae and pay 8$ a month for netflix, 8$ a month for hulu, splurge on a season pass of other shows on iTunes and still save a TON over cable and watch way less! We love it. You might try it. They have sports packages you can get too.


  48. Laura Dembowski on April 6, 2013 at 8:40 am

    That’s a great Easter basket! I have and love Comcast. I have heard DirectTV can have more outages. Have you thought about ATT or even WOW?


  49. Christine on April 6, 2013 at 11:11 am

    DirecTV is terrific! We’ve had it, and then not had it, and we’ll never not have it again!


  50. Kay B on April 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    We switched from Charter to Direct TV and have had no issues, we love Direct TV, and the cost was way cheaper than Charter, that was an added bonus!


  51. Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes on April 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Your puppy is SO CUTE!! And stealing that quote from Julia Child!


  52. Florentina on December 1, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long
    comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless,
    just wanted to say great blog!


  53. on July 4, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with
    the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that
    service? Thanks a lot!


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