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Category: Favorites

  1. 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.

    I LOVE Costco's Kirkland Plastic Food Wrap So Much! from @janemaynard

    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.

    Review of Finally Acandescent Lightbulbs by @janemaynard

    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).

    Stranger Things on Netflix is my new favorite. From @janemaynard (poster courtesy Netflix)

    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!


  2. Wednesday, October 26

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette + Sodium Breakup + A Low-So Good Giveaway!

    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.

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynard

    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!

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynard

    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!

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynard

    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.

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynardSweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynard

    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.)

    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 Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynard

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette
     
    Prep time
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    Inspired 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:
    Serves: 1 serving
    Ingredients
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons lime juice (about 4 lime slices)
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • Generous pinch black pepper
    Instructions
    1. In a small bowl or in a small mason jar, add all of the ingredients. Whisk with a fork or shake well.
    2. Serve over salad!

     

     

     


  3. Tuesday, October 25

    Vote for Clean Air and a Happy Earth This November!

    Hey, guys. I don’t get political here on the ol’ blog. I believe all sides of all issues have valid arguments and, well, this is a food blog and not really the place to hash out those issues and arguments. But you do know that I care deeply about the environment and write about environmental issues all the time. In addition to caring about the environment, I am a firm believer in the idea that every little bit helps and that all of our cumulative small actions lead to big change, hence a focus on my blog over the years on things like cutting paper towels, composting and eating less meat.

    Clean Air Moms Action - Pledge to Vote for the Environment!

    In case you weren’t aware, there is an election in two weeks. (Hahahahaha! I am so funny!) I am not publicly backing any candidates or telling you which way you should vote. But I am excited about voting and have gotten more involved on the local level this year than I ever have. I am really excited to turn in my ballot and have loved talking with my kids about the election. I was recently approached by the Clean Air Moms Action to see if I’d be willing to encourage the same excitement among my readers and I was like, YES! And, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, I also want to encourage you to consider clean air, environmental factors and climate change when you vote.

    I am not a one-issue voter, but if I was, the environment would be that issue for me. I feel like this election season (and society at large) is like Game of Thrones. In Game of Thrones you have all these warring and competing political factors, all vying for power, all doing anything and everything to get that power. But while that squabbling is happening, “winter is coming,” i.e. literal winter but also those scary glassy-eyed White Walkers that the politicians don’t even believe exist. For me climate change is that proverbial winter. We are concerned with all these other issues while the environment, the one thing that is absolutely crucial to our survival, gets largely ignored. Rising waters are eating away at our coastline (interesting NY Times report here and Wharton podcast here). Drought will not go away. CRAZY WEATHER (no links necessary!). All of it is happening, and yet the presidential debates barely touched the issue, with 82 seconds in the first debate, one question from the audience for the second debate (go Ken Bone!), and two seconds in the third debate, despite the fact that “How will you address climate change?” was the fourth most popular question submitted to the Open Debate Coalition. What the WHAT.

    Okay, obviously I have a strong opinion about all of this, so I’m going to cut myself short and just ask you to think about the environment when you vote. I’m not asking you to make it your one issue (although I’d be cool with that! ;)), I just want you to give it some good consideration. The changing climate is impacting food production and so much more. Let’s get ahead of the problem and make some positive changes, starting with our elected representatives and ballot initiatives!

    There are tons of great voter guides online, partisan and non-partisan alike, where you can find out where candidates stand on this issue. If you’re a fan of the Sierra Club, you can view their endorsements on this page. Seek out good resources and learn all you can. Vote as if your child’s health depends on it…because it does!

    And if you are feeling as pumped up about this issue as I am, go to Clean Air Moms Action and pledge to vote!

    We live in an imperfect yet great country and I am grateful for my opportunity to participate in our democracy. Happy Voting! Happy Earth!

    This post was produced with support from Clean Air Moms Action.


