Category Archives: ASM Cooks!


Fresh Fruit Salad with Orange Simple Syrup

Fruit salad kind of gets a bad rep.


It’s sometimes rather bland and tasteless, and even worse {shudder}… it’s boring. Sort of been-there, done-that.strawberries

But not this fruit salad!

It is loaded with fresh berries of all kinds- strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries, plus big, juicy red seedless grapes. It’s simple enough to make a big batch and just store away in the fridge for snacktime or for a delicious breakfast treat, and sophisticated enough to serve a crowd for a brunch party, bring to a potluck, or even serve at a wedding or baby shower. blueberries

Then, all that deliciousness is tossed in a sweet and tangy Orange-vanilla simple syrup. It is so lovely, colorful, dripping in shiny syrup, and really, really delicious.

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It is a perfect addition to your summertime table.

Fruit Salad with Orange-Vanilla Simple Syrup 

{original recipe from Pioneer Woman here, but I have adapted it to our tastes… i.e.- more berries!} 
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • Juice Of 1 Orange
  • Zest Of 1 Orange
  • 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 pints Strawberries, Hulled And Halved
  • 1 pint Blueberries
  • 1 pint Blackberries
  • 2 cups Red & White Grapes, Halved
  • Coarsely chopped Mint Leaves, optional


For the simple syrup…

1. Place the sugar, water, orange juice and orange zest into a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 to thicken slightly. Set aside to cool, then store in the fridge until cold.

2. Mix together all the fruit in a large bowl and pour the syrup over the top, tossing gently to coat. Garnish with sprigs of mint leaves and serve.

3. Simply pack into resealable little plastic containers for easy transport and keep them chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

Image result for fruit salad with orange simple syrup

All the glorious pleasures of summer in one delicious dish!

I hope you’ll enjoy this one…



The Simplest & Most Delicious Green Salad

I had some girlfriends over for a super casual dinner party this past Sunday evening since one of my best friends was in town from Columbus.

I mean, what is a better excuse to get circles of friends together than that?

I hardly even need a reason. I love to open up my home and host people, and I find I don’t do it as often as I like because I build them up in my head a bit and am sometimes afraid of meeting expectations… particularly your own.

Do you ever feel that way?

Your house isn’t clean enough or your fridge isn’t fully stocked or you’re just too stinking busy throughout the week to pull something elaborate off. So, we make excuses and we miss the opportunity to open up our homes, and our hearts, and encourage others, laugh, share, talk, play, plan.

It has been a busy work week and a very busy weekend as well, but I knew I wanted to cook a delicious, healthful, and sophisticated meal for these sweet ladies. So, I settled on some of my favorite, super-simple recipes that I have made dozens of times and don’t require a lot of prep time or a myriad of ingredients. Plus, they are recipes you are comfortable with and ones that don’t stress you out or make you anxious, so you can enjoy your friendships and the conversation rather than keeping too many plates spinning at once.

So, on my menu, I served my Goat Cheese & Basil Stuffed Chicken breasts, Wild Rice Pilaf, and a Simple Green Tossed Salad with homemade Champagne Vinaigrette.

Seriously, that is one of my very favorite chicken dishes and it couldn’t be simpler!

I am constantly thinking of other things you could stuff under the skin to create even more flavor, like perhaps adding sun-dried tomatoes to slices of mozzarella and fresh basil. Or, maybe some slices of citrus (oranges or lemons) and some fresh thyme or even rosemary would be delicious!

Alongside this delicious chicken, I served some wild rice pilaf I made on the stove top and served it alongside a perfect, simple green salad with Champagne Vinaigrette.

It’s tangy, a little sharp, and is a great accompaniment to mixed greens- whatever kind you have on hand!

People are always so impressed when you make your own vinaigrette, and honestly, it’s just as simple as going to the grocery store and purchasing a store-bought dressing.

Lemon-Champagne Vinaigrette


  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • Salad greens or mescalin mix for 6 to 8 people

I whipped up this dressing earlier in the day, or you could even do 1-2 days ahead of time, and then popped it in the fridge. Once my friends arrived, we tossed some pre-washed greens in a big bowl, tossed it with the vinaigrette and then embellished it with large shards or shavings of your favorite hard cheese. Parmesan or Asiago would be lovely here, but I had a sharp Manchego and went with that, since I had it on hand.

Again, this dinner is mean to be enjoyed and not stressed over.

Do you spy those yummy little salad tongs? They are Botanic Garden by Portmeirion, and I absolutely love them. All of their pieces are different plants and flowers mixed with greenery and fruit and they are all different, but match perfectly. I have dinner plates, the salad tongs, a serrated bread knife, and cake slice. I love them all- so whimsical. 

Then, the remaining dressing can be popped back in the refrigerator and saved for later in the week. Pretty sure I am going to do another run at this meal at least once this week for my own pleasure.

Then, all that is left to do is dish up the chicken and rice, pour some sparkling water, and sit down to some lively conversation and loads of laughter.

We always have such a good time when we are together. And it’s never long enough.