Tuesday, November 29
Happy Giving Tuesday! I am just loving that this day grows more and more each year! Before we get to this week’s menu (um, how is it Tuesday already? ACK!), I just wanted to share this with you…
Isn’t that goat cute? And the little hands holding him up are pretty cute, too! This goat is part of the Goat Squad and the kids and I will be taking pictures of him later today to share on social media to support Heifer International. Last year I traveled to Malawi to meet Heifer farmers and to witness the transformative effect Heifer has had, not only on individual lives but on families and entire villages. If you’re looking to join in on the #GoatSquadGoals Giving Tuesday fun, you can donate to Heifer here. I’ve seen first hand the good your money will do. In fact, it’s not just “good” it’s AMZING. If you want to specifically target your funds to go to the people of Malawi, click here.
In the spirit of Giving Tuesday and Thanksgiving, I am feeling especially grateful that I get to plan my family’s menu for the week, even though I am late! Sorry there is no fancy printable menu and shopping list this week. We’re lucky I’m getting anything planned at all!
– Ate out at Corner Bakery Cafe (seriously, the free kid’s meals…our whole family ate for $15 and it was great food. I’m hooked!)
– I’m gonna be honest, we’re going to eat at Luna Grill…more free kid’s meals and I haven’t gotten to the store yet since our trip!
– Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches
– Fruit and carrots
– Caprese Paninis
– Breakfast for dinner: waffles and smoothies
– Thanksgiving dinner! We had an amazing feast with our family in Utah, but we are wishing we had leftovers of our own here at home! I am cooking different Thanksgiving foods all week so that it will be easy to pull together on Saturday.
Your turn! Please share your menus for the week, even though we’re a few days later than normal!
Monday, November 21
Before we take off on our Thanksgiving travels, I have to share this super cute, crazy easy Thanksgiving kids craft with you. Owen brought it home from school. It’s so simple and so cute (and so delicious…I love Hunt’s Pudding Snack Packs for some reason!) even I would do this craft with my kids. That is really saying something. I’m like the anti-craft mom.
- Chocolate Pudding Snack Pack
- Small Googly Eyes
- Construction paper, cut into feather shapes and small orange triangles for the nose
How To Make the Turkey Pudding Craft:
- Flip the pudding snack pack upside down.
- Using either a hot glue gun or scotch tape, attach the eyes, nose and tail feathers.
- All done!
You could even have the kids make these and then put them on the table at each place setting for decoration. It will keep them busy while the grown-ups are cooking and make them feel like they’ve contributed.
I never thought I would say this on the blog…but…Happy Crafting!
Sunday, November 20
Happy Thanksgiving Week! I’m going old-school-This-Week-for-Dinner and doing a weekly menu post filled with all kinds of stuff. Here we go!
THIS WEEK’S MENU
We were originally going to be hosting Thanksgiving here at our home, but plans have changed and now we’re driving to Utah to be with family there. Which means I don’t need to plan a menu for this week because we’ll be traveling. But if YOU have a menu planned for this week, please share it in the comments!
This November I’ve been feeling a lot of gratitude. Things have also been a little quiet here on the blog, on my podcast and on my social media channels. You see, two weeks ago I was in a car accident. I’m not going to get into details for now, and I am recovering very well. That said, the accident was scary and unexpected. In the end, though, it could have been so much worse and, from the moment the car came to a stop and I knew I was okay, I felt nothing but gratitude throughout the entire experience. That gratitude carried me through. And now, entering the busiest time of year, I’ve not only been forced to slow down, but I’ve also thought a lot about just how lucky and blessed I am. Instead of feeling frustrated by not being able to do more this November I’m just taking it in stride and letting it be a positive experience. Here’s to a holiday season that is less about the busy and more about the gratitude and love.
That is why I haven’t been posting much or sharing any new recipes for Thanksgiving. But that’s okay, I’ve got tons of great Thanksgiving content on the blog already. If you’re looking for assistance for the big feast this week, I have some links you need to peruse!
- Click here to see every post I’ve shared on the blog with the tag Thanksgiving Prep. Clicking this link simply takes you to that blog category, where you can scroll through all the Thanksgiving Prep posts.
- I have tried pretty much every technique out there for cooking turkey with the exception of frying. Last year I finally figured out the formula for the PERFECT TURKEY. Click here for my Perfect Roasted Turkey post.
