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  1. Wednesday, April 23

    The Only Lentil Soup Recipe You’ll Ever Need {Plus More Pretty Dishes}

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    One of the very first recipes I ever made was lentil soup. And it was terrible. It was just not a good recipe and, as an inexperienced young cook, I had no idea how to make it better. Sadly it convinced me that lentils were a bad thing. Then, about a year later, my friend Amy made lentil soup and insisted that I try it. She swore it was the best ever. I was skeptical but gave it a go and, much to my utter amazement, I discovered that lentil soup can be wonderful. I owe it all to Amy. If I ever win a lentil academy award, she’ll be the first person I thank. After the Weinstein brothers, of course, because that seems to be an academy award thank you speech requirement, especially when lentils are involved. (Sorry, I think that was a case of stream of consciousness gone wrong.)

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    The moral of the story is that I have had this lentil soup recipe hidden away on my blog since Day 1, when I added a bunch of random recipes to the site from my recipe box (you know, the real live recipe box with notecards inside). But I’ve never actually written about this recipe because, well, I have no idea why! It’s about time because it really is a gem of a recipe. Plus, the soup looked gorgeous served in my new Q Squared dishes, which I was planning to write about anyway, so it was kismet!

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    As you know, I’ve started working with a great company called Q Squared NYC. When I first received my Montecito dishes, I didn’t think I could love any of their other dishes more. But for Easter I decided to use the Heritage line for all of our serving dishes and decorated the table with a blue and white theme to match, including the flowers. The table was simple and so pretty, if I do say so myself. And I really fell in love with the Heritage dishes. I don’t know, I might even love them more than Montecito. It’s just so hard to decide!

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    Last night when I was photographing the orange-hued soup that complemented the blue in the dishes so beautifully, the girls started fighting over who would get to use the fancy bowl. I think I’m going to have to buy more of these dishes because I don’t think I’m the only one who loves them. Even Nate commented on how pretty they were after dinner on Easter and he’s a guy.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    In addition to the color and pattern, the Heritage dishes have a really great texture, with sort of a hammered look to them. I tried to capture this in the photography so hopefully you can see it. The dishes really are stunning and, like the Montecito line, you can tell they are really high quality. I could go on and on and ON about these dishes.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    One last note on the recipe: you probably won’t like other lentil soups after trying this one. At least not as much! Honestly, whenever I have lentil soup at a restaurant I just end up disappointed. I now save all my lentil soup-ing for home, it’s just better that way. Oh, and one more last note: this soup is easy to throw together and is done in 30 minutes!

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    Without further ado, I give you the soup! Everyone say thanks to Amy!

    Lentil Soup
     
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    “This is the BEST.” – Amy Kroff
    Author:
    Recipe type: Soup
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup dry lentils
    • 1 cup shopped onion
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
    • 4 cup beef broth
    • 1 15 ounce can petite-diced tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
    • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme or oregano (I usually use oregano)
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ⅛ teaspoon cumin
    • 1 bay leaf
    • ½ cup chopped carrots (I usually do more carrots because my kids love them)
    • ½ cup chopped celery
    • ½ pound fully cooked smoked sausage links, sliced – or chopped ham
    Instructions
    1. Rinse lentils, drain, then soak in water and set aside while you prep the soup.
    2. In a large pot, cook onion garlic in hot oil over medium heat until tender but not brown.
    3. Once the onions are tender, add garlic and stir. Drain off any remaining water from the lentils. Stir in the lentils, beef broth, undrained tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, thyme or oregano, pepper, cumin, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling then reduce heat to low but so that soup is still simmering.
    4. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
    5. Add carrots and celery. Return to boiling then reduce heat again and simmer for 15-20 mins or until lentils and veggies are tender.
    6. Stir in meat and heat through. Discard bay leaf.

    This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. The flatware pictured is also from Q Squared, part of the Provence Blue set.

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  2. Tuesday, April 22

    Call for Recipes: Kale!

