If you live at the pool like we do in the summer, you won’t want to miss today’s post over on the Wild Oats blog. After years of pool days, we have learned a few things about the best snacks to pack and we are sharing them on the blog today.
Whether you love sweet or salty, there is a snack for you on today’s list! I can’t wait to hear what your winning pool snack combination is!
*This post is sponsored by Wild Oats. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!
There is not much that I miss since going gluten-free except the convenience of eating anywhere where I want without worry.
In fact, there is only one food that I really and truly miss…
I have blogged about our weekly pizza night together that has been a family tradition for many years. I can admit it, I miss the days of sitting down and sharing a pizza with my kids. For awhile, our pizza nights lapsed- making pizza for everyone else and me eating a cardboard version of it just wasn’t in the cards at first. The only way that I can explain it is that it was a time of mourning for me. Others echo me when they say that they were blue to find out that they needed to make diet switches. It is like a little part of your life has changed and won’t be the same again.
Luckily, substitutions can be made with gluten-free crusts, but they often lack the flavor of that soft, doughy variety. I still make them on occasion, but I wouldn’t say gluten-free pizza is my favorite thing.
Portobello mushrooms, hollowed and inverted, can make a delicious substitute for an expensive gluten-free crust (and they also double as a mean burger!). I love the meaty taste of these and I love how they can stand up to baking and grilling in the summer season. When baked, a little drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of salt & pepper, creates a delicious fun base to your pizza. I would say that these trump a gluten-free crust any day and they are made with whole foods that you can be proud of!
This girl is no stranger to quinoa and we have talked about easy ways to prepare it on the Wild Oats blog. Of course, quinoa plain over and over again can be a little boring so to bring the pizza flavor into this dish, we incorporate Wild Oats Basil and add tomato flavor into the quinoa. When mixed in, it tastes like a protein-packed pizza sauce.
If you are vegan or dairy-free, the quinoa can be cooked in veggie broth and the cheese can be switched with a vegan cheese.
These are all the flavors I love about pizza without the belly ache. It’s a pizza that you can really feel good about for your whole family.
No need to be sad about that pizza night anymore- I’ve got you covered! You can snag all these fun products from Wild Oats (an affordable organic option) from Walmart!
Summertime means a lot of eating on-the-go for our family. It isn’t the running to and from activities like the school year, but the good stuff like picnics with my people, poolside lounging and road trips to the neighboring Michigan beaches.
Thankfully, the fresh produce and deliciously grown convenience food that we all love is in season. A container of cherries shared by the pool, bunches of grapes on our car trips, and strawberries by the fistful in the sunshine until we think we might turn into berries ourselves. It’s all such good stuff, isn’t it?
Salads are my go-to in the summer thanks to their amazing portability factor. Not only do I love fresh green salads made with romaine or spinach, but I adore a healthy topping of quinoa on top for that protein punch.
*This post is sponsored by Universal Pictures. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!
We have had so much fun preparing and hosting our MINIONS Backyard Bash in honor of the film’s launch on July 10th! Today we want to show you how we decorated for our party, the fun goodie bags we got to share with our friends, and an easy cupcake minion you can create for your very own party (no decorating skills required!).
In the new film, you get to go back to where the story of the Minions all began! Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, the Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters-from T. rex to Napoleon-the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a terrible depression. Kevin, Stuart, and Bob decide to seek a new boss to follow and decide to make a journey to find their new master. This is where they meet their new potential master, Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock- yay!), the world’s first-ever female super-villain. They travel from Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in London. It is here that they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation.
We can’t wait to see this family-friendly film together and were selected to help throw a party in honor of this film’s launch. #luckyducks
We got an incredible package in the mail that included all the party supplies we would need to execute our backyard bash as well as fantastic party favors that included adorable beach towels, beach balls, and PlayDoh sets for all of our guests.
The only thing we really needed was Mother Nature to cooperate with our plans.
Unfortunately, it has rained for two straight weeks in Indiana so we had to move this party indoors and enjoy the fun inside instead!
We weren’t going to let a little rain ruin our party though! We outfitted our table in blue and yellow to go with our theme. I let my kids do the decorating while I prepared our snacks. The goggles, of course take center stage in this set-up. We secured a set of adorable goggles to each of the chairs with a little washi tape for each person to take home. Our centerpiece was also adorned with goggles and we even stapled some together to make a goggle banner over our table.
Lemonade, popcorn, and cupcakes were served for a little rainy day magic together.
