Cocktail Friday: Mocktail Party!

Blackberry Vanilla Cocktail

I’m constantly on the hunt for fun drinks that are non-alcoholic right now. I’m constantly drinking water and it gets so. exhausting. So today, in the hopes that some of you out there are looking for something similar, I’ve put together three of my favorite non-alcoholic beverages along with some of my favorite appetizers so you can host your own Mocktail Party! First up is this beautiful and dramatic Blackberry-Vanilla Mocktail. I posted this over on La Fuji Mama a while back and it is one of my favorite drinks. You can use any fruit you’d like. Peaches would be dreamy!

And to snack on alongside this lovely beverage? I recommend my Homemade Cheese Crackers. They are completely addicting! Plus, they are 100% adult AND kid-friendly.

Smokey Cheese Crackers from Scratch

Next up is a healthy and unique Cardamom Lassi. This recipe comes to us via my art director/graphic designer sister, Rebecca, who contributed some beautiful cocktails to the site for a few weeks. This just might be my favorite. Creamy yogurt, refreshing cardamom, and the knowledge that you are drinking something delicious and good for your body is priceless. Continue Reading →

29. August 2014 by Rachael White
Categories: Cocktails & Appetizers, Entertaining | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peach and Burrata Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Peach, Burrata and Pecan Salad | Set the Table

Yep. I’m just gonna put that juicy peach photo right in your face this morning. Because who doesn’t want to see a Peach and Burrata Salad up close and personal?

My 18 lb box of peaches has dwindled to less than half of what I started with. It’s a sad state of affairs, knowing this sweetness will be gone soon. Fortunately, I learned from last year’s mistake and we have avoided being bombarded with fruit flies (is there anything more annoying?) by making sure we had plenty of room for the peaches in the fridge. Once they hit their perfect stage of ripeness, I piled them all in the fruit drawer and have been taking 1 (make that 2) our each and every day to enjoy. My final task is to make a couple jars of my peach and hatch chile salsa and my Grandma Della’s Peach Cobbler. If I’m lucky, I may make one more batch of these Peach & Oat Muffins from last week.

Fresh Peach & Spinach Salad with Burrata | Set the Table

I spend a lot of time comparing my transition to life in Colorado to the first couple of years we spent in Japan. I LOVED living in Japan but not until the last 2, maybe 2 1/2 years. It was so strange and different and I didn’t know what I was doing for those first couple of years that I just couldn’t come around to it. However, once I figured out the rhythms of each season and had an idea what to expect, I was able to fall in love. I feel like I may be turning that corner here in Colorado, at long last. The current weather pattern, cool, crisp mornings, warm afternoons, and chilly nights, has won me over after weeks of weather that is too hot for my taste. Understanding that this refreshing time of year comes just after peach season is the kind of stuff I like to know about where I live. It’s a strange quirk, perhaps, but at least I am aware of it. That makes change a little easier to deal with.

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28. August 2014 by Rachael White
Categories: Lunch & Dinner, No Added Sugar, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Peach & Oat Muffins

Whole Wheat Peach Muffins | Set the Table

Peach season has arrived and I am SO EXCITED. I bought an 18 pound box of peaches from our church (all the proceeds go to our youth group which is so awesome) and they are absolutely perfect. I’ve been eating 2 of them pretty much every day- one with breakfast and one after dinner. As for the rest of the bunch, I’m finding new ways to showcase their perfect peach flavor without overcooking/over-sugaring them. Just the other day I was telling my mom how I find it a little sad to make something like jam out of such lovely tasting fruit. (Am I strange for feeling that way? Yes? Well OK then.) These healthy peach and oat muffins are just about the best thing ever. Healthy and with just a hint of what’s around the corner (spoiler alert: it’s FALL) thanks to a cinnamon-sugar coating on top.

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23. August 2014 by Rachael White
Categories: Breakfast & Brunch, Kid Friendly | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder with Hatch Chiles

Lighter Corn Chowder with Hatch Chiles | Set the Table

When we lived in Japan, there was something we called a “vegetable vending machine” just down the street from our apartment. It was made up of little cubbies that were always filled with vegetables that had been grown on the very same block. You had to take you yen- usually 50¥ or 100¥- and place it in the money slot on the door holding the produce you wanted. Once you paid, the door would unlock and you could take your reusable bag, plop the freshly picked vegetables in, and be on your merry way. I used to go see what was there, enjoying the short walk in our peaceful neighborhood, pondering what I would make for dinner that night. We don’t have “veggie vending machines” here in Denver, but we are lucky enough to live just down the street from a couple markets that source local, Colorado-grown produce. The other day, I went to my favorite market with my mom to pick up some Hatch chiles and came across some beautiful ears of corn. The kernels were bright yellow, plump, and just begging to be added to a chowder recipe. So, slow-cooker corn chowder with hatch chiles was born! We may not have been able to experience the Japanese vending machine, but at least it conjures the memory.

Maybe I should start my own vegetable vending machine.

Maybe not.

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21. August 2014 by Rachael White
Categories: Kid Friendly, Lunch & Dinner, No Added Sugar | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creamy Sweet Corn Carbonara

Sweet Corn Carbonara | Set the Table

Being pregnant makes me want to eat all the carbs. Just keep ‘em coming because I can’t get enough. I don’t indulge myself as often as I’d like but sometimes there is just no denying the need for something noodle-y, potato-y, bread-y…you get the idea. This sweet corn carbonara fulfilled my craving the other day and had me falling in love with sweet corn all over again. There is something so wonderful about twirling long, creamy noodles around the tongs of a fork and seeing bright yellow corn kernels and vibrant green arugula joining the fray. Each bite is a beautiful combination of flavors and textures: crisp, sweet corn…peppery, delicate arugula…crunchy, salty bacon…and smooth, creamy pasta. You really cannot go wrong. Continue Reading →

20. August 2014 by Rachael White
Categories: Lunch & Dinner | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Baked Apples with Muesli Crisp (+ an announement!)

