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  1. Saturday, October 25

    Friday Show and Tell on Saturday!

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    Happy Saturday! I didn’t get a chance to publish this week’s Show and Tell post yesterday because I was at the AYA Summit for Women and Girls put on by ONE in Washington, D.C. It was AMAZING. I can’t even begin to process everything I saw and heard this week, which included meeting one of the girls who was kidnapped from school in Nigeria earlier this year. Needless to say, many tears were shed hearing so many inspiring stories. I will most definitely be sharing some of my week with you soon, but until then check out this news story the local D.C. CBS news did about the conference!

    review of 'washi tape christmas' by kami bigler by @janemaynard - spoiler alert, it's great!

    Today I would love to share a beyond-cute book with you that is perfect for the upcoming holiday season. My friend Kami’s new book Washi Tape Christmas came out this week. I received a copy and it is wonderful. I highly recommend it! You can buy it on Amazon, but if you buy it through Kami’s site you can get a signed copy! Even me, the most craft-averse person you will ever meet, is ready to dig out the washi tape and start creating!

    Here are a few posts I wrote for Babble this week:

    As always, please share your own stuff! And have a great weekend!

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  2. Thursday, October 23

    Fast and Easy: 4-Ingredient Lemon Pepper Chicken

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    I recently discovered a quick “recipe” for lemon pepper chicken that I simply have to share with you. The chicken is tender and flavorful and it’s just so easy to make! This chicken is delicious fresh out of the oven served with rice and a veggie, but I also love it served cold over salad. It would be great in sandwiches, too!

    easy lemon pepper chicken from @janemaynard

    I sort of accidentally created this recipe. I thought I was making a recipe for luscious lemon chicken that I received from a friend 15 years ago. I was going from memory and the final result was what you see here in this post. Only, when I looked the original recipe up later, I discovered I left a bunch of ingredients and steps out! So, now I have two awesome lemon chicken recipes. ;) And, yes, one day I’ll share the luscious lemon chicken recipe with you, too!

    easy lemon pepper chicken recipe from @janemaynard perfect for salads!

    Today’s version of the recipe really is SO easy and delicious. My little Anna especially loves it! Be sure you use the stabbing-the-chicken-with-a-fork trick – that is the key to this tender, flavorful chicken!

    Lemon Pepper Chicken
     
    Prep time

    Cook time

    Total time

     

    Super easy with delicious results, this chicken has a nice peppery flavor with a hint of lemon.
    Author:

    Ingredients
    • Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
    • Lemon Pepper
    • Salt (kosher preferred)
    • Cream

    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
    2. Stab chicken breast(s) all over on both sides with a fork (click here for details on this trick).
    3. Sprinkle both sides evenly with salt, then sprinkle liberally with lemon pepper on both sides.
    4. Place chicken in a baking dish then pour cream over the chicken to coat. Flip chicken breasts in the dish with a fork to coat both sides of the chicken with cream.
    5. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until chicken juices run clear and/or internal temperature of chicken reaches 160ºF.
    6. Serve hot out of the oven with rice and veggies. Refrigerate leftovers and serve cold on salad or in sandwiches.

     

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  3. Tuesday, October 21

    Adorable Yet Simple Halloween Party Table Decor + 13 Spooktacular Recipes!

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    I have a monster of a post for you today (mwah-ha-ha!!!), complete with ideas for completely cute yet simple Halloween party table decor as well as a 13 (mwah-ha-ha!!!) ridiculously adorable Halloween recipes.

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    When it comes to entertaining, I keep it simple. I like to have a whole bunch of white serving dishes in storage that I can pair with a few accent pieces and a colored tablecloth for the occasion. Then I just throw a few decorations on the table – simple but elegant. A vase of flowers, a Christmas wreath with candles, a few pumpkins for a Halloween party…you know, SIMPLE. There’s enough going on to get ready for parties I just can’t go over the top with my decor. But I find by playing in a simple way with color and using lots of white dishes, the table always looks impressive.

