Tuesday, July 31, 2018

{Travel} Beach Day

We've made it to the beach one day so far this summer. I'm not complaining..it was wonderful!

Once I'm at the beach with the umbrella over my head, the ocean in my sights and a book in my hand, I'm in my happy place.

I did not want to leave but the boardwalk was beckoning us. 
I had to stop and smell the (beach) roses. 

 We made it to our (for College Girl and moi) favorite restaurant on the boardwalk. 
This is their Banana Whip menu and there are so many options. 
But first, dinner! I had their homemade veggie burger served on a bed of cooked spinach and topped with roasted red peppers. 
We split the vegan mac & cheese. Oh my goodness it was amazing! 
College Girl had the vegan tacos. 
I had to save room for dessert. Banana Whip!!  It's only whipped bananas and then you can add all kinds of toppings or mix ins. I went with pretzels and chocolate chips. 
It was a sweet ending to a sweet day!

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Latest Trader Joe's Finds:Summer Edition!

I haven't done a Trader Joe's post since May, so it's time for an update. I love seeing what other bloggers and vloggers find at TJ's so I hope you feel the same way about my favorites and finds.
First off is their peonies.  These come out briefly in the spring and should be grabbed when you see them.
I'm no wine snob expert but these boxed wined from TJ's are delicious and perfect for an outdoor party. Like our recent 80's Themed Graduation Party.  The rosé is a new favorite of mine!
This is a gluten free pasta that actually tastes like "regular" pasta.
I love when the seasonal products start showing up on the shelves like this Pink Pomelo Grapefruit Hand Soap for summer.
TJ's has been killing it with their refrigerated salad dressings lately. I've told you about my love for the Almond Butter Turmeric and Carrot Ginger Miso varieties in previous posts but they need to move over for this Avocado Green Goddess dressing! It's great as a dip for veggies or as a burrito bowl topper too!
Their planted fresh herbs really are a deal compared to buying cut herbs. The plants keep on giving! I planted mine in pots outside. The basil took off but the rosemary is struggling but producing. I want to plant some in the kitchen when it gets too cold for them outside.
We've been going through lemons like crazy around here and I like that I can get a nice sized bag of organic lemons at a reasonable price at TJ's.
Speaking of lemons, I tried the Lemongrass Spearmint Herbal Flavored Water on my last trip and it was refreshing.
Again with the cute packaging!  Two heads of garlic seems like the perfect amount for me - I can use up before it goes bad.
Lastly is this new non-dairy milk beverage option. The shelf stable Unsweetened Almond, Cashew & Macadamia Nut Beverage is creamy and delicious and one that I will definitely pick up again.  What have you been finding lately at TJ's?

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Friday, July 27, 2018

{Recipe} Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Ritz Bars-VEGAN!

What a perfect combo of sweet and salty. I veganized these treats for our 80's Inspired Graduation Party and made them again for a friend's birthday a few weeks later.  They are that good. These bars are perfect for summer because they are no-bake and super easy to throw together.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks)
1 cup pretzels, crushed finely then measured
1 cup Ritz crackers, finely crushed
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (use dairy free if making vegan)
Mini pretzels for decoration (optional)
To make:
  • Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Crush pretzels and Ritz in food processor (or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin) then measure to make sure you have 1 cup of each.
  • Combine melted butter, crushed pretzels, crushed Ritz, powdered sugar and crunchy peanut butter in a bowl.

  •  Press mixture into the baking dish.

  • In a small bowl melt chocolate chips and creamy peanut butter in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between intervals until fully melted.

  •  Pour over peanut butter cracker mixture and spread out to smooth the top.

  • Add mini pretzels to the top (optional).
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.
  • Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

 These are similar to my No-Bake Reese's Bars but have a softer texture plus the addition of pretzels and Ritz crackers.
The combination of the crunchy peanut butter and salty pretzels/crackers with the sweetness of the sugar is so amazing. The creamy chocolate peanut butter topping is divine!
I hope you'll try them too. If you do please take a picture of them and tag me!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

4th of July 2018

Is it too late to post about 4th of July? I hope not. It has been three weeks but it seems like it was a long time ago!
This photo was from one of my recent  Four On Friday posts where I was admiring my mother in law's viewing spot for the local 4th of July parade.
 She has prime real estate along the parade route and plenty of room for all of her friends and family to sit in the shade.  I got to wear this thrifted t-shirt from last year.
 We have a typical small town parade that has its own charm.
 There are lots of service people, classic cars, cute kids and fire trucks..lots of fire trucks!

 (Some of) the gang!  My niece made a 'please throw candy' sign out of chalk.
 Did I say fire trucks?
 And horses!
 The candy message was rewarded.  Her bowl of candy.
 The stuff she didn't want (spearmint jellies).
 Here comes "Elvis"!
 My mother in law was serenaded by him.
 We knew some people on this float.
 And this gang looks familiar too!  After the parade we had everyone over for breakfast.  We had another family bbq in the afternoon so we didn't stay too long.

It was SO hot that day. I showered and changed into this cool and comfy romper for the bbq.
That night we were home by the time it got dark and we were treated to some beautiful fireworks right in our neighborhood!
We oohed and ahhed over them right in our driveway. No driving, traffic or crowds to deal with.
It was a pretty perfect 4th of July (except that it fell on a Wednesday this year!). What did you do?
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