Amy’s Notebook 06.25.14

June 25th, 2014

Here comes the sun house tour via Design Mom

Source: Design Mom

 

This home tour is simply inspiring!

Here’s a great list of 2014 summer books to stash in your beach bag.

Free printable last minute July 4th poster- I just love this print!

Read 9 decorator secrets to more style with less money. Love.

Slow cooker recipe for Greek gyros- what a yummy summer meal.

Wow, I like these “toy jail” printables so much – they will be coming in very handy this summer, I think!

Signing kids up for summer camps? You need this shortcut for filling out camp registrations.

Ice cold coffee gift via Saturday Crafternoons

Source: Saturday Crafternoons

 

A cold brew coffee with fun label makes a perfect birthday, thank you, or “just because” gift for a coffee-loving friend.

Simple wallpaper removing tips- I wish I had these when we got our first house!

You won’t believe this school bus transformation.

11 debunked DIY tricks on Pinterest- apparently 11 things I won’t be trying this week.

This DIY shuttlecock lights garland is absolutely adorable!

Joy the Baker: Baking 101- a handy series to bookmark for the pie-baking season.

 

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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McCormick FlavorPrint + 3 Fun Ideas for Dinner!

June 25th, 2014

*This post is sponsored by McCormick Spice in partnership with the One2One Network.

One of my late night past times is staying up to take ridiculous quizzes like, “What 80′s Boyfriend Should You Have?,” and “What OITNB Character Would You Be?” and one of my favorites, “What Country Should You Live In,” as though these quizzes will hold the deep meaning to life.

In case you are wondering, I am Piper, Lloyd Dobbler from Say Anything should be my boyfriend, &  I belong in Paris. All completely accurate & true.

Well, if you are a quiz junkie like, me you will love the new FlavorPrint tool from MCcormick Spice that is a lot like those quizzes you love, but actually will be useful because you can plan your family’s meal around the answers you provide. For someone who is stumped for fresh ideas in the summer and who has found herself gravitating towards the same three dishes for ease, I couldn’t wait to take the quiz and figure out what options would fit our family’s needs.

McCormick FlavorPrint

McCormick has found that each person has a unique flavor “fingerprint” that is conveyed through a distinct visual mark, which has 33 “spikes” to represent different flavors in your personal flavor profile. The bigger the spike, the more prominent the flavor. Through this quiz, it can identify your own personal tastes and provide delicious options that fit that unique profile for your dinner hour.

The quiz takes about two minutes of answering questions like, “Do you like mint?” and then “How about onions?” Once you have completed the quiz, it will provide meal options for you that you can try. If you like the options, you can dive in deeper and give them a thumbs up, answer more questions about your personal taste, share what you always have on hand in your pantry, and even tell them what type of equipment you have or don’t have in your kitchen. It will continue to share more and more personalized meal options as you completely more answers. For quiz junkies like me, it was a little slice of heaven.

McCormick FlavorPrint
For families that suffer from food allergies or sensitivities, you can also share what you need to avoid. I love that Wheat was an option on this so that the recipes that were shown for our family were gluten-free meal options, helping us really have useful choices for us. The last thing I want to see is all the wheaty goodness I can’t indulge in. Thanks, FlavorPrint, for making me feel like I actually have food choices.

McCormick FlavorPrint After answering the questions, these were the flavors that rose to the top. Based on this information, FlavorPrint offered some meal ideas for us. After I picked a meal to try, I answered  more questions on the quiz and got more meal ideas.  Here are three meal ideas that FlavorPrint suggested for me.

Edamame and Corn Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

Edamame and Corn Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

The first dish it recommended for me was a Edamame and Corn Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette. I can see exactly why it would recommend this for me because I LOVE edamame and I love corn. Since sourness is something I love, the acidic dressing just makes sense for me. This salad had fresh corn, red bell peppers, parsley, and edamame in it. This would be a great dish to take to a cookout and I have been eating the leftovers as a side dish for my lunch.

Creamy Spinach & Mushroom Risotto

Creamy Spinach & Mushroom Risotto

Playing on my love for all things cheesy, the next recommendation that was made was this Creamy Spinach & Mushroom Risotto made from an easy boxed rice mix. Although I wouldn’t say that this would be in our regular rotation, I know that on a busy weeknight of activities, this would be a fun side to add with a little grilled meat and is much easier to create than babysitting a pot of homemade risotto.

