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Category: Cora

  1. Friday, October 20, 2017

    Show and Tell, Grab Bag Edition! Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Deodorant, Netflix Birthday Fun & Prius Envy

    Hello, friends. I have a veritable grab bag of things to share with you today, including a recipe, deodorant, Netflix and car talk. Yes, totally random. But also fun! 😉 Let’s start with the food!

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Pumpkin Spice Butter Spread + Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Last week LAND O LAKES treated me to a surprise package, complete with a shiny new Chemex coffee maker and everything I needed to make Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer using their Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Butter Spread. We are loving the Pumpkin Spice Butter (seriously, I had to cut Cate off…she would have eaten a loaf’s-worth of toast just to consume the butter), so I felt like I needed to tell you about it! Plus, I did in fact make the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and it was delicious. I am now sharing the recipe with you!

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Show and Tell, Grab Bag Edition! Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Deodorant, Netflix Birthday Fun & Car Envy
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup half & half
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 teaspoons LAND O LAKES Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter Spread
    Instructions
    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave, stirring occasionally, 30-45 seconds or until butter spread is melted and sugar is dissolved.
    2. Beat with hand mixer for 90 seconds or until mixture is frothy. (Note: I whisked by hand.)
    3. Store in refrigerator in a container with a tight-fitting lid up to 1 week. Shake well before each use.

    Native Natural Deodorant

    Native Deodorant, my new favorite thing! from @janemaynard

    Years ago I wanted to switch to natural deodorant but had a bad experience (read: Hello, Stinky Lady!) and gave up. but the fact I’ve been smearing aluminum on my body every day for over 30 years has always nagged at me. Well, my sister-in-law Cora recently demanded that I try Native deodorant. She was insistent. She pretty much made me buy it. Well, I must admit that I am grateful Cora was so bossy! I LOVE NATIVE. So, so, so, so much. I have the Coconut & Vanilla, Coconut & Shea and Apricot & Peach scents and I love them all. Note: the scents are seasonal, so a few of those flavors aren’t currently available, but there are a bunch of new ones that sound great!

    Why do I love Native so much?

    • First and foremost, the deodorant actually works. I have less body odor than I did with anti-perspirant and my clothes are picking up less scents, too. Cora (and the website) said that I would need about 2 weeks for my body to adjust and for the deodorant to work well. I started using the deodorant during a heat wave and loved it from Day One. But please, if you try it, give it at least 2 weeks to kick in (in case you are not lucky like I was). Also, if you need to freshen up later in the day, just re-apply and magically things smell better.
    • Native’s customer service is amazing. AMAZING. I originally ordered the summer scent pack and did not like the floral scent that came with it. Native made an exchange beyond easy. Plus, even before needing customer service support, I loved their email communications. They do a great job every step of the way
    • I really like the scent options they have. The deodorant just plain smells good without being overpowering.
    • For those with baking soda allergy, they also have a sensitive version that does not contain baking soda.

    I must admit I thought it was a little funny how excited Cora was about her deodorant. I mean, how can someone be that happy about deodorant. But here I am. On the Native bandwagon and happy to be here. I’m in all the way! Thanks, Cora!

    Netflix Birthday Fun!

    New! Netflix Birthday Messages for Kids! from @janemaynard

    Did you hear about the new birthday messages for kids on Netflix? They launched the birthday messages just in time for Owen’s birthday last month and he loved them. Owen’s birthday party involved taking eight 5- and 6-year-old boys to the LEGO Ninjago movie, followed up with a dinosaur cake at the park. Having the LEGO Ninjago friends and the Dinotrux friends sending birthday wishes his way totally made Owen’s day!

    To find the messages, simply type “birthday” or “birthdays” into your Netflix search bar and all 15 birthday message video options will appear. Definitely a cute way to kick off your little one’s special day!

