support their quest to keep drink rings off the table with this Board Game Coaster Set by Yettydesigns on Etsy
Cocktails to Serve at Game Night
My mom’s Summer Slush is the best beverage recipe for any summertime get-together, honestly. Slush is SUPER easy and the right amount of fun for entertaining. If you want to get fancy, you can offer your guests a slush bar by featuring a variety of soda options [key lime and grapefruit sodas would both be delicious!] and colorful fruits to skewer as garnish.
As a lemonade fan, I’ve got my eye on a pitcher of Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade from Life as a Strawberry. I often forget the power flavored simple syrups have to elevate an at home cocktail recipe and the blackberry simple syrup in this pitcher is sure to get the job done.
Popcorn Recipes for Snacking During Game Night
Cheesy Italian Popcorn Ingredients 6 Tablespoons popcorn kernels
1/4 c olive oil
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1/2 T dried basil
1/2 T dried oregano
1/2 T dried parsley
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c grated Romano cheeseInstructions. Pop kernels via preferred method [I do this] and put popcorn into large bowl.
Pour melted butter over top of popcorn, then add seasonings and cheese.
Stir or shake to coat evenly. I like to use a bowl with a lid so I can snuggly cover and shake the container to coat the popcorn quickly.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Popcorn Ingredients 6 Tablespoons popcorn kernels
1/4 c coconut oil
2 T unsalted butter
2 T brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
pinch of sea saltInstructions. Repeat instructions for Cheesy Italian Popcorn, substituting coconut oil for olive oil and replacing herbs and cheese with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Reasons Why Popcorn ROCKS for Game Night Snacking
It’s easy and cost friendly; you can make a TON of it for very little money. A great snack for feeding a crowd.
Even if you don’t have time or desire to pop it yourself at home, you can find reasonabily priced pre-popped popcorn on the store shelves. Lately I’ve been all about the Naturally Sweet SkinnyPop Popcorn, which may be taking me back to my kettle corn obsession from a few years ago. I’m lucky to have Skinny Pop available to me at my local independant grocery market, but there are only a few flavors available at the moment. I’m putting in a request with the grocer for the Aged White Cheddar, Pepper Jack and Dusted Dark Chocolate. Don’t they all sound divine!?
It is super simple to customize popcorn flavors to please the taste buds across the table. I like to make a big batch of plain popcorn [or short-cut it with a bag from the store!] and separate into batches to flavor. Creating a popcorn bar full of toppings, seasonings, and mix-ins is another idea sure to impress guests.
Favorite Games for Large Groups
Joe Name It. I’m a fan of this game because it fosters creative thinking and is simple enough that anyone can play along. I LOVE this game because it comes in a box small enough to throw in my purse which explains why I’ve played Joe Name It in 7 bars in Schenectady county. [and counting.]
Heads Up. You’ve heard of this game by now, right? You may have seen it played on Ellen. This game remains a group favorite since I experienced the fun first hand at a large family gathering years ago. It’s an game app to be played with a group and it’s a blast! I highly recommend this video to get an idea of what the game is like. [Warning: YouTube videos of celebrities playing this game on the Ellen show are readily available to fill the next several hours of your life. You are welcome/tell your productivity I’m sorry.]
Favorite Game Night Games for 3 – 6 People
Pass the Popcorn. If you enjoy movie trivia, this is a game for you. I especially dig this game because you don’t have to have seen the movies to do well; a general knowledge of pop culture is enough to make you successful if the cards fall in your favor.
Zero the game. We’ve chosen this game with a few different groups of people over the past couple of years [with family over the holidays, cider-heavy game night with local friends, and with a family we love consisting of two 30-something parents and two teenage girls] and every time we’ve played we’ve had a blast. Zero the game is similar to Family Feud, but… opposite….since “zero is a winning number.”
Second Round Snacks
Salted Chocolate and Caramel Pretzel Bars from Tastes Better from Scratch make the perfect snack to bring to the table after you’ve started the second game. Sweeten up any sore losers and deliver a sugar rush to the night before the yawns start creeping in.
The best recipes fit into both the “easy” and “impressively delicious” categories, like this classic favorite: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip from How Sweet It Is. I like to offer fruit, cookies, and graham crackers for dipping.
Level-Up’d Coffee to Pair with Those Snacks
This Almond Biscotti Iced Coffee Cocktail from Drip Brew serves a ridiculous delicious blend of Amaretto and Bourbon sure to get the group amped for another few rounds of competition.
Cinnamon Roll Apple Roses from Sinful Nutrition. This recipe is pure brilliance and a terrific, simple way to show off for overnight guests or to add some EXTRA! to the brunch table. The recipe is easy as can be in terms of preparation, but the visuals are A+ impressive.
