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  1. Friday, December 12

    Le Creuset and Dreamfarm Goodies!

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com from @janemaynard

    This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!

    Today we have a really fun giveaway package featuring two companies who’s products I use in my kitchen every day – Le Creuset and Dreamfarm! Gifts & Giveaways is all about sharing great gift ideas and then, you know, giving some of those awesome things away and that is exactly what we’re going to do today!

    le creuset butter crock from @janemaynard

    Before we get to the giveaway, here are a few gift ideas. These are my most favorite items from Le Creuset and Dreamfarm, the things that I use ALL the time in my kitchen:

    Now that you have some ridiculously awesome gift ideas, I think it’s time for a giveaway. Brace yourself, it’s pretty great.

    le creuset cheese fondue - gift idea and giveaway from @janemaynard

    The Le Creuset and Dreamfarm Holiday Giveaway Set Includes:

    dreamfarm holiday gift ideas and giveaway from @janemaynard - fabulous kitchen gadgets!

    To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment on this post! That’s it! Easy peasy! Comments must be posted by Midnight PT Thursday, 12/18/14 and prize must be shipped within the U.S.

    Good luck and happy shopping!

    The winner of this giveaway was Ellen (Comment #9), who said, “I’m feeling lucky…I hope I win!!!” Congratulations, Ellen!


  2. Tuesday, December 9

    Buffalo Chicken Flatbread

    This post is sponsored by Alouette. As always, opinions are 100% my own.

    Cheese and bread. It doesn’t get much better than that. No, seriously. I kind of don’t have control around these two delicious ingredients!

    buffalo chicken flatbread from @janemaynard

    Alouette recently got in touch with me about the new Flavorology promotion they are running with Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads that pretty much fulfills my desires to combine cheese and bread. Alouette has all kinds of wonderful cheeses that we love in our house. Anna can eat almost an entire container of crème de brie in one sitting! And Stonefire is my go-to naan bread, both for eating with Indian food and as pizza crust. Put the two together and I’m on board 100%.

    alouette cheese and stonefire naan

    Our most recent Flavorology creation was Buffalo Chicken Flatbread. Using the Stonefire original naan bread as a base, this buffalo chicken pizza is super easy to make and seriously delicious. It might be the holiday season, but it’s also football season and this recipe is perfect when watching the big game! (Go Stanford! Go Patriots! I {heart} Tom Brady! Andrew Luck is our Favoritest Person Ever!)

    buffalo chicken flatbread by @janemaynardbuffalo chicken flatbread from @janemaynard

    The Buffalo cheddar soft spreadable cheese by Alouette has a really nice kick to it – Nate was surprised how spicy it is! Next time you want something Bufallo chicken-y for football season, I highly recommend this pizza. It’s really easy to throw together. Like, make-it-during-a-commercial-break easy. Buffalo chicken flatbread makes for a great snack or appetizer but serves up equally as well at the lunch or dinner table.

    buffalo chicken flatbread from @janemaynard

    Keep an eye out next time you go to the store! For a limited time, you can get a Stonefire flatbread free when you buy any one Alouette cheese. Just look for coupons at participating retailers.

    Without further ado, the recipe!

    Buffalo Chicken Flatbread
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Naan bread
    • Alouette Buffalo Cheddar Soft Spread
    • Cooked chicken
    • Mozzarella cheese
    • Blue cheese dressing
    • Hot sauce
    • Chopped green onions (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
    2. Spread a thin layer of Alouette Buffalo cheddar soft spread on the naan bread. Top with chicken and mozzarella cheese then bake for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.
    3. Drizzle with blue cheese dressing and hot sauce. Sprinkle chopped green onions on top if using.

     


  3. Sunday, December 7

    Week 411 Weekly Menu

    Hello! I hope you are all surviving December…in fact, I hope you are more than surviving and actually enjoying it!

    week 411 weekly menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list!

    Let’s just get down to business, shall we?

    MONDAY:
    Taco Night

    TUESDAY:
    BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Hamburgers with Drunken Mushrooms
    – Fruit and chips

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Church Christmas Party

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Breakfast for Dinner: Scrambled Eggs and Smoothies

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

    As usual, reading through your menus from last week was a tremendous help as I planned our menu for this week. Thank you! And, as usual, please share your menu for the week!!!


  4. Friday, December 5

    Friday Show and Tell

    Happy Friday! I think I might actually be done with Christmas decorating. Normally I get it done in 1 day, but this year it’s been 1 week! It’s kind of been fun stretching it out, though. The kids just need to finish the tree and I need to decide which wreath to hang above our fireplace. I am the most indecisive person you’ll ever meet, so please help and tell me which wreath is your favorite!

