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  1. Wednesday, August 19

    I’m Home…Phew!

    Hello food friends! I’m home after a month of traveling. It’s nice to be home, but it was a FANTASTIC trip for so many reasons. The good news for you is I might actually start cooking again!

    Doesn’t this pizza look good? That’s because it is! Bertucci’s margherita pizza is one of my favorites anywhere. I’m so glad I got to have some on this last trip…it’s been years! If you want to see another picture of the same pizza, be sure to check out my guest post on Make and Takes today, Meal Planning Tip: Be a Restaurant Copycat. I’m sure you all have good ideas to add to the post, so go read it and comment!

  2. Sunday, August 16

    Week 134 Menu…and Jaffrey Fireworks

    I went to one of the coolest things you can go to in the WORLD last night. I know I’m prone to hyperbole, but this time I’m telling it like it is. This is a once in a lifetime (or hopefully, if your lucky, once a year!) experience – the Jaffrey Fireworks!

    If you can ever work it to get to Jaffrey, New Hampshire the third Saturday of August, you should. Atlas Fireworks, a world-class, big player in the fireworks world, is based in Jaffrey and every summer they put on a show with their latest and greatest. No words or pictures can even come close to describing one of their shows. It’s simply unreal.

    Starting Wednesday, it’s back to real life. Wow, I can’t believe vacation is almost over. What a month! Gotta keep the menu items simple this week, ease back into things. 🙂

    – Driving from NH to MA

    – Flying to California!

    – Spaghetti
    – Salad

    – Homemade pizza

    – Quesadillas

    – Eat out

    Orange chicken
    – Rice
    – Veggie

    Time for everyone to share their menus – bring it on!

  3. Friday, August 14

    “I love subs!” OR “What’s wrong with this sub?” This is a blog post with an identity crisis.

    This post was originally going to be all about how much I love subs/hoagies/grinders/ whatever-you-want-to-call-them. How I live in California and getting a decent meatball or steak and cheese sub is IMPOSSIBLE. How, when you’re in the Northeast, no matter how small the town, you can always find a pizza place that serves up delicious sandwiches.  Then I started editing my photo for the post, and my dear mother-in-law (she really is dear, by the way) looked over my shoulder and started to list all the reasons the sub pictured is no good.

    She has challenged you all, what’s wrong with this sub? And it’s not just one thing…

    Regardless of your personal feelings for this particular sub, I still stand by my original premis…I MISS SUBS. Maybe I need to open a bagel/sub shop in California? Except the last thing in the world I want to do is run a restaurant. Guess I’ll have to settle for once a year.

  4. Wednesday, August 12

    Featured Recipe: Cucumber Sandwiches

    These cucumber sandwiches are one of my sister-in-law Cora’s favorite recipes, so we made them for her baby shower last week. They were mighty delicious and very easy to throw together, so thought I better share the recipe with you! Great for parties, and nice and light in the summertime.


    Featured Recipe: Cucumber Sandwiches
    From Cora Wallin
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Sandwiches
    • Sliced cucumbers (pretty thin, with skins ON)
    • Cream cheese
    • Package powdered italian dressing mix
    • Bit of milk – about 1 Tbsp
    • Party-sized pumpernickel (I just learned about this bread – they come small and square like this, in the bread section at the store”¦the brand we bought was called Wild’s Party Pumpernickel)
    • Dill (dried is fine)
    1. Soften cream cheese at room temp, mix in salad dressing mix and enough milk to make the cheese spreadable. Spread on bread, top with sliced cucumber. Sprinkle with dill. Voila!


  5. Tuesday, August 11

    Reflections on BlogHer and the Swiffer SocialLuxe Lounge

    It’s been over two weeks since the Swiffer SocialLuxe Lounge and BlogHer, and I still haven’t wrapped my mind around it all! It was an amazing weekend for so many reasons.

    First off, as I wrote about already, the Swiffer SocialLuxe Lounge was A-MAAAAY-ZING. It was one of the most exhausting experiences of my life, but also one of the most empowering. Six women in three different time zones virtually coming together, bringing to the table unique talents and pulling off a FANTABULOUS event in a city none of us live in.  I still can’t believe it really happened. (Check out our adorable personalized SocialLuxe M&Ms…just one of the many fabulous touches of the night!)

