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  1. Wednesday, February 1, 2023

    Sixteen years of seasons

    Hello! It’s been a while. I succumbed to “December,” the month of birthdays, holidays, merriment and just not enough time. Then January came and with it an immediate business trip, trying to get back into a normal routine and so many sick days. Dinner has been ad hoc through these weeks, a mix of pantry cooking, Hello Fresh meals here and there, takeout and sometimes (if we’re lucky) actual meal planning. Now I am ready to post again, connect with you all, and cook some food, whether it’s planned ahead or not.

    Acacia tree | Copyright 2023 This Week for DinnerThis is my acacia tree, planted after I visited Malawi with ONE and Heifer International. While in Malawi the acacia trees were in bloom all over the country. I came home and planted one almost immediately. It is very happy in Carlsbad, growing like a monster and making a big old mess of the backyard. But every time it blooms, as it is doing now, it makes my heart so happy. Here is one of the blooms for you. Enjoy.

    Fun fact: today marks 16 years for this little corner of the Internet! I started This Week for Dinner simply as a way to share basic weekly dinner plans with my brother, who was in college at the time. Since then I have had the opportunity to connect with countless magical humans, both here in the comments and in person. It has been fulfilling in ways that were both predictable and not and I am grateful every day.

    At some point along the way a (truly wonderful, wow-am-I-lucky-!) literary agent reached out to me about writing a cookbook. Which turned into a book about the women who influenced my cooking and my life. Which turned into a book about how the food in our life at any given time so often reflects the different seasons we are going through. Andi-the-magical-agent is still waiting for my book proposal – the season of writing has yet to arrive. But I have been thinking about this theme of seasons all week as my blog hits yet another milestone.

    When I started the blog, our oldest Cate was two years old. A few months later I became pregnant with Anna (yes, my blog is older than two of my children!), at which time morning sickness arrived in a monstrous way and, for a few months, I posted fake menus to keep my brand new blog going. Two-year-old Cate is now 18 and starting to receive college acceptance letters. Anna is 15 and Owen is 11. The season of being an elementary school mom is almost over. The season of having part of my heart go out into the world to embark on independence is about to to begin. 

    My current short-term season is one where I find my work life once again in an uncertain place. I’ve been here before, many times. I am actually not as freaked out as I would have predicted in the face of this uncertainty, thanks to the combination of an incredibly supportive husband and professional network, as well as the gift of time to mentally prepare for potential change. During this season, cooking dinner has been a welcome activity. And it’s been interesting – normally a lack of weekly planning causes me stress. But lately that lack of planning has brought much needed flexibility of mind for me. I’ve been going with the flow culinarily and I am actually cooking more than in other past stressful times. 

    Which brings me back to theme of food and seasons of life. My blog has been a literal documentation for me of the various seasons we have gone through. I can see the food we ate through all these years and how it reflects where we were at different point in our lives. Sixteen years ago I was still finding my own footing as a cook. Then I grew more confident. Then I became quite good at cooking and writing recipes (Bragadocious alert! IYKYK), and there were years where I wrote on here 3-5 times a week as well as regularly for other publications(!!!!). Over the past few years, as I’ve gone back to full-time work in Corporate America, I find myself posting just once a week. I’m sure the blog, like my life, will continue to evolve, bringing new and unexpected opportunities and ways to connect.

    No matter how long you’ve been around This Week for Dinner, thank you for being here. I am so grateful that even with the advent of powerful social media networks pretty much killing blogging that I can keep this little-blog-that-could going. I refuse to let it die! I will post menus until the Internet blows up! And, believe it or not, I actually have a few recipes I owe you, all photographed and everything. See? I am still cooking.

    Happy Sweet Sixteen, This Week for Dinner


  2. Monday, December 12, 2022

    Week 761 Weekly Menu

    We have our house back and beautiful hickory wood floors! I am feeling very grateful. And now it’s time to jump in on birthday and Christmas festivities!

    Week 761 weekly dinner menu

    MONDAY:

    • Soup night (picked up a few soups at Vons)

    TUESDAY:

    WEDNESDAY:

    THURSDAY:

    FRIDAY:

    • Anna’s birthday party, whatever she wants! 

    SATURDAY:

    • Cate’s birthday party, ordering pizza for the giant crew!

    SUNDAY:

    • Leftovers

    your turn! Throw those meal plans in the comments below and have a great week! 


  3. Monday, December 5, 2022

    Week 760 Weekly Menu

    Long time no talk! The day after Thanksgiving marked the beginning of floor demolition in our house. Unsurprisingly, the past week has been insane. Hence, no menu plan last week. But we have our kitchen back now (yay!) and we are sick to death of eating out/spending money on takeout. It’s time to get back in the kitchen! Also, we have wood floors now and I feel so grateful and excited. 

    Week 760 weekly dinner menu from This Week for Dinner

    MONDAY:

    TUESDAY:

    WEDNESDAY:

    THURSDAY:

    • Leftovers

    FRIDAY:

    SATURDAY:

    • Takeout night

    SUNDAY:

    Please share your menus/recipes/meal plans in the comments below! It’s good to be back, looking forward to seeing what you’ve got cooking!


  4. Monday, November 21, 2022

    Week 759 Menu + Thanksgiving!

