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  1. Monday, November 27

    Seven Tabletop Gifts That Give Back (and Look Great!)

    I have another guest post for you! AND it’s from another one of my favorite, funny friends AND she just so happens to be besties with Rachel, who is today’s other guest poster (which was totally coincidence). And she and I have the same name. And so do our husbands. So, what I’m saying is, this post is meant to be. Jane and I scoured her company’s  products and came up with this list of 7 amazing tabletop gifts that give back. (Click here to find out why Jane’s company To The Market is so awesome.) It’s time to spend money and make a difference!  Also, there are a few sale items and a secret discount buried in the post below, so get reading, clicking and shopping!

    ****

    The name Jane is the best name ever. My friend other Jane and I both share it. This post is about how we met on Ancestory.com.

    Gifts That Give Back: To the Market's Holiday Cheer Kit

    HOLIDAY CHEER KIT ($40)

    From the table to the tree, the holiday cheer kit is a festive holiday accessory. These cute little holly leaves are exactly what your table needs for that extra pick-me-up! These are made by artisans in Mexico.  This purchase helps the makers improve their lives, their children’s lives, and their communities through the dignity of work.  

    Gifts That Give Back: To The Market's Heart-Shaped Wooden Cutting Board

    HEART SHAPED WOODEN CUTTING BOARD (Regularly $40, Now $30 with custom TWFD code YUM10)

    Who doesn’t love this heart shaped cutting board? Use it to cut your food on in the kitchen or to serve some tasty food during your holiday party! This was handmade in Guatemala and helps to employ vulnerable communities.

    Gifts That Give Back: To The Market's Honey Vanilla Candle

    VANILLA HONEY CANDLE ($26.99)

    A warm scented candle is an essential during the cold winter months and vanilla honey is a classic. These hand poured soy glass candles are made by vulnerable women in Chicago. This candle helps a young mom provide for her children by giving her the confidence to chase her dreams.

    Gifts That Give Back: To The Market's TAY Ikay Table Runner

    TAY IKAY TABLE RUNNER ($120)

    Simple yet chic, this table runner is a clean statement piece. Go for an even bigger statement and add a white vase with some fresh flowers! This table runner is carefully handwoven and naturally dyed in Guatemala. This purchase supports sustainable livelihoods and traditional weaving.

    Gifts that Give Back: To the Market's Overdyed Kantha-Stitch Placemate Set in Cranberry

    OVERDYED KANTHA-STITCH PLACEMAT & NAPKIN SET IN CRANBERRY (Regularly $65, On Sale Cyber Monday for $45.50)

    Deep rich cranberry is such a lovely color for this time of year and this placemat and napkin set will make your tableware pop! This is truly a unique set that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Your dinner guests are guaranteed to love the detail of this sari napkin and placemat set made by women in India. A purchase of this table set helps women rediscover their dignity, independence, and creativity in a financially rewarding way.

    Gifts That Give Back: To The Market's Safina Banana Fiber Basket

    SAFINA BANANA FIBER BASKET ($38)

    This small basket can hold anything from fruit to bread to popcorn! This light neutral is not only a safe bet for the holidays, but it can be used year round for all kinds of gatherings. This basket is named after the sweet woman who makes it! She’s an uneducated HIV+ widow. Since becoming involved in basket weaving, her outlook has improved. She wants you to know “I love you very much. I reach out to say thank you for buying.”  We love her too!

    Gifts That Give Back: To The Market's Hand-Painted Batik Bone Bottle Opener

    HAND-PAINTED BATIK BONE BOTTLE OPENER ($22.99)

    Made in Kenya, this hand-painted bottle opener is an ideal hostess gift  for your favorite bartender.  Pattern design vary for each piece, making this truly one of a kind!

    Happy Shopping!


  2. Week 560 Weekly Menu from Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte: Eat. Make. Groove.

    Hello! I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving filled with the best food! We did…and we’re still swimming in leftovers. My family has informed me they are done with Thanksgiving food, but I beg to differ. We shall see…

    Guest Weekly Dinner Menu from Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte (Week 560 Menu on @janemaynard)

    Today’s guest menu is fun and different than anything we’ve ever had on the blog. It comes from my friend Rachel Faucett, the founder of the blog and company Handmade Charlotte. Rachel and I initially bonded as roommates on the ONE-Heifer trip to Malawi I took a few years ago (here’s proof). My connection with Rachel is something for which I will be forever grateful. There is seriously no one on this planet like Rachel. She has boundless energy and creativity and is hysterical to boot. When I was asking friends if they wanted to write a guest menu for my blog, she was the first to jump in, immediately responding with ideas and inspiration for dinners, crafts and music. I told her to run with it and now here we are. Grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit down, and enjoy a trip through Rachel’s meal planning brain, which is unlike any meal planning trip you will ever take.  Thank you, Rachel, for creating a menu that is just so you.