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    One of my most favorite things is when I get an email from someone requesting a Call for Recipes. I love the Call for Recipes posts myself, so it makes me happy that you guys like them, too!

    call for recipes: kale recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    I received an email from reader Lisa two weeks ago asking if I could ask you all for some kale recipes. She said she’s gotten so many great recipes from other commenters on the blog before. She’s in a kale rut and is hoping you all can help, which I’m certain you can!

    So, that’s the theme for today’s Call for Recipes: KALE! Share your favorite kale recipes, tips for cooking and working with kale, whatever! Feel free to type out recipes or just link to recipes, it’s all fair game.

    call for recipes: kale recipe roundup from @janemaynard | kale salad from costco

    Here is what I have to add to the conversation:

    • To kick us off I’ll share the best kale recipe I’ve ever made. It’s really simple. You go to Costco and buy their kale salad mix. It’s delicious and foolproof. ;) Seriously, though, we had it for Easter and loved it!
    • I recently wrote an article on Cosmopolitan.com about kale, with tips for how to cook it and a roundup of kale recipes from a bunch of great food bloggers. Click here for the kale Cosmo fun!
    • I’ve decided the world is full of LIARS because I recently had kale chips for the first time and they are absolutely not as good as potato chips. In fact, they’re disgusting. Nate agrees with me, by the way. And, before you ask, we had beautifully-cooked kale chips at a fabulous restaurant, so if we were going to like kale chips, those would have been the ones. So, the next time someones says, “No, really, kale chips are awesome!” I’m going to throw a pie in their face. Kale pie. Also, please don’t let my obviously-strong opinion keep you from sharing your kale chip recipes because, apparently, some people actually do like this healthy snack!
    • Hansen’s makes kale soda now. Yeah, yeah, I’m sure it’s delicious. Just like kale chips.

    call for recipes: kale recipe roundup from @janemaynard | hansen's kale soda

    Your turn! Share all your kale magic!

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  3. Sunday, April 20

    Week 378 Menu

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    Happy Easter! My menu is getting up a little late tonight, but there are still 2 more hours left in the day (at least on the west coast!) so I’m gonna call it good. My sister was in town and we really enjoyed our Easter Sunday all together, so I decided to save the humdrum of meal planning for tonight.

    easter table + weekly dinner plans with free printable menu and shopping list from @janemaynard

    Easter was wonderful. The food was great, the company even better, and the weather was perfect for eating on the patio. I’m feeling very content and grateful. (Quick side note: I used the Heritage line of dishes from Q Squared NYC for all the serving dishes today and they were gorgeous. Seriously, I’m in love.)

    weekly meal plan with free printable menu and shopping list from @janemaynard

    Okay, menu time! Even though I gave half of our ham away we still have TONS of it leftover, so here we go with the ham!

    MONDAY:
    - Leftover Easter feast dinner

    TUESDAY:
    - Lentil Soup

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Quiche

    THURSDAY:
    - Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    - Eat out

    SATURDAY:
    - Green Noodles a.k.a. No. 3

    SUNDAY:
    - Swedish pancakes and fruit

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

    You know the drill – share your menus, big or small we love them all! 

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  4. Friday, April 18

    Show and Tell: So much to show, so much to tell!

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    Happy Friday! I’m brimming over with things to share with you today!

    wonder by r.j. palacio | review from @janemaynard

    First, I finally read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book should be required reading for ALL HUMANS. And once all the humans have read it, it should be required reading in every 4th grade class every year from here on out until the end of time. Plus, it’s really just so beautifully written and touching and uplifting and WONDERFUL. Please read it. Please.

    I have a fun announcement today about some added functionality to This Week for Dinner. You may have noticed there’s a new button called “Recipe Box” on my navigation. If you roll over “Recipe Box” you’ll see that you can click on two options: “Recipe Box” and “Shopping List.” When you click either of those you will be automatically connected to ZipList, a company I am now partnering with! Some of you may already be using ZipList, in which case you know what’s up and how cool it is! All of the recipes on my site are now set up to be saved to your recipe boxes and shopping lists. If you don’t know what ZipList is, it’s basically a shopping list that makes life easier! You can save recipes to your ZipList recipe box, add ingredients from recipes to your shopping list, save shopping lists, and access all of this on the web or through a mobile app. Bottom line, it’s super handy and cool and perfect for meal planners. If you have questions, let me know!