Healthy Baked Apples & Muesli Crisp | Set the Table

I’m having a little love affair with breakfast. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and I always want something hearty, sweet, and involving cinnamon in some way. These healthy baked apples with muesli crisp are the perfect solution. I’m going to eat them every day once apples are in season for real. It’s gonna have to happen. With a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt sweetened with honey pleaseandthankyou.

It’s good that I’m obsessed with something so wonderfully healthy because I seem to be putting on a little weight. Can you tell?

Pregnancy Announcement | Set the Table

Yep! Baby #2 is growing in that there bump and it wants all the comfort food in the universe (seriously, all of it. send mashed potatoes and gravy).  Continue Reading →

13. August 2014 by Rachael White
Categories: Breakfast & Brunch, Dessert, Kid Friendly, No Added Sugar, This & That, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

DIY Hot Dog Bar

DIY Hot Dog Bar | Set the Table

Brad turned 30 a couple of weeks ago while we were in Minnesota. We had a quiet dinner celebration there before returning home to Colorado. With the help of our friends, I was able to orchestrate an almost surprise party. I say “almost” because he knew people were coming over but had no idea it was to celebrate his birthday. He spent the day golfing with a friend and when they returned, we were ready to welcome him home with balloons, noise-makers, and the sound of our lovely voices singing happy birthday. It was really great watching these people, who have known Brad since middle school or high school, show him so much love after all these years. And what better way to celebrate than with a DIY Hot Dog Bar?

DIY Bar Chalkboard | Set the Table

This was one of the most fun parties we’ve thrown for a couple of reasons: 1) who doesn’t love hot dogs and lots of delicious toppings, and 2) it was easy on the hostess (that would be me). To make this even easier for all of you to do yourselves, I’ve put together some tips on how to host your own DIY Hot Dog Bar!

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11. August 2014 by Rachael White
Categories: Entertaining, Kid Friendly, Lunch & Dinner | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Cocktail Friday: Paris Stranger

My sister, Rebecca, is back with an enchanting story of the Paris Stranger and a cocktail with the same name for this week’s Cocktail Friday! These posts make me want to sit on the deck with her, chatting about all of the things. If only Minnesota were a little (or a lot) closer…

Paris Stranger Cocktail | Set the Table

This summer, I read a book by Kristin Newman called What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding. It’s a hilarious account of Newman’s real life travel adventures as a young, single comedy writer. It was funny, fun, and full of surprisingly wise observations about life and travel.

One of her travel edicts is to do the thing you are supposed to do in the place you are supposed to do it in. You know, eat pretzels in Germany … ride camels in Egypt … drink vodka in Russia … etc.

Paris Stranger | Set the Table

As I read, I thought about all of the places I’ve been and all of the times I didn’t do the thing I was supposed to do in the place I was supposed to do it.

For example: Continue Reading →

08. August 2014 by Rachael White
Categories: Cocktails & Appetizers | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower Soup | Set the Table

What on earth are you doing posting a soup recipe during the dog days of summer?!? Yes, I can hear you. But trust me when I say that this soup is worth making all year round. The past few days have been rather mild compared to last year when I thought I would certainly melt. We’ve had cooling rain showers that have left us with soup-worthy temperatures at night and this easy, fast cheesy roasted cauliflower soup was the perfect solution to my midsummer’s soup craving. I used orange cauliflower in place of regular white to help trip my brain into thinking there was lots of cheesy goodness when in reality I was quite conservative. A dash of cream and a drizzle of olive oil made a perfectly lovely soup fit for a weeknight meal or the first course at a dinner party.  Continue Reading →

06. August 2014 by Rachael White
Categories: Lunch & Dinner, No Added Sugar, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whole Grain Salmon & Avocado Bowl

Whole Grain Salmon Bowl with Avocado & Pickled Onions | Set the Table

I’m starting to get that feeling that summer is winding down. There are no sad feelings because I have been able to enjoy some super sweet moments with my family. Watching Riley change from a baby into a boy has been fascinating and terrifying and more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. He loves bugs, roaring, making up stories with us, and talking non-stop. There is never a dull moment and even though it’s exhausting there isn’t a moment I would trade. Sometimes, in the midst of it all, I neglect to put together a healthy and complete meal for myself. On those days when I’m lost in the wonder of watching a little boy explore the world around him, this whole grain salmon & avocado bowl is a serious lifesaver.

Whole Grain Salmon Bowl with Avocado | Set the Table

There are no frills with this one-bowl meal but I did make one change to the typical rice bowl: instead of using white or brown rice, I used a whole grain medley. Most grocery stores sell whole grain medleys in the rice aisle or the bulk section. The particular one I chose to use was a combination of brown and wild rice, bulgur wheat, and quinoa. The combination of textures and nutty flavor is perfect with the flaky salmon and creamy avocado. For a little brightness, I added some simple pickled red onions but you could use any kind of pickled vegetable you like. This time of year would be the perfect time to try some pickled zucchini. Continue Reading →

04. August 2014 by Rachael White
Categories: Lunch & Dinner, No Added Sugar | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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