Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 top recipes

Top 2013 recipes2013 was an interesting year on the blog. While there were many great recipes, the real parties element of the blog was really slow. That was mostly my fault. I had to prioritize cooking/baking for my family which meant less time for creating posts around the great party submissions I received. I really hope to bring that back in 2014, along with some other exciting things.

Like a blog redesign!

I'm very excited to get this blog a face lift (it soooo needs one, right?!). The current navigation is terrible. And the commenting systems is not user-friendly and downright frustrating. The redesign will be more than a face lift. It will be a totally new look with new branding and even a new platform (bye bye Blogger, hello Wordpress). I'll be working with the talented ladies at Wooden Spoons Kitchen and will hopefully have everything ready to share in the next few months.

In April, Eat Drink Pretty turns 5. Wow. I can't believe I've been doing this for 5 years. Sometimes I think I'm crazy. Blogging isn't easy. This year has been really tough to find the time to blog with a toddler, a busy job, etc. And I know it showed. My posting frequency waned a lot. I was uninspired some of the time. But recently I've been re-energized and hope that 2014 brings a lot of great things around the blog.

I wanted to say thank you for being here in 2013. I truly appreciate your visits, comments and emails. Thank you especially to those of you that have been around since the beginning and have stuck with me.

2013 brought a lot of great recipes around the blog and some are these are favorites in my household. Without further ado, here are the top recipes from Eat Drink Pretty in 2013.

Chickpea Greek pita
Herbed blue cheese quiche
Quinoa caprese
Quinoa mac and cheese
Kale, strawberry and avocado salad
Melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin cookies
Vinegar broiled potatoes with sour cream dipping sauce
Roasted cauliflower

Tomorrow I'll be doing a recipe round-up of the top toddler recipes from 2013. If you are interested in making your toddler's favorite homemade be sure to stop back.

If you have any requests for things you'd like to see more of (or less of?) on the blog in 2014 please comment and share, thank you!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cucumber salad

This simple cucumber salad is a summer staple in our household. It is one of my husband's favorite salads, one that he grew up eating in North Dakota.

Erik's mom and grandmother always had fresh cucumbers from the garden, add in a bit of cream (of course cream, this is a North Dakota recipe, after all), vinegar, dill and there you have it.

A delicious, creamy, crunchy cucumber salad.

I make this often for family BBQs and gatherings and everyone always loves it. I just made it this weekend for a lunch with friends and my girlfriend said it was the best cucumber salad she's ever had.

It's really easy, and really that good.

Cucumber salad


4-5 small to medium sized cucumbers (fresh from the garden or your local farmers' market are best), peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Add all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and stir to combine. Serve immediately. Lasts a couple days stored in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Note, the combination of ingredients in this recipe are very much to each person's taste. Make it as I recommend above, but alter based on if you want the salad to be more vinegary or if it needs more salt, etc. Erik's mom adds water to thin it out a bit, but I prefer to keep it a bit creamier. Also, I typically am not a fan of using white vinegar in cooking, but it works in this salad. I'm sure you could substitute red or white wine vinegar, but I haven't tried it.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Kale, strawberry and avocado salad

I mentioned in a recent post that I really want to be more deliberate about taking time in the kitchen cooking and baking. My goal is to have one new recipe post a week, which means that I should plan a fun recipe to test every weekend. Juliet is working her way to one nap a day and it's usually at least 2 hours, a perfect amount of time for recipe testing.

With summer here I crave lighter foods, and even salads...which is weird for me. Have I ever mentioned that back in the day, in my early 20's, I was on the South Beach Diet for years and as a result I tend to never want salad. I just over-did it on salads back then.

With that being said, I do enjoy a healthy salad every once in a while and I'll definitely be making this one again soon. Kale is abundant at the Farmer's Markets right now and strawberries are in-season in MN, too. This salad is easy and quick and healthy and beautiful.

I googled kale salads on Saturday when I was in need of a light lunch and this recipe came up via Two Peas and Their Pod (an awesome food blog that you're probably already familiar with).

The salad was delicious and I ate a huge serving of it. With kale being full of calcium, vitamin a and c...and well, basically everything else good you can think of...and avocado being full of good fat, the salad was filling and hearty enough for a meal.

