When we moved into a new home a few years ago, one of the neighbors stopped by to introduce themselves and brought with them a housewarming gift - a big tub for popcorn, filled with everything we would need for a family movie night. It was something I will always remember because a lot of thought had gone into this gift. It wasn't just a plant, a box of chocolates, or a bottle of wine. It was something that we could use as a family to spend time together bonding in our new home. It also made us feel very welcome in our new neighborhood, and we ended up spending many a night sitting in the middle of our cul-de-sac with a fire-pit bonding with our neighbors.
So I decided to put together a new neighbor gift with the same thoughts, something that would bring a family together, to bond, to spend time together, and something that would make them feel welcomed into the neighborhood.
Sitting around a fire, toasting marshmallows, and spending time with friends and family is something that we love to do, so I wanted to share that.
This gift pack is very easy to make. Simply place a piece of tissue paper inside a box, leaving enough hanging over the sides to fold it over your gift. Fill a couple of small clear plastic gift bags with marshmallows, and tie them with a ribbon. They look so much nicer than the big marshmallow bags, don't you think? Carefully place the marshmallows, along with a couple of packets of Graham Crackers, and Hershey's chocolate into the box. Fold the tissue paper over the top, pop the lid on, and tie with a piece of Jute cord or baker's twine.
Hershey's are hosting a virtual summer camp HERSHEY'S CAMP BONDFIRE on their Facebook page, so head on over for loads of great ideas for entertaining, and bonding with your family and friends.
Disclosure: This post is part of my participation in the HERSHEY’S CAMP BONDFIRE campaign from The Motherhood.
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The blogosphere is filled with s'mores today. There's s'mores on sticks, on cupcakes, in cookies, over the fire, and any which way you can think to enjoy them. Why you ask! It's National S'mores Day!
Not to miss out an opportunity to celebrate such a wonderful day, I bring to you s'mores in jars. It's all about portion control. Unless of course you indulge in two. Not that I would do that of course.
These are super simple to make, and I'd been wanting an excuse to use the last two bags of Hershey's Simple Pleasures I brought home from New York. Okay, let's get real for a moment, I had received a few bags of these from Getting Gorgeous, and I finished off one bag while at BlogHer, then polished off a second when I got home. Yes I hid them in the pantry and snuck them into my mouth when the kids weren't looking, mainly after they were in bed, or in the bath, or busy playing. I ate a lot of them.
Apparently I needed to learn to share, so I made these yummy s'mores in jars with them for the kids to enjoy for dessert tonight.
Turn the oven onto 275 F.
Place about an inch of water in a baking pan with a high side. Pop the canning jars into the water.
In the food processor combine the graham crackers and melted butter.
Using a pestle or grinder with a rounded edge press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each jar. Warm the brownies a little in the microwave. Alternate layers of brownies, and the Hershey's Simple Pleasures chocolates. Pop into the oven for approximately 10-15 minutes until the chocolates begin to melt. Pop a handful of mini marshmallows on top and pop the tray back into the oven for another 10 minutes until the marshmallows are melted a little.
Once your ingredients are melted, move the tray to the top shelf in the oven. Turn off the oven and turn on the broiler to high. Stare at your jars until you see the marshmallows browning. Then remove so they don't burn too much, or worse, start a fire.
AS SEEN ON:
Oh how we love to grill. We do so year-round, but more so when the weather is warm out, especially now and throughout the summer months. We have also decided to take the kids camping over the summer this year. It will be a new experience for them. I am more of a hotel with room service person, but also believe in giving my children as many experiences as possible. We have decided that we need to start purchasing a few items over the next month or two in preparation, so last week when I was presented with the opportunity to purchase a new grill I jumped at the chance.
I shopped on-line at Sears, not just because I was asked to, but I normally shop at Sears when looking for outdoor entertaining items. In fact our outdoor setting was purchased at Sears, our backyard grill at Kmart and more recently, my new oven and stove top for the kitchen were purchased at Sears. I'm always happy with the outdoor items I have purchased from there previously. You can view my shopping experience, including items I chose, and those I covet on my Google+ story. So, once my grill, new backpack chairs, grill tools, and picnic ware were purchased, and had been tested out at home, we went shopping for some much needed food, then I scouted a location for our beachside cookout. I drove down to Fiesta Island in the morning which I had heard was the spot for fire pits. I picked out a spot for us that would have a lovely view of the sunset and the boats out on the bay then drove home to pack up all of our goodies, and the kids. Luckily our spot was still there when we returned and in no time at all we were all set up for the afternoon and evening.
