Homemade Ranch Dressing + Pizza = Homegating Heaven

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

homemade-ranch-dressing-recipe

Pizza and ranch. In our house, it’s as classic of a combo as peanut butter & jelly. Chip and Dale. Salt and pepper. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. 

You get the picture. 

We’ve always planned for pizza night to happen in our house at least once per week but, now that football season is in full swing, I have a feeling that it’s going to happen a lot more often. 

red-baron-frozen-pizza

There isn’t a national football team representing our great state of Hawaii so we don’t have the opportunity to attend any games in person however this leaves plenty of Sundays open for us to cheer on our favorite teams with some good old-fashioned homegating.

What is homegating, you ask? You know…all the goodness of tailgating before a game…just done at home. No worries about weather conditions, lack of bathrooms, or nap space for your kids. PLUS you have access to your kitchen. Which means instead of grilling up the same game day food every week, you can serve yummy alternatives like Red Baron pizzas. With homemade ranch dressing of course (because there is no better pair, remember?)

Homemade ranch dressing is SO delicious and a lot easier to make than you probably think. You start off with a base mixture of dry ingredients (pepper, garlic salt, dried onion and dill weed), add them to a combo of fresh ingredients (buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, mayonnaise and fresh parsley), give it a stir and you’re done!

homemade-ranch-dressing-ingredients

homemade-ranch-dressing-dry-ingredients

homemade-ranch-dressing-lemon

homemade-ranch-dressing-parsley

homemade-ranch-dressing-recipe

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. (HA – see what I did there?!)

Anyways, back to homegating. Your homemade ranch dressing is sitting in the fridge, patiently waiting for it’s chance to wow your family and friends so it’s time to prepare the pizza. You could stick to the homemade route OR you could stay on the quick and easy train and pop a few Red Baron pizzas in the oven. Which one are you going to choose? I vote quick and easy, especially when the big game is about to start. 

I know you are thinking why on earth, if I’m trying to “wow” my guests, would I serve frozen pizzas? I would be too…if I hadn’t tried Red Baron pizzas. Seriously guys, these pizzas are delicious. The people over at Red Baron have perfected their crust game in a way that I simply haven’t been able to yet — it’s crispy, consistent and oh-so satisfying. One bite of any of their pizzas and I’m sure your family and friends will be asking for more. 

DSC_2293

You can pick up a few Red Baron pizzas the next time you find yourself at Walmart (which I highly suggest doing before the next big game). They are located in the frozen goods aisle of the grocery section. While you are there, make sure to pick up an Edwards Pie to share with the fans of the winning team. Because victory is sweet. So is pie. (Get it? Man, I’m on a roll today) The Edwards Pies are also located in the frozen section and will keep your homegating prep nice and easy – all you have to do is thaw and serve!

red-baron-pizzas

red-baron-pizza-walmart

When you are shopping, keep an eye out for the Red Baron products that have the on-package promo materials for the Tailgate at Your Place Sweepstakes. Our friends at Red Baron are giving away over $100,000 in prizes – including checks, shopping sprees and 6 months of free pizza PLUS there are a bunch of instant win prizes that are up for grabs. 

Which Red Baron pizza are you going to pick up for the next big game?

Homemade Ranch Dressing
Creamy, fresh, delicious homemade ranch dressing
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DRY INGREDIENTS
  1. 1/4 cup black pepper
  2. 1/2 cup garlic salt
  3. 3/4 cup dried onion
  4. 2 TB dill weed
  5. WET/FRESH INGREDIENTS
  6. 1 cup mayonnaise
  7. 1 cup buttermilk
  8. 3/4 cup sour cream
  9. 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  10. juice of 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. Combine dry ingredients in glass jar, replace lid and shake to combine.
  2. Add mayonnaise, buttermilk and sour cream to medium sized bowl. Stir until smooth.
  3. Add 1 TB of dry mixture to wet ingredients. Stir to combine.
  4. Add juice of 1 lemon to wet ingredients, followed by chopped parsley. Stir until combined.
  5. Place dressing into storage container and store in refrigerator.
Notes
  1. Together, these dry ingredients will make a lot of extra ranch dressing mix. Store it in an air-tight container for future batches of ranch dressing, sprinkle it on chicken before cooking or gift some to a friend!
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/


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Special K Bars

I hope you all had an awesome Labor Day weekend. Things around here were busy but super productive. As I mentioned last week, we are moving back to Ewa Beach soon and I have been frantically getting us organized for that.

