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Category: the goods

  1. Wednesday, April 23

    The Only Lentil Soup Recipe You’ll Ever Need {Plus More Pretty Dishes}

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    One of the very first recipes I ever made was lentil soup. And it was terrible. It was just not a good recipe and, as an inexperienced young cook, I had no idea how to make it better. Sadly it convinced me that lentils were a bad thing. Then, about a year later, my friend Amy made lentil soup and insisted that I try it. She swore it was the best ever. I was skeptical but gave it a go and, much to my utter amazement, I discovered that lentil soup can be wonderful. I owe it all to Amy. If I ever win a lentil academy award, she’ll be the first person I thank. After the Weinstein brothers, of course, because that seems to be an academy award thank you speech requirement, especially when lentils are involved. (Sorry, I think that was a case of stream of consciousness gone wrong.)

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    The moral of the story is that I have had this lentil soup recipe hidden away on my blog since Day 1, when I added a bunch of random recipes to the site from my recipe box (you know, the real live recipe box with notecards inside). But I’ve never actually written about this recipe because, well, I have no idea why! It’s about time because it really is a gem of a recipe. Plus, the soup looked gorgeous served in my new Q Squared dishes, which I was planning to write about anyway, so it was kismet!

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    As you know, I’ve started working with a great company called Q Squared NYC. When I first received my Montecito dishes, I didn’t think I could love any of their other dishes more. But for Easter I decided to use the Heritage line for all of our serving dishes and decorated the table with a blue and white theme to match, including the flowers. The table was simple and so pretty, if I do say so myself. And I really fell in love with the Heritage dishes. I don’t know, I might even love them more than Montecito. It’s just so hard to decide!

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    Last night when I was photographing the orange-hued soup that complemented the blue in the dishes so beautifully, the girls started fighting over who would get to use the fancy bowl. I think I’m going to have to buy more of these dishes because I don’t think I’m the only one who loves them. Even Nate commented on how pretty they were after dinner on Easter and he’s a guy.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    In addition to the color and pattern, the Heritage dishes have a really great texture, with sort of a hammered look to them. I tried to capture this in the photography so hopefully you can see it. The dishes really are stunning and, like the Montecito line, you can tell they are really high quality. I could go on and on and ON about these dishes.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    One last note on the recipe: you probably won’t like other lentil soups after trying this one. At least not as much! Honestly, whenever I have lentil soup at a restaurant I just end up disappointed. I now save all my lentil soup-ing for home, it’s just better that way. Oh, and one more last note: this soup is easy to throw together and is done in 30 minutes!

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    Without further ado, I give you the soup! Everyone say thanks to Amy!

    5.0 from 1 reviews

    Lentil Soup
     
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    “This is the BEST.” – Amy Kroff
    Author:
    Recipe type: Soup
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup dry lentils
    • 1 cup shopped onion
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
    • 4 cup beef broth
    • 1 15 ounce can petite-diced tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
    • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme or oregano (I usually use oregano)
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ⅛ teaspoon cumin
    • 1 bay leaf
    • ½ cup chopped carrots (I usually do more carrots because my kids love them)
    • ½ cup chopped celery
    • ½ pound fully cooked smoked sausage links, sliced – or chopped ham
    Instructions
    1. Rinse lentils, drain, then soak in water and set aside while you prep the soup.
    2. In a large pot, cook onion garlic in hot oil over medium heat until tender but not brown.
    3. Once the onions are tender, add garlic and stir. Drain off any remaining water from the lentils. Stir in the lentils, beef broth, undrained tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, thyme or oregano, pepper, cumin, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling then reduce heat to low but so that soup is still simmering.
    4. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
    5. Add carrots and celery. Return to boiling then reduce heat again and simmer for 15-20 mins or until lentils and veggies are tender.
    6. Stir in meat and heat through. Discard bay leaf.

    This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. The flatware pictured is also from Q Squared, part of the Provence Blue set.

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  2. Friday, April 18

    Show and Tell: So much to show, so much to tell!