    MONDAY

    EAT:

    This ricotta ravioli looks so beautiful and so deliciously inviting!

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: Sail a Ship Kite

    SURF:

    I adore this Sailing Ship Kite! I think I may try to sail away to Neverland on it. Will you join me?

    GROOVE:

    Chill out to Yo La Tengo – My Little Corner Of The World while you enjoy your delicious dinner.

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: Embroidered Leaves

    MAKE:

    This is such a great fall crafting project.

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: Studio Anorak

    FLIP:

    Flip through this cool magazine.

    VIBE:

    All good vibes here! http://butdoesitfloat.com/

    TUESDAY

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: Soup in a Pretzel Bread Bowl

    EAT:

    Soup meets glorious bread bowl in this brilliant combo!

    STYLE:

    WOW! I’m in love with everything from this shop!

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: DIY Hair Ties

    MAKE:

    How fun and adorable! Let’s make these hair ties with Lunch Lady magazine!

    WEDNESDAY

    EAT:

    Dinner is a walk in the garden with these gorgeous pizzas!

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: DIY Paris Doll

    MAKE:

    J’adore everything about these DIY Parisian Dolls!

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: How to Paint a Mural

    DIG IT:

    We love everything about Winter Water Factory and painted our studio a pattern from their fall collection!

    GROOVE:

    Listen to Come On, Come Over by Jaco Pastorius

    THURSDAY

    EAT:

    Order in from your fave take out place!

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: Sew on Patches!

    MAKE:

    Sew Patches All Over Your Clothes! Check out these Etsy finds:

    FRIDAY

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: Fried Eggs and Charred Tomatoes Toast

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: Blackberry Slab Pie

    EAT:

    Mix it up and eat breakfast for dinner under your table! Try these awesome Fried Eggs and Garlic Toast and this Potato Skillet Bake! And for dessert? This Blackberry Slab Pie will be gone in seconds.

    WATCH:

    Watch silly home videos, or make some new ones!

    MAKE:

    Draw silly pictures. Can you sketch a silly portrait of your siblings or parents?

    SATURDAY

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: Grilled Pimento Cheese

    EAT:

    Nosh on these melt in your mouth grilled pimento cheese sammys!

    MAKE:

    Rock out with these DIY Rock Candy Magnets!

    GROOVE:

    Get your groove on with this cool Putumayo jam!

    SUNDAY

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: Stuffed Butternut Squash

    EAT:

    Make some Stuffed Butternut Squash for dinner!

    Week 560 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard from Rachel Faucett: DIY Marbled Mugs

    MAKE:

    Marbled Mugs! One for each person in the family! Fill them with Hot Cocoa afterwards!

    GET COZY;

    Fill your crafted mugs with the most amazing Hot Chocolate ever!

    AS USUAL…please share your dinner plans in the comments! And, in honor of Rachel, share something that inspires you in addition to food!


  3. Thursday, November 16

    ATTENTION! ONLY ONE WEEK UNTIL THANKSGIVING!

    I love it when Thanksgiving is a little early because then there’s more time in between Thanksgiving and Christmas but HOLY CRAP HOW IS IT ONLY ONE WEEK UNTIL THANKSGIVING?

    Just letting you know I’ve tagged all of my Thanksgiving goodness on the blog. Simply click HERE to scroll through it all. You’ll find all kinds of goodness, including from-scratch green bean casserole that is to die for, cranberry slush, SERIOUSLY THE BEST WAY TO COOK TURKEY EVER and so much more. (Did I mention the turkey? Oh, yeah, okay, I did, but really, check out my turkey roasting technique.)

    Happy Thanksgiving prepping!


  4. Monday, November 13

    Week 559 Weekly Menu from Katie Goodman Kick of Good Life Eats

    Happy Monday! Now that the week is started I think we need a dinner plan!

