Sparkling Italian Creme Sodas with Canada Dry!

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

sparklingsodasWhen I was a little girl, my family would occasionally take me out to dinner at this local spaghetti restaurant.  The food was your standard Ragu-type fare — in other words, nothing remotely “Italian.”  But they did have the best Italian Creme Sodas that I looked forward to ordering every time we dined there.  There was something about the combination of the sparkling water combined with that sweet cherry syrup, the smooth cream and the tower of whipped cream that had Lil Hayley hook, line & sinker.  It was probably because it was sweet, a drink topped with whipped cream, and tasted like I was drinking something glittery and sparkly — as a kid, you want to imagine everything you consume is magical.  And with the carbonation, it felt like I was having some mystical fairy drink.

But unlike Lil Hayley, Big Hayley doesn’t have the same metabolism, so drinking typical Italian Creme Sodas on the regular isn’t necessarily diet-friendly *cries.*  But thankfully, I figured out an ingenious way to make my own homemade and lightened-up Italian Creme Sodas at home using new Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water.

Canada Dry’s new Sparkling Seltzer Water has zero calories, zero sodium and zero caffeine.  The Lemon Lime and Triple Berry waters are unsweetened and flavored naturally, and they taste awesome.  They’re such a refreshing, bubbly beverage that is so much more nutritious than your standard carbonated soda.  It’s water… only better.

DSC_0095aAnd this Sparkling Seltzer Water is the base of these lightened-up Italian Creme Sodas.  Simply combine the Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water, a couple Tablespoons of sugar-free flavored syrup, a splash of creme, and ice!  Top with fat-free whipped cream and a cherry or lime wedge if you’d like, and voila!  You’ll be sipping pretty and adding some serious sparkle to your meal in no time :)

Ready to drink like a sparkly fairy princess?!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Sparkling Italian Creme Sodas with Canada Dry!
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Refreshing, nearly fat-free and super low-cal, these Sparkling Italian Creme Sodas will add some delicious sparkle to your life!
Ingredients
  • FOR BERRY ITALIAN SODAS:
  • 2 bottles (16.9 fl oz each) Canada Dry Triple Berry Sparkling Seltzer Water
  • 6 Tbsp sugar-free raspberry syrup
  • 2 Tbsp fat-free half & half
  • 10 ice cubes
  • Fat-Free whipped cream
  • Cherries or chopped berries
  • FOR LEMON LIME ITALIAN SODAS:
  • 2 bottles (16.9 fl oz each) Canada Dry Lemon Lime Sparkling Seltzer Water
  • 6 Tbsp lemon juice or low-calorie lemonade
  • 2 Tbsp fat-free half & half
  • 10 ice cubes
  • Fat-Free whipped cream
  • Lime or lemon wedges, optional
Instructions
  1. Distribute 5 ice cubes among two mason jars or cups. Pour 8 ounces of Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water into each glass. Top each glass with THREE (3) Tablespoons of flavored syrup or juice and ONE (1) Tablespoon of fat-free half & half. Do not stir the mixture!
  2. Top each glass with a heavy helping of fat-free whipped cream and garnish with a cherry, chopped berries or lemon/lime wedges. Serve immediately!

DSC_0107AThese Sparkling Italian Creme Sodas could not be simpler to make!  They’re light, super refreshing on a hot day, and such a great pick-me-up treat for kids and adults alike!  The Sparkling Seltzer Water tastes phenomenal and those fruity flavors definitely shine in these drinks.  They aren’t cloyingly sweet; just the right amount hits you with a nice, fruity punch and lots of sparkle.  These will surely become a new family favorite!!

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I found my Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water’s in the Soda/Flavored Water aisle at my local Walmart.  It was super easy to find and sectioned on an endcap.  Right now, you can save 75 cents off any Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water at Walmart stores — just click HERE!.  Or, if you share the page, you can save $1.75… which is worth it so you can stock up on all four flavors: Original, Lemon Lime, Triple Berry & Pomegranate Cherry!!  Just click the picture below to get your coupon!! :)

Canada-Dry-Sparkling-Seltzer-WaterHave a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

 

 

 

Homemade Its-Its

homemadeitsitssOne of my favorite childhood pasttimes was swimming.

I refused to leave the water, only to be bribed out with the promise of an ice cream bar or a Happy Meal.

My grandma had a diving board and my brother, sister and I (along with our friends, who were always over) would spend hours swimming, diving, belly-flopping and splashing, often having diving and flipping contests.  After my grandma’s stories were over, she would bring out tall cookie dough ice cream cones and greet us poolside after our grueling competition of who had the best backflip.

However, one of my favorite treats was more rare to be presented to us poolside, and those were Its-Its.  Its-Its are a local treat made in San Francisco that I would always beg for, but that we’d never get since there are only 3 to a pack and they were usually more expensive.  (Also, grandma was known for buying the cheaper versions of ice cream bars; the kinds that snap off and break before your tongue even touches it, so a $5 3-pack of sandwiches was equal to a trillion sub-par popsicles and in her mind, popsicles won).  But when my begging was successful — oh boy.  I was in ice cream heaven.

DSC_0429AIts-Its are a messy, glorified ice cream sandwich made with chewy oatmeal cookies, a thick layer of vanilla ice cream, and coated entirely in chocolate.  They also have mint versions, but nothing beats the original, irresistible combination of cold, vanilla ice cream smooshed between those hearty, cinnamon-spiced oatmeal cookies.  We’d all eat them with our feet dangling in the water, ice cream dripping down our hands and chocolate on our fingertips, but every bite was so good that no one cared about making a drippy mess.  We’d all swim it off anyway.

