Friday Things

Einstein relaxing

1. Einstein thanks all of you for the abundance of birthday wishes this week. He had a great day and is still enjoying his special treats :)

2. I received quite a few questions from readers about omitting the corn syrup in the meringue for the lemon meringue bars earlier this week. If you have corn syrup concerns, I wanted to share with you that I found this organic non-GMO corn syrup from Wholesome Sweeteners. They have a bunch of other organic and non-GMO products, such as cornstarch, honey, molasses, etc. Definitely check it out if you’re in the market for products like that!

3. Over the holidays, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation held an online auction for gift baskets, with proceeds going to the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the ALS Association. There was a basket made up for each player, which included a ton of their favorite things – some were filled with fishing gear, golfing gear, movies, video games, some had game tickets, autographed items, etc. On the day that the auction expired, I put in a bid, and lo and behold…

Photo Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation

Photo Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation

I won Sidney Crosby’s basket! I went to the Penguins Foundation offices earlier this week to pick it up and they snapped a photo of me with the basket. Among all of the really unique things in there was a half-pound Reese’s peanut butter cup (which I’m embarrassed to say is nearly gone at this point) and a bag of Reese’s Pieces, and a ton of chocolate. Could this be any more perfect for me?!

My two (three) favorites items (aside from the candy!): A hand painted Christmas ornament from Nova Scotia, an autographed jersey and an an autographed puck:

crosby-basket-collage

I love hockey, and I also love supporting great causes. I’m always thrilled to see how much the Penguins give back to the community, and I was happy that I could also give back a bit through this auction.

4. Last weekend, I made legit chicken parmesan for the very first time (crazy!). I used this recipe from Simply Recipes and it was fantastic! The only thing I added was an extra sprinkle of shredded provolone – more cheese the merrier, right?! If you’re looking for a good chicken parm recipe, I highly recommend that one!

5. I am slowly getting comfortable with using my camera on full manual mode; adjusting the delicate balance between shutter speed, aperture and ISO can be difficult at first, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading. If you’re in the same boat, check out this post from Design Your Way, which has collated a ton of infographics and cheat sheets that are immensely helpful.

6. I just saw this Subaru commercial for the first time yesterday… DYING!

7. I’m still getting my footing on Google+, but I finally got a profile up and running. If you hang out there, please feel free to add me to your circles!

8. I love these infographics from Entrepreneur magazine about how to be more productive; they include How to Have a Simple Life, How to Get Up Early, How to Start the Day, How to Work Fast, and How to Think Faster. A really great read!

9. Did anyone watch the ESPN 30 for 30 last night on the Nancy Kerrigan/Tanya Harding saga? UNBELIEVABLE!

Also (and unrelated)… it reminded me of how many scrunchies I had back in the 90’s. Ahh, the glory days.

10. TGIF! Peekaboo!

Duke lounging

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34 Responses to “Friday Things”

  1. Alyssa @ My Sequined Life on January 17, 2014 at 1:08 am

    Oh my gosh, that commercial! Thanks for the laugh. Einstein is such a cutie pie! I didn’t catch the Harding/Kerrigan 30 for 30 but I’ll keep an eye out for it. I’m a big fan of that series – I love documentaries and my boyfriend loves sports, so it’s usually something on Netflix that we’ll easily agree on to watch. :)

    Happy Friday!

    Reply

  2. Pieliekamais on January 17, 2014 at 3:15 am

    :D awesome commercial!
    Thank you for the links, I bookmarked the photo one and the infographics one.

    Reply

  3. Ashley on January 17, 2014 at 3:51 am

    30 on 30 was crazy last night. At the beginning I was actually feeling sorry for Harding after seeing the old films of how her mom treated her. By the end though, I couldn’t believe some of the things she was saying now, 20 years later. I was always a Kerigan fan, and her grace continued as she refused to be interviewed for the show. Defintly still think she should have won the gold.

