Friday Things

Einstein on Christmas Eve

1. I hope that you all had a fabulous Christmas holiday! Mine was wonderful, filled with lots of family time, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. As you can see, Einstein was ready and waiting for Santa… little did he know that Christmas morning would be so exhausting. I came downstairs after taking a shower on Christmas morning and found him completely passed out in the middle of the living room floor, surrounded by toys!

2. Although we didn’t have a white Christmas, we certainly had a very white (and icy) day after Christmas. Even though it was a day late, I wasn’t about to complain. I enjoyed some cozy inside time, working on a crossword puzzle and playing some cards, watching the big snowflakes fall. I loved it and I’m ready for more!

3. This is the particular crossword puzzle I’ve been laboring over:

Monster crossword puzzle

It was in last Sunday’s edition of the local paper, with a lot of the clues relating to current events of 2012. I’m making some good progress, but it is taking FOR-EV-ER. I forgot how much I love crossword puzzles; I need to start doing them more often!

4. I’m way late on this, but we finally got around to watching the Homeland season finale last Friday night. All I can say is OH.MY.GOD. Holy crap, what an episode. I’m still stunned. I can’t believe I have to wait for a new season to start! I might need to re-watch this entire season to get my fix.

5. We had our family Christmas celebration with my dad’s side of the family on Sunday, and my grandma whipped up some of her signature holiday drinks, which I mentioned in my White Chocolate Steamers post. I wanted to share it here again in case you missed it on Christmas Eve. It’s delicious and easy, so if you’re having a party this holiday season definitely try it out! She mixes together cranberry ginger ale, raspberry rum and triple sec. I have no idea what proportions she uses, but the drink is awesome. Light, bubbly, a little tart, a little sweet… perfect.

6. Confession: I have zero interest in going to see Les Miserables. I see tons of people talking about it on Facebook and Twitter, and, well, I just have no desire to see it. At all. I did read the book for a lit class in college, though. Perhaps that makes up for my lack of desire to see the movie? I’ve just never been very into musicals. Anyone else?

7. A friend of mine posted this on Facebook last week, and I’m totally convinced that this is how Einstein lives every waking moment of his life:

Can I eat this?

8. While at my grandparents’ on Sunday, they busted out their dominoes set and taught those of us who didn’t know how to play. I was sort of skeptical about how much I would like it before we started, but it was actually a lot of fun! Plus, you can play with pretty much any number of people, which is good when you don’t have four people for a traditional card game. Any domino players out there?

8. I learned the importance of a good thermometer on Christmas Eve. I was heating up oil in my Dutch oven for coconut shrimp and I had plopped in my older, much less expensive thermometer so I could keep an eye on the temperature while I was breading the crab cakes. It seemed like it was taking forever to get to 350 degrees, and then it started smoking. I grabbed my Thermapen and almost had a heart attack when it registered near 500 degrees! Needless to say, we had to take it off of the stove and wait awhile for it to cool down before we could start the shrimp. Lesson learned. Don’t mess around with the subpar equipment, use the good stuff, especially when you have it!

10. TGIF! I hope you continue to enjoy the holiday season as we head into New Year’s!

Fleece as white as snow...


46 Responses to “Friday Things”

  1. April on December 28, 2012 at 12:53 am

    I am right there with ya on Les Mis! Everyone says it is amazing but I am more interested in Django Unchained or Skyfall 🙂


  2. J @ semplicemente ... J on December 28, 2012 at 1:53 am

    I am with you too! I am just not Into musicals. My daughter, friend, stranger said it was awesome I just can’t get myself to want to see it.

    I wanted to ask you what lens did you use to photograph Einstein he looks adorable. I can’t get great pics of my Dante. Just wondering . Thank you.


    • Michelle on December 28th, 2012 at 10:11 am

      J – I used a 50mm 1.4 lens for that photo of Einstein. It’s so hard to get good pics of dogs – they’re always on the move, it seems!


  3. Dawn on December 28, 2012 at 5:43 am

    I think I made the identical post on Facebook on Monday night after watching the season finale of Homeland too. Wow! As for musicals, I don’t normally like them either – much prefer a play – however Les Mis is one that both my husband and I actually really liked so we’re interested in the movie version. Will let you know our thoughts as I think we’ll go next week. Looking forward to trying out your white chocolate steamers on NYE when we have friends over to watch the fireworks off our balcony. Thanks of all the great recipes and ideas you post. I always look forward to your emails.


  4. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on December 28, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Einstein looks sad because he didn’t get a brother or sister for Christmas! 🙂

    I would even attempt that crossword puzzle! Have a great weekend!


    • Michelle on December 28th, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Haha! He looks sad because I was holding a cracker behind the camera so he would sit still 😉 Once the photo was done he got his treat 🙂


  5. Heather @ SugarDish(Me) on December 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I can’t get into musicals either. I went to art school, was completely buried in friends that were musical theater students, and I LOVE music. But musicals? Not so much.


