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Father’s Day Tablescape + Dinner Menu

Being an event planner, my mind is always scheming up ideas for any sort of function I may have. Father’s Day is no exception! It might be one of my favorite holidays to plan for. I love making this day special for my husband. He is a very simple guy who never asks for anything, so I like to do a little extra to make sure he knows how much we love him. We send him off golfing in the morning, which also allows me to go shopping and set up our dinner. The kids love to get involved, so I have them make cards for him which will go on his place setting. They are so proud of their hard work, it’s the cutest thing. I worked with my favorite Chef Molly from Organicopa to get create this full course menu that any dad will love. My husband is a big lamb guy so we included that! She was generous enough to let me share the recipe for you guys to make too! All this yummy food, displayed on a cool casual monochromatic table setting. Add in the DIY that we did last week, and you just gained some major wife points!

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I just love this table setting. Not only does it have a masculine vibe to it, but it also has a cool casual California style that can be used at any function. My favorite item out of all of this is definitely those ceramic plates.  A life goal for those to be my everyday plates. Till then, they are fun ones to bring out for a little dinner party action. Let’s not get started on that matte gunmetal flatware, so so good! This time around, I did stemless wine glasses and beer goblets instead of the typical wine, water, and tumbler combination. This table setting will make any food look 5 stars, but I got you covered there too.

Father’s Day Menu

Humboldt fog fondue with savory dippers: heirloom baby carrots, steamed asparagus, apple, garlic rubbed crostini
Fillet of beef on garlic rubbed crostini with caramelized onion, point Reyes blue cheese and balsamic reduction
Watermelon Martini: cubed watermelon, lime juice, mint and feta in a martini glass

Summer asparagus, sweet pea and feta salad with lemon dijon vinaigrette
Grilled sweet corn salad with ancho aioli, queso fresco, lime and cilantro Heirloom tomato and wild arugula salad with honey-lime vinaigrette and candied pistachio

Tuscan lemon marinated lamb lollipops with sweet potato puree and black cherry cabernet reduction
Marinated grass fed rib eye with shaft blue cheese compound butter, grilled tomato and asparagus, twice baked potato and garlic rubbed crostini

Georgia on my mind: bourbon, peach ale, peach liquor and mint with lemon juice Spice and Ice: tequila, mango puree, lime juice, ginger-habanero syrup

As promised…

Tuscan Marinated Lamb Lollipops with Sweet Potato Puree and Blackberry Cabernet Reduction


 10-15 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
1⁄4 cup fresh thyme leaves
1 cup lemon juice or white wine vinegar
Coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 rack of lamb cut into 8 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick


In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, lemon or vinegar, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a puree. Pour the puree on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator, but preferably longer. Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes. Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

Sweet Potato Puree

3 pounds whole sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup cream
1 cup cream cheese
6 tablespoons butter


Boil sweet potatoes in salted water until fork tender and mushy, about 20 min. Puree with salt and pepper in a food processor. With motor running, gradually add milk and cream cheese through feeder tube, then butter. Process until silken. (Can make up to 2 days ahead; store in an airtight container.) Reheat and serve.

Blackberry Cabernet Reduction


2 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 teaspoons rosemary, chopped
2 teaspoons thyme, chopped, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
1 1/3 cups unsalted beef stock
1/2 cup blackberries
1/4 cup blackberry preserves
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Chop shallots, chives, rosemary, and thyme finely. Preheat medium saucepan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place 1 tablespoon oil, shallots, rosemary, and 1 teaspoon thyme in pan; cook 2–3 minutes or until shallots are soft, stirring constantly. Stir in Cabernet, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of pan; cook 3–5 minutes or until wine is reduced by half. Stir in stock, blackberries, and preserves; mash berries with back of a spoon. Simmer 8–10 minutes or until thickened. Cover and keep warm.

Assembly of Dish

Find a martini glass without a stem, so it’s more stable. Take 1⁄2 cup of sweet potato and put it in the bottom of the glass  Add 2 lamb lollipops to each martini glass. Drizzle lollipops with sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and chives; serve.


