Strawberry Balsamic Margarita with Black Pepper Shortcake

Fresh Strawberry Margarita Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

With berry season just around the corner (or in full swing depending on where you live) and Cinco de Mayo coming up in just a couple of days, it only seemed appropriate to share this incredible fresh strawberry margarita recipe today! Make no mistake though, this is not your average strawberry margarita. This one is balanced out with a splash of balsamic vinegar and served up alongside the most incredible strawberry shortcake made with black pepper biscuits. Inspired by a day spent strawberry picking, these recipes make the most of spring’s most delicious berry bounty. Considering that strawberries are absolutely my favorite fruit by far, I fully intend to make a couple of these margaritas myself this week. Many thanks to Andrea Harper of Gray Harper Event Maker, Jade of Jade + Matthew Take Pictures and Samantha Huba for sharing!

Fresh Strawberry Margarita Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Strawberry Basil Balsamic Margarita

  • 4 – 6 fresh strawberries
  • 1 – 2 oz tequila
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 basil leaves and sprig for garnish
  • 4 cubes ice
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Lime wedge to garnish

Combine strawberries, tequila, ice, balsamic, and basil in a blender and blend until smooth. Meanwhile, mix together sea salt and ground black pepper in a small dish and use the mixture to coat the rim of your glass. Pour drink mixture into glass and garnish with lime wedge and basil sprig. Enjoy!

Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Black Pepper Biscuits

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1-1/2 cups cold buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees . Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a food processor. Pulse twice to distribute the ingredients evenly. Scatter the butter over the top of the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and pulse until the mixture just begins to come together.

Scrape dough onto a lightly floured counter (you may need to work in some flour if the mixture is  too wet). Pat the dough into a 10 by 12 inch rectangle about 3/4″ thick. Use a 3″ round cutter to make biscuits, pressing together scraps of dough and repeating the process until you’ve used it all. Place the biscuits on 2 parchment lined baking sheets. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with black pepper. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and brush the tops with melted butter.

Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | Cinco de Mayo ideas and margarita recipes from @cydconverse | Repin to save or click through for more party ideas and recipes!

Lavender-Balsamic Strawberry Sauce

  • 1 pound {about 2 cups} chopped and hulled strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (we used a lavender balsamic, but you can use any)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook all ingredients for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll know it’s finished when the strawberries are soft and sauce coats the back of the spoon. Let cool –  it can be served hot, cold, or room temperature. Spoon the sauce over a warm biscuit, and top with homemade whipped cream. For an extra kick, add a touch of black pepper to the whipped cream and crack a bit over top. Enjoy!

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[Cocktail recipe + styling by Gray Harper Event Maker | Strawberry shortcake recipe by Samantha Huba | Photos by Jade + Matthew Take Pictures.]

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15 Must-Try Taco Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

Crispy Zucchini Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

Tacos! Put a few little tacos on a plate and you’re instantly speaking my love language. With Cinco de Mayo coming up quick, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about tacos and how they should be the national food of everywhere. Today I’ve rounded up 15 must-try taco recipes! We’re talking breakfast tacos, vegetarian tacos, fish tacos, vegan tacos, the works! (Ok, admittedly most of these are vegan or vegetarian taco recipes, but you know how I do.) Friends, if ever a post were going to make your stomach rumble and have you headed face first for a bowl of guacamole, this would be the one! Pair them with a mint jalapeño margarita, an over the top strawberry margarita or my favorite classic margarita on the rocks and you’ve got your Cinco de Mayo party in the bag!

1. Crispy zucchini tacos with cherry pepper crema  [above]

Summer Vegetarian Tacos | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

2. Summer vegetarian tacos with avocado creme

Breakfast Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

3. Breakfast tacos

Grilled Sweet Potato Tacos | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

4. Grilled sweet potato tacos

Crispy Cauliflower Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

5. Crispy cauliflower tacos with mango salsa

Grilled Portobello Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

6. Grilled portobello tacos

Spicy Shrimp Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

7. Spicy shrimp tacos with garlic cilantro lime slaw

Huevos Rancheros Tacos Recipe with Black Beans | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

8. Huevos racheros tacos

Squash Tacos Recipe with Black Beans | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

9. Delicata squash tacos with black beans

Tequila Lime Fish Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

10. Tequila lime fish tacos

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

11. Quinoa black bean tacos

Panko Baked Avocado Vegan Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

12. Panko baked avocado tacos (vegan)

Cilantro Lime Vegan Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

13. Cilantro lime tacos (vegan)

Easy Chicken Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

14. Easy weeknight chicken tacos

Harvest Hash Breakfast Tacos Recipe | Get your fix of taco recipes and the ultimate classic margarita recipe and loads of Cinco de Mayo party ideas at The Sweetest Occasion! Click to check it out or repin to save for later!