  4. Friday, October 14

    Mexican Brownies + Fair Moments for Fair Trade Month

    Today I have a Mexican brownies recipe for you. And it’s fair trade. And it’s delicious. Are you ready? Let’s go!

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    I love Mexican chocolate. I was first introduced to this wonderful flavor by my Mexican college roommate Estela. She brought me Abuelita Mexican hot chocolate tablets from home and I hoarded, um, I mean cherished them. (Okay, hoarded. I would not allow anyone to use that chocolate willy nilly!) Fast forward to today and basically if we go anywhere and anything is Mexican chocolate flavored, I order it. The hint of cinnamon and chile peppers paired with chocolate just makes me happy. (And it reminds me of Estela, too, which also makes me happy!)

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    Fair Trade USA approached me to help celebrate their Fair Moments campaign this month, which is all about showing how our small everyday decisions can have a huge impact, something I really believe. For the post I wanted to share a recipe that used lots of great fair trade ingredients, but for some reason I was having a hard time settling on something. Then, as I was sitting in my kitchen staring at a pile of fair trade goodies with the kids, discussing what we could make, Cate mentioned brownies. Then the cinnamon started chanting, “Abuelita, Abuelita, Abuelita” and I knew Mexican brownies had to happen. (Okay, maybe that last part didn’t happen, but whatever. Close enough.)

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    Brownies are one of our family’s favorites and probably the most frequently baked item around here, after chocolate chip cookies, of course. Anna and I decided to make the Mexican brownies together and had a great conversation about what fair trade means. We talked about which ingredients in the recipe were fair trade and about how they are ingredients we use all the time. It was really cool neat sharing this with my daughter and I was grateful I could show her how we actively support such a great cause day to day.

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard#FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    The best part was taste testing with Anna and my mom, trying to get the perfect amount of cayenne pepper and cinnamon in the brownies. In case you’re wondering, we succeeded. The brownies came out awesome and everyone in the family loved them (even my mom who was most certainly suspect when I used the words “cayenne” and “brownies” in the same sentence). The cinnamon and cayenne flavors come through but in a subtle way and without too much heat.

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    Before we get to the post, let’s do a Fair Trade giveaway! One lucky, randomly-selected winner will receive a package from Fair Trade USA with the following goodies:

    Fair Moments Fair Trade Giveaway at @janemaynard

    To enter this Fair Trade giveaway, please do the following:

    • Leave a comment on this post! (Optional: Tell us your favorite fair trade ingredient that you use all the time!)
    • Bonus entry: Like Fair Trade USA on Facebook! (Please leave a separate comment indicating you have done so. If you already follow, that counts!)
    • Like This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (Please leave a separate comment indicating you have done so. If you already follow, that counts!)
    • Follow This Week for Dinner on Pinterest! (Please leave a separate comment indicating you have done so. If you already follow, that counts!)
    • All comments must be posted by Midnight PT on October 31, 2016.

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard
    And now, the recipe! I basically just used Ruth Reichl’s “A Better Brownie” recipe, which is one of my most favorite brownies. The brownies come out super fudgy and rich with this amazing crusty top that is to die for. Click here for the original non-spicy version. If you want to try the spicy version, here you go!

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    Mexican Brownies
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    This is one of my favorite brownie recipes, originally written by Ruth Reichl. I've given the recipe a Mexican twist with sugar and spice and everything nice...and Fair Trade!
    Author:
    Serves: 16
    Ingredients
    • 5 ounces unsalted high-fat butter (I use regular old salted butter!)
    • 5 ounces unsweetened fair trade chocolate
    • 2 teaspoons best-quality, fair trade vanilla extract
    • 1½ teaspoons fair trade ground cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon fair trade cayenne pepper
    • 4 farm fresh organic eggs (Jane note: my eggs are not farm fresh, everything turns out fine!)
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup all-purpose white flour (spooned into a cup and leveled with a knife)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
    2. Butter a 9x9 or 8x8 square pan and line the pan with parchment paper. Butter the bottom and sides once again.
    3. Melt the chocolate and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
    4. Beat the eggs and salt in a stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat on high for about 10 minutes, until the mixture has turned very light and thick. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs, beating on low until just mixed.
    5. Gently stir in the flour until it just disappears.
    6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place in the middle of the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350ºF. Bake for 40 minutes; the brownies will be quite fudgy and a toothpick should come out not quite clean. Cool on a rack.
    7. Lift the brownies out of the pan by pulling up on the parchment paper. Set on a cutting board and cut into pieces.

