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  1. Wednesday, March 17

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Look what I found at our local bagel shop today…

    st patrick's day bagels web

    I love Posh Bagel in Menlo Park (the best bagels I’ve found in the Menlo Park/Palo Alto area, by the way – and this is saying a lot coming from a New Jersey girl). Now I love Posh Bagel even more for making these CRAZY green bagels. Seriously, that is GREEN. I thought my 5-year-old would jump for joy when she saw them. Nope, all she said was, “Yuck.” So much for fun green food.

    Speaking of green food, when I planned my menu this week, I totally spaced it on St. Patrick’s Day. So, here’s our real menu for today!

    Feel free to share your own green food ideas! Hope you have a grand green day!


  2. Tuesday, March 16

    Glazed Chocolate Cake

    I made my second successful recipe from Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast. This glazed chocolate cake was delicious! The recipe was not too complicated and made for a beautiful final product. The texture of the cake is sort of crumbly, so you think it is going to be dry. But it’s not at all – the cake is actually buttery and rich.

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    chocolate glazed cake slice1 web

    Glazed Chocolate Cake
     
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Serves: 10-12
    Ingredients
    • ¾ C unsalted butter, room temp, plus more for pan
    • ¾ C unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
    • ¾ C all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 C sugar, plus 2 Tbsp. for whipped cream (optional)
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • ½ C sour cream
    • Chocolate ganache glaze (see recipe below)
    • Chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan; line bottom with a round of waxed or parchment paper. Butter paper; dust bottom and sides of pan with cocoa, tapping out excess.
    2. Sift together cocoa, flour, baking powser, and salt. With an electric mixer on meidum-high speed, cream butter and 1 C sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and begninng and ending with flour.
    3. Spread batter in prepared pan. Tap pan firmly on countertop once to eliminated large air bubbles. (Jane note: use cake strips! I wish that I had!!) Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely (bottom side up). Set rack with cake over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over cake, letting it run over sides; spread gently with an offset spatula or table knife to coat. Let set, about 30 minutes.
    4. If desired, whip cream and remaining 2 tbsp sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Serve cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (use a vegetable peeler to make your shavings).
    5. Serves 10-12 people.

    Chocolate Ganache Glaze
     
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsley chopped
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    Instructions
    1. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. In a saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Let cool until thick yet pourable, 2-3 minutes. Makes ¾ cup.

  3. Sunday, March 14

    Week 164 Menu

    This past week was GREAT. I can’t tell you how nice it was to have a decent menu plan again and actually follow it (with tweaks here and there, of course). I cooked real meals. I had the ingredients in the fridge. It was so nice.

    sliced mango web

    Nate went to Costco yesterday. I like it when he goes without me because he buys splurge items like pre-cut mango, which I always feel a little guilty spending extra money on. Seriously, not having to slice mango but still getting to eat it is the BEST.

    MONDAY:
    Asian Spinach Salad (I’m going to try leaving the chicken out, maybe add a few veggies to the mix…although it is really good WITH the chicken, just trying to figure out more veggie-based dishes)

    TUESDAY:
    – Fajitas (leftover ingredients from last week)

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Butter Chicken & Basmati Rice (still looking for a good recipe for Butter Chicken…any tips?)
    – Naan bread
    – Some sort of veggie

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    Frittata (I’m going to do a veggie frittata, but use the linked recipe as a base)

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    Pot Roast w/mashed potatoes and a veggie

    Please share your menu! We like all kinds of menus, no matter how fancy or un-fancy they are! Also, you certainly don’t have to assign days to specific items…we’re flexible around here.


  4. Friday, March 12

    Chuck’s Donuts

    We love Chuck’s Donuts in Redwood City. We promised Chuck’s Donuts as payment for any friends who helped us move…it worked, lots of friends showed. I’ve gotta give Chuck and his donuts a little shout out today. Plus the pictures are just too scrumptious not to share.

    1 donut box web

    Open 24 hours? Hello, Donut Heaven! Fine, I’ve never actually gone at 4 am…but I COULD.

    2 donuts web

    Seriously, these donuts are very photogenic. I was just going to snap a quick shot and say, “Chuck’s is the best.” But I couldn’t settle on  one shot. Just look at that fluffy, greasy, sugary goodness!

    3 donuts web

    You want a bite. I know you do.

    4 donuts qwv

    Time to close the box. My heart and my thighs have stopped speaking to me. I need a carrot.

    5 donuts closed web


  5. Thursday, March 11

    Pasta with Peas & Ricotta…and a Giveaway!

    This giveaway is now closed. Winners will be announced on Thursday, 3/18. Keep reading this post, though – the book and the recipe are great!