- Click here for my pie crust tutorial and favorite all-butter pie crust recipe.
- Click here for my Thanksgiving feast menu from 2 years ago. I link to all of my most favorite Thanksgiving recipes in that post, some of which I am sure I we will be cooking up at my sister-in-law’s home this year!
If you have your Thanksgiving feast planned, please share that in the comments! Links to recipes always welcome!
GILMORE GIRLS IS ALMOST HERE!
Forget the accident, I think the new Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life episodes airing on Netflix the day after Thanksgiving is why I am feeling truly grateful this year. Just kidding! (Mostly.)
Netflix sent me an adorable package filled with goodies to help us enjoy the new episodes. I’m still not sure if I’m going to bingewatch or spread out the new episodes, but the mailer got me and my girls watching old episodes together this weekend and it’s been so much fun. Nate is still flummoxed by the fact I can watch Gilmore Girls over and over and over again. (To be honest, I’m a little flummoxed by it myself.) Psst…I have an inside source who has already seen the new episodes. This little birdie didn’t give me any details (it’s a good birdie) but she did say that the new episodes are SO GOOD. Are you as excited as I am?!?!?! WOOHOO!!!!
And with that I am DONE. I kind of love today’s post. I don’t have to plan a weekly menu (I know, ironic). THANKSGIVING! And GIMORE GIRLS! As I mentioned before, if you have a weekly menu and/or Thanksgiving plan to share in the comments, please do. And, of course, any and all discussion of the Gilmore Girls is welcome! Happy Thanksgiving Week!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 6:05 pm 18 Comments
Categories: netflix, thanksgiving prep, weekly menus Tags: dinner plans, gilmore girls, netflix, netflix stream team, thanksgiving, thanksgiving prep, weekly menu |
Monday, November 14
Hello! Once again I’m a day late and a dollar short, but at least I’m still getting my meal plan done! I won’t got into details, but I was in bed a lot last week and am finally feeling better, so here we go!
– Corner Bakery Cafe takeout – kids eat free night 🙂
– Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches
– Fruit and carrots
– Spaghetti Bolognese
– Sausage with red beans and rice
– Eat out/Takeout night
– Breakfast for dinner: Waffles and Smoothies
As usual, your menus from last week were such a help as I planned, so, thank you!
Your turn! Please share your weekly menu in the comments! Thanks and have a great week!
Monday, November 7
Hi everyone! It’s been a crazy weekend, so I’m just now getting to the meal plan. Sorry I’m late!
– Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches
– Fruit and carrots
– Eat out night
– Dinner on the grill! Veggie kebabs + some sort of meat
– Fresh fruit
– Leftovers or Breakfast for Dinner (waffles and fruit)
Your turn! Share your menus in the comments! Thank you, everyone!
Thursday, November 3
The podcast is back! Yippee! We’re kicking off the second season with a really lovely interview with author Nicole Blades and her family’s beloved Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread recipe. Before we get to the recipe and shownotes, a few quick notes about Nicole! Nicole is a novelist and journalist who has been writing since third grade. She’s worked for magazines like Essence and written articles and essays for pretty much everyone, from NYTimes.com to WashingtonPost.com and more. She also has a blog (link below!) and her second novel “The Thunder Beneath Us” published last week (congratulations, Nicole! Woohoo!). Nicole and I could basically talk forever (we pretty much did) and in this episode we hit on all kinds of topics, everything from the virtues and vices of digital communication, vegetarianism, ancestral DNA tests and, of course, FOOD.
Nicole shares two recipes in the podcast. One of them is for Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread, a recipe that really represents family for Nicole. I wanted to make the bread before the show went live so I would have good photos to include. I am so glad I did. This bread. It is dangerously delicious! Nicole also took photos of the actual recipes she uses. The French toast came from an old magazine and the sweet bread is in an old Caribbean cookbook. I am so happy to have those photos to share with you, too. Hard copy recipes are one of my favorite things in the world.
I think it’s time we get down to business! First the shownotes, then the recipes, then the podcast itself! Enjoy!
- For all things Nicole visit NicoleBlades.com
- The Thunder Beneath Us by Nicole Blades (her second novel that came out last week! woohoo!)
