Hawaiian S’mores

School is back in session here in Hawaii which seems crazy early to me because 1) hello, August just started and 2) it is still H-O-T but, I’m not complaining because our favorite haunts (aka the neighborhood pool and beach) are extra quiet now that the big kids are in school. 

Hawaiian S'more

Since our kids are still small, summer is still in full swing for us. We are enjoying extra long days in the sun, water playdates with friends and (Daddy especially) the west side swell. 

Before my cousin Lily went off to the mainland for the summer, we had her over for dinner. Of course, you I can’t have someone over for dinner without making a yummy dessert so I decided to put together the most classic of summer desserts: s’mores. 

I went to the grocery store to grab the ingredients and the local section was calling my name. LOUD. So I went over, grabbed a bunch of pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts and decided that I would put my own twist on the summer dessert staple.

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I dipped the grahams in melted dark chocolate, then sprinkled with either coconut flakes or macadamia nuts and put them on a cooling rack to dry.

Then, we roasted our mallows, stacked it with a pineapple ring and some extra chocolate (for good measure) and sandwiched it between two decorated grahams and dug in. 

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The Hawaiian S’mores were t-t-t-t-tasty, tasty (Fergie throwback, anyone?) 

The pineapple really lightens up the s’mores which means you don’t have that gross heavy feeling after eating one which means you can have more than one. 

I think that next time I will try with my coconut marshmallows

What’s your favorite way to dress up a s’more? I’d love to hear about it below! 

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Celebrate National Strawberry Shortcake Day at Macy’s Ala Moana

Summer is here! Ok, maybe not officially but the temperatures and our upcoming travel plans sure have me feeling as if it is.

One of my absolute favorite summer traditions is attending the Strawberry Festival in my grandparent’s small town. Three days of crafts, parades, and wholesome fun make for a happy mama. Oh, and all the strawberry shortcakes that you can eat don’t hurt either 😉

I’m still about a month away from stuffing my face with my favorite small town strawberry shortcakes so, to hold me over, I decided to make my own version of the iconic summer dish. 

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I’m not always a fan of a really sponge-y cake that gets soggy once you add toppings, so when making strawberry shortcakes at home, I prefer to use a biscuit as the base. This time, I started with a chocolate biscuit (cut into star shapes for a little extra flair), added a layer of juicy, ripe strawberries and topped with a drizzle of my homemade marshmallow whipped cream. 

YUM

Tuesday, June 14th is National Strawberry Shortcake Day and this year I’ll be celebrating with Macy’s. Across the country, local chefs will be visiting select Macy’s locations and demonstrating how to build their perfect version of this American classic. Sounds fun, right?!

If you are on O’ahu, come join me at Macy’s Ala Moana! The event is free and the demonstration begins at 2PM. Not in Honolulu? Check here for an event near you. (While the Honolulu event does not require an RSVP, some do – make sure to check early and reserve your spot!)

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If you can’t find an event near you, make sure to check out this recipe for “The Most Amazing Strawberry Shortcake You’ll Ever Make” by Johnny Iuzzini, award-winning pastry chef and member of Macy’s Culinary Council. Shoot – even if you can attend one of the events, make this recipe. Slow roasted strawberries with a vanilla-creme chantilly?! I’m drooling…

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This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

How do YOU like your strawberry shortcake?

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Tasty Old Fashioned Donuts

You know those recipe videos that have been floating around Facebook recently? So fun to watch amiright? It’s a good thing calories don’t count when you are just watching food being made or I would be in trouble. 

I stumbled upon this video tutorial for tasty old fashioned donuts during a late night nursing session and knew that I was going to have to make them. 

Soon.

Unluckily for me, Simon Earl is going through the dreaded 4 month sleep regression right now which means I’m awake all the time.

Luckily for my family, I used my lack of sleep to make a big batch of donuts before we met up to surf. 

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Because of my lack of cookie/biscuit cutters/shot glasses, (I thought we had a collection going at some point) I used a mason jar lid and a tiny funnel to cut the dough. As you can see below, the funnel has a little lip on the outside of it keep it connected to it’s other funnel friends. Great for organization. Not so great for donut making. The extra little hole made the donuts a little funky looking. 

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These babies were tasty – funky funnel holes and all.

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I love that I didn’t use any fancy tools, equipment or ingredients (ahem – funnel-turned-donut-cutter) and they turned out just fine. 

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Do yourself a favor and make a donut tower this weekend. You wont be mad. 

