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  1. Tuesday, July 22

    One More Travel Post…Warwick, New York

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    My parents recently moved to northern New Jersey, very close to the New York border. It is absolutely beautiful where they live, complete with rolling green hills as far as the eye can see. This is the third summer that we’ve visited them at their new home but the first summer that we made two really great discoveries – Dairy Swirl in Vernon, New Jersey and the little town of Warwick, New York.

    absolutely wonderful ice cream shop dairy swirl in vernon, nj by @janemaynard

    First, let’s talk ice cream. Dairy Swirl is literally five minutes from my parents’ home but, for some reason, we never went until this year. And that is a crime because it is awesome. They serve homemade ice cream in all kinds of wonderful flavors that are creative but make total sense. You know, nothing crazy, just all completely wonderful combinations of ingredients. And just outside the shop there are these giant rocks embedded in the side of the hill that are perfect for sliding. The kids could have stayed there all day. If you’re ever in northern New Jersey near Vernon, be sure to stop in!

    a visit to warwick, ny by @janemaynard

    After you hit the Dairy Swirl, keep driving north about 30 minutes to the town of Warwick, NY. Again, I don’t know why we never ventured to Warwick before but I’m so glad that we did! The town is adorable, with lots of little shops and restaurants, a cute town green where they play live music on the weekends, farmstands and more. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in the fall when the leaves are aflame!

    a visit to corbett's cookie bar kitchen in warwick, ny by @janemaynard

    My dad and I spent a few hours in Warwick with all three kids, so we kept the visit simple: lunch, dessert and a visit to the local bookstore. After lunch at Eddie’s Roadhouse (the filet sliders were awesome, the ribeye steak was just okay according to my dad), we hopped over to Corbett’s Cookie Bar Kitchen, where we had a really fun chat with the owners. They’ve been open about a year and only serve cookie bars. I love talking to small business owners who are so passionate about what they do – I really admire them because I am too chicken to do anything like that! The carmelita was our favorite flavor – it was like taking a big bite out of the best cookie dough. And the Mexican brownie was my other favorite. One bar is enough for 2-3 people, by the way, so pace yourself!

    a visit to ye olde warwick book shoppe in warwick, ny by @janemaynard

    After stuffing ourselves silly, we took the kids to Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe. This bookstore is tiny and like a maze of book shelves, which I love. The kids’ section is tucked in a back corner and the kids and I spent a lot of time back there. Basically, we loved it.

    Quick side note: another 10 minutes north there is an even smaller town called Sugar Loaf that also has some really cute shops, where you can buy things like handmade candles and soaps.

    So, this fall when you east coasters are wondering where you should take a drive to enjoy the leaves, head over to the Warwick Valley. You can’t go wrong! (For that matter it was perfectly fun in the summer, too!)

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  2. Sunday, July 20

    Week 391 Menu + Dinner at Veladora

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    Hello! We are home from vacation and I am getting back into the cooking groove! After such a long break I am actually really looking forward to it.

    review of veladora restaurant by @janemaynard

    Before we get to this week’s dinner plans, I need to tell you about the dinner that Nate and I had last night. Today is our 15th wedding anniversary (TIME FLIES! Happy anniversary, Nate!). Last night Veladora at the Rancho Valencia hotel in Rancho Santa Fe hosted us for dinner to celebrate. There are no words for how wonderful our evening was, but I’m going to give it a try! (Seriously, in the time it took for us to drive off the hotel property we must have said, “That dinner was awesome!” twenty times.) First of all, the food. Ahhh, the food. Nate ordered prime rib cap and I was treated to scallops. Both dishes were unreal. The rib cap was a beautiful cut of meat cooked to perfection, and my scallops were paired with three different corn sides that complemented the scallops beautifully. All of the food we had was wonderful, right down to the 18-year old balsamic vinegar for dipping the focaccia. Chef Matt came out to meet us at the end of our meal and it was so interesting talking with him about the food, how the menu is developed and modified with the seasons, as well as his own career path. Beyond the food, the serving staff was stellar and the restaurant itself was beautiful. The best part was that, despite the high caliber of the restaurant, we felt comfortable and relaxed, thanks to both the setting and the staff. Oh, and they gave us a little gift on the way out the door that was, of course, a tasty treat. It was truly the perfect way to celebrate our latest life milestone. Thank you, Veladora, for a night we will not soon forget.

    Despite the fact that I pretty much don’t want to eat any other food ever after Veladora, real life dictates that I still have to feed my family. So, back to the weekly menu!

    weekly dinner plans from @janemaynard including FREE printable menu and shopping list!

    MONDAY:
    - Caprese salad with crusty bread
    - Stewed green beans

    TUESDAY:
    - Taco night

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Grammy’s Orange Chicken
    - Rice and veggie

    THURSDAY:
    - Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    - Takeout night

    SATURDAY:
    - Chicken on the grill
    - Corn on the cob and watermelon

    SUNDAY:
    - Quiche
    - Spinach and strawberry salad

    Click here for the free printable of this week’s menu plus the shopping list!