    Reply

  4. Becca @ Crumbs on January 17, 2014 at 5:06 am

    Ah scrunchies! I loved them =) Have a great weekend and enjoy your basket!

    Reply

  5. Rob Long on January 17, 2014 at 6:28 am

    That’s awesome that you won the Sidney Crosby basket! I especially love the Christmas ornament! Halifax is a fun city to visit…we only live a couple of hours away in New Brunswick so we go there as often as we can. Have you ever visited Halifax? Or for that matter Nova Scotia? If you enjoy travelling then you owe it to yourself to visit! Halifax and down along the south shore is beautiful! Also. we can’t talk about Nova Scotia without talking about the Cabot Trail that circles the Cape Breton highlands…stunning…absolutely stunning!

    Rob Long
    Saint John, NB

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 17th, 2014 at 9:28 am

      Hi Rob, I have never been to Halifax or Nova Scotia… I will add it to my ever-growing list of places in Canada to visit :) Thanks!

      Reply

  6. Lori on January 17, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Congratulations on winning the box of goodies from the Penguins. Are you going to frame the jersey or wear it? Have a great weekend and thanks for posting all your tips.

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 17th, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Thanks, Lori! The jersey is going to get framed.

      Reply

  7. Jamie @ Dishing Out Health on January 17, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Omg that commercial is hysterical! Haha and your dog is gorgeous! Congrats on winning the box of goodies – how fun!

    Reply

  8. stephanie on January 17, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Thank you for the info on corn syrup! I found it helpful to add that corn syrup is not hydrogenated corn syrup. That is where I found a lot of people in confusion.

    Reply

  9. Lori B on January 17, 2014 at 8:07 am

    I always enjoy reading ‘Friday Things’ as something in it always brings a smile to my face. Congrats on your winning Sid’s basket! I am a Pittsburgher, too. Let’s Go Pens!!

    Reply

  10. Kim in RI on January 17, 2014 at 8:34 am

    My son would be so jealous if he knew! He is a huge, and I do mean huge, Penguins fan and loves Sidney Crosby! We live in RI so not too many Pens fans here – we are Bruins fans through and through!

    Reply

  11. Linda on January 17, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Thanks for the Subaru links. We have Subaru’s and we’ve had two Goldens. These ads are adorable. Haven’t seen them on tv tho; what a shame…..it would make me actually WATCH an ad instead of muting it!!!!

    Reply

  12. Sarah Gardner on January 17, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Happy birthday to Einstein! What a handsome fella! =)

    Reply

  13. Kate (@KatefromScratch) on January 17, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Congratulations on the win! That’s fantastic. And Happy Birthday to Einstein!

    Reply

  14. Michelle Kwiatkowski on January 17, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Congratulations on receiving quite possibly the best gift basket out of all gifted! Who could have imagined a basket full of chocolates from a hockey player? You’re well deserving of a gift basket, you give so much that it’s nice to see it returned to you. Thanks for the link to the camera post. I was just on your site last night re-reading tips for taking quality food photos. I post photos of cookies on flickr and “Cookie Connection” but am quite disappointed with the quality of each. In the picture of you photographing food in front of your window, is this how you typically capture your best photos? That’s where I usually take my pics, but I must be doing something wrong because they’re definitely lacking that “wow” factor. Do you ever use a light box? I am just beginning to experiment with this. Finally, about how much time to you find yourself spending on the set-up of each photo? Thanks for your time, your helpful (and amusing) posts, and congrats again!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 17th, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Michelle, Since that photo was taken, I have since moved, but yes, I now take my food photos in my “breakfast nook”, which is surrounded by windows. I just use natural light and use trial and error with the settings on my camera. I don’t use a light box. As for time on each photo, it all depends on what I’m photographing, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to get it ready.

