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Category: featured recipes

  1. Thursday, May 10, 2018

    Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

    So. I’ve been making pot roast in a slow cooker for ages. The recipe is simple, reliable and delicious. I didn’t think anything could ever replace that recipe. And then, this week, I tried making pot roast in my Instant Pot, using the pressure cooker settings. Whoah, boy, pressure cooker pot roast just replaced slow cooker pot roast. Quite frankly I’m stunned by this upset. But I’m happy about it just the same.

    How to make pot roast in a pressure cooker

    I bought an Instant Pot I think three years ago and, until last month, had used it only once. I tried cooking basic chicken using the pressure cooker function and it worked, well, fine. It didn’t blow me out of the water, and so the Instant Pot got pushed to the back of the cabinet. And then my friend Christine mentioned a few weeks ago how she loves making brown rice in the pressure cooker. So I dug it out and started experimenting.

    Recipe for pressure cooker pot roast

    As of today I am so-so on brown rice (I just haven’t perfected that process yet) and in love with making beans in the pressure cooker (I’ll share that recipe another day, it took some tweaking but I finally have it where I like it). And then I decided to try pot roast. HUGE SUCCESS. It tasted the same as my slow cooker pot roast and, top to bottom, took about 2 hours instead of the usual 8-9 hours.

    I will say this – I can totally see instances where cooking the pot roast for 8 hours will be more convenient based on my schedule for a particular day. But what is so glorious is now I have two options, 2 hours or 8 hours, with equally delicious results. Hooray for pressure cooker pot roast!

    Pressure cooker pot roast, my new favorite way to make pot roast!

    I took my inspiration for this pot roast from my friend Barbara from Pressure Cooking Today. She is my pressure cooker guru. You need to bookmark her site pronto if you have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. You’re welcome. (Click here for Barbara’s pot roast recipe, which has a few more ingredients than my version below.)

    Pressure Cooker Pot Roast
     
    Prep time
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    Simple, easy and delicious! Instructions below are based on using an Instant Pot.
    Author:
    Serves: 6-8
    Ingredients
    • 1 chuck, chuck-eye, or round roast (around 4 pounds)
    • 1-2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
    • ½ of an onion, chopped
    • 2 cups beef broth or stock
    Instructions
    1. Sprinkle roast evenly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    2. Select the "Browning" setting on the Instant Pot. Add oil to Instant Pot and let heat up. Once hot, brown the roast on both sides, a few minutes per side until you start to get beautiful browned spots. Set roast aside.
    3. Add onions to the Instant Pot and cook until softened and translucent. Stir regularly.
    4. Add the chopped onions to the oil in the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and mushrooms and cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Stir in broth and simmer until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Scrape up all the browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pot while broth is simmering.
    5. Add roast and change Instant Pot setting to High pressure. Make sure the pressure release handle is on "Sealing." Set the timer for 90 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes for the pot to build pressure and for the 90-minute countdown to begin.
    6. When the 90 minutes is over, turn off the pressure cooker and let it sit for 15 minutes, letting pressure release naturally. At the 15-minute mark, using a hot pad and being careful not to touch the steam, turn the pressure release handle to "Venting" to release the rest of the pressure. Once it stops steaming, remove the lid.
    7. Let roast rest for 10-15 minutes. Use juices for gravy, straining the juice first to remove the "stuff" left behind in the juices. Make gravy using white roux (click here for recipe and instructions). You can also use a slurry made from ½ cup flour whisked with 1 cup cold water to thicken the gravy if you forgot to make the roux.

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:


  2. Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing

    Today I have a recipe to share with you that is now my favorite. It’s a lentil rice bowl with lime-tahini dressing. That may or may not sound good to you, but no matter what you are thinking right now I promise you will like it. Well, okay, there may be someone out there not down for the lentil rice bowl but I kind of doubt it.

    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!

    Recipe for Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing from This Week for Dinner. Healthy and delicious!