    wimsey club arm chair from dot & bo by @janemaynard

    As you know, I’m slowly working on furnishing and designing our living room. Well, I just bought a chair to add to the space and I am SO EXCITED about it. It’s the Wimsey Club Arm Chair from Dot & Bo. I kind of just want to show it off (isn’t it purrrrty?), but also I had such a fabulous shopping experience with Dot & Bo I felt like I should shout it out from the rooftops. So, I had my eye on this chair for a while, but was scared to pull the trigger. After two interior designers said that I should buy the chair THIS INSTANT, I finally went to do so but it was sold out. Well, when something is sold out on their site, there’s an “I want it” button, which brings you to a page which says something like “Let us know you want this chair via these various social media channels and we’ll see what we can do” so of course I immediately tweeted out my anguish over not getting this chair. Within hours I had an email from someone named Jessica, who was checking with their distributors to see if there were any more chairs available. When there were not, she was able to find out they would be getting it back in stock in about 2 months. THEN, as soon as it was available, I had an email from her letting me know. She was so nice and so helpful. Even after I bought the chair (and a lamp and some cute Swedish stuff), I received another email from another customer service person just checking in and letting me know she’d be tracking my order for me. AMAZING customer service, SUPER cute stuff. I am basically in love with Dot & Bo.

    Last but not least, here are my fun Cosmo food posts for the week!

    I think I’ve shared enough, now it’s your turn!

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  5. Thursday, April 17

    Lindt Hot Chocolate – Super Easy and Super Delish!

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    Okay, I know it’s Spring and everyone is thinking about carrot cake and lemonade. But my friend Nikki CB shared the coolest tip for easy hot chocolate with me and now I need to share it with you, too. RIGHT NOW. So, today we’re having hot chocolate. Hopefully you’re experiencing unseasonably cold weather wherever you are so you can enjoy this recipe pronto!

    lindt hot chocolate - easy and delicious!  from @janemaynard

    Get ready for the yummiest easy hot chocolate you’ll ever have. No finely chopping chocolate with a knife necessary!

    lindt hot chocolate - easy and delicious!  from @janemaynard

    Nikki was saying how you can visit Lindt chocolate stores or something and they make hot chocolate simply by dropping Lindt truffles right into hot milk. That’s it. As soon as she said it I realized how genius it is. After all, that is some darn good chocolate. Also, think about how those truffles just melt in your mouth. If they melt in your mouth, you better believe they’ll melt in hot milk.

    lindt hot chocolate - easy and delicious!  from @janemaynard

    I finally tried the trick and it worked like a charm. The other fun part of Lindt hot chocolate is that you can easily make different flavors of hot chocolate. White hot chocolate, caramel hot chocolate, dark hot chocolate, extra dark hot chocolate, milk hot chocolate. Whatever your favorite truffle flavor is, now it can be your favorite hot chocolate flavor.

    lindt hot chocolate - easy and delicious!  from @janemaynard

    Thank you, Nikki. And you’re welcome, everyone else.

    (>> Find out more…)

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  6. Spring Break Part 2: Anaheim!

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    Time to share how we finished up our Spring Break last week! Once we were done having fun in Los Angeles, we hopped in the car and headed south 1 hour for a visit to Anaheim.

    I think in most people’s minds when you hear the word “Anaheim” you automatically think “Disneyland.” Disneyland is most certainly in Anaheim, but there is actually tons to do there in addition to visiting the Magical Kingdom. In the last few years the downtown area of Anaheim has been completely rebuilt, featuring local shops and restaurants. The Anaheim area has so much to offer (museums, sports, amusement parks, Medieval Times), you could easily spend a week staying in Anaheim and keeping incredibly busy! The other great thing is that there are so many hotels in town to choose from and many of them have shuttles that can take you to all the places you want to go. It’s basically a town built for vacation with the family and we have always had a blast when we visit. This time around we only had two days, so we visited Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. We also had the chance to stay in two hotels.

