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  1. Thursday, August 30

    Cornflake-Chocolate-Chip-Marshmallow Cookies (a.k.a. Milk Bar Cookies)

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    Today we’re using the cornflake crunch!

    Our family calls these cookies the Milk Bar Cookies. When I was out in New Jersey this summer, my sister-in-law made them and it was love at first bite. Actually, more than love. Holy cow, people. SO GOOD.

    These cookies are unique and special and oh-so-yummy. The cornflake crunch is perfect in the cookie both flavor- and texture-wise and the marshmallows cook out to create great texture and a sweetness that nicely counterbalances the semi-salty flavor of the cornflakes. Plus there’s chocolate. Bingo.

    The recipe comes from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook I told you about yesterday. I borrowed the book from my sister-in-law and need to get my own copy stat. Any cookbook that has two pages devoted to explaining the cookie dough mixing process is a book that needs to be on my bookshelf!

    Cornflake-Chocolate-Chip-Marshmallow Cookies (a.k.a. Milk Bar Cookies)
     
    From Momofuku Milk Bar, with notes on my experience
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 16 tablespoons butter, softened at room temp
    • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
    • ⅔ cup firmly packed brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1½ cups flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1¼ teaspoons salt (Jane note: I only did ½ teaspoon salt and I thought that was plenty, and I love salt)
    • 3 cups Cornflake Crunch
    • ⅔ cup mini chocolate chips (Jane note: mini chips distribute better; also, I did 1 cup of chocolate chips and wish I had done even more, like 1½ cups)
    • 1¼ cup mini marshmallows
    Instructions
    1. Combine butter and sugars in mixer with paddle attachment. Cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, add egg and vanilla and beat for 7-8 minutes on high. Scrape down sides of bowl.
    2. Reduce speed to low and add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until dough comes together, 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add cornflake crunch and chocolate chips and mix on low for 30-45 seconds, just until mixed. Stir in the marshmallows just until mixed.
    3. The original recipe calls for a 2¾-ounce scoop (or ⅓ cup) measure. I did do this, but I wish I had used my small scoop. The cookies spread out a lot and my oven cooks so unevenly that I think a smaller cookie would have cooked more evenly. ANYWAY…back to the recipe!
    4. Portion out the dough onto parchment- or wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Press down the domes to flatten, cover in plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour or up to 1 week. Do not bake from room temperature or they will spread too much when cooking. Once they were frozen, I moved them to a ziploc bag to store in the fridge/freezer.
    5. Preheat oven to 375. (Jane note: I cooked them at 350)
    6. Arrange dough a minimum of 4 inches apart if using the large scoop (cookies spread a lot) on parchment- or Silpat-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 18 minutes. Rotate pan halfway through. Cookies should be brown on edges and starting to brown in the center when you take them out of the oven.
    7. Cool completely on the cookie sheet then eat or store in an airtight container. Will store for 5 days or up to 1 month in the freezer.

     

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  2. Wednesday, August 29

    Cornflake (and Crispy) Crunch!

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    Today’s recipe is a teaser recipe. But that’s the way it’s gotta be. I need you to have this recipe before I can share three other recipes with you. Hence, the tease. But I promise it will be worth the mystery and the wait!

    The recipe below for Cornflake Crunch is from the book Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi. I have yet to visit the Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC, but I’ve been told it is quite the experience. Next time I’m in New York I am definitely making a special trip. Anyway, back to the Cornflake Crunch. Like I said, it’s an ingredient in another Momofuku recipe that I will share with you tomorrow. I also made a Crispy Crunch, which I needed for another recipe that I’ve been trying to perfect. Again, you’re going to have to wait a bit for the big reveal!

    So, for today, let your imaginations run wild…what wonderful things will we be using the Cornflake and Crispy Crunch for?!

    Cornflake (and Crispy) Crunch!
     
