Fig Bacon Spinach Salad With A Champagne Vinaigrette

Spinach Fig Bacon Salad

Lately my husband and I don’t see very much of each other. If he is not working, I am. And on the rare occasion that we both have some free time, we usually have to prepare for a party or out of town guests.

Spinach Fig Bacon Salad with a Champagne Dressing

The other night my mom graciously took the kids, giving us a free night. We had grand plans of trying a new restaurant and bakery, but having had worked all day the thought of going out just didn’t sound appealing anymore. So we decided to stay in and enjoy a quite dinner on the back patio.

Quick and Easy Romantic Dinner

The last thing I wanted to do was spend more time in the kitchen to prepare dinner. He and I love quiche, so I threw one in the oven and prepped the salad. In less than 25 minutes, we had a delicious meal and were sipping a crisp chardonnay. It was perfect, and much needed.

Spinach Fig Bacon Salad with a champagne dressing and goat cheese

The egg white quiche was light, flavorful and perfectly filling. I paired it with a simple spinach, fig, and bacon salad, which was absolutely delicious. My husband adores fig, so when they are in season (for all of like 3 weeks) we eat them daily. This meal was extremely easy to put together and even easier to clean up!

La Terra Fina Quiche

Ever since working with La Terra Fina last year, I have been a huge fan of their products. I buy them regularly at Costco for party appetizer and quick family meals. What I love about La Terra Fina is that their quiches are free from artificial flavors and preservatives and offer 10+ grams of protein per serving. Now that they are also available in the 6ounce sizes, this will become a staple in my husband’s lunches!

So tell me, what do you make for a quick yet sophisticated outdoor meal?

Fig Bacon Spinach Salad With A Champagne Vinegarette


  • Dressing:
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salad
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 3 fresh figs, sliced into quarter wedges
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup bacon crumbles.


  1. To make the dressing whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until the ingredients are homogenized.
  2. Toss the spinach with the dressing and top with sliced fig, crumbled goat cheese and bacon crumbles.
  3. Serve immediately.

Moscato Melon Kiwi Slushies

Melon Kiwi Wine Slushies

It is so exciting that my little sister is finally of drinking age. We can now finally go out for a glass of wine over a nice meal and catch up. Oh wait. I forgot. I am not quite cool enough for that, yet. I am sure I will eventually become her best friend once her college party days are over, her career has begun, and she is seeking advice about relationships and eventually motherhood. Until then I will celebrate on my own, indulging in a fruity wine slushy.

refreshing melon kiwi wine slushy

Honestly, my sister is more like a shot of absinthe, but if I had to describe her as a wine, she’s dry. Dry. Dry. Dry. She is studying civil engineering; need I say more. Quite, yes, but she is one of the most progressive, sophisticated 21 year olds that I have ever met.

Back to Maddy described as a wine…full bodied comes to mind. She got the great Beyonce curves and a pin up waste line. I, on the other hand inherited the genetic betrayal that is my legacy, a spare tire or you know that little pouch where we all keep our extra cookies.

moscato melon kiwi slushy

Unlike the most famous middle sister in history, Jan Brady, my younger sister Maddy is not invisible and has no desire to be me! Of course my parents would have chosen the Middle Sister Goodie Two Shoes Pinot Noir to describe my sister. However I know about her weekend at Coachella and would pick the Wild One Malbec. But because at times she can be Sweet and Sassy I decided to create a recipe with the Moscato.

Crafted by award-winning winemaker Nancy Walker (a middle sister herself), the Middle Sister portfolio includes a wide variety of delicious red, white and sparkling wines from California and Argentina.Middle Sister just received a brand makeover and now features “Drops of Wisdom” which are a dose of inspiration right on the front label. Check out the fabulous new look!

Middle Sister Wine

With the temperatures rising, this is a great refreshing evening cocktail. Sweetened with ripe melon, fresh kiwis and mixed with a delicious Moscato, this would also be a great dessert drink!

Melon Moscato Kiwi Slushy

What do you drink during the hot summer months?


Melon Kiwi Wine Slushie


  • 2 cups cubed melon
  • 2 fresh kiwi, peeled
  • 1 and 1/2 cups moscato wine
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • margarita salt for garnish
  • 1 lime wedge
  • extra kiwi slices for garnish


  1. Place melon, kiwi, wine, and ice in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Using the lime wedge, rub the outside of the of the glasses then dip in salt.
  3. Pour slushy into glasses and serve immediately.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Beach Clam Bake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerToGo #CollectiveBias
The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.