When we moved last year, we downsized majorly and gave away/sold a lot of our furniture so now we are on a quest to rebuild our inventory. New furniture is expensive and I can’t stomach paying full price for everything so we have been hitting up garage sales on weekends and I have been watching Craigslist like a crazy person. 

special-k-bars

It’s totally paying off in a we haven’t had to pay for hardly anything kind of way 😉

We’ve scored so many great pieces of furniture already and I can’t wait to get them into our new home. For now, they are squished into our little front room so I won’t be sharing any pictures of them quite yet.

Probably the Craigslist find I am most excited about is our new (to us) piano. It’s a beautiful freestanding oak piano that a hospital was donating and we were lucky enough to be the recipients. 

Two of my cousins and a couple of their buddies (all freshman at the University of Hawaii) volunteered to help Alex pick up the piano on Friday night with the promise of being paid in a homemade dinner. When they got here, we ate dinner and then I whipped out my Grandma’s Special K bars for dessert. Our whole family loves these bars and whenever we are in Michigan visiting my grandparents, Grandma always seems to have a pan ready for us. She’s the greatest.

moving-crew

The recipe is super easy and perfect to make as a thank-you to a bunch of college boys that help you move heavy pianos, to pack in your kids’ lunch throughout the week, to bring to a potluck, to munch on while your baby naps, etc. Basically, they are perfect and delicious and you should make some now. 

special-k-bars

I am so thankful that these boys were able to help Alex pick up the piano this weekend and am extra thankful that they offered to help move it again when we head to Ewa next week. Alex says we will have to pay them a little better than just dinner. I’m thinking maybe two batches of Special K bars will do the trick 😉

Special K Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup light corn syrup
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup peanut butter
  4. 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  5. 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  6. 1 cup butterscotch chips
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, mix together corn syrup and sugar
  2. When sugar is boiling, turn off heat and mix in peanut butter
  3. Add cereal and stir until completely mixed
  4. Press cereal mixture into greased 9x13 pan; let cool
  5. Melt together chocolate and butterscotch chips, pour over cereal mixture; let cool
  6. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. TIP: cut into serving sizes before bars are completely cool to make serving a little easier 🙂
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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Energy Bars

Since moving to Hawaii we had been passively searching for a home church. We really wanted a place where we felt comfortable, had a good worship service and that provided opportunities to get plugged in.

A few months ago, we decided to give Calvary Chapel of Honolulu a try and were happy to find that it checked all of our boxes. Plus, it has an awesome nursery, huge playground and a cafe that serves delicious food after both services. Lots of wins in my book. 

This weekend, they are hosting a big Pastors/Leaders/Church Workers conference and they had asked for willing members of the congregation to make some energy bars to hand out to participants in the mornings. I grabbed the recipe from the information booth and spent some (ok, hardly any) time in the kitchen yesterday prepping a batch to be delivered today. 

energy-bar-recipe

energy-bar-recipe

I’m not sure where the original recipe came from but I can say that these are delicious! I really wanted to play around with the recipe but, for the conference, they want consistency which I totally understand and respect so I held off on experimenting this time. Don’t be surprised when another batch pops up on the ol’ blog soon. 

energy-bar-recipe

energy-bar-recipe

A big batch of these energy bars take less than 30 minutes to make and would be perfect to have on hand for everyday snacks, to pack into lunches or to hand out to the soccer team this weekend. 