    Heartbreakingly, we do not have a CAVA restaurant anywhere near my house. (Insert trombone.) I think the best way to describe CAVA is that it is 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! I ended up creating a lentil rice bowl with lime-tahini dressing and was, quite frankly, surprised how much I liked it.

    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.

    Recipe for Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing from This Week for Dinner, delicious and healthy dinner that makes great leftovers!

    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.

    Nutritious and delicious recipe for Lentil Rice Bowls with Lime-Tahini Dressing from This Week for DInner

    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! (Update: the last time Nate and I ate this, we decided it really truly does not need chicken. This bowl is hearty and filling and delicious without meat.)

    Animated GIF showing how to create a Lentil Rice Bowl with Lime-Tahini Dressing from This Week for Dinner

    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!

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:

     


  3. Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Urban Plates Chimichurri Sauce

    Hello. I need to share a quick recipe with you today. It’s for Urban Plates chimichurri sauce, which basically means I am totally copying a sauce I love from a restaurant called Urban plates. The Urban Plates chimichurri tastes especially delicious over steak or salmon, but it is so good you’ll probably want to pour it over all kinds of things (chicken? roasted vegetables? toasted baguette? YES to all!).

    Copycat recipe from the restaurant Urban Plates for their delicious Chimichurri Sauce by This Week for Dinner

    Less than a week after making my first batch of Urban Plates chimichurri I also made my new favorite meal Lentil Rice Bowls with Lime-Tahini Dressing. Holy smokes the chimichurri was good in that dish. Basically, you can pour the Urban Plates chimichurri over just about anything and be happy.

    So what is this Urban Plates and I keep speaking of? It is a a restaurant chain near where we live that is pretty much my favorite take-out 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 their chimichurri sauce…over and over again.

    Recipe for Chimichurri Sauce by This Week for Dinner as inspired by the restaurant Urban Plates

    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
     
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    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)
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces (originally this recipe said ½ of a pepper, but I have revised to 1 whole pepper because I like it better that way)
    • 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!

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:

     


  4. Monday, April 2, 2018

    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 ingredients back into my diet here and there. But now that I’ve made these positive changes to my diet, 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 recipe for homemade chocolate granola bars.

    How to Make Gluten-Free Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars from Jane Maynard of This Week for Dinner

    When I was working on reducing the amount of sugar in my original granola bar recipe, I was surprised by how much sugar was coming from the chocolate chips. I wanted to be able to take out the chocolate chips but still get a good chocolate fix. By removing the chocolate chips and adding cocoa powder to the granola bar, we still get that delicious chocolate flavor with even less sugar. I tried it and it totally worked.

    Recipe for Gluten-Free Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars by Jane Maynard of This Week for Dinner

    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 as well as a little crispy, and they don’t fall apart at all. The flavor is wonderful – I think I might even like these better than the original chocolate chip bars, 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!

    Gluten-Free Homemade Chocolate Granola Bar Recipe by Jane Maynard at This Week for Dinner

    Please note that if you do not need the bars to be gluten free, you can in fact use regular all-purpose flour as a substitute for the oat flour. But if you want to go gluten free, stick with the recipe below using oat flour.

    Without further ado I give you Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars!

    Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars (Gluten Free)
     
    Prep time
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    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" (which will be smaller than the pan, you do not push the granola all the way to the edges of the pan). 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.
    Notes
    The coconut oil can be solid or liquid - whatever it happens to be sitting in your cupboard is fine!
    If you do not need these to be gluten free, regular all-purpose flour can be substituted for oat flour with the same measurement.

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:


  5. Chocolate Chip Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars

    One of the recipes I’m most proud of on this blog is the 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! However, for reasons I will describe below, I recently developed a recipe for gluten-free homemade granola bars based on that wonderful original recipe, which I will share with you today!

    Recipe for Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars with Chocolate Chips from This Week for Dinner

    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.

