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  1. Friday, May 30

    Friday Show and Tell

    Happy Friday! Let’s start with an inspirational quote, shall we?

    the awesome that is house of cards on netflix from @janemaynard

    You guys, House of Cards!!!! We just finished the second season and there are SO MANY THINGS I want to say but I won’t because then I’d just be a big spoiler. But, I will say this: Nate is worried that my mind thinks too much like Frank Underwood’s because I totally predicted how this season would end at the end of last season. Maybe I should get into politics…

    A BIG congratulations to my amazing sister-in-law Hannah who just launched her own company, Odessa Swimwear! Until June 15, you can get 20% of your order and free shipping if you enter the code 2042JUNE. If you’re looking for a high-end bikini made from beautiful fabrics, Odessa is just what you need!

    Introducing Odessa Swimwear!

    Two quick shout outs before I get to this week’s food links.

    • My chair finally arrived from Dot & Bo and it is perfect. I am so happy we were able to buy it! On a related note, Dot & Bo asked me to guest post on their blog! I was super excited they reached out because, seriously, I love them. Check out my post on the Dot & Bo blog here!
    • Have you seen Joss and Main? It’s similar to Dot & Bo, but the collections are organized a bit differently. Like Dot & Bo, you essentially can find super awesome stuff for your house at great prices. We recently ordered a rug from Joss and Main (which I instagrammed a few weeks ago). The rug is GORGEOUS, but apparently not very resilient. We had an issue on the second day with some spilled water. Yes, just plain old water. Joss and Main’s customer service replied immediately and rectified the situation, going WAY above and beyond what I ever would have expected them to do. So, there you go. Really cute stuff, great customer service. Thought I should spread the word!

    And on Cosmo this week:

    Your turn! Share whatever you want!


  2. Tuesday, May 27

    The Perfect Taco Night

    I have perfected taco night. No, seriously. When you have tacos at my house, they are the best. And, yes, I’m totally bragging. I can’t help it, I am in love with taco night!

    how to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynard

    Let’s begin with a little history. Until I moved to San Diego, taco night meant hard shell tacos, seasoned ground beef, iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, salsa and cheese. I’m not saying those tacos aren’t good. They totally are, in fact, that’s Cate’s favorite kind of taco. But when we moved to San Diego many years ago and started having dinner at Maria’s house, things started to change. Maria is a close family friend and she also happens to be Mexican. And, when we go to her house, she almost always feeds us homemade Mexican food.

    how to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynardhow to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynard

    One of our favorite Maria meals is carne asada, corn tortillas, homemade pinto beans and rice, topped with super spicy homemade salsa (of course!). Needless to say, these tacos are quite different than the gringo version I grew up with! Now, whenever I have corn tortillas and homemade beans, I think fondly of Maria and her kitchen.

    how to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynardhow to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynard

    So, anyway, back to the present. I have finally created the perfect taco night. It’s taken years of cobbling together different recipes, but all of the work has paid off! Thanks to Maria and my new neighbor Ari (also Mexican!) for their inspiration and recipes over the years, I’ve figured out how to create an awesome “taco bar” that will please Mexicans and gringos alike! 😉

    how to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynard

    Also, I will admit that you do not need ALL of the following ingredients to have a fabulous taco night. But, I will also tell you that when I do spend the time to pull all of this together, it really is magical! (Yep, dinner can be magical in my little world.)

