I have a couple of posts this upcoming week that cover one of my favorite party themes — fiesta! — just in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. One thing is for sure, it’s not a fiesta until the margaritas are served. I’ve never met a margarita I haven’t liked, it’s one of my favorite drinks and I decided to mix up a batch with summery twist for this new recipe. This sparkling strawberry basil margarita starts with a homemade strawberry simple syrup for sweet berry flavors, and then gets combined with tart lime juice, tequila and muddled basil. To give it that sparkling touch (and in my opinion, a really refreshing feeling) I topped each glass off with a splash of Topo Chico with lime. If you can’t find Topo Chico another lime-flavored sparkling water will do; and feel free to scale this recipe up to make it in a pitcher for bigger batches — just wait to add the sparkling water until you’re ready to serve! Get the full recipe below: read more

I am making plans for our vegetable garden this summer and just added all of the first farmer’s market dates to my calendar because I’m so excited for peak produce season! Once it’s spring and summer veggie time I’m so much more likely to get in my greens, whether it be grilling them up or tossing them in a bowl of pasta. This recipe is an easy weeknight-dinner version of the noodles-and-veggies classic: pasta primavera. I make quick work of it by tossing some of the vegetables (peas and asparagus) into the water to cook at the same time as the pasta, and sautéing everything else (like carrots, broccoli, squash and mushrooms) in one big pan where I make the sauce before tossing it all together. You can mix and match any of the vegetables in the recipe to customize it with your favorites, or use up leftovers in the fridge. To give it an extra fresh and bright flavor I’ve made this version with a lemon-basil twist. The citrusy zest, a final squeeze of lemon juice, and tons of fresh chopped basil really liven up the sauce and cut through the cream and parmesan that coats the fettuccini. Get the full recipe below! read more

Monday isn’t so bad today because I’m coming off such a good weekend high. We had our favorite Indian food take-out, started to build some raised beds in our yard for our summer vegetable garden, and celebrated Easter yesterday with lots of family and food (Jane ate approximately 25lbs of chocolate bunnies and pastel M&Ms). It was really a perfect, relaxing weekend – I even got to finish a great book (more on that below!).  I’m riding my good mood and hoping to have a productive week, and thought I’d kick it off a few links and updates: read more

Easter is next weekend, and to get your ready for your celebrations I’ve rounded up twenty of my favorites Easter desserts, brunch recipes, and dinner ideas. Plus simple DIYs for your Easter events, tablescape inspiration, egg decorating ideas, and everything you need to fill up those Easter baskets — scroll down for ideas! 

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: sometimes you just need a big bowl of pasta. This recipe uses one of my favorite pastas, tortellini, and crispy little bites of pancetta balanced with fresh spring veggies — english peas and sautéed leeks. Pasta is one of the meals I love to fall back on for busy weeknight dinners because you do so much with it in a short period of time! A few shortcuts I use are cooking the peas in the same water as the pasta (just add them in during the last few minutes of cooking time) and buying the pre-diced pancetta package at Trader Joe’s for perfectly cut cubes that crisp up fast in the pan. I even used some leftover chicken cutlets to top this dish to add in some protein; you could prep the chicken in advance to cut down on time. Get the full recipe below: read more

The start of this week was a little slow — rainy days and our whole family battling colds.  I was so excited to wake up this morning to see the sun shining and everyone feeling a little better. Nothing puts a spring in my step like actual springtime (and jumping in confetti, like we did at The Happy Place in Boston last week!). Sharing lots of spring-y finds, Easter ideas, fresh seasonal recipes and more in The Download this week, read on and enjoy the sunshine!
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If you’re read this blog, or skimmed my cookbook, you know that I’m a big, big fan of streamlining prep work and building efficient menus when it comes to entertaining. My goal is always to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my family, while still sharing a really tasty meal when we’re together for celebrations. This easy Easter menu has a few little tricks in it to get dinner on the table in record time! read more

I love asparagus because it cooks quickly, looks beautiful on the table, and is extra fresh and tasty in the spring! We eat it a ton for our weeknight dinner veggie, just roasted quickly with some salt, pepper and olive oil. For a special occasion though (like Easter!) I like the idea of dressing it up with a bright, crisp sauce. The idea for this sauce actually came from a salmon recipe I shared last summer, I updated it just a bit and it paired perfectly when drizzled over the top of the asparagus. The Dijon flavor also paired well with the ham I served it with, and brings out the tiny hint of Dijon I sneak into my mac and cheese sauce. All of the dishes work together seamlessly, which is what you want on a heaping Easter dinner plate! Scroll down for the full recipe: read more

I’m so very lucky to have a flexible work schedule that allows me to have little weekday adventures with Jane. Her energy is boundless these days and I’ve been trying to think of some new things to do with her that mix up our routine. The spring weather has been so nice the past few days we decided to head downtown and spend our sunny Monday morning exploring Boston.  We walked through Faneuil Hall (she picked up a subway map and carried it with her all day!), met some friends and visited the penguins at the aquarium, and culminated our adventure with one of the magical spots in Boston: the Greenway Carousel! read more