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Sometimes a few simple ingredients can be combined to make something wow-worthy — and I totally feel that way about this easy to make summer salad of grilled peaches and arugula. I made this salad for a summer rosé party held by The Urban Grape, and it was a hit — the sweetness of the grilled peaches is a perfect balance for the peppery arugula and tang of reduced balsamic. Check out the recipe below and be sure to click over to Boston.com to read the full article with smart tips from Hadley & TJ of The Urban Grape  to throw your own rosé party!

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Peaches
  • 1 cup of Mozzarella balls
  • 8 cups of Arugula
  • 1/8 cup Pine Nuts
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar

Peel peaches and cut into wedges. Heat grill and lightly coat with cooking spray to keep peaches from sticking. Grill peaches until marked on all sides. Set aside to cool. In a small saucepan, heat the Balsamic Vinegar on a medium-high heat, and let it reduce in half, about 5-8 minutes. As the Vinegar is reducing, toast pine nuts lightly in a small pan (be careful not to burn). In a large bowl, assemble arugula, layer mozzarella and peaches on top, and then sprinkle with pine nuts and dress with the balsamic reduction. Toss to serve.

Photography: Brian Samuels Photography

 

One of the easiest dishes for entertaining is kabobs — they’re easy to prepare in advance, are pre-portioned, and look really beautiful when plated for the table. When working on a summer rosé party held by The Urban Grape, I made a simple rosemary sirloin version that’s perfect for summer entertaining. Check out the recipe below and be sure to click over to Boston.com to read the full article with smart tips from Hadley & TJ of The Urban Grape to throw your own rosé party!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of sirloin tips
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red pepper
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 2 lemons
  • Salt and pepper

Marinate steak overnight in a sealed plastic back with the juice of two lemons, salt and pepper, and 3-4 sprigs of rosemary. Soak wooden skewers in water overnight to prevent burning. When ready to assemble the kabobs, begin by preparing the vegetables; slice a zucchini, peppers and red onion into large chunks. Alternate the vegetables and meats until the skewers are full. Use fresh rosemary sprigs and remove the needles from the bottom half of the stalk to create. Press the sprig into the first few pieces of meat and vegetables to thread the rosemary through the skewer. Grill kabobs to desired wellness and serve on a bed of arugula.

Photography: Brian Samuels Photography

 

 

 

 

I had the pleasure of working with some really creative folks a few weeks ago on a rosé wine tasting party held by The Urban Grape. Helping to style a shoot like this really doesn’t count as work because I got to hang out all day with amazing company, eat a tasty lunch al fresco on a gorgeous wrap around porch, and learn all about (and taste!) delicious rosé wines on a warm summer day. I shared a few of my favorite outtakes from the day here, but click over to Boston.com to read the full article with smart tips from Hadley & TJ of The Urban Grape  to throw your own rosé party.

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Wine: The Urban Grape

Photography: Brian Samuels Photography

Flowers: Boston Pollen

Glassware: Farm & Fable

 

It was a very festive weekend — we celebrated my little brother’s high school graduation with a big backyard fiesta! I think my sister and I started planning this party almost a year ago when we realized our baby brother’s graduation was impending — we love to throw a good party and this was a big reason to celebrate. The theme was inspired by some mexican blankets that we found at a thrift store for a few bucks a piece, and thought they would make awesome table linens for a summer fiesta. We had a taco bar for dinner and a make your own margarita station with festive drink stirrers. For decorations I ordered tons of papel picado and we strung the banners all along the backyard fence and above the bar. Of course it wouldn’t be a fiesta without a few piñatas too (and I brought some confetti cannons which were a hit!). It was a perfect day of food, family, and fun.
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If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen my little brother graduated from high school this week (cue the tears!). He’s the baby in the family, and is lucky to have two big sisters and a mom that L-O-V-E -love throwing parties, so you better believe we’re going to be throwing the biggest and best graduation party for him to celebrate. He requested a taco bar which lead to an obvious theme of fiesta! —  so I’ve been busy crafting up piñata-inspired details this week to make sure it’s a fiesta to remember. Using tissue paper, I cut 1.5 inch strips in different colors and used fringe scissors to create the piñata-like texture. Next, I used a glue-stick to coat the non-fringed edge, and began to wrap it around the party horn whistle (I got these at a party store and removed the paper wrappers that came on them). Keep wrapping until you get to the end and add a little extra glue to ensure it’s sealed, then repeat with additional colors layered on top. I replicated the same process for drink stirrers, just wrapping a bit tighter around a small skewer, and used a few extra tiny scraps to make some tooth-pick flags for garnishes; can’t wait to use these at the party this weekend!

