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  1. Sunday, August 31

    Week 397 Menu

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    Hi there. I can’t believe it’s time to plan another menu…here we go!

    week 397 weekly dinner menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list

    So, I completely underestimated what an interruption to normal life repiping our house would be this past week. I didn’t cook once. We’re almost back to normal now and I actually am cooking this afternoon, which will be nice! Needless to say, lots of repeats on my menu this week from last. (For those of you in California and Nevada, if you are ever in need of repiping your home, see below for info on the company we used.*)

    MONDAY:
    - Happy Labor Day!
    - Hot dogs & hamburgers on the grill

    TUESDAY:
    Chicken Caesar Wraps
    - Fresh fruit and carrot sticks

    WEDNESDAY:
    Homemade pizza night (flavors TBD!)

    THURSDAY:
    Taco night

    FRIDAY:
    - Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    - Breakfast for Dinner: Waffles

    SUNDAY:
    - BBQ Chicken on the Grill

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

    Your turn! Share your menu for the week, pretty please with a cherry on top!

    *Repiping info for California and Nevada folks: Repipe 1 was the company we used and they were fantastic. Their prices are phenomenal, they are super organized and timely, and the customer service has been great. I highly recommend them. The only issue we had was with the crew that patched up our walls. I won’t go into the too much detail, but the biggest issue was that they should have done a much better job putting plastic over our belongings, which ended up being a major headache for me. The company was quick to respond, however, and offered to come out and help clean everything (which I declined in the end and just did it myself). Even with a few hiccups on patch day, I still highly recommend them.

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  2. Friday, August 29

    Friday Show and Tell

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    Happy Friday! Today for show and tell I have a lot of movie and tv talk. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

    review of 'the giver' movie by @janemaynard

    First, Cate and I went to see The Giver this week and it was so good. The movie doesn’t have high ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and I don’t understand why, it was great! The book really is one of the best books ever, so Cate and I were worried about how it would be adapted to film. We didn’t need to worry – the film was beautiful. There were a few changes to the story but the changes made sense, and the visual interpretation was lovely. Plus, Cate and I were both sobbing at the end, which earns the movie extra points for sure. Definitely a great movie, go see it! (If you haven’t read the book, do that first!)

    Second, Netflix is starting to overwhelm me! I was super excited about the final season of The Killing coming on the service this month and totally liked it. Since the series is now done, I kind of figured I was sort of all caught up on my Netflix originals viewing. And then I heard about Bojack Horseman and Happy Valley and had to add them to our list. Then Nate and I watched the first episode of An Idiot Abroad, which was hilarious and necessitated another addition to our list. Make it stop! My playlist is too long! Sidenote: I will be forever bitter that Ricky Gervais didn’t win the Emmy this week for his acting on Derek. Don’t even get me started on Jim Parsons…for crying out loud.

    One fun food link this week on Babble: 12 Clever, Tasty Recipe Hacks for the Dorm Room.

    You know the drill…share your stuff!

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  3. Thursday, August 28

    A Visit to Tillamook, and Happy Cows Don’t Moo

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    Earlier this summer I received an email from Tillamook, inviting me to visit the Tillamook cheese factory in Oregon as well as see one of their dairy farms. After a little “please pretty please can I ditch our family for three days” begging with Nate, I promptly emailed Tillamook and said YES to the invitation. We love Tillamook around our house. From the time I was a wee thing my mom taught me that Tillamook cheese was the best. Not only do I think their products are great, but I always love getting a peek into food production, so I couldn’t wait for this trip.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    Two weeks ago I flew to Portland, OR, where I arrived at what appeared to be the set for Portlandia. Oh, wait, it was just Portland. Portland IS Portlandia, in case you were wondering. I loved Portland and had a wonderful afternoon exploring and eating my way around town. A delicious lunch at Tasty n Alder, dessert at Voodoo Doughnut, and a large portion of my very short time spent at Powell’s Books, which is now on the list of my most favorite places on the planet, made for a pretty perfect day.

