It hasn’t quite felt like spring, and just like that Memorial Day is next week, so I think we might be skipping the season all together! While we were wait for the temperature to catch up with the seasons, I’ve got lots of cheery warm-weather entertaining inspiration, holiday weekend recipes, getaway packing tips, and new books to add to your summer reading list. Scroll down to read more! read more

Inspiration for my recipes comes from so places. I love flipping through magazines and cookbooks, perusing restaurant menus, and rethinking flavors from my childhood. The inspiration for this Grapefruit Ginger Fizz cocktail recipe though, came from a totally unique place – a perfume! I was at a book signing at a fun pop-up last week and had a few minutes to shop around the store as we wrapped up the event. I’m normally not much of a perfume person, but my eye caught a Grapefruit Ginger scent by a local company called Farm+Sea and I had to give it a try. It smelled delicious, and as I was rolling it on I commented that I loved it as a perfume but I bet I’d love it even more as a cocktail. I bought the perfume, and mixed up a batch of these Grapefruit Ginger Fizz cocktails when I got home! They taste as good as I now smell, get the recipe below. (PS: I found these amazing coupes at H&M for a steal, I love how delicate they look!) read more

Let me tell you all of the reasons I love a good antipasto salad, there’s quite a few! To start, it’s a great dish to make ahead. It’s one of those side dishes that almost always tastes better after the flavors hang out together in the fridge overnight. Another reason I love it is that it’s pretty easy to tweak and adapt to your guests preferences — leave out the salami for vegetarians, skip the cheese if someone is dairy free, and it works as a gluten-free dish too. We have a few carb-etarians in our family, so I’ll often add in some cooked cheese tortellini to make sure they’re getting enough pasta in their diet, wink wink. It also makes great leftovers after a party too; you can toss all of the ingredients over some mixed greens for lunch the next day or use the combination to make a flavorful pizza for a quick weeknight dinner. It’s a fool-proof side dish and one that I love to serve up for summer entertaining. Get the details on how I make mine below:  read more

Pasta salad is pretty much my holy grail of summer barbecue menus; it’s always the side dish I most look forward to! I’ve probably tried dozens of recipes and variations, and love to tweak what I toss in every time I make it for a party. I got creative with a new twist on my classic pasta salad to gear up for Memorial Day weekend with this new recipe — Zucchini Basil Pasta Salad. It features my favorite pasta salad noodle shape — rotini — and lots of chopped up zucchini and squash, fresh basil, and crunchy pine nuts that add tons of flavor. I ate a giant bowl of it for lunch this week, so I can attest to the tastiness! Get the full recipe below:  read more

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