Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches Using Different Kinds of Cookies

sugar-cookie-icecream-sandwichIt may be a wonderful summertime treat, but Chipwiches and ice cream sandwiches can be delicious any time of year. It’s hard to picture a more scrumptious dessert than ice cream sandwiched between two soft, chewy cookies. Yum! Store-bought ice cream novelties like Chipwiches can certainly be tasty, but making them at home adds a fun element of creativity and freshness.

Whether it’s a hot summer day or a rainy day any time of year when you’re bored, consider making your own delectable ice cream cookie sandwiches using your favorite flavor of ice cream and favorite type of cookie. You can use store-bought cookies if you must, but half of the fun is baking your own cookies to use in your ice cream sandwiches.

When making ice cream sandwiches at home, you can make them completely by hand or you can use an actual ice cream sandwich maker or mold. You can make ice cream sandwich minis or full-sized treats, depending on how much variety you want to have in your snack. Mini ice cream sandwiches can be great for parties – just make them ahead of time and freeze until you are ready to serve. My family bought me the Cuisipro Mini Ice Cream Sandwich Maker set for Christmas last year and I love it. You can make mini ice cream sandwiches in shapes of hearts, stars, and circles, in as many flavors as your heart desires. This kit is a super easy, beautiful, and fun way to make delicious, amazing, frozen treats any time of year.

I also received a different set of ice cream sandwich makers for bigger treat sizes from a friend. The Tovolo Ice Cream Sandwich Molds set allows you to make ice cream cookie sandwiches very easily with a cookie cutter type mold. The molds have a plunger type piece that allows you to gently push out the ice cream sandwich once it is ready. These ice cream sandwich molds and the mini ice cream sandwich makers are really cute and fun helpers when it comes to making your own frozen treats at home. Of course, you can always make cookies in similar sizes and simply use those without the ice cream sandwich press as well. It’s really up to you and how you prefer to assemble your treats!

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Try these tips to make a delicious spread of ice cream cookie sandwiches for your entire family or all your friends to enjoy.

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich Ingredients:
– Ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, black raspberry, black cherry, strawberry, cookies and cream, etc.)
– Ingredients for your favorite cookie recipe
– Mini chocolate chips

Recipe Steps for Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches:

1. Make up your favorite batch of cookies. Chocolate chip cookies work perfectly, but you can also make oatmeal raisin cookies, sugar cookies, chocolate sugar cookies, and more.
2. Allow cookies to cool sufficiently, at least 20 minutes.
3. Match up cookies of similar sizes.
4. Bring out the ice cream and a scooper.
5. If using an ice cream sandwich maker, follow the individualized instructions. Usually you will press the mold / cutter down onto a semi-soft cookie, scoop the ice cream into it, and press down onto another cookie. Then twist the handle until the ice cream sandwich pops out of the mold.
6. If desired, press mini chocolate chips around the edges of the exposed ice cream.
7. Store your cookie sandwiches individually in plastic baggies or in a freezer-safe plastic container with a lid.

Making homemade ice cream sandwiches is easy and fun, but you might find a little difficulty since the ice cream melts really fast. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your fun treat-making experience:

ice-cream-sandwiches-x• When making these treats in bulk, create small batches and take a break to let your ice cream get harder again. If you try to make too many sandwiches or let it take too long, the ice cream will be a mushy mess that is too tough to handle.
• Put them in the freezer in small fold-over sandwich bags, individually wrapped for best results. That makes them easy to enjoy later, too!
• Consider putting them in the freezer for a little while before you add the mini chocolate chips to the edges if you find the ice cream is too soft to manage.
• I know it’s hard to wait, but please avoid putting ice cream on the cookies until they’ve really cooled. Your ice cream will melt too fast and you’ll never be able to enjoy your cookie sandwich without a real mess!

Do you have a favorite flavor of ice cream cookie sandwich? I made the ultimate, extreme ice cream cookie sandwich using chocolate chip cookies and cookies and cream ice cream with mini chips on the edges. I also tried sugar cookies and black cherry ice cream, oatmeal craisin cookies with chocolate ice cream, and sugar cookies with black cherry ice cream. They were all wonderful, although Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches will always have a special place in my heart!

Do you want to try this? Have you already done it? Do you have any other tips to share? Please share your comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

Fun, Relaxing, and Exciting Vacations for Seniors

seniors vacationsWhen it comes to taking vacations, seniors have a wide range of travel options. The possibilities for mature travelers include weekend getaways, cruises, and guided tours, to name a few. There are also trips for single seniors looking for some time away. Depending on the type of experience you are looking for, here are some enjoyable options.

