Roasted Garlic, Lemon + Rosemary Chicken

Leave it to me to choose one of the hottest days of the season to cook a huge, hours-long dinner in my AC-less kitchen. But once I made my mind up to spend a Saturday trying out new recipes in honor of a belated anniversary dinner, I simply couldnt be swayed to do otherwise. Fortunately, the centerpiece of the meal was a fairly easy fix, requiring a minimal amount of time spent over a hot stove (or, rather, a hot crockpot).

I saw this recipe ages ago and put it on the back burner (no pun intended) until I found the perfect occasion to try it out. And seeing as last week was the celebration of our four-year anniversary, I couldnt let the opportunity pass me by.

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Somehow, in all my years of cooking, I’ve never managed to prepare an entire chicken at once—until Saturday, that is—so I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to clean, season, stuff and cook such a flavorful dish. Of course, all the flavor came from the roasted garlic, fresh-cut lemons and fresh sprigs of rosemary—ingredients that combined to make a succulent (and slightly tangy) main course that was perfect for an almost-fall meal.

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Try out the recipe below for your next big dinner party or special at-home date (and dont forget to save some of the savory juices to spoon over your side dishes—I recommend homemade garlic mashed potatoes!).

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Roasted Garlic, Lemon + Rosemary Chicken 

Servings: 4 (Recipe adapted from No. 2 Pencil)

5 lemons

2-3 heads of garlic

1 whole 4 to 5-pound chicken

Fresh rosemary (or any fresh herbs)

All-purpose steak seasoning (or salt and pepper)

1. Cut ends off of 3 lemons, then cut lemons and 2 garlic heads in half. Layer on bottom of slow cooker, adding a sprig or two of rosemary.

2. Remove insides from chicken, then rinse chicken and pat dry.

3. Season chicken well, inside and out, with all-purpose steak seasoning or salt and pepper.

4. Lay chicken on top of garlic and lemon slices, then stuff with 1 garlic head cut in half and 1 lemon cut in quarters.

5. Slice 1 lemon, then cover top of chicken with lemon slices and additional rosemary.

6. Turn slow cooker to high, and cook for about 4 hours, or until chicken reaches 165 F.

7. When chicken has reached 165 F, turn off slow cooker and let chicken rest for about 15 minutes.

8. Remove chicken from slow cooker, carve and serve. Strain slow cooker liquid and serve over chicken.

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Peanut Butter Popcorn

Do you have those recipes that—no matter how old you are when you eat or make them—vividly remind you of your childhood? For me, it’s Peanut Butter Popcorn, a tooth-achingly sweet and addictive snack recipe that my sister-in-law used to make for movie nights and sleepovers when I was a little girl. After she moved to Minnesota years ago, I went a long time without having a single bite of this delicious snack—until two Mother’s Days ago when I whipped up some as part of a homemade sweets basket for my mom.

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This past weekend, I got a sudden craving for the sweet and easy-to-make snack and decided to make it for Harrison and I to munch on. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that we ate it all in just a matter of hours (yes, I was definitely the biggest culprit in that situation). And though my blood sugar probably wasn’t too happy about it, my sweet tooth definitely was.

Check out the recipe below, then prepare to be addicted!

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Peanut Butter Popcorn

Yield: 6-8 servings (recipe via Food.com)

6-8 cups popped popcorn

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. In small pan, melt together corn syrup and sugar. Add peanut butter and melt, being careful not to burn peanut butter mixture.

2. Remove mixture from heat, then stir in vanilla.

3. Pour mixture over popped popcorn, stirring to coat. Eat immediately or store in air-tight container.

Summer Tomato Salad

What a wonderful weekend it was! I got to catch up with a friend who was in town on Saturday, which involved some shopping in Soho and an amazing Italian dinner in the West Village. Yesterday was all about relaxation (and World Cup Final watching, of course), with Harrison and I setting up a really nice afternoon picnic in Morningside Park. The weather was just right, and we had the perfect mix of meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies and sweet treats to indulge in.

That lineup even included an amazing summer tomato salad that I whipped up yesterday morning. You may remember this salad from a few Friday Fours ago; after hearing from a friend who tested it out and gave it the stamp of approval, I knew I had to make it for our summer picnic. And it couldn’t have been any more perfect. Not only was it easy to make, but it was also light and just the slightest bit sweet + tangy—ideal for a summer afternoon snack.