I’d made Its-Its before, but the pictures in the post were terrible and frankly, I wanted to redo it for ya since the post didn’t do them justice.  I also tweaked the cookie recipe — this one is on the thinner side which is more like the actual Its-Its, and has a very similar texture and flavor.  If you’ve never had an Its-It before, you’re in for a real treat!  And if you have, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how similar these sammies taste to the real deal!

DSC_0418A*cookie recipe from my Oatmeal Creme Pies 

5.0 from 4 reviews
Homemade Its-Its
Author: 
Recipe type: Frozen Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
Its-Its are a popular treat here in Northern California. They combine chewy, spiced oatmeal cookies sandwiched around a thick hunk of vanilla ice cream, then coated in chocolate. Drippy, messy but super irresistible, these treats will become your family's new favorite ice cream sandwich!
Ingredients
  • 1 & ¼ cup [2 & ½ sticks] butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 9 cups vanilla ice cream (homemade, or your favorite store-bought is fine)
  • 1 pkg chocolate Candiquik
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking pans with silicone liners or spray lightly with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar with the paddle attachment until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add in the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves until combined. Lastly, stir in the oats.
  3. Drop cookie dough by rounded Tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheets, about 1-2" apart. Bake for approx. 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure they're evenly baked. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes before very carefully transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Once cookies are cool, take a cookie and place a huge ½ cup-sized dollop of vanilla ice cream onto one half of the cookie; sandwich with another cookie. Allow the sandwiched cookies to freeze for about 30 minutes to firm up.
  5. Prepare Candiquik according to package directions. Dip half of each sandwich into the Candiquik and return to the prepared sheet to allow the chocolate to set. Store leftovers in the freezer, wrapped up.

DSC_0425AWhat I love about Its-Its are their flavor (obviously) but how simple they are, too — not only to whip up, but simple in that they’re just three components that work SO well together!  Feel free to experiment using mint chip ice cream (as they’re known for their mint flavor, too!) or even Dulce de Leche ice cream, cookies ‘n cream, chocolate, or cookie dough!

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

Copycat Chocolate & Vanilla Wendy’s Frosties

copycatfrostiesFriends, it’s time you answered the age-old question for me.  Do YOU dip your fries in Frosties?

Personally, I find it to be a requirement every time I visit Wendy’s.  Nothing beats that sweet and salty combination of crispy, salted French fries dipped into that smooth, chocolate-y, cold Frosty.  Anytime sweet and salty is involved together, I’m game, and this happens to be one of my favorite combinations!  So. Stinkin’. Good.

As a kid, my siblings and I spent our summers at my grandma’s house just down the street.  We spent hours and hours swimming in her pool, watching Scooby Doo while we ate our (usually fast food) lunch, and then relaxed in the AC while we played Legos when it got too hot outside.

My parents were both quite strict and never let us ride our bikes around the block unsupervised, much less walk anywhere without an adult.  So of course, being the brats we were, we would convince our grandma to pleeeeease let us walk up to Wendy’s (a good mile away on a busy road) so we could buy chicken nuggets, fries, and Frosties.  And being a grandma who is incapable of saying no to our adorable faces, she said yes, handed us a $10 bill, and sent us on our way with pool-water hair and flip-flops to walk up to Wendy’s.  I remember thinking I was so cool as I flopped along the road with my younger brother and best friend, eager to get our Frosty fixes.

DSC_0410ASo understandably, Frosties have quite a special place in my heart.  I grew up slurping them, dunking my fries in ‘em, and rebelling while drinking them down a busy road without my parents knowing.  What a badass.

And now, it’s time for another age-old question: Chocolate, or Vanilla?

I’m normally a vanilla girl all the way, but there are some chocolate things I can’t get enough of, those being: chocolate frosting, chocolate milk, and chocolate milkshakes/Frosties.  There’s something so delicious and satisfying about a frosty chocolate shake or creamy chocolate icing on a vanilla cake.  In fact, whenever I’m making something with chocolate frosting, it takes all of my willpower not to eat the entire bowl.  But buttercream?  I pass it up no problem.

DSC_0407AHowever, I get it — not all of us are chocolate people, my family especially.  While we all love our beloved original Frosties, my mom and sister have a serous preference for the vanilla flavored one.  So when I saw that making Homemade Chocolate Frosties was just a matter of a few simple ingredients, I knew making Homemade Vanilla Frosties would be just as simple, too.  So I made ‘em both and… wow.  If you’re stuck between chocolate and vanilla, I’m afraid this won’t help since both are AMAZING.  The texture and taste is IDENTICAL to Wendy’s version, but with three simple ingredients, made in minutes in the comfort of your own home, and significantly lower-cal than the classic fast food version.