    The Perfect Taco Night
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • The Tortillas:
    • Corn tortillas: These are my absolute favorite for tacos of all kinds!
    • Flour tortillas: Even though I gorge on corn tortillas, my family also likes to have flour tortillas handy.
    • (Optional) Hard taco shells: It’s good to have some hard shells handy for the pure gringos in the group, like my daughter Cate and my mom Phyllis!
    • Do you have a tortilla warmer? If you don’t, you should get one! I love being able to heat up a bunch of tortillas, toss them in the warmer and have them ready all at once when we dig in.
    • The Meat:
    • Grilled chicken: Whether you cook the chicken in a grill pan with a bit of olive oil on the stove or on an actual grill, simply salt and pepper the chicken prior to cooking and cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF. I like to use boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs. Sometimes, after I cut the cooked chicken into small pieces, I will toss it in a bowl with about a quarter of a packet of taco seasoning. Super yum!
    • Taco Meat: Everybody still loves good ol’ taco meat! I often use a taco seasoning packet but, if I don’t have that handy, I just season the cooked ground beef or ground turkey with salt, pepper, dried garlic, dried onion, chili powder, paprika and cumin.
    • (Optional) Carne Asada: We hardly ever have this because I’m lazy, but it makes for some darn good taco-ing.
    • (Optional) Grilled Salmon: This is another one that we rarely serve on taco night, but when we do it’s delish! Click here for a recipe for grilled salmon that is flavored perfectly for tacos.
    • The Rice:
    • Whether you put the rice right on your taco or eat it on the side, rice is a necessity for the perfect taco night! Click here for a cilantro-lime rice recipe that works great!
    • The Toppings:
    • Grilled bell peppers and onions (both sliced thin before cooking)
    • Avocado (sliced or cut into chunks) and/or guacamole
    • Lime slices
    • Shredded cheese
    • Beans (pinto, black or peruan are all delish!): You can of course use canned beans, but homemade beans are really, truly easy to make and TASTE SO GOOD. Click here for recipe.
    • Sour cream
    • Salsa
    • Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
    • Chopped romaine lettuce or jalapeño slaw
    • Chopped tomatoes
    Instructions
    1. Putting It All Together!
    2. Obviously one taco can’t hold ALL of the yumminess in the list above! Just mix and match your favorite ingredients! Here are my two favorite taco combinations:
    3. Chicken taco: corn tortilla, grilled chicken, beans, rice, peppers and onions, creamy tomatillo dressing, salsa, avocado
    4. Grilled salmon taco: flour tortilla, grilled salmon, jalapeño slaw, sour cream, avocado

     

    This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. You will find dishes from the Heritage line, the Montecito line and the Provence Blue flatware set in some of the photos above. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love having Q Squared in my kitchen and that opinion is 100% my own!


  3. Sunday, May 25

    Week 383 Menu

    Happy Sunday! I can’t believe it’s already time to plan the weekly menu!

    weekly meal plan from @janemaynard including FREE printable menu and shopping list!

    I have a few carry-overs from my last menu. Last week just didn’t go as planned, but whatever…those weeks happen!

    MONDAY:
    – Happy Memorial Day! Grill night: hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and more!

    TUESDAY:
    Malibu Melt Wraps

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Nachos (Anna’s idea!)

    THURSDAY:
    – Egg scrambles (mixed with whatever we yummy additions are in the fridge) and fresh fruit

    FRIDAY:
    – Take out night

    SATURDAY:
    – Homemade pizza night

    SUNDAY:
    Turkey Boursin Baguettes
    – Fresh fruit

    Click here for the free printable of this week’s menu plus the shopping list!

    You know the drill, please share your menu for the week, no matter how plain or fancy!


  4. Friday, May 23

    Friday Show and Tell

    Happy Friday! I have a few fun things to share today!

    derek on netflix - my new favorite show!

    First, how did I not know about Derek before this week? SO GOOD. Derek is a comedy-drama from Ricky Gervais that is on Netflix and I watched the whole season in one day. (I was sick in bed and Derek was the only upside to that incredibly boring day!) I’m gonna say it even though it’s cheesy – this show will make you laugh and it will make you cry. And cry some more. I seriously love this show.

    Second, I discovered a cool website started by a friend of a friend called With Love, From Brooklyn. The friend of a friend is chef Dara and her site features gift sets made of artisan treats from Brooklyn. The site is filled with all kinds of deliciousness and super cool stuff, including some really fun ideas for Father’s Day. So fun!

