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Friday Five – Festivities, Failures, and New Favorites

1) Failure: Homemade pasta, take two.  This thing looks so innocent.  But it tricks you in to thinking it’s oh-so-simple and quick to make your own pasta.  The pumpkin ravioli I used it for turned out to be pretty tasty, but the spinach variation I tried this week was not so successful.


After an hour of dough making, rolling, cutting…


And drying (classy, right?)…


I had sub-par spinach pasta.  The sauce (white cheddar) was delicious, but I need to just stop channeling the little old Italian grandmother I never had and buy pasta next time.


2) Festivities – My boss’s baby shower!


She’s having twin girls!  So much good food and “ooh”ing and “aww”ing over pink gifts.  Definitely made it a fun work week!


3) (New) Favorite Taco Place – A new, simple restaurant called Smoke that my brother and I tried the other night.  A couple from Texas opened it and they make their tortillas, sauces, and other menu items from scratch.  We had the best mac and cheese ever (which I heard is even more amazing with their house made bacon) – with roasted garlic, shallots, mascarpone, and white cheddar, it puts all other mac and cheese to shame.


I had the veggie taco: black beans, roasted poblano and corn relish, crispy potatoes and chili de arbol sauce – with the optional addition of avocado cream.  It was pretty spicy so the avocado helped to cool it down a bit!


My brother tried two meat tacos: one with pork (apricot habanero and caramelized onions) and one breakfast taco with chorizo.  The food was inexpensive, the service was great, and the simple presentation (and bad lighting!) didn’t matter since the food was phenomenal.


4) Festive –  one of the “trees” in downtown Pittsburgh, captured on my way to work (no it’s not the middle of the night, just really early!).


Office-made peppermint hot chocolate – candy cane tea and instant hot cocoa.  Not too bad when you can’t get away from your desk to run to Starbucks.


5) Failure – A new cookie recipe.  They looked pretty before going in to the oven – and the dough tasted okay…


But they got too puffy and somehow developed a really salty taste after baking.  It’s hard to waste chocolate in any form, but these just were not edible.  No worries, I pinned about 329850943 cookie recipes this week.


Your turn!  Tell me about a new favorite, festivity, or failure you experienced this week! 

Have a great weekend!


24 responses to “Friday Five – Festivities, Failures, and New Favorites

  1. LizAshlee December 9, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I am working on a new rice crispy treat that isn’t quite sticking together…I’m thinking I am going to try dates next instead of honey…they taste delicious and I can’t wait to figure out the stickiness issue to post em! Happy Friday!

  2. healthydivaeatskatie December 9, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Happy Friday!

    Oh the baby shower cake is so cute! Congrats to your boss!

    Was the cookie dough at least good ? ; )

  3. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean December 9, 2011 at 9:04 am

    don’t give up on the homemade pasta. it’s so fun!!! i’ve never attempted spinach before though

  4. sprint2thetable December 9, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I’m impressed you even tried pasta. I’m too intimidated! Maybe your inner Italian grandma will show up with another try?

  5. kristina December 9, 2011 at 11:11 am

    hi claire ~ hope you’re off to a wonderful friday!! love your friday fives ~ and major props to you on the homemade pasta = i could never successfully accomplish that one haha!! 😉
    xx ~ kristina

  6. allieksmith December 9, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I’m loving the trees downtown! I gotta get to PPG to ice skate soon 🙂

    I think just attempting to make pasta is a huge accomplishment.. I tried to make it w/o a pasta maker.. it was a disaster :p

  7. Hayley (Oat Couture) December 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Oh my goodness that looks farrrr too early to be going to work! :/ Major kudos for attempting pasta though!! 🙂

  8. sophiebekkering December 9, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    that mexican food looks amazing, I love your blog too 🙂

  9. Julia December 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Hey Claire! Just stumbled upon your blog and it’s great! So much great stuff .. cant wait to read more! I’ve always wanted to make my own pasta but the process just looks so complicated!! haha

  10. peaceloveandoats December 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Kudos to you for trying to make your own pasta! that looks hard but fun! and twin girls!?!? i always wanted a twin… so jealous.

  11. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate December 9, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Homemade pasta is the best. Dried doesn’t even compare!

  12. Shanna, like Banana December 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Festivity = baking peppermint kiss cookies with my bestie!

  13. Lisa ♥ Healthful Sense December 10, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I love the idea of adding peppermint tea to hot cocoa mix!!
    Gotta try that! I don’t think I would be a successful pasta maker either.
    Have a great weekend =)

  14. Lauren December 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I’m currently making a gingerbread cake – but it is NOTHING like the picture in the book. It tasted delicious as batter, so we’ll see what happens when I taste the finished product.

  15. alicia @beingLA December 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Homemade pasta looks like so much fun! If only I had more time….
    And congrats to your boss…I’m an identical twin and absolutely love it!!

  16. Paige December 10, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Wow! I am impressed, Claire!!

  17. Sara @ Nourish and Flourish December 11, 2011 at 3:29 am

    We used to make homemade pasta once a year in my house growing up. It was a big production, and always created a huge mess! But it was definitely worth the effort. Your attempt at least looks delicious, even if it wasn’t as great as you hoped. Another perk: you had a great story to tell on your blog! 🙂

    I love that Swiss Miss “diet” hot chocolate–I drink a packet every night before bed!

    New favorite: sweet and hot mustard from Trader Joes! Sooo good. I’m also obsessed with chestnuts right now. If you’ve never tried them (I hadn’t until Thanksgiving), you definitely should!

  18. teabagginit December 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    i’ve never really liked pasta so i can’t really appreciate the beauty that is fresh pasta. however, kudos to you for giving it a shot & i’m sure it’s the kind of thing that you only get better at. can’t wait to see pasta (future) successes!

  19. Annette@EnjoyYourHealthyLife December 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    That pasta actually looks really good! Thats amazing that you made it homemade.

  20. blogitness December 12, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I still need to get downtown this holiday season! I keep meaning to, but for some reason it never happens!

  21. runninglatemolls December 12, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Those tacos look great! I baked dark chocolate brownies with white chocolate peppermint icing. Only three ingredients- no one can fail with these! I am posting the recipe this week!

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