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  1. Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Maple Balsamic Chicken (You need to make this recipe!)

    It’s been many years since I declared my undying love for real maple syrup, so I think we should revisit the topic! Before I met Nate, I had only ever eaten fake maple syrup – you know, of the Log Cabin and Aunt Jemima variety. Then I married a boy from New Hampshire and everything changed.

    maple balsamic chicken |

    Truly, I haven’t bought a bottle of the fake stuff since we got married. Even in the early years when we had negative money in the bank account, we still found a way to get our hands on pure maple syrup. Good chocolate and good maple syrup are top priorities in my kitchen!

    maple balsamic chicken |

    Anna and Cate’s former preschool teacher Miss Ferneyn once gave me a photocopy of a maple balsamic chicken recipe she found in a cookbook or magazine. (Miss Ferneyn and Miss Erika were always giving me great recipes and they have made appearances on the blog before. I sure miss those ladies, and not just for their good food!) I made the recipe and it was AMAZING. And then I lost the photocopied page and haven’t been able to find it no matter how hard I look.  I pestered Miss Ferneyn a few times and she can’t find the recipe either! I finally bit the bullet and tried to figure out the recipe on my own. and we had success! Welcome back to my life, beautiful recipe.

    maple balsamic chicken |

    I made this chicken for my family in New Jersey and everyone raved. My sister-in-law has already made it for guests. It’s really really really really really good. Are you convinced yet?

    Maple Balsamic Chicken (You need to make this recipe!)
    From Jane Maynard, inspired by a recipe buried in my kitchen somewhere
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into thirds width-wise, then halved height-wise
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • ½ cup real maple syrup
    • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
    • ½ cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt, divided in half
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • 5 ounces mushrooms, sliced
    • ¼ of an onion, chopped
    • 1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
    • olive oil
    1. Mix flour, ½ tsp salt and the pepper in a plastic bag. Pound chicken nice and flat then toss in the flour mixture.
    2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in large pan over medium to medium-high heat. Brown chicken in oil then set aside on a plate.
    3. Put onions in the pan and sautée over medium heat until translucent, adding a bit of oil to the pan if needed. Add garlic and mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms are cooked and liquid has evaporated. Add broth, syrup, vinegar, ½ tsp salt and browned chicken. Bring sauce to a simmer then reduce heat to medium-low, so sauce is still simmering. Cook about 10 minutes until chicken is fully cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with pasta or mashed potatoes.


    To see other yummy maple syrup recipes, visit the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers ‘Recipe of the Month’ Page. This post was not sponsored, but my recipe will be featured on their site. I’m happy I can help spread the maple syrup love!

  2. Sunday, August 11, 2013

    Week 342 Menu

    Greetings from Cape Cod! Nate’s family has been staying in Sandwich, MA every summer for the last 20 years, but this year they broke tradition and we are trying out life in Falmouth. The house is awesome and is right in town near the water. The Falmouth Road Race is also literally ending in our front yard this morning, so we have front row seats for all the fun! There are 12,800 runners in the race, plus all their friends and family! It’s astounding how many people are here and we are having a blast!

    falmouth road race web

    There is a company named Yasso at the race handing out samples of their frozen Greek yogurt bars. The bars are SO GOOD. Yasso is now available in grocery stores nationwide. You need to find them. Such a great healthy and delicious treat!

    yasso frozen yogurt web

    We haven’t planned the menu for the week yet, but we do know there will do a barbecue cookout one night and Asian Spinach Salad another night. Beyond that, who cares? We’re on vacation!

    Even though I’m taking a break, I’m sure some of you are still on the ball! Please post your menu for the week!

  3. Friday, August 9, 2013

    Friday Show and Tell

    Happy Friday! It’s pouring rain here in New Hampshire and I am LOVING EVERY SECOND. (I think I’ve been in California too long!)

    la_ca_0709_hunger_gamesA scene from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” (Lionsgate)

    Have you heard the latest news regarding Catching Fire? It’s pretty cool, check it out! Maybe I’m the only one who thinks it’s awesome because I’m kind of obsessed with all things Hunger Games. I mean, I didn’t dress up when I saw the movie or anything, but I was there opening night. November can’t come soon enough! At least the music is coming out soon!

    Like peaches? Like mason jars? You’re welcome.