    Here are my posts on Cosmo this week!

    I’m done! Now it’s your turn to share!


  5. Thursday, May 22

    Easy Homemade Microwave Chips (Yes, MICROWAVE)

    I’ve done a few recipe roundups for Cosmo featuring chips of all kinds. While digging around the web looking for chip recipes, I discovered a tip that I had never known before – you can use the microwave to make chips!

    homemace microwave potato chips from @janemaynard

    I couldn’t believe it. No matter how many blog posts or articles I read about the technique, I just didn’t think the microwave would actually work for making chips. Of course I had to give it a try and, I am here to attest, that this trick works beautifully! You don’t even have to use oil, making these chips healthier than the traditionally fried (or even baked!) variety.

    homemace microwave potato chips from @janemaynard

    The chips come out really light and crispy. My family loved them, especially Nate and Cate. Nate couldn’t believe they were homemade, let alone cooked in the microwave! You can pretty much use whatever kind of potatoes you like, and you can even use other vegetables, too. I saw plenty of microwave chip recipes out there using foods like sweet potatoes. I haven’t tried anything but potatoes myself, but I think I might have to!

    homemace microwave potato chips from @janemaynard

    A quick note on the preparation: while you can slice the potato with a sharp knife, I would highly recommend using a mandoline slicer so that your potatoes are all the same thickness. Plus, a mandoline is just plain faster. (If you’re looking for a mandoline, my friend Angie gave me the Chef’n Sleekslice handheld mandoline  as a gift and it’s awesome. It’s easy to use, works great and takes up a lot less cabinet space than the bigger mandolines you normally see. I highly recommend it!)

    homemace microwave potato chips from @janemaynard

    One more quick note: the process is a little time consuming. It takes a few batches to cook one potato but, while it takes a little time, the process is incredibly easy. Just have a book or a podcast handy while you are cooking!

    (>> Find out more…)


  6. Tuesday, May 20

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw

    I was recently hired by The Salmon Council to develop a salmon recipe. I was trying to decide between salmon tacos or salmon with a balsamic glaze and just couldn’t settle on which recipe to pursue. I took the dilemma to Facebook (as one does) and the votes overwhelmingly came in for salmon tacos, so I decided to give them a whirl!

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw by @janemaynard

    The Salmon Council did not hire me to do a blog post, but this recipe turned out so yummy I had to share it with you! Holy smokes, folks. Deeeeeeeeeeelicious. Seriously, this salmon was flavored beautifully, with a nice balance of salty, spicy and sweet. The texture of the fish was perfect and it paired wonderfully with the slaw on the tacos. Basically just super duper yummy food going on here.

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw by @janemaynardGrilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw by @janemaynard

    Without further ado, the recipe!

    (>> Find out more…)


  7. Sunday, May 18

    Week 382 Menu

    Are you ready to get to the meal planning for the week? I am! Here goes!

    weekly meal plan from @janemaynard including FREE printable menu and shopping list

    MONDAY:
    Chili and corn chips

    TUESDAY:
    Spaghetti and meatballs
    – Salad

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Nachos (Anna’s idea!)

    THURSDAY:
    – Egg scrambles (mixed with whatever we yummy additions are in the fridge) and fresh fruit

    FRIDAY:
    – Take out night

    SATURDAY:
    – Grill night: hot dogs, hamburgers, that kind of stuff

    SUNDAY:
    Swedish pancakes (I still haven’t made these…but I am bound and determined to make them happen, so on the menu they go!)
    – Fresh fruit

    Click here for the free printable of this week’s menu plus the shopping list!

    I don’t know about you, but I am soooo grateful for everyone who shares their menus each week! It really is such a great help and inspiration when I plan every Sunday, so thank you for the ideas. You know the drill, please post your weekly menu!


