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  1. Thursday, May 30, 2013

    Summer Go-To Meal: Chicken Caesar Wraps

    I have a new favorite go-to meal that happens to be perfect for summer: Chicken Caesar Wraps!

    go-to meal chicken caesar wraps |

    They’re easy, the ingredient list is short and compiled of items I normally have on hand, and I’m always surprised at just how tasty they are!

    The other fun thing is you can make them super, duper easy or gourmet them up a bit, using more homemade ingredients. No matter how you make them, they are delicious!

    go-to meal chicken caesar wraps |

    I wasn’t really planning to do a post about chicken caesar wraps, but when we were eating them for dinner last night, Anna said, “Mom, you should take a picture of these for your blog!” She’s always looking out for the blog!

    Summer Go-To Meal: Chicken Caesar Wraps
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    • Flour tortillas or other wrap that you like (I prefer uncooked tortillas that you cook on the stove, they are delicious and are nice and flexible, which is perfect for a wrap)
    • Cooked chicken breast (You could buy pre-cooked chicken or a rotisserie chicken to make it super simple. I like to grill boneless, skinless chicken breasts on my grill pan salt and pepper the chicken breasts, cook over medium heat until temperature reaches 160 degrees)
    • Romaine lettuce, chopped
    • Fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded
    • Croutons (You can make your own, but in this case I think the crunchy store-bought kind work nicely because they are so super crunchy, which gives good texture to the wrap.)
    • Caesar dressing (again, you can make your own, but I always have a bottle of Girard’s Caesar dressing in the fridge, so that’s what I use!)
    1. Lay out your tortilla/wrap, pile on all the other ingredients, fold like a burrito and eat!
    2. I like to spread some dressing on the tortilla before piling on the ingredients and then topping everything with more dressing before wrapping it all up!


  2. Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    Call for Recipes: Cooking During Difficult Times

    Megan, a new mom returning to work this week, recently emailed me with a request that inspired today’s Call for Recipes. Megan emailed asking for dinner ideas for moms and dads with brand new babies. In Megan’s own words, “I am looking for ideas and suggestions on how you get dinner on the table during the week that’s easy and relatively healthy when we’re both back at work and I won’t be walking in the door until around six-ish and more interested in lavishing attention on A than spending a lot of time in the kitchen.”

    call for recipes - cooking during difficult times | thisweekfordinner.comI was definitely in survival mode when this guy came along, but it sure was worth it! Look at that yummy face!

    I think we all struggle with this on a fairly regular basis, but there are definitely seasons of life where it is more difficult than usual to get dinner on the table. Case in point: newborn baby. Also, sickness in the family, stressful work/school, the list goes on and on! We’ve all been there and we all go through these seasons.

    Often during difficult times friends and family step up to the plate with meals. I wouldn’t have survived after Owen was born if people had not been so generous in this regard! But even with help, dinner doesn’t come every day and it doesn’t last forever.

    Time to share ideas! What meals, recipes and/or strategies do you have around getting dinner cooked even when you’re stretched for time and/or energy? Please share your wisdom because Megan is right–sometimes (all the time?) you’d rather be cuddling with your new baby than slaving in the kitchen!

    I’ll kick us off with a tip! Make sure your fridge and pantry are stocked up with basics so you don’t have to go to the store very often. That was key for me. Whether it was having cooked meals in the freezer at the ready or just a jar of sauce and a package of spaghetti in the cabinet, if I had supplies we didn’t starve and ate relatively well. One more piece of advice…don’t be afraid to ask for help!

  3. Sunday, May 26, 2013

    Week 331 Menu

    If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you may want to skip this paragraph. Because I may introduce a new addiction to your life. Have you tried the milk chocolate and dark chocolate crisps? I discovered these treats at Cost Plus. They were Belgian and we decided to try them out, then the very same afternoon discovered a knock-off version being sampled at Trader Joe’s. We bought those, too. They’re like Pringles but made out of chocolate and, therefore, infinitely better. They have tiny little crispies throughout and are soooo yummy. The girls call them “chocolate chips,” which confuses me every time!

    trader joe's milk chocolate crisps |

    I can’t believe it’s Sunday already! I’m stealing a lot from last week’s menu. We had a bunch of events last week that I didn’t have written on my calendar, so I forgot about them when I planned our meals.