Let’s be honest…ain’t nobody got time for that.

My kids really loved this dish and I found it comforting & satisfying. We called this another dinner win!

Grilled Chicken Caprese

Grilled Chicken Caprese

Grilled Chicken Caprese

Grilled Chicken Caprese

The last dish recommended was a Grilled Chicken Caprese which could not have fit our family more perfectly. You may recall, I had just shared a 5-ingredient Caprese Pork Chop recipe that our family loved. This mimicked those same flavors, but did not require marinating the chicken, but utilized Lawry’s Roasted Garlic Salt with Oregano & Basil instead and a grilled tomato that was sprinkled with the same. My family absolutely loved this dinner option and my only regret was not making a double batch of these. It paired well with the risotto and would be a perfect summer meal to entertain with.

McCormick FlavorPrint

As you can see, we got some great dinner ideas using the FlavorPrint tool and we can’t wait to continue quiz-taking to find more meal ideas for our family.  I highly recommend you take the quiz too and get some fresh ideas for your dinner hour. In the meantime, I have created three pinnable images (below) for the meals that we tried, in case your FlavorProfile looks anything like ours!

Edamame and Corn Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

Creamy Spinach & Mushroom Risotto

Grilled Chicken Caprese

 

 

Cheers to summertime meal ease & quizzes that give us actually useful information for our families… although wouldn’t you be sad if you didn’t know your destiny resides in Paris?  I hope you love it as much as we did!

 

*This post is sponsored by McCormick Spice in partnership with the One2One Network.

Raspberry White Chocolate Sorbet

June 24th, 2014

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

Raspberry White Chocolate Sorbet Recipe on MomAdvice.com

Every summer I feel as though I time my family activities by the season of berries that’s ripe for the pickin’. There are trips to the strawberry fields, where our knees become encrusted with the straw that is used to mulch between the rows. There are blueberry picking adventures, the sun beating down on us as we pull handfuls of bulbous berries into small buckets.

The raspberries, though, they happen in our own backyard. The far corner in the back of the yard is devoted to the thorny canes, poking up and often trying to run into other parts of the yard. They start the spring off looking like nothing more than bare twigs, and by June they’re full of leaves and flowers and then bright red berries.

Raspberry White Chocolate Sorbet Recipe on MomAdvice.com

We pick bowl fulls for breakfast, adding a few to our morning yogurt, stirring them into our oatmeal. We drop them into sparkling juices to toast special occasions. My kids, barefoot and still dripping from the pool, hover over the prickly branches, sacrificing themselves for a few of the tart treats. But when the summer sun is hot and unforgiving, the best way to enjoy them is to gather up as many as you can and blend them into a cold, sweet cup of summer.

Raspberry White Chocolate Sorbet Recipe on MomAdvice.com Recipe Notes:

I love raspberry and white chocolate together, and while you can use any white chocolate you desire, a good quality one will definitely go father here. It’s worth it for the small amount you use. I used a Lindt Lindor Truffle Bar, which has a firm white chocolate outside and a softer, as the name suggests, truffled center, and I love that it doesn’t get too hard when frozen.

Yes, I realize this has an ice cream maker in the recipe. If you don’t have one, sorbet is a hard thing to master. The ice cream maker helps it freeze evenly and quickly, which gives you that smooth texture that you think of when you think sorbet. However, if you don’t have one, don’t despair. Put the mix in a zip-top bag, and massage the bag every half hour or so in the freezer. This will help it to freeze evenly, and you’ll get a delicious frozen treat.

The vodka helps the mix from freezing solid. If you are opposed to any alcohol in your sorbet, try adding a tablespoon of honey or golden syrup instead.

Raspberry White Chocolate Sorbet
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 6 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons vodka
  • 1 cup white chocolate, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for five minutes . Remove from heat, pour into a heat-proof bowl, and refrigerate until chilled.
  2. Once the syrup is chilled, combine the raspberries, vanilla, and vodka in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  3. Press the mixture through a sieve to remove pulp and seeds. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker, adding in the white chocolate at the end. Transfer to a container and freeze.

 

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Apron Full of Giveaways 06.24.14

June 24th, 2014

green polka dot apron

Source: Gramma May Handicrafts,  $46.86

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Kids

June 23rd, 2014

Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Kids

As my children grow older, I strive to find more meaningful ways to celebrate holidays. The 4th of July has always been a burst of red, white, & blue through our home, but I can’t say that we have ever spent time together discussing the importance of this day and getting to know the heroes behind what makes the 4th of July so special. Today I want to share with you a fun way you can share about the 4th of July Heroes in your home and a fun way to incorporate their images in your home to make the day more meaningful and festive.