  8. Friday, May 16

    Friday Show and Tell and Update from San Diego

    Hello, friends! Before we get to this week’s links and normal show and tell, I just wanted to give a quick update on the fires here in North County San Diego. We have literally been surrounded by fires on three sides since Wednesday morning (the fourth side is the ocean). While we are very close to the fires, our neighboorhood is in a spot where the chance of our home becoming victim to wildfires is very remote. So, my little family is safe and sound, as is our home. But it’s been heartbreaking to know so many in our community have not been so lucky. And the fires continue to burn. Please send prayers/positive vibes/anti-wind spells our way.

    poinsettia fire by @janemaynardOur view of the Poinsettia Fire from the living room on Wednesday shortly after the fire began.

    On a much lighter note, here are my posts on Cosmo this week. (The baking hacks are super cool, btw!)

    Happy Friday. And, as usual, please share anything you would like in the comments!


  9. Thursday, May 15

    There’s Always Money in the Banana Stand {Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Banana Recipe}

    My dad is in town visiting right now, so I thought it would be fun to watch a movie with him and the kids and make a treat to go along with it. As I was trying to think of a fun movie-themed treat, I couldn’t help but think about Arrested Development and the banana stand. But since Arrested Development isn’t exactly geared towards the elementary-school set, I had to get a little creative. Here was my crazy thought process.

    DIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynard

    First, my dad grew up in the Costa Mesa-Newport Beach area. Balboa Island is famous for its chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, something Nate and I have gotten with the kids on vacation before. Not only do I have memories of eating frozen bananas with my kids, but my dad has his own memories of eating them when he was growing up, too. (Pssst, my dad has a secret: he never really liked the bananas. We, on the other hand, do!)

    Second, Nate and I were diehard Arrested Development fans when it was first airing. Like, before it was on Netflix and got all trendy and cool. (Don’t get me wrong, I love that it’s on Netflix and I can watch it whenever I get a hankering for a loose seal or two. Plus, Netflix gave us a new season, for which we will be forever grateful!)

    Third, we are having a heatwave right now and I thought a frozen treat would be mighty delicious.

    Fourth, I love the book Jumanji (I even have a first edition as a decoration in our living room) and was super excited when I found out the Jumanji movie was on Netflix (thanks to my sister for letting me know – she was obsessed with that movie when we were kids!). There are lots of monkeys in Jumanji. Monkeys love bananas. I hear they even go for frozen bananas occasionally.

    DIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynard

    Where does all this lead to? Homemade chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, of course! I decided frozen bananas would be a great treat to get us excited for watching Jumanji. And, after the kids went to bed, maybe a few episodes of Arrested Development, too.

    DIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynard

    This chocolate-dipped frozen banana recipe is super simple, and it is amazing how incredibly cute and professional-looking the bananas come out! Seriously, when I took them out of the freezer, Nate thought I had bought them at a store!

    In addition to being fast and easy, Anna my 6-year-old was a huge help while making the bananas and we had a lot of fun cooking together.

    DIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynardDIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynardDIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynard

    So, basically, everything went as planned. Anna, Owen and I had a blast making frozen bananas together. We all had fun eating them with Grandpa (who liked the frozen bananas, by the way). And we watched Jumanji! Okay, well, some of us watched Jumanji. Anna totally chickened out and retreated to the bedroom, where she and Nate watched science shows together. But 3rd-grader Cate stuck it out with Grandpa and me. I told her we “had to finish the game no matter what!” when she was freaking out and wanting to run from the room. She told me we weren’t really playing the game. I told her the movie wasn’t really real. Luckily, we made it to the end and declared “Jumanji” in victory! (Okay, so that was Robin Williams, but who’s keeping track?)

    Also, we have determined that there really is always money in the banana stand. The frozen bananas were so cute and so delicious Nate and the kids decided we should start a business. And that we would most certainly make a big fat profit on frozen bananas (there was math involved). And that the banana stand should be called “Jane’s Bananas” (10 points to Nate for the clever name). The whole time they were talking I just kept thinking “This is awesome blog post material.” They didn’t even know that I was going to be writing a post about the bananas we were eating. This post practically wrote itself, people.

