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  1. Friday, October 18, 2013

    Friday Show and Tell!

    Hello from New York! I’m about to hop on a plane headed back for San Diego after just about 45 hours or so. It was a whirlwind trip but very productive and included a Potbelly sandwich and cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar. Life is good.

    show n tell 10-18

    Just two quick things to share today! I wrote two posts on Babble this week that I’m kinda proud of. They both involved a lot of research and I learned a lot, so I’m excited to share them with you!

    As always, please feel free to share anything you like! Happy Friday!

  2. Thursday, October 17, 2013

    What to Look For in a Dishwasher

    Today is the last day that I wax poetic about my new dishwasher. I figured it would be helpful to list my favorite features so that those of you who are in the market for a dishwasher (or might be in the future) know a few things to look for.

    Bosch 800 Series Dishwasher Features | From @janemaynard at

    For much of our marriage we haven’t had a dishwasher. When we did, they were generally pretty bad. The last dishwasher we had was so terrible I stopped using it and hand washed everything instead! Not surprisingly, having my very own, brand new dishwasher that actually does the job feels like a dream! Since I am so familiar with bad dishwashers, I can go on for days explaining why my new dishwasher is so much better. It’s like night and day and I am so appreciative of this machine!

    Here is a list of my favorite features of the Bosch 800 Plus Series 24”³ Flush Handle Dishwasher in Stainless Steel:

    The Third Rack
    The dishwasher has a third rack. The third rack is SO AWESOME. It’s shallow and perfect for holding large utensils and my nice, non-wood-handle knives. There are little grooves made just for knives so that they are held firmly in place. While that is all well and good, the third rack is PERFECT for a family with kids. All of our tiny bowls and sippy cup lids fit perfectly and never flip during the wash. The third rack is full every time I run a wash!

    bosch dishwasher review | from @janemaynard at

    Adjustable Top Rack
    Let’s move down to the next rack, the top rack. This rack has tons of space in it for glasses, cups and bowls. I’m always amazed how much I can fit in. The rack is adjustable, so you can make it go up or down if you need to. You can also remove it completely if you want to wash something especially large in the bottom rack.

    bosch dishwasher review | from @janemaynard at

    The Dishwasher is Smarter Than Me
    The dishwasher has sensors that assess the cleanliness of the dishes SIX times during a wash cycle. The sensors actually necessitate that you do NOT pre-wash (rinse) the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher – the machine cleans better when it can actually tell how dirty the dishes are. I definitely use less water when I do the dishes and things go faster, which is great! The dishwasher also is good at reminding me when I need to add rinse agent or salt to the water softener (which we’ll get to in a minute).

    Use Less Soap
    This dishwasher only needs about 1 tablespoon of soap for a typical wash. Pretty great! (Sidebar: I have started using Finish powerball detergent and rinse agent. My sister-in-law Jess has been extolling the virtues of Finish for a few years now. Bosch gave me some samples and got me hooked. I have started purchasing Finish instead of the old powder soap I used to use. The dishes come out squeaky clean, with no film or residue. Jess said her dishwasher repairman is the one who told her about Finish – he said not only are the dishes super clean, but their soap is better for your dishwasher, too. By the way, I have no relationship with Finish, I am just totally converted to how awesome they are!)

    Oodles of settings
    My dishwasher has a ton of settings to choose from, which provides great versatility. I usually just use “Auto” since, as I mentioned before, the machine is smarter than I am. I love the half load option, too, for when we need to do a wash but haven’t filled the dishwasher.