    What We Did!

    visit to knott's berry farm by @janemaynard

    Knott’s Berry Farm: Here’s the thing about Knott’s Berry Farm – it is totally fun, less expensive than Disneyland, and NEVER as crowded. As much as we absolutely love Disneyland, it is almost always filled to the brim with people, which can be a little overwhelming. Even on a busy day at Knott’s there is room to breathe and the lines don’t take hours to get through. Plus, our family loves Peanuts, and Camp Snoopy is perfect for the little ones. We also had lunch at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, where it all began. When you eat there, just eat a dozen biscuits and a few pieces of fried chicken and you should be all set. DELISH.

    visit to knott's berry farm by @janemaynard

    On our visit this time around we did a few things we had never done before, including the horse-drawn carriage ride and a ride on the narrow gauge steam engine. The carriage ride was actually really fun and the kids and I got to sit on top in front by the drivers. The steam engine was incredibly cool – it was the last working narrow-gauge engine in the U.S. when the Knott family purchased it for their park, and the cars you ride on are 130 years old. Owen is seriously obsessed with trains, so we chatted with the engineers for a bit and it was fascinating.

    visit to knott's berry farm by @janemaynardThis is the little train ride in Camp Snoopy, not the big steam engine. But the kids all look so happy here, I had to share. And, yes, this was the vacation of train rides. SO MANY TRAINS.

    Cate and I also did the Ghostrider roller coaster for the first time and, um, HOLY HEADACHE. Yes, that pile of wood you see below is a roller coaster. But Cate thought it was awesome, even “wilder than a buckin’ bronco!”

    the ghostrider at knott's berry farm by @janemaynard

    visit to knott's berry farm by @janemaynardWhen you’re 2 and you’re tired you just sit where you are.

    Disneyland: There is just something about Disneyland. Sure, it costs about a billion dollars to go. Sure, it’s almost always crowded. But it is also always magical. Everything there is just so well done and beautiful. We spent most of our day on this visit in California Adventure. Cate got to ride on Radiator Springs Racers THREE times (thanks to fast passes and the parent swap passes when you have a stroller). I think she also rode on California Screamin’ 4 times. Crazy girl!

    california screamin' at california adventure at disneyland by @janemaynard

    Cars Land will forever be my favorite part of visiting the Disney parks. It is just so BEAUTIFUL, both day and night. And the rides are all awesome.

    cars land at california adventure at disneyland by @janemaynard

    Oh, one more thing to mention! We have never ridden the entire train ride at Disneyland until this visit. The kids LOVED it. We had no idea there were dioramas at the end of the ride as you arrive back at Main Street. We actually circled the park twice before the kids would let us get off! Then we watched the parade from the train station above Main Street and it was perfect!

    visit to disneyland and california adventure by @janemaynard

    Where We Stayed!

    Ayres Hotel in Anaheim: Our first hotel was the Ayres Hotel in Anaheim. The hotel is located across the street from the Honda Center where the Ducks play, and just a block away from where the Angels play. It’s just a few minutes’ drive to Disneyland and all the other attractions, and the ART shuttle runs by the hotel if you don’t want to drive to those places. The rooms were very nice and sort of “fancy” – when Anna stepped off the elevator and looked down the hallway for the first time she exclaimed, “This hotel is BEAUTIFUL!” We stayed in a King VIP room, which had a king-sized bed and a pull-out couch, as well as plenty of room for the kids and all of our luggage. The pool was small but perfect for kids and they had a great time swimming. Plus, we got to see Owen’s true colors at the hot tub.

    owen wooing the ladies at the ayres hotel in anaheim by @janemaynardDon’t hate the playa, hate the game.

    The Ayres also had a fabulous full breakfast, with the busiest yet friendliest chef I’ve ever met! The kids were in heaven at the breakfast and I think it might have been their favorite part of the trip. (Kids are so funny!) The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly at every turn.