    (>> Find out more…)


  10. Tuesday, May 13

    How to Make Your Patio Part of Your Home

    As I type I am sitting in a hotel room in Chicago. One of the hotel employees was saying she doesn’t even care that the weather here the last few days was completely hot, humid and uncomfortable because it was finally NOT WINTER. It was really cute. It also made me grateful (once again) we ended up settling in San Diego!

    patio makeover by @janemaynard

    Regardless of where you live, however, the warm weather is finally here (okay, maybe too warm, but don’t forget that snow!). Warm weather means we can all finally enjoy some time outside. Nate and I (with the help of my sister Anne) recently gave our patio a makeover and it has made all the difference. Just wanted to share it with you and maybe give you some simple ideas for your own patio and backyard sprucing!

    We purchased our home from the original owner. She lived her for over 40 years and took great care of the house, including putting in a beautiful yard and backyard patio. The patio area has a pergola, a gas line running out to the patio area, a fountain and beautiful plants all around. Every time I even look at the patio I feel beyond grateful.

    patio makeover by @janemaynard

    When we moved in, all we had was an outdoor table and some chairs. It’s taken us almost a year, but we have finally given our patio a makeover and I cannot tell you what a difference it has made in our enjoyment of the area. We are definitely spending more time outside, especially for meals. And, we finally have a grill, which means we’ll be cooking outside more, too! By adding a few functional as well as decorative features to the patio, it really has become an extension of our indoor living space. AND I LOVE IT. Here’s what we did!

    allen + roth fire pit | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    allen + roth fire pit | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    allen + roth fire pit | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    allen + roth fire pit | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    • Fire pit: We bought an allen + roth wood fire pit for the backyard. We are planning to use it for the first time this week and the kids are ecstatic! The one we chose is lightweight but really pretty, so we’re keeping it stored in the patio area, but it is easy to move out from under the pergola into the yard for when we actually do a fire. And it was only $139! You don’t need one of those fancy built-in fire pits to enjoy the benefits! And we chose wood so we can roast food over the fire.

    comfortable outdoor seating | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    comfortable outdoor seating | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    • Comfortable Seating: I think my favorite addition to the porch was adding comfortable seating. It was nice having a table and chairs, but they weren’t great if you just wanted to go outside and read a book or chat with a friend. We added a cushioned bench as well as an allen + roth cushioned outdoor rocking chair. I loooooove the rocking chair, just so you know.

    outdoor pillows | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    • Pillows and more pillows! Not only do the pillows add some comfort, but they just look super cute and make the space look a lot more finished. If you do nothing else, spruce up your patio with some pillows! The girls fell in love with this allen + roth outdoor pillow with a bird on it. They insisted on getting that pillow, so I used it to set the color scheme for the rest of the pillows, which matched the cushions we already had.

    allen + roth lanterns | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    • Lighting: I had already strung some clear bulb string lights on the pergola, but we added a few glass lanterns that hang from the posts and found these really pretty wood and glass lanterns by allen + roth (one is 11″ and the other is 8.5″ – please note that the lanterns online are natural wood color – we purchased ours at the store and the wood is much darker).  I have pretty LED candles to go in all the lanterns. The large pillar LED candle I found at Lowe’s even has a timer setting, so if you forget to turn it off, no biggie!

    succulent garden | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    • Plants: We started a succulent garden for two reasons. One, succulents are hard to kill. Two, they’re gorgeous. We bought a whole slew of succulent plants at Lowe’s and set them up in front of our fountain, in a spot where we had torn out some strange and messy plants. We also put a few succulent planters on tables throughout the patio.

    succulents for patio makeover by @janemaynard

    Spring is here, go have some fun with your patio!

    Lowe’s provided me with a gift card to purchase items for our patio makeover. All opinions are our own.