I'm really excited about the giveaway I have for you today that's just in time for Mother's Day this weekend because it's something that I think everyone will love. If you haven't ever heard about The Gathering of Friends cookbooks, then you are in for a real treat because they will inspire you with so much delicious food! I have known the talented mother-daughter duo behind The Gathering of Friends for a long time and both Abby and Michelle are so amazing and incredibly talented. I bought their first cookbook before I got married because I knew it was something that I wanted to have in my kitchen as I started cooking for my own family and I have given their books as wedding or shower gifts multiple times. I love a cookbook that has pictures in it to go along with every recipe and each of these books is packed full with everything you need from the shopping list to plan your meals, to the menu for a great dinner, and beautiful photos of everything to go with it. They are sharing a couple of their recipes with us today to give a sneak peak into the fabulous food they have in each volume of The Gathering of Friends. Since it's strawberry season right now I thought these would be perfect timing and to serve for Mother's Day dinner this weekend.
SPINACH STRAWBERRY SALAD
| INGREDIENTS |
2 cups walnuts
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup Craisins
1/3 cup sugar
15 strawberries, sliced
8 oz. feta cheese
2 bags baby spinach
2 avocados, diced
Toast nuts in a skillet, sprinkle with sugar over low to medium heat and stir until sugar crystallizes. As the sugar melts it coats the nuts. Spread walnuts on jelly roll pan and let cool.
In a large serving bowl, combine baby spinach, chopped red onion, sliced strawberries, diced avocados, Craisins, sugared pecans and feta cheese. Toss salad ingredients together and chill.
| STRAWBERRY VINAIGRETTE |
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a blender. Chill before serving.
LAYERED STRAWBERRY CAKE
| MERINGUE |
12 egg whites
save 4 yolks for Chocolate Buttercream Filling
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup almonds, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread chopped almonds on baking tray and toast for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line 2 jelly roll pans with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a bowl; beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed, until soft peaks form. Continue to beat while gradually adding sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until sugar is dissolved and glossy, stiff peaks form. Fold in toasted almonds. Spread meringue evenly on jelly roll pans. Bake for 1 hour or until golden. Cool 10 minutes.
| LAYERED STRAWBERRY CAKE |
4 cups strawberries
sliced 6 oz. frozen whipped topping, for garnish
whole strawberries for garnish
Cut four 8-inch square meringue sheets to use in creating a layered cake; there will be some excess. Wash and slice the strawberries. Spread a thin layer of Chocolate Buttercream Filling on the bottom of a serving plate to prevent the cake from sliding. Place the first layer of meringue on top of the filling on the plate. Spread filling over the meringue layer and top with sliced strawberries. Repeat for the next 3 layers.
| CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FILLING |
4 cups powdered sugar
4 sq. unsweetened baking chocolate
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
4 egg yolks
Beat powered sugar and softened butter on high speed until fluffy. Melt unsweetened baking chocolate squares and let cool. Add egg yolks to butter mixture. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Blend well.
Helpful Hint: Place cake in the refrigerator for 4 hours. The meringue layers will lightly soften for easier slicing. Save nicely shaped strawberries to cut in half to finish the top layer. Surround edges with whipped topping and garnish with more strawberries.
And now to the really exciting part - they are offering all seven of their cookbooks in e-book form that's really easy to download to any of your devices and have all the recipes easily accessible when you're grocery shopping at the store or traveling and need the recipe right there on your phone or iPad. These make such a great gift because they are sent to the person with an e-card that you personalize and then they download the book right from there. I've never seen an e-book that you can gift this way so it's a really unique thing they are offering. I love being able to look up recipes real quick and have it in my hands when I need it, so lucky to all of you they are giving away the collection of all seven e-books to 3 lucky winners!!
All you need to do to enter is head over to Instagram and follow me @chelseyhale and @thegatheringoffriends then like my giveaway picture and tag at least three friends all in separate comments. And for an extra entry, you can pin one of these images to pinterest leaving a comment below with the link. The giveaway will go until Sunday 5/10 at midnight PST. Good luck and thanks so much for following along!