The Minions are a hit with kids of all ages so we invited our friends and cousins to join us for the afternoon. We loved sharing our Cupcake Minion with them and everyone can’t wait to catch the movie this summer!
In honor of the film, I’d love to show you how to create this cupcake minion for your party table! Before we begin, I want to encourage you to make this as easy on yourself as possible! If you want to make this party treat REALLY fast, call your local bakery and ask for two dozen white cupcakes with the frosting on the side. This is what we did to save some time and our local grocer only charged $14.99.
Two Dozen White Cupcakes
Frosting, tint half of it yellow and then other half blue (I recommend these Wilton food colorings to achieve this bold shade)
1 canning jar ring
Black licorice (if you aren’t a fan of black licorice, we tried a new chocolate Twizzler variety that worked perfectly)
1 Hershey Kiss
1. Tint over half your frosting in yellow and the other portion in blue. Set one cupcake aside for your eye.
2. Ice as I have shown here (15 Yellow, 4 Blue, 4 Half Yellow & Half Blue, 1 Left Without Icing!!). You can pipe the icing on, if you prefer a more polished look, or you can just spread the icing on with an icing spatula, as we have shown here.
3. Cut your black licorice up in random smaller pieces and apply to the top of your Minion head to create the hair.
4. Trim the top off of your cupcake to expose the white cake of your cupcake for the eye (pardon our picture, we decided to do that one last minute!). Make sure to not trim it too deep, so that your canning ring will fit around on the outside of it. Place your canning ring around the cupcake top to create your goggle.
5. Invert a Hershey Kiss into the center for your eye. Place the cupcake on top of your other cupcakes in the center. Finish by tucking two pieces of licorice underneath the eye to create the glasses. Trim the licorice to fit across the cupcakes on the end. Finish by bending your licorice into a smiley face! How easy was that?
We hope these ideas inspired you for a MINION’S Backyard Bash of your own! Remember to catch the film on July 10th! We can’t wait to hear what you think about it!
*This post is sponsored by Walmart. Proceeds from this post were donated to Riverbend Cancer Services. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site and our community!
Have you ever wanted to create your own DIY Outdoor Home Theater? We have had this on our summer bucket list for years and this summer we decided to finally put together our very own DIY outdoor movie night together with our kids and are sharing it with you today! There is something truly magical about watching a movie together under the stars and I love that you can do this right in the comfort of your very own backyard. We partnered with Walmart to show you just how easy it is to host an outdoor movie night of your own.
Now that you know what to buy, here are my tips for hosting your own diy outdoor movie night:
An EASY DIY Set-Up
You don’t need a lot to create a great movie set up. A simple white sheet (we like to double ours up to get the optimum picture) and some clothespins are exactly what we used to create our set-up. We simply draped our sheet on our clothesline out back and held it in place with a couple of clothespins. Anchor the bottom of your sheet with rocks or a brick to hold the sheet in place, particularly on those windy days.
Although there are more expensive screen options that you can purchase, I have found that sheets don’t take up a lot of storage and offer a decent picture for the price. Make sure to iron out those creases to avoid having ripples on this DIY screen- it’s worth the extra step!
Get a Great Picture (and Sound)
Your biggest investment in your outdoor movies will be your projector although Walmart does offer several affordable choices (check out this budget-friendly option for just $113.88)! More than likely, you already have the laptop and with the addition of small external speakers, you will have incredible sound.
We have had our projector for years and take it with us on our trips as a back-up plan for rainy days and we use it at home regularly especially in the winter months.
We were always struggling with sound on ours and we had an ah-ha moment and realized that with the right cable, we could hook the sound up to our daughter’s mini guitar amp. Now we have sound and we didn’t even have to make a speaker purchase. This goes to show that you can really think out of the box on creating your own DIY theater for a great picture and sound for your movie night.
Create the Mood
With the humble beginnings of a sheet and some clothespins, I am all about creating a mood. Consider stringing some outdoor lights up and around your movie screen to really create the movie magic for the night. I have always found that twinkle lights take everything up a notch when outdoor entertaining and are less than $20 a strand. It’s an affordable luxury for really creating the mood!
Comfy seating keeps your guests in their seat longer (although running around the yard while the movie is playing is totally required!). Add some blankets to the ground and some comfy outdoor pillows (I love these from BHG at Walmart). Consider also gathering your patio furniture around to keep things cozy for the adults in the crowd!