I partnered with Walmart on this project and all the materials you need for this can be found at their store.

To begin, you can select your 4th of July Heroes that you want to talk about. I found this great list for kids that I used to select our heroes to focus upon. I then headed to Wikipedia and found images of each of our heroes and converted them to black & white and saved them on my computer. If you would like to use the same heroes as us, here are the heroes we selected for our project.

George Washington

George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

John Hancock

John Hancock

Crispus Attucks

Crispus Attucks

John Adams

John Adams

Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams

Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Kids

Once you have your heroes selected, head to the Walmart Photo Site and upload the images there. In addition to having 1 of each image printed in 4×6, also add 1 set of wallets for each person.  If you send these to the one-hour lab, it will be less than $6 for all of them. While you are there, you can also pick up a package of mini-clothespins, a set of notecards for your kids to write on, supplies for this easy flag bunting, and this burlap wreath to decorate with. Since I already had these things in our home, it helps cut down on cost and storage for us this year.

Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Kids

Once you have your images, have kids select which person they are interested in discovering and have them find information about their 4th of July heroes. I challenged my kids to find one or two facts about each hero.  We also read about the first 4th of July and how different is from how we celebrate today.

I am embarrassed to say that I was learning right along with my children and soaking it all in as much as they were. Abigail Adams, for example, was one of our favorite people we learned about. Did you know that she had five kids that she cared for and homeschooled while her husband was away serving his country?  Not only was she passionate about women’s rights, but she was also passionate about equality for all people, whether they were black or white. She helped care for the soldiers in her home (feeding them and treating their injuries), and she even learned how to make her own gunpowder. Emily and I are big fans of Abigail Adams now and all she did for our country.

Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Kids

Likewise, my son loved John Adams and his fun fact was that he thought his teachers, “held him back.” Despite being held back from his true potential in grade school, he passed his entrance exams to Harvard and his parents, who were farmers, gave up several acres of their own farm land to pay for John’s schooling. And, boy, did that pay off! John Adams strongly supported independence from Britain, signed the Declaration of Independence, and negotiated the treaty ending the Revolutionary War. He later became the nation’s first vice president and second president.  This led to a great discussion about recognizing our true potential when sometimes others do not.

Did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King referenced Crispus Attucks in one of his speeches? He held him up as an example of black patriotism at the beginning of our nation’s history. Yet, we never knew anything about what he did for our country. I’m so glad we know now.

Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Kids
Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Kids

If you have smaller kids, you can share simple facts and have them draw pictures. Clearly, the fact that Abigail Adams rocked it as a mom and had five kids was worthy of a picture. Make this time fun for your kids while acknowledging the sacrifices that so many gave up for our freedom.

Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Kids

Once we were done discussing our heroes, I incorporated these pictures into our holiday decor. I pulled some of the flags off of our bunting and switched them with pictures of our heroes.  I took the items off of my burlap wreath and clipped the wallet images with mini clothespins on the wreath. I hung this in the center of our mirror and added the flag & hero bunting around the frame of the mirror.

Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Kids

I love these touches to our 4th of July decorating, but I love even more that my kids know about these patriotic heroes.  I hope this idea inspires you to learn more about this holiday and the heroes who made this day possible for all of us.

Happy 4th of July, friends!

walmart_mom_disclaimer

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3-Ingredient Watermelon Granita

June 23rd, 2014

3-Ingredient Watermelon Granita from MomAdvice.com

I don’t know of anything more delicious than fresh fruit in the summertime. Today I am sharing an EASY 3-ingredient watermelon granita you can prepare with just fresh watermelon, lime juice, and a little sugar.  It is one of those dishes you will love for an effortless weeknight treat or a fun dish to entertain with for the 4th of July weekend!

Each month Walmart challenges me to find a new way to use their fresh produce and this month’s challenge just-so-happens to be one of my favorite fruits…WATERMELON.

Hello, summer!

Seedless Watermelon

I woke up early one morning to make this dish and here is my early morning watermelon shot for you as the sun had not even risen. I tend to operate best first thing after I have had my coffee. I’m sure you can relate (*ahem*).

