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Summer Salad Recipes

Recipes

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One of my favorite things to make in the summertime is summer salad with homemade dressing! Homemade dressing is surprisingly easy to make and soooooo delicious! One of my favorites is a spinach and strawberry salad with a strawberry dressing. Here’s what you need:

-A bag of spinach and a bag of spring mix lettuce
-Sliced strawberries
-Precooked sliced chicken strips
-Sliced almonds and craisins (optional)
To make the dressing you will need:
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1/4 cup vinegar
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 tsp paprika
-2 tbsp sesame seeds
-1 tbsp poppy seeds
-1/2 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen 
Take all the ingredients for the dressing and place them in a blender, mix until completely blended. Pour over salad when ready to serve! 
  
          
This summer I have been spending a lot more time than normal cooking in the kitchen and teaching my kids some of my favorite recipes. Something new that has been so fun and helpful is my Samsung Family Hub refrigerator! It has a feature called Smart Recipes and if you tap on it you can view that recipe and all the ingredients needed to make it! This has saved dinnertime at our home more than once, plus it gives us new ideas for recipes we haven’t tried before!

          

One of the new recipes it showed us last week was for S’mores dip! I never would have thought of this and it’s now a family favorite! On the family hub it gives you the option to read the directions, show you the ingredients, and even add the ingredients to your shopping list!

          

I can’t wait to try out some more fun recipes this summer!

-Grey Birch Designs-

House Plants for Beginners + Fruit water recipe!

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I have always wanted to be a plant lady! I have bought and killed many plants in my lifetime and thought I would forever have a black thumb. Every time I walked through the plant section at the home improvement store I thought to myself “I can do many things, but keeping plants alive is just not one of them.” They would tempt me every time as I walked the isles picking out my next victim. That is until I bought a ZZ plant 2 years ago. TWO YEARS I have kept this plant alive and thriving!! This got me thinking that maybe there are other plants that can work for people who are challenged in the garden like myself, so I did some research!

Oh boy was I excited to find a huge variety of these un-killable plants. I couldn’t wait to boost my self confidence in gardening and bring my dreams of becoming a plant lady to reality!! Here is my list of  my top 5 favorite house plants for beginners!

  1. ZZ Plant This is the one I stumbled on over 2 years ago and it is thriving! Truth be told, the more I ignore it the happier it is, that’s my kind of plant! It has a beautiful deep green leaf and helps clean the air inside your home! These are my favorite house plants!
  2. Pothos These come in so many color variations and each one is absolutely beautiful!! Something really neat about these is you can easily propagate them with a clipping and then have more of these beautiful plants without having to go buy more!
  3. Snake Plant Although I HATE the name (I’m deathly afraid of snakes…) I love this plant! It’s similar to the ZZ plant since it likes to be ignored and only requires 1 cup of water every 2 weeks. It also likes low light and has beautiful colored leafs!
  4. Fern These are beautiful and easy to care for indoor/outdoor plants! You only water the soil when it is dry and they require medium light!
  5. Peace Lily If you want something that has a flower on it then these are a great option. They grow best in high light but can tolerate low light too, making them a go with the flow kind of plant. They do need to be watered weekly so on the scale of low maintenance plants these are a little more high maintenance but still easy!
Our Favorite Summer Time Drink!!
About a year ago I stopped drinking diet sodas. Since then, getting my kids and I to drink more water has become really important to me! This is why my favorite feature in my Samsung Refrigerator is the built in water pitcher. It has the ability to make fruit water, and automatically refills itself after every use! We love it and it’s a fun change for our kids when they get tired of plain water. We have tried a ton of different combinations and here are some of our favorites!

  • strawberries, lemon, and mint leaves
  • sliced cucumber and mint leaves
  • strawberries and pineapple 
  • orange and lime
  • kiwi and orange
You can use fresh or frozen fruit which makes it so easy! We just slice up the fruit, place it in the middle chamber of the water pitcher that came with our Samsung Refrigerator and then place it back inside the door. We can keep it for 2-3 days and then clean it out to make a new batch! Since it automatically refills itself we never run out!! My kids love making it and it has truly limited the amount of soda and other sugary drinks they drink each day!
I wonder if my plants get jealous of our yummy fruit water?? 😉 😂
-Grey Birch Designs-

