Milky Way Galaxy Blondies #EatMoreBites #CollectiveBias

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

milkywayblondieIf you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know that I’m not the biggest chocoholic in the world.  In fact, if given the choice, I consistently choose vanilla over chocolate every time.  So typically when it comes to candy, I usually stick with something simple like Red Vines or gummies — maybe an Almond Joy if I’m feeling feisty 🙂 but when MARS introduced their Milky Way Simply Caramel candy bars, I was hooked.

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EATMOREBITES1(Can you spy the Simply Caramel Bites?!  While this recipe focuses on the Simply Caramel Bites, using Snickers would be an awesome swap, too!)

Extra caramel?  Sign. Me. Up.

milkySo when I partnered with MARS and Collective Bias for this shoppertunity I knew I had to create something totally swoonworthy with their new MILKY WAY® Simply Caramel Bites!  If you haven’t been down the baking aisle of Walmart recently, I strongly encourage you to take a gander.  Gone are the days of chopping up gooey candy bars for recipes or garnishes — MARS Bites makes it easy to add bite-sized morsels of your favorite candy bars to any dish with ease.  No chopping, no unwrapping, no fuss.  Just miniature, bite-sized pieces of your favorites ready to bake, garnish, or eat with abandon.  Your choice!

DSC_0697ABut today’s star of the show has to be the MILKY WAY® Simply Caramel Bites.  There’s something so irresistible about bite-sized pieces of chocolate that’s been smothered in smooth, buttery caramel.  Pair that with caramely, brown sugar laden blondies drizzled with more salty caramel, as well as peanut butter chips and bits of honey roasted peanuts, and you have blondies that are pretty close to being out of this galaxy.

Get to baking!!

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4.8 from 5 reviews
Milky Way Galaxy Blondies #EatMoreBites #CollectiveBias
Author: 
Recipe type: Blondies, Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
These blondies are stuffed with tons of caramely goodness, thanks in part to the irresistible MILKY WAY® Simply Caramel Bites inside every bite!
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 bag MILKY WAY® Simply Caramel Bites
  • ½ cup honey roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup peanut butter chips
  • ½ cup caramel sauce (like sundae sauce)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Lightly mist the foil with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and the brown sugar with a fork until combined. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla to blend. Gradually add the flour, baking soda and salt until a soft dough forms.
  3. Press half of the dough evenly into bottom of the pan. Sprinkle evenly with the MILKY WAY® Simply Caramel Bites, honey roasted peanuts and peanut butter chips. Drizzle evenly with the caramel sauce.
  4. Drop remaining dough on top of the filled layer, trying to cover the caramel up as best as you can. Some patches may show through, but try your best to cover the middle layer completely. Bake the blondies for about 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and center is almost set. The center may appear undone; this is okay as it will continue to set up as it cools. Cool the blondies completely before cutting into squares.

DSC_0704ABe sure to snag one of these MILKY WAY® Simply Caramel Bites coupons so you can make these irresistible blondies — or at least have a decent midnight snack 😉 You can save $0.75 off two small bags or $3 off two larger bags.

MARS_Bites_CouponThanks to #CollectiveBias for this awesome #EatMoreBites campaign!  I know you’ll flip for these sweet, salty, buttery and GOOEY blondies.  I sure did!!

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

Watermelon Dessert Salsa & Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips–Fresh Finds with Save Mart Supermarket

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.

dessertsalsaI am a huuuuuuuuuge watermelon geek.  I LOVE THE STUFF.

And in the summertime, I literally eat my weight in the things.  It’s almost embarrassing.

I don’t even care about re-purposing the melon to eat it in different ways.  I’m just all about watermelons being cold out of the fridge, nice and red, and ready to go!

Like those people who take watermelon and make elegant agua frescas or pickle it or make it into a really cool savory salad.. I totally admire you guys.  You’re being all inventive and creative and stuff, whereas I’m sitting here with my face buried in the rind and juice dripping down my chin, barely unable to breathe because I am obsessively shoveling melon flesh in my face.