    Built-in Water Softener
    Dishwashers work better with soft water. If you live in a place with hard water (or really hard water like I do) but don’t have a water softener for your home, then you’re kind of stuck. The Bosch dishwashers have their own water softening system. You simply test your tap water when you install the machine, see how hard your water is, add special salt to the softener, then select the right setting for your home. It was really simple to figure out and I love that this is built right into the machine.

    bosch dishwasher filter system | from @janemaynard at

    Filter System
    Most dishwashers have a disposal system with a blade built in. The blade can never be sharpened and it works just okay. Bosch uses an advanced filter system to break down the food in the water. When they first told us about the filter system I wasn’t sure what I thought about it, but now I totally love it. The filter is easy to pop in and out of the dishwasher. Almost all food can be broken down through the filters, but foods that can’t get caught in a cup in the filter. I check the filter every two weeks or so to see if there is anything in there (there hardly ever is) and that’s it. It’s a great system!

    SOOOOO Quiet
    I’ve mentioned this before, but my dishwasher is SO QUIET. It’s amazing. I have the 42 decibel model and you can hardly hear anything. I am not kidding when I say that Anna and I tried to start the dishwasher three times the first time we used it – it was on every time, we just couldn’t hear it! When I visited the showroom, they showed us all the different things they do to make the dishwasher quieter. I don’t remember all the details (I’m an artist, not an engineer!), but I do remember they do a LOT of extra soundproofing that other brands don’t do.

    The Dishwasher Just Plain Works
    Bottom line: my dishes come out clean. I don’t have a million cups and bowls flipped over and filled with dirty water when the wash is done. There aren’t any spots or grime on my dishes. The dishwasher does just what it’s supposed to do – wash the dishes!

    Hope this is helpful for those of you thinking about dishwashers! Thank you once again to Bosch! It’s been wonderful working with them!

    UPDATE 3/16/16: Almost 3 years later and I am still completely in love with this dishwasher. Never any problems, works beautifully, and that third rack is my favorite.

    Disclaimer: Bosch provided me with the dishwasher in exchange for reviewing the product. While they are wonderful and generous, all opinions are my own and, as always, I will share my honest opinions.

  3. Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    Easy Homemade Jalapeño Poppers

    When I was in college, I had a co-worker who ate Burger King jalapeño poppers for lunch almost every day. I thought she was bananas. I mean, they were good, in a fast-foody kind of way. But every day? For her entire lunch? She was obsessed! Ever since, whenever I see or eat jalapeño poppers, I think of popper-crazy Lily and it makes me happy.

    easy homemade jalapeno poppers with bacon | from @janemaynard at

    What I have to share with you today is waaaaaaaaayyyyyy better than the Burger King jalapeño poppers. And, in addition to being incredibly delicious, these poppers are beyond easy to make. The “recipe” comes from my mother-in-law Pat, the source of so many of my favorite easy and delicious recipes.

    I made these poppers with Pat over the summer when the family was all together on Cape Cod. I didn’t get a chance to photograph them very much because there were about 8 people standing around the pan while I shot a few photos. They were like vultures! Okay, so I was one of the vultures who couldn’t wait to get the camera out of the way and dig in!

    easy homemade vegetarian jalapeno poppers | from @janemaynard at

    If you have latex gloves lying around, wear them when you make these. Pat and I never do, much to our detriment. I rubbed my eyes TWICE within 24 hours of making the poppers and just about blew my eyeball out of the socket. If you don’t wear gloves, just be smarter than me and keep your hands aways from your eyes for about 1 day.

    Easy Homemade Jalapeño Poppers
    • About 20 jalapeño peppers
    • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    • Fresh, shredded parmesan cheese (if you don’t have any, don’t worry about it!)
    • A handful or so of chopped chives or green onions (again, if you don’t have this, don’t worry about it)
    • About 20 strips uncooked bacon, cut in half
    • Vegetarian version: bread crumbs, plain or mixed with a bit of parmesan cheese plus a dash of salt and pepper
    1. Preheat oven to 375 – 400 degrees F.
    2. Cut jalapeño peppers in half the long way. Clean out the seeds and membrane (if you have latex gloves, this is the time to wear them!).
    3. If you are adding parmesan cheese and chives/green onions, mix them with the softened cream cheese. Fill each cut jalapeño pepper with cream cheese, filling them to the top but not overfilling too much so that the cheese doesn’t melt all over the pan. Wrap each stuffed pepper with a piece of uncooked bacon. Place on a large cookie sheet. You don’t need to space them apart too much, so go ahead and pack them in.
    4. If you want to make the vegetarian version, stuff the pepper with the cheese then roll the stuffed pepper in the breadcrumbs, sprinkling a bit of extra breadcrumbs on top and pressing into the cheese gently.
    5. Bake until bacon is cooked. The longer you cook the poppers, the less hot the peppers will be, so if you want them less spicy, cook on the lower end of the temperature range for a longer time. Total cook time will probably be about 20 – 30 minutes.
    6. This recipe is easy going and can be modified to your tastes – feel free to experiment!