Kale, strawberry and avocado salad (recipe via Two Peas andTheir Pod) 


4 cups chopped kale, stems removed
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 avocado, sliced
1/3 cup sliced almonds 

For the Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup (I use pure organic from Trader Joes), original recipe calls for honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Put the kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands until the leaves are darker in color and tender.
2. Add the strawberries, avocado, and almonds. Toss gently.
3. In a small jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Shake until mixed well.
4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve.

Note, the original recipe calls for a 1/4 cup of feta cheese, which would be a great addition (so would goat cheese). I had neither which is the only reason it's omitted. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Real party: a farm to table fete

I have a wonderfully delicious party to share with you today submitted by Jenni of A Well Crafted Party. Jenni is a writer, designer, and party stylist from Portland, OR. A Well Crafted Party is a blog where she writes all about the little things that make life a party and life’s many celebrations. She also helps coordinate Portland Blogger meet-ups for bloggers in the Portland, Oregon area.

I love a good party and usually the better the food and drinks, the better the party (in my opinion). I love that this party is centered around Jenni's husband's favorite foods and was inspired by his urban garden.  Their garden and backyard served as the perfect backdrop on what appeared to be a gorgeous summer evening.

I'll let Jenni give all the details (don't miss the recipes at the end of the post!).

My husband’s 31st birthday was a few weeks ago and we wanted to celebrate by having a dinner party with friends in our backyard. We tried to keep things simple due to a crazy busy summer, so we just put out a few handmade decorations to make the space pretty and give the event a more celebratory and cohesive feel. 

My husband just started his urban garden this year and really enjoys the whole movement towards sustainable food and self-sufficiency. He also really loves beer and German food. So, I tried to bring all of those elements together. 

We decorated tables with simple white table cloths, white flowers (from the super market!), homemade pickles, menus, and candles. The homemade pickles doubled as favors. (I just used my pickled asparagus recipe and substituted different vegetables to make the favors for everyone.)Currently I am loving the look of hand-lettered signs— so, I crafted all of the signs, menus, and favor labels with gold calligraphy ink. We put the bar area in the little garden area of our home and held the main party in our backyard. Guests enjoyed going back and forth from one area of the party to the other. 

The bar area had space for nonalcoholic options as well as wine, beer, and two signature cocktails. I served my fruity version of a Whiskey Collins and a simple and refreshing Basil Gin Cocktail. I made easy to pour mixes for guests to pour over ice and top with soda water to make serving the cocktails simple. For the meal we stuck with some simple dishes with a German flare. We simmered several different styles of bratwurst in beer for hours before the party. They turned out delicious and SO easy. 

The menu:   

  • Pretzels with Fondue
  • Meat & Pickle Platter
  • Sausages
  • German potato salad
  • Red cabbage salad
  • Cucumber Salad
  • German Chocolate Cupcakes
  • Vanilla Cupcakes
The best part about this meal is that I was able to prep and do most of the meal before the party, leaving me time to actually enjoy the party instead of staying in the kitchen the whole time. The three salads are to be served at room temperature, so I didn't have to worry about items not being hot when serving time came around! 


German Potato Salad— Takes approximately 30 minutes and serves approximately 15 people depending on how much each person wants to eat!   

  • 5 lbs of red potatoes cleaned, and diced into small bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 white onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup garlic mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup diced dill pickles
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs boiled and crumbled
  1. Boil all of the diced potato until the potato is soft, but not so soft that it falls apart.
  2. Drain potatoes and put in a large bowl.
  3. Mix potatoes, mustard, apple cider vinegar, onion, pickles, parsley, salt, and pepper with a large spoon until incorporated. Try not to let everything get too mushy by over working.
  4. Put into serving bowl and top with crumbled boiled eggs.
  5. Serve at room temperature.
Cucumber Salad—Takes about 10 minutes of prep time and at least 1 hour for marinating, serves approximately 15 people depending on their desired portion size.   

  • 4 cucumbers thinly sliced in discs
  • 1/2 white onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional red pepper flakes for heat
  1. In a bowl mix together both vinegars, sugar, salt, and pepper. Set aside for a moment.
  2. In a large baking dish mix together the cucumber and white onion slices.
  3. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumber and onion slices.
  4. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least one hour, but not more than 3 hours.
  5. Drain the vinegar out of dish and serve cold or at room temp. The cucumbers and onions should be slightly sweet and pickled.
Thanks so much to Jenni for sharing all the beautiful details of this very special birthday party. I can't wait to try the German Potato Salad!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pasta salad with goat cheese and tomatoes

We finally had a beautiful spring weekend in Minnesota. It was in the mid 70's and absolutely amazing. Erik golfed Saturday so I planned a picnic at a nearby park with my family. It was pretty impromptu but I had a bunch of ingredients to make a tasty pasta salad. We also had sandwiches, chips, cupcakes, veggies and hummus and fruit. I also packed a Smirnoff Ice Peach Bellini for my mom and I...who doesn't like a little bubbly with their picnic?