    The first recipe I made from my new cookbook was a success! The whole family loved this pasta with peas and ricotta last night. Looks yummy, doesn’t it? It was fast and only used one pan, which makes the recipe even better in my book!

    peas ricotta pasta web

    Want to make it yourself? Well, I’ll share the recipe with you at the end of this post…but first you need to enter today’s giveaway! TWO lucky readers will each win a copy of Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast. Big thanks to Everyday Food for a very fab cookbook giveaway!

    Please add a comment to this post by Midnight PT, Wednesday March 17 to enter! Two random winners will be announced March 18. To enter, share your favorite Everyday Food recipe with us (links welcome!) in the comments section…or just comment about anything! (One entry per person and the prize needs to be shipped to a U.S. address.)

    Good luck with the giveaway! Time for the recipe!

    (>> Find out more…)


  6. Tuesday, March 9

    Food is back! (And the most random post you ever did see)

    People, I went grocery shopping today. Which means we will be eating food again. Which means I might actually start writing about food again. Food is back! Will wonders never cease?

    I’m giddy with excitement. Look what arrived on my doorstep today…

    everyday food cookbook web

    I am SO excited about this new cookbook from Everyday Food. Every recipe I’ve ever tried of theirs has been great. When they offered me a review copy, of course I took them up on it. And guess what…you just might get your own chance at a free copy, if you’re good. (Okay, you are going to get a chance at a free copy, just not quite yet…stay tuned!)

    And moving on with the randomness…I am not a fan of canned refried beans. Ever since living with a Mexican roommate in college (shout out to beautiful Estela!), I’ve gotten quite picky about my beans. But I’ve gotta say, these Rosarita Vegetarian Refried Beans are great. We’ve had them a few times over the last few months and I always think, I need to do a post about these. So here we are.

    rosarita refried beans web

    Last but definitely not least, did you see the Handsome Men’s Club skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live Sunday night? I laughed so much it was embarrassing. I love Jimmy…and this is just one small reason why. Enjoy!


  7. Sunday, March 7

    Week 163 Menu

    This has been a bad winter for clementines/cuties/mandarins (whatever you want to call ’em!) for the Maynard family. Bag after bag have been dry and yucky. Until now. We are on bag #2 this week and they are so juicy and sweet. And I’m so happy! It’s the little things, right?

    mandarins web

    No more excuses…our apartment is almost totally in order and it’s time to start cooking again. I sure hope I can get back in the groove!

    MONDAY:
    Kitchen Sink Quesadillas

    TUESDAY:
    – Paninis

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Chicken & Broccoli Penne

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Eat out

    SATURDAY:
    Aaron & Lindsay’s Chicken Tortilla Soup Extravaganza

    SUNDAY:
    Asian Spinach Salad

    People, why didn’t anyone tell me I was crazy? Last week I had two Wednesdays on our menu. Wow, moving must have made me more tired than I thought! Well, this week there are only 7 days instead of 8, so planning your menu should be a cinch! 😉 Can’t wait to see your menus!


  8. Thursday, March 4

    Small kitchens and the joys of organization!

    The kitchen is unpacked. {A sigh of relief from the starving Maynard children.} Seriously, what a chore! But it’s done done done. We actually ate dinner as a family around the table last night…granted, dinner was a frozen veggie lasagna, but it’s a step in the right direction!

    new kitchen web

    Today’s post is all about small kitchen spaces. I know I’m not the only one out there with a small kitchen, and mine isn’t even that bad (anyone from Manhattan out there?).

    I have to say, now that I have a smaller kitchen space, I’m more organized than I’ve ever been! Without the luxury of space, I’ve really had to think about what I need and use regularly, and the best way to organize and store it. I’m especially proud of this cupboard. Who needs drawers? Not me!

    kitchen cupboard organized web

    In addition to buying a few organizing bins as well as uniform tupperware that fit inside one another neatly, we also purchased doors for a small bookcase we have and stuck that against the wall near the kitchen table to serve as a mini pantry. After everything was unpacked and put away, I actually had space left over! In fact, my KitchenAid is going to take a permanent spot on the counter. Yea!

    Today it’s all about small kitchens and organizing our kitchen wares. Even with the large kitchen I had before, I certainly wasn’t organizing it as well as I could have been. We could all do with a few good tips! So, bring it on, folks…give us your best advice for organizing kitchen ‘stuff’ and/or tips for working in a tiny kitchen. Can’t wait to hear your great ideas!


  9. Tuesday, March 2

    Guest Blogger Maria Lichty: Homemade Yogurt

    maria-&-josh-webToday we have a very fun post from a very fun guest blogger, Maria Lichty of the food blog Two Peas and Their PodShe is going to tell us all about homemade yogurt, something I’ve yet to make and am now super excited about trying!

