thursday things

ig sunset

It’s been a while since my lazy good for nothing butt has posted a Thursday Things but I definitely need to get back into it so, alas, here I am! Whether it’s the 108 degree weather, high humidity, or extra hours I’ve been pulling at work it has just been extra hard to get any of this ‘extra curricular’ type stuff done.

Actually I’ve baked a few things for you, but sitting down and writing about them… that part is a bit harder.

I have a macaron recipe coming up for you, I even did research and took one of those fancy cooking classes to level up my skills. We all took turns passing around the baking sheet and piping the macaron batter onto it. Do you see that? I went into the world and even spent time with STRANGERS just for you. I violated my very strict “Stranger Danger” rule just for you guys. Don’t you feel special? You should.

20150628-IMG_2743In other news my Exploding Kittens game arrived. If you’re not familiar with the game, you may be familiar with its creator – Matthew Inman – of the infamous comic blog The Oatmeal. He’s like my hero.

Exploding Kittens

Minions have been attacking Ireland.

Oreo dropped their newest cookie invention – Oreo Thins. Shannon and I tried them for you – you can read all about them here!

oreo thins

And Sir Ian McKellen taught the world how to make scrambled eggs.

thursday things – a quesalupa, red velvet oreos, and my hollywood hubby

feb morning sky

Happy Thursday and congratulations to Nicole who won the Peanut Butter Lover’s giveaway! There are two containers of PB2 en route to her home in Michigan as I type this. I hope that she shares what she makes with us!

Last week, my current home hosted the Super Bowl and the Phoenix Open and Phoenix gave all of our tourists a big, fat middle finger by being (relatively) cold, rainy, and foggy… for the whole week. Now we are back to normal, which is WAY TOO HOT for me already… clearly I live in the wrong state.

weather feb 15

For those of you who are buried in snow, quit your whining and do something awesome with it. Like the best snowman ever or this giant Star Wars equivalent of Mt. Rushmore, out of snow.

According to Epicurious, “Gluten Free” is the most annoying dietary consideration, 42% of their readers are cooking 7 days a week, and a disturbing 15% of people are eating food IN THE BATHROOM.

diet restrictions

I assume that 15% of people are supporters of Senator Tillis, who has recently been advocating for restaurant employee’s rights to not wash their hands. Jon Stewart summed up pretty much everything there was to say on the matter.

I found out that my Hollywood Hubby (Timothy Olyphant) makes his wife cappuccino with latte art I immediately shared with Mr. Eats how lucky she was. Although, Mr. Olyphant discourages instagraming my dinner pictures, so maybe we aren’t soul mates after all.

While Tim Olymphant is eating fried chicken, Beyonce wants us all to go vegan with her vegan delivery service. It involves a 22-day vegan challenge and honestly, if I can do a whole 30, I’m sure I can kick the crap out of 22 days of veganism. But am I going to pay for it to be delivered to my door? Probably not.


What I would pay for, sadly, is the new QUESALUPA at Taco Bell! It’s a cheese-stuffed chalupa shell and, unfortunately, it is only available back in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Which is super unfair. Once I factor in the $400 plane ticket, it becomes an awfully expensive chalupa.

Starbucks is going to start slinging coconut milk nationwide starting Feb 17th, so get your mugs ready!

And of course, Oreos released their new red velvet flavor on Feb 2nd and I picked up a package to be your guinea pig. I will preface this by saying that I was actually not that excited for red velvet oreos. Much like actual red velvet cake, I feel like I could just eat the chocolate version and save myself the food coloring…

But I was put in my place by some of my closest friends so I felt obliged to pick up a pack and give them a try.

red velvet oreos

The verdict? They are good, but they don’t taste THAT different from a regular Oreo… but they definitely didn’t taste like a regular Oreo.

The chocolate isn’t as dark as the regular Oreo cookie, so the chocolate flavor is definitely muted, which meant it was a winner for Mr. Eats who is not a huge fan of Oreo’s regular cookie. While the filling was creamier and less grainy than the standard Oreo filling, it didn’t have a strong cream cheese “tang” to it.

Granted I’ve only eaten one cookie so far, but I’m sure I’ll “test” more later tonight. You know, for science. If you have tried them, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Now, time to await Oreo’s next creation: THE S’MOREO. That’s one Ill definitely have to try.

I’ll just watch this owl on a loop while I wait…

owl bath

thursday things

whole 30 chipotle steak salad

Cooks & Books rounded up some of the internet’s healthy and delicious recipes and was sweet enough to include my barbacoa steak salad (pictured above). You can see that recipe and more on their website!