Since making these last week, my family and I have powered through several batches, and one is freezing as we speak right now.  I guarantee this foolproof recipe will quickly become a family favorite for its ease and deliciousness!  So… chocolate, vanilla, or never-answering-that-question-again-because-you-can-have-both?  I’ll take the latter :)

DSC_0406A*adapted from here 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Copycat Chocolate & Vanilla Wendy's Frosties
Author: 
Recipe type: Ice Cream/Frozen Desserts
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Wendy's Frosties are one of my favorite treats, but driving to the nearest Wendy's is often a chore in the high heat of summertime. These Frosties are made in minutes and taste identical to the real deal, AND are only four ingredients! They're sure to become a new family favorite!
Ingredients
  • FOR ORIGINAL CHOCOLATE FROSTIES:
  • 1 cup fat-free (or 1%) chocolate milk
  • ¼ cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp Coffee-Mate Sugar-Free Chocolate powdered coffee creamer
  • 1 tub (16 oz) Cool Whip Free, frozen
  • FOR VANILLA FROSTIES:
  • 1 cup fat-free (or 1%) milk
  • ¼ cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp Coffee-Mate Sugar-Free Vanilla powdered coffee creamer
  • 1 tub (16 oz) Cool Whip Free, frozen
Instructions
  1. In a blender (I LOVE using my Ninja Mega Kitchen System Blender for this!), combine the milk, sweetened condensed milk, powdered coffee creamer and Cool Whip Free (I like to chop the frozen Cool Whip in half with a spoon to make it easier to fit in the blender. Also, make sure your Cool Whip is still frozen!) Process the Frosty in the blender for about 30 seconds or until completely smooth.
  2. Pour the Frosties evenly among two tall glasses (I used pint-sized mason jars) and place in the freezer to chill, about 30-60 minutes. I prefer mine at the 60 minute mark as they're thicker and more of a genuine Frosty consistency.
  3. Serve immediately, or store leftovers in the freezer. Just thaw in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes, or until your preferred consistency, before consuming. This is very easily doubled!

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DSC_0415AI can guarantee you probably have these simple, everyday ingredients on hand right now — and why you aren’t making these Homemade Frosties is beyond me!  I love how identical the texture and flavor of these Homemade Frosties are to the original fast-food version — I seriously could NOT believe how tasty they were!  Most Frosty recipes require you to blend ice into the mixture to get that frosty texture — but freezing the mixture is what gives it that thickness and consistency without adding all of that extra chunk from the ice.  If you don’t have the powdered coffee creamers on hand, no worries — cocoa powder works in a pinch, but I like the delicious, creamy flavor and texture that the powdered creamers offer, especially the vanilla one.  It gives it that extra little bump that make these frozen treats so irresistible :)

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

Sherbet Lemonade Fizz {And A Cascade Ice Giveaway!!}

sherbetfizzI interrupt your normal daily activities to ask you a burning question: When speaking of a fruit-based dairy product sold in the frozen section, do you pronounce it ‘sherbET’, or ‘sherBERT’?

I have always called it ‘sherbET’ because, well, it’s just how I always called it.  No rhyme or reason as to why I never gave it a proper ‘Bert’ name.  But I know people who use the Bert term, and while I respect it, all I hear is, “Sure, Bert!” like you’re agreeing to something that someone named Bert said.

It just reminds me of that classic Airplane quote:

“Can you fly this plane, and land it?”
“Surely you can’t be serious.”
“I am serious.. and don’t call me Shirley.”

Just like when people pronounce ‘both’ like ‘bolth’, ‘draw’ like ‘drawr’ and ‘wash’ like ‘warsh.’  I get what you’re saying, I just have trouble concentrating with the extra letter present.  Then again, this is coming from someone who regularly creates new words and is used to no one ever understanding me. *sigh*

Anyway, no matter how you pronounce it, I have an awesome recipe and GIVEAWAY for you today!  Have you guys heard of Cascade Ice?  Cascade Ice is a zero-calorie, sugar-free flavored sparkling water that eliminates the unhealthy, unnecessary extras like sugar, sodium, carbs, caffeine and gluten.  In addition to zero-calorie, Cascade Ice also has a Sparkling Organic, Sparkling Essence and a Sparkling Mixer line.  And Cascade Ice comes in 21 fantastic flavors, like Orange Mango, Acai Blueberry Pomegranate, Blueberry Watermelon, and Pink Grapefruit, to name a few.

DSC_0383AI fell in love with Cascade Ice when I finally vowed to give up soda, and I haven’t looked back since!  My absolute favorite is the Coconut, with Blueberry Watermelon following closely behind :) Cascade Ice is an awesome soda replacement since it offers that same fizz you love with an amazing flavor, just zero-calorie and sugar-free, making it a great alternative that’s every bit as refreshing — just much healthier.  And it’s caffeine-free, so it makes a great option for those avoiding caffeine, or something to give to kids even before bedtime.

DSC_0378ASo if you’d like to win your own prize pack of Cascade Ice, just use the Rafflecopter below to enter! :) I’ll randomly select a winner on Saturday, June 14 :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the meantime, can I interest you guys in a super refreshing and delicious drink?  This Sherbet Lemonade Fizz is a combination between a drink, a punch, and a freezy treat that will definitely please a crowd.  It only has a couple of easy ingredients and comes together in seconds, so you’ll be sipping pretty in no time.

Bottoms up, friends!!

