Greek pasta saladLast Sunday Erik, Juliet and I had a picnic at a park near our house that’s on a small lake. I had this vision in my head of a picturesque afternoon, however, when we arrived at the park we realized it was a bit cooler than we thought and super windy. Needless to say our time was cut short, but we still managed to enjoy it. Juliet squeezed every last minute she could playing at the park. Parks are by far her top favorite things. In fact, we went to two parks on Sunday. And every day I drop her off at daycare she asks the provider, “Sarah, can we go to the park today?”

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Top 2013 recipes2013 was an interesting year on the blog. While there were many great recipes, the real parties element of the blog was really slow. That was mostly my fault. I had to prioritize cooking/baking for my family which meant less time for creating posts around the great party submissions I received. I really hope to bring that back in 2014, along with some other exciting things.

Like a blog redesign!

I’m very excited to get this blog a face lift (it soooo needs one, right?!). The current navigation is terrible. And the commenting systems is not user-friendly and downright frustrating. The redesign will be more than a face lift. It will be a totally new look with new branding and even a new platform (bye bye Blogger, hello WordPress). I’ll be working with the talented ladies at Wooden Spoons Kitchen and will hopefully have everything ready to share in the next few months.

In April, Eat Drink Pretty turns 5. Wow. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 5 years. Sometimes I think I’m crazy. Blogging isn’t easy. This year has been really tough to find the time to blog with a toddler, a busy job, etc. And I know it showed. My posting frequency waned a lot. I was uninspired some of the time. But recently I’ve been re-energized and hope that 2014 brings a lot of great things around the blog.

I wanted to say thank you for being here in 2013. I truly appreciate your visits, comments and emails. Thank you especially to those of you that have been around since the beginning and have stuck with me.

2013 brought a lot of great recipes around the blog and some are these are favorites in my household. Without further ado, here are the top recipes from Eat Drink Pretty in 2013.

Chickpea Greek pita
Herbed blue cheese quiche
Quinoa caprese
Quinoa mac and cheese
Kale, strawberry and avocado salad
Melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin cookies
Vinegar broiled potatoes with sour cream dipping sauce
Roasted cauliflower

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a recipe round-up of the top toddler recipes from 2013. If you are interested in making your toddler’s favorite homemade be sure to stop back.

If you have any requests for things you’d like to see more of (or less of?) on the blog in 2014 please comment and share, thank you!

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Amid a flurry of pumpkin milk shakes, pumpkin scones and other yummy fall eats I am the first to admit that roasted cauliflower seems a bit boring in comparison. However, I literally told Erik as I was eating this for lunch the other day that it was as good as french fries. And if you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while you know I’m not fooling around with a statement like that.

Roasted cauliflower is freaking delicious. I don’t know why I don’t make it more often. From now on I will be.

Roasted cauliflower

Ingredients

One head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
Salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and onion powder and toss to coat everything evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to turn slightly brown on top.

Did I mention I am back on Weight Watchers after two glorious years of not being on it? Please send fruit and other point free food items to help me to get through this. It’s only been a week and a half and it has been going alright. Having a new Blendtec blender (amazing, I will have a full review on it within the next couple weeks) has helped as I’ve been drinking a lot of smoothies. I’ve also been filling up on lots of fruits and veggies (like this cauliflower) and making healthy meals. We’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck.

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This simple cucumber salad is a summer staple in our household. It is one of my husband’s favorite salads, one that he grew up eating in North Dakota.

Erik’s mom and grandmother always had fresh cucumbers from the garden, add in a bit of cream (of course cream, this is a North Dakota recipe, after all), vinegar, dill and there you have it.

A delicious, creamy, crunchy cucumber salad.

I make this often for family BBQs and gatherings and everyone always loves it. I just made it this weekend for a lunch with friends and my girlfriend said it was the best cucumber salad she’s ever had.

It’s really easy, and really that good.

Cucumber salad

Ingredients

4-5 small to medium sized cucumbers (fresh from the garden or your local farmers’ market are best), peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

Add all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and stir to combine. Serve immediately. Lasts a couple days stored in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Note, the combination of ingredients in this recipe are very much to each person’s taste. Make it as I recommend above, but alter based on if you want the salad to be more vinegary or if it needs more salt, etc. Erik’s mom adds water to thin it out a bit, but I prefer to keep it a bit creamier. Also, I typically am not a fan of using white vinegar in cooking, but it works in this salad. I’m sure you could substitute red or white wine vinegar, but I haven’t tried it.

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My family is a bunch of suckers for vinegar chips. Well, chips in general, but also vinegar chips. So when I saw a recipe for vinegar broiled potatoes on Pinterest I knew I needed to give them a try for our next family gathering. 

I am a big fan of anything and everything potato-related so I’m willing to give most potato recipes a try.

A couple important notes about this recipe:

The original recipe calls for fingerling potatoes. The grocery store didn’t have any that day so I opted for red potatoes. These worked just fine, but fingerlings have a little different flavor and would probably be really good, if not better, in this recipe.

Be prepared for your house to smell strongly like vinegar as you boil these. The smell didn’t linger, thankfully…though I sort of like the smell of tangy vinegar so it probably would have been fine it it had.

Don’t give the potatoes a taste right when come out of their vinegar boil. Just. Don’t.

Dry the potatoes off extremely well after you drain them from their vinegar bath. This will help them get nice and crunchy on the outside when you broil them. I didn’t pat them dry enough and as a result they were a bit soggy.

The original recipe says you can use regular white vinegar or malt vinegar. I recently went to a cooking class and the chef said never to use white vinegar unless you’re cleaning your coffee pot. There are many other vinegars that are much better to use for cooking. That’s why I opted for malt vinegar.

And lastly, the original recipe didn’t include a sour cream dipping sauce and I like to dip things. Especially potatoes. The sour cream is awesome and helps to cut the super tangy, vinegar taste. 

Vinegar broiled red potatoes (recipe adapted via Umani Girl)

Ingredients
1 pound red potatoes, sliced into rounds, 1/4 inch thickness
2 cups malt vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher Salt
Pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
Couple dashes of hot sauce
Preparation 
1. In a small pot, combine the potato slices and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Let cool in liquid for 30 minutes. Drain well and pat potatoes dry with paper towels.
2. Preheat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches below the heat source. Dump the potato slices onto a sheet pan, sprinkle very generously with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange the potato slices in a single layer. Broil until lightly browned on top, about 7 minutes. Then flip the slices and broil until the underside is lightly browned, about 5 minutes more. 

3. Combine the sour cream and hot sauce in a bowl and stir. Serve with warm potatoes. 
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{Photo credits: Martha Stewart}

I was feeling a bit uninspired this evening so I texted my sister and asked for blog post ideas. She just started Weight Watchers back up again after a bit of a hiatus over the holidays and her response was “how about a healthy recipe round-up”?

It was a great idea so here you go. Six delicious kale recipes to get you on the right track for the New Year.

Kale and white bean soup
Whole wheat pasta with kale and fontina
Cannellini and kale soup
Sausage and kale soup 
Crostini with kale and parmesan 
Kale with tomato, garlic and thyme

I am obviously NOT on a diet because I’m pregnant. Actually, this is the first time in about 10 years that I haven’t been on a diet for the New Year. Guess how much I love being pregnant right now? A lot.

No dieting.
No worrying about counting points.
No feeling guilty for eating chocolate muffins for breakfast or grabbing handfuls of Skittles for a snack.

Ok so I know I should still be eating healthy, and I am, for the most part. But man…I DO NOT miss the D-word at all. 

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