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Category: the goods

  1. Monday, December 21

    A Hand-Drawn Holiday Giveaway: Chelsea Harp Designs

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com from @janemaynard

    Last year I had all kinds of giveaways set up for the holidays, but this year I took it easy. But I think we need a little bit of giveaway fun around here, don’t you?

    On Friday I mentioned an Etsy shop that I recently discovered that I am loving. Chelsea Harp Designs sells hand-drawn prints, featuring quotes and sayings perfect for many places in the home and the holidays!

    Chelsea Harp Designs: Oh Come Let Us Adore Him print

    Chelsea graciously sent me my favorite Christmas print of hers, Oh Come Let Us Adore Him. It looks beautiful on our Christmas mantel, and I’m even thinking of framing it to hang all year.

    Be sure to check out Chelsea’s shop – her prints are perfect for gifting!

    Giveaway time! For this giveaway we will have three winners! Each winner will receive the “Cook Eat Be Happy” print, which I absolutely LOVE. Simply leave a comment on this post to enter the giveaway!* The 3 random winners for this giveaway were comments #30, #40 and #41. Congratulations, ladies!

    Chelsea Harp Designs: Cook Eat Be Happy print

    Happy Holidays!

    *Comments must be made by Midnight PT on Monday, December 28, 2015. 

     


  2. Wednesday, December 16

    My First Meal Delivery Service Experience: Sun Basket Review and Giveaway!

    Over the last few years, monthly box subscription companies have exploded, delivering everything from beauty supplies to clothes to crafts for kids. Most recently, meal delivery kits have become increasingly popular and I have been very intrigued by them. Sun Basket, a meal delivery service founded in San Francisco, recently contacted me about working together and I jumped at the chance. I have really wanted to try one of these services out and Sun Basket was especially appealing to me (I’ll explain why below).

    Sun Basket meal delivery service review by @janemaynard

    If you haven’t heard of a meal delivery kit, let me give you a quick rundown. A company mails food to your house, with recipes included for cooking the meals. You don’t have to shop, you don’t have to meal plan, you just cook and eat! Like I mentioned, I’ve been intrigued by these services and definitely had some questions about the whole process. First and foremost for me was concern over excessive packaging, but I also had questions about quality of the food, difficulty of the recipes, and whether or not we would actually like the dinners in the end.

    Sun Basket meal delivery service review by @janemaynard

    Sun Basket meal delivery service review by @janemaynard

    Sun Basket is one such meal delivery company that services customers in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Nevada. What was immediately appealing to me about Sun Basket was their emphasis on sustainability, choosing seasonal, organic ingredients and sourcing responsibly from West coast farms. Plus, Chef Justine Kelly of the famous Slanted Door in San Francisco develops their recipes!

    Sun Basket meal delivery service review by @janemaynard

    So, how was my experience with Sun Basket? It was great! From the moment the box arrived on my doorstep to the moment we ate our Sun Basket meals I was impressed with the service. Here are a few things that stood out:

    • Remember my worries about packaging? Well, your Sun Basket box comes with a prepaid return label, so you can easily ship back the box and all the packing materials to be recycled and/or reused. That’s like 1,000 points right there in my book.
    • The recipes were clearly printed on beautiful cards, complete with pictures and well-written instructions, and the food was good quality.
    • The recipes tasted great! We ordered pork stir fry, pappardelle with butternut squash, and north Indian red bean stew. All three recipes were tasty, but the pork stir fry was especially awesome. With a service like this it’s always fun, too, because there are often ingredients and spices included that you don’t buy on a normal basis, so it makes cooking interesting.
    • The kids tried all of the recipes. (Well, Owen didn’t. He doesn’t try anything these days, so he doesn’t count.) I would say the food was fairly kid friendly, although Nate and I definitely liked some of the recipes more than the girls did. The food has a bit of a gourmet bend to it, but it’s still easy to prep.
    • Pricing is $11.49 per meal, and you can order Sun Basket boxes in quantities of 2, 4 or 6 meals.

    Sun Basket meal delivery service review by @janemaynard

    I think for a family situation like mine with multiple children, I personally wouldn’t rely on a meal delivery service 100% of the time as it would get expensive and the kids don’t always love “fancier” food. However, Sun Basket’s meals were delicious and appealing to our family and I would definitely use them again. Having their meals on hand, perhaps in the freezer, would be awesome. If I lived alone or with just one other person, however, I would definitely order from Sun Basket all the time!

