Monday, March 30, 2015

Recipe Review | Strawberry + Avocado Baby Kale Salad

The perfect spring/summer accompaniment to a simple grilled meat.
This strawberry and avocado salad is bright, easy, and absolutely delicious.
Piper loved helping me put it together and we all loved gobbling it up.
Strawberry + Avocado Baby Kale Salad
(slightly modified from Ali's recipe on her blog, Gimme Some Oven)
What you need (salad):
6 cups fresh baby kale
1-2 avocado
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup candied pecans (I use Diamond Nut Toppings, Glazed Pecans)
2-3 green onions, chopped
What you need (dressing):
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3-4 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
What to do:
1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.
2. Mix the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Dress the salad and toss to coat.
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Twilight Garden Party

The on-again/off-again sunny weather has me craving spring and both looking forward to and reminiscing about having friends over for outdoor gatherings (both tediously planned and impromptu). I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share some pictures of the backyard party we hosted last fall for Greg's company. 
With rented picnic-style tables, borrowed adirondack chairs, professional catering, and lots of help with the details (like following these thorough directions on how to string your own lights), the party was a huge success. 
The dinner buffet was set up overlooking the picnic area under the lights.
Burlap table runners, gourds, Ikea lanterns, and tins stuffed with wrapped cutlery decorated the tables.
We squeezed nuts around the votive base inside the lanterns to add an autumnal touch.
Standing cocktail tables and corn hole games were set up for after-dinner socializing.
The caterers came equipped with a bar (beer on tap + wine) and sound system. (Not to mention, fantastic help!)
Cardstock, popsicle sticks, chalk marker, nuts, and little terracotta pots were used to make the menu tents.
I went a little nuts on Pinterest and had the best time setting up the S'mores bar!
We filled mason jars, baskets and decorative canning jars with the typical goodies + lots of extras.
I found chalkboard-sided wooden boxes (used upside-down as stands) at TJMaxx and the chalkboard menu tent at Michael's. 
It was hard to limit our featured flavors to just these four.
I made the banner from card stock, twine, wooden clothes pins, and my handy chalk marker.
We set up the fire pit/roasting station beside the s'mores table and added a little pile of blankets in case it got chilly.
After things were mostly set up and before our guests arrived, the girls and I sampled the food and beverages.
(BTW, I do have full eyebrows. Not sure why only half of them showed up in this picture.) 
As the sun set, the guests arrived to our glowing backyard shindig.
In hindsight, we could have used another table. It was a cozy dinner!
Post-dinner s'more making.
I couldn't have pulled it off without my partner-party-planner, Emma!
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Things I Love Thursday // 3.12.15

  • Having my brother, Bobby, out visiting (all the way from California) for the week ~ Cannot say how much I enjoy this time with my little brother (who will forever be the "baby" no matter his age). I love watching him interact with the girls: whether it's giving them a hard time, playing driveway tennis, riding bikes, or listening to them play their instruments. He gives them his undivided attention. 
  • These adorable woven slip-on sneaks I found at Target last week
  • Grabbing a pre-made dinner and literally dumping it into the crock pot ~ It's been a while since I wrote about my crock pot. It's worth directing your attention back to an older post describing some recipes you can pre-make and freeze for use at a later date. We've enjoyed quite a few in this miserable wet weather. It's crazy convenient. 
  • The stunning bouquet from Roseland Flowers ~ The hubby was out of town when I got my braces (yes!) last week. He knew I was in a bit of discomfort (and also that I was feeling a bit self-conscious with my new permanent accessory) so he sent me flowers and a little note that sweetly began, "Braceface, …" 
  • Bee Bomber Body Scrub ~ I know! I just wrote about their awesome lip balm a couple weeks ago and now I've had a chance to try the Apricot Orange Body Scrub it smells amazing and it leaves my skin incredibly fresh-feeling and so soft. I love it. 
  • Whenever I have a chance to stop by their school and join the girls for lunch ~ It's so fun to surprise them--but more so, I love seeing them having fun and enjoying their friendships. This really is a special time with them in the "sweet spot" and I want to soak up all of it before they decide that having me come to their school at lunchtime is embarrassing.
  • This really funny meme ~ It really keeps it in perspective when my own kids decide to be challenging about food. I love how it reminds me of all the small and sometimes creative (dishonest) things we have to do as parents. And really, who doesn't love sneaky butter? :) 
  • The amazing "Love Has No Labels" video ~ It is well worth a few minutes of your time to take a look.
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