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Category: fab faves

  1. Tuesday, August 18

    Minivans RULE + How New Car Smell is Like Cilantro


    Most years when we go out east for our annual summer adventure, Toyota generously lends us a car to try out on the trip. This year we drove a Sienna and, as a result, I have decided we need to have a discussion. A minivan discussion.

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

    First, a confession. I drive a minivan. (AND my girls play soccer. Go ahead, call me Soccer Mom. I can handle it.) Nate drives a Toyota Prius and I drive a Honda Odyssey, so we pretty much fit into all kinds of middle-aged Californian stereotypes. 😉 Anyway, back to minivans. We bought the van about 6 months after Owen (our third child) was born. We went to the lot to check out the Pilot with ZERO intention of buying a minivan. Guess what we ended up driving off the lot? That’s right. We gave in. We decided that it was ridiculous to pay more money for a car (in this case, an SUV or crossover with the optional third bench) that didn’t really work for our family of 5. So, we bit the bullet.

    I am SO glad we did. I have zero qualms about driving a minivan. It’s the best for about a million reasons. You can push a button and open all your doors! The doors slide! There is TONS of storage space even when you have 8 people sitting in your car! And people TOTALLY think you drive the coolest looking car! (Okay, maybe that last one isn’t exactly accurate…)

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

    Years ago when I started my relationship with Toyota they lent us Sienna. It was before we had our own minivan and, quite honestly, I didn’t love it. The user interface just wasn’t that great, as great as all the extra space was.  Fast forward 6 years or so to this summer, driving the latest Toyota Sienna. I love it just as much as my Odyssey. In fact, I don’t even know which one I like more! Plus, the Sienna comes with an All-Wheel Drive option, which is ideal if you live in a place with weather. So my previous advice of, “The Odyssey is totally better” is now “Just choose the one you like better for whatever small reason you can find because they are equally awesome.”

    Here are a few things in particular we loved about the Sienna.

    1. Two sunroofs! We marveled at the gloriousness of the second sunroof!

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

    2. The “infotainment” interface is great, and I like the display better than the Odyssey. Plus, the positioning of the screen is perfect so there is never any glare, making it visible at all times.

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

    3. The memory positions for the drivers’ seat are super handy.

    4. This particular Sienna came with sensors that alert you to people in your blindspot as well as beep when you’re backing up, etc. We could have gotten this on our Odyssey if we wanted but opted not to spend the extra money. That said, I LOVED the feature very much when I was using it and it made me wish I had it at home.

    5. I love Toyota’s keyless entry and startup system. Here’s how it works: if you have the key on your person, when you are close to the car you just touch the door handles and the car unlocks. It’s so super duper awesome and works beautifully. You can also lock the car by touching a spot on the handle when you get out. I pretty much just left the key safely in my purse the entire trip, it was great!

    6. There is just so much storage space. I’ve already mentioned this, but it is worth mentioning again. And it’s very easy to put the back seats up and down if you want even more storage. We have driven the Toyota Highlander for a few summers and, as much as I loved that car, with 3 kids and all our luggage it was PACKED. We never even came close to filling the Sienna on this trip, even with other people’s luggage thrown in with ours.

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

    7. Lots of space for “tickle trains.”

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

    8. The Sienna really is the Swagger Wagon. It even played awesome old school rap for me.

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

    The model we were driving did not have an eighth seat, which we could have used a couple times with all the family we were visiting. But other than that, I have no complaints. The Sienna was fabulous!

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

    Oh, are you wondering why new car smell is like cilantro? My sister-in-law Cora, my mother-in-law Pat and I all thought the car smelled really strong. It kind of got into our nasal cavity, like we were breathing it. But NO ONE ELSE knew what we were talking about. We decided it must be similar to the cilantro gene, you know the one where some people think cilantro tastes like soap? Apparently new car smell has a similar effect on a small percentage of the population. 😉 Like how I brought it all back to food, there? I can ALWAYS bring the conversation back to food.

