Tropical Pina Colada Ambrosia Salad

This Tropical Pina Colada Ambrosia is a light, luscious and fruit-packed dessert dish that's perfect for Easter! Loaded with marshmallows, coconut, tropical fruit and a tangy pina colada whipped cream, it'll transport you right to the beach!So. Easter’s coming up — it’s hard to believe it’s so soon with an early April 5th this year! So if ya don’t mind me, I’m going to be posting Easter recipes up the wazoo, mmkay?

First up: Tropical Pina Colada Ambrosia. But first, a story! *collective sighs*

As a kid, my family and I would go to my grandma’s house for Easter breakfast every year. And every year, she’d hide plastic Easter eggs full of candy and quarters around her yard for me and my brother & sister. She would color code the eggs so I would be purple, Chloe would be green, and Alex would be blue, or whatever.

But the thing was, she put all three colors together in any given spot. So if I saw Alex bend down behind the garden hose and extract an egg, I knew my egg would be back there, too. If Chloe saw me elbow-deep in the rose bush reaching for my egg, she would race over to collect hers. I can see why my grandma did this when we were all younger, perhaps so it could be fair to Chloe (who’s the youngest), but as we got older and I was seventeen and hunting for eggs, it became a little ridiculous. (One, because of the obviousness of it all, and two, because I was seventeen and being forced — yes, forced — to hunt Easter eggs).

And the candy was never really good candy. And yes, there’s definitely a distinction between ‘good’ candy and ‘bad’ candy. I’m not talking ‘I prefer Snickers over Reese’s Cups’ or anything. I mean the CANDYCANDY (Snickers, Jelly Bellies, Whoppers, M&M’s) and the …candy? that she would inevitably buy.

You know – the “candy” that doctors offices have. The unmarked lollipops that taste like plastic with a vague hint of fruit (the yellow ones were always the most vile; the red were decent enough to be passable as cherry, depending on your level of hunger). The chewy candies that were probably made with leftover SuperGlue. Those — shudder — strawberry candies, which are by far the foulest things to have graced this planet, right before those toe shoes and Vienna sausages. Or those butterscotch candies, which were always really sticky and hard, like they’d been melted in the bottom of a purse since 1967.

So basically we’d collect for the quarters which essentially paid us to hunt for them, and then we’d toss the candy since it came from an undisclosed location and an even vaguer brand. I mean, do these candy companies know that no one likes their stuff? Are they aware that their lack of branding looks majorly suspicious and that only desperate doctors and banks purchase their lollipops? What’s their name, anyway? “Bank Candy”? “Doctor Lolly”? All’s I know is, I had this terrible doctor once — and I mean terrible — who had this super thick accent and just said to ice or rest everything, no matter what the ailment was, and she’d hand out those unmarked lollies and they always tasted like they were made of candied cough syrup. Mm, Robitussin Raspberry – my favorite! I never liked that, Dr. Lee. AND RESTING MY LEG DIDN’T HELP EITHER.

This Tropical Pina Colada Ambrosia is a light, luscious and fruit-packed dessert dish that's perfect for Easter! Loaded with marshmallows, coconut, tropical fruit and a tangy pina colada whipped cream, it'll transport you right to the beach!Anywho. This all comes together because that very color-coding-egg-grandma makes ambrosia every year for Easter dinner. And for the longest time I’d eat it because hello, it’s Cool Whip and marshmallows with fruit… duh. But then I got kinda tired of it, and I figured for this Easter, it’s about dang time I change it up. So I revamped grandma’s classic ambrosia with a tropical twist. My new version happens to be my new favorite… and I guarantee it’ll be yours too! This fruit salad is so easy, light, and delicious!

So. Who’s ready to go hunting for awesome ambrosia? (Game over. It’s right here).

This Tropical Pina Colada Ambrosia is a light, luscious and fruit-packed dessert dish that's perfect for Easter! Loaded with marshmallows, coconut, tropical fruit and a tangy pina colada whipped cream, it'll transport you right to the beach!

Tropical Pina Colada Ambrosia Salad
Recipe type: No Bake Treats
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
This light, fruity and DELICIOUS Tropical Pina Colada Ambrosia has the flavors of the tropics built right in and is perfect any time of year.
  • 1 can (15 oz) cherry fruit cocktail, drained
  • 1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 (20 oz) can Dole Pineapple Chunks, drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can mangoes, drained and chopped if in large pieces
  • 1 & ½ cups shredded coconut, divided
  • 1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip Free, thawed
  • 1 container Pina Colada yogurt
  • About 2 cups JET-PUFFED Fruity Fun Mallows
  1. In a large bowl, fold together the Cool Whip Free and the Pina Colada Yogurt. Add in the canned fruits, marshmallows, and one (1) cup of the shredded coconut. Gently fold and toss to combine until coated.
  2. Refrigerate the mixture for at LEAST 2 hours or until flavors have set together.
  3. Optional, but recommended: if you'd like, toast the remaining ½ cup coconut. In a 300 degree F oven, line a baking sheet with parchment and lay out coconut in an even layer. Toast in 5 minute increments, stirring after each round, until golden. Sprinkle over the top of the ambrosia right before serving. Garnish with a cherry if you'd like.

This Tropical Pina Colada Ambrosia is a light, luscious and fruit-packed dessert dish that's perfect for Easter! Loaded with marshmallows, coconut, tropical fruit and a tangy pina colada whipped cream, it'll transport you right to the beach!You guys – this is so fruity and fabulous! I love the sweet softness of the JET-PUFFED Fruit Mallows — they have such fun flavors and add a great pop of rainbow color! And the fruit itself is a great, tropical combination that transports you right to the beach. Ripe pineapple chunks, juicy mango and mandarins, bright cherries, all coated in a luscious and light whipped cream and pina colada yogurt dressing. This salad is totally awesome!!

Have a fabulous Sunday!!

xo, Hayley



Samoas Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!Every year around this time, I start to realize bikini season is creeping up on me… and every year around this time, I vow to eat better, exercise more, and transform myself into a Victoria’s Secret model.

And for awhile, it works. I’ll throw spinach in my smoothies. I’ll walk an extra mile a day. I’ll send Victoria’s Secret my bikini modeling pictures and they’ll call me and tell me to please stop sending photos to them. Same old routine, you know?