     

    The little plates in this post are from Q Squared NYC, in case you need to buy them because they are the CUTEST.


  5. Friday, September 30

    Friday Show and Tell: Entertainment for your weekend!

    Hi friends! It’s Friday Show and Tell time, and today it’s all about watching and listening to good stuff. This should keep you busy over the weekend, when you’re not cheering on Stanford football, that is. 😉

    Netflix

    Netflix just keeps on keeping on with the great content. Here are a few things I’m most excited about this week:

    Disney on Netflix!

    • Disney on Netflix! It’s official – Netflix is the only place you can stream Disney movies on a pay TV service, which means they will continue to keep adding great Disney films to Netflix all the time. Zootopia is on there right now (my kids are obsessed) and Robin Hood. (We all had a crush on that sly fox when we were kids, right? Just me?)

    Marvel's Luke Cage on Netflix!

    • As of today we can finally watch Luke Cage! Luke Cage is the third of the Marvel Defenders series on Netflix and I can’t wait to get watching. We liked Daredevil a lot (although still need to watch Season 2), loved Jessica Jones and anticipate adding Luke to our list of favorite superheroes.

    Amanda Knox on Netflix

    • I’m intrigued by the new documentary Amanda Knox. They say if you liked Making a Murderer then this one is right up your alley (and it’s simply a movie rather than a whole series, which is kind of nice, actually).

    Narcos Season 2 on Netflix (one of our FAVORITES)

    • I almost forgot! Have you watched Narcos yet? We blasted through Season 2 in less than a week. SO GOOD.

    Music

    Just a heads up that I added a bunch of songs to my Kitchen Tunage playlist on Spotify (it’s been a while). Also, I created a new playlist called Happy Music. These are all the songs I made my family listen to in the car on my birthday. They make me car dance like a fool. Enjoy!

    I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team, which means they send me cool stuff from time to time. For the record, I would be addicted to Netflix in spite of said cool stuff.


  6. Thursday, September 22

    Fab Faves: Barefoot & Chocolate Spreads

    Summer is over and I think it’s time I get back into posting more regularly again. I’ve missed you! Today I want to share a new discovery in our house: Barefoot & Chocolate Spreads.

    My New Favorite Chocolate Spread: Fair Trade Certified Company Barefoot & Chocolates | from @janemaynard

    A week or two ago I posted about Barefoot & Chocolate’s Almond Coconut Chocolate Spread on social media and had quite the response as well as a few questions about the product. Honestly, I think it deserves a quick blog post. I need more than 140 characters!

    My New Favorite Chocolate Spread: Fair Trade Certified Company Barefoot & Chocolates - Almond Coconut Chocolate Flavor | from @janemaynard

    I discovered Barefoot & Chocolate through my work with Fair Trade USA and am so glad I did! They make Nutella-like chocolate spreads that are in my opinion better than their more famous counterpart. Here are a few things I’d like to mention that I didn’t specify on my social media posts:

    • While Barefoot & Chocolate does make a hazelnut chocolate spread, I am head-over-heels in love with their Almond Coconut Chocolate Spread. The Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt is also mighty fine, as is the Hazelnut. But that Almond Coconut? Irresistible. (Note: You probably should like coconut…if not, go with the other two flavors!)
    • Yes, Barefoot & Chocolate contains less sugar than Nutella and you can taste the difference. Barefoot & Chocolate’s spreads are, well, less sugary with a creamier texture. If you want to talk numbers, a 2-tablespoon serving of Nutella has 21 grams of sugar while Barefoot & Chocolate has 13 grams. Obviously there is STILL SUGAR and the fat content is the same as Nutella. It is a treat, after all (don’t be fooled by those Nutella commercials telling us chocolate for breakfast is healthy). But, yes, there is less sugar than Nutella, which I think is a good thing for nutritional and taste reasons.
    • Barefoot & Chocolate is Fair Trade certified and many of the ingredients are organic.
    • You can buy Barefoot & Chocolate on their website or in 2-packs on Amazon (click on the following flavor names for Amazon links: Almond Coconut Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt, and Hazelnut. You can get mix-and-match-the-flavor 2 packs on Amazon, too.)

    My New Favorite Chocolate Spread: Fair Trade Certified Company Barefoot & Chocolates - Almond Coconut Chocolate Flavor | from @janemaynard

    PS: Graham crackers + Almond Coconut Chocolate Spread = THE BEST


  7. Friday, July 29

    Friday Show and Tell: Stranger Things & More!

    Happy Friday!

    For this week’s Show and Tell I have two things to share. First, my new car that’s not really my car but I wish it was. Second, NETFLIX. Oh man, Netflix, you are too good these days. Stranger Things has me hooked. But more on that in a moment…

    Toyota Highlander for our family vacation (from @janemaynard)

    Okay, so the car! We are currently on our annual visit-the-family-all-over-the-northeast trip and Toyota lent us a Highlander for our adventures. I am loving this car and do not mind one bit having to drive it mile after mile after mile. So far my two favorite things (besides the smooth ride) are the fact that the car tells me what the speed limit is at any given time, which is especially helpful on these windy east coast roads with constantly changing speed limits, as well as the remote lock feature. You just have to touch the handle of the car to lock and unlock the car – it is so handy not having to dig my keys out of my purse that literally eats things. Anyway, the Highlander is a sweet ride and works great packing 5 kids in the back for our summer adventuring with the cousins. Big thanks to Toyota for the perfect car for our family vacation!

    Okay, so Netflix. People. If you don’t have Netflix yet, get on that. It just gets better and better all the time. Here are a few shows I’m especially loving and/or excited about.

    Stranger Things on Netflix is my new favorite. From @janemaynard (poster courtesy Netflix)

    Stranger Things

    Are you kidding me, this show is AWESOME. It’s fun and well done and the characters rule and the 80s throwback feel is perfection and everything about it is the best. This show is also scary in the best kind of way. I am not surprised that Stephen King loves it as much as I do. (I still have two more episodes to watch, so no spoilers!)

    Beat Bugs on Netflix - new kids show featuring Beatles music. From @janemaynard (artwork courtesy of Netflix)

    Beat Bugs

    Apparently Beat Bugs, a cartoon for kids featuring Beatles music sung by current artists, is ridiculously adorable and fun, and it comes out next week. Can’t wait to show it to my kids! Fun fact: the creators of Beat Bugs are also going to be releasing a yet-to-be-named Motown-themed show as well. I might even be more excited for Motown than Beatles music. Fun stuff, and excited to have my kids get to know all of this great, classic music.

    Gilmore girls: A Year in the Life airing November 25, 2016!

    Gilmore girls: A Year in the Life

    We have an air date! I repeat, we have an air date! Gilmore girls: A Year in the Life will be available on November 25. That is going to be the best day ever. Thanksgiving leftovers and 6 hours of new Gilmore girls shows to watch. I CAN’T WAIT.

    That’s it for today! Happy driving and watching!

    I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team, which means they send me cool stuff from time to time. For the record, I would be addicted to Netflix in spite of said cool stuff.


  8. Thursday, July 21

    Perfect Summer Dishware {Plus a Giveaway!}

    It’s summertime, which means two things. One, we need to do something fun. Two, you need good dishes for summer entertaining. How about I combine the two by doing a giveaway (fun!) of my most favorite melamine dishes (perfect for summer)? Let’s do it.

