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  1. Friday, November 21

    The Magic of Holiday Dishes

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    This post is sponsored by Q Squared NYC.

    I was recently chatting with my dear friend Amy about the holidays and she mentioned the dishes her mom used when she was growing up. Amy talked about how those dishes are firmly entrenched in her memory and that the dishes themselves are as much a part of the experience of the holidays as anything else. As she got thinking about it, she found she felt the same way about the dishes her grandmother used, too.

    the magic of holiday dishes by @janemaynard

    I loved this conversation because it really got me thinking. Often when I look back on holiday meals with the family, the food is what I focus on. In fact, when I pass traditions on to my kids it’s almost always focused on the food and sharing family recipes. But I haven’t thought much about the significance of the dishes we used. After chatting with Amy I realized my experience was the same as hers, that the dishes actually played a large role.

    the magic of holiday dishes by @janemaynard

    When I was very young, most of our holidays were spent with the extended family, so a lot of the memories of dishes I have are from my grandmothers. My Grandma Wallin was the type of woman who would bring china to the beach for a picnic, so you can imagine what her table would look like for the holidays. Crystal glasses (perfect for serving 7-Up!), crystal bowls and china dishes abounded. As a young girl, I loved it. Her dishes made those family dinners feel extra special and fancy.

    the magic of holiday dishes by @janemaynard

    My Grandma Blomquist had 7 children, so when that family got together it was always a large group. I’ll never forget the tall stacks of plates on the buffet table or the basket she used for her giant rolls. What stands out most, however, is the silverware. She had several sets of silverware, complete with intricate patterns. I remember helping get the silverware out of the drawer in her china cabinet (and how that drawer was always a bear to open!). We would wipe the silverware down with a towel and, when dinner was done, carefully put it all back in the drawer.

    the magic of holiday dishes by @janemaynard

    Eventually we moved far from our extended family, at which point the dishes my mom used for the holidays take over my memories. My mom had a set of Christmas china that made an appearance very year at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We loved those dishes and using them at Thanksgiving quite literally marked the start of the holiday season in our home. Once the holidays were over, we would scour the post-Christmas sales to find more pieces to add to the collection. Those dishes are firmly planted in my holiday memories and, to this day, whenever I see that set of dishes at a store, I am transported back in time.

    the magic of holiday dishes by @janemaynard

    As I mentioned before, while I’ve always had these memories, I’ve never stopped to think about how strong they are. And, on a related note, I haven’t really thought much about the dishes I use for the holidays and whether or not my kids have the same kinds of memories. Our family is young, relatively speaking, so I’m still in the phase of collecting those dishes that will play a special role at our holiday dinner table year after year. After doing all this thinking about these particular memories, it makes me that much more excited about adding new dishes to our holiday collection and setting the table with my kids each year.

    I want my children to have similar memories to what I have, memories like polishing silver and pulling china down from the high cupboard. Of course I have fond memories of the food, but as I ponder those holiday meals from the past, I find that the act of preparing the table for those meals is where the strongest memories lie. Making the table special and beautiful with the women that meant the most to me in my life ended up being the times where we talked and bonded most and I will be forever grateful for those memories.

    I hate ending posts with open-ended questions because it feels super cheesy, but I’m breaking my own rule today because I really want to hear from you! Please tell us about your own memories!

    Pictured above: I’ve added some really lovely pieces to our holiday dish collections from Q Squared NYC. For Easter we use white dishes combined with serving dishes from the Heritage collection. For Thanksgiving we’ve added serving dishes from both the Ruffle and the Diamond collections, both of which are pictured above. Also pictured is the Maple Apple Bijou candle, which is the perfect scent for Thanksgiving and looks beautiful on the table, too!

