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Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

July 24, 2014

Summer Sides for Entertaining

The following post is sponsored by Blue Diamond. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Summers are meant for entertaining, and today I have partnered up with Blue Diamond to share some of my favorite side dishes to whip up at home or even bring with me to a small get together.

From pastas and salads to decorated and dressed vegetables, if anyone were to ask me to bring a pot luck dish to a social event, it will most likely be one off of this list.

When hosting our own summer parties, we like to feature a variety of sides for all sorts of palates. I enjoy cooler dishes like salads, but wanted to throw in a few savory hot sides for the fancier affairs.

Scott and I made the two detailed recipes you see below last week and ended up having both veggie dishes for dinner. The addition of almonds packed some staying power and I fully plan on recreating them again!

Summer Sides for Entertaining (with Blue Diamond)

• Edamame & Cranberry Feta Salad

edamame and cranberry feta salad cover

This salad is somewhat of a remake of one I tried a few years ago from The Fresh Market back when we lived in Florida. A couple of the ingredients are my own additions and the combination of cranberries and feta is the best!

• Light & Healthy Vegetable Pasta Salad

light and healthy vegetable pasta salad Housewife Glamour

I put this vegetable pasta salad together as a pot luck dish and lived off of the leftovers for days. It’s one of my favorite HWG recipes to date!

• Roasted Asparagus & Tomatoes with Almonds

This is a recipe remake coming straight from the Blue Diamond website.

Roasted Asparagus with Tomatoes and Parmesan.jpg

(I added a few additional ingredients to make it my own.)


1 medium tomato or 3/4 cup halved grape tomatoes

3/4 pound asparagus

1 Tbsp. lite mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. vinaigrette

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. sliced Blue Diamond Rosemary & Black Pepper almonds


1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. If using a medium tomato, seed it and cut it into cubes.

3. Trim asparagus and slice into 1/2-inch pieces.

4. Combine tomato and asparagus in medium-sized baking dish.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinaigrette, lemon juice, brown sugar, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

6. Toss this dressing with the asparagus and tomato. Sprinkle Parmesan and almonds on top, and roast 25 to 30 minutes, until asparagus is tender-crisp.

• Honey & Mint Fruit Salad

Honey Mint Fruit Salad

This one is a throwback all the way from 2012. Scott gave me the idea to add mint and honey to my fruit salad and my family still raves about the time I brought it to Easter Dinner. Such an oldie but goodie!

• Spinach & Pear Salad with Blue Cheese

spring pear and spinach salad

Speaking of Easter, this is the salad I threw together and brought to a friend’s house this past year. I love the addition of fruit on my salads, but wasn’t fully sure about the blue cheese. In the end everything turned out to be a winning combo!

• Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon and Toasted Almonds

This is a recipe remake coming straight from Martha Stewart Living.

Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon and Toasted Almonds.jpg


1/2 cup Blue Diamond Whole Natural almonds, (2.5 ounces)

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 lb. fresh sugar snap peas, ends trimmed

3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper


1. Toast almonds. (See my tutorial for tips!)

2. Chop almonds. (I went straight to chopping them finely, but Martha suggests a fancier approach.)

3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add peas, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir until all ingredients are well combined and heated through, about 2 minutes.

4. Sprinkle with almonds, and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Summer Fiesta Bean Salad


I featured this recipe earlier this week and cannot stop thinking about it. The idea of it came from a sample while grocery shopping at Kroger, and I think I did a pretty great job replicating it. Instead of using a vinaigrette type of dressing, I stuck to fresh citrus and oils. This dish will definitely be a staple from here on out!

Quinoa Summer Salad with Mint & Almonds

Summer Quinoa Salad

Another oldie but goodie using mint is this quinoa salad I created two years ago. I wanted to add some substance with the chick peas and used dried blueberries as a unique addition. This side would also taste great using dried cranberries.



Question of the Day

What is one of your favorite sides to prepare for entertaining?

Feel free to share and link up below!

July 21, 2014

Summer Fiesta Bean Salad

I have been sharing so many sneak peeks of this dish over the past couple of days that it would be rude not to share the details with you today.

So, here I am here deliver my new favorite recipe of the summer!

Summer Fiesta Bean Salad Cover

So easy, so bright, and perfect to enjoy at home or take to a party!

Edamame Summer Salad

I originally got the idea for this salad from Kroger. They had samples of their edamame salad out with very similar ingredients on my last trip to the grocery store, and I was instantly drawn over as soon as I saw the colors.

It tasted delicious and refreshing, so I quickly gathered the ingredients into my cart and was on a mission to recreate it at home.

I wanted to use citrus and oils for dressing and followed this one from Tastefully Julie pretty closely. I chose to leave out the garlic, but feel free to add it to your dressing if you’re a fan!


1/4 cup lime juice

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1/2 tsp. agave nectar

1/2 cup yellow peppers, diced

1/2 cup red peppers, diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained

1 (8 oz.) bag edamame

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


1. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, oils, and agave nectar or sugar. Whisk together and set aside.

2. Cook edamame according to instructions on the bag, then cool. Drain the beans and prep the veggies.

3. In a medium or large bowl, combine edamame, beans, peppers, onion, and cilantro.

4. Pour dressing over the salad and gently toss. Refrigerate for at least an hour for best flavor.

Ingredients for fiesta bean salad

The entire recipe only took about twenty minutes to whip up, and the hardest part was squeezing as much as I could out of the limes for the dressing.

Dressing for summer salad

It could easily be thrown together at the last minute if you’re in need of something fresh and flavorful!

Beans with cilantro

With all of the colors, it’s almost like there’s a fiesta going on over here…

Summer salad for entertaining

… a summer party of bean salad in a bowl, if you will.

Edamame bean summer salad

I couldn’t get enough of this one and might have eaten a serving or two of it at every meal until it was gone. Man, was that a sad day.

There will be a few more recipes up on the blog as the week goes on, but I would definitely consider this one to be the superstar of them all.

Summer Bean Salad


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I am not a registered dietician, nutritionist, or certified fitness professional. The workouts I post are what work best for me, but might not be the right type of exercises for you.

I do NOT post everything I eat. All content I post on this blog stems from my personal experience and knowledge, and I recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet or fitness routine.

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