    Big THANKS to all of you who continued posting menus the last few weeks while I took a break. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!

    As usual, please share your menu for the week! Plain or fancy, we want to see it all!

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  3. Friday, July 18

    Friday Show and Tell!

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    Hello, everyone! So, I really took a break from the blog this week…I don’t know the last time I did that! It’s just that we were too busy doing things like this…

    summer fun by @janemaynard

    But the party ends today…we’re flying home this afternoon! We’ve been gone almost a month and, as absolutely wonderful as our trip has been, it will be nice to sleep in our own beds tonight. That is if we survive the flight…wish me luck flying alone with 3 kids!

    Here are my food posts elsewhere on the web this week!

    Your turn for show and tell – share whatever you want!

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  4. Sunday, July 13

    Week 390 Menu

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    Hi everyone! I’m getting a late start today after a very long night with our little Owen and another bout of croup. He’s doing well now, but pretty much everyone in the family feels like a zombie. Happy vacation to us! ;)

    This is our last week of traveling, so no menu for us once again! But I’ll be back in the game next week. I really appreciate everyone who has been loyally posting menus the last few weeks while I’ve been taking time off from the kitchen. Your dinner plans are wonderful and a great inspiration to everyone.

    So, here we go…my weekly beg for your menus! Please share your dinner plans for the week!

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  5. Friday, July 11

    Friday Show and Tell + Fondue with Kids!

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    Happy Friday! Just a few fun links today and then I’ll be out of your hair! ;) As always, please share your own stuff in the comments, too! I love seeing what you’re up to/what caught your eye during the week/all of it!

    fondue with kids from @janemaynard

    fondue with kids from @janemaynard

    fondue with kids from @janemaynard

    Okay, so I really loved writing my Babble post about making fondue with kids this week. We put it all together with our extended family here in New Jersey and had a blast! The cooking was fun, the eating was fun and everything tasted wonderful. Plus, there are lots of cute photos and two great recipes in the post. So, you know, be sure to check it all out!

    And here are some fun posts on Cosmo this week!

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  6. Wednesday, July 9

    Serrano Salsa

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    I’ve mentioned my wonderful neighbor Ari a few times. She is from Mexico and gives me tips for cooking Mexican food that make my life happy. The latest is a recipe for salsa that she got from one of her aunts the last time they visited family in Mexico.

    serrano salsa by @janemaynard

    Ari and I were sitting by the pool and she said, “My aunt made some salsa. It’s my favorite. And it’s soooo easy.” She then told me how to make this magical salsa. I asked her to repeat it a few times and then, of course, emailed her later to ask her to write it down. This is basically what happens every time she shares a recipe with me – I make her repeat it a million times and then have to call her and/or email her multiple times before I get it down. Don’t you wish I was your neighbor? ;)

    serrano salsa by @janemaynardserrano salsa by @janemaynard

    Okay, so, for real, this salsa is easy, simple and delicious! It has a rich, smoky flavor and the perfect amount of heat (well, at least I think it’s perfect). Most of the kids didn’t try it because they were scared it would be too spicy, but my brave little Anna dug in. She described the salsa as hot and then proceeded to tell us how she has a “sensible tongue.” It was so cute. In terms of “hotness,” I would consider this a hot salsa. Depending on the heat of your particular serranos and what your final proportion of tomatoes to chiles is will determine exactly how hot it ends up being, but, even with those variations, it’s a spicy salsa. My dad, my sister-in-law and I ate almost all of it in one sitting. I can’t wait to make this salsa for Nate when we get home from traveling!

    serrano salsa by @janemaynard

    I’m sure you could add onions and garlic and cilantro and yummy stuff like that. But, honestly, the beauty of this recipe is its simplicity, so just go with it!

    Serrano Salsa
     
    Prep time

    Cook time

    Total time

     

    My friend Ari shared this recipe with me – her aunt made it for her in Mexico. Enjoy!
    Author:
    Serves: 1 cup

    Ingredients
    • 3 tomatoes (my tomatoes were a little smaller than normal, so I used about 9 tomatoes)
    • 3 chiles serranos
    • salt, to taste

    Instructions
    1. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them cut-side down in a pan. (I used a non-stick pan and would recommend that.)
    2. Cut off the stems of the serrano chiles and place them whole in the pan with the tomatoes (no cutting or seeding necessary!).
    3. Cook the tomatoes and chiles over high heat to burn them. Ari said about 3-4 minutes per side, but I think it took mine more like 5-10 minutes per side. You will see little brown and black spots on the tomatoes and chiles when they are ready to come off the heat. You cut the tomatoes in half and put them on a pan with the chiles (chiles are complete with seeds). The tomato skins will also start to peel off.
    4. Remove from heat, put everything in the pan in a blender and blend well. Season with salt to taste, probably about ¼ – ½ teaspoon.
    5. As Ari said, “Habemus salsa!”

