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  1. Thursday, May 5

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #41: Dawn Jackson Blatner and the Best Way to Cook Carnitas

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #41: Easy and Delicious Homemade Carnitas + an Interview with Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, dietician for the Chicago Cubs and winner of ABC's "My Diet is Better Than Yours"

    It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for the weekly podcast! Today I share a tip for how I make homemade carnitas that requires almost no effort, with a really fabulous result. Afterwards I have a nice long chat with Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN. Dawn is a registered dietician that works for the Chicago Cubs and also recently won the ABC reality TV show My Diet is Better Than Yours. I am lucky to count Dawn as a friend and absolutely loved having her on the show. She shares a bit about her experience on My Diet is Better Than Yours, how her philosophy around flexitarian eating came to be, tips and tricks for having a healthy yet doable diet, strategies for feeding kids, the “C.R.A.P.” you should avoid, why she thinks potatoes have gotten a bad rap, and a great kitchen tip that will simplify your life. Also, recipes. Lots and lots of great recipes. I love this episode and I’m sure you will, too!

    Shownotes:

    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Just click play below!
    • Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the Stitcher, Podcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.

    Other Stuff!


  2. Wednesday, May 4

    Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies + FairHer, Celebrating the Women of Fair Trade (+ a Giveaway!)

    Mother’s Day is just around the corner, which means two things for me. First, I am planning on not cooking this Sunday, or even parenting much at all (that’s how I like my Mother’s Day, nice and lazy). Second, I’m teaming up with Fair Trade USA once again to celebrate the amazing women farmers of fair trade! I think this might be my 4th Fair Trade Mother’s Day recipe and giveaway…I’ve lost track! Anyway, since it’s not Mother’s Day quite yet, I am still in the kitchen and today I’ve cooked up a batch of double chocolate coconut cookies that I am certain you will love.

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHerRecipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer

    But before we get to the recipe we need to meet a farmer. And do a giveaway, which includes tons of awesome fair trade goodies. Let’s go!

    This year Fair Trade is focusing on the women of fair trade through their #FairHer campaign. Like ONE, another non-profit organization I work with frequently, Fair Trade recognizes how important it is to help women in order to tackle poverty. In fact, you can’t tackle poverty without focusing on women. And the work Fair Trade does empowers women in many ways, especially given that women produce more than 50% of the world’s food (ummmm…btw…they only own 2% of the land).

    Fair Trade USA #FairHer - Fair Trade is Good for Women

    To make this all a little more real, I’d like you to meet one of those women farmers, Virginia Jimenez, a sugar cane farmer & member of the CORA Cooperative, a Fair Trade Certified organic sugar producer in Paraguay. Gimenez has been involved with sugar cane all her life, as both her father and late husband were sugar cane producers. Her late husband, Mario Miranda, joined CORA in 2010 and died a year later. Gimenez, a mother of four, has taken over as the CORA-affiliated producer.

    Virginia Jimenez, Fair Trade Farmer with CORA in Paraguay | Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies | This Week for Dinner

    Here are a few of Virginia’s thoughts: “For us, the access to machinery that CORA provides is key for our annual production [note: according to CORA, they are able to lend the use of machinery at low or no cost by using some of the Fair Trade premium fund]. I also like the ideals behind CORA. Their strict rules are good for our society. For example, the controls regarding the use of child labor is very good. The safety workshops have also been great help. And the idea of producing organic sugar cane without chemicals is very important. My husband believed strongly in this. If we were able to increase our earnings, whether from sales or from the premium fund, I would like to see our health services improved. We do not have medical attention here on a daily basis. If a poisonous snake bites someone, we have to go really far.”

    So, keep an eye out for that fair trade symbol on the food you buy. It’s helping wonderful women like Virginia. A sincere thank you to Virginia for sharing her story and thoughts with us!

    FairHer Giveaway, a collection of awesome Fair Trade Certified Goodies from @janemaynard

    I mentioned a giveaway, didn’t I? Fair Trade USA sent me a package of goodies to provide inspiration for today’s recipe, and one of you lucky people will receive the same package! It just might be their best one yet. Click here to read about all of the products included!