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Sherbet Lemonade Fizz {And A Cascade Ice Giveaway!!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This frosty, chilly drink will please kids and adults alike! Comes together in minutes and is super tasty and refreshing on a hot day!
Ingredients
  • About ½ cup rainbow sherbet (or more to suit your preferences)
  • 1 bottle Cascade Ice Lemonade
  • 1 cup 10-calorie fruit punch
Instructions
  1. Using a cookie dough scoop, scoop miniature rounds of sherbet equally among both cups. I used about 4-5 scoops per cup.
  2. Pour ½ cup of the fruit punch among both cups. Top with Cascade Ice Lemonade and serve!
  3. If you want this extra freezy, consider briefly freezing the glasses before serving. You could also blend this mixture together with a couple ice cubes for a frosty treat!

DSC_0387AThese Sherbet Lemonade Fizzes are DELICIOUS and SO refreshing!  I love freezing my glasses before hand to make them extra chilly, especially after a hot day outside.  They’re great to serve with dinner or on their own as a fantastic dessert for kids and adults alike.  And if you’re feeling naughty, I wouldn’t be opposed to spiking these scrumptious drinks with some rum or vodka — think how tasty a lemon vodka would be here! :)

Be sure to connect with Cascade Ice for news, events, product info and more!  You can connect with them on their blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.  Thanks for entering, and good luck!!

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

Cosmic Cupcake Ice Cream {And a Little Debbie Giveaway!!}

cosmiccupcakeI am a self-proclaimed Little Debbie fiend.

loveeeeee me some Little Debbie snacks!  Nutty Bars, Cloud Cakes, Star Crunch… you name it, I’ve eaten it.  And grew up eating it!  My childhood fondly included snacking on Nutty Bars during the summertime, getting my fingers melty with chocolate and peanut butter.  Or picking off all of the rainbow bits on my Cosmic Brownies before savoring each fudgy bite.

Little Debbie recently emailed me and asked me if I would so kindly sample their new Cosmic Cupcakes, I jumped at the chance!  Sample a brand spankin’ new Little Debbie product?  Twist my arm :)

DSC_0299AThese Cosmic Cupcakes are the cupcake (duh) form of their classic Cosmic Brownies.  Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a fudgy chocolate ganache and rainbow bits with a sweet and fluffy cream center in the middle.

AY’all.  They are on point.  Forreal, I was shoveling them in as if they were going outta style.  Even my normal chocolate-neutral family was eating cupcake after cupcake.  They’re SO GOOD.  We even like them cold!  And they’re practically required with a tall glass of milk!

Plus, to help launch the Cosmic Cupcakes and to prepare for summertime (read: tons of camping!), Little Debbie is throwing a fun Spring Into The Great Outdoors contest where they’re giving away The Ultimate Family Campsite, valued at over $1,750!  The more chances you enter, the more chances there are to win!  Little Debbie is also giving away weekly prizes, too, so be sure to enter for one of the First or Runner-Up prizes!  Be sure to visit HERE to enter to win!!

DSC_0294ANow.. onto these Cosmic Cupcakes.  While they’re scrumptious on their own, I concocted an evil-genius plan to use ‘em up involving ice cream.  This homemade ice cream is FOUR ingredients (including the Cosmic Cupcakes!!) and is made in just a few hours.  Better yet, make it first thing in the morning and you’ll be having cake cones piled high with this creamy, dreamy ice cream by dinnertime.

Pardon me while I drool everywhere.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Cosmic Cupcake Ice Cream {And a Little Debbie Giveaway!!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Ice Cream, Frozen Desserts
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
This four-ingredient ice cream doesn't require fancy rock salts or even an ice cream machine! Made in minutes, creamy and dreamy and stuffed with Little Debbie's Cosmic Cupcakes!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup chocolate sundae sauce
  • 1 box (6 cupcakes) Little Debbie Cosmic Cupcakes, roughly chopped
  • Sprinkles, optional
Instructions
  1. First, place the roughly chopped pieces of the Cosmic Cupcakes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Briefly freeze the cupcake pieces for about 10 minutes or until firm, and freeze the stand mixer bowl as well (stainless steel) or pop in the fridge (glass) so it's chilled.
  2. Once the bowl is chilled, attach it back to your stand mixer and add the heavy cream. Using a wire whisk attachment, whip the cream on high speed until fluffy and stiff peaks have formed, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the chocolate syrup. Gently fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture, about 5 good turns or until combined. You don't want to stir too much or it will deflate your whipped cream, so try to combine it as best and gently as possible. Lightly stir in the frozen chunks of the Cosmic Cupcakes.
  4. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe plastic container and freeze for 6 hours or overnight (overnight recommended) until ice cream is firm. Top the ice cream with sprinkles, if you'd like. Serve!

DSC_0310AI love this super creamy ice cream!  Not only is it light and airy, but it’s filled with those delectable chunks of Cosmic Cupcakes!  I love taking a bite of a soft chunk of chocolate cake and getting that surprise pocket of fluffy marshmallow filling swirled inside of the ice cream.  I also love that the ice cream base isn’t necessarily chocolate — the chocolate syrup helps give it a chocolate undertone but almost makes it taste like chocolate whipped cream!  This is seriously my new favorite ice cream and a great way to use the new Little Debbie Cosmic Cupcakes… if you don’t eat them plain first :)

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

I was generously provided with Little Debbie’s new Cosmic Cupcakes to review.  I was not monetarily compensated for this post and my opinions are 100% my own.  

Blondie Overload Cupcakes

blondieoverloadIn a past life, I am positive I was a vigilante.

My entire life as Hayley, I have been hell-bent on always helping the underdog, upholding justice, standing up for what is right and tearing down what’s wrong.  While this sounds really Joan-of-Arc-y and admirable, it usually just means I stir up trouble in lame minor situations and don’t actually crusade for the mass population or save lives or anything.  Sorry to get your hopes up.