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    Happy Friday! I’m brimming over with things to share with you today!

    wonder by r.j. palacio | review from @janemaynard

    First, I finally read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book should be required reading for ALL HUMANS. And once all the humans have read it, it should be required reading in every 4th grade class every year from here on out until the end of time. Plus, it’s really just so beautifully written and touching and uplifting and WONDERFUL. Please read it. Please.

    I have a fun announcement today about some added functionality to This Week for Dinner. You may have noticed there’s a new button called “Recipe Box” on my navigation. If you roll over “Recipe Box” you’ll see that you can click on two options: “Recipe Box” and “Shopping List.” When you click either of those you will be automatically connected to ZipList, a company I am now partnering with! Some of you may already be using ZipList, in which case you know what’s up and how cool it is! All of the recipes on my site are now set up to be saved to your recipe boxes and shopping lists. If you don’t know what ZipList is, it’s basically a shopping list that makes life easier! You can save recipes to your ZipList recipe box, add ingredients from recipes to your shopping list, save shopping lists, and access all of this on the web or through a mobile app. Bottom line, it’s super handy and cool and perfect for meal planners. If you have questions, let me know!

    wimsey club arm chair from dot & bo by @janemaynard

    As you know, I’m slowly working on furnishing and designing our living room. Well, I just bought a chair to add to the space and I am SO EXCITED about it. It’s the Wimsey Club Arm Chair from Dot & Bo. I kind of just want to show it off (isn’t it purrrrty?), but also I had such a fabulous shopping experience with Dot & Bo I felt like I should shout it out from the rooftops. So, I had my eye on this chair for a while, but was scared to pull the trigger. After two interior designers said that I should buy the chair THIS INSTANT, I finally went to do so but it was sold out. Well, when something is sold out on their site, there’s an “I want it” button, which brings you to a page which says something like “Let us know you want this chair via these various social media channels and we’ll see what we can do” so of course I immediately tweeted out my anguish over not getting this chair. Within hours I had an email from someone named Jessica, who was checking with their distributors to see if there were any more chairs available. When there were not, she was able to find out they would be getting it back in stock in about 2 months. THEN, as soon as it was available, I had an email from her letting me know. She was so nice and so helpful. Even after I bought the chair (and a lamp and some cute Swedish stuff), I received another email from another customer service person just checking in and letting me know she’d be tracking my order for me. AMAZING customer service, SUPER cute stuff. I am basically in love with Dot & Bo.

    Last but not least, here are my fun Cosmo food posts for the week!

    I think I’ve shared enough, now it’s your turn!

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  3. Thursday, April 3

    Jamie’s “Divine List” of Jane’s Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets

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    Two weeks ago my cousin Jamie was in town with her family. While they were here we cooked a few meals and, the entire time, Jamie was keeping a running list of must-have kitchen gadgets in my kitchen that she didn’t realize were must-have kitchen gadgets until she used them. She calls it the “divine list.” I know for a fact she’s already bought a few of the items and I don’t doubt she’ll have them all before the month is out!

    This is not an exhaustive list of all the things I love and couldn’t live without in my kitchen, but all the items that Jamie added to her divine list are some of my favorites that we use all the time, so I figured it would be fun and helpful to share her list! You know, in case you feel like shopping today, which I’m sure you do because when doesn’t one feel like shopping?

    dreamfarm scizza pizza scissors | thisweekfordinner.com

    The Scizza
    I wrote about the scizza last December and proclaimed my love then. Jamie simply caught a glimpse of the scizza and was excited about it. Once she actually used it, she was officially in love. You can get it from Dreamfarm. Jamie was also impressed with Dreamfarm’s garlic press, the garject, but the scizza is what really stole her heart.

    margherita pizza on wood pizza peel from @janemaynard

    Wood Pizza Peel
    While Jamie was here, what started as me throwing some pizzas together turned into a mini class for Jamie. I didn’t realize I have so many little tricks when making homemade pizza. Jamie is trying to convince me to do a video showing how to make pizza. Maybe one day if I actually get some makeup on I’ll think about it. Until then, one of the secrets to cooking great pizza is having a wood pizza peel to transfer the pizza to the stone in your oven. (That sentence alone opens up a Pandora’s box of pizza baking tips, but I’m resisting the urge to go into more detail. I promise to share more another day!) Anyway, I love my wood pizza peel. One of the reasons it’s so great is because it has a rough, unfinished surface. The cornmeal spreads so evenly over this surface and it’s a cinch getting your pizza into the oven. It also has a nice-shaped tapered edge (see photo). I’m not sharing any links for where to buy a wood peel because I can’t really tell what the surfaces are like from looking at photos online, so get out and do a little shopping to find your own perfect peel.

