Menu Banner

Category: the goods

  1. Thursday, May 11

    Fudgy Thumprint Chocolate Chip Cookies + A Fair Trade Mother’s Day

    Guess what? I have another fun Mother’s Day post for you, complete with an easy, delicious recipe and an equally delicious giveaway!

    Recipe for Easy Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    Each year I create a post in conjunction with Fair Trade USA to celebrate Mother’s Day and this year is no exception! As usual they sent me a box of goodies (which we will be giving away to one of you lucky people in just a moment) to inspire a Mother’s Day baking project.

    Recipe for Easy Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    This month has been super busy and as Mother’s Day has approached I haven’t had a lot of time to bake. Normally when Fair Trade sends me a box of goodies they include a baking mix from Immaculate Baking Company. I haven’t ever used the mixes in my posts because I normally create my Fair Trade recipes from scratch. This time, however, I decided to embrace the ease of the cookie mix, adding a fun twist to make it special.

    First off, the Immaculate Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix is so, so, so good. Whether or not you add my fudgy thumbprint you’ll be happy with this mix. But the fudgy addition really takes these cookies over the top. Today’s recipe kind of had a longer journey than most of my recipes. First I tried to make cookie cups with a fudgy center but it just didn’t work practically or visually, but they tasted amazing. So then I tried stuffing the cookies, which worked pretty well but not exactly what I envisioned. So then I tried a thumbprint and it worked! The fudgy “button” goes so beautifully with these cookies and you will love them, especially since it’s so easy to throw this dessert together! How Fair Trade Helps Women

    The most wonderful part of this recipe is that using Fair Trade ingredients means you can celebrate strong women and mothers throughout the world by supporting their livelihood. I’ve read so many stories about how Fair Trade helps women in so many countries and I love it when I can incorporate as many fair trade ingredients as possible into my recipes. The infographic above is a great summary of why Fair Trade is so cool! For today’s recipe I used the Immaculate Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix as well as Guittard’s Extra Dark Chocolate Chips, so it’s a Fair Trade double whammy! The recipe is below…but first…

    Fair Trade Goodies Giveaway!The giveaway! Fair Trade will send one of you lucky people the same gift box I received, which includes product from the following companies:

    To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is a leave a comment on this post before Midnight PT on 3/25/17! That’s it! Easy peasy…as easy as today’s recipe, which I will give to you now! The randomly-selected winner of this giveaway was Comment #24 Michele. Congratulations, Michele!

    Recipe for Easy Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    A fair trade-friendly recipe that is easy and delicious!
    Author:
    Serves: 22 cookies
    Ingredients
    • 1 Immaculate Baking Company Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
    • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (Guittard is my favorite and they are Fair Trade!)
    • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
    • Pinch salt
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (or 350º for a dark non-stick pan).
    2. Follow directions to mix the dough for the cookie mix.
    3. Once dough is mixed, put chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and salt in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high in the microwave for 45 seconds, then stir until all chocolate has melted.
    4. Let chocolate mix cool for a few minutes. While the chocolate is cooling, create 1-tablespoon rounded cookie dough balls. With your thumb press a well in the center of each cookie dough ball, then place ½ teaspoon blobs of the chocolate fudgy filling in the center. If the chocolate is sticking to your fingers a lot, just get your fingers a little bit wet with water. Keep in mind, the shape of the chocolate will look how it looks after baking as it did before, so if you want the chocolate nice and smooth, smooth it out before baking!
    5. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cool before eating.

     


  2. A Beautiful Up-Cycled Mother’s Day Giveaway + Maybe The Easiest Mother’s Day Craft Ever (as in, NO WORK FOR MOM)

    Sponsored by General Mills Cereals

    Happy almost Mother’s Day! To celebrate I have a fun and EASY craft idea for the kids in your life as well as some love for TO THE MARKET, one of my most favorite companies. And a beautiful giveaway that will have 20 winners (woohoo!).

    To The Market Up-Cycled Cereal Box Necklaces

    As you know I’ve worked with General Mills Cereals in the past. They approached me recently about coming up with a fun craft idea using up-cycled cereal boxes with my kids. I AM NOT A CRAFTY PERSON. But when I told my kids about the project they were all in. You see, they are crafty people. I’m not entirely sure they are my children. Anyway, my kids were doubly in when they learned they would have to eat some of their favorite, yummy cereals, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios, in order to make the craft happen (empty cereal boxes are a necessity!). Basically, this is their favorite post on my blog ever.

