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  1. Sunday, July 11

    Week 181 Menu

    I love summer.

    The light is always just right.

    And drinking fountains abound.

    Too bad we still have to eat and I still have to plan a menu every week! ūüėČ Actually, this week is kind of nice…no traveling of any kind. A little break before more travel madness ensues next week! Sorry for the multiple carry-overs from last week’s menu…things were bananas.

    MONDAY:
    Easy Peasy Bean Tacos
    – Guacamole and chips

    TUESDAY:
    – Cr√™pes (surprise, surprise…Nate didn’t make these while I was out of town. what? he didn’t jump at a chance to cook?)

    WEDNESDAY:
    Stuffed Peppers

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Eat out

    SATURDAY:
    – Homemade pizza (going to top with carmelized onions, tomatoes and honey goat cheese from Trader Joe’s)

    SUNDAY:
    Spaghetti Pomodoro
    – Salad and bread

    Time to share your menu for the week! The holiday is over folks, back to planning! (Do you like it when I boss you around? I thought so.)


  2. Friday, July 9

    Cactus and Cooking

    I just got back from a quick but jam-packed-with-food-sun-and-fun trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, compliments of Thermador. Thermador unveiled their new steam & convection oven to a group of food and lifestyle bloggers, as opposed to traditional media in NYC. It was the first time they launched a product this way and I felt honored to be included. Especially since we were treated to food like this for 24 hours straight…

    I’ve only been to Arizona a few times and I know cacti are a dime a dozen…but they still take my breath away. This little guy was on the balcony for my hotel room. Isn’t he gorgeous?

    I have oodles to share from the Thermador trip, including some really fantastic recipes…but I am plum tuckered out and just can’t face going through about 1 bazillion photos right now. But the cactus just had to be shared as soon as possible.


  3. Wednesday, July 7

    Best Baked Beans

    The recipe I’m about to give you is dangerously delicious. If you like baked beans, you’ll LOVE these. I made them for the 4th of July and they were a hit, even with my most-of-the-time-vegetarian friend. Thanks to my mom’s sisters who introduced me to this baked beans recipe to begin with. I have no idea where they originally got it from, perhaps I should do some digging. Wait. I’m rambling. Enjoy the beans!

    Best Baked Beans
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Beans
    Ingredients
    • 2 large cans baked beans (~3 lb 5 oz total)
    • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
    • ¾ cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 green pepper, chopped
    • ½ pound bacon, chopped
    • 2 rings pineapple (or one small can pineapple chunks, broken apart with your fingers)
    Instructions
    1. Sauté the onion and green pepper over medium heat until starting to get soft. Add the bacon and sauté until bacon is cooked through. Drain grease.
    2. While the onion and pepper are doing their thing, mix together the beans, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and pineapple. When the sautéd stuff is done, add it to the bean mixture. Bake in a 300-degree oven or in a crockpot on high for 2-3 hours. (I got a late start when I made these, so I baked at 350 for about 1 hour and they came out fine.)

     


  4. Tuesday, July 6

    Cruisin’ with My Girlies

    Today is a sad day. “My” Lincoln MKT is being taken away from me. Yeah, yeah, I know “Ford” actually “owns” the car and I also know that I was perfectly aware that I would “only” have it for two weeks, but I’m still mad at the {very nice} dudes who are driving to my house as I type to take back the nicest car I’ve ever driven. If only I had 50 grand lying around…

    Here’s the Lincoln MKT at Albion Basin in the Little Cottonwood Canyon near SLC, UT – hands down one of the most beautiful places on earth. That sparkle on the front of the car? It just comes naturally to the MKT, kind of like Ken doll’s sparkly smile. (Yes, I just saw Toy Story 3)

    Ford provided us with the Lincoln MKT for our trip to Utah last week. We’ve had a lot of fun with this car. In some cases, too much fun (keep reading to get the dirty details!). The MKT drives like butter, the THX sound system is OFF THE HOOK, and every little detail to make driving more comfortable is covered. USB port with amazing entertainment and navigation system? Check. Blind spot alerts and rear back-up camera? Check.¬†Retractable¬†screens in the backseat windows for the kids? Check. Extra swish of the windshield wipers a few seconds after the initial swishes to get rid of those last few drops that always drip down? Check. Adjustable brake and gas pedals? Check. Ambient lighting with 6 different colors to choose from? {No, I’m not kidding} Check. Heated rear seats? Check. The biggest sun roof you ever did see? Check. The list goes on and on.

