Family Movie Night Popcorn

*This post is sponsored by Pop Secret.  All opinions are my own.

Movie night snacks are essential for a good family night!  #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDo you guys have family movie night?  We try to but sometimes we just get started too late and end up having family TV night.  Either way, the treats look the same.  There is always candy.  And there is always popcorn.  We managed to get started early enough the other night so we got comfy on the couch and hung out together.  But one thing that has always plagued us is how to get the perfect family movie night popcorn. 

Family movie night needs Pop Secret and the #perfectpop app!  #goodbyeburnedpopcorn #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comA love of microwave popcorn runs in my family.  So much so that we refer to it as micro poco.  Say it.  You know you want to.  I can’t tell you how much popcorn I’ve had to throw out that was burned though.  Not all microwaves are created equal.  And they totally lie about that “popcorn button” being an accurate way to pop a bag of popcorn.  Pop Secret came out with this fun new app that will help you get the #PerfectPop and it is seriously the BEST!

The ONLY way to pop the perfect bag of microwave popcorn!  My kids love this app!  It listens to your bag and tells you when it is done!  How cool is that?! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt is free to download on iTunes (iPhone 5+ only – this is totally a reason to upgrade like you have been wanting to) and be warned, the kids will want to pop bags constantly.  Just wait, I bet “popping bags” ends up in the urban dictionary and rappers are going to start rapping about it.  You put your Pop Secret bag in the microwave and follow the instructions from the bag (note: this doesn’t work on the Kettle Corn or Sweet’n’Crunch varieties, and if you are using the snack sized bag, you have to remember to modify that setting on the app).  Then all you have to do is hit start on the app and keep the phone within 3 feet of the microwave.  

The kids LOVED this new #perfectpop app from Pop Secret.  It has XRAY vision to know when your popcorn is perfectly popped! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comUsing the microphone on your phone, the app listens to the popping of your bag and tells you when it is done popping.  And throughout these few minutes, the app shares fun facts to keep you entertained.  

The perfect @prefresh shirt to wear before consuming tons of movie candy on family movie night.  #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSO FUN!  I had to pop bags for both boys because they each wanted a turn with the app.  

The Perfect Pop App from Pop Secret pops the perfect bag every time! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #PerfectPop #GoodbyeBurnedPopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com While the kids had their eyes on the popcorn, I worked on putting the rest of the treats together for our family movie night.  Usually they are all up in my business about when we can start the movie, but this brilliant app bought me the few minutes I needed to get everything ready. 

Family movie night is the easiest way to spend quality time together as a family!  But there HAS to be popcorn.  #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe picked Hotel Transylvania.  Because it’s awesome.  

Make sure you buy everyone's favorite candy for family movie night!  For the healthy eaters, I provide sweet cherry tomatoes!  They aren't quite candy but they are a great substitute when you are trying to be good! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe never skip popcorn on movie nights.  But we do let the kids pick out their favorite movie candy too.  Since I’m trying to be healthy, I got the 94% Fat Free Pop Secret variety and then set out sweet cherry tomatoes instead of candy.  They have really helped with my sweet tooth!  And I noticed the kids grabbed for them too.  And not by accident.  Although they were watching the movie so intently I probably could have swapped out most of the candy for vegetables and they may not have noticed.  Maybe I’ll try that next time.  Have you tried the app?  Let me know if you do!  You’ll totally say #goodbyeburnedpopcorn!

*This post is sponsored by Pop Secret but all opinions are my own.  And I love this app.  And micro poco.

Cereal and Ice Cream Communal Sundae

Eat ice cream together with your friends.  And top it with cereal.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMmmmmm.  Ice cream.  It is one of my favorite things.  And it is something that I don’t hardly eat.  I’m not just a one scoop kind of a gal.  So I know that if I indulged in ice cream the way that I want to, I would need to buy a whole new wardrobe.  In another size.  So I save it for vacation or eating out at a restaurant and splurging on dessert.  But I thought I would share with you one of my favorite ice cream toppings.  Cereal.  Cereal and ice cream are perfect together.  Those who know me know are not going to believe this.  But people who knew me growing up know that I was super athletic.  Every summer I would go to volleyball and basketball sports camps.  Most of them were held at colleges where you stayed in the dorms and ate in the cafeteria.  One of my favorite things to eat was the soft serve.  But they never had any toppings to go with it.  So I would always hunt down the cereal.  I need crunch with my ice cream.  And since ice cream is pretty much the same as milk, it is a match made in heaven.