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    My ruffle dishes from Q Squared NYC are just such pieces that come in handy for all kinds of occasions. The ruffle design is elegant and a little bit different than your standard white dishes. BUT…if you pair it with a black tablecloth and a few of Q Squared’s slate platters, those wavy white dishes suddenly take on a spooky air! Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I loved using these dishes to decorate a Halloween table! Throw a few pumpkins on the table and make Halloween-themed food and you’re all set!

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    I think Halloween food is the most fun food in all the land. Whenever October rolls around, I am always so impressed with the creative food I see in magazines and on blogs! Here are a few favorites I’ve found this year, including a couple I used for my own Halloween party decor!

    My friend Kristen from Dine & Dish shared Frankenguac just this week. Is this not the cutest guacamole ever? Be sure to click through to Kristen’s post for details! (I put my Frankenguac on a slate platter and it was beyond adorable and a great centerpiece for the table.)

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    My friend Sommer from A Spicy Perspective posted these adorable Halloween skewers, which my kids happily gobbled up! I couldn’t find dark grapes, so I used blackberries instead. I think blackberries (i.e. black pickled brains!!!) might even be spookier. Check out Sommer’s post for more details! (The skewers looked perfect on the ruffle long platter.)

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Here are a few more Halloween recipes I am dying to try! (Mwah-ha-ha!!!)

    Gingerdead Cookies from Kailley’s Kitchen

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Healthy Halloween Monster Mouths from Texan Erin

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Butterbeer Popcorn from An Edible Mosaic (because I simply cannot resist anything Harry Potter!)

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Jalapeño Popper Mummies from Simply Sated

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Mummy Milanos from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Graveyard Chocolate Cheesecake Dip from The Law Student’s Wife

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Peanut Butter Cookie Ghost Cups from Food Faith Fitness

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Easy Pumpkin Patties from Mom On Timeout

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Healthy Halloween Pasta Salad from Smile Sandwich

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Carrot Rice Ball Jack O’ Lantern Bites from Apron Strings

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Spooky Spider Brownies from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

    adorable and simple halloween party table decor + halloween recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    Well, that list should keep you busy until Halloween rolls around next week. Happy Hallowen!

    This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Seriously, those dishes I used are PERFECT for Halloween. Get shopping!

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  4. Sunday, October 19

    Week 404 Menu

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    It’s Sunday, which means it’s time to break out the pencil and paper and get planning!

    week 404 weekly menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list

    I am going to be traveling to Washington, D.C. this week to attend the 2014 AYA Summit with ONE. The summit will be looking at issues affecting women and girls in developing countries. I majored in International Relations, with a focus in developing countries, and minored in Women’s Studies, so I think it goes without saying that I am SO EXCITED for the summit! My dad is coming to town to help with the kids, so he and Nate will be holding down the fort. When I was in 3rd grade, my dad and I were home alone for a week and he made spaghetti every night. I made sure to add it to the menu in honor of that week! ;)

    MONDAY:
    Cream of Mushroom Soup
    – Crusty bread and salad

    TUESDAY:
    – Loaded Nachos
    Guacamole

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Spaghetti
    – Salad and garlic bread

    THURSDAY:
    Naan pizzas (these are our new English muffin pizzas, just as easy but yummier!)
    – Salad

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    Swedish Pancakes
    – Smoothies

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

    You know the drill – please share your dinner plans for the week!

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  5. Friday, October 17

    Friday Show and Tell!

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    I have just one quick thing to share with you today! I wrote a post for Babble this week called 9 Crazy Ways Parents Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies and it is pretty darn funny. I polled my friends for stories and got some great stuff. Be sure to click through and check it out! Also, how awesome is Owen’s “I Hate Veggies” face? He’s a natural! (As in, he really, truly hates veggies…little stinker.)

    crazy ways to get kids to eat veggies

    You know the drill…share your own stuff with us! Show and tell time!

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  6. Thursday, October 16

    Fast and Easy Trick for Tender Chicken: Stick a Fork In It!

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    One of the first things I learned in the kitchen in my early 20s was that it is really easy to cook tough, hard-to-chew chicken. The first time I baked a chicken recipe I was so disappointed with the outcome. The chicken was not tender and delicious at all and I hated that. I quickly mastered the art of pounding chicken, which always yielded tender, evenly-cooked chicken. I’ve used that technique for years and still love it.