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Flowers

    As a lovely Mother’s Day gift, General Mills Cereals sent me a necklace and bracelet set from TO THE MARKET. TO THE MARKET is a company that sells survivor-made goods from around the world. I’ve written about TO THE MARKET before and founder and CEO Jane Mosbacher Morris is one of my favorite people. She was even on my podcast at one point! (It’s one of my favorite episodes, by the way. Jane is the BEST.) Anyway, TO THE MARKET is helping SO MANY WOMEN and their products are beyond lovely. I have a very special place in my heart for their work.

    To The Market Up-Cycled Cereal Box Necklaces

    The jewelry that General Mills Cereals sent was created by Haitian TO THE MARKET artists, with beads made from up-cycled cereal boxes. The beads are gorgeous. You simply cannot believe they are made from cereal boxes. Both my girls are enamored with the jewelry (I think Anna might steal it) and felt very inspired for their own cereal box crafting!

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Flowers

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Flowers

    Which brings us to today’s craft. For real this is the best craft ever because the parent doesn’t have to do ANYTHING. Just give the kids some empty cereal boxes (the more colorful the better!), scotch tape and colorful straws. Then say, “Go make flowers!” All three of my kids, from ages 5 to 12, had a blast cutting up the boxes and getting creative. Anna’s flower ended up being three dimensional, Cate made an adorable bumblebee for the bouquet, and Owen went completely off book and made a ladybug with a heart to show that the ladybug loves me. I consider it all a crafting success! And I didn’t lift a finger. (Well, okay, I helped clean up the billions of cereal box cuttings strewn about the kitchen. But it was worth it.)

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Craft

    Lucky for our family my beloved mother will be here for Mother’s Day this year. She will be taking home the best bouquet ever!

    Giveaway time! General Mills Cereals and TO THE MARKET are providing TWENTY of you lucky people with your own necklace made with upcycled cereal box beads. You can’t buy these necklaces, so this is the only way to get one! Here is how to enter: (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT May 25, 2017.)

    BONUS BONUS BONUS: If you head on over to TO THE MARKET’S Stories Blog, they are also giving away these necklaces and you can enter there, too! Yippee! Winners were randomly selected and have been notified via email. Thank you!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    I partnered with General Mills for this post because they are committed to strengthening communities around the world through remarkable initiatives, nonprofits and causes that help strength people and the planet. General Mills Cereals partnered with TO THE MARKET to create these handcrafted pieces of jewelry from up-cycled cereal boxes as part of this commitment and to celebrate all the moms, caregivers, aunts, sisters and special heroes who fill the world with love.

    Learn more about General Mills Cereals and its delicious line of cereals including Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charm, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and many more at www.generalmills.com/cereal.


  3. Tuesday, January 31

    It’s the Blog’s 10th Birthday! Plus French Chips Recipe!

    Please note: The giveaway in this post is now closed. Recipe is below!

    Well, that 10 years sure went by quickly.

    French Chips Recipe (aka French fries that look like chips!) from @janemaynard

    Today is This Week for Dinner’s 10th birthday! Happy Birthday, Blog! I seriously can’t believe it. If we’re going by birth order, the blog is technically my second child. 😉 I didn’t start a blog to start a blog, I just wanted to share my weekly menu with my brother if I happened to plan one. That’s it. And then it grew. And then I made a logo. And then I promised my friends my secret hot fudge recipe if they told their friends about the blog (and, yes, the recipe is still a secret). And, just like that, 10 years have passed, with over 520 weekly menu posts, oodles of recipes and so much other crazy stuff that has happened because of the blog it blows my mind. I feel incredibly grateful for the gift this blog has been in my life and look forward to many more blog birthdays. And of course I am eternally grateful to all of you who keep it going, with your comments and your weekly menus and your simply being here to read my words and make my recipes. Thank you!

    To celebrate I have food. And a KitchenAid giveaway. Are you ready? Here we go!

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BPNomk9DEvt/?taken-by=janemaynard

    Normally for the blog’s birthday I share some sort of chocolate. But today we’re going with my second favorite food group…French fries. Well, actually, French chips. Or should that be chip fries? Or French fry chips? Whatever you decide to call them (I’m going with French chips), these are your new favorite homemade French fries. They are basically French fries shaped like chips, although much thicker chips, which is why they are not really chips at all. Unless you’re in England. Then, yes, they are chips. Anyone confused yet?

    Nate and I recently took the kids to Liberty Public Market by the San Diego harbor for lunch (which, by the way, is our new favorite place to eat. It’s awesome.) One of the food vendors, Mastiff Sausage Company, serves French fries that are shaped like discs and they are amazing. (Click here to see a picture!) No, really, why doesn’t everyone make French fries in this shape? The disc gives you the perfect proportion of potato to crispiness. It’s genius. If you’ve been around the blog for a while you know that when I get obsessed with a food from a restaurant, I generally have to figure out my own version. Enter today’s recipe for French chips. Which, coincidentally, leads into today’s giveaway!