Nigella Lawson is now on instagram.

F&W claimed they were showing us how to poach a dozen eggs at once… although it’s actually more of “how to bake a dozen eggs at once” but who’s really paying attention anyway?

Nabisco has outdone themselves again with Red Velvet Oreos – which will be made available to us normies on Feb 2nd. At which time, as your faithful Oreo tester, I will promptly scoop some up and let you know how they are.

red velvet oreo

Matthew Inman created a Kickstarter campaign to launch the best card game since Cards Against Humanity… and reached 10,000% of their goal in less than 7 hours.

Conan O’Brien visited the Taco Bell HQ and created a few of his own menu items.

Meanwhile Japan taught 100 robots how to do the robot and revolutionized the dessert world with clear mochi cake.

As I’ve been approaching the end of yet another Whole 30, I feel healthy and energized! I’ve been eating lots of whole-30-approved things like stuffed peppers, lettuce wraps, steak salad, and healthy stir fry

All while experiencing some serious cravings for things like…

This poblano mac and cheese from Annie’s Eats

annie's eats poblano mac

A Periodic Table’s mochi cake.


Movita’s finnish pulla


These multigrain pancakes with bananas foster syrup from Crumb.

bananas foster pancake

And this meatball sub from Serious Eats


Are you sensing a theme here?

pumpkin cookies & cream ice cream

pumpkin ice cream 0032

I’ve been waiting SO LONG to tell you guys about this. Two whole weeks, to be exact.

Remember how I got those pumpkin spice Oreos and they didn’t suck? Well, immediately I started thinking about one of my favorite ice creams – which is cookies & cream, with Oreos, naturally.

pumpkin ice cream 7444

I looked over at Mr. Eats after tasting my first pumpkin spice Oreo and the conversation went something like this:

Me: Oh. My. God.

Mr. Eats: What?


Mr. Eats: [contemplating this idea]


Mr. Eats: And then will you clean up the pieces of my skull? Because you just blew my mind.

pumpkin ice cream 1 0046

Unlike most of my ideas which take months if not years to finally make… this one only took a few days (only because we didn’t have any heavy cream in the house so I had to wait until my next trip to the grocery store).

The base, adapted from Jeni’s Ice Creams (shocking, I know) was a breeze to make.  Then I just crushed up my cookies and mixed the two together… If you are into pumpkin at all then you need to make this ice cream because it is CRAZY good. It may even be one of my greatest accomplishments to date.

pumpkin ice cream 0039

Imagine, if you will, a rich and creamy pumpkin ice cream full of crushed pumpkin-spiced Oreo cookies. It’s like if pumpkin pie and cookies and cream ice cream had a baby, then scooped that baby up and put it inside of a deliciously crunchy waffle cone.

You’re welcome.

pumpkin cookies & cream ice cream


  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 sleeve pumpkin spice Oreo cookies (or Joe Joe's)


    Make the base:
  1. In a small bowl, make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of milk.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk cream cheese and salt. Add honey and pumpkin puree and continue whisking until smooth. Fill another large bowl with ice water and set aside.
  3. In a 4-qt saucepan, combine the cream with the remaining milk. Stir in the sugar, corn syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling.
  4. Boil for 4 minutes then remove from heat to whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to heat and continue cooking, stirring with a heat-proof spatula, one minute more until the mixture is thickened.
  5. Carefully whisk the hot milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Pour into a 1-gallon freezer-safe bag and seal. Submerge in ice water about 30 minutes, until chilled. Dry bag and store in refrigerator until ready to spin the ice cream.
  6. Spin the ice cream
  7. Pour ice cream base into frozen canister and spin until thick, about 20 minutes. You can either pour in the crushed cookies at the end of your spinning process, or layer them with the ice cream when transferring the ice cream into a container for storage. My finished ice cream required a 5 cup storage container.
  8. Press parchment paper onto the top of the ice cream and freeze in coldest part of your freezer for at least 4 hours.
  9. When ready to enjoy, set ice cream on counter about 10 minutes to soften. Scoop and enjoy!


The ice cream base used in this recipe was adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home which I highly recommend you pick up. It's only $9.99 right now and worth every penny!