    tortilla warmer from @janemaynard

    Tortilla Warmer
    I love my tortilla warmer. Jamie loves my tortilla warmer. It’s the best. Read more about it here.

    manual glass juicer from @janemaynard

    Manual Glass Juicer
    This is a timeless kitchen gadget. I love my manual glass juicer, perfect for when I need to juice something for a recipe quickly. The little ring of knobs in the center catches all the seeds and the juicer itself catches all the juice, which you can easily pour. I received my particular juicer as a wedding gift. There are tons of these out there, just make sure you get one with the little knobs.

    le creuset butter crock from @janemaynard

    Le Creuset Butter Crock
    I will not rest until all the world owns a butter crock. Butter Bell makes a nice version, but I love Le Creuset’s even more. Read more about it here.

    That’s it! Jamie’s divine list! Happy shopping!

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  4. Friday, March 28

    My New Favorite Dishes – Q Squared NYC

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    The giveaway is now closed, but please keep reading to check out this great company and read my interview with the founders!

    Today is FUN because I get to introduce you to a super cool company, share a fun interview AND do a giveaway!

    Q Squared NYC Montecito Dinnerware from @janemaynard

    Q Squared NYC recently reached out to me about working together. Now, I get a lot of emails about a lot of products everyday, but Q Squared really stood out. I clicked through and discovered a small company with really beautiful products as well as a fun story. I was super excited to find out more about them and was so happy that they got in touch with me!

    Q Squared NYC Montecito Dinnerware from @janemaynardI don’t know, guys, but these just might be my two most favorite plates ever in the history of the world. Just sayin’.

    First, before we get to anything else, just look how cute their dishes are. Q Squared sells melamine dinnerware, drinkware, flatware and great serving platters. Everything is beautifully designed and appeals to all kinds of aesthetics, from classic to modern. I am a firm believe in using beautiful things on a daily basis, plus I have kids, so beautiful dishes that are also practical? BINGO. We also love eating outside. Q Squared’s dishes really are perfect for our family!

    Q Squared NYC Montecito Dinnerware from @janemaynard

    All of the dishes you see in today’s post are from the Montecito line, which I can’t get enough of. We already have white and blue dishes in our everyday collection, so I knew that Montecito would fit right into our kitchen. The Provence blue flatware and blue tumblers also go perfectly with these dishes and I’m loving it all. You can tell that the products are high quality – nice and sturdy with a good feel. I’m ready to party!

    Q Squared NYC Montecito Dinnerware from @janemaynard

    Q Squared NYC Montecito Dinnerware from @janemaynard

    I mentioned that Q Squared has a fun story. The company is founded by a mother-daughter team, Nancy (the mom and former Glamour editor) and Alaina (the daughter). I had the chance to do a little interview with them and would love to share it with you. I especially love the story behind the inspiration for starting the company. So cute!

    Interview with Q Squared NYC founders and mother-daughter team Nancy and Alaina from @janeymaynard

    Q: What inspired you both to start a company making dinnerware? Do you love cooking or entertaining or was it just a fun way to channel your creative energy?

    The answer is a little of both, plus a third reason.  We do love cooking and entertaining, and we both feel very creative. Alaina has a critical eye for art and Nancy is a fan of fashion. The third reason, though, was not being able to find beautiful products that were practical and affordable.  After college graduation, we went shopping to set up Alaina’s first apartment. She has a very high standard aesthetically but was on a low budget. Everything we came across that had an aesthetic Alaina liked was either China or Porcelain, with the China Cabinet price tag to match – so we created our own company and products to fill that need!

