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  1. Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Week 251 Menu

    Okay, non-sports fans. Bear with me. This little story ends in food and family, I promise! Stanford played Oregon last night. If you follow sports, you know what that means. If you don’t, just know that the Stanford football team has been doing phenomenally this year and this was a very important game. Sadly, I couldn’t  swing actually going to the game with Nate…Owen is just too little to go and his feeding schedule is still too demanding. So, alas, I was “stuck” at home with the kids. Well…Stanford lost. It was beyond disappointing. We also had extra tickets that we sold online…StubHub ended up charging us a 30%+ error fee on top of their 15% commission for an error that their system made (customer service finally solved the issue today, thank GOODNESS). Anyway, seems like I would have been pretty bummed as I went to bed last night, no?

    On the contrary! The girls and I ordered pizza and ate dinner watching the game. Of course, they only watched about 20 minutes or so, but we had so much fun sitting on the floor together, talking about Stanford football, eating greasy pizza. At one point the girls told me that yes, they are rooting for Stanford but the Oregon duck is still pretty funny. They were just so cute and we had such a lovely time together. Plus, on top of all that cuteness, I got to cuddle with Owen on the couch all night. Then this morning when Cate got out of bed she asked, “Who won the game?” When I said that, sadly, Oregon had, she cheerily replied, “Well, Stanford can just play some more and get even better and be the best again one day.” All in all it ended up being a very happy weekend if you ask me. 🙂

    This week my menu is all about eating food we have stashed in the freezer…

    – Orange chicken (from Costco freezer section) with rice
    – Postickers

    Beef stew (from freezer)
    – Yummy bread

    – One of the Dream Dinners that I have in the freezer

    – Leftovers

    – Eat out

    – Lasagna (from freezer)

    – Smoothies

    Okey dokey pokies! Bring on the menus! And, despite yesterday’s defeat, GO STANFORD! 🙂

  2. Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Squash Rolls

    Two nights ago I started thinking about the date because, well, I haven’t thought much about the date lately. And then it hit me that Thanksgiving was just over two weeks away. It’s like I’ve been living under a rock or something. Oh wait, I have! Anyway, I haven’t the foggiest idea what we’re going to do for Thanksgiving this year and I probably won’t know until a few days before. But even with that lack of planning, I do have a few recipes I can share leading up to the big day that will be mighty scrumptious for your probably-much-more-organized Thanksgiving!

    I’ve had this recipe for squash rolls on the the site forever, but I never actually wrote a post about them. Because whenever I made them I didn’t have a chance to photograph them. Because we ate them too fast. And it’s a crying shame because if any recipe deserves a post, it’s this one.

    This recipe comes from Nate’s mom. Of course I asked her to make them while she was here. And of course she obliged because she is {seriously} the best mother-in-law around. These rolls are moist, sweet, delicious, homemade goodness. I guarantee you cannot eat just one…especially hot out of the oven and smothered in butter.

    If you do happen to end up with leftovers, be sure to zap your roll in the microwave for 20 seconds or so to get it piping hot again. And don’t forget that butter!

    Squash Rolls
    A holiday favorite from my mother-in-law, Pat Maynard
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Breads
    • 1 cup cooked squash
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup scalded milk
    • 1 yeast cake (1 envelope active dry) dissolved in ½ cup water
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 4-5 cups flour
    1. Mix squash, butter, salt and sugar. Add milk and mix. When cool, add yeast mixture. Add flour till bread dough consistency, just til it holds together. Turn dough over in a greased bowl to coat both sides. Cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm place till doubled. Punch it down and let rest for 5-10 mins. Shape into rolls in a greasy pan and let rise again till doubled. Bake at 400 for about 12-15 mins.
    2. A good way to find a warm place to rise is to turn the oven on (any temp) for 2 minutes and then shut it off and that way it’s away from drafts, etc.
    3. My mom and I have both had times where we make the rolls and the middle seems a bit underdone”¦Pat doesn’t ever seem to have this problem. I think next time I make them, I’m going to try making the rolls in two 8×8 pans instead of one 9×13. Just thought I would mention that!


  3. Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    The Most Amazing Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ever Made

    Unlike Andy, eating the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich ever made does not happen to be on my bucket list…although, perhaps it should be. Regardless of its bucket list status, I do love a good grilled cheese. While Nate’s mom Pat was here, we had butternut squash soup and grilled cheese sandwiches  for dinner one night and of course we couldn’t help talking about what makes a grilled cheese amazing (thanks to Andy’s inspiration).