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  2. Tuesday, November 18

    Southwestern Corn Succotash Flatbreads {+ a Giveaway!}

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    This post is sponsored by Libby’s. All opinions are 100% my own, this recipe is delicious and there’s a sweet giveaway, so lots of goodness to be had!

    southwestern corn succotash flatbreads by @janemaynard #spon

    I grew up on frozen corn. In fact, I don’t remember ever seeing canned corn in the house. I didn’t actually try canned corn until I was married, believe it or not, and I actually love it! Unlike frozen corn, I like how canned corn retains more of a crunch and has a nice sweet flavor. It’s one of my pantry staples for several recipes in my repertoire.

    southwestern corn succotash flatbreads by @janemaynard #spon

    I have a new use for canned corn that I am especially loving: succotash! I was thinking about potential appetizers for Thanksgiving because I stink at Thanksgiving appetizers. I get so caught up in prepping the main meal that I forget to serve food earlier in the day. This recipe for corn succotash flatbreads is a perfect pre-Thanksgiving snack and I promise it’s easy to prepare.

    southwestern corn succotash flatbreads by @janemaynard #spon

    I gave this particular succotash recipe a bit of a southwestern twist, replacing lima beans with black beans, adding tomatoes and bell peppers, as well as adding a bit of cumin and fresh cilantro. The corn is perfect for Thanksgiving but the cumin and cilantro offer a different flavor than any of the classic Thanksgiving foods you’ll be scarfing down later in the day. Just make sure you don’t fill up on succotash flatbreads – save room for turkey!

    southwestern corn succotash flatbreads by @janemaynard #sponsouthwestern corn succotash flatbreads by @janemaynard #spon

    In addition to today’s recipe, Libby’s is offering up a great giveaway! One lucky, randomly-selected commenter will win a KitchenAid® 6-Quart Slow Cooker With Glass Lid plus an assortment of Libby’s products. I used Libby’s corn and black beans in today’s recipe and LOVE that they have organic canned goods! To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post! Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address and comments need to be posted by Midnight PT on 11/26/14.

    kitchenaid slow cooker giveaway from libby's #sponlibby's organic canned veggies #sponOne last thing, Libby’s is hosting its Cansgiving sweepstakes through November 19. Participants must post a photo of what they are thankful for on Twitter, Instagram or Libby’s Table Facebook page using the hashtag #Cansgiving for the chance to win a $350 grocery gift card toward their Thanksgiving meals. You can view the full rules at www.getbacktothetable.com/cansgiving.

    Get commenting to enter the giveaway and here is the recipe!

    4.0 from 2 reviews

    Southwestern Corn Succotash Flatbreads
     
    Prep time

    Cook time

    Total time

     

    An easy and delicious appetizer with a southwestern twist!
    Author:
    Serves: 3 cups

    Ingredients
    • ⅓ cup chopped red onion (about ¼ of an onion)
    • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
    • ½ of a red bell pepper, chopped
    • 2 cloves fresh garlic
    • 1 can corn
    • ½ can black beans
    • 1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    • Fresh shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
    • Chopped avocado (optional)
    • Flatbread crackers

    Instructions
    1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
    2. Add garlic, which has been pushed through a garlic press, stir, then add corn and black beans and heat for a few minutes.
    3. Turn the heat up to medium-high, stir and cook for 1 minute to reduce some of the liquid.
    4. Reduce heat to medium again then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and cumin. Stir and heat for about 2 minutes.
    5. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
    6. Serve succotash on flatbread crackers, topping with fresh parmesan cheese or avocado if desired.
    7. You can serve right away or store in fridge and serve cold.

     

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  3. Sunday, November 16

    Week 408 Menu

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    Hello, everyone! It’s been a bit of a crazy week for a family, but we’re hanging in there! Despite the crazy we still gotta eat, although I will admit we ate out a lot more last week than I was planning on!

    week 408 weekly men from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list!

    Here’s the plan for this week!

    MONDAY:
    Pesto Tortellini Soup
    – Homemade bread

    TUESDAY:
    Malibu Melt Wraps
    – Fresh fruit and chips

    WEDNESDAY:
    Naan pizzas (I’ll be in SF meeting Rick Bayless with Negra Modela – I can’t wait!)

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Hot dogs and/or hamburgers
    – Baked beans and carrots

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Breakfast for Dinner TBD!

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

    Please pretty please share your own menu plans for the week! Thank you!

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  4. Thursday, November 13

    The Best English Muffin You’ll Ever Eat

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    Today I bring you the best English muffin you will ever eat. Seriously. You owe me. I mentioned this English muffin trick on Facebook once, but it is sooooo delicious I have decided it deserves an entire blog post.