Family at Home “Date Night” + Recipe

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During this whole stay at home social distancing thing we are dealing with I have realized how often we used to eat out as a family. Honestly, it was at least once a week and that doesn’t count the lunch dates to Chick-fil-a after kindergarten with my youngest!! (awww the good old days!) 
Seriously though we are missing those family activities and we needed to do something to break up the new normal. There’s a little restaurant we love to visit when we drive up to northern Utah in the spring and summer and they have hands down the best dessert, pizookie!! We always joke that when the waitress sets it down you have to have your spoon ready because my kids will destroy that pizookie and any evidence it ever existed in about 2 mins flat!!
Since this is a family favorite of ours we decided it would be fun to have a little at home “date night” with the kids and make our very own pizookies!! Instead of making a huge one for us all to share I found these cute individual size mini cast iron pan from Bed Bath and Beyond so we could make one for each of us!

The first thing you want to do is make your favorite batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. This could even be made with a different kind of cookie dough for a change. Maybe throw in peanut butter chips or toffee candy pieces!! 
Here is the recipe we love:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
heaping teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
cups packed light brown sugar
large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Place the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, just a few minutes. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until blended.

Turn the mixer off and add the flour mixture a scoop at a time. Turn the mixer on low speed until the flour is completely incorporated. Then turn the mixer to high speed for a few seconds to pull the dough together; it will be chunky. Add the chocolate chips and beat on high speed to thoroughly and quickly mix in the chips, just a few seconds.
When your dough is finished you will want to take a cookie scoop and place 4 scoops of dough, roughly 1.5 tbsp of dough into each mini cast iron pan. Then press down the dough and mold it to the the pan. These will bake a tiny bit longer then a batch of cookies but watch them so they don’t over cook!

Bake for about 12-15 minutes, you want them to still be slightly undercooked in the center. Finally put a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top while it’s still warm and enjoy!!

-Grey Birch Designs-

Best Mother’s Day Gift Ides + Our Favorite Recipe to Make Together

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With Mother’s Day coming up next month and the state of our current health crisis, this year will most definitely look a little different. Each year my kids go out with my husband and pick me out something they think I will love. The best part of the gift is that, whatever it is, they picked it out for me! Since that won’t really be possible this year they asked if they could do something around the house that would be special for me. Although I’m sure they were thinking something along the lines of making be breakfast in bed, I had a better idea: cleaning the WHOLE KITCHEN by themselves!!!!
Now I think this is genius since a clean kitchen always makes me happy and makes me feel productive. Even better, a clean kitchen that I didn’t have to clean! Thankfully for them it’s really not that big of a job. Last year we updated most of our appliances to these fingerprint resistant Samsung appliances. Our Refrigerator Dishwasher and Microwave are always fingerprint and smuge free so the kids don’t really even need to clean them!! Before we had these that was a big chore and it took a good amount of time to make our old stainless steel appliances shine. 

The whole thing took my kids only 20 mins to do and they even wiped down the shiplap all around the island, something I never do!! After they finished, two of my kids said they liked cleaning the kitchen and would do it more often!! Talk about a Mother’s Day bonus!! 
Now that I have a clean kitchen the kids and I are going to dirty it up again and bake our favorite Banana Bread Recipe It’s delicious but I make a just a few little changes to the ingredients:
+ Nonstick baking spray, for the pan or parchment paper
+ 8 tablespoons salted butter, softened but still a little cold
+ 1 cup packed light brown sugar
+ 2 large eggs, beaten
+ 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
+ 5 very ripe bananas, mashed
+ 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
+ 1 teaspoon baking soda
+ ½ teaspoon kosher salt
+ 1 cup chocolate chips (we tend to be generous with chocolate at out house)
+ granulated sugar (dusted on top before baking)
We love cooking together and this recipe is so easy my kids can practically make it by themselves. Plus, all the ingredients are staples in our house so there’s no need to go out and brave the supermarket!!
-Grey Birch Designs-

Magnolia Table Cookbook – After School Banana Bread

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Check out this banana bread recipe from the Magnolia Table Cookbook!
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Links to the products used in the video


Magnolia Table Cookbook

Bosch Mixer

Food Processor

-Grey Birch Designs-

Magnolia Table Cookbook – Meatloaf

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Another great recipe from the Magnolia Table cookbook!
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-Grey Birch Designs-

Magnolia Table Cookbook – Chicken & Wild Rice Soup recipe and review

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-Grey Birch Designs-

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