    Option 1: White wreath that is super cool and unique and that I am in love with. I like how it contrasts with the green wall and ties in with the white shelves and mantel. It’s a little smaller in diameter than option 2 and  doesn’t fill the space quite as well.

    white christmas wreath

    Option 2: Red berry wreath that is perfectly Christmasy against the green wall and just seems to fit in the room. It makes less of a statement but is a bit bigger. I really like this one, but I’m not in love, but I wonder if it isn’t better for this space.

    red christmas wreath

    Now that the decorations are almost done, it’s time to watch some Christmas movies. I started browsing Netflix to find some Christmas movies to watch with the kids and stumbled on One Magic Christmas. I remember looooooving that movie as a kid. I’ll have to see if my kids are equally as enthralled. I was always a sucker for high drama and mysticism as a kid, but don’t know that my kids are like that. Should be interesting…

    I have two posts on Babble to share with you this week:

    You know the drill, Show and Tell is for everyone, so please share your stuff! And please chime in on the wreath!


  5. Thursday, December 4

    Drunken Mushrooms + A Mexican Food Tour of the Mission with Rick Bayless

    This post is sponsored by Negra Modelo. All opinions are 100% my own and I can’t wait to share this post with you!

    I am super excited for today’s post because it is filled to the brim with all kinds of wonderful, including a recipe for drunken mushrooms that are pretty much perfection.

    recipe for drunken mushrooms inspired by rick bayless by @janemaynard

    Two weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity of traveling to San Francisco for a Mexican food tour of the Mission District in San Francisco with Negra Modelo and Rick Bayless. You guys, Rick Bayless. We were walking around the streets of San Francisco with RICK BAYLESS. It was beyond cool and here’s the proof!

    walking food tour with #NegraModelo and rick bayless by @janemaynard #ThePerfectComplement #sponPhoto courtesy of Negra Modelo and Vanessa Bahmani

    Our first stop on the Negra Modelo Mexican food walking tour was a tortilleria. The tortillas were unreal, like no tortilla I’ve ever tasted. Rick Bayless talked about how most tortillas today are made from maseca, not from scratch using masa, but that tortillas made with masa are infinitely better. He’s totally right and, consequently, I have begun a hunt here in San Diego to find a tortilleria just like the one we visited in San Francisco (wish me luck!). Rick Bayless also told us that Chicago is the top producer of tortillas in the world. That’s right, the world, even above Mexico City, and that the abundance of great tortillas is one of the reasons he opened Frontera Grill in Chicago.

    walking food tour with #NegraModelo and rick bayless by @janemaynard #ThePerfectComplement #spon

    The second stop on the tour was a Mexican butcher. It was beyond fascinating and we learned that the way Mexican butchers cut up meat is totally different than American butchers. We also learned the history of carne asada in the United States. That’s a whole blog post of its own, we’ll have to chat over coffee so I can share that story with you.

    walking food tour with #NegraModelo and rick bayless by @janemaynard #ThePerfectComplement #spon

    The last stop on the walking food tour was La Reyna Mexican bakery. We had the chance to sample all kinds of sweet goodness and it was endearing to have the grandson of the original owner tell us all about the bakery.

    walking food tour with #NegraModelo and rick bayless by @janemaynard #ThePerfectComplement #spon

    Once the tour was done we attended an after party, complete with Negra Modelo, wonderful Mexican food and more fascinating information from Rick Bayless. I swear we could have sat there and listened to him talk for 6 hours straight and have been enraptured the entire time. Here are a few of the Rick Bayless gems I walked away with:

    • Rick Bayless never uses jalapenos because they are completely unpredictable when it comes to the level of heat. He relies most heavily on poblanos in his cooking.
    • Rick Bayless doesn’t understand green bell peppers and I am, and always have been, in complete agreement!
    • If you want to start cooking with dried chiles, ancho and guajillo are good to start with and go well together.
    • We also learned about the confusion that is ancho and pasilla chiles…but it would take me a whole post to tell you about it. We can talk about that over coffee as well, the same day we talk carne asada. 😉
    • Rick Bayless uses Negra Modelo beer in his restaurant, including in ice cream! He likes that Negra Modelo is a medium-bodied beer with slow-roasted caramel malts, which yields a soft sweetness that works well in cooking. Which leads us to today’s recipe…

    walking food tour with #NegraModelo and rick bayless by @janemaynard #ThePerfectComplement #sponPhoto with Rick Bayless courtesy of Irvin Lin from Eat the Love