    – Hot dogs, hamburgers and other BBQ eats
    – Strawberry Shortcake

    Chicken Pot Pie

    Stuffed Peppers

    – Chicken Caesar Wraps
    – Fresh Fruit

    – Leftovers

    – Pizza for the kids, going out with Nate (he’s surprising me with something!)

    – Joining some of our friends from ONE at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Family Event – can’t wait!

    It’s Memorial Day weekend, so I understand if you take a break this week. But if you do happen to plan a menu, please share as usual! Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

  4. Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Could this be the year?

    About every other year I decide I really want to grow tomatoes. And every other year I enthusiastically post a photo of our beautiful little tomato plants. And every other year I report back at the end of the summer that I killed everything. I am cursed.

    anna and the earth box web

    This year is going to be different. I know I’ve said that before, but really, it is! I bit the bullet and invested in two Earth Boxes. My friend Natalee has used them the last few years and has amazing success. The beauty of the Earth Box is that you cannot overwater the plants – they always have just the right amount of water. You can use the boxes forever and you get about 8 growing seasons before you need to replace the soil. The woman at the garden center said she also loves the Earth Box. I really really really think this year is going to be different, folks.

    earth box for tomatoes

    What’s that? Locusts in my backyard destroying my tomato plants? Figures.

  5. Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    Salted Brown Butter Cookies and The Yummy Mummy Kitchen Cookbook

    Last Christmas a friend gave us some Brown Butter Cookie Company cookies.  Nate and I were both smitten at first bite. Nate is not easily smitten by food. If Nate has a hard time resisting a food, then you know it’s good. The cookies were rich and buttery with a hint of saltiness that was just the right amount. The cookies are also a little expensive and hard to get (they sold out online last Christmas!), so I savored every crumb not knowing when the next box would enter my life.

    brown butter cookie company recipe

    Have you seen the blog Yummy Mummy Kitchen? It’s beautiful and Marina, the blogger, is lovely. I connected with her when I was editing Daily Buzz Moms. (I also connected with her when I discovered that she is good friends with the Strong family, whom I’ve written about before. These are good people, folks. Salt of the earth.) Marina recently published her first book, The Yummy Mummy Kitchen. Marina kindly sent me a copy. Before we get back to the cookies, the book is beautiful. The day I got it I curled up in bed and looked through every page of the book. It transports you to her life in Santa Barbara and the recipes are inspiring. Bravo, Marina! Job well done!

    the yummy mummy kitchen book

    So, as I was thumbing through the book, I immediately noticed a picture of some brown cookies that looked a lot like the Brown Butter Cookie Company cookies. Sure enough, Marina’s intro was all about how much she loves those cookies and how she had to figure out how to make them. I couldn’t believe that recipe literally fell into my lap. Oh, happy day!

    I don’t know how many times I’ve made the brown butter cookies since getting the book. We probably shouldn’t keep track. But they are amazing and completely hit the spot. Buttery with a beautiful crumb, you’re going to become just as addicted as I am. My apologies.

    salted brown butter cookies2 web

    Salted Brown Butter Cookies and The Yummy Mummy Kitchen Cookbook
    From The Yummy Mummy Kitchen with a few of my notes
    Recipe type: Dessert
    • ¾ cup unsalted butter (Jane note: I’ve used salted butter every time and the cookies are still wonderful, not too salty)
    • ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour (*see comment #35 below for detail, but when you measure the flour, scoop the cup in and level with a knife, do not lightly spoon the flour into the cup)
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • Coarse-flake sea salt for sprinkling
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
    2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to brown. When the butter has browned and is ready, the foam will have subsided and it will have turned a nutty color. Watch closely so as not to burn the butter. (Jane note: Stir regularly throughout the browning process. The butter will start to foam up, back off on the foam a bit, then foam up a lot. Just keep cooking and stirring. After about 10 minutes the foam will start to subside. You’ll still have a bit of foam, but you’ll at least be able to see what color the butter is. It should be browned and you will be able to smell the nuttiness of the butter. At this point remove from the heat.)
    3. Pour the browned butter into a medium bowl and stir in the brown sugar and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together. With a spoon, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined and uniform in color.
    4. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Marina’s recipe says it yields 13 cookies. I literally do 1 tablespoon per cookie and end up with 18-20 cookies every time. Sprinkle with sea salt and lightly press it into the top of the cookies. Bake for 12 minutes.

    browned butter

    brown butter cookies |

    To purchase Marina’s book, click here. There are tons more recipes where this came from!