I chose a seedless watermelon for this dish because trying to pick out seeds to prepare your granita is far too time-consuming for a busy mom especially when she has a full summer day of kids. If you have a high- powered blender it is possible to pulverise them, but I save my blender the work and choose the seedless variety to make it easy on all parties involved.

How to Pick the Perfect Watermelon

There are three easy steps to selecting the perfect watermelon.

1. Lift Your Watermelon- Does it feel heavy? You want a watermelon that feels weighted and not light.

2. Check for the Yellow Dot- Watermelons have a yellow spot on them where they have rested and grown on the ground. You want to find one that has a creamy yellow spot on it because that showcases that it is a lovely ripe melon.

3. Thump It- Have you seen people thump their watermelons at the grocery store and wondered what that was all about? Sometimes I don’t think they even know why they do it.  You are listening for a sound that indicates a great melon. It should have a deep hollow sound, but if it is too ripe or underripe, it will have a dull sound.

4. Dissatisfied? Bring it Back- I didn’t tell you there was a fourth step, but if you should pick the wrong watermelon, Walmart will graciously give you a refund on it since they have a 100% freshness guarantee on their produce. Basically, it makes the process of selection foolproof, especially if that thumping bit gets confusing.

3-Ingredient Watermelon Granita from MomAdvice.com

What is a Granita?

The word granita sounds awfully fancy to this Midwest girl’s ears, but it is actually not fancy at all. A granita is a semi-frozen dessert traditionally made from sugar, water and various flavorings that originated in Sicily. It’s a little like sorbet a little like Italian ice, but uniquely its own person with a texture that is a tin bit coarser.  Since the watermelon is in season and often on sale this time of year, I decided to use it to make the granita. 

All you do for this recipe is give it a whirl through your blender. After blending your cubed watermelon, fresh lime juice, and sugar, pour it into a 9×13″ dish and slide it in your freezer. Every half hour or so, take a peek and give it a scrape with a fork to move things around. Keep doing this every once in awhile and then after about three-four hours of freezing time, your dessert should be ready for serving.

3-Ingredient Watermelon Granita from MomAdvice.com

3-Ingredient Watermelon Granita from MomAdvice.com

I wish there was more to tell you about this dish, but it really is as easy as that. It’s a frugal way to incorporate more fresh fruit and is best served with lots of spoons on a hot summer’s day!

Looking for more ideas to try with fresh produce this summer? Be sure to check out my Baked Strawberry Doughnuts, my Blueberry Sangria Lemonade, my Grilled Tomato Bread With Prosciutto, my Fresh Peach Sorbet, our Slow Cooker Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal, and my fresh Gluten-Free Orange Chicken for some fun ways to incorporate fresh produce in your family’s diet!

For more watermelon ideas, check out this Watermelon-Strawberry Smoothie from Mommy’s Kitchen & this Watermelon Margarita from Presley’s Pantry. Oh, yum!

 3-Ingredient Watermelon Granita

6-8 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1/3 cup sugar
Juice of 2 limes
Add your cubed watermelon, sugar, and lime juice to your blender. Blend until smooth. Pour it all into a 9×13 metal pan and freeze for one hour. Using a fork, scrape to loosen the granita. Freeze for another hour and repeat. After it has been frozen for three hours, scrape it once more and then serve in a hollowed watermelon or in cups.

walmart_mom_disclaimer

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It’s The 3 Little Things: Beach Waves, Ladies Who Lunch, & Chocolate Covered Cherry Coffee

June 20th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Thing

 

Happy, happy Friday, friends! I am so excited that we have another weekend ahead of us and thrilled that we have ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE TO BE. Hello, giant chair and book! We are going to be great friends this weekend. I hope you are still enjoying this feature and I love hearing about the success stories of things you have been trying from this list! Share those success stories in the comments below and let me know if you have tried something that made me happy that, in turn, made you happy. I love full circle moments.

Without further adieu!

Beach Waves

Beach Waves

You know when people essentially curl their hair and look like Shirley Temple instead of that pretty tousled beach wave hair?  Yup. That would be me. Instead of continuing to suffer, I found this amazing loose waves tutorial from my friend Sarah, over at Whoorl, and it changed my life. Have you heard of the Whoorl Curl? It’s a game-changer.  After following her directions, I FINALLY successfully pulled off a loose wave and I couldn’t be prouder. She offers advice on using a curling iron with a clamp and one without so you can use the advice with what you already have.