Picnics are one of my favorite spring and summertime activities. We spent hours outside, it was just what we needed after a very long winter.
This pasta salad was really tasty. Erik loved it, too. It's a great salad to bring to a picnic or any potluck. 

Pasta salad with goat cheese and tomatoes (recipe inspired via Martha Stewart)


  • 3/4 pound whole wheat rotini 
  • 3/4 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (3 ounces)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 package spring greens (baby kale, spinach or arugula would work as well)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta and allow to come to room temperature. 

In a large bowl, toss pasta with tomatoes and goat cheese.

Make dressing: In a bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and mustard and season with salt and pepper. (To store, refrigerate pasta mixture and dressing separately, up to 1 day.) 

To serve, toss pasta mixture with dressing and spring greens.

Apparently the weather is going back down into the 30's this week...UH!!!!  But it shouldn't be too long before we have another sunny, warm weekend. Here's hoping.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring strawberry salad

When I saw this salad on Oh She Glows blog I knew I needed to make it. And I did, that same day. Luckily I had almost all the needed ingredients, with the exception of a lemon. So I hauled ass to Target, because why not, I go there almost everyday anyway.

My friends Kristin and Libby came over for dinner club and we had this salad, pizza and some cheese as appetizers. I added goat cheese to the salad (Oh She Glows blog is vegan, so no cheese in the original recipe) and it was tasty. The best part was the strawberry lemon basil dressing. Click here for the recipe on Oh She Glows blog.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Buffalo "chik patty" salad

This is a go-to salad when I'm on Weight Watchers. It's super easy and tasts great. I love buffalo sauce and it gives me my fix.

This salad was sort of a pantry-party salad yesterday because I threw in leftover potatoes since they needed to get eaten. I actually really enjoyed the texture the potatoes added to the salad and of course who doesn't love some carbs with your salad.

Buffalo "chik patty" salad


1 Morning Star Chik Patty
1 roma tomato, chopped
5-7 baby carrots, chopped
1/2 cup roasted red potatoes, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
Couple handfuls of salad mix (I used an organic spring mix)
2 tablespoons light ranch dressing
1 tablespoon Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce


Microwave the chik patty according to package instructions and cut into small squares. Add the Franks sauce and toss to coat. On a large plate add the salad mix, veggies and chik patty. Top with ranch dressing.

Total Weight Watchers Points Plus = approximately 12-13. To reduce the points omit the cheese and potatoes (cuts the points in half). I can eat a bit more (ok a lot more actually) points each day because I'm breastfeeding so I've been able to add cheese to things I otherwise wouldn't.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette

{Photo credit: Brown Eyed Baker}

I have dinner plans with girlfriends Shannon, Emily and Natasha this evening to celebrate Natasha's birthday.  We planned a totally random, but yummy menu which includes this delicious-looking roasted butternut squash salad.  We're also making homemade pizza and Emily is making a homemade tres leches cake.  Needless to say, 6pm can't come soon enough.

This warm salad just screams winter to me.  Warm squash, a warm vinaigrette, dried cranberries....mmmmm perfect.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Grilling and chilling

Yesterday evening I had dinner with good friends Kristin and Libby. We grilled portobello mushroom burgers, drank wine and sat outside on Libby's patio enjoying the warm(ish) MN weather. It was a very good night.

We ate veggies with delicious hummus from the Minneapolis Farmers Market (Deanna's hummus).

Kristin made an excellent caprese quinoa salad.

Quinoa Caprese from (adapted from Too Many Chefs, original recipe from Shape, May 2006)


1 cup quinoa
14 oz. vegetable stock
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
1 cup torn basil leaves
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper


Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce heat and simmer about 12-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. The quinoa should be tender. transfer to a large bowl and toss/stir to help it cool down to room temperature.

Smash your garlic cloves, removing the papery outer peel. Heat the oil in a small skillet over low and add the garlic. Sautee over low heat, stirring occasionally for about five minutes. Strain the garlic out of the oil and let the oil cool.