    Why I Wish We Weren’t So Frugal and Had Bought a New Prius

    2017 Toyota Prius Test Drive from @janemaynard

    Nate has been driving a Prius for over 3 years and has been very happy with it. When his lease was up this past spring, we decided to be frugal and buy the car he was driving rather than start a new lease with the latest Prius. I was perfectly happy with that decision until 3 months later when Toyota lent us a new 2017 Prius for our east coast trip. I love the new Prius. We shouldn’t have been so responsible after all! What were we thinking? 😉 I am grateful I had the chance to try the Prius out for a month (thanks, Toyota!), but now I totally have Prius envy. Here are a few of the things I loved about the car:

    • The car basically drives itself. The radar cruise control works beautifully. I used it ALL THE TIME. For example, when we drove from Cape Cod to New Hampshire, I followed my sister-in-law using cruise control. The system detects the speed of the car in front of you and adjusts accordingly, so Jess was basically doing all the driving. There is also a lane departure alert system, pre-collision and pedestrian detection system, and the car can park itself.
    • Even better gas mileage. I got over 50 miles per gallon the entire trip.
    • For such a small car, there  is a ton of storage. The back is roomy, and there is a net you can use to store smaller items. The storage was great for short and long trips alike.
    • I’ve mentioned this before about Toyota, but I love their remote lock system. It’s just awesome.
    • There was also a spot for doing that fancy cordless phone charging. My phone doesn’t have that capability, but I was sure wishing it did! I also like how the middle console is set up better in the new Prius versus previous models.
    • The navigation system worked better than my Google maps app on my phone. Impressive! And the car told me what the speed limit was at any given time, which is especially handy on those east coast back roads!
    • The one thing I did not love was the SofTex synthetic leather seat material. It is more eco-friendly than other synthetic leather materials and does not use any animal-based material, but if I had to choose I would go with fabric or real leather. I just didn’t love the feel of the seats or how they looked when inevitably sand and other stuff got into the seams.

    Phew! I think that’s all I have to share for today. As usual, Show & Tell is for the whole class! Feel free to chime in with your own finds and recent loves in the comments!

    Please note: I have a relationship with Netflix as a member of the Stream Team, which means they don’t pay me a dime but do send me cool fun stuff occasionally. Toyota provided me with the Prius for our trip. Land O Lakes provided me with product. I have no official relationship with Native deodorant.


  2. Saturday, March 18, 2017

    Smoking, please. Competitive smoking.

    So, you know how my sister-in-law Cora is going to start writing for the blog now? Apparently she and her husband (a.k.a. my brother) are on a quest to take over my blog because now HE has written up a recipe to share on the blog. Fine by me…less work for me, more good food for you! Also, the recipe he is sharing is in a competition and we need your votes. It’s easy and you don’t have to sign up for anything, so if you’re bored…GO VOTE! YAY! He’s in the East bracket at the very bottom. Without further ado, here’s Christian! 

    Recipe for Smoke N Grill Flank Steak by Christian Wallin for This Week for DinnerThis is Jane’s overly bearded brother, Christian. Husband of Cora, whom you might remember from such blog posts as Charcuterie for 500, please, Alex.

    We bought a house about 2 years ago, moved in and discovered the kitchen oven didn’t work. Like, at all. (Actually, turns out the gas lines didn’t work either as evidenced by the 3 or 4 fire trucks that greeted us within the first week of living in the house, much to the joy of the then 4- and 6-year-olds in the family.)

    In the interest of roasting two birds with one heat source, we went ahead and bought a smoker. With no working oven in the house. My wife obviously has a good sense of humor”© and an insatiable desire for smoked flank steak. She saw the irony, but also the perfectly smoked bark and juicy inside of our first brisket. It is an oven after all. It just doesn’t make your house hot in the summer.

    Today I’m here to share a spectacular grilling recipe of mine with you, born from that smoker, in hopes of warming up the weather to bring on spring. And if it looks good enough to you to lick the screen, I’d love your vote in the “East” division of this lil’ March Madness-style BBQ competition I’m in, bottom right. It’s a tight race and should only take 1 minute. UPDATE: You can’t vote for Christian because he won the competition! SO AWESOME! Go, Christian!

    This recipe has emerged from many a trial-and-error cooks. And it’s my favorite. If I made and sold my own barbecue sauce, this would be sketched in the background of the label. It uses the smoker first and then the grill to finish it off. If you don’t have a smoker, you can skip step 3 and go straight to the grill. It will still be delicious.

    But let me tell you. It only takes one smoke to never stop.

    If you have even the faintest of a smoke itch, check out a pellet smoker. It makes monitoring the heat source as easy as turning a dial and then you can focus on mastering the craft of BBQ, complete with wood-fueled flavor. And if you’re really feeling the urge to take on Spring with a vengeance, pick up Franklin’s BBQ book. In hardcover; it’s way more fun that way. If you can cook it in an oven, you can cook it in a smoker. Smoking opens up all sorts of culinary opportunity.

