Hooray for Short Sleeves & Spring Flowers!

We have Spring Fever!  Even though I'm still dragging myself out of bed and complaining bitterly about the time change every morning, I'm in heaven at 6 pm when it's bright and sunny outside and I can sit on the porch with a beer watching my kids play in the yard.  With everything in bloom, it's time to put away heavy coats and long boots and pull out sandals and go outside.  This is Porch weather!

This week we've got lots of things that I really think of as DOTP Spring classics, even if we've never done them before.  Read on & I know you'll be as excited as I am about sweeping off the porch and getting ready to do some al fresco dining!

Tuesday, March 20:
Raw Veggies & Jalapeño Ranch Dip
White Bean Chicken Chili with Avocado
Cilantro Rice
Chili Fixings:  Sour Cream, Monterrey Jack Cheese, Green Onions, Tostadas
Vegetarian Option:  White Bean Chili with Avocado
Kids' Option:  Baked Chicken Tenders & Steamed Broccoli ($6)
Optional Add On:  Camino Cornbread Muffins (5 for $6)
Dessert:  Camino Bakery Chocolate Brownies ($6)
Low Carb Option:  Low Carb Chicken Chili (one quart, $10)
GYTTW:  Spring Strata - organic eggs, asparagus, red peppers, heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, fresh herbs & your choice of all natural, nitrate-free Applewood Smoked Ham or Baby Bella Mushrooms (one size, feeds 6-8, $25)

In my recent perusal of various food blogs and the like, I kept seeing recipes for White Bean Chicken Chili popping up and it was giving me a serious craving.  There is something so perfect about Chicken Chili at this time of year - it's light and fresh tasting, yet still warm and satisfying for dinner.  Our version is loaded up with beans, corn, chicken, tomatoes and chiles (but mild ones!).  It's flavorful on its own, of course, but that's really just where the fun begins.  You will serve it over our Cilantro Rice (thank you to Chipotle for the inspiration on that - we love their rice!) and top it with diced avocado, and whatever other fixings you think will make it just perfect!  It's a mild and very tasty dish that everyone in the family can enjoy his or her own favorite way.

We think you'll enjoy starting this meal off right with fresh, Raw Veggies and some of our favorite homemade Jalapeño Ranch Dip.  Raw veggies with dip is such a good way to convince kids that they like vegetable - especially if you present it the right way.  I like to let one of my kids help arrange the veggies on a pretty plate with dip in the middle and then let another one pass them around like we're all at a fancy wedding reception.  It's much more fun than sitting at the table fighting with them about how many bites of something they have to eat before they can get up or have more mac and cheese.  The whole concept is much more fun to enjoy outside, of course, so we will be happy imagining your family munching on your crudités as you play a friendly but competitive croquet match!

Camino Bakery is baking up a batch of moist, delicious brownies for us this week.  So happy, as I think that brownies are my favorite dessert.  Sweet, a little salty, chewy, crusty.  Love!

Of course, since we're always thinking about food and meals and ingredients, we love this time of year for the abundance of fresh vegetables coming into season.  I got a little carried away this morning at our produce wholesaler and bought these heartwarming Heirloom Tomatoes on a whim!  We're using them in a super-delicious and fresh version of our Egg Strata.  We're throwing everything in that reminded us of Spring:  asparagus, fresh peppers, fresh herbs, goat cheese, all-natural nitrate-free Applewood Smoked Ham or Mushrooms, and organic eggs. Thin slices of heirloom tomatoes on top will be so pretty and so tasty!  You may want to save this lovely dish for a fancy brunch or take it with you to the beach if you're heading that way for Spring Break, but if you're like me and lean heavily on "Breakfast for Dinner" in your family meal rotation, you might want to break it out for a great, easy all-in-one family dinner!

That's our main menu this week, but that's not all we've got for you this week, of course.  We have lots of great items over in the Mini Grocery Store - Wheatberry Salad, fresh produce, Homeland Creamery Milk & more, so visit that page for more details.  We're also really excited to be able to carry The Perfect Place Setting from Be Kind Kid Shop for you.  We love love love ours, and they are really standing the test of hard wear and tear here in our house.  The Silisipper lid works like a dream, and I'm very glad to eliminated plastic cups, plates & bowls from our house.  You can order dishes directly from Be Kind Kid Shop's site, where they have a more extensive line of products, or order a small or large dish set through DOTP and we'll deliver it with your Tuesday delivery.  See more details at our Mini Grocery Store.

Finally, we have a very exciting give away this week!  I'm excited to share one of my favorite Winston-Salem new businesses - Katie's Confections!  Owner Katie Woltz makes the most amazing, creative cake pops for kids' birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, school events, businesses or just for fun!  You can see many of her cute designs on her site, and pictured here is a basket of sweet Easter Eggs that one lucky winner will receive.  I'm thinking that the Easter Bunny will be visiting our house and leaving cake pops for us!

If you're interested in ordering directly from her, just email her at katiegwoltz@gmail.com.  If you're interested in winning this adorable Easter Basket, leave us a comment below telling us your favorite thing about Spring!  (Mine is lovely Spring Green!)

Ok, that really is all we have this week.  Browse, read, enjoy & then get your dinner order in to dinnersontheporchorders@gmail.com!

Hope to see you on the Porch!

Claire & Alex