More than likely, it most commonly occurs in my current workplace, wherever and whatever that may be.  I have a knack for working with a handful of ridiculous people at every job I’ve been employed at and thus have a special honing skill to right the wrongs the workforce does.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not one of those ninnies who tattles on people for unnecessary things.  And I’m not one to nitpick every. little. thing.  But if something SUPER irks me, or especially if it interferes with my productivity or efficiency, you bet your bottom dollah I am gonna say something to stand up for myself — and for who I like to believe are other shy people, too afraid to say anything for themselves.  Because I can’t be the only person bothered by a girl literally sing-moaning in the same workspace, can I?  (We’re talking Mariah-Carey oohh0h0h0hkooohhh yeeeaahheuahhhhadh ooooh baaaaaby kinda moan-singing.  Loudly.  Daily.)

My first job I worked for a call center at a portrait studio.  They were locally owned and pathetically stingy, so they’d only hire a small handful of us at a time to manage the huge increase in calls for session scheduling.  Anyway, I worked 8-hour days and thus had a 30-minute lunch, per State of California laws.  I remember one day taking my lunch at my desk with my phone logged off, and I read a magazine and ate quietly.  Suddenly, my rather rotund supervisor, semblant of a gluttonous sloth, wobbled in and informed me that I would need to continue answering phones on my lunch break.

However, I was somehow well-versed in the inner workings of the California Labor Board Laws (don’t ask — some things ya just know, ya know?) and I politely informed sloth-woman that lunch breaks are free time for the employee and employers are not able to ask us to work on our lunch; it’s against the law.  Sloth-woman did not like this and reminded me how busy we were and how I could “get into trouble” for not taking calls.

It was then — that little threat of trouble — that sent the wild vigilante woman inside of me raging, spear in hand, venom on the tongue, ready to fight back.  Oh no she didn’t.  She deffffffinitely didn’t just tell me to interrupt my orange-chicken-eating to answer phone calls on MY law-mandated break!  Bitch please.

“Actually,” I quipped, “it’s against the law.  So if you’re planning on getting me into trouble for not working on my state-mandated lunch period, I will be happy to let the Labor Board know.”

Oh shiiiiiiiit son.  It hit the fan.

Sloth-woman did not like my sass and walked away saying, “we could really use your help” and warbled off to do a whole lot of nothing.  I continued not to answer calls because hello, it’s against the law, and when Sloth-woman came back to ask another employee to do the same, I repeated the same sentence over and over again, standing up for my shy, sweet coworker who wouldn’t know Labor Laws like few weird, vigilante 17-year old girls do.  And it felt good, y’know?  Sticking up to the man.  Doing a public service.  Serving the bad guys with some justice!

And FYI, if you ever want to piss off an employer, thoroughly read your state’s labor laws.  I guarantee 90% of the jobs out there — even your so-called professional grown-up job — is violating at least one law.  And if you hate your job enough, it’s surprisingly really friggin’ satisfying to let a supervisor know that they’re violating your rights as an employee.  It makes the wild vigilante woman inside of me yodel with delight and pound her chest, Tarzan-style.

DSC_0238AAnyway, when I’m not upholding California’s labor laws, I am standing up for one of my favorite (and one of the most underrated) desserts ever: the blondie.  Blondies are a brownie’s brown sugar-y cousin.  Rich, sumptuous, buttery, with a hint of spice, blondies are my absolute favorite dessert.  I love their simplicity yet the complexity of flavors.  And the versatility!  Throw whatever you want in ‘em and it instantly jazzes up the variety.

DSC_0250AHowever, today’s blondies are transformed into cupcakes!  Buttery, golden delicious cupcakes flavored just like blondies– and made with ICE CREAM(!!!!!)– Ben & Jerry’s exclusive new flavor: Rockin’ Blondies!  I found this flavor at Target (I believe it’s only available there) and it is TODIEFOORRRRRRRR.

Take a bite.  Your mouth will totally love you for it.

DSC_0250A

5.0 from 2 reviews
Blondie Overload Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
Blondies are my dessert soulmate. But when you pair blondies with cupcakes, it becomes LIFE-CHANGING. And honey, change is goooooood.
Ingredients
  • FOR CUPCAKES:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 pint Ben & Jerry's Rockin' Blondies ice cream, softened to room temperature
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • FOR FROSTING:
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Milk (to thin icing, if necessary)
  • Cooked blondies, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • Caramel sundae syrup
  • Butterscotch chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, softened ice cream, oil, eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer until completely combined, about 2 minutes. Evenly distribute the batter among the muffin tins, filling about ¾ full.
  3. Bake for approx. 15-17 minutes or until tops are just about set and have a golden hue. Cool the cupcakes completely.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, until frosting is light, fluffy, and holds it shape well. Use the milk to thin the icing if it is too thick.
  5. Pipe the icing high onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with the crumbled/cubed blondie pieces, butterscotch chips and drizzle with caramel sundae syrup. If you want to get extra fancy, sprinkle with some coarse sea salt before serving. Store leftovers airtight in the fridge, about 4 days; however, best served the same day-next day.