    With that, enjoy the recipe! And support competitive smoking (I’m the bottom right matchup). It’ll only take a second and then the steak will be spread to more beloved hearts.

    Smoke ’n Grill Flank Steak
     
    Get the smokey goodness of the smoker and the searing punch of the grill all in one glorious, marinaded slab of heaven. The smell of the marinade will make you want to pop open a beer at 11:00am, the aroma of the smoker will get the neighbors peaking over the fence, and the fire of the grill that afternoon will ensure your status as BBQ god amongst friends.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 lb flank steak
    • ¼ cup red wine
    • ¼ cup vegetable oil (I don’t use olive so it doesn’t solidify in the fridge)
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ⅛ cup soy sauce
    • A little less than ⅛ cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 limes, fresh squeezed
    Instructions
    1. Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Give it a stir and take a good whiff - it should make you want to lick it. Need some more citrus? A lil' more garlic? Add it. I like a strong garlic presence, solid lime scent, a wave of soy and enough Worcestershire sauce to make it unique (a little less than ⅛ cup).
    2. Put it in a plastic bag with the meat. Push out as much air as you can without shooting the marinade across the counter. Toss it in the fridge for 8 hours. I use vegetable oil instead of olive so the marinade doesn't solidify in the fridge.
    3. Load up your smoker with your wood of choice. I often use mesquite or hickory, maybe some apple mixed in. Keep it at about 180-200 degrees for 3 hours. If your steak is smaller, shoot more for 2½ hours.
    4. In the last 30 min of smoking, fire up your grill. I use charcoal because I can get it HOT. You want it as high as you can get it. Visiting my parents once I set their gas grill aflame getting it to where I wanted it. Not the safest grill moment I've had but had a hell of a good sear.
    5. Once your coals and grill are hot (HOT), transfer the steak from the smoker. Grill it about 3 minutes per side. You want to sear the dickens out of it, getting some nice char and grill markage. It will go about a minute faster than usual because the temperature of the meat is higher from smoking.
    6. Knowing when to pull a steak off is a bit of an art, but just takes practice. This steak is a little different because it will seem stiffer from smoking, but follow you gut. If you're unfamiliar with steak doneness, Google "using palm to test steak." It's remarkably accurate.
    7. Pull the steak off the grill, wrap in foil and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
    8. Carve that sucker, against the grain. Pencil-width slices. Adorn with Chimichurri sauce and sides of your liking. Crack a beer or other favorite beverage and bask in the smoky grace of BBQ.

    Chimichurri
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 bunch cilantro, washed WELL and chopped
    • 6 large cloves garlic, minced
    • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    • 1 lime, fresh squeezed
    • 1 tablespoon diced red onion
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    Instructions
    1. Put all ingredient in a food processor or blender and ZOOT! ZOOT!
    2. You're done. Easy. Be a hero and offer it to your guests for their steak.

    Hi, it’s Jane again. Christian doesn’t think I should post this photo, but I am anyway. Because THAT SHIRT.

    Recipe for Smoke N Grill Flank Steak from Christian Wallin | This Week for Dinner


  3. Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Charcuterie for 500, Please, Alex.

    From Jane: I am super excited today because I get to introduce you to This Week for Dinner’s first-ever regular contributor (who isn’t me!). Everyone meet Cora Wallin! Cora is my sister-in-law who has been making good food for our family since the day we all met her. She’s an excellent cook who is behind some of my favorite recipes here on the blog (I’m looking at you taco meat, sour cream banana bread and sweet potato burritos with the yummiest black beans ever). Last summer when Cora and I were hanging out at my parent’s house, she was telling me about a few of her recent favorite recipes. I was thinking about how I needed to make them and photograph them so I could share these recipes on the blog, and then I had a genius idea. Cora is both a fabulous writer AND photographer, so, um, that means she can just write these blog posts for me, right? Somehow I got her to agree and now we are all benefitting! (Okay, maybe Cora isn’t benefitting so much, but whatever. She just loves me THAT MUCH.) Cora is kicking things off with a delicious and beautiful post that explains how to do charcuterie at home. Thank you Cora! 
    How to Do Charcuterie (Photo credit: Cora Wallin) from @janemaynard

    We had an official #adulting moment last month. We were invited to dinner as a family (including husband Christian, 7-year-old Maddox, 5-year-old Sophie and 8-month-old Phoebe) by one of Maddox’s classmates. Obviously, I’m not a stellar member of the PTA (excuse me, PTO) for this to be our first family-dinner-at-a-classmate’s rodeo. It felt significant. It felt a bit nerve-racking. Would it be an evening of polite and benign conversation while the smelly seven-year-olds made fart jokes at the end of the table or would this be the beginning of family friends?