    Recipe for cinnamon sugar English muffins from @janemaynard - the BEST English muffins you'll ever eat!

    Have you ever read Ree’s post on cooking cinnamon toast the right way? It’s pretty great. Hop on over and check it out if you haven’t. (For the record, I regularly employ Approach #3, a.k.a. Approach #Gross, because I am always strapped for time and my kids never complain. That said, when I give myself 10 minutes for the cook time, the “right” way is tremendously more delicious.)

    Recipe for cinnamon sugar English muffins from @janemaynard - the BEST English muffins you'll ever eat!

    I recently applied Ree’s technique to English muffins and, well, it was DIVINE. (Thanks for the inspiration, Ree!) We were transported to toast heaven on the spot. As great as Ree’s cinnamon toast is, I would bet money these cinnamon sugar English muffins are better.

    Recipe for cinnamon sugar English muffins from @janemaynard - the BEST English muffins you'll ever eat!

    You’re welcome.

    Cinnamon Sugar English Muffins
     
    Prep time

    Cook time

    Total time

     

    As inspired by Ree Drummond’s technique for making perfect cinnamon toast. There are no measurements because you can easily wing it – promise!
    Author:

    Ingredients
    • English muffins
    • Butter, softened to room temp
    • Cinnamon Sugar (click here for recipe if you need it)
    • Vanilla extract (optional)

    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
    2. Option 1: Mix together softened butter with cinnamon sugar and a splash of vanilla extract. Spread a generous layer over the cut side of an English muffin, making sure to spread the butter mixture all the way to the edges. (The advantage of Option 1 is you get vanilla flavor added into the mix.)
    3. Option 2: Spread a generous layer of softened butter on the cut side of an English muffin, then sprinkle heavily with cinnamon sugar, then press down with your fingers or a knife to incorporate the cinnamon sugar with the butter. (The advantage of Option 2 is that it’s a wee bit easier and faster and still just as delicious.)
    4. Place English muffin on a piece of foil or a cookie sheet (I would line the cookie sheet with foil to make clean up easier).
    5. Bake for 10 minutes then finish off under the broiler for about 2 minutes.
    6. Remove from the oven or toaster oven, let sit a couple minutes then eat! Seriously, let it cool down for a bit as the English muffin is literally covered in bubbly molten cinnamon sugar lava. Also, these are beyond buttery. You’ve been warned.

     

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  5. Monday, November 10

    Gifts & Giveaways: 128 GB iPad Air 2!!!!!

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    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com from @janemaynard

    Today’s Gifts & Giveaways post is pretty much completely and totally awesome. Are you ready? Brace yourself!

    Enter to win a 128 GB iPad Air 2 - happy holidays!!! from @janemaynard

    I have partnered up with some of my most favorite blogging friends (and in-real-life friends) EVER, Christine Koh (Boston Mamas), Audrey McClelland (Mom Generations), Allison Czarnecki (Petit Elefant), Heather Flett (Rookie Moms), Morgan Shanahan (The 818), Rachael Herrscher (Today’s Mama), and Sarah James (Whoorl), to offer one lucky follower a 128GB wi-fi iPad Air 2 ($699 value)!

    Enter to win between November 10-21 via the Rafflecopter widget below; you have 8 entry options and of course we encourage you to enter all 8 ways to maximize your chance to win! Once the giveaway ends, the winner will be chosen randomly and contacted by email, with 48 hours to respond. Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  6. Sunday, November 9

    Week 407 Menu

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    Hello! I hope you’re all having a great holiday weekend! Ours has been filled with soccer games, which  are {thankfully} over! And Nate and I are going to see Jake Bugg and the Black Keys tonight. I am beyond excited!

    week 407 weekly menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list

    I have to be totally honest with you, I am SO not in the mood to plan a menu today. I keep putting it off, but I’m finally just sitting down and getting it done.