DSC_0262AThese aren’t called Blondie Overload Cupcakes for nothing — they truly resemble a blondie from the buttery cake base to the rich, sweet frosting to the chewy, slightly-spiced blondie chunks adorning the tops of these decadent cupcakes.  At first I was wary about using melted ice cream as the liquid in my cupcakes, but the idea turned out brilliantly.  The melted ice cream substitutes the water or milk you’d normally mix into the cake mix, giving it a very rich, very creamy texture and flavor.  Plus, since the ice cream already has those signature blondie flavors–brown sugar, butter, toffee, butterscotch–it just added another complexity to the cupcake.

My sister FLIPPPPPPED for these, and I know you will, too!

Have a delicious weekend!

xo, Hayley

Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake

icecreamcookie

 

So y’all know how I feel about House Hunters.

And yes, those people continue to make me want to punch myself in the face.

But recently, while torturing myself watching it over the weekend, I learned something incredibly disturbing about home buying.

Some homes do not have ovens.

OVENS.

Like, it’d be understandable if a home didn’t have a convection oven.  Or a helipad. Or a bomb shelter only activated when you pull a secret book off a fake bookshelf.  But a regular oven?

WHAT KIND OF WORLD DO WE LIVE IN?!

The inventors of ovens didn’t just invent these amazing, incredible, life-changing appliances for giggles.  They invented them because the world NEEDS ovens.  The world begs for oven-roasted chicken, oven-cooked turkey, freshly-oven-baked cookies.  There’s just something so inexplicably magical about the oven.  In my science-y mind, I predict that little cold-blooded fairies live inside of the oven and when you put something inside of it, they fly out and start to work their oven-fairy magic making your dish into something just.. damn good.

That’s why food tastes better when it comes from an oven.  From oven-fairy love.  And honestly, you can’t dispute that.  And if you can, I don’t want to talk to you because I only like to surround myself with people who believe in oven fairies.

HOOWEEEVER, I do understand that, at times, turning on the oven can be a total drag (but still, thanking my lucky fairies it’s there!!).  Like when the temperature outside is approaching Hades-level and the idea of turning on the oven sounds about as appealing as lighting your eyebrows on fire.  And I can relate.  Sacramento summers are miserable, annual tests of my human resilience.  So embracing a delicious, satisfying no-bake recipe is ideal.

Enter this Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake.  Holy bananas, it’s freakin’ ridiculous.  If you’re a fan of cookie dough, cake, ice cream, food, awesome things, and oven fairies, then you’ll probably appreciate this genius recipe, combining the elements of baked goods with the ease and chilliness of something no-bake and frozen.

Now go promise your oven that it isn’t you, it’s me, explain you’ll kiss + makeup later, and make this damn cake.

DSC_2025A

4.6 from 5 reviews
Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
Chill off with this incredible cake made of scrumptious, buttery cookie dough topped with a layer of creamy vanilla ice cream. Ideal for a hot or lazy day!
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 & ½ cups - 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & ½ cups miniature chocolate chips
  • 1 quart (1.5) vanilla ice cream, softened to room temperature
Instructions
  1. Line an 8" pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars, creaming until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla extract to blend. Gradually add the salt and the flour until combined. Stir in ONE cup of the chocolate chips.
  3. Spread the cookie dough layer evenly into the pan. Top the cookie dough layer with the softened ice cream, smoothing it over as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the ice cream with the remaining miniature chips.
  4. Freeze the cake for about 3 hours or until set and firm. Cut into squares and serve!

DSC_2050AThis cake is SO buttery and creamy and absolutely sinful.  I don’t know about you, but I’m a cookie dough fiend and I love that this has that cookie dough, half-baked flavor without needing to turn on the oven.  And the ice cream layer is PERFECT on top.. it totally takes on that “cookies and milk” idea.  This would be awesome with chocolate syrup drizzled on top, or perhaps a peanut butter cookie dough layer topped with chocolate ice cream.  Really, the options are endless!

Have a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

 

 

Toffee Sundae Cupcakes (and a Frostings Giveaway!!)

toffeesundaeAs far as I’m concerned, you’re either a cake person or a frosting person.

Now, usuuuuuually I fall into the cake person category.  I was that dreadful person who scraped all the sugary, fluffy frosting off my sugarbread and left it to die on the side of the plate.

Before you go judging me and writing our friendship off, when my sprinkly friend Courtney from the blog Pizzazzerie asked me to review her latest cookbook, Frostings, I couldn’t say no.  I figured if anything, this would be my chance to try out some frosting that I could finally savor all for myself.

 

And dudes, I have found it.

Courtney manages to fill an entire book with incredibly easy, seriously gorgeous recipes for fluffy, heavenly frosting, ganaches and glazes.  She even introduced me to frostings I didn’t even knew existed, like Cooked Flour or the different European meringue buttercreams.

DSC_2181AIt was hard choosing one to recreate first, until I landed upon her Toffee Sundae frosting.  The rest was kinda sorta history.. and me excitedly whipping the living you-know out of the butter and powdered sugar because I couldn’t make that frosting fast enough.

So, whether you’re in Camp Frosting or Camp Cake, you really need to get your paws on Courtney’s new book and try these recipes for yourself.  With recipes like Bananas Foster frosting, Champagne Buttercream, Key Lime Pie Frosting, and Cherry Rum Ganache, there’s definitely something for every person’s preference and for every occasion.  So, you ready to get your frosting on??  Enter for your chance to win Courtney’s book, Frostings!

frostings

ENTER HERE!!