    Okay, time for some CONTROVERSY. Do you drive a minivan? Are you adamantly opposed to them? Do you secretly wish you had one but don’t have the guts to drive a Swagger Wagon? Even my sister-in-law who has no children said that the minivan she drives for work is the BEST. See? EVERYONE loves minivans! That’s my supposition, anyway. I think the people who say they don’t are just lying 😉 So, speak up! Tell us what you think!


  2. Friday, August 7

    Friday Show and Tell: Butterfly in the Sky…


    Happy Friday! We are finally home from our travels and back into a normal groove. It was a fabulous trip and we wouldn’t change a thing, but it is nice to be back in our own house again. I’m especially grateful for my down pillows. 😉

    I have just one thing to share today. Let’s start with a hint: Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high…

    reading rainbow is on netflix!

    READING RAINBOW IS ON NETFLIX! Nate and I discovered this last night and the first thing I did with the kids this morning was put an episode on. Reading Rainbow is a show that I’ve always been sad my kids didn’t have to watch – it ended right before Cate was born. PBS aired episodes until 2009, but I didn’t figure it out until it was too late and our DVR series recording never produced a thing!

    My kids are watching the show as I type and all three of them are mesmerized, from age 3 to age 10! And, as a parent, I think the show is even better than I remember it. I love its slower pace, how the show is educational while still fun, and that it’s filled with books, of course! I just wish that Netflix was going to air all 21 seasons (right now they have a selection of episodes on service).

    Also, in case you were wondering, I DO still have every word of the song memorized. Impressive, eh? (Okay, I think probably all of us do.)

    Happy Watching and Reading!


  3. Thursday, July 16

    Fab Faves: CC Made & barkTHINS


    Hey everybody! I am officially on vacation and enjoying every second. Also, flying with kids is SO MUCH EASIER now that I my youngest is almost 4 years old and my oldest is 10. I didn’t even have that anxious feeling in my stomach that normally accompanies our plane rides. I really am shocked at how much easier it was than it has been for, oh, the last 10 years.

    Okay, enough travel talk, today I have a public service announcement. I must share two of my favorite goodies with you because it would be a crime not to.

    fab fave: cc made dark chocolate caramel sauce from @janemaynard

    First off, we flew through SFO this week and had a layover in Terminal 2. That terminal is, in the words of my friend Rebecca, magical. I love it when I have a layover there and usually spend a small fortune on food. My favorite spot in the terminal is a shop and deli called Napa Farms Market. They carry a vast array of wonderful Bay Area food products. One of the brands they carry is CC Made, a Berkeley-based artisanal caramel company I discovered at a food show years ago. CC Made has a dark chocolate caramel sauce that is TO DIE FOR, but they never have it at Napa Farms Market…until this week! When I saw it on the shelf I think I may have done a little jig. I know I at least squealed. I believe you can buy the sauce on the CC Made website, in case you need to get your hands on a jar, too!

    fab faves: barkTHINS by @janemaynard

    The second item I want to share is barkTHINS. Fair Trade USA has sent me samples of barkTHINS several times and I even created a granola bar recipe using their pumpkin seed flavor. Anyway, suddenly I’m seeing barkTHINS EVERYWHERE…from gas stations to grocery stores to Costco, so I can regularly feed my addiction. My kids are addicted, too. barkTHINS are dangerous. So, maybe this public service announcement is more to warn you about the addictive power of barkTHINS than anything else! 😉

    That’s all for today! Enjoy the goodies!


