Life As A Strawberry http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com Let's Talk About Food. Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:14:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Easy Sweet Potato Biscuits http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/easy-sweet-potato-biscuits/ http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/easy-sweet-potato-biscuits/#comments Thu, 07 Dec 2017 21:27:31 +0000 http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/?p=11148 These easy sweet potato biscuits are perfect for your fall and winter breakfasts! Easy enough for a quick breakfast, but elegant enough for a nice brunch with friends. In a hurry? Click here to jump straight to the recipe! In a very not-at-all-surprising turn of events, I made you some more biscuits. If you’ve been #TeamStrawberry for awhile, you might remember my *SLIGHT* biscuit obsession:

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These easy sweet potato biscuits are perfect for your fall and winter breakfasts! Easy enough for a quick breakfast, but elegant enough for a nice brunch with friends.

In a hurry? Click here to jump straight to the recipe!

Overhead photo of sweet potato biscuits placed side to side on a baking sheet.

In a very not-at-all-surprising turn of events, I made you some more biscuits.

If you’ve been #TeamStrawberry for awhile, you might remember my *SLIGHT* biscuit obsession:

Overhead photo of diced raw sweet potato on a baking sheet with a light blue background.

I believe the kids these days would refer to this as a “can’t stop, won’t stop” situation.

Overhead photo of raw biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

But these flaky, buttery layers! Come onnnnnnnn. They’re just too good.

Side photo of sweet potato biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking sheet with a window in the background.

This is another riff on my favorite tried-and-true biscuit recipe. We’re working with a quick roasted sweet potato (although you can use canned sweet potato puree too!) that you blend up with some milk and maple syrup (*happy dance*) and fold into your biscuits along with a bit of cinnamon.

overhead photo of part of a baking sheet with some sweet potato biscuits on the baking sheet and some biscuits on the light grey table next to the pan.

These sweet potato biscuits are wonderfully subtle – you taste just the slightest hint of sweet potato + maple + cinnamon here – and ready in just an hour (even when you roast your own sweet potato!)

You DO have to keep an eye on your biscuit dough, since you might need more or less flour depending on the exact weight of the sweet potato you use, but it’s ultimately a pretty forgiving recipe.

side photo of three sweet potato biscuits stacked on top of each other, sitting on a black plate next to a wooden honey dipper with a light grey background.

You could eeeeeeven add some chopped fresh sage to the batter or brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter before you bake them for some extra pizzazz. If you’re into that kinda thing.

Overhead photo of sweet potato biscuits on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Half of the baking sheet is visible.

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Easy Sweet Potato Biscuits

Side photograph of sweet potato biscuit on a baking sheet surrounded by other biscuits.

Easy sweet potato biscuits perfect for fall and winter breakfasts.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes 10-12 biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato (about 1 lb.), peeled and roughly chopped into approximately 1 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (measured correctly by scooping and leveling – see recipe notes)
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamoon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) COLD unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spread roughly chopped sweet potato in a single layer on a baking sheet (line the pan with parchment or a nonstick baking mat if you’re worried about it sticking) and bake for 15-20 minutes until pieces are easily pierced with a fork.
  3. Remove sweet potato from oven and let cool COMPLETELY.
  4. Turn oven heat up to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  5. Add cooled sweet potato, milk, and maple syrup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  7. Add cold cubed butter to flour mixture and cut it into the mix with your hands or a biscuit cutter until the mixture is coarse and resembles cornmeal. (If you’re unfamiliar with this process, you basically just quickly rub the butter into the flour with your hands until the mixture is coarse and the butter has been broken up into small pieces).
  8. Add sweet potato mixture to flour and stir until everything is just combined. The dough shouldn’t be completely smooth – we want to keep lots of butter pieces in there so the biscuits will be nice and flaky. See recipe notes for tips on making sure your dough is the right consistency.
  9. Turn biscuit dough out onto a floured surface.
  10. Roll or pat dough to about 2/3″ thickness. I like to gently fold my dough over on itself several times, so I have lots of butter layers working for maximum flakiness.
  11. Cut biscuit rounds out of the flattened dough with a 2″ biscuit cutter.
  12. Place biscuit rounds an inch apart on your parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Serve immediately with butter and honey.