  4. Sunday, October 13, 2013

    Week 351 Menu

    Happy Sunday!

    stanford game

    Well, apparently our presence was not a lucky charm for Stanford. Darnit! But our super quick trip to Utah was still a blast! We are on the road headed back to San Diego and hoping the kids survive a day of driving. I am going out of town again this week for a business trip, so I’m pretty much useless  when it comes to meal planning. I’m in survival mode!

    – Lasagna (from the freezer)

    Sweet potato and black bean burritos (from the freezer)

    – Chicken tenders (from the freezer)
    – Veggie

    – Leftovers

    – Take out

    – Breakfast for dinner or takeout

    – Chicken Piccata
    – Mashed potatoes and a veggie

    Look forward to seeing all of your wonderful menus. As always, thank you for taking the time to share!

  5. Friday, October 11, 2013

    Friday Show and Tell

    Happy Friday! We made it safely to Utah and are ready to cheer on the Stanford football team tomorrow! Since we’re traveling this week, I don’t have much to share. I didn’t post any music to Kitchen Tunage or write any TV posts. Tragic, huh?

    provo bakery donuts

    For me Utah equals devilish eating. We’ve only been here for one morning and I already feel a sugar overload coming on. But how I am supposed to resist orange rolls and Belgian waffles and all-you-can-eat French toast? Good thing we’re only here for two days!

    A few of my “Babbles” from this week:

    Please share whatever you like! Links, things you did this week, anything!

  6. Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    “Such a Dream.”

    Today I am going to totally embarrass myself. Yay!

    When we visited the Bosch showroom, they filmed each of the bloggers who attended, interviewing us about our new Bosch dishwashers. The videos will  play in showrooms and will be used for promotional purposes.

    So, today, the video. Yes, I’m sharing it with you. Even though I hate seeing myself on video and, like everyone, hate hearing my voice!

    The video itself isn’t all that embarrassing, but the closing quote IS. Every time I hear it, I just laugh and laugh and laugh.

    “Such a dream.”

    Such a cheeseball.

    Ah, the things I do for clean dishes. 😉

    Disclaimer: Bosch provided me with the dishwasher in exchange for reviewing the product. While they are wonderful and generous, all opinions are my own and, as always, I will share my honest opinions.

  7. Sunday, October 6, 2013

    Week 350 Menu

    We spent half the day at the beach yesterday with the kids, even though there were plenty of “to-dos” on the list waiting for our attention. I am so glad we did as Cate declared it the best day ever. Ten points for family time! We also saw a very beautiful sunset, thanks to smoke from a wildfire at nearby Camp Pendleton. My phone was dead by the time sunset rolled around, but the sky was beautiful all afternoon. Crossing fingers that the fire doesn’t cause too much trouble.

    carlsbad beach

    This week we’re doing something kind of crazy – we’re driving to Salt Lake City to see Stanford play the University of Utah. The only reason I went along with this plan is because our kids will see their cousins and we can also visit my grandparents. I just told my grandma we are coming to see them Friday and she said it was the best news she’d ever heard in her whole life. While I know this most certainly is not true, I do know that she will savor our visit very much. It will be a great trip!