    Making French Chips (aka fries that look like chips!) with the KitchenAid stand mixer food processor attachment - recipe included, from @janemaynardMaking French Chips (aka fries that look like chips!) with the KitchenAid stand mixer food processor attachment - recipe included, from @janemaynardTHIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU! To celebrate the blog’s 10th birthday, KitchenAid is generously giving one of you lucky commenters their brand new KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer in Honeydew (to match This Week for Dinner’s colors! So cute!) along with the Food Processor with Commercial Style Dicing Kit attachment, which will work on standard-sized stand mixers as well.* Where do I even begin? First, have you seen the new mini stand mixers? THEY ARE SO CUTE I CAN’T STAND IT. Also, this food processor is my first stand mixer attachment and, well, I’m a believer. Slicing my potatoes for the French chips was crazy fast and easy. I was ready to make 10 pounds of fries. The retail value of today’s giveaway is $649.98, so, um, yes you need to enter! (And a huge thank you to KitchenAid!)

    KitchenAid Artisan Mini 2.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer in HoneydewHere’s how to enter the giveaway!

    • Simply comment on this post to enter! That’s it!

    Of course we have bonus entries! You must leave a separate comment for each bonus entry that applies to you:

    Please note: Winner must be a resident of the United States. All comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

    The giveaway winner was comment #174, Christie! Her bonus entry for following This Week for Dinner on Pinterest got her the win, but here’s her original comment: “10 years! I know I’ve read since near the beginning, so that is just crazy. Congrats!”

    French Chips Recipe (aka French fries that look like chips!) from @janemaynard

    Let’s get to those French chips, shall we? They are crispy on the outside, perfect on the inside, not quite a fry and not quite a chip. Also, mine are not shaped like discs because my potato was too big for the food processor’s feed tube, but I like my triangle-shaped French chips. They’re cute! In addition to the French chips, I also have a recipe for a seasoned salt to go on top. It’s a little salty, a little smoky, a little sweet…and a lot delicious. Enjoy!

    And Happy 10th Birthday, This Week for Dinner!

    French Chips
     
    French fries shaped like chips are the best French fries ever. You're welcome. (Thanks to Mastiff Sausage Company in San Diego for the inspiration!)
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Russet Potatoes (1 large potato per 2 servings)
    • Canola or Vegetable Oil
    Instructions
    1. Place a cooling rack over a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and set aside.
    2. Slice the potato into thick discs. Alternatively, use the KitchenAid food processor attachment with the slicing disc. You want medium-thick discs. If you are using the food processor attachment and your potato is too wide for the feed tube, cut the potato into quarters lengthwise - your final fry shape will be a triangle instead of a disc, but it still works beautifully. The thickness on the food processor should be set around the center point for thickness.
    3. Soak sliced potatoes in water for 30 minutes up to overnight (put the bowl in the fridge if you're going for a long soak). Remove potatoes from the water and pat dry with a towel or paper towel.
    4. In a heavy-bottomed medium-large pot, heat 1-2 inches of oil. (For 1 potato I did 1 inch of oil.) Monitor the temperature of the oil with an instant read thermometer and bring the oil to 325º F. (On my stove the knob was around 6 on a scale of 1-10). It's okay if the temperature goes a little over 325º as the temperature will drop when you add the potatoes.
    5. Carefully add about ½ potato's worth of the fries/chips to the heated oil. Keep an eye on the temperature, adjusting the heat on the stove if necessary. Cook the fries for 4-6 minutes, until they just barely start to brown. I stir them fairly regularly while they cook.
    6. With a large slotted spoon, remove fries from the oil and place on the prepared cookie sheet with the cooling rack. Cook the next batch of raw potatoes, repeating the process above.
    7. Once all the potatoes have been fried once, raise the burner's heat to bring the oil to 350º F (about an 8 on a scale of 1-10 on my stove). Cook the fries in batches once again, this time cooking the fries for 2-5 minutes, until they are a nice golden brown color. Remove from the oil and drain on the prepared cookie sheet with cooling rack.
    8. While the fries are still hot, pat gently with a paper towel, sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt (see recipe below), flip and repeat.
    9. These fries are obviously best served hot, but they are still really good even after they've cooled. Enjoy!

    Recipe for seasoned salt, perfect for french fries, from @janemaynard

     

    French Chips Seasoned Salt
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
    • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    Instructions
    1. Mix everything together! All done!

     

    *All colors are subject to availability. The prizes include:
    1. Artisan® Mini Stand Mixer in Honeydew (KSM3311XHW)
    1. Food Processor with Commercial Style Dicing Kit (KSM2FPA)

  4. 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!


  5. 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
    Total time
     
    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!

     

     

     


  6. 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.


  7. 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


  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!