Bring On the Snacks
You can’t watch the movie without POPCORN! Take your popcorn game up a level and craft up a popcorn bar for your guests. Fill trifle containers with popcorn (don’t forget your scoopers!) and then fill ramekins with candy treats, marshmallows, and other fun mix-ins for you guests.
To make the treat more interactive (while you are waiting for it to get dark), you can have a table for decorating paper bags with stamps, markers, and decorative scissors for cutting a pretty scalloped edge. Have kids create their own popcorn bags and fill them with their favorite combination of treats. For older guests, the party section of the store offers a variety of fun containers you can use for your snacks.
I am also a big fan of the reusable insulated solo cup for outdoor drinks and a perfectly sized popcorn bucket. We found these in the outdoor section of our store.
For drinks, I am a BIG fan of using an inexpensive outdoor flower box for your soda drinks. Isn’t this a fun way to bring drinks to the table? Retro sodas and paper straws are always a hit with my kids. Center this on your picnic table for easy grabbing!
Here is our movie screen once it was dark. As you can see, even with a tiny projector, you have a pretty great picture on your sheet. We found adjusting the bricks to pull out any wrinkling, made a dramatic difference in the projection of our show. Our first movie night we caught, “Little Rascals!” The kids ran around like crazy, catching glimpses between games of hide and seek.
At the end of the night, it ended up just being me and my Dad, sitting side by side in two chairs, finishing out the show together.
We both agreed, that was pretty darn sweet.
There is certainly something so magical about an outdoor movie and we hope we have inspired you for a night of your own!
Reservations to our movie theater are highly recommended. We encourage you to dial our yellow phone to hold your seat! We would like to say a big thank you to Mallory Dzierla Schoenle of Copycat-Design for sharing her talent with the Riverbend Cancer Services.
We purchased her beautiful donation of this handmade lemonade stand to help support the cause and transformed it into a popcorn stand for the evening festivities. Mallory is a big giver in our community and as a DIY girl myself, I can see the labor of love that goes into each of her projects. You can check out her Facebook page or her website for more information about her beautiful pieces!
For more fun summer activities, check out this page of great ideas! Have you ever hosted an outdoor movie night? Please share your tricks and tips here for a fun night with the family!
*This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!
One of my favorite celebrations is 4th of July and today I wanted to share with you a fast & easy 4th of July fruit dessert platter you or your kids can make into a flag to celebrate the holiday. Walmart partnered up with me to share a festive 4th dish and I have to say that this delivers on the red, white, & blue.
Since I am gluten-free, I often have to bypass the dessert trays. As an adult, it is not a big a deal. As a child, the dessert table is EVERYTHING, especially when it comes to holiday feasting. I wanted to create this cute tray just for them and I found these glutino gluten-free yogurt covered pretzels are not only a fantastic way to add the white we needed for our stripes, but they also are highly addictive and delicious. You can certainly make your own white chocolate covered pretzels, if you are feeling ambitious, but these cut down on the time invested in creating our cute tray!
Flag cupcake picks can be a great way to festively pick up a berry (or ten). I found these at a local party supplies store and they are an adorable touch to a festive spread.
I think the best part about this tray is that it is not only relatively healthy, but it is also a tray that you can confidently create and know it will get eaten. After a big cookout, light desserts are a wonderful addition to the table for snacking on. Have too many desserts on your table? Save this to serve up during the fireworks. It will be gone before it even gets dark enough to see them!
Check out the instructions below on how many supplies you need to put this tray together!
*This post is sponsored by Wild Oats. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!
Grilling season is in full swing and I couldn’t be happier. What could be better than dining outside, keeping your kitchen clean, and providing a great meal (with leftovers for the week) in the process? Each year I vow to try my grill in a new way and this year I wanted to try some new ways to grill vegetables. Today I am partnering up with Wild Oats and sharing an easy veggie side dish you can create with just Brussels Sprouts, a few of your favorite dried and fresh spices, and a couple of other basic pantry ingredients.
Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite veggies in the world. In winter, I love to roast them until the taste resembles a decadent plate of french fries. For the summer months though, I love to keep my kitchen nice and cool so I wanted to figure out a different way I could make them. I decided to try them on our outdoor grill and see if the results would be just as tasty. Guess what? It didn’t disappoint.
Wild Oats offers a variety of delicious organic dried spices that you can use on your grilled veggies this summer. Have you seen these jars in your local Walmart store? It’s a great value and I love the dried spices, particularly when the garden isn’t in full swing or to mix even with the fresh herbs we have on hand. For these Brussels Sprouts you can add a little paprika for a smoky flavor, or chili powder for a little heat, or dress them up simply with a little Italian seasoning blend which pairs perfectly with the fresh garlic we have in this recipe.
