Creamy Goat Cheese and Arugula Pasta Salad

Happy Monday, friends.  Can you believe it’s the last week of June?  This past weekend we spent some time at the pool, went on a couple of long walks, enjoyed sushi, and cooked some epic summer dinners.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I made a pasta salad but this goat cheese pasta salad has been on my brain since Memorial Day weekend and I finally made it last night for dinner.  The verdict:  my new favorite pasta salad.

The goat cheese adds so much creaminess and tang to the entire salad and the olive oil + lemon juice “dressing” adds a little zip that I adored.  The salad is studded with sweet, homegrown tomatoes as well as briny olives (perhaps my favorite part).  Peppery arugula adds just the right amount of spice and green to the dish.  This dish is best served warm or at room temperature but you can totally reheat in the microwave.

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Big Guy and I both adored this summery pasta salad.

Friday Favorites

I have two requirements for this weekend:  sun and fun.  Should be pretty easy to check those off the list.  I’m also thinking there’s a pizza night in our near future.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  p.s. Be sure to put SUN and FUN on your weekend list, too.

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Favorite Round-Up:  18 Grilled Pizzas That Bring Pizza Night Outside.  YES to Grilled Lobster and Corn Pizza with Goat Cheese and Fresh Tomatoes.

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Favorite Top:  Moon River Yellow Madeline Top.  How cute is this?  And it would be absolutely perfect for football season (sadly that will be here before we know it).

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Favorite “Appy” Hour:  Caprese Burrata Garlic Bread.  This is happening as soon as our tomatoes are ready to come off the vine.

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Favorite Sweet and Simple:  Cheesecake for Two.  Only five ingredients.  This would be perfect for date night in.

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Favorite Reads:  2017 Summer Reading List.  Jessica and I (yes, we’re on a first name basis) have the same taste in books.  I can’t wait to get my hands on “The Identicals,” “Secrets in Summer,” and “The Sunshine Sisters.”

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Favorite Cheese, Please:  Spicy Mexican Mac and Cheese.  I’ve been talking about “trashed up” mac and cheese for MONTHS now.  It’s about time I make it happen.

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Favorite Lightened Up:  Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblanos Rellenos.  All I can say is “YUM.”  Going on the menu ASAP.

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Favorite DIY:  Small Space Vertical Herb Garden.  If we were ever to have a smaller yard space, I could totally see myself wanting to make one of these.  How cute!

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Favorite Obsessed:  Greek Nachos.  These look absolutely incredible.  I want it all.

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Favorite Vacation:  Piña Colada Punch.  Perhaps I need to add this to my list for the weekend.  Fun. Sun. Vacation in a glass.

Cheers!

 

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Banana Bread Granola

Hi friends!  We had an awesome long weekend celebrating my youngest brother’s wedding this past weekend.  The Bell family just keeps growing! The wedding took place at Trump National on Lake Normal and the venue couldn’t have been more beautiful.  Welcome to the fam, Sara!

On Monday I had the urge to dirty up the kitchen a little bit and I am more than happy with the banana bread granola that I made.  The ingredient list is short and your kitchen will smell AMAZING as you bake the crunchy goodness.  The granola is perfect for snacking by the handful (yes, please), on top of yogurt, or with a little milk in a bowl.

The base of the granola is oats along with walnuts and pecans for the nuttiness that we all love in banana bread.  For sweetness, maple syrup and a little raw sugar.  I love coconut in banana bread and this recipe calls for coconut oil to help it “clump” and become granola. Everything is spiced with a little cinnamon and salt and a mashed banana lends it’s flavor to really give it that banana bread flavor.

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Addicting.

A little sweet.

Super crunchy.

Nutty.

And tastes just like Momma Bell’s banana bread.

5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

That’s right, a five ingredient, gluten-free cookie that is PACKED with peanut butter flavor.  Big Guy was a little hesitant at first about these cookies because of the two words “gluten” and “free” but I promised him that these would not taste healthy.

They are indulgent and rich and you only need one to tame that sweet tooth that you get post-dinner.  They are super simple to make and they’re also freezer friendly.  So you better believe I have a stash that I’ve hidden for those nights when I want something sweet but I haven’t gotten around to making anything.

Here’s what you do:

Whisk together 2 cups of coconut sugar with 2 eggs.  Add in the vanilla and salt.

Add an entire 16 ounce jar of peanut butter and mix with a spatula.  Add in the chocolate chips and stir.  Now let the bowl of deliciousness literally “chill out” in the fridge or freezer for at least 15 minutes.

Using a cookie scoop, arrange on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 11 to 13 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pan.  Then allow to cook completely before storing.

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Note:  These do not spread out like regular cookies.  They are more round and almost like cookie bites.