    Here’s how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT 5/11/16):

    I think it’s time to get cooking with all these yummy fair trade ingredients!

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Sliced coconut and Guittard baking wafersRecipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Guittard baking wafers and Lake Champlain Cocoa

    Today’s cookies may not be fancy but they are pretty much perfect. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, these chocolate cookies are filled with dark chocolate and coconut, one of my favorite flavor combinations. And there are so many ingredients in these cookies that can go fair trade, from the sugar to the vanilla to the chocolate! For this batch I used Guittard’s organic semisweet chocolate baking wafers, which are my favorite chocolate chips to use in any cookie recipe. I also used Lake Champlain’s organic unsweetened cocoa, another fabulous chocolate source that I can’t get enough of.

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Cookie DougRecipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Cookies on the Tray

    Enjoy! And Happy Mother’s Day!

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer

    Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 3 dozen
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1½ cup brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • Generous ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 1 cup unsweetened coconut (I love wide sliced)
    • 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (I love Guittard's baking wafers)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
    2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix together the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for approximately 5 minutes. (Yes, 5 MINUTES...you want it to mix for a long time.)
    3. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed for another 2-3 minutes.
    4. Place a sifter over the bowl and add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour and cocoa powder to the sifter, then sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix on low until just mixed.
    5. Add coconut and chocolate chips and mix with a large spoon until evenly distributed.
    6. Place dough in 2-tablespoon dough balls on a cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between each cookie.
    7. Bake for about 12-14 minutes. The cookies shouldn't look wet beneath the surface (if that makes sense).
    8. When you take them out of the oven, drop the pan flat onto the counter or stovetop to force the cookies to settle.
    9. Let cool a few minutes before eating. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Dough balls can also be frozen and cookies cooked from a frozen state, you just may need to add 1 or 2 minutes to the cook time.

     


  3. Sunday, May 1

    Week 484 Weekly Menu

    It’s been a lazy Sunday with my family after a busy week away, so just getting the menu thrown together now that the kids are in bed!

    Week 484 Weekly Menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list!

    MONDAY:
    Carnitas Tacos
    – Chips and Guacamole

    TUESDAY:
    – Rachel Sandwiches

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Margherita Naan Pizzas

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    Asian Chicken Salad

    SATURDAY:
    – Take out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Mother’s Day…so I’m not planning a thing!

    Okey dokey…time for you to share your menu, too! Remember, all menu types welcome!


  4. Friday, April 29

    How to Start a Podcast, Step by Step

    Last November I launched a podcast. And I love it. Podcasting is a blast and I love working on it more than I thought I would. That said, the learning curve for starting a podcast is STEEP. Once you’ve got it up and running, though, it pretty much runs itself (well, okay, not totally, but close). But to get to that point there are a lot of steps. As I went through the process I found there wasn’t one source that told me every step, although this post from Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income was definitely the most helpful and a lifesaver. Even with Pat’s great tutorials, I still found I had many questions.

    How to Start a Podcast, Step by Step | from @janemaynard

    Today I am speaking at the Mom 2.0 Summit about podcasting and thought this would be a good time to write down exactly how to build a podcast step by step, how I personally did it from the ground up. There are as many ways to set up a podcast as there are stars in the sky (okay, maybe not that many, but close). So, you know, this is definitely not the only way, but I still think it will be helpful!

    (>> Find out more…)


  5. Monday, April 25

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #40: Interview with Rachael Hersscher

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #40: Interview with Today's Mama CEO Rachael Herrscher + A Great Taco Tip!

    Before I get to today’s episode, which includes an interview with the smart and talented Rachael Herrscher, a quick update on the podcast! New episodes will now be published once a week on Thursdays, starting next week!

    Let’s get to today’s episode! First I share a great tip for making tasty tacos. For this episode’s interview I chat with Today’s Mama CEO Rachael Herrscher. Rachael is smart, funny, kind and just all around awesome. We talk about our mutual love for Atul Gawande (we love you, Atul!), sweaty hairy cartoon monkeys that stress us out, Rachael’s journey to healthful eating, and, of course, her favorite kitchen tips and favorite recipe. Lots of good stuff – enjoy!