All-Inclusive Vacations for Seniors

You can find a whole world of destinations to choose from when planning a vacation. If you are looking for a relaxing trip away from home, an all-inclusive vacation provides a stress-free environment. All-inclusive vacations allow you to leave your worries behind. This type of vacation includes food, drinks, and activities in the cost of the trip. All-inclusive trips to Jamaica or the Dominican Republic provide relaxing vacations for seniors looking to spend their time in a tropical environment.

Educational Trips

Educational trips make great vacations for seniors looking for an enjoyable learning experience. Historical locations, such as Greece and Riviera Maya, are rich with historical landmarks and expeditions. Guided tours take you to several destinations while providing you with historical information to create a memorable experience.

Cruises

Cruises offer a wide range of possibilities for seniors. Seniors can choose from multi-city destination cruises, European cruises, and Caribbean cruises. In addition, you can find themed cruises tailored toward mature travelers, including trips for single seniors. Cruise ships have a wide range of activities available on-board, including swimming, golfing, dining, and a variety of entertainment. Opportunities to explore new cities offshore also exist when traveling from port to port.

Weekend Getaways for Mature Travelers

Senior vacation ideasWeekend trips for seniors provide the perfect excuse to take a brief break from life. Plenty of convenient and affordable weekend destinations may include wineries and bed and breakfasts. Wineries make a great romantic escape, especially if you are looking to relax and try various samples of wine. Bed and breakfasts are ideal for seniors interested in spending a cozy weekend enjoying nature walks and daily activities. Try exploring wineries and bed and breakfasts in your area to find your best option.

Planning a vacation can be difficult, especially if you do not know what you are looking for in a week or weekend away. Consider what type of vacation you want and how long you would like to travel. This information will help you get started on planning your perfect escape. Whether you are a senior looking for a relaxing getaway or a fun-filled adventure, you’re sure to find an ideal vacation that is perfect for you.

Nautical Dresses, Coral Dresses, and Summery Sundresses for Mom and Daughter

nautical-dresses-xCoral continues to be a hot color this summer, and pretty shades of orange join along for the fun. The navy and white stripes and nautical look and feel drives another powerful trend this summer. And it seems fun and flirty sundresses in bright or bold colors and interesting patterns will never go out of style. Dressing in matching outfits with your daughter can make for some adorable pictures and it can be an enjoyable experience for moms and infants, toddlers, and little girls alike.

It might be tough to find matching outfits for mom and daughter, so we’re trying to do as much of the work for you as possible. Check out these cute mommy-and-me infant, toddler, or little girl matching or close-to-matching outfits for a lovely second half of the summer.

Orange / Coral Dresses for Mom and Daughter
Hues of the orange family add a fun burst of color to your summer days. Whether it’s a summer wedding, graduation party, or another special event, consider dressing up in duplicate with your little one for some great photo ops and a fun experience across the board.

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Stunning Nautical Themed Dresses for Mom and Daughter
It seems the nautical theme is back and better than ever. You can find tons of dresses in navy and white patterns for adults, and a few cute styles for kids as well. Check out these gorgeous navy and white striped nautical dresses for mom and somewhat matching or at least complementing styles for infants and young girls.

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Cute, Flirty Sundresses for Moms and their Girls
When all else fails this summer, throw on a sundress. Better yet if you and your shining star can match. Consider these fun and stylish mother-daughter dresses as a nice way to bond with your daughter this summer. Your infants may not know what’s going on, and your toddlers may fight you on getting dressed, but your little girls are sure to love dressing up like their mama. Check out some too-cute options for summer mommy-and-me fashion.

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Summer Roundup: Sunscreen Products for Babies and Kids

second-kid-promoProtecting your little ones’ skin is so important, especially when it comes to the summer sun. You probably know from personal experience how painful sunburn can be, and you might even know someone who had to deal with skin cancer. Despite how much of a nuisance it can be to apply sunscreen to your children every time you go out in the sun, it really IS that important. You don’t want them to get sunburn or to have problems later in life, so you can feel good taking the time to apply sunscreen thoroughly before each exposure.

With a one-year-old of my own and a few trips already planned to the beach, I knew I had to scope out the best sunscreen products for little ones this summer. I have a few adult sunscreen products I like for myself, but I didn’t know where to start as far as baby sunscreen and kid sunscreen.

