10 Perfect Summer Salads to Eat for Dinner

Candied Walnut and Pear Salad with Poppyseed Dressing | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

I’ve been eating a lot of salads lately. Way more than average. (You know, trying to be fit and healthy and all that jazz.) And even though I have a serious love affair with salads, I think I’ve officially burned myself right out on the standard varietal. So today I’m on the hunt for the ultimate salad inspiration and I wanted to share a handful of recipes with you, in case you need to shake up your veggie consumption game, too. Here we’re talking about 10 perfect summer salads that are worthy of entree status. Salad for dinner is one of my favorite weeknight meals, but these salads are anything but ordinary. Get to pinning, friends!

p.s. We bought a house yesterday! Stay tuned later in the week for all of the before photos (which I’m shooting later today), and all of the details now that we are officially homeowners. Hooray!

1. Candied walnut and pear salad with poppyseed dressing [above]

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad with Tahini Sauce | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

2. Roasted carrot and lentil salad with radishes and tahini sauce

Vegetarian Taco Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

3. Vegetarian taco salad

Kale Arugula Reggiano Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

4. Arugula kale reggiano salad

Kale Caesar Pasta Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

5. Kale caesar pasta salad

Green Goddess Quinoa Summer Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

6. Green goddess quinoa summer salad

Kale Salad Bowl | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

7. Kale salad bowl with sweet potatoes

Cajun Shrimp Po Boy Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

8. Cajun shrimp po boy salad with avocado tarter sauce

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Goat Cheese | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

9. Zucchini and squash ribbons salad with tomatoes, peas, corn and goat cheese

Crunchy Taco Kale Salad | Best summer salad recipes for dinner from @cydconverse

10. Crunchy taco kale salad

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Dreamy Backyard Inspiration

Dreamy Backyard Ideas | Patio decor and backyard design ideas from @cydconverse

[Studio Zerbey]

Now that we’re getting so very close to officially being homeowners, Bob and I can’t stop talking about everything we want to do to the house to really polish her up and make her shine. May in upstate New York is hands down one of the most amazing times of year. Trees start budding, flowers start blooming, lawn mowing becomes the official pastime of homeowners everywhere and the smell of dinner cooking on the grill fills the neighborhood on the nightly. So now that we know we are closing on the house on MONDAY, we’re naturally talking and thinking nonstop about all the ways we want to make our new backyard into a serious entertaining and lounging oasis. Denial that the interior of the house needs many many many gallons of paint and that there’s a lot of stained blue carpet awaiting its eviction notice? Yup, probably. (Seriously. You’re going to see the interior photos and wonder why I’m even talking about the yard.) But we honestly just can’t wait to hang out in a big backyard with our name on the deed and host BBQs. This is my current backyard inspiration! Some kind of great lounging space, a big table for outdoor dinners, a fire pit, string lights, a collection of Adirondack chairs, all the good stuff. Our backyard budget this year? About zero dollars! But I am having fun daydreaming anyway. Soon, guys. So damn soon.

Dreamy Backyard Ideas | Patio decor and backyard design ideas from @cydconverse

[Show Home via The Everygirl]

Dreamy Backyard Ideas | Patio decor and backyard design ideas from @cydconverse

[Aubrie Pick for Rue]

Dreamy Backyard Ideas | Patio decor and backyard design ideas from @cydconverse

[Lily Glass for SF Girl by Bay]

Dreamy Backyard Ideas | Patio decor and backyard design ideas from @cydconverse

[Homestyle via Decorist]

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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.]

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