Sunday, April 6
Today we are hopping in the car and heading north to Los Angeles for 3 days and then down to Anaheim. We are going to be staying at the Hotel Angeleno in LA in one of their suites. I’m super excited because, as many times as we’ve been to LA, we’ve never gone and seen the sites or spent any time there. Any suggestions of fun things to do are welcome! We are for sure going to hit the Getty, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Griffith Observatory. Geesh, that might fill our three days right there, but would still love to hear your ideas!
After LA we are heading south to Anaheim, where we’ll brave the spring break crowds for one day at Disneyland and then spend a few days exploring the area. Our hotel the Carousel Inn & Suites is literally across the street from the park, which will be super convenient (I hate parking at Disneyland, it’s bananas). Nate and I are both taking off time from work, which I think will be the best part of the trip, honestly!
Needless to say I am not cooking this week. Woohoo! I’m sure we’ll be sick of eating out before the week is done, but I am excited to get a little break from the kitchen.
It’s weeks like these that we need you even more to share your menus and provide inspiration for one another. So, please post those menus!
Friday, April 4
Happy Friday! Just a few quick links to fun food I shared on Babble and Cosmo this week!
- Delicious and Easy Potato Salad with a Secret Ingredient
- 8 Scrumptious Ways to Use Italian Dressing
- Downright Drinkable Homemade Buttermilk Syrup
- 15 Hot and Spicy Breakfasts to Wake You Up!
- 15 Homemade Syrups to Make Breakfast Even Better
- 3 Kids, a Mom, & a Kitchen: Easter Carrot Muffins with a Cream Cheese Center
And on Cosmo:
- 16 Divinely Decadent Salted Caramel Recipes
- 20 Tiny Desserts That Are Better Than the Originals
- 10 Surprisingly Delicious Ways to Use Ranch Tonight
You know the drill – share your stuff!
Thursday, April 3
Two weeks ago my cousin Jamie was in town with her family. While they were here we cooked a few meals and, the entire time, Jamie was keeping a running list of must-have kitchen gadgets in my kitchen that she didn’t realize were must-have kitchen gadgets until she used them. She calls it the “divine list.” I know for a fact she’s already bought a few of the items and I don’t doubt she’ll have them all before the month is out!
This is not an exhaustive list of all the things I love and couldn’t live without in my kitchen, but all the items that Jamie added to her divine list are some of my favorites that we use all the time, so I figured it would be fun and helpful to share her list! You know, in case you feel like shopping today, which I’m sure you do because when doesn’t one feel like shopping?
I wrote about the scizza last December and proclaimed my love then. Jamie simply caught a glimpse of the scizza and was excited about it. Once she actually used it, she was officially in love. You can get it from Dreamfarm. Jamie was also impressed with Dreamfarm’s garlic press, the garject, but the scizza is what really stole her heart.
Wood Pizza Peel
While Jamie was here, what started as me throwing some pizzas together turned into a mini class for Jamie. I didn’t realize I have so many little tricks when making homemade pizza. Jamie is trying to convince me to do a video showing how to make pizza. Maybe one day if I actually get some makeup on I’ll think about it. Until then, one of the secrets to cooking great pizza is having a wood pizza peel to transfer the pizza to the stone in your oven. (That sentence alone opens up a Pandora’s box of pizza baking tips, but I’m resisting the urge to go into more detail. I promise to share more another day!) Anyway, I love my wood pizza peel. One of the reasons it’s so great is because it has a rough, unfinished surface. The cornmeal spreads so evenly over this surface and it’s a cinch getting your pizza into the oven. It also has a nice-shaped tapered edge (see photo). I’m not sharing any links for where to buy a wood peel because I can’t really tell what the surfaces are like from looking at photos online, so get out and do a little shopping to find your own perfect peel.
I love my tortilla warmer. Jamie loves my tortilla warmer. It’s the best. Read more about it here.
Manual Glass Juicer
This is a timeless kitchen gadget. I love my manual glass juicer, perfect for when I need to juice something for a recipe quickly. The little ring of knobs in the center catches all the seeds and the juicer itself catches all the juice, which you can easily pour. I received my particular juicer as a wedding gift. There are tons of these out there, just make sure you get one with the little knobs.