Summer Dinner Must-Make Recipes
BLT Lettuce Wraps with Avocado Ranch from How Sweet It Is. I’m obsessed with the idea of highlighting garden tomato freshness when they get ripe and ready for picking, and this mouthwatering recipe seems like a no brainer to getting that job done. For me, summertime dinners are light but delicious and this recipe delivers on both.
BBQ Cubano Sliders from Dash of Evans. Our lack of central air at THS HQ means the last thing I want to do on a hot summer day is turn on the oven in order to make dinner. The second to last thing I want to do is spend lots of time in front of the stove. I rely heavily on easy, quick meals that heat-up fast. We’re big on quesadillas, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, and hot dogs or bratwursts in the summer months. This recipe is an upgrade from our standard grilled sandwich, using a precooked pork and making ‘em mini with the ever adorable slider-style. I love pulled pork, so this recipe is totally screaming my name.
Candy Store Inspired “Must Make ASAP” Recipes
Salted Chocolate and Caramel Pretzel Bars from Tastes Better from Scratch. These bars are SO EASY and totally hit that sweet and salty balance right in the bull’s-eye. I’m thinking we’ve got to add some chopped pecans or peanuts to add another flavor layers to mix, too.
Chocolate Turtle Apple Slices from Mom Loves Baking These are super fun! Fuji apples slices covered in chocolate, drizzled with caramel and topped with nuts. A serving size version of the summer candy store classic candy apple!
Healthy Lunches to Food Prep for Delicious Weekday #LunchAtMyDesk Meals
Hawaiian Meatball Bowls from Kim’s Cravings. I love that this recipe uses precooked meatballs – an ultimate “keep it simple in the kitchen” shortcut step I’ve been known to rely on. Our local grocery market sells their own butcher mixed and then deli cooked meatballs which are my favorite way to go when it comes to convenience, but I’ve been known to stock bags of the frozen meatballs, too. Either would be fantastic in this lunch dish.
Healthy Homemade Hot Pockets from Holley Grainger. Totally customizable and one of those meals that feels indulgent, but can be filled with nutrition-rich, flavor-packed ingredients. Also love that these are freezer friendly! I want to make a double batch and keep some on hand in the office freezer for weeks I slack on the meal planning.
Recent Discoveries Found #OnMyWalk
The Village of Scotia has done a great job over the past several years, keeping beautifully and brightly filled giant flower pots spread along Mohawk Ave, adding to the quaint “main street USA” feel of this community I love so much. Recently on a run I spotted what I thought were common kitchen garden herbs in one of pots and during a photo walk with Nick last week we swung by the spot to check it and give it a closer look.
Is the Village behind this veggie and herb pot on the corner of Mohawk and 50 in front of Turf Tavern, or are the owners of the restaurant and catering company behind the edible greenery? Have these garden goods been claimed by someone or will they go to waste as other neighbors question the purpose? Can I make a strategic detour on my walk home from work on pasta night for fresh basil or a ruby red tomato?
A nice sized, fenced-in, rules posted, Scotia Dog Park, including water access in the utility shed and several park benches, near the historic Flint House and Scotia community gardens. Did I mention I love this village?
Recommended Reading: On Reasons Why I Think We Should All Walk MORE
The Many Benefits of Walking 30 Minutes a Day – The Washington Post Does anyone else want to start a 30 minutes a day virtual accountability group? Let me know! I’m down for sharing support – I always do better with my desire to choose healthy habits with a defined challenge and accountability partners.
#DefineMyStyle Challenge Sharing
Recently I’ve been in a bit of a style rut. I find myself wearing the same outfits to work, week after week, on rotation. When I’m at home or weekending I’m mostly in workout/comfy gear; I often multitask errands before, after, or during my outdoor fitness actives [walking my errands is my jam!] which makes cozy clothes a no brainer for this lazy lady.
How would I characterize my style both during the work week and at home on the weekends? Easy, lazy, and bored? I’m not sure, exactly, which leads me on this self-defined quest to #DefineMyStyle.
Maybe it’s a subconscious influence of Project Runway season 14 [hooray Ashley!] which has been playing in the background while I complete weekend chores, schedule social media, and put together jigsaw puzzles over the past few weekends…or maybe it’s my recent realization of my closet full of skirts and dresses… no matter the reason, I’m stoked for a challenge to simply SWITCH IT UP in the clothing department for the next several weeks.
You may see me #DefineMyStyle on twitter and instagram, and I’m planning on using snapchat [username, not surprisingly: thenheathersaid] to share along the way, too.
I also have bunches of accessories that I adore, but aren’t worn regularly because I often rely on my go-to favorites. I want to get the scarves and necklaces that are in the back of the collection more regularly into the rotation, stack the bracelets I rarely wear, and stop forgetting my ears are pierced. Bring on the dose of detail.