  4. Wednesday, July 1

    Jerkish Chicken, i.e. Kid Friendly Jerk Chicken That Adults Love, Too


    One of my favorite foods in the world is Back-A-Yard’s Jamaican jerk chicken. I will never be able to make jerk sauce like that restaurant does and that’s okay with me. Sometimes it’s good to have a food you can only get in one place so you really appreciate it. That said, I do hate living so far away from Back-A-Yard, which is located in Menlo Park and San Jose. The other day I was having a serious hankering for some Back-A-Yard and decided to finally try making my own jerk.

    recipe for "jerkish" chicken, a kid-friendly marinade and sauce inspired by Jamaican jerk that is a bit more sweet and a bit less spicy | from @janemaynard

    The one and only problem with jerk is that it is just too spicy for my kids, so I wanted to figure out a way to make a kid-friendly jerk that still delighted my taste buds. The marinade/sauce I created and have made several times now is wonderful, although nothing at all like Back-A-Yard’s. It’s much sweeter with just a hint of heat. The kids devoured their chicken, as did Nate and I!

    Will I ever be able to replicate the pure culinary joy that is Back-A-Yard’s Jamaican jerk? Nope. But I’m okay with that, and I ended up with this scrumptious recipe instead!

    recipe for "jerkish" chicken, a kid-friendly marinade and sauce inspired by Jamaican jerk that is a bit more sweet and a bit less spicy | from @janemaynard

    Note #1: While I was editing this post and getting the link for Back-A-Yard, I discovered that Back-A-Yard is going to start selling sauces and rubs. I AM SO HAPPY! I will be able to get their sauce in my own kitchen! I’ll be sure to include a link in my Friday Show and Tell post when their online store opens.

    Note #2: I forgot to photograph the sauce. It’s brown and tastes delicious. There you go.

    Note #3: You can find the recipe for the potatoes in the background of the first photo by clicking here. They’re amazing. Thought you should know.

    Jerkish Chicken, i.e. Kid Friendly Jerk Chicken That Adults Love, Too
    Inspired by Jamiacan jerk, this chicken marinade and sauce has a sweeter flavor and just a bit of heat.
    Serves: 5-8 servings
    • Juice from 1 lime
    • ½ cup olive oil or canola oil
    • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 6 cloves fresh garlic
    • 6 green onions, very roughly chopped
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon jerk seasoning
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • 10-15 pieces bone-in chicken (I prefer legs and thighs)
    1. Combine all ingredients (except the chicken) in a blender. Blend until a sauce consistency.
    2. Reserve ½ cup of the sauce to serve with the chicken later.
    3. Place chicken pieces in a ziploc bag then pour sauce into the bag. Close bag, pushing air out, and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
    4. Grill chicken as usual over moderate heat, cooking until inside temperature reaches 160-165º F.
    5. Heat reserved sauce on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed. Serve with grilled chicken.
    Prep time is only 5 minutes or so, but there is at least 30 minutes of marinating time to plan on. Cook time is only about 10 minutes.



  5. Tuesday, June 23

    My Smart Girls, All of the Feelings, and Inside Out Homemade Butterfinger Bars


    recipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynard

    I have two very smart girls. Smart girls who make posters like this when they are playing:

    inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynard

    I mean, seriously. Just look at that poster. That is how they play. To say the kids and I were excited about the new Pixar movie Inside Out is an understatement. A movie all about navigating your feelings is totally up their alley! Plus, I think I may have a couple of future psychotherapists on my hands. (When I found that paper, it seriously cracked me up.)

    "inside out" homemade buttefinger bars by @janemaynardWe were going for “Joy” in the group shot, but Owen was apparently overcome by “Sadness”; Anna was going to do all 5 emotions for me, but we only got “Disgust” and a very happy looking “Angry” out of her

    Well, we went and saw Inside Out today. It was wonderful in so many ways and I want to give it all of the awards right NOW. Here is Inside Out in a nutshell: take the last few, way-too-emotional minutes of Toy Story 3, where all you can do is sob as you think about the bittersweetness of growing up, and turn it into a 1 hour 42 minute feature film. Needless to say I cried through ALL of Inside Out, from the first minute to the last. So did Cate. We think Anna did, too, but she won’t fess up to it. (Apparently Disgust is overpowering Sadness in her brain today.)

    recipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynardThis step of the recipe is perfect for Anger!

