food

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For an easy summer appetizer just stack a strawberry, a mozzarella ball and a leaf of basil on a toothpick! Like my Watermelon Feta Mint bites, they are great for BBQs and picnics as they can easily be made ahead. They were part of a summer entertaining menu I put together for InStyle magazine recently- see the whole menu here!

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I feel like I’ve been seeing Overnight Oats and Chia Pudding everywhere on blogs lately, and so I thought I’d do a combo of the 2! It’s a perfect warm weather breakfast. You simply combine Almond Breeze Almondmilk, rolled oats, chia seeds and mashed banana in a jar and refrigerate it overnight (or for about 6 hours). In the morning you have a creamy, vitamin packed, chilled porridge to eat with fruit. It’s also an easy on-the-go breakfast to take to the office! Just add fresh fruit to the jar and grab a spoon.

I have been getting so much gorgeous summer melon in my CSA farm box, that I served mine in a half of a cantaloupe. And because we have blackberries growing off the back deck, I topped mine with those, plus some pomegranate seeds. Feel free to get creative and add other items to the jar before chilling or when serving (chopped fruit, honey, cinnamon, nuts…).

This recipe serves 2. Enjoy!

This post was done in partnership with Almond Breeze (a brand I personally use daily), but opinions are completely my own.

Butternut Quesadillas

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Corn tortilla quesadillas filled with mashed roasted butternut squash, Manchego cheese and fresh thyme! I recently made a big batch of these for a party and they were great. They’d be perfect for a Superbowl party because you can make them ahead and keep them warm in the oven- just slice before serving. 

For more photos and recipe details click over to my post today on Better Homes & Gardens’ blog, Delish Dish.

Thanksgiving Appetizers in Santa Barbara

I’m always looking for easy, tasty holiday party hors d'oeuvres, and these Pesto Puffs were a hit last weekend at my family’s Thanksgiving celebration in Santa Barbara. 

Every year we head to my aunt and uncle’s beach house for a weekend of cooking, eating, and surfing. My job is always to prepare appetizers for everyone to sample as we cook all afternoon. These puffs were easy to make ahead and they work warm or at room temperature. The cheese has a tendency to ooze out a bit when they are baked, so use a baking sheet with a rim. A couple of my cousins were on cocktail duty: there was a big pitcher of spicy Bloody Marys in the morning, and at cocktail hour my cousin walked around with a tray of Manhattans and adorable Apple Cider cocktails garnished with cinnamon sticks. Before dinner, all the ladies take an annual walk to collect flowers, bark, leaves and vines to decorate the table, and then we eat at sunset. When I was in college, I lived just a couple blocks away…ever since then, I’ve decided it’s my favorite place on earth- can’t wait to go back!

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View from the deck at my aunt & uncle's house

View from the deck at my aunt & uncle's house

I have no idea how to cook a turkey (just pretending here!!) I stick to the veggies. Bottom right: my cousin Vanessa passes out Apple Cider cocktails.

I have no idea how to cook a turkey (just pretending here!!) I stick to the veggies. Bottom right: my cousin Vanessa passes out Apple Cider cocktails.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Other holiday party appetizer ideas:

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Cucumber Caprese Bites

Radishes with Butter

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These Avocado Onion Rings can be baked or fried and are great with any dipping sauce (I like tahini). If frying, just brown both sides in olive oil on medium in a non-stick pan. Cutting them into rings works best if the avocados are firm-ripe. Enjoy!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast

You might also like: Orange Avocado Salad