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 5 cups cornflakes or crisped rice
    • ½ cup milk powder
    • 3 tablespoons sugar (Jane note: I would use 4 tablespoons)
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (Jane note: If you are using salted butter, only put in ½ teaspoon of salt)
    • 9 tablespoons butter, melted
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
    2. Place cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush with your hands until they are about ¼ in size. If using crisped rice, no need to crush it, although you can a little bit if you like. Mix in milk powder, sugar and salt. Add butter and stir to coat evenly.
    3. Spread on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. I think I had to toast them a bit longer than that and I stirred them around halfway through baking. They should look toasted, smell buttery and should crunch gently when cooled.
    4. Cool completely then store or use in a recipe. Store in an airtight container – up to 1 week at room temperature, up to 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

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  3. Tuesday, August 28

    Getting Back Into the Morning Rush Groove

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    It’s our last week of summer. We are living it up as much as we can this week before we get back into the school routine. That said, I think everyone in the family is excited for a new school year, especially our little Anna who cannot WAIT to wear her new school clothes.

    There is one thing I am NOT looking forward to, however. Waking up in the morning. We are a family of sleepers. Nate and I both love to sleep, and our kids have inherited the gene. If we don’t wake the girls up in the morning, they routinely sleep until 8:30 or 9:00. It’s AWESOME. When you don’t have to go anywhere, that is. I am not looking forward to a school start time of 8:05.  I just don’t know how we’re going to do it!

    Between the tattoos and the sneer, I think Anna may be turning into a pirate. And, as you can see, our family can even sleep when eating. We are THAT good at sleeping.

    I’m trying to get my brain into morning routine mode. Planning out how I’m going to feed a baby, make lunches, get kids dressed and brushed along with feeding everyone breakfast sort of stresses me out. I always have the best of intentions with breakfast, but I often end up just grabbing a box of cereal. Nate, however, is great at pulling together nice, nutritious morning meals for the kids. He is especially good at omelettes and is the best smoothie maker this side of the Mississippi.

    Most recently Nate has been making “juicies,” which the girls really like and don’t require us to remember to freeze fruit ahead of time. We just grab whatever juice is in the fridge, whatever fruit is in the fruit bowl and hit blend.

    I’ve been working with Tropicana a bit recently. I appreciate their juice because it is made from fresh oranges and is 100% pure and natural. No added sugar especially makes me happy. The girls like to have a small cup of juice in the morning, but I wanted to come up with something a little more fun but still quick and easy for the start of school next week. Today we created Creamy Juicies!

    It’s basically a creamsicle in a cup, only healthier. And it was super fast to make. It’s definitely going on my morning routine repertoire!

    Those of you have have crazy mornings, how do you tackle it? Please share your best tips and strategies for tackling the morning routine. Strength in numbers, after all! Here’s to a not-too-stressful, not-too-much-yelling, everyone’s-teeth-get-brushed year of busy mornings!

    Creamy Juices
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 3 parts orange juice
    • 1 part milk
    • Small splash vanilla
    • A few handfuls of ice, to your liking
    Instructions
    1. Add juice, milk, vanilla then ice to your blender – blend! Add us much ice you like – less ice makes for a nice, cold drink. More ice makes for more of a slushy.

    This post was sponsored by Tropicana. Tropicana Pure Premium is 100% pure Florida orange juice. If you would like to connect with the folks at Tropicana, visit them at Facebook.com/Tropicana.

     

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  4. Sunday, August 26

    Week 292 Menu

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    I love watching these little people. They’re even cute just eating breakfast.

    This is our last week of summer! My plans? Sleep in every morning and get to the pool as much as we can!

    MONDAY:
    – Leftovers

    TUESDAY:
    – Eat out after going to see the class lists!

    WEDNESDAY:
    Spaghetti and meatballs
    – Veggie from CSA (whatever comes!)

    THURSDAY:
    Enchiladas

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Quiche…this used to be one of my go-to meals, but I haven’t made it in years! We’re going to have a bunch of eggs this week from the CSA, so quiche it is!

    SUNDAY:
    – Pork chops…Vince on Friday Night Lights said “Let’s eat some pork chops” in the episode we watched last night, so now I’m craving them. ;)
    – These wickedly delicious creamy potatoes that my mom makes and I’ve never written about…I see a blog post in our future!

    As always, your menus to browse through from last week were such a help as I planned. Thank you thank you!