    Once the movie was done, we were all feeling a little emotional. It was actually a rough couple of minutes where none of us were at the top of our game. And then we had to stop at the store. Owen, who was crazy tired, got really mad about our errand. (Why, hello, Anger! Nice to see you!) But then I thought to myself, “Um, duh, let’s make this fun!” (Actually that wasn’t me, it was Joy stepping up to the control panel in my brain.) Owen was the most angry about our errand, so I started identifying his feelings. “Oh, man, Anger is at the controls right now. Wait, I think Sadness just took over. Whoops, now we have Disgust. [Owen looks up and sees a giant blow-up shark.] And Joy is back!” The kids and I couldn’t help but laugh, especially since Owen’s emotions were changing at an impressively quick pace! Suddenly all was right with the world.

    recipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynardrecipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynard

    After we were able to laugh and let Joy take the reins, I started asking Cate and Anna what they learned from the movie. Cate responded immediately with, “You shouldn’t let your emotions take control.” Perfect. The conversation evolved from there and made me want to cry {again} and reminded me just how smart my smart girls are. Seriously, they are SMART and, even though emotions are a hard thing to deal with, I think they will have the upper hand as they navigate the choppy waters of growing up.

    recipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynard

    In honor of Inside Out, going to the movies and chocolate (I’m always willing to honor chocolate), I have a recipe today for Inside Out Homemade Butterfinger Bars. To say this recipe is a labor of love is an understatement. It requires time and patience and you will probably feel Disgust, Anger, Fear AND Sadness while making them, but Joy will take center stage once you take that first bite. I promise.

    recipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynard

    Homemade Inside Out Butterfingers
    Inspired by the movie Inside Out and the classic movie candy Butterfinger. This is a time-consuming recipe but oh-so-delicious!
    Serves: 42
    • 24 ounces good quality dark chocolate (the bars you see pictured used 24 ounces of chocolate - the chocolate was quite thick, if you want it thinner you could probably go down to as low as 18 ounces of chocolate total)
    • ½ cup water
    • 1 cup sugar
    • ½ cup light corn syrup
    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
    1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside, along with an additional piece of parchment paper on the side.
    2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the corn syrup and stir well. Raise heat to medium-high and clip on a candy thermometer. (I used my instant read thermometer, which worked fine, but I really wish I had a clip on candy thermometer because it takes time for the mixture to get hot and I had to hold the probe the whole time.)
    3. While the mixture is heating, place the peanut butter in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, until melted. Set aside.
    4. When the sugar mixture reaches 280º F (this takes a WHILE, probably about 30 minutes), remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the peanut butter, mixing thoroughly. Immediately pour the mixture onto the lined baking sheet. Working QUICKLY (the stuff starts to set up fast!), put the other piece of parchment paper on top and press down, using a hot pad on top of the parchment paper as the mixture below is very hot. Press out flat to about ¼" thick.
    5. Let harden completely. Place large pieces of the homemade butterfinger in a thick, gallon-sized ziploc bag, then bang the candy with a hammer. You want small pieces, but you don't want to pulverize it to a powder, so work carefully. Set butterfinger pieces aside (you'll end up with about 4 cups of butterfinger pieces).
    6. Line a 13" x 9" baking dish with parchment paper. Cover the bottom surface of the lined dish with a layer of butteringer pieces, about 1 - 1½ cups. Set aside.
    7. Now you need to temper the chocolate. This also takes time, so get ready!
    8. Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Place a dry, clean bowl on top and add about 12 ounces of the chocolate to the bowl. Melt the chocolate and cook it over the simmering water until it reaches 115º - 120º F.
    9. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the remaining unmelted chocolate, stir, and let it cool to the low 80ºs F. Do NOT get any water in the chocolate. Stir regularly or almost constantly while the chocolate cools. This process took about 45 minutes for me.
    10. Once the temperature drops to the low 80s, place the bowl back over the simmering water and bring the temperature back up to between 88ºF - 91º F. (Milk chocolate tempers at 86º - 88º F, so if you subbed milk chocolate for the dark chocolate, please use this temperature.) Do NOT let the temperature go above 91ºF or you have to start the WHOLE PROCESS OVER. Once the temp reaches 88º - 91ºF, immediately remove from heat.
    11. Pour the tempered chocolate over the butterfinger pieces in the baking dish. Spread the chocolate out evenly, then sprinkle the top with more butterfinger pieces, about 1 - 1½ cups more. Be sure to press the butterfinger pieces into the chocolate while it is still soft.
    12. Let sit at room temperature until chocolate has completely hardened. Cut into small bars with a long, sharp knife, pressing straight down firmly when cutting.
    13. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
    This makes a lot of bars and they are very rich, so it serves a lot of people. It really depends on how big you cut the bars what the final yield is. I recommend cutting it into 6x7 rows and columns.
    You will have about a cup or so of butterfinger pieces left over. Use these however you like...I'm thinking tossed in a batch of chocolate chip cookies would be delish!