    MONDAY:
    Swedish Meatballs (I found some already made up in the freezer – happy surprise!)
    – Potatoes, lingonberry jam, salad

    TUESDAY:
    Pesto Tortellini Soup
    – Homemade bread

    WEDNESDAY:
    Rachel sandwiches
    – Fresh fruit and chips

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Chicken Caesar salad with homemade croutons

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Roasted veggie frittata
    – Smoothies

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

    Phew. Glad I got that done! Your turn! Share your dinner plans for the week!

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  7. Friday, November 7

    Friday Show and Tell

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    I have a LOT of cleaning to do, so I’m gonna make today’s Show and Tell super quick! I have two links on Babble this week – I kind of love both of these posts!

    9 genius weeknight dinner ideas from @janemaynard

    9 Genius Ways to Overcome the Weeknight Dinner Struggle

    I don't succumb to pinterest when planning thanksgiving from @janemaynard

    I Don’t Succumb to Pinterest When It Comes to Planning Thanksgiving Dinner

    As usual, please share stuff with us! Whatever you want! Things from your own blog, great stuff you found on the web this week, anything! And have a great weekend!

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  8. Thursday, November 6

    Gifts and Giveaways: Green Kid Crafts!

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    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com from @janemaynard

    This post is sponsored by Green Kid Crafts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own…and my kids’!

    It’s November, which means my holiday shopping has commenced! I find the more I can get done early, the more I enjoy December! Just like last year, as I start shopping around I’ll also be sharing Gifts & Giveaways posts with fun gift ideas and, of course, giveaways! We’re going to kick off this year’s festivities with a GREAT gift for kids.

    green kid crafts review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    Have you heard of Green Kid Crafts? Two very good friends of mine had recommended this company separately, so I was excited to work with them and try out their product! (Those friends who did the recommending? They’re amazing and totally trustworthy. I would do anything they tell me to do. Maybe even jump off a cliff.)

    green kid crafts kitchen science box - review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    Green Kid Crafts is a green company that provides creative and educational activities to do with kids through an eco-friendly Subscription Service, Craft Boxes, Birthday Activities, STEM Science Kits, and Creativity Kits, targeting kids ages 3-12. Our family recently received the Kitchen Science kit from Green Kid Crafts to try out and my kids LOVED it. REALLY loved it. Am I getting the point across? THEY. LOVED. IT. From 3 years old up to 9, all three of them had so much fun doing the science projects in our kit. Maybe a little too excited…I definitely had to play referee when it came to taking turns! Anna was so cute, while we were getting set up she asked, “Are we doing a science project?” When I responded in the affirmative, she simply stated, “Oh, GOOD.” And she was ready to get down to business!

    green kid crafts - kitchen science kit - review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    You can order Green Kid Craft boxes one at a time or sign up for a subscription, in which case boxes are delivered monthly. I know my kids would love me forever if I signed up for the subscription service…I’m thinking that just might be one of their Christmas presents this year, especially after seeing how much they loved this first box!

    green kid crafts - kitchen science kit - review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    Giveaway time! One lucky, randomly-selected person will win a 3-month subscription to Green Kid Crafts (winner must have a U.S. or Canadian address). Here is how to enter!

    All entries must be received by Midnight PT on Wednesday, 11/19.

    Good luck on the giveaway! And Happy Crafting!

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  9. Wednesday, November 5

    Product Review: DOLE Garden Soup (Spoiler Alert: The Soup is Great!)

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    This post is sponsored by DOLE Packaged Foods through the Mom It Forward Blogger Network. I was asked to give an honest review and all opinions are 100% my own!

    DOLE Garden Soup review by @janemaynard (spoiler alert: it's delish!) #ad #DoleGardenSoup

    The other day I was walking around the grocery store thinking about how when we were first married one of our go-to dinners was canned soup. I always had some in the cupboard and we actually liked it quite well. But over the years our tastes have changed and I never buy canned soup, mostly because we really don’t like it! I much prefer to make soup from scratch. That said, the reason I was thinking about this the other day was because I was kind of wishing that we did like canned soup so I could have it on hand for last minute meals. I even looked at the canned soup aisle, but ended up walking away empty handed.

