Let me tell you my favorite thing about summer barbeques: the sides!! I go nuts for an herby potato salad, and have no self-control around a classic macaroni salad, I even love a good crunchy coleslaw. With Memorial Day coming up in about a week (where did May go?!) I wanted to add some new summer side salads to my repertoire. I’ve been on a BIG roasted chickpea kick lately, and love that it’s a healthy-ish snack that Jane enjoys too, so I wanted to find a way to work them into this recipe. I start off by roasting them in the oven with a touch of olive oil and an all-purpose seasoning – I love What’s Gaby Cooking Go To Blend, and Trader Joe’s 21-Seasoning Salute is another great option! Then I combined the roasted chickpeas with a flavorful, nutty whole wheat pearl couscous and some delicious herbs. The salad tasted really fresh and wholesome, and it serves really well at room temperature, which is perfect for outdoor entertaining! Get the full recipe below: read more

I received the most beautiful peonies for Mother’s Day from my friends at Winston Flowers — the bouquet was breathtaking and took on a life of it’s own as the flowers opened up over the course of the week. They started off in a rich, deep coral toned hue and blossomed into the most cheerful, soft pink and orangey tones. Every single morning they looked a little bit different, and after several days they had opened up to about the size of a salad plate. I couldn’t let the chance to use these beauties in a tablescape pass me by so I pulled together a few pieces from my pantry for a preppy and festive party table. read more

Somewhere in all of this spring rain, there was one beautiful day of sunshine over Mother’s Day weekend and it felt glorious. We flew kites at the beach, ate oysters at little seafood shack by the water, and I mixed myself the most refreshing mom-reward cocktail. I’m calling it the limoncello mint sparkler, and it was so tasty. A little bit of honey and mint muddled in a glass, combined with refreshing limoncello liquor and topped it off with bubbly prosecco and more fresh mint. I used store-bought limoncello for this batch, but you can easily make some on your own (here’s my limoncello recipe infused with thyme). Get the recipe details below: read more

The not-so-fun parts of food blogging are the recipe-fails that happen along the way to get to recipe-successes that actually make it onto the site. I had an idea for this berries and cream baked breakfast treat all the way back over the holidays last year. I originally tried this idea as more of a french-toast casserole and I just couldn’t get the proportions right, it was too dry or too sticky or not quite what my flavor vision had been when I thought it up. With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, and Memorial Day just around the corner, I decided to give my idea another try after taking it back to the drawing board for a new approach. I ditched the french toast technique and instead used some good ol’ fashioned Pillsbury biscuit dough baked like a monkey-bread in a bundt pan. I layered some of the berries and cream cheese in the middle of the little cinnamon-sugar biscuit bites and then finished it off with a fluffy cream cheese frosting topping and more fresh berries. It took me 6-months to get it right, but the testing was worth it! Scroll down to get the full recipe: read more

This post is created in partnership with Christmas Tree Shops andThat! — all opinions, images and content are my own.

We are slowly getting our yard and outdoor space ready for the warm weather. My husband put together some raised beds for our first-ever vegetable garden, Jane has started to pull out all of her summer toys (chalk and bubbles have been refilled!), and the most exciting thing is having the grill is uncovered and back on our patio! Barbeque season is upon us, and it makes me so darn happy. We grill several times a week for easy dinners once the weather is warm, and barbequing is one of my all-time favorite ways to entertain. My friends at Christmas Tree Shops andThat! invited me into their store recently to check out all of the new items they have for the season and I found some really great stuff to pull together an easy, affordable and stylish barbecue party! read more

My friend Dina at Honey and Fitz Collection sent me some of the most amazing summer entertaining pieces to play with, and naturally I had to follow my personal “go big or go home” mantra with a festive grazing board. They have the most beautifully curated selection of wood and marble boards (this whale board is going to be on rotation all summer), entertaining accessories (dying over the lobster picks and whale coasters!) and linens that are perfect for styling out a New England-inspired spread. I had to share a few of the pictures here and give you my super top-secret tip for making quick work of a grazing board like this. Are you ready? Hit the salad bar at your local grocery store (Whole Foods is great for this!) and grab the pre-sliced peppers, broccoli and cauliflower, cucumbers and tomatoes. You can snag just what you need and have a colorful variety of bites to choose from. Sometimes they even have cubed cheese and charcuterie if it’s well stocked. A few crackers and a selection of some cheeses is all you need to finish it off! read more

Cinco de Mayo is always a cause for celebration at our house. It happens to be my fabulous little sister’s birthday so we have been known to break out the margaritas to toast her on May 5th each year. Also given my own personal affinity for the food and drink associated with the holiday, I’m on board with a fiesta regardless of the date. If you need a little inspiration for an easy fiesta-themed fete, scroll down for my most recent Cinco de Mayo display. I found the prettiest pastel paper picado banners to hang over the bar, and used a brightly colored striped towel for a tablecloth and some bold neon baskets for serving snacks. A few rustic wooden risers added some height to the scene, and I filled the table with colorful flowers to tie it all together. To plan your menu to go along with this fiesta check out the Sparkling Strawberry Basil Margarita I mixed up, add some Crispy Avocado Fries and Fire-Roasted Mexican Street Corn Bites for tasty appetizers, and cook up some Instant Pot Green Chili Tacos for an easy main-course! read more

If I open a restaurant menu and see Mexican street corn listed as an option there is a 100% chance I’ll be ordering it for meal — it’s one of my favorites. I included a recipe for it in my cookbook, and a few years ago I made a dip-version of this dish for a dip potluck party I hosted (one of the most fun get-togethers I’ve ever thrown!). I thought I would resurrect the dish and give it a new twist, this time using fire-roasted corn which I always snag in the frozen food aisle at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. This version gets tons of flavor from the fire-roasted corn, spices and citrus, and the crumbly cotija cheese. You can make the corn dish and serve it as a dip, but I wanted to up the presentation game and spooned heaps of it into scoop-shaped chips for individual servings. These little corn bites practically disappeared when I made them, so make sure you pop a few in your mouth before you share them with guests  — get the full recipe below:
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The fiesta-inspired recipes are rolling in this week and this is one of my favorites: Crispy Avocado “Fries” with a chipotle dipping sauce. I was testing this recipe recently while my brother was visiting and after the avocado fries came out of the oven we unintentionally shared the whole tray, hovering over the kitchen counter and going back for bite after bite. They’re addictive! A simple seasoned breading and a few minutes in the oven are all it takes to make these little bites;  while they’re cooking I mixed up a dipping sauce with spicy chipotle adobo flavors, tart lime juice and sour cream to balance the heat. Make sure to serve these fiesta “fries” with a margarita, it’s the perfect pairing. Get the full recipe below: read more

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