  6. Friday, May 29

    Friday Show and Tell


    Happy Friday! It’s funny, usually weeks that start with a holiday feel short to me, but not this one…Friday couldn’t come soon enough! 😉

    virunga on netflix

    I know I can’t stop talking about Africa (which is a reflection of my mind, which cannot stop thinking about Africa), but I have to share a documentary with you. Joe Kraus from ONE recommended the movie Virunga while we were driving around the Malawian countryside. Nate and I watched it this week and it is so beautifully made and thought provoking I had to let you all know about it. So many of the issues that I witnessed in Malawi are explored in this film, with the added complication of the war that Congo is experiencing. I literally sobbed my way through the movie (fair warning!). The movie is streaming on Netflix. If you want to support Virunga National Park, click here. Also, this article on Huffington Post provides an excellent summary of the movie and what it’s all about.

    raspberry rhubarb sangria from @janemaynard

    Okay, food link time!

    That’s it! As usual, please share your own stuff! Just updates from your life, recipes you’ve found during the week, links to your own blog posts…anything goes!


  7. Friday, May 8

    Friday Show and Tell


    Happy Friday, everyone! I have a lot to “show and tell” today and a lot to say about my trip to Africa (I’m getting on my first plane of the trip in 30 minutes!), so I decided to split the two up and I’ll be doing a separate Africa post later tonight from Washington, D.C. So, let’s show and tell, shall we?

    netflix chef's table from @janemaynard

    First, I just discovered a new original documentary series on Netflix that I’m loving called Chef’s Table. It tells the story of 6 of the world’s most renowned chefs and I love it. It’s beautifully constructed and the stories are wonderful. I highly recommend it!

    "a bone to pick" by mark bittman

    Mark Bittman has a new book A Bone to Pick. I’ve ordered my copy and can’t wait to dig in. I love that guy and the way he talks about our food system. I am really looking forward to reading his latest thoughts!

    albion fit's soulstice retreat

    Remember my friends Liz and Dave who started the activewear company Albion Fit? They just announced their retreat Soulstice and it looks AMAZING. It’s expensive, yes, but it really is a top notch, 5-star, every attendees gets a $1500 gift bag kind of experience. Albion is also offering a group discount if you are interested. Groups of 6+ can each register for $2399 (limited spaces available). Just click on the 6+ discount when you register and enter the code TWFD. And if you go you just might run into me in a yoga class!

    serrano salsa by @janemaynard

    Last thing, one food link for the week! I put together an awesome roundup of salsa recipes for Parade’s Community Table. You should definitely check it out!

    That’s all! (Ha! That was a ton of stuff!) Happy Friday! And don’t forget to share your own finds, links, blog posts, thoughts, whatever!