      Reply

  15. Terry on January 17, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I love your blog! I am a transplanted Pittsburgher-live in Omaha now, but always enjoy your posts about the “burgh.” I was wondering if you could give me the link for the drunken noodles and sausage recipe? It was one of my favorites and my computer crashed and I lost most of my “foodie” stuff. Thanks so much. Have a wonderful weekend.. Terry

    Reply

  16. Melissa Rearson on January 17, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Great group of “things” today! Congrats on your basket–winning is really fun! Made your chocolate salted caramel cupcakes for a big HS swim party last weekend and they were the hit! Told my mom that was planning to make them again this weekend for MY birthday celebration–this might be my favorite combination of all time! I made my own cupcake papers out of parchment and here is the photo: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202828028650667&set=pcb.10202828030970725&type=1&theater (Incidentally, the recipe makes about 48 mini cupcakes which were the perfect size!)

    Reply

  17. Erika on January 17, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I can’t believe you won the Sid basket! I always wonder who wins those. Since I don’t live in Pittsburgh anymore, I really miss all the great things the team does, (don’t you just love our boys!?) and it’s cool to get a little inside view from you! Thanks for sharing that!

    Thanks for the chicken parm recipe, too! It’s a fave of my son’s, so I’m always on the look-out for the perfect version.

    Reply

  18. Jennifer Myatt on January 17, 2014 at 10:44 am

    HI! This made my day! I am from Halifax, Nova Scotia! Congrats on your win!

    Reply

  19. Pearse on January 17, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Happy belated birthday Einstein! Sorry I missed it. Hope u had a very fun day.

    Reply

  20. Christina @ Oven Adventures on January 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    OMG the puppy pictures kill me….. so cute I just want to reach through the screen and cuddle them. I have problems. That is awesome you won the basket. Hopefully he threw in a Coffee Crisp! Love your Friday things :)

    Reply

  21. Lynne on January 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    That chicken Parmesan recipe looks good. It’s funny how everyone associates chicken parm with lots of mozzarella cheese! I have two suggestions/tips – I never use egg, I just dip my wet chicken in the breadcrumb/cheese mixture. One of my Italian friends told me that the egg will make it tough. I don’t know about that, but it’s just one less step/mess that I’ve found I don’t need. The other tip is to buy the frozen tenders (I buy Purdue brand) – then you can skip pounding the chicken breasts, and they cook up a lot quicker. I love the addition of fresh basil, I’m gonna try that. I am lazy and usually use jar sauce on mine (but I don’t use a lot, just a spoonful on each piece of chicken).

    Reply

  22. Robin Christensen on January 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Congratulations on the win! I’m jealous – I never win ANYTHING!
    I missed the Tanya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan thing. I was going to record it, but forgot! Hopefully there will be a rerun.
    As always, I love seeing your furr babies! Have a great weekend.

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 17th, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Hi Robin, I think there are a couple of reruns over the weekend, you’ll have to check the listings.

      Reply

      • Robin Christensen on January 22nd, 2014 at 1:30 pm

        Thanks, Michelle! I was able to find it and recorded it and watched a small piece of it, then fell smooth asleep! I plan on watching it all this weekend.

        Reply

  23. Karla on January 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Amazing basket! Congrats! And a belated Happy Birthday to Einstein.

    Reply

  24. Martha in KS on January 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    That basket absolutely was created for you. And you must eat all of that chocolate – it’s for a great cause!

    Reply

  25. fatty on January 17, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I LOVE YOUR DOG!!!

    Reply

  26. Terry on January 18, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Michelle,
    This is the recipe i think i was looking for. It really is called Italian drunken noodles :). It was a recipe you recommended from another site. Thanks, Terry
    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/italian-drunken-noodles/

    Reply

  27. Donna on January 18, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I live in halifax, nova scotia, but am from Cape Breton, both places defenitely must see parts of Canada. We are all very proud of Sidney..our hometown boy!!!

    Reply

  28. Laura Dembowski on January 25, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Your auction basket looks awesome! I have a ceramic football decorated and signed by the NFL on Fox team from the NFL auction when the Super Bowl was in Detroit. I love it. I added you to my Google circles :)

    Reply

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