My Top 10 Summer Survival Pieces

Summer in Miami means light, loose and airy clothing because let’s face it: it’s incredibly hot and humid and who wants to be any hotter than we have to be? There are certain fashion staples that we all need so that we can look our best without wilting in the summer heat. I have a top 10 summer survival pieces list to make sure that I am prepared for any day, any function, any activity, because no matter what you are doing this summer (or anytime, for that matter), you want to look great!

Top 10 Summer Survival Pieces

Everyone needs a basic summer wardrobe. Living in South Florida, mine is made up of lots of sundresses, comfortable and breathable shoes, and of course…bathing suits!

Your Basic Shorts and Tee

When I travel, it’s necessary to dig through the drawers to find the perfect outfit for my trip, not only because I want to look good, but I want to be dressed appropriately as well. While I mostly wear sundresses, you can’t exactly go horseback riding and zip lining in a dress, can you? I only own a few pairs of shorts, but I make sure that they are comfortable, lightweight and flattering so that I feel confident when I do wear them. Your basic khaki shorts and fitted (not tight) tee are perfect for outdoor activities, a stroll in the park, fishing, etc. Invest in a high quality pair of shorts that won’t fall apart, shrink or unravel once it goes through the wash a few times.

shorts and tee shirt

A Causal Romper

It took me quite a while before I was comfortable with the idea of wearing a romper. When they first became stylish, I thought they were cute, but it’s hard to justify wearing a fashion piece that your teenage daughter is also wearing…

I finally gave in this summer and bought my first romper and now I want more! A romper is a great way to get dressed quickly and look put together! They’re also very lightweight so you won’t be too hot, and some even have pockets! This is really like wearing a dress – throw on one item of clothing and add shoes and accessories and you’re all set for your day, whether it’s hanging out at a poolside bar, a casual lunch with friends or visiting the farmer’s market with your hubby on Sunday afternoon.

jumpsuit romper

If you’re feeling a little self conscious about your body, you can even throw on a Maidenform Weightless Comfort Shortie Slimmer underneath! And don’t forget the bandeau top, it’s  more comfortable than a regular strapless bra and it’s okay if it shows!

This Maidenform Weightless Comfort Shortie is super thin and breathable, so while you are adding an extra layer, it’s so light that it doesn’t make you uncomfortable. I love that it kind of slims and smooths me in all the right places so I don’t have to worry about looking frumpy in my romper!

PicMonkey Collage

Cute and Comfy Sandals

We wear sandals year-round in Miami, but everyone needs a really cute and comfortable pair of trendy sandals during the summer! I like a pair of simple but fashionable sandals that I can wear from day to night…looking adorable in Instagram #WhereIStand photos is a bonus!

Toe rings are optional but highly encouraged. 

sandals

The Summer Sundress

I practically live in sundresses year round, but during the summer months, I wear them nonstop! A pretty sundress not only keeps you nice and cool when the temperatures rise, but they come in so many different shapes, colors and designs that you are sure to find a few killer looks with this fashion staple!

sundress

This is another one of those fashion items that make some women uncomfortable. Hello, chaffing much?

Shapewear is Your Best Friend 

The Maidenform Weightless Comfort Shortie is a great idea for wearing beneath sundresses or flirty skirts to not only help slim and shape for a more flattering figure, but help keep our thighs from rubbing together and causing all kinds of not-so-great moments while we are outside in the heat! This material is Maidenform’s lightest to date and the short hemline means that you can wear it beneath almost anything!

I love wearing a Maidenform Comfort Devotion slip with some of my sundresses. If I am going to have to wear a slip anyway, it might as well do double duty and keep the bulges at bay, right? This slip smooths and defines all of my problem areas: the tummy, waist and hips, with a built in comfort bodysuit with a a hook and eye closure, so using the bathroom is easy!

shapewear slip

Comfy Kicks

I am on my feet A LOT during the summer, as we travel so much. Invest in a really comfortable, breathable pair of shoes that you can wear anywhere! Sure, sneakers and tennis shoes are comfortable, but they’re not so cute. I love TOMS because they come in so many different styles and they are seriously the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn in my life!

Toms

A Bathing Suit Cover Up

The only thing more important than a comfortable, flattering bathing suit this summer is what you put on top of it! There are so many options for bathing suit cover ups, from sundresses to tunics to good old fashioned resort wear. My favorite cover ups are super lightweight so that not only are they nice and airy while I’m outside, but they dry quickly after I’ve worn them.

coverup

A Floppy Hat

No day at the beach is complete with a little extra protection from the sun. They’re also a super cute fashion accessory!

floppy hat

A Great Day to Night Dress

As much as I love sundresses, they’re not exactly appropriate for most evening functions. Every women needs at least one great dress that she can wear from day to night.