    The Anabella Hotel: For our last two nights we stayed at the Anabella, sister hotel to the Carousel (where we originally thought we would be staying). The Anabella is across the street from Disneyland and was just a short 10-minute walk to the park gate. The walk was also really lovely and un-crowded, running along the backside of California Adventure (rather than Harbor Blvd). We’ve gone to Disneyland both ways – staying in a hotel across the street and having to drive or shuttle ourselves in. If you’re going to Disneyland and can swing a hotel within walking distance of the park, DO IT. Parking at Disney is such a pain. Being able to just walk to the park is HEAVEN. They’re building even more hotels across the street from Disneyland, so there will be even more options in coming years.

    the anabella hotel in anaheim by @janemaynard

    The Anabella Hotel was a beautiful property, with a great pool and restaurant. We stayed in a Concierge room, which is an L-shaped room with a king bed, double bed and a pull-out couch. Our room had its own patio area, which was really lovely, too. After we put the kids to bed, Nate went outside to read on the patio in the perfect southern California air! The rooms were pretty, although we could hear our {noisy} neighbors pretty well and the bathroom wasn’t super easy to use, with practically no counter space or storage areas. There is a very long vanity area outside of the bathroom, however, which is nice for getting ready while someone else is actually using the bathroom. We had that counter covered with all of our stuff from the road trip – basically we are really good at using up all available storage space! (Note: The noisy neighbors arrived on our last night. The front desk quickly shut down the craziness at night and were very attentive to the situation. The neighbors were noisy again the next morning, but we were leaving so we didn’t request a new room or anything, but I’m certain the staff would have worked with us on that as well if we had asked.) Like the Ayres, the staff were very nice and friendly everywhere we went on the property.

    So, there you have it! A Spring Break packed with FUN. (And Nate and I even survived!)

    Knott’s Berry Farm provided us with tickets and lunch. Disney and the Anaheim Visitor and Convention Bureau provided us with media passes for Disneyland and California Adventure. We received discounted rates for our hotel stays at the Ayres and The Anabella. All opinions are my own! Anaheim is fun, fun, fun!

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  7. Tuesday, April 15

    I’m in love with Los Angeles and I don’t care who knows it!

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    We decided to be fun people for Spring Break. It’s a lot of work being fun people, by the way, especially when one of the fun people comes down with croup the first night of Spring Break (we’re looking at you, Owen). But in the end it all worked out and the week was a blast! First we headed to Los Angeles for a few days and then skipped on down to Anaheim for some theme park fun. I’m going to share two posts about the trip and today we’re starting with LA!

    hollywood sign from griffith observatory by @janemaynard

    Here’s the deal with Los Angeles. The only times we’ve ever gone up there have been for quick day trips for a specific reason – going to an event and then heading home – or driving through to go somewhere else. So, whenever we go, we’re on a schedule and all we think is, “How does anyone live with all this traffic?” and “Why would anyone want to live in a city essentially just made of traffic?” and “Holy Freeways, there’s a lot of traffic.” I was soooo biased. I have uttered the words “I hate LA” more times than I care to admit. I totally did not know what I was talking about.

    LA is AWESOME. There, I said it. I am in love with Los Angeles. It’s quirky and huge and fun and there is so much to do. Seriously, we had a blast and can’t wait to go back! Granted, we {amazingly} didn’t sit in any traffic the whole trip, but LA is truly a city filled with all kinds of wonderful gems, especially edible gems. Here’s a quick rundown of where we stayed, the fun stuff we did, and the food we ate, in case you find yourself visiting the City of Angels! (Thanks to those who gave tips, they were super helpful and we definitely need to venture back to do it all!)

    hotel angeleno by @janemaynard

    Where We Stayed: Hotel Angeleno
    We stayed in a suite at Hotel Angeleno, located on the 405 smack dab in between Bel Air and Santa Monica, sitting in the shadow of the Getty. Our room looked to the southwest, so we had a peek of the freeway and the skyline and a full view of the ocean and the Getty. It was beautiful. The hotel has shuttles to nearby sites, a pool, and free wine at 5:30 every afternoon. There is also a restaurant on the top floor with amazing views. The building is round, which was fun and made for an interesting-shaped room, and the rooms were very nice. The location of the hotel was super convenient, with easy access to so many of the great things that LA has to offer. Oh, and free parking! Woohoo!

    hotel angeleno morning view of the getty by @janemaynardThe Getty is at the top of the hill. This is what we woke up to, with the golden sun shining on everything.

    hotel angeleno view from the room by @janemaynardThe only thing we lost off the balcony was Owen’s binky. Fortunately we were over the pool area and the binky was recoverable. Also, it didn’t kill anyone below. Win-win.

