Simple Saturday: Pitcher Perfect

pitcher sangria

If Memorial Day weekend isn’t the time to grill out, invite some friends over and enjoy some delicious beverages, then I don’t know when is.

It’s also a great time to relax and enjoy all of those things, even if you’re the host.

Recently, my husband and I have been learning more cocktail tips and tricks at the Crude Bitters & Sodas Cocktail Classes. One thing that we’ve learned is the beauty of a batch of cocktails.

When you make a batch or pitcher of your drinks, you can whip up several cocktails in minutes, without breaking a sweat.

Also, having one of these big Ball mason jars will help you feel like a master mixer!

pitcher sangria

Here are some pitcher drinks that I recommend (click the links for the recipes):

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Weeknight Winner

stir fry

Today’s recipe is nothing fancy or revolutionary, but it’s something that we eat almost every week at our house. It also features our Ingredient of the Month: Napa cabbage.

I can’t believe it’s taken me all these years to share this recipe, but today is the day.

There are infinite ways to make a good stir fry, so I’m hoping that you’ll take this base recipe and run with it.

stir fry

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Ingredient of the Month: Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage

One of the best things that you can do to improve your culinary prowess is to go to the grocery store (or farmers market) and buy produce that you’ve never tried before. Then, give it a go or try it in a new recipe.

And boom!

You’ll be so proud of how you tried something new and hopefully discovered some new amazing flavors.

And I hope that this little Ingredient of the Month series helps you do just that. After all, it’s basically how I learn about new foods.

This month, it was the large, bright and beautiful Napa cabbage.

Napa cabbage

Napa Cabbage

Tell me more:

Napa cabbage is a member of the cabbage family and can also be called Chinese cabbage. It is typically used in many Asian dishes. These are very large (3-5 pound) cabbages that have both white to fair yellow to light green colors in their very layered leaves.

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Fruitful Travels: Seattle

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You know what’s even better than when your friend gets married? When they get married in a really cool city that you’ve never been to before.

Good work, Allison.

Last week, I got to spend a lovely half-week in Seattle for my bestie’s wedding and to enjoy the city/vacation a bit, as well.

Believe it or not, my husband might have eaten out more in the city than I did, since I was busy with fun wedding prep. But, we still did some great exploring.

Seattle was extra amazing for us because it was 75 degrees, sunny and breezy for almost the entire trip. I know, right?! We stayed in the cutest Airbnb in Ballard, which is a lovely neighborhood with amazing flowers, gardens, tiny homes and quick access to the sound…and lots of restaurants and cafes.

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We also enjoyed exploring downtown and in other parts, but here were the top hits on our food list.

Cafe Besalu

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I found this Ballard spot just by using Google Maps and searching for bakeries nearby. This one had “the best croissants,” so we had to see for ourselves. We did not leave disappointed…and who would be disappointed after eating half of a cream cheese danish, pan au chocolat and a dreamy hazelnut twist?

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Dinner Party Secrets

roast chicken

I know you.

You’re thinking about hosting a dinner party. And don’t think that a dinner party has to be some big, New Year’s, champagne-slinging, expensive, spend-all-night-in-the-kitchen gig.

No, no, no. This dinner party can be as chill and budget-friendly as you would like.

And you know what the key to that is? Here are a few keys from a somewhat seasoned dinner party hostess like me:

  • Buy a loaf of killer artisan bread from your favorite bakery (then just slice and warm in the oven)
  • Set out the butter to soften hours before the party and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt
  • If you drink, have wine or cocktails handy (it will make everyone feel better- the host included)
  • Make the dessert beforehand (hello easy cobbler, crisp, cookies or cake that can sit out for a few hours)
  • Use seasonal ingredients whenever you can (they will taste better and cook faster)
  • Go for a one-pot meal like a roast chicken

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Simple Saturday: Smashed Chickpea Salad

smashed chickpea salad

This weather. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been on vacation for the past week, but I have been reveling in the crisp breezes and hints of sun this spring.

With spring will come the perfect days to enjoy a little picnic by yourself or with friends or family.

I think picnics are a great way to get out the day-to-day, be refreshed by nature and enjoy some tasty tidbits while you’re at it.

The only problem is that sun that wreak havoc on many foods. Let’s face it: Not every food is picnic-friendly. Chicken parm, no thanks. PB&J, too boring? Cheeseburger and fries, too heavy?

If you’re having trouble narrowing your picnic choices down, or you’re just looking for an excuse to sit in the sun, I’ve got a portable and healthy, picnic-ready Chickpea Salad for you.

smashed chickpea salad

I love the simplicity of this recipe. It’s so simple, that it’s great for today’s Simple Saturday.

All you have to do is smash some chickpeas with your fork, along with avocado, herbs (dill is nice), mayo, lemon juice, onion and seasonings. Wrap it in naan, put it in a pita or scoop onto some greens for a satisfying vegetarian picnic for 1 or 100.

smashed chickpea salad

Here’s how you make it:

  1. Empty 1 can of drained chickpeas into a medium bowl and mash most of them with a fork or knife.
  2. Mash 1/2 avocado in another bowl with a little mayo and lemon juice. Add to the chickpeas.
  3. Add in chopped green onion and dill (or parsley), mix together, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Summer Strawb Cob

strawberry biscuit cobbler

Good morning/afternoon/evening, all!

Greetings from my first full week off of work in several years. Holla! I am spending a few days in Asheville with my sisters and brothers-in-law, and then I’ll be jetting off with my husband to Seattle for my best friend’s wedding.

