Friday Things

Brotherly Love

1. Play time is serious business around these parts. They love each other, I swear!

2. There are two times of year that scream “pie!” to me – Thanksgiving and summer. What’s your favorite summer pie? I need to get baking!

3. This past weekend was Operation Get Flowers and Add Color to the Yard, and I’m happy to report we were successful. Love the pops of purple and pink!


4. This Buzzfeed list of 30 Words That Have A Different Meaning After You Turn 30 is so, so true. Love it, especially since I just caught some Friends reruns earlier this week.

5. On Tuesday, my Chief Culinary Consultant did some painting at our house, so I took Einstein and Duke to my mom’s for the day. Dogs and paint do not mix! My mom’s lab/greyhound mix, Bella, is 15 (FIFTEEN!) and still going strong. She and Einstein used to play all the time, but her legs are a little too frail for that now. So, imagine my surprise when Duke sidled up next to her in the living room, giving her a gentle, pseudo-hip check, and she turned around, got on her hind legs and gave him a couple of good swipes with her paws. The old girl’s still got it 🙂

6. I watched Walk the Line for approximately the umpteenth time this week. I don’t think I will ever tire of that movie, it totally grips me and I always get goosebumps at the end.

7. I am currently splurging on Edy’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and waffle cones at my house. What’s in your freezer right now?

8. Speaking of ice cream, I have a confession. I say this with the disclaimer that I have never been to Italy and had real gelato, but I’ve tried a number of different gelato flavors and… I just don’t like it! They all seem to have a weird sort of taste/consistency; am I just not finding good stuff?! Give me the scoop on gelato!

9. I had a dream about meeting my grandparents for lunch at Uno’s the other night (which is odd because there isn’t one near me and I’ve only been 2 or 3 times in my life), and now I’m craving deep dish pizza like mad. I might have to make it happen this weekend.

10. TGIF! This face, OMG… Duke says hi 🙂



56 Responses to “Friday Things”

  1. Mandy on June 6, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Ok Michelle, next time you’re in South Florida, promise me you’ll make a trip to Gelato Grotto in Palm Beach Gardens. All of the flavors are so good, but the chocolate is out of this world. The fruit ones look delicious. but i just cant stop myself from saying chocolate every time I go. The flavor and consistency is way better than any other gelato I’ve found. In general, I don’t think gelato bought at the grocery stores cut it. The temperature fluctuations might account for some of the reason why it’s just not up to par.


  2. Debra on June 6, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Aren’t our furry friends just the most wonderful additions to our lives? Yours, course, are beautiful, as are they all.

    I offer up something I read not too long ago concerning gelato, and that is to make it properly, a small amount of alcohol should be added (such as vodka). This is what (supposedly) kept the gelato from freezing hard like ice cream and kept that velvety texture. I have not tried this, but thought I’d throw it out there, I’ve heard of stranger things, lol.


  3. Emily on June 6, 2014 at 5:43 am

    I think for gelato to be good, it has to be freshly made. I’ve tried a couple of the ones available at my grocery store, and they are NOTHING like what I had two to three times a day in Florence! I made some at home once, with the egg and the cooking and everything, but even that wasn’t the same. If it’s boxed up and put in a freezer overnight, it’s just weird ice cream. That’s my theory.


  4. cherie on June 6, 2014 at 6:19 am

    try talenti sea salt caramel – heaven


    • Rachel on June 6th, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      I third (fourth etc) Taleti’s and the sea salt caramel, delicious! I even had regular ice cream last night and wished I had gelato instead.


  5. Kerry on June 6, 2014 at 6:44 am

    I second the suggestion for Talenti’s sea salt caramel flavor. That is delicious! I can’t speak for whether it compares to actual Italian gelato, as I’ve never been to Italy.

