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  1. Thursday, June 30, 2016

    Summer Grilling: Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad

    {Cue music} Summertiiiiime and the grilling is eeeasyyyy. That’s right, forget the kitchen, it’s time to start cooking all of the foods on the grill. I’ll admit, I use my outdoor grill all year, but it’s especially lovely to cook outside in the summer, and pretty much a necessity when the weather gets hot.

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard

    The Salmon Council approached me to develop another recipe with them, this time focusing on the grill. Of course I said yes because grilling salmon is my most favorite way to prepare it. The result was this delicious grilled brown sugar bourbon salmon pecan salad that our whole family loved. (Well, everyone except Owen, but he is a 4-year-old who cannot be trusted when it comes to food.)

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Preparing the ingredients

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Marinating the Salmon

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Grilling the Salmon

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Hot off the Grill

    As part of the recipe challenge, the Salmon Council sent me a box of Grill Mates goodies from McCormick. They sent many wonderful Grill Mates products, but the Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade Mix caught my eye. I decided marinated grilled salmon would taste wonderful over a mixed green salad and perfect for summer. Then I started thinking more about the spicy marinade mix and had a feeling it would be good on candied pecans. I was right! These candied brown sugar bourbon pecans are awesome on salad…or even alone as a snack! The nuts are bursting with flavor with just a hint of sweet. So good.

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Roasted Pecans


    I am so glad I had the chance to work with the Salmon Council and McCormick on this project because this recipe now exists. Enjoy!

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard

    Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon and Pecan Salad
    Serves: 4-6
    • 1½ pounds salmon filet, skin on
    • 2 packages McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade Mix
    • ¼ cup oil
    • 3 tablespoons water, divided
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
    • 1 cup pecan pieces
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon butter
    • Mixed Greens (approximately 5-6 ounce package should be good)
    • Sliced tomatoes
    • Ricotta Salata
    1. In a 9x13 baking dish, whisk together 1 package of the McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade mix, ¼ cup oil, 2 tablespoons of the water and the vinegar.
    2. Place salmon filet in the dish, skin side down, then flip over so skin side is facing up. Cover dish with foil and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
    3. While salmon is marinating, preheat oven to 350º F and prepare the brown sugar bourbon pecans by placing the pecan pieces in a small bowl and tossing with HALF of the other Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade packet. (You will have one half packet it for another day!)
    4. In a small bowl mix together 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the water and 1 teaspoon butter. Microwave for 20 seconds.
    5. Pour brown sugar mixture over the spiced nuts and stir until evenly coated. Spread nuts on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, then bake for 5 minutes more. Remove from oven, stir, and let cool. Be sure to stir and break up the nuts as they cool so they don't stick to each other or the foil.
    6. When the salmon has been marinating for about 45 minutes, preheat the grill to medium heat, around 500º F.
    7. When salmon has marinated for 1 hour, remove from fridge and, using the foil that covered the dish, place the salmon skin side down on the foil, folding up the edges of the foil to catch any liquid that cooks off while on the grill. Spoon marinade from the dish onto the salmon and spread evenly.
    8. Place foil with salmon on center of the grill, close the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes, until salmon is fairly easy to flake apart. Remove from grill.
    9. Toss mixed greens with seasoned nuts, sliced tomatoes and ricotta salata. Plate mixed greens and top with grilled salmon. Serve with your favorite salad dressing.

    Thank you to the Salmon Council for sponsoring today’s post!