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Cactus Ice Cream Cones

It’s Friday Y’all! Its one more week till its officially summer in our house, and I’m pretty stoked about it! Our summer plans consist of a lot of swimming, camps, adventures in our new town, and lots and lots of eating ice cream! It will be H-O-T this summer where we are living, so frozen treats is the #1 priority. I’m constantly always on the hunt for new recipes for the blog and trying them out on my family and friends. Some are hits and some are misses. But definitely no complaints. Right now, the Guido taste testing kitchen is all about frozen treats on a daily basis. Of course, the kids don’t mind at all! I recently saw the cutest cactus ice cream cone idea on Pinterest, and just had to recreate it.

This is the cutest idea to go along with our cactus themed tablescape idea we shared with you last weekend. See it here.  I wanted to do an ice cream that wasn’t filled with a ton of ingredients and that I knew would be Dylan and Jett taste bud friendly. Just cause it has the word ice cream in it, doesn’t mean it will always be a winner for them. I have tried to pull a quick one on them and add some veggies in there… not as sneaky as I thought I was. Until, this recipe came along! What avocados? That’s just lime and coconut milk kids. Eat up!

Kid and Hubby approved!


Coconut Lime Ice Cream


1 can (13.66 ounce) of coconut milk
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
1 cup maple syrup, Grade A, or to your taste
½ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed (5 limes)
1 Tablespoon lime zest
¼ cup water


Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. For either appliance, scrape down the sides a couple of times for a smooth texture.

Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to your machine’s instructions. The ice cream is finished when you can scoop some out, and it stays on the spoon without sliding off right away (about 20 minutes). Serve immediately or freeze for a firmer texture.

For adult friendly veriosn: add 1-2 Tablespoons of vodka or tequila.

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Cactus Ice Cream Cone 


Ice Cream Cones
Coconut Lime Ice Cream (or any type of green ice cream, I used a mint ice cream in the picture that I was testing out)
White Jimmie Sprinkles
Ice Cream Scoop
Candy Melts
Ice Cream Cone Holder (optional)


1st, you will need to assemble when you are ready to serve cause its ice cream after all. Or you can assemble and then put back into the freezer until you are ready to lick away. Simple place one scoop on your cone. Then take your white sprinkles and place all around the ice cream like the thorns on the cactus’. You could also make a candy flower by melting pink and orange candy melts and then allow them to harden.



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By on June 2, 2017 in DESSERT, EATS, FOOD


Making Spring Buddha Bowls

I think we say this every year, but where does the time go?!? I swear Jacquelyn, and I were just scheming ideas for our spring to do list, and today we are checking off our last final spring item with our buddha bowls. But don’t fret, summer is among us, and this summer’s to-do list is a goody! Summer is my favorite season… I think most of you feel the same way. How could you not, it’s filled with sunshine, al fresco dinners, maybe a vacay or two, and most of all making fun memories with your little ones.

Cooking with this season’s freshest bounty is always a must. I love to make dinner on spring and summer nights and eat outside with my family. It is what puts the biggest smile on my face! The best nights are when I can get one or both kids to help me cook dinner. I have some of the best memories cooking with my family when I was younger, and I hope I can instill that into my two kids. It requires time, a lot of patience, and some extra clean-up, but well worth the effort. 

These bonding memories not only teach them about what it is in season, but also creates an opportunity to discuss the senses (taste, sight, smell, touch), boosts self-esteem, and encourages creativity which I love. All I can say is that I’m doing something right cause my kids eat more vegetables than my husband and myself combined. One of our favorite things to make is buddha bowls or hippie bowls. Also, these bowls allow each of us to put in our favorite ingredients. This is my take on a spring Buddha bowl. 

What the heck is a buddha bowl some of you might ask?

A buddha bowl or hippie bowl is a vegetarian bowl that is packed so full that it has a rounded “belly” appearance on the top much like the belly of a Buddha. While there are a lot of variations of these bowls, they usually incorporate a starch, vegetable protein, raw and cooked vegetables along with some fruit, nuts or seeds, and a dressing. It’s really up to you! And who wouldn’t love that? 