Notes

NOTE: The exact amount of flour and liquid you need here will vary depending on your sweet potato – weight and water content can vary between sweet potatoes and fresh vs. canned varieties! When you mix your sweet potato mixture into the flour, take stock of how the dough looks – if it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour. If you still have quite a bit of flour that hasn’t mixed into the dough, add an extra splash of milk. Remember, you don’t want a completely smooth dough here – it should still look a bit rough and shaggy. You just want it sticky enough so that it sticks together as you pat it into shape for cutting! Keep in mind that the dough will also come together more as you pat it into shape. This can take a bit of practice, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect the first time. There’s also a video of my technique here that might be helpful.

Use canned sweet potato puree if you don’t have time to roast your own sweet potato. You could also bake the sweet potato whole and then scoop out and mash the potato with a fork. You want about 2/3 of a cup of sweet potato puree in total.

Roast the sweet potato and make the puree ahead of time, and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it!

It’s important to let the sweet potato cool COMPLETELY before adding it to the biscuits – if it’s warm, it will start melting the cold butter pieces and your biscuits won’t be as light and flaky.

Bake biscuits on a rack in the very center of your oven for best results.

These are amaaaaazing with some maple butter or honey butter – just mix room temperature butter together with a few teaspoons of honey or pure maple syrup for a fun twist.

Use milk in place of maple syrup if you don’t have any on hand. You could also use buttermilk if you like.

Add some chopped sage or rosemary to the biscuit dough for an extra boost of fall flavor.

If you like, you can brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter just before baking for some extra flavor.

side photo of sweet potato biscuits with overlay text in yellow

overhead photo of sweet potato biscuits on a baking sheet with text overlay

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These easy sweet potato biscuits are perfect for your fall and winter breakfasts! Easy enough for a quick breakfast, but elegant enough for a nice brunch with friends. Roast your own sweet potato or use canned sweet potato puree for a simple shortcut. With a dash of maple syrup and a hint of cinnamon, this will be your new favorite sweet potato biscuit recipe!

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Gingersnaps http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/gingersnaps/ http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/gingersnaps/#comments Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:00:53 +0000 http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/?p=824 My favorite gingersnaps recipe! Soft, chewy gingersnap cookies with the perfect amount of spice. Vegetarian. This post contains affiliate links: if you buy something I’ll earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting Life As A Strawberry! In a hurry? Click here to jump straight to the recipe! COOKIES! Are they the best, or are they the BEST?! I really don’t

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My favorite gingersnaps recipe! Soft, chewy gingersnap cookies with the perfect amount of spice. Vegetarian.

This post contains affiliate links: if you buy something I’ll earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting Life As A Strawberry!

In a hurry? Click here to jump straight to the recipe!

Close up side photograph of gingersnap cookies grouped close together on a cooling rack.

COOKIES! Are they the best, or are they the BEST?!

Overhead photo of gingersnap cookie dough rolled into balls.

I really don’t share many dessert recipes on Life As A Strawberry. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you might remember that I don’t have all that much of a sweet tooth (Pasta and bread, however? GIMME IT) so when a sweet recipe DOES show up here, it’s kiiiiiiiind of a big deal.

I’ve been making this gingersnap recipe every holiday season for…a decade? Maybe more? WAIT, NOW I FEEL OLD.

This is actually a throwback to one of the veeeeeeeeery first recipes I ever posted on this website, back in December of 2012 (which feels like approximately one bajillion years ago, blergh). So I thought it was time to update the old old old photos from before I kinda-sorta knew what I was doing (*shudder*) with some nice, shiny, new ones.

Overhead photo of small gingersnap cookies with a wire cooling rack in the lower left hand corner.

Chocolate Cookies topped with peppermintThis recipe isn’t exactly, y’know, REVOLUTIONARY. In fact, it’s probably pretty similar to plenty of other gingersnaps out there on the interwebs.

But everybody needs a good back-pocket gingersnap recipe, and since gingersnaps are OBJECTIVELY one of the very very best Christmas cookies, here’s my favorite version.

It’s VERY forgiving, which means that you can play a bit until you find the perfect balance for your taste buds. I’ll throw a zillion notes into the recipe for you if you’d like to experiment, but short version: You can amp up the molasses or tone down the flour for chewier, flatter cookies; you can be a super-duper-cookie-rebel and roll them in turbinado sugar instead of regular baking sugar for a nice lil’ crunch; you could eeeeeven drizzle some melted white chocolate all over these babies once they’re cooled.

If you’re into that kinda thing.

