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  1. Tuesday, August 11

    Perfect Chocolate Frosting + One Pan Chocolate Cake

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    Today is all about chocolate.

    PERFECT chocolate frosting with one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

    When we were on Cape Cod a few weeks ago, my mother-in-law Pat made a chocolate cake, complete with homemade frosting that was TO DIE FOR. When it comes to cake, I generally like the cake more than the frosting. Not in this case. In this case the frosting, well, takes the cake. (Sorry! Couldn’t resist that one.)

    PERFECT chocolate frosting with one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

    And, if you’re looking for something to put that perfect chocolate frosting on, let me introduce you to the one pan chocolate cake. This recipe comes from a 2009 issue of Everyday Food and was originally called “dump cake,” since you just dump everything in the pan and then bake. The cake turned out beautifully.

    one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

    There’s only one drawback to the cake recipe: since you mix the ingredients directly in the pan, you can’t butter and flour the pan ahead of time. This means you’ll be serving the cake directly from the pan. Plus, you kind of have to scrape the servings out with a spatula to keep them in one piece, and the first slice of cake will be a bit tricky to get out of the pan. Because of this, the one pan cake may not be the best choice for serving guests or for special occasions. Or maybe it is. You decide. All I know is that this cake recipe is easy and delicious, and maybe that’s all that matters in the end.

    PERFECT chocolate frosting with one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

    Perfect Chocolate Frosting
     
    Prep time
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    Recipe from my mother-in-law Pat, adapted from the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder container
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup butter
    • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2½ - 2¾ cups powdered sugar
    • ⅓ cup milk
    Instructions
    1. Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave, in 20 second increments until butter is just melted.
    2. Whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
    3. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to the bowl. Using a hand mixer, start on low and beat in the powdered sugar, increasing the speed to medium and mixing well. Add half of the milk, following the same blending technique. Add 1 more cup of the powdered sugar, mixing as described, then the rest of the milk, mixing once again starting on low and increasing to medium speed.
    4. Add ½ cup of powdered sugar (this brings you to 2½ cups) and blend well, starting on low then moving up to medium speed. If you want the frosting to be a little thicker, add up to ¼ cup more of powdered sugar.
    5. Makes enough frosting for a 9" x 13" cake.

    One Pan Chocolate Cake
     
    Prep time
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    Originally from a 2009 issue of Everyday Food, written in my own words
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
    • 6 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
    • 1 cup cold water
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
    2. In an 8-inch square casserole dish or baking pan (I like to use a pyrex casserole so I can see if the batter is full mixed), whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
    3. Make a well in the middle, then add the vegetable oil, vanilla, vinegar and water in the center. Whisk those ingredients together, then start to incorporate the dry ingredients, whisking until well combined.
    4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a fork or toothpick comes out clean.
    5. Let cool completely before frosting. If you use the chocolate frosting recipe above, you will have some frosting left over.

     

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  2. Sunday, August 9

    Week 446 Menu

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    Hey there, everyone! I am home and unpacked and back to normal and FINALLY planning my weekly menu again! Thank you to everyone who diligently posted menus the last few weeks while I was taking a little break. You guys are the best and the reason this whole menu sharing thing is so cool!

    week 446 weekly menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list!

    MONDAY:
    – Homemade Mac & Cheese (one of these recipes)
    – Fresh summer veggies

    TUESDAY:
    – Chicken tacos
    – Chips and salsa

    WEDNESDAY:
    Chicken Salad Sandwiches
    – Fresh fruit and chips

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SATURDAY:
    Chicken Caesar Wraps

    SUNDAY:
    – Breakfast for Dinner (specifics TBD!)

    Click here for the free printable of this week’s menu plus the shopping list!

    You know the drill! Please share your weekly menu in the comments! Thank you and have a great week!

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  3. Friday, August 7

    Friday Show and Tell: Butterfly in the Sky…

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    Happy Friday! We are finally home from our travels and back into a normal groove. It was a fabulous trip and we wouldn’t change a thing, but it is nice to be back in our own house again. I’m especially grateful for my down pillows. 😉

    I have just one thing to share today. Let’s start with a hint: Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high…

    reading rainbow is on netflix!

    READING RAINBOW IS ON NETFLIX! Nate and I discovered this last night and the first thing I did with the kids this morning was put an episode on. Reading Rainbow is a show that I’ve always been sad my kids didn’t have to watch – it ended right before Cate was born. PBS aired episodes until 2009, but I didn’t figure it out until it was too late and our DVR series recording never produced a thing!