    A Quick Visit to Portland, OR by @janemaynard  #blog2farm

    Let’s get down to the business at hand, shall we? Cheese! I have so much to share about Tillamook it’s almost overwhelming, so I’m going to let my pictures from the trip guide me through this post.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard  #blog2farm

    We headed west from Portland to Tillamook, OR. The drive was unbelievably picturesque and you can’t miss the factory once you reach town. There I am in front of the GIANT Tillamook sign with Stephanie from 52 Kitchen Adventures…she is wonderful, btw.

    tillamook factory #blog2farm

    We of course were given a tour of the factory. Anyone can visit the factory for tours and to shop in the store, so if you’re ever in the area be sure to stop in! We also had a chance to go behind the scenes and see where the cheese is aged and stored. The facilities are quite impressive.

    A visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    Have you ever noticed a boat on the Tillamook logo? Well, there it is! The ship Morning Star was used in the early days to deliver cheese up and down the coast. Obviously it’s a little landlocked now but it is just as beautiful as ever.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    Part of our tour was lead by Dale Baumgartner, Tillamook Head Cheesemaker (a.k.a. the Head Cheese…that joke is irresistible). Dale has been working for Tillamook for for over 40 years and he knows his cheese. It was fascinating learning how the cheese is made today, but maybe even more interesting hearing about his early years at Tillamook. I always love talking with people who truly love their work and are such experts at what they do. It’s inspiring to me and something, quite honestly, I can’t imagine.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard  #blog2farm

    Want some fun cheesemaking facts? Here you go! (I stole these from the signs on the tour.)

    • Each of the eight stainless steel cheese vats holds approximately 53,500 pounds of fresh milk. On average each vat makes three batches of cheese per day.
    • It takes 10 pounds (1.16 gallons) of milk to make 1 pound of Tillamook cheese.
    • More then 1.7 million pounds of milk arrive at the plant each day. Approximately 167,000 pounds of cheese are made each day.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    In addition to learning all about how the cheese is made, we also spent part of our day with Jill Allen, Manager of Product Quality. Jill leads the sensory team, which spends all day every day tasting every single batch of everything that is made at the plant, from butter to yogurt to cheese to ice cream to sour cream. Jill was equally as fascinating to listen to, plus she let us taste all kinds of delicious things. And, in case you are wondering, her team expectorates everything they taste so that their tastebuds are as ready to go on the first bite as they are on the last. Bottom line, after everything we learned about sensory, I would absolutely not want to be on that team! I’m glad other people are up for the job!

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    During our session with Jill, we taste tested Tillamook products alongside leading competitors. You can even tell from this crappy indoor photo how different Tillamook’s cheddar is compared to other brands – the difference was night and day! Many factors play into this, from the quality of the milk to the water content or the cheese to the smaller blocks of cheese that are made. Great care is taken at every step in the process, making for a higher quality final product.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    I think one of my favorite things we tasted that day were the cheddar cheese curds. The curds is what the cheese looks like before it’s compressed naturally into blocks. Sadly you can only buy the curds at the Tillamook factory store, which was, by the way, awesome.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    That evening we drove west, where we had a view of the amazing Oregon coast.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard  #blog2farm

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard  #blog2farmStephanie, Deseree, Me and Anita - I’m kind of in love with all three of these ladies

    We stayed at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda, where my hotel room looked out on this:

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    I didn’t want to leave. But they made me, which wasn’t too hard since they gave me cute yellow boots and told me I could go look at cute baby cows. Sold!

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard  #blog2farm

    Before we flew home, we spent the morning at one of the Tillamook dairy farms, owned by Ryan and Wendy. Tillamook is a cooperative, so the farmers all have a stake in the business. There are less than 150 farms in the co-op and they are all within a fairly short distance of the plant. And, from what we witnessed, the cows on those farms are living good lives as Tillamook employees.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    Here’s the deal. We did not hear one “MOO” the entire time we were on the tour. Wendy said that cows only “moo” when they are discontent or warning other cows about something, so if they’re quiet, it pretty much means they’re happy and content.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    Wendy and Ryan were gracious hosts and taught us all kinds of interesting things about being dairy farmers. I think what struck us most is how much work it is and how tied they are to the farm. It’s really hard for them to ever get away and I think they said it’s been 2 years since their last vacation. Heavens. And Ryan is up before 3:00 AM every day. I can’t even imagine.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    They explained that it costs more to make high-quality milk but that Tillamook incentivizes the farmers to make high-quality milk, so it’s worth it. It is amazing how much goes into the process of milking cows twice a day. This particular farm has around 400 cattle and it costs $7/day/cow just for feed. Ryan is a 4th-generation dairy farmer, so he knows what he’s doing. He and Wendy were both incredibly relaxed and happy.

