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  1. 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! ūüėČ 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? ūüėČ 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.


  2. 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‚Äôs 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! ūüėČ Have a great week!


  3. 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.

     


  4. 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!


  5. Monday, September 18

    Week 554 Weekly Menu from Catherine McCord of Weelicious

    Hello, friends! Today we are kicking off something fun and new¬†on This Week for Dinner: guest menus!¬†Some¬†of my most favorite food blogging friends are¬†pulling together weekly menus for us. You’ve been getting my ideas for 10+ years and I think it’s time to mix things up a bit. I will still post my own menu plan in the comments, but I am certain you are going to love the new guest menus with all your food-loving hearts!

    Week 554 Weekly Menu: Guest Dinner Menu by Catherine McCord of Weelicious! Includes FREE printable PDF with dinner plan and ingredients list @janemaynard

    We’re kicking things off with a weekly menu prepared by my friend Catherine McCord. Catherine runs the wonderful family-focused food website Weelicious and is the brains behind One Potato, the first organic home meal delivery service geared towards families. Catherine also has two cookbooks, both of which I own and love: Weelicious and Weelicious Lunches. Catherine¬†is a gem and full of all kinds of wonderful food ideas, many¬†of which¬†she is sharing in her weekly dinner plan this week! ¬†(If you’d like to hear my podcast interview with Catherine, click here.)

    MONDAY:
    –¬†Vegetarian Chimichangas

    TUESDAY:
    –¬†Turkey Taco Bowls

    WEDNESDAY:
    –¬†Stir Fried Chicken in Lettuce Cups
    –¬†Perfect Brown Rice

    THURSDAY:
    –¬†Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs
    –¬†Shaved Vegetable Salad

    FRIDAY:
    –¬†Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
    –¬†Grilled Cheese and Pickle Panini

    SATURDAY:
    –¬†Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Apples and Onions
    –¬†Harvest Salad

    SUNDAY:
    –¬†Guacamole Cheddar Burger
    –¬†Crispy Smashed Potatoes
    –¬†Kale Chips

    Click here or on the menu image above for a free printable PDF of the dinner plan and ingredients list!

    Big thanks to Catherine for this week’s menu! As usual, please leave your own dinner plans for the week in the comments below! (This is the first time I get to do that, too! fun!)

    Have a great week and happy eating!


  6. Tuesday, September 12

    Week 553 Weekly Menu

    Oh, hello, it’s Tuesday already?! Goodness. But at least I’ve got a plan, right? AND….

    Next week the weekly meal plan¬†is going to be super fun. I’m going to be starting up a new little something for you with¬†the weekly menus that is¬†awesome¬†and I can’t wait to unveil the surprise! But until then…here’s this week’s dinner plan!

    Week 553 Weekly Menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable of dinner plan and ingredients list!

    MONDAY:
    Pancakes and eggs

    TUESDAY:
    Chicken Caesar Wraps

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Roasted chicken and vegetables

    THURSDAY:
    Chicken Soup with Rice

    FRIDAY:
    – Grilled brats
    – Salad and watermelon

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out/Leftovers

    SUNDAY:
    Broccoli Cheese Soup¬†(I’m going to try lightening up this beloved recipe a bit)

    Click here or on the image above for a free printable PDF of the dinner plan and ingredients list.

    You know the drill – this weekly menu post is only good because you guys all share your dinner plans! Leave your weekly menu in the comments below!


  7. Sunday, September 3

    Burger Dogs and Week 552 Weekly Menu

    Happy Labor Day weekend, friends! I have a little something fun for you to potentially make at your barbecues this weekend, plus a menu. That’s right, I’m actually planning a menu this week. My goodness, I CANNOT believe I went two weeks without posting a menu. That is something I have not done in over 10 years, but I suppose there is a first time for everything. Honestly, it’s just been a crazy summer and we ended it with a bang. I decided to just give myself a break and not worry about it. Jane of This Week for Dinner from a few years back would be horrified. Miss a weekly menu post? QUEL HORREUR! But the world kept on spinning and this week I’ll give it a go again!

    How to Make a Burger Dog from @janemaynard

    But before the menu, I need to share this fun idea with you. One day when we were grilling up hot dogs and hamburgers, someone in our family (not sure who…maybe Nate? or one of the kids?) thought it would be funny to make a hamburger into a hot dog shape and serve it on a hot dog bun. I was like, “Sure, why not?” and proceeded to make hot dog-shaped burgers, a.k.a. burger dogs. The kids were downright giddy, it was really fun. So, the burger dogs totally worked and the kids loved it! It’s not that they taste different or anything, it really is just the novelty of it all. If you were to serve burger dogs as a meal, I would recommend chopping your lettuce and tomatoes as opposed to slicing, but other than that have at the burger dog like you would a regular hot dog or hamburger!

