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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Sixteen years of seasons

Hello! It’s been a while. I succumbed to “December,” the month of birthdays, holidays, merriment and just not enough time. Then January came and with it an immediate business trip, trying to get back into a normal routine and so many sick days. Dinner has been ad hoc through these weeks, a mix of pantry cooking, Hello Fresh meals here and there, takeout and sometimes (if we’re lucky) actual meal planning. Now I am ready to post again, connect with you all, and cook some food, whether it’s planned ahead or not.

Acacia tree | Copyright 2023 This Week for DinnerThis is my acacia tree, planted after I visited Malawi with ONE and Heifer International. While in Malawi the acacia trees were in bloom all over the country. I came home and planted one almost immediately. It is very happy in Carlsbad, growing like a monster and making a big old mess of the backyard. But every time it blooms, as it is doing now, it makes my heart so happy. Here is one of the blooms for you. Enjoy.

Fun fact: today marks 16 years for this little corner of the Internet! I started This Week for Dinner simply as a way to share basic weekly dinner plans with my brother, who was in college at the time. Since then I have had the opportunity to connect with countless magical humans, both here in the comments and in person. It has been fulfilling in ways that were both predictable and not and I am grateful every day.

At some point along the way a (truly wonderful, wow-am-I-lucky-!) literary agent reached out to me about writing a cookbook. Which turned into a book about the women who influenced my cooking and my life. Which turned into a book about how the food in our life at any given time so often reflects the different seasons we are going through. Andi-the-magical-agent is still waiting for my book proposal – the season of writing has yet to arrive. But I have been thinking about this theme of seasons all week as my blog hits yet another milestone.

When I started the blog, our oldest Cate was two years old. A few months later I became pregnant with Anna (yes, my blog is older than two of my children!), at which time morning sickness arrived in a monstrous way and, for a few months, I posted fake menus to keep my brand new blog going. Two-year-old Cate is now 18 and starting to receive college acceptance letters. Anna is 15 and Owen is 11. The season of being an elementary school mom is almost over. The season of having part of my heart go out into the world to embark on independence is about to to begin. 

My current short-term season is one where I find my work life once again in an uncertain place. I’ve been here before, many times. I am actually not as freaked out as I would have predicted in the face of this uncertainty, thanks to the combination of an incredibly supportive husband and professional network, as well as the gift of time to mentally prepare for potential change. During this season, cooking dinner has been a welcome activity. And it’s been interesting – normally a lack of weekly planning causes me stress. But lately that lack of planning has brought much needed flexibility of mind for me. I’ve been going with the flow culinarily and I am actually cooking more than in other past stressful times. 

Which brings me back to theme of food and seasons of life. My blog has been a literal documentation for me of the various seasons we have gone through. I can see the food we ate through all these years and how it reflects where we were at different point in our lives. Sixteen years ago I was still finding my own footing as a cook. Then I grew more confident. Then I became quite good at cooking and writing recipes (Bragadocious alert! IYKYK), and there were years where I wrote on here 3-5 times a week as well as regularly for other publications(!!!!). Over the past few years, as I’ve gone back to full-time work in Corporate America, I find myself posting just once a week. I’m sure the blog, like my life, will continue to evolve, bringing new and unexpected opportunities and ways to connect.

No matter how long you’ve been around This Week for Dinner, thank you for being here. I am so grateful that even with the advent of powerful social media networks pretty much killing blogging that I can keep this little-blog-that-could going. I refuse to let it die! I will post menus until the Internet blows up! And, believe it or not, I actually have a few recipes I owe you, all photographed and everything. See? I am still cooking.

Happy Sweet Sixteen, This Week for Dinner


  1. 1

    Congrats on 16! I found your blog when my young family still lived in San Diego(I remember you moved from back east to the north county area?) before moving to the Seattle area 9 years ago. I’ve so enjoyed meal ideas for my own family (almost 17 and 14 year old girls) and remember when you were pregnant with your son..time flies!
    I’ll tell you my fave recipe, still, that has become a Christmas tradition in our house..I make your grandma’s Vetebrod every December! It looks so impressive and I am NOT impressive at baking:).
    Best to you and your family on 2023 and beyond!

    • Oh my goodness, I love that you are still reading all these many years later…and that we were in the same stages of life! yes, we had been in san diego a few years from boston when I started the blog.

      you. make vetebrod every year!!!! that does my heart so much happiness.

      thank you for commenting, laura!

  2. Happy Blog-iversary!!!
    I found you 14.5 years ago at 2am when I had colicky newborn and was trying to figure out how to “do life.” We made it. 🙂

    I make Uncle Tony’s pizza crust (every week), bistro chicken, and Yorkshire Pudding all the time! I have also stolen countless recipes from other posters. I also listened to all your podcast episodes!!

    My season of life is balancing tons of work travel (make it easy for the rest of the family!) and home cooking when I’m home (try new recipes!). I think I’ve found my stride now. But, I have to be ok with whatever the family feeds itself when I’m on the road…..


    • you most certainly “made it” – I’ve always been impressed with your cooking and meal planning and work and travel!!

      thank you for sharing your regulars, makes me so happy!

      yes, the key is just letting go and being okay as long as everyone is alive and happy, right?


  3. 3

    Congratulations Jane!

  4. 4

    Congrats! Such a nice way to start the blog.

  5. 5

    Happy days! 16 years! Congratulations! Your blog has been a part of my world for a long time now! I think I found your blog about 15 years ago, maybe more, when my oldest, who turns 17 today, was still a baby. I appreciate this place to share and see menus, and for the great recipes! I will never make another Thanksgiving turkey any other way :).

    Congrats again!

    • happy 17th to your oldest! and love that you’ve also stuck around all this time. a stalwart!!

      oh, that thanksgiving turkey. maybe one of my best experiments ever! so glad it’s helped more than just myself!

      thank you, vicki!

  6. 6
    ellen patton

    Your blog will always be one of my faves.

  7. 7

    I’ve been following you since right before your youngest was born! Love your blog, hearing about your family and of course the meal plan! Congratulations!

  8. 8
    Kim from PA

    Congratulations on your 16th year! Thank you for inspiring me to be organized with dinners… has made life so much easier over the past 14 years.

    I popped in to the blog tonight to get the recipe for one of our favorites from you: Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas. They are on my upcoming menu this week and I was making my grocery list.

    • Guess what? the Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas recipe originally came from Erika, who commented on this post above! I just LOVE the community and sharing that this blog has brought about!

      I so appreciate your consistent menu posting for soooo many years! xoxoxo

  9. 9
    Jessica Hansen

    I am so glad I have your blog as a recipe resource. Pulling up recipes on my phone from my kitchen happens more than you know.

  10. that makes me so happy, jess! I’m grateful for the blog for that reason, too…it’s my recipe box! gotta pay for the web hosting forever and ever so we always have it!

    love you!

  11. 11
    Nikki CB

    Congratulations Jane!! So impressive all around. I hope you keep it going until you have GRANDchildren getting college acceptance letters!

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