    Q: Your about page says that while you have complimentary styles, they are distinct. What are Nancy and Alaina’s different styles?

    Nancy is modern and minimalistic, while Alaina is classical and ornate.  Nancy likes bold colors and Alaina likes more muted colors. Combining the two styles results in our refined look that bridges a generation gap. We like to call them generation-less.

    Q: What is your design process like?

    Alaina is the Creative Director, so the designs originate from her and her inspiration. Her inspiration comes from the past, whether it is history in general or her own personal history. Nancy’s input to the designs helps guide the collection toward what would be most widely appealing to our consumers.

    Q: Do you see yourselves moving beyond dinnerware one day?

    Yes, absolutely!  We are launching our first new product category (home fragrance!) in Summer 2014, with the continuing expansion into Fall/Winter 2014. Looking into 2015 and beyond, we will continue to introduce more home decor products, including gifts, decorative accents, textiles, etc.

    Q: What is the best part of working together?

    The synergy that we feel together, knowing that the results are bigger and grander than each of us alone. Oh and there’s always the perk of having a mom in the office (for the occasional old-fashion PB&J!)

    I hope you’ve enjoyed being introduced to this great company, its founders and their beautiful products. Good luck with the giveaway!

    This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

    I think it’s time for a giveaway! One lucky, randomly-selected person will win 1 Large Cool Montecito Tray along with 4 Cool Montecito Tapas Plates. Here is how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be left by Thursday, 4/3 Midnight PT.)

    The winner of the giveaway was Debbie Rough, who said, “Love this same pattern you have. Need a new tray… Mine just broke!!!! Woohoo hope I am a winner” Congratulations to Debbie! You will love your items!

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  5. Thursday, January 9

    Get Fit Giveaway from Albion {Pin It to Win It!}

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    This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!

    It’s the new year and I would hazard a guess that some of you have made some health-related resolutions – eat better, exercise more, you know, all that fun stuff! I don’t know about you, but new workout clothes always seem to be a good motivator for me to actually work out. I know, so shallow. But if it works, it works! If you have made some health goals, then today’s giveaway will help get you even more excited about them!

    albion fit giveaway | summit leggings | @janemaynard

    Albion Fit is stepping up again this year to offer a fabulous giveaway. They want to help all of us get in the mood to get fit! Albion is a fabulous activewear company that was started by some really good friends of ours, Liz and Dave (this is them!). Liz and Dave are incredibly talented and have built this business from the ground up. Whenever I go to their website, I am amazed at what they have done. We also had the chance to visit their store this fall and it was equally as beautiful.

    Now, I may love Liz and Dave to pieces, but I can honestly say that I am not biased about their clothes. Not only do they make super cute activewear and swimwear, but the quality is stellar and the fit is always flattering. For example, when I received these Summit leggings in the mail last week, I was certain I would look terrible in them. I mean, they looked like they would be SO TIGHT and I was worried about the waistband. I should have trusted Liz because I put them on and they looked great, even around my mom belly. Yes, they’re tight, but the high quality fabric tightens everything up so you feel “held in,” if you will. When Nate saw the pants he said they even made my legs look a little muscle-y, which, seriously, is a miracle because I haven’t worked out since, well, let’s not talk about it. ;) If you’re wondering, the swimsuits are amazing, with great cuts and thick fabrics. Oh, and I love the signature hoodie soooo much. Okay, I’m gonna stop gushing now.

    albion fit giveaway | summit leggings | @janemaynard

    Giveaway time! Today we’re going to do a fun “Pin It to Win It” contest! Here’s how it will work. Visit Albion Fit and pick out your most favorite item or outfit and then pin it to Pinterest! Be sure to leave a comment on this post with a link to your pin to complete your entry! Once you’ve pinned your favorite outfit (I don’t know how you’re going to choose!), you can get a bonus entry by following Albion on Instagram. Be sure to leave a second comment for the bonus entry! Entries must be posted in the comments by Midnight PT on Monday, 1/13/14.

    One lucky, randomly-selected pinner winner (sorry, couldn’t resist) will receive a $150 gift card to Albion Fit. That dream outfit on your Pinterest board can become reality!