But then… then something happens. I’ll be walking to the grocery store to buy more birdseed to snack on when suddenly, I’m attacked by throngs of miniature girls with ribbons in their hair and teeth missing in their mouths asking me in their cute voices if I’d like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies. And then there’s always that one little girl dressed up like a gigantic Tagalong or something and I just want to scream why are you doing this to me!? because it’s so rude to say no to a girl dressed up like a giant cookie, you know?

It’s like, I may say no to a cookie here and there, but a cookie with a face? A cookie with a toothless grin, pigtails, and shoes that light up when she dances? That’s a low-blow to breeze on by and be like, I don’t need you, dancing cookie girl. I just can’t do it.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!So inevitably I spend my kale money on Do-Si-Dos and Thin Mints and Samoas and insist to the moms multiple times that I’m buying for my family, we all love cookies, har har har, and then I get home and eat every last crumb of those evil concoctions. I’ll check the boxes later after the damage is done and see that one serving is two cookies and I’ll laugh because everyone knows that eating two Girl Scout Cookies is equivalent to the impossibility of seeing pigs fly, finding Justin Bieber attractive and eating pizza on the moon. It’s just not possible.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!So while my kale and boiled chicken diet may be done, my Girl Scout Cookie diet is alive and well. And since Samoas are my favorite Girl Scout Cookie in all the land, I have been ramping up my baking with tons of Samoas-inspired recipes for when Girl Scout season is over and my cravings are still alive and well. And you guys, these bars could not be easier and they taste just like a thicker, softer Samoa cookie!

Don’t mind me, just making the impossible into possibles. Except for J.Biebs. He’s a lost cause.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!*sugar cookie bar recipe adapted from Lauren’s Latest

5.0 from 1 reviews
Samoas Sugar Cookie Bars
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
Thick, soft and chewy, these Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars taste like the Girl Scout Cookie classic but can be made yearround when the craving strikes!
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg Kraft Caramels, unwrapped
  • About 3 cups toasted coconut, cooled
  • 1 pkg Chocolate CandiQuik
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract until combined. Lastly, beat in the baking powder, salt, and flour, adding the flour about a cup at a time, until a soft dough has formed.
  3. Press the dough evenly into the baking pan. Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown and center is set. Cool the bars completely in the pan.
  4. Melt the caramels according to package directions, or until smooth. Stir in the toasted coconut, tossing to coat. Working very quickly, spread the caramel-coconut mixture on top of the sugar cookie bar base. Using your greased hands or a greased off-set spatula or spoon, spread the mixture to cover the entire base; you may have to press it out, but be gentle about it as to not crush the sugar cookie base beneath. Allow the caramel coconut layer to set, about 15 minutes.
  5. Once the bars are set, lift the bars out using your foil handles and cut them into squares. Melt the CandiQuik according to package directions, until smooth. Dip the bottoms of the bars into the CandiQuik and place onto a wax-paper lined surface. Repeat with remaining bars. Pour the remaining CandiQuik into a resealable plastic bag, seal out the air, snip off a corner of the bag, and drizzle the remaining CandiQuik over top of the bars. Allow the CandiQuik to set, about 10 minutes, before serving.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!If I could, I would subsist exclusively on the caramel and toasted coconut layer alone – it is fabulous! These are so chewy and gooey, and such a great way to transform a basic sugar cookie bar into a fantastical Samoas-inspired dessert!

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!Have a sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Samoas Magic Bar Pie

Samoas Magic Bar PieWhen I was in Girl Scouts, our troop leader totally didn’t do anything cool. Other troops were raising money to go to Disneyland, or sleepovers at the zoo, or other cool things.

We went camping. Once. It was lame because two girls kicked me out of their tent.

We went to a safety school. We learned not to walk in front of cars. All it made me do was want to walk in front of a car.

And the rest of the time, we spent in a cold, empty classroom at my elementary school. All the girls knew each other super well, so they clamored together. I was just kinda the outcast brownie, the one who never had all her patches sewn on, the one who didn’t get along with the other girls, and the one who longed for sleepovers at the zoo while secretly hating our troop leader for being a loser who totally dropped the ball on this life-building girl-power skills thing.

But I didn’t need the girls there. I had cookies, obvi. The cookies were pretty much the only redeeming factor of putting up with all those shenanigans because the second it was cookie season, I was alllll about the Samoas. To me, the Samoas are pretty much the perfect cookie. Crunchy shortbread, creamy caramel, sweet toasted coconut and that perfect drizzle of chocolate… it’s pretty much one heavenly, perfect little bite. And I know I’m not the only Samoa-freak out there… there’s hoards of ya, and this is our time to unite and REJOICE over the invention of this fabtastic pie.

DSC_0354AYou know magic bars? This is that… in pie form. It’s chewy, gooey and positively luscious. It tastes of Samoas, thanks to the classic components swirled in every bite: actual Samoa cookies, coconut, bits of caramel, chocolate chips, Rolos, and the whole thing is smothered in sweetened condensed milk (aka the nectar of the Gods). Then it’s baked until golden and bubbly and served up to Samoa-lovers everywhere. You’re welcome.

DSC_0372AOkay. Enough chit-chat. We need to dig in. This caramel is bananas. Or rather, s-a-m-o-a-s. I’ll stop.


Samoas Magic Bar Pie
Recipe type: Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Samoa-cookie lovers everywhere, rejoice! This chewy, gooey, outrageous pie tastes just like a giant Samoa cookie, in a fun twist between magic bars and pie!
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (24 count) refrigerated chocolate chip cookies, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (about 20) Samoas cookies, roughly chopped (if you can't find Samoas or don't want to chop up a box, Keebler makes a similar cookie sold at most supermarkets)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 pkg Kraft caramels, unwrapped and cut in half
  • ½ cup Rolos, unwrapped and chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9" pie plate with cooking spray. Roll out the pie crust to fit into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Crimp the edges of the pie crust if you'd like.
  2. Using your hands, press the cookie dough into a plane of dough and press into the bottom of the pie crust; it'll be super thick. Top evenly with chopped Samoas cookies, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, caramels and chopped Rolos. Drizzle evenly with the sweetened condensed milk. Cover the edges of the pie crusts with a pie shield.
  3. Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes or until the center is golden brown and bubbly, but appears set. If it slightly jiggles, that's okay, but it shouldn't be sloshing around. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting into squares. Serve with ice cream or more caramel, if desired.