    Like fried rice? You’re welcome. (P.S. Why have I never thought of making homemade fried rice until now? It’s such a great way to use up leftover, sort-of-dried-out rice!)

    Have a dutch oven? You’re welcome.

    Also, please tell me you’ve been following The Baby Bachelor? If not, go spend 15 minutes on YouTube, there are five episodes total. And now there is “secret footage” from the Bachelorett tying it all together. Go Wesley!

    Have a great weekend! And, as always, if you have something to share, please do! Stuff from your own blogs, stuff you found on the Internet, random interesting news…it’s all fair game!

  4. Wednesday, August 7, 2013

    Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Drops (a.k.a. Turkey Leg Donuts)

    Right now we are at my in-law’s home in New Hampshire. My mother-in-law Pat is the best mother-in-law on the planet. No joke. Yesterday as my sister-in-law and I slept in, she played with all the kids and even sewed THREE skirts. She’s Super Grandma.

    cinnamon-sugar doughnut drops |

    This morning she made Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Drops with my nephew Colby. He was complete engaged the entire time they were cooking, it was adorable. And the doughnut drops were DELICIOUS. Because they’re fried, as doughnuts should be! (Sidenote: A baked doughnut is NOT a doughnut. It’s a muffin posing as a doughnut. You need OIL to make a doughnut a doughnut! Okay, ranting done.)

    cinnamon-sugar doughnut drops |

    cinnamon-sugar doughnut drops |

    We also renamed these doughnut drops “Turkey Leg Donuts,” because a large quantity of them looked like, you guessed it, turkey legs! Sadly, I didn’t photograph any of the turkey leg donuts. What was I thinking?!

    cinnamon-sugar doughnut drops |

    Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Drops (a.k.a. Turkey Leg Donuts)
    From a magazine but I can’t tell which one from the cutout Pat has in her recipe box
    Recipe type: Dessert
    • 1½ cups all purpose flour
    • ⅓ cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ½ cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 egg
    • Oil for frying
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1. In a medium to large heavy saucepan, heat 2 to 3 inches oil to 375. (Pat note: make sure you heat it to the right temperature!)
    2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in milk, oil, vanilla and egg with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened.
    3. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil. (Pat note: make sure it really is just by TEASPOONful.) You can cook 5 to 6 at a time. Fry doughnut drops 60-90 seconds on each side until deep golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
    4. Mix ½ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together and roll hot doughnuts in the sugar mixture.
    5. The recipe says this makes 30-36 doughnut drops. I suppose it’s right, but I can’t believe how FAST we ate them, it seemed like about 10!

  5. Monday, August 5, 2013

    Back to School Lunch Ideas

    I hate to use the words “Back to School” right now because it just reminds me that summer is ending in a few short weeks. But, alas, we are nearing that time of year and it’s time to get ready!

    lunch-ebookcover-1 (1)

    One of my least favorite things about the school year is packing lunches. For me the biggest challenges are providing variety as well as a balance of healthy food with what my kids will actually eat. It’s oh-so-fun! 😉

    Attune Foods recently asked me to contribute to a Back to School Lunch Ideas E-Book, using either their Uncle Sam cereal, Erewhon cereal or grahams. Chocolate-covered raisins ended up being my inspiration and I came up with a recipe that Cate could not stop eating. This new wholesome treat will definitely be making an appearance in her lunchbox this coming school year!

    Click here to download the free cookbook and see what recipe I created! Plus, you want to check out all the recipes as they were created by a group of food bloggers that I love!

  6. Sunday, August 4, 2013

    Week 341 Menu

    Our wonderful time in New Jersey has come to an end and we have moved north to Nate’s Grammy’s home on a gulf on the South Shore (near Boston). I love this place. After a visit here, we head up to New Hampshire and then back down to Cape Cod! The kids are counting down to the Cape week all year. Can’t believe it’s already here!

    gram on gulf web

    I’m not entirely sure what our schedule will be like this week and where we’ll be on what days. I’m planning a menu but it may all get thrown out the window!

    – Hot dogs (I have to hot dogs on New England-style hot dog buns)
    – Fresh fruit

    – Caprese Salad

    Teriyaki Chicken
    – Rice and veggies

    – Leftovers

    – Eat out

    – Hello, Cape Cod!
    Sweet Tomatoes Pizza

    – Cape Cod eats have not yet been planned!

    Last week was fabulous, so many of you shared menus. Thank you! Please keep it up and share your menu for this week!