    So, there you have it! My first experience with a meal delivery service and I really enjoyed it. Sun Basket was a great company to work with and the food was delicious.

    Sun Basket meal delivery service review by @janemaynard

    If you subscribe to Sun Basket, be sure to do so through the links in this post to get $30 off your first order!

    You know that when I write about products or companies I always like to give something away and today is no exception! Sun Basket is giving away a box complete with 3 meals for 2 people, just like what I received. The winner will be able to choose their meals from the available menu. Delivery must be in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Nevada. If you don’t live in one of those states, still enter the giveaway and gift it to a loved one on the west coast! Please follow the instructions for entering the giveaway in the Rafflecopter box below.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thank you to Sun Basket for sponsoring today’s post.


  3. Friday, November 6

    Raising a Rock-Star Reader + Friday Show and Tell

    Happy Friday, everyone! Before we get to the usual Show and Tell portion of our program, I have to tell you about my friend’s new book!

    Raising a Rock-Star Reader review and giveaway!

    Amy Mascott (my friend!) and Allison McDonald are just published their new book Raising a Rock-Star Reader and it’s wonderful! I received an advanced copy and it is filled with all kinds of wonderful tips, recommendations and resources for getting your children to be great readers. Years I ago I had the chance to hear a lecture from a UC Berkeley professor who specialized in early education. She talked at length about why it is so beneficial to read to children from a very early age – the very act of hearing varied language and many words helps children’s brains develop in tremendous ways. It was fascinating and something I’ve thought about a lot as we’ve raised our children.

    Anna and Cate are both rock-star readers (I am grateful every day for this) and will probably be as excited to read Amy and Allison’s book as I am. Owen is still a wee thing and the tips in this book are fabulous. I can’t wait to start implementing the ideas with all three of our kids!

    Of course you know I love giveaways! So, let’s give away a copy of Amy and Allison’s book! To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment telling us your most favorite children’s book. That’s it! Comments must be posted by Midnight PT 11/13/15 and prize must be shipped within the U.S.

    Congratulations to Amy and Allison for a job very well done on their wonderful book! Here’s to happy readers!

    And, since it’s Friday, a few links to share!

    One last thing! Nate and I discovered Les Revenants (The Returned) on Netflix and it’s AWESOME. I’m always looking out for your TV watching. It’s because I care.

    Okay, so, be sure to leave a comment to enter the giveaway above! And, as always, feel free to share whatever you want for Show and Tell!

    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.


  4. Thursday, October 29

    Mary and Vincent Price’s Cookbook “A Treasury of Great Recipes” and Why Vintage Cookbooks Are the Best

    I love vintage cookbooks. Like cutting boards, vintage cookbooks are fast becoming an obsession of mine. For example, when I visited Portland, OR last year, I ended up spending oodles of time (and an undisclosed amount of money!) in the cookbook section at Powell’s Books with my friend Deseree, pouring over the many old and out-of-print cookbooks that lined the shelves. Those books are so delightful for so many reasons, from fun inscriptions to interesting ingredients to vintage illustrations and photographs…I love it all!

    Vincent and Mary Price's "A Treasury of Great Recipes" cookbook review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    Today I am channeling that love for older cookbooks with a really fun giveaway. Dover Publications has re-released a cookbook that has been out of print for quite some time. Of course I had to check it out…that kind of thing is right up my alley!

    Vincent and Mary Price's "A Treasury of Great Recipes" cookbook review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    Coincidentally, during the spookiest time of year, the cookbook in question is written by the Master of Menace himself, Vincent Price, along with his wife Mary, a costume designer. Mary and Vincent Price published A Treasury of Great Recipes 50 years ago and Dover just released the anniversary edition. I have had so much fun reading through this book!

    Vincent and Mary Price's "A Treasury of Great Recipes" cookbook review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    The 50th anniversary edition still has the same feel as the original publication, with all the original illustrations and photography, and includes a lovely retrospective written by their daughter Victoria Price, where you learn that Vincent Price’s grandfather invented cream of tartar baking powder, was the first person to patent extracts of vanilla, lemon and other flavorings, and also wrote many cookbooks. Food runs in the family! The cookbook follows the Price’s travels through Europe, Mexico and the United States and features the menus of restaurants they visited and loved, along with recipes from those menus. As both a food lover and a graphic designer, I especially love that the actual menus are reproduced in the book. The Prices also include many of their family’s recipes and, in true vintage cookbook fashion, there is a section dedicated to (can you guess?)…napkin folding! I just love this stuff! I told you I’m a vintage cookbook junkie!