- Earth’s Waters by Nicole Blades (Nicole’s first novel)
- Ms. Mary Mack – Nicole’s blog
- Article about the impact of meat demand on climate and projections for 2050
- How to Email by James Hamblin for The Atlantic
- Ancestry.com DNA Testing
- Marbled, Swirled and Layered cookbook by Irvin Lin
- I’m Judging You: The To-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi
- Make It Easy cookbook by Stacie Billis
Left: Loaves sprinkled with granulated sugar; Right: Loaves brushed with sugar water. Both techniques work beautifully.
Pictured: The original recipe from the cookbook “Caribbean Cookbook” by Rita G SpringerCaribbean Coconut Sweet BreadPrep timeCook timeTotal timeThis recipe is adapted from the book "Caribbean Cookbook" by Rita G. Springer. Nicole shared the recipe with me along with a few notes about how she modifies it. I have written it up in my own words below!Author: Jane MaynardServes: 2 loavesIngredients
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 150 grams sugar (this is ¾ cup sugar minus 1 tablespoon)
- ½ pound melted shortening or butter (Nicole and I use butter)
- ¾ cups milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated unsweetened coconut (important to use grated unsweetened; Nicole said it's best if you buy a whole coconut, crack it open and grate it yourself, but store-bought grated unsweetened coconut works, too)
- Sugar for sprinkling OR equal parts sugar-water mixture, for the top of the bread
- Optional Stuffing: ⅓ cup unsweetened grated coconut + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + ½ tablespoon sugar mixed together
NotesThe bread is quite crumbly but far from dry...the flavor and texture are wonderful! Just use a serrated knife when slicing!3.4.3177
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl then stir in sugar. (I used my KitchenAid mixer, which I highly recommend if you have one.)
- Add melted shortening/butter, milk, egg and vanilla extract. Stir in coconut.
- Blend ingredients well (this is where the mixer comes in handy!).
- Knead slightly on lightly floured board or knead in your mixer with the dough hook for a couple of minutes.
- Divide dough into two, shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans, ensuring dough does not fill the pans more than ⅔ full. Optional: Stuff the optional "stuffing mixture" from the ingredients list above into the center of the loaves, opening the loaf and putting the mixture in the middle and then reshaping the loaf again before putting it in the pan.
- Score the top of the loaf (Nicole likes to make Xs, a long line down the middle is pretty, too!) and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Alternately, Nicole likes to brush the tops with a sugar-water mixture (use equal parts water and sugar, about ¼ cup each - mix together and let sit a few minutes to dissolve before using). About every 5 minutes or so during the cooking time brush the loaves with the sugar water. Either technique works beautifully.
- Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until bread is golden brown.
Here is Nicole’s favorite breakfast recipe, a French toast recipe she tore out of a GQ magazine many years ago!GQ French ToastPrep timeCook timeTotal timeNicole Blades found this recipe in a GQ magazine many years ago.Serves: 4 slicesIngredients
- 2 page eggs plus 1 yolk
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 drops vanilla extract
- 1 drop almond extract or dash of amaretto
- 4 slices brioche or other high-quality white bread, cut 1 inch thick (Nicole uses a brioche bread made in France that is sold at Whole Foods - whatever bread you use, make sure it's good - that's the key!)
- Whisk together all of the ingredients except the bread. Cook in a skillet greased with unsalted butter on the stove over medium heat like you would any regular French toast!
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.
- If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating and/or review on iTunes! It helps a lot!
- Big thank you to d&m for providing the music for the podcast!
Tuesday, November 1
Hello, friends. I’ve been dying to tell you about something since June and today is the day when I get to finally spill the beans! I met Bono. At Shangri La, the house Bob Dylan and his band bought and transformed into a recording studio that is now owned by Rick Rubin. And take a picture with Bono and a group of badass women activists. For Glamour magazine. SO CRAZY!
Photo credit: Sam Jones
Each year Glamour honors “Women of the Year.” This year Bono is being honored as their first “Man of the Year” for his work through ONE specifically supporting ONE Girls & Women and the Poverty is Sexist campaign. I had the chance to hear ONE co-founder Jamie Drummond speak a few years ago. He talked about how ONE came about and how Bono initially got involved. To sum up what he shared, Bono is the real deal, who totally knows his stuff and chooses to work on issues that are complex and generally not well understood by the general public but have massive positive impact on millions of people. Meeting Bono was an honor and when I mentioned to him that I had traveled with ONE and Heifer International to Malawi, he started talking in detail about what is happening in Malawi right now. (PS: Things are not good. Currently severe drought is causing a food emergency. Click here to learn more about what is happening. If you would like to donate specifically to help the people in this country I hold so close to my heart, click here. I just donated myself, in fact. All the cool kids are doing it. PEER PRESSURE!)