    Q Squared NYC Melamine Dishes - Perfect for Entertaining! Knoll Gardens Pattern | from @janemaynardPictured: Knoll Gardens Serving Bowl

    I’ve been working with Q Squared NYC for some time now and continue to love their dishes and serveware year after year. Not only does Q Squared have gorgeous designs, but the quality of their melamine is top notch. I know you think you know melamine, but this melamine is just so much better than what you normally see in stores – thick, heavy (in a good way!) and just plain pretty. You can click here to learn more about what melamine is (I just discovered myself that it’s an organic-based material!) and why Q Squared’s is so lovely. We have a set of Q Squared plates we use every day. I’ve been cleaning them in the dishwasher for years and they look as good as new. And my kids have yet to break anything made by Q Squared. Their dishes are indestructible!

    Q Squared NYC Melamine Dishes - Perfect for Entertaining! | from @janemaynard

    While our family uses Q Squared dishes every day no matter where we eat, I am especially grateful for the dishes when we are eating outside. I have zero worries about anything getting broken. And I love hosting parties and taking food to potlucks because it means I get to break out all of my awesome Q Squared serving platters and trays. I kid you not, I get compliments on them every time.

    Q Squared NYC Melamine Dishes - Perfect for Entertaining! Royal Lapis Pattern | from @janemaynardPictured: Royal Lapis Dinner Plate, Salad Plate and Bread & Butter Plate

    Since it’s summer, I think you need a little Q Squared loveliness in your life, too! You have two options to make this happen. First, go shopping and use the code JANE20 to get 20% off everything at Q Squared (code is valid through Labor Day 9/5/16). I promise you will love whatever you buy! Your second option is to enter the summer giveaway below!

    Q Squared NYC Melamine Dishes - Perfect for Entertaining! Knoll Gardens Pattern | from @janemaynard

    To celebrate their beautiful new summer collections, including the Knoll Gardens and Royal Lapis patterns you see in this post, Q Squared is giving away a 12-piece dinnerware set to one of you lucky people! To enter, leave a comment below telling us which pattern you would choose. That’s all you have to do! Click here to view all of the collections. Be sure to leave your comment telling us your favorite pattern by Midnight PT on Friday, July 29, 2016.

    I don’t want to influence you too heavily or anything, but I am head-over-heels in love with my new Knoll Gardens dishes. They are GORGEOUS. I mean, the Royal Lapis is gorgeous, too, but Knoll Gardens really has me smitten. 😉

    Happy Shopping!

    Thank you to Q Squared NYC for sponsoring today’s post and hosting the giveaway!

  9. Friday, July 1

    Friday Show and Tell is Back!

    Happy Friday, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve done a weekly Friday Show & Tell post. There are a few things I really want to share with you, so here we go! Remember, Show & Tell is for the whole class, so if you have anything to share, please do so in the comments! Links, accomplishments, whatever you’ve got!

    Thing #1 to Share: This Hair Product Has Changed My Life

    My new favorite curly product, Shea Moisture's Curl Enhancing Smoothie | from @janemaynard

    This won’t be helpful for everyone, depending on what kind of hair you have, but I still have to share because it really has made my life so much easier. About 9 months ago my friend Luvvie posted about the company Shea Moisture on Facebook. I had never heard of them, so I clicked through to the website and read a bit about their company history and products. Coincidentally a few days later I noticed their product at Target. The Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie caught my eye, so I bought it.

    Okay, so here’s the deal. My hair is THICK. And very textured. About half of the strands are super kinky and thick and basically if I want my hair to look good I have to spend time styling it, and I just don’t have that time to spare. My hair is also part-curly, part-wavy, part-totally-uncooperative. It takes forever to blow dry and to flat iron, but letting my hair air dry just doesn’t work. It gets too frizzy and the waves and curls are inconsistent and blerghyblerghblergh. And I’ve tried COUNTLESS anti-frizz, curly hair products over the years that are all okay but not really what I need. And then Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie CHANGED MY LIFE.