Beach Clam Bake

I have always wanted to host a clam bake at the beach, but with open fire regulations, I have never been able to actually do it. I decided that this year, I would work around that. Last weekend we invited a few friends and enjoyed delicious wine and a bowl of fresh clams, then watched the sunset. It was seriously such an amazing evening of good food and fabulous company. 

Beach Clam Bake

Beach BBQs don’t always have to consist of hamburgers and hot dogs. If you plan correctly, you can have the perfect gourmet meal on the sand. Clams are a great meal to serve as they do not take long to prepare and require little prep work.

Black Box Wine

About an hour before heading to the beach, I chopped all of the ingredients for my broth and placed them in sandwich bags. I also brought along my handy cast iron pan which I use whenever we are grilling something away from home. It makes the best bacon and eggs on camping trips.

Clam Bake Broth

When we got to the beach, I poured myself a nice glass (plastic cup) of Black Box Chardonnay and got cooking. My husband started the fire and I placed my pan on the grill to heat up. Once hot, I made my broth! Every time someone walked by, they had to stop and comment me on how wonderful it smelled. Onions, garlic, and butter always do the trick!

Clam Bake 2

I am a firm believer that clams must be cooked in a wine broth. I reluctantly sacrificed a cup of my Black Box Chardonnay to simmer the clams in. Black Box wine is the perfect on the go wine because you do not have to worry about the glass bottle. Black Box has won over 50 Gold Medals for its quality.  Also its price point is 40% less than comparable bottled wines, and it stays fresh for up to 6 weeks….if it lasts that long!

BBQ Clam Bake

Once the clams were ready, I served everyone a huge bowl with a ton of broth and of course a large piece of bread to soak it up. We ate, drank, and had an amazing evening. After dinner we enjoyed a perfect California beach sunset and lit the bonfire to roast some s’mores. It is nights like these that really make life good!

Beach Clam Bake

For more entertaining ideas, visit the Black Box Simple Entertaining Social Hub. Also enter for your chance to win a trip to the California wine region of your choice!

Beach Clam Bake


  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup seafood or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2-3 pounds fresh clams
  • 1 lemon, sliced into wedges
  • chopped parsley and thinly sliced green onions for garnish
  • French Bread


  1. Light your grill. Once coals are hot, place cast iron pan on top of the grill to get hot, about 10 minutes.
  2. Once pan is hot, melt butter.
  3. When butter is melted and begins to bubble, add onions and garlic. Sauté until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, wine, stock, and salt and pepper.
  5. Once broth is hot and beginning to simmer, add clams.
  6. Cover pan with foil and cook until all of the clams have opened, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
  7. Lightly grill bread.
  8. When clams are open, squeeze two lime wedges and sprinkle them with chopped parsley and sliced green onions.
  9. Serve immediately with a generous size piece of bread!


Strawberry Lemonade

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreshOnTheGo #CollectiveBias

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

Keeping three kids with a 3+ year age gap entertained is no easy task. One of them is always bored. When I was young, the minute I got up, I was outside playing with my neighborhood friends. We do not have any kids in the neighborhood, so my kids have to play with each other which lasts about 37 seconds until they start fighting.

Refreshing Strawberry Lemonade

In order to avoid the constant she said this or he did that, I try to keep them busy with activities! Cooking is always the best way to occupy all of them at the same time. Yesterday I put them to the task of making a Fresh Strawberry Lemonade for our afternoon picnic at the park.

Strawberry Lemonade Park Picnic

It was a great activity that they throughly enjoyed after the preparations. Most importantly, they enjoyed it in peace!

I put my 7 year old to work cutting about a cup and a half of strawberries.

cutting the strawberries

I then made my 3 year old place the strawberries and sugar in the blender and press the button to turn it on.

Making the fresh strawberry lemonade

My 12 year old was in charge of cutting the lemons.

Lemons for lemonade

They all had a great time juicing the lemons.

Making Lemonade!

They 3 and 7 year olds mixed in the sugar.