    Fun Stuff We Did

    • Griffith Observatory and the Travel Town Museum at Griffith Park. If you have kids interested in trains, Travel Town is a must! Owen was in heaven. On Sundays they also have live steamers that you can ride on. We got there too late to ride the steamers, but we did get to see them scoot by, and there is still a train ride in the regular Travel Town museum area even if you miss the steamers. We ended up simply driving by the Griffith Observatory – the kids were pooped and since it was the weekend there were mobs of people, but the view is AMAZING and we plan to go back with the kids on a less-busy day for a show at the planetarium (if you have people under 5, you have to make sure to get there for the first show of the day).

    travel town museum at griffith park by @janemaynard

    travel town museum at griffith park by @janemaynard

    • La Brea Tar Pits. The tar pits were fascinating and the kids had a great time at this small and accessible museum. Plus, seriously, the tar pits are just plain cool. Note that you can walk around the park and see the actual tar pits without paying admission to the museum, but you’ll learn more if you go to the museum and it is very interesting. We bought an annual family pass, which also gives us access to the LA Natural History Museum, which we will definitely be visiting.
    • The American Girl Store. Our girls got American Girl dolls for Christmas, so we surprised them with a visit to the store. We thought about eating at the cafe but it was very pricey, so we decided to let the girls each choose one thing in the store and get their dolls’ hair done instead. We just didn’t tell them about the cafe and they were in heaven. We probably spent an hour in the store!

    the la american girl store by @janemaynard

    • The Getty Museum. We just spent a couple hours at the museum but it was beautiful. We went to the Getty near the end of our trip, so the kids were feeling a bit restless. But I am really glad we took them and I’m sure we’ll return! The exhibits are wonderful and the views cannot be beat. The museum is free, parking is $15 and you can park twice in one day. We also want to visit the Getty Villa in Malibu, which is supposed to be beautiful as well. The Villa is also free but you need to get tickets ahead of time.

    view from the getty museum by @janemaynard

    • Westwood Village. On our last day we stopped in Westwood Village for lunch and ice cream (see below). Westwood Village is an adorable neighborhood with movie theaters, food and more right next to UCLA. It was lovely sitting at a table on the sidewalk enjoying our food.

    westwood village by @janemaynard

    The Food We Ate
    We ate sooooooo well while we were in LA. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

    • Plan Check Kitchen + Bar: My sister told us we had to eat at Plan Check, a burger joint similar to Unami Burger but better, according to Anne. Every last bite was scrumptious. I don’t think you can go wrong ordering anything off the menu. My sister says pig candy is a must, which we didn’t know until after, but thankfully Nate got a taste of it on his burger.

    plan check kitchen + bar by @janemaynard

    • The Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax: When we left the Bay Area, part of me mourned the loss of the Ferry Building in my life. I LOVE THAT PLACE. The Farmer’s Market in LA is different from the Ferry Building but every bit as wonderful. It’s my new Ferry Building. So much food, so much ambience, so much history. The tater tots from Fritzi’s…I didn’t know tater tots could be good, and not only were they good, they were stellar. Moishe’s gyros pita was flavored perfectly. Bob’s Donuts were to die for. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I honestly could have spent all day just at the Farmer’s Market. Love love love love love. My dad told me after we visisted that when he was growing up, my grandmother also loved going to this Farmer’s Market. That makes me love it even more.

    the farmer's market at 3rd and fairfax in LA by @janemaynard

    • Milo + Olive: We ordered pizza from Milo + Olive in Santa Monica as recommended by friend Gaby. Nate’s assessment: If the French made pizza, this would be it. The crust was seriously like eating a perfect baguette. And then they had this thing called the garlic knot, which we thought would be garlic bread but was in fact a piece of bread filled with cloves of garlic and baked to sweet, delicious perfection. Cate couldn’t get enough of the garlic knot! Awesome food.