  8. Thursday, May 7

    Gluten-Free Coconut Lime Shortbread + Moms Make a World of Difference {Fair Trade Giveaway!}


    As you know, every few months or so I do a post with Fair Trade USA to help spread the word about the great work they do. This week we’re celebrating Mother’s Day together by sharing the story of a mother from Uganda, giving away a big ol’ bunch of awesome Fair Trade goodies and sharing a fair trade recipe!

    fairt trade gluten-free coconut lime shortbread from @janemaynard #fairmoms

    If you want to read more about what fair trade is, click here. Fair Trade USA says it all a whole lot better than I do. In a nutshell, buying fair trade products means you are supporting farmers in truly meaningful and sustainable ways in more than 70 countries. One of those farmers is Komuhendo Jacqueline, an inspirational tea farmer & me​mber of the Mpanga Growers Tea Factory in Uganda.

    Komuhendo Jacqueline, Fair Trade Tea Farmer from Uganda #fairmoms

    Komuhendo Jacqueline and her family have been growing tea since 2009. She says that the biggest benefit to selling Fair Trade Certified tea is that it has enabled her to pay for school fees for 3 of her children. It has also enabled her family to start sustainable food security projects for their home that can continue for years to come. She hopes to sell more of her tea so that she can send her other 4 children to school.

    Komuhendo Jacqueline, Fair Trade Tea Farmer from Uganda #fairmoms

    Fair Trade has helped Komuhendo Jacqueline and her community in so many ways, including building a nearby well that has provided much closer access to clean water, building a health clinic, providing shelter for workers during the work day, creating a women’s organization that helps empower women to be a more active part of generating income for their families in a region where traditionally men have taken sole ownership of tea farming, and MORE. It’s really amazing the long-term and meaningful ways fair trade has helped women and mothers in this community.

    Komuhendo Jacqueline, Fair Trade Tea Farmer from Uganda #fairmoms

    Learning about Komuhendo Jacqueline’s story has been especially poignant for me this week as I will be flying over her home in just a few days’ time! As I have mentioned, I am traveling to Malawi with ONE and Heifer International this week. Malawi is another country where farmers have benefited from Fair Trade efforts through the production of coffee, sugar and tea, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to meet the people of this country and talk to farmers.

    I could go on and on, but I think it’s time to give away some goodies and share a recipe with you!

    fair trade mother's day giveaway package from @janemaynard #fairmoms

    First, the giveaway. Fair Trade USA will send one lucky, randomly-selected commenter all of the following goodies!

    To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post! (Comments must be posted by Midnight, PT May 18, 2015. Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address.)

    fairt trade gluten-free coconut lime shortbread from @janemaynard

    Recipe time! Today I have a recipe for Gluten-Free Coconut Lime Shortbread. In the interest of full disclosure, Nate and Cate did NOT like these cookies. My neighbor Kat, who does TONS of gluten-free baking and loves and cares about food very much, loved the cookies. I personally think the cookies have a wonderful flavor and I do like them. Just know this is a cookie that is meant to be nibbled…coconut flour absorbs fluid better than a sponge, and that still applies even when it’s in your mouth! Sit down with a nice cup of fair trade tea and slowly enjoy your delicious cookie!

    4.3 from 3 reviews
    Gluten-Free Coconut Lime Shortbread
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
    A very flavorful, gluten-free shortbread cookie. Eat in nibbles, no big bites!
    Serves: 7 cookies
    • 6 tablespoons fair trade coconut flour
    • 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened to room temp
    • 2 tablespoons fair trade unsweetened shredded coconut
    • 2 tablespoons fair trade agave nectar
    • 2 teaspoons lime juice
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
    2. Mix all ingredients very well using a fork or pastry blender. Make cookie balls out of ~2 tablespoons of dough per cookie. Roll in your hand, set on a a parchment paper or silpat lined cookie sheet and gently press the cookie flat to about ¼" thick.
    3. Bake for 10 minutes.
    4. Let cool completely before moving off of the cookie sheet or they will crumble.