DSC_0381AGooooooooey. So very gooey!

DSC_0388ATo be honest, I added the chocolate chip cookie dough into the bottom layer for a couple reasons. 1) for substance. It helps create a nice, thick, gooey cookie base for this pie. 2) because I needed to use up some refrigerated dough I had in my fridge (oops). And 3) because it’s freaking delicious – why are you questioning my decision? :)

Samoas Magic Bar PieHave a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

Coconut Ranger Cookies {And My Caribbean Vacay Recap!}

Coconut Ranger CookiesSo if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know I went on a blog-related Caribbean cruise a couple weeks ago. And it was amazing.

It was my first time cruising, so I was a little *teensy* bit skeptical. I mean, what if we encountered a rogue iceberg? Or killer pirates? Or sharks with laser beams on their heads, Austin Powers-style? It could happen.

But none of it did (that I know of, anyway) and I lived to tell the tale. And truth be told, it was one of the most amazing weeks of my life. I learned so much, I met so many new, fabulous friends, and I ate my freakin’ weight in food. Like, the laser-beam sharks would surely eat me first since I was filled to the brim with cookies.

We traveled on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, which is actually one of the largest cruise ships on the ocean. It’s taller than the Golden Gate Bridge and what seems like miles upon miles long, and is packed with plenty of things to see and do at any given time. Want to see a Broadway show? They were performing Cats. Want to ride on a surf simulator? Yep, they have that, too (and watching people biff may be my new favorite pasttime). Want to eat free Coconut Ranger Cookies all the live long day? I do, and I did. Oh man, I did.


As I mentioned before, it was a blog-related cruise called the Click Retreat. The Click Retreat is a photography based conference that focuses on all things click-y to do with your camera. Not only did I meet some amazing photographers, but I was surrounded by some of the best bloggers you could think of. I felt beyond blessed to be sailing in the middle of the teal blue Caribbean learning about F-stops and ISO, taking pictures of sunsets while drinking champagne. It was seriously like I was a socialite, except with less fancy clothes.

We traveled and toured Nassau, Bahamas; Magen’s Bay, St. Thomas; and Marigot and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, which turned out to be my favorite island by far… and I’ll have pictures of my experience at the end of the post if you’re interested :)

Overall, it was a phenomenal experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better time. And before I forget, let’s go back to those aforementioned all-I-can-eat cookies. The cookies I could not get enough of where Coconut Ranger Cookies… have you heard of them? They’re kind of like Kitchen Sink Cookies in that they have a little bit of everything in them: coconut, cornflakes, oats. The kind on the ship didn’t have chocolate chips, but you could totally throw those in there, or even butterscotch or peanut butter chips. But they’re the perfect balance of sweet and salty, crunchy and ultra chewy, with great texture and this wonderful deep, toffee flavor. I fell in love with them, and Joan and I could not stop sneaking them back to our rooms. I vowed that when I returned home, I’d recreate this dreamy cookie … and lucky for me, it’s pretty identical to Royal Caribbean’s!

DSC_0869AIt’s kinda like I’m on a cruise… except I’m not seasick and I’m not being served champagne. Also, no one makes my bed and there’s dog hair everywhere. Okay, so it isn’t like a cruise at all, but if I can’t live on a ship forever, at least I’ll have ship cookies :)

DSC_0866A*recipe adapted from All-Recipes

Coconut Ranger Cookies {And My Caribbean Vacay Recap!}
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
Chewy, crisp and loaded with delicious toffee and coconut flavors, these fabulous cookies are one of my favorites! Feel free to sub in chocolate, butterscotch or even peanut butter chips for an added touch if you'd like!
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 & ½ tsps baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp dried nonfat milk powder
  • 1 & ¾ cup old fashioned oats (not instant)
  • 1 & ¾ cup crushed cornflakes cereal
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners, or mist baking sheets lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar with the paddle attachment until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs and vanilla until incorporated. Lastly, add in the baking soda, baking powder, milk powder, salt, and flour until a soft dough forms. Stir in the oats, cornflakes cereal and coconut by hand, (and if using chips, stir those in now, too).
  3. Drop rounded, Tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the baking sheets, keeping about 2" apart. Bake for approx. 10-12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking. Cookies are done when the edges are light golden brown. The cookies may appear slightly undone; this is okay - just do not over bake. Allow the cookies to cool for about 15 minutes on the sheets before transferring carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Store cookies airtight, at room temperature, up to a week. Cookies are best served warm or at room temperature.

DSC_0875AThese are so chewy, with buttery-crisp edges and a scrumptious texture thanks to the chewy, nutty coconut and the crushed cornflakes! The brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla and milk powder help create that deep, rich toffee undertone to these cookies that pairs beautifully with the shredded coconut, old fashioned oats and the crunchy cornflakes cereal. As I said before, feel free to add in chopped nuts or chocolate chips for a different flavor or texture! :)

And now, for pictures! Enjoy!

DSC_0559AThe most delicious banana daiquiris in St. Thomas! And the view is Magen’s Bay, their famous (and gorgeous!) beach.

DSC_0586AIn St. Thomas, we had the pleasure of sampling some Cruzan Rum! My favorites were the banana and black cherry, but they were all so delicious! 

DSC_0602AThis was my wonderful, incredible, awesome, fantastical room-mate, Alyssa from Simply Quinoa! We couldn’t have more different blogs, but we connected on so many levels. I love her! 

DSC_0621AI had the unique opportunity to break away from my Click Retreat group and take a Butterfly Farm tour in St. Maarten on the French side, Marigot. The Butterfly Farm was a gorgeous place where hundreds of different species of butterflies lived among flowers, plants and the gorgeous Marigot countryside. I love butterflies! 