Wear comfortable shoes during the day, then change into a pair of heels and add some jewelry in the evening and save time – and valuable packing space in your luggage – with one dress that does it all!

Nice dress

A Bathing Suit that You Actually LIKE

There is no escaping wearing a bathing suit during the summer. Whether it’s on a cruise, taking the kids to the pool, heading to the beach with friends and family: you need a good bathing suit.

My suggestion is to skip the mass market retailers and head to a swim shop or department store and invest in a good quality, flattering bathing suit. There are bikinis, one pieces, tankinis, suits with skirts attached, you name it! If you really can’t find something that you feel comfortable and happy in, go ahead and get that cover up and throw it on top.

crane beach in barbados

Are there any must-have wardrobe items that you rely upon to look and feel your best during the hot summer months?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Maidenform. The opinions and text are all mine.

Frozen Foods Make Mealtime Easier!

This post brought to you by American Frozen Foods Institute and the Frozen Food Roundtable. All opinions are 100% mine.

Angeline’s father’s parents moved to Northern Florida when she was just about four years old, and ever since, she’s made the trek up there to visit them several times a year. Chris and I have come to look forward to this time for ourselves and once she is safely there, it’s like P A R T Y  T I M E! in the Quillen household. What do I mean by “party time?” Oh you know, totally insane stuff like not doing laundry for days at a time, not having to cook three meals a day, having the bathroom all to myself during the day. You know, the usual stuff that parents find thrilling.

Let’s get back to that not cooking part.  It’s not that I don’t cook at all – I just don’t cook as much. I take as many shortcuts as I can, and I love having a freezer full of good food that I can quickly cook up without a lot of hassle. The same goes for breakfast and lunch; when Angeline is at her grandparents, I go for the simplest meals possible for myself during the day: like waffles for breakfast. Yum!

Eggo Waffles

There are so many different options in the freezer aisle that can make your life easier, not just while the kids are off at grandma’s, but year-round! One of the major benefits of frozen foods is that brands like General Mills, Hillshire, Kellogg’s, and Nestle have you covered for all of your quick, easy and delicious breakfast needs.

Breakfast and Brunch are those difficult meals because who really wants to slave over a hot stove first thing in the morning? Grabbing frozen breakfast options from the freezer not only makes breakfast easier for me, but it also means that my daughter can very easily make her own breakfast if she doesn’t like what I am eating, or if she wakes up late and misses breakfast. Simply popping some waffles, pancakes or toaster pastries in the toaster is so much easier than making a whole new meal on the stove top, and is more fun than eating cold cereal all of the time!

We always have a ton of frozen foods in the freezer; between having frozen fruits and veggies on hand to plenty of meal options, it just makes life so much easier! On those days when I haven’t planned anything for dinner, I can usually find something to make after a quick glance in the freezer.

Frozen. How Fresh Stays Fresh

One of the many benefits of frozen foods is that it is fresh food, just frozen! Frozen food is made from real recipes with real ingredients, and the freezing naturally pauses the freshness of these foods so that all of those delicious flavors are suspended until you are ready to cook them up and enjoy them!

How Fresh Stays Fresh photo fd062587-c45b-4ca2-bc3c-86b7166181f5_zpscaf03e88.png

frozen foods

There are so many advantages to having a nice stock of frozen meal options in the freezer! You can try so many different kinds of cuisine without having to learn how to make them – for instance, I recently bought a Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers in Beef Teriyaki. Now, I have never made a Teriyaki anything in my life, but this was a great way for me to try one out without having to learn how to cook it myself.

Ravioli photo cab2c118-eb6e-41d4-903a-ae6c7be8e219_zps4fa18a17.jpg

Then there’s the benefit of being able to quickly grab a meal to take with you on the way to work – skip the fast food drive through on your lunch hour and just head to the office freezer and pick up your delicious lunch! After a few minutes in the microwave or oven (if your office has an oven), sit down and relax with your lunch while everyone else is stuck in traffic coming back from the fast food chains!

Last but not least is my favorite meal of the day: dessert!

One of the best things about frozen meals is that most of their offerings come in single serving sizes, which means that they are perfect for when you don’t need to feed the whole family, or if you are single. They’re also perfect when it comes time for dessert, and no one else wants a nice slice of Key Lime pie but you!

key lime pie

I don’t know why anyone would not want a slice of Edwards Key Lime pie, because it’s pretty delicious – but you never know.

