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  1. Friday, July 13, 2012

    An Almondictive Bit By Any Other Name…

    …would taste as sweet. It’s true. I’ve tested the theory.

    For some reason, Trader Joe’s changed the name of their Almondictive Bits to Dark Chocolate Almond Bits. Wanted to make sure you knew about the switch in case you went looking for my new obsession after my recommendation a few weeks ago. The new name is not so cute and endearing and I will continue to call them almondictive bits. Because that’s what they are….ADDICTIVE. In fact, I’m a little worried that I had to crack this container open for the photo this morning. I don’t know how I’m going to resist these bitsy chocolate goodies all day…

  2. Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Ree’s Cooking Essentials

    This giveaway is now closed. Thank you! 🙂

    One of the best parts of blogging has been making some amazing friends along the way, friends who share a devotion to all things buttery, chocolatey and delicious! It is good to be a food blogger, folks. There’s no such thing as eating too much food…it’s research, it’s for the blog! (P.S. Everyone should have a food blog. It does wonders in regards to alleviating guilt about eating too many cookies!)

    Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, is certainly one of those blogging friends I am grateful for…not only is she supportive and sweet and wonderful, but I love cracking open her cookbooks or visiting her blog and being immediately transported to a world of rich, decadent, buttery cooking.

    Ree has teamed up with Land O Lakes to spread the word about their new Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt. I had the chance to jump on a conference call with Ree and a group of food bloggers a few weeks ago, where Ree shared her butter wisdom. For example, it takes 21 pounds (~2.4 gallons) of milk to make 1 pound of butter. Wowee!

    Besides random tidbits about butter, Ree also shared her list of cooking essentials:

    • Cast iron skillet (I have one, it’s buried in a box…I know, I know, it’s tragic! I should dig that thing out!)
    • A good chef’s knife
    • A slotted spoon (Ree told us about her slotted spoon, which was a wedding gift…she uses it every day and even had her name etched into the back)
    • Dutch oven
    • Flat whisk (Ree says she doesn’t even use a regular whisk.)

    Do you have everything on Ree’s list? I didn’t…until the other day! Ree and Land O Lakes sent a cooking essentials gift pack, which includes both of Ree’s cookbooks, a slotted spoon, a pair of tongs and a flat whisk! Woohoo – the flat whisk was the only thing I was missing, so now I can give it a try!

    And since butter is certainly one of Ree’s essentials, Land O Lakes also sent some of their Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt. The stuff is tasty. In fact, I caught my 4-year-old sneaking fingerfuls the other day. Okay, she’s always sneaking fingerfuls of butter…but this butter got the Anna seal of approval. It’s officially sneak worthy!

    You can use the butter any way you normally would. Ree says she has really been loving it in Pasta Primavera. I’ve used it in several recipes and been very happy…but my favorite use so far has been drizzling it over fresh corn on the cob. Heaven.

    It’s time for another Pioneer Woman giveaway, don’t you think?

    One of you luck people will also win Ree’s Cooking Essentials Gift Pack! You will receive both of Ree’s cookbooks, a pound of the Land O Lakes Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt, a pair of Oxo tongs, a slotted spoon and that super awesome flat whisk! 

    To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post! Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Monday, July 16, 2012.

    Good luck and happy buttering!

  3. Sunday, July 8, 2012

    Week 285 Menu

    We made Grammy’s blueberry muffins this weekend. Yay for blueberry season, muffins galore!

    So, this week’s menu has a lot of repeats from last week. I ended up being super busy with work last week, so, yeah, I never made it to the store except to grab stuff for the Fourth. Those weeks happen, I suppose!

    – Homemade Macaroni and Cheese (Anna’s request”¦will be using this Martha Stewart recipe, but there are a bunch of reader-submitted recipes here if you want to browse through them)
    – Salad

    – Chicken Tostadas

    – Caprese Salad with Crusty bread and roasted garlic bulb

    – Leftovers

    – Sausage, Pepper & Onion Hoagies
    – Fresh fruit

    – Eat out

    – I want to try making Chicken Marsala…anyone have a recipe they love?

    You know the drill – get your menus up here! Show us what you got!

  4. Thursday, July 5, 2012

    Oriental Chicken Salad #2

    Thought I’d share a quick salad favorite, since it’s summer and all.

    I have two Oriental chicken salads on my recipe list – one from my mother-in-law Pat that has been a go-to for years (Oriental Chicken Salad #1) and another that I got from my friend Brittany ages ago after eating it at a baby shower (Oriental Chicken Salad #2). They are both delish and easy! The thing I love about Brittany’s is the homemade dressing. It’s scrumptious. I also love the homemade fried wonton strips. This week I bought fried wontons and it just was not the same. Go for it, make the strips. You’ll thank me.

    Here’s the recipe! Enjoy!

