Individual Red, White, and Blue Trifles

To me, the 4th of July equals cookouts. And my favorite part of any barbecue is the dessert. I have a major sweet tooth, so a table filled with pies, cupcakes, ice cream, and other treats makes me really happy. Please tell me I’m not the only one!

If you are still looking for the perfect dessert for the 4th of July, this is it!

Individual Red, White, and Blue Trifles

These trifles are super easy to put together, and most important, really delicious. Each bite is filled with fresh fruit, creamy “custard,” and delicious cake. And of course, you have your red, white, and blue!

Individual Red, White, and Blue Trifles

Individual Red, White, and Blue Trifles

Makes 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Dash vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 oz. package ladyfingers, or prepared yellow or white cake, broken into small pieces
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 4 – 6 small, clear cups

Individual Red, White, and Blue Trifles

Place strawberries and granulated sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside for about 10 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve.

Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar and beat until smooth. I used a stand mixer, but you can use a hand-held mixer or even a whisk, if you don’t mind the arm workout. Add the milk and a dash of vanilla extract to the cream cheese; mix well.

Individual Red, White, and Blue Trifles

Grab a cup and add a layer of ladyfingers, followed by a dollop of cream cheese. Cover cream cheese with a layer of strawberries. Add another layer of ladyfingers and then another spoonful of cream cheese. Top with blueberries.

Repeat with remaining cups. The size of your cups will determine how many trifles you end up with.

Refrigerate the trifles for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

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Salted Caramelized Bananas with Ice Cream

I have a major sweet tooth, but I don’t like to keep a lot of treats around my apartment due to my poor impulse control because I like to eat healthy. But sometimes, I just have to have something sweet now. Do you know what I mean?

This recipe for caramelized bananas is the perfect way to conquer any sugar craving. It’s quick, easy, and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand. Plus, it’s got that whole salty-sweet thing going on – yum!

Salted Caramelized Bananas with Ice Cream

Salted caramelized bananas with ice cream.

Serve 2

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Coarse sea salt

Salted Caramelized Bananas with Ice Cream

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add bananas and brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter and sugar are well combined and a sauce has formed. The bananas should have softened slightly and will be coated with caramel.

Serve bananas over ice cream and top with a pinch of salt. Eat quickly before the ice cream melts!

Salted Caramelized Bananas with Ice Cream

Notes: this recipe is easily scaled up or down, so make it for yourself or a crowd. I like to use Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, however you can use any coarse salt you like – just don’t use table salt.

What is your favorite way to conquer a sugar craving?

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Easy Five-Step Picnic

There is nothing I enjoy more than hanging out in the park on a beautiful, sunny day. And now that the weather is warming up, I’m going to make the most of it!

Follow these five easy steps to enjoy your own picnic in the park.

Easy Five Step Picnic

  1. Make a delicious sandwich. My favorite tomato-basil sandwich is also super easy to put together. Just layer sliced tomatoes (season with salt and pepper), fresh mozzarella, and basil on good bread (I like to use focaccia or crusty french bread).
  2. Pick up a bottle of wine. A dry rosé is the perfect picnic wine. This 2012 Bieler Père et Fils Rosé gets good reviews, and at $12, it’s a bargain.
  3. Grab something sweet. Mixed berries are perfect is you want something healthy. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a rich, chocolate brownie. I’m definitely on team brownie!
  4. Find a picnic blanket. This striped water-resistent blanket would be perfect if the ground is damp, or do like I do, and grab an old quilt. Just make sure it’s big enough to stretch out on.
  5. Pack it all up. A picnic basket is not required, but it sure is cute! Don’t forget napkins and cups for the wine.

That’s it! Don’t waste a lot of time – get out there and enjoy the day.

How do you like to spend a lazy summer day?

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Quick Chopped Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

How was your weekend? We spent Saturday running errands and then went to an improv show in the evening. It was fun, but the day was super hot (high 90’s), and I spent most of it trying to stay cool.

By Sunday I was feeling super lazy and wanted to avoid the heat at all costs. So I stayed in and threw together this quick salad for lunch. It’s the perfect cool and fresh antidote to steamy weather!

Quick Chopped Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Quick Chopped Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 pkg. cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce
  • 4 oz. feta, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped

Quick Chopped Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Place chickpeas and olives in a large bowl.

Halve or quarter cherry tomatoes, depending on size. Peel, seed, and chop cucumber. Chop romaine. Add tomatoes and romaine to chickpeas and olives; toss to combine. Top with feta.

Combine olive oil and lemon in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to emulsify. Stir in basil.

Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.

Enjoy!

Quick Chopped Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Note: this recipe is very flexible. Try adding other vegetables, such as peppers, zucchini, or carrots. You can also add nuts, capers, and additional herbs. Experiment!

What is your favorite meal on a hot day?

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