A few of my favorite things {This Week}

Favorite things wk5Links:

Maple Pecan Blondies w/Maple Butter Glaze

ilycouture.com Wifey Sweatshirt

27 DIY Beauty Hacks Every Girl Should Know

 

Fresh Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Years ago my husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta for vacation. On the beaches of Puerto there are many places where beachfront restaurants cater to you with cool towels, cabanas, drinks, etc. as long as you buy their food. We would hang out at these places all day, tasting different dishes, reading, and getting our bronze on. One of these dishes was an amazing watermelon and goat cheese salad. It was my first time having goat cheese and I loved it!

So when thinking of a fun summer salad to make for Karla & Jason’s Baby-Q shower last week, I thought trying to make that phantom watermelon and goat cheese salad would be perfect! But when looking online for the recipe I couldn’t find one just like the salad I remembered…so I took the only watermelon/goat cheese recipe I could find (this one), and altered it a little. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce (I buy organic spring mix blend)
  • Blanched Slivered Almonds (In Puerto it had toasted pine nuts…both are delish)
  • Thin Sliced Red Onions
  • Cubed Watermelon
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese (If they only sell it solid that is fine…just be sure to cube it small)
  • 1/2 Cup of Orange Juice (No pulp)
  • 1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper (About 5 dashes each)

{With this salad the only thing I measure is the dressing ingredients…everything else I just throw in depending on the size of salad and taste. For example the onions really bring out a different flavor in the salad…which I love…but not everyone loves onions so you may adjust it. Also, I usually double the dressing ingredients and store in the fridge for multiple uses.}

Directions:IMG_1628 IMG_1629Cube the watermelon

IMG_1632Thinly slice the onions. I have a mandolin and I sliced, then chopped them to make them smaller.

IMG_1634Combine olive oil, orange juice, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper.

IMG_1640Whisk/blend ingredients….I used a milk frother (you will need to do this before using every time because the liquids separate).

IMG_1643Combine dry ingredients with lettuce, add dressing to taste, and toss!…This isn’t tossed but just a taste test for me before the party…you know….just to make sure its good!

IMG_1783Tossed and at Karla & Jason’s Baby-Q

Quick Vanilla Peach Jam : {Shower Favor}

IMG_1690My friend Heather called me a few weeks ago and asked, “Hey friend, do you want to make jam?” Umm YES! I love jam (Apricot and Boysenberry are my fave FYI)…hopefully this doesn’t sound weird but I love it not only because it is delish, but because it is so pretty! Anyway, she wanted to make it as a favor for our friends Karla & Jason’s Baby-Q Shower that she was throwing. What a great idea! Party favors can be so boring…it’s nice to get one you can actually use. (For the record at our wedding we had a boring favor (a C.D.). Yes I got married when they still made C.D.’s). Heather found this recipe on Pinterest for a Peach Freezer Jam.

The Good News: It takes a lot less time to make than normal jam.

The Bad News (Sorta): It stays fresh in the fridge for only about 3 weeks. (But you can keep it in the freezer for a year).

We followed the recipe and only changed it slightly. That’s what I like most about the recipe; You can change it! Add different fruit, different juice flavors, combine fruits, etc. It’s just great to have a jam recipe that doesn’t take long to make! Thanks Recipe Girl!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened white grape
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • One 1.75-ounce package no-sugar-needed fruit pectin (or 3 tablespoons from a jar)
  • 5 to 6 medium peaches, peeled, diced and coarsely pureed in the food processor (3 cups of puree)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Five 8-ounce freezer-safe glass jelly jars

Directions:

IMG_1467IMG_1463IMG_1468 IMG_1476Put peaches in a pot of boiling water until the skins loosen (about a minute). *NOTE: The longer you leave them in the water the less firm your peaches become and they could break down…..so keep an eye on them.IMG_1477IMG_1479Then transfer peaches to a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds.
IMG_1473IMG_1475Peel skin off the peaches (this is the fun part).
IMG_1484Chop peaches. IMG_1480Puree the peaches roughly. (You don’t want them completely smooth)
IMG_1486IMG_1490Bring grape juice and lemon juice to a boil. Then whisk in the pectin completely and let it boil for 1 minute.
IMG_1491Stir in 3 cups of peach puree, sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. IMG_1495Bring back to a boil and keep at a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.IMG_1498Divide the hot mixture between the jars (ours made more than 5 for some reason and we used tupperware which worked great too), leaving 1/2-inch room at the top of each jar . Place the tops on the jars and let them sit at room temperature until they are completely cooled off (12 to 24 hours). Then refrigerate or freeze!IMG_1504IMG_1911Attach a label or instructions to the jars for a cute favor!

Backyard Baby-Q : {A Chic Couples Shower}

IMG_2129This past weekend my friend Heather threw a backyard Baby-Q couples shower for our good friends Karla & Jason Reed. Karla (who is an instagram fashion icon…be sure to follow her, @karlareed) has a very classic look and style which Heather wanted to reflect in the simple shower design. When you think colors for Karla you think primary colors…especially navy blue. But Karla is having a girl so Heather decided to incorporate fuchsia, flamingos and touches of gold….it turned out so fun! It was a great evening of good food, good convos with friends, and celebrating baby Charlotte! I can’t wait to meet this girl!

The Food : {Straying away from traditional barbecued hot dogs and burgers, the food was unique, delish, and homemade but simple to put together!}

  • Pulled Pork & Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (Served on Hawaiian Rolls)
  • Cole Slaw
  • Mac n’ Cheese
  • Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad (Recipe coming Thursday)
  • Cornbread (Both traditional and Jalapeño served with cilantro lime butter)
  • Baked Beans (Topped with bacon strips)

IMG_1720IMG_1706IMG_1698IMG_1678IMG_1672 IMG_1670IMG_1726 IMG_1728We put dem boys to work. IMG_1736Apps: Deviled Eggs & Peach, basil, and mozzarella bites with balsamic glazeIMG_1738 IMG_1712Beverages: Mojitos (Jason’s Favorite), Melon No-Jito’s (A fresh honeydew melon non-alcoholic Mojito) & BYOB (There was a great variety of brews).

IMG_1754Loved Karla’s gold tipped nails, gold bow ring, and gold dress! Get it girl!IMG_1753Heather (the shower genius) with Karla.IMG_1783 IMG_1787IMG_1803 IMG_1817IMG_1807IMG_1846NBD Jason kills spiders….with a golf club.
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IMG_1733Love the gorg SoCal sunset!
IMG_1935IMG_1929Yeah…this happened. IMG_1955 IMG_1960 IMG_1917IMG_1995Gotta love it when good friends do the dishes mid-party for you! IMG_2043#teamjohnstonIMG_2074Karla & IIMG_2001IMG_2034Dessert: Ice Cream Sundae Bar & Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

IMG_2058IMG_2083IMG_1690Party Favor: Homemade Vanilla Peach Jam (Recipe Coming Tomorrow)IMG_2098Let’s end with a salute shall we? Salute to the great evening we had all together! (For the record we had a serious discussion on how to properly salute…pretty much a professional saluter now)

Gearing up for Gatsby : {The Great Gatsby Viewing Essentials}

the-great-gatsby-2012The Great Gatsby (TGG) is available to own TODAY!

TGG is not only The Great American Novel according to most critics, but a story I personally love!  So when I found out the movie was being re-done (nothing against Robert Redford) I was so excited!  Especially when I found out Baz Luhrmann was doing it because I love his style…especially in Moulin Rouge and Rome and Juliet.

There is something magical and mysterious about Gatsby, his life, his home, and just that whole era in general….it’s inspiring!   Here are a few fun things that inspired me as I prepare for my Gatsby viewing….And of course I will be listening to the soundtrack all day today!

Gearing Up For GatsbyLinks:

H&M Chiffon Dress $49.95

Bauble Bar Gold Crystal Gatsby Pendant $34

Caesar Salad Recipe

SusietheSun Eternal Summer Jeweled Headband $135.6

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