    Vincent and Mary Price's "A Treasury of Great Recipes" cookbook review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    While Vincent may have been a master at horror, he was also a master at sharing wonderful food with people. So, this Halloween week, we are giving away a copy of Vincent and Mary’s beautiful, classic book. Here is how to enter!

    • Simply leave a comment, any comment, on this post! If you would like to share your favorite restaurant with us in your comment, that would be very fun and in the spirit of the book!
    • Bonus entry: Like Dover Publications on Facebook. Leave a separate comment indicating you have done so.
    • Bonus entry: Follow Dover Publications on Pinterest. Leave a separate comment indicating you have done so.
    • Bonus entry: Tweet this post and giveaway using the hashtag #CookingwithVincent. Leave a separate comment with a link to your tweet.

    One comment will be randomly selected to choose the winner. Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Thursday 11/5/2015 and prize must be shipped to an address in the continental United States.

    The winner of the giveaway was Comment #18 Heather B, who said, “I had no idea this edition existed, I’ve been meaning to find a copy of the original for my cookbook collection forever.” I love that she knows the book and has been keeping an eye out for it! Congratulations, Heather! I know it’s not an original edition, but I know you’ll still love it!

    To buy the book, visit Dover Publications and be sure to use the code WRAQ to get 25% of your purchase before 12/07/2015.  If you have any cookbook lovers in your life (or you are one yourself!), this is a very fun book, I definitely recommend it!

    Vincent and Mary Price's "A Treasury of Great Recipes" cookbook review and giveaway + 25% off coupon from @janemaynard

    Thank you to Dover Publications for sponsoring this post and giveaway!


  5. Wednesday, September 30

    Honey-Glazed Chicken with Root Vegetables + The 8×8 Cookbook and Blog Potluck

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…I have met some truly amazing people thanks to blogging. Amazing. People. One of those people is food blogger and cookbook author Kathy Strahs. We met many moons ago at a conference and our friendship grew from there. For a short time we even lived in the same neighborhood, which was the BEST THING EVER. Sadly she’s not down the street any more, but I make up for that by pestering her with text messages.

    the 8x8 cookbook recipe for honey-glazed chicken with roasted vegetables from @janemaynard

    One of the things I love about Kathy so much is her brain. She is a smart cookie, that Kathy. She also happens to be good at making cookies. She’s the whole cookie package (that’s like the highest compliment I can give someone). Anyway, yeah, Kathy’s brain. It does smart and cool and high quality stuff.

    the 8x8 cookbook recipe for honey-glazed chicken with roasted vegetables from @janemaynard

    So, why am I rambling on and on about Kathy? Because I have some of that awesome Kathy stuff to share with you!

    The 8x8 Cookbook and Kickstarter | Recipe for Honey-Glazed Chicken by Kathy Strahs from @janemaynard

    Today Kathy launched a Kickstarter for her next cookbook The 8×8 Cookbook: Square Meals for Weeknight Family Dinners, Desserts and More along with her new publishing company Burnt Cheese Press.

    the 8x8 cookbook recipe for honey-glazed chicken with roasted vegetables from @janemaynard

    Here’s the deal. You will love this book. You need to buy it. Visit Kathy’s Kickstarter page to see the different pledge levels and secure your first-edition copy today! The pledge rewards are great, including a “How to Make Mac ‘n Cheese” graphic t-shirt designed by Kathy’s adorable daughter Hayley. There is a book trailer on the Kickstarter page as well as more details about the project. Please check it out and spread the word!

    the 8x8 cookbook recipe for honey-glazed chicken with roasted vegetables from @janemaynard

    To celebrate today’s launch, I am participating in a blog potluck with Kathy and other food friends! I had the chance to make one of her 8×8 recipes – Honey-Glazed Chicken with Root Vegetables. Prep time was less than 25 minutes and dinner was delicious. I even doubled the recipe and used TWO 8×8 pans, because I knew we’d love it so much. I was right, we did!

    A potluck wouldn’t be a potluck with just ONE dish! Be sure to check out all the other recipes from The 8×8 Cookbook that are being featured today to celebrate Kathy’s Kickstarter launch!

    Without further ado, Honey-Glazed Chicken with Root Vegetables!