    It makes my heart happy that your mom has a lab/greyhound mix. I grew up with three greyhounds–they’re lovely dogs. <3


  6. Angela on June 6, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Talenti is awesome … the Caramel Cookie Crunch is really tasty & addictive 🙂 Also … if you have a local Whole Foods … they usually have gelato … I have yet to get a bad combination 🙂


    • Carolyn on June 6th, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Ditto. Talenti is delicious. Generally in my world, if it’s not chocolate it’s not real dessert, but Talenti’s caramel flavors are incredible. That said, I’ve had real gelato from real places in Italy, and I still don’t get it. To me it’s just ice cream in fancier flavors. It’s good, but so is Kroger’s Fun Munch Cookies ‘n Cream, or Turkey Hill’s peanut butter anything.


  7. Adrienne in Atlanta on June 6, 2014 at 7:00 am

    I have made Americas Test Kitchen deep dish pizza and highly recommend it. Had to do some research to find the actual recipe online, and it was worth it. They have a theory about basically laminating the dough that works fabulously. I believe there should still be a video out there too, of the process.

    A gelato shop instead of gelato from the store is definitely the way to go…ya know, if you can’t make it to Italy. 🙂

    Cherry pie is my favorite pie. Ever.


  8. Jessica on June 6, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Summer is the time my grandma would bake us her famous Golden Pie! It’s a Rhubarb pie, and just rhubarb. No strawberry. It is tart and bright and delicious and SO SIMPLE to make!! I just baked one yesterday, even. 🙂


  9. Kelly O on June 6, 2014 at 7:13 am

    I’ve had gelato in Italy and here. I think a few of the other posters have it right. It has to be fresh or the consistency is off. I do like some of the Talenti favors, but it is not the same consistency as well made fresh gelato. I thnk you just need a trip to Italy to get the real experience. 😉


  10. nancy k on June 6, 2014 at 7:45 am

    The gelato thing…I have seen a number of recipes online and have been tempted to try them but it seems to me that gelato is a sorbet but made with milk rather than water or juice. I saw something on one of the food channels that involved a demo from making gelato and it looked simple enough. Maybe it has to be consumed shortly after making for the best flavor and texture? I add vodka to all my ice cream recipes to prevent rock hard freezing…it works like a charm. Finally, I urge everyone to try the Chocolate Sorbet recipe on the King Arthur website. I make it with Valrona chocolate and it is out of this world delicious.


  11. Gabby on June 6, 2014 at 7:49 am

    I had gelato in Rome last year. Pistachio was my favorite!


  12. Kristin on June 6, 2014 at 8:05 am

    You’ve got it all wrong on gelato! We find it wonderful. Plus, it is lower in fat than regular ice cream, but does not taste like a “low fat ice cream”. Therefore, healthier for you, right? There is a small company here in West Michigan, called Palazzolo’s. They make handcrafted gelato and boy, is it good! They began sourcing gelato to area restaurants. but expanded to providing small hand craft containers sold in local grocery stores and /or small gelato shops where you can order as much or as little as you want, freshly scooped, within some of our local grocery stores. Their White Chocolate Raspberry has ruined me for anything else. If you are ever in West Michigan, look it up! Or…who knows? Maybe they do supply beyond our area and you can find it in PA!


  13. Brandy Yekel on June 6, 2014 at 8:07 am

    My pups are the same way. They look so ferocious when they are playing…. but coudn’t live without each other.
    I’m with you on the gelato… not my thing.


  14. Barb S. on June 6, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Gelato: If you are ever in beautiful town of Beaver, PA, stop at Mario’s Woodfired Pizza Restaurant. They sell Gelato there that I’m sure you would like. Some of the flavors we have tried are Coconut Cream Pie, Banana Cream Pie, and one of my favorites, Chocolate Covered Strawberries. The food is excellent there also. In the summer we like to eat outside on the sidewalk tables and it’s a BYOB place so a bottle of wine is a must! Try their homemade Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce!!! To-Die-For! The owner is usually always there working with his staff too. Check it out! @


  15. Ellen on June 6, 2014 at 8:28 am

    You really can’t get “good” gelato here compared to Italy. Usually, it is just too frozen here. The stuff over there literally melts in your mouth! My favorite flavor us meringue. In US, a gelato shop is the only way to go–here in St Louis, Gelato di Riso.
    Summer Pie? Hands down, Peach Sour Cream. My mom made it every summer. But fresh raspberry pie, tart cherry pie? It’s really hard to choose first runner up!
    Finally, it’s summer. I too, got all my flowers in last weekend. Saw a goldfinch in the garden yesterday–yay!