    Shownotes:

    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Just click play below!
    • Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the Stitcher, Podcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.

    Other Stuff!


  6. Sunday, April 24

    Week 483 Weekly Menu

    Hello friends! This week I am traveling up to Laguna Beach to speak at the Mom 2.0 conference (so excited!), so I am planning meals that are simple and generate a lot of leftovers. And there are a couple nights out. It’s kind of a funny week, but having the dinner plan ready to go is definitely starting the week out right!

    Week 483 Weekly Menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list!

    MONDAY:
    Chili

    TUESDAY:
    Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Caprese Salad

    THURSDAY:
    – Eat out (school talent show night!)

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night (mom getting back from a trip)

    SUNDAY:
    Rachel Sandwiches

    As always, we all love seeing your menus, so share away!


  7. Friday, April 22

    Super Easy Chicken for Tacos That Tastes Awesome

    Hi friends. Today’s recipe isn’t really a recipe at all. I would say it’s more of a kitchen tip and one that I am loving. Today I’m going to tell you how to make super easy chicken for tacos that tastes so good. And when I say easy, I mean easy.

    Easy Chicken for Tacos that Tastes Great! from @janemaynard

    My cousin Jamie gave me this idea and I will be forever grateful to her. We were cooking up tacos one night and had chopped up a bunch of grilled chicken thighs. Jamie grabbed some leftover taco seasoning and tossed it in the bowl. GENIUS. The chicken turned out awesome and now I make it this for tacos all the time.

    Easy Chicken for Tacos that Tastes Great! | Penzeys Taco Seasoning | from @janemaynard

    You can use any taco seasoning, but my favorite is from Penzeys. Not only does this seasoning taste great, but it comes in a jar, so you can use as much or as little as you want. It’s so much better than a packet.

    Easy Chicken for Tacos that Tastes Great! from @janemaynard

    Also, I always grill my chicken and while this is super tasty with chicken breasts, chicken thighs are definitely my favorite. Just grill up the meat, cut into bitesized pieces, then toss with taco seasoning.

    This seasoned chicken is also great on salad or in a wrap. Basically it’s the best. You’re welcome.


  8. Monday, April 18

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth from @janemaynard

    Earth Day is just around the corner! As cheesy as this may sound, every day is Earth Day in our house. I know, I know. CHEESE. But it’s true. For the last 6 years, my new year’s resolutions have all been centered around helping Mother Earth by making changes in how our family eats and cooks. As I look back on those years, I can see how much better we’ve gotten about a lot of things and I can also see how those resolutions have really gotten me (and my kids!) to be constantly thinking about how our actions are impacting the environment. The best part is that it’s all been easier to do than I thought it would be!

    When I say that I am constantly thinking about how our food system impacts the environment I am not exaggerating. I think about environmental food issues all the time. I regularly read articles and reports about the environmental impact of the food industry and I love getting the chance to talk with food companies of all kinds to find out how they produce food, what they are doing about their carbon footprint and more. This year I’ve already talked with at least 3 different food companies regarding sustainability and have gained so much insight into how food companies think about sustainability and what they are doing about it.

    One of those companies I’ve met with is General Mills. I visited their headquarters this past January, where I participated in a small Q&A session with the president of the cereal group as well as a one-on-one conversation with Catherine Gunsbury, director of sustainability and transparency at General Mills. My talk with Catherine was awesome and I got all kinds of great intel out of her. We also discovered that she and I are kindred spirits – we are both obsessed with not throwing food into the trash (obsessed). I spoke with Catherine on the phone again this week, at which point she filled me in on General Mills’ latest annual Global Responsibility Report. We talked about General Mills’ goal to sustainably source 100% of their top 10 ingredients by 2020 (and what that means) as well as General Mills’ commitment to achieve zero waste going to landfill at 100% of their global production facilities by 2025 (they are at about 6% now and making good progress). If you want to read more detail about what General Mills is up to in terms of sustainability and social responsibility, click here.