Stir the cherry tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella into the quinoa.

With a whisk or fork beat the lemon juice and oil together. Pour over the quinoa and toss well. Season to taste.
We had huge portobello burgers topped with blue cheese. Yum. Just as tasty as a beef burger. Seriously.

This was a great segue into the holiday weekend. Erik and I have plans with friends up north at a cabin. There will be beer, bonfires, lawn games, burgers and hopefully no rain! We're also hanging with good friends Kiefer and Diane and I can't wait for an entire evening of quality time and good food. Monday brings another BBQ, this time with my family. I haven't seen then in over a week and am going through a bit of withdrawal after spending 24/7 with them in Florida!

What are your weekend plans? I hope they are jam packed with fun!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Easy taco salad

There are many evenings, usually after a long day in the office, when I don't feel like cooking. I'm usually sitting on the train reading a foodie magazine when I realize I'm hungry as hell and there is no way I'm spending time prepping a meal when I get home.

So I send Erik a crabby text, "I'm not making dinner".  He could care less and a throws a frozen pizza in the oven. If it's a day when I'm on Weight Watchers, frozen pizza is a no-no.

So I make this taco salad, which is inspired by my sister, who literally eats it almost every evening for dinner. Why not? It's healthy and super easy (only takes about 5 minutes to throw together) and great for vegetarians or people who observe "Meatless Mondays".

Taco salad

1/3 - 1/2 bag of salad mix
1 roma tomato, sliced
1/4 cups shredded cheddar
1/4 cup salsa
1 tablespoon ranch
1/3 cup black beans
3-4 tortilla chips, crushed

Optional - avocado, corn, sour cream


Heat the black beans in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Place lettuce/salad mix on a plate. Top with tomato, cheddar, black beans, salsa, ranch and tortilla chips.

Makes one serving.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Seasonal salad with pears, pancetta and hazelnuts

I attended yet another Whole Foods cooking class last week, this one was all about pears. These classes are a favorite past-time for me; amazing food, a wonderful instructor and the bonus is grocery shopping at Whole Foods after the class. 

This was a wonderful, winter salad. I loved the salty bite of the pancetta married with the pears. 

Seasonal salad with pears, pancetta, and hazelnuts (recipe credit to Whole Foods / Ani Loizzo)


5 ounces baby spinach
1 small head radicchio, chopped
2 pears, sliced
8 ounces pancetta, cut into half inch cubes
10 leaves of basil, sliced immediately before serving
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Rendered fat from pancetta, plus olive oil to equal 1/4 cup


Heat a cast iron or stainless steel pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and fry until crisp, about ten minutes. Remove pancetta from the pan, then pour carefully rendered pancetta drippings and olive oil as needed to the bottom of your serving bowl. Whisk in balsamic vinegar, then add greems, pears, hazelnuts, basil and pancetta and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6-8.

If you live in the Twin Cities be sure to check out the cooking classes at the Minneapolis Whole Foods

Monday, March 1, 2010

Parisian Bistro cooking class: part 1 - Salad Nicoise

I attended my second cooking class at Whole Foods this weekend titled Parisian Bistro. The class was a lot of fun, informative and decadent. I ate delicious French food like an American, meaning, way too much! Now I am armed with some great recipes and I already feel the wheels turning as I plan my next dinner party with a Parisian theme!

A major highlight of the class is Culinary Director, Ani Loizzo. She created the menu and recipes and adds a lot of extra color and commentary throughout the class. She should have her own cooking show!

I am going to post the recipes and photos in a series. Today's recipe is for an amazing Nicoise salad, delicious as a salad course but also robust enough to be a main entree.

Stay tuned for part 2, which will include a French Onion soup recipe. Bon appetit!!

Salad Nicoise (recipe credit to Ani Loizzo/Whole Foods)


2 heads butter lettuce, washed and dried, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup each green beans, blanched and fingerling potatoes, roasted and halved
2 cans tuna packed in olive oil
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 cup small French olives (preferably nicoise)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons each lemon juice, capers and red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
1 shallot, roughly chopped
6 anchovy fillets

To make the vinaigrette, add fillets, capers and shallots to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add Dijon mustard, lemon juice and vinegar, process to a smooth paste. Stream in the olive oil until well-combined and silky. Set aside.

