Friday, January 9
First off, you HAVE to go read my post on Babble this week where I share 5 shortbread recipe variations. Every last one of the flavors was divine. In addition, I have two fun holiday posts on Babble that I never shared here on the blog, so here you go!
Before I sign off, Nate and I have been watching The Walking Dead on Netflix and went to bed last night after watching episode 8 of season 4 and all I have to say is…why are we torturing ourselves with this show?!?!?!? Good GOLLY. It’s just so good, we can’t stop!
Show and Tell means the whole class gets to share…show us what you’ve got this week!
Wednesday, December 31
Happy New Year!
I just wanted to share two quick New Years things with you today. First, I shared a recipe for a fun, sparkly mocktail (that can easily be turned into a cocktail, if you prefer!) on Babble this week. Be sure to check it out!
And, tonight, to party with the kids…many, many hours before midnight!
Have a Happy New Year and see you on the other side!
Tuesday, December 23
A big holiday thank you to Q Squared NYC for sponsoring today’s post.
Today we have a Call for Recipes, but let me first set the stage.
My neighbor Kat recently hosted a cookie exchange. I love cookie exchanges, but, much to my surprise, the cookies were not my favorite part of Kat’s get together! Kat served a lovely sit-down brunch before the cookie swap and it was quite wonderful. The food was amazing and it was so nice to take a break mid-morning in the mad rush of December and enjoy good food and company. The whole thing made me feel happy and bright.
For Cate’s birthday party this year the only time we could coordinate with her friends was yesterday morning, so, as inspired by Kat’s party, we decided to host a Christmas birthday brunch! While Cate’s brunch was a little less fancy, it was equally delicious and fun.
I’ve decided brunch is my new favorite thing for entertaining. So much of the food can be made ahead of time, making for less stressful party prep. Plus, who doesn’t love brunch food? Nobody, that’s who. I also love having the party early in the day, it has a completely different feel and, honestly, I like having more time for clean-up when the guests go home, as opposed to night parties where you’d rather go to bed than clean up.
Pictured: Q Squared’s Cool Montecito Large Tray
Q Squared NYC is sponsoring today’s post and I want to give them a quick shout out. Until Q Squared came into my life I didn’t own any serving trays and very few platters. Now I am swimming in beautiful trays and platters and I can’t tell you how fabulous they are for entertaining. I used a Q Squared tray for my cookies at Kat’s party and it was adorable. For Cate’s party, the serving trays came in handy both for the food and the Christmas crafts. Three cheers for Q Squared’s high quality, durable, beautiful serving trays – I can’t live without them now! Oh, before I forget! Q Squared also gave me a few of their Bijou candles for the holidays and the candles smell scrumptious. They have also been the perfect decoration for our coffee table this year. I highly recommend them!
It’s time for today’s Call for Recipes! Please share your favorite brunch recipes and tips! I really do want to host more brunches and become Queen of Brunch. Great aspirations, people. I think I might even plan a little Christmas brunch for this Thursday, so please share tips and recipes!
I’ll kick us off with the brunch menu from Cate’s party.
- Ina’s Banana Granola Muffins (made the day before, warmed in a 200-degree oven for 10 minutes prior to serving)
- Grammy’s Blueberry Muffins (made the day before, warmed in a 200-degree oven for 10 minutes prior to serving)
- Frittata Cups (used spinach instead of kale, made them early in the morning then warmed in a 200-degee oven for 10 minutes prior to serving)
- Hot Chocolate
- Fruit salad
Ready, set, GO! Let’s brunch it up!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 2:14 pm 13 Comments
Categories: call for recipes, fab faves, holidays, Recipes, the goods Tags: brunch, call for recipes, holiday entertaining, q squared, q squared nyc, serving trays, sponsored |
Friday, December 19
Hi Everyone! I am currently buried in boxes and shipping tape, so I’m just going to quickly share two of my holiday posts on Babble this week!
- 3 Kids, a Mom & a Kitchen: A Quest for Grandma’s Pepparkakor (Gingersnaps)…the quest is not yet complete, but we did find a great recipe in the process!
- Copycat Recipe: Trader Joe’s Jingle Jangle Holiday Mix (this is GREAT for gifts!)
You know the drill…share your stuff!
Friday, December 12
This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!
Today we have a really fun giveaway package featuring two companies who’s products I use in my kitchen every day – Le Creuset and Dreamfarm! Gifts & Giveaways is all about sharing great gift ideas and then, you know, giving some of those awesome things away and that is exactly what we’re going to do today!