I was fortunate to receive a few sample products for the purpose of my review, including: Banana Boat Kids Lotion Mist SPF50, Banana Boat Natural Reflect Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF50, COOLA Baby SPF50 Unscented Mineral Sunscreen, and VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Baby 50+ Full-Spectrum, Water-Resistant Physical Sun + Light Screen for Infants, Children + Adults.

Banana Boat makes a ton of products for sun care needs. I found the Banana Boat Kids Tear Free Sting Free SPF50 Continuous Spray Sunscreen to be very easy to apply and extremely effective. We had no issues with this sunscreen aside from it getting a bit clogged once it was more than halfway gone, and the clear spray came out instead of the lotion spray. I’m thinking it’s not empty yet, but I have yet to figure out how to get it unclogged. (If you know how, please leave a comment as I’m sure I am not the only person this has happened to!)

This sunscreen product for kids did not irritate my daughter’s skin, and my husband and I tried it out as well and enjoyed the ease of use, even if we had just gotten out of the ocean. This product provides protection against UVA and UVB rays and lasts quite a while—water resistant up to 80 minutes. I have used it at the beach, the pool, jogging in my neighborhood, and in my own backyard, and my daughter’s fared well each time.

Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (10%), Octisalate (5%), and Octocrylene (6%).

The Banana Boat Natural Reflect SPF50 Baby Sunscreen Lotion is made from 100% naturally sourced sunscreens and zinc oxide, contains no parabens, and is PABA free. It’s packaging says it is as mild as water and also tear free and sting free. It smoothes on like regular sunscreen, not the spray kind. This sunscreen was pretty thick to massage in, but it ended up being super water resistant and extremely effective. I loved using it in her baby pool and before we went to the beach.

I like this natural product quite a bit, but we did determine that our daughter was having some mild skin reactions to something in this product. She’s had baby eczema and other skin sensitivities, so despite this one being a natural choice, it did not work out best for her skin type. That’s not to say it would cause your baby any skin issues—every baby’s skin is different and reacts differently to products and the environment around them.

Active ingredients include Titanium Dioxide (3.6%) and Zinc Oxide (4%).

Banana Boat also offers countless products for adults and even more options for kids, like Kids SPF50 Long Lasting UVA UVB Broad Spectrum Sunscreen and Natural Reflect Kids SPF50+ Sunscreen Lotion to name just a few. For more information on Banana Boat products, please check out www.bananaboat.com.

COOLA Baby SPF50 Unscented Mineral Sunscreen comes in a really cool aqua-blue container with a white cap. The sleek packaging holds a thin, very spreadable liquid sunscreen that smoothes onto baby’s skin lickety-split. COOLA sunscreen has a certified organic formula that also moisturizes the skin and offers environmental protection. Zero chemicals and absolutely no preservatives are included, but you will find great ingredients like sunflower oil, sesame seed oil, cocoa butter, Shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and even organic avocado.

This baby mineral sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes and I really liked using this product on my daughter’s face, ears, and neck, based on how easy it was to spread across her skin. Once done, I have to admit, I had that “chalky” feeling where I wanted to quickly wash the remaining residue off my hands, since they were still a bit oily and slick. Our bottle is leaking a bit through the cap, maybe because it is so liquidy, so be careful and think about keeping any opened bottles inside a ziplock bag just in case.

Active ingredients include Titanium Dioxide (7.6%) and Zinc Oxide (6.8%).

For more information on COOLA products, check out www.coolasuncare.com.

Coppertone Kids Wacky Foam SPF 75+ is another option you can try in keeping your little ones’ skin safe from the sun. I heard about this foaming sunscreen for kids when my nephew came to visit for a cousins’ play date and baby pool party. I decided to pick up my own bottle the next time I was in a CVS and I think this might be one of my favorite finds for fast application in a format that kids find to be fun and engaging. It definitely seemed easier to apply than some of the others when my daughter decided to squirm around. I think the foaming design is clever and the sun block seemed to absorb readily into my daughter’s sensitive skin.

This product retails for around $8 to $12 and unfortunately, I picked it up on the more expensive end of that scale. However, I am very happy with the results and the product itself. This foaming sunscreen lotion is water resistant for up to 80 minutes and it is dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic, and PABA-free.

Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (10%), and Oxybenzone (6%).

For more information on Coppertone products, check out www.coppertone.com.

VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Baby 50+ Full-Spectrum, Water-Resistant Sunscreen offers very high UVA/UVB protection that is designed especially for infants’ delicate skin. This product contains monolaurin as an antibacterial disinfecting agent and also contains green tea as an antioxidant. Product packaging advises to reapply every one to two hours or as needed, for example after being in the water, toweling off, or playing.