Hope you enjoy! And if you are on Oahu this weekend, come check out the Summer Light Celebration happening at Calvary Chapel Honolulu. It’s a totally free event, happening all weekend and it’s open to the public. We are hoping to get there tonight to enjoy the concert. See you there!

summer light celebration

Energy Bars
Quick, easy energy bar to take with you on the go!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
DRY
  1. 2 1/2 cups crispy cereal
  2. 2 cups instant oats
  3. 1 cup dry roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  4. 1 cup raisins
  5. 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (unsalted, no shells)
  6. 1/4 cup sesame seeds
WET
  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 10 oz mini marshmallows
  3. 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a 9x13 pan, mix all dry ingredients together. Bake for 7-10 minutes, stirring 3 times.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry while still very warm and mix together thoroughly.
  5. Spread out in the pan, pressing down firmly
  6. Let cool completely
  7. Cut into squares and wrap individually in wax paper or saran wrap
  8. Enjoy!
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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Living Better with Blueberry Popsicles

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

blueberry coconut popsicles

Has this summer been hot or has this summer been hot?

My goodness.

I’m not sure if it just feels extra warm because I’m more than halfway through my pregnancy or if the humidity levels here in Hawaii have tripled over the last few months, but whatever the reason I am melting

blueberry-popsicles

Lyla and I have been doing what we can to stay out of the heat – beaches, children’s museums, extra long trips to the store – but, as it always seems to do, real life starts calling and pulls us back to the (non-air conditioned) house at some point everyday. 

While we are at home taking care of real-life things, we try to stay hydrated. Lyla is just like her dad and is a water drinking machine which is awesome. I love water too, but after a few glasses I often find myself returning to the fridge for sugary, carbonated drinks. I know they are terrible for me but I’m a total sucker for those bubbles.

Of course, I know I need to break this habit. Especially now that I have a little one watching my every move. So, last time we were at Walmart I decided to pick up some better-for-me beverages to stock our fridge with for those times that I’m looking for a break from water. 

sip-and-be-fit-store

There are so many different options available that it was hard to choose which to try first but I eventually settled on Snapple Straight Up Tea, Brasilia Blueberry Bai5 and the 500ml Vita Coco Pure. Now that our fridge is full of drinks with more real, natural ingredients, I feel a lot better about the drink choices I am making during the day.

Using the Brasilia Blueberry Bai5 (and a little bit of the Pomegranate Bai5), the 500ml Vita Coco Pure and some fresh blueberries I decided to take my better living to the next level and made some delicious, refreshing popsicles.

bai5-blueberry-popsicles

blueberry popsicles

You can make your own blueberry popsicles in 4 easy steps:

1 // lay out your popsicle molds

2 // fill molds with blueberries 

3 // pour your favorite better-for-you beverage into mold

4 // replace tops, put into freezer and wait patiently

blueberry-popsicle-how-to

Try customizing the look of your popsicles by using paper straws as the popsicle sticks! Cut the straws to size and wait until your popsicles are slush-like in the freezer before inserting to make sure they stand up straight. 

If you are ready to start living a healthier lifestyle, make sure to enter the giveaway below. Each week, three winners are going to receive a $50 Walmart gift card and a $150 fitness tracker – awesome, right?!

#SipAndBeFit Sweepstakes!

I’d love to hear what steps you are taking towards better living – check in with me on Facebook or Instagram and share away! 

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Santa Fe Flatbread

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

santa-fe-flatbread

Friday nights were made for pizza – amiright?

On the Friday before we left for vacation, I was super busy packing up our things and it was way too hot to even think about baking but, being a sucker for tradition, I didn’t want to skip on pizza night so I decided to keep it light, quick and easy and put together some Santa Fe flatbreads. Not exactly pizza but definitely delicious and got the job done. 

Building the flatbreads was super easy because I used a Ready Pac Bistro Bowl Salad from Costco. There are a bunch of different varieties available but on this trip the Santa Fe Style Salad caught my eye.

bistro-bowl-packaging

The Santa Fe Style Salad comes with romaine lettuce, white meat chicken, fire roasted corn, a four cheese blend, tortilla chips and a salsa-ranch dressing. 