    I can let my hair air dry! It’s a freaking miracle. I get out of the shower, wrap my hair in a towel for about 5 minutes, let my hair out of the towel and then just evenly spread smoothie on my hair. Then I go about my business and my hair looks awesome. Some days (depending on the humidity) I need to add a bit of water-based pomade to separate the curls a little, but it’s not every day and not a big deal. I LOVE THIS CURL SMOOTHIE IT’S THE BEST THING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD THE END.

    Thing #2 to Share: Support MDA by Living Unlimited!

    Endorphin Warrior's "Live Unlimited" Bracelet to Support MDA | from @janemaynard

    Remember my little friend Lucy? She’s amazing. So is her mom, Cherisse. And her whole family for that matter. The Muscular Dystrophy Association asked if I could help support their #LiveUnlimited campaign this summer and I was ALL IN, ready to support anything even remotely related to Lucy and her family. MDA is a non-profit dedicated to fighting muscle diseases like MD and SMA (SMA is what Lucy has). To help celebrate #LiveUnlimited, MDA sent me the Live Unlimited bracelet made by Endorphin Warrior and let me gift a bracelet to someone else.

    My friend Cherisse’s daughter Lucy has been fighting SMA for years and continues to beat the odds. The very fact she can talk is a miracle, and boy does she take advantage of that gift…with all kinds of funny (often saucy) words! When MDA asked me who I wanted to give a #LiveUnlimited bracelet to, Cherisse was the only name that came to mind. You guys, I can’t tell you how amazing she is and how she inspires me to savor each and every day. The talks we’ve had over the years have truly influenced my life and I will be forever grateful to have both Cherisse and Lucy in my life. I had to make a fist for my #LiveUnlimited photo as a tribute to Lucy and her ability to FIGHT! (If you want a peak into the Lunt’s daily life, check out this awesome video. Lucy is seriously the best.)

    So how can you get involved? Go buy a bracelet! For every bracelet sold, $6 will go to MDA! You can also go to the Live Unlimited website and make a customized image to show how you are living unlimited this summer to help spread the word!

    Thing #3 to Share: HAVE YOU WATCHED BLOODLINE?!?!?

    Season 2 of Bloodline on Netflix Now!

    Nate and I recently finished Season 2 of Bloodline on Netflix. Question #1: Have you watched Season 1? Question #2: Have you watched Season 2? If your answer is “No” to either of those questions, remedy the situation STAT. Seriously, the Season 2 finale…holy cow. That’s all I’ll say, but SERIOUSLY. WHOAH.

    Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

    I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team, which means they send me cool stuff from time to time. For the record, I would be addicted to Netflix in spite of said cool stuff.


  10. Wednesday, March 16

    “The Goods” Update: What I Still Think of Products I’ve Written About in the Past

    Whenever I write about a product, I tag that post so it shows up in The Goods category on my blog. Often while I’m in the kitchen using some of those items I think, “I should let everyone know I still love this thing.” So, I sat down and scrolled through every post on my blog with that The Goods tag. It was a lot of posts. The cool part? I still like everything I’ve written about, but there are a few things that could do with some updates. So, here we go! What I still think of products I’ve written about in the past!

    blentec-total-blender-top

    Blendtec Blender
    Our Blendtec blender was the first “big ticket” item I received from a company to share on my blog. That was 2009. We still use that same blender. It is awesome and I love it and recommend powerful blenders to people all the time. I especially love Blendtec because of the preset buttons for different types of food. I visited the Blendtec booth at the International Housewares Show last week and they’ve got all kinds of cool stuff on the market these days, and even cooler stuff in the pipeline. It makes me want a pretty shiny new blender, but that said, our blender is still blending up a storm!

