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  1. Sunday, January 15

    Week 260 Menu

    I threw together some chocolate chip cookies last night. I didn’t eat them all. But I should have. The girls woke up this morning, saw the pan and proceeded to beg for cookies for breakfast. Really, I should have taken one for the team and put all the cookies down last night. Now I know. Lesson learned. 😉 Also, for some reason, I just couldn’t let the girls eat a cookie for breakfast. Definitely a case of “do as I say, not as I do.” Not that they’ve ever seen me eat a cookie for breakfast, but, well, I’ll admit it may have happened before…

    Menu time!

    MONDAY:
    – Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches (recipe to come)

    TUESDAY:
    – Squash soup (using up some veggies from CSA)

    WEDNESDAY:
    Cream of Mushroom soup

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    Bistro Chicken

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    Stuffed Shells

    I hope you all know how helpful your menus are for me (and others) each week. I love the inspiration! So, please keep the menus coming!


  2. Thursday, January 12

    I Jinxed Twinkies

    I have not eaten a Twinkie in, well, honestly, I cannot remember the last time I ate a Twinkie! I really think it’s probably been since middle school. Maybe even elementary school.

    So last week when I was shopping with the girls and spotted a box of Twinkies at the store, it’s not surprising a little nostalgia kicked in. And I actually bought a box. I couldn’t believe it myself. The girls hadn’t even heard of Twinkies and for some reason I just felt like I had to introduce them to this childhood treat.

    Two things happened.

    1. The Twinkies are still sitting in the box. (The girls are totally uninterested.)
    2. Hostess declared bankruptcy.

    Okay, I admit, I doubt the fact that I purchased a box of Twinkies for the first time ever jinxed the company. BUT…it does seem like a strange coincidence, no?

    Here’s the thing. When I bought the Twinkies, I actually felt guilty. They represent for me everything that is wrong with our broken food system. It’s processed food, packed with sugar and corn syrup and filled with something that can be described as “creamy” but not as actual “cream.” On top of that, each Twinkie is individually wrapped in plastic and then thrown into a cardboard box. So, yes, I felt guilty buying those Twinkies and I don’t think that guilt was necessarily misplaced. I mean, it certainly wasn’t supporting my New Year’s resolution.

    When I read a bit about Hostess’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy last night, I learned this is the second time in a decade that the company has declared bankruptcy. So, after failing once and having debts restructured and forgiven, they are doing it again. While I don’t want 19,000 people to suddenly lose their benefits or their jobs, I’m wondering if this is a sinking ship that should be saved. Their problems appear to stem more from labor costs rather than poor sales, so I don’t think this is a statement that people have exhibited less demand for their product. BUT STILL…something isn’t working at Hostess. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

    So, you may be wondering, was the Twinkie I ate after shooting this photograph any good? It was just how I remembered it. Which means it was okay. 😉 And for those of you who are interested, Nate and I are taking bids on our Twinkies. We will entertain offers of at least $100 per Twinkie. Okay, okay, you can still get Twinkies. But given their long shelf life, I think we’ll hang onto these puppies and cash in at a later date! 😉

    Update on our ‘Twinkies For Sale’ – Nate has decided that he’s not good at timing the peak, so he will be auctioning off 1 Twinkie every 10 years. Mark your calendars!


  3. Tuesday, January 10

    Call for ‘Recipes’: LUNCH IDEAS!

    Bethanie, a long-time reader, recently emailed me asking if I would be willing to put the following question out there: What do you pack for your kids’ lunches? Like my daughter, her child doesn’t have the ability to heat food at school but is sick to death of sandwiches. I am in the exact same boat, so I was totally down with this call for “recipes” of sorts!

    AND…for that matter…I’m having a bagel for lunch today. Which is what I had yesterday. Not exactly nutritious and definitely boring. SOOOO…

    Today’s Call for Recipes is three fold!

    • What do you pack for kids’ lunches, especially where they can’t reheat food?
    • What kinds of food do you pack for your own lunch?
    • If you eat lunch at home, what are you eating?

    Bethanie ended her email with “I know the blog is ‘This week for DINNER’, but I’m desperate!” and I actually feel the same way. I’m good about getting my dinner plan together each week, but I’m terrible about lunches! Can’t wait to see all of your great ideas and tips!


  4. Sunday, January 8

    Week 259 Menu

    This morning I cut into my first German butterball potatoes. Doesn’t that name just sound scrumptious? They are yet another new discovery from our CSA…and, yes, I live in the land of bread and honey…our CSA goes all year. If we ever move from California, I won’t know what to do with myself! Anyway, back to the potatoes. I was surprised how yellow the potatoes were inside. So fun!

    Menu time! A few repeats from last week because things didn’t go quite as planned…

    MONDAY:
    – Orange Chicken and rice
    – Roasted Cauliflower

    TUESDAY:
    – Homemade pizza, including Honey Goat Cheese with Caramelized Onions (I randomly made this last week and it was sooooo good…I have leftover ingredients, so making it again!)

