Strawberry Lemonade Bars

There are certain foods that just instantly make you think of summer – watermelon, peaches, strawberries, anything bbq’ed, corn on the cob, and the list goes on. After making these strawberry lemonade bars, I’m definitely adding them to the list. They are absolutely amazing. There’s something about the sour combo of the traditional lemon bar with the sweetness of the strawberry that just makes you want to never stop eating these treats.
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My Favorite Meal of the Week – Paradise Bowls Copycat

When I was in Santa Barbara last summer, we discovered this fantastic breakfast place called Backyard Bowls. Since I avoid dairy and eggs, I often struggle to find healthy breakfast options when traveling (and quite often end up eating granola bars I snuck in my purse or baked goods). But this place was perfect for me. It had these bowls with blended fruit, oatmeal, açai berries, and fresh fruit on top.

I had yet to come across another similar place until I was in Manhattan Beach for a wedding two weeks ago. On a morning walk, I spotted a man walking on the street with a bowl that said Paradise Bowls and after some googling (and a little bit of stalking) I found the place. Their bowls were slightly different than those I’d had in Santa Barbara – they had granola instead of oatmeal – but they were still delicious.  This time I decided to come home and try to recreate what I had at Paradise Bowls.

Their version:
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My version:

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My Favorite Meal of the Week – Popsicle Edition

So I’ve been eyeing those Zoku quick pop makers for over a year, but had so far convinced myself that it was just an extra kitchen gadget that I didn’t need. Well that is until last week, when I found one at a small kitchen boutique store in DC and decided that I had to have one. And while I have to say it is totally unnecessary because there’s nothing wrong with the old school popsicle makers, it is kinda fun. Last night I decided to make some last minute popsicles for dessert and they were ready in 10 minutes. Pretty fantastic. I plan to try out lots of fun recipes over the course of the summer, so you’ll likely see some more posts like this. But here’s the first.

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Shortcake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

If you read my post from a few weeks ago, you know that I have been very excited about starting to bake with strawberries. I had plans to make regular strawberry shortcake this week for a dinner with a friend, but after seeing the world’s most beautiful rhubarb at Whole Foods, I had to spice up my plans.

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In addition to adding in some rhubarb, I also tried serving the dish in two different ways, both shown below.

The traditional tower:

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The less traditional (but also less messy) parfait:

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And I have to say, even though the traditional strawberry shortcake has been my personal favorite dessert for a long time, I think I prefer it with both of the changes I tried this week (the rhubarb and serving it as a parfait).

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My Favorite Meal of the Week – Mixed Green Salad with Grapefruit Wedges, Goat Cheese, and Candied Pecans

This week’s favorite meal of the week post is all about the grapefruit. I have always liked grapefruits, but I’ve recently remembered why they are so great. They seem to be the only sweet (and relatively inexpensive fruit) right now. In college, they were sometimes the best fruit in the dining hall at this time of year. And right now, they seem to be the best fruit at TJ’s (the berries are too expensive, the apples and oranges are bad, and it’s too early for a lot of other good things).

Today’s meal is a mixed green salad with grapefruit wedges, goat cheese, and candied pecans with a honey dressing. Pretty simple, and nice and light for the summer.

Meyer Lemon Macadamia Nut Tart

This tart was delicious. It is so great for spring because of the vibrant yellow color. My only warning is that macadamia nuts are surprisingly expensive. So if you’re looking for a cheap dessert, maybe don’t do this (especially since you only use a small amount of nuts).
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Pies and Crumbles

I am a big proponent of baking things from scratch in almost every case. Home baked goods taste better and are so much more satisfying than anything store bought.  That being said, I do think there are a few exceptions to this rule. One of these is pie crust. My mom taught me how to make Julia Child’s pie crust. And while yes, I do think it is delicious, I really can’t tell the difference between hers and the store bought ones. The focus of a pie is always the filling, and so as long as you have a crust that supports the pie with flaky buttery layers, I don’t think you can go wrong.

That being said, fruit pies and crisps have to be one of the easiest desserts ever.  People love them, they are less sinful than a cake or cookie, and can be prepped ahead of time and baked while eating dinner.

With all of these apples I have right now, I’ve been baking pies and crisps like crazy. Dave and I have almost single handedly put away 3 pies/crumble in the last couple of weeks. It has to be one of the best all around meals.

So now on to the important part of how to make these lovely pies and crisps.

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