    About 30 minutes before show time, I sent the husband out to buy flowers and wine. Which meant we were almost late to a dinner only two blocks away. We arrived dew-kissed (read: sweaty) and slightly winded from the horror of getting three children in and out of coats, hats and shoes. The older kids ran off to destroy our hosts’ home while Christian and I joined the grown-ups on the sofa by the fire. I plopped down onto said sofa with Phoebe clinging to me and became even “dewier” thanks to the romantic, blazing hearth. Then my eyes fell to the coffee table where there upon the altar of friendship was laid mana. Life reviving sustenance. BEHOLD, a cheese board with the all the dressings and trappings of a Pinterest fantasy. Then I knew, I really knew, we would all be fast friends.

    How to Do Charcuterie (Photo credit: Cora Wallin) from @janemaynard

    That’s the power of the charcuterie. It brings fancy salamis and smelly cheeses together on little edible carb-loaded plates and turns everyone into heart-eyed smiling emoji faces. It’s pure magic. It’s how we can heal this world. So let’s break it down Jeopardy style…behold the keys to world peace.

    What is…charcuterie?

    Charcuterie is just a snooty french word that means a collection of cured meats. Now, I’ve unsuccessfully attempted charcuteries in the past, but what my new best friends showed me was the key to friendship and charcuterie glory is an assortment. Before I would grab 3 different kinds of meats and it always felt like a bit of a let down when I made the spread. Go for a variety, not quantity. Try rosemary ham, 3 different salamis and a pate or teewurst. Have a mix of sweet, spicy, peppery meats as well as melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto. It’s much better to do a little bit of a lot of things than a lot of just a few.

    What is…cheese?

    But meat alone won’t do the trick, otherwise my southern cousins’ pepperoni logs and Slim Jims would be the height of social entertaining. The lactose-y wonder of cheese is what makes all those delectable meats sing. Again, it’s all about the the different textures and flavors. Pick up a creamy brie, crumbly blue, smoky gouda and zippy manchego. Each bite should feel like a choose-your-own-adventure book for your mouth.

    How to Do Charcuterie (Photo credit: Cora Wallin) from @janemaynard

    What are…edible plates?

    Serve that wonderful meat and cheese on delicious edible plates. And don’t forget, variety, variety, variety! (Are you sick of that theme yet?) Don’t just serve water crackers. Slice up a fresh baguette. Grab some fig and olive crackers at Trader Joe’s. Toss in thin and crunchy breadsticks. The more the merrier.

    What are…all the extras?

    The extras are what will really set your charcuterie and cheese board apart. There are SO many amazing options but here are just a few: marinated olives (pitted always feels less awkward), nuts, caper berries, pepperoncinis, roasted peppers, juicy grapes, thin-sliced Granny Smith apples, french dijon mustard, fig preserves, quince or guava paste, fresh honey”©the list is endless. A great place for ideas can be your local wine shop. Many of them have cheese departments where you can get suggestions for wonderful pairings.

    How to Do Charcuterie (Photo credit: Cora Wallin) from @janemaynard

    What is…presentation?

    Lastly, don’t forget to make it pretty. Put cheese on little squares of parchment. Add fragrant sprigs of fresh herbs. Roll soft cured meats and fan out chorizo slices. Intermix your groups of meats, cheeses, crackers and extras.

    Remember this is about coming together. It’s about building bridges of hope and love. Let the cheese show you the way.


  4. Thursday, August 11, 2016

    Cora’s Mexican Ground Beef Tacos

    I have to confess something. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Mexican food. I blame living 20-40 miles from the Mexican border for eight of the last 15 years, with the other seven years still being in California. One of my biggest fears of moving away from the San Diego area is that I won’t be able to access my favorite Mexican ingredients for cooking at home. No, really, it’s a true FEAR.

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos | from @janemaynard

    Now that you know I’m a snob, I have another confession to make. Ground beef tacos are not my favorite and I refer to them as “gringo tacos” in my head (especially when crispy taco shells are involved). This isn’t to say Mexican cuisine does not include seasoned ground beef for tacos, it’s just not my first pick and ground beef is never on the menu at any of my favorite Mexican restaurants. That all said, I will still eat and even cook ground beef tacos occasionally, it’s just never my first choice.