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Aside from the little bit of olive oil (which isn’t too bad for you anyway), this recipe is really healthy and is still insanely flavor packed. I made it and ate it within 30 minutes, but I imagine it would be so yummy if you let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or an hour before eating it. Also, the recipe I adapted this from called for fresh basil and pine nuts for topping, but I only had dried basil (and no pine nuts) and it was still incredibly delicious.

Check out the recipe below:

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Summer Tomato Salad

Servings: 2 (recipe adapted from A House in the Hills)

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

1 sprig basil, sliced into small strips

Salt and pepper

1 medium zucchini

1. In small bowl, combine tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, basil, and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to combine, then set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Using julienne or vegetable peeler, slice zucchini into long strands. Place in separate serving bowl, then toss with additional splash of olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Spoon marinated tomatoes on top of zucchini, then garnish with additional basil and nuts, if desired.

Friday Four

Happy Friday, everyone! This week really seemed to drag by, so I’m especially excited that it’s finally the weekend once again. We have a friend in town this weekend who I’m really looking forward to seeing, and—as long as the weather cooperates—Harrison and I also have plans to have a nice brunch in the park on Sunday.

But before any of that happens, it’s time to share everything I’m wanting to visit, wear, eat and live with right now:

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Clockwise from top left: Birchbox store; Michael Kors watch; shrimp tacos; inlay mirror.

Visit: Birchbox Soho store, 433 West Broadway, New York (image via Birchbox)

I’ve been a Birchbox member for a few years now, and the day I get my little brown box in the mail is always one of the best of the month. Even though I’ll continue to get my beauty boxes monthly, I’m really excited that the company just launched its very first brick and mortar store in Soho! I guess I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow …

Wear: Gold watch from Michael Kors

I’ve been wanting a Michael Kors watch for years now and just never got around to buying one, but I think the time for excuses is over. Especially because his new Watch Hunger Stop campaign is donating 100 meals to the United Nations World Food Programme for every Watch Hunger Stop watch that’s purchased. Fabulous fashion for a good cause? Count me in.

Eat: Honey Lime Tequila Shrimp Tacos with Avocado, Purple Slaw and Chipotle Crema (from Tartine and Apron Strings)

I was hit with a craving for tacos this week, and that only intensified the second I saw these yummy (and beautiful) shrimp tacos. Now all I need to do is whip up a batch of guacamole and margaritas and get this fiesta started!

Live With: Bone inlay mirror from Serena & Lily

Every time I walk into my bedroom, I come face to face with my plain, boring, black-frame mirror, and I’m quickly tiring of it. Though this exact mirror may be a bit of a splurge right now, its intricate detailing and gorgeous pattern are just what I’m looking for to spice up my bedroom decor.

What are you wanting to visit, wear, eat and live with this week?

12 Homemade Ice Cream Recipes to Beat the Heat

My love for sweets isn’t very discriminating. Cakes, cookies, brownies, doughnuts, macaroons: You put them in front of me and I’ll totally devour them. However, there’s one sweet treat that I typically don’t go crazy for: ice cream (milkshakes are a whole other story …)—unless it’s homemade ice cream, of course. To me, there’s just something undeniably amazing and indulgent about a sweet, creamy batch of homemade ice cream on a hot summer night. And though I love basic flavors like chocolate, strawberry and peach (my favorite!), it’s also fun to play around with more creative (and even more delicious) flavors, too. That’s why I’ve rounded up 12 super-sweet and sure-to-cool-you-off homemade ice cream recipes to try out this summer:

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Clockwise from top left:Honey Ricotta Ice Cream from Wonky Wonderful; S’mores Ice Cream from The Gunny Sack; Caramel Pecan Chocolate Ripple Ice Cream from Kitchen Simplicity; Oatmeal Cookie Chunk Ice Cream from Dinner or Dessert; Bacon Ice Cream from Bacon Wiki; and Brown Butter Maple Nut Ice Cream from Country Living.

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Clockwise from top left: Creme Brulee Ice Cream from CompleteRecipes.com; Key Lime Pie Ice Cream from MyRecipes; Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream (photo via Creature Comforts); Snickers Ice Cream from Lauren’s Latest; Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream from The Sugar Hit; and Lemon Meringue Ice Cream from Sifting Focus.

You guys, these all look so delicious that I hardly know where to start with picking my favorites. I really love rich, indulgent flavors, so the Brown Butter Maple Nut, Bacon, Peanut Butter Cup and Snickers recipes all sound amazing. But I also love a lighter, more savory flavor come summer, so the Lemon Meringue, Honey Ricotta and Key Lime Pie versions might be a good place to start, too. If I had to pick a favorite though, I think that Hazelnut Praline recipe is definitely taking home the prize.

