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Arugula, Apple & Brussels Sprouts Salad.

Arugula & Brussels Sprouts Salad With Green Apples, Candied Walnuts & Manchego Cheese.

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Finally, for the last dish from the baby shower, I wanted to make one salad that was a healthier option but also interesting and different. I love mixing sweet and salty in salads – the sweetness of the apples and walnuts were complimented perfectly with the Manchego, veggies and tangy vinaigrette. The Brussels sprouts and arugula added great texture and flavor to the salad.

Serves ~8 depending on portion size.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large handfuls arugula
  • 3 cups shaved or diced raw Brussels sprouts (I purchased pre-shaved at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 green apples, sliced
  • 1 cup candied walnuts, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup shaved Manchego cheese
  • 5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt/black pepper

In a small bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar and olive oil and whisk together. Add all of the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl and pour the vinegar/olive oil over top. Season with a dash of salt/black pepper and toss well to combine.

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Creamy Lemon Parmesan Potato Salad.

Reduced-Fat Yukon Gold Potato Salad With Lemon, Parmesan, Dill & Almonds.

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This potato salad was one of the most popular dishes from the baby shower. This recipe is almost identical to an old recipe of mine from a couple of years back but with a few tweaks. This dish tastes so rich and indulgent, but it’s actually fairly low-fat and has no mayo, butter or oil! It’s a great side dish for a party or BBQ. Yum!

Serves up to ~8 depending on portion size.

Ingredients:

  • ~4 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted sliced almonds
  • 1 large handful fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt/black pepper

Boil the potatoes in a large pot for about 20-25 minutes until soft and break apart easily with a knife. Drain the excess water and return the potatoes to the pot, cutting the potatoes into smaller, rough cut pieces with a knife. While the potatoes are still hot, add in the sour cream, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, dill, almonds and season with a dash of salt/pepper. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. You can serve the potato salad warm or room temperature.

Sun-Dried Tomato & Artichoke Pasta Salad

Sun-Dried Tomato & Artichoke Pasta Salad With Roasted Asparagus.

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This was another dish I made for the baby shower. Pasta salad is always an easy, go-to dish for a party but I wanted to do something a bit different from a classic pasta salad. I used sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes to make the sauce and then added some roasted asparagus for a nice crunch. This pasta salad is really delicious and flavorful.

Serve up to ~8 depending on portion size

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-oz package of rigatoni pasta
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, oil drained
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts
  • 1 large bunch of asparagus, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt/black pepper

Heat the sun-dried tomatoes on medium heat and stir in the chopped garlic. You won’t need to add any oil because the tomatoes will still be coated in the oil they were in. Heat for about 5 minutes or until the garlic is lightly browned – sun-dried tomatoes can burn easily so keep a close eye on them. Allow this to cool slightly, and then put the mixture into the food processor and blend until smooth. After the sun-dried tomatoes are smooth, add in the artichokes and pulse a few times to do a rough chop of them.

Toss the asparagus in about 2 tbsp of olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes. While the asparagus is roasting, boil the pasta as directed on the package. Drain all excess water and then combine the sun-dried tomato and artichoke mixture into the pasta along with the roasted asparagus and toss well to combine. Season with a dash of salt and black pepper. This pasta can be served hot or room temperature.

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BLT & Caprese Sliders.

These sliders were part of the spread from the baby shower I threw earlier this month. There’s no better baby shower food than a slider sandwich. Why? Here’s my logic – because they’re mini (just like babies) so therefore adorable! Not only that, but they’re a great party food because they’re easy to eat and yummy.

Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Sliders With Pesto.

It’s always good to have a vegetarian option at a party, so I thought that it would be fun to take the basics of a Caprese salad and turn it into the sandwich using pesto as the sauce. Instead of slider buns, I used sliced French bread to create these tiny treats.

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You can adjust the amount you need of each ingredients based on how many you are making. Each slider should have 1 thick slice of fresh mozzarella, 1 slice of tomato, 1 basil leaf and 1 tsp pesto.

Ingredients:

  • French bread, sliced
  • fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves
  • pesto

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Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Sliders With Avocado Herbed Mayonnaise

I also wanted to make a classic sandwich so I went with a BLT and added an avocado herbed mayo to jazz it up. Both types of sliders were a hit, but BLT sliders were one of the most popular and went fast! Bacon makes everything better.

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You can adjust the amount you need of each ingredients based on how many you are making. Each slider should have about 1 piece of bacon (cut in half to fit on the bun), 1 slice of tomato, 1 piece of lettuce and 1 tbsp avocado herbed mayo.

Ingredients:

  • slider buns
  • center-cut bacon, cooked
  • romaine lettuce
  • Roma tomatoes, sliced

Recipe/ingredients for the Avocado Herbed Mayonnaise found here from my good friend, Chef Megan Mitchell.

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A Baby Shower.

A Baby Shower for Bridget.

My friend Brittany and I threw a baby shower at my house a couple weeks back for our friend Bridget. I’ve never hosted a baby shower before but I love planning parties and decorating, so it was really fun to get creative with Brittany (who is a baby shower expert) on ideas for the decorations and the menu. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for a baby shower – we were lucky enough to have beautiful weather with temperatures reaching the 80s. It was such a great day filled with friends, food and sunshine!

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The Decorations

We wanted to go for a shabby-chic theme for the decorations. For the flowers, I got blue Ball jars (she’s having a boy!) from the hardware store and tied a bow around the top with twine. This created a super adorable vase at a super affordable price. We did two kinds of white flowers to keep it simple. For the other ideas and decorations, Etsy and Pinterest were my go to spots for ideas. The baby shower banner was simple and sweet (found here). We also hung twine and used clothes pins to hang onesies around the house for another fun touch that also doubled as a gift for Bridget. For the cupcakes, we topped them off rubber ducky toppers (found here).

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The Food

This was my favorite part of the shower, of course. I wanted to make food that was easy to eat and could be eaten at room temperature so I didn’t have to worry about keeping it hot, so I made different types of salads and sandwiches.  I made two different kinds of mini “slider” sandwiches that were delicious and adorable – a BLT with avocado herbed mayo on slider buns and tomato, mozzarella and basil on french bread. I also made a sun-dried tomato and artichoke pasta salad, a Brussels sprouts and arugula salad and a lemon potato salad. We also had a drink station with citrus infused water and mimosas which were perfect to keep us cool in the hot weather. Stay tuned… the recipes will be up on the blog soon!

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Sizzling Summer Squash.

Grilled Summer Squash With Tamari & Hot Pepper.

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We recently got a grill so it’s been really fun experimenting with different foods and recipes. This grilled summer squash makes a great light meal or side dish. The Tamari and hot pepper add just the right amount of zest. It’s incredibly simple yet so  flavorful and delicious.

Serves 3-4.

Ingredients:

  • 4 summer squash, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • light sprinkling of hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Put the sliced squash in a mixing bowl and pour the Tamari and olive oil over top. Season with a sprinkling of hot red pepper flakes and mix together so the squash is evenly coated. Allow the squash to sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Heat the grill and once hot, spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Place the squash on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. You’ll know it’s done because the squash will soften and there will be distinct grill marks. Plate the squash and pour some of the remaining liquid from the mixing bowl on top.

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