Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category



strawberry watermelon floats | designlovefest

i love a root beer float so why not switch up the game and do a fruit juice float! we made these with vanilla ice cream but you could 100% do a dairy free option with coconut milk ice cream that would also be delicious. these barely require a recipe because they could be made so many different ways. it’s the perfect thing to make with a pint of very ripe berries that are about to go bad or half of a watermelon that’s taking up too much room in your fridge. – joanie 

strawberry watermelon floats | designlovefest

what you’ll need:
makes 4 servings

• 4 cups strawberries, stems removed
• 4 cups chopped seedless watermelon
• 1 bottle sparkling white grape juice or any sparkling juice, the Izze grapefruit flavor is also good with this!
• vanilla ice cream
• mint as garnish

strawberry watermelon floats | designlovefest

• blend the strawberries and watermelon in the blender until smooth (no added liquid needed!) and then strain the puree into a separate bowl.

strawberry watermelon floats | designlovefest
strawberry watermelon floats | designlovefest
strawberry watermelon floats | designlovefest
strawberry watermelon floats | designlovefest

• divide the pureed fruit between the four glasses, add a scoop of ice cream and top with sparkling juice. top off each glass with a little more ice cream and garnish with mint!

strawberry watermelon floats | designlovefest
strawberry watermelon floats | designlovefest

images by: 
styling by: joanie cusack + ivan solis

see more recipes HERE



i made from Bon Appetit last week when i was having friends over and it was so good we ended up eating straight from the bowl on crackers. it’s packed with parsley and mint which are both really good for you so i’m going to file this under “healthy.” it’s also much less expensive to make than most pestos because it doesn’t call for pine nuts which are really expensive. this appetizer is so good and so easy. you can broil it right before your guests arrive so it’ll be hot, or you can broil it and eat the whole thing between two people, like ivan and i did 🙂 – joanie

what you’ll need:

• 1 french bread loaf
• 1-2 cup cherry tomatoes
• 16oz log of mozzarella cheese
• olive oil
• salt and pepper
• basil as garnish

• 2 cups mint
• 1 cup parsley (stems removed)
• 2 garlic cloves
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 tablespoons golden raisins
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

• in a blender or preferably a food processor, add the ingredients for the pesto minus the olive oil. on low setting slowly drizzle over the olive oil until there is a smooth consistency. set pesto aside.

cut the french loaf in half and drizzle olive oil over the top of the bread. cover the bread with slices of mozzarella cheese. slice the cherry tomatoes and add to a bowl, toss with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. evenly disperse the tomatoes on top of the mozzarella cheese.

set oven to broil. place the french breads in and broil until cheese melts and bubbles and bread is slightly toasted around the edges.

once removed from the oven add spoonfuls of pesto over the french breads and garnish with fresh basil and more tomatoes. cut into mini or bite size portions and serve while hot.

images by:  
styling by: joanie cusack 



grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest

it’s almost memorial day weekend which is basically the entrance of summer and all the fun things that come along with it! but most importantly, summer eating! spring to summer is one of my favorite transitions at the farmer’s market, i love seeing all the produce come in weekly and how it changes throughout the months. sweet corn season can’t come soon enough! if you’re BBQ’ing this weekend we made this grill ready salad which we topped with chicken but any meat on the grill would do. if you’re making it for a smaller group, have people individually dress their salad to keep from the whole thing getting wilted and the leftovers will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. happy memorial day weekend! – joanie

grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest

serves 5-6 people

what you’ll need:

• 2 chicken breasts
• 1 can of corn drained or 2 fresh ears of corn
• 1 can of black beans drained and rinsed
• 1 cup cilantro chopped
• 1/2 red onion diced
• 1 avocado diced
• 1 head of romain lettuce sliced
• 10 tortillas
• grape seed oil
• 1 cup quinoa cooked
• barbecue sauce (we loved using trader joes brown sugar bbq sauce)


• 1 cup sour cream
• 1/4 cup buttermilk
• 2 tablespoons fresh dill
• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 lime juiced

grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest
grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest

• pile 10 tortillas and cut into long strips, then cut those strips in half to create smaller ones. in a medium pan filled about 1 inch deep heat up grape seed oil. fry the strips on each side turning over every 30 seconds till golden brown. remove and set on paper towels.

• salt and pepper your chicken and grill till fully cooked. once removed from the grill brush with the bbq sauce.

