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  1. Wednesday, April 25

    Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing

    Last week I had a photography job in Orange County. I needed to grab lunch on the road and noticed a place called CAVA. Now that I’m not eating wheat, dairy and sugar and my diet is still quite strict (waiting to get that allergy testing done!), eating out is tricky. CAVA looked like it could be promising so I decided to give it a try. I am so glad that I did, I love this restaurant! Heartbreakingly, we do not have a CAVA restaurant anywhere near my house. (Wah-waaaah.) I think the best way to describe CAVA is it’s essentially a Mediterranean-inspired Chipotle. You create a bowl, choosing your grains, greens, proteins, veggies, etc. While there were ingredients that did have wheat and dairy, there were plenty that did not. There was so much to choose from it made me happy!

    Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing from @janemaynard - Super healthy, even more delicious!

    I had a bit of my bowl left over when I picked up Owen from school. He ended up stealing the rest of my lunch…I have never seen him inhale unidentified vegetables and grains that way! For the last week he has been begging me to recreate the bowl at home, so last night I gave it a go.

    Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing from @janemaynard - Super healthy, even more delicious!

    This is my new favorite meal. It took some effort to get all the ingredients prepared, but the final dish was worth it. And now I have a fridge full of ingredients I can easily throw together for lunch or leftover dinner this week.

    Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing from @janemaynard - Super healthy, even more delicious!

    I did include leftover rotisserie chicken in our bowls to use it up, but you could easily leave the meat out and the bowl would be just as delicious…and completely plant based! Yay for delicious vegan food!

    Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing from @janemaynard - Super healthy, even more delicious!

    I am going to list below exactly how I built our bowls. Obviously you can mix and match ingredients or come up with your own creation. The CAVA menu provides some pretty great cooking inspiration, click here to check it out. (CAVA also has locations in 9 states as well as Washington D.C. If you live near one, I highly recommend it. Go and enjoy it for me!)

    Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Brown Rice
    • Lentils (Green, Brown and/or Black)
    • Cooked chicken, bite-sized pieces (leave out to make this dish vegan)
    • Carrots, diced
    • Golden beets, diced
    • Cauliflower, bite-sized pieces
    • Super or Power Greens, chopped (I bought a mix from the grocery store produce section)
    • Broccoli Slaw (no dressing, again, I bought a mix from the grocery store produce section)
    • Hummus
    • Chimichurri sauce
    • 3 handfuls grape tomatoes, chopped
    • 1 cucumber, chopped
    • Olive oil
    • 3 limes
    • ⅓ cup tahini (stir well before using)
    • ⅓ cup water
    • 1 garlic clove, minced or pushed through a garlic press
    • ¾ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    Instructions
    1. Combine the juice from 2½ limes, tahini, water, garlic, salt and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk well and set aside.
    2. Roast carrots, beets and cauliflower together in a 425º F oven for 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with salt before roasting.
    3. Cook brown rice and lentils as directed on the package.
    4. Put tomatoes and cucumbers in a small bowl, drizzle with olive oil and squeeze the juice from the final ½ lime you haven't yet used. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
    5. In a bowl, layer the ingredients as follows: brown rice, lentils, chicken (if using), roasted vegetables, greens, slaw, spoonful of hummus, spoonful or two of chimichurri sauce, cucumber-tomato mixture. Drizzle generously with the tahnini dressing, mix all together and enjoy!
    6. Tip: I mixed and prepared all the individual ingredients in the containers that I would be storing them in the refrigerator in after dinner was done. It made clean-up much easier!

     


  2. Sunday, April 22

    Week 576 Weekly Menu

    Happy Sunday! We’ve got a busy week ahead of us, but the dinner plan should help with the stress! Here we go…

    Week 576 Weekly Dinner Menu from @janemaynard

    MONDAY:
    – Coconut Chicken Tenders (going to try experimenting with cornmeal instead of breadcrumbs)
    – Salad

    TUESDAY:
    Chili

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Chicken, Veggie, Rice & Lentil Bowls (going to copy something I had at Cava in Orange County, will share a recipe if what I create turns out well!)

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Pesto Pasta
    – Salad

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night! (The girls and I will be in Los Angeles attending the first-ever Maverick Summit for girls as well as the Get Lit Words Ignite Classic Slam…I can’t wait for this inspiring day with my daughters!)

    SUNDAY:
    – No clue because we have back-to-back music recitals in different towns. Will pack snacks and hope we don’t starve!