ALSO! This cookie dough freezes really well. The baked cookies do okay in the freezer, too, but I find it’s much more satisfying to pull out the raw dough when you’re ready for it and have the whole fresh-baked-cookie experience.

Happy baking, friends!

overhead photo of gingersnaps grouped close together on a cooling rack

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Gingersnaps

Side photo of gingersnap cookies grouped close together on a wire cooling rack.

Gingersnaps are the ultimate christmas cookies!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 40 small cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (measured correctly by scooping and leveling)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar or raw turbinado sugar, in a separate bowl, for rolling cookies in before you bake

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar.
  3. Add molasses and egg to mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and a pinch of salt to mixture and stir to combine. The dough is ready when all ingredients are well mixed and it holds together.
  5. Use a cookie scoop to scoop dough out of the mixing bowl in even measurements. Roll each scoop of dough into a ball with your hands (see recipe notes for some tips on this).
  6. Drop each ball of dough into your separate bowl of sugar and roll it around until the sugar covers the ball’s surface. Repeat until all dough has been rolled and dipped in sugar.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. Place sugared dough balls on cookie sheet, leaving 1-2 inches between each piece (cookies will spread out a bit as they bake). You will likely need to use two cookie sheets or to bake in batches.
  8. Bake cookies at 375 degrees F for 8-12 minutes until the tops are lightly cracked.
  9. Remove cookies to a wire cooling rack. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container on the counter for 4-5 days.

Notes

I use a 1-2″ cookie scoop to measure my gingersnap dough, which results in cookies between 2-3″ in diameter. For a larger scoop, you may need to extend the cooking time (see below).

If the dough is sticking to your hands as you roll it into balls, splash some water over your fingers to help the dough not stick so much.

If you want, you can skip the sugar-dipping step and freeze the rolled dough – just defrost and roll the dough balls in sugar whenever you’re ready to bake them!

Bake time will vary by the size of your gingersnaps and your personal preferences between chewy and crispy cookies (I love chewy gingersnaps!) For smaller cookies (with a 1″ cookie scoop) 8 minutes is usually plenty of time. For larger cookies, you may need 10-12 minutes. For chewier cookies, use a slightly shorter bake time. For crispier cookies, use a slightly longer bake time. I recommend baking 1 or 2 cookies as a “test batch” to get your timing right (ovens can vary so it’s always good to test!) before diving in with the rest of your baking.

These cookies don’t spread out a whole lot while baking, so they can be a bit puffy. If you’d like a flatter cookie, simply press each ball of dough down lightly with your fingertips when you place the dough on the cookie sheet before baking.

This is a pretty forgiving recipe – feel free to adjust the amount of spices or add a splash more molasses to suit your personal tastes. As always, please be careful when adapting a recipe as significant changes don’t always taste great.

 

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Gingersnaps are the ultimate christmas cookies! Easy and fun to make with plenty of molasses, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Roll them in regular sugar or use raw turbinado sugar for a fun and festive crunch! Your new favorite gingersnap cookie recipe for chewy, soft ginger snaps!

Gingersnaps are the ultimate christmas cookies! Easy and fun to make with plenty of molasses, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Roll them in regular sugar or use raw turbinado sugar for a fun and festive crunch! Your new favorite gingersnap cookie recipe for chewy, soft ginger snaps!

Gingersnaps are the ultimate christmas cookies! Easy and fun to make with plenty of molasses, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Roll them in regular sugar or use raw turbinado sugar for a fun and festive crunch! Your new favorite gingersnap cookie recipe for chewy, soft ginger snaps!

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2017 Holiday Gift Guides http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/2017-holiday-gift-guides/ http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/2017-holiday-gift-guides/#respond Tue, 28 Nov 2017 18:30:24 +0000 http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/?p=11088 This post contains affiliate links: if you buy something I’ll earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting Life As A Strawberry! The 2017 Gift Guide is here! This is one of my favorite posts of the whole year, because we get to talk about alllllll the fun gadgets and cookbooks and gifts. Also, a note: Brands can’t pay me to be

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This post contains affiliate links: if you buy something I’ll earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting Life As A Strawberry!

2017 holiday gift guide for cookbooks, foodies, environmentalists, and more

The 2017 Gift Guide is here!

This is one of my favorite posts of the whole year, because we get to talk about alllllll the fun gadgets and cookbooks and gifts.

Also, a note: Brands can’t pay me to be included on this list. This is all stuff that I have, use, and love (unless otherwise noted – I have a few wish list items on here myself!)