Style-Related Pinterest Boards I Discovered and Followed on an Internet Rabbit Hole
Simple Style from Stacey Danheiser. I found a few pins that will legit help me style items currently hanging in my closet, including one pair of pants I was having trouble finding a balance with before now. The healthy combination of bright and neutrals on this board proves that classic, easy style doesn’t need to mean a dull, bland wardrobe.
Scarf Style from Echo New York. Hundreds of snapshots of real women and some editorials featuring chic scarf placement. This will totally come in handy.
This post is sponsored by Stonyfield as part of my participation in the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club and part of the prAna #TheWholeYou campaign.
What Celebrating #TheWholeYou Means to Me?
Being present to enjoy life! Encouraging myself to be fully engaged within the moment, not letting my mind wander, or worry!, or start moving forward on to the next thing. #TheWholeYou celebrates being here, now, and enjoying the moment along the way.
Bringing awareness and understanding to the parts of ourselves we might feel inclined to hide. Banishing the idea of “guilty pleasures” and embracing those things which bring us happiness, no matter how large or small the joy.
Little Joys That Have Brought Me Happiness This Month
While breezing through Rachel Vs. Guy Kid’s Cook-Off Season 2 on Hulu+ recently, I became a fast fan for contestant Amber, the brilliant lady behind Cook with Amber, and was THRILLED to find that her YouTube channel was just a Google search away. Her videos are now my favorite time consumers and I’ve been equally impressed with her web space as I am with her on camera time.
The @ColorMadeHappy Instagram feed. So much #RainbowIsMyFavoriteColor goodness.
Stonyfield You’re Most Likely to Catch Me Snacking On
Chocolate Underground. This brilliance is like those little pudding cups from childhood but with a healthy twist,…and it doesn’t taste healthy, if you know what I mean. I’m one of those people who likes to end lunch with something sweet, and these individual cups of Fat Free Stonyfield make a great protein filled [6 grams per serving!] option.
Wild Berry Smoothies. I love keeping a pack of these berrilicious smoothies in the fridge for days when I need a little something to hold me over in-between meals. These smoothies are SMOOTH and the wild berry flavor is my absolute favorite.
Meals from the Stonyfield Recipe Collection on Our Summer To Make List
Greek Roast Chicken Pitas. I love Greek flavors and nearly flipped a lid when I learned I could Mediterranean-ize my Subway sandwich by choosing feta and tzatziki on my pile of veggies and roasted chicken. This DIY pita sandwich recipe is the way to turn that concept up a notch. I can totally see this becoming a favorite meal to food prep on the weekends for lunches throughout the work week.
Tomato Basil Tart. As tomatoes start over flowing the farmers’ market cart, this tart will be a great way to highlight one of my favorite summer produce all stars.
Strawberry Vanilla Bean Pound Cake served with homemade strawberry jam [based on this Vanilla Bean Yogurt Pound Cake] Pound cake is a great dessert for summer parties because it stands alone as a melt-free option for outdoor gatherings, pairs perfectly with chilled frozen treats like ice cream to cool you down, and layers beautifully with fruit and whipped cream or yogurt, for a festive trifle or parfait. When using yogurt in a pound cake, you are sure to win the battle against dry cake, which is every home bakers worst nightmare.
Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Box Pie. This party is an annual event for us, and I make a habit of always bringing a little something extra for the hosts to enjoy the week after the party. This simple, impressive dessert was an easy choice after I stumbled across it a few days after a recent discussion about the many varieties of strawberry cheesecake.
Other Stonyfield Recipes I’m Considering Making to Bring Along, Too [Because I’m One of Those People Who Can’t Ever Nail Down One Idea and End Up Bringing an Entire Back Seat Full of Food, Of Course.]
Honey Peanut Butter Yogurt Crunch Picnic Salad. This salad was a hit when I first made it last summer and I think it would make a great party salad to share with the group. This dish is a great way to get some veggies on your plate while you party.
The relaxed fit and straight leg pairs well with my standard foot ware [flats or light tennies] and natural laid back style. Plus, they have pockets!!
The high quality fabric is light weight enough for summer, making these the perfect pair of pants for travel days. I wore the outfit above on my return travel day from a recent work trip to DC and was mega comfortable and happy with my choice.
Consumed on the Airplane During that Trip
Moonrise Kingdom. A Wes Anderson movie that felt a lot like a Wes Anderson movie, which I had downloaded through the Netflix App on my phone.
Good Bones. A fun HGTV show focusing on a rehab of an old house by Mother-Daughter business partners, thanks to a free episode preview on iTunes.