    This week our meal plan comes from Katie Goodman Kick from the food blog Good Life Eats. When I very first started this blog, Katie was one of my earliest and most loyal weekly commenters, always sharing her menus and great ideas. She has since built her own beautiful food space on the Internet with her blog Good Life Eats. Katie is talented and I love the recipes she shares – delicious but approachable and with ingredients that I regularly use. This week’s menu is a great example: Katie shared a ton of awesome recipes with us, and yet the ingredients list is not overwhelming. That’s my kind of cooking. Katie is a sweetheart (she once carefully brought a giant bag of homegrown tomatoes from her garden on the plane for me!) and I am so happy to be able to share her awesome meal plan with you this week. Thank you, Katie!

    Week 559 Weekly Menu - Guest Menu from Katie Goodman Kick of Good Life Eats (@janemaynard)

    MONDAY:
    Italian Sausage and Kale Soup
    Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
    – Salad

    TUESDAY:
    Honey Mustard Chicken
    Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic
    Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic

    WEDNESDAY:
    Fall Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin with Honey Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
    Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

    THURSDAY:
    No kids home – Date Night! Here are a couple of our favorite places to go!
    Community
    24 Carrot Bistro

    FRIDAY:
    Homemade Build Your Own Pizza Night (click the link for tips for making totally awesome pizza at home)
    Italian Mixed Greens Salad with Prosciutto and Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
    Easy Homemade Fudgy Brownies with Caramel Sauce

    SATURDAY:
    Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Chile Gravy Sauce (with Crockpot Mexican Chicken and Guacamole)

    SUNDAY:
    Indian Butter Chicken
    Homemade Naan
    – Salad

    Click here or on the image above for a FREE printable PDF of this week’s menu, complete with recipe links and ingredients list.

    You know the drill! Share your own dinner plans in the comments! We need your great ideas!


  5. Sunday, November 5

    Week 558 Weekly Menu from Barbara Schieving of Barbara Bakes & Pressure Cooking Today

    Happy Sunday! It is finally feeling like fall here in San Diego, just in time for a perfect Halloween with the kids! Today I’m making apple pie with Anna (using apples shipped by my mother-in-law from New Hampshire!) and all in all getting into the autumn spirit.

    I have another guest menu for you this week. Barbara Schieving from the food blogs Barbara Bakes and Pressure Cooking Today is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She was one of the first people to read my blog and was always so kind of supportive. It has always made me happy that she also jumped into food writing. She’s just plain awesome. Here second cookbook The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook comes out very soon on November 14. Click here to learn more about the book and if you want to pre-order the book, click here! The new book includes 50 of the most popular recipes on her blog as well as 150 new recipes you can only get in the book. So excited about your book launch, Barbara! Congratulations!

    Week 558 Weekly Menu on @janemaynard - Guest Menu from Barbara Schieving, including tons of great pressure cooking recipes!

    Barbara has created a great weekly menu for us, including a BUNCH of her favorite pressure cooker recipes. Seriously, if you’ve been wanting to get more into pressure cooking, Barbara is an amazing resource and this week’s menu is a great launching point!

    MONDAY:
    Potato Cheese Soup  (Click here for a FB video of the recipe!)

    TUESDAY:
    Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice

    WEDNESDAY:
    Lighter Chicken Parmesan

    THURSDAY:
    Grilled Chicken and Couscous

    FRIDAY:
    Beef and Broccoli  (Click here for a FB video of the recipe!)

    SATURDAY:
    Spicy Chicken Soup

    SUNDAY:
    BBQ Baby Back Ribs (Click here for a FB video of the recipe!)
    Potato Salad (Click here for a FB video of the recipe!)
    Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

    Okey, dokey, you guys know the drill…time for YOU to share your dinner plans for the week in the comments! Can’t wait to see what you’ve all got cooking!

    Click here or on the image above for a free printable PDF of this week’s menu, including links to recipes and the ingredients list!

    Have a great week everyone!


  6. Sunday, October 29

    Week 557 Weekly Menu from Robyn Stone of Add a Pinch

    Happy Halloween Week!

    I have another guest menu for you today, this time from Robyn Stone of the food blog Add A Pinch. I’ve known Robyn for years and love every chance I get to see her in person. She is the sweetest, but she is also an excellent food writer to boot! Robyn’s work has been featured in Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Redbook, and online at the Huffington Post and Food Network. Robyn’s cookbook, Add a Pinch: Easier, Faster, Fresher Southern Classics, was published in 2017 and it is beyond lovely, filled with delicious and approachable recipes. Robyn lives in Georgia with her husband, Bart, their son, Sam, and their two golden retrievers, Ranger and Annabelle. I can’t wait to share Robyn’s menu with you today. Here you go!