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A  few weeks back I popped into Olives & Grace in the South End and stumbled upon Sfoglini pastas in the shop. My siblings and I essentially considered everything bagels our main food group for most of our childhood, so I had to grab a bag when I saw they made an everything bagel-flavored pasta. Fast forward to my crawl along the Vermont Cheese Trail a week later when visiting the Cabot tasting room I secured some everything bagel cheddar cheese. It was carb and cheese kismet — frankly it would have been irresponsible not to dream up a way to combine these two everything-bagel-flavored treats.  Sometimes a great idea just presents itself to you, and Everything Bagel Mac & Cheese was one of those great ideas. I modified my usual mac and cheese recipe, and just swapped in the everything bagel flavored ingredients (and just because that wasn’t enough, I crushed up bagel chips in lieu of bread crumbs). I’m a certified crazy person for even thinking something like this up, but oh man was it tasty. (Full disclosure: next time I’d probably hold back on the bagel chips because it tasted a little bit like mac and cheese combined with stuffing due to their texture — not that mac and cheese stuffing sounds like a bad thing). So, there you have it. In case you thought making donuts into s’mores was the fattest idea a person could ever have — I’ve topped myself once again. 20140625-193739-70659660.jpg20140625-193737-70657713.jpg20140625-193740-70660538.jpg20140625-193738-70658704.jpg20140625-193741-70661319.jpg

There’s something a bit funny about me posting a recipe for a fish dish because  I never really had a taste of seafood until a few years ago. My husband loves fish and slowly got me to taste it when we would go out to eat at restaurants. Now I’m a seafood lover –I’m thankful he broke me of that picky-eating-habit — but cooking fish at home has been intimidating for me! I’ve experimented though and finally cracked a good basic recipe of baked cod that I then mix up with different toppings (kalamata olives and tomatoes is a favorite!). We saw some sweet yellow corn at the market this weekend and I decided to experiment with a baked cod dish that has a summer spin: corn, tomatoes, shallots and thyme — full recipe below!

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Ingredients:

  • 1lb of fresh cod
  • 2 tbsp of white wine
  • 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 thinly sliced small shallots
  • 2 ears of corn
  • Fresh thyme
  • Lemon
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and in a shallow baking dish arrange the pieces of cod. On top of the fish, pour 2 tbsp of white wine, and then sprinkle 2 tbsp of grated Parmesean cheese. Next, arrange 1/2 cup of quartered grape tomatoes, 3 thinly sliced small shallots, and corn kernels from two ears of corn. Top all of the ingredients with a generous amount of salt and pepper, 6-8 fresh thyme sprigs, the juice of one lemon and 1 tbsp of melted butter. Pop that tasty summer dish into the oven and let it bake for 15-20 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Serve over rice with fresh thyme.

This past weekend we headed out to Lake George for a wedding and decided to take the scenic route through Vermont on our way there. My husband recently sent me an article about the Vermont Cheese Trail, and since we were driving through part of the region on our trip we had to make a stop at one cheese maker that caught my eye — the Plymouth Cheese Company. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the packaging and quaint location that made this one a high-priority visit. It was absolutely darling and the cheeses were majorly tasty.We devoured the Original Plymouth cheese this weekend with a cinnamon pear jam I got at the shop. You can even watch the cheese making process while you’re there — it’s one of the oldest artisan cheese makers in the country. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to pop in for a tasting and some treats for the road! 20140616-204007-74407858.jpg20140616-204008-74408801.jpg20140616-204010-74410376.jpg20140616-204009-74409616.jpg

 

Lemon and basil are one of those flavor pairs that I just can’t get enough of. I had a bunch of leftover lemons from a photo shoot last weekend, so I decided to dig through the pantry and make up something tasty to use them in.  My tasty result was a lemon basil pasta with skillet chicken and shallots. It was tasty, and you can  make it too — recipe below!

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Boil water and cook pasta to al dente, reserve a few tablespoons of pasta water for sauce. In a skillet, heat olive oil and sauté two thinly sliced shallots. Once they begin to soften, add in chicken breasts that has been seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. When the chicken is browned and cooked through, remove to a plate and let rest. Add 1/4 cup of white wine to the pan, scraping up the shallots and browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Then add in 1 tbsp of butter, the juice of one lemon, and the reserved pasta water and let the sauce reduce for 4-6 minutes. Chop up the chicken into bite-sizes pieces, and toss back into the sauce with the pasta to combine. Then sprinkle the dish with freshly chopped basil and parmesan cheese before serving! Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I tried spinning once before a few years ago and it was not for me — I vowed never to go back. But last week The Handle Bar hosted our Boston Bloggers group for spinning class and I decided to give it a second chance. Jess, the lovely owner of the studio, totally changed my mind. First off –I’m a sucker for design and the studio is the kind of place you actually want to work out in — bright cheery yellow walls and adorable details like the neighborhood specific logos. Before we got started, the staff were hands-on helping everyone get set up so they felt comfortable on the bikes and with the terminology they’d be using during the ride. When it was time to start the lights dimmed down super low — which I loved! (Yay for not having to worry about looking like a sweaty mess!). I think the best part was that the music was perfectly synced up to the movements of the ride, and  the time flew by with the variety of exercises you did while on the bike. So overall, I think they converted me! Thanks to Jess and the Handle Bar Fenway for hosting our group!
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The Handle Bar offered this class complimentary to members of Boston Bloggers, all opinions are my own.