15. Shredded harvest hash breakfast tacos

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Baby Talk: Baby E at Five Months Old

Five Month Baby Photos from @cydconverse | Baby photos, newborn photos, baby blog

Emerson turned five months old over the weekend and I am fully embracing the cliché when I say I just can’t believe how fast these first handful of months have flown by. I have been thinking a lot lately about the juggle and the struggle to find balance since I first shared that I was floundering a bit at the moment. Undoubtedly I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself since the baby was born and with my passion for my work and my work ethic, I thought by now I’d be fully back to my old pace and productivity level. And, guys, I have been seriously down on myself for letting myself down on that front for a couple of months now. Until a week or two ago when I decided, no. No, I am not going to spend this first year of her life beating myself up because I’m not doing enough. When she’s two and five and fifteen and twenty, the only thing I’ll beat myself up for is not being present in this fleeting moment and absorbing every last smile and giggle that I possibly can.

Five Month Baby Photos from @cydconverse | Baby photos, newborn photos, baby blog

So today, I wanted to just take a quick moment to try and capture where she is right now. I am loving this stage and have found myself tearing up occasionally because I so desperately wish I could just freeze time for just a tiny little bit. I know there are so many fun stages to come, but right now she’s just growing and learning so quickly and her little personality is blossoming, and it is just so fun to hang out with her and watch her grow and thrive. We started solid foods last week! So far she’s just had cereal (we opted for this organic baby oatmeal instead of rice cereal) and a bit of sweet potatoes and apples. We’re trying to keep everything organic and we’re making her food. Because we spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking anyway, it’s really easy for us to make her food, too. I think she was really ready for solids by the time we introduced them and she has been loving everything she has tried so far. We’re planning to start working avocados into her diet this week as long as I can get my hands on some organic ones, which I could not find locally last week. (Oh, and these bibs. We’re loving them for easy clean up!)

Five Month Baby Photos from @cydconverse | Baby photos, newborn photos, baby blog

A few weeks ago we started attending a weekly Kindermusik class for infants. She loves music so much and will get all crazy kicking her feet and flapping her arms and giggling when her jam comes on, so I wanted to try out some kind of class just for fun. Turns out, she loves music class! There are six or so other babies in the class and each week we love seeing them interact more and more with one another. Even once we have some kind of more consistent day care arrangement going in the next couple of months, I definitely plan to work my schedule around our Thursday morning music class so I can take her every week. She’s also loving toys more and more every day and has reached that phase where she gleefully shoves everything she can get her hands on into her mouth, including her feet. Which, guys, nothing is cuter than a baby gnawing on their toes. Why is that? We’ve finally mastered the art of rolling over, too! She was resisting the back to the belly roll for the longest time, but as of last week she has started flopping over and won’t stay put now.

Five Month Baby Photos from @cydconverse | Baby photos, newborn photos, baby blog

Every day right now she is changing and learning so quickly. A few nights a week she’ll sleep like a rockstar and then nights like last night, we’re up every two hours like clockwork. She still hates naps, so she usually hangs out next to me while I work either playing on one of her play mats (she has this one and this play gym and loves both) or batting at the toys on her bouncer chair. Peek-a-boo is officially a hit around here these days. She can’t get enough! We’ve also been trying to walk 2 or 3 miles every day now that the weather is finally warming up here. She gets so excited when she sees her stroller and she is really intent on watching the world roll by while we make our rounds through the neighborhood every day. (Also, we “visit” our new house every day on our walks, too, as it’s only four or five blocks from where we currently live which makes mommy very happy!) And the giggles! And the giant, happy lopsided smile! In general she is such a happy baby and it’s completely infectious.

Five Month Baby Photos from @cydconverse | Baby photos, newborn photos, baby blog

And that’s our girl at five months in a nutshell, long legs and giant feet and happy dances and all. It’s amazing to me how enthusiastic she is about every new things these days and I hope we’re able to foster that pure, glorious glee her whole childhood. We always refer to her as our little sidekick because she really does feel like our little buddy already. Have baby, will travel. That’s our motto these days. A year ago today, when I still had no clue I was pregnant and wouldn’t for another week or two, I said a heartbreaking goodbye to my grandmother and my heart was seriously shattered. I had no clue how dramatically things were about to change and right now as I think about this past year and these last five months in particular, it feels especially poignant. I’m just trying to bask in the glow in this moment of life and soak it all up, friends. This one life we have is so precious and I’m so grateful that I get to spend the rest of my life as this little girl’s mommy.