    As I’ve spoken with many food companies over the years, both big and small, and really mulled over all the issues surrounding food and the environment, I’ve been encouraged to see that a lot of these companies really do care and are working hard to turn the ship that is our food system around. One of the other big things I keep coming back to is how powerful consumers are. If we as consumers demand better food (and packaging and production and everything else!), food companies will continue to deliver better food (and packaging and production and everything else!). Like I said, the food industry is a large ship and it will take a lot of work and time to turn it around, but I have faith we can all contribute to that process. It can feel daunting, but if we all keep on keeping on, we can make the world a better place and ensure our food sources will be sustainable for generations to come.

    So, what are some of the things we can actually do in our daily lives to help that process along? To celebrate Earth Day this week, I’d love to share ten things our family has done in the kitchen over the years to have a positive impact on the environment. Some of these tactics are more involved than others, but none of them are difficult and all of them make a difference! And, before you let yourself feel overwhelmed by the list, I promise these are things our family does every day. I’m about the laziest cook you’ll ever meet and I’ve still been able to follow these steps! For me the key to success is to keep it simple and realistic and focus on working on a step-by-step basis.

     

    1. Eat Less Meat.

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth | Eat Less Meat | Sweet Potato Bacon Pizza from @janemaynard

    My first official what-we-eat-and-how-we-eat-it-affects-the-environment resolution was to eat less meat. Per capita meat consumption has increased significantly over the last several decades. In fact, if we all switched to natural, pasture-raised meat, there wouldn’t be enough land to support our demand. The natural resources that go into producing a pound of meat versus pretty much any other food is significantly more. Reducing meat consumption across society would have a huge positive impact on the environment! So, how do we do that?

    For our family we did not go vegetarian, we simply cut back on the amount of meat we ate week to week. I experimented with vegetarian recipes that incorporated beans because our family likes beans. I chose recipes that made it easier to spread out the meat I was using so I could use less meat overall in that meal, like salads with just 1 or 2 chicken breasts for the whole family. I thought cutting back on meat would be so hard, but it wasn’t, and I think that’s because we took a moderate approach that was realistic for our family.

    (Pictured above: Sweet Potato Bacon Pizza, where very little meat is used…and dinner is still filling and beyond delicious!)

     

    2. Cut Back on Paper Towels and Napkins.

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth | Cut Back on Paper Towels & Napkins from @janemaynard

    I honestly thought cutting out paper towels would be impossible, but it was EASY. I swear. The trick is to buy a big stack of towels and to have them in a very accessible place in the kitchen. The only time I use paper towels now is to soak up grease. Click here to read more about our family’s system that’s made living without paper towels no big deal. Our family also only uses cloth napkins. They go in with the normal laundry and it hasn’t been any extra work. Quick tip: my favorite cloth napkins are the cocktail sized napkins – they are perfect for everyday use!

     

    3. Use Less Plastic.

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth | Use Less Plastic from @janemaynard

    This was a multi-year goal for me and one I am still working on. Reducing plastic use is hard because it is everywhere, especially when it comes to food products. The good news is that all that plastic gives you ample opportunity to tackle the problem! Maybe start by eliminating one-time plastic use items, like throwaway food containers and baggies. Then slowly replace plastic storage containers with glass, and so on. And, don’t forget the classic bring your own bags to the grocery store! One step at a time is the way to go with this goal!

     

     

    4. Recycle Even More!

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth | Recycle More from @janemaynard

    I know most of us recycle a lot already. But I also know a lot of us don’t realize just how much we can recycle. For example, I learned just 3 months ago that the cereal bags inside the boxes for General Mills cereals are recyclable! Upon closer inspection I discovered that the bottom of the boxes told me that very fact, I just never bothered to look. Now I check all food packages much more carefully to see what packaging is recyclable! I also took the time to visit my waste management company’s website and reviewed their recycling list. Did you know you can recycle aluminum foil? The list goes on and on!

     

    5. Waste Less Food.

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth | Waste Less Food from @janemaynard

    This is my 2016 resolution and it’s a big one. It’s amazing, though, how simply being mindful of food waste has automatically decreased the amount of food our family throws away. For example, I am so much better about using leftovers now. I’ve also discovered that a lot of our food waste happens when we eat out, so I try to adjust our takeout orders accordingly. There are just so many ways to decrease food waste and paying just a little bit of attention is a simple way to make a big difference!