Le Creuset Butter Crock
I will not rest until all the world owns a butter crock. Butter Bell makes a nice version, but I love Le Creuset’s even more. Read more about it here.
That’s it! Jamie’s divine list! Happy shopping!
Tuesday, April 1
Years ago my friend Liz hosted a cheese party at her home. If you showed up with a bottle of wine, she gave you a plate of cheese! Okay, so it was actually a little fancier and more involved than that. She had gone to who knows how many cheese shops and gathered who knows how many cheeses and had them set up at different tables, organized by strength. Have you ever been to a cheese tasting? It’s really fun! You start with the mildest cheeses and work your way up. And you JUST EAT THE CHEESE. Leave the bread and crackers at home, this experience is about really tasting the cheeses, appreciating the nuanced differences of each type. It was a delicious, educational and fun night that obviously left an impression on me and changed the way I looked at cheese.
There truly is an art to cheese, one that I am woefully uneducated about but also very much appreciate. Nate lived in Paris for a few years back in the day, so we have a bias towards French cheeses. When I had the chance to work on a post for Président, trying out one of their recipes and sharing it with you, I jumped. We love brie and camembert and love to buy Président when we indulge!
A few years ago, Nate and I went to Paris together. We ate so many wonderful foods, including cheese of course! As I was looking through Paris photos this morning to include in this post, I laughed when I discovered the very first photo I took in Paris was of a small round of Président camembert we bought on our first day in that marvelous city! No wonder that’s the cheese I always buy – we can enjoy a bit of France right here in California!
By the way, les crèmeries are to Paris what Dunkin’ Donuts are to Boston. I couldn’t believe how many cheese shops there were, and they all looked like this. No wonder the French have mastered the art of cheese.
The recipe I am sharing with you today comes from Président’s website, where you can find all kinds of easy gourmet recipes. I chose this particular recipe because it not only sounded delicious but it was downright pretty. This beautiful torte would be perfect to serve at any party, but a cheese party would be especially lovely. It can serve as a nice alternative to the straight-up cheese tasting but still fit into the theme of the evening. Also, even though the torte might look intimidating to make, it actually is quite easy to throw together. You can totally impress without the stress!
Also, this food looked gorgeous at every step of the cooking process. Sorry for all the pictures, but I just couldn’t help myself.
Sunday, March 30
How is it Sunday already? GoodNESS.
I have NO carry-overs from last week’s menu. I think that might be a meal planning miracle.
- Lentil Soup
- Breakfast for Dinner: Pancakes
- Fresh fruit
- Starting our Spring Break fun – we don’t even know what the plans are yet, but we’re going to do something!
- Traveling who knows where?!
You know the drill – show us what you got! Share your menu for the week! THANKS EVERYONE!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 11:18 am 37 Comments
Categories: weekly menus Tags: dinner plans, free printable, meal plan, menu plan, PRINTABLE MEAL PLAN, shopping list, weekly menu, weekly menu planning |
Friday, March 28
The giveaway is now closed, but please keep reading to check out this great company and read my interview with the founders!
Today is FUN because I get to introduce you to a super cool company, share a fun interview AND do a giveaway!
Q Squared NYC recently reached out to me about working together. Now, I get a lot of emails about a lot of products everyday, but Q Squared really stood out. I clicked through and discovered a small company with really beautiful products as well as a fun story. I was super excited to find out more about them and was so happy that they got in touch with me!
I don’t know, guys, but these just might be my two most favorite plates ever in the history of the world. Just sayin’.
First, before we get to anything else, just look how cute their dishes are. Q Squared sells melamine dinnerware, drinkware, flatware and great serving platters. Everything is beautifully designed and appeals to all kinds of aesthetics, from classic to modern. I am a firm believe in using beautiful things on a daily basis, plus I have kids, so beautiful dishes that are also practical? BINGO. We also love eating outside. Q Squared’s dishes really are perfect for our family!
All of the dishes you see in today’s post are from the Montecito line, which I can’t get enough of. We already have white and blue dishes in our everyday collection, so I knew that Montecito would fit right into our kitchen. The Provence blue flatware and blue tumblers also go perfectly with these dishes and I’m loving it all. You can tell that the products are high quality – nice and sturdy with a good feel. I’m ready to party!