    You know the drill…time to share weekly menus! Fancy Nancy or Plain Jane, all menus are welcome! 

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  5. Thursday, August 23

    The 2012 Slow Churned SocialLuxe Lounge!

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    Wow. I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since the Slow Churned SocialLuxe Lounge in New York City. Time flies when you’re finally able to relax and catch your breath after months and months of craziness!

    The Par-TAY

    For those of you who don’t know what SocialLuxe Lounge is, it’s this crazy idea my friend Allison concocted in 2009. She decided that we should throw a party for bloggers. We were like, “Sure, why not? How hard could it be? Allison would never lead us astray!” Well…it was hard. But it was worth it. And Allison certainly did not lead us astray. In fact, while the parties we’ve held each year have been amazing, the best part of it all has been the relationships I’ve developed with Allison and Marie, my SocialLuxe business partners. I am blessed beyond measure having these two ladies in my life. Working with them on something so hard/fun/time-consuming/awesomesauce has created a bond that will NEVER BE BROKEN! Yes, I’m getting all cheesy and melodramatic on you. I can’t help myself!

    Marie, Allison and I

    Okay, enough blithering, onto the party!

    This year our title sponsor was Edy’s/Dreyer’s Slow Churned ice cream. They were our dream sponsor and we were delighted to work with them. First of all, I totally buy their Slow Churned ice cream all the time. For real. Secondly, they were helping to raise money for Operation Smile. All summer they’ve been encouraging people give a smile and change a life! Each time someone uploads a smiley picture enjoying Slow Churned to the Edy’s or Dreyer’s Facebook pages, $5 is donated to Operation Smile. Our party was the official New York City stop on the Reason to Smile tour and we were able to get lots of photos of lots of smiley faces! You can upload your own photos (and get a free scoop of ice cream!) by clicking here!

    Vanessa Lachey joined Edy’s/Dreyer’s to help put smiles on our party guests’ faces. She was DARLING. Seriously, so sweet and nice and maybe the cutest pregnant person ever. She came all the way from L.A. even though she was 8 months pregnant. Go Vanessa! She said that ice cream and helping kids was a no brainer!

    350 wonderful, amazing, talented women bloggers came to the party to eat ice cream, get primped and pampered and have some fun. Each time we do this shindig there is a moment when I look out at the packed room and just feel happy. It is seriously FUN.

    Between great music, the BlogLuxe Smile Awardsamazing and hardworking volunteerscute waiters, fun gift bags, celebrities, delicious foodfancy drinks, massages, gorgeous flowers, make-up, paparazzi, henna, the red carpet, and fabulous bloggers, it was a night to remember!

    In addition to Edy’s/Dreyer’s, we had other great sponsors at the party as well. I need to give them a shout out because the party would not be possible without them and they were all fabulous!

    Jill Zarin, of Real Housewives of New York fame and as spunky and fun as you would imagine, was there with BISSELL to show off the new Spot Bot. I am one of the lucky few who will be receiving a Spot Bot of my very own and I can’t WAIT to get my hands on that thing! Seriously, we have a spot in the girls’ room that needs some serious love right now. Hurry, Spot Bot. I need you!

    Spot Bot on the Go; Real Housewife meets a Pioneer Woman!

    Summer Baltzer, of Design on a Dime fame and gracious and lovely, was at the party with Wilsonart HD. They have these totally cool laminate countertops that are beautiful, super resilient and affordable. I wish I had a kitchen of my own right now to fill with these counters!

    UNREAL Candy was also at the event and everyone was super excited about their unjunked treats. Let’s not talk about how many peanut butter cups were ingested by one Jane Maynard in a 24-hour time period.

    Ubisoft was there to help our guests get their dance on with Just Dance. And Netflix did some giveaways with a fun Twitter quiz. Lots of fun to be had!

    And, one of the best parts for me was having my sister Anne, sister-in-law Cora and brother Christian there to help out. It was awesome having them there and I got to fulfill all of their biggest dreams…Anne met Jill Zarin, Cora met Ree Drummond and Christian met Vanessa Lachey. They all went home happy. ;)

    If you’re dying to get a gander at more photos of the event (I know you are, I can see it in your eyes), visit our Flickr page!