By the way, if you’re wondering why a girl who only lives 45 minutes away from the Florida Keys – and has a Key Lime tree hanging over her fence in the backyard – actually buys Edwards Key Lime Pie, it’s because they are really that good! When we have family parties, someone always brings a whole Edwards Key Lime Pie, and it’s usually the first dessert to be demolished!

key lime pie

What kind of frozen foods do you keep stocked in your freezer? Do you feel that there is more work involved with fresh vs frozen meal solutions? I would love to hear any of your tips and tricks for easier meals with frozen foods!

 

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Chicken Fajita Flatbread Pizza Recipe

Chicken Fajita Flatbread Pizza combines 2 of my all time favorite things in 1 super easy to make recipe! Check this out….

Chicken Fajita Flatbread Pizza | The Rebel Chick

Chicken Fajita Flatbread Pizza

I spent this past weekend binge watching Sons of Anarchy. All 6 Seasons! I don’t know what took me so long to jump on that bandwagon. So good! Do you watch smexy Jax? It was an awesome and totally lazy weekend here in Hot Vegas. But….kids. Apparently, they want to eat on my lazy weekends. They have been asking for homemade pizza.

UUmmm…. That doesn’t fit into ‘lazy’ or help with ‘hot Vegas’ at all. About a year ago, I started playing around with different flatbread pizza recipes and this one was a huge hit.

So, I took a short break from the binge watching and made them a Chicken Fajita Flatbread Pizza as a yummy, quick compromise.

I bet you have just about everything in your ‘fridge already to make it tonight! Let’s see…

Chicken Fajita Flatbread Pizza Ingredients

Chicken Fajita Flatbread Pizza Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Pkg. Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough
  • 1/2 Cup Salsa (I use medium, pick your heat)
  • 2 Cups Cooked Chicken (this would be great with left-overs too!)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Bell Peppers (sliced, I used a nice variety for color!)
  • 1/4 Cup Red Onion (sliced)
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheese (I had the bagged Mexican Blend on hand)
  • 2 TBS Cilantro (rough chop)

Chicken Fajita Flatbread Pizza | The Rebel Chick

DIRECTIONS:

Let’s start this flatbread pizza by pre-heating that oven to *400. Pop open the roll of dough and stretch it thin. Not see-thru thin, but about the size of a jelly roll pan. Grab a spoon and spread your salsa over the dough. Sprinkle 1/2 of the shredded cheese right over the salsa. Layer on your chicken, peppers and onion. Now cover that flatbread pizza with the remaining cheese. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes depending on your oven. The cheese should be all melt-y gooey and the crust  is a nice golden brown around the edges. Top it off with the cilantro and you’re ready to eat!

Chicken Fajita Flatbread Pizza | The Rebel Chick

Really easy, huh? I like mine with a bit of kick so I pop a few diced pieces of Jalapeno on my slices. The kiddos, not so much. You can absolutely add your favorite flatbread pizza favs to this and change it up! This is great dinner to make on busy weekdays and not just for lazy weekends. Also, think tailgating and party food my friends! Who doesn’t love pizza at a party?

Costa Rica Reminded Me…Life Doesn’t Have to be So Complicated.

Life is funny sometimes, and I am constantly being reminded that I need to embrace the curve balls that are thrown my way. You never know when an opportunity will present itself and you have to be open minded when it comes to travel – and life in general.

Last week, a friend called me on a random Monday night to catch up, and told me about her spur of the moment trip to Costa Rica for the following week. Before I knew it, I was booking a flight and hotel to join her! Could I have put a week at home to good use? Could I have caught up on work, cleaned the house…and finally gotten around to redecorating my home office and bedroom, like I’ve planned to do all summer? Of course.

But those things aren’t very fun!

I flew out to Costa Rica on Monday, and what a trip it turned out to be! Firstly, I always have a blast hanging out with my friend; ever since she moved away a few years ago, we try to get together at least once a year. This trip made three times I’ve seen her this year alone, so that in itself was awesome!

We hung out on the black sandy beach and enjoyed the gorgeous pool with a view of Snake Bay…

Andaz Adults only Pool in Costa Rica

We went snorkeling, I got stung by a jellyfish, we ate great food and drank lots of Imperial beer (the official beer of Costa Rica)…

We went on a Riverboat Tour and saw all kinds of Costa Rican wildlife…

capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica

We did a Zipline Canopy Tour with the best tour guides you could ever ask for…

Zip line in Costa Rica

I came home completely relaxed, refreshed…and happy. Oh so happy!

I’ve never really thought about visiting Costa Rica before. I have heard so many wonderful things about the country from the travel blogging community, but nothing really stuck out to me in a way that made me want to see it for myself.

Now? I am in love with the country. In love with the lush green forests, the white faced Capuchin monkeys eating breakfast in the trees outside our hotel, the bats that fly overhead as you’re walking to dinner…and the people?

