22 Summery Salads That Will Actually Fill You Up

22-Summery-Salads-feature-via@poorandpretty

It’s getting warmer, so my cooking is getting lazier. There’s just no sense standing over a hot stove for 30-60 minutes when it’s 80 degrees outside! Stan and I love salads, but if we’re having them as our main course for dinner, they’ve got to be filling. So I hunted around the Interwebs and found 22 of the most delicious filling summery salads out there. I can’t wait to start buying locally-grown fruits & veggies to put in them!

1. Salad Sicilia via Delicious Days. In the mix: Radicchio, chicory, arugula, fennel, apple, radishes, carrots, oranges, almonds, and pistachios.

2. Kale Salad with Avocado Tahini Sauce via Love & Lemons. In the mix: kale, tahini, avocado, brussels sprouts, radishes, carrots, white bans, almonds, basil.

3. Seven-Layer Avocado Salad in a Mason Jar via California Avocado. Mason jar salads – what a cool idea! In the mix: avocados, cucumbers, red cabbage, edamame, bell peppers, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and basil.

4. Honey Walnut Power Salad via Pinch of Yum. In the mix: walnuts, baby spinach, onion, red grapes, edamame, bulgur, honey, bleu cheese.

5. Grilled Peach, Chicken & Arugula Salad via BS in the Kitchen. In the mix: chicken, peaches, arugula, prosciutto, goat cheese, walnuts.

Keep Reading 22 Summery Salads That Will Actually Fill You Up »

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Recipe: Chocolate & Caramel Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate Caramel Dipped Strawberries feat

Chocolate Caramel Dipped Strawberries via @poorandpretty

We’re getting into the homestretch of Valentine’s Day, so I’m breaking out a classic with a bit of a twist. Not only are these strawberries covered in chocolate, I also added caramel and sea salt into the equation. Oh yeah; they’re incredible. And easy to make even if you don’t have a double boiler or fondue-maker (I have neither).

Chocolate Caramel Covered Strawberries Ingredients via @poorandpretty

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1lb of strawberries
  • 1 cup of chopped melting chocolate or chocolate chips — I used half Godiva melting chips and half mini chocolate chips.
  • ¼ cup caramel sauce – I bought mine from Hillhome Country Products at a local event.
  • course sea salt
  • small pot and heat-safe glass (I use a Pyrex measuring cup) or double boiler or fondue maker
  • large dish or baking sheet
  • wax paper

Strawberries Drying via @poorandpretty

1. Wash strawberries, then lay them out on a few paper towels to dry for a few minutes. Chocolate doesn’t stick very well to wet strawberries.

DIY Double Boiler via @poorandpretty

2. Fill a small pot with about an inch and a half of water, then insert your heat-safe glass, making sure not to get any water inside the glass. This will serve as your DIY double-boiler. Place this on a burner and turn it to medium-low heat.

Melting Chocolate via @poorandpretty

3. Add your chocolate to the glass and stir it occasionally as it melts.

4. To make caramel and chocolate dipped strawberries, you’ll want to dip them in your caramel sauce first (it may need to be microwaved), then sprinkle them with your course sea salt (optional but oh-so-good), then freeze them for 20-30 minutes before dipping them in chocolate. If you go from caramel sauce right to chocolate, it gets a little messy.

Dipping Strawberries in Chocolate via @poorandpretty

5. Once the chocolate is completely melted (check that there are no lumps), go ahead and dip in a strawberry! I just used my hand here, but after a while, I found that the strawberries would get too heavy once they were dipped, so I started sticking them on a fork before I dipped them.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry on Wax Paper via @poorandpretty

6. Place your dipped strawberries on a baking sheet or large dish covered with wax paper to let harden. Optional: drizzle with caramel sauce.

Chocolate Caramel Dipped Strawberries closeup via @poorandpretty

7. Enjoy immediately or stick them in the fridge or freezer for a few days.

Chocolate Caramel Dipped Strawberries 2 via @poorandpretty

… Ours didn’t last very long. ;)

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DIY Beauty: All-natural bright & fresh strawberry face mask

Strawberry & Honey Mask - finished - poorandpretty

DIY Strawberry Honey Mask poorandpretty

How about starting off the new year with a bright & fresh face? This is yet another easy mask, made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Let’s get to it!

Strawberry & Honey Mask ingredients 1 poorandpretty

Bright & Fresh Strawberry Honey Face Mask. This should make 4-5 applications, which you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.

Ingredients:

  • 4 strawberries — rich in vitamins A & C, contain salicylic acid, which rids the skin of dead cells and heals & dries acne
  • 1 tbs unsweetend coconut milk — high in antioxidants, removes dirt build-up, replaces moisture in dehydrated skin
    • I highly recommend using coconut milk (you can use the rest to make these coconut cupcakes!), but you can use soy or regular milk as substitutes if you need to.
  • ½ tbs honey — antibacterial, great humectant (it rehydrates skin by drawing on moisture from the air)

Strawberry & Honey Mask - cut strawberry leaves - poorandpretty

Step One: Cut off the strawberry leaves. But don’t throw them away! You can boil the leaves and use the water as an astringent after you rinse off your mask.

Strawberry & Honey Mask - mash up strawberries 2 - poorandpretty

Step Two: Mash up the strawberries in a blender, food processor, or with a fork if you need to get some aggression out ;)

Strawberry & Honey Mask - finished - poorandpretty

Step Three: Add in the coconut milk and honey, and mix well.