    milo + olive pizza  by @janemaynard

    • Diddy Riese: When we checked in at Hotel Angeleno, the receptionist told us we should take the kids to a place nearby called Diddy Riese. The whole trip we kept planning to go but never making it. The last day, as we drove out of town, we finally went. We grabbed lunch at the Flame Broiler down the street and then walked over to Diddy Riese for dessert. I did not know that ice cream sandwiches could be so good. They make homemade cookies and then put together your ice cream sandwich based on the flavors you choose. The cookies were divine. I could have eaten 4 sandwiches and been happy.

    diddy riese in los angeles by @janemaynard

    There you have it, Los Angeles in 2 1/2 days with 3 kids! This was just scratching the surface and I can’t wait to get back!

    A portion of our hotel costs were covered by Hotel Angeleno. All opinions are my own and we still spent plenty of money on our little jaunt to LA! ;)

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  8. Sunday, April 13

    Week 377 Menu

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    Wow, it sure is hard to settle back into the routine of normal life. I’m kind of wishing spring break would last forever!

    weekly menu from @janemaynard with FREE printable weekly meal plan and shopping list

    Step 1 to getting back into the groove: plan the weekly menu! Here goes…

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

    TUESDAY:
    - Taco night

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Rachel sandwiches
    - Fresh fruit and chips

    THURSDAY:
    - Take out – Cate has tennis in the afternoon and then Anna is in the school talent show right after. Can you guess what she might be doing? It certainly couldn’t be singing a song from Frozen with a friend like every other girl in every other school in America…

    FRIDAY:
    - Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    - Let’s be honest, take out. I’ll be busy making food for Easter and I’m sure I’ll bail on making dinner on Saturday ;)

    SUNDAY:
    - Easter dinner with friends at our house! We are still planning the menu, but it will for sure involve ham and homemade rolls.

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

    Now it’s your turn! Please share your menu for the week, no matter how plain or fancy! If you are also planning an Easter feast and know what you’ll be cooking, be sure to share the details!

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  9. Friday, April 11

    Friday Show and Tell

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    Happy Friday! It’s actually sort of a sad Friday for me because it’s the last day of our trip. We’ve had a GREAT week and I can’t wait to tell you about it, but it will have to wait a few days. I’m still in Spring Break mode. ;)

    easter muffins

    Here are my “Babbles” for the week:

    And yumminess on Cosmo:

    Show and Tell means the whole class gets to share. Show us what you got, links, fun news from your life, anything goes!

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  10. Tuesday, April 8

    Bertucci’s Tortellini with Sausage, Mushrooms and Creamy Tomato Sauce

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    For our very first date, Nate and I went to the Davis Square Bertucci’s in Somerville, MA. Once we were married, if we ever went out to a restaurant (which was rare), it was usual to Bertucci’s or John Harvard’s. I think one of the reasons I love Bertucci’s so much is because of our personal history associated with it, but I still love going to that restaurant whenever we can because they do make some good food. Those dinner rolls and that margherita pizza…YUMMMMM.

    bertucci's tortellini with sausage, mushrooms and light creamy tomato sauce from @janemaynard

    One of those times early in our marriage when we went to Bertucci’s I ordered a tortellini dish that was served with sausage, mushrooms in a light cream tomato sauce. This was one of the very first restaurant copycat recipes I created at home and definitely one of the first things I cooked that gave me some confidence in the kitchen.

    bertucci's tortellini with sausage, mushrooms and light creamy tomato sauce from @janemaynardbertucci's tortellini with sausage, mushrooms and light creamy tomato sauce from @janemaynard

    It’s been years since I’ve made what we call Bertucci’s Tortellini, but I threw it on the menu a few weeks ago and IT WAS SO GOOD. I made sure to write down measurements for you since the recipe I had posted on the site was pretty lame and directionless.

    bertucci's tortellini with sausage, mushrooms and light creamy tomato sauce from @janemaynard

    This is a nice and easy dinner to prepare that tastes wonderful. (I think I had thirds the other night.) The only thing missing from this recipe is Bertucci’s dinner rolls!

    bertucci's tortellini with sausage, mushrooms and light creamy tomato sauce from @janemaynard (>> Find out more…)

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