Posts in Food
My Favorite Summer Appetizer
 
summer appetizers, summer appetizers for party easy, appetizers easy dips, appetizers easy healthy
 

I love being able to have a go-to summer appetizer recipe and this one is perfect. It’s easy enough that you don’t need to stress, but seems sophisticated because of the perfect combination of ingredients. I started making this one last year after I found it on Half Baked Harvest and it is to such a hit that people have been asking me to make it this year. 

I essentially follow the recipe she created here, but with a few modifications to make it a little easier.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups small cherry tomatoes

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • the rind from 1 lemon, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

  • pinch of flaky sea salt and pepper

  • 8 ounces feta cheese, finely crumbled

  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

  • 1 loaf of fresh french bread

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice french bread into ½ inch thick pieces, drizzle with olive oil, and add salt and pepper. Place into 400 degree oven until golden and toasted.

  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, lemon rind and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes just begin to burst and the garlic is fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

  3. Crumble the feta into a serving bowl. Drizzle the tomatoes and oil over the feta. Top with fresh dill. Serve with toasted bread and enjoy!

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summer appetizers, summer appetizers for party easy, appetizers easy dips, appetizers easy healthy
What Not to Eat
 
healthy eating for beginners sarah gross design
 

The healthy eating topic is an interesting one. A lot of the time if you eat “too” healthily you get judged, but when you eat badly, you feel horrible (for lots of reasons). The past year, I have really been trying to educate myself on what is good vs. what is harmful to my gut health and digestion.

With varying illnesses in my family from diverticulitis to IBS, I’ve always had stomach aches and pains. While the common thing to do these days is just taking a probiotic, which is definitely great for you, but I wanted to do more research instead of relying on a pill to cure all of my stomach issues.

I’ve learned that the best way to make all my stomach pain go away is to eat certain foods while cutting down on others and to drink as much water as I can. There are also specific factors to living a healthier lifestyle that I think some people miss because the information isn’t really available unless you search for it yourself. So, I wanted to share with you the things I look for in my foods:

Do:

Fresh produce:

Basically anything from this part of the grocery store is A-okay with me. I would say try to buy organic, but honestly, you are doing yourself a favor by just staying in this part of the grocery store for a majority of your time. Eating fresh foods means fewer preservatives and random ingredients that you can’t control yourself. I love to snack on veggies and fruit but they can also be used the base of a meal or the side dish.

Clean ingredient list:

You need to be reading the labels of basically everything you eat. Things I try to avoid are natural flavors (literally in everything), dyes of all types (just google it you’ll understand), and that long list of words you legit can’t pronounce. When you start looking at the ingredient list of foods, you start to see all of the random shit they put in the foods you are eating. Add all of that up over time and it honestly freaks me out.

Fish from the counter:

This has honestly changed my life because you can ask for a certain amount and you know that what you are getting is quality fish that hasn’t been sitting in a container for a week. Even the pre-cut salmon they have at the counter I don’t pick up, I’ve tried it and it’s not the same as the fresh stuff.

Don’t:

Processed snacks:

Even at Whole Foods you can run into a lot of processed items. Even when I am there I always try to look for items without a crazy long list and without natural flavors. Some of my favorites are the Simple Mills crackers, Lara bars, and avocado oil chips.

Processed sugar:

We all love some good chocolate after dinner, but even that can be mostly fillers and is something I watch out for. You can find great alternatives that taste just as good at Whole Foods like the Hu kitchen chocolate bars, they are delicious.

Dressings/Dips:

These ones really are the trap, especially salad dressings and hummus. Make sure if you are buying dips and dressings to check for random additions on the labels.

x,

Sarah


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healthy eating for beginners sarah gross design
My Top 6 South Beach Restaurants
 
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I think by it’s probably clear to everyone how much Mike and I love going to Miami -- re: millions of pics from there every time we visit. For thrill-seekers it may not be the most adventurous vacation to go on, but if you’re looking to be the most relaxed you have ever been this is the vacation for you. 

Just picture laying on the beach listening to the waves crash all day long while a waiter brings blueberry pancakes yo your lounge chair.

Besides laying out all day one of our favorite things to do in Miami is go out to dinner (can you tell food is always on my mind?). We’ve discovered some amazing spots ranging in both price customer experience. So, I wanted to round up some of my favorites for you to try next time you visit!

Cecconi’s

$$$

Vibe:

Located in the Soho Beach House, Cecconi’s is very romantic with rustic wood beam ceilings, overgrown (in the best way) plants, and tons of glowy candlelight. It’s perfect for a date night, but can also be so fun with a larger group! The service is great and I love how warm and cozy the atmosphere is.

Food:

The food here is Italian and SO good. Mike and I decided to split a pizza and pasta dish, which was the best of both worlds. We also split a bottle of wine which I highly recommend.

Havana 1957, Espanola Way

$$

Vibe:

This restaurant is right on Espanola Way which is the cutest street (and where the picture is from). The atmosphere here is very relaxed and authentic. Think kind of like a Cuban dive bar, but the food is to die for. 