Do you make your own ice cream for summertime? If so, what’s your favorite flavor to whip up?

Festive (and Delicious!) Fourth of July Recipes

With July 4th just days away, I’m sure many of you have already made your plans for the summer holiday. And whether they include a casual cookout, a poolside party or an upscale soiree, one thing is guaranteed: Food will definitely be part of the festivities. So in case you haven’t already planned your entire menu (or were asked to bring over a dish last minute), I’ve rounded up 12 side dishes, appetizers, main courses and desserts that would be perfect for any Fourth of July get together:

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Clockwise from top left: Grilled Corn with Bacon Butter and Cotija Cheese from How Sweet It Is; Quinoa and Berry Salad from Yummy Mummy Kitchen; Grilled Blackberry, Strawberry, Basil and Brie Pizza Crisps from Half Baked Harvest; and Watermelon, Avocado and Mint Salad from Foolproof Living.

You may remember that I tried this corn out myself last year for my birthday (refresher: It was AWESOME), but it bears repeating that it’s a recipe definitely worth making. If you’re looking for something a wee bit healthier to start the meal, try one of those pretty salads (the watermelon, avocado and mint looks especially delicious), or make an indulgent (though still pretty healthy) treat with those berry and Brie pizza crisps.

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Clockwise from top left: Grilled Shrimp with Cilantro, Lime and Peanuts from Martha Stewart; Roasted Tomato and Pesto Burgers from Confections of a Foodie Bride; BBQ Buffalo Chicken Wings from Susannah’s Kitchen; and Hawaiian Hot Dogs with Mango Salsa from Damn Delicious.

No July 4th party is complete without a little grilling action, but that doesn’t have to be limited to burgers (though who could resist those roasted tomato and pesto creations?). Shake things up with tangy grilled shrimp or out-of-the-box hot dogs, or keep things simple and smoky with some grilled buffalo wings.

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Clockwise from top left: Sprinkle + Ombre Cake from Brit + Co.; American Flag Doughnuts from The First Year; Strawberry, Lime and Basil Shortcakes from The Artful Desperado; and Blue Velvet Cupcakes from Sprinkle Bakes.

Dessert is always my favorite part of the meal, no matter the holiday, and with desserts this cute, it will be everyone else’s favorite part, too. Take some time to whip up a beautiful sprinkled + ombre cake or go super patriotic with those adorable American flag doughnuts. If simple is what you’re seeking, you can’t go wrong with blue velvet cupcakes, though a fun twist on a classic recipe—like that Strawberry, Lime and Basil Shortcake—would be sure to impress, too.

What dishes will you be making for your Fourth of July celebration?

Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Harrison likes to do this thing where he pretends to hate sweets, but completely devours them almost anytime I bake something up. So I wasn’t terribly surprised on Saturday evening when we had company over and he asked me to make a dessert for the occasion, specifically requesting these Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies. I don’t know whether to be happy that he did (because they’re unbelievably delicious) or angry that he did (because they’re unbelievable addictive), but either way, I’m so glad I decided to make them.

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For this batch, I used milk chocolate brownie mix, which made for super-sweet (though deliciously peanut buttery) brownies. And though there’s nothing wrong with that, I’d definitely love to make something a little richer and fudgier next time, as well as bake it in the right-sized pan so the brownies are a little thicker (I only had a 13 x 9, so the brownies ended up thinner than I would have liked, almost like brownie bars instead). But honestly, no matter how you spin it, this is one tasty dessert that anyone with even the slightest bit of a sweet tooth will absolutely devour. Check out the recipe below.

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Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Yield: 1 dozen (recipe via Center Cut Cook)

1 batch of your favorite brownies, made in an 8×8 or 9×9-inch pan

14 snack-size Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate syrup, if desired

1. Line pan with foil both horizontally and vertically, then spray with cooking oil. Bake brownies according to package directions.

2. About 3-5 minutes before brownies are done baking, remove from oven and place around 9 unwrapped peanut butter cups, face down, on top of brownies. Gently press peanut butter cups into brownies.

3. Return pan to oven and bake for remaining 3-5 minutes.

4. Remove brownies from oven, then use a spatula to spread melted chocolate over brownies like frosting. (Note: The peanut butter won’t spread, so don’t worry about getting that to smooth over the brownies.)

5. Allow brownies to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature, then 1 hour in the refrigerator.

6. Chop remaining peanut butter cups into small pieces, then sprinkle over top of brownies. Cut into squares, drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired and serve.