    I’ll kick the pinning off with my current favorite from Albion. I saw this East Coast Hoodie at the store and I really do need to order it pronto. LOVE IT. (Click on the photo to see my pin!)

    albion fit east coast hoodie | @janemaynard

    And if you simply can’t wait to see if you will win the giveaway and want to get shopping now, you can get 15% off any albionfit.com purchase now through 1/14/14 – just use the code twfd15 at checkout!

    Good luck and happy pinning!

    The randomly-selected winner for this giveaway was Dana Squires, who said “I love their swimwear. And living in FL I can never have too many swimsuits. My fav is the gown swimsuit in navy. But the other colors are pretty too. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/155514993356687863/” Congrats, Dana! I have a feeling you’ll get a lot of use out of your gift card!

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  6. Friday, December 20

    Call for Recipes: Quick and Delicious Holiday Foods!

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    I cannot believe that it is December 20th already! Where did the month go? For that matter, where did the year go?! I thought today we would do a Call for Recipes that could potentially be helpful for all of us during this crazy time of year!

    collection of quick holiday food ideas

    I think we can all agree that food is very closely tied to the holidays. No matter what holiday you are celebrating, food plays a big role in the celebrations, traditions and memories from those holidays. Our little family is getting excited to order Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve and enjoy Swedish meatballs and bulle on Christmas Day. I can’t wait!

    I think we can also agree that November and December are INSANELY BUSY. And as much as we might like spending time in the kitchen preparing various meals and goodies, sometimes we just don’t have the time. So, that’s the theme of today’s Call for Recipes! Please share your favorite quick and easy recipes that are perfect for the holidays! Whether it’s a main dish, side dish or holiday dessert, everything is fair game!

    collection of quick holiday food ideas

    I’ll kick us off with a slow cooker idea. I had a chance to try out another one of Campbell’s Dinner Sauces again this week. I have to be honest with you all, I haven’t been cooking much since Thanksgiving. Work has been insane, we had two birthdays to celebrate, and gearing up for Christmas and all the associated activities is a full time job in and of itself! But I really am craving some home cooked meals right now – I’m sick of eating on the fly! Yesterday morning I stopped at the store real quick after dropping the kids at school and grabbed a chuck roast and Campbell’s Tavern Style Pot Roast Slow Cooker Sauce. It literally took me 2 minutes to get everything into the crockpot and I didn’t have to think about it the rest of the day. Once evening rolled around, I boiled a few potatoes and threw together a quick salad. The result was very little time and effort expended and a truly holiday-worthy dinner! The best part was the pot roast tasted amazing. Every last person in our family had seconds. This meal is definitely a great option if you want to spend more time with loved ones and less time in the kitchen.

    collection of quick holiday food ideas

    Your turn! Share your best recipes and tips for quick and delicious holiday foods! And, if you can share actual recipes in the comments or links to recipes, that would be even more amazing!

    Here’s to surviving AND savoring the holidays!

     

    This post brought to you by Campbell’s Dinner Sauces. Weekend-worthy dinners with only weekday-level effort needed! Learn more at http://www.campbellsauces.com/

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  7. Thursday, December 12

    Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies {and a KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway!}

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    This giveaway is now closed, but keep reading because the cookie recipe is FABULOUS. Also, the winner is announced at the end!

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com

    Today marks the end of Gifts & Giveaways. I know, I’m sad, too. But we are ending this little shindig with a bang. But before we get to that…

    When I was growing up, my family was a bit obsessed with mint M&Ms. I remember my mom would spot them at the store at the beginning of the holiday season and would snag them as fast as she could. (Fun fact: I grew up on a hill overlooking the town where M&Ms are made and it smelled like chocolate in the early mornings. Also, mint M&Ms are not made in that factory but in a different place because the mint flavor basically takes over anything it touches – I hope you all appreciate those high-maintenance M&Ms!)

    chocolate mint M&M cookies from @janemaynard

    Now that I’m a grown up, whenever I see mint M&Ms at the store my instinct is to start hoarding. My common sense, however, reins my instinct in and keeps me from spending all my money on those little minty treats. Thank goodness for practical, boring common sense. But I do still buy a few bags every year and enjoy them immensely!