    How to Make a Burger Dog from @janemaynard

    How to Make a Burger Dog from @janemaynard

    I don’t have instructions because, well, all you do is shape the meat into what looks like a hot dog and then cook it like normal. Easy peasy! Now go and make burger dogs to celebrate Labor Day!

    Menu time…

    How to make Burgers Dogs! Plus this week's dinner plans from @janemaynard, including free printable PDF of the meal plan and ingredients list!

    MONDAY:
    – Labor Day Cookout! The food will be the usual suspects I’m sure ūüôā

    TUESDAY:
    – BLTs

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Caprese Salad and baguette

    THURSDAY:
    – Grilled Brats
    – Salad and watermelon

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    Bistro Chicken
    – Salad and mashed potatoes

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

    As usual, if you have a meal plan for the week, please share it in the comments!

    And, before we go, I just want to take a moment to send love to anyone reading this affected by Hurricane Harvey. All week it has felt strange to me to be going about my daily life, knowing of the catastrophe unfolding for so many. For those of you looking for ways to help from afar, my friends at Mom2 created a great list of ways parents and kids can help with the hurricane relief efforts. Much love to all!


  8. Tuesday, August 15

    Week 551 Weekly Menu

    Hello! We are finally done traveling and home. Phew! This week is a quiet week (the only one of the summer) and we do have a meal plan pulled together for the most part. Just taking it easy. Also, Nate went to the store with me so our menu is a little more meat-heavy than normal, which kind of makes me laugh for some reason.

    Week 551 Weekly Menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable PDF of the meal plan and ingredients list!

    MONDAY:
    Sausage, peppers & onions
    – Green beans and broccoli

    TUESDAY:
    Chili

    WEDNESDAY:
    Bolognese and Pasta
    – Salad

    THURSDAY:
    Steak
    Asian-style green beans

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – TBD…we have family arriving for a visit that evening, so I’ll probably have a soup or something waiting for them!

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

    Thanks to all of you who have been diligently planning menus and sharing them all summer! As usual, please share your own dinner plans for the week in the comments below!b


  9. Tuesday, August 8

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite

    Each year for my birthday Nate buys me a cake called the Viking from Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego. I’m pretty sure this cake was the actual¬†ambrosia of the gods on Mt. Olympus. IT IS SO GOOD. Also, I will never make this cake in its entirety. I have the Extraordinary Desserts cookbook (now out of print) and the cake requires SIX(!!!!!) separate recipes in order to make the entire thing. Yeah, not gonna happen. I am perfectly happy waiting for September to roll around each year in order to indulge in the goodness that is the Viking.

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite from @janemaynard

    That said, for Nate’s birthday I wanted to make¬†something decadent and delicious. I decided to cut down the original Viking recipe and just use three of the elements, rather than all six. The final product was awesome. Nate couldn’t believe how much his birthday cake tasted like the Viking, so we named it the Viking Lite. While the Viking Lite is a bit of a labor of love it is totally worth it…and much less a labor than the original recipe!

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite from @janemaynard

    The Viking Lite is made up of layers of chocolate sour cream cake and semisweet ganache, then coated in crushed chocolate praline. When I made the cake I only put the praline on the outside of the cake but we decided a layer of the praline inside the cake would have made it even better. I had leftover praline so we would just sprinkle it on each of our slices. Also, I recommend splurging for high-quality chocolate, like Guittard brand (they make baking chocolate and cocoa powder). Good-quality chocolate really will make a difference in your final product.