Before we get to the giveaway, here are a few gift ideas. These are my most favorite items from Le Creuset and Dreamfarm, the things that I use ALL the time in my kitchen:
- Le Creuset Butter Crock: One of my most favorite things in the kitchen ever. I know I’ve professed my love before. That love has not waned. I also give these as gifts myself fairly frequently.
- Le Creuset 3 1/2 QT. and 5 1/2 QT. Round French Ovens: I don’t use these every day, but it’s pretty close.
- Dreamfarm Levoon: Absolutely enamored with these measuring spoons with a built-in level.
- Dreamfarm Clongs: These are great tongs and I LOVE how they sit up off of the counter.
- Dreamfarm Garject: My most favorite garlic press ever.
- Dreamfarm Scizza: Nate isn’t as big a fan as I am of the scizza, but I love it. I use it all the time for pizza as well as for cutting up my kids’ waffles and pancakes. They are great kitchen scissors and I love how they can stand up on the counter – less mess!
Now that you have some ridiculously awesome gift ideas, I think it’s time for a giveaway. Brace yourself, it’s pretty great.
The Le Creuset and Dreamfarm Holiday Giveaway Set Includes:
- Cheese Fondue in Flame ($300 retail value! So, basically the awesomest fondue pot ever)
- Butter crock (because I will not rest until all humans own one)
- Garject Lite
To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment on this post! That’s it! Easy peasy! Comments must be posted by Midnight PT Thursday, 12/18/14 and prize must be shipped within the U.S. Good luck and happy shopping!
The winner of this giveaway was Ellen (Comment #9), who said, “I’m feeling lucky…I hope I win!!!” Congratulations, Ellen!
Friday, December 5
Happy Friday! I think I might actually be done with Christmas decorating. Normally I get it done in 1 day, but this year it’s been 1 week! It’s kind of been fun stretching it out, though. The kids just need to finish the tree and I need to decide which wreath to hang above our fireplace. I am the most indecisive person you’ll ever meet, so please help and tell me which wreath is your favorite!
Option 1: White wreath that is super cool and unique and that I am in love with. I like how it contrasts with the green wall and ties in with the white shelves and mantel. It’s a little smaller in diameter than option 2 and doesn’t fill the space quite as well.
Option 2: Red berry wreath that is perfectly Christmasy against the green wall and just seems to fit in the room. It makes less of a statement but is a bit bigger. I really like this one, but I’m not in love, but I wonder if it isn’t better for this space.
Now that the decorations are almost done, it’s time to watch some Christmas movies. I started browsing Netflix to find some Christmas movies to watch with the kids and stumbled on One Magic Christmas. I remember looooooving that movie as a kid. I’ll have to see if my kids are equally as enthralled. I was always a sucker for high drama and mysticism as a kid, but don’t know that my kids are like that. Should be interesting…
I have two posts on Babble to share with you this week:
- How to Host the Ultimate Princess Party for Under $50
- California-Style Turkey Sandwich with Thanksgiving Leftovers
You know the drill, Show and Tell is for everyone, so please share your stuff! And please chime in on the wreath!
Wednesday, December 3
The giveaway in this post is now closed, but keep reading to find out about some really cute Christmas dishes and to get the shortbread recipe!
This post is sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own, including the opinion that these cookies are awesome.
I am so happy it’s the holiday season! Well, I mean, now I am, after my annual early-December freak out last night over the stress that this month brings (my busiest work month, two birthdays and Christmas all wrapped up into one not-so-calm package). But now, with the freak out officially behind me, I am ready to dive into present wrapping and cookie baking!
I started the whole holiday baking shebang with these chocolate-dipped peppermint shortbread cookies. I’m a sucker for shortbread. No, really, I kind of can’t control myself around the stuff. I decided to give my favorite shortbread recipe a holiday twist by incorporating chocolate and peppermint. The twist worked beautifully. And now there are about 30 ridiculously-adorable and delicious cookies taunting me in my kitchen.
These cookies are peppermint perfection. Even though there is peppermint in every element of the cookie, the peppermint flavor is not overpowering. The shortbread, which has just a hint of peppermint, is then dipped in high-quality dark chocolate, also sporting that peppermint hint. Top it all off with crunchy peppermint pieces and you’ve got yourself a COOKIE, filled with flavors and textures that work together oh so nicely. And they look crazy cute!