    My kids are watching the show as I type and all three of them are mesmerized, from age 3 to age 10! And, as a parent, I think the show is even better than I remember it. I love its slower pace, how the show is educational while still fun, and that it’s filled with books, of course! I just wish that Netflix was going to air all 21 seasons (right now they have a selection of episodes on service).

    Also, in case you were wondering, I DO still have every word of the song memorized. Impressive, eh? (Okay, I think probably all of us do.)

    Happy Watching and Reading!

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  4. Tuesday, August 4

    Homemade Pita Chips Are My New Favorite

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    Right now I am in New Hampshire at my in-laws’ home. My mother-in-law Pat, the source of many of my most favorite recipes, is the queen of not wasting food. If the food isn’t rotten or moldy, she will find a way to use it!

    super easy and scrumptious homemade pita chips by @janemaynard

    We bought a bunch of pitas down on Cape Cod last week that we never used, so she packed them up and brought the pita bread back to New Hampshire. The pitas just kept getting staler and staler. Pat couldn’t bear to throw them out, so she decided to try making homemade pita chips, served alongside a scrumptious caprese salad.

    super easy and scrumptious homemade pita chips by @janemaynard

    Why have I never made homemade pita chips before? They were so easy to make and so crazy delicious I couldn’t believe it. They get all crispy but still have some softer spots that make them so much better than anything you can buy at the store. And, seriously, the “recipe” is beyond simple – anyone can make these!

    super easy and scrumptious homemade pita chips by @janemaynard

    I think I may have found my new addiction. And maybe yours, too. You’re welcome.

    Homemade Pita Chips
     
    Prep time
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    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Pita bread
    • Olive oil
    • Sea salt
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
    2. Cut the pita into triangle-shaped, chip-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
    3. Drizzle pita pieces with olive oil, enough to coat each piece lightly. Sprinkle evenly with sea salt, then toss everything together with your hands to coat evenly and well.
    4. Spread pita pieces onto a large baking sheet.
    5. Bake until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pita and your oven. You want them crispy, but it's good to not overook them so you still get a few softer spots.

     

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  5. Sunday, August 2

    Week 445 Menu

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    Hey everyone! First and most importantly, I was able to buy cannoli at Modern Pastry in Medford, MA yesterday. I’m sure you were all worrying that I might not get this task accomplished. Worry no more.

    modern pastry cannoli

    Okay, so, I’m totally just going to NOT plan a menu this week! I know, CRAZY TALK. We are flying home on Wednesday and it’s going to be a fun and crazy week and I’m going to give myself a break and not think too hard about anything, including the weekly menu. I promise next Sunday I’ll be back in the groove. We’ll be home by then and ready to go!

    Since I’m a complete slacker, we especially need your menus this week! Please share your weekly meal plan in the comments! And, if you need some inspiration while you plan, click here to see past weeks’ menus!

    Thank you to everyone who posts a weekly menu – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it! Have a great week!

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  6. Friday, July 31

    Friday Show and Tell

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    Happy Friday! I took this entire week off from work and blogging, something I haven’t done in ages and now I don’t know if I can go back to real life! 😉 Cape Cod was, as always, perfect! I do have one quick link to share today, though!

    friday show and tell - poached peaches with vanilla yogurt sauce friday show and tell - poached peaches with vanilla yogurt sauce

    This week I have a post on Babble: How I Got My Kids to Eat Fruit for Dessert (and Enjoy It). The post includes a scrumptious recipe for poached peaches with vanilla yogurt sauce. It’s pretty heavenly and perfect for using up those ripe summer peaches!

    Have a great weekend and feel free to share whatever you like in the comments for Show and Tell!

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  7. Sunday, July 26

    Week 444 Menu

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    Greetings from Cape Cod! My mother-in-law just finished planning our dinners for the week, so I’ll just share her plan!

    MONDAY:
    – Christmas in July, complete with Yankee Gift Swap! (Roast chicken, stuffing, veggies – the works!)

    TUESDAY:
    Seafood Sam’s

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Date night – couples get to go out, grandparents/aunts/uncles watch the kids and make Mac ‘n’ Cheese

    THURSDAY:
    – Chicken on the grill, corn on the cob, grilled veggies

    FRIDAY:
    – Clear out the fridge

    SATURDAY:
    – On the road to New Hampshire

    SUNDAY:
    – No clue! 😉

    As you can see, it’s vacation around here so I’m not much of a help with the meal planning. But I’m certain some of you have some great menus to share, so please do! Share your menus in the comments! Thank you!

