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  1. Thursday, January 31

    Happy 6th Birthday, TWFD! And a KitchenAid Giveaway to Celebrate!

    Today is the 6th birthday for This Week for Dinner! Happy Birthday, Blog!

    It’s funny, looking back so much has happened in that time: two babies, a few moves, career twists and turns, lots and lots of food. It almost feels like it’s been a good decade or so! I have loved writing this blog and I look forward to many more years of doing so! I also want to thank all of you for your support. A blog is a unique thing because the readers actually take part and truly shape the blog’s personality. I am thankful to you for your comments, conversations, interactions. And, if nothing else, I get to steal your menu plan ideas every week!

    In celebration of the blog’s birthday, I have a spectacular giveaway for you today! One of you VERY lucky, randomly-selected commenters will win a KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor! You even get to pick the color! (Retail value $249.99. U.S. shipping address only, please.) It’s wicked cool (shout out to you New Englanders!), with externally-adjustable slicing, a second 4-cup mini bowl, ultra-wide mouth tube with 3 size options, and three speeds. Bottom line, it’s the top of the line. It’s beautiful. It’s awesome.

    I have been wanting a food processor forever but never pulled the trigger. The other day when I was watching the America’s Test Kitchen homemade pizza episode, they recommended the KitchenAid as their favorite food processor. I was SO happy that’s the one they picked cuz I gots friends at KitchenAid. I went a-begging, telling them I wanted to do something FUN and BIG for the blog’s birthday. Next thing I know I have a beautiful, empire red food processor in my kitchen and another one to give away! A very happy birthday, indeed. Big thanks to KitchenAid!

    I did in fact make the America’s Test Kitchen pizza (more on that tomorrow) and the food processor was fantabulous. (Side note: Spell check accepted fantabulous as an actual word.) I have a new pizza sauce recipe that I can’t wait to share with you tomorrow (that post is now published, click here!). It will be the perfect recipe for you to try out on your new food processor…but you have to enter the giveaway first!

    Here’s how to get yourself in the running!

    All comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Wednesday, February 6.

    Good luck to everyone and thanks again to KitchenAid!

    Now, go eat some chocolate. That’s how the blog wants us all to celebrate. It is the blog’s birthday, after all. We should listen.


  2. Tuesday, January 29

    New Kitchen Loves

    I have a few new kitchen loves. Like, I’m really loving these things so I have to share them!

    With this move we are finally living in a house. It’s short term until we find something more permanent, and it’s nothing fancy, but it’s a house. With a yard. And space for a family of five. It’s heavenly and I am feeling very grateful and blessed.

    Included with the house is a kitchen, as is often the case. 😉 Again, nothing fancy, but it is definitely a step up from my previous kitchen, which served me well but was TEENY TINY. As in, I had one drawer and one plug and next to no counter space. Yeah, not missing that kitchen so much.

    Our new kitchen isn’t huge, the cabinets are chipped, there is tile everywhere the eye can see (tile makes me nervous since it’s so easy to break things and I hate cleaning the grout, but I can deal), and the dishwasher doesn’t clean worth a darn. BUT, I have a full-sized oven! There’s a gas stove! There’s more counter space! There is TONS of light, perfect for a food blogger who photographs everything she eats! Here are my three most favorite features after one week in the new kitchen. You’ll see I’m pretty easy to please.

    1. Kitchen Faucet with Pull-Out Spray. I hate dirty sinks. The pull-out spray on the faucet indulges my OCD to the max. It’s just so quick and easy to wash everything down the drain! It’s much easier cleaning off Owen’s high chair tray and comes in quite handy when washing dishes. I love that the spray hose is built into the faucet rather than having it off to the side, making it super convenient.

    2. Clear drawers in the fridge. Okay, seriously, having clear drawers in the fridge is a revelation!

    3. Pantry space. I filled the pantry shelves NO PROBLEM. So happy to have a dedicated place to store our food! Woohoo!

    I also did a Trader Joe’s run the other night and found two new-to-me items that are pretty darn cool.

    1. Baking soda in a baking powder can. Three cheers for easy baking soda measuring!

    2. Small boxes of shelf-stable whipping cream. Talk about handy! I will definitely be keeping these stocked in my new pantry. 😉

    On a related note…it’s so nice to be cooking more regularly again. House is still a mess…but life is starting to feel a bit more normal!

     


  3. Sunday, January 27

    Week 314 Menu…and Using Beautiful Things

    Hello! I think I just might be ready to get back in the groove! Our house is still a mess of paper, boxes and piles, but we’re getting there!