    DOLE Garden Soup review by @janemaynard (spoiler alert: it's delish!) #ad #DoleGardenSoup

    DOLE Garden Soup review by @janemaynard (spoiler alert: it's delish!) #ad #DoleGardenSoup

    DOLE recently got in touch with me about trying out the new DOLE Garden Soup line of ready-to-serve soups. I’ve always had great experiences with DOLE and their products so I figured I’d give it a shot! Plus, they said they wanted me to share my family’s honest review, so I didn’t have anything to lose!

    DOLE Garden Soup review by @janemaynard (spoiler alert: it's delish!) #ad #DoleGardenSoup

    I have to tell you that we really liked these soups a lot, which pleases me to no end because now I can have really good soup in the cabinet waiting for those busy nights! Yay! DOLE sent our family samples of the Garden Soup to try, so for dinner the other night we had a soup taste test, along with a loaf of homemade bread. Here is how the taste test went down!

    First, the flavors:

    • Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil
    • Tomato Vegetable
    • Carrot Ginger
    • Southwestern Black Bean & Corn
    • Sweet Corn

    DOLE Garden Soup review by @janemaynard (spoiler alert: it's delish!) #ad #DoleGardenSoup

    Second, the tasting!

    • Owen (3 years old) was a terrible taste tester. He wouldn’t even take one bite of any of the flavors, therefore he forfeited all rights to an opinion.
    • Nate (the dad) only ate the Southwestern Black Bean & Corn. He got home from work late and when we saw that one his eyes lit up. He even said, “Of course you know this is the one I’m going to pick.” I actually didn’t know that, but I just nodded like I did. ANYWAY, he liked the soup!
    • Cate (9 years old) loved all five flavors. I kept prodding her with questions, trying to tease out her favorite flavor or something she didn’t like about the soups. In the end the conclusion was that she would eat any of them for dinner and thought they were all “really good.”
    • Anna (6 years old) also tried all five flavors. She said they were all good, but her favorites by a long shot were the Sweet Corn and Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil. I don’t think I would be able to get her to eat a whole bowl of the other flavors, honestly, but she did really like those two flavors a lot.
    • And Me! I thought all five flavors were wonderful. (More evidence that Cate just may be my clone.) Honestly, I was so impressed with the flavors. None of the soups tasted packaged and they all tasted incredibly fresh. I think they are all great on their own, with nice smooth texture and depth of flavor, but I could also see myself using the soups as a base for other recipes. I discovered later that DOLE even has recipes that you can use the soups in (I’ll link to those at the end of the post). I think my favorite flavor might actually have been the Carrot Ginger. Simple but with a bit of spice, it hit the spot. All of the soups would be great any time of year. Soup, by nature, is cozy and great for cold weather. But the flavors are so fresh I can see myself eating these soups on a summer evening, too. And, in case you’re wondering, the two tomato soups do have distinctive flavor and texture.

    After the taste test, I started reading up on the soups and learned that the full line is non-GMO, has no preservatives or MSG, is vegetarian, gluten free, cholesterol free, low fat, a good source of fiber and has BPA-free packaging. Score!

    DOLE Garden Soup review by @janemaynard (spoiler alert: it's delish!) #ad #DoleGardenSoup

    Two thumbs up for the Garden Soup! I will most certainly be stocking up on my next grocery run in anticipation of the busy holiday season!

    Find out more information about DOLE Garden Soup on their website, Facebook or Twitter.

    Recipes using DOLE Garden Soup:

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  10. Sunday, November 2

    Week 406 Menu

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    Happy Sunday! Another week, another menu…let’s get to it, shall we?

    week 406 weekly menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list

    MONDAY:
    Chicken Soup with Rice
    – Homemade bread

    TUESDAY:
    Pesto Tortellini Soup
    – Homemade bread

    WEDNESDAY:
    Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas
    Cilantro Lime Rice

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Spaghetti with sausage (thanks for the idea, Nancy!)
    – Salad

    SATURDAY:
    – Soccer team party at Pizza Port

    SUNDAY:
    – Roasted Veggie Frittata with toast (thanks for the idea, Jessica!)
    – Fresh fruit or smoothies

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

    Please share your own dinner plans for the week! They are so incredibly helpful for me each week, thank you!

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