     

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  7. Sunday, July 6

    Week 389 Menu

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    Happy belated Fourth of July! On Friday night my parent’s neighbors shot off a bunch of totally awesome {most definitely illegal} fireworks at their house, so we enjoyed a show right from my parents’ porch. Then on Saturday night we went to Vernon Township, New Jersey for their show put on by the local fire department. I’ve been going to big city fireworks shows for so many years that I forgot how wonderful a small town show is. It was perfect in so many ways.

    fireworksFireworks from the back porch!

    I have a kinda-sorta-menu this week! I’m not going to get all fancy with a PDF and stuff because it’s not a particularly helpful menu for anyone, but at least it’s on paper, right? ;)

    MONDAY:
    - Fondue night! (We’re going to try making fondue with the kids, I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!)

    TUESDAY:
    - Taco night

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Chicken and hot dogs on the grill
    - Corn on the cob and fresh fruit

    THURSDAY:
    - Eat out

    FRIDAY:
    - Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    - Driving back up to New England that evening, eating on the road

    SUNDAY:
    - Not even sure what town we’ll be in that night, so playing it by ear!

    Your turn! Please pretty please with a cherry on top share your menu for the week! We need your inspiration!

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  8. Friday, July 4

    Drying Your Own Basil + Friday Show and Tell

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    Right now I’m visiting my parents in New Jersey. My brother and his wife had TONS of fresh basil from their garden, so they decided to try drying it in my mom’s old food dehydrator.

    drying basil with a food dehydrator by @janemaynard

    Drying the basil was easy and very hands off, BUT here are a few things we learned:

    • A LOT of fresh basil makes just a LITTLE dried basil. The basil you see in the photos is all the dried basil we got from 8 large trays of fresh basil.
    • It takes a looooooong time for the basil to get completely dry. We followed the instructions and cooked the basil at 105ºF. The dehydrator was running for about TWO days. It’s an old deyhdrator, so maybe a new one would be different, but holy smokes it took forever!
    • If you already have a food dehydrator or know someone who has one, it’s definitely worth drying basil if you have a whole bunch because it’s so easy. However, if you’re only planning to make dried basil with your dehydrator, it’s definitely not worth buying one. At least that’s what we think!

    drying basil with a food dehydrator from @janemaynard

    Here are my posts on Cosmo this week!

    Show and tell! Feel free to share whatever you like!

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  9. Thursday, July 3

    Kimball Farm and Beautiful New Hampshire

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    As you know from my non-existent weekly menus, we are on a multi-week trip visiting our family in the Northeast! We started our trip in New Hampshire and I wanted to share a little of the fun we had in that beautiful place.

    To start, well, you know, when in Rome…

    new hampshire maple syrup from @janemaynard

    Pat, my mother-in-law, got a good deal on a ONE GALLON JUG of maple syrup so she had to buy it. I just wish I could take some on the plane with me! Owen was hilarious when we took pictures of him with the bottle (don’t worry, he had a diaper on!), but when we actually let him stick a straw in the bottle to drink, he refused. Shocking, I tell you.

    kimball farm by @janemaynard

    For dinner one night we visited Kimball Farm in Jaffrey, NH and thoroughly gorged ourselves. For you New Englanders out there you’ve probably been to Kimball’s already and know just how yummy it is. We ordered quite the assortment of food, including to-die-for fish and chips, lobster roll, clam chowder, and onion nuggets. And, of course, NO salad.

    kimball farm by @janemaynard

    kimball farm by @janemaynard

    kimball farm by @janemaynard

    We ended the night with Kimball’s homemade ice cream. See that there cone? That is the smallest size you can order. For a little perspective, that is a giant waffle cone being held by Nate. Ice cream insanity!

    kimball farm by @janemaynard

    Another day we returned to Hillsborough Center to show Nate how beautifully magical this little village is. And to give Cate a chance to properly leap over puddles.

    hillsborough center by @janemaynard

    hillsborough center

    On a side note, we are loving the Highlander Hybrid that Toyota lent to us for the trip. It’s sooooo nice having a big car that gets almost 30 miles to the gallon, especially since we’ve already driven almost 1,000 miles! Plus, it’s just a really nice car. Nate’s great aunt couldn’t get over it, in fact. And it drives so quietly and smoothly. Basically, we’re taking it on the plane home with us.

    toyota highlander hybrid by @janemaynard

     

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  10. Sunday, June 29

    Week 388 Menu

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    Hi, everyone! Still on vacation, still not planning a menu! We are having a great time here on the East Coast and, as usual, it’s almost shocking how green it is out here. We definitely miss all these trees. I’m going to share some of our food finds with you this week, but for today just a quick snap of sunset over Mount Monadnock.

    mount monadnock from @janemaynard

    You know the drill…please share your menu for the week! I need you to inspire one another since I’m a useless vacationer!

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