     

    6. Compost.

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth | Compost from @janemaynard

    Composting is related to my food waste goal and something I just started doing this year. I’ve always been scared of composting (actually, terrified), but now that we’re composting it’s seriously no big deal. I have a bowl on my counter where I toss compostable items, which I dump each night in our compost bin we have out in the yard. Total added time to my daily routine? 1 minute. Easy peasy! And, if you’re lucky enough to live in a community that picks up compost with regular trash pick up, then composting is even easier. Be sure to research what your town has to offer!

     

    7. Don’t Throw Food in the Trash Whenever Possible.

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth | No Food in Landfill from @janemaynard

    This is also related to numbers five and six, but I think it’s worth a specific call out. Did you know that when food decomposes in the landfill, it puts off significant amounts of greenhouse gases that would not be emitted if the food was composted naturally? Keep food out of the landfills by putting it in the disposal or compost pile. There are some items that can’t go in compost or down the sink, but that list is small. This is an easy way we can all make a difference!

     

    8. Buy Food in Bulk.

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth | Buy Food in Bulk from @janemaynard

    Buy food in bulk to cut down on packaging and encourage cooking! But keep those food waste goals in mind…don’t buy more than you will use. And don’t forget to utilize your freezer! I’ve found that my freezer has been a great friend both in reducing food waste and allowing me to buy more foods in bulk.

     

    9. Reusable Containers for Food Storage and Packing Lunches.

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth | Reusable Food Containers from @janemaynard

    When I started cutting out plastic, I bought a bunch of glass food containers. I recycled a few of the old plastic items, but kept the good quality ones, which I use when I run out of glass. I’ve forced myself to stop using plastic wrap for covering food in the fridge, too. I’ve also switched to reusable lunch food bags for my kids’ lunches. Washing them every day takes a bit of time, but nothing crazy and it’s definitely worth saving all those plastic bags from going into the trash!

     

    10. Join a CSA.

    10 Simple Kitchen Tips for Protecting Mother Earth | Join a CSA from @janemaynard

    There’s nothing like joining a CSA to help you eat more locally and seasonally! Plus being connected to local farmers can teach you a lot and really connect you to your community. If a farm share is too expensive or simply too much food for your family, consider splitting it with a friend!

    I hope this list isn’t daunting but instead encouraging! If you have any questions about any of these tips, let me know! And, as always, if you have your own tips or tricks for implementing any of the steps above, please share!

    Today’s post is sponsored by General Mills.


  9. Sunday, April 17

    Week 482 Menu

    Happy day before tax day! (That’s everyone’s favorite day of the year, right?!) I’ve been organizing receipts all day, which is why the meal planning is happening at bedtime!

    Week 482 Weekly Menu from @janemaynard including free printable PDF with weekly dinner plan and shopping list!

    MONDAY:
    – Southwest Chicken Salad

    TUESDAY:
    – Loaded nachos

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
    – Salad and garlic bread

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – BLTs
    – Fresh fruit

    SATURDAY:
    – Take out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Breakfast for dinner: Waffles, eggs and fruit

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

    Your turn! Share your wonderful menus! THANK YOU!

     


  10. Thursday, April 14

    Podcast Episode #39: Thursday Recipe & a Tip!

    This Week for Dinner Podcast Episode 39: Thursday Recipe & a Tip, Including the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe ever and the kitchen appliance you NEED.

    It’s Thursday, which means today’s podcast episode is a quickie. First off, I share my most favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. For the record, I’m not the only one who loves this recipe. Right after I finished recording the episode, my friend Carrie texted me to say she makes the recipe all the time since I brought her cookies when she had her baby and she thinks of me each time she makes them. Really, people, it’s the best recipe out there. I also wax poetic about my favorite kitchen appliance. Enjoy!

    Shownotes:

    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Just click play below!
    • Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the Stitcher, Podcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.

    Other Stuff!