    This car is not perfect. The gas mileage is not so good, which is what you would expect from this size car with a powerful engine. Every time a call came through on bluetooth, I had to readjust the volume. (Yeah, I know, rough life.) My rearview mirrors and pedals always reset whenever I turned the car off…which drove me nuts. But Nate is pretty sure this is just because I don’t know what I’m doing. He’s probably right.

    Also, my grandma kept bumping her head when she would get in. She said she was ready to buy the car, but the head bumps changed her mind. Then she laughed. And, as you can see, she was perfectly happy tooling around the Wasatch Mountains with the girls and I.

    And that giant sunroof I mentioned? It was AWESOME for looking out at the mountain peaks as we climbed the canyon. Even the girls in the backseat had a great view on our adventure.

    I do have to say, the MKT car was a cop magnet. I don’t know if I was driving differently or if cops just really like pulling over fancy cars, but I got pulled over ¬†TWICE. I haven’t been pulled over since high school, people. The first time I met a policeman in the MKT was because of a speed trap, and I wasn’t even going that fast. And the whole time the uber-friendly CHP officer was writing my ticket, he was asking me questions about the car. NOT KIDDING. New rule for police officers – no car questions allowed unless you let the nice mom of two off the hook!

    Incident #2…Allison, Marie, Kami, Alma, Carina and I decided to ‘cruise’ Park City the Friday night of the Evo conference. We had our jams pumping and our dance moves ON. A {bored} Park City cop saw a car full of non-speeding, law-abiding “girls” (little did he know they were all married moms) hug the white line once or twice and decided to pull them over to see if they were “okay.” Keep in mind the “girls” were completely sober and driving the speed limit, not a broken traffic rule to be found. When the cop realized this was a pretty “boring” pullover, he actually told me I had a warrant out for my arrest and had us going for a good 30 seconds. Is that even legal? I don’t think so. Allison is convinced he was in fact a stripper cop. I guess we’ll never know…thank goodness!

    So, there you have it. My two weeks with the beautiful MKT. Big thanks to Ford for the opportunity to review the car!


  5. Sunday, July 4

    Week 180 Menu

    Happy 4th of July!

    happy fourth of july web

    I know, I know. A menu on a holiday? And I expect you to plan on a holiday? This website is hard core, people. Okay, not really. Enjoy your day! But, if you DO have a menu, share it! And if you don’t, no worries – I won’t start harping on you to get planning until next week. ūüėČ

    MONDAY:
    – Leftovers (Tortilla Soup and 4th of July food)

    TUESDAY:
    Easy Peasy Bean Tacos

    WEDNESDAY:
    Mac & Cheese (making ahead of time for Nate and the girls because I will be in Scottsdale with Thermador checking out their new steam & convection oven…so excited for this trip…eating good food, hanging with good friends, enjoying a good hotel room all to myself!)

    THURSDAY:
    РCrêpes (making batter ahead of time)

    FRIDAY:
    – Eat out

    SATURDAY:
    Spaghetti Pomodoro

    SUNDAY:
    Stuffed Peppers


  6. Friday, July 2

    Stewed Plums

    Don’t you hate it when you see plums at the grocery store and buy a whole bunch because you think you’re going to eat them all then you take them home and they sit and sit and you eat maybe 2 and then feel guilty throwing the rest away? Yeah, me too. Which is why I’ve been keeping my eye out for recipes incorporating plums. Today I have a recipe for stewed plums to share. They are delicious. My girls gobbled this plum sauce up. In fact, I’m pretty sure the pancakes that the stewed plums were served with were completely ignored. And my girls like pancakes.

    stewed plums 1 web

    Speaking of pancakes…I have a cool Austrian recipe I’m going to share with you soon. It will go perfect with your stewed plums.

