A Boston-Based Lifestyle Blog
I volunteered to make a pasta salad for a friend’s Memorial Day BBQ and decided to dig for inspiration to mix up my stand-by recipe. I found an old Martha Stewart antipasti pasta salad recipe and gave it my own spin with a few different ingredients. It wasn’t an exact science — I tossed radiatore pasta with balsamic vinegarette and lots of salt and pepper. Then I folded in a handful of chopped tomatoes, capers, provolone cubes, a jar of green olives, diced salami, finely minced red onions and lots of torn fresh basil leaves and chopped chives. It was a hit and will likely be the new ‘stand-by’ pasta salad for BBQs this summer!
With Memorial Day Weekend upon us, it feels like the right time to mix up a summery new cocktail to celebrate. My friends at IZZE sent me some tasty sparkling blueberry juice to try and I used it as the inspiration for this simple seasonal drink. To make one for yourself, pour 2oz of vodka and fresh juice from half a lime in a glass over ice. Rub a few mint leaves between your hands to open up their flavors and add them to the glass. Top the rest of the drink off with half a bottle of IZZE Sparkling Blueberry and give the cocktail a stir to combine. A little extra mint and lime wedge (and of course some patriotic striped straws!) are all you need to garnish and finish your drink. Having friends over that are looking for a mocktail? Just replace the vodka with a little soda water instead!
Please Note: This post was sponsored by Izze; all images, ideas and content are my own.
Earlier this week I mustered up some bravery and went outside to our tiny little apartment-sized grill and started to clean off the heavy wear it took over the winter. It wasn’t fun, but the result was that delicious smokey smell of the first barbecue of the season. And then poof! just like that, it’s Memorial Day weekend and my summer is packed with invites to friends and family’s backyard BBQs — I can’t wait. I always love to bring a dish along with me and decided it was time to spice up some of the staples in my repertoire. Taking some inspiration from an amazing restaurant in my neighborhood, Sarma, I used flavors from a potato dish I had tasted there over the winter and create a Greek-inspired potato salad. Tzatziki, dill, red onions, and slivers of shitake mushrooms give this side dish a really bold flavor (I can’t stop eating it!). Full recipe below.
- 3 lbs of baby yellow potatoes
- 1/2 cup of thinly sliced shitake mushrooms
- 1/4 cup of tzatziki sauce
- 1/4 cup of sour cream
- 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
- 2-3 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp of finely minced red onion
- 3/4 tbsp of fresh dill
- 3 tbsp of minced chives
- Boil a pot of water and cook the washed baby yellow potatoes until just soft to touch (test them by pressing down on them with a fork — if they start to mush just slightly, they’re ready!). Drain and set aside to cool.
- While the potatoes are cooking, saute 1/2 cup of thinly sliced shitake mushrooms with a tiny bit of oil in a pan for 3-5 minutes, set aside on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil and let them cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine tzatziki sauce, sour cream, mayonnaise and vinegar.
- Next, fold in the potatoes, mushrooms, red onion, dill and chives to combine and coat.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Radio silence here usually means things are happening elsewhere for me, and for the past two weeks a lot has been happening. I left my job working on the social media team for Liberty Mutual Insurance — it’s telling that as I write that, it’s actually the first time I’ve ever talked about my ‘day job’ on this site. It was truly sad to leave my amazing, smart, funny, caring co-workers (tears were shed, people! Real tears!). When I’ve been telling people about this departure, the first question I get is “wow, are you blogging full-time now?” Nope! For the first time in my life I actually think I’m doing something better than the prospect of blogging full-time — I found a new job that totally aligns with my passions and excites me so much I have been springing out of bed in the morning (a true novelty for a morning-monster like myself). I joined the team at Ellie Kai, an amazing women’s fashion brand that creates made-to-order dresses and clothing in powerful, bold prints. I have my first two weeks on the job under my belt and it’s been an awesome experience and a great learning process. I’m going to be working from home part-time, and traveling down to Cape Cod a few days a week to work out of their corporate offices. Driving (quite far!) to work has been a totally new experience, as has working from home for this social butterfly (please someone stop me if I start talking to my cat). I’ve already had so much fun in just a few short days though — including popping over to Nantucket to help set up one of the summer showrooms. Spending the day working from the wharf in Nantucket was all I needed to experience to know I had hit the jackpot. The very best part of this new role is that I have been feeling really well-balanced — just being able to talk about my job here and on social media feels pretty freeing, and I think the role will offer me a lot more opportunities to cross-pollinate my passions at work with what I love doing here on my site — I feel so very lucky! So that’s that — except to see some more behind-the-scenes over on my Instagram account soon!
