Easy Party Pasta Salad

pasta salad

It’s happened to everyone – it’s a beautiful day, you’re enjoying the weather with friends or family, and suddenly you come down from your NYC rooftop or in from your favorite beach and you’re at your place with a hungry crowd. This pasta salad has saved me from that desperate situation MANY times, and I’m excited to share this quick party trick with you.

Pasta salad could not be an easier way to host on the fly, and you probably already have most of the materials in your pantry. Plus, it’s easy to substitute gluten free pasta (my favorite is Banza chick pea penne, which adds some extra protein) to accommodate for dietary restrictions.

Simply: boil 1 box of pasta, rinse with cold water. While the pasta is boiling, add 1 chopped cucumber, 2 chopped peppers (any color), and 1/2 chopped onion. We have this awesome Ninja chopper my mom got me for Christmas a couple of years ago and it has taken years of food prep off my life. Top with some salt and 3/4 bottle of Wishbone Italian Dressing and you’re done!

This recipe is also easy to make ahead – just hold off on the dressing until you’re about to serve the dish, and add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil per box of pasta to keep it moist. Refrigerate covered.

I like to serve this pasta salad as a spring and summer staple, alongside anything you can cook up on the grill. It’s a hit!

 

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Gluten Free – Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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Coming from an Italian family, it’s been hard to make a full switch to the gluten free life. The struggle applies particularly to gnocchi – one of my favorite Italian dishes ever and one of the only dishes I’ll ever order at an Italian restaurant. (On principle, I don’t love going to Italian restaurants because I can make most of the dishes at home – gnocchi being a strong exception because it’s so labor intensive and so hard to nail. For those of you in the Providence, RI area, you’ll understand – especially if you’ve ever had the gnocchi from Siena.)

Anyway, I stumbled across a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi on one of my favorite food blogs, Pinch of Yum. If I was going to have to quit real carbs, I thought I’d try making one of my favorite dishes the GF way – with sweet potatoes. Plus, it fits in really well with Mike’s low-carb diet.

Here is my adaptation of the recipe from Pinch of Yum.

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Yummy Breakfast Acai Bowls

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Acai bowls – basically smoothies on crack. These yummy bowls make a great breakfast – so long as you monitor how much sugar you’re taking in! (Spoiler alert- the bowl in this picture is super sugary, so it’s great 30-45 minutes after a morning workout.)

To serve 2-3 adults for a healthy breakfast, blend 3 packets of Sambazon Acai (you can find this at Whole Foods), 1 banana (frozen or fresh), 1 cup of frozen blueberries, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 2 cups of coconut milk, and 2-3 scoops of protein powder. The protein powder is key, especially if you’re watching your diet – the extra protein will make this bowl much more filling.

To turn it into a smoothie you can grab for your drive to work, just add a bit more coconut milk and a few ice cubes.

Top the bowls with whatever you desire! Granola is a great topping to make the bowls more filling. Try making my Homemade Granola Recipe for a gluten free granola option. I like to add a tablespoon of peanut butter and a drizzle of honey, and often I add coconut flakes.

Acai bowls & smoothies are a yummy, filling breakfast that will boost your protein intake for the day. Enjoy!

 

Acai Bowls

Print & Share Breakfast Acai Bowl Recipe

 

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DIY Platform Bed with Storage

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How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night, displaced from your comfortable bed “zone” by your significant other and your dog (or kids, for all the moms out there!)? Chances are, probably a lot. And, chances are, you’ve probably come to this conclusion one time or another – WE’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BED.

That decision was made in our house in early March, when Mike and I started shopping for mattresses (aka polling all of our friends, family, coworkers, waiters, etc). We finally decided to buy our brand new (King!) mattress from Nectar, which came highly recommended from a former coworker of mine and comes with a ONE YEAR Warranty, which seems like a totally reasonable amount of time to evaluate how much we liked the mattress.

With a new king mattress and a full/queen frame, it was clear we also needed to invest in a new bed. I browsed online for hours and found a million links to beds that I liked a little bit, but nothing truly caught my eye that would match our wall-to-wall carpet and go well with this dresser I upcycled last summer.

That’s when Mike suggested we BUILD our new bed – a more cost-effective option that gave us the flexibility to decide on features and colors, and also gave us a project that we could work on together.

First things first – it should be noted that building a DIY bed is not that much cheaper than buying a bed, particularly if you don’t have all of the necessary tools. That said, this bed has all of the features we want (read: storage) that we may not have found in the same price range from a furniture store.

The Plan
Mike found this great pattern on the Lowes blog in his great internet sweep for DIY beds.
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Bridesmaid Proposal Pinatas

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Anyone who knows me knows that, for a while there, I fell deep into the recent unicorn craze. That’s why, when I asked my 8 bridesmaids to be in my wedding, I chose these precious unicorn pinatas! (Purchased, as always, on Etsy.)

Each pinata had inside it starburst candies, pink and white tissue paper confetti, glitter gold diamond ring confetti, and homemade wedding confetti I drew up. (Super easy – word doc, scroll font, wedding buzzwords like the town you’ll be married in, “Maid of Honor,” “Bridesmaid,” and your wedding date – cut out and accordion folded.)

Alongside the candy and confetti I included a personal note to each girl, written on these beautiful mini letterpress cards from Missive.

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These mini pinatas were such a hit, and a great way to send a little celebration along with the sentiment of asking my closest friends to share my special day.cropped-profile_picture_symbol

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