    What the gluten-free homemade granola bars will look like when formed into shape on the pan

    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! Also, for those of you who do not need the bars to be gluten free, you can use all-purpose flour, which basically will make these a lower-sugar version of the original.

    I have created a second modified version of these bars that has even less sugar, Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars (click here to see the recipe). The chocolate granola bars have only about 8 grams of sugar per bar and they taste great! But if you are wanting chocolate chips, here is the recipe for Chocolate Chip Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars!

    Chocolate Chip Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars
     
    Prep time
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    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" (which will be smaller than the pan, you are not pushing the granola all the way to the edges to fill the pan). 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.
    Notes
    The coconut oil can be solid or liquid - whatever it happens to be sitting in your cupboard is fine!
    If you do not need these to be gluten free, regular all-purpose flour can be substituted for oat flour with the same measurement.

     


  6. Monday, March 19, 2018

    Thai Basil Beef with Coconut Brown Rice

    Ages ago when I kicked off my {now sorely-neglected} podcast, one of my first guests was Tracy Benjamin of the food blog Shutterbean. First off, Tracy is one of my favorite people and I love her episode, so go take a listen if you haven’t already! One of the recipes Tracy shared in that episode was for Thai Beef with Basil, a recipe her family loves that utilizes ground beef. I’ve had it on my to-try list ever since and last week it finally happened.

    Recipe for Thai Basil Beef with Carrot Slaw and Coconut Brown Rice

    The result? A really great go-to recipe that my kids devoured. All three of them said they want me to make it again and I am definitely planning to. I must admit that I wasn’t sure I was going to love this recipe – serving ground beef over rice just, I don’t know, didn’t capture my interest. Well, I’m glad I tried it anyway as I loved the recipe, too! The carrot slaw is key to why I love this dish so much. I also cooked the rice in coconut milk instead of water, which gave a nice, subtle flavor to the dish overall.

    Thai Basil Beef, an quick and delicious weeknight dinner option

    As is my M.O., I changed the recipe, both on purpose and on accident. I am writing my version up below, mostly so I don’t forget what I did but also so I can share it with you, in case you think my changes seem like a good idea. Enjoy!

    Update! This is one of our new favorite go-to meals. The last time I cooked this dish I made a discovery – it is awesome if you had a handful of greens to the bowl. This adds a nutritional punch and tastes awesome. I just put the rice and beef in the bowl, then topped it with greens and finished with the carrot slaw. The dressing from the carrots mixes in with the greens and it’s great. I just used prepackaged “power greens,” but any kind of darker greens will work well!

    Thai Basil Beef with Greens and Carrots

    Thai Basil Beef with Coconut Brown Rice
     
    Prep time
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    Total time
     
    Adapted from Bon Appetit recipe, as discovered by friend Tracy Benjamin from Shutterbean. This dinner is easy to make and all three of my kids (all ages!) loved it!
    Author:
    Serves: Serves 4
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup short grain brown rice
    • 1¾ cup canned coconut milk
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
    • 2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
    • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (remove seeds for less heat)
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1 lb. ground beef
    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • kosher salt
    • ½ cup beef stock (or ½ teaspoon beef bouillon + ½ cup hot water)
    • 3 cups fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade (measure basil before cutting)
    • 4 medium carrots, julienned
    • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (both white & green parts)
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • lime wedges for serving, if desired
    • leaf greens (for example "power greens" salad mix), optional
    Instructions
    1. Add rice, coconut milk and ½ teaspoon salt to a pot. Stir then bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cover pot and reduce heat to low. Cook on low for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit with lid on for 10 additional minutes.
    2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and jalapeño and cook until onions have softened and start to turn translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
    3. Add garlic, pressing it through a garlic press, to the pan. Stir then add ground beef. Break beef up, sprinkle evenly with kosher salt, then cook until no longer pink, breaking up the meat as it cooks.
    4. Add beef broth (or bouillon and water, if using) along with the ginger, cumin and cinnamon. Let simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes, adding ⅔ of the basil a few minutes before serving. (Note: I removed about half of the jalapeño pieces before serving to reduce the heat for my kids.)
    5. In a mixing bowl combine juice from 1 lime, 2 teaspoons oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, carrots, green onion and the remaining ⅓ of the basil. Stir well to coat veggies in the dressing.
    6. Serve rice topped with beef and carrot slaw. Drizzle some of the dressing from the slaw bowl over the servings and enjoy! Optional: Add a handful of leafy greens to the bowl for extra nutrients and deliciousness!

    OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:

    EQUIPMENT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:

     


  7. Wednesday, January 31, 2018

    Happy 11th Birthday, Blog! Blended Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies to Celebrate!

    Today is This Week for Dinner‘s 11th birthday! How is that even possible? ELEVEN YEARS. Pretty soon my blog will be a teenager, which means I need to enjoy these last moments before it starts talking back and asking for a phone and stuff.

    Blended Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    I pretty much celebrate every blog birthday with chocolate. Last night I remembered a cookie recipe from my pre-blog days that my mother-in-law Pat gave to me. I decided to pull out my old recipe box, dig through the cards and find it. I made the cookies and everyone in the family loved them. The main difference with this recipe is that you blend the oatmeal before adding it to the dough, giving the cookies the flavor of oatmeal with a different texture than what you’re used to with oatmeal cookies, a texture that we all love.

    Blended Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    And, yes, I am sharing yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe. I know, I know, how many versions can one blog hold? Apparently a lot.

    You may notice from the photos that I used Guittard’s chocolate wafers as opposed to chips. Wafers or chips both work fabulously in this recipe, but I do love the layered effect that the wafers give to the final cookie. However, if you don’t have chocolate wafers on hand, good ol’ fashioned chocolate chips are just as delicious!

    Blended Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    Happy birthday, Blog! And happy baking, everyone!

    Blended Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
     
    Prep time
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    Modified from a very old Mrs. Fields' recipe that my mother-in-law shared with me many moons ago. I have altered the recipe in several ways, but the oatmeal trick definitely came from Mrs. Fields!
    Author:
    Serves: 4 dozen
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
    • 2½ cups rolled oats
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 12-18 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or wafers (12 ounces is a normal amount; 18 ounces is if you really like chocolate!)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
    2. In a stand mixer or large bowl using a hand blender, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes.
    3. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat another 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
    4. In a blender, blend the oats until it resembles a very coarse flour.
    5. Add oats to cookie dough and blend on low until just combined.
    6. Add flour and blend on low until just combined.
    7. Stir in chocolate.
    8. Form dough into balls (approximately 2 tablespoons per ball). Place on ungreased cookie sheet or cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper (I use a Silpat). Press down gently on the dough balls to flatten them a bit. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until bottom edges are a golden brown.
    9. Dough balls may be frozen. Add a few minutes to cooking time if baking from frozen.

     


  8. 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.


  9. Sunday, September 3, 2017

    Burger Dogs and Week 552 Weekly Menu

    Happy Labor Day weekend, friends! I have a little something fun for you to potentially make at your barbecues this weekend, plus a menu. That’s right, I’m actually planning a menu this week. My goodness, I CANNOT believe I went two weeks without posting a menu. That is something I have not done in over 10 years, but I suppose there is a first time for everything. Honestly, it’s just been a crazy summer and we ended it with a bang. I decided to just give myself a break and not worry about it. Jane of This Week for Dinner from a few years back would be horrified. Miss a weekly menu post? QUEL HORREUR! But the world kept on spinning and this week I’ll give it a go again!

