I have been singing the praises of grilling season now for a few weeks. For good reason: there is no better way to quickly pull together a tasty dinner. In fact, I haven’t turned on our oven since we pulled our grill out of winter storage and onto the patio! One recipe that has been on near-constant rotation at our house recently is a simple grilled shrimp dish with a garlic basil marinade. I serve it with grilled veggie skewers of zucchini, red onions and tomatoes (brushed with the same flavorful dressing) and some warm couscous and fresh herbs. read more

I have been craving a fresh, fruity summer drink and mixed up a batch of this easy raspberry mint lemonade to quench my thirst! It’s such an easy recipe — just a few muddled fresh raspberries and mint leaves in the bottom of a glass, topped with ice and filled to the top with some good lemonade (sometimes I look for a sparkling version at Trader Joe’s!). If you’re serving it as a cocktail — which you totally should — add about an ounce of vodka to the glass before you top it with the lemonade. It makes a refreshing beverage to batch prep in a big pitcher for summer parties, and it looks so very festive with the bright green mint and red raspberries muddled in the glass. Leave the vodka on the side so guests can decide to spike it (or not!) to their desired drink strength. And set out some festive straws and long sprigs of more fresh mint to let everyone garnish their cocktails! read more

Over the long weekend we had several barbecues to attend, and I got the idea to make a little homemade hostess gift to bring along to each party. I felt like a real rockstar for coming up with the idea, some homemade limoncello infused with a lemon thyme simple syrup, and getting them packaged up in pretty glass bottles tied with baker’s twine and fresh thyme sprigs. Let me tell you what was not a rockstar move: forgetting them all in the fridge before we embarked on our day of BBQ-hopping! I didn’t realize until I got home that night, that all of my cute hostess gifts were still chilling in the fridge. The good news is, the recipe won’t go to waste — you can find it below to DIY yourself — and the drinks won’t go to waste either. I’ll be pouring myself a limoncello and soda spritzer tonight!  read more

I took a little hiatus from cooking when we were on vacation earlier this month, and struggled to get back in the kitchen groove when we returned. Sometimes when I get in to a “what should I make for dinner?!” panic and need dig into the pantry to get inspired. My friends at Ken’s Foods recently sent me some of the dressings from their line with some new flavors to try! My inspiration hit when I pulled a bottle of Dijon Honey Mustard dressing off the shelf. read more

Memorial Day is coming up next weekend, and I’ve been thinking about all of my favorite summer BBQ recipes to break out for some grilling and al fresco celebrations. It’s also the perfect time to test a few new recipes too, and one of the ideas I’ve been cooking up takes no actual cooking at all! I made these mini berry mascarpone cakes, and didn’t even have to turn on my oven. Want to know the secret to this magical 15-minute no-bake dessert? A few store-bought ingredients! I used a pre-made pound cake and cut it into little cake rounds, then topped it with a sweetened mascarpone and lemon spread. Fresh berries give the dessert tons of patriotic color and sweet seasonal flavor. Just a little dusting of sugar on top and it is ready to serve. It comes together in just minutes, and can even be prepped a few hours in advance and chilled before your guests arrive. I think this is going to be on the menu for all of my summer parties this year! Get the full recipe below:  read more

My husband asked if we had any plans this weekend and I answered (maybe too quickly), “The Royal Wedding!”  — as if, you know, I’m going to get up at 6am on Saturday morning to attend these festive nuptials.  The fervor in my response was met with some teasing, but I am genuinely excited to wake up early this weekend to watch the coverage on TV. It might partly be that we’ve just returned from a trip to London, so I’m still riding a buzz for all things British, including afternoon tea and all of the treats that go along with it. In fact, I decided it was the perfect time to make some baked treats to enjoy during the royal wedding broadcast, inspired by our vacation tea time. read more

Can we all agree on one thing? The absolute best reason to watch the Kentucky Derby is so that you can have an solid reason to mix up an ice cold mint julep! I realized this week that the derby is coming up in a few weeks, and decided to try my hand at mixing up a berry-muddled version of this classic cocktail. The most delicious mint julep I’ve ever tasted was made at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia — the drink was brimming with crushed ice, fresh mint leaves, and a pretty dusting of powdered sugar — YUM! I gave the derby staple a slight spin with some muddled mixed berries in the bottom of vintage cut crystal glasses that my mother-in-law just passed down to me, and gave them some Kate-flair with horseshoe drink stirrers too! Scroll down for the full recipe.  read more

I realized this weekend, as I was making a double batch of mac and cheese to bring Easter dinner, that I’ve never shared my go-to classic recipe for this cheesy, family favorite dish. It’s one of those dishes that I make so often (for nearly every holiday occasion) that I’ve never actually taken the time to measure everything out and write it down — until now! A combination of rich gruyere cheese, sharp cheddar, and savory parmesan cheese make the perfect coating for al dente pasta. read more

Sometimes I think my favorite part of  holidays is the anticipation in days leading up to the actual celebration, when I think about all of the delicious food we’re going to eat. I’ve spent the last few days thinking about digging into Easter dinner on Sunday, and all of the tasty dishes that will along with it. While my dinner daydreams tend to be focused on savory flavors (I’m visualizing the mac and cheese!), I’ve been having a bit of a sweet tooth craving lately for carrot cake. read more

More snow today, ugh. I think it’s safe to say that we all need a drink! In fact, maybe Mother Nature could use a cocktail to chill out too? I’m happy to mix this one up for her. One of my favorite way to shake up cocktails at home is with homemade simple syrups, usually made out of fresh ingredients I have leftover in my fridge. This week my leftovers included a brimming bowl of satsuma oranges — which are tiny and sweet and the prettiest orange tone. I juiced them all by hand and simmered them with a piece of fresh peeled ginger, some water and sugar. read more