    While we were visiting family the last few weeks, however, my sister-in-law Cora (who is a wonderful cook as well as a crazy talented photographer) made the best ground beef tacos I’ve ever had. Her Mexican friend Zu taught her how to make this delectable taco meat, and Cora has now passed that wisdom on to you and me.

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos | from @janemaynardPlease note: The amount of meat you see in the picture above is the recipe below doubled.

    First off, you will not need taco seasoning packets ever again. Stop buying them.

    Secondly, after you make this taco meat, you will want to eat 10 tacos. You’ve been warned. (After Nate’s umpteenth taco he declared, “Why are these SO GOOD?!”)

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos | from @janemaynard

    Thank you, Cora, for bringing ground beef tacos back into my life in the most delicious way.

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos
     
    My sister-in-law Cora gave me this recipe. Her Mexican friend taught her how to make this meat and it is scrumptious!
    Author:
    Serves: 8
    Ingredients
    • 1½ pounds ground beef
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder (Cora prefers chipotle chili powder)
    • 1 teaspoon paprika (Cora uses smoked paprika)
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1½ - 2 tsp seasoned salt (to taste)
    • 1 handful chopped fresh cilantro
    • ½ onion, diced
    • 1 pint quartered grape tomatoes
    Instructions
    1. Brown beef over medium heat in a large, preferably deep, skillet. Use a potato masher to really break down the meat as it cooks. (The potato masher is the secret trick to this recipe!)
    2. When the beef is about halfway browned, drain off excess fat, then add the diced onion and seasonings. Continue browning, then add the chopped cilantro and tomatoes.
    3. Reduce heat to low and cook until tomatoes and onions melt into the beef mixture, at least 20 minutes. You can add a bit of water as it cooks if needed. Also, continue to use the potato masher throughout the cooking process.
    4. Awesome served with fresh homemade salsa (like this one), pico de gallo and Cholula hot sauce...but you can eat it however you want!

     

     


  5. Friday, July 29, 2016

    Cora’s Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe + The BEST Way to Eat Banana Bread (How have I never done this?!)

    Right now I’m in New Jersey visiting my family. Despite the fact that my sister-in-law Cora had a baby just six weeks ago, she has still been caught cooking us delicious food. Yesterday she made four loaves of banana bread, which (unsurprisingly) are already gone! Cora has been kind enough to share her sour cream banana bread recipe with us today. Everyone say thank you, Cora! {Thank you, Cora!}

    Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe from @janemaynard

    Cora’s recipe is wonderful and tastes like butter. The day it is baked, the top is wonderfully crispy, while the bread itself is soft and moist. And as happy as I am to now have Cora’s great recipe, I’m even more happy about the fact that Cora and my brother Christian shared the greatest tip ever for eating banana bread.

    The Best Way to Eat Banana Bread | Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe from @janemaynard

    You know how when you make banana bread or brownies or whatever that has a crispy top and it goes soft over night? WELL…Cora and Christian always toast their slices of banana bread and then slather the slices with butter. The top gets crispy again, the edges are awesome, and the bread stays soft and delicious. And then, of course, melted butter. It’s basically the greatest and I may never eat banana bread any other way again. These toasty slices of heaven might be even better than fresh-from-the-oven banana bread. Crazy talk, I know, but true.

    The Best Way to Eat Banana Bread | Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe from @janemaynard

    Enjoy! BonANA Appétit!

    Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    From my wonderful sister-in-law Cora, who is an excellent cook!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Baking
    Serves: 2 loaves
    Ingredients
    • ⅔ cup butter
    • 1⅓ cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract (either are delicious!)
    • 1½ cup mashed bananas
    • 2¾ cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ c sour cream
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350Âș F.
    2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
    3. Add vanilla or coconut extract then add eggs, beating well after each egg.
    4. Add mashed bananas and mix well.
    5. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
    6. Beating on low, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients until just combined. Add ¼ cup of the sour cream, beat on low until just combined. Repeat with ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the sour cream, then finishing with the last ⅓ of the dry ingredients, making sure to mix until just combined with each addition.
    7. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

     


  6. Wednesday, January 20, 2016

    Pork and Udon Noodle Soup, a.k.a. Plastic Noodle Soup

    My sister-in-law Cora is a great cook and also a great discoverer of recipes. When she texts me about a recipe, I always follow through and make it. I have yet to be disappointed.