My Conair curling iron from HIGH SCHOOL finally bit the bullet after being dropped for the five thousandth time.  Since it was held together with one screw and had to balance without the stand, I decided to replace it with the exact same one because, hello? What lasts that long and only costs less than $20.  I use that and this Nexxus Touchable Hold Hair Spray for holding my beach waves (while still allowing for softness & movement). I highly recommend both, especially if you are on a budget.

We hit a beautiful wedding (dress from Luxe Wagon, designer Voom by Joy Han) and my beach waves made it until dancing the robot in the photo booth. That’s way strong, yo.

I have often thought of buying an expensive curling iron, but I would be this girl. I just know it. Why? Because I turn that heat UP to eleventy. I’ll stick with the cheap stuff.

Feedly

Feedly

Is it bad to be a blogger and share that you don’t read blogs? My own blog had taken over my life and I started to feel separated from my own community.  I decided to get back to blog reading and I started using Feedly as my reader. I absolutely love it and I think it has been so good to get back to blog reading again. While I eat lunch, I bookmark items to save for later that I think would fit well with our weekly notebook and I also have started bookmarking them for our Facebook community. Each day at 2:30 (eastern time), I post things to talk about. I think it has added so much more to both my life and our community and I am proud to be supporting people that make me think differently about life. We won’t always agree on these pieces, but I love the conversations that flow from these shares. It has been pretty dead over there so this is how I am working to restore that sense of community.

I can read all my blogs from my phone, my iPad, or from my computer.  Instead of scrolling endlessly through Facebook at piano lessons, for example, I am reading, learning, and bookmarking things to share with you. It’s a much better use of my time.

Although I don’t want to plug myself here, you can also subscribe to our site through Feedly. We need to change the title because it is listed under The MotherLoad, but you can find me over here.

Cacao Powder

Chocolate Covered Cherry Coffee

What better way to wake up than a cup of coffee that tastes like a Chocolate Covered Cherry?  For the last year or so, every morning I add a scoop of Cacao Powder to my coffee.  I had given up my coffee creamer, but I felt that the almond milk was too thin and bland compared to the creamer I had been using, so I started adding a scoop of this superfood to my coffee.  Here are some of the health reasons I recommend trying this in your coffee cup. One bag typically lasts me a month since I only add it to my first cup of the day. Once you try it, I doubt you will ever want your coffee any other way…that is, until I introduce you to Michigan Cherry Coffee Beans.

I am a Midwest girl who loves her Meijer Supermarket and Meijer has a whole bean (and ground coffee) in the Michigan Cherry flavor that is absolutely heavenly. They just price dropped their gourmet bags of coffee to $3.99 for WHOLE BEANS which is incredible so I buy a bag of this and brew a pot of it for myself every morning. It has great cherry flavor, but does not taste synthetically cherry-filled. Couple that with a spoonful of cacao, a little almond milk, and stevia and bring on that happy!

If you don’t have a Meijer, you could substitute with something from your own coffee house or buy a bag online. Regardless of where you get it, give it a try!

That’s my happy list for the week!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn, what makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

Freebie Friday June 20, 2014

June 20th, 2014

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

It’s definitely summertime this week on MomAdvice! We have a fun, summery craft from our DIY contributor, Sarah – an herb garden for small spaces with diy garden markers and a perfect main-dish salad for those warm summer evenings, berry pecan salad with candied pecans and homemade raspberry vinaigrette. On this week’s edition of  It’s the 3 Little Things I’m sharing summer things that are making me happy and hope you’ll share yours, too!

Of course you’ll also find our weekly notebook, filled with inspiring DIY food, decorating and craft ideas, and you’ll want to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Health & Beauty

Food & Drink
Pet
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: June 21 - 27
21st thru 27th - Barnes & Noble: Attend the Imagination’s Destination Hands On Learning Event, times vary
21st - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Summer Break Journal, 11 am – 3 pm
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Amy’s Notebook 06.18.14

June 18th, 2014

DIY flower bobeches via Oh Happy Day

Source: Oh Happy Day

 

These cupcake liner flower bobeches are so smart for drippy candles and are adorable, too!

I think adding avocado to yogurt tzatziki dip sounds unique and delicious.

Love this free summer bucket list printable!

What a fabulous way to use thrifted items to create a fun diy serving tray.

15 tips for the highly sensitive parent- I am one and plan to work through these tips.