    During the party I had the chance to chat with Rick along with my friends Anita and Annelies. While we were talking I asked him what his favorite thing to cook with Negra Modelo is. He answered by saying that if a chef ever tells you that they have a favorite food, that they are probably not a very good chef because true chefs love all food and flavors. 🙂 Despite his lack of a favorite, he did tell us how to make really wonderful mushrooms.

    drunken mushrooms recipe by @janemaynarddrunken mushrooms recipe by @janemaynard

    So, here is my recipe for Drunken Mushrooms, as inspired by Rick Bayless. These mushrooms really are fantastic, with layers of flavor that are subtle and all play beautifully with one another. Rick said he uses these mushooms in queso flameado, which I am sure is amazing. But I am also confident that these mushrooms would be delicious topped on burgers, chicken, steak and pizza. In fact, I made pizza with olive oil, bacon and drunken mushrooms for dinner last night and it was scrumptious.

    drunken mushrooms recipe from @janemaynarddrunken mushroom bacon pizza from @janemaynard

    Drunken Mushrooms
     
    This recipe was inspired by tips shared with me by Rick Bayless.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Bacon drippings from a 10-ounce package of bacon
    • 8 ounces white or baby bell mushrooms, sliced
    • ¼ cup Negra Modelo beer
    • salt and pepper
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh epazote or cilantro
    Instructions
    1. Heat bacon drippings over medium heat. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook until they are about half-way cooked.
    2. Raise heat to medium-high and add the beer, cooking and stirring until mushrooms are cooked through and most of the liquid has cooked off. Season with salt and pepper to tasted (a few pinches of kosher salt and a shake of pepper should do it).
    3. Remove from heat and stir in the epazote or cilantro.

    drunken mushrooms recipe by @janemaynard

    Big thank you to Negra Modelo and to Rick Bayless for spending an afternoon with us! It is a day I will not soon forget! Be sure to visit the Negra Modelo site for even more Rick Bayless recipes!


  6. Wednesday, December 3

    Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Shortbread + A Very Merry Giveaway!

    The giveaway in this post is now closed, but keep reading to find out about some really cute Christmas dishes and to get the shortbread recipe!

    This post is sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own, including the opinion that these cookies are awesome.

    I am so happy it’s the holiday season! Well, I mean, now I am, after my annual early-December freak out last night over the stress that this month brings (my busiest work month, two birthdays and Christmas all wrapped up into one not-so-calm package). But now, with the freak out officially behind me, I am ready to dive into present wrapping and cookie baking!

    chocolate-dipped peppermint shortbread from @janemaynard

    I started the whole holiday baking shebang with these chocolate-dipped peppermint shortbread cookies. I’m a sucker for shortbread. No, really, I kind of can’t control myself around the stuff. I decided to give my favorite shortbread recipe a holiday twist by incorporating chocolate and peppermint. The twist worked beautifully. And now there are about 30 ridiculously-adorable and delicious cookies taunting me in my kitchen.

    chocolate-dipped peppermint shortbread from @janemaynard

    These cookies are peppermint perfection. Even though there is peppermint in every element of the cookie, the peppermint flavor is not overpowering. The shortbread, which has just a hint of peppermint, is then dipped in high-quality dark chocolate, also sporting that peppermint hint. Top it all off with crunchy peppermint pieces and you’ve got yourself a COOKIE, filled with flavors and textures that work together oh so nicely. And they look crazy cute!

    chocolate-dipped peppermint shortbread from @janemaynard

    In addition to these lovely cookies, I have some lovely dishes to share with you today, too! You all know how much I love Q Squared. Well, I love them even more now that their holiday dishes are out! When I put in my order for the Winter’s Eve collection, I knew the dishes would be cute but I was not prepared for how much I would love them once I saw the dishes in person. Serious love, people.

    q squared winter's eve collection from @janemaynardq squared winter's eve collection from @janemaynardToday we are giving away a complete set of the Winter’s Eve collection from Q Squared! One randomly-selected winner will receive 1 large platter, 1 serving bowl, 6 dinner plates, 6 tapas plates and 1 coaster set. To enter, please do the following by midnight PT on Tuesday December 9, 2014 (prize must be shipped to a US address):

    • Leave a comment on this post! Easy Peasy!
    • Bonus entry: Like me on Instagram! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!)
    • Bonus entry: Like Q Squared on Instagram! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!)
    • Bonus entry: Like This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!)
    • Bonus entry: Like Q Squared on Facebook! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!)

    Good luck with the giveaway – I wish you could all win!

    And now for the recipe!

    Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Shortbread
     
    Delicious chocolate-dipped shortbread with just the right amount of peppermint.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Serves: 25-30
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • Pinch kosher salt
    • ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract, divided into ½ and ¼ teaspoons
    • 1 cup high-quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • ¼ cup broken peppermint pieces
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
    2. Cream butter, brown sugar and ½ teaspoon peppermint extract together on medium-high speed in a stand mixer for about 3 minutes with the paddle attachment. Scrape down bowl.
    3. Add 1½ cups of the flour and a pinch of salt. Beat with paddle attachment on medium speed until fully incorporated.
    4. Set aside the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook.
    5. Add the rest of the flour (3/4 cup) and mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook, kneading the dough in the mixer for about 5 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
    6. Roll dough out on a floured surface to about ½-inch thick. Using a ~2-inch sized cookie cutter, cut cookies and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Prick the tops of the cookies with a fork.
    7. Form leftover dough into a ball and roll back out to ½-inch thick and repeat process until you've cut all the dough into cookies.
    8. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until bottoms of cookies are light golden brown. (The time will vary depending on how thick you actually rolled out the dough. The thinner the cookie, the less cook time.)
    9. When cookies have cooled completely, in a small microwave-safe bowl cook chocolate chips and coconut oil on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir well until all chocolate has melted.
    10. Add ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract and stir well.
    11. Dip each cookie partially into the chocolate then set on a cooling rack to let chocolate harden. Sprinkle with peppermint pieces immediately after dipping cookie.
    12. Place cookies in fridge to harden the chocolate, around 30-60 minutes. When the cookies return to room temperature, the chocolate will soften a smidge. The chocolate will be hard enough so that the cookies will be pretty and stackable (for packaging and giving!) but just soft enough that it's easy to bite through when eating the cookie. Store extras in the fridge.
    13. You will have extra melted chocolate. I like to have extra so it's easier for dipping. Just pour it over a bowl of ice cream or spread it on a silicone baking mat, sprinkle with peppermint pieces and put in the fridge for a quick peppermint bark. You need to put that chocolate to use!

     Comment #4 ellen patton was the winner of this giveaway. Congratulations, Ellen!


  7. Tuesday, December 2

    Happy Giving Tuesday! Great Organizations That Give Back!

    Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is where it’s at! If you don’t know what Giving Tuesday is, click here to watch an introductory video. Essentially it’s a bunch of really great people from all over the world coming together to GIVE and to also share ideas for giving. To show my support I want to highlight a few organizations that I have personally supported and worked with.

    ways to support and celebrate giving tuesday from @janemaynard #givingtuesday

    ONE: I love ONE because it’s all about advocacy. They don’t ask for money, they just ask for your voice. Click through to ONE’s website to find out all of the amazing ways to make your voice heard and help those in the world who need it most. If you really want to shop and support ONE at the same time, buy the Alex and Ani New Beginnings bracelet. I bought this for myself as a stocking stuffer but, alas, it will never make it to my stocking. It just really, really, really wanted to be on my wrist.

    buy the alex and ani new beginnings bracelet to support ONE this giving tuesday! #givingtuesday

    To The Market: This website just launched and it is beyond beautiful. The woman who started the organization To The Market (also named Jane!) is filled with so much positive energy (and smarts) I almost don’t know what to do with her. 😉 To The Market’s goal is to support survivors by selling their goods. Read more here and don’t forget to shop!

    support survivor made goods by to the market this giving tuesday! #givingtuesday

    fashionABLE: I love fashionABLE and am basically swimming in their scarves. I also bought myself a beautiful bag that I have yet to open because we’re saving it for Christmas morning. That closed box is taunting me and I don’t know how much longer I can stand it! Anyway, fashionABLE creates sustainable business for women in Africa and the founders are amazing and also filled with energy that inspires. Click through to learn more and shop!

    support fashionABLE this giving tuesday! #givingtuesday

    Heifer International: Last year I bought some goat shares. Maybe this year we’ll make it a llama. I’m still deciding. No matter what, it’s gonna be cute. Heifer is the best, click through to find out more!

    support heifer international this giving tuesday! #givingtuesday

    Fair Trade USA Holiday Guide: Fair Trade USA, another organization I love, put together an awesome fair trade shopping guide, so make sure to check that out, too!

    support fair trade USA this giving tuesday! #givingtuesday

    I KNOW there are so many worthy organizations out there, but I wanted to share the ones that I have most recently supported myself because A) I know from personal experience that they are awesome, and B) I know that these organization really truly help people – it’s not lip service.

    Happy Giving Tuesday! Whether you get out there and shop from companies that give back, make a donation to your favorite non-profit or you just deliver cookies to the widowed elderly woman down the street, get out there and give. It’s the best way to kick off the holidays!