  6. Sunday, May 19, 2013

    Week 330 Menu

    I recently made a quick coleslaw to go with some pulled pork sandwiches we had for dinner one night. When I pulled out the poppy seeds for the slaw, I was struck by just how pretty they were. I had to take a photo, for no other reason than to share the simple beauty of these poppy seeds.


    I have a couple repeat items from last week’s menu. I didn’t end up doing much cooking due to my travel and the kids’ activities. I am hoping to actually go to the store this week and get some cooking done!

    Tuscan Tomato Soup

    Vegetarian Chickpea burgers
    – BBQ-type food

    – Chicken Caesar Wraps

    – Leftovers

    Chicken Pot Pie (Anna is not going to be happy about this!)

    – Take out

    Stuffed Peppers

    As always, thank you for posting your menus. I read through them every week when planning my own and it’s always such a big help! On that note, please share your menu for this week!

  7. Thursday, May 16, 2013

    I’ve got a spice expiration problem

    Apparently I have a problem. I don’t update my spices regularly enough!

    First case in point: cream of tartar. I have proof that it does not last forever, in case you were wondering.

    old cayenne pepper

    Today I have another example of my problem! Cayenne pepper. For months I’ve been thinking that we were out of cayenne pepper. Every time I’d go to use it I’d look around the cupboard, only to realize AGAIN that we were out. Well, I finally remembered to buy some last week. The next day I went to use it and, much to my surprise, I found TWO bottles of cayenne pepper in the cupboard! Only one of them didn’t look so much like cayenne pepper anymore.

    I find it funny that I actually picked the cayenne pepper up countless times looking for cayenne pepper but not even bothering to read the label because it looked nothing like cayenne pepper! I mean, it’s BROWN.

    So, I have a question for you today. Do you update your spices regularly? Do you have a good system for doing so? Or are you like me and forget about your spices until you actually need them and find they are totally useless?!?!

    If you happen to do a good job of keeping your spices up to date, please share tips, resources with info that you like, or anything you’ve got about keeping the spice cupboard fresh! 

  8. Sunday, May 12, 2013

    Week 329 Menu

    Happy Mother’s Day! So far I have been treated with three kinds of French pastry, a ballet performance (including a unique scene where Sleeping Beauty sets down a poison apple she happens to have and heads to a smoothie shop), and as much love as my kids could possibly shower me with.

    mother's day morning

    Nate took the kids for a drive, so I am going to pump out this menu as fast as I can and then get back to doing absolutely nothing. At least for 30 minutes or so. 😉

    – I am traveling to the Carmel/Monterey area to visit Dole’s farm fields. I’m sure they’ll feed us some delicious food!
    – Nate is taking the kids out for dinner.

    – Dole trip continued
    – Nate’s taking the kids out again. 😉

    – I’m home! We’ll see if I can get something on the table, but it might also be an eat out night.

    – Tuscan Tomato Soup

    – Homemade pizza (mushroom for the kids, honey goat cheese carmelized onion for us)

    Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers
    – Fresh fruit and other BBQ type foods

    Frittata, filling ingredients TBD
    – Fresh fruit

    You know the drill…show us what you got! Share your menus for the week!

    And no matter what form the mothers in your life come in or who it is you happen to nurture and love in your life, I hope you all have a beautiful day.

  9. Friday, May 10, 2013

    Epic May Giveaway! {Canon SLR + Epiphanie Camera Bag!}

    This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winner Julie S (entry #13056)

    First off, as a fan of The Vampire Diaries (don’t judge), I am delighted that I get to use the word “epic” on my blog today. We’ll consider it an homage to Stefan and Damon.