    Bosch 800 Series Dishwasher Features | From @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    Bosch Dishwasher
    Bosch gave us a dishwasher about 3 years ago and I am still head over heels in love with the thing. I never knew I could love a dishwasher so much, but I do. We have not had one problem with it and the thing is just so awesome for so many reasons. Click here to read more about it. Also, no matter what kind of dishwasher you get, make sure it has a third rack. That is key!

    KitchenAid Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator | thisweekfordinner.com

    KitchenAid Refrigerator
    I still love our fridge. There are a few things to note. First, we got a counter depth fridge and I do not regret it. That said, we have a second fridge in the garage for overflow and extra large items, like a brining Thanksgiving turkey. I think if I didn’t have the second fridge, I would probably feel frustrated with the size of a counter-depth fridge. The water and ice dispenser also take up a lot of space in the fridge, but I am SO glad we have them. There have been no problems with our fridge and I really love it, but it does get a little icy build up in the very bottom of the freezer that will sometimes melt onto the floor. It is not a big deal and easily fixed, but it does happen. Other than that, it’s a great appliance! ANOTHER UPDATE: So, the ice in the bottom of the freezer got worse and worse after this post. I contacted KitchenAid and they sent a repairman. Turns out that there is a pump or something that was easily plugged, which caused the problem, but they’ve since redesigned that part so that can’t happen anymore. They replaced our old part and the problem is gone. Thought I’d give an update in case anyone else ever has the same issue!

    Canon Rebel T2i web

    Canon Rebel DSLR
    Unless you plan to be a professional photographer and/or shoot photos for print (like a cookbook), all you need is a Canon Rebel. I love the Rebel line of cameras and they just keep getting better every year. I’m still shooting with my T2i and it works great. Of course I’d love to get the latest, but honestly it would be a waste of money to do so at this point. The post I wrote about shopping for a DSLR has lots of great info for what to look for, even 5+ years later.

    breville smart oven

    Breville Smart Oven (or any toaster oven for that matter!)
    I find that it is very difficult to convince people who do not have toaster ovens that they should have toaster ovens. But, seriously, everyone should have a toaster oven. Especially these days, with the abundance of large, beautiful, wonderful toaster ovens out there. I’ve had the Breville Smart Oven for 5 years now and it’s like the 6th member of our family. For real. THE BEST.

    BISSELL DeepClean Premiere Carpet Cleaner Review & Giveaway | thisweekfordinner.com

    Bissell Upright Carpet Cleaner
    I LOVE my upright Bissell carpet cleaner and use it regularly. It does a great job cleaning the floors and I seriously love having it, especially with my light carpets. I’ve been seeing these at Costco lately. In fact, our piano teacher bought one and is equally as in love as I am. We both highly recommend it! Side note: I ended up getting rid of the small Spot Bot because I found it to be a bit redundant and, if I had to choose one, the larger cleaner is better for my needs. I also did a poor job cleaning out the hose the first time I used the Spot Bot and it got SUPER gross, so make sure you rinse the hoses with clean water after every use! If you don’t want a huge carpet cleaner, though, that Spot Bot is super handy and works great.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    Q Squared Melamine Dishes and Serving Platters
    I’ve done many sponsored posts for Q Squared over the years (although I am not currently working with them). I love everything they’ve ever sent and use Q Squared items in our home every day. The only issues I’ve had: the “silver” on the flatware has started wearing off, and the yellow salad plates from the Montecito collection started to change color a bit. That said, I would still buy those plates because they are such a great shape and size. And I haven’t had any other issues. Great stuff.

    sharpener top web

    Knife Sharpener
    Alton Brown once said that you should only hone your knives at home but always pay a professional to sharpen your knives. And so I was a little scared to use this knife sharpener from KitchenIQ…but I finally gave in and I use it EVERY DAY. What I love about this particular sharpener is that you can change the angle, so if you have a traditional knife or a Japanese knife, it’s easy to adjust the sharpener properly. And it totally sharpens my serrated knife. And it’s easy to use. And my knives have never been happier. These kinds of sharpeners can be a little pricey, but it is worth the investment.