    As you know this blog would be super duper boring without all of you. Please share your own weekly menu in the comments below! Thank you!


  3. Urban Plates Chimichurri Sauce

    Hello. I need to share a quick recipe with you today. It’s for a chimichurri sauce that tastes especially delicious over steak or salmon, but is so yummy you’ll probably want to pour it over all kinds of things (chicken? roasted vegetables? toasted baguette? YES to all!).

    Urban Plates Chimichurri Sauce Copycat Recipe from @janemaynard

    There is a restaurant chain near where we live called Urban Plates and it’s pretty much my favorite place to eat. The food tastes homemade, there are tons of vegetables involved and the food is consistently delicious. Lately I’ve been ordering their baked salmon with a side of the chimichurri sauce. The Urban Plates chimichurri sauce is divine. I dug around on the internet, found a blog post describing the ingredients in the sauce, then went to my kitchen to figure out the recipe. Happily I succeeded! I’ll still willingly go to Urban Plates where they can make the sauce for me, but I am relieved to know I can replicate this tasty sauce at home as well as share the recipe with those of you who live nowhere near an Urban Plates restaurant. Enjoy!

    Urban Plates Chimichurri Sauce Copycat Recipe from @janemaynard

    Urban Plates Chimichurri Sauce
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    This recipe is a copycat of the Urban Plates chimichurri sauce I love so much! This sauce is wonderful served over steak or salmon but would be delicious drizzled over other savory foods, too!
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups fresh parsley (no need to chop it up at all)
    • ½ of a large red bell pepper, cut into large pieces
    • ½ of a red onion, cut into large pieces
    • 2 garlic cloves, removed from the paper and cut in half
    • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • ⅛-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Instructions
    1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Process on high for about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl about halfway through. Pulse until sauce has a uniform, medium-fine chunky consistency like you see in the photos. Serve over proteins like steak or salmon, vegetables or whatever suits your fancy!

     

     


  4. Monday, April 16

    Week 575 Weekly Menu

    It’s Monday…no meal planning for me yesterday because, yes, we were working on taxes. Fun times!

    Week 575 Weekly Dinner Menu from @janemaynard

    MONDAY:
    – Brats, peppers and onions

    TUESDAY:
    Pasta Primavera (I’m excited to finally try Banza pasta for myself…family will get normal whole grain pasta)

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Homemade Hamburgers
    – Crudite

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    Coconut Chicken Tenders (going to try experimenting with cornmeal instead of breadcrumbs)
    – Salad

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    Cyclops Farms Dinner for Nate and me…SO EXCITED!
    – Breakfast for dinner for the kids (I’m putting 10yo Anna in charge!)

    As always, THANK YOU for sharing your own dinner plans in the comments! I love reading through them week after week!


  5. Sunday, April 8

    Week 574 Weekly Menu

    Spring Break was a blast and we’re having a nice quiet Sunday to recuperate from our whirlwind Disneyland and Joshua Tree visits, which means time to plan this week’s menu. Here we go!

    Week 574 Weekly Menu from @janemaynard

    MONDAY:
    – Italian Sausage, Peppers & Onions

    TUESDAY:
    – Salmon with chimichurri sauce
    – Side vegetable (whatever looks good at the store!)

    WEDNESDAY:
    Stefania’s Braised Chicken
    – Brown rice and side vegetable

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Taco night

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Chicken Biryani
    – Lentils

    Thanks as always for sharing your menus in the comments below! They are so incredibly helpful to me and so many others each week as we sit down to plan dinner. Can’t wait to see what you’ve all got cooking this week!


  6. Monday, April 2

    Gluten-Free Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars

    Recently I had to go super clean with my eating. There were a few weeks where I couldn’t eat any sugar, dairy or wheat. It ended up being easier than I thought it would be (no, really), but it has been nice to slowly add those things back in here and there. But now that I’ve made these changes to my diet in such a positive way, I would really like to maintain those changes. As a result, I’ve started looking at some of my favorite recipes and thinking about how I can modify them. One of the first recipes to go through a makeover was my beloved Chewy Chocolate Chip Homemade Granola Bar recipe. First I made the recipe gluten free and reduced the sugar by about 3 grams per bar. Then I took it a step further, which brings us to today’s homemade chocolate granola bars.

    Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars (Gluten Free) from @janemaynard

    As I was calculating the amount of sugar in each recipe, I was surprised by how much sugar was coming from the chocolate chips. If I took them out and used cocoa powder, theoretically I would still get that chocolatey flavor but without all the added sugar. So, I tried it. And the trick worked!

    Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars (Gluten Free) from @janemaynard

    This recipe for homemade chocolate granola bars is awesome. My original recipe is a bit more chewy, but the texture on these chocolate bars is fantastic, a little chewy, a little crispy, but they don’t fall apart at all. And the flavor is wonderful. I think I might even like these better than the original, which is really saying something. This recipe is gluten free and each bar contains about 8 grams of sugar, which is 5-6 grams less per bar than my original recipe. Woohoo!

    Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars (Gluten Free) from @janemaynard

    Without further ado I give you Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars!

    Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars (Gluten Free)
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 24
    Ingredients
    • 4 cups rolled old-fashioned oats (make sure label says gluten free)
    • 1 cup brown crisped rice cereal
    • ½ cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
    • ⅓ cup brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons oat flour (make sure label says gluten free)
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    • Generous ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¾ cup coconut oil
    • ½ cup honey
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
    2. Combine oats, crisped rice, coconut, brown sugar, oat flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix well.
    3. Combine coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Whisk well. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. (Stir. Stir some more. Keep stirring!)
    4. Line a large cooke sheet with parchment paper. Pour granola bar mixture onto the lined cookie sheet. Press mixture out into a large, uniform rectangle, about 9" x 13". It is easiest to form the rectangle if your hands are wet.
    5. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake for 14-15 more minutes.
    6. Cool completely before cutting. Cut into 24 bars, 8 rows x 3 columns.

     


  7. Chocolate Chip Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars

    One of the recipes I’m most proud of on this blog is my Chewy Chocolate Chip Homemade Granola Bar recipe. I love those granola bars and everyone I’ve ever shared them with loves them. I’ve tried different flavors, but we always come back to chocolate chips. The original recipe is best!

    Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars with Chocolate Chips from @janemaynard

    That said, over the last few weeks I’ve had to clean up my eating and do some elimination diet stuff. (FUN TIMES!) The adjustments to my diet prompted me to modify my granola bar recipe in two ways: take out the wheat and reduce the amount of sugar. The recipe below is the gluten-free version of my original granola bar recipe and each bar contains about 3 grams less sugar than the original recipe, going from 13-14 grams added sugar per bar to about 11 grams.

    Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars with Chocolate Chips from @janemaynard

    This recipe tastes almost the same as the original, it’s just a little less chewy and a little more crispy. But not by much. I am perfectly happy with the modifications to this recipe and would use either recipe just as happily!

    I have one more modified version to share, Chocolate Granola Bars, which I will do in a separate post. The chocolate granola bars have only about 8 grams of sugar per bar and they taste great! But first here is the recipe for Chocolate Chip Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars!

    Chocolate Chip Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 24
    Ingredients
    • 4 cups rolled old-fashioned oats (make sure label says gluten free)
    • 1 cup brown crisped rice cereal
    • ½ cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
    • ⅓ cup oat flour (make sure label says gluten free)
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    • Generous ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¾ cup coconut oil
    • ½ cup honey
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
    2. Combine oats, crisped rice, coconut, oat flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips and salt. Mix well.
    3. Combine coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Whisk well. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. (Stir. Stir some more. Keep stirring!)
    4. Line a large cooke sheet with parchment paper. Pour granola bar mixture onto the lined cookie sheet. Press mixture out into a large, uniform rectangle, about 9" x 13". It is easiest to form the rectangle if your hands are wet.
    5. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake for 14-15 more minutes.
    6. Cool completely before cutting. Cut into 24 bars, 8 rows x 3 columns.

     


  8. Week 573 Weekly Menu

    Hello! Since yesterday was Easter and all, I am just now sitting down to plan my menu for the week. It’s an easy one, using up ham and taking day trips for my kids’ spring break!

    Week 573 Weekly Dinner Menu from @janemaynard

    MONDAY:
    Lentil Soup
    Leftover rolls

    TUESDAY:
    – Omelettes with ham, tomato, avocado, mushroom, onion

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Day Trip to Disneyland!

    THURSDAY:
    – Day Trip to Joshua Tree!

    FRIDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SATURDAY:
    Roasted Chicken with Rice and Salad (click link for my roasted chicken tutorial, which is now published!)

    SUNDAY:
    – Leftovers

    You know the drill….leave your own meal plans in the comments below. Have a great week!