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  1. Sunday, June 29, 2008

    Week 75 Menu

    I am loving this summer so far. Now that I have a blender that works (smoothies, smoothies, smoothies!) and I have all your great summertime meal ideas, I’m set! I’m going to start trying all your ideas this week. Thank you! And if you have more summertime meal ideas, please go post them here!

    – Grilled pork loin (I think we’ll cut it into chops?)
    – Fresh zucchini
    – Rice

    Asian Spinach & Pasta Salad
    – Good crusty bread or some kind of chinese food side dish (perhaps from the freezer section at the store, or maybe just from the local chinese food spot!)

    – Taco Salad (click here and see Julie B’s comment)
    – Guacamole

    – Leftovers

    – 4th of July! Who knows?!? Between pancake breakfasts, town parades, rodeos and fireworks as activities to choose from, we’ll just see where the day takes us…

    – Eat out

    – Pasta Salad a la Kristy Tayler (click here and see Valerie’s comment)
    – Good crusty bread

    I can’t wait to try the rest of the recipes you shared…but only so many days in a week! Thanks again everyone, and I’m excited to see what YOU are eating this week!

  2. Saturday, June 28, 2008

    FRESH Blueberries

    I’ve done it. I’ve planted a garden. If you know me, you know I have the blackest of all black thumbs. But I’m bound and determined to make this garden work. I only planted perennial flowers to keep it simple, but I did put a blueberry bush in. Yesterday I was able to pick the first handful of berries.

    They are delicious. Some are super sweet, others not so much. But they all taste so crisp and fresh. I think I like this super fresh food thing. Maybe next year I’ll add a few more edibles into the mix. We’ll have to see how this first year goes, though…

    PS…I’ve said it before, but aren’t blueberries just the prettiest?

  3. Thursday, June 26, 2008

    Free Giveaway! Shabby Apple Dress!

    Today’s giveaway is fun fun fun! Looking for a great dress for the summer? Look no further!

    Shabby Apple is giving away their 90 Words Per Minute dress to 1 lucky TWFD reader! It’s in a great, fresh color for the summer and comfy to boot! I only wish I could win this thing…it would definitely kick up my “cool” factor a notch or two (or twenty). You men out there should enter this giveaway, too…your wife or girlfriend would be mightily impressed if you gave her this dress!

    I know, I know, the giveaway isn’t food related. But I knew you would love it anyway…AND the name of the company has a fruit in it. So, it’s a food giveaway after all!

    Shabby Apple is also offering a 15% discount on your orders between now and August 24, 2008, so get shopping! The coupon code is SAMarketing15forJane.

    To enter the giveaway, please write a comment on this post by Wednesday, July 2, 2008, Midnight PT. The winner will be announced Thursday, July 3, so come back to see if you are that lucky person! (Please be sure there is a name associated with your post so I can identify the winner.)

    Good Luck!

  4. Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Summertime…and the cookin’ ain’t easy

    Summer’s here, bringing with it sunshine, barefeet, lawn furniture, flowers, sundresses, ponytails, strawberries…

    …and HEAT, which generally sends my weekly menu plan into a tailspin. When it’s hot, I just can’t stand thinking about cooking over a stove or turning on an oven!

    Please share your favorite summertime meals with us! Whether you like them because they’re lighter for eating, don’t require as much time spent slaving in the heat (ovens, stoves, etc), or it’s just something that always reminds you of summer, I want to know about it! And so does everyone else.

    Which means summertime has also brought you a bit of homework…get posting! I want to give you all a summertime A+.

  5. Sunday, June 22, 2008

    Week 74 Menu

    One of our first weeks here in the Bay Area we went to Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. It was AWESOME. I took so many great pictures and have just been waiting for the day when I have time to write up a good entry about our visit. I still haven’t done that, so I’m just going to tease you with one of the photos today. I promise to share more Tartine with you soon!

