Friday Things

1. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… in my kitchen! My mom and I kicked off our holiday baking last Saturday, then I had an afternoon baking session at my grandma’s on Monday, and then I whipped up some of my favorite peppermint bark midweek. The result? I’ve been eating Christmas cookies and candy like it’s my job, and it’s only December 14th. I love the holidays.

2. My Facebook news feed has been overtaken by Elf on the Shelf. I don’t have kids… can someone clue me in?! From what I can tell, a buggy-eyed elf shows up in different places around the house everyday. That’s all I’ve been able to figure out… the why eludes me.

3. As I said, I don’t have kids, but I saw the letter below on Pinterest this week and immediately saved it for the future. It’s absolutely perfect in every single way.

4. Sunday is the last day of my 10-week hockey clinic. Wah! I’m bummed for it to end, but I signed up for it again beginning in January, so after a few weeks off I’ll be back at it! I can’t stop now… I finally got to the point where I can do semi, sort-of, very clumsy-looking crossovers, and I can skate backwards the length of the ice (not quickly or in a straight line, mind you). I’m hoping one day soon I’ll have some pictures of me in all of my gear to share with you!

5. The Bouchon Bakery cookbook arrived on my doorstep this week and I think I let out an audible gasp when I first picked it up. It’s a huge book, designed like a coffee table book, and packed full of amazing recipes. I can’t wait to recreate those amazing peanut butter sandwich cookies that I ate while at Bouchon Bakery in NYC. If you are looking for a cookbook to gift for Christmas this year, I can’t recommend this one enough. I also suggest that you add it to your own wish list!

6. One of the projects that my mom and I tackled during our baking day on Saturday was my grandma’s biscotti. My sister had asked that we try to make them, since no one has had them for probably at least five years. While everything that came out of my grandma’s kitchen was amazing, she was definitely old-school in her recipe-writing. I think I’ve made mention before of a serious lack of quantities when listing ingredients. For her biscotti recipe, she had no measurements for the flour or the flavoring (she always used butternut flavoring). By glancing through some of my other biscotti recipes and having my mom there, who had at least felt my grandma’s biscotti dough before, I was able to nail the amount of flour needed in the recipe. The flavor was a little lacking, which we realized was because the grocery store had only imitation butternut flavor. I quickly found that King Arthur Flour sells the actual vanilla butternut oil and ordered it immediately. I’m so thrilled that our family will be able to enjoy my grandma’s biscotti with their coffee this Christmas, even if doing so feels a little bittersweet. I have no doubt my grandma was guiding my  hand as I added flour to that dough.

7. My fantasy football season in my “all boys but me” league came to a screeching (and embarrassing) end last week. I was projected to win my playoff game by more than 30 points. I ended up losing by three. To my boyfriend. Thanks for nothing Aaron Rodgers, Wes Welker, Ahmad Bradshaw and Bryce Brown.

8. This is the current screen saver on my phone:

It’s the equivalent of a snow dance… I’m hoping Pittsburgh doesn’t have a repeat of last winter, otherwise known as the winter with no snow! Let’s get those flakes coming!

9. Have you been keeping up with the 12 Days of Giveaways on the site? There are only a few days left, so be sure to check each day and enter for a chance to win some amazing goodies! You still have time to enter to win an iPad Mini and a KitchenAid Mixer; stay tuned for the last two days on Monday and Tuesday of next week!

10. TGIF! Find a patch of sunshine this weekend and bask in it 🙂


52 Responses to “Friday Things”

  1. Lauren on December 14, 2012 at 1:28 am

    After looking at the website, I think I want that book… YUM!


  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on December 14, 2012 at 1:41 am

    My daughter is almost 6 and I fear she knows the truth about Santa but she still plays along. Like she knows she’s being ignorant and living in an ignorance is bliss state, but wants to be there – as much as a 5 year old can rationalize. I need to save that letter! Duly noted – and thank you.

    I am about to place an amazon order for something else and have wondered about the Buchon book. I have held it in my hands at my local Anthro store, and now, okay, going into my cart 🙂


  3. Amy K on December 14, 2012 at 4:49 am

    I wish I could enlighten you in regards to the elf, but I just don’t get it either. Perhaps it’s fun, but I just think the little guy is somewhat creepy. I have 3 kids, and besides seeing all of the hype on social media, it is not on my radar at all for a tradition in my home.