Food:

The food here is Cuban! We wanted to try out something we’ve never had before and the food here was amazing. Even though we ordered a simple main dish of rice, beans, and chicken, something about it tasted so unique and delicious. Also, pro-tip, if you get a large appetizer here, split one of the main entrees with someone else! It’s so much food that you’ll never eat it all.

Azabu

$$$$

Vibe:

As a Michelin Star restaurant, you should come looking a little nicer than if you were going to most other restaurants (think dress not ripped jeans). Miami is pretty relaxed when it comes to what you wear, but it’s nice to be a little dressier at places like this. For being a Michelin Star, it’s not too fancy and the menu isn’t complicated, so don’t be intimidated.

Food:

They serve one of my favorite foods here, sushi! I have found that the sushi in Miami is some of the best i’ve tried because the fish is so fresh! If you decide to visit Azabu I highly recommend the salmon sushi. It’s is out of the world and a meal that I will never forget. 

Blue Ribbon Sushi

$$$

Vibe:

Here you can be super relaxed while still having great food. Don’t worry about wearing jeans here, it’s fairly casual with a super friendly staff and great environment.

Food:

Blue Ribbon is known not only for their sushi, but also for their fried chicken! When eating here obviously order sushi, but for an appetizer think about getting their chicken wings, they are so good and different than most wings.

Prime 112 (any of them)

$$$

Vibe:

Prime 112 is a steakhouse, so think that kinda vibe. White table cloths (that you’ll probably get dirty), low lighting, and a little loud. This is a good place for a larger group, not the most ideal date night spot since it’s not very intimate. 

Food:

The food here is soo yummy. They have a killer tuna tartar, and great steak and fish options. If you come before your reservation, get a drink at the bar because instead of bar nuts they have glasses of freshly made bacon.

Mr. Chow  

$$$

Vibe:

Mr. Chow is nothing but fancy. They have crisp white table cloths and a wait staff that works in a 3 man team. Yeah, I didn’t know what that was either until Mike explained it to me. Basically, it means there is one waiter running the show and the other two to do specific jobs like take your order, pour you water, etc. It’s really the height of luxury. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see one of the men create the famous Mr. Chow noodles by hand, it’s amazing! 

Food:

Mr. Chow is a famous Chinese restaurant all over the world with this one being located in the W Hotel. It has a more family style menu where guests can share plates with a group, so it’s ideal for a larger table. If you are going just the two of you, I would try getting a few appetizers and then splitting an entree. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things here! I scallion pancakes.

x,

Sarah 


Mytop6MiamiSouth-BeachRestaurants.jpg
Healthy Summer Recipe: Mango Shrimp
 
Easy healthy dinner recipes quick shrimp mango
 

Today I’ll be sharing one of my favorite recipes to make in the summertime. This fresh and flavorful dinner is so easy to whip up and is definitely a crowd pleaser (or you can keep all of it for yourself, like I do). Either way this recipe is a staple for me at this time of year and if you try it you wont be able to live without it. So let’s get into it!

Serving size: 4 people

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchini

  • 1 lb shrimp

  • ½ lemon

  • Garlic salt

  • Salt + pepper

  • Olive oil

  • Fresh salsa

  • 2 mangos (or 1 big one)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

  • Slice zucchini however you like (I did long strips), place on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let cook until edges are crisp (around 20-30 mins).

  • While the zucchini is cooking, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook frozen cauliflower rice until tender. Should take around 10 minutes. Then remove from pan.

  • Which the zucchini is still cooking, coat raw shrimp with olive oil, pepper, and garlic salt. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and place shrimp with one side down. Let cook on each side for 5-7 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan.

  • Remove zucchini from oven and let cool for 2 minutes and chop up the mango into cubes.

  • Now you are ready to serve! Place the cauliflower rice as your base, add shrimp, and top with salsa, and mango. Place zucchini on the side.

Tell me if you try the recipe :)

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Easy healthy dinner recipes quick shrimp mango  pinterest.jpg
Eating my way through NYC: The Clocktower at the Edition

My favorite activity in NYC is eating...so I will be chronicling the many restaurants/spots I try out and sharing them with you all! Come along for the ride :)


Let me start this off by saying Gigi Hadid was there 2 days before me, I so close to accidentally running into her. The Clocktower at the New York City Edition is where Mike and I decided to do Valentine's day dinner! The restaurant is located inside of the Edition Hotel, so when you go inside you are on the first floor of the Edition, which is just the coziest place ever (great place for a drink to catch up with a friend). 

To get to the restaurant, you have to go to the second floor. I recommend making a reservation on Open Table and showing up around 15 minutes area. This way you can have a drink at the bar and watch the mesmerizing bartender do his thing! There is also so much history at the restaurant as every wall is full of framed pictures of visitors, it is really a cool sight. 

Eating my way through NYC: The Clock Tower

Now on the the food...how good does my burger look?! And it tasted as good as it looked! We also decided to start with appetizers (shown below) of west coast oysters and steak tar tar. I have to say I didn't care much for the steak tar tar, but the oysters were some of the best I've ever had! Mike ordered the Roasted Montauk sea bass which I tried and it was delicious! All and all this was such an amazing atmosphere and great food, perfect for a date night or a way to mark an anniversary.

