Strawberry Roses. An Incredibly easy way to make a romantic garnish!

Strawberry Roses

Happy Valentine’s Day! I meant to get this post up earlier this week so you could make a bouquet of these strawberry roses for your Valentine, whomever that may be! However, life got in the way this week as it tends to do, and I’m just sneaking this post in at the last minute.

If you’re still looking for a Valentine’s Day project, or just want a way to add a little fanciness to your morning fruit bowl, look no further. Strawberry roses are incredibly easy to make, and are the perfect garnish to a cake, cupcakes, or simply your plate. I made these for the first time exactly a year ago as toppers to Nutella cupcakes (another recipe I’ll have to share with you eventually!).

There are a lot of step-by-step photos here, but as there’s really no recipe, I hope you’ll forgive the scrolling and just enjoy looking at the pictures. All you need is a sharp paring knife, and some strawberries and you’re set to go. The petals come to life from a series of cuts in the strawberry, starting at the bottom and moving up in layers.

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Pasta with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Nothing fancy here tonight, guys. Sometimes you just need something quick to throw together, and that’s what this recipe is all about. I’ve probably made a 100 variations on this pasta, and don’t imagine I’ll stop iterating on this dish anytime soon.

Pasta is a great base for fresh veggies, and the good news is: it’s pretty hard to come up with a bad combination of ingredients. I throw together dishes like this all the time to use up veggies in my fridge, or if I’m just not sure what to make for dinner.

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Spinach, Basil, and Cilantro Pesto

Here’s something you should know about me: I hate wasting food. I renew my membership with the Clean Plate Club as often as possible. I’m the one who stares at that last piece of sushi thinking, “Somebody please just take it already!” And you know when there’s just enough cereal left that your bowl is full, but there’s too little to have another bowl later? Yep, I just keep pouring. Clearly, that last one is one of my more superb dieting strategies. 

There’s nothing I hate more than buying ingredients for a recipe, using half of them, and watching the rest go to waste in my fridge. I find this happens way too often when I buy fresh herbs. They add so much flavor to dishes, but it truly irks me when I can’t find another use for them.

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Zucchini Noodles with Peanut Sauce are a fun and healthy way to satisfy take-out cravings!

Zucchini Noodles with Peanut Sauce

In a world full of GrubHub, Seamless, and the salad bar at Whole Foods, why would you spend time making food at home? In my case, it has a lot to do with comfort, pride, and fun. There’s something infinitely satisfying about knowing the dinner on the table was made by you. My wallet and my waistline usually benefit from cooking at home too. Except when I made peanut butter fudge brownies this weekend, mostly because I already had all the ingredients in the cabinet. Oops. Don’t worry – I’ll share the recipe soon. But I digress – back to what led me to this incredibly satisfying dish of zucchini noodles with peanut sauce.

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Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad

January can sometimes feel so, blah. It’s cold, dark, and often a little bit lonely after spending the holidays with family and friends. Last week I wanted some food to combat the blahs. I wanted something bright, flavorful, and not too heavy.

I had a couple sweet potatoes sitting on my counter that were destined to become baked sweet potato fries later in the week, but decided instead to use them to put together a salad to feed my desire for warmer weather. Bright colors seem to automatically make me feel warmer and happier, so the bright oranges, yellows and greens in this recipe immediately made me perk up.

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Carrot Apple Breakfast Muffins

My friends and I spent a lot of time in the library in college. I realize that sounds incredibly un-exciting, but let me tell you, it was the place to be. We would camp out in the morning, and spend the rest of the day there. The thing is, I went to a pretty nerdy school, so that meant that once you secured your Sunday afternoon spot, You. Did. Not. Leave. Not even for lunch. This meant you were left looking for a snack around 2pm and we often fell prey to the bakery muffins from the library cafe. They were huge, delicious, and approximately 600 calories each.

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Coconut Cupcakes

For as long as I can remember, my family’s birthday cake tradition has been a cake named “Bathroom Rug Cake.” Appetizing, huh? Don’t worry, it’s not named for the taste – more for the look. The cake is so named because of the fluffy coating of fresh coconut across the entirety of the cake that resembles a white shag rug you might have lying on your bathroom floor.

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Easy Vegetable and Sausage Soup

Happy 2015! It seems incredible that it is already January – last year flew by! I spent the last week skiing with my family and enjoying being in beautiful, but rather chilly, Colorado. Coming home to Chicago was not a welcome transition either. Let me tell you, without all the snow pants, mittens, hand warmers, and fleeces, 16 degrees feels much colder.

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Mozzarella Snowmen Appetizers

This week I decided to take on the somewhat nutty project of hosting a holiday party involving as many excessively adorable holiday recipes as I could get my hands on. It all sounds great until you realize you have an hour before everyone is supposed to show up at your house, and still have most of your dishes to put together. A couple friends came over before the start of the festivities to help me set up, and I was frantically sticking carrot slices onto toothpicks, declaring “If I ever decide to do something like this again, please talk me out of it.”

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Quinoa, Black Bean, and Artichoke Burrito Bowls

Quinoa is one of those incredibly trendy ingredients that you’re supposed to love just because it’s good for you. Like kale. When did kale get so trendy? It’s like one moment I’m 15 and not-so-subtly warning my sister not to eat it at the dinner table, and the next time I turn around my Pinterest homepage is covered is kale salads. I have yet to really embrace the kale movement, but I have promised myself that I will try it – if only because a girl can only eat so much spinach.

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