    Week 557 Weekly Dinner Menu from Guest Robyn Stone of "Add a Pinch" | @janemaynard

    MONDAY:
    Cashew chicken
    Broccoli

    TUESDAY:
    Halloween Soup Buffet

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Skillet Lasagna (Recipe can be found in Robyn’s beautiful cookbook!)
    – House salad

    THURSDAY:
    Sheet pan teriyaki salmon with green beans

    FRIDAY:
    Shrimp scampi

    SATURDAY:
    – Leftovers!

    SUNDAY:
    Pulled pork sandwiches
    Coleslaw
    Classic pound cake

    I am loving this menu from Robyn, so many wonderful ideas and surprisingly simple recipes. Thank you so much, Robyn! Click here or on the image above for a free printable PDF of this week’s menu and ingredients list!

    You all know the drill! SHARE YOUR MENUS! Please pretty please! We don’t care how fancy or simple your dinner plans are, share no matter what!

    Have a great week! Happy Halloween!


  7. Friday, October 20

    Show and Tell, Grab Bag Edition! Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Deodorant, Netflix Birthday Fun & Prius Envy

    Hello, friends. I have a veritable grab bag of things to share with you today, including a recipe, deodorant, Netflix and car talk. Yes, totally random. But also fun! 😉 Let’s start with the food!

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Pumpkin Spice Butter Spread + Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Last week LAND O LAKES treated me to a surprise package, complete with a shiny new Chemex coffee maker and everything I needed to make Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer using their Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Butter Spread. We are loving the Pumpkin Spice Butter (seriously, I had to cut Cate off…she would have eaten a loaf’s-worth of toast just to consume the butter), so I felt like I needed to tell you about it! Plus, I did in fact make the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and it was delicious. I am now sharing the recipe with you!

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Show and Tell, Grab Bag Edition! Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Deodorant, Netflix Birthday Fun & Car Envy
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup half & half
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 teaspoons LAND O LAKES Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter Spread
    Instructions
    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave, stirring occasionally, 30-45 seconds or until butter spread is melted and sugar is dissolved.
    2. Beat with hand mixer for 90 seconds or until mixture is frothy. (Note: I whisked by hand.)
    3. Store in refrigerator in a container with a tight-fitting lid up to 1 week. Shake well before each use.

    Native Natural Deodorant

    Native Deodorant, my new favorite thing! from @janemaynard

    Years ago I wanted to switch to natural deodorant but had a bad experience (read: Hello, Stinky Lady!) and gave up. but the fact I’ve been smearing aluminum on my body every day for over 30 years has always nagged at me. Well, my sister-in-law Cora recently demanded that I try Native deodorant. She was insistent. She pretty much made me buy it. Well, I must admit that I am grateful Cora was so bossy! I LOVE NATIVE. So, so, so, so much. I have the Coconut & Vanilla, Coconut & Shea and Apricot & Peach scents and I love them all. Note: the scents are seasonal, so a few of those flavors aren’t currently available, but there are a bunch of new ones that sound great!

    Why do I love Native so much?

    • First and foremost, the deodorant actually works. I have less body odor than I did with anti-perspirant and my clothes are picking up less scents, too. Cora (and the website) said that I would need about 2 weeks for my body to adjust and for the deodorant to work well. I started using the deodorant during a heat wave and loved it from Day One. But please, if you try it, give it at least 2 weeks to kick in (in case you are not lucky like I was). Also, if you need to freshen up later in the day, just re-apply and magically things smell better.
    • Native’s customer service is amazing. AMAZING. I originally ordered the summer scent pack and did not like the floral scent that came with it. Native made an exchange beyond easy. Plus, even before needing customer service support, I loved their email communications. They do a great job every step of the way
    • I really like the scent options they have. The deodorant just plain smells good without being overpowering.
    • For those with baking soda allergy, they also have a sensitive version that does not contain baking soda.

    I must admit I thought it was a little funny how excited Cora was about her deodorant. I mean, how can someone be that happy about deodorant. But here I am. On the Native bandwagon and happy to be here. I’m in all the way! Thanks, Cora!

    Netflix Birthday Fun!

    New! Netflix Birthday Messages for Kids! from @janemaynard

    Did you hear about the new birthday messages for kids on Netflix? They launched the birthday messages just in time for Owen’s birthday last month and he loved them. Owen’s birthday party involved taking eight 5- and 6-year-old boys to the LEGO Ninjago movie, followed up with a dinosaur cake at the park. Having the LEGO Ninjago friends and the Dinotrux friends sending birthday wishes his way totally made Owen’s day!