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    The whole crew! Liren, Glory, Dorothy, Jesseca, Heather, Lizzy, Anita, Stephanie, Deseree, Rachael, Lisa and Yours Truly

    Needless to say I had a fabulous time, surrounded by wonderful people, delicious food and cute cows! I learned a lot and am so appreciative that I was able to be a part of the trip. Also, we had the chance to taste a new Tillabar flavor that is coming out next year and it is AMAZING. I’m not allowed to tell you what it is, but I’ll be sure to let you know when it hits stores!

    A Visit to Tillamook by @janemaynard #blog2farm

    Thank you, Tillamook!

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  4. Wednesday, August 27

    Parchment Paper Sheets are the Bomb

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    Today I have a quick kitchen tip, which involves sharing yet another awesome find from my recent unexpected shopping spree on the King Arthur Flour website. In fact, today’s item is what started the whole shopping spree to begin with!

    parchment paper sheets from king arthur flour by @janemaynard - you need these!

    I love my silicon baking mats and use them multiple times every week. (Side note: if you don’t have one already, hop to it!) As much I use my SILPAT, I do still use parchment paper for various projects, including when I make granola bars each week. (Side note #2: I cook granola bars on parchment paper, then tear the paper into small pieces to place between the layers of granola bars in my storage container. Works great!)

    parchment paper sheets from king arthur flour by @janemaynard - you need these!

    I don’t remember the details, but for some reason one day on Facebook two of my food blogging friends Barbara and Diane told me about flat parchment baking sheets. I had always just bought parchment paper in a roll at the grocery store and didn’t even know flat sheets existed. Diane and Barbara told me how awesome the sheets were so I decided to order some on the King Arthur website (along with many, many, many other wonderful items I didn’t know I needed but totally did).

    parchment paper sheets from king arthur flour by @janemaynard - you need these!

    Anyway, the bottom line is that I love the parchment paper sheets just as much as Diane and Barbara do. Those ladies were so right. The flat sheets are much easier to work with than the rolled up paper, which tends to curl easily when you’re trying to lay it out, and they fit perfectly in a cookie sheet. The flat parchment sheets are also easier to cut down to different sizes when making cakes. (Side note #3: You can also buy 9-inch and 8-inch round parchment paper sheets if you really don’t want to ever have to cut parchment paper yourself again.) One last benefit is the sheets that I got at King Arthur are also reusable. They’re pretty much magic.

    parchment paper sheets from king arthur flour by @janemaynard - you need these!

    Barbara lives in Utah and gets her parchment paper sheets at Orson Gygi. I am not fortunate enough to have a wonderful restaurant supply store near where I live, which is why I ordered mine online from King Arthur.

    Happy parchment papering!

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  5. Sunday, August 24

    Week 396 Menu

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    Happy Sunday! As I mentioned on Friday, we have a leak in our house. No one can find it. Not the leak detector. Not the plumber. We know there’s a leak because of the CRAZY LOUD RUSHING WATER NOISE IN OUR WALLS tell us there is. Also, the water meter is spinning. I won’t go into details, but the bottom line is we have to re-pipe the house tomorrow. The bad news…it’s the day before school and we’ll be out a few thousand dollars. The good news…we don’t have a flooded house (yet!) AND we will have beautiful new pipes in our walls. It’s all good.

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

    Tuesday is the first day of school, so basically this week is gonna be cuh-ray-zee. I’m going to make a meal plan even though I’m not entirely sure we’ll end up using it!

    MONDAY:
    - Eating out given the house will literally be torn apart!