    Chicken Caesar Wraps
    – Fruit and chips

    Spaghetti and meatballs

    – Eat on the road – we’re doing the first leg of the drive

    – Eat on the road – finishing up the drive

    – Will eat somewhere in Salt Lake


    – Eat on the road – driving home!

    I am loving all the menus you are posting each week – it’s wonderful! Keep it coming!

  8. Friday, October 4, 2013

    Friday Show and Tell!

    How is it already Friday? I think I say that every week, but every week Friday’s arrival surprises me all over again!

    NH macintosh apple |

    My mother-in-law Pat mailed us a box of New England autumn, which arrived yesterday, complete with Macintosh apples, caramel apple kit, maple candies, New England-style hot dog buns (just for me!), and PRETTY LEAVES. This is the time of year when I really really really miss the east coast.

    NH macintosh apples |

    Here are my “Babbles” for the week:

    And in the world of TV (which is suddenly very busy!):

    Lastly, I love Jenny’s take on the government shutdown. Very uplifting and empowering. Also, much love to any of you out there who are not being paid right now as a result of the craziness. I am constantly thinking of you.

    You know the drill! Show and tell time! Share whatever you want!

  9. Thursday, October 3, 2013

    A Visit to the Bosch Showroom

    Two days before we moved in June I visited the Bosch showroom to learn about our new dishwasher. Needless to say, it was a crazy week, but I welcomed a break from the packing and moving busy-ness that had taken over my life! It was a fun day, filled with beautiful kitchens, delicious food and fun friends.

    bosch showroom irvine | thisweekfordinner.comPhoto credit: Laurie Turk, Tip Junkie

    I had the chance to visit the Thermador showroom in Scottsdale previously but had never been to the Irvine showroom, which features Bosch, Thermador and Gaggenau. (Side note: Walking through the Gaggenau kitchens was unreal. I had no idea just how fancy kitchen appliances could be. Wowzah.)

    bosch showroom irvine |

    The Bosch kitchens were beautiful, featuring appliance after appliance that I would happily put in my own home. (If I could have fit them in my camera bag, I might have tried to sneak a few away!)

    bosch showroom irvine |

    bosch showroom irvine | thisweekfordinner.comPhoto credit: Laurie Turk, Tip Junkie

    Bosch is known for dishwashers and they had a room with a whole wall of them! We learned all about why Bosch dishwashers are so quiet as well as all the ins and outs of the dishwasher. Lest you think dishwasher talk would get boring, there was a laser light show! They even played a little Pink Floyd. (Okay, that last part might not be true.)

    bosch showroom irvine |

    I loved my dishwasher from the moment I received it, but it was fascinating to discover how it was made and learn all the ins and outs of my machine. The top rack can move up and down. The third rack can be made a little deeper if needed. The silverware compartment can break into two and be placed in various positions in the dishwasher. You can remove the top rack if you want to wash something extra big. Most impressive – the dishwasher stops and senses the cleanliness of the dishes 6 times during a wash and adjusts the cycle accordingly. This dishwasher is most definitely smarter than me.

    bosch showroom irvine |

    bosch showroom irvine | thisweekfordinner.comPhoto credit: Laurie Turk, Tip Junkie

    We had the chance to help cook lunch in the Bosch kitchens. The chefs are extremely talented because they took the food we prepared and still made it beautiful!

    bosch showroom irvine |

    And, wouldn’t you know it, they made us load our dirty dishes after lunch! Okay, so, we didn’t actually have to load our own dishes, but a really cute woman in a really nice outfit did load some of our dirty dishes to teach us how to load properly.

    bosch showroom irvine | thisweekfordinner.comPhoto credit: Laurie Turk, Tip Junkie

    Best loading tip of the day? Load silverware with the knives down (for safety), but all the other silverware should be facing up for best cleaning! (You know, with the spoon or fork part pointing up.)