    KitchenAid Candy Apple Red Artisan Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl Giveaway from @janemaynard

    I’m going to switch topics completely for a minute but I promise it will all come together. Meet Candy. She’s my new Candy Apple Red KitchenAid® Artisan® Design Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl. Her name is kind of a mouthful that’s why we call her Candy for short. I love her because she’s GORGEOUS. Yes, I am that shallow. I mean, that GLASS BOWL. And that SHINY RED PAINT JOB. I could stare at her all day.

    I have a white professional series KitchenAid mixer that Nate gave to me years ago. Old trusty is still around but has been relegated to the shelf in the garage in favor of the younger, hotter model. I told you I was shallow. But I do love how Candy works, too. She’s much quieter and, oh, that glass bowl.

    KitchenAid Candy Apple Red Artisan Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl Giveaway from @janemaynard

    Back to M&Ms (are you experiencing blog whiplash yet?). I really wanted to make chocolate cookies this week with mint M&Ms. Most chocolate cookies fall a little flat and I wanted something that could stand up to the M&Ms, both in shape and flavor. Then my friend Irvin shared his recipe for Chocolate Crackle Cookies last week and I knew it was the cookie recipe I had been looking for all my life. Well, all my week, at least.

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    I was right. These chocolate mint M&M cookies are PERFECT. Truly. They have wonderful texture, with a nice crispy outside and a rich, chocolatey interior. The mint from the M&Ms is not overpowering and gives you a fresh pop of flavor. These cookies are perfect for giving as gifts during the holidays, that is if you can stop yourself from eating them all yourself! (Recipe is at the bottom of this post.)

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    Wouldn’t you like to make those cookies in a candy apple red artisan stand mixer with a glass bowl? I mean, the way the chocolate mixes with the butter, it just looks so pretty through that glass!

    GIVEAWAY TIME!

    One of you unbelievably lucky people is going to win a Candy Apple Red KitchenAid® Artisan® Design Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl (retail value $399.99), just like mine! WOOHOO!

    Here is how to enter the giveaway (comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Wednesday, 12/18/13. Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address):

    Good luck and happy mixing!

    The randomly-selected winner was comment #168 Itzia – one of her bonus entries got her the prize, but her original comment was, “I love anything with mint. Yum!” Well, Itzia will love these cookies AND her beautiful new mixer! Congrats!

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies
    I slightly adapted this recipe from Irvin Lin at Eat the Love. Irvin’s original Chocolate Crackle Cookie Recipe is wonderful, with a great technique for making the powdered sugar coating especially white and pretty. The ingredients for the cookie base are exactly like Irvin’s recipe, but I change up the technique a bit for my M&M purposes. 
    - 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    - 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
    - 1 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
    - 2 teaspoons baking powder
    - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    - 2 large eggs
    - 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    - 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    - 1/4 cup milk
    - 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    - 1 9.9-ounce package mint M&Ms
    - Granulate sugar for coating cookies (about 1/2 cup)

    If you are using a block of bittersweet chocolate, roughly chop it. I used Guittard’s bittersweet chocolate chips (63% cacao). Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted. Set aside.

    Cream butter, sugar, baking powder and salt in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until ingredients are of a paste consistency. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each egg. Beat in the vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until just mixed but thoroughly combined.

    Sift cocoa powder over dough then beat until mixed. Add milk and beat until mixed. Add the flour and beat until just mixed but fully incorporated.

    Stir in M&Ms by hand with a strong spoon. Place a piece of waxed or parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Form cookie dough balls (with your hands or a scoop – I used my medium-sized scoop, which is about 2 tablespoons). Place cookie dough balls on the prepared cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour. At this point you can either bake the cookies or store the dough until later (for storing, place the cookie dough balls in a large ziploc bag and store in the fridge or freezer).

    Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Roll cookie dough balls in granulated sugar, coating well. Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 13 minutes, until cookies are just set and are starting to “crackle.” Cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes then finish cooling on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

    Makes about 40 cookies.