    the instant-read DOT probe thermometer by ThermoWorks from @janemaynard

    ThermoWorks DOT Probe Thermometer
    I bought this a year ago. It’s still awesome. I anticipate it will continue to be awesome for many years to come.

    soap dispenser web

    Olive Oil Bottle for Dish Soap
    I still use a glass olive oil bottle for my dish soap and I still love it. We’ve only had one mishap over the years when a babysitter poured soap over the caprese salad. Other than that, no breaks and no other oil-soap mixups! 🙂

    freezer inside web

    Kenmore Chest Freezer
    We’ve had our $80 Kenmore chest freezer for 5 1/2 years now and it’s still going strong. Couldn’t live without it.

    whirley pop | thisweekfordinner.com

    Whirley Pop
    We still use the Whirley Pop every time we make popcorn. Haven’t had microwave popcorn since this arrived in our home over 3 years ago. It’s holding up beautifully, even though the lid doesn’t clip on quite as tightly, which isn’t a problem.

    nielsen-massey vanilla bean paste

    Vanilla Bean Paste
    I still love vanilla bean paste and even found it on Amazon for cheap. You’re welcome.

    EarthBox Garden Kit web

    Earth Box
    I never wrote a final update on how gardening with the Earth Box went…because we went out of town and everything died. But until that point, the tomato plants were amazing and full and huge and wonderful. So, barring vacations where you neglect to care for your garden, I still think the Earth Box is a great way to garden, especially for people who have a black thumb like me.

    tortilla warmer from @janemaynard

    Tortilla Warmer
    I use this every single week. It’s the greatest. The end. And I need to get a big one for burrito size tortillas…on my shopping list!

    dash greek yogurt maker review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    Homemade Yogurt Maker
    I really like this appliance (it works beautifully) and got into a regular yogurt making groove for a time. BUT…once I got out of the groove I haven’t gotten back into it since. I also recently learned that a lot of pressure cooker/Instant Pots out there have a yogurt setting, so I think I would recommend getting that over the stand-alone yogurt maker. Multitaskers are always a good way to go!

    review of the kupp' by @janemaynard

    The Kupp
    I love these cups for kids and my kids loved them, too. Sadly, we’ve broken all five of the Kupps in our possession. Bummer.

    onion saver review by @janemaynard (spoiler alert: I love it!)

    Onion Saver
    This is another unitasker that I actually do use all the time (like the tortilla warmer). It may only do one thing, but it does it so well.

    why cheese paper and storage bags are the best way to store cheese from @janemaynard

    Cheese Paper
    This is one of those items I keep bringing up because it is awesome. ‘Nuf said.

    crisco simple measures

    Crisco 64-ounce Canola Oil Bottle
    I seriously still buy this brand and size of oil just for the measuring cup lid. Why doesn’t all oil come with this feature?

    salt box web

    Salt Box
    My salt box is another thing I love and use every day, with kosher salt. I rarely get out any other kind of salt. The family uses the salt box. It’s the best. Easy for grabbing a pinch while cooking or measuring out if you need to.

    Non-Stick Cookware
    This is just a quick update on how some of the non-stick cookware I have is holding up. The Anolon Nouvelle Copper Cookware set I received a few years ago is still great and cooks evenly, but there is a little bit of the non-stick stuff coming off on one of the pots. The Calphalon Unison non-stick frying pan I have is awesome, no peeling or scraping and I use it all the time. Lastly, I have a Le Creuset non-stick 12″ deep drying pan that is my favorite pan I own, also no scraping or peeling and I use it for almost every meal I cook.

    Phew! Is that enough updates? Like I said, if you click on The Goods tag, you can believe anything I say, but these items were ones I wanted to call out specifically for various reasons. hope it’s helpful!