    This morning I discovered that the dishwasher is basically useless. {Insert sarcastic “Yay!”} Cate and I rewashed and dried everything and had a nice time together. I don’t know if or when the dishwasher issue will be resolved, so I think we have a lot of dishwashing in our future.

    I am a firm believer in using beautiful things. For example, the cutting board that I bought at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Part of me wants to set it aside, put it on display, never let a knife hit its surface. But it is a cutting board, you’re supposed to cut on it! And because it is so beautiful, that elevates the everyday, mundane task of cutting things up. Even daily tasks can be beautiful and inspiring when looked at in the right light.

    I have been hiding away a stack of embroidered dishtowels that my grandma gave us when we got married. Embroidered dishtowels were her standard wedding gift and heaven only knows how many towels she embroidered over the years. This morning when I discovered we would be washing a lot of dishes, I decided to take these special towels out of the linen drawer. I took photos of each towel in their white, pristine state. And then I officially put them into the regular dishtowel rotation. I’m going to enjoy the towels, look at them everyday instead of once every few years when I reorganize the linens. I’m going to think of my grandma every time we use the towels. And I’m going to create memories with my children. These towels will become a part of my children’s history, just as the towels my own mother received on her wedding day are a part of my history and memories of childhood. These cute, embroidered duckies will forever remind my kids of hours spent washing, drying, talking and getting to know one another better over the kitchen sink.

    And now, a real menu for the Maynard family!

    SUNDAY (today):
    Steak
    – Roasted fingerling potatoes and zucchini

    MONDAY:
    – Chicken, zucchini and corn enchiladas
    – Guacamole and chips

    TUESDAY:
    – Chicken Masala (using TJ’s simmer sauce)
    – Rice and a veggie

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Leftovers

    THURSDAY:
    – Homemade hamburgers

    FRIDAY:
    – Takeout

    SATURDAY:
    – Breakfast for dinner (probably waffles)
    – Fruit

    SUNDAY:
    – Chicken Noodle Soup
    – Homemade bread

    Thank you all who have so stalwartly posted weekly menus over the last month of crazy in my life. I am so grateful for your inspiration every week! Looking forward to seeing what you have planned for this week! And remember to bring beauty into your everyday!


  4. Wednesday, January 23

    Hello from the Land of Boxes

    Hey there! Can you hear me? Not sure if you could because I am literally buried in boxes right now (Ann Perkins!). I can barely move and am pretty sure my voice must be muffled by all the paper that is burying me alive.

    Since I am not cooking and I can’t download photos from my good camera anyway because heaven only knows where my cord is, thought I would just pop in and say hi real quick. I have a post about change brewing in my head, but it’s taking too long to get on paper and, right now, I really just need to unpack, unpack, unpack.

    So, we made it to San Diego. Barely. Four of the five members of our little family got the stomach flu this weekend…yes, the very weekend we were driving to San Diego. And, I may or may not have mentioned this (my brain is so fried I can’t remember), but the girls and I all had lice the week before that. (I paid a pretty penny to get rid of it, but it was worth every dime. P.S. Nitxies in Redwood City is AWESOME.) Anyway, my weeks of single parenthood are over, I am SO grateful that Nate’s company paid for movers, and we are in beautiful San Diego safe and sound. I wasn’t entirely sure it would actually happen, but it did! And, this morning at the park, we could smell the ocean. We are lucky people. (Shout out to all the single parents out there…you are amazing.)

    A long time ago I told you about Howard’s Piccalilli Relish, which I have only ever found in New England. I kind of love it. So, every time we go east, I buy a couple bottles and carry them home in my suitcase. Today, as I was unpacking, I found EIGHT JARS OF RELISH. If you combine a little bit of obsession with forgetfulness, you end up with EIGHT JARS OF RELISH.

    Wonder what else I’m going to find the next few days…


  5. Sunday, January 20

    Week 313 Menu… and Albion Givaway Winner!

    Hey everyone! We are almost to San Diego, which is why my menu isn’t done yet, but as you know, I never let a Sunday go by without a menu post! Plus, I need to announce the Albion giveaway winner! So here goes!

    Albionfit.com

    First, the winner of the Albion Signature Hoodie: Comment #193 Brenda, who liked the So Meshed Suit, was our lucky, randomly-selected winner. Congratulations Brenda! For everyone else, don’t forget to use the code TWFD10 to get $10 off any order plus free shipping on the Albion website.

    Second, menu time! Since I am literally driving on the freeway…wait, almost literally, Nate is doing the actual driving…I’m going to be a slacker and wait until I have Internet to get my menu up. But just because I’m a slacker doesn’t mean you get to be. 😉 Please, please, please share your menu for the week so you can inspire one another!