  16. Kim Q on June 6, 2014 at 8:45 am

    I am “take it or leave it” when it comes to any sort of ice cream. However, gelato in Italy was the most delicious exception! I have not tasted anything like it since, and none of the “gelatos” I have tasted in the states were even remotely similar. So an excuse for a field trip! 🙂


  17. Gail on June 6, 2014 at 8:45 am

    TALENTI !!! I see others posted about it too. I LOVE LOVE LOVE eating coconut and chocolate together 🙂 and my next favorite is banana chocolate swirl. OMG—now I have to go eat some for breakfast! We can buy it at Target.


  18. Robbie J on June 6, 2014 at 9:19 am

    My favorite summer pie is Strawberry rhubarb!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you have a recipe? I have never made it but would like to!


  19. Donelle on June 6, 2014 at 9:40 am

    TALENTI—I have been to Italy and ate Gelato in Venice, Rome, Florence, and Siena. It is the closest you’ll come from the grocery store. Not even Whole Food’s gelato was closer. However, I’d stick to their Tahitian Vanilla, Raspberry dark chocolate and raspberries & cream flavors. I find the others overly sweet (and I LOVE sweet)—although I guess it could be a blessing considering I can’t eat more than a few spoonfuls at a time of the other flavors!


  20. Amy on June 6, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I am a huge fan of the Haagen Dazs tiramisu gelato. It’s probably nothing close to the real thing (Italy), but it’s delicious!


  21. Cindiedee on June 6, 2014 at 9:57 am

    There is NOTHING like fresh gelato while you are in Italy – I mean, nothing! On my last trip there, it happened to be peach season and OMGoodness – I literally ate peach gelato for breakfast every single day! DH made the comment “why are you eating gelato for breakfast every day?” and my reply was “because I can!” – I mean, I am not in Italy every year but have been several times, so I take advantage of it when I can. Also if you are in any gelato shop (Italy or not), and the gelato doesn’t look just really fresh and extra creamy, don’t buy it – it has to be super fresh and creamy to be awesome and authentic. Yesterday’s gelato is not good today. We must find you a great gelato shop in the USA – there are a couple of really good ones in Little Italy in NYC – next trip there, give it a try!


    • Cynthia M on June 6th, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      I agree with many of the other folks posting that Talenti’s salted caramel is a good choice. Unlike ice cream, gelato doesn’t survive well during a stint in the super chill of the ice cream case at a supermarket. The best way to enjoy gelato at its creamiest, most flavorful intensity is in its natural habitat: an Italian gelateria, such as those listed here: Failing that, take a trip to Las Vegas and stop in at Bellagio’s Cafe Gelato on your way to the beautiful pools. For me it is always a battle between the mango and the pistachio.


  22. Liz @ Floating Kitchen on June 6, 2014 at 10:02 am

    OMG, my parents have a golden retriever and we have a red house. We were getting the outside re-painted and the dog rubbed all over the house and was then red for weeks! It was a mess!


  23. Lynne on June 6, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Favorite summer pie is strawberry rubarb, I can skip all the rest – not a fan of blueberry, peach, etc.
    On vacation we usually get gelato from an Italian cafe, and I find the flavors too intense for me. After eating half a small, I don’t want anymore.


  24. Ali | Gimme Some Oven on June 6, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Aw, your pups look so happy. 🙂
    And that BuzzFeed article is fantastic!!