  4. Kris Pare on December 14, 2012 at 5:54 am

    I about cried on that letter–that is definitely a positive way to keep the spirit alive. I admit I haven’t got on the ELF train for my 5yr old–my Mom had one from the 60’s and it was scary, creepy, and gave me the shivers… I am so baking this weekend, its pulling Mom and Grandma’s recipes out that give me the spirit. TGIF!


  5. Meaghan on December 14, 2012 at 6:22 am

    I’m hoping to find the Bouchon Bakery book under the tree on Christmas =)


  6. Val S on December 14, 2012 at 6:59 am

    How am I ever going to not put on pounds this holiday with all this yumminess in my email everyday!


  7. Deborah L on December 14, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Oh my goodness, I think I really have to get my hands on a copy of the Bouchon Bakery book!!


  8. Heather @ SugarDish(Me) on December 14, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Oh! That letter to Santa was perfect!! My 9-year-old has been waaaay into Santa this year. He’s got other kids trying to steal his Christmas Santa joy and THAT letter is just awesome.


  9. lynnemeisch on December 14, 2012 at 7:23 am

    The Bouchon Bakery book looks amazing. I’m busy baking my traditional batches of well liked Christmas cookies!


  10. Nicole Estes on December 14, 2012 at 7:31 am

    I’ve got to get one of those cookbooks.


  11. Lynda on December 14, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I love this post for two reasons, firstly you’ve reminded me to make some bark at the weekend which I’ve been meaning to do forever! Secondly that letter is so lovely, thoughtful and inspirational. It’s definitely one of those questions that many parents dance around!



  12. Michelle on December 14, 2012 at 8:22 am

    hmmm….can’t seem to find the posts with the winners on it….


    • Michelle on December 14th, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Hi Michelle, Once a giveaway closes, the post is updated with the winning comment information on the top. You will see that the title ends with (winner announced).


  13. Shaina on December 14, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I made peppermint bark recently too! It’s definitely one of my favorite holiday desserts and everyone always loves it 🙂 Happy Holidays!


  14. Kimberly Miller on December 14, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I have so got to get in the kitchen. We’ve all been feeling under the weather and I’m finally out of classes until after the holidays! I’ve never made bark of any kind and think I might need to have a go at it! I always find something I want to try on your page.


  15. Maria on December 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I need to checkout that cookbook! And I love the last photo:)


  16. Shundara@ SavyNaturalista on December 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I wanna cry looking at this photo of peppermint bark I wish I could eat it all. The bark looks so good


  17. Margie on December 14, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Will you be sharing your grandmother’s biscotti recipe?


    • Michelle on December 14th, 2012 at 9:41 am

      Hi Margie, Definitely! It probably won’t be until after the holidays, since I’m waiting for the butternut oil to arrive and I’ll have to play around with quantities of that. Stay tuned! 🙂


  18. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on December 14, 2012 at 9:38 am

    The photo of the pup at the end is adorable! I just want to pet that furry head!!! The cookbook looks amazing! I heard wonderful things about it! I better put it on my Christmas wish list!


  19. Doni on December 14, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I will be making the peppermint bark. It looks delicious. And for anyone that hasn’t tried her cupcakes they are the Bomb.


  20. Nancy P. on December 14, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Oh my gosh, that letter makes me want to cry. It is such a great way to answer that question! Similar to my own answer to my kids but this is great!


  21. Jamie on December 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

    My kids and I made this peppermint bark yesterday. It tasted fabulous. I was wondering though, what kind of white chocolate do you use?


    • Michelle on December 14th, 2012 at 10:44 am

      Hi Jamie, I use either Ghiradelli or Lindt white chocolate.


  22. Kim R on December 14, 2012 at 10:51 am

    This cookbook would have to be shared! Everyone will be finding something that they just have to make themselves!


  23. Michele on December 14, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I might need the Santa letter this year. It says it all!


  24. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife on December 14, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I just saw that Santa letter on Pinterest yesterday and I’m so saving it for when we have kids. I too need to tackle biscotti, my dad loves it and I’ve only attempted to make it like once.


  25. Megan on December 14, 2012 at 11:44 am

    OK, to explain the elf. The elf comes with a story book (I think there is a movie, too, but we just have the book) that explains that the elf is one of Santa’s helpers on assignment to assess the child(ren)’s niceness and naughtiness. The elf leaves each night to report back to Santa and comes back in a new and interesting place. One of the rules is that no one can touch the elf or he/she may loose their magic and be unable to tell Santa all the good things they’ve done. We have been elfing for about a week with a not quite 4-year-old. She has been sick all week and the elf has been a life saver. The only thing she has laughed about is the silly elf. The day she was found in the bathroom was the best yet.