Making Strawberry Lemonade- fun with kids

Then we added the strawberry mixture and water, et voila. Perfectly refreshing strawberry lemonade in about 15 minutes!

ready snax

We then packed up the lemonade, cups, and some Ready Pac Ready Snax.

Strawberry Lemonade

During the school year, we buy the Ready Pac Salad bowls weekly. My daughter loves taking them for lunch and they are a much healthier alternative to a standard PB&J. While doing my weekly Costco shopping this past week, I found theseReady Pac Ready Snax. With carrots, grapes, cheese, and pretzels, they are the perfect to-go snack and paired perfectly with our homemade strawberry lemonade at our park picnic.

Fun Summer Picnic

The kids had a blast on our mini picnic across the street, and have requested that we do it everyday! It is such a fun way to spend our summer afternoons!

costco snack pax

Strawberry Lemonade


  • 12 large strawberries
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8 lemons)


  1. Cut green tops off of the strawberries and place in blender.
  2. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar over strawberries and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to release some of the juices.
  3. Once strawberries have sat, add 1 cup of cold water and blend mixture until smooth.
  4. Juice the lemons, removing the seeds.
  5. Add white sugar and whisk until dissolved.
  6. Whisk in Strawberry mixture.
  7. Add 7 cups of water to mixture and whisk together.
  8. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Apple Pie Bars

Apple Pie Bars

Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone has a fun-filled day with lots of delicious food planned! We are just returning from a week in Vegas and are planning to recuperate from the heat comfortably and quietly at home with some burgers and these bars.

Apple Slab Pie

To me, you cannot celebrate the 4th without an All American Apple Pie. But when you are serving a crowd, slicing and serving a pie can be quite cumbersome. These Apple Pie Bars are perfect for cutting up in advance, allowing people to grab their own piece when they please.

Perfect Apple Pie Bars

They have everything you want in a slice of pie, in bar form. The flaky crust and thick apple center. Serve it with a large scoop of ice cream and you have the perfect summer dessert!

Apple Pie Bars and Ice Cream

Every year the when the 4th of July hits, it is only a matter of days before my birthday comes. This year, I am hoping the days move very slowly as it they will be the last days of my roaring twenties :( So please excuse while I indulge in an extra cocktail (or three) today (another reason we are staying home).

Flaky Apple Pie Bars

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Apple Pie Bars


  • 2 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup butter, cold and cut into 16 slices
  • 2/3 cup ice water
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and diced into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice or water.
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl or your food processor.
  2. Add butter slices and either cut into flour or pulse until it forms small pea like clumps.
  3. Add ice water and mix until dough forms a large ball (do not over mix). This is best done manually that way the dough is not overworked and will be flaky after baking.
  4. Separate dough into two balls and gently flatten. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. While your dough is chilling, make the filling.
  6. On medium heat, melt your butter.
  7. Add apples and sauté for about 3 minutes while stirring.
  8. Pour in sugar, apple juice and cinnamon and allow to simmer until apples are soft on medium low heat, about 10 minutes.
  9. Combine 2 tablespoons apple juice or water with corn starch to for a paste.
  10. Add paste to apple mixture and stir until thick.
  11. Once the filling is nice and thick, remove from heat and bring to room temperature.
  12. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line one 8x8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
  13. On a clean, floured surface roll out your dough disks into a large square, about 1/4 inch thick.
  14. Lay first dough square in the pan with edge hanging slightly over the sides.
  15. Pour filling into crust.
  16. Top filling with second dough square and gently press to seal with bottom dough.
  17. Cut of remaining dough.
  18. Make a small crisscross cut in the center of the dough.
  19. Beat egg with a fork, and baste the top of the pie.
  20. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  21. Bake pie until crust is brown and apples are cooked, about 40-50 minutes.
  22. Allow to cool completely before cutting into small squares.
  23. This recipe makes about 12 bars.

Cherry Plum Barbecue Sauce

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KingsfordFlavor #CollectiveBias

Cherry plum BBQ Sauce

It is almost the 4th of July, and do I have a killer recipe for you. Take your grilling up a notch with this Cherry Plum Barbecue Sauce. It has all of the wonderful sweetness and smokiness of a traditional sauce with a depth of fruity flavor from the cherries and plum. I also added some spice to give it a kick. 