Arrange a bed of lettuce on each place, then arrange all other ingredients on top. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately. Serves 8-10.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Very merry cranberry cooking class

If you love to cook and can't exactly afford to quit your day job and go to culinary school then Whole Foods cooking classes are the way to go. They only allow a small number of attendees so the classes are intimate and are led by their awesome culinary director, Ani Loizzo.

Last Wednesday I took a Very Merry Cranberry cooking class with friends/coworkers Maija and Brooke. We figured it would be perfect to have a few new, seasonally-appropriate recipes going into the holidays. The class was a lot of fun and best of all, you get to sample all the food throughout the class. And these classes are reasonably priced, this one was only $28 and ran an hour and a half.

Recipes at the end of the post.

These mock cosmopolitans were made with 100% cranberry juice and were a little too tart for my taste. I will probably add some symple syrup (equal parts water and sugar and boil until the sugar melts) when I make these. They are a perfect cocktail (or mocktail) for any upcoming holiday party.

Making cranberry sauce is so much easier than I thought. I always think of my sister, Kat, when I think of cranberries. She is the only one at Thanksgiving that really cares about cranberry sauce and loves it, even right out of the can. I will definitely make this homemade sauce for her next year.

Homemade scones! I'm not sure it gets much better than a warm scone right out of the oven. They were surprisingly easy to make and cranberries can be substituted for almost any fruit or even ham, cheddar and chives if you want a savory scone.

This salad was amazing, and easy! It was the perfect sweet and savory combination with the dried cranberries, cranberry vinaigrette and gorgonzola.

Now for the recipes (recipe credits to Whole Foods and Ani Loizzo):

Mock cosmopolitans


4 cups cranberry juice
2 cups club soda
Squeeze of fresh lime juice (1 lime per four cosmos)
Reserved lime peal, for garnish


Add cranberry juice to a pitcher and squeeze in the juice of one lime (remove peal first with a vegetable peeler). Top with club soda and stir. Pour into glasses filled with ice and garnish with lime peel. Serves 4.

Note, I would add vodka to the mix here!!! Set a bottle of vodka next to the pitcher and let people fill their own, to taste.

Whole berry cranberry sauce

1 pound cranberries, about 4 cups
¼ cups EACH orange juice, water and sugar


Bring all ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 10-15 minutes. Either serve whole, mash and serve chunky or blend until smooth. Makes about 3 cups. Freeze leftover portions up to six months.


Spinach salad with gorgonzola and cranberry vinaigrette


¼ cup each cranberries and balsamic vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon each sugar, Dijon mustard and chopped onion
12 cups baby spinach
4 slices pumpernickel bread, cubed and toasted
1 cup each gorgonzola, toasted walnuts, and dried cranberries (we used dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice)


In a food processor, combine cranberries, vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard and onion and pulse to puree. Slowly drizzle in oil until it forms a smooth emulsion. Add dressing to the bottom of a large mixing bowl and add dried cranberries and walnuts. Toss to coat. Serve topped with gorgonzola. Serves 6-8.

Cranberry scones


1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Zest of two lemons
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) chilled butter, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
½ - 1 cup half and half


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and lemon zest. Add in chilled butter and mash with your fingertips to form a mixture that looks like bread crumbs. Mix in cranberries. Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, then add half and half until a soft dough forms. Divide dough in half. Pat each half into a six inch disk and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter. Arrange on a cookie sheet and brush with remaining lemon juice. Sprinkle with sugar and bake 18 minutes or until nicely browned. Makes 12 scones.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A little piece of summer

Doesn't Caprese salad just remind you of a summer day? The red ripe tomatoes, fresh, fragrant basil and soft, cold mozzarella with a touch of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and is definitely on my list of favorite dishes.

Though it's a bit chilly in MN today I thought I'd post this lovely Caprese salad I made yesterday for a potluck with my coworkers. The tomatoes are beefsteak from an Amish community in Wassau, WI. They were the most beautiful, ripe red tomatoes I have ever seen (the stand is located on Nicollet and 8th). These two young guys drive to the cities every Thursday for the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. They may also stay the weekend for Lyndale market but I'm not sure. What I am sure of is they've made my short list of fave farmer's market vendors which also include Dehn's Garden (the best herbs you've ever smelled/tasted), Cocoa and Fig (confection perfection...sorry, I couldn't resist) and the hummus ladies (I think the name is Serena). These vendors literally make my day each and every Thursday and help in creating beautiful, perfect dishes like this one below.