    Recipe for Pork and Udon Noodle Soup from @janemaynard

    The latest Cora recipe was this Pork and Udon Soup found on the Food Network website. She had made a few modifications, sent me the link with her notes, and told me that my nephew ate three bowls. Of course I had to try it!

    Recipe for Pork and Udon Noodle Soup from @janemaynardThem’s the plastic noodles right there.

    I’ve had the soup on my menu for two weeks and today I finally made it. And it was delicious. Anna calls it Plastic Noodle Soup. I like the name and will be calling it that from now on. My kids honestly didn’t love the plastic, I mean udon, noodles, so I may try using ramen noodles next time. But they did love the pork, the veggies and the broth very much. Owen never eats the broth but today he did! (Small victories.)

    Recipe for Pork and Udon Noodle Soup from @janemaynard

    If you want the original recipe, click here. Cora and I both felt the measurements were way off for some of the ingredients and we also adjusted the directions. So, you know, I’d follow the recipe below if I were you. 😉

    Recipe for Pork and Udon Noodle Soup from @janemaynard

    Pork and Udon Noodle Soup, a.k.a. Plastic Noodle Soup
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 8-10
    Ingredients
    • For the roasted pork:
    • 1 2-pound pork shoulder
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • Kosher salt and pepper
    • Alternatively: In a pinch, you can use Aidells Teriyaki Pineapple meatballs, about half a package (Cora used the meatballs and said it was good but the roasted pork is probably better)
    • For the soup:
    • 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
    • 2 medium carrots, chopped (my carrots were pretty skinny, I used 4 carrots)
    • ½ of a small onion, chopped
    • 1½ tablespoons fresh ginger (about 4 inches of root), minced using a zester
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 habanero, seeded and chopped (optional)
    • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
    • 2 cups cabbage, chopped
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 8 cups chicken stock
    • ~1/2 teaspoon salt
    • ~3 cups of the roasted pork, shredded
    • 2 or 3 7-ounce packages udon noodles (each package is enough for ~4 servings; toss the flavor packet)
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
    • Bean sprouts, for garnish
    • Lime wedges, for garnish
    • Sriracha sauce, for garnish
    Instructions
    1. To roast the pork: Preheat oven to 425Âș F. In a small bowl mix 4 tablespoons olive oil with 4 minced garlic cloves. Place the pork shoulder in a roasting pan, preferably with a rack in the bottom. Brush the garlic oil on all sides, then sprinkle all sides evenly with kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 325Âș F and cook until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the pork reads 185Âș F, which will take a few hours. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes. Shred and set aside.
    2. To make the soup: Prep the onion, carrots, ginger, garlic, chile (if using), mushrooms and cabbage before you start to cook.
    3. Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once heated add the onions and carrots. Cook until they start to brown. If pan seems too hot while the onions and carrots cook, adjust heat to medium.
    4. Reduce heat to medium (if you haven't already) then add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
    5. Add 2 tablespoons canola oil, then add the mushrooms and cabbage. Stir in the soy sauce, then add the chicken stock. Cook for about 10 minutes. At this point taste the soup and see if it needs additional salt. I added ½ teaspoon of salt at this point.
    6. In a separate small pot, bring about 2 cups of water to a boil. Cook udon noodles for 2 minutes then drain. Divide noodles into 4 bowls.
    7. Add shredded pork (or meatballs, if using) to the soup and cook for a few minutes, just until meat is heated. Fill each bowl with soup.
    8. Top with cilantro, bean sprouts, lime juice. Cora and I leave the habanero out of the soup so the kids can eat it, then use Sriracha to add heat to our own individual servings.
    Notes
    My kids didn't love the udon noodles. I think ramen noodles would be equally as delicious in this soup. 1 package of ramen (without the flavor packet) would probably be enough for the entire pot of soup.
    It is best to serve and store the noodles separate from the soup. You could in theory cook the noodles right in the soup. Cora said she stored the noodles in the soup for leftovers and they were okay, but it was definitely better keeping them separate.