These cupcakes are a cinch to whip together and make for an adorable presentation on any party table.  Plus, the serving size is on the larger side, so kids could easily split one waffle bowl sundae since it’s heaped full of rich chocolate cupcakes, buttery toffee frosting, a smooth chocolate topping and all those little bits of toffee and sprinkles.  This is the recipe for the kid in all of us!

DSC_2188A

5.0 from 4 reviews
Toffee Sundae Cupcakes (and a Frostings Giveaway!!)
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Indulge your sweet tooth with these incredible Toffee Sundae Cupcakes! A beautiful marriage of buttery toffee and rich chocolate will have you floating in cupcake heaven.
Ingredients
  • 8 jumbo chocolate cupcakes, baked and cooled
  • 8 waffle bowls
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup caramel sundae sauce
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt
  • Toffee bits
  • Sprinkles
  • Maraschino cherries
  • FOR CHOCOLATE SUNDAE TOPPING:
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup oil
Instructions
  1. First, make your frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the caramel sauce, salt and heavy cream and beat together. Gradually begin adding the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Add more or less powdered sugar to achieve your desired consistency.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, melt chocolate, butter and oil until smooth. Remove from the heat.
  3. Place an unwrapped jumbo chocolate cupcake inside of the waffle bowl. Pipe the frosting generously onto the tops of each cupcake--I really loaded it on!
  4. Take a spoonful of the chocolate sundae topping and drizzle it on top of the frosted cupcakes. Immediately garnish with toffee bits, sprinkles and cherries if you'd like. Serve immediately!
  5. *If you can't find jumbo cupcakes, you could always bake the cupcake batter into small waffle cones, or use regular-sized baked and cooled chocolate cupcakes to place inside of the bowls.

DSC_2191A

Aren’t these Toffee Sundae Cupcakes GORGEOUS?  I mean, that frosting is really to.die.for.  It’s so rich and buttery.. that hint of salt just completes it.  And I love that Courtney thought to use caramel sauce inside of the frosting, providing that extra depth of flavor and sweetness.  You can say I’m converted.

 

Tyson Chicken Fries & Homemade Copycat Frosties #ChickenFryTime

chickenfryLet’s talk childhood eating habits for a minute, k?

I toooootally wish I could go back to my childhood favorite eats.. and childhood metabolism.  As I kid, I lived on fast food treats, and chicken nuggets + fries were no exception.  Hello, BEST.MEAL.EVER.

Since my grandma watched my brother, sister and I during the summertime, she would often send us to walk up to the nearest Wendy’s restaurant with a couple bucks so we could buy some lunch.  Each time, without fail, we’d each order a 5-piece chicken nugget, small fry, and small frosty.  Then we’d sit in the air conditioned dining area, leisurely munching on nuggets and fries.  It was one of those times when my brother, Alex, suggested we try dipping our fries into our frosty.  It was sweet, salty, sinful and totally scrumptious.

And really, the rest is history.  I’m a frosty-fry dipper for life!

DSC_2008AWhen Tyson and Collective Bias asked me to try Tyson’s new Homestyle Fully Cooked Chicken Fries, I instantly flashed back to my childhood dunking my fries in my frosty.  Except instead of alternating bites of nugget and fry, these Tyson Chicken Fries were all in one convenient stick.. perfect for frosty-dunking!!

These Chicken Fries are basically fully-cooked moist chicken tenders dressed up to look like fries.  The outside breading is perfectly seasoned — just the right amount of spice for an adult’s tastebuds, but mellow enough for a kiddo’s — and the breading provides a perfect, irresistible crunch, similar in texture to a crispy fry.

DSC_1992A

I’m kinda sorta in love with these Chicken Fries because not only do they remind me of my childhood, but they also are SUPER simple to make — just bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and you’re done.  The hardest part is waiting while they crisp up and sizzle in the oven.  And honestly, even though we no longer have kids in the house (we’re adults and teens now!), we still can appreciate a quick and easy lunch before my brother jets off to an afternoon shift at his summer job, or to serve up at a pool party for my sister and her friends.  And when everyone’s home on the weekends and the Oakland A’s are playing, it’s tradition to serve up some snack foods while the boys watch the game.  Tyson Chicken Fries are the perfect accompaniment to their chips-and-dip gameday spread!

We may be teenagers, but when it comes to chicken nuggets and fries, we’ll forever be kids!

Of course, no Chicken Fry meal is complete without a freezy Frosty to dip it in, so I whipped up some simple, copycat Frosties to dunk your fries in.  And if frosty-fry dunking isn’t your thing, then the Frosty is the perfect dessert after lunch — just store ‘em in the freezer so they get super thick!

Enough yapping, I am HUNGRY!

DSC_2013A

Tyson Chicken Fries & Homemade Copycat Frosties #ChickenFryTime
Author: 
Recipe type: Frozen Desserts
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
These Copycat Frosties taste pretty darn similar to the Wendy's classic .. and taste even better when you dip your fries in it! :)
Ingredients
  • 4 cups vanilla ice cream
  • ¾ cup-1 cup chocolate milk (I used low-fat milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla powdered coffee creamer
  • ¼ cup powdered Nesquik or about 5-6 instant hot cocoa packets
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a large blender and blend until smooth and until Frosty has reached your desired consistency. Add more milk if Frosty is too thick.
  2. Pour into glass and serve!