There are also no style suggestions, because I am not stylish. (Stick with what you know, right?)

I’m not even going to blab at you too much here, because we have GIFTING to do! We have FIVE gift guides this year (holy smokes!) to help you hit everyone on your list.

Know exactly what you’re looking for? Click one of the links below to jump right to that section!

Cookbook Gift Guide

Gifts for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Gifts for home cooks

Gifts for Photographers

Stocking Stuffers Under $25

Happy Holidays, friends!


2017 cookbook gift guide graphic

1. How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman  //  If you only own one cookbook, make it this one. It’s not photo-driven, but MAN is it handy. Easily the most-used cookbook in our house (and the ONLY cookbook Kyle will use when he cooks).

2. Feed the Resistance by Julia Turshen  //  This book is AWESOME. It’s full of tasty recipes + ideas for getting involved to make your voice heard in politics and in your community. The proceeds are also donated to the ACLU.

3. Feast By Firelight by Emma Frisch  //  This book is technically still on pre-order, but I am SO excited to see my friend Emma’s vision come to life with this project. She’s the queen of campfire cooking (and a former Food Network Star finalist!) which makes this the perfect book for any outdoorsy friends.

4. Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish  //  This book is on my gift guide AGAIN this year, because it’s just that wonderful. If you like baking or want to level up your bread/pizza dough game, this book is required reading. Beautiful photos and in-depth technique training for the home baker.

5. Half Baked Harvest by Tieghan Gerard  //  Tieghan’s photography is STRAIGHT UP STUNNING, and her unique, tasty recipes don’t disappoint.

6. Eat Delicious by Dennis the Prescott  //  One of my FAVORITE new cookbooks. Gorgeous photography, great recipe notes, and an eclectic mix of Dennis’ twist on recipes from his world travels.

7. Genius Recipes by Food52  //  Another book making its second appearance on this list! The recipes are, in fact, genius – and the beautiful photos make it a great coffee table book when you’re not cooking from it.

8. The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini  //  I love this book! Cara does a great job of walking you through knife skills, cuts, and techniques, and her recipes are organized by vegetable so you can stay organized if you’re trying a new-to-you veggie. Perfect for vegetarians or anyone who just wants to step up their Meatless Monday game.

9. Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard  //  This gorgeous book dominated last year’s IACP awards, and for good reason – Vivian is a gifted chef and storyteller and while it’s a huge book, it’s well worth the read.


eco-friendly gifts, environmentally friendly gifts, sustainable kitchen gifts

1. Linen Napkins  //  Replace paper napkins or paper towels in your kitchen with washable, reusable napkins. I love linen napkins, because if they get wrinkly, it still looks very natural. When you’ve used them, just toss them in the laundry. The linen napkins pictured are great, although my other personal favorites are these linen napkins from Crate & Barrel.

2. The Dinner Blueprint (Meal Planning Online Course)  //  Ok, SHAMELESS PLUG, but one of the very best ways to reduce food waste in your home kitchen is to meal plan. And lucky for you, I have a whole course on that very subject! The course is open for enrollment starting in January (which is perfect, because who wants to think about healthy eating during the holidays?) so it makes a great gift (or self-gift!) for anyone ready to tackle their meal planning, prep, and sustainable kitchen in the new year.

3. Silpat Nonstick Baking Mat  //  Use this nonstick baking mat in place of tinfoil or parchment paper to line your baking sheets. Food lifts right off it and it’s super easy to clean!

4. Home Herb Garden-In-A-Can  //  There’s no better way to connect to food than to grow it yourself! These garden-in-a-can kits are simple to set up and use, and (bonus!) they’re a ton of fun.

5. Reusable Straws  //  It’s easy to throw a plastic straw in your morning smoothie and not think much of it, but straws are actually a huge source of waste (and they can end up in the ocean or polluting animal habitats!) These metal reusable straws are a great alternative and are surprisingly easy to clean.

6. Misto Olive Oil Sprayer  //  A DIY cooking spray canister! Fill it with olive oil, pump the pressure pump, and mist away. A wonderful, environmentally-friendly alternative to canned cooking spray.

7. Bee’s Wrap  //  My favorite kitchen discovery of the year! Use Bee’s Wrap as a natural alternative to plastic wrap/saran wrap in your kitchen – let the natural heat from your hands heat up the beeswax on these sheets and they’ll stick to just about anything! They’re SO easy to clean and to use, and the beeswax in the sheets makes them smell amaaaaazing.