I mentioned that Q Squared has a fun story. The company is founded by a mother-daughter team, Nancy (the mom and former Glamour editor) and Alaina (the daughter). I had the chance to do a little interview with them and would love to share it with you. I especially love the story behind the inspiration for starting the company. So cute!
Q: What inspired you both to start a company making dinnerware? Do you love cooking or entertaining or was it just a fun way to channel your creative energy?
The answer is a little of both, plus a third reason. We do love cooking and entertaining, and we both feel very creative. Alaina has a critical eye for art and Nancy is a fan of fashion. The third reason, though, was not being able to find beautiful products that were practical and affordable. After college graduation, we went shopping to set up Alaina’s first apartment. She has a very high standard aesthetically but was on a low budget. Everything we came across that had an aesthetic Alaina liked was either China or Porcelain, with the China Cabinet price tag to match – so we created our own company and products to fill that need!
Q: Your about page says that while you have complimentary styles, they are distinct. What are Nancy and Alaina’s different styles?
Nancy is modern and minimalistic, while Alaina is classical and ornate. Nancy likes bold colors and Alaina likes more muted colors. Combining the two styles results in our refined look that bridges a generation gap. We like to call them generation-less.
Q: What is your design process like?
Alaina is the Creative Director, so the designs originate from her and her inspiration. Her inspiration comes from the past, whether it is history in general or her own personal history. Nancy’s input to the designs helps guide the collection toward what would be most widely appealing to our consumers.
Q: Do you see yourselves moving beyond dinnerware one day?
Yes, absolutely! We are launching our first new product category (home fragrance!) in Summer 2014, with the continuing expansion into Fall/Winter 2014. Looking into 2015 and beyond, we will continue to introduce more home decor products, including gifts, decorative accents, textiles, etc.
Q: What is the best part of working together?
The synergy that we feel together, knowing that the results are bigger and grander than each of us alone. Oh and there’s always the perk of having a mom in the office (for the occasional old-fashion PB&J!)
I hope you’ve enjoyed being introduced to this great company, its founders and their beautiful products. Good luck with the giveaway!
This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
I think it’s time for a giveaway! One lucky, randomly-selected person will win 1 Large Cool Montecito Tray along with 4 Cool Montecito Tapas Plates. Here is how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be left by Thursday, 4/3 Midnight PT.) Leave a comment on this post – that’s it! If you would like, tell us your favorite collection on Q Squared NYC! Bonus entry: Like Q Squared NYC on Facebook (for the extra entry, leave a separate comment stating you’ve done so) Bonus entry: Follow Q Squared on Pinterest (for the extra entry, leave a separate comment stating you’ve done so) Bonus entry: Like This Week for Dinner on Facebook (for the extra entry, leave a separate comment stating you’ve done so) Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Pinterest (for the extra entry, leave a separate comment stating you’ve done so)
The winner of the giveaway was Debbie Rough, who said, “Love this same pattern you have. Need a new tray… Mine just broke!!!! Woohoo hope I am a winner” Congratulations to Debbie! You will love your items!
Before we get to food, can we talk about House of Cards for just one second? Nate and I FINALLY watched the Season 2 premiere this week. And this is what I have to say: WHAT?!?!?!? SERIOUSLY!?!?!? Totally did NOT see that coming!!!!!! Obviously I am not going to spell it out because President Obama asked for no spoilers, but for real, crazyTOWN. Nate and I need to get going on the rest of the season to see what Frank’s got in store for Washington, D.C. My friend Kathy posted a status on Facebook the other day that she was watching a little of The West Wing on Netflix to counteract House of Cards. Made me laugh because it’s so true. They’re basically the same show except one is the angel on your right shoulder and the other is the devil on your left. I’m just hoping reality reflects The West Wing!!
Okay, back to food!
Here are my “Babbles” for the week!
- The Best Sautéed Mushrooms Ever (shout out to Jeffrey’s Hamburgers!)
- How to Pick the Perfect Chef’s Knife
- 15 Non-Lemonade Lemonade Recipes to Gear Up for Spring!
- Hot Potato! 9 Spicy Potato Recipes
- 3 Kids, a Mom & a Kitchen: Homemade Granola Bars (I had the girls try making granola bars all by themselves!)