• make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a blender and blend until well incorporated.

grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest
grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest
grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest

• to assemble the salad lay out the quinoa, red onion, cilantro, black beans, corn, avocado, romaine lettuce, tortilla strips and chicken out on a bowl. toss to combine with the dressing and serve while fresh.

grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest
grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest
grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest

if you have leftover tortilla strips, dip them in the dressing! it’s sooo good!

grilled chicken bbq quinoa salad | designlovefest

images by:  
styling by: joanie cusack 





 image via

i’m fairly certain we all have those recipes that we reach to when we aren’t feeling inspired in the kitchen, or we’re having people over or we just want something tried and true. i have mine, which i’ll share below, but i’d also like to know what your go-to recipes are, family favorites, things that are predictable but not boring, that you can make on a semi-regular rotation without really getting sick of them. i find myself gravitating towards things that allow for leftovers, pasta bakes that are just as good re-heated, soups that last all week, things like that. here are my go-to recipes and i’d love to know yours! – joanie p.s. after i put this list together i realized that a lot of my meals are not healthy but these are genuinely what i make! i’ve always adhered to the rule, eat what you want, just don’t eat it all! 

from spoon fork bacon: i’ve simplified this by using dried herbs, double the shallot and skipping the turnip and using water instead of veggie broth and it’s still excellent. keeps well, and is really satisfying. i’ve made it over a dozen times and it’s always good.

image via

from the woks of life: sounds exotic but once you make this once you’ll realize how approachable it is. and it’s reallllly good, i highly recommend trying it.

: the first time i made this was a couple of months ago and i’ve made it 4 + times since then. it’s super easy, inexpensive and a no fail recipe. i double the parmesan but everything else i do exactly as they say. i thought that using a high quality tomato paste was important but i’ve used the 89 cent option from the store and it works just as well.

 image via

: my sister introduced me to this recipe and it became a household favorite. it’s basically fancy mac + cheese with veggies. the ton of added kale makes me feel better about the loads of dairy in this recipe. we’ve added chicken sausage to it before which is also good if you’re wanting something with meat. this holds up really well and is great re-heated with hot sauce.

image via

chicken curry: this recipe that we shared on the blog awhile back and that we still get DM’s about to this day. easiest meal in the world, and soooo good!

cast iron pizza: i keep trader joe’s frozen pizza crusts in the freezer and pop them out when we’re in a pinch. it’s easy, completely adaptable and who doesn’t love pizza?!

chicken noodle soup: a tried and true recipe for me. i’ve been making this for 6+ years and still love it.

go-to recipes | designlovefest

and that’s about it! i’d love to hear your go-to recipes!



angel food cake | designlovefest

i have to start by saying that Ivan had never had angel food cake!! i couldn’t believe it. i hadn’t had it for years before last week and had never made it from scratch. i forgot how wonderful it is; light, fluffy, subtle almond and vanilla flavor wrapped in a thick layer of whipped cream. it’s strawberry season here in California again (YAY!) and this cake felt like the perfect way to celebrate. i included a picture of how we cooled the cake below because i remember watching my mom doing this when i was a kid and being utterly confused why the cake pan was resting upside down on a soy sauce bottle (also, the fact that this cake has to completely cool before taking it out of the pan is torture), but it’s an important step, don’t skip it! – joanie

angel food cake | designlovefest

Angel Food Cake
recipe adapted from allrecipes. com 

• 12 egg whites at room temperature
• 1 1/4 cup cake flour
• 1 3/4 cup white sugar
• 1/4 salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon almond extract

angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest

now, i’m going to be honest and say that i overworked the egg whites this time around, you want to whip them and then immediately, gently fold in the dry ingredients. this cake is delicate so treat it with care!

• start by sifting together your flour, sugar and salt, do this five times and set aside.

• beat your room temp egg whites until stiff peaks form, then add cream of tartar and the vanilla + almond extract. gently fold the egg whites into the dry ingredients and pour into an un-greased tube pan (make sure the inside of your pan is really clean and really dry!).

• place pan in a cold oven and turn oven to 325 degrees, cook for about 1 hour, ours needed 55 minutes. until cake is golden and bounces back when you push on the top.

• place the pan upside down on a bottle (as shown above) until it is completely cool. once cooled, use a knife and run it along all the edges to loosen, turn the pan upside down on a plate and hit the bottom until the cake falls out.

angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest

we topped ours with whipped cream (to make – just beat whipping cream, a splash of vanilla and a bit of white sugar until soft peaks form!) and sliced strawberries but it would also be great served with ice cream!

angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest

happy strawberry season!

angel food cake | designlovefest
angel food cake | designlovefest

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styling by:

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