    The once-upon-a-time-I-wanted-to-get-an-MBA side of me was also fascinated watching so many companies recognize the value of the blogging community and trying to tap into that in unique and effective ways. I felt like our sponsors did a great job at that. The Swiffer team was really fun and Kodak interviewed bloggers and posted the interviews online. And that’s just scratching the surface of the cool things the different sponsors did, not just at our party but throughout the weekend.

    If you want to see more pictures of our the Swiffer SocialLuxe Lounge, click here to see our Flickr page.

    The BlogHer conference was amazing, as well. The sessions were great, the keynotes were fantastic…but the best part was meeting so many charming, thoughtful, funny, intelligent, inspiring and kind people.

    The highlight of the weekend was attending a food blogger dinner with some of the most amazing women I met all weekend (see list below with links to their blogs). I had gone to a lunch earlier that day where I met Kalyn from Kalyn’s Kitchen and Lydia from The Perfect Pantry. After chatting with them for a bit they said, “Do you want to go to dinner with us? Trust us…you WANT to go.” Boy were they right. The bloggers I met at that dinner were wonderful, supportive, inspiring. It was a truly lovely evening.

    Oh, and did I mention I met the oh-so-nice Carson Kressley…who told me I was stunning? And did I mention I love him?

    Another fun highlight was seeing Paula Deen speak, and (thanks to Allison who is a champ at wrestling down microphones) I got the chance to ask her a question. Maybe one day when I feel like embarrassing myself, I’ll post the video. I fell in love with Paula, who was an absolute DELIGHT and genuinely loved talking with everyone.

    Can you see why I haven’t written about my BlogHer weekend? I haven’t even scratched the surface, but my fingers are tired, so I’m stopping.

    Here is the list of food bloggers I met at the dinner I went to.  Enjoy browsing their sites!

    Kalyn Denny – Kalyn’s Kitchen
    Elise Bauer – Simply Recipes
    Kathy Strahs – Panini Happy
    Kristen Doyle – Dine and Dish
    Maris Callahan – In Good Taste
    Cora Sedlacek – Cora Cooks
    Deb “Biggie” Hamilton – Lunch in a Box
    Gudrun Enger – Kitchen Gadget Girl
    Jennifer Leal – Savor the Thyme
    Ree Drummond – The Pioneer Woman Cooks
    Jaden Hair – Steamy Kitchen
    Sandie Hale – Inn Cuisine
    Alanna Kellogg – Kitchen Parade
    Sara Rosso – Ms. Adventures in Italy
    Kelly Schmickle – Barbaric Gulp
    Stephanie Tolle – Iron Stef
    Stephanie O’Dea – Crockpot 365
    Anne Marie Nichols – This Mama Cooks
    Hetal Jannu – Show Me the Curry
    Anuja Balasubramanian – Show Me the Curry
    Krista Nannery – Londelicious
    Roni Noone – GreenLiteBites
    Kim Sacha – Building Blocks Show
    Lydia Walshin – The Perfect Pantry

  6. Monday, August 10

    New York City Jaunt

    My 9-month-pregnant sister-in-law and I took my two girls into NYC last Thursday to see my other sister-in-law and her fiance who live in the city. Did you follow that? 🙂 We met them in the East Village for lunch, because what is a trip to NYC without food?

    We ate lunch at S’Mac…a restaurant that only serves macaroni + cheese. Well, they also serve one green salad and DELICIOUS warm cookies. But that’s it.

    I must admit, I was a bit skeptical of some of the flavors. But everything was AWESOME. Both sisters-in-law got Masala mac n cheese…which was so tasty. I ordered the garden lite, and it was oh so yummy. S’Mac was also surprisingly affordable, which is nice in NYC. All around a great lunch!

    After lunch we walked over to Veniero’s Pasticceria and Caffe…because if there is a good cannoli within a mile of my person, I must eat it. And I did. In fact, I ended up eating more cannoli than I am willing to fess up to. Needless to say, I was a happy camper. Their cannoli was SCRUMPTIOUS.

    The shop was FULL of beautiful pastry, cakes and cookies galore. (Check out the size of that cake above Cate’s head. How is that real?)

    And I can’t even put into words how heavenly Veniero’s smelled. The line was very long, so we had to wait a while. We were so absorbed in looking at everything, we missed our number when it was called! They let us jump in line once we realized what happened…phew!

  7. Sunday, August 9

    Week 133 Menu

    My mom put together a lovely summer feast for my sister-in-law’s baby shower yesterday. I ended up running around getting the shower games ready and didn’t do a lick of cooking!