DSC_0689AThis was the cutest little street in Philipsburg, the Dutch capital of St. Maarten. And you bet your bottom dollar that I bought nearly every flavor of chocolate in that authentic Belgian Chocolate Shop! I also found this fantastic homemade jam, rum and spice shop called Ma DouDou located on this street. I bought myself a Coconut Caramel jam that’s to-die for! Everything is made in-house and it’s a family owned, artisanal food shop. Loved it.

DSC_0716AOne of my favorite things about my cruise was touring Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas‘ kitchen! Um, it’s a mega-kitchen, easily the size of my house or larger. On the Oasis of the Seas, everything is prepared in-house for the upwards of 6,000 guests and crew members daily. One thing I was surprised to learn was that Royal Caribbean chefs prepare the fresh-baked pastries daily, including these phyllo cinnamon buns that I couldn’t get enough of. Must copycat this recipe! 

DSC_0745AThe group and I had lunch at one of the ship’s renowned restaurants, Sabor. I was so excited since I was having Mexican food withdrawals. Sabor had these incredible bacon-wrapped chicken-stuffed jalapenos as an appetizer… but Barbara from Barbara Bakes and I kept ordering plate after plate! They were spicy, smoky, sweet and drizzled with this fabulous Mexican crema. Thankfully, Barbara recreated them, so grab that recipe

DSC_0764AWe also had a great spread of Mexican-inspired desserts, including creme brulee, flan, Ancho chile chocolate crepes, churros, and chocolate & banana empanadas. Oh, how I wish I had this spread in front of me right now.

DSC_0614AI mean, how can you not fall in love with this!?

Overall, I had an incredible experience and I am so blessed to have gone on this amazing journey! I would love to personally thank the fantastical bloggers I met at the Click Retreat and the AWESOME sponsors who made this trip possible, including Southwest Airlines (for the seamless flights from Sacramento to Fort Lauderdale! — and FREE checked bags!!), Royal Caribbean (for the wonderful accommodations aboard their monster ship), Blurb Books, Sabra Hummus, Chatbooks, Patron, and more! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

And for more information about Click Retreat, be sure to follow Today’s Mama, the most gracious host for this life-changing conference!

Have a wonderful Sunday!!

xo, Hayley



Caramel Coconut Muffins {And A Fun Giveaway from Coffee-Mate® & Girl Scouts®!} GIVEAWAY CLOSED


As a child, I was a Girl Scout.  I started as a Brownie and ended as a Brownie, and I did it mainly because I had serious patch envy and wanted all the patches, pins and badges my greedy little hands could get on. But of course, in order to get patches and pins, you actually had to do things.  Like charity work, special lessons, classwork, and even dreaded camping.  Yes, this camping hater even went camping for a patch.  I told you, I was obsessed.
However, through the patch-obtaining obstacles, I learned a lot of valuable tools from Girl Scouts.  One being that I have absolutely zero resistance when it comes to Girl Scout Cookies.  Two: my favorite Girl Scout Cookies were the Caramel Coconut cookies, or Samoas back in my heyday.  Three: how to survive in the wilderness (aka, in a campground — throw me into a national forest and I’m doomed).  Four: how to be kind to others, share, and be a girl’s-girl — this became extremely helpful when you’re an awkward teen in the throes of adolescence and meanie classmates.  And five: how to be especially clever.  How do you think I got those patches otherwise?  Being clever is how!
 Creating games and activities to earn patches, starting fundraisers to earn patches, begging my mom to be Cookie Mom to earn patches — my cleverness worked in my patch-obsession favor. Now as an adult, those tools I learned as a wee girl have stuck with me into adulthood (believe me, I still can’t resist those cookies).  But I’m really excited that I maintained that clever resourcefulness.
 Whether it be re-purposing an old shelf as a new photography backdrop or using applesauce instead of oil in cakes, I love coming up with new, easy “life hacks.” DSC_0143A

Nestle® Coffee-mate® recently launched the “One Smart Cookie” campaign which celebrates the spirit of making the world a better place through smart, clever and resourceful ideas which Girl Scouts are known for.  And after my Girl Scout training, I feel qualified to label myself a “Smart Cookie”, too! :)
One of my favorite “life hacks” actually has to do with using coffee creamer in place of milk for some baked recipes!  As I’m sure you’re aware, coffee creamer isn’t just your standard vanilla and hazelnut flavors anymore.  With flavors like peppermint mocha, Dulce de Leche, cinnamon cream, Crème Brulee, and these new Coffee-Mate Girl Scouts flavors in Caramel & Coconut and Thin Mints®, you can enjoy coffee flavors pretty much exactly how you want them — including tasting just like your favorite desserts!


When milk is called in recipes for baked donuts, muffins, or even cupcakes, you can replace the standard milk with flavored coffee creamer for a unique flavor… which is exactly what I did for these Caramel Coconut Muffins.  I used Coffee-mate’s Girl Scouts® Caramel & Coconut flavor in place to give the muffin a rich, intense caramel flavor with a hint of coconut — just like the delicious creamer. I think their Girl Scouts® Thin Mints® flavor would be particularly delish inside of a baked chocolate donut!
Another favorite kitchen life-hack of mine involves brown sugar, which is one of my favorite ingredients!  But as you know, brown sugar tends to clot and get hard, which makes it difficult to use and salvage.  Simply store a piece of white bread or a handful of marshmallows in your brown sugar container or bag, leave it overnight, and the bread or marshmallows will help soften the sugar!  No more wasted recipes or brown sugar due to thick and hard clots.

And now for the fun part — you have a chance to win a $100 Visa Card if you answer this question: what is YOUR favorite life-hack?  Can be anything from blow-drying your flats to break them in, or using an ice-cube tray to sort jewelry.  Tell me in the comments below!! 