Cherry Plum BBQ Sauce Marinated Ribs

I made a big batch of this BBQ sauce and marinated the ribs for a day. While cooking, I continually smothered the ribs with more sauce, resulting in some succulent fall off the bone style ribs. We served them with a baked potato, and could not resist drizzling the BBQ sauce on the potato too!

Cherry Plum BBQ Sauce With A Kick!

Being a food lover, I have A LOT of cooking utensils. We have a gas grill, smoker, and of course a charcoal grilling fire pit. While I love my smoker, my husband absolutely loves the smoky flavor that comes from the charcoal grill. I think it also has something to do with the fact that he has to make a small fire to get it started. Seriously what is it with men and their fires?!?

Husband and his fire pit

Anyway, we are super excited because Kingsford Charcoal is on sale right now at Home Depot. We tend to go through quite a few packages of charcoal during the summer, so we will definitely be stocking up! From today through July 6th, Kingsford Original Twinpack will be on sale for only $9.88 which is half off of the original price!


So are you in the grilling mood yet? Head over to your nearest The Home Depot store to pick up your Kingsford Charcoal. Click here to find the store nearest you. Will you be cooking/grilling this 4th of July? Click here for some fun recipe inspiration.


Cherry Plum Barbecue Sauce


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pitted cherries
  • 1 medium sized plum, pitted and chopped
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic and sauté for four minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the pot and stir to combine.
  4. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes or until it has thickened slightly, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once sauce has thickened slightly, remove from heat and carefully place in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  6. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Summer Shrimp Pasta

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Ronzoni, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #RonzoniSummer

Garden Harvest Shrimp Pasta Salad

Generally during the year, my oldest likes to put up a fight about the vegetables that I serve him. During the summer however, he waves his white flag. He knows that we have a ton of veggies that need to be eaten from the garden and that every meal will mainly consist of freshly harvested vegetables.

Grilled Veggie and Shrimp Pasta

Getting creative with the same vegetables is hard sometimes. I have made fried yellow summer squash at least 3 times a week for the last month and a half. I have also put it in cakes, quiches, and even smoothies! While I love it, I needed to add another flavor to it. Thankfully, my basil plant was in full bloom, so we made pesto.


So what could be better than a dish of pesto grilled veggies and shrimp, pasta, and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese? Not much I say. Except for the fact that not only we (my kids) getting a full dose of nutrients from the vegetables and pesto on the pasta, but the pasta itself actually contains 1 full serving of vegetables per 4 oz portion! How cool is that! And to top it off, it is pretty good. The orange colored pasta definitely has a mild carrot flavor, and the green pasta tasted like either spinach or broccoli. With the pesto sauce, my kids did not suspect a thing! The Ronzoni Garden Delight Pasta comes in three varieties- Tri-Color Penne, Tri-Color Rotini and Trio Italiano. I found them at Walmart.

Summer Vegetable and Grilled Shrimp Pasta

Over all this was a wonderful meal that chock full of nutrients and a great way to use up all of those vegetables from your flourishing garden! If you are looking to try Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta look for a $1.00 coupon off any two Garden Delight items in most newspapers on 6/28/15 (while supplies last) or $0.55 off in store coupon at Walmart starting 6/22/15. Offer expires 8/2/15 (while supplies last). To find a store near you that sells Ronzoni Delight, click here. Enjoy! 

Summer Shrimp Pasta


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 Box Ronzoni Garden Harvest Pasta
  • 1 pound deveined and peeled shrimp
  • 2 cups sliced vegetables (I used peppers, yellow squash, eggplant, tomatoes and onion)
  • Grated parmesan cheese


  1. Using a blender, combine basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  2. Reserve 1/2 cup in for pasta.
  3. Rinse shrimp and place in bowl with 1/4 cup pesto. Allow to marinate for 30 minuets.
  4. While shrimp is marinating, slice your vegetables. Place in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup of pesto.
  5. Make pasta according to the directions on the back of the box.
  6. Either grill vegetables on high heat (this is what I did), or bake them for 15 min at 400 degrees.
  7. Grill shrimp on high heat for about until fully cooked, about 2 minutes on each side.
  8. To assemble, toss cooked pasta with the reserved 1/2 cup of pesto.
  9. Topped grilled veggies and shrimp and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  10. Enjoy!