12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

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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Welcome to day 2 of my 12 days of Christmas cookies series.

Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Sure, they don’t scream Christmas, but they are a classic that will sure to please the taste buds of any recipient. 

I love how hearty these cookies look – they remind me of big, chunky Christmas sweaters. 

The recipe is versatile – you can add in raisins, berries or really whatever else tickles your fancy. I made another batch the last night and threw in some holiday colored peanut M&M’s and they turned out great. 

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Pro-tip: just before baking, press a couple of extra chocolate chips into the top of each cookie to make them extra pretty (and chocolate-y)

Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
11 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
11 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 egg
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  3. 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  4. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not instant or quick cook)
  7. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  10. pinch salt
  11. 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the egg, butter, sugars, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well combined
  2. Add oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined
  3. Add the chocolate chips and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for approx. 2 hours
  5. Roll dough into 1" balls and place onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  6. In an oven preheated to 350, bake cookies for 11 minutes or until edges are slightly brown
  7. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack
Notes
  1. Dough will still look undercooked when cookies are ready to be removed from oven, they will continue to cook so don't worry!
Adapted from Averie Cooks
Adapted from Averie Cooks
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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Festive White Peppermint Cookies for Santa

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

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Does anyone else get super nostalgic when it comes to the holidays? It seems like every smell, song, and decoration bring me back to the days where I would patiently anxiously count the days until Santa’s arrival. Thinking about coming home from church, getting ready for bed and then making sure his cookies and milk (along with notes for Mrs. Claus and carrots for the reindeer) makes me all kinds of giddy.

I am so ready to kick off the Christmas season inside our home but my husband still thinks it’s a little too early for decorations. (boo, right?) He had no qualms about me trying out some cookie recipes for Santa though. Hmmm, I wonder why…

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With all of the amazing recipes floating around the blogosphere, I’m sure Santa gets quite the variety of treats on Christmas Eve but, at our house, he still finds good ol’ cookies and milk waiting for him under the tree.

This year, he will probably find a nice spread of cookies at our house (gotta stay on his nice list) including these festive cookies made with Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix and M&M’s®. 

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The ingredient list for these cookies is short and sweet (perfect for the busy holiday season) and everything can be found at your local Walmart. You’ll need: 1 box of Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix, eggs, coconut oil (or vegetable oil if you prefer), a little bit of baking powder and a package of your favorite holiday M&M’s®. For my cookies, I used M&M’s ® Holiday Milk Chocolate and M&M’s® White Peppermint.

Make sure you use this coupon to save $1.00 on ANY TWO (2) M&M’s® Chocolate Candies, 8 oz or larger.

Using the cake mix as the base for this cookie keeps them soft and fluffy – just the way that Santa likes them. I mixed M&M’s ® Holiday Milk Chocolate inside my batter, and then just before baking, I added a few M&M’s® White Peppermint to the top of each cookie. 

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Can’t wait until Christmas Eve to give these cookies a try? I don’t blame you! The good news is, this is the season of giving so nobody will think it’s weird if you make a batch (or 10) of these festive white peppermint cookies to gift to friends, neighbors and any other person you come into contact with from now until December 25th. 

Speaking of giving, the holiday season is the perfect time to make a donation to America’s food banks. Did you know that more than 46 million Americans rely on food banks across the country (including 1 in 6 children?!). These are our friends, neighbors, co-workers and children’s classmates. One of the most requested items for families is milk – a request that, sadly, isn’t met most of the time because the food banks don’t receive a lot of donations of perishable items. 

This year we can change that! Please consider supporting families in your community by making a small donation at www.pourmilklove.com. With every donation, the Great American Milk Drive will deliver a gallon of milk to a family in YOUR local community – providing them with all of the essential nutrients and proteins that they may otherwise be missing out on. PLUS if you purchase any 2 bags of M&M’s ® (9.9 ounce or larger), a gallon of milk will be donated to the drive. May I suggest a gallon of Great Value Milk and the M&M’s® Holiday Peanut Butter?! (aka my favorite mid-afternoon snack as of late)

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You can get the full recipe for my Festive White Peppermint Cookies on the recipe card below! What yummy treat is Santa going to find under your Christmas tree?

Festive White Peppermint Cookies
Yields 12
Festive cookies for Santa using M&M's® candies
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
19 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
19 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 box Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix
  2. 1 tsp baking powder
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  5. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  6. M&M's® Holiday Milk Chocolate
  7. M&M's® White Peppermint
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 (F)
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. In large bowl, mix together the Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix and baking powder, set aside
  4. In medium bowl, whisk eggs, coconut oil and vanilla together
  5. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and stir by hand until no dry pockets are found
  6. Gently stir in a handful of M&M's® Holiday Milk Chocolate
  7. Roll dough into balls (approximately 1 inch) and place onto parchment paper
  8. Flattening dough only slightly, push a few M&M's® White Peppermint into the top of each cookie
  9. Bake 9 minutes - do not let cookies get golden brown
  10. Remove from oven, cool on baking rack
Notes
  1. Great tip: Coconut oil can be replaced with vegetable oil if preferred
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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Sweet Potato Banana Muffins

 

These days I can’t step into the kitchen without a certain toddler following me saying “pleeeeaaassseeee”. 

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She has discovered where all of those delicious “mum mums” that mom and dad bring to her come from and she wants in on as much of that action as she can get.

A girl after my own heart…errr stomach.

Hearing her little voice say “please” is basically the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard and it’s really hard to turn her down so I figured it was time for me to make something healthy for her to snack on. 

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Enter these sweet potato and banana mini muffins. They are quick & easy to make, have only four main ingredients, and are toddler-approved. 

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You trying saying “no” to that face. 

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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. 

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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!

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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. 

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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!

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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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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

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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. 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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?

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

 

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