The people of the Guanacaste area in Costa Rica are so different than Americans, it’s almost impossible to explain. Imagine us, materialistic, driven, ambitious – and Costa Ricans are the exact opposite. It’s a simple way of life over there, one spent preserving and enriching the landscape, a culture completely devoted to living life day by day, moment by moment, without the all-consuming materialism that we have here in the United States.

At one point, I asked our guides about taking me into town to see the city, to perhaps shop, eat in local eateries, see a museum…and they laughed. “Downtown” doesn’t exist in the way I imagined. As we drove through the small city of Filadephia and Liberia, the two major cities (or what would pass as cities in the United States), I realized just how excessive we are in the states. Instead of our mega chain grocery stores and department stores, they grow most of their own food and their grocery stores sell the basics, and aren’t much larger than our convenience stores. There wasn’t a Walmart in sight.

Small village

Why can’t we live like that? What makes Americans want more more more? What drives our Capitalistic desire to build, acquire, dominate – at any expense? In Guanacaste, the people are more concerned with preserving the forests and wildlife than they are building tourist traps. Life is simple in Costa Rica, and for the most part, people just live their lives day by day, spending time with family, eating good food, working their jobs and spending time outdoors. Everyone was so friendly, so kind, so genuine!

The tours we took were a complete change from the usual excursions I take on vacations in other countries. No one pushes to sell you things, no one reminds you a million times that you can tip them at the end – they are excited to show you a good time, show you how they live their lives and make you fall in love with their country…and we did!

pottery making

When you visit Costa Rica, you take it as it is, and if that’s not enough for you…well, it says more about you (and me) than it does about them.

Embrace the Summer Fun Without Worrying about the Summer Sun!

I participated in an Ambassador Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Banana Boat® Sun Care. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

So far this summer, I’ve been to the Florida Keys, Napa Valley, an eight day Caribbean cruise and Costa Rica…and the summer isn’t even over yet! I am nice and tan, but you know what? I haven’t burned! My secret to enjoying all that summertime has to offer without turning into a painful lobster is sunscreen!

Banana Boat 2

Banana Boat® Sport Performance® Clear UltraMist® Sunscreen with Powerstay Technology™ was specifically designed for the sport enthusiast and active individual who doesn’t want to be slowed down while out in the sun. Well, we all know that I am not a fan of sports, but I am pretty active when it comes to the outdoors! I love snorkeling, fishing, and of course zip lining!

All that time in the hot Costa Rican sun could have left me sunburnt and blistered, but I came home with a nice golden glow without any hint of a sunburn.

Zip Lining

Powerstay Technology™ is the latest innovation by Banana Boat and it helps your sunscreen stay on strong through whatever you are doing outside this summer!

The new formula was designed to provide better application aesthetics, including a light-weight feel compared to the original formula, because of course we want sunscreen that feels good on our skin. Banana Boat® Sport Performance® Clear UltraMist® Sunscreen with Powerstay Technology™ is available in SPF 15, 30, 50+ and 100, so rest assured, there’s a coverage option for everyone!

Banana Boat® Sport Performance® Clear UltraMist® Sunscreen with Powerstay Technology™ provides powerful protection that absorbs quickly and won’t run into eyes. This was especially helpful while I was in Turks and Caicos last month, because it was so hot, I started sweating as soon as I sat down on the beach! It’s important to apply your sunscreen as soon as possible once you get to where you are going this summer so that your skin is protected before the sun has a chance to do any damage!

Banana Boat 4

Banana Boat® Sport Performance® Clear UltraMist® Sunscreen with Powerstay Technology™ was specifically designed for those of us who are too busy having fun to be slowed down when out in the sun!

The Benefits of Banana Boat® Sport Performance® Clear UltraMist® Sunscreen with Powerstay Technology™

Available in SPF 15, SPF 30, SPF 50, and SPF 100
Broad Spectrum UVA and UVB Protection
Water Resistant (80 Minutes)
Lightweight, non-greasy, quick-absorbing formula
Won’t run into eyes
Clean, fresh scent
6oz. UltraMist® spray can
Twist ‘n Lock Spray, No Cap!
SPF 100 blocks against 96% of UVA/UVB rays
Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation

When summer fun is calling, I don’t have time to worry about getting a sunburn. I need a great sunscreen that protects me, no matter what I am doing! Whether I am laying on a beach in Grand Turk or flying through the canopy in the forests of Guanacaste, I know that Banana Boat has me covered!