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Chicken teriyaki and rice
    – Stir fry veggies

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Eat out with friends

    SATURDAY:
    – I don’t know yet! We’re running late this morning but I want to get this published so you guys can post your menus! 🙂

    SUNDAY:
    – Breakfast for dinner…TBD!

    Time for you to share your menu for the week! I love that so many of you are making it a resolution and loved seeing all the first time menu posters last week. Keep it coming!


  5. Friday, January 6

    Homemade Tiaras

    Warning: there is no food to be found in this post. Sorry. But I do promise to deliver absolute and total cuteness. Hope that makes up for it!

    I am not a crafty person. I rarely have any “projects” going on, despite the fact that I am a creative, artsy type. But once in a while something catches my eye that I simply must do.

    A tiara for the more courtly princesses.

    As you know, Anna recently hosted a “Hello Kitty Glamour Party” for her birthday. As we prepared for the party, she said to me, “Make sure everyone wears glamour stuff to my party, mama.” I decided I could help Anna’s guests out by providing them with some lovely tiaras. But lovely tiaras are surprisingly hard to come by.

    One of the benefits of editing DailyBuzz Moms is I get to read oodles of fabulous blog posts about oodles of fabulous topics. One of these such posts came from Joy’s Misadventures. Joy described how she put together her daughter’s Halloween costume, complete with a homemade tiara that was the prettiest little tiara I ever did see.

    A tiara for the more whimsical, pixie-like princesses.

    I emailed Joy, found out where she got the stuff, and ordered the supplies straight away! With my Hobby Lobby floral wedding beads and headbands from Target at the ready, my friend Amy and I sat down and got creative. (Please note: I made two tiaras. Amy made seven. That is friendship.)

    Every tiara was unique, whimsical, adorable. I couldn’t have been happier with the result. And they were EASY to put together. Just wrap the wire around the headband. Done! Thank you, Joy, for the inspiration!

    Party tiaras all in a row.

    You’re welcome for making all of your tiara dreams come true.


  6. Thursday, January 5

    My New Year’s Resolution: Use Less Plastic

    Eat Well. Heal the Planet.

    That’s my focus each year when I come up with my new year’s resolution. Our behavior in the kitchen and when we eat impacts the environment in really big and meaningful ways. Each year I try to find something our family can do in our food life to help impact the environment in a positive way. 2009: Eat less meat. (Wowzah, the amount of resources going into meat production is astonishing!) 2010: Eat more veggies. (Our family did this by joining a CSA, which automatically upped our plant intake, and our fruits and veggies were all grown close to home). Now it’s time to announce the 2012 resolution! Are you ready? Drumroll please…

    Use less plastic.

    Mind if I get on a soapbox for a moment? Then I’ll hop off and explain this year’s resolution. I promise the soapbox shouldn’t take too long.

    Humans are hurting Mother Earth. We are stripping her of natural resources and in return giving back garbage, and in many cases uber-toxic garbage that doesn’t just hurt the earth but our bodies as well. The way we live is simply not sustainable, no matter how much we want it to be. Even though I’m getting a little preachy, I promise I’m not getting self-righteous. I’m part of the problem. We all are. BUT…that is empowering because it means we can ALL make a difference by making small changes every day. Okay, soapbox lecture over.

    This year I’m going to focus on using less plastic, both for the benefit of Mother Earth and our family’s health. This goal was initially inspired by the documentary Bag It. Everyone should see this movie. Look for it on PBS. If you can’t find it on TV, buy a copy. Or save it to your Netflix queue. Whatever you do, be sure to put this documentary on your to-watch list!!!

    Here is what my “Use Less Plastic” goal will entail:

    • I am going to try to eliminate single-use plastic from our repertoire. Our society treats plastic like it’s disposable. It’s not. It lasts forever AND it requires a lot of resources to be produced in the first place. Start looking around. When you really take notice, it’s astonishing just how reliant we’ve become on plastic and just how cavalier we are about its disposal. Because of this, it’s actually really hard to cut out single-use plastic. I’ll be sure to share our journey as the year progresses!
    • We are going to use more reusable products in general, including containers and coverings for our food (glass and fabric wherever possible), cloth napkins, reusable grocery bags, no plastic baggies in our kids’ lunches, etc. It will be an ongoing process I am sure.
    • When we do use plastic, I am going to try really hard to find plastic that is phthalate- and BPA-free. Trust me. You don’t want that crap getting into your body and every time we come into contact with those chemicals, they are getting into our systems. I’m going to share just one tidbit from Bag It that really got me thinking. The host, Jeb, and his wife had cut plastic out of their lives. He had his BPA and phthalate levels checked then went and stayed at a friend’s apartment for TWO days, using normal, everyday, “safe” consumer products (canned food, microwaveable plastic dishes, lotions, deodorant, kids’ shampoo…all things that claim to be safe, even for babies). After the two days, Jeb had his blood retested. His phthalate levels increased about 11 times and his BPA levels went from undetectable up 110 times. That was after just two days. The good news? It’s reversible. Cut the products with those chemicals from our lives and they will leave our bodies.

