Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It's Spring . . . at home

Spring . . . at home
.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .
lots of baskets
soft blues and greens
natural linens
.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

our Spring menu . . . at home
.     .     .     .     .     .     .
chicken salad with citrus pepper dressing
buttermilk blueberry breakfast cake
roast chicken thighs 
with purple potatoes, artichokes, and lemon
.     .     .     .     .     .     .

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

a Spring-inspired salad . . . and a simple honey vinaigrette recipe

I made this vibrant Spring salad for our Annual Easter Family gathering a few weeks ago, and again for my husband's birthday dinner last weekend.

Like so many salads, it's light and fresh . . . and filled with Spring's best!

The base of this Spring-inspired salad is Butter Lettuce. Have you tried it before?

If not, then you should treat yourself. Butter lettuce has a slightly sweet, buttery flavor . . . and velvety soft and tender leaves. The leaves are cupped, which makes them great for holding salad toppings and dressing.

It costs a little more than most heads of lettuce do, approximately $2.25 per head, but well worth the price.

~ I'm so proud! . . . These pretty little heirlooms came from my garden! ~

I chose this leafy lettuce because of its flavor, texture, and gorgeous bright green color. It served as the perfect base for my variation of the perfect Spring salad . . . 

 fresh asparagus, shaved 
chopped walnuts
heirloom tomatoes
green apple, thinly sliced

There's so much that I love about it . . . the buttery and velvety lettuce, creamy eggs, bright and sweet tomatoes and asparagus, tart green apple slices, and the tender crunch of walnuts.

I dressed it up with an amazing Spring-inspired Champagne Pear Vinaigrette with Gorgonzola.

Did you notice the beautiful play on colors? The vibrant eggs? They look like sunshine on a platter!
Medium-boiled eggs are much prettier and creamier than hard-boiled eggs . . . a delicious addition.

And there's nothing like homegrown tomatoes. I love adding a variety of shapes and colors, as they can help build the character of a salad.

I plan on serving this salad as a dinner entree through Spring and Summer by bulking it up with sliced avocado and grilled chicken. YUM!

Did you notice the black specks?

It's black salt! 

I sprinkle it on top of all my creamy salads, like egg, macaroni, and potato salad . . . as well green salads . . . for a pop of color, as well as a finishing salt.  

A sprinkling of salt can make a great salad over-the-top amazing. 

Most people don't think to season their salads . . . and I don't understand why not?

A sprinkling of salt and pepper can really brighten and elevate the flavors. Give it a try next time!

I hope you're enjoying Spring's best with your favorite lettuce, too!

Oh, one more tip! Serve your salad on a platter! You can see its beauty much better spread out on a large platter than you can in a bowl.

Happy Spring, friends!

a perfect dressing for a butter lettuce salad
honey vinaigrette
.     .     .     .     .     .
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
.     .     .     .     .     .
In a small screw-top jar combine oil, vinegar, shallot, honey, cinnamon and salt.
Cover and shake well.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

a Spring birthday and a triple coconut cream pie

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating my husband's birthday!

Our six and seven-year-old were on Spring break last week, so we enjoyed a lot of down time.

We ventured North to the South Bay area to spend time with my mom for a few days to play and make memories with her and extended family. We had so much fun! It was nice to take a break from the daily grind. We filled our time with lots of family and outdoor play.

When we returned home from our little getaway, we shifted gears to planning a special weekend for 'Daddy's' birthday.

We made new memories with our little ones by venturing North to Los Angeles' Little Ethiopia, where we met friends to enjoy authentic Ethiopian food and fare. I took a ton of photos, of course!

Afterwards, we visited the famous Hansen's Bakery to enjoy cupcakes. I've never seen so many celebrity photos in one place! And the best part . . . their cupcakes are amazing!

We spent the afternoon and evening enjoying great food and the company of our wonderful friends.

I was grateful for a quiet Sunday with my little family. It was the perfect way to end our Spring break.

We spoiled 'Daddy' all day with home-made cards (LOVE those!!), lots of fun family games, and I prepared many of his favorite foods throughout the day . . .

.     .     .     .     .     .     .
lemon ricotta poppy-seed & white chocolate waffles
with fresh strawberries
old-fashioned honey crinkle cookies
.     .     .     .     .     .     .
lamb shanks 
with a red wine & mushroom sauce
roasted sweet potatoes
with whipped butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar

.     .     .     .     .     .     .

When I asked my husband what kind of birthday dessert he wanted me to make, he quickly answered, "Coconut Cream Pie!"

I shared this incredible recipe with you last year, when I made it for his birthday for the first time.

It's still one of my top 3 most visited recipes!

I hope that you stop by to read the original post for all the great details . . . and to get the recipe, too!

If you love coconut, then you'll LOVE this pie!!

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