The communal ice cream sundae.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI knew this was going to get messy, but I really thought it would be fun to make this a communal treat.  Individual bowls are so last season.

Fruit Loops are where it's at.  Eat them with ice cream for a tasty treat.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAny type of cereal will do.  Well, except for something healthy.  The Fruit Loops were always my personal favorite topping.

Cereal makes the perfect ice cream topping. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhy does this look so pretty to me?  I would totally blow this up and frame it for my living room.

Grab some spoons and eat ice cream with your friends!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comGrab your spoons.

Ice cream and cereal.  Dig in.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd get at it.  I’m not going to lie, this can get super messy.  A lipped tray would work way better than this flat slate tray.

A fun twist on an ice cream sundae.  Make a huge one and share it with your kids and friends. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMe thinks your kids would really like this.  Do it.  I’d love to hear their reaction!

 

Essentials for a Beach Day with Friends

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Black Box Wines.  All opinions and tips are my own.  And, duh, it’s wine so I know you’ll love it as much as I do.beach-essentials-for-hanging-with-friends

There are two kinds of beach days for me, one with family and one with friends. They look REALLY different. With my kids, there is sand EVERYWHERE, there are lots of plastic beach toys and bone dry juice boxes littering the horizon. I’m also on constant watch, ready to spring in to action, to save my kids from getting too far out in the water or reaching for the wrong kid’s sand toys. But with friends, now THAT is where I can relax. That is where I can enjoy delightful conversation, probably some good music and perhaps catch up on some reading material. And if we’re lucky, there is a little wine. Here are my essentials for spending a fun afternoon, with friends, at the beach.

At the beach, I may or may not be in my swimsuit depending on the time of day or weather. The beach is sometimes even more fun on a cool, overcast day. But you certainly want to make sure to bring along healthy snacks so that you can still fit in to your swimsuit. Nuts and dried fruit are a great option. They bring the crunch, a little salt and the sweet touch that most of us crave. Similarly, popcorn is my new go to snack and it is easy to transport in a Tiffin type carrier.

Especially if the weather is warm, you want to make sure to stay hydrated with water. I love Boxed Water because there is no plastic and they are good to the environment. They also just look way cooler. Make sure to stay away from sodas that can cause you to feel the bloat. No one needs to look like they are wearing an inner-tube when they aren’t.

Sunscreen and sunglasses are not optional. Pack your favorite pair of sunnies and slather yourself up with your favorite sunscreen BEFORE you leave for the beach. It needs time to penetrate the skin. Make sure to bring it with you and reapply as sunscreen wears off and leaves your skin vulnerable to the sun. Don’t forget to bring a speaker along (and something to play music from like your iPhone or iPod!). I love this one by Nixon because it is sand, water and shock resistant. And if you think you might have a minute, bring a long some magazines to get caught up on. But do not ignore your friends and keep your nose buried in one. You DO want to get invited back for another friend beach day.

Depending on the beach and the time of day, wine is a great addition to a great afternoon with friends at the beach. Most beaches where I am from do not allow any glass so Black Box Wines are the perfect option. Lose the bottle and toast your friends with one of their tasty varieties like their new Pinot Noir (notes of fresh berry, rose petals an cocoa!). This 3L box is the equivalent of 4 bottles! So you won’t need to worry about running out AND you can take the rest of the box home with you to finish when you deem fit over the next month. I know what you may be thinking, boxed wine? But as someone who favors twist off bottles (oh the side eyes I’ve gotten when I pull out my screw tops! – which happen to be eco-friendly thankyouverymuch.) boxed wine is a great idea! This packaing is also eco friendlier than regular bottles, they stay fresh for WAY longer and you only need to take one box with you and you have a whole heck of a lot of wine. It just makes sense. AND it tastes good. The Black Box wines are award winning and are a much better value than comparable bottle wine. You guys, I’m dying to taste the Sauvignon Blanc!

Black Box also has 500 mL sized boxes, in 5 varieties, for when you just want to take a few glasses with you. These are perfect for smaller picnics and tailgates.

The only thing as fabulous as enjoying a high quality, award winning box of Black Box Wines is winning a $5,000 shopping spree! “Lose the Bottle” and grab your shopping bag! Enter the sweepstakes by visiting https://www.facebook.com/blackboxwines/

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


black box wines logoThank you for supporting the brands that keep me doing the kinds of posts I love!