    Big thank you to KitchenAid for hosting this giveaway! I received a mixer from KitchenAid but all opinions are 100% my own.

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  8. Wednesday, December 11

    Keurig Premium Brewer and Lipton K-Cups {Giveaway}

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    This giveaway is now closed but keep reading to learn about the Keurig K-Cup brewer, Lipton’s new K-Cup flavors and the winner of the giveaway!

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com

    Today’s giveaway is SO FUN. Actually, what am I talking about? All the Gifts & Giveaways have been SO FUN. But I am excited about today’s giveaway because I know so many of you will be excited about it!

    keurig brewer and lipton k-cup giveaway from @janemaynard

    My friend Kristen from Dine & Dish is obsessed with her Keurig K-Cup Brewer. OBSESSED. I don’t drink coffee, but all her talk always makes me want to brew cups of coffee just because it’s so easy. So, when one of my most favorite PR people ever emailed me about Lipton’s new K-Cups and wanting to see if I could do a giveaway, I was all over it!

    keurig brewer and lipton k-cup giveaway from @janemaynard (lipton sweet iced tea k-cup pictured)

    I received my Keurig Premium Brewer just before Thanksgiving. It is such a great thing to have, even if you don’t drink coffee. There are K-Cups for cider, all kinds of teas, and hot chocolate. Our guests who drank coffee could grab a cup easily in the morning and the kids were constantly making mugs of hot chocolate. It ended up being perfect for hosting guests! And, if you do drink coffee, well then, even better! There are so many great flavor options and you only have to brew one cup at a time, which takes less than 30 seconds. If you are looking for a great holiday gift for the coffee or tea lover in your life, I can pretty much guarantee they’ll love a Keurig Brewer. Just ask Kristen.

    keurig brewer and lipton k-cup giveaway from @janemaynard

    Let’s talk about tea for a moment, shall we? Lipton recently came out with K-Cups for three of their teas: Black Tea, Green Tea and Iced Sweet Tea. That’s right, you can brew tea over ice with the Keurig. So cool! If you’re in the mood to soothe, indulge or refresh, Lipton K-Cups have will you covered!

    Are you thirsty yet? You should be! How about we quench that thirst with a giveaway?

    keurig brewer and lipton k-cup giveaway from @janemaynard

    One of you lucky ducks will win a Keurig Platinum Brewing System, 1 pack of Lipton K-Cups SOOTHE tea, 1 pack of Lipton K-Cups INDULGE Tea, and 1 pack of Lipton K-Cups REFRESH Tea (retail value $215).

    Here is how to enter the giveaway (comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Tuesday, 12/17/13. Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address):

    • Simply leave a comment, any comment, on this post! That’s it! But feel free to share your favorite K-Cup flavor if you like!
    • Bonus entry: Like This Week for Dinner on Facebook and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow, that counts!)
    • Bonus entry: Follow me on Pinterest and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow, that counts!)
    • Bonus entry: Follow me on Twitter and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow, that counts!)
    • Bonus entry: Like Lipton on Facebook and leave a separate comment telling me you did
    • Bonus entry: Follow Lipton on Twitter and leave a separate comment telling me you did

    Also, check out Lipton’s Facebook app called K-Scope, where you can “brew” up a kaleidoscope video of your Facebook photos.

    Good luck and happy brewing!

    The randomly-selected winner is comment #109 Rebekah Taylor, who simply said, “Awesome!!!!!!” and I wholeheartedly agree! Congrats, Rebekah!

    I was given a Keurig brewer and samples of the Lipton K-Cups from Lipton. All opinions are my own.

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  9. Kitchen Counter Makeover – After Pictures!

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    My in-laws finally have their new countertops and we wanted to share the “after” pictures with you! (Click here for the before shots!)

    Drumroll, please…introducing Pat and Herm’s brand new Wilsonart HD countertops and sink!