    – Nate’s Birthday! Cate and I will plan something special, but can’t write it here or we’ll spoil the surprise! 🙂

    – BBQ Night (hot dogs and/or hamburgers)
    – Baked Beans
    – Corn on the Cob
    – Watermelon

    Homemade pizza (click through and look for “Uncle Tony’s Pizza Crust”)
    – Salad

    – Breakfast for dinner (Hillary – last week you posted “mixed berry waffles” – do you actually mix berries into the batter or are you just topping them with berries?)

    – Pork Chops
    – Rice
    – Veggie

    – Eat out

    – Steak on the grill (that just sounds good, we’ll see if I can find some on SALE)
    Baked homemade french fries
    – Salad

    Bring on the menus! I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…I love seeing what you are all cooking every week. Being able to browse your menus/recipes for ideas every week is such a huge help. THANK YOU!

  6. Saturday, June 21, 2008

    And the ‘Cook of the Year’ Award Goes To…

    …well, NOT ME.

    We decided to take Cate to a movie since it was going to be a hot day. Because I’m cheap, I decided to pop some microwave popcorn and sneak it into the theater. Popcorn only takes about 2 1/2 minutes in our microwave, but I always set the time for 4 minutes so that it doesn’t end early and I can take it out at the RIGHT moment. And I’m good at microwave popcorn. When I’m paying attention, that is.

    For whatever reason, today I put the popcorn in the microwave, hit “Start” and then LEFT THE KITCHEN. Then my phone rang and it was my wonderful sister-in-law, so I chatted a bit with her. Then I went in the kitchen for some water. Yeah, not the popcorn that had, at this point, been cooking for 3 1/2 minutes. But the smell reminded me why I should be in the kitchen (see below for picture).

    Instead of thinking through what was happening, I open the door as fast as I can to stop it cooking. Which let out the biggest cloud of smoke I’ve seen. EVER. It honestly FILLED the entire kitchen. And I’m not exaggerating. I wish I was. I got the kitchen door closed, but not before smoke snuck into the rest of the apartment, of course. Oh and not before I almost died from smoke inhalation. (Okay, THAT’S a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much!)

    So, now we don’t get to go the movies because I need to keep all the doors and windows open for the next two years or so. And it’s so HOT today.

    My microwave STINKS. My kitchen STINKS. My house kinda stinks. Not like popcorn. More like I just burned the house down. Any tips or pointers? I’m scared to use the stinky microwave, which is now stained yellow inside. Fun. Seriously, besides airing out the apartment with hot air, is there anything else I can do?

    I like to think this experience has no reflection on me as a person (i.e. distracted, forgetful, DUMB) or a cook (I mean, who screws up microwave popcorn THIS bad?) but rather vindication from the Movie Theater Gods who were angry with me for planning to sneak food into the theater. Yup, I’m pretty sure that’s why this happened.

    CAUTION: Contents are ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Friday, June 20, 2008

    Holy Zucchini!

    My friends are always trying to find ways to get on the blog…and my friend Natalee wins the prize this week.

    She’s working on her first garden and planted enough zucchini to feed most of the Bay Area for the summer. She decided to give me her state-fair-worthy zucchini…not because she likes me more than anyone else. She just wants some blog exposure, and she deserves it. This zucchini makes my strawberry look like a raspberry!

    I just love summer and fresh produce.

  8. Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Featured Recipe: Easy Apricot Chicken

    Today’s featured recipe is EASY and DELICIOUS. That’s about all I have to say about it.

    Featured Recipe: Easy Apricot Chicken
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    • 4 – 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 8-oz bottle of Russian salad dressing
    • 1 Cup Apricot Preserves/Jam
    • 1 Package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
    1. If your chicken breasts are frozen, no need to defrost – just place them in your baking dish. Sprinkle the entire Onion Soup Mix over the top then pour the Russian Dressing and Apricot preserves over the top and kind of “mush” it all together with a spoon.
    2. Bake in a 350 degree oven for ~1.5 hours. (You can cook it for a shorter time if the chicken isn’t frozen)
    3. Eat with rice.
    Jane Notes:
    - I rarely cook 4-8 chicken breasts at once”¦but this makes enough sauce for that much chicken. I just do 2 breasts and have lots of leftover sauce.
    - I mix the onion soup, russian dressing and apricot preserves with a spoon in the casserole dish and then add the chicken.
    - I don’t use the entire onion soup mix packet – I like about ½ – ¾ of the packet. Just a personal preference.
    - You can just add half the apricot preserves if you have an 18 oz jar. Half the jar is about 1 cup, and you won’t have to wash a measuring cup. One of the reasons I love this recipe is because there are no dishes to wash except the dish it cooks in!!