    AND, speaking of recipes using plums…one of my lovely readers named Jenny shared a plum barbecue sauce recipe with me that I can’t WAIT to try. Once I do, I’ll for sure share the results with you.

    stewed plums 2 web

    In case you are wondering…stewed plums are great with breakfast foods and I’m thinking they would be pretty tasty with yogurt or ice cream, too!

    Stewed Plums
    From About.com (the original recipe calls for cinnamon, so click through if you’re interested…I like it sans cinnamon)

    • 3/4 cup sugar (a little more if plums are tart)
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 pounds damson plums, pitted and roughly chopped

    Combine sugar and water in small/medium sized sauce pan. Boil for 3 minutes, until thick. Add plums; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer stewed plums for about 10 minutes, or until plums are tender.


  7. Thursday, July 1

    Evo ’10 – A Truly Amazing Experience

    Last week I attended The Evolution of Women in Social Media conference (Evo ’10) in Park City, hosted by two of my dearest blogging friends, Rachael Herrscher from Today’s Mama and Jyl Johnson Pattee from MomItForward. Before I say anything else, I have to recognize Rachael and Jyl for the amazing women that they are. It was the inaugural Evo conference, but the streamlined organization and utter classiness of this event made it seem like the twentieth. The speakers were phenomenal. The sessions were actionable and enriching. And the food….oh, the food I ate this weekend….mmmmmmmm….

    food blogger workshop food web

    I was honored to be asked to participate in the Food Blogging workshop. The workshop was unreal and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. The Canyons hosted our afternoon at The Alpine House, a beautiful restaurant at the resort. They served us gorgeous food that tasted just as good as it looked.

    Then the chefs taught us how to make that food.

    food blogger workshop cooking web

    Then food photography extraordinaire Helene Dujardin from Tartelette taught a photo class.

    food blogger workshop helene web

    Then I had the choice opportunity to sit on a panel with Helen Jane Hearn (a lovely food blogger) and Stephanie Robinett from AllRecipes.com, where we discussed everything from how we got into blogging, to how to maintain content year after year, to how to work with companies and sponsors, to how to develop content for various demographics while maintaining your unique voice. I know, awesome, right?

    food blogging panelThis photo that makes me look all smart and stuff belongs to Helene Dujardin of Tartelette – she gave me permission to use it because she’s nice like that.

    One of the most fun parts of the food workshop were all the cameras. Get a bunch of food bloggers together and it suddenly feels like your camping outside Britney Spears house…cameras everywhere.

    food blogger papparazzi webPictured: Katie Goodman, Kristen Doyle and Maria Lichty

    As if the totally rockin’ food workshop wasn’t enough, the entire weekend was packed with amazing classes, sessions, networking and unbelievable keynote talks. I mean unbelievable. Each of the five keynotes on their very own would have been worth the trip. We heard from truly inspiring bloggers who shared their unique and touching stories, from Rachael and Jyl discussing their geekiness, from the CEO of Make-A-Wish Utah (who’s presentation made me bawl like a baby…along with everyone in the room), from two of Oprah’s peeps talking about how they work with social media, and, finally, from two beautiful and inspiring women who closed the conference in the most perfect way possible.

    Oh, and someone at the Waldorf Astoria was tricked into thinking I was a VIP and invited me to an amazing dinner on Friday night. Of course that super fancy dancy restaurant had dark lighting and whatnot and my little Canon Rebel just couldn’t handle it. Believe me, it was awesome. Oh, and you’re all invited to join me in the Presidential Suite at the Waldorf for Thanksgiving this year. It will be just lovely. Only one caveat, I have to make my billions before then. I’ll keep you posted.

    One of the best parts of the weekend was the closing party at the Park City resort. Families were welcome to attend and my girls had a BLAST. (Poor Nate was stuck in California working.)

    evo conference closing partyweb

    I hardly picked up my camera the entire weekend. But some of my food blogging friends did a great job documenting the event, so you should go check out their posts (listed below). And, if you really want to read more about the conference, Evo is compiling everyone’s posts about the weekend here.

    Thank you to everyone who made Evo ’10 the fantastic weekend it was. I’m still floating on Cloud Nine.