8. Reusable Tote Bags  //  Ok, these are kind of a given, but who doesn’t need more reusable grocery bags?? I keep these basic bags in my apartment, in our cars, in random purses and camera bags, you name it. Most grocery stores sell their own reusable bags, and you can also find fun illustrated bags online like these from Emily McDowell.

9. Grow Your Own Mushroom Farm  //  Another easy, grow-it-at-home kit! I love these mushroom kits because they’re easy and don’t take much effort, and when you’re done growing the mushrooms, you get to eat the gift (instead of having something that just clutters up your house).

10. Stasher Bag  //  This is one of my new favorite kitchen finds! Stasher bags are a dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, sous-vide-safe alternative to Ziploc plastic bags. They’re airtight and easy to seal – by far my favorite plastic bag alternative.

11. Reusable Produce Bags  //  Plastic produce bags are a HUGE source of waste, and they don’t need to be! Take these reusable, washer/dryer safe mesh produce bags to the store or the farmer’s market and use them in place of the plastic ones to, y’know, save the planet.

ALSO: I love gifting thoughtfully-produced food as a gift. Some of my favorites are Sustainable Seafood Shipments from Wild For SalmonThoughtfully-Raised meat from Butcher Boxor artisan goods from places like Jacobsen Salt Co., Steven Smith Teamaker, and more. Don’t forget to support small businesses as you shop this holiday season!


gift guide for home cooks 2017

1. Anolon Bronze Hard Anodized Nonstick Pot  //  This has been a gift guide repeat for THREE YEARS, and for good reason: I’ve had my Anolon for 3+ years, and it is STILL my favorite pot. It’s nonstick (but not Teflon!) and after years of cooking and whisking (with a WIRE WHISK, because I’m the worst) it still looks brand-new. It’s also ridiculously easy to clean – even after the messiest recipes (looking at you, mac and cheese!) If anyone ever asks me for cookware for Christmas/Birthdays/Whenever, I buy them Anolon.

2. KitchenAid Pro Electric Kettle  //  This electric kettle is the best part of my morning routine. It’s stunning, heats water FAST, and makes the most soothing chime sound when you turn it on and off. (Seriously. I could listen to that chime all day). A little on the pricier side, but totally and completely worth it.

3. Immersion Blender  //  EASILY the most-used gadget in my kitchen. Soups, pestos, sauces, smoothies, pancake batter – you name it, the immersion blender can do it. I even have a handy Immersion Blender 101 post to help you find new hand blender recipes!

4. Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor  //  My favorite kitchen appliance (after the immersion blender, of course!). This food processor is just THE BEST – it can power through anything (and it comes with slicing and shredding discs for slicing and shredding things!) I’ve had mine for years and I’m still in love with its power, speed, and general looks-gorgeous-on-the-counter-ness.

5. Bench Scraper  //  This is such a simple kitchen tool, but I’m still surprised at how few people I know have one. Use it to quickly cut or divide dough when you’re making breads and pastas, use it to quickly clean off a cutting board, or as a flat base to help you scoop just-chopped veggies off of your board and throw them into the pan.

6. The Food Lab  //  Okayyyyy, this should have maybe gone on the cookbook list. But this book is such an incredible resource that I thought it deserved its own special spot. This award-winning book takes you through the science and technique of your favorite recipes and is an invaluable resource for any avid cook.

7. Cast Iron Skillet  //  Another essential piece in any kitchen, and another tool that I find a lot of people tend not to have. Cast iron is sturdy, conducts heat well, gives an incredible sear, and will last a lifetime.

8. Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife  //  Everyone needs a good chef’s knife! Shun is one of my favorite brands (I love the round handles on their knives) and my big knife from them is still going strong after 5ish years. A little more than you might be used to paying for knives, but for how often an avid cook will use it, it’s well worth the price (I actually have friends come over now and specifically request to chop things with this knife because they love it so much!)

9. Instant Pot Multi-Cooker/Pressure Cooker  //  Okay, full disclosure: I don’t actually own one of these yet. But everyone I know has been FREAKING. OUT. about the Instant Pot lately, so I’ve included it here at the recommendation of some very trusted cook/chef/blogger friends. It’s basically just a fancy pressure cooker, but it’s taking the internet by storm lately and there are some delicious recipes popping up online for Instant Pot owners! This is definitely the next gadget on my shopping list.