Glamour gathered a small group of women activists to pose in a photo with Bono for the article and I was lucky enough to be one of those women. It was a really amazing group and I loved hearing all the different ways they support both ONE and RED, through businesses they run to university campus work and much more.
There you have it. Bono and I are besties! In related news, I’m pretty sure they didn’t use the photo where we were all holding hands because I probably looked super stressed because “what if I move my pinky finger or squeeze his hand or something weird and he’ll for sure feel it and oh my goodness hold STILL and just keep holding Bono’s hand.”
The article will be featured in the December print issue of Glamour, which hits newsstands today! (I think my parents may buy them all, so if you want a copy, hurry.)
I have to finish this blog post with a plea for you to check out the Poverty is Sexist page, where you can learn more about the campaign, read ONE’s full report on how poverty disproportionately affects girls and women and sign the letter showing your support!
Monday, October 31
So, it’s kind of looking like after all these years Monday is my planning day…but I actually think I like Sunday, better! I need to get back on the Sunday train! ANYWAY…let’s talk this week’s dinner plans!
– Chicken Soup with Rice
– Caprese Paninis
– Steak, roasted potatoes and veggie
– Takeout night
– Breakfast for dinner: waffles and smoothies
That’s all she wrote! Now it’s your turn, tell us in the comments what you’ve got cookin’ this week!
Friday, October 28
Friday Show and Tell: The Best Plastic Wrap, Cool (Actually, Warm!) Lightbulbs and The Perfect Netflix Halloween
Happy Friday! I have a few things to share with you today for Show and Tell.
Costco Seriously DOES Have the Best Plastic Wrap
People have been telling me for years to get the Kirkland plastic wrap at Costco. There is no good reason why I haven’t, I just never did. Well, this week there was a guy on the end of the aisle at Costco sampling plastic wrap. The kids were not super excited about those samples but I was! It meant I finally remembered to buy the darn stuff. And, good news, you don’t have to buy it in a truck-sized box anymore, it comes in two smaller boxes that actually fit in your kitchen drawer or cabinet. So, why do I love it? It sticks to itself and glass beautifully. AND that little slider cutter things is the best thing ever in the history of the world.
Finally Acandescent Lightbulbs
This week I tried out a new kind of lightbulb, which I was pretty excited about. (I think you know you’re old when lightbulbs become exciting.) Here’s the deal: I really don’t like LED and fluorescent (CFL) lightbulbs. I will admit that both kinds of lights have improved significantly over the years, with more size and shape options as well as LEDs that come in different light temperatures, from warm to cool. But I have yet to find a non-incandescent bulb that I really love and find that my LED and CFL lights both offer a more “harsh” light, even when the temperature is warmer. Finally Light Bulb Company contacted me to see if I would like to try out their acandescent bulbs. I was totally game because of my mixed feelings about LED and CFL lights.
Finally uses what they call acandescent technology, based on a decades-old induction technology. The result is a lightbulb that is the same shape and size as a traditional bulb that offers a warm, soft white light. The best part for me is that the light is omnidirectional, meaning you don’t get those same harsh shadows that often come with LEDs and CFLs. And the level of warmth with these lightbulbs is perfect. Warm but not yellow, they give off a great soft white light.
So, do we like the bulbs? Yes we do! We put them in one of the bedrooms and in all our lamps in the living room and have been very happy with them. Knowing that incandescent lights will be gone in a few years, it’s nice to have another lighting option to choose from. A few notes:
- Finally’s acandescent lightbulbs are significantly more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, about the same as CFLs. LEDs are still the most efficient, but Finally comes pretty close.
- Finally bulbs do contain mercury (you will see this on the label), but it’s the same amount as you find in a can of tuna, so very minimal. The bulbs are landfill safe and do not need to be disposed of the same way you would have to dispose of a CFL, which has more mercury levels.
- The “omnidirectionality” (i.e. not as harsh or shadowy) and soft white color of the light from these bulbs is great.
If you are interested, you can buy Finally Light Bulbs on their website, on Amazon or at Staples stores.