    Honey-Glazed Chicken with Root Vegetables
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    By Kathy Strahs, from The 8x8 Cookbook: Square Meals for Weeknight Family Dinners and More--In One Perfect 8x8 Inch Dish (Burnt Cheese Press, 2015), reprinted with permission. As excerpted from the book: "The shiny glazed chicken drumsticks get all the attention in this dish, but the roasted root vegetables relaxing beneath them really deserve some notice. Carrots, turnips, and potatoes are flavorful in their own right, and here, with honey-balsamic glaze traveling down from the chicken, they become truly next level! They go into the oven partially cooked to make sure they’re done right in synch with the chicken."
    Author:
    Serves: 4
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup roughly chopped carrots (about 2 medium)
    • 1 cup roughly chopped turnips (1 to 2 small)
    • 1 cup roughly chopped skin-on red potatoes (about ½ pound)
    • ½ small red onion, cut into wedges
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
    • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1½ pounds chicken drumsticks
    Instructions
    1. Heat oven to 400º F.
    2. Place the carrots, turnips and potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 4 minutes (alternatively, you can blanch the vegetables in a large pot of boiling water for 3 minutes). Drain any excess water and transfer the vegetables to an 8x8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish or metal baking pan. Add the onion wedges to the dish or pan.
    3. In a small bowl, stir together the honey and balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
    4. In a small bowl, combine the thyme, salt and pepper. Measure out ¾ teaspoon of the seasoning mixture and sprinkle it all over the vegetables. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and toss to combine.
    5. Season the chicken with the remaining seasoning mixture–be sure to slide some of the seasonings under the skin as well as on the outside. Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables. Roast for 20 minutes. Brush the chicken with half of the honey-balsamic mixture and bake for another 15 minutes. Brush the chicken with the remaining honey-balsamic mixture and continue baking until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF and the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes more (tent the chicken with foil if the glaze starts to burn).

    Thank you to Le Creuset for providing the beautiful 8×8 dish!


  6. Wednesday, September 9

    Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil Tap Rooms are FUN

    This summer while visiting my family in New Jersey, we took a day trip to Warwick, NY. I love that cute little town and try to discover something new each time we go. This summer we happened upon the Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co., which opened up earlier this year.

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    This beautiful shop is a balsamic vinegar and olive oil tap room. I had never visited a tap room prior to our visit to Warwick and quickly fell in love. I love high-quality olive oils, a love that flourished while living in the Bay Area near McEvoy Ranch.

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    Balsamic vinegar is another ingredient that I was fairly clueless about until I had the chance to try a really high-quality vinegar. Several years ago I went to the Fancy Food Show with my dear friend Vanessa Druckman. In the “Italy” section of the expo there were several balsamic vinegar companies. One of the vendors had us taste his most expensive vinegar (p.s. you can really spend a lot of money on vinegar, in case you were looking for a way to spend a lot of money). I can’t even explain how amazingly delicious that spoonful of balsamic vinegar was. Otherworldly, my friends.

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    As you can imagine, a balsamic vinegar and olive oil tap room was right up my alley! I was drinking oil and vinegars left and right! The balsamic vinegar flavors were especially fun, from cherry to peach to chocolate! I ended up buying the grapefruit vinegar as well as a bottle of Italian olive oil that was pressed in May 2015.

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    The kids did surprisingly well in the store with us, and my girls really enjoyed trying the balsamic vinegars. That said, it was a good thing Grandma was there to read stories while my sister-in-law Cora and I reveled in the oil and vinegar. For some reason the kids didn’t think that the tap room was quite as fun as I did. Strange.

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    The bottom line is this…if you have a chance to visit a tap room, do it! It is really a unique and fun experience. No, really, it IS fun. I swear!


  7. Thursday, September 3

    If Your Grocery Store Makes Tortilla Chips, You Should Be Eating Them

    Today is more of a PSA than anything. Sometime over the last year I discovered that our Albertson’s grocery store sold tortilla chips in the deli section. The chips had a sticker that said “Made here” and they looked pretty good, so I grabbed a bag.

    why grocery store tortilla chips are the best!

    HOLYCRAPTHECHIPSWERESOGOOD.

    Like a million times better than any other tortilla chips you can buy. They’re just so fresh and the texture is just so good and it sort of tastes like if you made the chips yourself, which of course you will never ever do but now you don’t have to.

