Honeyed Strawberry, Avocado, and Almond Salad

Honeyed Strawberry Avocado Salad with Almonds

At this point I feel like I’m getting a reputation among my friends… a reputation for being the person who always brings the salad to the dinner party or cookout. Here’s the thing, though: salads are not boring if you do ’em right. I like to load mine with all sorts of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and nice cheese. I’m also a fan of making my own dressing, which, on top of being better for you, adds so much more flavor and depth than your usual store-bought variety. (But if you are using a store-bought, my favorite brand is Briannas, which I’ve mentioned before in a similar recipe.)

I threw together one of my huge salads when I hosted our Bachelorette League at my place last week. Since I was making a big amount and I was a little crunched for time after work, I had my man help me out. And by “my man” I don’t mean my boyfriend Rob. I mean my man Joe. My man TRADER JOE. I got everything I needed from him for this dinner (including a bunch of cheap yet delicious wine, not pictured). Love u forever, TJs.

Honeyed Strawberry, Avocado, and Almond Salad

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Strawberry Fields Spinach Salad

Strawberry Fields Salad

This recipe is so simple I almost feel bad posting it as a “recipe”… except for I don’t feel bad, because it is SOOOO GOOD. You’ll see.

I originally experienced this heavenly combo during one of my weekly girls’ night dinner parties. I knew it was going to be a winner when I saw the dressing employed: Rich Poppy Seed Dressing from Brianna’s. Normally I don’t love bottled salad dressings, but this Brianna’s is different. I’ve been a big fan of their poppy seed dressing since I discovered it years ago. It’s an amazing complement to every sort of fruit (including peaches, as indicated on the bottle—and also avocado!)

The sweetness of the strawberries and the dressing is an obvious pairing with the tangy, creamy goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. The surprise here is the quinoa—usually I serve cooled quinoa in salads, but this one keeps it warm. This allows the goat cheese to melt into the quinoa and the rest of the salad ingredients, and slightly wilt the spinach. It all melts and mixes together just enough, not too much. The key? Slightly warm quinoa, not super hot right off the stove!

Sweet Strawberry Fields Salad

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Cocktail O’ Clock: Strawberry Amore

Strawberry Amore

Pink is the color of Valentine’s Day. Pink Champagne, pink hearts, pink (okay, kinda red) strawberries… I love strawberries and Champagne on this holiday so I’m pretty into this recipe from Three Olives, using their Marilyn Monroe strawberry vodka. It reminds me of another classic film star—or rather, the drink named after her—Shirley Temple! (RIP, my sweet friend). This recipe uses lemon lime soda to add bubbles, but I think it would be great with a float of your favorite sparkling wine as well.

I took some creative liberties and garnished with a “chocolate-covered strawberry” flavor Peep... because hey, why not?!

Strawberry Amore Cocktail

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Super Sweet Valentine’s: Strawberry Funfetti Melted Ice Cream Cake

Happy V-Day! Whether single, attached, or somewhere in the middle, there’s one unifying reason for everyone to celebrate the holiday of love: SUGAR. Valentine’s Day is a no-holds-barred marathon of sweets. Chocolates, strawberries, truffles, cupcakes, whipped cream…the sugary possibilities are endless. Personally, I’m a “red wine and dark chocolate” type of dessert lover, but I do have a couple vices when it comes to sweets, and here’s my most guilty one: funfetti. I’m powerless before funfetti. You know what I’m talking about, that boxed rainbow cake you see at birthday parties? I love it.

Strawberry Ice Cream Funfetti Cake

Anyway, this is a recipe that was sent to me by our friends at Arctic Zero, so it’s festive and sweet but definitely lower in cals/fat than your average dessert made with cream, butter, etc. Meaning you can still feel H-O-T in whatever seductive outfit you want to flaunt after sharing this dessert with your love (significant other, friend, family member, TV screen?) of choice.

The cake itself is cute and pink and rainbow-y, and super moist thanks to using Arctic Zero versus oil or something in the cake batter. It tastes like a homemade birthday cake with a scoop of melted ice cream mixed together. What could be better than that?

Strawberry Funfetti Melted Ice Cream Cake

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Extreme Food Porn Alert: Pancake Orgy

I’m serious. EXTREME FOOD PORN. I was browsing Instagram today (what, you don’t follow like thirty food photography Instas?) and one of my favorites, thekitchenista, posted a picture of her pancakes. Well, it wasn’t a picture, more like a heart-stopping revelation:

Kitchenista Strawberry Pancakes

Whaaaaat. I don’t even consider myself a “sweet breakfast foods” type of person, I’m more of a savory, but I think this photo could convince me to switch teams. Angela, Miss Kitchenista herself, describes this as “Strawberry shortcake pancakes! Crispy buttermilk pancakes, homemade maple strawberry syrup & fresh maple whipped cream.” I WANT.

Anyway, if you’re in the mood to make yourself perma-hungry, check out her blog, The Kitchenista Diaries, as well. (This is a totally unsolicited plug and we are not affiliated, I just like to spread the fellow food blogger/photog love and her stuff is great!)

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Graham Crackers Gone Wild! Top 10 Ways to Use Your Leftover S’mores Ingredients

It’s time to stock up on chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers. It’s s’mores season. Typically you’ll see the chocolate go first, then the marshmallows, but every year those poor graham crackers are left over to stale up. It’s a shame…rarely does someone crave a plain honey graham cracker. I actually enjoy one with some peanut butter spread and dunked in an ice cold glass of milk. But I digress. For the rest of you who don’t like the poor old “boring” graham, here are some ideas for what to do with them (other than s’mores of course):

10. Graham Cracker Peanut Butter Bars


Recipe: The Wannabe Chef

Last time I did a top ten, I offended some by offering unhealthy choices. Well, as the humble person I am, and very thoughtful I may add, I found a choice that is gluten free. Gluten free, yet still scrumptious. Peanut butter, chocolate, graham crackers. You’re welcome.

9. Graham Cracker Chicken Bites


Recipe: My Kitchen Snippets

I bet you thought these would all be deserts. Well, yet again you are wrong. Screw corn flakes—let’s add some sweet honey graham crackers to the mix and impress guests of all ages. This really is sweet and savory. Maybe for desert, you can get out the mallows.

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The Endless Road Trip: Salt and Straw

We’re no strangers to crazy ice cream flavors here at ES, and let’s be real—in this brave new dessert world where salted caramel sundaes and olive oil ice cream have become the norm, a chef putting something insane inside your cone is not really newsworthy. HOWEVER, when I heard there is an ice cream shop in meat-mad Portland serving bone marrow ice cream, clearly I was there in a New York minute.

The bad news: Salt and Straw did not have the bone marrow flavor in stock on the day I visited, but really for the very best reason possible: they were waiting for cherry season to start, so that they could make a bone marrow-black cherry ice cream. Obvi.

The good news: I had enough friends with me to order up a smorgasbord of outrageous flavors: honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, sea salt with caramel ribbons, coffee-bourbon, blue cheese and pear (!), honey-lavender, blood orange, and blueberry with key lime marmalade. All head-over-heels amazing. the sweet-and-savory balsamic-strawberry-pepper took top honors for me.

The better news:

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