Eating my way through NYC: The Clock Tower 3
Eating my way through NYC: The Clock Tower 2

But, to be honest the meals are pretty expensive (heres is the menu), so this is not a casual dining place for a weekday. 

Hope you found my review helpful in planning where you want to eat while in New York, if you have any addition questions you can leave them in the comments below and I will answer!

Would love to know if you visit the restaurant <3

 

Entertaining Idea: Galentine's Day, Taco Night

I thought this taco recipe for you Galentine's day party would be a good change of pace from every other blog out there doing gift guides for him, DIY crafts, etc. I feel like real people don't actually get use out of them and I wanted to create something useful for not just Valentine's day, but also a a week from now when you don't know what to cook!! That is the point of Sarah Gross Design, helping other people learn from what I already know.

And also who doesn't love a good taco recipe especially eating them with your best friends! I was inspired by Half Baked Harvest's 20 minute Caribbean shrimp taco recipe. I love all of her posts, but to be honest I can never gather all of the right ingredients, so this is my simpler take that I know every single one of you can do!

You can download this grocery list and recipe card, so there is no thought needed! Read below for instructions. 

The final product &lt;3 amazing tacos

The final product <3 amazing tacos

the fresh salsa ingredients

the fresh salsa ingredients


 

Spicy Sour Creme

  • 1/4 cup sour creme

  • 1/2 juice lime

  • 1 tsp-2tsp chili lime salt (trader joe's)

Shrimp

  • 1 pound shrimp (frozen or fresh)

  • olive oil

  • 1 tbsp chili lime salt

  • salt and pepper to taste

1 bag corn tortillas / 1 avocado

Ingredients:

Fresh Salsa

  • 2 medium size tomatoes

  • 1/8 white onion

  • 1/4 jalapeno

  • 1 juice of a lime

  • 1 handful of cilantro

  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Mango Salsa

  • 1 mango

  • 1 handful cilantro

  • 1/2 juice lime


Instructions:

Prep your toppings

  1. Fresh salsa: Dice tomatoes, onion and jalapeno and toss into your bowl. Then roughly chop your cilantro and add to your bowl. Squeeze the juice of your lime and add salt and pepper. Mix everything together and let sit in the fridge, having it sit there for 30mins-1 hour will help the flavors mix together.

  2. Mango salsa: chop mango and cilantro and add to a bowl. Then squeeze your lime and add to the mango and cilantro mix. Leave in the fridge.

  3. Spicy sour creme: mix together sour creme, lime juice, and chili lime salt.

Cook Shrimp

  1. Heat up your pan with a teaspoon of olive oil in it. Toss your shrimp in chili lime salt, and pepper. Add 1/2 your shrimp to the hot pan and cook each side until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. Put on a plate with a paper towel on it and cook the other half of your shrimp.

Make Tacos

  1. If you have a gas stove, turn on a burner onto medium-high heat and place your corn tortillas directly onto the burner. Flip tortillas until the outside is a little crispy and the entire tortillas is warm. Make around 4-6 of these and keep in a kitchen towel, so they stay warm. (Modification: for electric stoves, place tortillas in a dry hot pan and cook until edges are crispy and the tortilla is warm)

  2. Put spicy sour creme, fresh salsa, mango salsa, avocado, and shrimp on your taco. Sprinkle some cilantro and a squeeze of lime to garnish and you are all set!

 

Hope you enjoy! Head over to my instagram to see live how I made the fresh salsa!

 


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Last Minute Hostess Gift

The bee sting cookie is here to save you! This quick, simple, and decadent cookie looks hard to make, but takes no time (or effort). It is mirrored after a Georgetown favorite from Baked & Wired, but you don't need to go all the way to Georgetown for this perfect cookie. You'll be sure to impress whoever you give it to with your baking skills and they'll have a treat for when the party leaves. If you want to take it up a notch, get a cute tin to put it in or some cellophane bags from target!

The recipe is below, as well as where I got it from!

georgetown baked and wired bee sting bars
georgetown baked and wired bee sting bars

Quick Hostess Gift - Bee Sting Bars 

Recipe:

Ingredients - Shortbread

 

  •  12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature (1.5 sticks)

  •  1/2 cup sugar

  •  1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  •  1/4 tsp salt

  •  8.5 oz flour (1.75 cups)

Ingredients - For almond topping

  •  6 tbsp butter

  •  3 tbsp sugar

  •  2 tbsp honey

  •  2 tbsp amaretto liqueur

  •  1 tsp vanilla extract

  •  1.25 cups sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Make the shortbread by creaming together the butter and sugar for a couple minutes until combined. Add the vanilla extract and salt, and mix in. Add the flour and mix until distributed. The dough is going to look extremely crumbly. You should still be able to press it into an 8×8 pan.

  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  4. Combine all almond syrup ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a full boil over medium high heat. Let it cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.

  5. Pour the almond topping on top of the shortbread and bake for 20 minutes. Let it cool in the pan, then cut it into squares. Enjoy!