Note the portable propane so there is no need to carry your regular backyard grill propane tank with you which is very heavy.
I just love our new chairs (pictured above). They were from Sears as well. They are backpack chairs, with a cooler in the back and a headrest.
The kids and dog had a wonderful time at the beach. Even though we arrived later in the afternoon, both Flynn and the puppy were more than happy to head into the water. Sand castles were built, toys were played with, rocks were skipped, and kites were flown.
One of the reasons I wanted to go to Fiesta Island is that it's an off-leash dog area. Sparky was beside himself. He's not used to being off-lead. He took full advantage.
I'm still unsure whether he was trying to bury the ball or me in the photograph below . When he realized that though that his hole was getting bigger and nothing was getting buried he eventually gave up.
So that we didn't need to fill the cooler with ice, I popped in a few ice packs, then froze lemonade in canning jars and popped those into the cooler too. This way we had more room for food, and we had cold beverages too.
After grilling dinner, enjoying a few salads, and playing for a while, we started a small fire in the fire pit to make s'mores for dessert. This was something I had been looking forward to introducing my parents to. S'mores are not made in Australia and the first time I tried them was after I moved to the U.S. I just love the new bowl that I picked up at Sears in the outdoor entertaining/beach section, it was perfect for holding our s'mores ingredients.
After we were full, and the kids were done playing we watched the sun set before heading home. It was such a beautiful sunset that night.
What I am hoping to show you here is that grilling away from home does not need to be stressful when you have the right equipment that is made for being portable. I just love that the stand for this grill folds down and the base comes out as a handle so you can wheel it to your destination. You can purchase portable propane for it that are small (you can see one in the photographs above attached to our grill) and you can wrap those and the grilling tools up in a hand towel or put them inside a grilling glove and pop them under the hood of the grill for easy transportation. A picnic basket, chairs, roll-up table, and entertainment for the kids is all else you will need. Aside from food of course. Also, it might just be me but the grills that they have at parks make me a little squeamish. They are dirty, rarely clean, and who knows what was put on there before we arrived.
If you are in need of more tips for grilling for Mother's Day, Memorial Day, or just want to enjoy a stress free meal with your family take a look at these.
Sears Grilling is Happiness website which includes lots of grilling tips, a blog with delicious recipes, and a grill finder tool to help you find the perfect grill to meet your needs.
Shopping on-line is very easy, and with the added convenience of being able to use the grill finder to get recommendations on the perfect grill for your needs, checking which stores close by have the grill in stock, and picking it up in-store means you will be grilling in no time at all.
There are some great deals at Sears for grilling and outdoors right now, you will find them in the Sunday (6/5) circular.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric
Today is our last official weigh-in day for the George Foreman 90 Day Challenge. I'm a little sad to see our challenge come to an end. I relied heavily on being made accountable each week. Maybe I should continue on anyway.
Last week was a little tough to fit in healthy food and exercise. You see a little thing called BlogHer was in town. The week was all kinds of crazy. There was lots of dining out, lots of work to be done (for the Cheap Sally Party) and lots of events to attend. I managed to catch up with a few of the #knockoutthefat girls though so that was a highlight of course. You can see a photo here from @momma_oz.
Here are this weeks weigh-in and measurement results:
(red denotes initial measurements and weight)
I'm going to end my final post with something completely unhealthy, but I feel like celebrating. It's funny because I was asked after a previous recipe whether it was healthy or not, because the reader had never thought of what I had made as being healthy. This is not just about providing healthy recipes. I'm keeping it real here. I like to have a treat every now and then. I am not about to give up some of my favorite things. For me, it's all about balance. It's about primarily eating healthy 'meals', but splurging once in a while on something that I crave.
Those who know me, know I have an issue with fire (I once had 3rd degree burns on my hand - it was a long and very painful recovery). Don't get me wrong, I love a fire pit, a fire place and grilling outdoors just like everyone else, but I will never go at it alone. These are only lit if my husband is around. So when he's not, I love to come up with a great alternative, which is just one reason why I'm loving my George Foreman grill so much. I can use it, minus the flames and get great results.
Recipe: Grilled S'mores
These take 35 seconds to cook and you can fit 9 on the grill.
Want to know how to make them? There's a few small tricks, so feel free to watch my video.
Disclosure: I am one of 10 Brand Ambassadors in the George Foreman Knock out the Fat Weight Loss Challenge. I was sent a George Foreman Grill for my participation in this challenge and will be compensated for my time at the end of the 90 days.