    FAST and easy trick to truly tender chicken from @janemaynard

    BUT…my mother-in-law Pat shared another trick with me that is equally as magical and beyond easy. She got the tip from a kid in town who worked in a restaurant and it’s great! Just stab the you-know-what out of your uncooked chicken breasts with a fork on both sides. Like, lots and lots of stabbing. Like, you-really-need-to-vent-some-frustration-so-you-take-it-out-on-the-innocent-chicken lots of stabbing. You end up with tender chicken and a little mental therapy to boot!

    I like this method because it’s less messy. When you use a mallet, you need to get a cutting board dirty, there’s the yucky plastic wrap to contend with and, of course, the mallet also needs to be cleaned. With this method you just need a fork and you can stab the chicken right in the dish it will cook in. Easy peasy! This technique is also good for marinade…lots of little holes to soak it all up!

    Happy stabbing! (Chicken stabbing, people.)

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  7. Tuesday, October 14

    My New Favorite, Totally Random Kitchen Gadget: Onion Saver

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    I made an impulse buy at the grocery store this week: a Hutzler Onion Saver.

    onion saver review by @janemaynard (spoiler alert: I love it!)

    Here’s the thing. I never know how to store leftover, raw, unchopped onions, which I often have because I tend to only use half an onion at a time. I don’t like to use plastic baggies because of my goal to use less one-time use plastic. But the onion is usually kind of bulky, so I have to use a larger storage container than I really need that takes up space in the fridge. Basically, this is a very difficult problem to have and my life is hard. (Insert sarcastic emoji that doesn’t exist but should.)

    onion saver review by @janemaynard (spoiler alert: I love it!)

    Hence, my impulse buy of the onion saver. And, I LOVE it. Granted, I’ve only used it for 2 days and have no idea if it will last forever or whatever, but, so far, so good. It stores my onion well, doesn’t take up tons of space in the fridge, and traps in the onion odor so the fridge doesn’t get stinky.

    Happy onion storing!

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  8. Sunday, October 12

    Week 403 Menu

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    Happy Sunday! Let’s get right down to business, shall we?

    week 403 weekly menu from @janemaynard including free printable meal plan and shopping list

    I relied heavily on your menus from last week for my inspiration this week, so, THANK YOU!

    MONDAY:
    – Sausage with red beans and rice
    – Salad

    TUESDAY:
    Honey Goat Cheese Pizza with naan crust
    – Salad

    WEDNESDAY:
    Cream of Mushroom Soup
    – Crusty bread and salad

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – BLTs
    – Fresh fruit and chips

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Loaded Nachos
    Guacamole

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

    Thank you in advance for sharing your dinner plans for the week! I really am just so grateful you all keep posting every week, it’s awesome!

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  9. Friday, October 10

    Friday Show and Tell

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    I have very little to share today except that I am SO excited to go to the Lorde concert tonight! And I am going to see George Winston tomorrow night. It’s going to be a good music weekend.

    lorde

    One quick food link to share from Babble – making pumpkin rocks with my kids for all the neighbors. We had a blast!

    It’s show and tell, your turn!

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  10. Thursday, October 9

    Keeping the Fridge Clean and Fresh!

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    I love me an empty refrigerator. This is a weird example of how my neurotic tendencies (a desire for cleanliness) overcome my survival instincts (having food to eat). It’s weird, but seriously, when the fridge is half-full (or would that be that half-empty?) it makes me happy! But, I’ll admit, my fridge is not always in such a clean, empty state. At any given moment we most certainly have food in there that needs to be tossed and I definitely don’t wipe down the shelves as often as I should. Let’s not even get started on the fingerprints on the outside of the fridge!

    tips for keeping the fridge clean and fresh from @janemaynard

    But here’s the thing – when I do properly maintain the fridge, keep the food fresh, and the drawers and shelves clean, I feel sooooo much better! And we have far less food waste. So, today, in order to inspire us all to maintain beautiful refrigerators and to eat all of our food, I think we need to share some fridge tips and tricks with each other!