    So, there you have it. That’s my goal. Use less plastic. I hope you’ll join me!


  7. Tuesday, January 3

    Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse

    Yeah, yeah, I know. 95% of you just made new year’s resolutions to eat healthier. And here I am tempting you with chocolate mousse. I’m kind of evil. Plus, I’m looking out for the 5% who didn’t make such lofty goals…there is far too much health food talk going on around the food blogosphere right now. We want chocolate. We need chocolate!

    Resolutions be damned, this mousse is too good not to share. For those of you who are crazy enough to have cut sugar and/or chocolate out of your life, well, just tuck this recipe into the back of  your brain for a day that you feel like cheating.

    After Thanksgiving I had a hankering for some honest-to-goodness chocolate mousse, mousse without whipped cream mixed in. I did a little web search and came across a blog post by David Lebovitz where he had made Julia Child’s recipe. Since both of these people are beyond trustworthy in the chocolate department, I decided to give it a try. All I have to say is Julia knows her chocolate. It was beyond rich and the texture was just what I was looking for. Ooo. La. Laaaaa.

    Observe the texture. THAT is mousse.

    Warning: you may die eating this mousse. That is how rich this dessert is. A dollop of whipped cream on top is advised.

    Warning #2: This recipe requires lots of bowls. That’s just how Julia rolls.

    Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse
     
    Adapted from David Lebovitz’s adaptation of Julia Child’s recipe found in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf) (the only reason I made adaptations is because I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, and the mousse still came out. PHEW. Click here to check out David’s version that is more true to Julia’s recipe.)
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 6 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (Jane note: my butter was salted, it’s what I had)
    • 4 large eggs, separated
    • ⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 3 tablespoons water
    • pinch of salt
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    Instructions
    1. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over simmering water until smooth. Remove from heat.
    2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
    3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the ⅔ cup of sugar and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (Jane note: David suggested that you can also use a handheld electric mixer, which is what I did.)
    4. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above (Jane note: again, I used an electric mixer). Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
    5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.
    6. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume. (Jane note: but be sure that it is ALL incorporated…I was so worried about losing volume that there were pockets of mousse that didn’t get the egg whites that were all wrong texture-wise…a bit more mixing would have solved that.)
    7. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.
    8. The mousse can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Servies 6-8.

     


  8. Sierra Mist Natural Giveaway Winner!

    Time to announce the Sierra Mist Natural giveaway random winner…

    pattypal, who said, “How about iced up with lime, lemon AND a slice of orange in a mason jar…”

    While my mocktail was made with cuties, I think pattypal’s suggestion wins the prize for the actual cutest mocktail idea! I can just see those cute mason jars lined up at a shower or party!

    Be sure to check out the comments on the giveaway post – there were some great cocktail and mocktail ideas in there, it’s quite a collection!


  9. Sunday, January 1

    Week 258 Menu…and HAPPY NEW YEAR!…and a Resolution Suggestion for You!

    Happy 2012, everyone! We rang in the new year by drinking copious amounts of Coke and Martinelli’s and watching Karate Kid (which may have been obvious by my Instagram feed last night…see here and here and here). It was a pretty rockin’ party. That’s how we roll around here.

    Okay, so it’s time for me to do my annual spiel…you know the one telling you how AWESOME meal planning is and that you should make it your 2012 resolution? So, here we go…meal planning is AWESOME and I think you should make it your New Year’s Resolution, starting today! Okey dokey, spiel over…but if you need some reasons why you should do it, click here! And, yes, I am ‘spieling’ for purely selfish reasons…the more of you who jump on board, the more menus I get to read each week. 😉

    MONDAY:
    – Pulled BBQ Chicken (in the freezer) sandwiches, topped with coleslaw

    TUESDAY:
    Chicken teriyaki and rice
    – Stir fry veggies

    WEDNESDAY:
    Orange Chicken and rice
    Roasted Cauliflower

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Eating out with friends for a birthday celebration

    SATURDAY:
    – Lasagna (in the freezer)
    – Crusty bread and veggie

    SUNDAY:
    Waffles, fruit and home fries

    Your turn! Let’s see all of your menus! And for those of you who haven’t posted a menu before…give it a try, it’s January 1 after all!

    Also…even though I’m bugging you about the meal planning resolution…I am going to have another one for you later this week that I’m super excited about, building on my resolution theme from the last few years. Can’t wait to share it with you!

    Here’s to a delicious 2012!