And yumminess on Cosmo!
- 20 Impossibly Identical Copycat Restaurant Recipes
- 15 Foods You Won’t Believe You Can Make in the Microwave
- 15 Foods You Need to Cover in Buffalo Sauce
Show and tell means everyone in the class gets to share, so be sure to share your stuff, whatever it is!
Wednesday, March 26
Apparently it’s still snowing in some places. CRAZY. It’s even chilly and drizzly here in San Diego (don’t worry, I am not complaining), so I think we’re all probably in the mood for some cozy food.
My sister-in-law Cora made beef stew for the family this past summer and it was sublime. I make a pretty good beef stew, but hers was definitely better. I finally got around to bugging her for the recipe and, as usual, she obliged. She’s good like that.
Cora sort of follows Ree’s seef stew with beer and paprika recipe but changes a few things up. I followed her lead and ended up with this most delicious stew. The sauce is so rich in flavor, the meat so tender, the veggies cooked to perfection.
Yes, it’s called Boozy Beef Stew. Because there are two bottles of beer in the pot and how can you not name it Boozy Beef Stew with all that beer involved? Never fear, it doesn’t taste like a bottle of beer with a few chunks of meat thrown in. It just tastes good. So good.
Also, this recipe gives me an excuse to use one of my most favorite items in the kitchen – a bottle opener we got from Nate’s great-grandma Rose’s home when she moved into assisted living at age 99. We don’t drink around here, so this cute little bottle opener doesn’t get much action. But when I do take it out, it always makes me happy.
I modified the recipe just a bit so it is quite literally a one-pot dinner. I hate washing dishes. A lot. You’ll be able to cook it all in one pot, no extra dishes required! (Well, you will have to use a knife and cutting board, but that doesn’t count, right?)
Now, go booze up your beef.
Monday, March 24
If you live in the western U.S. (and now Virginia or Maryland, too!), you’ve probably heard of Cafe Rio. It’s a Mexican food chain with the best darn pork barbacoa and creamy tomatilla salad dressing you ever did eat. Seriously, that dressing is downright drinkable.
My cousin Jamie and her family visited us last week. One night we made fajitas for dinner and Jamie whipped up some of the Cafe Rio dressing. It was mighty fine! Honestly, I can’t remember exactly how Cafe Rio’s dressing tastes, but Jamie says this recipe nails it! I did a google search and there are a bunch of blogs and websites with almost the exact same recipe posted, so I have no idea who the source is. But Jamie and I discussed the recipe and realized that she regularly changes up some of the proportions, so we made it our own. Also, I am changing the amounts because the original recipe makes about 30 ounces of dressing! That is a whole lot of dressing that, quite frankly, is more than our family needs.
This dressing is delicious served over salad or as a sauce topped on tacos, fajitas and burritos. Go crazy!
(>> Find out more…)
Sunday, March 23
Well, we finally gave into the trend and tried a cronut this weekend. Our cousins were in town visiting and had heard that a donut shop in Cardiff has great cronuts. The donut shop is called VG Donut & Bakery, a place Nate and I have been wanting to try for months, so we were totally down with the taste test! Cronuts (at least the ones from VG’s) are downright delicious. They remind us of a French cruller, but not quite as eggy. Cronuts are more donut than croissant, but the texture is definitely different than a normal donut, with layers of moist goodness inside a crispy exterior. DELISH!
I can’t believe it’s time to plan another menu. Here goes nothin’!
- Boozy Beef Stew à la Cora my SIL (recipe to come!)
- Bertucci’s Tortellini
- Garlic bread and salad
- Eat out
- Fried Chicken (I’ve never made fried chicken and want to finally try it – if you have a recipe you love or tips to share, please do!)
- Veggie and biscuits
- Breakfast for dinner: Swedish pancakes
- Fresh fruit
As always, reading through your menus from last week was so helpful as I planned for this week. Thank you so much for sharing! Looking forward to seeing what you all have planned for this week!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 10:24 am 47 Comments
Categories: weekly menus Tags: dinner plans, free printable, meal plan, menu plan, PRINTABLE MEAL PLAN, shopping list, weekly menu, weekly menu planning |