I say this not to make you jealous or wish you were somewhere else, but to get you ready for a bit of a treat of a post.

Even if you are not on vacation or you’re stuck in the hum-drum of Monday, maybe this recipe will get you excited about the season we’re in.

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Cinco de Mayo!

pork & black bean stew

These days, I’ve been looking for any excuse to party.

Finish a to-do list? That deserves a high five.

Your garden isn’t dead yet? Take yourself out for an ice cream!

You made it through half of this week, and you’re still killing it? Prep for a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Next week is the big day, and it’s giving us all a chance to have fun, try a new dish or drink, and celebrate with each other.

pork & black bean stew

You on board? I knew you would be!

So, I’ve brought along a few other cool blogger friends to today’s recipe party, and we have so much to share with you. Check out all of the recipes (via the links) below to get the party started right now.

34 of the best Cinco de Mayo inspired recipes! Everything from cocktail recipes, dessert recipes, salsa recipes and dinner ideas for Cinco de Mayo. Pin for later!

Margarita Granita by Feast + West
Cinco de Mayo Party Inspiration and Recipes by A Joyfully Mad Kitchen
Poblano & Mushroom Tosadas by The Mexitalian
Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Agua Fresca by Will Frolic for Food
Street Corn-style Roasted Potatoes by A Little Gathering
Pork & Black Bean Stew by think fruitful
Tequila Lime Tart by Love & Flour
Crispy Fish Tacos with Cajun Mayo by Winstead Wandering
Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca by A Savory Feast
Shredded Chicken Gorditas by Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Carne Asada Fries by Tornadough Alli
Mexican Carrot Dogs with Chunky Salsa Verde by Strength and Sunshine
Raspberry Lime Rickey Margaritas by Feed Me Phoebe
Slow Cooked Carnitas Style Chicken by Simple and Savory
Chicken Fajita Sandwich by Brunch-n-Bites
Cantaloupe Mint Margaritas by The Speckled Palate
Brussel Sprout, Wild Mushroom, Avocado and Feta Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa by Arthur Street Kitchen
Spiced Chocolate Ice Cream with Roasted Pepitas by Bethany Grow
Roasted Veggie Salsa by Living Well Kitchen
Seared Scallop Tacos with Spring Mango Salsa and Avocado Cream by Domesticate ME!
Blackberry Mint Agua Fresca by the Grant life
Traditional Homemade Flour Tortillas by Sustaining the Powers
Nightshade Free Southwest Salad by I Say Nomato
Southwestern Orzo Salad by Family Food on the Table
Cheesy Southwest Egg Rolls by Pink Cake Plate
Watermelon Mint Margarita by Gold & Bloom
Mix-Your-Own Guac Bar by Hey There Sunshine
Blood Orange Margaritas by Glisten and Grace
Veggie Stuffed Chiles Rellenos with Avocado Cream by Hello Little Home
Slow Cooker Red Chicken Enchiladas by Sustaining the Powers
Margerita Poke Cake by Pink Cake Plate
Mojito Cupcakes by The Rustic Willow
Margarita Shrimp Tacos by Macheesmo
Pineapple Cilantro Salsa by Feast + West
One Pot Taco Soup by A Joyfully Mad Kitchen
Sizzling Texas Fajitas by Sustaining the Powers
Tequila Lime Cupcakes with Margarita Buttercream by Sugar Dish Me
Slow Cooker Chipotle Turkey Tacos by Two Places at Once
Margarita Bar by Mixplorology

For my Cinco de Mayo contribution, I’m giving you the recipe for the most flavorful, filling and tender Pork & Black Bean Stew. This one comes from the master of Mexican cooking, Rick Bayless, and it’s one of those throw it all in the slow cooker and let the magic happen types of situations.

pork & black bean stew

Who knew that pork shoulder, dried black beans, onion, tomatoes and serranos could be so beautiful together?!

I hope you can enjoy one of these amazing dishes or at least feel inspired to make something on your own.

pork-and-black-bean-stew recipe

*Click or tap on recipe card to enlarge or right click to save.

Meyer Lemon Season

meyer lemons

I know that Meyer lemons have been around for a long time, but this year was the first time that I got to try them.

Thanks to Trader Joe’s, I had the chance to pick up a bag of 8 or 10 of these lemon-orange hybrids. (P.S. You’ll need two bags to make this recipe.)

There are so many fun ways to use these, whether they’re jazzing up a glass or water, in a unique lemonade or candied or preserved.

Whenever I was deciding what to do with my lemons, I knew that it had to be something sweet that I could use in a lot of different ways. Although I love lemon bars, they don’t last too long around friends and family (or husbands- rightly so).

So, I decided on Meyer Lemon Curd.

meyer lemon curd

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Inspired Quiche

roasted carrot, pepper and feta quiche

I have to give credit where credit is due.

I got the idea for this incredible quiche from a local bakery, Boulted Bread (aka the home of THE BEST croissants this side of Paris). A few weeks ago, I noticed that they had a carrot feta quiche.

I had never thought about putting carrots in a quiche before…and feta, that’s genius! What’s even better than that?! Dill in the mix!

roasted carrot, pepper and feta quiche

I love when great things (flavors) come together…and I love finding inspiration in what’s around me.

So, I’ve taken this quiche genius, integrated our colorful Ingredient of the Month and left you with an easy-to-follow recipe that is sure to wow.

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