Step Four: Apply to your face with your fingertips, carefully avoiding your eyes. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, until dry. Enjoy the Fruit Rollup scent.

Step Five: Rinse thoroughly, massaging the strawberry mixture over your skin gently as you rinse. This gives your face a little extra exfoliation.

Follow up with an astringent and your favorite moisturizer. Enjoy your deliciously-scented, super smooth skin!

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Recipe: Berry Blue Velvet JELL-O Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Berry Blue Velvet Jell-O Cupcakes - Poor and Pretty

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you might have seen the red, white, and “blue” cupcakes I made for Independence Day last week. They were a huge hit at my family party. Even my brother-in-law (who normally steers clear of sweets) was chowing them down.

Berry Blue Velvet Jell-O Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting – makes approximately 30 regular cupcakes or 120 mini cupcakes.

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 3-oz box Berry Blue JELL-O
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup corn starch (helps make the cupcakes super moist!)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter (I use salted, but you can use unsalted if you’d like)
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar (I use natural cane sugar)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup milk mixed with 2 tsp lemon juice (or use ½ cup buttermilk)
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp blue food coloring (I couldn’t find regular blue, so I used neon blue, which is why I think they came out turquoise. In an attempt to make it more blue, I used 3 tsp of food coloring, which was way too much).

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ stick of butter, softened
  • 2 tbs sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ – 3 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar – start with 1 ½ cups, and add more as you need.
  • 8-10 fresh strawberries

Berry Blue Velvet Jell-O Cupcakes - cake - Poor and Pretty

Cupcake Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F and line your cupcake trays with paper liners.
  2. Mix flour, Jell-O packet (dry), cocoa powder, corn starch, baking soda, salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. On medium speed, beat together sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer or KitchenAid. Do this for about five minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Beat eggs into the sugar/butter mixture one at a time.
  5. Mix the rest of your wet ingredients (sour cream, milk, food coloring, and vanilla) into your batter until just blended.
  6. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended.
  7. Spoon batter into paper liners until they are about 2/3 of the way full. Pro tip: pour the batter into a gallon freezer plastic bag, then carefully cut a tiny piece of one of the corners off, and use this to portion your cupcake batter. Kind of like using a pastry bag. Suzi taught me this handy trick – it saves tons of time and is less messy!
  8. Bake mini cupcakes for 11-13 minutes or regular-sized cupcakes for 18-22 minutes. Always check if they are cooked by inserting a toothpick or fork into the middle of a cupcake. If it comes out clean, they’re ready!

Berry Blue Velvet Jell-O Cupcakes - minis with strawberries - Poor and Pretty

Frosting Directions:

  1. While your cupcakes are cooking, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat again.
  2. Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar on low speed until the frosting is smooth. You may need to add more sugar to thicken the frosting.
  3. Wash the strawberries and cut into little triangle pieces.
  4. Use the plastic bag method to frost your cupcakes, and garnish with a strawberry triangle.

Enjoy!! :)

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Strawberry is Berry Good For You.

Okay, I know. Suuuper lame heading, but it’s true, strawberries have so many health benefits, including cosmetic ones. Strawberries contain salicylic acid, which reduces fevers, helps get rid of stomach aches, and, oh yeah, gets rid of acne! If you look at the ingredients in your face wash, you may see salicylic acid listed as an ingredient. It works by shedding dead skin cells, opening up your pores, and preventing your pores from being clogged. Strawberries also contain malic acid, which whitens teeth, which is why Tom’s of Maine, a natural personal care company, puts strawberries into some of their toothpastes.

So, how can you reap strawberry’s health benefits? Easy! Here are a few quick ways:

  • Eat them! Just by eating strawberries, your teeth will naturally whiten. Of course, you have to make sure you brush your teeth, too, because strawberries still contain sugar.
  • Wash a strawberry, cut it open,  and rub it all over your face in the morning, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse off. This will open your pores, give your face a nice wake-up call, and make your face smell sweet and fruity.
  • Crush up strawberries into your favorite shampoo, face wash, or body wash to exfoliate skin all over your body, and get rid of dandruff naturally.

Over the weekend, my “twin” Sani and I experimented with the natural benefits of strawberries by making a super-simple mask that I discovered in the book Eco Beauty by Lauren & Janice Cox, an excellent book for beginners in the diy beauty department {like me!}.

“Fresh Strawberry Mask” by Lauren & Janice Cox:

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons honey

What you do:

1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender {the recipe doesn’t say to cut off the leafy green part of the strawberry, but Sani & I decided to} and blend on high speed until smooth.

2. Pull your hair back and put on a shower cap {or, if you only have one if you’re nice enough to give it to your friend, wear a fuzzy hat instead!}

3. After cleansing with your usual face wash, spread 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture all over your face & neck {yes, we realize we look very silly and like we have lots of acne — I promise those are just the strawberry seeds!}

leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse!

Your skin may feel a little tight afterwards {we know ours did}, so we used a very light, oil-free, face cream after our skin was dry.

I realize that strawberries are not currently in season over here in CT, but making a strawberry mask is still much less expensive than going to a spa or buying a mask, especially since you probably already have the other ingredients.

Here are a few links to learn more about the health & cosmetic benefits of strawberries:

Planet Green: Whiten Teeth with Strawberries

eHow: How to Brighten Dull Skin & Clear Up Blemishes with Strawberries

Spa Index: Strawberry Hand and Foot Exfoliant

Hub Pages: the Amazing Health Benefits of Strawberry

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