Banana Boat

 

Banana Boat® sunscreen is teaming up with actress and mother of two, Busy Philipps, to bring moms and their families the tips, tools and fun prizes they need to have the Best Summer Ever! Visit www.facebook.com/BananaBoatBrand and enter the Best Summer Ever sweepstakes! the Best Summer Ever Sweepstakes gives families a chance to win summer fun prizes, including the grand prize – a family trip to a Treehouse Resort. Hurry and enter now because it ends on July 31st!

banana boat block party

Get social with Banana Boat! Like the Banana Boat Facebook page and follow @BananaBoat on Instagram for summertime inspiration!

The Inspiration Behind Piston Peak in Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue

I would have never imagined how much detail and planning goes into creating the location for a Disney animated movie. When we sat down with Toby Wilson at Disneytoon Studios to learn about the process of creating Piston Peak, the location of Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue, I was astounded at the attention to detail that went into this movie! I had recently been to Yosemite National Forest, and I recognized a few places while watching the movie, so I knew that they relied on that incredible scenery for inspiration…but I really just had NO IDEA of the magnitude!

pp

 

An actual photo I took in Yosemite National Forest in April…

pp1

And the place Toby’s team went to get inspiration  Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue set of Piston Peak.

Disney's Planes Fire and Rescue Yosemite National Park #FireandRescueEvent

 

I knew that Piston Peak looked familiar!

Toby Wilson told us that he and Bobs Gannaway spent time exploring Yosemite National Park and Yellowstone National Park taking photos and jotting down their ideas of what they wanted Piston Peak to look like – it’s always more “real” if a movie set seems like a real place, and what better way to accomplish that than by modeling it after a real place?

PLANES: FIRE & RESCUEThe Grand Fusel Lodge in Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue is modeled after two different hotels: the Ahawani Resort in Yosemite National Park and the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. The inside is modeled after the Old Faithful Inn and the outside of the building is modeled after the Ahawani. Isn’t that cool? There is so much detail in the Grand Fusel Lodge, which is one of the main locations in the Piston Peak National Park, where everyone comes to meet up and spend the night in one of the 327 hangers.

PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE

As you watch Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue, watch for places that you recognize from both Yosemite National Forest and Yellowstone National Park – it will give you a new appreciation for all of the time and dedication the Disney creative team puts into bringing us these incredibly realistic and powerful movies!

piston-peak-national-park-sign-disney

Go see Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue in theaters now!

 

 

Flip the Script with Target Pharmacy and Win a $50 Target e-Gift Card!

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.

It’s no secret that Target is my favorite store especially because it fits well into a multi-tasking lifestyle. I can do my shopping and enjoy a Starbucks treat as well as pick up any prescriptions my family might need. Target encourages you to Flip the Script by transferring your prescriptions to their pharmacy.

Transferring a prescription used to be such a hassle. You’d have to have a ton of information and forget it if you lost your bottles. The Target Pharmacy has streamlined this process and made it easier than ever. You need the name and phone number of your current pharmacy and your prescription number. Easy peasy!

Once you have your information handy, the Target Pharmacy has several options to get you transferred. You can speak directly to the pharmacist at your local store. This is a fantastic option as you can get your prescriptions transferred and ask any additional questions you might have. Transferring your prescriptions this way also allows you to start a rapport with your pharmacist.

After all, you want to be able to trust the person giving you and your family medicines.

For the tech savvy users, you can text RX to 827436 (Target). I personally like the text option, you can even sign up to receive text alerts when your prescriptions are ready for pick up. Alternatively, you can call 1-877-796-2743 or visit Target.com/pharmacy for transfers. I highly recommend setting up an online Target Pharmacy account. You can view and track your rewards, order extra pharmacy cards, add family members, and more. I like the ability to sign in and see where I’m at with my rewards.

Speaking of rewards, my favorite of the Target Pharmacy Rewards is 5% off a day of Target shopping when you fill five prescriptions. The more family members you have, the faster you achieve this reward as each prescription counts toward the total. I can score some amazing deals with a 5% off certificate!

WIN IT! 
Consider transferring your scripts to the Target Pharmacy and enter to win a $50 eGC to Target! Tell me why you would want to switch to the Target Pharmacy!

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French Vanilla Bread Pudding Recipe #TakeBackVanilla

Who says that vanilla has to be boring? Did you know that the majority of American’s name Vanilla as their favorite ice cream flavor? There’s a very simple reason for that: Vanilla is awesome! If you’re using Vanilla as a synonym for boring, you’re using it wrong. Get with the program, folks! Vanilla is anything but boring. I love adding Coffee-mate French Vanilla coffee creamer in my iced coffees, but there are really so many other ways to use it! For instance, have you ever tried using Coffee-mate coffee creamer in your baking? This French Vanilla Bread Pudding Recipe uses Coffee-mate French Vanilla coffee creamer to kick the flavor up a notch, and it is so delicious!