  25. JeanneTheBaker on June 6, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Just finished the last piece of Black and Blue [berry] pie with a buttermilk crust from I made lemon curd ice cream to go with it [with my new machine, which I can make gelato in as well]. Seriously, it was the best thing I’ve ever made. EVER. And truthfully, it was the combo of the ice cream and pie that made it so stinking good.

    I love gelato, but it is way creamier and denser than ice cream, no custard base [eggs] and it starts with some cornstarch. It is also churned with a different paddle configuration. I made chocolate hazelnut [with Nutella] and mixed in Baci candies at the end. I had a five year old propose marriage when I gave him some.


  26. Kathie on June 6, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Our fur babies have all played liked that! It just cracks us up because we all know what marshmellows they are! Favorite pies here are rhubarb (no strawberries) and fresh peach.


  27. Jennifer on June 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I used to be sort of iffy on gelato too, but have come around in the past couple of years. I will occasionally pick up Talenti at the grocery store. This winter they had a Peppermint Bark that was to.die.for! I normally can eat just a bit out of the container and be good with it, but I ate the entire thing in one sitting.


  28. Vicki Pieranunzi on June 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    The secret to gelato is go to Italy. Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream and the taste varies from region to region there.


  29. Lisa G on June 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Thank you for posting about Walk The Line. You have validated my same addiction to that movie.


  30. Haley @ Sugar Bloom on June 6, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Grom is the best gelato that I have ever had! It’s all over Italy and in NYC and Malibu in the US. I do remember the Grom gelato in Italy tasting better than the cup I had in NYC last year, but that may just be in my head!


  31. Liz on June 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    On Pies: My favorite summer pie is peach. There is just nothing like a fresh homemade peach pie – mmmm!
    On Gelato: The best gelato I’ve had stateside is from Paciugo – it is a chain in 15 states, so check it out. But gelato doesn’t taste as good here as it does in Italy!


  32. Lois Edwards on June 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    My two Goldies love face fighting and they making a lot of noise while doing so


  33. Melinda on June 6, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Well, this is timely given that we just got back from a 3 week trip to Italy a month ago (where we had gelato daily, sometimes twice a day). I LOVE ice cream, and I LOVE gelato, but they are different animals and I prefer gelato because I like a soft, almost melty consistency and gelato captures that perfectly. If you like a harder, firmer texture, you may not like gelato ever. I agree with other posters-sadly, nothing in the grocery store compares to fresh, Italian gelato-unlike ice cream, where you can find very good brands in groceries that compete with ice cream shops. Talenti is the closest we’ve found and though good, it’s not on the level of actual Italian gelato. Gelato has to be creamy, almost melty, and has a more intense flavor. My husband likes to set the container of Talenti out on the counter for about 5-10 minutes to let it thaw a bit and get closer to that consistency the Italians do so well. If Talenti doesn’t cut it, get thee to a gelato shop and see how that works for you. I have yet to taste any state side gelato as there are no shops in our town, but my guess is they’re closer to the real thing than grocery brands. Last resort? Go to Italy and taste away (rough assignment, I know). If you don’t like it there, then you just don’t like gelato. If you’re interested in the particulars, these are good articles:


  34. Melanie on June 6, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Given that you live in Pittsburgh, you must try Mercurio’s in Shadyside! Their honey sunflower is my favorite, but they’ve got traditional flavors like hazelnut (nocciola) and stracciatella. They have won several national competitions for their gelato, and I hear that their pizza is also good. Maybe you haven’t liked it because the ones you’ve had have been flavored with additives?


  35. Debbi on June 6, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Hey Michelle!
    Hope all is well with you! You have to send me a pic of your moms dog- billy and I also have a lab greyhound mix and I’d love to see what she looks like! Duke is getting so big!!!
    Hope you enjoy the weekend and the beautiful weather!


    • Michelle on June 6th, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Debbi, Congratulations!! I will email you. Are Max and Georgia with your parents now?


