antipasto salad

antipasto salad | www.prettyplainjanes.comOver a year ago I made this pasta dish for Jettie’s 2nd Birthday Party.  The plan was to search for a salad that would be easy to prepare a boat load of the day before the event.  I had no idea whether it would be good or not but figured if Giada made it then it can’t be all that terrible.  (The saying “never trust a skinny cook” does not apply to Ms De Laurentiis.)  Not only was this devoured but I still receive the occasional “That salad from Jettie’s party last year was so good.”  When people can remember food from over a year ago you know you have a winner on your hands.  So this is my gift from me to you – a crowd pleasing salad that is shamefully easy to throw together.

antipasto salad | www.prettyplainjanes.comI know what you are thinking. “Brandy you do not eat meat and once again you are telling me something with meat is worth making.”  You are just going to have to trust me (as well as my satisfied friends and family).  Besides, there is pasta, cheese and olives involved.  You bet your britches I pick around the salami and smoked turkey to get my own sampling of goodness.

antipasto salad | antipasto salad | antipasto salad | www.prettyplainjanes.comBetween the 50 Shades trailer premiere (what, we didn’t read those filthy books in a few days or anything…), Project Runway starting and sharing this recipe I would have to say that today is shaping up to be a kick arse Thursday.  Pasta, red room of pain and fashion – what more could one want?


antipasto salad |




antipasto salad

antipasto salad |


  • 1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed and leaves chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • SALAD:
  • 1 pound spiral pasta (such as fusilli or rotini)
  • 1 cup hard salami, cut into strips (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 cup smoked turkey, cut into strips (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup provolone cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1/4 cup green olives, halved and pitted
  • 1 roasted red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1.2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. For the dressing: Combine basil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is smooth.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and let cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked pasta with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Serve. Store leftover pasta in fridge (is just as delicious the next day).
antipasto salad |

recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Posted in recipes, what's cooking | Tagged | 1 Comment

blueberry nectarine pie

blueberry nectarine pie  |
Two days in a row of blueberries, because like Brandy said yesterday, when they are $10 for 5 pounds you buy a lot, freeze some, eat some, put some on your face, and put some into pie.  (I love pie.)  As I served up the leftovers of this dish to my friend Kate she commented on how she never has liked pie, because she hates crust and warm fruit…. ummmm what?  those are literally two of my favorite things on earth.  Weird.  But anyways, this pie shifted her attitude in a more sane direction and I’m proud to say she ate the whole piece.

blueberry nectarine pie  |
blueberry nectarine pie  |
This recipe comes from the prettiest cookbook I have, that Brandy surprised me with a few months ago called First Prize Pies.  It’s filled with delicious spins on classic pie recipes, and the book itself is such a treat. If you know a pie lover- this would be a perfect gift (pair it with a pretty pie dish and you’re really set.) This recipe combines blueberries and nectarines- a unique pair that works fabulous together. In place of a traditional pie crust I topped this one with an almond crumb topping that gave it a bit more texture.
blueberry nectarine pie  |

The homemade version of Jeni’s Backyard Mint ice cream (from her cookbook) made it’s way onto our plates during family dinner this week- right next to the pie.  Somehow the mint, berries and nectarines all acted as though they were made for eachother- the combo  could not have been better!
blueberry nectarine pie  |
Cheers to dinner with friends, and of course, to pie.
blueberry nectarine pie  |

blueberry nectarine pie

blueberry nectarine pie  |


  • 1 9inch pie crust (I used Pillsbury, or you could make your own!)
  • Filling:
  • 1 lb nectarines (about 4), sliced, peeled and cored
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • zest of 1 lemon (I used two!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Topping:
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare filling by placing nectarines, berries, lemon zest and vanilla in bowl, and mixing to combine. In a seperate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Prepare topping by whisking together flour and brown sugar. Cut in cold butter using a fork, pastry cutter or fingers until you have a coarse crumble. Toss in almond slices.
  4. Place bottom crust in pie pan. Toss berry mixture into the dry ingredients and immediately pour into bottom crust. Sprinkle topping over the pie, covering it completely.
  5. Bake pie at 425F for 20 minutes, and then lower the oven temp to 350F, rotate the pie, and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes until golden on top.
  6. Let cool for an hour before serving.
blueberry nectarine pie  |


Posted in recipes, something sweet | Tagged | Leave a comment

blueberry smoothie face mask

blueberry smoothie face mask | www.prettyplainjanes.comEvery July our local grocery store sells 5lbs of blueberries for $10.  We bought 5 (and are thinking about going back for more).  Why so many?  Blueberries rank extremely high on the “super food” list.  Loaded with antioxidants these little gems restore cells and keep skin looking healthy whether eaten or applied topically.  Plus they freeze beautifully and make damn good pie (as you’ll find out tomorrow).  Basically you can never have too many blueberries – and this mask is one of the countless reasons why.

blueberry smoothie face mask | www.prettyplainjanes.comIngredients:

  • Small handful unsweetened blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about half a lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened plain yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons raw almonds

Blend all ingredients in blender or small food processor until combined well.  Apply to clean, dry face.  Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse with warm water.  Store leftover mask in airtight container for up to week in fridge.

recipe from Spark People

blueberry smoothie face mask | www.prettyplainjanes.comWhen summer fruit and veggies are on sale it’s always smart to stock up.  Eating all that freshness is obviously good for you, but making a mask like this one is just as beneficial.  Go ahead and grab some extra blueberries and do a little summer skin pampering.


blueberry smoothie face mask |

Posted in beauty, diy, skin | Tagged | Leave a comment

pregnancy, a look back

Regardless of how uncomfortable my pregnancy became those last few weeks I would be lying if I said the belly is not missed.  There is just something about dressing the bump that I thoroughly enjoy.  (A sharp contrast to how I feel about postpartum dressing. Stretchy pants, nursing access tops – yuck.)  Something I cherish from Jettie’s pregnancy are the weekly photos that Sticky shot, and of course had to have the same with Bing’s.  Not only is it remarkable to see just how big my belly grew but fun to see the way the bump was dressed.  From snowfall to sultry summer here is a look back at my maternity style:

pregnancy, a look back | www.prettyplainjanes.comFor all of you expectant mommies I highly suggest taking weekly images.  It does not matter if they are simply selfies with your phone.  Having those will mean so much when your pregnancy is over and you want to do a little reminiscing.  9 months is just a blip in the grand scheme of the timeline of your life after all.  Whether you feel like a blimp, a pregnant unicorn or a combination of both it will be 100% worth documenting.


pregnancy, a look back |




Posted in bump style, personal, style | Tagged | 1 Comment

festival fun

Gorgeous weather, good company and two excited little riders. Jettie wants to know why the festival isn’t going on all the time. (Wouldn’t that be grand?!)

festival fun | festival fun | festival fun | festival fun | festival fun | festival fun | www.prettyplainjanes.comThe girls have been into all things spooky since last year’s Halloween.  This “kreepy kastle” had both of them incredibly intrigued.  Luckily they were satisfied with just a view from the outside (although they both suggested that they could take a peek through the front door).

festival fun | festival fun | festival fun | www.prettyplainjanes.comThe families (someday we will have a bright idea and ask someone to take a group shot of the whole gang).

festival fun | www.prettyplainjanes.comThese girls, we can’t get enough of their smiles and shenanigans.  Who could, really?

festival fun | www.prettyplainjanes.comHere’s to a weekend full of silliness!

festival fun |




Posted in Kids, personal | Tagged | 2 Comments