    You know what is amazing about having family live nearby, something we’ve never had until two years ago? Thanksgiving cooking help! Not only do I not have to cook everything, but we get even more food. It’s a dream.

    Top view of sliced roasted turkey using spatchcock method

    MONDAY – WEDNESDAY:

    • NO IDEA. We are painting our kitchen, which has to get done before our floors start getting ripped out on Saturday, plus, you know, Thanksgiving. Our cupboards are currently bare and I have no idea when we’ll get to the store. Good luck, Maynard children!

    2022 THANKSGIVING FEAST

    THURSDAY – SUNDAY:

    • Leftovers + floors getting ripped out kicking off a week of pure insanity…but no more cream-colored carpet! Woohoo!

    Share your menus for the week! And definitely share your Thanksgiving plans along with links to recipes if you have them. Can’t wait to see what everyone has cooking!


  5. Monday, November 14, 2022

    Week 758 Weekly Menu

    Hello! Apologies for missing last week…I run communications at my company and we announced a proposed merger, so basically I didn’t do much of anything but work. But I’m back to normal, thank goodness! 

    Week 758 weekly dinner menu from This Week for Dinner

    MONDAY:

    TUESDAY:

    WEDNESDAY:

    THURSDAY:

    • Leftovers

    FRIDAY:

    • Homemade hamburgers

    SATURDAY:

    • Takeout

    SUNDAY:

    • Spicy Chicken Tacos (going to grab the pre-marinated chicken thights from our local tortilleria)

    Your turn! Share your meal plan below and have a fantastic week!


  6. Tuesday, November 1, 2022

    Week 757 Weekly Menu

    Happy November! My first menu of the month is coming a day late because we were just too busy with Halloween festivities Sunday and Monday. Here we go! 

    Week 757 weekly dinner menu from This Week for Dinner food blog

    MONDAY:

    • Candy. No, really. Candy and random food people scrounged.

    TUESDAY:

    • Leftovers (smoked pork butt! the best!)

    WEDNESDAY:

    THURSDAY:

    FRIDAY:

    SATURDAY:

    • Leftovers

    SUNDAY:

    • Eat out

    Your turn to throw a menu in the comments below! And thanks for all the well wishes last week…still recovering, it was a doozy of a flu/cold/whatever-it-was-just-know-it-wasn’t-covid-phew. 


  7. Tuesday, October 25, 2022

    Week 756 is a bust for me…

    It was bound to happen…I’m sick. Our high school of 2,000 students had 700 students absent last week. Fun times! Anyway, I’m out of it and definitely not planning or cooking or shopping. I kept thinking I’d feel better and get a menu whipped up, but I’m just gonna cry uncle, go to bed and late Nate and kids figure it out.

    I am certain several of you are still on the ball this week, so please share your menu in the comments below! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got cooking!


  8. Monday, October 17, 2022

    Week 755 Weekly Menu

    This week I’m pulling out a bunch of old recipes I haven’t used in a while. Here we go!

    Week 755 weekly dinner menu

    MONDAY:

    TUESDAY:

    WEDNESDAY:

    THURSDAY:

    FRIDAY:

    • Leftovers

    SATURDAY:

    • Takeout night

    SUNDAY:

    • Bistro chicken with mashed potatoes and steamed veggie (whatever looks good when I go to the store!)

    Please share your own menu in the comments below! I am so grateful for your help and inspiration week after week!

     


  9. Monday, October 10, 2022

    Week 754 Weekly Menu

    You know what is crazy? I started this blog right before I became pregnant with our second child, Anna…who is now a freshman in high school. This fact is kind of blowing my mind. Anyway, late start to planning this week after a very event-filled Homecoming weekend with the kids and my niece! Back to real life…

    Week 754 Weekly Dinner Menu from This Week for Dinner

    MONDAY:

    TUESDAY:

    • Chicken Tikka Masala and Goan Coconut Paneer (I love the Maya Kaimal Indian food grocery products. I use their simmer sauces and everyday dal packs and every one we’ve tried has been fantastic.)

    WEDNESDAY:

    • Ancho BBQ Sloppy Joe, salad, chips

    THURSDAY:

    • Burrito Rice Bowls

    FRIDAY:

    • Leftovers

    SATURDAY:

    • Takeout night

    SUNDAY:

    • Smoked chicken (did I mention that this is our new favorite thing to smoke? Wow.)

    Your turn! Share your menus in the comments below and have a great week!


  10. Monday, October 3, 2022

    Week 753 Weekly Menu

    I’m here, I’m here! Finally getting a minute to sit down and figure out dinner this week. It’s a wild and crazy week…let’s so if I can bring some order to it!

    Week 753 Weekly Dinner Menu Plan

    MONDAY:

    • Takeout (starting out the week strong! πŸ˜‰ )

    TUESDAY:

    • Ancho BBQ Sloppy Joe, salad, chips

    WEDNESDAY:

    THURSDAY:

    FRIDAY:

    • Leftovers

    SATURDAY:

    • Ordering out pizza! (Homecoming dance night!)

    SUNDAY:

    • Smoked pork butt (this didn’t happen last weekend…I’m going to beg for it this weekend!)

    It is so fun to be back at this meal planning and seeing your menus come in. Can’t wait to see what you’ve got cooking this week – please share in the comments!