  7. Friday, August 2, 2013

    Friday Show and Tell: SocialLuxe Lounge!

    This week’s Show and Tell is all about the 2013 Clean & Fresh SocialLuxe Lounge for two reasons:

    1. It took over my life the last few weeks, so there is little else to share!
    2. The party was WONDERFUL and I want to show it off!

    First off, since I like to share music with you in these weekly posts, be sure to check out the SocialLuxe party playlist for this year. It’s pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

    socialluxe party

    This is the fourth SocialLuxe Lounge party that Marie, Allison and I have thrown together. I have to say, we’re getting pretty good at this. Every year we say it’s the last one because it just about kills us, and ever year we do it again. And ever year when I look around the room and see what we’ve pulled together, I have to admit it is pretty awesome and it was {maybe} worth all the work!

    This year Cottonelle was our title sponsor and they were wonderful! You can read more about their awesomeness here.

    cottonelle space web

    Ubisoft was also a sponsor and provided gaming fun for the party! They were also wonderful to work with and I can’t wait to get my hands on the new Just Dance Kids game this fall!


    ProFlowers once again provided the flowers for our party and the flowers were, once again, BEAUTIFUL. This year I had a host of volunteers there to help me assemble the bouquets and we had a great time!

    flower crewPictured: Rachel (Marie’s niece), Antoinette, me and Virginia

     ONE was also at the party to meet with party attendees. I love doing anything I can to support them, so I’m glad we could get them involved with the party! If you want even more music to listen to, be sure to check out ONE’s agit8 campaign. Cool stuff!

    one web

    As always, we had massage, henna, nails, hair and makeup for everyone at the party to partake of. I told the massage therapist that I was going to take her home in my pocket. For some reason she is still in Chicago.




    Sonnet James provided me with my dress for the party (see photo below!). It was super cute and I got tons of compliments. They funded a Kickstarter campaign that completed yesterday, so right now you can pre-order dresses. Check them out here!

    Our gift bags were filled to the brim with goodies. I’m sure I’ll be sharing some of those goodies with you over the coming weeks and months!

    jazz hands

    allison jane marie socialluxe

    And, as usual, the best part for me was working with Allison and Marie. The friendships I’ve forged with these two women organizing this party year after year are priceless.

    Yay, SocialLuxe! You were great and I’m glad you’re over! Time to enjoy the rest of summer! PHEW.

    Photography sources: Jane’s iPhone and CL Buchanan

  8. I {Heart} Cottonelle and My New Best Friend is British

    As you know, I co-hosted SocialLuxe Lounge last week in Chicago. When Cottonelle approached us wanting to be the title sponsor for this year’s event, we jumped at the chance! I’ve used Cottonelle forever and was happy to work with a brand that I already knew and loved!

    cottonelle space web

    cottonelle table web

    Cottonelle was a fabulous title sponsor. Their space at the party was ADORABLE. Cherry Healey is the brand ambassador for Cottonelle. Since she is British, they went with a British theme and it couldn’t have been more cute and fun! Everyone was ready to “talk bums” at the party!

    cherry healey and cottonelle | thisweekfordinner.comPictured: Allison, Me, Cherry, Marie

    Cherry was even more adorable than the cute signs and toilet paper flowers. We chatted for a while and it felt like we’d known each other for years. Whether she likes it or not, I am her new American BFF.

    bathroom sign web

    cherry sign web

    Cottonelle has launched a “Let’s talk about your bum” campaign to inform everyone about the Cottonelle Care Routine, which includes using both toilet paper and flushable wipes. This is a food blog, so we don’t need to go into much detail, but we can say this: following the Cottonelle Care Routine is just better! While we were stuffing the swag bags the day before the party, one of my good blogging friends Dawn was telling us she had never followed the “care routine” until Cottonelle sent her samples in the mail. As she tossed swag into the bags she exclaimed with delight, “I loved it!”

    let's talk about your bum | cottonelle |

    Side note: last time we bought wipes, Nate grabbed the Kirkland brand instead of Cottonelle. The Kirkland wipes are terrible. For real. I hate them. Cottonelle is WAY better and I will never cheat on them again!

    Big thanks to Cottonelle for being our title sponsor and making the party wonderful!

    Keep calm and wipe on! 😉

    This post was sponsored by Cottonelle but all opinions are most decidedly my own!