    Also, if you have a good dishwasher like my Bosch, you don’t need to rinse the dishes. Just scrape the food off and toss it in the dishwasher. And, believe it or not, the dishwasher actually works more efficiently (remember the sensors?). If you rinse your dishes, Bosch folks call that “pre-washing.” It was really hard for me to stop pre-washing when I first got the dishwasher, but now I love it. I use so much less water and it’s faster!

    We ended the day with this:

    bosch show room irvine |

    You’ll have to wait until next week to find out more about this photo! (It involves me feeling a bit embarrassed, which should entertain everyone else! Click here to see what I’m talking about.)

    Disclaimer: Bosch provided me with the dishwasher in exchange for reviewing the product. While they are wonderful and generous, all opinions are my own and, as always, I will share my honest opinions.

  10. Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    Chewy Chocolate Chip Homemade Granola Bars

    Since I first shared Catherine McCord’s chocolate chip granola bar recipe with you. I have made a lot of granola bars. We are going through them like water! I am loving it because they are cheaper than store-bought granola bars and I love that we aren’t throwing out a wrapper with every granola bar we eat, instead using our reusable Lunchskins pouches.

    homemade chewy chocolate chip granola bars |

    Catherine’s recipe is perfect just the way it is, but I still couldn’t stop myself from experimenting! The original recipe I shared is a nice combination of crispy and chewy. I actually think crispy is probably a good description, although it’s not crispy like a Nature Valley granola bar, so I hesitate describing it purely as crispy. ANYWAY…I wanted to see if I could make a chewier granola bar based on the recipe, and I did!

    homemade chewy chocolate chip granola bars |

    I think I  prefer the chewier version myself, but every time I quiz Cate and Nate about which one they like better, they can’t decide. So, this new version is not an improvement over the previous version, it’s just different. If you’re looking for a chewier granola bar, then this version of the recipe is for you!

    homemade chewy chocolate chip granola bars |

    Click here for a gluten free version of this recipe, which also contains less sugar, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

    Click here for another version of this recipe that is also gluten free and has even less sugar, Chocolate Granola Bars.

    Chewy Chocolate Chip Homemade Granola Bars
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
    I adapted this recipe from Catherine McCord's granola bar recipe, to make it more chewy and changed up ingredients just a smidge.
    Recipe type: Snack
    Serves: 24
    • 4 cups rolled old-fashioned oats
    • 1 cup brown crisped rice cereal (you can use regular crisped rice; I like brown because it’s a little healthier, I get it at Sprouts and Barbara’s Bakery is my favorite brand)
    • ½ cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
    • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
    • Generous ⅓ cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup chocolate chips (regular or mini)
    • Generous ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ⅔ cup coconut oil (you can also use canola oil as a substitute, but the best texture comes with coconut oil)
    • ⅔ cup honey
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
    2. Combine oats, crisped rice, flour, coconut, brown sugar, chocolate chips and salt. Mix well.
    3. Combine oil, honey and vanilla. Whisk well. Add to dry ingredients and mix well (stir a lot...and then stir some more!).
    4. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pour granola bar mixture onto the lined cookie sheet. Press mixture out into a large, uniform rectangle, about 9”³ x 13”³. If your hands are damp when you push the mixture into shape, it won’t stick to your hands as much.
    5. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and dry to touch (watch out, it’s hot!). (I bake for 14 minutes, then rotate the pan, then bake for 14 minutes more.)
    6. If you use canola oil or your coconut oil was in liquid form, the bars may spread a bit during baking. As soon as you take them out of the oven, use a spatula to push all the edges back in, so you get your original rectangle.
    7. Cool on the baking sheet for 10-20 minutes until completely cooled. Slide granola bar along with parchment paper onto a large cutting board. Cut into bars using a long serrated knife - bars need to be completely cooled before you cut them.
    8. Makes 24 bars (8 rows, 3 columns). Bars will keep for several weeks in an airtight container.
    9. Tip: I use the parchment paper I cooked the granola bars on torn into smaller pieces to place between layers in the container I store the bars in.