  2. Writer Asha Dornfest Talks Parent Hacks, Priorities, Recipes and More (Ep. 45)

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #45: Interview with Writer Asha Dornfest + A Great Baking Tip + Whoopie Pies! from @janemaynard

    The podcast is back! We have a few more episodes over the next couple of weeks, then the podcast will be taking summer vacation like everyone else. Seems only fair. 😉 We’ll start back up again with new episodes in the fall. In the meantime, in today’s episode I share a baking tip, wax poetic about New England-style whoopie pies and then interview the lovely Asha Dornfest. Asha is a Portland, Oregon-based writer. Her most recent book is Parent Hacks, which is based on here 10-year-old blog of the same name. Asha is also the co-author of Minimalist Parenting and co-host of the Edit Your Life podcast. Asha and I talk a bunch about priorities, traditionally sweet foods going savory, her favorite recipe (that is beyond easy), an AWESOME tip for entertaining toddlers in the kitchen and more! As you can tell by the long list of links below, there is a lot of great info in this episode that you do not want to miss!


    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Just click play below!
    • Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the Stitcher, Podcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.

    Other Stuff!

  3. Sunday, June 26, 2016

    Week 492 Menu

    Happy Sunday, everyone! Believe it or not the girls and I just got back from yet another camping trip, this time up to the San Gorgonio mountains. It was awesome. We just got home and now it’s back to being connected and real life. 😉

    Week 492 Weekly Menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable meal plan and shopping list!

    Teriyaki Chicken with veggies and rice

    Malibu Melt Wraps
    – Fresh fruit

    Chicken Tortilla Soup

    – Leftovers

    – BLTs

    – Eat out night

    Grilled Salmon Tacos

    Click here for this week’s printable PDF of the menu and shopping list!

    You know the drill around here…we want to know what you’re having for dinner this week! Please share in the comments!

  4. Sunday, June 19, 2016

    Week 491 Menu

    Hey friends! We had an awesome Father’s Day and I am just not ready to sit down and plan a menu! But I can’t let a Sunday go by without a post…so, this is my placeholder post until I can plan the official menu for the week tomorrow. If you’re more on the ball than I am, feel free to start leaving your dinner plans for the week in the comments below! I will be back tomorrow with the actual menu! 🙂

    UPDATE TUESDAY 6/21: Okay, I just went to make the PDF for this week’s menu, and my computer is acting all crazylike! Apparently it’s on summer vacation, too. SO, I’m just going to list the menu below. Don’t worry, it’s not a menu worth downloading a PDF for anyway! 😉

    – Benihana with the kids – their end-of-school special dinner request!

    – Hot dogs & brats
    – Watermelon, potato salad, coleslaw


    Teriyaki Chicken with veggies and rice

    – The girls and I are camping again! The boys will find for themselves this weekend!

    That’s all she wrote! Some of you have already posted your menus…THANK YOU! Keep the menus coming!

  5. Sunday, June 12, 2016

    Week 490 Weekly Menu

    Hi friends! So, I’ve been a complete failure at making dinner lately. Seriously. There is just SO MUCH GOING ON these last few weeks of school. I call uncle. It is finally our last week of school and I’m just gonna see how it goes. Since it’s such a loosey-goosey menu, I’m not going to bother with the PDF! I am super excited for school to be over so that we have  a bit of time to get back into a good food groove.

    – Dinner salad with grilled chicken

    – Hamburgers

    – Pancakes and fruit

    – Pool party day

    – Benihana to celebrate the end of the school year (girls’ request!)

    – Take out night

    – Omelets and fruit

    You know the drill! Please share your menu for the week! Excited to see what you’ve got cooking!

  6. Monday, June 6, 2016

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar

    Last Friday Nate and I hosted our second annual lip sync/deaf man’s karaoke party (which was hysterical, by the way). Anyway, for the first annual lip sync party I created an Italian soda bar. It was delicious and fun, so I decided to make it a lip sync tradition and did it again this past weekend. Today I’m sharing some quick tips for how to make an Italian soda bar so you can do it, too! It’s perfect for summertime parties, but my kids love making their soda any old time. 😉

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar - The Supplies | From @janemaynard

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar from @janemaynard

    What you need for an Italian soda bar:

    • Club soda or sparkling mineral water. Seltzer water works, too, but the club soda/sparkling mineral water has a little more flavor that compliments the Italian syrup nicely.
    • Italian flavored syrup, like Torani. I went to Cost Plus World Market to buy my syrup, but you can also find it on Amazon. I provided six flavors for people to choose from. FYI: Vanilla goes nicely with every flavor, so that’s a good one to have.
    • Half & Half or Cream: Both half & half and cream work, and it gives your Italian soda a certain je ne sais quoi (or however you’d say that in Italian).
    • Cups & Straws: The people need something to mix their drink in and with! I buy clear plastic 16-ounce cups with lids. For some reason the lids really impress people. The straws work for stirring and drinking.
    • Ice: Be sure to have a big bowl of ice at the ready for your guests!
    • Vodka (optional): If you want to spike your soda, vodka is a good neutral-flavored option.

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar from @janemaynard | Mixing the drinks!

    How to Make an Italian Soda:

    • Fill glass halfway with ice.
    • Add about 6 pumps of syrup for a 16-ounce cup. Feel free to mix and match flavors!
    • Add club soda, leaving about an inch at the top of the cup. If using vodka, add 1-2 ounces of vodka to the cup before adding the club soda.
    • Add a splash of half & half or cream (about 1 tablespoon).
    • Stir gently with a straw.
    • Enjoy!

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar from @janemaynard

    That’s it! Creating an Italian soda bar is seriously super easy and it looks impressive at a party. {You’re welcome.} Plus, the syrups last pretty much forever, so that’s nice, too! Enjoy!

  7. The Ultimate Car Camping Checklist

    Last November my friends Catherine Connors and Tracey Clark invited my daughters and I to go camping in Joshua Tree for Catherine and Tracey’s very first Project Girl Quest adventure. Catherine and Tracey told us to simply bring ourselves and they would take care of the rest. It ended up being an amazing weekend that completely inspired me to give camping another try. You see, Nate and I historically have not been great campers, and, to be honest, I always felt a little guilty that we weren’t giving our kids more camping experiences. After camping with Catherine, however, I was totally ready to give it another go. She’s an expert and I learned a lot from her that weekend. I’ve gathered all of that wisdom and created the ultimate car camping checklist, which I am sharing with you today!

    The Ultimate Car Camping Checklist from @janemaynard

    The Ultimate Car Camping Checklist from @janemaynard | Cooking!

    After sending Catherine many texts and pretty much copying everything she and her husband Kyle did, our little family went camping in Joshua Tree for spring break and it was the best! Since it went so well, I feel it is my duty to share with you my checklist, as inspired by Catherine Connors.

    The Ultimate Car Camping Checklist from @janemaynard
    Click on the image above to download a PDF of the checklist.

    Please note: this is all about car camping, friends. You know, your-car-is-10-feet-away-from-your-tent type camping, not backpacking-10-miles-into-the-wilderness-to-find-a-remote-place-to-rough-it camping. I don’t know that we’ll ever attempt that latter type of camping because the car camping is just so perfect with kids. Maybe one day, but not now with littles under foot.

    The Ultimate Car Camping Checklist from @janemaynard | Hot Dogs!

    The list is pretty self-explanatory and I imagine I may be the person who uses it the most in the future. If you click on the image of the list above you can download a PDF and use it yourself! I do want to expound on a few of the items that you see on the list, so here we go:

    • FOOD. Here’s the deal, Nate and I were the worst when it came to food and camping. NO MORE! We bought a camping stove, which makes all the difference. And with some strategic food planning, we ate very well on our trip. For dinners I picked meals that could either be made ahead and frozen and then simply cooked in a pot (like chili or soup), or I chose items that keep well (like spaghetti, which doesn’t require refrigeration, and hot dogs, which are super easy). We had lots of good snacks, simple lunches, and planned on cooking breakfast (eggs and sausage) just one of the mornings, with oatmeal and cereal for the other mornings. Oh, and freezing a lot of the food ahead of time (including bread and muffins) was super helpful. The food keeps longer and helps keep the cooler, well, cool.
    • Instant Canopy: An EZ-Up is critical since most campsites lack permanent shade (especially in the desert!). We kept it anchored over the main picnic table at our campsite.
    • Multiple Tents: When we camped with Catherine she had one tent that was dedicated exclusively to supplies. When Nate and I went with our kids, we brought 2 tents and had the kids sleep separately from us, which left lots of space for luggage and supplies in both tents. It’s just so much easier to stay organized and find stuff with that extra space.
    • Tent Heater: This isn’t always necessary, but depending on the time of year it may be. We recommend only turning it on as you are going to bed and when you first get up in the morning.
    • Extra Tables: If you are staying at an established campsite, there will be at least one table, but it’s so nice to have more. I have two folding tables and we had them both set up.
    • Binoculars: We purchased a pair of Celestron 15×70 binoculars, as recommended by Catherine, and they are SO FUN to have, especially at night! Not necessary but definitely a nice-to-have!
    • Solar-Powered Twinkle Lights: Yes, these are cute and make your campsite pretty, but they are also very useful. I strung up a strand of these lights around the pop-up canopy over our table, so at night there was always a light source in our campsite. It wasn’t too bright but could help guide the way. I loved having these, plus they come in useful for other things, too (like decorations for my lip sync party here at home last weekend)! Just make sure the solar panel is exposed to the sun during the day.
    • Power Bank Charger: I have an external battery charger that can charge things for hours and hours. I bought it for plane rides but it is awesome for camping, too.
    • Outdoor mat or artificial turf: Some friends lent us a big piece of artificial turf and another friend lent us an outdoor mat (like for a patio). We placed these at the entrances of our tents and they were SO AWESOME TO HAVE.
    • Coffee When Camping: If you are a coffee drinker, there are two suggestions for you. First, instant coffee packets (like Starbucks VIA) totally work. But the second suggestion is just as easy and makes much better coffee: take an Aeropress. Easy cleanup and perfect for camping.

    Everything else on the list should be pretty easy to figure out, but let me know if you have questions! And, as always, feel free to share your own tips below in the comments! I am certain there are some awesome car campers reading this who have secrets to share!

    The Ultimate Car Camping Checklist from @janemaynard | Joshua Tree National Park

    Before we go, I have one final tip: Joshua Tree is the best place ever for camping with kids. (Indian Cove Campground and Jumbo Rocks are our favorite campgrounds.) Joshua Tree is truly magical. The granite boulders are incredibly grippy, making it easy to hike and climb. And, with an emergency whistle and walkie talkie in tow, the kids can explore this otherworldly place and feel like true adventurers. My favorite part is that the desert is so DRY, so nothing gets damp or wet! (I am such a mom.) I know this last tip isn’t helpful for everyone, but I just felt like I needed to sing the camping praises of Joshua Tree National Park. If you ever have the chance to camp there, take it!

    The Ultimate Car Camping Checklist from @janemaynard | Joshua Tree National Park

    All photos in this post were taken by my talented friend Nicole Watkins. Thank you for sharing them, Nicole!

  8. Sunday, June 5, 2016

    Week 489 Weekly Menu

    Hi friends. WHOAH. This past week just about did me in! I think this week will be pretty busy, too, but at least I’m getting to started off with a menu! And thank you all who posted menus last week. Everything on my menu this week is pulled from your menus!

    Week 489 Weekly Menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable weekly dinner plan and shopping list!

    – Grilled salmon
    – Rice and a veggie

    – Eat out night (probably In n Out in the car because we have so much going on that night!)

    – Loaded Chicken Nachos

    – Dinner at school open house!

    – BLTs

    Asian Chicken Salad

    – Quiche
    – Fresh fruit

    Now it’s your turn to share! Leave those weekly menu plans in the comments! THANK YOU!