We’ve got just under one month left until our Palm Springs vacation and I can hardly wait. I’m desperately in need of a little sun and relaxation. And maybe a new swimsuit. Lately I’ve gone for a little more coverage, but something about California makes me want a little bikini again. In a fun print. Maybe I’ll even get a teeny bit of tan on this Seattle skin!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend! I’ve been waiting for this day all week! ;)
What I’ve been looking at this week:
These perfect summer flats
Hilarious and adorable piñatas
Whimsical hair pieces for a bride or a queen
This amazing snack idea
A Summerland giveaway!
Soft and color t-shirt I could spend every day in
This Seattle restaurant that’s been on my to-visit list for too long
image via the pursuit aesthetic
Started the morning off with a little hot yoga and I’m feeling rather refreshed. Then a fabulous lunch with a few favorite friends at Skillet, including the best poutine I’ve had outside of Canada. Yum! Hope your weekend is wonderful!
Here are a few of my favorite links from the week.
Taco Pickles? Yes please!
I’m thinking about a one piece swimsuit for the summer
How to color block your oxfords
These home state stamps would be a great gift
For the next party I want a giant confetti wall
My favorite ballet flats in a ton of new colors
A sweet and chocolatey twist on a krispy treat
Absolutely gorgeous Parisian lingerie
image via hawaiian coconut
Home again with another sinus infection. What is it with this year?! Being all cooped up has me dreaming of vacationing. We’re so excited for the trip we have planned in Palm Springs for a dear friend’s wedding in May. I’m counting down the minutes!
Here are a few things I’ve bookmarked for the trip…
the sweetest bikini
a bright and tangy twist on the margarita
waterproofing my little iphone
a wide floppy classic sun hat
perfectly peachy wedding shoes
things to nibble on poolside
the very best sunscreen
image via coco kelley
So we finally took a little time off this week… five days in Vegas to be exact. Vegas! Oh, what a week. Just me and the husband. A little gambling, a lot of sun, so much great food and a much needed couple days of down time.
The day we landed I asked our friends for suggestions and we got so many great ones!
Favorites: Fremont Street and $5 Black Jack tables at 4 Queens Casino, Parasol Down Bar at the Wynn and the crazy, strange, wonderful water show outside, Carnevino & Craftsteak at MGM for fancy dinners, Peppermill for the best cheesy, over-the-top Vegas-esque lounge. Love! Thanks all!
It feels like summer’s last gasp this week. The weather’s been perfect, and I’m craving salads every night. And I must say, this vinaigrette is possibly the most amazing dressing I’ve ever made, ever had! With the fresh peas (if you can still get your hands on them), it is the most delightfully bright and refreshing dish. The perfect mix of zing and crunch. Ah! I’m in love again.
Summer Pea & Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
via smitten kitchen
1 pound of small pasta
1/4 pound snow pea pods, ends trimmed
1/2 pound fresh summer peas, which yielded about 1 cup once shelled
3/4 to 1 cup Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a small ice water bath. Boil the snow pea pods for about two minutes, or until just barely cooked but still crisp. Scoop them out with a large slotted spoon and drop them in the ice water bath. Cook the peas for about 10 minutes (once again, this will be al dente, you can cook them longer if you prefer them softer), scoop them out with a large slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water bath as well. Drain both peas. Cut the snow peas into thin slivers.
Add the pasta into the boiling water and cook it according to package instructions. Drain and let cool, then toss in a large bowl with peas and Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette, seasoning to taste.
Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette
Makes about one cup of dressing
1 red bell pepper, roasted, skinned and seeded or the equivalent from a jar, drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped shallot (about 1 small)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several grinds of black pepper
Puree the red bell pepper in a food processor or blender as much as possible, then add the remaining ingredients and running the machine until the dressing is silky smooth. Adjust the vinegar level and seasonings to taste.
How could I forget?! My sister made this amazing salad for my birthday BBQ. Citrusy and crunchy – it was a great departure from a typical green salad. And the next morning, I loved it still! Hooray for leftovers! (Sorry sister, I ate the last 2 servings myself!) Not only was this salad the perfect addition to our BBQ classics, I can imagine as a great option for brunch too.
Parmesan Celery Salad
via 101 cookbooks
8 large celery stalks, stripped of strings (update: according to sister, stripping is optional)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini or garbanzo beans, heated
3 tablespoons currants (or golden raisins)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, deeply toasted
freshly chopped herbs (or herb flowers), or reserved celery leaves
Slice the celery stalks quite thinly – 1/8-inch or so. Then, in a small bowl, make a paste with the olive oil, lemon juice, and Parmesan. Set aside. In a large bowl toss the heated beans with the olive-Parmesan mixture. When well combined, add the celery, currants, and most of the almonds. Toss once more. Taste and add a bit of salt if needed. Serve in a bowl or platter topped with herb flowers and/or celery leaves.
Even with all the birthday madness this week, we did manage to whip up a few easy, delicious meals. Husband made this one night while I worked late, and it’s definitely a new favorite. I loved it for dinner and even more the next day cold. This recipe is also great because it is a great base that could be mixed up with a variety of different ingredients and toppings. For the meat eaters out there, I think adding cooked chicken and tossing it with the oil would round out this dish nicely!
Spicy Thai Noodles
via a small snippet
1 box linguine
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup sesame oil
6 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 cup peanuts, chopped
Combine the crushed red pepper flakes, vegetable and sesame oil in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Strain out of the red pepper flakes, reserving the oil. Whisk the honey and soy sauce into the reserved oil. Cook the noodles according to the package, to al dente.
Drain the noodles and toss well with the oil mixture until the noodles are well coated.
To serve, top each bowl of noodles with green onions, carrots, cilantro and peanuts to taste.
So… I turned thirty this week. What a week it was! Another friend of mine turned thirty this week also, so there were many festivities to be had. We had a lake float and pool party BBQ, dinner with 15 of our closest friends at the fantastic new neighborhood Mexican restaurant, and drinks & fun at my favorite local bar. They just built out a huge lower level filled with games – feels like a carnival just landed! Now I’m looking forward to resting up a bit this weekend after all this fun…
Ratatouille has been a favorite of mine for a while now. It’s one of of my favorite summer meals – all those bright vegetables in a fresh, filling dish. This salad turned out to be a great twist on a classic, and the balsamic vinegar added just the right amount of bite. I actually added an extra tablespoon more than the original recipe called for, I love it a little extra tang. Another great salad for my list of things to bring to a dinner party!
Ratatouille Barley Salad
via sprouted kitchen
1 cup pearled barley
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
8 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 eggplant, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
about 6 zucchini, 1/2” coins
2 cups baby tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup finely chopped basil
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
grated parmesan, as desired
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed
Rinse the barley. Put it in a pot with about 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil then down to a simmer, add a few pinches of salt and cook for about 25-30 minutes until tender. Drain any excess water and transfer the grains to a big mixing bowl. Add the minced garlic and a pinch of salt while the grains are still hot, and stir. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar, stir to coat. Set aside.
Heat a hearty drizzle of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini and a generous sprinkle of ground pepper and saute until well charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the barley bowl. Rub ground pepper and salt on all sides of the eggplant. Sear the eggplant in the pan, with a bit of olive oil. Let the eggplant cool slightly and add it to the barley bowl. Add the halved tomatoes, basil, parsley and toss everything to mix. Taste for salt (remember you’re adding parm so go easy) and pepper and maybe a bit more vinegar if you prefer.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Generously sprinkle the grated parmesan on top and another pinch of fresh herbs and fresh pepper. Serve at room temperature.