  6. Charlita McPheeters on December 28, 2012 at 8:34 am

    It’s funny how “relationships” develop. (I’m talking about MY relationship with YOU… as you’re probably not exactly aware of it yet… NO! That’s not where the dramatic music comes in.. LOL) I originally signed up for the newsletter because you were giving things away & I’m an avid sweepstakes enterer. But through all the days of entering I READ the email newsletters & feel as though I got to know you, learned that you’re funny & smart & you share some great information with us, as well as a peek into your family life & I am charmed completely by you & Einstein & your thoughts & your recipes! So I just wanted to drop you a note & say thank you for coming into my life & my inbox every day & (wow I sound so lame & pathetic!!! LOL) sharing your joy & insights with us! & no I’m not really worked up about seeing Les Miserables… While it’s nice that this story will be accessible to more people who may have not experienced it… (how is THAT possible??) This production is the umteenth recreation of the tale, & haven’t we seen it enough?? There are no NEW stories… Just re-runs. Happy New Year!


  7. MollyCakes on December 28, 2012 at 9:13 am

    My candy thermometer did the same thing when I was trying to make soft ball caramel, it ended up hard crack! I have since upgraded! Also my golden tried to eat my Christmas tree just like the picture…UGH!


  8. Elizabeth Kellett on December 28, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I burnt the crap out of BBQ chicken burgers last night because my thermometer wasn’t working:( any thermometer recommendations in the middle price range? I can’t talk my husband into a $90 one just yet 😉


    • Michelle on December 28th, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Hi Elizabeth, I just checked some Cook’s Illustrated reviews for you; while they highly recommend the Thermapen that I use, they also did tests on more reasonably priced instant-read thermometers. These are the two that tied for first place in their tests: ThermoWorks Super-Fast Waterproof Pocket Thermometer and CDN ProAccurate Quick-Read Thermometer


      • Elizabeth Kellett on December 28th, 2012 at 10:48 am

        Awesome thanks for the info! By the way I made your onion rings last night for the umteenth time .. Always so delicious 🙂


  9. mary norman on December 28, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Love your blog… I was wondering if you could tell me what paper that crossword puzzle was in…my mom loves crosswords and this would blow her mind. Maybe I get the newspaper to mail one to me.


    • Michelle on December 28th, 2012 at 10:16 am

      Hi Mary, It was in the Valley News Dispatch, which is a part of the Tribune-Review family of newspapers in Pittsburgh. Here is the link, it looks like there are some contacts along the right side, toward the bottom of the page:


      • mary norman on December 28th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

        hi again.
        thank you very much. just wanted you to know that I contacted the paper and they just called me back…. they are mailing me a copy
        thanks again.


        • CarolZ on December 28th, 2012 at 9:22 pm

          Hello 🙂 Can you tell me who you contacted? I want to do the same!



          • Sharon on December 28th, 2012 at 9:52 pm

            Post the contact-I would like it also please


    • Kay OB on December 28th, 2012 at 10:36 am

      The same crossword was also published in the Oregonian last weekend. 🙂 My Dad & I were working on it together. Great fun!


  10. little kitchie on December 28, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I’ve had a similar thermometer experience when making fried ravioli… yikes! I shudder just thinking about it… Now I am a freak about temperatures!!


  11. Captain Micah on December 28, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Happy Friday!

    I want to see Les Miserables, but mostly because I sang all of those songs in choir in high school. And now I really love them. We were going to go on Christmas Eve and totally forgot until we started getting ready for bed. Man, we’re old!

    Maybe it’s a good thing that we didn’t try, since I heard later that it was sold out. Christmas Day is always the year’s highest movie theater attendance. I don’t mind staying home in pajamas with hot chocolate and snuggling with Hubby instead of braving the awful fifty-degree temperatures outside!

    And that’s really cold for us!!


  12. Mary Ann on December 28, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I’m with you, no desire to see the gloomy and depressing Les Miz, and I love musicals. Love your blog, and love the Friday updates just as much as the recipes the rest of the week!


  13. Dani on December 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I love playing dominoes! That’s all I asked for this Christmas but didn’t get any 🙁 (although I got many other wonderful presents instead!) I’m going to have to buy some myself. What game do you play? We always play Mexican Train.


    • Michelle on December 28th, 2012 at 10:59 am

      We played with the Mexican Train too. We were just talking that we should buy a set now that we played and liked it! It’s always fun to find a game that doesn’t require a specific number of people.


  14. stacym on December 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Thanks again for the Vitamix! And for all the great recipes you post! That crossword puzzle looks awesome. I love working on them on Sunday afternoons.


  15. ERIKA on December 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Adorable pics. Do you have a great recipe for Coconut Shrimp?


    • Michelle on December 28th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks, Erika! I do, I’ve actually made it three years in a row now for Christmas Eve. I’m planning to post it soon!


  16. Laura T on December 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    That same crossword was in my parents’ paper and I kept poking at it while I was there, and now I wish I had brought it home with me. Agree on the Les Mis, I do enjoy musicals, but never got into that one. And yes, I too am a dominoes player. Although my family is a Mexican Train game playing family (also a domino game for as many folks as you have the dominoes to support). Thanks for all the wonderful recipes you share, it’s wonderfully inspiring, and I had roasted brussel sprouts with little bits of kimchi that I thought you might be intrigued by, certainly I’m going to do some scouring to see if I can dig up a recipe… Anyway, thank you!!