     


  7. Thursday, October 8, 2015

    What to Eat in New Orleans, i.e. How to Give Yourself a Food Hangover

    Last week I went to New Orleans with my mom, sister-in-law Cora and sister Anne with one goal: to eat tons of food. We not only achieved our goal, we did so with flying colors. Actually, too many flying colors. By the third night I felt strange. Physically strange. I think it was a food hangover. Listen, I’ve been known to put down a lot of food in my day, but New Orleans just about did me in. And it was totally worth it. Man, the food is awesome. And beyond food, the city is beautiful, the people are friendly and the music is the BEST. New Orleans has captured my heart. (As well as my stomach!)

    Cabildo Alley | New Orleans | What to Eat in New Orleans from @janemaynard (photo by Cora Wallin)Cabildo Alley. Photo credit: Cora Wallin

    As we prepared for the trip, Anne made us all do research and put it in a Google doc so that when we were on the ground we’d be ready to go! Of course we didn’t get to half of what was in the doc, but we did a TON in our 3 1/2 days in NOLA and I honestly can’t believe how much food we ate.

    Jackson Square | What to Eat in New Orleans by @janemaynardJackson Square

    If you follow my very enthusiastic advice and visit New Orleans (you better!!!), here are all the delicious/wonderful/interesting/fun places you should visit!

    BREAKFAST

    Ruby Slipper Cafe (Days 1 & 4…we started and ended our time in New Orleans here!)
    My friend Kalli visited NOLA just one week ahead of us and recommended the Ruby Slipper Cafe, stating that the biscuits were the BEST THING EVER and that she wished she had just ordered biscuits and bacon as her meal. I do agree that those items were delectable, but I am SO glad we ordered other items, too. Honestly, Ruby Slipper really stands out for all four of us as a favorite from the weekend. Here are some of our Ruby Slipper top picks! (Click here for full menu and descriptions.)

    • Chicken St. Charles: I could eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s UNREAL. The fried chicken is divine, the egg was poached to perfection, and the tasso sauce finished it all off beautifully. (Side note: Tasso ham is a southern Louisiana specialty.)
    • Eggs Blackstone: This was my first meal in New Orleans and, let’s just say, it set a very high bar.
    • One word: BISCUITS. Best biscuits we had all weekend.
    • Bananas Foster Pain Perdu: This French toast was one of my mom’s favorite foods from the whole weekend. Delish!
    • We didn’t imbibe at Ruby Slipper, BUT their alcoholic breakfast drink menu was extensive and delicious sounding. It’s always 5:00 somewhere, right?

    Chicken St. Charles from Ruby Slipper Cafe in New Orleans | from @janemaynard

    Biscuits from Ruby Slipper Cafe in New Orleans by @janemaynard

    Eggs Blackstone from Ruby Slipper Cafe in New Orleans by @janemaynard

    (>> Find out more…)


  8. Wednesday, September 9, 2015

    Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil Tap Rooms are FUN

    This summer while visiting my family in New Jersey, we took a day trip to Warwick, NY. I love that cute little town and try to discover something new each time we go. This summer we happened upon the Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co., which opened up earlier this year.

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    This beautiful shop is a balsamic vinegar and olive oil tap room. I had never visited a tap room prior to our visit to Warwick and quickly fell in love. I love high-quality olive oils, a love that flourished while living in the Bay Area near McEvoy Ranch.

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    Balsamic vinegar is another ingredient that I was fairly clueless about until I had the chance to try a really high-quality vinegar. Several years ago I went to the Fancy Food Show with my dear friend Vanessa Druckman. In the “Italy” section of the expo there were several balsamic vinegar companies. One of the vendors had us taste his most expensive vinegar (p.s. you can really spend a lot of money on vinegar, in case you were looking for a way to spend a lot of money). I can’t even explain how amazingly delicious that spoonful of balsamic vinegar was. Otherworldly, my friends.

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    As you can imagine, a balsamic vinegar and olive oil tap room was right up my alley! I was drinking oil and vinegars left and right! The balsamic vinegar flavors were especially fun, from cherry to peach to chocolate! I ended up buying the grapefruit vinegar as well as a bottle of Italian olive oil that was pressed in May 2015.

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    The kids did surprisingly well in the store with us, and my girls really enjoyed trying the balsamic vinegars. That said, it was a good thing Grandma was there to read stories while my sister-in-law Cora and I reveled in the oil and vinegar. For some reason the kids didn’t think that the tap room was quite as fun as I did. Strange.

    Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co. visit and why tap rooms are FUN!