Now back to this muffin business… These soft & tender muffins taste identical to those addictive Caramel Coconut Girl Scout Cookies® which is a great way to eat cookies for breakfast — in muffin form!  Paired with a hot cup of coffee enhanced with a splash of the same Coffee-mate® creamer, and you become the Smart Cookie for having the best breakfast ever, and for being able to enjoy Coffee-mate’s® Girl Scouts® Cookie flavors all year round!! DSC_0149A

4.7 from 14 reviews
Caramel Coconut Muffins
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 12
These soft muffins taste identical to the Caramel Coconut Cookies®, thanks to new Coffee-Mate® new line of Girl Scouts®creamers!
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup Coffee-Mate Caramel Coconut Coffee Creamer
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ pkg caramel bits
  • 1 cup toasted coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, eggs, coffee creamer and vanilla until blended. Stir in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon until a thick dough forms. There may still be clumps in the dough, but that's okay -- don't over-mix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each cup to just about the brim. Bake for approx. 5 minutes, then immediately turn down the heat to 375 degrees F and continue to bake for another 20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the muffins completely.
  4. Melt the caramels down in a microwave safe bowl with a splash of milk, or in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Dunk each top of the muffin into the caramel, allowing excess caramel to drip off. Dredge the caramel-topped muffins into the toasted coconut to coat completely. Allow the muffins to set before eating.


To learn more about all the fun experiences girls and volunteers have at Girl Scouts, visit And follow Coffee-mate on Pinterest, InstagramFacebook, and Twitter for more great ideas. You can also visit the Coffe-mate website!

And don’t forget to leave a comment below with your favorite life hack to enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

Sweepstakes Rules:

 No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

 The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 8/26-9/30.

Be sure to visit the Coffee-mate brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Have a delicious day!! xo, Hayley

Caramel Coconut Crunch Cheesecake #Cookies2Crunch with NESTLÉ® CRUNCH® Girl Scouts® Cookie Bars!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

crunchcheesecakeThe problem with Girl Scout Cookies (besides the fact that they contain calories)?

That they aren’t available year round!

Those girls sure know how to keep the general public hankering for Thin Mints the other three seasons of the year.  Those scheming kids.  *shakes fist*

So you can imagine my sheer delight when I spotted these NESTLÉ® CRUNCH® Girl Scouts® Cookie Candy Bars at my local Walmart!  Take a minute to let that sink into your brain.  Girl Scout Cookie Candy Bars.  Candy bars.  You read it correctly, friend.  I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming in the middle of a Walmart, too.  Probably wouldn’t have been the first time I’ve dreamt about Walmart, either — but that’s another story for another time.

crunch111Anywho, these are candy bars that taste identical to the three most popular Girl Scout Cookie flavors: Peanut Butter Creme, Caramel Coconut, and Thin Mints®.  And since I noticed the box threatened that these candy bars are a limited edition (eeek, they’re only available through the summertime!) I picked up multiples of each flavor.  Hey, if there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that none of these candy bars will go to waste in my home.


DSC_0712ABut one stood out of the pack — my ray of sunshine, the Caramel Coconut.  I cannot resist the tempting sweetness of coconut or the creamy, buttery lusciousness of caramel, so I knew I had to take this Caramel Coconut Candy Bar to the extreme, cheesecake style.

The result?  Hubba hubba.  My life?  It’s complete.

No longer will I have to pine for my Girl Scout cookie fix!  These NESTLÉ® CRUNCH® Girl Scouts® Candy Bars are the perfect solution for your Girl Scout cookie hankering.  And this pie?  The perfectest excuse in all of the excuses to buy a box (or two!) of the Caramel Coconut flavor.  One bite, man — you’ll be hooked.

That scheming Hayley.  *shakes fist at self*


5.0 from 2 reviews
Caramel Coconut Crunch Cheesecake #Cookies2Crunch with NESTLÉ® CRUNCH® Girl Scouts® Cookie Bars!
Recipe type: Cheesecake
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
This no-bake, super simple cheesecake is filled with the flavors of the classic Girl Scout cookie, Caramel Coconut! It also features new NESTLÉ® CRUNCH® Girl Scouts® Candy Bars throughout the luscious, creamy cheesecake center!
  • 1 prepared Oreo cookie crust
  • 2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 18 NESTLÉ® CRUNCH® Girl Scouts® Caramel Coconut Candy Bars, roughly chopped (1 & ½ boxes)
  • ½ cup caramel sundae sauce
  • 1 cup toasted coconut
  • Chocolate syrup (optional)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese with the paddle attachment until creamy. Slowly add in the milk and beat to combine. Add in brown sugar and vanilla, then beat in the pudding mix. Continue beating on low speed for about 2 minutes. Stir in ONE box of the chopped NESTLÉ® CRUNCH® Girl Scouts® Caramel Coconut Candy Bars (about 1 heaping cup) to combine.
  2. Very gently spread the mixture (it will be thick) into the prepared cookie crust. Refrigerate the cheesecake for about 3 hours or until firm.
  3. Drizzle the top of the cheesecake with caramel sauce and top with toasted coconut and remaining candy bar pieces. Drizzle with chocolate syrup, if desired. Store leftovers in fridge, covered.

DSC_0719AI meeeeean.. it’ssogoodandyouabsolutelyneedasliceorfive.  Trust.

Remember, these delectable candy bars are only available at Walmart until the end of summer, so stock up now! (You will absolutely, positively need to stock up — they’re highly addictive and great little prepackaged snacks or treats!)

Be sure to check out more fun treats from the kitchens of Nestle, and to check out Walmart for your delicious new favorite treats!

Have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley



Guiltless Lemon Coconut Cake

lemoncoconutHave you guys heard of Poshmark?

It’s kind of like eBay but pretty much consists of girlie clothes, shoes and accessories.  People sell things in their “closets” that they no longer want, but you can also work out trades or bundles with the sellers, and there’s no bidding required.  In other words, it’s pretty much my new favorite website.  However, there’s something eerily strange about Poshmark.

You see, when you order something, you pay for the item via Poshmark.  Poshmark holds onto the funds until the person ships the product and until you receive the product.  Once you get the product, you have to go into Poshmark and accept that you’ve received it.  It’s only then that the person gets their money.  Make sense?

However, what’s really weird is that every time I’ve ordered from Poshmark, I’ll always get an email and text reminder from them saying, “looks like your item has been delivered!  Please accept your item!” … literally SECONDS after the doorbell rings.  I’ll open the door, see the postman walking away, be reaching for my package, and bing!  Poshmark.

I get that they probably have a tracking ID on their packages or something, but have you ever had a package literally be absolutely, 100%, on-the-money correct when it’s been delivered?  Not I.  In fact, with most services, it won’t even update in the system that the item’s been delivered until a day later.  Or it’ll say ‘delivered’, but it won’t come for another couple hours.  But Poshmark is like.. the very second it happens, they know.