    Thanks everyone and have a great week!


  6. Tuesday, January 15

    Fentons

    I have a Bay Area bucket list. In the time we have lived here, we actually ticked off a lot of the items on the list, but not everything. Like Alcatraz…we never went to Alcatraz. And Chez Panisse. My heart hurts just a bit knowing I never ate there. One day…

    Last week I was hanging out with my dear friend Rachel, talking about how fast my departure date was approaching. She suddenly exclaimed, “And we never made it to Fentons!” And I exclaimed right back, “Well, let’s go this week!” And so we did! Another Bay Area bucket list item checked off!

    Rachel grew up in Oakland, where Fentons is located. Fentons is famous, a Bay Area staple. It’s been around since 1894, which in California is OLD. They make delicious, homemade ice cream. And it’s where Carl Fredrickson and Russell grab a cone at the end of Up. How could you not want to go to Fentons, I ask you?

    We had a great time. We had to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ about 14 times, which was actually really fun. The restaurant has a busy, happy vibe. And the ice cream was, in fact, delicious. I got the Fudgeanna sundae with vanilla and dutch chocolate chip ice cream. Oh, that dutch chocolate chip ice cream was heavenly. I want more. Now.

    The sundae was a bit top heavy and when the waitress handed it to me, I didn’t get a good hold on it and my giant scoop of dutch chocolate chip ice cream rolled onto Owen. He was NOT happy…until we filled him with ice cream. Then he was very happy! So, fair warning, the sundaes are HUGE and may attack you if you’re not careful.


  7. Sunday, January 13

    Week 312 Menu…Moving Week!

    Good morning! We’re having wheat toast for breakfast, and everyone is pleased. Love it when the simplest thing works.

    Well, it’s moving week, alone with the kids (Nate’s already working in San Diego). We’re going to have movers (woohoo!!!!!!!!!!), but I’m still feeling a little intimidated by the week. Think lots of happy thoughts for us!

    MONDAY:
    – Spaghetti

    TUESDAY:
    – Chicken cordon bleu (it’s in the freezer)
    – Rice

    WEDNESDAY:
    Lulu’s (Lulu is our neighbor, she’s bringing us dinner that night. We love Lulu and her food!)

    THURSDAY:
    – Packing day…who knows?

    FRIDAY:
    Jeffrey’s Hamburgers (the kids love this place, it’s our last Jeffrey’s hurrah!)

    SATURDAY:
    – We might be on the road, we might not. Who knows what we’ll be eating!

    SUNDAY:
    – Arriving in San Diego! Again, haven’t the foggiest idea what we’ll be eating for dinner! 😉

    It was awesome to have so many more menus last week. I love January! Keep it coming my menu-planning friends! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got on the plan for this week. For those of you who will actually be cooking, I must admit, I’ll be feeling a little jealous of you. I can’t wait until our life calms back down a bit!


  8. Friday, January 11

    The Perfect Hoodie {Giveaway!}

    It’s January, which means a lot of us are making resolutions! As we all know, many new year’s resolutions involve exercise. Today I have a fun giveaway to help kick-start your working out goals! (Even if you don’t work out, you’re still gonna love the hoodie…keep reading!)

    We have these friends, Liz and Dave. We know them from way back when and they’re pretty much the BEST. They started a business a while back called Albion Fit. I have to share Albion with you. And not just because I love Liz and Dave. I also really LOVE what they’ve created.

    Albion Fit is a line of activewear that is comfortable, functional and so cute. Dave is an uber-talented graphic designer and I love it when his designs pop up on the clothes. It makes me happy.

    In addition to the activewear, Albion’s retro swimwear is, well, darling. (That’s a word that Liz uses. She also says things like “bless his heart…”) Anyway, I love their stuff and everything I’ve tried from them has been great.

    On Wednesday, a cushy package arrived in my mailbox. I opened it to discover a hoodie from Liz.

    Now, let me set the stage. I’ve been trying to find the perfect sweatshirt for years. And I found it just two weeks ago at the Stanford bookstore. A grey, basic Stanford hoodie that was super cozy, fit perfectly and was just what I’d been looking for all this time. I’ve worn it almost every day since I bought it. Until the Albion signature hoodie arrived, that is. I am not kidding, I love it more than my Stanford sweatshirt. I didn’t think that could be possible!

    Here’s the thing. My new Albion hoodie is just as soft and comfy as my Stanford sweatshirt, but it’s cuter and much more flattering. It’s the whole package. It’s the perfect hoodie.

    We have a lot of Albion love for you today, so get ready.

