Party Plan: Perfect Summer Picnic

party plan - picnic

Picnics are undoubtedly one of my favorite things. Just like parties and holidays, they’re one of those things that I have really high expectations for – but with picnics, my expectations are always met. I guess it’s because they’re so low-key – all you need is a blanket, good food, and good company. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I’ve found the perfect location not too far away, and that this consistently amazing bread is now a picnicking staple for me.

On our little picnicking jaunt, we parked ourselves under a shady tree, right by a field of flowers. And though it was just my first of the season, I think it was the best picnic I’ve been on to date. So naturally, I thought I’d share my tips for a simple but perfect summer picnic.

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FOOD // The most important part, obviously. I always plan ahead so I can make this insanely good olive bread, which requires a little prep work the day before but it always works out perfectly time-wise so that it’s fresh and warm for the picnic (you can find the recipe here). Besides that, I packed fruit, dip, and other snacks in a tiffin, which is basically the perfect picnic companion. It’s compact and holds a lot and looks pretty and streamlined – what more could you want?

I brought along raspberries and blueberries, plus this super good dip and pita bread for dipping. I also always make sure to pack a variety of cheese – my staples are parmesan and chèvre, and I like to throw in another sort of unusual one, usually picked up at Whole Foods (their cheese counter is insane) – and crackers to eat it on. Finally, drinks. I kept it simple with my favorite peach Izze.

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OTHER NECESSITIES // A pretty blanket is a must. For years I’d just been using old, thick blankets, but bringing along a prettier one really steps it up a notch (if you’re on the market, I’m coveting these gorgeous all-purpose towels). In a totally cheesy way, I felt almost as though I might be in the French countryside (though, probably far less stunning). Anyway, pretty things just make you feel happy, and it sets the mood. A light, pretty blanket equals a more elegant outing.

And (because I’m a bit of a nerd), poetry anthologies. Or any reading material you like – I also packed a magazine I had yet to read for lazy lounging.

As for what to wear, I’ll sing the praises of maxi dresses and maxi skirts. Extra comfortable, easy to move around and lay down in, light and cool. I have and love this one, which I wore back in this post, but I also love the lemony color and floaty bodice of this one.

And, of course, bring good company. Happy picnicking!

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Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

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I think biscottis are kind of underrated. They seem simple, but dipping them in chocolate makes them an indulgent companion to a cup of coffee. I always love the idea of having one at breakfast – because what’s better than a cookie for breakfast? (and a chocolate-dipped one at that?). They’re simple enough to make, and you can mix in pretty much whatever you want. I went for pistachios and used this recipe as a base – perhaps it’s because I doubled it, or maybe the eggs I used were abnormally large, but I had to add in about an extra 1/2 cup of flour so it wasn’t a total sticky disaster. That being said, it’s hard to mess these up, especially since you cook them twice. And, if all else fails, coat them in chocolate.

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Kale Chips

kale chips

In case you were wondering: I’m one of those people who loves kale. (I also wear scarves and thick frame glasses, avoid mainstream music like the plague, read poetry and was once a barista, but that’s besides the point.) And I started buying (and subsequently devouring) raw kale chips, but they were kind of ridiculously expensive. So I picked up two bunches of kale at the farmer’s market and went home determined to make my own. Turns out, it’s the easiest thing ever, provided you have time to wash a ton of kale and an oven with a dehydrate setting (dehydrating keeps the kale raw so all the kale goodness stays in tact). Set the oven to 135°, pop the kale in on a baking sheet for 2-4 hours – and that’s it. The good news is that it’s actually impossible to ruin them – there’s only so much water in kale, and you’ll know when it’s all gone. My favorite way to serve them is sprayed with olive oil (if you don’t know what I mean, buy one of these. Now. You’re welcome.) and sprinkled with sea salt. Simple and delicious. Alright, I’ll stop now, before this turns into even more of a love letter to kale.

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Beet and Goat Cheese Salad


This isn’t a picture-heavy post, but that’s because this is so simple there aren’t really that many steps to take pictures of. Beets have been my latest food obsession – I’ve always loved them, but I only recently started buying them raw at the store and roasting them myself (using these totally foolproof instructions). Their silky texture, rich color and sweet-meets-earthy flavor contrasts beautifully with the sharp, tangy notes of goat cheese…but goat cheese is just awesome anyway. I ate way too much when I was assembling this.

For the salad:
-Baby spinach
-1 small roasted beet
-about 1/4 cup of goat cheese (just kind of tear off little chunks until you’re happy with the beet to goat cheese ratio)
-a handful of walnuts

For the dressing:
-Plain Greek yogurt
-fresh mint, finely chopped
-vegetable oil
-lemon juice
-white wine vinegar
-sugar and salt, to taste
*Note: when I make salad dressings, I never measure anything. I just throw stuff in a bowl, taste, adjust, and repeat, until it tastes how I want it. This dressing should be creamy and tangy with a kick of mint.


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Warm Spring Salad


In last week’s food post, I mentioned how I’m trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my diet. So the other night, when I was craving something light, fresh and seasonal, I whipped up this recipe. It required very little preparation and the end result was bursting with the crisp flavor of all the fruits and veggies in it. Although it’s technically summer now, I plan on making this a few more times over the summer whenever I’m craving a simple and healthy meal.

Note: I used about half of the quinoa called for and I added in a can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed).


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