Refreshing Watermelon Feta Salad with Mint

I could eat this salad all summer. Watermelon, the quintessential summer fruit, pairs so well with briny feta and fresh mint to bring together a mouthful of happiness in every refreshing bite.

You will make this salad again and again this summer. It comes together quickly, too, and no oven required. Does it get any better than that for a summer recipe? Not in my book!

I’ve already made this salad three times and it’s technically not even summer yet. I made it when my sister Steph and my mom came over for lunch recently, made it again for lunch with my knitting friends, Carriellen and Kathy, and once again this week when my wonderful friend-turned-neighbor, Basima, brought over half a watermelon for me just because she had extra and wanted to share. I have the best friends!

Refreshing Watermelon Feta Salad with Mint | #summersalad #watermelonrecipe #refreshing #mint

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Sweet Mint Iced Tea (Paleo-friendly)

There’s nothing more refreshing than a glass of sweet mint iced tea on a hot summer’s day. And this version is paleo-friendly, so it’s guilt-free, too!

I love mint. Like, really love it. But I haven’t always. It’s one of those your-taste-buds-change-as-you-get-older-and-things-you-used-to-despise-are-now-your-favorites kinda thing. (Tuna and mustard also fall into this category for me). It’s sort of like now that I do love mint so much I have to make up for lost time for all those years I didn’t like it and now I have to consume it in abundance. Which is perfectly okay with me because I love it so much and there are just so many different ways to enjoy mint. Especially fresh mint. I can’t get enough of the way it smells, too. Ahhhhhh….. heavenly. I’ve made fresh mint ice cream which is to die for and I make this mint iced tea recipe all the time. Especially in the summer because it’s so darn refreshing and it’s a fan favorite with my family.

Oh so refreshing Sweet Mint Iced Tea | #mint #summertimedrinks #icedtea #refreshing

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Fluffy Sprinkle Cookies

What kid doesn’t love sprinkles, especially when they’re inside of a deliciously chewy, fluffy, vanilla-y cookie?

I like to bake. And cook. Obviously. But I also love to take cooking and baking classes. I do so whenever I can. And, my husband, being the amazing gift-giver that he is, (no joke, I’m not just saying that, he really is very clever and thoughtful) gets gifts of cooking/baking classes often for me. Most recently I got to take a baking class at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in lower Manhattan. The class was called the Cookie Jar. Perfect for me! It was amazing – we baked about 10 different types of cookies over the course of 3 hours and then we got to feast on said cookies. It was well worth the trek into the city! Plus, I walked away with some new knowledge and recipes which I love. One of those recipes was this one, which I’ve modified to be even better and more vanilla-y and fluffy than the ones we baked in class. Part of what I modified was adding in delicious vanilla – I am a huge fan, to say the least. I buy the biggest vat of vanilla I can find (and afford) from Amazon and it typically lasts me anywhere from 3-6 months, depending on the season. I have also made my own and will put that recipe up on the blog soon. The only problem with making your own is that you can’t use it right away (sad face…); you have to wait several months before the alcohol absorbs all the delicious notes of the vanilla beans… Luckily, I have my huge bottle of vanilla on hand to make these cookies.

Easy Sprinkle Cookies - perfect for birthday parties and kids! Fluffy, soft, loaded with rainbow sprinkles and vanilla flavor | #cookies #rainbowsprinkles

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Easy Peasy Deliciously Moist Banana Bread

Bananas are destined, IMHO, to become nothing other than the best version of bread there is – Banana Bread!

I often find myself buying a bunch of bananas, placing them just out of sight from my family, and patiently waiting several days until they become perfectly overripe, mottled with big, dark spots of brown and black and smelling suhweeeeet. Yep, that’s my thing. I have a good excuse – banana bread is the best! It’s easy to put together, it uses up perfectly good fruit that you might otherwise throw away, it bakes up ultra moist, and it tastes heavenly, especially slathered in creamy butter. Yummmmmmmmmm.

The BEST easy & moist banana bread for using up those overripe bananas | #bananabread

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Ooey Gooey S’mores Cupcakes

Simply the best S’mores Cupcakes for summer (or anytime really)!

Who doesn’t love s’mores in the summer?! They’re iconic and reminiscent of hot summer nights around a campfire. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been spending time at my sister’s house in the Catskills at the end of summer and s’mores are always on the list of must-haves!  The kids love ’em and us adults love ’em because they are a simple, delicious dessert that requires very little effort – save for lots of cautions about getting too close to the fire or poking one’s eye out with the marshmallow roasting sticks. But, no one’s lost an eye just yet, so it’s all good.

Ooey Gooey S'mores cupcakes with burnt marshmallow frosting and a buttery graham cracker crust - summer in a cupcake! | #smores #cupcakes

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Cake Pops

Mmmmmmm… cake pops… Delicious, portable, bite-sized treats on a stick

Find me one person who doesn’t like cake pops! I made two batches of cake pops in two different flavors last week and even experimented a bit with the coating, swirling a few colors together for a cool tie-dye effect. I’m not quite there yet on what I was setting out to achieve, but my kids enjoyed swirling the colors together, so I call that mission accomplished!

Strawberry vanilla cake pops made with vanilla cake and strawberry frosting dipped in pink coating chocolate and topped with pink sprinkles | #cakepops

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Hello, world! My first blog post

The Gift of Time

So here we are! On my blog, Kickass Baker – a new, wonderful place on the world wide web that I get to call my own. And I’m thrilled to be here! I have been procrastinating my writing of this first blog post (like I do well with so many things!) because I thought it had to be just perfect. But, after listening to the inner voice in my head, which this time conjures up one of my oldest and dearest friends, Karen, in a conversation we had recently about how to get started on something new: I need to just start. And, so off we go!

Kickass Brownies - easy, fudgy, thick, and oh-so-chocolatey | #brownies #fudgybrownies

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