If I was queen of anything, I think I’d probably be the queen of the last-minute DIY. I wish I was one of those bloggers that plans her awesome ideas months in advance so I could just hit publish a week before an event, but my best inspiration always seems to pop up the day before a holiday! Case and point: my derby day DIY epiphany popped into my head earlier this weekend. The good news is that this DIY concept can be used in dozens of different ways for many holidays to come, using gold clay and wooden skewers to make some horseshoe drink stirrers.
The instructions are simple: roll out modeling clay to about 1/4″ thickness and use an exacto-knife to cut out your shape — in this case, a simple horseshoe. Next, use a small wooden toothpick or dowel to add details before popping the pieces in a 275 degree oven for 15 minutes. Once the pieces have cooked, hardened, and cooled, use a tiny drop of hot glue to affix to a wooden skewer. Let the glue set and you’re ready to pop them into a mint julep or cocktail of your choice!
When I was down in Austin, TX for work last month I popped into Royal Blue Grocery for a quick bite in the morning, and tried a breakfast burrito for the very first time in my life. What was I thinking? Thirty years on this earth before I tasted a breakfast burrito! I managed to eat a new flavor combination every morning for the rest of my trip, and when I got back I was determined to recreate them at home. One of the best versions I ate had chopped up potatoes inside so I decided to take this concept to the next level: I used steamed tortillas to roll-up scrambled eggs, melted sharp cheddar cheese, chopped up fresh scallions, and some red-bliss mashed potatoes with lots of salt and pepper. Oh-em-gee are these tasty, and such a good way to use up leftover potatoes from dinner the night before. If you’re feeling really crazy try adding some chorizo too!
Why is it that of all of the party wares you can buy, that drinkware is always the most plain and boring? I mean, what’s more fun than DRINKS people? I have found it quite tough to find fun, festive options for disposable glasses, so I decided to come up with a way to make them more festive on my own — this is such a simple idea that I’m kind of kicking myself for not coming up with it earlier. I purchased simple clear plastic cups from the party store and then used printable colored labels from Paper Source to write out a fun phrase (since these were for a morning event, I wrote “good mornin’ sunshine” on the stickers). After printing them out at home, I simply adhered the stickers to the cups before serving a tasty rosemary lemonade in them. I’m positive I’ll be replicating this idea for many parties in my future!
This past weekend I was delighted to partner with one of my favorite brands — Madewell — for a fun spring shopping event. I became a Madewell convert the day I walked into their Natick store and was completely deflated that I couldn’t find denim that fit my body anywhere. One of the lovely stylists helped me try on their denim line until I found not one, but two! perfect pairs of denim; now every pair of jeans in my closet is from Madewell now. While everyone shopped they sipped on mimosas and a rosemary infused lemonade I mixed up. EAT Boutique was also on site hosting a pop-up shop with spring treats, and Maggie of Eat Boutique made some pretty tasty tomato tarts from her new cookbook: Food Gift Love for everyone to enjoy — it was a fun little fete to cap of the weekend!
I found the most darling sprinkles in the Easter section at Target and had to find a way to use them this weekend (to justify buying another bottle of sprinkles, you know?). I took a classic cheesecake recipe and stirred them into the batter for a funfetti-style look — don’t they look like they’re watercolored on top? I also mixed up the recipe and used gluten free cookies in lieu of a graham cracker crust to make them gluten-free for a few the guests and my in-law’s Easter dinner — a simple swap-out and they tasted nearly the same! And for a festive look I nestled them in some Easter grass on a big serving plate — like little eggs in a basket.
I think we all deserve a little extra perk of Spring-y goodness in our Easter celebrations this weekend after the winter that we’ve had, right? So I thought up a fun party detail: bunny straws! The assembly is simple: cut out a small white outline of a bunny head; using a glue stick add on small nose and pinks of the ears. Finish them off with a hand drawn set of eyes and whiskers. Then glue the bunnies right to the striped straw (I chose pink and green ones!), leaving enough room so that they’ll pop out of the glass, but don’t touch the top of the straw. I can’t wait to pop these cute little guys into a mimosa this weekend!