    Today’s giveaway is truly EPIC! And we are not using this word flippantly like the vampires do. It really, really is!

    canon slr + epiphanie bag giveaway

    I’ve joined forces with some of my most FAVORITE blogging friends in the whole wide world to give away a Canon Rebel T4i SLR camera (with two lenses!) and an Epiphanie camera bag (the Charlotte in metallic chevron). First off, I’m totally jealous because this camera is better than mine. It’s got a big ole swivel touch screen and does amazing things with photo and video. And the bag…the BAG. Seriously, does it get any cuter than that? And you know how I love Epiphanie bags. They are the best!

    Wanna get this sweet package to kick off your summer right? Here are the details!

    • To enter to win the Canon SLR Camera + Epiphanie Bag you MUST enter using the rafflecopter entry form below.  No other entries will be counted.
    • The giveaway runs May 10th through May 24th.
    • One winner will be chosen at random and notified by email once the big give is over. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.
    • You can get extra entries galore – just check out the entry form. And you can feel good following all of these people on the interwebs…they ROCK.
    • Giveaway is open worldwide!

    Here are the amazing blogs that I’ve teamed up with. Seriously, every last one of these women is amazing and talented.

    – Christine of Boston Mamas
    – Allison of Petit Elefant
    – Kami of NoBiggie
    – Marie of Make and Takes
    – Audrey of Mom Generations
    – Kristen of Rage Against the Minivan
    – Rachael of Todays Mama
    – Meagan of The Happiest Home
    – Heather & Whitney of Rookie Moms
    – Pinterest You Are Drunk
    – Eat Blog Run

    Now go forth and enter the giveaway. GOOD LUCK!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  10. Wednesday, May 8, 2013

    Asparagus and Spring Onion Tart

    One of the delicious dishes we were treated to at our latest book club was an asparagus and spring onion tart, as made my dear friend Barbara.

    asparagus and spring onion tart from @janemaynard

    LOVED THIS TART. The “shortcrust” was delicious, the top had a pleasant chewiness thanks to a melted Parmesan cheese, and all the flavors blended really nicely together. Of course we all begged for the recipe. Barbara had found the recipe in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times, which she happily shared. She’s not one to keep secrets when it comes to good food!

    You all may be wondering (as I am) what the difference between a quiche and a tart is. If anyone has a good answer, please feel free to share! Tarts may be savory or sweet, while quiche are savory, but beyond that their “official” definitions are almost identical. So, I say just call it whatever you want!

    Asparagus and Spring Onion Tart
    Savory and delicious!
    Recipe type: Main Dish
    • Shortcrust
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • ⅛ tsp. salt
    • 6 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes (I just use salted butter)
    • 2 large eggs, divided
    • Filling
    • ½ pound trimmed asparagus spears
    • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 2 cups spring or green onions
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1½ cups whole milk or heavy cream
    • 1 ounce (1/4 cup) grated fresh parmesan cheese (I might use a bit more myself)
    1. Shortcrust:
    2. Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. (Jane note: I use my pastry blender.) Beat 1 egg and 2 Tbs water in a small bowl. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until dough comes together, adding 1 Tbs. more water if needed. Flatten dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour (up to 1 day).
    3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 12-inch circle on floured surface. Press dough into 9-inch springform pan or fluted tart pan with removable bottom. (Jane note: Barbara baked and served her tart in a pretty fluted dish without a removable bottom. It worked very well.) Trim edges, prick bottom all over with a fork. Line tart shell with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake 25 minutes or until barely golden. Remove beans and paper. Beat remaining egg and brush on bottom of crust. Bake 5 minutes more.
    4. Filling:
    5. Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes. Drain and cut into 1¼-inch lengths. Heat oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, cook 8-10 minutes until softened. Remove from heat. Whisk together eggs and milk in bowl. Stir in onions and asparagus.
    6. Pour filling into shortcrust and place pan on a baking sheet. (Jane note: line baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up.) Sprinkle tart with parmesan cheese. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until tart is set in the middle and top is browned well. Cover edges of crust with foil if they start to brown too much before the tart is done. Pop out of pan and serve.