blog to follow: taste by williams-sonoma

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I’m a huge fan of Williams-Sonoma ever since becoming a homeowner. I definitely consider the company to be the front-runner in top home products & tools, and even some specialty food items. Until recently, I never knew they had a team of food experts running their blog, Taste. This is now one of my top 5 bookmarked blogs and I rely on it heavily for great recipe ideas! The recipes they post range in complexity, but are always creative and inspiring.

Taste highlights recipes by season, spotlights ingredients, Sunday supper ideas, baking and more. The blog also covers amazing entertaining and holiday tips. The content is engaging and unique; it really serves as a guide for the kitchen. I love it! Here are a couple of my favorite recipes:

italianbraisedshortribs

Italian Braised Short Ribs

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Sweet Potato Fries // Garlic & Herbs

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Grilled Lamb Chops // Fresh Peach Salsa

Check out their blog & share some of your favorites in the comments below!

valentine’s day treats

One of my favorite things about each holiday is making food that helps capture the excitement! I love going outside the box and being creative when it comes to food. Here are links to some of my favorite ideas for valentine’s day bites!

sweet as pie 

valentine's pie

How delicious does this pie look? The pie crust is what’s really eye-catching here, so you can make whatever type of pie you’d like – strawberry, cherry, apple…whatever your sweetheart loves! Pie is perfect year-round, but i do love it most in the cold months.

cupid’s cupcakes

cupcakes

I am obsessed with these cupcakes! I like how these treats put a new spin on cupcake toppers with Cupid’s arrows. How sweet!

chocolate covered strawberries

choc strawberries

These are the perfect snacks for Valentine’s Day! I think it’s easy to overlook this simple recipe but they are a great mix of healthy and sweets. This is a very simple treat to whip up for you and your valentine.

fruit skewers

fruit skewers

Use a heart cookie cutter and cut up assorted melons for a fresh love themed snack! I love the rainbow of colors. You can use yogurt for a healthy dip.

breakfast in bed 

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Everyone loves breakfast in bed, so why not make it even cuter? I found an article on JillianHarris.com with these great breakfast ideas. I made the homefries this morning – so easy and tasty. I love the strawberry milk but grapefruit mimosas or pink lemonade mimosas would also be lovely.

weekend cocktail: witches’ brew

One of my favorite accounts to follow on Instagram is HGTV. They also post inspirational and fun pictures! I also love almost every single show on their TV channel.

Today, HGTV posted an awesome recipe for “Witches’ Brew” – a fun autumnal take on white sangria! I love how a pumpkin is used as a substitute for a pitcher.

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Here is the white sangria recipe: Pinot Grigio, apple cider, bourbon, apples, pears, oranges, sugar and pumpkin pie spice – how amazing does that sound?!!

tuesday taste: panko-crusted dijon pork chops

One of my new favorite sites to check out for yummy recipes is The Real Girl’s Kitchen. It is authored by Haylie Duff, actress and sister of Hilary Duff (also known as Lizzie McGuire…).

The other night I found an awesome meal on her blog – Panko-Crusted Dijon Pork Chops. Check out the full recipe here!

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Image via Haylie Duff, The Real Girl’s Kitchen

These pork chops were SO easy to make and full of flavor. I made them with veggies on the side. I recommend asparagus or a leafy green salad as a great complement. I never tried breading meat using mustard before and I loved it. This is going to be a go-to meal this fall and winter for sure.

The Real Girl’s Kitchen also has a cookbook coming out this month and you can pre-order it on Amazon here!!! I already pre-ordered mine and I’m so excited to check out all the tasty recipes.

a tuesday taste: appetizers for dinner

One of my favorite easy suppers to make comprises of a few filling, delicious appetizers in place of one typical meal. Here are some tasty ideas:

cheese tray

A small cheese tray with crackers and olives – I love all types of cheeses and putting together a cheese plate is a great way to try new kinds. It is also filling and puts me in the “small bite” mood. Williams-Sonoma has a great article here with advice on assembling a great cheese tray.

shrimp cocktail

 

Shrimp is delicious and a low calorie food. Shrimp cocktail is a good source of protein and an easy appetizer to make. I typically buy it fresh and cooked, but if you need tips on how to prepare uncooked shrimp, check out this Martha Stewart article here.

TJs meatballs

 

Trader Joe’s has yummy appetizers to choose from! A bag of TJ’s Mini Masala Meatballs is one of my favorite. Buy some sauce to go with them and you’re good to go!

parm pups

Pigs in a blanket are always a great option! You can make them yourself, or pick up another Trader Joe’s winner: Parmesan Pastry Pups. The parmesan flavor is amazing!

Any favorite appetizers you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

 

a tuesday taste…a little late!

Pumpkin season is here!! For those of you who love a good muffin and embracing pumpkin flavor right now, I wanted to share a great recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

pumpkin choco chip muff

The link to the full recipe can be found here!

But here’s a summary —

Ingredients:

1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 lg. eggs
1 c. plain pumpkin
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. chocolate chips

Mix the dry ingredients first. Then, whisk in the eggs, butter & pumpkin. Once creamed, toss in those delicious chocolate chips! Bake in muffin tin at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy 🙂

a tuesday taste

I am one of those people who really love to eat fresh salads for lunch. I actually do enjoy healthy food…however I also love the bad stuff! One of the best tips I’ve heard – make your salad vibrant in color. I wanted to share with you the ingredients for my go-to salad for the work week:

I start with the Olivia’s Organics Spring Mix. It is great to buy all organic vegetables however it can be very expensive. I do try to make sure at least the spring mix I buy is organic since it is the bulk of the salad. I choose the spring mix (or sometimes the 50/50 with spinach) since it is the richest in nutrients. Always remember – the darker green, the better!

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I always slice up at least one type of bell pepper – usually a red pepper (organic if possible). I also like the flavor of the orange and yellow peppers and they definitely add some color to the meal.

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Red bell peppers are a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, and minerals. Some of the other key nutritional benefits:

  • Vitamin A: preserves eyesight, fights infections
  • Beta-carotene: protects against types of cancers, including breast cancer
  • Lycopene: reduces your risk of ovarian cancer
  • Vitamin C: reduces your risk of types of cancers

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I like to toss in some cherry or grape tomatoes. Tomatoes are also nutrient-rich and full of lycopene. If you hate tomatoes, a bell red pepper is a good alternative since it contains powerful lycopene.

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Avocado is one of my favorite fruits! I slice up half (sometimes more!) and mix it in with my greens. There are about 230 calories in one whole avocado so you need to be careful when eating it with other foods that may be high calorie as well. However, avocado is a heart-healthy unsaturated fat and helps make the salad more filling. Adding an avocado to your salad has additional perks – research shows antioxidants such as lycopene and beta-carotene (think your tomatoes and/or red peppers) are better absorbed with the consumption of healthy fat (avocado).

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In order to stay full, I need protein in my salad. I like to add plain grilled or baked chicken (or lightly seasoned with basil and lemon juice). I recommend buying some boneless chicken breasts and baking or grilling Sunday night. You can then easily slice it up and use it in your salad for the next couple of days. Hate chicken? Try some nitrate-free and low sodium turkey or cooked egg.

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Sometimes I like to add 4 or 5 olives. I think the combined flavors of the chicken, avocado and olives is amazing! Olives are a great source of antioxidants and they have other health benefits. They are typically high in sodium though – so make sure you eat them in moderation!

In terms of ‘dressing’, I usually squeeze some lemon juice and I’m good to go! The avocado adds a lot of flavor and in my opinion, it kind of becomes the ‘dressing’!

What are your favorite salads? Any other healthy salad toppings you love?