  17. Dana on December 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Can I just say, I love your Friday posts?! Yes, I love your recipes, too, but the Friday posts are just fun. Thanks for sharing a little extra of yourself with us!
    The picture of Einstein is adorable! And I think our Welsh Terrier thinks the same about eating things. She eats everything. Literally. It’s lovely. My hubby says it’s her way of trying to commit suicide. I guess it sucks living with us!
    And yeah, no desire to see Les Miserables either. And Russell Crowe is even in it. I see ALL his movies. Singing? Definitely not. About the only musicals I like are the Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music, thank you very much! 🙂


  18. Steph in Lex on December 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I’m so with you on Homeland! My husband and I are into Dexter and heard from his parents that Homeland was great, so we DVRed the first season marathon they played before the second season premiere and caught up. We powered through both seasons so fast that we only watched the season 2 finale like two days after it originally aired! So between Dexter and Homeland, we both feel like September can’t come fast enough!


  19. Christy on December 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Happy 89th birthday to my grandmother today!!!


  20. Katie @ Blonde Ambition on December 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    It definitely makes sense that you don’t want to see Les Mis if you’re not into musicals! I’ve actually never read the book or seen the play, but I have played music from Les Mis both in high school orchestra and on my own on the piano and I think it’s beautiful!
    Also, I LOVE crossword puzzles. I always do the NYT crossword on Mondays and Tuesdays in my office, but after that they start getting a little difficult ;P
    I also just wanted to say thank you and I appreciate that you have continued to post through the holidays- I had to go back to work on Wednesday and your entries have provided entertainment during a slow week 🙂


  21. Abby on December 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    My family spent a good part of Christmas and the day after working on that crossword puddle and we aren’t anywhere near completing it.


  22. Emma on December 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I too have no desire to see Les Mis! Is that bad?… :o)


  23. Laura Dembowski on December 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Totally agree on Homeland! My mom already said we need to start watching again from the beginning I am looking forward to seeing Les Mis after seeing it on stage about a year ago and loving iy. However I have trouble believing it will be as awesome as everyone says. Do you have a good candy thermometer you recommend? Mine is about to give up on me and I use it all the time.


  24. Anne on December 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I just found you a little bit ago, but I really enjoy your recipes and your connection to people! Happy New Year!! Love the pic of Einstein. 🙂


  25. Shani on December 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    I live in NE Ohio, about 2 hours from Pittsburgh, in the “snow belt” so we had a snow day too – and it’s timing was perfect !

    I got dominoes for Christmas! I asked for them because they always looked fun, and I can’t wait to learn how to play some of the different games.

    And finally, Einstein is just such a love. I love the pics you share with us. I had a breed that is similar to Golden Retrievers (according to what I’ve read), and lately I have been thinking a Golden might be the breed for us, and Einstein has been a big influence. Thanks so much!

    p.s. love your recipes too ! Ho Ho cake is next on my list, and the cranberry ginger ale punch sounds fab – might have to mix up a batch for New Year’s Eve.


  26. Karoline on December 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Dominoes was the game we always played at my grandparents, too. Brings back great memories!! If you like dominoes, try Spinners … kind of a fun, modern version of dominoes with a twist.


  27. Gwen on December 28, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I just love your Friday Things and pictures of Einstein – such a nice looking retriever. My son has a golden retriever and a chocolate lab – they make a very lovable twosome! Looking forward to more good recipes and Friday Things in 2013. All the best to you and Einstein.


  28. Tara @ Live a Sweet Life on December 29, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Einstein is so cute! I agree with you (and so many others on here) that Les Mis just isn’t so appealing. I don’t really mind musicals, once in a while they can be a nice change of pace. Oh and props to you for doing that crossword puzzle. I think I would get annoyed with it very quickly!!


  29. Alice on December 29, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Awww, such a cute dog! I constantly check your blog for recipes, but it’s so nice to see other things as well. 🙂


  30. Candace on December 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    As far as I can see they named Les Mis that cause that is exactly what is it. Miserable. We left at the intermission when we went to the Theatre to see it about 10 years ago. bllaa.
    Homeland – Love it!!!!
    Love your site and Einstien.


  31. Emily (The Culinary Couple) on December 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Oh my gosh. Love that picture of Einstein! I hope you both had a very merry Christmas!


  32. chelsea @ serves two on January 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    oh wow, this reminds me of how i used to LOVE crosswords and haven’t done one in so long! that one looks insane! now i want to start doing them again 🙂 and les mis- no thanks!


  33. Brittany on January 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I know you said you are not really into musicals, but Les Mis is truly fantastic. I went and saw it twice! My fiance who is not a musical buff actually teared up too! 🙂


  34. LB on January 3, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    I used to play dominos with my grandparents too… we played a game called chicekn foot. Lots of good memories 🙂


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