Abby’s Spring Buddha Bowl


Brown Rice
Asparagus (broiled or grilled)
Grilled Zucchini
Radishes (variety)
Purple potatoes (I roasted with salt + pepper and then mashed with a fork)
Chia seeds
Micro Greens (I like spicy arugula micro greens)
Heirloom cherry tomatoes (roasted)


Layer arugula on the bottom of your bowl. And I sometimes will toss the bottom layer of arugula with some dressing before putting in the bowl. Then layer with brown rice. Then simply pile together your ingredients next to each other. Lastly, drizzle the citrus vinaigrette, and serve immediately. So, there are no rules to Buddha bowls, it’s all about healthy options all in one place, cooked or not cooked. Totally up to you, which is fun especially for the kids. As a result, it gets them to eat their veggies. Or so we hope! 

Citrus Vinaigrette


Makes 1 1/2 cups

One small shallot, finely chopped
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
Three tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Two tablespoons fresh orange juice
¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine first six ingredients in a small jar; season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Finally, shake to blend and pour onto your bowls. 

Can be made up to 1 week ahead, and kept chilled.

Watch out for sneaky little hands!



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Citrus & Coconut Panna Cotta

We are feeling fruity here this week! Yesterday, you saw our challenge on wearing citrus colors, right? See it here if you missed out. Today, we are consuming our citrus, the best way we know how.. dessert! You might have seen this yummy citrus dessert make a cameo in our Easter brunch earlier this year. Chef Molly, from Organicopa, made these delicious little ladies, and I couldn’t get enough! Of course, I had to sneak a taste after and make sure it was perfect for you. Let me tell you; it is probably one of the best desserts that I have ever had. I’m not a huge dessert fan, so you know when I say it’s good… you need to try it! The fresh taste of the grapefruit joined with the homemade coconut cashew granola will just send you right to citrus heaven. This is one dessert that you can eat at any meal, and not feel bad about it. 

Photos by Erin Milnik

Recipe by Now, Forager

Citrus & Coconut Panna Cotta with Coconut Cashew Granola

Makes 6 Panna Cottas

Grapefruit Gelée

1/2  silver gelatin sheet 
2 1/2 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, about 1/2 large grapefruit
Two tsp sugar

Set six small glasses onto a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or other slip-resistant liner to prevent glasses from sliding. Set aside until ready to use.

Bloom the gelatin sheet in a bowl of very cold water (enough to completely submerge the gelatin, at least eight oz/227g). Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until gelatin is soft and flexible to the touch. Gently squeeze out water from gelatin right before adding it to a warm liquid. 

Meanwhile, in a small pot, bring the grapefruit juice and sugar to a simmer. Remove from heat and add softened gelatin. Whisk to combine until gelatin has dissolved into the warm liquid. Pour 1 Tbsp of mixture into each glass and then transfer baking sheet to the refrigerator. Chill grapefruit gelée until set, at least 1 hour. 

Coconut Panna Cotta

2 oz  unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
8 oz unsweetened coconut milk 
8 oz heavy cream
1 oz sugar
1/2  vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 1/2  silver gelatin sheets (160 bloom)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spread out shredded coconut onto a small baking sheet. Place into the oven to toast until deeply golden, about 10-13 minutes. Stir occasionally during baking to ensure even toasting. 

Meanwhile, combine coconut milk (be sure to thoroughly combine the thick coconut cream and milk), heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds with scraped pod in a medium sized saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add in toasted coconut. Cover with a lid and allow to steep for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bloom the gelatin sheets in a bowl of very cold water (enough to completely submerge the gelatin, at least 8 oz). Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until gelatin is soft and flexible to the touch. Gently squeeze out water from gelatin right before adding it to a warm liquid. 

Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain steeped coconut mixture into a clean saucepan. Place over medium heat and heat just until warm to the touch, about 1-2 minutes (not simmering and not hot). Remove from heat and whisk in softened gelatin until dissolved. Transfer warm coconut panna cotta to a container with a pourable spout for easier pouring, such as a large liquid measuring cup.

Remove grapefruit gelée glasses from the refrigerator and evenly distribute coconut panna cotta into each glass (about two oz/57g). Carefully, transfer filled glasses back to the fridge to chill until completely set, at least 2 hours. Once set, cover each glass with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Stored panna cottas will keep for up to four days.