    The menu was full of much yumminess, including beautiful fruit and chicken salad sandwiches. I forgot to take a picture of the salad that called for onion juice, but I put the recipe up on the Side Dishes page (called Jenny’s Green Salad). I’m pretty sure my mom just left the onion juice out, but that’s because we made the dressing before we read your tips and reassuring comments. Next time maybe we’ll give it a try! Thanks to everyone who shared light dinner ideas last week – they were great and I’m going to incorporate them into my regular weekly menus as well!

    So, last week’s menu was a BUST. We did have Chicken Croissants, but that was the only thing planned that we ate. Planning and vacation just don’t go together! So, here is my more realistic vacation meal plan.

    – Driving back up to Massachusetts at dinner time

    Probably driving to New Hampshire at dinner time

    – If we didn’t drive to NH on Tuesday, we will be on Wednesday!

    – Maybe I’ll try to make something for my in-laws…perhaps Green Noodles?

    – Maybe hot dogs and hamburgers?

    – Maybe eat out?

    – Maybe my mother-in-law will cook us a Sunday dinner feast?

    I am being SO helpful with giving you ideas. Yeah right. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share your menus! You really need to give each other ideas since I’m NOT. Remember…if you have a menu planned, we want to see it! It can be simple, it can be fancy…doesn’t matter!

  8. Saturday, August 8

    Onion Juice, Anyone?

    We’re preparing the food for my sister-in-law’s baby shower this afternoon…and a salad dressing recipe calls for ONION JUICE. Yes, that was how we reacted, too. Is onion juice for real? How does one make onion juice, anyway? Can you buy it? I just have to put it out there!

    I’ll post pictures of the salad with the recipe later today…but we’ll be skipping the onion juice. Unless someone on here convinces me otherwise!

  9. Wednesday, August 5

    Featured Recipe: Gobi Matar Sabzi

    My little sister just returned from spending two months in India. Last night she and her friend Kristen cooked us a vegetarian Indian dish called Gobi Matar Sabzi. It was awesome. I can’t wait to try cooking it myself when I get home and maybe even trying some other Indian recipes. By the way, for you parents out there…both of my girls gobbled this dish up!


    Featured Recipe: Gobi Matar Sabzi
    Original recipe from my veggie world – Anne and Kristen changed it up
    Recipe type: Main Dish
    • 1 big onion ground to a fine paste
    • 1 big tomato pureed
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or minced fresh garlic, 1-2 cloves)
    • 1 teaspoon green chili paste
    • ½ teaspoon cumin
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
    • 1 cup cleaned cauliflower florets
    • salt to taste (between 1 tsp and 1 TBSP)
    • pinch of turmeric
    • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
    • 3 teaspoon garam masala powder
    • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • chopped fresh cilantro
    1. In a large skillet, heat oil (mediumish heat). Add onion paste and fry till cooked or until raw smell disappears. Add ginger, garlic (if using fresh), green chili paste and saute for one minute. Add tomato puree and cook till paste is thick. Add powdered spices and salt. Stir then add vegetables. Cover and simmer over medium heat until cauliflower is tender. Add chopped fresh cilantro prior to serving.
    2. Serve with basmati rice, with fresh cilantro added to the rice just prior to serving.
    Jane note: this dish would be good with more kick, as well – I liked it mild, but I want to experiment with making it spicier some time


  10. Tuesday, August 4

    Back in Bagel Country

    I know I’ve written about bagels in the northeast before. More than once, in fact. But I have yet to find a real, live, honest-to-goodness bagel outside of the tri-state area (NJ/NY/CT). So, when I’m in Jersey and get the opportunity to eat an amazing bagel, I just have to write about it. HAVE to. I can’t help myself.

    This morning my dad picked up bagels at Chester Bagel, one of my favorite bagel haunts. My all-time favorite is H&H Bagel in NYC, but I rarely get a chance to get into the city when I visit. Anyway, when I opened the bag this morning my heart was all a flutter. I know, I’m a little crazy, but these bagels are OH SO GOOD. They are bagels that know how to be bagels.

    Here’s a little guide for identifying REAL bagels.

    • The outside is shiny and crispy
    • The inside is moist and chewy
    • The word “bread” never even crosses your mind as you are eating your bagel
    • It is so big you can barely eat the whole thing, but of course you do because you can’t stop yourself
    • ‘Everything’ bagels include garlic, onion, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and salt

    I think that about covers it! Enough rambling about bagels. Well, until next summer vacation in New Jersey, of course. 😉