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  8. Thursday, July 23

    Friday Show and Tell

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    Happy Friday, Everybody!

    Unbelievably our East coast visit is almost halfway done. Tomorrow morning we pack up the Sienna that Toyota has graciously lent us for the trip and head north to Cape Cod. We didn’t visit the Cape last year so we are very excited to get back!

    scrotal recall, our new favorite netflix show!

    It’s been a while since I’ve talked about TV. That’s just not right. I have a Netflix show to recommend today that is super funny and cute. But first you need to know that the name is TERRIBLE in my opinion (and pretty much everyone’s opinion everywhere). Nate and I didn’t even consider watching it just based on the name. But my friend Wendi texted to say we had to watch it, and I trust her, so we did, and it’s the best! Okay. Ready for the name of the show? Drumroll….Scrotal Recall. I KNOW. The name is just plain silly, but I’m telling you, this show is hysterical while also endearing and sweet. (Definitely rated R, just so ya know!)

    Two food links to share this week!

    That’s it! You know the drill, share your stuff, too! Whether just a little something from your life, a favorite new show, a link to your blog, a new recipe to share, whatever! Share away!

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  9. Wednesday, July 22

    Grilled Nutella and Strawberry Sandwiches OR How to Eat Chocolate For Lunch

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    We are in New Jersey right now visiting my family. My sister-in-law Cora introduced us to a new way to eat chocolate for lunch yesterday. I’m always up for making chocolate into a meal, so I was 100% on board!

    nutella & strawberry sandwiches from @janemaynard

    Cora had recently taken her little girl and my niece Sophie to a cafe called Marigolds. They ordered the Nutella panini off the menu and discovered something quite delicious – a panini made with Nutella and fresh sliced strawberries!

    nutella & strawberry sandwiches from @janemaynard

    Of course we had to try making it on our own and that’s what we had for lunch yesterday! And before you start thinking it’s all weird that this is an actual sandwich that you can have for lunch (my mom couldn’t quite wrap her brain around it), this is basically a PB&J if you really think about it. Nutella is a hazelnut spread, so that’s just like peanut butter, right? And fresh strawberries are way healthier than sugar-laden jam. So, you know. totally the same and way healthier! (Okay, not totally, but whatever.)

    nutella & strawberry sandwiches from @janemaynard

    The cafe even served the Nutella panini with homemade potato chips. This is LUNCH, people. I swear!

    nutella & strawberry sandwiches from @janemaynard

    Whether you agree that this makes a healthy and nutritious lunch or not, I do think you’ll agree it’s delicious. Seriously, DELICIOUS. You’re welcome.

    Grilled Nutella and Strawberry Sandwiches
     
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    As created by my sister-in-law Cora Wallin, inspired by Marigold's in Summit, NJ
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Good crusty bread
    • Fresh sliced strawberries
    • Nutella
    • Butter
    Instructions
    1. Spread Nutella on 2 slices of bread.
    2. Layer sliced strawberries on one side then put the sandwich together.
    3. Butter the outside of both slices of the sandwich and grill in a pan over medium heat until golden brown (like a grilled cheese sandwich) or cook in a panini maker.

     

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  10. Sunday, July 19

    Week 443 Weekly Menu

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    Happy Sunday! I brought all my design files for the weekly menu graphics, but I just discovered my travel laptop doesn’t have the right software. Whoops. So, instead of a picture of my menu how about one of my mom’s hydrangeas? Flowers are prettier than menus, anyway.

    week 443 weekly menu + hydrangea by @janemaynard

    Even though I don’t have a PDF of the meal plan and shopping list, I still planned a menu for the week!

    MONDAY:
    – BBQ Chicken on the Grill
    – Fresh NJ corn on the cob and summer fruit

    TUESDAY:
    Chimento Chicken (aka Chicken Croissants)
    – Side veggie

    WEDNESDAY:
    Taco night

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Eat out for our last night in NJ

    SATURDAY:
    – Arrive in Falmouth, MA for our annual Cape Cod vacation
    – No idea what we’re having for dinner yet! Who cares, we’ll be on the cape!

    SUNDAY:
    Sweet Tomatoes Pizza in Sandwich, MA

    You all know the drill – we want to see what you’ve got planned for dinner this week, so please share your weekly menu in the comments! Thank you!

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