  9. Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    Book Club…for the writers and wanna-be-writters out there!

    Book Club time! For those of you who like to read and/or write, today’s books are perfect for you as they are are both about writing. If you are an aspiring writer, enjoy reading about the craft, or just like good writing, you will enjoy these books.

    Today’s post is long…so, please click through to read it all. It’s a good post, I promise! The books are amazing. Plus, if you stick through to the very end you get to hear about my most embarrassing, awful moment as a mother. You don’t want to miss that, right?

    Click here to continue to the post and see the books!

    First is On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. I love this book. It’s wonderfully written. I love Stephen King – his books are PAGE TURNERS. I chose Lisey’s Story for my book club a few months back and it got mixed reviews. I mean, he’s a great writer, but not everyone likes twisted crazy stories. I do, so I loved it. Anyway, Loretta HATED Lisey’s Story and loved On Writing. I’m telling you, On Writing is great no matter your feelings for the King of Horror…

    The first half of On Writing is an autobiography of sorts, where King shares his history as a writer. The second half is all about how to write. It is so so so good. Even if you’re not a writer, it will make you appreciate writing more. It will also make you more critical of the books you read, which is both good and bad (um, like I was reading On Writing at the same time I read the Twilight books…I know I’m going to get everyone mad at me, but as much fun as the Twilight books are, well, I don’t like to speak negatively of anyone….let’s just say if you want to enjoy the Twilight books, absolutely do NOT read On Writing simultaneously.)

    Writing Motherhood is the other book I’d like to share with you. The author, Lisa Garrigues, is a writer and mother herself and teaches a course also called Writing Motherhood. The book is great. A very enjoyable read and full of awesome ideas. It definitely makes me more excited to write about my experiences as a mother. I really think any mom (or dad!) would enjoy this book, no matter your interest in writing.

    New Jersey Moms Blog is “hosting” a book club today for Writing Motherhood. Be sure to go over and share your own experiences, as well as read everyone else’s! Plus the author is commenting and participating as well!

    Here’s my contribution for today’s New Jersey Moms Blog book club (you’re supposed to write either about rules for your children or your most inexcusable/terrible mothering moment):

    My most inexcusable mothering moment in my short 3 1/2 years of mothering was the time Cate fell in a swimming pool. We were at a friend’s house and Cate, ~18 months old at the time, was completely uninterested in the pool. She was in a different part of the yard playing. I turned my back literally for 10 seconds and the next thing I know my dear friend is sprinting across the yard and jumping in her pool fully clothed. I look in the pool and see my little ang
    el literally rolling in the water. I will never forget that sight as long as I live (I can’t believe I’m even admitting to it publicly!). Thankfully she was in the water only a few seconds and was breathing the whole time. But I felt like the worst mom ever. I didn’t want to tell Nate about it. I did, of course, but it was awful. I have never felt more grateful, blessed and lucky in my life for my story’s end. And the experience definitely made me a better mother.

  10. ProFlowers Giveaway Winners!

    Time to announce the random winners of the ProFlowers Giveaway

    But first, a few of you asked questions about the olive tree that I got from ProFlowers. The answer to all of your questions is “I have no idea.” I am the blackest of black thumbs…I don’t know if it will bear fruit in the pot, if I need to plant it in the ground, etc. My goal at this time is to make sure it doesn’t die in the first few weeks, then I’ll take it from there. If anyone has advice, please share!

    Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…the winners are:

    , who said, “I feel lucky this time”


    , who said, “Yay, flowers!”

    Congratulations Christie and Lisa! I’m sure you’ll put your $100 gift cards to excellent use! Please email! Thank you to ProFlowers for an amazing giveaway!!! Don’t forget you can still get a 15% discount, even if you didn’t win!