My brother, sister and I could hardly WAIT to get our hands on these fries, and I doubt your family could resist them either!!  Not only are these awesome on their own as a quick chicken snack, but they would also make a simple and quick chicken dinner, too.  Chop them up and put them in a salad, or wrap ‘em up in a tortilla for a little wrap!

For more information on Tyson Chicken Fries and other awesome, convenient Tyson products and easy recipes, visit their website.  And be sure to ‘like’ Tyson on Facebook for a chance to win Six Flags tickets!!  You can also get new information and links by subscribing to them on Twitter.  You can also check out my complete shoppertunity HERE on my Google + page!

Have a fantastic day!!

xo, Hayley

  • I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

Cookie Dough Milkshake + Ninja Mega Kitchen System GIVEAWAY!

cookiedoughninjaWhen I went to BlogHer Food last month in Austin, I fell in love.

I didn’t expect to, but per the usual antics of love, it happens when you least expect it.  I couldn’t help that my heart swelled at first sight, and I didn’t stop to think that this was crazy or silly or that I should get out while I’m ahead.  Instead, I fell head over heels and gave myself to the concept that this love could and would last.. long-distance or not.  I was willing to make it work — love is about compromise and sacrifice, right?

I spent as much time as I could with my love while in Austin, and thought about what life would be like after I’d returned home to the daily grind.  Would I ever see my love again?  Would I ever experience a love as great as this?  I seriously doubted anything as incredible as my love could be replicated by anything else, except for maybe Ryan Gosling, but that was besides the point.  So you can imagine my utter heartbreak when I left Austin.. and was forced to leave my love behind.

I had seriously underestimated love’s magical powers, because a couple weeks later, I was at home when the doorbell rang.  I opened it, not expecting much — but received everything I’d ever wanted standing right on my doorstep.  It was my love!  My love had returned for me!  We caught up on old times and immediately bonded over our love of Cookie Dough Milkshakes.  I’ve never met a love who could make such a delicious milkshake — and will never meet another love who will.  I’m committed, y’all, and I won’t stray for nothin’!!

Lucky for you, my love has a twin :) and the twin wants YOU.

If you’ve ever stared longingly into your kitchen and wished you could ditch your dumpy loser of a blender for something sleeker, smarter, multi-taskier, taller, darker and handsomer, then you’ve come to the right blog because I’m your matchmaker, and honey, meet your new love:

ninja

 

The Ninja Mega Kitchen System!!

DSC_1837AThis isn’t your ordinary blender.  The Ninja Mega Kitchen System is a professional, high-powered tool with a sleek design and exemplary performance.  It’s perfect for your frozen blending needs — like crushing ice for frozen drinks or smoothies; it serves as a complete juicing system — taking the work out of blending whole fruits and veggies; it effortlessly minces, chops, grinds and blends a variety of ingredients in its state-of-the-art food processor; and it even has the capability to create pizza dough, bread dough, cookie dough.. even crepe batter!  Plus, it comes with a two single-serve glasses and lids, perfect for on-the-go drinks or single-serving shakes. I’m guessing it does all of this because of ancient Ninja secret powers, or it could be the fact that the machine has 1500 watts.

ninja1My cookie dough literally came together in seconds with just a push of the Dough button.  Lightning fast cookie dough could be dangerous.

DSC_1871AAnd after a quick detachment of the dough bowl, I snapped on the blender and whirred myself into milkshake oblivion.

DSC_1884ADon’t fight it.  You NEED this blender.  I mean, if you think about it, can Ryan Gosling even do all this stuff?  Probably not.

ENTER HERE!!

ENTER HERE!!

And once you’re in blender love, make yourself this milkshake!!

DSC_1880A

2.0 from 1 reviews
Cookie Dough Milkshake + Ninja Mega Kitchen System GIVEAWAY!
Author: 
Recipe type: Frozen Desserts
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This milkshake has TRIPLE the dose of cookie dough--ensuring a smooth, cookie-dough-loaded shake!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (about 4 standard scoops) Cookie Dough ice cream
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • ¼ cup Torani Chocolate Chip Cookie Cough syrup
  • 1 snack-sized package Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie mix, plus ingredients on back of package
  • Whipped cream, if you'd like
Instructions
  1. First, make your dough. Attach the dough bowl attachment to the base. Pour in the cookie mix, plus the ingredients on the back of the package. If you'd rather make your own homemade cookie dough, halve your favorite recipe and substitute 2 Tbsp milk in place of each egg. Press the Dough button for a couple seconds until the dough comes together. Set aside.
  2. Now attach the blender to the base. Add in the ice cream, milk and syrup and blend for a couple seconds or until smooth. Drop heaping Tablespoonfuls of dough into the milkshake mixture--leave some dough in the bowl for garnish--and whir just for a second to lightly incorporate the dough. You want it to have doughy chunks in there!
  3. Pour into two glasses and top with whipped cream, if you'd like, and additional remaining cookie dough bits. Drink immediately!!

DSC_1887AEasy peasy, doughy squeezy.  Please do yourself a favor and put this in your pie hole.

Good luck, and thanks for entering!!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I was compensated with a Ninja Mega Kitchen System for purposes of reviewing on my website.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.  One lucky winner will be chosen at random on 7/17 and emailed once they’ve won.  A huge thank you to Ninja for generously providing me with this amazing product for a giveaway. 

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