French Vanilla Bread Pudding

Coffee-mate has two delicious Vanilla coffee creamers available, Classic Vanilla and French Vanilla. You might think that all vanilla coffee creamers were created equal, but let me tell you: they’re not! These are two totally different flavor experiences based on everyone’s favorite vanilla flavor. Classic vanilla is a throwback to that classic vanilla you remember from your childhood – imagine that classic vanilla soft serve ice cream cone you had as a kid! The flavor is reminiscent of vanilla beans. Balanced and aromatic, this is a class American kitchen taste!

French Vanilla is deliciously creamy, with a rich, smooth flavor. The French Vanilla flavor has hints of marshmallows, vanillin notes and a tiny bit of buttercream flavor. There’s a big emphasis on the vanillin. YUM!

Did you know that Vanilla has over 170 different flavor notes? It’s no wonder that both the Coffee-mate Classic Vanilla and French Vanilla are perfect for your morning cup of coffee…or for using in a delicious French Vanilla Bread Pudding recipe!

Vanilla-Bread-Pudding2

 

French Vanilla Bread Pudding Recipe

Bread Pudding Ingredients:

  • 14 Cups Cubed Day-Old  Bread
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 4 Cups Coffee-mate French Vanilla coffee creamer
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups  Brown Sugar
  • 4 TSP Vanilla
  • 1 TSP Cinnamon
  • 1/2 TSP Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Salt

French Vanilla Bread Pudding Recipe

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350*. Grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with butter and set aside. Combine the heavy cream, Coffee-mate, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, in a large bowl. Whisk to mix. Add bread to cream mixture and make sure all bread is coated. Let it soak in for about 10 minutes. Pour soaked bread and all remaining liquid into casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour. Center of bread should be set and no longer mushy. Garnish with macerated strawberries. Drizzle with warm Bourbon Sauce.

Maple Bourbon Sauce

  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Milk (not skim)
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 TBS Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Bourbon + 1/4 Cup
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 TBS Butter

In medium saucepan combine the cream, milk, and sugar. Warm over medium heat. Do not allow to boil.  In a small mixing bowl,  whisk cornstarch and bourbon to make a slurry. Pour the slurry into the cream mixture and now bring to a boil. When sauce begins to boil, reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat. Add salt, butter and the remaining 1/4 cup of bourbon. Serve warm.

Macerated Strawberries

  • 1/2 Quart Sliced Strawberries
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar

Slice strawberries and place in bowl. Add sugar and mix well. Allow to set in refrigerator for 6 hours. Serve cold.

French Vanilla Bread Pudding Recipe

It’s time to take back vanilla #TakeBackVanilla for even more fun and excitement every day. Want to try Classic Vanilla? Click here to locate a store near you!

I’d love to hear about your recipes using Coffee-mate coffee creamers. If you haven’t tried using this great ingredient in your cooking yet, you can Visit Coffee-mate for more delicious recipes!

Don’t forget to follow @Coffee-mate on Twitter and like the Coffee-mate Facebook page to stay up to date on current promotions and awesome recipes featuring their products!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

The 25th Annual American Century Championship

This post was created in partnership with American Century Investments. I have received compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The 25th Annual American Century Championship ran from July 15th through July 20th with a $600,000 total purse up for grabs with the first prize being $125,000, second prize $50,000 and third prize awarding $35,000. Through this championship, American Century Investments Profits for Purpose and NBC Sports have raised awareness as well as over $4 million for local and national charities.

The Stowers Institute for Medical Research, part of BioMed Valley Discoveries, was selected as the 2014 national charity. The gorgeous city of Lake Tahoe, Nevada hosted the championship event this year. The tournament was a 54-hole modified Stableford format and more than 80 sports and entertainment celebrity guests were slated to appear. The course is a par 72 over 6,865 yards. Celebrity golfers, sponsors, press, and spectators experienced a brief delay on Saturday as well as a second delay on Sunday due to lightning.

A highlight of the week long event was the Tahoe South-Celebrity Am, where four amateurs are paired with a celebrity and make their way over the tough course. Each amateur is treated to an exclusive breakfast, a $250 gift bag, and admittance to the awards luncheon. They also receive a framed souvenir photo and passes to the rest of the tournament. John Elway, Brian Urlacher, and Charles Barkley were among the honored guests as well as Larry “The Cable Guy” and Bill Engvall.

Chad Pfiefer, Iraq veteran and amputee, started the last day in second place but ended in fifth. In honor of Pfiefer’s efforts, American Century donated $25,000 in his name to the Troops First Foundation.