    So, anyway, the Albertson’s where I got the chips closed down, so for the last 6 months I’ve been driving to another Albertson’s farther away JUST to buy chips. I usually buy like 3 bags at a time and I’m pretty sure the employees there call me the Crazy Chip Lady behind my back.

    why grocery store tortilla chips are the BEST

    Then the other day my friend Debbie was like, “Um, they have those at VONS, too.” VONS is way closer to my house than Albertson’s, so I was like, “WHAT?!?!?!” and promptly went out and bought a bag. The VONS “homemade” tortilla chips are exactly like the Albertson’s chips and basically now I can die happy.

    SOOOOOO…what is the point of this post? If your grocery store sells tortilla chips that are made on site, usually found in the produce or deli section of the store, you should be buying them and eating them and not buying any other tortilla chips ever. I have no idea how many stores do this in how many states, so I don’t know how helpful this advice is for you. But you need to at least investigate. The chips will change your life.

    why grocery store tortilla chips are the BEST

    Can you tell I might be a little bit teensy weensy addicted to and obsessed with these chips? In my defense, everyone I introduce the chips to feels just as passionately, so I’m not totally crazy. I swear.


  8. Thursday, August 27

    Easy Peasy 3-Bean Salad for One!

    The giveaway in this post is now closed. But there’s a recipe, so keep reading!

    When it comes to my kids’ lunches, I try to do a decent job of feeding them a balanced meal. There’s not much sugar, always a protein of some kind, and definitely fresh fruit. The one area where I am lacking, however, is vegetables. Once in a while I throw in sliced cucumbers or carrot sticks, but more often than not I miss vegetables entirely.

    quick and easy 3-bean salad recipe for one from @janemaynardLibby’s® recently contacted me about developing a quick and easy single serving recipe using Libby’s 4 oz. Vegetable Cups. To help with developing the recipe, Libby’s mailed our family a box of the vegetable cups to try out and experiment with. My daughter Anna, who loves trying food and cooking with me, was genuinely excited about the cups.

    Libby's Vegetable Cups

    Anna: “Mom, what are these?”

    Me: “Those are the veggie cups I am going to use for a recipe.”

    Anna: “Ooooo! Can I have some green beans? Please?!”

    Um, yes, she actually said that. And she actually liked the green beans! She liked the carrots, too, and she looooooved the corn. Anna is 100% supportive of me packing the Vegetable Cups in her lunches.

    quick and easy 3-bean salad recipe for one from @janemaynard

    For the recipe I developed I decided to go with a super quick and easy 3-bean salad for one! This makes for a “fancy” after-school snack or even a quick side dish with dinner when life gets busy. And this recipe utilizes one of my favorite magical ingredients: Italian Dressing. Italian dressing has a way of making pretty much any recipe easier, including salads of all kinds.

    quick and easy 3-bean salad recipe for one from @janemaynardIn addition to today’s recipe, we also have a giveaway! Not only will the winner receive an assortment of Libby’s Vegetable Cups, but they will also be gifted with this ridiculously cute Amanda’s Kids’ Lunch Playset from Food52.com. I wish I could enter the giveaway, all three of my kids would love this playset! (Maybe I’ll just have to go buy it!)

    amanda's kids' lunch playsetTo enter the giveaway, please do the following (comments must be posted by Midnight PT 9/3/15):

    The randomly-selected winner of this giveaway was comment #22 Kelly, who said, “What a great idea! My Mom used to make 3-bean salad, but I never thought about sending it in the kids’ lunches. Thanks for the recipe!”

    quick and easy 3-bean salad recipe for one from @janemaynard

    And now for the recipe! It seriously took me less than 5 minutes to toss this salad together. It doesn’t get easier than that. Enjoy!

    3-Bean Salad for One
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 1
    Ingredients
    • 1 Libby's 4-oz. Green Bean Vegetable Cup
    • 1 tablespoon garbanzo beans
    • 1 tablespoon kidney beans
    • 1 teaspoon chopped red onion
    • 2 teaspoons Italian dressing
    Instructions
    1. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Voila! You're done!
    Notes
    Cost: Appx. $0.60/serving

    This post was sponsored by Libby’s – payment was received for services rendered.


  9. Tuesday, August 18

    Minivans RULE + How New Car Smell is Like Cilantro

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

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

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

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

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

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

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

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

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

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

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

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

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

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

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

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

    7. Lots of space for “tickle trains.”

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

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

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

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

    why we love the toyota sienna and minivans in general!

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

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


  10. Thursday, July 16

    Fab Faves: CC Made & barkTHINS

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

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

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

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

    fab faves: barkTHINS by @janemaynard

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

    That’s all for today! Enjoy the goodies!