    TUESDAY:
    - Chicken Caesar Wraps
    - Fresh fruit and carrot sticks

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Homemade pizza night (flavors TBD!)

    THURSDAY:
    - Leftovers (double soccer practice night!)

    FRIDAY:
    - Taco night

    SATURDAY:
    - Breakfast for Dinner: Waffles

    SUNDAY:
    - Having out-of-town friends over, so it’s time for a cook out, including s’morritos for dessert!

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

    As usual, please post your meal plan for the week! All kinds of menus welcome, no matter how plain or fancy! Thank you! Have a great week!

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  6. Friday, August 22

    Friday Show and Tell: The Cutest Comment on the Internet, A Must-Read Article About Plastic and More!

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    Happy Friday! I didn’t publish any blog posts this week – that might be the first time ever! It was the last week of summer and we are dealing with a plumbing mystery that has taken hours (days?) of our time and is resulting in the need to repipe our house. Yes, totally sucky. But, I have a house to repipe, so who am I to complain? As a result of my non-posting this week, I’m bubbling over with things to share with you, so today’s Show and Tell is chock full of good stuff!

    milk toast by @janemaynard

    I had a post publish on Babble this week entitled Kick It Old-School with this Milk Toast Breakfast Recipe. I’ve been excited for this post to go live so I could share it with you. The recipe is seriously delicious. As wonderful as the recipe is, I have a little something else about milk toast that I have to tell you about.

    Milk toast is considered a “vintage” recipe, one that I’ve found many people haven’t even heard of. While I was researching milk toast for my article, I came across a comment on a random website by a reader named “Grumpy” that absolutely captured my heart. “I have tried to make [milk toast] from memories of my mother making it when we were children. We had more milk than we could use from the cow I milked, and fresh home churned butter mixed into the hot milk. Mine is not near as good as I remember it was back then. I am 85 and have to cook now, after all these years. I do miss my darling wife’s cooking.” Seriously, this might win best comment on the internet ever. I can’t even.

    Moving on to less cute, more depressing things…how’s that for a segue? Aren’t you excited to keep reading? I thought so! Remember my annual New Year’s Resolution to Use Less Plastic? We haven’t talked about it since the beginning of the year, so I thought I’d touch base real quick. I found an article on Medium this week that you should absolutely read, Gyres: The Terrifying True Story of the Garbage That Could Kill the Human Race. I had a similar reaction when reading this article as I did when I saw the documentary Bag It and the short video The Story of Stuff – basically a horrified, “we have to do something” reaction. The article about gyres is loooooonnnng and, honestly, the writing is super flowery and kind of hard to get through, BUT you still need to read it. I had pulled a bunch of quotes to share in this post but realized I had pulled paragraphs of quotes, so it’s probably better for you to just go to the source. And then let’s use less plastic together! I think about this goal every day and our family has definitely made progress, little by little. As Gandhi so eloquently said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” We can do it! (Sorry for the cheerleading, preachy portion of today’s program…sometimes I can’t help myself.)

    Here are my other food links for the week!

    Phew! I’m done! Your turn to share whatever you like! Also, if you’ve joined me on the Use Less Plastic train, tell us how it’s going!

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  7. Sunday, August 17

    Week 395 Menu

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    How is it Sunday already?!

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

    We pretty much followed our menu to a T last week, which means more work, thinking and planning for me today. I hate it when I’m all responsible-like about following our meal plan! ;) It’s the last full week of summer before school starts, so we are gonna try to live it up!

    MONDAY:
    - Asian Spinach Salad

    TUESDAY:
    - Take out night – two soccer practices right at dinner time AND at the same time! I’m gonna have to ease back into the whole crazy Fall schedule thing, here.

    WEDNESDAY:
    - BLT Pizza

    THURSDAY:
    - Caprese Paninis

    FRIDAY:
    - Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    - Chicken Caesar Wraps

    SUNDAY:
    - Breakfast for Dinner: Waffles!
    - Fresh fruit

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

    You know the drill…get your menus posted! Thank you and have a great week!