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Baby’s Outfits –
Steer bib bandana c/o Vonbon | White leggings from Carters (similar) | White onesie from Carters | Moccasins c/o Itzy Ritzy | Pink woodland dress from Baby Gap |

[Photos by Alice G. Patterson.]

This post is not sponsored in any way, although it does contain some affiliate links. The products mentioned are ones we use and love daily. Read more about our editorial policies.

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12 Things to Make Your Mom for Mother’s Day

Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

With everything we have going on right now (buying a house, planning my sister’s wedding, working on her bridal shower, planning another good friend’s shower, and so on and so forth), it just dawned on me this weekend that we’re only a few weeks out from Mother’s Day! It made realize that I can’t wait for the days when Baby E comes home from preschool with construction paper Mother’s Day cards…even though I actually don’t want to rush it, I promise. More than most others, I really believe that Mother’s Day is an occasion ripe for celebrating with a sweet homemade token of affection or two. Moms love it when you make them stuff. Seriously. But you’re old enough now that you should make your mom something good, so we’re skipping the dried pasta art and going straight for the good stuff. Any other homemade Mother’s Day gift ideas that you love? Link ’em up in the comments so I can scope it out and make my mom something good this year!

1. Lemon Meyer Marmalade [above]

DIY Mother's Day Bouquet | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

2. DIY Hand Wrapped Bouquet

DIY Cocktail Kit | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

3. DIY Cocktail Kit

DIY Leather Luggage Tags | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

4. DIY Leather Luggage Tags

DIY Tank Top Maxi Dress | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

5. DIY Tank Top Dress with Pockets

DIY Gold Leaf Notebooks | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

6. DIY Gold Leaf Notebooks

Homemade Infused Vodka Recipe | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

7. Homemade Infused Vodka

DIY Mother's Day Tote | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

8. Best Mom Ever Tote

Homemade Body Scrub | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

9. DIY Margarita Body Scrub

DIY Ombre Flour Sack Towels | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

10. DIY Ombre Flour Sack Towels

DIY iPad Stand | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

11. DIY iPad Stand

DIY Gold Leaf Planters | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Ideas and DIY Gift Ideas from @cydconverse

12. DIY Gold Leaf Planters

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Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

This veggie flatbread is about to become your new party food mainstay. Are you ready? The women in my family have been serving up some version of this flatbread recipe as a party appetizer for as long as I can remember. Rumor has it my mom started making it first, but honestly I remember it as being something my Aunt Candy has always made. Now I make it, too, only I give my version a bit of a Mediterranean twist, simply because that’s how I roll. Here’s what I love about this stuff! First of all, it’s delicious. Secondly, it’s really easy to make. As in, this barely qualifies as cooking it’s so easy. Third, if people pop over unexpectedly or you forgot to make something in advance for a party or a brunch you’re attending, you can be done and good to go in about as little as 20 minutes flat. Yes! Quick, easy, delicious, amazing. I’ve made this for baby showers, Christmas parties, housewarming parties, just-because brunches and numerous occasions. Now, you can make it, too!

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

Preheat oven to the temperature specified on the crescent rolls package. Then, roll the entire sheet of crescent roll dough out on a very lightly greased baking sheet, being careful not to break it apart and bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. In the meantime, combine cream cheese (at room temperature), mayonnaise, roughly 3/4 of the basil (reserve the rest for the end), and salt and pepper to taste in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly until well combined then spread out in an even layer on top of the cooled crescent bread. Sprinkle spinach all over the top, then add grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, cucumber and red onion. Finish by sprinkling the remaining basil on top and add freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

If you’re making this in a hurry (which is totally feasible), just pop the baked crescent dough sheet into the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes before layering on the good stuff. If you assemble things too early, the cream cheese mixture can melt and get kind of sloppy, so a quick chill in the freezer will get you taken care of just right. Experiment with whatever veggies you like best! They’re all delicious. (My aunt always includes chopped fresh broccoli and bell pepper on hers. Yum!) A drizzle of a balsamic reduction over top also won’t steer you in the wrong direction. Go forth, friends, and make the easiest, yummiest flatbread you ever did eat.

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

Mediterranean Veggie Flatbread Recipe | Entertaining ideas, appetizer recipes and more from @cydconverse

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[Recipe + art direction by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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