No wonder I don’t have a boyfriend.

DSC_2325AAnyway, I spotted this Save Mart Supermarket shoppertunity through Collective Bias promoting their Fresh Finds campaign and the star, watermelon!  Save Mart
has incredibly high standards when it comes to their food — they truly live up to their “Fresh Comes First” motto!  I knew that Save Mart wouldn’t really approve of just pictures of me getting all humiliating with a melon, so I took this chance to try to be that person I admire: the innovative watermelon person.  Really, it’s all I ever wanted in life.  And then, after some serious brainpower, this dessert salsa was born!  And it’s basiiiically the bestest watermelon recipe EVER.

DSC_2330ASweet, juicy, tart and with a little bite, this salsa is SO refreshing and light.  It’s the perfect addition to a buffet table, or an awesome, easy (and healthy!) dessert on a busy weeknight.  And the homemade cinnamon sugar pita chips are to-die for!  They are the sweet and spicy extra crunch needed for this succulent salsa!  (And FYI, making ritzy watermelon salsa recipes cause you to use big words like ‘succulent’.)

And what I really love about this recipe is the watermelon is totally the star!  Its juiciness and delicate flavor isn’t overpowered by other ingredients.  Everything is perfectly balanced, sweet, and SO invigorating.  If you think salsa is just tomatoes and jalapenos, you need to have a serious talk with yourself and convert to dessert salsa ASAP.

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5.0 from 3 reviews
Watermelon Dessert Salsa & Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips--Fresh Finds with Save Mart Supermarket
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
If you think salsas are strictly savory, I have news for you: dessert salsa is totally a thing and it's totally Gretchen Weiners-fetch.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups diced seedless watermelon, diced smaller
  • 1 peach, diced
  • ⅔ cup diced fresh pineapple
  • About ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • About 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp UV Salty Watermelon Vodka (optional)
  • 1 pkg whole wheat pita pockets
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • ½ cup cinnamon sugar
Instructions
  1. First, make your salsa: in a large bowl, combine the diced watermelon, diced peach, diced pineapple, minced onion, and chopped mint leaves. Add the orange juice and the vodka, if desired. Very gently toss the ingredients together to blend.
  2. Refrigerate the salsa for at least 30 minutes to blend the flavors. While the salsa is getting married together all nice-like, make your pita chips!
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut each pita round into 8 triangles, like a pizza. Gently open each triangle piece and cut it down the seam (so one triangle now yields two triangles.. sorry about the math). Place the pita triangles on a lightly greased, foil-lined baking sheet.
  4. Brush each triangle with a little of the oil on both sides. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for approx. 7 minutes. Turn oven off and allow the chips to sit in the still-hot oven for an additional 3 minutes. Remove chips from oven and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  5. Place the cinnamon sugar in a brown paper bag (like a lunch bag). Fill the bag as much as you can with chips, but make sure there's enough room that you can still fold over to seal the bag. Vigorously shake the bag, allowing the cinnamon sugar to coat the chips. Once shaken, pour the chips into a bowl or platter.
  6. Dish up the salsa and serve!
  7. (This is supposed to be a sweet salsa, but if you find it too sweet, consider adding a little more onion or some peppercorn to balance out the bite. Also, I liked using the watermelon vodka to enhance the flavor and bring in some tartness. If you're serving this around kids, feel free to omit the vodka and just use the OJ).

DSC_2332AI totally love the ease of this salsa and the fact that it’s so fruity and fresh and sweet!  While I’m a spicy food fanatic, I think having a salsa that focuses on the brightness and sweetness of fresh fruit like plump peaches and ripe pineapple, with a cinnamon-sugar coated chip for dipping is such a nice change to the usual jalapeno-laced, cilantro-laden salsas that I love, but that I have quite often.  This was such a fun twist to chips and dip and it was super yummy as a healthy late-night snack.  Likewise, I think I would be head over heels for this salsa to top a hot sopapilla for a super sinful dessert, or even use this salsa on top of something incredibly spicy and smoky, to help balance out the flavors with a little sweetness.