    Three cheers for SocialLuxe! {And now I’m going to take a nap. Phew!}

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  6. Tuesday, August 21

    Melt-Away Cookies

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    As you know, last week we did a lemonade stand. We decided to sell cookies alongside our homemade lemonade. As I thought about what cookies to make with Anna, I remembered these cookies that my friend Leslie made once years and years ago. After some digging, happily I found the recipe!

    Anna is my little cook and we had a great time making these together. Her most favorite part was licking the beaters…of course. At one point she said, “Mommy, I’m helping you clean up the dishes by licking them. It’s a lot of work for me.” Way to take one of the team, Anna.

    These cookies were just as good as I remembered. They literally melt in your mouth. They are very similar to shortbread, but much lighter in texture. And the cream cheese dollop on top? Heavenly. Nate declared these cookies as “dangerous” because they are so tiny and cute and yummy and easy to eat and eat and eat. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

    Melt-Away Cookies
    Cookie:
    – 1 C butter
    – 3/4 C corn starch
    – 3/4 C powdered sugar
    – 1 C flour
    – 2 pinches salt

    Frosting:
    – 1 3-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
    – 1 C powdered sugar
    – 1/2 t vanilla

    In a medium bowl or stand mixer, cream butter. Add cornstarch, sugar and salt. Blend well. Beat in flour until thoroughly mixed. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten cookies with a the bottom of a glass dipped in powdered sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes (11 minutes was perfect in my oven). You do NOT want the cookies to brown.

    Mix together frosting ingredients. Frost cookies. I like to put the frosting into a ziploc bag, snip the corner and squeeze a large dollop of frosting on each cookie. It’s fast and that way, once I’ve put frosting on every cookie, if there is still more frosting I can go back and add more evenly over all the cookies. Use a knife to spread the dollop on the cookie. Careful – the cookies are a bit dainty!

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  7. Sunday, August 19

    Week 291 Menu

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    On Friday, my friend Natalee had us over so we could do a lemonade stand. Cate looked forward to it all week and was over-the-moon excited when the day actually came. It was one of those magical moments as a parent, watching her live the dream, so to speak. I never did a lemonade stand as a kid, so my 7-year-old self got to live vicariously through Cate. And it was as much fun as I always imagined it would be.

    I seriously can’t believe summer is almost over. Just two more weeks of sleeping in and hitting the pool when we can! And, because it’s summer, I didn’t really get to a lot of items from last week’s menu. We’ll see how this week goes!

    MONDAY:
    Spinach and Pancetta Stuffed Shells
    – Salad

    TUESDAY:
    – Leftovers

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Chicken Pot Pie (still have a recipe I want to try)

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Grill night…hot dogs, hamburgers
    – Watermelon, baked beans

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    – Breakfast for dinner, probably waffles

    You know the drill! Please pretty please share your menu for the week!

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  8. Wednesday, August 15

    Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)

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    One of the dishes I grew up eating was “chicken fajitas.” They weren’t fajitas in the traditional sense but that’s what we always called them. My mom would make a chicken stew called pollo guisado. We would use the stew as a filling in tortillas and eat them like fajitas. Everyone in the family loved “chicken fajitas” for dinner…kids and adults alike!

    I’ll never forget one chicken fajita night in particular. My mom called us all into dinner and we sat down to eat while she finished up a few things in the kitchen. We each started eating then slowly looked at one another. Something was not right. In fact, our food tasted downright weird. No one in the family had the heart to say anything, so we just kept eating. My mom finally sat down, took one bite and said, “Why are you guys eating this?!?!” She immediately realized she had put cinnamon into the stew instead of cumin. Might I recommend NOT using cinnamon in this dish!

    Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)
     
    From Cuisine of the American Southwest by Anne Lindsay Greer This stew is rarely served alone as a main course, but rather is frequently used as a filling for Tortas, Tacos or Chalupas (or, in the case of the Wallins, Fajitas)
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    Ingredients
    • 2 pounds boneless raw chicken, skinned and cut into bite-size pieces, see note*
    • ½ cup flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1-2 tablespoon butter
    • 1 medium onion, minced
    • 1 small bell pepper, minced
    • 1 14.5 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with the juices
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • Chicen stock, if needed to thin, see note*
    • salt and pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. Place the flour, salt and pepper in a bag. Add the chicken in several batches and shake vigorously to coat very lightly with the seasoned flour. In a large skillet, saute the chicken in the oil and butter over medium heat until all sides are lightly browned. Add additional butter if necessary (my mom says she find this is always necessary!). Remove the chicken.
    2. Saute onion and bell pepper 1-2 minutes in the remaining fat in the skillet. Stir in the tomatoes and the juices breaking up the tomatoes with a fork. Stir in the cumin and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the chicken and some stock if the mixture seems too thick. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Serve as a filling for tortas, tacos, chalupas or fajitas and top with whatever toppings you like (cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole, yadayada). Yields enough filling for about 12 tacos.
    4. *Note: Because this is a filling, the amounts of chicken and liquid are variable depending upon how you plan to use it.

     

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  9. Tuesday, August 14

    Cereal Junkie Picks a New Favorite

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    As part of Martha’s Circle, Kashi sent me a few of their new cereals to try out. I’ve always loved Kashi because they used whole grains before it was “cool” to use whole grains…plus they’re based in La Jolla and I love anything born in La Jolla (especially my daughters!).

    A few months ago when I was trying out different types of milk, I had my resident milk expert and totally adorable 4-year-old, Anna Maynard, join me on my taste test. This time around I went to Cate Maynard, 7-year-old extraordinaire and cereal junkie. I am not exaggerating when I say that Cate would eat cereal every day for every meal if given the opportunity! In fact, I have to force myself not to just feed her cereal all the time…if only man (and little girls) could live on cereal alone, my life would be so easy!

    If Cate was in fact allowed to live on cereal alone, I’m pretty sure she would choose Kashi’s Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble. When I pulled out the different Kashi cereals to try, she liked them all, but she really loved the Toasted Berry Crumble. In fact, at one point while she was eating, she stopped and said, “This {points at bowl} is delicious.” Later on she declared, “Extra good.” And each day since then she’s begged for a bowl every chance she’s gotten!

    I also really liked this cereal. The flavor is great…how can it not be with dried cranberries? But my favorite part of the cereal is the texture. I’m not one to eat soggy cereal…in fact I do crazy things like tip my bowl while eating to keep part of my cereal dry to maximize crispiness. (I told you I was crazy.) The Go Lean Crisp was just that…totally crisp! I really loved the texture and was happy that it could stand up to the milk.

    I also like that there is a lot of protein in the cereal. Cate, a new and eager reader, keeps reminding us that it has the same amount of protein as an egg, something she read on the box all by herself. Every time she brings this fact up, it is followed by a barrage of questions: “What is protein? How much protein is in an egg? Is protein healthy?” There has been a lot of protein talk around here since this Kashi cereal has come into our home!

    I am very happy to have discovered the Kashi Go Lean Crisp cereals. We’re definitely going back for more!

    Disclosure: I was not paid for this post but did receive cereal for review.

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  10. Sunday, August 12

    Week 290 Menu

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    Sometimes you just need a bowl of Frosted Flakes. Am I wrong? Nope, I’m not. ;) (No, this sentence was not sponsored. I just really wanted Frosted Flakes for breakfast. Although, I’ll take a check if Kelloggs wants to send it.)

    Here’s the plan for this week!

    MONDAY:
    – Chicken Fried Steak, because I haven’t eaten it in ages and I just feel like it. Probably will use Ree’s recipe, but any pointers are welcome since I’ve NEVER made it.
    – Mashed potatoes and green beans

    TUESDAY:
    Easy Peasy Bean Tacos

    WEDNESDAY:
    Spinach and Pancetta Stuffed Shells
    – Salad

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Eat out

    SATURDAY:
    – Playing by ear…

    SUNDAY:
    -Chicken Pot Pie (new recipe to try)
    – Veggies of some sort

    You know what to do…post your menu for the week! We want to see it! THANK YOU! :)

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