Which makes me wonder — is Poshmark really just an elaborate scheme for a 1984 kind of deal?  Is Poshmark Big Brother, watching our every moves?  Encouraging us to share and trade clothing with one another while tracking where we live?  Because how ELSE would they know to text me a reminder THE VERY SECOND I reach for my package?  Hm??  It’s like they have microscopic cameras installed around my house now or something.  Or maybe the postman is in on their grand operation to take over the world.

He probably hops back into his mail truck, alerts the Poshmark people over his walkie talkie that I’ve received the package, “now commence Operation Watchdog” and they know to send that text so I know that they know that I know they’re watching me.  Or something.

Or maybe I should stop online shopping.  Probably.  But then again, what kind of world would that be?

DSC_0195AAnywho, if Poshmark knows where I live — that’s one thing.  But if they start breakin’ in and stealing my Lemon Coconut Cake, that’s another.  This cake is easily one of my new favorites!  Lemon cake is just so reminiscent of springtime, and who can resist a light and tender cake bursting with fresh citrusy flavor?  And don’t even get me started on the coconut frosting.  It. Is. Phenomenal.  Light as a cloud, super fluffy, and loaded with coconutty goodness.  Paired together, the two make quite a team!  AND did I mention the cake is guiltless?

Now sit back, relax, and let this cake take over your world.


4.3 from 3 reviews
Guiltless Lemon Coconut Cake
Recipe type: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
Enjoy this spring-y, refreshing lemon coconut cake without the guilt! Smart ingredient swaps make this indulgent cake guilt-free!
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 & ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 small box sugar free/fat free instant lemon pudding mix
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (about one medium-sized lemon)
  • 1 box instant coconut pudding mix
  • 1 cup cold fat-free milk
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces fat free or reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip Free, thawed
  • Shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease two 9" cake pans with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, egg whites, water, applesauce, lemon pudding mix and lemon zest with a handheld electric mixer until combined. Portion the batter evenly among the two greased cake pans and bake for approximately 18-20 minutes or until the cakes spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before gently inverting them onto wire racks to cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, make your frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the coconut pudding, powdered sugar and milk and whisk until smooth. Stir in the cream cheese until combined. Then fold in the whipped topping into the mixture. Refrigerate the frosting until ready to serve, or about 1 hour.
  4. Place a cake round on a serving platter or cake stand. Top with HALF of the frosting mixture, spreading it just to about the border -- don't actually spread to the border or else it'll all mush out. Top with the remaining cake and frost the top. Generously pat on the shredded coconut to cover the top and sides of the cake. Serve!

DSC_0202AThis frosting is one of my favorites of all time!  I originally used it on my Lite Triple Coconut Cupcakes and fell in love.  It’s so soft, luscious and light, and sweet but not cloyingly so, thanks to the tang of the cream cheese.  I also love the raw chew of coconut, but if you’d rather, a crunchy toasted coconut would rock!  Plus, it totally makes this cake heavenly and pairs swimmingly with the bright burst of lemon!  If you’re a lemon fan, you oughta try this cake!  This would make adorable cupcakes, too! :)

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley



Blueberry Muffin Cake with Coconut Cookie Crumble {Wish Me Luck!!}

blueberrymuffincakeBlueberry muffins are my faaaaavorite muffins ever.

And a few weeks ago, I found a local shop nearby that sells the bessssssst blueberry muffins IN THE WORLD.

If you think you know what a good blueberry muffin tastes like, you my friend are sadly mistaken.  Unless you got it at Edwin’s!

(And sadly, I have already tried to bribe them for the recipe which they would not give me.  I spent an abnormal amount of time crying over this).

The thing that makes Edwin’s blueberry muffins so incredible is the TOP.  It is a crunchy umbrella of muffin sprinkled with blueberries that tastes like a cookie.  The texture — the buttery flavor — is insanity.  Now, normally I am tooootally Elaine Benes and only care about the top of the muffin (Top of the Muffin… To You!).  The stump is so forgettable, am I right?  But their muffin stump is every bit as good as that irresistible cookie-like top.  In fact, the stump is even more moist, fluffy and light and studded with alllll of those incredible, juicy blueberries.

So after I spent a week awhile in my dark bedroom listening to The Smiths and crying over the world’s cruelty, I emerged with the idea to attempt to recreate Edwin’s glorious blueberry muffin.  However, I wanted to switch things up and make something different — rebellious, of course — so I decided to make the muffin into a cake.  No discarded stumps, no shortage of all those plump bursts of berry.  And for that dreamy cookie top?  Why not top aforementioned cake with a cookie?

DSC_0804AOhhhhh mama.

Coincidentally, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council happened to invite me to participate in a unique contest they’re having featuring, you guessed it — those little blue dynamos called blueberries.  The contest asks bloggers to pair blueberries with a handful of different ingredients for a chance to win the grand prize of $2,000!  The ingredients you could pair with were balsamic, rosemary, banana & coconut.  And since I am a huuuuuge fan of all things coconut, I decided to use the tropical, fruity flavor as the crumbly, buttery cookie to top my genius cake.

DSC_0801ADid I already say ‘ohhhhh mamamaaaaaaaa‘?  Because damn.