In addition to these lovely cookies, I have some lovely dishes to share with you today, too! You all know how much I love Q Squared. Well, I love them even more now that their holiday dishes are out! When I put in my order for the Winter’s Eve collection, I knew the dishes would be cute but I was not prepared for how much I would love them once I saw the dishes in person. Serious love, people.
Today we are giving away a complete set of the Winter’s Eve collection from Q Squared! One randomly-selected winner will receive 1 large platter, 1 serving bowl, 6 dinner plates, 6 tapas plates and 1 coaster set. To enter, please do the following by midnight PT on Tuesday December 9, 2014 (prize must be shipped to a US address): Leave a comment on this post! Easy Peasy! Bonus entry: Like me on Instagram! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!) Bonus entry: Like Q Squared on Instagram! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!) Bonus entry: Like This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!) Bonus entry: Like Q Squared on Facebook! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!) Good luck with the giveaway – I wish you could all win!
And now for the recipe!
Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint ShortbreadDelicious chocolate-dipped shortbread with just the right amount of peppermint.Author: Jane MaynardRecipe type: DessertServes: 25-30Ingredients
- 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Pinch kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract, divided into ½ and ¼ teaspoons
- 1 cup high-quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ cup broken peppermint pieces
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- Cream butter, brown sugar and ½ teaspoon peppermint extract together on medium-high speed in a stand mixer for about 3 minutes with the paddle attachment. Scrape down bowl.
- Add 1½ cups of the flour and a pinch of salt. Beat with paddle attachment on medium speed until fully incorporated.
- Set aside the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook.
- Add the rest of the flour (3/4 cup) and mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook, kneading the dough in the mixer for about 5 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
- Roll dough out on a floured surface to about ½-inch thick. Using a ~2-inch sized cookie cutter, cut cookies and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Prick the tops of the cookies with a fork.
- Form leftover dough into a ball and roll back out to ½-inch thick and repeat process until you've cut all the dough into cookies.
- Bake for 15-25 minutes, until bottoms of cookies are light golden brown. (The time will vary depending on how thick you actually rolled out the dough. The thinner the cookie, the less cook time.)
- When cookies have cooled completely, in a small microwave-safe bowl cook chocolate chips and coconut oil on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir well until all chocolate has melted.
- Add ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract and stir well.
- Dip each cookie partially into the chocolate then set on a cooling rack to let chocolate harden. Sprinkle with peppermint pieces immediately after dipping cookie.
- Place cookies in fridge to harden the chocolate, around 30-60 minutes. When the cookies return to room temperature, the chocolate will soften a smidge. The chocolate will be hard enough so that the cookies will be pretty and stackable (for packaging and giving!) but just soft enough that it's easy to bite through when eating the cookie. Store extras in the fridge.
- You will have extra melted chocolate. I like to have extra so it's easier for dipping. Just pour it over a bowl of ice cream or spread it on a silicone baking mat, sprinkle with peppermint pieces and put in the fridge for a quick peppermint bark. You need to put that chocolate to use!
Comment #4 ellen patton was the winner of this giveaway. Congratulations, Ellen!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 1:50 pm 117 Comments
Categories: featured recipes, Giveaways, holidays, Recipes, sweet things, the goods Tags: baking, christmas, cookies, dishes, holidays, q squared, q squared nyc, shortbread, sponsored |
Friday, November 28
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a wonderful holiday! Ours was beyond lovely and I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed with gratitude.
So, if you’ve ever wanted to laugh at me, now’s your chance.
On Wednesday while my sister-in-law Jessica, my friend Allison and I were cooking a bunch of the food for Thursday, I dumped milk over 3 hot burners on the stovetop AND poured a bowl of cooked sweet potatoes into the sink. My crowning glory, however, was cooking a turkey upside down without realizing it. Everyone decided I can’t possibly write a food blog and must have a ghostwriter on the books. I assure you this is not true, but am wondering if maybe it should be! Every time I think about checking the temperature on the turkey breast (i.e. the back of the turkey) and the probe hitting bone and me saying, “This is so weird, it’s like there isn’t even any meat in this turkey breast, I think we got a bad bird,” I bust out laughing.
Despite my apparent lack of skill on Wednesday, I was able to pull it together and, with a lot of wonderful help, we had a glorious feast yesterday!