  36. luchetti on June 6, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Gelato, if you go back to historical St Augustine, there is a Restaurant that serves the best Gelato in the world, there were people visiting from Italy saying it was better than anything there Café Hildalgo, the sandwhiches are outstanding, but the Gelato is to die for I went back 3 times in 1 day, they let you sample. Google Café Hildalgo… you wont be sorry if you go


  37. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup on June 6, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Puppies, pie, and peanut butter cups! Thanks for sharing!


  38. ida on June 6, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    I just love your doggy pics-they are even more delicious than your food pics (if even possible). I do know you get it though. Regarding gelato-I guess I must try Talenti having eyed it many times. I was in Italy 10 years ago and had it twice a day-loved the raspberry!! Ice cream and it’s imitators are a food group to me.


  39. Andrea on June 6, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    When I was a teenager, we went to Italy for five weeks. (My mom is from Naples.) I literally ate gelato 2-3 times a day, each time getting two or three scoops of different flavors. It was to die for! The closest thing I’ve had in the U.S. was at a cafe in Carmel, CA a dozen years ago.


  40. Marchelle on June 6, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Making gelato isn’t really different from making ice cream, and it’s totally different when it’s made fresh. I like to make mine with a touch of amaretto and crumbled amaretto cookies.


  41. Jen on June 7, 2014 at 3:06 am

    I just got back from a trip to Italy and learned that even in Rome, 80% of the gelato is fake; made with powder! When you have “real” gelato, it tastes a world of a difference. Huge indicator if you are eating fake gelato is if their pistachio is a bright green. Natural pistachio gelato should be an Earthy green. Real gelato is truly amazing; rich and creamy.


  42. Jessica on June 7, 2014 at 4:09 am

    What a coincidence! I’m looking for flowers too! Those are so pretty…what kind are they?


    • Michelle on June 7th, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Jessica, The pink ones are geraniums. The purple ones are petunias.


  43. Steph in Lex on June 7, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I feel the same about gelato. Not my thing AT ALL. In my freezer right now is Blue Bell Mint Cookies ‘n’ Cream ice cream. AMAZING. They have so many wonderful flavors but I tend to get stuck on one and my husband tends to look at me funny if we have more than one carton at a time (not that it stops him from eating it!). Strangely, I’m not a fan of Mint Chocolate Chip but the Mint Cookies ‘n’ Cream is a different story entirely!


    • Steph in Lex on June 7th, 2014 at 10:19 am

      By the way–the one about “classic rock” is hilarious because I love listening to Lithium (90s alternative) on Sirius/XM and I was just thinking a few days ago (on the 15th anniversary of my high school graduation–eek!) about how that music is now about as old as the “oldies” I used to listen to on family vacations in the car.


      • Michelle on June 7th, 2014 at 3:15 pm

        Yes, I listen to Lithium, too!! This was my 16th high school graduation anniversary 😉 I saw an episode of Parks and Recreation awhile ago and some high school kids referred to REM as classic rock. I was like, oh my, I’m old!


  44. Shannon on June 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Fresh peach pie is the BEST!! How much longer til peach season? I can’t wait! I could eat a lug all by myself! Can’t wait!


  45. Lindsey on June 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Lemon Cream Pie!!! Or (nonalcoholic) Grasshopper Pie!


  46. Irja on June 8, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I did not like gelato until I went to Gelato Fiasco in Portland, ME, it is fantastic.


  47. Laura Dembowski on June 8, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    It’s so funny, I’ve been wanting to watch Walk the Line lately. I walk around the house singing some of the songs. As for gelato, order some from Zingerman’s Creamery – you’ll be a convert. And I need to get baking pies too. Rhubarb and sour cherry are on my radar.


  48. Marie-Hélène on June 13, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Lol… I could tell you “OMG Gelatooo!!! it’s the next best thing after, let’s say, the remote control!”. But if you don’t like it….you don’t. Not all italians love pasta and not all americans love burgers and not all human beings love gelato…. gelato has a different consistency due to it’s less-frozen-than-ice-cream texture and, to be honest, it’s not hard to make a disgusting gelato.
    I guess the only you need is a plane ticket to Naples!
    You’ll know then….


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