    To find the messages, simply type “birthday” or “birthdays” into your Netflix search bar and all 15 birthday message video options will appear. Definitely a cute way to kick off your little one’s special day!

    Why I Wish We Weren’t So Frugal and Had Bought a New Prius

    2017 Toyota Prius Test Drive from @janemaynard

    Nate has been driving a Prius for over 3 years and has been very happy with it. When his lease was up this past spring, we decided to be frugal and buy the car he was driving rather than start a new lease with the latest Prius. I was perfectly happy with that decision until 3 months later when Toyota lent us a new 2017 Prius for our east coast trip. I love the new Prius. We shouldn’t have been so responsible after all! What were we thinking? 😉 I am grateful I had the chance to try the Prius out for a month (thanks, Toyota!), but now I totally have Prius envy. Here are a few of the things I loved about the car:

    • The car basically drives itself. The radar cruise control works beautifully. I used it ALL THE TIME. For example, when we drove from Cape Cod to New Hampshire, I followed my sister-in-law using cruise control. The system detects the speed of the car in front of you and adjusts accordingly, so Jess was basically doing all the driving. There is also a lane departure alert system, pre-collision and pedestrian detection system, and the car can park itself.
    • Even better gas mileage. I got over 50 miles per gallon the entire trip.
    • For such a small car, there  is a ton of storage. The back is roomy, and there is a net you can use to store smaller items. The storage was great for short and long trips alike.
    • I’ve mentioned this before about Toyota, but I love their remote lock system. It’s just awesome.
    • There was also a spot for doing that fancy cordless phone charging. My phone doesn’t have that capability, but I was sure wishing it did! I also like how the middle console is set up better in the new Prius versus previous models.
    • The navigation system worked better than my Google maps app on my phone. Impressive! And the car told me what the speed limit was at any given time, which is especially handy on those east coast back roads!
    • The one thing I did not love was the SofTex synthetic leather seat material. It is more eco-friendly than other synthetic leather materials and does not use any animal-based material, but if I had to choose I would go with fabric or real leather. I just didn’t love the feel of the seats or how they looked when inevitably sand and other stuff got into the seams.

    Phew! I think that’s all I have to share for today. As usual, Show & Tell is for the whole class! Feel free to chime in with your own finds and recent loves in the comments!

    Please note: I have a relationship with Netflix as a member of the Stream Team, which means they don’t pay me a dime but do send me cool fun stuff occasionally. Toyota provided me with the Prius for our trip. Land O Lakes provided me with product. I have no official relationship with Native deodorant.


  8. Monday, October 9

    Week 556 Weekly Menu from Cadry Nelson of Cadry’s Kitchen

    Hello! It’s time for another weekly menu already? Where do the weeks go???

    This week’s guest menu planner is Cadry Nelson. Cadry is the writer, photographer and recipe creator behind Cadry’s Kitchen, a vegan food & lifestyle blog. Cadry makes vegan eating approachable and incomplicated with her wonderful recipes and weekly videos. Plus, she is hilarious. Cadry is one of those people I really wish lived in my neighborhood so we could hang out all the time and just laugh and laugh. Anyway, I was really hoping Cadry would say yes when I asked her to pull together a weekly menu because I think it’s super cool to mix things up with some vegan recipes. Seriously, though, how delicious does her menu look?

    Week 556 Weekly Menu - Guest Menu by Cadry Nelson of the vegan food blog Cadry's Kitchen, from @janemaynard

    MONDAY:
    3-Bean Chili

    TUESDAY:
    Artichoke Pesto Pasta with Roasted Chickpeas

    WEDNESDAY:
    Bulgogi Tofu Bowls

    THURSDAY:
    Taco Pizza

    FRIDAY:
    Double Hummus Wraps
    Israeli Couscous Salad

    SATURDAY:
    Taco Salad with Spicy Black Beans

    SUNDAY:
    Mini Vegetable Pot Pie
    Roasted Brussels Sprouts

    Cadry, thank you so much for sharing some of your favorite vegan recipes with us!

    Click here or on the image above to download a free PDF of this week’s dinner plan and ingredients list. 

    You know the drill – share your menus in the comments, vegan or not! 😉 Have a great week!