Mark Rypien, retired NFL quarterback, took home the win with 76 points. Rypien edged out Jeremy Roenick and Annika Sorestam who each tied for second with 65 points. This win is Rypien’s first since the 1990 inaugural championship event. Rypien states “It was a little bit of an advantage just from that standpoint that I’m accustomed to playing in inclement weather with golf and football and then that was kind of the way it was today. It was kind of uncomfortable for everybody, but I felt fine.”

American Century Investments Supports the American Century Championship #ACCgolf #GiveLikeJim

This post was created in partnership with American Century Investments. I have received compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

It’s awe-inspiring as well as humbling when individuals use their personal financial success toward the good of mankind. The late Jim Stowers founded American Century Investments Profits for a Purpose in 1958 for such a purpose.

Most people have a family member or friend that has been touched by cancer or other diseases. Jim and Virginia both survived cancer and dealt with the fear and loneliness that accompanies the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness. Jim and his wife Virginia aspired to give back more than money and in doing so created the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. The Institute is dedicated to improving the quality of life through research, treatment, and prevention of gene-based diseases.

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The Stowers Institute opened its doors in 2000 and employs over 550 people, including pre and post doctoral scholars and fellows from as many as 30 countries across the world. The Institute includes 22 research programs and Jim’s hope was that it would blossom into a “bio-med” valley in Kansas City, including BioMed Valley Discoveries. With this, the Stowers want to bring growth and new discoveries in the scientific community that would improve humanity.

Biomedicine peer-review journals are often noting the discoveries and achievements of the Stowers’ scientists. This is no surprise as the Stowers Institute for Medical Research has quickly established its reputation for the highest quality basic research and is a top innovative biomedical organization. Over a billion dollars in dividends has been contributed to the Institute since it’s inception in 2000.

Jim and Virginia Stowers were determined to donate something far more valuable than money. They created Hope for Life with their investments and their dream continues to live through the Institute’s advancements. They are a prime example of how financial success can be used for the greater good and hope to inspire others to do the same through.

Below is a video of a top moment at the 2014 American Century Championship, the premier event in celebrity golf. The event raises awareness and funds for national and local charities.

This is the 25th anniversary of the American Century Championship and the line up includes stars like Charles Barkley, Oscar de la Hoya, Aaron Rogers, Kevin Nealon, Ray Romano and Jack Wagner!

 

Check out P.F. Chang’s Summer Menu & Win a Foodie Trip To Boston!

This article is sponsored by P.F. Chang’s.

Today I have a two-for-one for you guys! Firstly, we are going to talk about the awesome seasonal menu at P.F. Changs, which have a fantastic perfect pairing of wine with each dish…and secondly, I have an amazing foodie travel contest to tell you about!

The seasonal menu at P.F. Changs is full of delicious food, each paired with a spirit that compliments the cuisine. It’s like having a built in wine expert right there on the menu! Many of the dishes are paired with a Riesling, as that kind of wine pairs so well with Asian cuisine. It was actually the first time I’ve had a Riesling with Asian food and now I know what I’ve been missing all these years! They say that Samuel Adams beer also goes well with these dishes, but I do love my Riesling!

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The P.F. Changs Seasonal Menu

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls - Lemongrass chicken, julienne carrots, celery root, cilantro, peanuts, Thai basil and mint wrapped in cool rice paper, with a sweet chili dipping sauce.

These spring rolls were so light and refreshing, I ate both of them! They were perfect with the sweet chili dipping sauce!

spring rolls

Heirloom Tomato Salad - Market-fresh heirloom tomatoes, avocado, Thai basil and zesty ponzu dressing.

Chiang Mai Curry Noodles with Chicken - Sliced chicken breast wok-tossed with egg noodles, Fresno peppers, cilantro and a coconut-curry infused broth, garnished with Brussels sprouts and topped with crispy wontons.

I ordered the Curry Noodles as my entree and loved it! It had a bit of a kick to it because those peppers are a little spicy. I actually set the peppers aside because I didn’t want it to be too hot for me, as I am sensitive to peppers. Chris had some too and he agreed that it was delicious!

curry noodles

Seared Ahi with Wasabi Guacamole - Yellowfin tuna, seared and served rare, topped with wild baby arugula and green beans in a chili-lime ponzu sauce, served with wasabi guacamole.

Orange Peel Shrimp - Hunan chili sauce with fresh orange slices, garnished with daikon sprouts.

Cantonese Lemon Chicken - Fresh, crispy whole chicken breast sliced and drizzled with warm lemon sauce and served with chilled broccolini salad.

Pink Cherry Cosmo - Absolut Citron Vodka and Cointreau Liqueur with fresh lime juice and cranberry juice garnished with a Pink Blush cherry.

