Blackberry Moscow Mule

Muddled blackberries, lime, vodka, and ginger beer. Be still my Monday-weary heart.

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Happy Monday! May I interest you in some vodka?

Wait…what? Don’t try to tell me you weren’t thinking the same thing.

But really…wouldn’t Mondays be just a little less difficult to get through if we all took some time for happy hour? It doesn’t have to be for a cocktail, if that isn’t your thing; I would happily (read: exuberantly) drop everything on a Monday afternoon for pie happy hour. Or ice cream happy hour. Or burrito happy hour…

You get the idea.

But this week, when we were teased with a taste of warm weather over the weekend only to be thrown back to jackets, close-toed shoes, and a snowflake icon on my Weather Channel app (curse you, Weather Channel!), this is what I want for my imaginary mandatory Monday happy hour: a Moscow Mule kissed with blackberries.

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Honey Pistachio Granola

Gluten-free granola full of spring-green pistachios and flavored with honey. Package it up for a friend or add it on top of your favorite frozen yogurt for a springy treat.

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Guys. It is finally starting to feel like spring here in Chicago! Yesterday I was driving around with my windows down, and rumor has it that it’s supposed to get up to 75 degrees today.

I know, I almost fell over from shock, too.

And since spring has finally arrived (knock on wood), it seems like the perfect day for today’s 12 Bloggers post. Remember, on the 12th of each month I join up with 11 other bloggers to bring you 12 recipes, each with 12 ingredients or less. And this month’s theme?

12BloggersIngredientsMonthsApril zpsaaec71f9 Honey Pistachio Granola

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Mini Blackberry Hazelnut Meringue Cakes

Gluten-free hazelnut meringue cookies layered with blackberry preserves, whipped cream, and a fresh blackberry make the cutest two-bite meringue cakes you ever did see.

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Happy Wednesday, dear friends! I have a very special post for you today. I mean, mini meringue cakes? C’mon, clearly today must be a special occasion. But before we get started, I want to extend an invitation to you…

gvd baby shower graphic e1396836283275 Mini Blackberry Hazelnut Meringue Cakes

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Strawberry & Goat Cheese Freekeh Salad

A healthy, delicious salad full of sweet strawberries, crunchy pistachios, tangy goat cheese, and hearty freekeh.

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We’re about to get our freekeh on.

I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.

Let’s try again: Have you tried freekeh yet? It’s super freekeh-y.

There’s no hope for me.

Ok, seriously now. Freekeh. Have you heard of it? Freekeh is basically a super fun name for roasted green wheat. It’s an ancient grain that is popular in Middle Eastern and North African cooking. It is actually the preparation process of  thrashing and rubbing the green wheat that gives it its name. It’s low on the glycemic index and is a great source of protein and fiber. Once cooked, it has a sort of chewy texture and nuttiness to it that makes it perfect for any number of applications where you might use brown rice, barley, farro, or other whole grains.

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{Friends First with Laura’s Mess} Raw Cacao Mint Truffles

Raw Cacao Mint Truffles are a no-cook,  easy healthy treat that feels positively indulgent.

plate2 e1396232028369 {Friends First with Lauras Mess} Raw Cacao Mint Truffles

Happy, happy April, darling friends! As promised, March seems to have come in like a lion and has gone out like a lamb…sort of. Personally, I have reached the point where I don’t care what the weather chooses to do from here out, I am NOT putting my winter coat back on. I won’t take it to the dry cleaner yet, though, as that seems like a perfect way to jinx us into an April snow.

breadglasses e1396232403738 {Friends First with Lauras Mess} Raw Cacao Mint Truffles

I am so excited to introduce our very first INTERNATIONAL Friends First guest! Laura is the English-born  brain behind the Australian food blog, Laura’s Mess. I first discovered Laura when she posted the most outstandingly lovely comment on my Pickled Cucumbers post this past summer, and immediately fell in love with her. Things Laura and I have in common, despite living in opposite hemispheres: reddish hair, tiny apartments, memories of baking cookies (or “biscuits”, for her) when we were just wee little nuggets, super similar blue plates (see recipe photos), and a definite love for food and Jesus. Laura’s husband, Aaron, is an artist and has his own website (which you should definitely check out – you can even get some pretty rad iPhone cases!). Laura’s site, meanwhile, is full of incredible recipes and even more beautiful photos – seriously, her photography blows me away! Today she is sharing a unique sweet treat with us, and I think you’re gonna love it (and her!).

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