  9. Thursday, October 5

    The Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake That Was Beyond Beloved

    Owen’s birthday was last week and I have yet to share his birthday cake with you all. I love making fun birthday cakes for my kids and my kids really look forward to planning out their cake each year. For his 6th birthday, Owen decided he wanted a dinosaur birthday party. He and I sat down and scrolled through Pinterest together to find the perfect dinosaur birthday cake. Owen picked out a few options, kept changing his mind about which cake he wanted, and then learned about chocolate candy that looks like rocks. Once he knew that candy existed he was hooked on making what turned out to be the easiest dinosaur birthday cake ever. Thanks, Owen!

    Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake from @janemaynard

    So, how do you make the easiest dinosaur birthday cake ever?

    1. Make a 2-layer round cake. Frost with chocolate frosting. Be generous with the frosting, especially on the top as those dinosaurs need a nice layer of mud to sink their feet into so they can stay standing!
    2. Buy chocolate candy that looks like rocks/pebbles. (I found the candy at Cost Plus World Market. They have pebble candy on Amazon, too, although the candy at Cost Plus were cuter and cheaper.)
    3. Place said candy on top of the cake.
    4. Pick out 3 of your child’s toy dinosaurs, stick them on top of the cake. (Dinosaurs should be relatively small – the big ones tip over.)
    5. YOU ARE DONE. You’re welcome.

    Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake from @janemaynard

    I used Matthew Mead’s chocolate cake recipe, which you can find at the end of this blog post. I made a chocolate buttercream frosting for the outside of the cake – recipe below!

    Click here for the the inspiration for this cake!

    Click here for the other easy dinosaur birthday cake idea (hello, cutest fossils ever) that I was totally trying to get Owen to choose. I had him convinced for about 2 hours, but then that rock candy ruined everything. Except it didn’t because Owen’s cake was super awesome.

    Easiest Dinosaur Birthday Cake from @janemaynardThat’s Owen’s “I knew the rock candy cake would be as cute as the fossil cake, Mom” face.

    Here is how I made the chocolate buttercream frosting. Once again, people who usually do not like cake loved my cake. These recipes are winners. Also, use HIGH QUALITY cocoa powder. I’m telling you it makes a difference. Promise.

    Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) salted butter, room temperature
    • ⅔ cups cocoa powder
    • 6-7 cups powdered sugar
    • 6-8 tablespoons milk or cream
    Instructions
    1. Beat butter with a mixer (I use my KitchenAid with the paddle attachment).
    2. Using a fine mesh sieve, add the cocoa powder to the butter. (The sieve prevents the cocoa from getting lumpy.)
    3. Gradually work in the powdered sugar, alternating with the milk/cream and beating well after each addition. I put a range for the powdered sugar and milk/cream measurements. Start with 6 cups and 6 tablespoons each, then add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin, or more milk/cream if it is too thick. Frosting should be a spreading consistency that still holds its shape.
    Notes
    This makes enough frosting for a 2-layer 8- or 9-inch cake, with a little leftover.

     


  10. Monday, October 2

    Week 555 Weekly Menu from Rachael White of Set the Table

    Happy October! Let’s get this month and week started off with another fabulous guest menu!

    Week 555 Weekly Menu from guest blogger Rachael White of the food blog "Set the Table" - includes FREE printable with dinner plans and ingredients list! @janemaynard

    This week our dinner plan comes from Rachael White of the food blog Set the Table. I met Rachael a few years ago on a blogging trip and she is just crazy nice and wears the coolest glasses. Rachael is a mom to two boys, wife to a school principal, and dog mom to two labs. She grew up in Minnesota, lived in Tokyo, Japan, and now resides in Colorado. She believes that food is one of the most powerful ways to connect with those we love. Gathering around the table can be simple and straightforward, or, with a little intentionality, it can be a transformative experience for everyone involved. Lucky for us we get a little bit of her food love this week and get to join her around her virtual dinner table!

    MONDAY:
    – Potato Okonomiyaki 

    TUESDAY:
    – Weeknight Marinara with Cinnamon and Mint

    WEDNESDAY:
    – 15 Minute Salmon & Avocado Rice Bowls

    THURSDAY:
    – Crispy Chicken Thighs with Peach Basil Salsa

    FRIDAY:
    – French Bread Pizza

    SATURDAY:
    – Chipotle Shrimp over Creamy Polenta

    SUNDAY:
    – Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

    Click here or on the image above for a free printable PDF of this week’s menu and ingredients list!

    Thank you, Rachael, for pulling together such a beautiful and delicious menu! I love the fall inspiration and the taste of Japan woven throughout!

    As usual, please post your own dinner plans in the comments! I can’t wait to see what everyone has cooking this week!