Spicy Paloma - Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila and fresh jalapeño slices, balanced with freshly-squeezed white grapefruit juice.

foodie trip

P.F. Chang’s Perfect Pairings Contest

P.F. Chang’s Perfect Pairings contest began on July 11th and will run through August 18th, with a winner chosen on August 29th.

To enter the contest visit, simply visit  pfchangs.com/perfectpairings and say what two things you think pair perfectly together for the chance to win a trip for two to Boston to tour the Samuel Adams Brewery and dinner at P.F. Chang’s!

Do it like this:

“Asian-inspired dishes go with craft beer like _ and ”

Each participant will have the opportunity to win a $100 gift card and become eligible for the grand prize of a trip to Boston for an exclusive Sam Adams Brewery Tour for two, followed by a 4-course pairing dinner at the P.F. Chang’s downtown Boston!

Go enter to win the P.F. Changs Perfect Pairings foodie trip!

Summertime S’mores Brownie Sundae Recipe

It’s summer and all I want to do is eat delicious summertime treats! This S’mores Brownie Sundae Recipe encompasses everything that I love about summer goodies: ice cream, chocolate, and S’mores!

S’more just scream S U M M E R T I M E, don’t they?

Smores Brownie Sundae Recipe

 

I know, you are probably drooling all over your computer screen right now. It’s okay, I am too!

Just wipe it off and I won’t tell anyone if you don’t!

Smores Brownie Sundae Recipe

S’mores Brownie Sundae Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups white sugar
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup oil (vegetable oil)
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups marshmallows
Ice cream, graham crackers, chocolate syrup

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix until blended. In another bowl, mix the oil, eggs, and vanilla. Pour both bowls together and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the mini marshmallows.

Smores Brownie Sundaes

Pour brownie batter into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out without any batter sticking to it.

Once the brownies are finished, remove from oven and let them cool. To create the sundaes, cut the brownies into serving size bars, top with a scoop of ice cream, crushed graham crackers, and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Then just enjoy them!

S'mores Brownie Sundae Recipe

Are you hungry for more S’mores? Check out this 25 Summertime S’mores Recipe round up that I collected from some of my blogging friends!

If you are a blogger, and would like your S’mores recipe to be shared in my next S’mores round up, leave me a link in the comments – just note if I have permission to use a photo from your post in my collage.

25 Summertime S'mores Recipes

 

Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue Film Review #FireandRescueEvent

I attended a screening of Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue as part of an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles, but all opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. 

I have to be honest, when I watched Disney’s Planes, I thought it was a cute movie, but it didn’t really stand out to me in a way that made me want to add it to my top ten Disney movies…so when I was invited to a screening of Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue while in LA a while back, I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t like it. Well, not only did I like it, but I LOVED IT! Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue was awesome in so many ways, where do I begin?

Planes Fire and Rescue Movie Poster #FireandRescueEvent

About Disney’s Planes” Fire and Rescue

Planes: Fire & Rescue” is a new comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire.

#fireandrescuevent

When world-famous air racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting.

Dusty joins forces with veteran fire-and-rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris) and his courageous team, including spirited air tanker Dipper (voice of Julie Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter (voice of Wes Studi), ex-military transport Cabbie (voice of Captain Dale Dye) and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers.

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Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.

Why I loved Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue

First of all, the scenery was really spot on and so accurate for the location – I had recently been to Yosemite National Park and I recognized so many places in the movie! It was beautiful to watch!

In the beginning of the movie, I wasn’t a big fan of Dusty. He seemed a bit egotistical and when he went to Piston Peak, you could literally watch him changing and becoming a better plane/person in the process. He learned so much and I was really rooting for him in the end!

Like every great Disney movie, there was a love story…but it was pretty one sided between Dipper and Dusty. It provided for a lot of laughs throughout the movie!

The message behind Planes: Fire and Rescue was one of second chances, teamwork and sacrifice. I don’t want to give it all away, but let’s just say that you might cry a little – and walk away from the movie theater with a new-found respect for firemen across the country!

I WANT ALL OF THE TOYS!

There are so many really cool Planes: Fire and Rescue toys in the Disney Store right now, like my favorite, the Windlifter Deluxe Die Cast Helicopter!

PicMonkey Collage

Check out my favorite toys!

Disney PLANES: Fire & Rescue Exclusive Deluxe 10 Piece PVC Figure Play Set [Pontoon Dusty, Blade Ranger, Windlifter, Lil' Dipper, Mayday, Dynamite, Avalanche, Blackout, Drip & Pinecone]

Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue Oversized Windlifter Vehicle

Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue Dusty with Pontoons Die-cast Vehicle

Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue opens in theaters nationwide TODAY! Go see it – in 3D!