10. Stackable Cooling Racks  //  We live in a TINY apartment, so I’m not willing (or able) to sacrifice all of my limited counter space whenever I’m on a baking spree. If you’re shopping for someone who lives in tight quarters, these stacking cooling racks are a lifesaver – and they fold down flat so they’re easy to store when they’re not in use!

11. Spiralizer  //  I knoooow this is awfully “trendy” or whatever, but DUDE. I bought my spiralizer a year-ish ago and I. AM. OBSESSED. We use ours at least once a week – it’s easy to clean and it makes my favorite pasta recipes even faster because I don’t have to boil water or cook pasta. Just spiralize a zucchini or two, cover it in some hot pasta sauce, and you’re good to go. I also use this for baked curly fries, sweet potato fries, and more. I was skeptical at first (because TRENDY), but I’ve become a die-hard fan.

12. Proofing Basket  //  If you’ve tried my easy crusty French bread recipe, you know how much I love my proofing basket! This is a fun and simple way to let dough rise before you bake your bread. It also leaves beautiful rings on the loaf, which makes you look super professional. When I’m not using it for baking, I line it with a linen napkin and use it to store fruit or serve rolls and biscuits like a regular basket.


gifts for photographers

1. Canon Rebel T6  //  This is a great entry-level DSLR camera – it’s the newer version of the same camera I first started with. I’d recommend getting just the camera body or one lens rather than the big kits you might see – that lets the photographer have a bit more fun with finding new lenses to try (and the lenses are the most important part!)

2. 50mm “Nifty Fifty” Lens  //  This is a great lens for portrait and food photography, and it’s extremely affordable for the quality of its images. If you’re just getting started with photography, this is is a great lens to start with!

3. Memory Cards  //  I can never have too many memory cards! These are great, affordable gift options, and they’ll be put to good use. Bonus points if you get one of these cool carrying cases to go with them!

4. Ona Astoria Bag  //  How I ever lived without this camera bag, I’ll never know. Aside from my actual camera, this is my single favorite piece of photography equipment. I have the biggest bag (pictured) although they make all different shapes and sizes. These bags are SO well made (and I’ve put mine through the ringer!) This one has moveable inserts so you can customize it to your own equipment, and a zippered back pocket that can slip over the handle of your suitcase when you travel. I can fit two camera bodies, three or four lenses, my laptop, and iPad, wallet, and all of my cables/filters/cards/straps in this bag at the same time. The BEST camera bag I’ve ever owned.

5. Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription  //  Adobe is the gold standard when it comes to photo editing, and most photographers I know work in either Lightroom or Photoshop. It’s powerful, fun-to-use software that photographers love.

6. Manfrotto Tripod  //  Manfrotto is a popular tripod brand, and I love this simple one from them. It’s light and compact, and great for lighter cameras with smaller lenses. You can swivel the camera all around with just one dial that you can move with your thumb. Super simple and versatile.

7. Canon 7D Mark ii  //  This is my current camera and is great for photographers who are looking to step it up from the Rebel (#1 on this list). It’s a crop sensor (if you want a full frame camera, go with the 6D or 5D) and is great for video and low light situations. I’ve had this camera body for two-ish years now and am still loving it.

8. Polarizing Filters or UV Filters  //  I love using these filters on my lenses – I usually have a polarizing filter (pictured) and sometimes a UV filter as well. They protect your lens from dust and grime and can also help control light for better, more vibrant photos. Just keep in mind that different lenses will need different sizes of filter, so double-check what lenses your photographer already has!

9. Wide Angle 24mm Lens  //  If you’re shopping for a food photographer doing those Tasty-style overhead videos, landscape photography, interior photography, or anything else where they want a nice wide angle, this lens is a great choice. I use it almost exclusively to shoot the overhead footage for our recipe videos, but it’s versatile enough for a variety of settings. Relatively cheap and great quality for the price.

10. Camera Strap  //  My biggest gripe when I first started using my camera professionally was that the strap that came with it was sooooo ugly. I swapped the Canon strap out for a fun one that fit my personality more. I love this one (pictured) from Amazon, and I’m currently using this one from Etsy.

11. Remote Shutter  //  For all those times someone says “set up your camera and take a picture of us all!” No need to do a self-timer – just connect this remote shutter to your camera and take photos from a few feet away. Also handy if you’re a food photographer who’s hand-modeling your own recipe and can’t hold the camera at the same time.