    First, everyone gets $10 off  your next order plus free shipping! Use the code TWFD10 (Applies to all orders in the U.S.)

    Second, you know I love giving away my favorite things. This hoodie is no exception! One of you lucky, randomly-selected people will get a hoodie just like mine. Here’s how to enter!

    • Leave a comment telling us something you love on the Albion website. That’s it! You’re entered!
    • Additional entry: Pin your favorite Albion item on Pinterest!
    • Additional entry: Follow Albion Fit on Pinterest
    • Additional entry: Like Albion Fit on Facebook
    • For the additional entries, be sure to leave a separate comment on this post for each additional entry.
    • All comments must be made by Midnight, PT on Thursday, January 17.

    Whether you work out or not, I’m certain you will find something to love on their site. Head on over to Albion and do some window shopping! And, after you get the window shopping out of your system, do some ACTUAL shopping and take advantage of the $10 off and free shipping with the TWFD10 code!

    Good luck with the giveaway! Thanks, Liz and Dave!


  9. Wednesday, January 9

    This Year’s Resolution: Use Less Plastic…Take Two!

    If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I firmly believe our actions in the kitchen have an impact on Mother Earth. There are so many things each of us can do every day with what and how we eat that can make a big difference in the environment. It’s empowering!

    Each year I choose a new year’s resolution to support those beliefs. Last year I decided our family needed to use less plastic and disposable items. I wrote a thorough post about the goal, with some information explaining what inspired my goal. And then, well, then life happened. And not much changed. And I didn’t reach my goal. This is not to say that we are over-users of plastic and disposables. I have always tried to be thoughtful about that. But things didn’t get any better than they were in the past.

    As I look back on 2012 I can honestly say that using less plastic and less disposable items is the hardest Eat Well, Heal the Planet goal I’ve made so far. Eating less meat was way easier than I thought it would be. Joining a CSA was a fabulous way to get our family eating more veggies and eating more locally. But less plastic? Less disposables? Oh my, it’s hard to do, especially in this throw-away, fast-paced society in which we live. It really takes effort. And I didn’t put in the effort I needed to.

    Instead of giving up and abandoning the goal, I’m going to give it another try! And I’m going to start with just a few specific goals and build from there.

    • We have a lot of paper napkins on hand in our house. Last year I had visions of using cloth napkins, which we did TWICE. Yes, just two times. Here’s the plan for this year. Use up all the paper napkins that we have already. While we work through that supply, I will build up my cloth napkin stores. I am NOT going to buy more paper napkins for our daily use. Once they’re gone, it’s cloth all the way!
    • I need to use less plastic baggies in my kids’ lunches. By the time school starts in the fall, I want to have transitioned to reusable metal containers, BPA- and pthalate-free plastic containers, and cloth pouches. I’m giving myself 9 months to make that transition happen.
    • I am going to find and try various snack recipes to replace the snacks I buy at the store…you know, applesauce pouches, granola bars, fruit roll-ups, etc. I’m not going to expect myself to give up those convenient snacks cold turkey, but I want to try to find a realistic way to try to replace some or all of them by making those snacks myself.

    That’s it for now. I’ll make more small goals as the year moves on and I will let you know what they are and how my progress goes.

    I’m curious, did any of you try to cut back on plastic and disposables last year? How did it go? Any great tricks you can share from your journey? I am very interested to hear your feedback and about your experience!

    Here’s to a more successful 2013, filled with less plastic and lots of pretty cloth napkins!


  10. Sunday, January 6

    Week 311 Menu

    Happy New Year!!! I hope you all had a great week! We took a little trip down to San Diego and had a lovely time. I forgot just how amazing the weather is down there. Wow. We are lucky we get to move back!

    With a week of family visiting, celebrations and travel, we have eaten out a TON and are sick to death of restaurant food. I am definitely getting back into the kitchen this week, despite the disastrous state of our home and all the organizing and packing that needs to happen in the next two weeks.

    MONDAY:
    – Spaghetti
    – Salad

    TUESDAY:
    Homemade cheese pizza

    WEDNESDAY:
    Grammy’s orange chicken
    – Rice and veggie

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    Waffles and fruit

    SATURDAY:
    – Take out

    SUNDAY:
    – Chicken Stir Fry
    – Dumplings

    It’s the new year and I’m hoping some of you have added meal planning to your list of resolutions! Here’s a little plug if you haven’t. Meal planning is a GREAT resolution – easy to track, easy to do, and makes life so much better! You should totally do it! 🙂 Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, back to business. It’s your turn to share your menu for the week! Can’t wait to see what you are all eating!