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  8. Friday, August 15

    Friday Show and Tell

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    Happy Friday! I’m currently sitting in Pacific City, Oregon looking out my hotel window at the ocean, where there is a HUGE rock poking through the fog to say good morning. My visit to Tillamook has been amazing and I’ll definitely share more next week! For now you can go look at all my pictures from the trip so far on Instagram and I need to go get gussied up to meet some Tillamook cows!

    view from the cape kiwanda inn in pacific city, oregon by @janemaynard

    Here are my food posts on Babble and Cosmo this week!

    Everyone gets a turn during show and tell, so please share your own stuff!

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  9. Tuesday, August 12

    I LOVE My Bread Box (a.k.a. Expandable Bread Keeper)

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    About six months ago I needed to order some parchment paper sheets from King Arthur and then proceeded to get totally sucked in and bought way more stuff than I was planning on (like the tulip baking cups). I had been wanting a bread box, mostly for when I make homemade bread. I had done some research but hadn’t found anything that I thought would work well.

    why I love the expandable bread keeper from king arthur flour from @janemaynard

    Then I noticed this expandable bread keeper on the King Arthur site. It caught my eye for two reasons. First, it’s expandable. Second, it had an air vent. The biggest complaint I found with other bread boxes was that bread would go moldy. The vent seemed like the answer.

    why I love the expandable bread keeper from king arthur flour from @janemaynard

    So, I bought the expandable bread keeper, got it in the mail, and then stuck it in a cupboard and forgot about it. Like, my-friend-Debbie-texted-me-one-day-and-asked-if-I-had-a-bread-box-and-I-told-her-no forgot about it. When we got home from vacation this summer, I stumbled on the bread box, broke it out and started using it. AND I LOVE IT.

    why I love the expandable bread keeper from king arthur flour from @janemaynard

    The vent works great and has two settings, depending on how humid your climate is or if your bread is warm. I love that it can expand to different sized loaves, and it’s really tall so you can fit a lot in there. And there is also a little mini bread board inside, making it really easy to slice off the bread you need and then put it away.

    why I love the expandable bread keeper from king arthur flour from @janemaynard

    This bread keeper is great for homemade bread but I do also use it for breads we buy at the store that come in paper bags (like fresh French and Italian breads). I’m using less plastic bags AND the bread keeps better. We even stored leftover muffins in there and it worked great – since the bread keeper is so tall, I just stacked two layers of muffins inside.

    I had a loaf of crusty bread go moldy the other day, but it had been in there for a whole week, so, you know, obviously it went moldy. And it actually stayed UN-moldy much longer than when it’s in a plastic bag.

    So, there you have it. I love my expandable bread keeper and I’ll never forget its existence ever again! If you’re in the market for a bread box, I know it’s not as cute as some of the metal retro ones out there, but I think the function on this far exceeds the need for a glamorous bread box. Just sayin’.

    Anyone have any bread box advice? Do you have on you love? Tell us about it!

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  10. Sunday, August 10

    Week 394 Menu

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    Happy Sunday! Last night I took Cate to her first concert! She beat me by six years, by the way. We saw Sara Bareilles and the show was great. Sara Bareilles is funny, witty, charming and her voice is unreal. Cate said it was “loud” but also admitted that she had fun. Such a cutie. Little Anna is completely jealous and has watched the few little video clips I took of the concert over and over again, singing along to all the words. She’s a cutie, too.

    sara bareilles concert by @janemaynard

    I’m traveling to Oregon Wednesday through Friday this week to visit the Tillamook farm and cheese factory. I’m SUPER excited. I’ll be gone a couple nights, so Cate helped me plan what they’re going to eat the nights when I’m gone.

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

    MONDAY:
    - Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches
    - Fruit and chips

    TUESDAY:
    - Sweet Korean BBQ Beef Tacos

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Mac & Cheese (the freezer kind from Trader Joe’s)
    - Veggie

    THURSDAY:
    - English Muffin Pizzas

    FRIDAY:
    - Take out night

    SATURDAY:
    - Cheeseburgers on the grill
    - Watermelon and a side salad

    SUNDAY:
    - Omelettes and fruit

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

    You know the drill, time to share your menu for the week! Thank you!

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