For the donuts:
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sour cream
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

For the glaze:
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water

(I cheated and used all purpose flour with cornstarch instead of cake flour –  2TB per cup of flour)

Directions

Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg) in a smaller bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar on a low speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix together on a medium speed. Add half the dry ingredients, blend. Add the sour cream, blend. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients and blend until the dough is well-combined. Place dough in greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for an hour.

Place chilled dough on a floured surface. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the donut shapes with pastry cutters or use a roughly 3-inch cup and a roughly 1 1/4 inch shot glass. (BONUS: You can save the insides for donut holes or combine them, roll out your dough again, and make more full-sized donuts). Lightly score three lines in each donut, forming a triangle.

Heat oil to 325°F. Carefully place the donut in the oil scored side up. Let the donut float to surface and cook for about 15 more seconds. Flip and fry 90 seconds. Flip again and fry for 75 more seconds (or until both sides are golden brown).

Create your glaze by combining the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, corn syrup, and hot water until it becomes smooth. (Cover when not using immediately.) Dip the top of each donut in your glaze and set on a drying rack to allow glaze to dry and any extra to drip off.

Recipe courtesy of Tasty.

 

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White Chocolate Popcorn Mix #MakeItAMovieNight

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

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I don’t know about you, but I am not ready for the holiday weekend to end. For both Christmas and the New Year, we didn’t make any grand plans and just stayed home enjoying each other’s company. It’s been perfect. 

Of course, we have missed our family that are spread out throughout the country, but I have sincerely been enjoying all of the quiet (and not so quiet) moments that we are getting to spend together.

Not having any plans to leave the house (with the exception of Christmas Eve church service) has allowed us to really slow down and soak each other in. I’ve gotten a lot of one-on-one time with both Lyla and Simon which is so great but I haven’t had as much time with just Alex as I hoped for. 

I know, a lack of alone time with your spouse it’s kind of par for the course when you have a newborn but that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of times I find myself missing my husband. With Simon still being so young, it’s not very realistic for us to head out for date night just quite yet so we have to find ways to bring date night home and one of the easiest ways to do that is with a movie night. 

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One of my favorite parts about seeing a movie in the theater is grabbing treats from the concession stand. I always get a big bag of buttery popcorn and pour a box of M&M’S® Chocolate Candies right inside. The sweet/salty combo hits the spot for me every time. Pair that with an ice cold Coca-Cola and I’m in movie theatre snack heaven. 

Luckily, my favorite movie night snack is easy to recreate at home. In fact, for this date night treat, I kicked it up a notch and added some white chocolate, pretzels and mini marshmallows to the mix – can’t do that at the theater 😉

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You can watch me make the mix here or follow the step-by-step instructions below.

To make sure your white chocolate popcorn mix is extra delicious, make sure to use Orville Redenbacher Movie Theater Popcorn and MARS Milk Chocolate and Peanut M&M’S® Chocolate Candies. P.S. have you seen the new little canisters they come in? Perfect size for the cup holder in your car/stroller #mommysnewbestfriend

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Once you have your treats prepared, you are all set to watch the movie. Now, just because we don’t have time to go to the movies doesn’t mean that we don’t watch movies. In fact, I watch the same animated children’s movie pretty much everyday (thanks, Lyla). So, for our movie nights I like to watch something a little more adult, or at least with real people in it 😉

The movie War Room has been on my radar since our church started promoting it in their bookstore. The film is all about the power of prayer and how it can transform the lives of individuals and families. The story follows a woman who is experiencing marital troubles and is introduced to the idea of creating a “war room” as a place to offer up all of her troubles and worries to God through prayer. It’s a story that is uplifting and inspiring – perfect for movie night with my husband.

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There is an awesome deal happening at Walmart now to help you throw a fun and exciting (and delicious!) movie night of your own. If you purchase all four of the movie night products that I have used above (Orville Redenbacher 6 pack Movie Theater Popcorn, MARS Milk Chocolate and Peanut M&M’S® Chocolate Candies, Coca-Cola 6-pack, 1/2-liter and the War Room Movie) and upload a photo of your receipt here, you will receive a $10 VUDU movie code via email (while supplies last, limit 1 per person)

TIP: take a photo of this URL now so you remember it later – all receipts have to be uploaded by February 9, 2016!

Pretty sweet deal, right?! Make sure you stop by here to check out more fun movie night ideas for you and your family.  

Have you seen War Room? I would love to hear what you thought about it in the comments below. Let me know what your favorite movie theater treat is too!