    Oriental Chicken Salad #2
    From Brittany Reisenberg
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Salad, Poultry
    • Dressing:
    • 1 cup oil (Jane note: I use canola oil)
    • 6 tablespoon sugar
    • 4 tablespoon soy sauce
    • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 3 shots tobasco sauce
    • 2 tablespoon sesame seed
    • Salad:
    • 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
    • 2 small heads iceberg lettuce, chopped (Jane note: I prefer two heads (or 1 if it’s really big) of romaine lettuce, chopped)
    • 4 green onions, chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, cut diagonally
    • 2 small cans mandarin oranges
    • 1 pkg fried wonton strips (see below for directions. you can also buy fried wonton strips, usually found in the produce section by all the salad toppers”¦that’s what I did this week, but the homemade ones are SO much better)
    1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Let sit for a few minutes.
    2. Mix salad ingredients. Toss with dressing. EAT! YUM!
    3. To make fried wonton strips – buy wonton wrappers in the produce section of the grocery store. Cut the wrapper squares into thirds to make strips. In large, deep frying pan with enough oil to cover the strips, cook on medium-high heat until strips are brown and bubbly, flipping once during cooking. As I recall, they cook quickly! Drain on paper towels.


  5. Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Homemade Creamsicles…and venturing into the world of making popsicles!

    One thing I’ve never made is homemade popsicles. I don’t have the molds. I’m not that into popsicles. And the girls have never asked to make them before. Hence, no homemade popsicles at the Maynard home! But I remember loving them as a kid and when I mentioned possibly making popsicles at home, Cate and Anna started cheering. Literally.

    Tropicana recently contacted me about writing a post incorporating orange juice with making something fun with my kids. Since we had already been contemplating making popsicles, Tropicana finally kicked me into gear! We went out and bought a really cool Zoku popsicle maker and were ready to go!

    My most favorite popsicles as a child were creamsicles. Whenever I take a bite of one, I’m instantly transported to my childhood home on Ensign Court, eating creamsicles on the front porch. I decided making homemade creamsicles would be a great way to use orange juice and make some new memories with my kids.

    We hit the store and picked up Tropicana’s Pure Premium orange juice, pulp free of course for the popsicles! Tropicana makes their juice with fresh oranges and it is 100% pure and natural, which makes me happy to use their product. We grabbed whole milk, orange extract, and, of course, cream and headed home to mix and freeze!

    I found a recipe on a blog called Nourished Kitchen that looked promising. It’s simple to throw together, providing ample opportunity for the kids to pour, mix and stir. There is also a lot of down time while the orange juice simmers, so you can grab some books and read together while you occasionally stir the juice. All in all, it is a great recipe to make with the kids!

    And the final product was good! We had leftover filling (the original recipe made a TON), so I threw it in the ice cream maker with a pinch of xanthan gum. The ice cream was yummy, although it had sort of a dry taste to it. I think I might need to perfect a creamsicle-flavored ice cream based on the vanilla ice cream recipe we’ve had such great success with. Does that not sound completely heavenly?

    There was one major snafu with the popsicles, though. This filling did NOT work with the Zoku maker. Such a sad discovery! The pops were totally stuck, so don’t use the maker for this recipe! My friend Necia swears that they’ve had great success with the Zoku, so we’re just going to have to try some other recipes! Thankfully I have friends with regular popsicle molds who were able to save the day. My favorite molds were the ones from Ikea, they worked great!

    See those there creamsicles freezing nicely in the Zoku? Yeah, they’re never comin’ out. At least not without lots of hot water.

    I’ll be sure to report on more of our homemade popsicle ventures!

    Homemade Creamsicles
    From Nourished Kitchen, with my notes and quantities adjusted
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 2½ tablespoons honey
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 cup cream
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • ½ teaspoon orange extract
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    1. Simmer honey and orange juice over medium heat in a small saucepan until reduced by half – this will take 20-40 minutes. Just grab some books and read in the kitchen with your kids while you wait! Stir occasionally. Once it has reduced, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
    2. Whisk together egg yolks, cream, milk, orange extract and vanilla extract. Add orange juice mixture and whisk well.
    3. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid. Do not use a Zoku popsicle maker for this recipe – it will stick inside!
    4. Will make at around 8-10 popsicles.

    This post was sponsored by Tropicana. Tropicana Pure Premium is 100% pure Florida orange juice. If you would like to connect with the folks at Tropicana, visit them at


  6. Sunday, July 1, 2012

    Week 284 Menu

    I made more whoopie pies. I told you I was going to. I halved the recipe, so I only made 13 whoopie pies this batch. Which is what I should have done…but I am kind of wishing I had made 26. Then I could have eaten them for every meal this weekend, not just breakfast. 😉

    I’m impressed with all of you…even though it’s the lazy, hazy days of summer, you’re still bringing out the menus every week and keeping me on my game!

    – Homemade Macaroni and Cheese (Anna’s request…will be using this Martha Stewart recipe, but there are a bunch of reader-submitted recipes here if you want to browse through them)
    – Salad

    Chicken Tostadas

    – A night on the grill (hot dogs, hamburgers)
    – Corn on the cob, watermelon

    – Leftovers

    Sausage, Pepper & Onion Hoagies
    – Fresh fruit

    – Eat out

    – Breakfast for dinner…TBD!

    Bring on the menus!