    How to Make a Burger Dog from @janemaynard

    But before the menu, I need to share this fun idea with you. One day when we were grilling up hot dogs and hamburgers, someone in our family (not sure who…maybe Nate? or one of the kids?) thought it would be funny to make a hamburger into a hot dog shape and serve it on a hot dog bun. I was like, “Sure, why not?” and proceeded to make hot dog-shaped burgers, a.k.a. burger dogs. The kids were downright giddy, it was really fun. So, the burger dogs totally worked and the kids loved it! It’s not that they taste different or anything, it really is just the novelty of it all. If you were to serve burger dogs as a meal, I would recommend chopping your lettuce and tomatoes as opposed to slicing, but other than that have at the burger dog like you would a regular hot dog or hamburger!

    How to Make a Burger Dog from @janemaynard

    How to Make a Burger Dog from @janemaynard

    I don’t have instructions because, well, all you do is shape the meat into what looks like a hot dog and then cook it like normal. Easy peasy! Now go and make burger dogs to celebrate Labor Day!

    Menu time…

    How to make Burgers Dogs! Plus this week's dinner plans from @janemaynard, including free printable PDF of the meal plan and ingredients list!

    MONDAY:
    – Labor Day Cookout! The food will be the usual suspects I’m sure 🙂

    TUESDAY:
    – BLTs

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Caprese Salad and baguette

    THURSDAY:
    – Grilled Brats
    – Salad and watermelon

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    Bistro Chicken
    – Salad and mashed potatoes

    Click here or on the image above for a printable PDF of this week’s menu and ingredients list.

    As usual, if you have a meal plan for the week, please share it in the comments!

    And, before we go, I just want to take a moment to send love to anyone reading this affected by Hurricane Harvey. All week it has felt strange to me to be going about my daily life, knowing of the catastrophe unfolding for so many. For those of you looking for ways to help from afar, my friends at Mom2 created a great list of ways parents and kids can help with the hurricane relief efforts. Much love to all!


  10. Tuesday, August 8, 2017

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite

    Each year for my birthday Nate buys me a cake called the Viking from Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego. I’m pretty sure this cake was the actual ambrosia of the gods on Mt. Olympus. IT IS SO GOOD. Also, I will never make this cake in its entirety. I have the Extraordinary Desserts cookbook (now out of print) and the cake requires SIX(!!!!!) separate recipes in order to make the entire thing. Yeah, not gonna happen. I am perfectly happy waiting for September to roll around each year in order to indulge in the goodness that is the Viking.

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite from @janemaynard

    That said, for Nate’s birthday I wanted to make something decadent and delicious. I decided to cut down the original Viking recipe and just use three of the elements, rather than all six. The final product was awesome. Nate couldn’t believe how much his birthday cake tasted like the Viking, so we named it the Viking Lite. While the Viking Lite is a bit of a labor of love it is totally worth it…and much less a labor than the original recipe!

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite from @janemaynard

    The Viking Lite is made up of layers of chocolate sour cream cake and semisweet ganache, then coated in crushed chocolate praline. When I made the cake I only put the praline on the outside of the cake but we decided a layer of the praline inside the cake would have made it even better. I had leftover praline so we would just sprinkle it on each of our slices. Also, I recommend splurging for high-quality chocolate, like Guittard brand (they make baking chocolate and cocoa powder). Good-quality chocolate really will make a difference in your final product.