Looking for more fresh cooking ideas featuring Save Mart’s incredible produce and #FreshFinds?  Be sure to connect with them on Facebook
, Twitter
+ Pinterest
.

Now catapult yourself into a dessert salsa coma!

Happy snacking!

xo, Hayley

 

 

Banana Fluffernutter Quesadilla & Healthy Snacking for Back to School!

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Cooking Light, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BTSatSafeway http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.”

bananafluffquesaIt’s Back to School season.. are you ready?

This is the first year I haven’t needed to purchase any BTS stuff, so the excited/dreadful feeling of purchasing new notebooks, picking out pen colors and organizing binders has escaped me this year!  However, I still have three people in my household who are prepping for the return of hallways, homework and homesickness (after three months at home everyday, you’d be homesick too!).

I don’t know about you, but after I would come home from school, I was DYING for a snack before dinner.  I always reached for the most unhealthy things possible: drive-thru meals and an ice cream cone, or a handful of cookies and chips eaten simultaneously (thank goodness I danced, had PE and played Freeze Tag religiously, or else I would have looked like a human Jabba the Hutt). I craved that sweet + saltiness as a little reward after a particularly long day, and especially as fuel for a night of homework.

Now that I’m an adult working full-time, I still have the tendencies to snack after work and before dinner.  Work is long and painful and boring — I want something to spice up my afternoon before diving headfirst into dinner.  Or conversely on days off, I like a little mid-morning snack after walking Mannie and in between baking recipes for this here blog.

I also happen to live in a family of snacking addicts so having healthy, easy snack stuff on hand is a must.  And something sweet + salty, hands-down our favorite combination ever–is a must!  So when I had the chance to work together with Cooking Light and Safeway to create a healthy, easy back-to-school snack recipe, I instantly began brainstorming tasty ideas that we could whip up in minutes and enjoy anytime of the day.

So after picking up Cooking Light’s latest Super Easy Recipe Shortcuts bookazine at Safeway, I began perusing the gorgeous glossy pages for ideas (and hint!: if you use Safeway’s just for U portal, you’ll find a $3 off coupon for the bookazine!  Just save it to your queue and check out — SO easy!  But hurry, it expires 8/30) How good does this Peach Crisp look?!

cookinglightEach recipe is so refined, yet so simple to make — nothing is overly complicated and everything boasts tons of flavor and color.  But I was most inspired by the awesome Spicy Chicken Quesadillas on the cover — quesadillas are totally painless to make which is exactly what I need after a particularly hellish day at work.  And then these Banana Fluffernutter Quesadillas were born!

DSC_2310AThese are healthy, sweet, salty, and toooootally gooey–it tastes like dessert, but could easily double as a quick snack after school or work.  And the best part is that its adaptable to your family’s tastes — don’t like bananas?  Sub sliced strawberries.  Don’t like marshmallows?  Add some chopped cooked turkey bacon for an Elvis-inspired version.

But no matter how you slice it, make this dang quesadilla!!

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4.8 from 4 reviews
Banana Fluffernutter Quesadilla & Healthy Snacking for Back to School!
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This quesadilla is out.of.this.world! Jam-packed with fresh bananas, creamy peanut butter, bits of fluffy marshmallow and pockets of gooey chocolate, all wrapped inside of a hearty wheat tortilla. This makes an excellent after-school snack!
Ingredients
  • 2 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 large banana, sliced into thin coins
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup miniature marshmallows
  • 2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • Honey, for drizzling, if desired
Instructions
  1. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and place on a stove over medium heat.
  2. Spread one Tablespoon of peanut butter evenly onto one tortilla. Place a handful of banana coins onto the right side of the tortilla. Sprinkle that same side with a couple marshmallows and one Tablespoon of the dark chocolate chips.
  3. Carefully transfer the quesadilla to the hot skillet and let it sit open-faced for about 30 seconds-1 minute. Gently flip the empty side of the tortilla to cover the other half, like a half-moon. Cook the quesadilla on each side for about a minute, or until the tortilla is toasty and the filling gets melty. Repeat with the remaining tortilla + ingredients for quesadilla #2.
  4. Transfer the quesadilla to a plate to cut in half. Drizzle with honey, if desired. This two-tortilla recipe makes 2 half-moon quesadillas or four wedges.