    Here’s what we came up with:

    • I think the bread is key. You have to go with white bread, and the higher the quality the bread, the better. We used the La Brea Bakery Pugliese bread from Costco and our sandwiches were amazing.
    • Pat said her aunt Margaret taught her a trick that she still stands by…butter the outside AND the inside of the bread. That’s right, butter, butter everywhere. As I always say, oodles of butter makes anything amazing.
    • Nate and Pat both agree, American cheese is the way to go. I’m not sure if I can stand by this 100%, but I must admit that American cheese is pretty amazing for some completely inexplicable reason (can you tell I’m an American cheese snob?).
    So, what do you think makes the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich ever? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts because I have a feeling this is a topic that many of us will unexpectedly have passion for! Share your tips, tricks, recipes, opinions, whatever…it’s time to discover the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich ever made!!!

  4. Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Week 250 Menu

    Nate’s mom Pat is here. She’s our last helper to come stay with us. She leaves on Tuesday. I think I might cry…okay, okay, we know I’m going to cry. 😉

    Pat brought a very special treat with her…McIntosh apples straight from New Hampshire. Seriously, there’s nothing like a Mac from New England. Nate is in apple heaven right now.

    So, this week, for real, I’m in charge of our dinners. We do have a bunch of things stocked up in the freezer, so I can ease back into cooking on my own again.

    Chicken parmesan (Nate’s mom is cooking)
    – Pasta and veggie

    Butternut Squash Soup (in freezer)
    – Yummy bread

    Chicken Soup with Rice (going to try making this for the first time)
    – Yummy bread

    – Leftovers

    Lasagna (in freezer)
    – Bread and salad

    – Eat out (it’s the Stanford-Oregon game…Go Stanford!!!)

    – Grilled chicken and veggies (in freezer)

    I think we can do this plan this week – wish me luck! Please post your menu for the week…can’t wait to see what you have planned!

  5. Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Martha’s Entertaining

    When one of my contacts from Martha’s Circle recently emailed asking if I’d like a copy of Martha Stewart’s new book Martha’s Entertaining, I of course said YES because, really, who turns down a free book from Martha?

    In all honesty, I was expecting just another how-to book with some ideas for various types of parties. Well, the book arrived this week and it is so much more than I was expecting. Should I really be surprised? It’s Martha, after all! Anyway, the biggest reason I love the book is because it is not a how-to book. It’s 6 pounds (yes, 6 pounds…the mailing label said so!) of beautiful photography documenting one year of Martha’s various celebrations held at her various homes. The book is also a journal of sorts where Martha shares details about each event, through short intros and captions to photos. For me this is far more inspiring than a book of templates I’ll never use.

    The book is very visual and divides the celebrations by time of day. Each event starts out with a short description from Martha, along with the menu for the event. The last 100 pages contains all the recipes for all the menus in the book.

    The book really is beautiful, a feast for the eyes more than anything else. The photography is gorgeous and transports you to a fantastical world of giant chocolate bunnies and lush floral arrangements. And, while I browse through the pages, I find myself thinking one of two things at any given moment. #1: Boy, I wish I had a house like Martha. And, #2: When is Martha going to invite me to one of her parties?

    Seriously, this book inspires a good amount of envy in me. I want that table. And the stools of various heights. And those floors. And those dishes…I’ll even take them dirty.

  6. Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Easy and Delicious Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

    Last week when my sister-in-law Jessica was here to help, she cooked dinner for us every night. We kept telling her she was working too hard, but she just ignored us and kept slaving away. One night she even made homemade onion strings (recipe from The Pioneer Woman) that were TO DIE FOR. Sadly, when I went to photograph them, I discovered that my 50 mm f/1.4 lens was broken. (Side note: this was a horrifying discovery. Amazingly, when I took it to the camera store, I was within ONE DAY of the manufacturer’s warranty. It was a Halloween miracle!) Back to food…even though there’s no photo, you can be sure that Jessica’s onion strings were amazing and beautiful. And beyond tasty.

    Another night Jess made teriyaki chicken for us in the crock pot. She got the recipe from her friend Carol who has seven kids and does an amazing job of making food that kids will eat and like, as well as adults. This teriyaki chicken was no exception! We loved it! And it was super easy to throw together, so I’m definitely adding this to the repertoire.

    Easy and Delicious Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken
    • Chicken (Jess used 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
    • ½ cup soy sauce
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • (Jess used three chicken breasts and doubled the sauce recipe above)
    1. Place chicken in crock pot. Mix all other ingredients together then pour over top of chicken. Cook on low eight hours. (Jane note: I think Jess cooked it for about half that time at high since we started cooking later in the day.) Once chicken is cooked, shred with two forks and mix with sauce. Sauce will seem too thin, but once the chicken is shredded and mixed in it will be perfect.
    2. Serve over rice.
    Carol’s notes: I usually double the sauce and just put in some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. My kids only want this recipe for Teriyaki Chicken now. I also substitute – rice vinegar and some of our canned white grape juice and don’t add the oil.


    Carol has a blog where she catalogs her recipes for her own use. Jess had only super nice things to say about both Carol and her food, so I’m sure it would be worth browsing around her recipes for ideas! (Hopefully Carol doesn’t mind me linking to her!)