    The bottom line is this…if you have a chance to visit a tap room, do it! It is really a unique and fun experience. No, really, it IS fun. I swear!


  9. Wednesday, July 22, 2015

    Grilled Nutella and Strawberry Sandwiches OR How to Eat Chocolate For Lunch

    We are in New Jersey right now visiting my family. My sister-in-law Cora introduced us to a new way to eat chocolate for lunch yesterday. I’m always up for making chocolate into a meal, so I was 100% on board!

    nutella & strawberry sandwiches from @janemaynard

    Cora had recently taken her little girl and my niece Sophie to a cafe called Marigolds. They ordered the Nutella panini off the menu and discovered something quite delicious – a panini made with Nutella and fresh sliced strawberries!

    nutella & strawberry sandwiches from @janemaynard

    Of course we had to try making it on our own and that’s what we had for lunch yesterday! And before you start thinking it’s all weird that this is an actual sandwich that you can have for lunch (my mom couldn’t quite wrap her brain around it), this is basically a PB&J if you really think about it. Nutella is a hazelnut spread, so that’s just like peanut butter, right? And fresh strawberries are way healthier than sugar-laden jam. So, you know. totally the same and way healthier! (Okay, not totally, but whatever.)

    nutella & strawberry sandwiches from @janemaynard

    The cafe even served the Nutella panini with homemade potato chips. This is LUNCH, people. I swear!

    nutella & strawberry sandwiches from @janemaynard

    Whether you agree that this makes a healthy and nutritious lunch or not, I do think you’ll agree it’s delicious. Seriously, DELICIOUS. You’re welcome.

    Grilled Nutella and Strawberry Sandwiches
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    As created by my sister-in-law Cora Wallin, inspired by Marigold's in Summit, NJ
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Good crusty bread
    • Fresh sliced strawberries
    • Nutella
    • Butter
    Instructions
    1. Spread Nutella on 2 slices of bread.
    2. Layer sliced strawberries on one side then put the sandwich together.
    3. Butter the outside of both slices of the sandwich and grill in a pan over medium heat until golden brown (like a grilled cheese sandwich) or cook in a panini maker.

     


  10. Thursday, July 24, 2014

    Why You Need a Pampered Chef Scoop and Not Just Any Old Scoop

    Friends, I need to do a follow-up post about scoops because I didn’t realize a little something about my scoops until now. My sister-in-law Cora said that I needed to do a follow-up!

    medium and large scoops web

    Three years ago I wrote a post about how you absolutely need a scoop (or two) in your kitchen. I still firmly stand by that advice. HOWEVER…I learned this summer that there is a second bit of advice that I should have also included that I didn’t know was important. Not only do you need a scoop (or two), you need a Pampered Chef scoop.

    Here’s the deal. When I went to New Jersey this summer I made cookies at my mom’s house. When I went to make the cookie dough balls, I got out the scoop that I had given her last year, a scoop that I had purchased at Michael’s and was not cheap, by the way. As I pulled it out of the drawer, my sister-in-law said, “Ugh, I’ve gone through three scoops since you wrote that post about scoops. They always break on me!” I was stunned to hear this.

    And then I started scooping dough and the scoop kept getting jammed and the little swivel thingy kept getting pulled into the wrong place. It was basically the biggest pain ever. Cora was aboslutely right. The scoop could not handle a batch of cookie dough. It kinda blew my mind.

    I have NEVER had any issues whatsoever with my Pampered Chef scoops. They are in the exact same condition as the day I got them, they never get jammed, they have never broken and I can make a billion cookie dough balls with no issues. Cora and I realized that my advice to “Get a scoop” really should have been “Get a Pampered Chef scoop.” I had no idea that it made such a difference!

    Pampered Chef sells three sizes of scoops:

    • Large Scoop (~3 tablespoons): perfect for making pancakes and filling muffin tins.
    • Medium Scoop (~2 tablespoons): perfect for standard-sized cookies
    • Small Scoop (~1 tablespoon): also good for cookies, just smaller ones

    If you’re only going to get one scoop, go with the medium, especially if you’re getting it specifically for making cookies. It’s a great size.

    This post is in no way sponsored by Pampered Chef. I just needed to tell you how much better their scoops are! And also apologize if you, like Cora, have been feeling frustrated the the scoop you may have gotten based on my advice.

    Also, as usual, I love your feedback! If you have another brand of scoop that is equally as awesome as my Pampered Chef scoops, please share it with us!