Speaking of the dressing…SO good. This pregnant mama has been dreaming about it since we had this dinner and I can’t wait to get back to Costco so I can buy more. And that fire roasted corn – mmmmm so yummy. Corn is one of my favorite things to put on the grill and the fact that the hard part was already done for me was perfect. 

flatbread

All of the ingredients were already prepared and portioned for me so all I had to do was spread the dressing onto my flatbread, add the toppings and serve. Dinner was on the table in minutes and pizza night was saved.  

I found the Ready Pac Bistro Bowl Salads in the refrigerated section of Costco that is near the meats and cheese. 

costco-bistro-bowl

To keep our meal light, I paired the flatbreads with a refreshing homemade blackberry iced tea. Stay tuned for that recipe soon. Which Ready Pac Bistro Bowl will you pick up next time you are at Costco?

flatbread

 Follow along with Ready Pac for meal inspiration that is delicious, quick and healthy :  Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

 

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Ice Cream Party

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

blue-bunny-ice-cream-party

If you are a regular here, then you probably know by now that we are in Michigan visiting family (if you are new – hi!). Summertime here is magical and I love that I am able to share this place, that was such a big part of my childhood, with Alex and Lyla.

Some of my fondest memories from my summers here are sitting outside on the looong summer nights and enjoying an ice cream cone with my family. I decided to re-create one of those nights this year, but added a little twist. 

blue-bunny-freezer

I started off by picking up a few cartons of Blue Bunny Ice Cream from the local Walmart. They have SO many delicious flavors to choose from, and I was tempted to buy them all, but I stuck with classic vanilla. Can’t go wrong with that! 

blue-bunny-vanilla

I picked up a bunch of different toppings too. Sprinkles, hot fudge, cherries, butterscotch, strawberry sauce and the Hershey’s candies that were being suggested in the in-store demo. 

ice-cream-party-station

Once home, I used a leftover wooden cube from a fun lawn game craft (stay tuned for that post) to create a toppings dice. The idea was to write out each topping on a side of the dice, and have my family members roll to see what toppings they were going to add to their ice cream. Sounds fun, right?

I set up a little ice cream station outside, called some family members over and we got to rolling. Literally – ha. 

trey-toppings-dice

It was a pretty hot day and the ice cream was melting fast which, in my opinion, makes it even more delicious. We all enjoyed our dessert and had a lot of fun letting the roll of a dice decide our toppings for us. 

scooping-blue-bunny

adding-toppings

lyla-ice-cream-cone

The next Blue Bunny in-store demos are happening at Walmart July 16-19. Make sure you check them out for inspiration on how to pair your favorite Blue Bunny ice cream flavors with one of my favorite summertime fruits: peaches. Yum!

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

If you are an ice cream lover like me,  connect with Blue Bunny

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fresh cherry sauce

I love summertime fruit. Peaches and blackberries and strawberries and cherries and blueberries and and AND… 

…you get the picture. 
fresh-cherry-sauce

Being the dessert lover that I am, I planned this cherry sauce with ice-cream sundaes in mind. On the day that I made it, we had a friend join us for dinner whose stomach doesn’t always agree with dairy so I whipped up a quick cake so that he could enjoy the sauce too. (sounds way more impressive than it really was, I used store bought cake mix)

The sauce paired perfectly with both the ice cream and the cake and next time I think I will plan on making a cake regardless of who we have (or don’t have – more for us!) joining us. 

cherry-sauce-and-cake cherry-sauce

This fresh cherry sauce is incredibly versatile so don’t feel like you have to stick to dessert. Try it at breakfast on top of pancakes or yogurt. You can even drizzle some on top of pork chops for lunch or dinner. No matter how you serve it, your tastebuds are going to be very happy. 

What’s your favorite summertime fruit?

Fresh Cherry Sauce
A delicious summertime treat
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Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
6 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
6 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups pitted cherries
  2. 2 tsp cornstarch
  3. 2 TB sugar
  4. 2 TB water
  5. 2 TB butter
Instructions
  1. Over medium heat, add pitted cherries to saucepan. Add all other ingredients and bring to boil for about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and simmer another 3 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat and serve. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This recipe is super versatile. Try on top of pancakes and yogurt or pair with pork chops for a nice summertime dinner.
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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