A quick note on the turkey. This year we needed a lot of food, but I decided to cook 2 12-pound turkeys instead of 1 giant turkey. I followed my friend Amy’s technique and these were the best turkeys I’ve cooked in years. I’ve tried cooking turkeys every which way and Amy’s recipe is now my favorite way to do it. I also think cooking smaller turkeys probably made a difference. I cooked one turkey on Wednesday and one on Thursday. The Wednesday bird was carved immediately and we stored the meat in the fridge for leftovers. It worked great!
Happy Leftover Day!
Monday, November 24
This post is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and reflects a collaboration with NEA’s Raise Your Hand for Student Success campaign. All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own. Be sure to visit the NEA Parents’ Page for great resources for parents!
My kids have this entire week of Thanksgiving off from school. I remember back in the day only getting Thursday and Friday off, leaving you with just a few days to enjoy the holiday. I actually really appreciate having three extra days to relax with our family and enjoy some time off together. But having the whole week off means almost 10 days of no school!
I’m not one to buy workbooks and pull out the flashcards on school breaks. Honestly, I love getting a break from the homework grind. But just because homework and class time are on hiatus doesn’t mean learning has to be. Here are a few things we’ll be doing this week as a family to facilitate fun learning during the Thanksgiving break!
- COOKING! Of course we’ll be cooking up a storm this week and you can bet the kids will be involved. Not only will having the kids cook with me help form lasting memories, but there are ample learning opportunities in the kitchen, especially around math. Anna even got up this morning and made up her own “recipe” with yogurt and milk, so she is ready to go in the cooking department!
- READING! I am lucky that we have kids who love to read, so they’ll do plenty of reading on their own over the break. But even if kids don’t love reading, Thanksgiving break is a good time to get them excited to read. I always buy Christmas books during this week and we kick off the holiday season by reading those books together as a family. We also have fun Thanksgiving books to share together, too.
- DAY TRIPS! We have passes to the Natural History Museum in LA as well as the San Diego Zoo. We will be visiting one of those spots for sure this week! Museums really are a great way to mix learning with fun!
- CRAFTS & LEARNING ACTIVITIES: My Anna loves science more than a million ice cream scoops, so I’m sure we’ll break out our Green Kid Crafts science kit and do a science project together. My friend Marie also has about 1 billion projects on her website Make and Takes, so I’ll be seeing what ideas she has for us, too!
What do you have planned this week with the kids? I’m sure you all have all kinds of creative ideas, so please share them with the rest of us!
Sunday, November 23
It’s Thanksgiving week – I can’t believe it! Today it’s mostly all about the Thanksgiving menu, but I’ll also share our menu for the whole week, which is pretty sparse because all the attention will be on the turkey!
This year we will have Nate’s sister Jess and her family here with us for the entire week, and the Czarnecki family will be joining us on Thanksgiving. We will be surrounded by people that we love dearly and I can’t wait!
Time for the Thanksgiving menu! Here’s what we’ll be having. As usual, we’re sticking with everyone’s favorite classics.
- Turkey (Every year I try a different technique. This year I’m going with the technique that my friend Amy claims is the best, most reliable way to cook a turkey. I also bought 2 smaller turkeys instead of 1 big turkey, hoping for more delicious results.)
- Classic Mashed Potatoes
- Classic Stuffing
- Crescent Rolls and/or Squash Rolls
- Cranberry Slush (my great-grandmother’s recipe that we have EVERY YEAR NO MATTER WHAT)
- Cranberry Sauce (as per Jess’s request, there will also be canned jellied cranberry sauce)
- Sweet Potato Souffle
- Broccoli Casserole
- Butternut Squash (I’m going to cube it, roast it, then pan fry it in browned butter)
- Rose’s Creamed Onions (this recipe is from Nate’s great-grandmother)
- Pumpkin and Apple Pie (not sure what recipes we’re going to use yet!)
I’m not making green bean casserole this year, but if you are, you really should try my homemade version. It’s kind of to-die-for.
As for the rest of the week…here’s the menu plan!
MONDAY: Malibu Melt Wraps
TUESDAY: Taco Night
WEDNESDAY: Taco Leftovers
FRIDAY – SUNDAY: Leftovers Galore!
Please share your weekly menu as usual…but we REALLY want to see your Thanksgiving plans! Share, share, share!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 11:33 am 18 Comments
Categories: holidays, thanksgiving prep, weekly menus Tags: dinner plans, free printable, meal plan, menu plan, PRINTABLE MEAL PLAN, shopping list, thanksgiving, thanksgiving menu, thanksgiving prep, weekly menu, weekly menu planning |