Although I love the charred bits on my Brussels Sprouts, I do like to protect them with a double layer of foil to prevent them from getting really burnt. The length of time you cook them really depends on your own personal taste. I like mine to have a nice crunch still so 10-12 minutes is a good amount of time for me. If you prefer a softer veggie, 15-18 minutes should do the trick! Keep in mind, these are a great one to prep the night before for a party and tuck in your fridge for your events. How awesome is that?
A couple of years ago, quinoa wasn’t even on my radar as a food that I would want to eat. Once I went gluten-free though, it became necessary to really explore foods that I hadn’t considered before and the absence of so many of my go-to carbs made this option seem rather appealing.
In all honesty, since changing my diet to gluten-free, it has become my favorite pantry staple that I have used to create delicious, protein-packed dishes that my whole family loves. In the summer months, in particular, quinoa is perfect for your summer salads because it can be eaten hot, cold, or room temperature.
My favorite drink in the summertime is iced coffee, but I don’t love the price tag that comes with the iced coffees from our coffee shops. Thankfully, I discovered how to cold brew my coffee and make the perfect iced coffee at home. This month on my site I am showing you how I cold brewed my coffee and today we tackle how to make the perfect iced coffee just for you by adding your own favorite flavor combinations.
*This post is sponsored by Wild Oats. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!
I am so excited to be joining in as a contributor with Wild Oats this year and to get the opportunity to share with you about this company as an affordable organic offering at Walmart stores. I will be sharing ideas each month over on their blog as well as sharing a monthly offering here showcasing a fresh dish that you can create in your own kitchen that is delicious and gluten-free! Be sure to check out my first post on their blog sharing my delicious Baked Pecan Chicken Tenders recipe that is my new favorite salad topper.
I am sure everyone has a bucket list of things they would love to learn to create in their kitchen. Hummus has been one of those things that I usually buy pre-packaged that I have always thought to myself, “I bet you could make that…and cheaper too!” Inspired by the Wild Oats Chickpeas on my store shelves, I knew that this was a sign that I should attempt this dish in my kitchen.
Making homemade hummus is so ridiculously easy that I am embarrassed it took me years to finally attempt this in my kitchen. Hummus can be made in a variety of flavors, but one of the flavors I love the most is the garlic hummus. To take this pantry staple to another level though, I roasted it in my oven with a little olive oil to create a deeper, richer flavor. Once the garlic is roasted, it is just a matter of whirling these chickpeas in your food processor along with spices, tahini, lemon juice, and a little water until you get the consistency you are after.
Where the heck is tahini in the grocery aisle? Good question (says the girl who visited many aisles where tahini was not). It is typically in the international foods aisles of stores or can be found at international markets, but can also be found in weird and random places like next to the olives in you standard grocery store. Really, ask your grocer if you aren’t sure and don’t let a little thing like I don’t know how to say tahini or I don’t know what tahini looks like stop you from making this amazing dish. The best part is how long tahini lasts in your fridge so you can buy this and enjoy hummus all summer long. And you will. Because once you try this recipe, you will realize that homemade hummus really IS the best hummus to eat and you will be stockpiling those cans of chickpeas so you can enjoy this easy appetizer anytime you get the craving for it. Amen.
Once you try homemade hummus, you will never go back. Make this easy dish with canned chickpeas from Wild Oats.
1 large head garlic
2½ Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 (15 oz) can Wild Oats chickpeas, drained
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp tahini
½ tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp ground cumin
2 - 3 Tbsp water
Chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut about ¼-inch from top of garlic to expose tops of cloves for roasting.
Place garlic head on a sheet of foil and drizzle 1½ tsp olive oil evenly over top of garlic. Wrap foil up around garlic and roast 35 - 45 minutes until golden brown on a cookie sheet. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
To your food processor add chick peas, lemon juice, tahini, salt and cumin then pulse mixture 2 minutes. Scrape down sides and bottom of food processor, add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, set aside 3 - 4 cloves of the garlic and add remaining (about 10 - 11) to food processor. Pulse 1 minute, then add water and pulse 1-2 minutes longer.
Plate hummus, make indentation in center and add 1 - 2 Tbsp more olive oil to taste (optional), then chop remaining roasted garlic cloves and sprinkle over top, sprinkle with parsley and red pepper flakes.
Serve with fresh veggies or gluten-free crackers. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.