Make this cake!!!
*cake recipe adapted from Averie’s Blueberry Yogurt Cake


4.8 from 4 reviews
Blueberry Muffin Cake with Coconut Cookie Crumble {Wish Me Luck!!}
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
Juicy blueberries are sprinkled throughout this moist, fluffy cake which is topped with the most incredible, buttery coconut cookie crumble.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 & ½ tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 & ½ cups blueberries (frozen, or fresh -- I used frozen and used them straight from the freezer. No need to thaw or their color may leak more throughout the batter).
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup ground coconut cookies (like the crunchy kind by Pepperidge Farm)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup old-fashioned quick-cooking oats
  • ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • White chocolate chips, if desired (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 9x9" baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut cookie crumble ingredients. Using a fork, pastry blender or your fingers, gently work the cubed cold butter into the dry mixture until coarse crumbs form. Make sure you incorporate all of the powder that tends to gather around the bottom of the bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the white sugar until pale in color and combined. Gradually stir in the buttermilk, coconut oil, lemon juice and vanilla until the mixture comes together. Stir in the flour, pinch of salt and the baking powder until the batter comes together. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan in an even layer. Evenly top with the coconut cookie crumble. Tent the pan loosely with foil and bake in the hot oven for approx. 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean. Sprinkle the top with the white chocolate chips, if you'd like. Cool the cake completely before cutting into squares. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

DSC_0802ANow, let me preface this by saying this is not Edwin’s blueberry muffin.  Edwin’s baked goods have a special place in my heart forever and ever (along with puppies, Betsey Johnson purses and excessive body glitter), but this cake is in an entirely different realm of its own.  The subtle coconut flavor woven throughout the light, airy texture pairs beautifully with the juicy burst of blueberries — enhanced in flavor from the bright acidity of the lemon juice (fresh is best .. just don’t tell my neighbor I swiped some lemons from her tree!).  And that crumble — helppp meeeeee.  It’s AWESOME.  The ground up coconut cookies act in place of some of the flour for the crumble, giving it more of a coconut flavor and a nutty,  buttery aroma.  Paired with the sweetened coconut flakes, there’s a great crunchy, chewy texture happening here that tastes like there’s a giant coconut oatmeal cookie sitting on top of this freshly-baked cake.  And if you’re a sweet tooth like myself, consider sprinkling some white chocolate chips on top right outta the oven — it totally makes this cake even sweeter!!

There is still a few more days to enter the Blueberry Council’s contest, so get cooking & enter away!  And of course, wish me luck for the grand prize :)

Have a happy day!!

xo, Hayley

Seven Layer Bar Cupcakes

sevenlayerbarcupcakesSince I’ve been single, I have been having THE WORST luck with guys EVER.

I’ve given a couple guys my number and they haven’t called.  I would chalk it up to some Cosmo-esque “dating mind game” thingie, but it’s been like 3 months and I’m pretty sure they would have called by now, or this is an exceptionally long game/method of torture.

And I’ve tried just talking to guys and being friendly with pathetic results.  At the store, I’ll say “hi” to someone and flash a friendly smile, only to get those weird dude head nods back.  I’ll make eyes with people in public, clearly inviting them to come say hi, but they just scurry away like I’m a big hairy oaf or something.

Just so we’re clear, I make double-sure that I’m NOT a big hairy oaf before leaving the house each day.  This means I dress in a presentable manner, I smell hygienic, and I wax all of my body hair as to not be mistaken as a Bigfoot.  Normal, everyday precautions for a girl fresh into the dating world.

Anywaaaays, a few days ago I was at the gym doing my stretches (aka, a nice way of saying ‘pretending to workout’) when I noticed this guy walk into the free weights area I was in.  He smiled at me as he walked past, set down a yoga mat, and went back to grab some more exercising accessories, again smiling as he passed by.  Of course I returned the grin, made eye contact, and continued to stretch.  Operation Make Sure He Knows You Exist was successful.

While planking, I had to do something so I wouldn’t keel over and die, so I kind of watched him secretively in a non-creepy person way and he was really cute.  I thought there’s no reason why I shouldn’t say anything, so as I was cleaning up my spot, he began cleaning his.  We met at the accessory rack where I just blurted out with a smile, “Hey!  You look really familiar.  Did you grow up around here?”

My thinking was that it would be a lame little icebreaker to initiate some conversation between Gym Hottie and I.  He would say “no” and I’d improvise some lame “oh well you look like someone I know/what’s your name?” kinda BS.

I was ready with my crafted response when he looked at me weird and said, “I’M FROM LONDON SO YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY KNOW ME” and walked away.  I didn’t even have a chance to register the insane response that occurred, so approximately 5.34982349 seconds later I managed to stammer “uhuhhhohhhokaayy.”

Needless to say, it was quite a strange experience being rudely reminded that I could not POSSIBLY know him and that obviously, he did not want to know me.  But ya know, I’m okay — while London Boy was cute, he did hike his socks up to his knees and I was a little disturbed by his sock height.  Socks can be a serious dealbreaker, you know.. and I had a hankering this guy probably sported some with sandals and that’s a fat no-no.

Anywho, I came home and decided to remind myself of how awesome I am, and how I have many layers to me.  Like how I always smell good, have soft skin, and like to bake good food.  And that got me thinking about one of my favorite things to bake + eat EVER, seven layer bars.  I have made so many versions of seven layer bars, but never anything else.  So when my good friend Julianne made an irresistible Seven Layer Bar Frosting, I knew I had to delve into the layered world of cupcakes!  Thus, these guys were born.


A “magic” cupcake topped with a seven layer bar frosting.  It’s to-die for, and it’s another reminder that you’re awesome — because it’s apparent you have great taste, even if your taste in men isn’t so good ;)


5.0 from 4 reviews
Seven Layer Bar Cupcakes
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18-20
Seven Layer Bars are one of my favorite things to bake + eat. Making them into a cute, single-serving cupcake was just a natural progression for my love!
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 1 small box instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • ¾ cup miniature marshmallow bits, divided
  • 1 cup miniature chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ⅔ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (32 oz) bag powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup butterscotch chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with about 18-20 paper liners; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Stir in the butterscotch pudding mix to combine. Lastly, add in ½ of the marshmallow bits, ½ of the mini chocolate chips, ½ of the graham cracker crumbs and ½ of the chopped pecans, stirring to blend.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners and bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter, vanilla extract and sweetened condensed milk until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually begin adding powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy.
  5. Gently mix in the remaining graham cracker crumbs, marshmallow bits, miniature chips and coconut.
  6. Pipe the frosting (using a very large round tip or else your tip will be clogged) high onto the cooled cupcakes; garnish with a couple of butterscotch chips. Serve!


It’s kind of surprising how identical these fluffy, plush cupcakes taste to seven layer bars!  The creaminess of the sweetened condensed milk — though a small amount — totally mimics that slightly caramelized, creamy flavor on top of baked magic bars.  The assortment of textures — chewy coconut, crunchy pecans, crispy little bits of marshmallow — all merry together to create this harmonious blend of flavors in a unique, innovative way.  Most may balk at the idea of a “chunky” frosting, but I just say this frosting is super-packed with all that magical goodness that make magic bars, well, magical.