I’ve been wanting to make a mason jar hand soap dispenser for awhile and this had me at “foaming.”

 

Greek marinated tenderloin via Gather and DIne

Source: Gather and Dine

 

Greek-marinated pork tenderloin with tzatziki – such a fun twist on pork tenderloin.

Love this DIY kids clothes rack for families that lack closet space!

11 young adult books with happy endings to read this summer.

Mason jar succulents would make a cute outdoor arrangement.

10 TED Talks all millennials should watch for a source of inspiration – count me inspired!

Love this farmer’s market brunch idea for a day date with my hubby.

 

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

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Berry Pecan Salad With Candied Pecans & Homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette

June 17th, 2014

Berry Pecan Salad With Candied Pecans & Homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette

Summer was made for salads.  This month I want to share with you some new salad flavor combinations we have been trying for our family dinners. Today I am sharing a delicious Berry Pecan Salad that is perfect for sharing around the picnic table or at your next cookout. It is my new favorite salad and what makes this salad standout is the homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing, pecans, and the combination of berries.  When I took an enormously large bowl of this to our last cookout, I brought home an empty bowl and a promise to share the recipe.

Berry Pecan Salad from MomAdvice.com.

Where to Buy Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

Since going gluten-free, I have become really diligent about package reading and making sure that I am not eating anything that can make me sick. Many of the bottled dressings are not anything that I can eat or even pronounce. Unfortunately, not all the items I need to create beautiful flavor combinations are necessarily on the grocery store shelves where I shop.

For this dressing recipe, you will need Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar. I went to two grocery stores and wasn’t able to find it so I headed to The Olive Branch, a locally-owned shop that sells olive oils and vinegars. I spent the morning tasting all of these rich balsamic vinegars and learning more about the different flavor notes in each one. I took home a bottle of their Red Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar and couldn’t wait to put it to work in this salad.  You can certainly substitute this homemade version with a bottled dressing, but I promise you that it will lack the depth of flavor and the richness that I was able to achieve with my homemade dressing. Because the dressing is so rich, a small drizzle is all you need to dress your salad bowl.

Candied Nuts

Have you ever candied nuts before?  It is ridiculously easy and you can make a large quantity at one time for your salads.  This recipe calls for just Candied Pecans, but you can add any variety of nuts into your salad that you prefer. Pictured above are my Sugar & Spice Nuts that are always a fun gift to give (and to eat!).  They also are a delicious topper to oatmeal or even bowls of warm quinoa.

For the chicken, I use this technique for cooking chicken in bulk. If you are pressed for time, you can certainly substitute with a rotisserie chicken from your grocer.

To keep this salad vegan, ditch the chicken and replace the egg white in the nut recipe with two to three tablespoons of water and a tablespoon of flax to coat the candied nuts.

To enjoy this salad all week long, prepare it all for the week and consider creating your own DIY Salad Bar in the fridge for easy summer meals after a long day with the kids. Everyone can customize their own salad bowls and you can enjoy that prep work all week long!

I hope this salad inspires you to get creative with your summer salad and I look forward to sharing more fun salad combinations in the upcoming weeks!

Berry Pecan Salad from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

Editor’s Note- Our recipe software is not working this week and we have submitted a support ticket. Please accept our apologies!

A berry pecan salad that is perfect for celebrating the berry season. Enjoy this one at your next potluck or cookout!

Pecan Berry Salad

1 bag of spinach

1 pint of strawberries, sliced

1 pint of blueberries, rinsed

1 pound roast chicken (see technique above or use a rotisserie chicken), sliced

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Pinch of Salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg white (see above for vegan substitution)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups pecan halves

1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1-2 tablespoons white sugar (to taste, you may not even need it depending upon the quality of your balsamic vinegar)

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg in a plastic bag, seal the bag, and shake to mix.

Put the egg white and vanilla in a bowl, and beat until slightly foamy.

Add the pecans and stir to coat them well. Using a slotted spoon, lift the pecans out the bowl and transfer them to the bag of sugar and spices. Shake, making sure the pecans are well coated with the seasoning. Spread the pecans out on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.

Assemble the salad: spinach, sliced strawberries, blueberries, roast chicken, and then top with cooled candied pecans. In a mason jar, add the oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, mustard, and sugar. Shake well. Serve on the side for your salad, shaking well before using.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minutes

Serves: 6

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