    Wilsonart HD Countertop Makeover After Pictures from @janemaynard

    Wilsonart HD Countertop Makeover After Pictures from @janemaynard

    Wilsonart HD Countertop Makeover After Pictures from @janemaynard

    Wilsonart HD Countertop Makeover After Pictures from @janemaynard

    Wilsonart HD Countertop Makeover After Pictures from @janemaynard

    Wilsonart HD Countertop Makeover After Pictures from @janemaynard

    Wilsonart HD Countertop Makeover After Pictures from @janemaynard

    Wilsonart HD Countertop Makeover After Pictures from @janemaynard

    Pat and Herm chose Bainbrook Grey for the counters and decided to also go with a Wilsonart HD sink. The size and shape of their counters limited them a bit and installation was a little tricky, but they were able to figure it out! Due to the constraints, however, they were unable to get the rounded edges, which was kind of a bummer. BUT…the final product is still beautiful! The sink is integrated into the counter, which not only looks nice but is functional, too. The counters are also very resilient to staining, scratching and chipping. Wilsonart HD’s laminate counters really are a great option for when you don’t have a huge budget but want a high-quality, nice looking countertop. Click here to read more about their products. I can’t wait to get out to New Hampshire to see these counters myself!

    P.S. Didn’t Pat and Herm choose the cutest backsplash? Love it! (That was separate from Wilsonart and I think they did a great job!)

    The last picture is my favorite one – Pat’s kitchen on Thanksgiving. It makes me so happy that she has a nice counter and sink to use!

    Wilsonart HD Countertop Makeover After Pictures from @janemaynard

     Wilsonart HD paid for most of the supplies and installation. All opinions are our own.

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  10. Tuesday, December 10

    Park and Main, Homemade Yogurt and a Giveaway!

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    This giveaway is now closed, but keep reading to learn about a cool website, my new yogurt maker, and the winner of the giveaway!

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com

    Gifts & Giveaways marches on! Today I’m sharing a whole website with you with all kinds of wonderful gift possibilities.

    homemade greek yogurt from @janemaynard

    In all honesty I had never heard of Park and Main until about a month or so ago, but I am happy to have been introduced! Park and Main carries all kinds of wonderful products for the home and, I must admit, I’ve spent quite a bit of time (too much time?) window shopping on their site! Everything just looks so pretty and inviting!

    homemade greek yogurt from @janemaynard

    Park and Main sent me a really fun product that they carry, the Dash Greek Yogurt Maker. (Ours is pink because, well, my little sous chef Anna wouldn’t have it any other way. They do carry a blue version as well.) We go through a lot of yogurt in our house. A LOT. I was really excited to try making my own yogurt and, surprisingly, my girls were just as excited! I know you can make yogurt without a specific machine, but without the machine, I never actually gave it a try. Plus I trust this process, there’s a built-in timer and straining basket, and they have a chart with the cooking times for all the different types of yogurts you can make. I also love that you can completely control the type of yogurt you make (low-fat, no-fat, soy-based, coconut milk-based, etc), you can make the yogurt more tart by cooking it longer, you know exactly what ingredients are going into your yogurt (so you control the sugar, can omit allergy ingredients, etc.), and you can control how thick you want your yogurt to be (you can make straight-up yogurt that is thinner or you can strain it to make Greek yogurt and, depending on how long you strain, you control the thickness). Basically you have SO MUCH CONTROL over your yogurt. It’s awesome!

    homemade greek yogurt from @janemaynard

    The best part? The yogurt tastes wonderful! We ate our first batch this week and it is seriously soooo good. We just mix in a little jam and the yogurt is divine!

    dash greek yogurt maker review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    Park and Main is giving away a Dash yogurt maker to one of you lucky people!

    Here is how to enter the giveaway (comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Monday, 12/16/13. Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address):

    Be sure to check out the Park and Main website, especially as you are shopping for the holidays. They have pages for gifts under $25gifts under $50gifts under $100, and gifts over $100. They also sell the Breville Smart Oven, which is hands down my favorite kitchen appliance.

    Good luck and happy shopping!

    The randomly-selected winner was comment #218 Becca, who said, “I’ve made homemade yogurt before, but honestly, it’s quite a bit of work. I’d love a handy little machine like this one!” You’ll love the simplicity of this machine, Becca! Congrats!

    Park and Main provided me with a yogurt maker for this post. All opinions are 100% my own, of course!

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