12. 100mm Macro Lens  //  This one isn’t cheap, but 100mm is one of my favorite focal lengths for food and portrait photography. This is an L series lens, which are famously high-quality and well worth the price.

 


2017 stocking stuffer ideas

1. Misto Olive Oil Sprayer  //  A DIY cooking spray canister! Fill it with olive oil, pump the pressure pump, and mist away. A wonderful, environmentally-friendly alternative to canned cooking spray.

2. Microplane  //  ESSENTIAL. Zest citrus, freshly shave parmesan for your spaghetti, grate some nutmeg, etc. etc. etc. I use this DAILY.

3. Olive Oil Bottle  //  So much prettier than that ugly bottle from the store, don’t you think? Also, I love having a permanently un-capped olive oil bottle in my kitchen – it makes everything go so much quicker!

4. Cupcake/Cookie Scoop  //  My favorite way to ensure all of my cookies + cupcakes are the same size. Same sized scoops = everything bakes evenly = food tastes better. SCIENCE.

5. Salt Cellar  //   Salt needs to be easily accessible when you’re cooking, and this swing-top salt cellar is my favorite thing. Easy to get to the salt, looks beautiful on the counter, has a fun-to-swing-around-and-around lid.

6. Dinosaur Taco Holder!  //  Do I really need to say anything else about this?

7. “Meh” mug  //  Because sometimes you just need it.

8. Stasher Bag  //  This is one of my new favorite kitchen finds! Stasher bags are a dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, sous-vide-safe alternative to Ziploc plastic bags. They’re airtight and easy to seal – by far my favorite plastic bag alternative.

9. Reusable Produce Bags  //  Plastic produce bags are a HUGE source of waste, and they don’t need to be! Take these reusable, washer/dryer safe mesh produce bags to the store or the farmer’s market and use them in place of the plastic ones to, y’know, save the planet.

10. Maldon Salt  //  Big, beautiful salt flakes are a cook’s dream. I love using Maldon salt to finish dishes or to add a salty bite to sweet things like fudge or chocolate chip cookies.

11. Productivity Planner  //  Who HASN’T thought to themselves, “ugh, I wish I had more time in the day”? This small planner keeps you on track with just a few minutes a day of following their quick prompts.

12. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm  //  Boring? Maybe. But essential! This lip balm is the best lip balm out of all the lip balm, and I have one baaaaasically everywhere.

13. Cards Against Humanity  //  This is by FAR our favorite party game, and the more you and your friends’ minds are in the gutter, the more fun it is. Plus, the company is hysterical (just Google them to catch up with their latest shenanigans).

 

WHEW! We made it! Thanks again for tuning into this year’s gift guide – I appreciate you so much and hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

XO,

Jessie

 

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Grilled Chicken Arugula Salad with Pears and Walnuts http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/grilled-chicken-arugula-salad/ http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/grilled-chicken-arugula-salad/#comments Tue, 21 Nov 2017 19:28:11 +0000 http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/?p=11061 This quick and easy arugula salad has grilled chicken, chopped walnuts, and a simple lemon vinaigrette with fresh pear slices. This is a great side salad recipe or main dish on busy weeknights, but elegant enough for entertaining. In a hurry? Click here to jump straight to the recipe! Here’s a thing about me: I love arugula. Not like “ohhhh, I really like arugula and

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This quick and easy arugula salad has grilled chicken, chopped walnuts, and a simple lemon vinaigrette with fresh pear slices. This is a great side salad recipe or main dish on busy weeknights, but elegant enough for entertaining.

In a hurry? Click here to jump straight to the recipe!

Overhead photo of arugula, pears, walnuts, and grilled chicken on a white ceramic platter with a light grey background.

Here’s a thing about me: I love arugula.

Not like “ohhhh, I really like arugula and I enjoy when it occasionally is an ingredient in things.”

Like…. I. LOVE. ARUGULA. In an in-my-fridge-at-all-times, put-it-on-everything, eat-it-plain-by-the-handful kinda way.

So this salad? This salad is my JAM.

Side photo of wooden serving utensils on a white platter with arugula salad, grilled chicken, sliced pears, and walnuts.