    And please share your favorite giving organizations in the comments! The more suggestions the merrier!


  8. Sunday, November 30

    Week 410 Weekly Menu

    Hello, everyone! I hope you’ve had a fabulous week and are still swimming in leftovers! We still have some, but they aren’t going to last much longer so I suppose it’s time to get back to my weekly menu planning!

    week 410 weekly menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list

     

    MONDAY:
    Turkey a la King with rice
    – Salad

    TUESDAY:
    Naan pizzas

    WEDNESDAY:
    Taco night

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Chicken Caesar Salad

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Breakfast for Dinner: Waffles and 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! THANK YOU!


  9. Friday, November 28

    Why My Family Thinks I Have a Ghostwriter and My New Favorite Way to Cook Turkey

    Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a wonderful holiday! Ours was beyond lovely and I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed with gratitude.

    thanksgiving table

    So, if you’ve ever wanted to laugh at me, now’s your chance.

    On Wednesday while my sister-in-law Jessica, my friend Allison and I were cooking a bunch of the food for Thursday, I dumped milk over 3 hot burners on the stovetop AND poured a bowl of cooked sweet potatoes into the sink. My crowning glory, however, was cooking a turkey upside down without realizing it. Everyone decided I can’t possibly write a food blog and must have a ghostwriter on the books. I assure you this is not true, but am wondering if maybe it should be! 😉 Every time I think about checking the temperature on the turkey breast (i.e. the back of the turkey) and the probe hitting bone and me saying, “This is so weird, it’s like there isn’t even any meat in this turkey breast, I think we got a bad bird,” I bust out laughing.

    Despite my apparent lack of skill on Wednesday, I was able to pull it together and, with a lot of wonderful help, we had a glorious feast yesterday!

    A quick note on the turkey. This year we needed a lot of food, but I decided to cook 2 12-pound turkeys instead of 1 giant turkey. I followed my friend Amy’s technique and these were the best turkeys I’ve cooked in years. I’ve tried cooking turkeys every which way and Amy’s recipe is now my favorite way to do it. I also think cooking smaller turkeys probably made a difference. I cooked one turkey on Wednesday and one on Thursday. The Wednesday bird was carved immediately and we stored the meat in the fridge for leftovers. It worked great!

    Happy Leftover Day!


  10. Monday, November 24

    Fun Learning During the Thanksgiving Break!

    This post is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and reflects a collaboration with NEA’s Raise Your Hand for Student Success campaign. All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own. Be sure to visit the NEA Parents’ Page for great resources for parents!

    My kids have this entire week of Thanksgiving off from school. I remember back in the day only getting Thursday and Friday off, leaving you with just a few days to enjoy the holiday. I actually really appreciate having three extra days to relax with our family and enjoy some time off together. But having the whole week off means almost 10 days of no school!

    I’m not one to buy workbooks and pull out the flashcards on school breaks. Honestly, I love getting a break from the homework grind. But just because homework and class time are on hiatus doesn’t mean learning has to be. Here are a few things we’ll be doing this week as a family to facilitate fun learning during the Thanksgiving break!

    making learning fun during the thanksgiving break by @janemaynard

    • COOKING! Of course we’ll be cooking up a storm this week and you can bet the kids will be involved. Not only will having the kids cook with me help form lasting memories, but there are ample learning opportunities in the kitchen, especially around math. Anna even got up this morning and made up her own “recipe” with yogurt and milk, so she is ready to go in the cooking department!
    • READING! I am lucky that we have kids who love to read, so they’ll do plenty of reading on their own over the break. But even if kids don’t love reading, Thanksgiving break is a good time to get them excited to read. I always buy Christmas books during this week and we kick off the holiday season by reading those books together as a family. We also have fun Thanksgiving books to share together, too.

    making learning fun during the christmas break - reading books and buying new christmas books - from @janemaynardThis is our newest Christmas book, which I bought just last night!

    • DAY TRIPS! We have passes to the Natural History Museum in LA as well as the San Diego Zoo. We will be visiting one of those spots for sure this week! Museums really are a great way to mix learning with fun!
    • CRAFTS & LEARNING ACTIVITIES: My Anna loves science more than a million ice cream scoops, so I’m sure we’ll break out our Green Kid Crafts science kit and do a science project together. My friend Marie also has about 1 billion projects on her website Make and Takes, so I’ll be seeing what ideas she has for us, too!

    making learning fun during the thanksgiving break by @janemaynard

    What do you have planned this week with the kids? I’m sure you all have all kinds of creative ideas, so please share them with the rest of us!