  26. Becky on December 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Love, love the Santa letter. I had forgotten about the Bouchon cookbook, but it is now on my Christmas list. Hope you will share your biscotti recipe! That is something I have a hard time making like I find in Italy.


  27. Nikki @Pennies on a Platter on December 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I need to get my hands on that cook book!!! And, so cool that you are enjoying your hockey lessons! 🙂 Merry Christmas, Michelle!


  28. Beth C. on December 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I’m making peppermint bark this weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.


  29. Dawn on December 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Follow brown eyed baker on Twitter


  30. Jacque-Lynne on December 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I want the Bouchon Bakery cookbook! it is huge and the pictures amazing!
    Love your furry friend pictures 🙂 Goldens are awesome!


  31. Lisa on December 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    That letter about Santa made me cry. To the person who wrote that, THANK YOU!! It’s the perfect answer to inquiries from kids.


  32. Laura Dls on December 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I love Bouchon in Paris but the particular item I want (mini crepe with cheese) they don’t have it in the online anymore. Do you have a recipe by any chance. I would love to get that book…..maybe I could drop a hint to my husband about it… Bouchon!


    • Michelle on December 14th, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      Hi Laura, Unfortunately, I do not have that recipe, I’m sorry!


  33. Katie @ Blonde Ambition on December 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    That Santa letter is so sweet. I am not in a rush to have kids, but I am very excited to be able to experience the magic of Santa & Christmas all over again with them someday!


  34. Jodi Pavlik on December 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    You know why I love your blog? You love baking and football, just like me! My best friend and I are doing part 2 of our christmas baking this weekend!! I am happy to report we used your russian tea cake and reese’s cup recipes, you never let me down!


  35. Kristen on December 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Ooh peppermint bark! Can’t wait to make mine – I have two must haves at Christmas, peppermint bark and peanut butter balls.


  36. Liv on December 15, 2012 at 12:20 am

    First time reading this site’s post…I think I’m coming back. :0)


  37. Katrina on December 15, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Love the santa letter. My 13 yr old still believes in santa. She leaves out a plate of cookiesand some milk. With her sweet letter that reads..Dear santa leaving you cookies so yiu can enjoy them with some milk. We all have been good and bad at times. Thank you fir leaving me some toys. Oh ya my brother said that you santa are my dad and mom? If you are ny parents then you knowv what I want???(


  38. Jean on December 15, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I just want to thank you for your blog! I found you on Facebook and enjoy all your recipes, informatioin and insight! You share so many good things and I truely appreciate your work! Merry Christmas!


    • Michelle on December 15th, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      Aw, thank you so much for the kind words, Jean! I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying the site!


  39. Laura Dembowski on December 15, 2012 at 8:45 am

    So great that you’re making your grandma’s biscotti. Both baking and the holiday season bring with them a lot of memories and sometimes a range of emotions.


  40. K. Anne on December 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for the giveaway! I responded to your email that you sent me today. 🙂

    I love the letter that you found on Pinterest about the meaning and thought about Santa and how we are all a part of him. The phone screen saver is cute. They have an Elf on the Shelf movie that “introduced” them a few years back. They are kind of like Santa’s watchers and make sure that kids are being good. We had these elves growing up that kind of looked like the current one, but they were just decorations and none of these new fangled ones that are “magical”. Lol.


  41. Maria on December 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Love that letter – I am beyond that period with my children but as a teacher I would pass that on. I love my cookies – chewy!


  42. Cindy on December 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I need to get the bouchon book. I love the 2 cookbooks inhave from him, this should literally be icing on the cake!


  43. Jan R on December 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I like my cookies chewy.


  44. Jan R on December 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I’m an email subscriber.


  45. Monica on December 15, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    That letter about Santa is beautiful. I will definitely have to call on that when the time comes. I also had a question about your delicious-looking peppermint bark. Do you find that the candy cane pieces on top melt in the fridge? I’ve made peppermint fudge with candy cane pieces on top and my experience is the candy melts after a day or two when I store it covered. It doesn’t look very pretty and I’m wondering if you have this problem? Thanks!


    • Michelle on December 16th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Monica, I know what you mean about candy canes sometimes melting onto some candies, but it has ever happened to me with the peppermint bark kept in the fridge.


  46. Sue on December 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I think the elf is really Chuckie.
    I’ll keep my fingers crossed that any snow heading to Pennsylvania gets stuck in Pittsburgh and stays away from Philly.


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