Here’s what we’re working with:

  • A bunch of fresh, peppery, crispy arugula (DUH)
  • Grilled chicken (totally optional – this arugula salad is also great with seitan, tofu, quinoa, or crispy chick peas!)
  • Sliced pears
  • Chopped walnuts for a nice crunchy crunch
  • A ten second lemon vinaigrette

This salad has become my go-to lunch over the last few months. And also my go-to dinner. And also my go-to snack. It’s just simple and light and flavorful and perfect for fall. It’s also 100% most definitely making an appearance on my Thanksgiving menu this year, because #cantstopwontstop.

You should proooooooobably make it immediately.

Overhead photo of a arugula salad on a white platter with grilled chicken, sliced pears, walnuts, and wooden serving utensils.

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Grilled Chicken Arugula Salad with Pears and Walnuts

Overhead photo of a arugula salad on a white platter with grilled chicken, sliced pears, walnuts, and wooden handled silverware.

5 from 1 reviews

An easy arugula salad recipe for busy weeknights, but elegant enough for entertaining.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 2 min
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side salad or 2 as a main course

Ingredients

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 1 grilled chicken breast, sliced (see recipe notes)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 pear, sliced

Instructions

MAKE THE DRESSING:

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar or container. Cover with an airtight lid and shake well to combine (you could also whisk it together in a small bowl). Use dressing immediately or store in the fridge for up to a week.

MAKE THE SALAD:

  1. In a large bowl, toss together all salad ingredients. If you prefer, you can arrange the ingredients on a platter (as pictured in the overhead photos above), but when I’m not photographing this dish I prefer to just throw it all in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle your lemon dressing over the salad and toss to combine. You may not need all the dressing – start with a light drizzle, give it a toss, and then add more dressing as necessary.

Notes

This recipe is suuuuuper simple and very forgiving – feel free to make adjustments to suit your tastes! Here are some of my favorite swaps and tweaks:

  • Substitute sliced apples or grapes for the pears.
  • Add other salad greens or grilled asparagus to the salad for a fun twist.
  • This dressing is definitely lemon-y – if lemon isn’t your favorite flavor, use just a splash of lemon at first and taste/make adjustments as you go! You can also use part lemon juice and part apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar if you like.
  • I pick up freshly grilled chicken breasts from my grocery store to keep in the fridge for this salad during the week, but you could grill your own chicken (I just use a bit of salt, pepper, and olive oil!) as needed or use shredded slow cooker or rotisserie chicken.
  • For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken with seitan, crispy chick peas, or crispy tofu (or omit the protein entirely!)

This quick and easy arugula salad has grilled chicken, chopped walnuts, and a simple lemon vinaigrette with fresh pear slices. This is a great side salad recipe or main dish on busy weeknights, but elegant enough for entertaining.

This quick and easy arugula salad has grilled chicken, chopped walnuts, and a simple lemon vinaigrette with fresh pear slices. This is a great side salad recipe or main dish on busy weeknights, but elegant enough for entertaining.

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Feast 2017 Recap // Part 2 http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/feast-2017-recap-part-2/ http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/feast-2017-recap-part-2/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 16:43:27 +0000 http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/?p=11008 This post is sponsored by my friends at Feast Portland.  I’m baaaaaack with the second round of photos from Feast Portland! This is one of my favorite events to photograph every year, because I get to get up close and personal with some incredible chefs, artisans, mixologists, and more. Today’s image collection features snaps from Feast Portland’s Day 2 Grand Tasting, the “Because Breakfast” fun-size event,

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This post is sponsored by my friends at Feast Portland

Feast Portland 2017

I’m baaaaaack with the second round of photos from Feast Portland! This is one of my favorite events to photograph every year, because I get to get up close and personal with some incredible chefs, artisans, mixologists, and more.

Today’s image collection features snaps from Feast Portland’s Day 2 Grand Tasting, the “Because Breakfast” fun-size event, and the “Pizza & Burgers” fun-size event. Feast hosts DOZENS of events (of all different sizes!) throughout their festival weekend each year, and I loved attending a few of the smaller fun-size events this year to help me break up my schedule between some of the bigger, more crowded events. You can view the most recent schedule of events here for a taste of what the Feast team puts together each year.

But enough yammering from me – let’s look at PICTURES!!! Friendly warning: maybe don’t scroll through this post when you’re hungry.

Also, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the next Feast Portland – it’s all going down from September 13,16, 2018. I HIGHLY recommend this food festival to anyone who wants to eat themselves silly for a good cause (profits support Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon!)

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

Feast Portland 2017

 

 

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