White Chocolate and Candy Popcorn Mix
A delicious snack, perfect for movie night!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 bag Orville Redenbacher Movie Theater Popcorn
  2. MARS Milk Chocolate and Peanut M&M’S® Chocolate Candies
  3. 1 cup mini marshmallows
  4. 1 cup white chocolate chips
  5. 1 cup pretzels
Instructions
  1. Pop popcorn according to instructions on bag, pour into large bowl
  2. Add M&M’S® Chocolate Candies, marshmallows and pretzels to bowl
  3. In separate bowl, melt white chocolate chips in microwave. Stir after every 30 seconds to prevent burning
  4. Pour melted chocolate over snack mix and stir immediately
  5. Allow mix to cool
  6. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Serve with an ice-cold Coca-Cola for an extra delicious treat 🙂
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Sugar Cookies

Bust out those aprons – it’s cookie time! Between now and Christmas, I’ll be sharing 12 delicious cookie recipes for you to try. Share some with your neighbors, bring some to a cookie swap party, or keep them all for yourself. I won’t tell anyone. Promise.

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Sugar cookies. Total classic Christmas cookie right?

For the past few weeks my social media feeds have been flooded with sugar cookies in all shapes and sizes, beautifully baked and decorated to perfection. 

Aesthetically, my sugar cookies are far from perfect. My stars are a little less than stellar and the edges were a little more crunchy than they should be. 

I left the decorating to Lyla and I think she saved the cookies with her mad decorating skills. (nope, no mom bias here) 

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The actual cookie though is delicious – I followed this recipe with no modifications. Next time, I’ll stay a little closer to the oven to make sure I don’t brown the edges 😉

Do you make sugar cookies at Christmas time? I would love to see your finished products!

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Raspberry Thumbprint

Bust out those aprons – it’s cookie time! Between now and Christmas, I’ll be sharing 12 delicious cookie recipes for you to try. Share some with your neighbors, bring some to a cookie swap party, or keep them all for yourself. I won’t tell anyone. Promise.
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My Grandma makes awesome jam. 

In our family, it’s as good as gold.

I almost couldn’t bring myself to use it for this recipe because, if I did, I wouldn’t have anymore gold. 

But, a little birdie told me that some more jam may be coming my way for Christmas so I decided to use it up. 

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Don’t have any of Grandma’s jam laying around? No problem. The shortbread cookie base for these thumbprint cookies is delicious on its own. Fill them with whatever kind of jam is your jam (see what I did there?) and I’m sure you will be pleased. 

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup room temperature butter
  2. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 2 cups flour
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1 jar of jam of choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy
  3. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract
  4. Add flour and salt and mix until dough is formed
  5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheet
  6. Using your finger, make a small indentation in the center of each cookie
  7. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly brown
  8. Remove baking sheet from oven
  9. Fill each cookie with jam
  10. Bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes
  11. Cool on wire rack
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Peanut Butter Blossom

Bust out those aprons – it’s cookie time! Between now and Christmas, I’ll be sharing 12 delicious cookie recipes for you to try. Share some with your neighbors, bring some to a cookie swap party, or keep them all for yourself. I won’t tell anyone. Promise.

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Peanut butter and chocolate. Is there a better combo?

(the answer is no)

I feel like this cookie is a classic and doesn’t need much of an intro. You know what to expect and when you use this recipe from my girl Betty Crocker, you know what you are going to get. 

Pro tip: make sure you roll them in granulated sugar before baking to make them extra pretty. 

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Blossoms
Yields 36
Classic peanut butter and chocolate cookies
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  2. 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  3. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  4. 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 3/4 tsp baking soda
  8. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  9. about 2 TB granulated sugar for rolling
  10. 36 chocolate candies (or a few more if some just so happen to find their way into your mouth)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In bowl of electric mixer (or large bowl) combine sugars, butter, peanut butter and egg
  3. Mix on medium speed (can also use a spoon) until well combined
  4. Slowly stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder until dough forms
  5. Form dough into 1 inch balls
  6. Roll dough balls in granulated sugar and place on parchment lined baking sheet
  7. Bake 8-10 minutes
  8. Press an unwrapped chocolate candy into center of each cookie immediately after removing from oven
  9. Let cookies cool completely on cooling rack
Notes
  1. Want to jazz up your peanut butter blossoms this year? Try adding a chocolate peanut butter cup to the center instead of the plain chocolate. My cousin suggested this to me and I can't wait to try - the more chocolate and peanut butter, the better!
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/

 

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