    As you know, about a year ago KitchenAid supplied us with a brand new, beautiful 20 Cu. Ft. French Door Counter Depth Architect Series II fridge. One year later and I am still loving this fridge. And, yes, I’m still happy that we have a counter-depth fridge, although I will admit that it’s been nice having our old fridge in the garage for overflow at the holidays and to house the occasional larger item like a birthday-cake-in-the-making. Anyway, the fridge is fabulous and, now that I have a fridge I actually care about, I’ve gotten into a better groove about maintaing the fridge and keeping our food fresh. Here are a few of the things I have learned!

    • Replacing the Water Filter is Easy, So, You Know, Do It! I don’t know how many people I know who don’t use the water dispenser in their fridge because they stopped replacing the filter. Luckily our fridge tells us when to order a water filter. We listened to our fridge and went online to order the filter, which arrived right around the time that the fridge said it was time to replace the filter. It was kind of magical. Anyway, it was really easy to replace and I even did it ALL BY MYSELF, no help from Nate. (This is saying something, I normally don’t put anything together in our house, not even LEGOs.)
    • Don’t Use Cleaners on Stainless Steel – A Damp Cloth is All You Need! Okay, I’m sure a lot of you already know this, but when my fridge was brand new I used a mild general-purpose spray cleaner and the entire front of the fridge ended up with tiny rust marks ALL OVER IT, which I then had to carefully scrub off with baking soda and a soft towel. I opened the manual afterward and, sure enough, it says to only use cleaners made for stainless steel and nothing else. DUH. Now I just use a damp towel to wipe down the stainless steel, followed by a dry towel. I don’t even bother with the stainless steel cleaner, water does the trick!

    how to use the humidity controls on the crisper drawer from @janemaynard

    • Use the Humidity Controls on the Crisper Drawers. For some reason I could never wrap my brain around the humidity controls on produce drawers, but I finally have it figured out. The higher the humidity control (so on my fridge #5), the more sensitive the veggies and fruit should be in that drawer. So, you know, high maintenance produce gets a high setting. Like lettuce. The lower the humidity control (on my fridge #1), the heartier, more low-key the produce, like fruits and veggies with peels. I guess if you really don’t want to think about it just throw the setting in the middle and call it a day, but if you decide to utilize the settings, your produce will last longer!
    • Clean Out the Fridge Once a Week (for example, when you plan your weekly menu!).  Fridges packed with food seriously stress me out. I know, I’m weird. But they do. I try really hard to stay on top of it and keep food cleaned out that has gone bad. When I can actually see what’s in the fridge, we are much more likely to eat the food inside and end up with far less food going bad.
    • Wipe Out the Fridge Regularly, and Don’t Be Afraid to Take the Shelves and Drawers Out. Sometimes I wipe the shelves and drawers out frequently. Sometimes I neglect them and then we discover a giant blob of sticky goo underneath the produce drawers. I find that if I just wipe out the shelves each week when I clean out the old food, then it’s pretty easy. And the mystery goo blobs don’t appear nearly as often.

    kitchenaid extendfresh temperature control system from @janemaynard

    • Get a Fridge with a Temperature Management System. When we got our fridge I’ll admit I didn’t think much about what KitchenAid’s “ExtendFresh Temperature Management System” meant. Now that I have had the fridge for a year I really appreciate it! The system controls the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer compartments separately, it responds to temperature changes as small as 1º and adjusts accordingly, and the fan transfers cold air immediately from the freezer to the fridge for a faster response to temperature changes without needing to turn on the compressor. The system also maintains consistent temperatures, regardless of external temperatures or even the temperature in other compartments inside the fridge. Basically, it’s a super fancy system and it works GREAT. There’s even an alarm that alerts you if the temperature goes too high, which happened to me just the other night in fact! The door was barely open when we went to bed, but it didn’t trigger the door alarm for some reason. Once the temperature raised enough, the fridge started beeping and woke me up, but not before I dreamed about the fridge and it’s alarm first. ;)

    So, what gems of refrigerator wisdom do you have for us? Spill your fridge maintenance guts! (Feel free to confess your less-than-perfect maintenance skills, too!)

    This post was sponsored by KitchenAid. All opinions are 100% my own.

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