I hope you enjoy!!

xo, Hayley



Key Lime Magic Bar Pie

keylimemagicHave you ever had a relationship from hell?  I’m sure if you’re a human and reading this, you probably have.

Whether he was that heart-throb in high school who turned out to be a total tool, or perhaps the lady who acted like the girl of your dreams for awhile.. until those dreams turned to living nightmares, I think we’ve all been there.

The good thing about these craptastic relationships is they usually teach you something vital about yourself.  Like, if your boyfriend always accused you of cheating on him, he was probably insecure with himself and the fact that you are secure.  Or if your ex acted less like an adult and more like a baby, maybe it says you’re the type that likes to nurture and to take care of someone.. but someone your own age, or you know, an actual kid that isn’t your significant other.

I’ve learned a lot of things from ex boyfriends, but the main thing I have learned from one relationship in particular is something I remind myself of everyday.  Shall I enchant you with a story?

Flash back to 2008.  I had just graduated high school, was working at a portrait studio part-time, and America’s Next Top Model was my favorite TV show.  I was also dating this guy — we’ll call him Macho Man — and I was totally head over heels for him.  We’d been together over a year by that summer of ’08, and I was pretty much convinced, like most naive 17-year old girls with pink hair who love ANTM, that I was going to marry him.

Oh, and before we proceed, let me clarify the ‘Macho Man’ name.  Macho Man was, well, a macho kinda dude.  He wore bro tanks that showed off his ripped triceps, braaaah and wore his baseball caps at a slight askew.  He also was obsessed with working out (like, he would do it on the daily for four hours a day and wouldn’t answer his phone during his workouts), ate nothing but plain chicken and exercise supplements and drank nothing but muscle milk which probably explained his gargantuan muscles, erratic behavior, and sudden taste in Iron Maiden.

Anywhoooo, one day I called him and he wouldn’t return my phone call.  I tried again.. and again.. and obsessively another 3472348 more times, per the usual paranoid-girl-standards, and he wouldn’t.pick.up.  Convinced his muscles had self-imploded, he’d choked on a chicken chunk or had been crushed by a free weight, I had a sleepless night of attempting to call him and trying to calm my nerves, to no avail.  Fiiiinally, the next evening (which equals 54981616541 years in girl-time), he called and said he’d “left his phone” somewhere and had just gotten it back. #redflag, but I wanted so desperately to believe that Macho Man, normally not the forgetful type, just had a random bout of amnesia and left his cellular device somewhere over the course of 24 hours.

But then things started getting fishy, like, he would continue to ignore my calls, and when he did pick up, he was aloof and curt.  I would ask him how his day went at work and he’d vaguely say “fine”, and then out of nowhere, told me about this homeless girl who had been hired there recently. #redflag2 I didn’t seem to put the equation of I rarely answer your callsI am a jerk on the phone and don’t say anything random fact about homeless girl = big trouble, together.

So, fed up with not having my calls answered once an hour, I drove my butt over to his house and demanded to know what was going on.  It was then that informed me we should probably break up because he was seeing someone.

Seeing someone?  I thought he was seeing me?  My mind began racing, heart began breaking, as I stood in his doorway, prepared for the rest of this information.

“So when you ‘lost your phone’, were you really seeing someone else?” I asked.  He nodded.  “Who is it?”  I asked.
“The new girl from my work,” he replied.  Wait.  Hoooooooold your horses, hombre.
“…the homeless person?” I asked.
“Yeah, her name is Candy,” he answered.
“So you cheated on me… with a homeless person?” I asked.
“Yeah.  Sorry about that.”

And that was the story of when my boyfriend cheated on me.. with a homeless person.

It was from this relationship that I learned that crucial information about myself: that I am awesome, and not homeless.  And I remind myself that everyday, because honestly, it’s a good thing to remember.  I mean, the fact that I am awesome and have a home are some pretty attractive qualities in a mate, but Macho Man was too hopped on testosterone pills and homeless-fever to see that — and honestly, it’s his loss.  I’m pretty sure he realized that when it sank in that he was dating a homeless person named Candy. 

However, like most people would be, I was shattered.  I definitely could have used some comfort food and Hayley of the Future to console me by saying, shhh, it’s okay.  Eat this delicious Key Lime Magic Bar Pie.  And also, she was homeless.  I mean, you’re going to milk so much out of this story in a couple years!!  Like, you’re going to tell it on the internet and get paid for it.  That’s awesome!!  So are you!  And you have a home!  Go, You!!


Hayley of the Present wants you to eat this pie.  Take comfort in knowing that you too, are awesome.  And are not the other (homeless) woman.


5.0 from 2 reviews
Key Lime Magic Bar Pie
Recipe type: Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
This fantastic pie combines tropical flavors like coconut, key lime and macadamia nuts in the form of a magic bar. All that's missing is the beach!
  • 1 box Key Lime cake/cookie mix
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup macadamia nuts (chopped, if large)
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup coarsely crushed cookies (I used coconut flavored cookies, but you could also use graham crackers)
  • ½ can sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 9" pie pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, oil and lime zest until blended. Press the dough into the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for approx. 12 minutes.
  3. Remove the pie from the oven and immediately top with the coconut, white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts and coarsely crushed cookies evenly. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the pie to coat.
  4. Return the pie to the oven to bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the center is mostly set and the top is lightly browned. Cool the pie completely before cutting into wedges. Serve with whipped cream if you'd like!

I have to say, five years later, this pie makes up for the fact that I was cheated on.  And definitely makes me feel happy that I am fortunate enough to have an oven to bake it in.  And, you know, fortunate enough not to have a boyfriend who prefers homeless girls over me.


The flavors of a magic bar–the coconut, nuts, chips and sweetened condensed milk–are transported from the typical bar shape into this fun and tropical pie.  The key lime base is bright and tart and is topped generously with all those different flavors and textures, providing sweet, salty and tart profiles in each bite.  You’ll love it!  All that’s missing is the beach.

Have a fantastic Monday!!

xo, Hayley







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