  9. Thursday, April 30

    The Best Lemons in the World Are Actually Limes + Why You Need a Lemon Press


    Today I have a story to tell. After the story there’s a really good kitchen tip. So, you know, make sure you keep reading to the end. Which of course you would do anyway because I’m such a good storyteller, right?!

    why you need a lemon press from @janemaynard | pictured: bearss lime tree

    Our house came with a lemon tree in the backyard. A big, beautiful lemon tree that grows the best tasting lemons in the world. There was just one problem – the lemons kept getting this weird brown spot on the bottom.

    why you need a lemon press from @janemaynard | pictured: bearss lime tree, overripe fruit

    We researched the issue and came up empty. Our gardener thought maybe it was a deficiency of some sort and asked other gardeners about it. Everyone was stumped. Then, one day, Nate noticed a blue tag on the tree. He flipped it over and discovered the tag had words on it and the words were these: Bearss Lime.

    why you need a lemon press from @janemaynard | pictured: bearss lime tree

    WHAT?!?! Our lemons were limes! Our gardener was like, “Oh man, I love Bearss limes! The way the tree was pruned I just never thought of it!” Now that we knew what kind of tree it was, our research was much more fruitful (pun intended) and we discovered that our yellow limes with brown spots on the bottom were actually just overripe.

    why you need a lemon press from @janemaynard | pictured: bearss limes

    In our defense, Bearss limes can grow really big and really yellow. I think Bearss limes should be renamed Trick Lemons. I mean, seriously, look how yellow those two overripe limes are in the picture above!

    why you need a lemon press from @janemaynard | pictured: bearss limes

    The reason our lemons were the best tasting lemons in the world was because they were actually limes. My lemon bars? Lime bars. Our neighbors’ favorite lemon chicken? Lime chicken. The list goes on. Lemon or lime, we love the tree and Nate makes the best lemonade, I mean limeade, you ever did taste.

    why you need a lemon press from @janemaynardOwen says, “Hi!”

    Story’s over, kitchen tip time! If you don’t have a lemon press, aka citrus squeezer, get one! Seriously, I’ve been wanting a lemon press for years and finally, two weeks ago, I popped onto Amazon, found one that looked good and hit “buy.” I bought the Bellemain lemon squeezer and I love it. It is super sturdy and perfect for lemons and limes. Click here to check it out!

    why you need a lemon press from @janemaynard

    I now consider my lemon press an indispensable kitchen tool and don’t know how I lived so long without it. Take note: when you start squeezing, go slow or you’ll end up with juice all over your kitchen.

    why you need a lemon press from @janemaynard | pictured: squeezed bearss limes

    Happy juicing!


  10. Tuesday, April 14

    Fresh Basil Plants for the Black Thumb Inclined


    My relationship with fresh basil is one of the love-hate variety.

    living herbs basil plants are the BEST, especially if you have a black thumb!

    I love using fresh basil when cooking, but I can’t for the life of me keep a basil plant alive. I have the blackest of black thumbs. Buying fresh cut basil at the store just doesn’t really work, though. It only lasts 1 or 2 days and then it’s Bye Bye, Basil. I recently read a tip about snipping the stems of fresh basil and putting it in a glass of water like flowers in vase, but that only works about half of the time for me.

    living herbs basil plants are the BEST, especially if you have a black thumb!

    Luckily I discovered a basil plant that is AWESOME for people like me. I’ve seen it in a few different stores and it is the best! North Shore Living Herbs sells mini fresh basil plants potted in peat moss that I am completely in love with.

    living herbs basil plants are the BEST, especially if you have a black thumb!

    Here’s how it works: The basil plant comes in a mini pot with holes in the bottom. You place the pot on a plate or in a cup and make sure that it’s sitting in 1/4″ – 1/2″ of water (check it regularly to keep it watered!). The basil stays perfectly lovely for 1-2 weeks, which works really well for the home cook.

    living herbs basil plants are the BEST, especially if you have a black thumb!

    Be sure to keep an eye out for these great little basil plants. I guarantee you’ll fall in love!


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