Pin It:

pumpkin ice cream 0039 pin


thursday things


Happy Thursday! Tomorrow is not only Friday, but VALENTINE’S DAY! We already know how I feel about Valentine’s Day (and I even have The Oatmeal to back me up!). So I am personally pumped for Valentine’s Day. I’m even making treats for my co-workers. Because, VALENTINES!  I’ll include a quick round-up of recipes for you towards the end of the post in case you want to make something for your valentine, too. 😉

This year FH and I are kicking things up a notch around here and will be eating our Valentine’s dinner off of paper plates, because we’re classy… and also because he came home from the store with these the other day…

owl plates valentine

So our Valentine’s Day will most likely be spent picnicking in the living room with paper owl plates and the new season of House of Cards. Sounds like a pretty solid Valentine’s date to me.

Maybe I’ll even light a couple candles, ya know, for romance.

In other news, Canadians were jerks (and also geniuses) at the Olympics by making a vending machine that would only dispense goodies to people with Canadian passports. They later redeemed themselves by being super nice to Russia. Let’s face it, in these Olympics, Russia can use a little nice right now. 

Doritos is trying to kill us all by essentially making their version of a mozzarella stick. Which is queso encased in Dorito crumbs and fried. I think they have finally crossed a line…

Papa John’s attempts to recycle their dough went horribly awry…

McDonald’s opened an oversized restaurant in Peru to let adults feel like kids again (and I guess kids would feel like… ants? I’m not sure).

This man reinvented the door (who knew it needed reinventing?). I could never have that because I would spend all day opening and closing the door. Open. Close. All day.





While he was making doors, some other people (for some unknown reason) were making werecats (ie: werewolf + cat), and others were giving cars to fish. Because that’s necessary.

While part of me can’t help but feel like this money should be spent researching a cure for cancer or something, the other part of me now feels the need to buy a fish, buy a car for said fish, and let him terrorize my cats.

It seems like a good investment to me.

I also think I need this stackable condiment holder.


Not only does it save space, but it reminds me of the little ring game that babies play. Now it’s an acceptable game to play as an adult. I think I would end up also playing another game called “How many times does Natalie put the salt shaker on upside-down and spill salt everywhere,” though.

Now, to the REAL NEWS: I managed to get my hands on not one, but BOTH new Oreos flavors.

And I did in-depth testing of BOTH of them… for you guys. That’s how much I love you.





Cookie Dough Oreos were good, but did not taste like cookie dough. My initial reaction upon eating them (while standing in the store parking lot) was that the Oreo cookie overpowered the taste of the filling. I reassessed the flavor when I reached home and tried them again as a whole, dissected, and then dipped in milk (which is my personal favorite way to consume an Oreo).

I thought the “cookie dough” filling was more reminiscent of a syrup perhaps, maple? No, maybe caramel. FH caught a hint of “coffee or mocha” flavor – so I think we settled on “Caramel Latte.” Not a bad flavor, overall, just not cookie dough. Oreo just needs to stick a “Caramel Latte” sticker over the “Cookie Dough” label and all will be well. Except one issue: graininess (totally a word). I wish I’d taken a zoomed-in picture of the filling, but you’ll just have to take my word for it – the filling is SUPER grainy in these cookies. Which is only semi-off-putting as it was only really an issue in my filling-only version of the taste test.

My verdict? Save your money, and make these instead.

Now, the Marshmallow Crispy Oreos are a totally different story. Since they use the vanilla cookie in this one, there’s no chance for the flavor of the filling to be overpowered. And while some people think these are “too sweet” I would have to ask them when the last time they had a rice krispy treat was… because THOSE ARE VERY SWEET. I liked these cookies and they are a clear winner over the other limited edition flavor. My favorite part about these cookies was the real rice krispies (sorry, “crisp rice”) in the filling – I even had a little “snap, crackle, pop” action while eating them.

Verdict? If you like rice krispy treats – these are worth checking out.

Speaking of cookies, here is a video of Loki from Thor teaching me Cookie Monster about delayed gratification. (Side note, did you know that Loki is actually super nice and not a super evil jerk? What other lies have movies told me!?)

As promised, a round-up for those of you who want to do something sweet for your Valentine (or friend, or coworkers). Here are a few super easy ideas – which means you can throw them together tonight in time to dispense them tomorrow!

Milk & Cookies Snack Mix from Cookies & Cups


Valentine Rice Krispie Hearts from FoodieCrush


Valentine Trail Mix from A Spicy Perspective

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction 


Valentine Popcorn from She Wears Many Hats

Chocolate-Strawberry Cupcakes from Wee Eats


Valentine Chex Mix from Betty Crocker



Lastly, check out this cat and his mad ups.

Unless you’d rather look at pictures of the cutest kitten in the whole world. Or both.