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite from @janemaynard

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite
     
    Based on the original Viking cake created by Karen Krasne of Extraordinary Desserts. Her cookbook is now out of print. I am sharing only the parts I used of the original Viking recipe below, along with my notes and modifications.
    Author:
    Serves: 1 8- or 9-inch cake
    Ingredients
    • GANACHE:
    • 24 ounces (4 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • CHOCOLATE ALMOND PRALINE:
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • ¼ cup whole milk
    • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, cubed (I used salted so that there was a bit of salt flavor in the praline)
    • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 1 cup slivered almonds
    • CHOCOLATE SOUR CREAM CAKE:
    • ⅓ cup unsalted butter (I used salted because the recipe doesn't call for salt and I like a bit of salt flavor), room temperature and cut into ¼" cubes, plus ~2 teaspoons at room temperature for greasing the pans
    • 3 ounces (1/2 cup) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1½ cups granulated sugar
    • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
    • 1 cup water
    Instructions
    1. GANACHE:
    2. Put the chocolate chips in a medium, heatproof mixing bowl.
    3. Bring the cream to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir slowly and gently in a circular motion until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is fully combined. Set ganache aside for later. You will want the ganache to be thickened and at a spreading consistency when it's time to assemble the cake. I put mine in the fridge, covering the bowl with plastic wrap, and checked it every half hour or so, stirring it each time.
    4. PRALINE:
    5. Generously coat a baking sheet with oil or line with a silicone baking mat (I highly recommend using a Silpat or similar mat if you have one).
    6. Toast almonds on another baking sheet in a 350¬ļF oven for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
    7. Bring milk, butter, corn syrup and sugar to a boil in a medium, heavy saucepan. Insert a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 310¬ļF, about 7-8 minutes (I think it took a little longer than that for me). The mixture should be thick and have started to lightly color. Remove the pot from the heat and set the thermometer aside.
    8. Add the cocoa powder and mix well with a whisk. (I added the cocoa powder through a fine mesh sieve, shaking it into the pot to avoid large lumps from forming.)
    9. Stir in the toasted almonds.
    10. Using a rubber spatula, carefully spread the hot mixture onto your oiled or Silpat-lined baking sheet, making sure the mixture is spread into an even layer. Set aside to cool.
    11. Once praline is completely cool and hardened, either blast it in a blender or food processor or place in a ziploc bag and hammer with a meat pounder on a wood cutting board, breaking the praline up into small bits.
    12. CAKE:
    13. Preheat oven to 275¬ļ F. Grease bottom and sides of two 8-inch or two 9-inch round cake pans with butter. Place a parchment round the size of the bottom of the pan in each cake pan, butter the top of the parchment, then lightly flour the pans. Set aside.
    14. Place chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl. Bring a pot of water to a simmer, place bowl on top of the pot (do not let bowl touch water surface), and melt chocolate, stirring occasionally.
    15. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
    16. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture is very thick and light in color, about 7 minutes.
    17. Add the cubed butter and then the sour cream, mixing until full incorporated after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
    18. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
    19. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed, just until fully incorporated, being careful not to over mix.
    20. Bring water to a boil then add to the batter. Mix on low to medium speed until full combined and smooth. Batter will be much thinner after the addition of the water.
    21. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, dividing evenly. Place pans in the center of the oven and bake until cake springs back slightly when pressed in the center and a cake tester comes out clean. Bake time could be up to 60 minutes, but start checking around 40 minutes for doneness.
    22. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pans sitting on a cooling rack. Once completely cooled, run a thin knife around the edges and invert pans, carefully knocking the bottom of the pan if cake doesn't fall out immediately. Cakes can rest on the cooling rack until you are ready to place them on the cake platter. Remove parchment from bottom of cakes. If you are not immediately assembling the cake, wrap the cakes individually tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate, but cake can also remain wrapped at room temperature for up to 2 days.
    23. ASSEMBLY:
    24. Place one of the cakes on your serving platter. Place pieces of waxed or parchment paper under the edge of the cake all around. This will prevent icing from getting on your serving platter as you decorate the cake.
    25. Coat top of the first layer of cake with a nice thick layer of ganache.
    26. Optional (but recommended!): Add a layer of the chocolate almond praline layer on top of the ganache.
    27. Add the second cake layer. Spread a ganache layer on top, then frost the sides of the cake with the ganache. Once you have finished icing the sides with ganache, using your hands press the praline pieces on the sides of the cake all the way around to coat the sides of the cake. Carefully remove wax/parchment paper, using a knife to hold the frosting in place as you pull out the paper in spots where it gets stuck.
    28. If you did not put a layer of praline inside the cake, reserve the extra praline and sprinkle on each cut slice when serving.

     

     


  10. Monday, August 7

    Week 550 Weekly Menu

    Hello from beautiful New Hampshire! We are visiting my in-laws, who recently purchased a circa 1770s farmhouse with a perfect view of Mt. Monadnock. Owen informed us on arriving that he is¬†sad this is just vacation because we don’t get to stay here all the time. I have to agree with Owen, this home is a little slice of heaven on earth.

    maynard mt monadnock view web copyright jane maynard

    This week we are for sure having pasta with the¬†bolognese recipe I have shared on the blog, Grammy’s orange chicken¬†as well as dinner at Kimball Farm¬†one night. Beyond that we don’t know what we’re eating, but that seems like some pretty good planning for being in vacation mode. ūüėČ

    As usual, please share your weekly menu plans in the comments! And have a great week!