Use Smells to Make Your Home Inviting to Guests

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hot Shot® Insecticides.
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Place fresh flowers next to the couch to make your front room smell inviting when guests come in.  #sponsored #HotShot  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI am kind of a home body.  So I love to invite my friends over to my house instead of meeting them out at a restaurant or coffee shop.  I always try to make sure that my house feels warm and inviting to them.  One way that I do this is through smells.  My mom and I have always loved scents.  Growing up we would go to the swap meet to buy our favorite incense.  It was called African Love.  It smelled of strawberries, jasmine with a touch of musk.  And it was heavenly.  We’ve tried all kinds of ways to introduce smells in to our homes from wall plug-in thing-a-ma-bobs to diffusers for scent-infused wax pellets.  But it doesn’t need to be difficult to make your house smell great.  Here are few quick and easy tips to make your house smell fantastic, which makes your home more inviting to guests.

If you have fresh flowers in your yard, you can easily clip some and display them in your home.  You don’t need a lot of stems and you don’t need an expensive vase.  A few fresh blooms can instantly help a room smell better.  And as you sit on the couch and enjoy each other’s company, you will be able to smell the flowers the whole visit.

Candles are a great way to have your home smell great when guests come over.  #sponsored #HotShot  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comCandles are a really easy way to make a home smell amazing when someone first enters.  My home does not have a lot of places to keep candles displayed so I usually keep just one or two in a cupboard and pull them out about half an hour before company is due to arrive.  Even if you place the candle on your dining table, no extra centerpiece or styling needed, your guests will be welcomed by your fragrant home. 

Add a few drops of an essential oil like lavender to your throw blankets before guests come over so the couch smells great.  #sponsored #HotShot  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnother trick of mine is to add a few dabs of lavender oil to my throw blanket before a guest arrives.  Lavender is a soothing, calming smell and people usually love it.  It reminds me of a spa which instantly transports me in to a more relaxed place.  Take note, I will NOT massage you.  Although I love to have you in my home, I don’t want it to get weird.  Just make sure to use the oil sparingly, a little goes a long way.

Slice and bake cookies generally last a long time in the fridge which means they are easy to have on hand.  You can put the cookie dough in the oven a few minutes before your guest gets there.   NO one can resist that smell.  AND you’ll have a snack to share with your guest.  And as the holidays get closer, you can simmer some water with cinnamon sticks, sliced oranges and vanilla on the stove for a super festive smell.  What is your favorite way to make your house smell better? 

Hot Shot® Ant and Roach Killer to keep unwanted guests (of the bug variety) out of your home.   #sponsored #HotShot  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut there are a few guests that I don’t EVER want in my house.  The bug variety.  I do not want them to feel at home in my house.  I abhor ants and legit would scream and run out of my house if I saw a roach.  I would even leave my guest on the sofa to fend for themselves.  In the past, when I’ve had issues with ants, I would try all kinds of things to keep them at bay.  Nothing ever worked as well as Hot Shot® Insecticides.  They really help to keep my house bug free.  While I love to try natural remedies, there are certain things that need a little more strength.  My family doesn’t hesitate to put the smack down on those gross ant armies.  The floral scent is also much more tolerable, especially if you have to annihilate some bugs before your friends get to your house.

Keep your home and yard bug free so you are ready for any guests.  #sponsored #HotShot  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd since I live in a warm climate, and the patio is pretty much an extension of our home, I also use the Hot Shot® spray outside.  Works like a charm.  I’m pretty brave if I have a can of spray but usually my husband has to handle any and all bug sightings.  What about you?  Do you do the deed?  Or is it a job for the man of the house?  Share your answer on the Hot Shot® Insecticides Facebook Page and you will be entered to win their July sweepstakes!  They are giving away Visa Gift Cards weekly with one final grand prize winner!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hot Shot® Insecticides.

Thank you for supporting the brands that let me pay my bills and buy my kids ice cream once in a while.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches with King’s Hawaiian Buns

*This is a sponsored post by King’s Hawaiian.  All opinions are mine.  I love this company.  Mustard and herb marinated grilled veggie sandwiches on King's Hawaiian Buns.  #spon // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAh, summer.  I’m so glad it has finally started for us!!  School got out late this year so it didn’t really feel like we could really DO summer until a week ago.  Now our days are filled with swim lessons and keeping cool.  And it finally feels right to barbecue everything.  I’m not a huge fan of steak though, and I eat a ton of chicken so I wanted to switch it up a little.  Grilled veggies are one of my favorite things to eat so I thought, Hey!  Why not make them in to a sandwich?!  

