Thursday, August 15, 2019


This cous cous salad is having a major moment in our house this summer. I love the colors, the flavor, and the addition of paprika is just SO GOOD and unexpected. I've made this for a few Summer gatherings and it's been a huge hit. This recipe makes a ton and it is equally as delicious leftover. It makes the perfect side to chicken and fish, and can be served at room temperature which is great when you are trying to prep a meal for a crowd. This would even be good to make on a Sunday and eat for lunch for the week- just add some protein. 

Giada is one of my OGs and never steers me wrong. Her recipes are mostly effortless and with the right flavors and a few simple ingredients, you've got something restaurant worthy that everyone will love. I tweaked her original recipe a tad and am craving now as I type it out. I love the couscous, but you could easily swap out for quinoa, moroccan cous cous, or even orzo! The perfect Summer side that can take you well into Fall grilling.

recipe adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP white balsamic vinegar
1.5 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 TBSP olive oil
1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4-1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds (if I have them)
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves, chopped or whole
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste

To make the dressing, whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and set aside to let the flavors marry.

For the couscous, heat oil over medium heat and add the couscous. Toast until golden, about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 2 cups of water and salt and bring it all to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cover, simmering about 10 minutes or until the cousscous is cooked through and fluffy, and all of the water has been absorbed. Mix together the veggies, cous cous, and pour the dressing over the mixture, tossing it all together. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019


I hope everyone had a great week! We are over here soaking up the last few weeks of Summer. Routine is nice, but I'm just not ready for the busy-ness that Fall and back to school season brings. Summertime is just the sweetest.

Patio happy hours are my favorite and our cocktail game has been pretty strong this summer if I do say so myself. If there is ever a spicy tequila drink on a restaurant's cocktail menu, I will almost always order it- and then try to recreate it at home! Restaurant menus are a great source of inspiration when looking for different flavors and Liquors to mix and match. I honestly like to keep it simple with just some good tequila, lime seltzer, and a wedge of lime most of the time, but there are other times that you just want a little something extra.

A friend of mine dropped off a TON of fresh basil from her garden. I made pesto, caprese, and more caprese, then saved out a handful for this simple syrup. Basil and jalapenos work so well alongside each other and this simple syrup provides the perfect backdrop to even the simplest of cocktail concoctions. The fresh jalapeno really stands out here, and even more so if you drop a few slices of fresh jalapeno in your drink! I love the spicy kick. 

If you can boil water, you can make simple syrup! Trust me here and have at it. Use this in a margarita, or just with a splash in a vodka soda. We made margaritas and they were a HUGE hit. So much flavor here and a perfect drink for Taco night- or any night of the week to be honest. Enjoy!


1 cup sugar
1 cup water
handful fresh basil leaves
1/2 sliced jalapeno 

Place sugar and water in a small saucepan on medium high heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and drop in the basil and jalapeno slices. Let this all steep until the syrup is completely cooled.

Once syrup is cooled, strain into a glass container. This will last in a sealed glass container for quite a while! 


2 oz. Tequila
1/2 oz. basil jalapeno simple syrup
lime seltzer water
lime juice
jalapeno slices + lime wedges for garnish

Prep your glass with a salt rim if desired. Fill glass with ice, tequila, and the simple syrup. Finish with a pour of seltzer and a splash of lime juice. Give it a quick stir and garnish with a lime wedge and a couple of jalapeno slices for heat.  

Friday, August 2, 2019


If you've been following along here for awhile, you know that most Friday nights are homemade pizza nights in our house! I perfected my dough recipe YEARS ago and the only thing I've changed since then is making the switch earlier this year to organic flour. Hear me out on this one- something about the organic flour makes the dough SO MUCH BETTER. I can't explain it, but it's worth the extra few dollars at the grocery store. Also worth investing in? A pizza stone! This makes all the difference when cooking a homemade pizza at home. You just cannot beat it. 

This pizza was inspired by one they serve at a local organic farm here in Charlotte. My friend raves about it and I decided to give it a whirl. Mark Moore was skeptical at first, but I made him a believer. Corn on a pizza may sound odd, but trust me on this one. The sweet kernels add a little something extra and I am here for it. 

I layered the pesto on this one and it was just heavenly. There is nothing like fresh homemade pesto in the Summer. I was out of walnuts and pine nuts, so I made a quick batch with just basil, parmesan, garlic, and olive oil and I think this is what I will do from now on when making pesto for pizza. It was lighter and fresher tasting to me and without the nuts, the basil really shines through. That intense basil flavor on this pizza is what makes it so good. (besides the little pops of sweet from the corn) If you wanted to add some meat, I think prosciutto would be amazing on this one! 

It's like Summer on a pizza. 


For my homemade Neapolitan pizza dough, follow the recipe HERE

1 ear sweet corn, cooked and cut off the cob
Handful of zucchini "ribbons" (I used a veggie peeler and shaved about 1/2-1 cups worth!)
Pesto (store bought or homemade)
Shredded whole milk mozzarella

If you are using homemade dough, preheat oven with pizza stone inside to 500 degrees. Once the oven comes to 500, remove the pizza stone and immediately prep your pizza.

Roll out dough and place on preheated stone. Spread a layer of pesto and then a very thin layer of mozzarella. Top with zucchini ribbons and sprinkle on the fresh corn. Add another layer of mozzarella.

Bake for 8 minutes on 500, or until nice and melty and bubbly! Hit it with some red pepper flakes for heat.