If You Haven’t Watched Stranger Things Yet, Let’s Use Halloween As Your Excuse To Do So NOW
Have you watched Stranger Things on Netflix? If the answer to that question is “No” then let’s just use Halloween as an excuse for you to remedy that situation RIGHT NOW. And while I’m glad I’ve already watched it, I’m a little jealous of you Stranger Things virgins out there. Because it is SO MUCH FUN the first time you watch it. It’s the best thing every in the history of the world (besides the Costco plastic wrap slider cutter thing, of course).
As usual, Show and Tell is for the whole class! If you have something you would like to share, please do so in the comments!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 4:00 pm 2 Comments
Categories: around the house, costco, fab faves, netflix, the goods Tags: around the house, costco plastic wrap, finally bulbs, netflix, netflix stream team, stranger things |
Wednesday, October 26
I’m going to start a post about low-sodium eating with a crazy statement: I love salt. No, really. I LOVE SALT. So when I met my friend Jessica Goldman Foung (a.k.a. Sodium Girl) many moons ago, I have to be honest that low-sodium eating was something I had never even thought about. Then I heard Jessica’s story. In 2004 she was diagnosed with Lupus and learned that the autoimmune disease had attacked her kidneys and brain. As a result of all the craziness, she had to adjust her diet, including eating no sodium. This pretty much blew my mind. No sodium? How is that even possible? After following Jessica and her culinary adventures all these years she has proven to me that a life without sodium can be a rich and delicious one indeed. She is quite the inspiration.
The American Heart Association recently asked if I would help spread the word about their new Sodium Breakup campaign. I was more than happy to so that people like me (a salt lover who could definitely improve her diet to help her heart) and people like Jessica (someone who had to give up salt to save her life) could both learn all about low-sodium eating. I was honored to be given the opportunity to write the kick-off post for the campaign on AHA’s website, which you can read by clicking here! Over the next few months you can keep checking in with the AHA to get all kinds of great low-sodium information, tips and more. The AHA is bound and determined to make your breakup with sodium a breakup you are happy about!
And I have even more low-sodium goodness for you today: a book, a recipe and a giveaway!
First, the book. Low-So Good is a beautiful resource written by my friend Jessica. The book has 70 mouthwatering recipes (hello, Jerk-ish Fish Tacos with Sauce, Slaw and Salsa, I need you in my life), but it is also a complete guide to low-sodium eating. Low-sodium novices and experts alike can benefit from what Jessica has to offer, and I love the guest articles peppered throughout the book from other food experts. The photography is gorgeous, the book is well organized and easy to read, and, best of all, Jessica’s infectiously happy personality shines through. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to cut some (or even all!) sodium from their diet…or really to anyone at all! Click here to buy Jessica’s book!
Second, the recipe. A really helpful part of Jessica’s book is advice for eating in restaurants when you’re trying to go low-so. One of my favorite recipes in the entire book is MacGyver Vinaigrette. It’s more of a formula than a recipe, providing the guidance you need to make a salad dressing on the fly with ingredients you can find at restaurants. It’s awesome. So today I’m sharing one of my MacGyver no-sodium vinaigrette creations, which is sweet and zesty! The recipe is below and sized for one serving.
Lastly, the giveaway! One of you lucky, randomly-selected people will win a copy of Jessica’s book Low-So Good. Here is how to enter! (All comments must be posted before Midnight PT Wednesday 11/2/16. Prize must be shipped to an address in the U.S.)
- Leave a comment on this post! Easy peasy!
- Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you follow)
- Bonus entry: Follow Sodium Girl on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you follow)
- Bonus entry: Follow American Heart Association on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you follow)
And now for a no-sodium salad that will make your taste buds super happy! And good luck with your sodium breakup adventures!Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium VinaigrettePrep timeTotal timeInspired by "Low-So Good" by Jessica Goldman Foung. If you're trying to eat low-sodium, this on-the-fly dressing can be thrown together at a restaurant! (Or at home. Because it's good no matter where you eat it.)Author: Jane MaynardServes: 1 servingIngredients
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lime juice (about 4 lime slices)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Generous pinch black pepper
- In a small bowl or in a small mason jar, add all of the ingredients. Whisk with a fork or shake well.
- Serve over salad!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 12:36 pm 9 Comments
Categories: book club, fab faves, healthy eats, Kitchen Tips, Recipes, side dishes, the goods Tags: american heart association, books, cookbook review, cookbooks, low-sodium eating |