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite from @janemaynard

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite
     
    Based on the original Viking cake created by Karen Krasne of Extraordinary Desserts. Her cookbook is now out of print. I am sharing only the parts I used of the original Viking recipe below, along with my notes and modifications.
    Author:
    Serves: 1 8- or 9-inch cake
    Ingredients
    • GANACHE:
    • 24 ounces (4 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • CHOCOLATE ALMOND PRALINE:
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • ¼ cup whole milk
    • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, cubed (I used salted so that there was a bit of salt flavor in the praline)
    • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 1 cup slivered almonds
    • CHOCOLATE SOUR CREAM CAKE:
    • ⅓ cup unsalted butter (I used salted because the recipe doesn't call for salt and I like a bit of salt flavor), room temperature and cut into ¼" cubes, plus ~2 teaspoons at room temperature for greasing the pans
    • 3 ounces (1/2 cup) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1½ cups granulated sugar
    • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
    • 1 cup water
    Instructions
    1. GANACHE:
    2. Put the chocolate chips in a medium, heatproof mixing bowl.
    3. Bring the cream to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir slowly and gently in a circular motion until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is fully combined. Set ganache aside for later. You will want the ganache to be thickened and at a spreading consistency when it's time to assemble the cake. I put mine in the fridge, covering the bowl with plastic wrap, and checked it every half hour or so, stirring it each time.
    4. PRALINE:
    5. Generously coat a baking sheet with oil or line with a silicone baking mat (I highly recommend using a Silpat or similar mat if you have one).
    6. Toast almonds on another baking sheet in a 350ºF oven for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
    7. Bring milk, butter, corn syrup and sugar to a boil in a medium, heavy saucepan. Insert a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 310ºF, about 7-8 minutes (I think it took a little longer than that for me). The mixture should be thick and have started to lightly color. Remove the pot from the heat and set the thermometer aside.
    8. Add the cocoa powder and mix well with a whisk. (I added the cocoa powder through a fine mesh sieve, shaking it into the pot to avoid large lumps from forming.)
    9. Stir in the toasted almonds.
    10. Using a rubber spatula, carefully spread the hot mixture onto your oiled or Silpat-lined baking sheet, making sure the mixture is spread into an even layer. Set aside to cool.
    11. Once praline is completely cool and hardened, either blast it in a blender or food processor or place in a ziploc bag and hammer with a meat pounder on a wood cutting board, breaking the praline up into small bits.
    12. CAKE:
    13. Preheat oven to 275º F. Grease bottom and sides of two 8-inch or two 9-inch round cake pans with butter. Place a parchment round the size of the bottom of the pan in each cake pan, butter the top of the parchment, then lightly flour the pans. Set aside.
    14. Place chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl. Bring a pot of water to a simmer, place bowl on top of the pot (do not let bowl touch water surface), and melt chocolate, stirring occasionally.
    15. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
    16. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture is very thick and light in color, about 7 minutes.
    17. Add the cubed butter and then the sour cream, mixing until full incorporated after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
    18. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
    19. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed, just until fully incorporated, being careful not to over mix.
    20. Bring water to a boil then add to the batter. Mix on low to medium speed until full combined and smooth. Batter will be much thinner after the addition of the water.
    21. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, dividing evenly. Place pans in the center of the oven and bake until cake springs back slightly when pressed in the center and a cake tester comes out clean. Bake time could be up to 60 minutes, but start checking around 40 minutes for doneness.
    22. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pans sitting on a cooling rack. Once completely cooled, run a thin knife around the edges and invert pans, carefully knocking the bottom of the pan if cake doesn't fall out immediately. Cakes can rest on the cooling rack until you are ready to place them on the cake platter. Remove parchment from bottom of cakes. If you are not immediately assembling the cake, wrap the cakes individually tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate, but cake can also remain wrapped at room temperature for up to 2 days.
    23. ASSEMBLY:
    24. Place one of the cakes on your serving platter. Place pieces of waxed or parchment paper under the edge of the cake all around. This will prevent icing from getting on your serving platter as you decorate the cake.
    25. Coat top of the first layer of cake with a nice thick layer of ganache.
    26. Optional (but recommended!): Add a layer of the chocolate almond praline layer on top of the ganache.
    27. Add the second cake layer. Spread a ganache layer on top, then frost the sides of the cake with the ganache. Once you have finished icing the sides with ganache, using your hands press the praline pieces on the sides of the cake all the way around to coat the sides of the cake. Carefully remove wax/parchment paper, using a knife to hold the frosting in place as you pull out the paper in spots where it gets stuck.
    28. If you did not put a layer of praline inside the cake, reserve the extra praline and sprinkle on each cut slice when serving.