DSC_2311AJam-packed with fresh bananas, creamy peanut butter, rich dark chocolate, fluffy marshmallows and folded neatly into a hearty wheat tortilla, these quesadillas are a sweet-and-salty snacker’s dream!  Made in minutes with multiple variations, these are easy to whip up and even easier to eat, reminiscent of the quintessential childhood sandwich, the fluffernutter.  My family and I inhaled these in record time.  It would almost be embarrassing if these quesadillas weren’t so delicious!

If these quesadillas don’t satisfy your snackings, try some of these healthy snacking tips from Cooking Light & Safeway!

1. Create a healthy snack environment.  Stock the refrigerator and pantry with healthy options.  Bag up fresh cut fruit, and choose individual containers of yogurt, fruit purees, and part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks.  Fill snack bags with cut carrots and celery and buy some hummus, mild salsa, light ranch, or peanut butter for dipping.   We eat with our eyes – fresh vibrant fruit and veggies will stand out!  Stock the pantry with popcorn, whole-grain crackers and nuts instead of snack cakes, fried chips, and highly processed foods.  For warmer days, keep popsicles made from fresh fruit in the freezer.

2. Create a snack mix buffet and let your kids make their own personalized varieties.  Mix up the options – whole grain cereal, nuts, animal crackers, low-fat granola, popcorn, dried fruit, pretzels, even a little bit of chocolate.  Let each member of your family mix up a large zip-top bag, then portion out ½ cup servings into smaller snack size bags.  Tote to school, sporting events, even work for the adults!

3. Match your family’s snacks with each activity level.  On hot, sunny days – opt for refreshing snacks that are higher in water content, such as fruit (try frozen grapes!) and yogurt.  When you are out and about in the cold – hiking or biking, or running around – tote along snacks that are more carbohydrate and fiber focused, such as whole grain crackers with peanut butter.

4. Start a family snack rotation, and let them be in charge.  For each day of the week, allow a different member of the family to plan the snack – just make sure mom is the mediator and only gives the go-ahead to healthy snacks.  Try a new fruit or vegetable from the supermarket – or take a weekend trip to the farmer’s market together.  Even better… allow them to pick a recipe to help make, such as granola bars, guacamole, hummus, bean dip, even microwave potato chips.  Offer healthy options that the family can help mom make at home, and they’ll be more excited about diving in!

5. Build a better lunchbox: Mix a lean protein with whole grains and fresh garden goods, then add a sensible treat.  When packing lunches, think of the plate.  Start with fresh fruits and veggies, which should take up half the lunch.  Skewer fruits and veggies on toothpicks and make it fun!  Then, fill a quarter of the lunch with whole-grains such as sandwich bread, pita, or crackers. The remaining quarter should be a lean meat or protein – grill a few extra chicken breasts or pork tenderloins at dinner and thinly slice for tomorrow’s lunch!  Peanut butter and lower sodium deli meats are other great options.  Toss in a chocolate kiss or two – we all need a little something sweet every now and then!

029My family and I really love the first tip.  Sometimes, we’re too lazy or hungry to bother cutting up veggies or whipping up a simple dip.  Having things precut and portioned in advance makes snacking totally brainless–just grab and go!  And of course, it eliminates the temptation of grabbing something equally as fast, but not as healthy, which my muffin top appreciates 🙂

Now go to Safeway to pick up your copy of Cooking Light’s Super Easy Recipe Shortcuts — and don’t forget to add the $3 off coupon on your just for U portal!

Happy Snacking!!

xo, Hayley

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.

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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!

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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.

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