Coconut Cashew Granola

2 oz old-fashioned rolled oats
1 oz unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 oz sliced almonds
1/2 oz unsalted pistachios
1/2 oz unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1 oz light brown sugar
1/2 oz all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp  sea salt or kosher salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 300F (150C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In a bowl, combine oats, cashews, almonds, pistachios, coconut flakes, brown sugar, flour, and salt. In a small pot, over medium heat, melt together butter and maple syrup. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

Spread out granola onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring lightly halfway through. Remove granola from oven and let cool completely before using. Store granola in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to three weeks.

Citrus & Coconut Panna Cotta with Coconut Cashew Granola Assembly

One fresh grapefruit supremed (segmented)
One fresh orange supremed (segmented)
Six chilled coconut panna cottas
Coconut Cashew Granola

To supreme (how-to video tutorial here), place the grapefruit on a clean cutting board. Using a sharp knife, trim off the bottom and top (you want to see the grapefruit flesh peeking out). Rest the grapefruit, cut side up. Next, carefully slice the rounded sides lengthwise by placing the knife blade between the peel and the flesh. Follow the contour of the grapefruit to guide you. Once all the skin has been removed, carefully cut off any white pith that remains (it’s very bitter). At this point, the whole flesh of the grapefruit should be exposed.

To cut a grapefruit segment, place the knife blade between one of the membranes and the flesh. Cut until you reach the center of the fruit. Repeat the slice on the other side of the segment. Slide out the finished segment using the knife blade. Repeat until all the segments have been cut. Repeat the process with the orange. Squeeze out the juice from the empty membranes into an airtight container. Store leftover fruit segments, in their juices, in the refrigerator for up to three days.  

Top each panna cotta with a handful of granola, two segments of grapefruit, and two segments of oranges. Sprinkle on any additional garnishes if desired, such as crunchy white chocolate pearls or chopped dried fruits.

Serve immediately and enjoy!







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By on May 16, 2017 in EATS, FOOD, RECIPES


Spring Asparagus, Artichoke, and Arugula Salad with Chive Vinaigrette

Hip! Hip! Hooray! It’s Fri-yay! Anyone else’s week need to be over? This weekend should be a goody! With Mother’s Day on Sunday and my birthday celebration tomorrow with a night away with the hubby at Cordavalle, our favorite hotel, I’m super excited! I haven’t done a salad in awhile on the blog, and I thought today would be a perfect day with Mother’s Day coming up! I’m sure most of you will have to prepare brunch, breakfast, and even dinner for those beautiful mamas. Keep on reading as we have you covered with this fresh spring bevy of vegetables. This salad is about my mama. She loves to make salads for every dinner. My dad and I have named her salads, “everything but the kitchen sink.” Anything she loves will go in these salads. None of it makes sense, but somehow it always tastes super yummy. I took a couple of spring vegetables like artichokes, asparagus, and peas that she loves to put in her salads to create this delicious spring salad recipe that just screamed Candy! That’s my mama’s name. Sounds kinda unusual but trust me with the sweet and tangy citrus along with the earthy vibes from the peas, artichokes, and arugula its a winner. 

Photos by Erin Milk

Spring Asparagus, Artichoke, and Arugula Salad with Chive Vinaigrette

Serving: 2-4


One small bunch of asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed, cut into pieces on the diagonal
1 cup  Jerusalem artichoke hearts, peeled and sliced
If you can’t find them, use fresh or frozen artichoke hearts
½ cup frozen or fresh petite peas
5 oz wild arugula
One ruby red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
One white grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
Fresh Chive Vinaigrette
1/4 cup minced chives
The zest of half a lemon
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Chive Vinaigrette
Combine all the ingredients in a small blender or food processor jar and blend until smooth and creamy.
Place the arugula leaves in a large serving bowl. Drizzle over half the dressing and toss until well combined. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. For the frozen artichokes, add and cook for 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and peas, and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Strain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking and set the color. Drain when completely cool and season with salt and pepper. If you are using Jerusalem artichokes, peel and slice. Because Jerusalem Artichokes discolor quickly, peel and slice them just before serving. Add the seasoned blanched vegetable and the rest of the dressing and gently toss to combine. Add sectioned grapefruit on top and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with some chopped chives and serve immediately. 

Happy Friday! 



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By on May 12, 2017 in EATS, FOOD, RECIPES, SALADS