Now where did I stash those cookies…

 

Antipasto Pizza

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.  We spent Friday night hosting “A Night in Havana” which was so much fun and we couldn’t have asked for better whether when it came to dining outside.  Saturday I was up early to teach class and then we spent most of the day lounging by the pool before heading home for a “date night in.”  And on Sunday we got in a long walk and brunch before getting cleaned up and going to a friends house for a gender reveal (it’s a boy AND a girl!).  We ended the weekend in the best way with pizza!

I loosely based our pizza on this recipe but I used our favorite crust recipe.  We decided to grill our pizza so we threw the dough on the grill and then after three minutes flipped it and then added ALL the toppings:

Marinara Sauce

Sautéed mushroom, red onion and garlic

Olives

Salami

Prosciutto

Roasted Red Peppers

Mozzarella

Fresh Basil

Allow the pizza to grill until the crust is cooked through and beginning to brown and the cheese is nice and melted.

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Serve with an extra sprinkle of fresh basil and dig in.

Pizza Pizza!

Friday Favorites

Weeks that “start” on Tuesday sure do go by fast!  It’s been a busy week trying to fit five days into four plus tying up a few loose ends for two events (one was last night and one is tonight).  What does your weekend have in store for you?  Tonight we’re co-hosting Supper Club and I’m so excited about the theme, “A Night in Havana.”  Bring on the mojitos!  My brother and SIL plus the babe are staying here the night and I cannot wait to snuggle my nephew a little more.  Saturday is wide open minus teaching at 8am and Sunday is pretty open minus a little gender reveal party we’re attending.  Perhaps I’ll find time to hit the pool and I’m certain I’ll find time to make something amazing in the kitchen and pour myself a glass of wine.  Have a good one, friends!

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Favorite Spread:  A Late Spring Cheese Board with Beet Whipped Feta.  A platter of my dreams.

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Favorite Layers:  Lemon Poppyseed Cake.  Lemon desserts are one of my favorites.  And it’s so beautiful.

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Favorite Advice:  5 Real People on the Small Lifestyle Shifts They Made to Save Money.  Because saving money is easier said than done.

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Favorite Weekend:  Chicken Burgers with Jicama and Candied Jalapeños.  I’m not usually a fan of chicken burgers but this looks insane.

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Favorite Splurge:  Persifor Women’s Capri Riviera Kilpatrick Dress.  A little pricey considering it’s cotton but I love the print.

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Favorite Craving:  Blackened Salmon Caprese Skewers.  I know Big Guy won’t touch these so I might need to fire up my grill pan inside.

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Favorite Recipe to Save:  Chocolate Zucchini Muffins with Avocado.  The day will soon come when I’m up to my ears in zucchini…

 

Favorite Read:  Adulting.  So interesting and I can totally relate.

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Favorite Salad That’s Not a Salad:  Spicy Peanut Soba Noodle Salad.  This looks delicious.  I love a good peanut sauce.

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Favorite Sipper:  Pineapple Punch with Ginger Beer.  Say “hello” to my Saturday cocktail.

 

Cheers!

Friday Favorites

Bring on the three day weekend!  Like I say every year, Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start to summer in my world.  The past few weekends have been quite full and the coming weekends look just as hectic (but fun!) so I’m excited that this weekend doesn’t really involve a lot of plans.  I’m hoping to relax, sneak in some walks and enjoy a crisp glass (or two) of rosé.  I hope your weekend is swell and I’ll see you next week!

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Favorite Icy:  Frozen Peaches and Cream Cake.  The perfect summer dessert after a long day in the sun.

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Favorite Roundup:  35 Recipes for Your Memorial Day Weekend.  The only place you need to go for food inspiration this weekend.  From appetizers to mains to drinks, Gaby has you covered.

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Favorite Curious:  What Your Go-To Breakfast Says About Your Personality.  I eat a lot of yogurt in the mornings.

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Favorite “Appy” Hour:  Avocado, Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  This reminds me of the dip I shared yesterday but better because #avocado.

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Favorite Intrigued:  Everything I Know About Essential Oils.   My mom has recently gotten interested in essential oils and the more I hear, the more I want to know and the more I want to try.  I’m especially interested in the lemon and the peace and calming oils.

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Favorite Bowl of Food:  Tequila Shrimp Taco Salad.  I love everything about this dinner.

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Favorite Top:  Ann Taylor Striped Off The Shoulder Ruffle Sweater.  Classic yet fun and perfect for almost any summer occasion.

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Favorite Throwback:  Friday Favorites {NOLA edition},  A friend was asking me about restaurants in New Orleans and I couldn’t help but day dream about our trip a little over a year ago.  Weekend trips are one of my favorite things in the whole world.

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Favorite Side Dish:  Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad.  I’m really into pasta salads lately so I’m rolling with it and kind of want to make this over the weekend.

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Favorite Shaken:  Jam Cocktails.  How fun!  I think I would go for the Blackberry Gin Cocktail.

 

Cheers!

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY (tomorrow) to my BROTHER, TAYLOR!!!!!!