Easy marinated grilled vegetable sandwich with King's Hawaiian buns.  #spon // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comA quick trip to the store yielded all the ingredients for the grilled sandwich of my dreams!!  But you could easily sub out whatever makes your heart happy.  Do not switch out these King’s Hawaiian buns though.  I’ve never loved hamburger buns but THESE I could eat on their own.  Same great taste as their rolls.  And super light and airy.  While this is a sponsored post, I totally don’t have to make lifestyle changes based on the writing of a post for one company.  But I plan to only use these buns for my burgers from now on.  Gross regular hamburger buns, consider yourselves replaced!

Mustard and herb marinade for grilled veggies.  #spon // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI really like to play around with different flavors for my grilled veggies.  I love how caramely they can get with a good balsamic vinegar and how flavorful they can be with a drizzle of evoo and some fresh minced garlic.  But when I came across this recipe for a mustard and herb grilled veggie sandwiches.  I knew I had to try them out!  I also knew the sweet touch of the King’s Hawaiian buns would be the perfect balance to the tang of the mustard.  If you are not a fan of mustard (which I am usually not) then you can still make this grilled vegetables sandwich by using an easy vinaigrette (mix about 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar, 1/8 tsp salt, fresh ground black pepper to taste, 1 clove garlic minced, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil).

Marinade the vegetables in a mustard and herb mixture before grilling! So yummy!  #spon // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI made the mustard herb sauce and tossed all my veggies in it.  They don’t need to really marinade in the sauce, just need to be coated.  I also didn’t baste them throughout the cooking process.  I’m a lazy cook…  Well, my husband usually does the grilling, but I guess I was too lazy to tell HIM to baste them…

Tip:  Spread mustard on King's Hawaiian buns before grilling to mimic In N Out's "fried mustard"!  #spon // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHere’s the kicker you guys.  So I love In N Out (a pure California treat!  So sorry if you have never experienced it.  Put it on your bucket list).  On their animal style burgers they do something called “fried mustard” where they grill mustard on to the bun.  It’s so great!  So I decided to try that out on the grill.  All you need to do is spread a light layer of yellow mustard on each side of the bun before placing them directly on the heat.  

Meatless Monday grilled veggie sandwich recipe.  #spon // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThen you send your husband outside with a whole lotta veggies to grill.  And then give him instructions like, “Look pensive.  Now really sell it.  You ARE summer grilling!” while taking photos of him making your dinner.  We just got one of those bbq grill pans, btw and it is awesome!!  My husband no longer gives me the stink eye when I give him tiny little pieces of veggie to try to balance on the grill. 

Delicious summer grilling recipe.  Marinated grilled veggie sandwich.  #spon // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOnce the veggies are done you are ready to assemble the sandwich.  How yum do those crusty mustard buns look?! 

King's Hawaiian grilled vegetable sandwich with mustard and herb marinade. #spon // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comStack the veggies in any order you want.  Leave off what you don’t want and put on what you do.  The buns will have a nice little crisp edge to them but I felt like I wanted to have a little bit more texture for my sandwich so I grabbed some crispy onion straws.

Mustard and herb marinated grilled veggie sandwich recipe.  #spon // www. cupcakesandcutlery.comThe taste is tangy and sweet from the mustard and the King’s Hawaiian bun.  It feels hearty from the thick cut veggies and fresh from the herbs in the mustard sauce.  You can pair it with anything from chips like I did since this was my husband’s night to help with dinner and since he was grilling I didn’t want to have to make anything…lazy.  But this would go really well with a salad, baked beans, coleslaw, etc.

I can’t wait to make these again!  And a quick side note, the leftover vegetables  were fantastic cold the next day!

Thank you for supporting the brands that let me keep doing what I love.  Which is eating, finding quick recipes and sharing all of this with you!

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches with King’s Hawaiian Buns

Ingredients

  • (Mustard Herb Marinade recipe is from French's)
  • For the Veggie Marinade
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 Yellow Mustard
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • For the Sandwich
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 2 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 Green Zuccini
  • 2 Yellow Zucchini
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 package King's Hawaiian Sandwich Buns
  • Crispy friend onions (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Slice all vegetables into "steaks" and coat with whatever marinade you prefer.
  3. Grill vegetables.
  4. Spread mustard on each half of the bun and grill on direct heat on the grill.
  5. Assemble the sandwiches to your liking topping the vegetables with crispy fried onions if desired.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/grilled-vegetable-sandwiches-kings-hawaiian-buns/