    Like our last guest, Maria has been commenting and posting menus on This Week for Dinner for years (and she’s another of my blogging friends I have actually met in person!). Maria is a sweetie and writes about her cooking adventures with her husband, Josh (hence TWO peas). They have a great food blog (hello oodles of amazing vegetarian recipes) and you can read more about Maria and Josh in a recent interview on The Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen website. Without further ado, I present Maria!

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    First of all, I am thrilled to be a guest blogger for TWFD. I have been following Jane’s blog for quite some time now. I love her recipes, photos, stories, sense of humor, ok – I just love everything about Jane. She is the best, but you all know that.

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    Today I am going to share a recipe that will change your life for the better – homemade yogurt. I love yogurt. I enjoy it for breakfast, a healthy snack, or even dessert. I usually eat one a day. Greek yogurt is my favorite – I love Fage brand. Unfortunately, it is not cheap. A single, 6-oz. serving is usually $2.00 or more. Not so friendly on the pocketbook if you eat one every day. I tried to cut back on my yogurt intake because it was so expensive, but depression soon set in. Not really, but I missed it! 🙂 I decided it was time to start making my own yogurt at home.

    I really wasn’t sure how, so I did some research and consulted with my Twitter friends. I purchased a yogurt maker and set up my “yogurt lab.” I was amazed at how easy it was to make. Basically, you heat up some milk, cool it down, whisk in a 6-oz. yogurt with the milk, and then let it “sleep” in the yogurt machine for 12 hours. How simple is that?

    Instead of paying $2 every day for yogurt, I just purchase one Greek yogurt to use as my starter and then I have a week’s worth of yogurt. Making our own yogurt has saved us a lot of money. Yes, we had to buy the yogurt maker, but it has already paid for itself…and then some.

    I always start my yogurt at night so it is ready when I wake up in the morning. It really is that simple. And it tastes just as good, maybe even a little better, because homemade recipes always come with extra love!

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    Here is my basic recipe:

    Guest Blogger Maria Lichty: Homemade Yogurt
     
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish
    Ingredients
    • 42 ounces fresh milk, we use skim
    • 6 oz. plain yogurt, we use fat free Fage for our starter (use your favorite brand)
    Instructions
    1. Pour milk into a high-sided saucepan. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Heat the milk until it reaches-180 degrees. The milk will start to climb the side of the pan.
    2. Remove pan from heat and allow the milk to cool to lukewarm-110 degrees. To speed up the process you can place the pan in an ice bath. Sometimes I do this and sometimes I am just lazy and let it cool on its own. Both ways work.
    3. When the yogurt is cool, put the yogurt starter in a large bowl. Stir in some of the milk. Whisk well. Make sure the yogurt is dissolved. Add the rest of the milk and whisk until smooth.
    4. Pour the mixture into the jars of the yogurt maker. Follow the yogurt maker’s instructions. We usually do ours so it rests overnight. It takes 10-12 hours. We usually let it rest for 12 hours because we like our yogurt thicker.
    5. When the yogurt is done resting, chill it in the fridge with the lids on the jars. The yogurt will stay good for 10 days.
    Notes
    I purchased my yogurt maker at Williams Sonoma. I really like the individual jars, but you can buy a yogurt maker that makes one large batch too. Find a machine that is right for you. Make sure you read the instructions before getting started.
    Make sure you choose a yogurt starter that has live active cultures.
    Use the freshest milk and yogurt you can find.
    I use fat free Greek yogurt because that is the yogurt I like. You can use a yogurt with fat. It just depends on your preference.
    I use fat free milk and yogurt and the finished product is thick enough for me.
    You can use your homemade yogurt as the starter, but only once.
    If you want really thick yogurt you can strain it with a cheese cloth or coffee filters.

     

    So what are you waiting for? If you are a yogurt fanatic like me, start making your own. It is so easy, a lot cheaper, and it’s good for you!

    For an extra special treat, try a yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and homemade granola. Double Yum!

    Thanks again Jane for letting me do a guest post. Come visit Two Peas and Their Pod anytime – our kitchen is always open! 🙂

    • You can make flavored yogurt by adding honey, fruit, or jam, but we prefer plain. I usually add fresh fruit and sometimes a drizzle of agave nectar to my plain yogurt.

  10. Puking Pastilles Apron Giveaway Winner!

    Time to announce the lucky random winner of this beautiful apron from Puking Pastilles…

    puking pastilles giveaway1 web

    Natalee Maynes, who said, “I like the infant carseat recovering. Juliette’s carseat could use a makeover.”

    I think Juliette will be mighty pleased with her new carseat cover…and Natalee will look stunning in her new apron, I’m sure! Congratulations, Natalee!

    For the rest of you…the Puking Pastilles patterns are only $3.99 and, as you all saw, they are super cute. Time to get sewing! You can read the Puking Pastilles blog here and view the sewing tutorials here!

    Thanks again to Puking Pastilles for a super fun giveaway!