Made in the Philippines, this product comes in a handy jar that is 1.76 oz of gentle yet effective formula—100% fragrance-free, 100% PABA-Preservative-Phthalate-free, and clinically tested, and deemed acceptable for all skin types, including infants, babies, children, men, and women, even those sensitive to chemical sunscreens.

Active ingredients include Titanium Dioxide (15%) and Zinc Oxide (15%).

For more information, check out www.vmvhypoallergenics.com.

What is your favorite sunscreen product for your baby, toddler, or young child? Please share in our comments below.

Disclosure: LifeLoveBeauty received sample sunscreen products for the purpose of this review. The opinions in this post are my own honest experiences and not influenced in any way. Individual experiences may vary.

 

Smirnoff Sorbet Light Vodka Review

Summer’s winding down, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t have a summer-y drink or three. Smirnoff features three fresh flavors in their Sorbet Light Line – Lemon, Mango Passion Fruit and Raspberry Pomegranate. I received all three to try and review. My verdict is that they are all fantastic!

Continue reading Smirnoff Sorbet Light Vodka Review

Five Fun Baking Parties for Adults

pink cookie sandwich baking partyBaking parties for adults can be a great deal of fun. You can get together with your friends, and have fun together by baking and decorating cakes and other baked goods. You can find a number of fantastic social ideas for baking parties. No matter what time of year it is, you are sure to find a party theme for baking that suits your needs.

Halloween Baking Party

Halloween is a fun occasion for kids and adults alike. A fun twist on a traditional Halloween party is a Halloween baking theme party. Instead of having a regular party on Halloween, you can host a baking party. You and your guests can bake cupcakes, muffins, and cakes, which are Halloween themed. For example, you could make jam filled cakes, cupcakes that feature ghosts, Frankenstein, and anything else that relates to Halloween. You should decorate your home and the baking area with a Halloween theme in mind, and you could even purchase Halloween themed baking accessories.

Healthy Themed Baking Party

While baked goods are delicious and baking parties are a lot of fun, they aren’t great if you are trying to stick to a healthy diet. However, baked goods don’t have to be completely unhealthy. You can make cakes using organic flour and wholemeal flour, as well as reduced fat products, fruits, grains, honey, and other healthy ingredients. If you and your friends are on a diet, then a healthy baking themed party can be a great idea. This type of party is ideal for a person’s birthday. You simply purchase healthier ingredients, such as dried fruits, whole grains, and wholemeal flour, and encourage your guests to make healthy yet tasty baked treats.

Christmas Baking Party

Christmas is the ideal time to host a baking theme party. You can invite your friends, family, and your neighbors to enjoy a fun Christmas party with a twist. You can purchase Christmas themed baking accessories and bake Christmas themed items, such as Santa cookies, gingerbread men, and cupcakes that feature Christmas themed subjects, such as reindeer and candy canes. It is a great way for you and your friends to have fun together and get into the holiday spirit.

Patriotic Baking Party

Whether it’s the fourth of July weekend or you are just feeling patriotic, a patriotic themed baking party can be a lot of fun. You can decorate your homes in red, white, and blue, and bake patriotic themed cupcakes and cakes. You could even purchase patriotic baking accessories for your guests to use when baking.

Picnic Themed Party

baking theme partyA picnic party theme for baking can be great fun on a sunny day. You can decorate your home in a picnic theme by using lots of decorations that feature gingham and checked print. Once you and your friends have baked some tasty treats, you can put them into cute picnic baskets and eat your baked treats on your lawn with your friends, washing them down with some lemonade or iced tea. You will not only have fun baking with your friends, but you can also enjoy the fresh air and a picnic filled with baked goods.

Things To Do On A Rainy Day

what to do on a rainy daySitting on your favorite chair and watching as the heavy rain pours outside your window can be fun and relaxing for a while, but you can’t keep with that activity forever. Since you’re already stuck at home until the bad weather passes, why not make the best of it and do something fun indoors? We’ve written before about lots of fun and interesting things to do on a rainy day and today we’re presenting you with more fun things to do inside to spend those boring hours waiting for the skies to clear up and let you play outside or take that walk you’ve been wanting.

Staying inside on a rainy day doesn’t have to be boring. Your home can be your personal playground!

Spend some quality time with your family

If you’re living with your family, significant other, or roommates, the best way you can have fun is to do something together. If you have some board games that are collecting dust, such as Monopoly or Risk, get everyone together at the kitchen table, grab some dice, and start playing. Playing card games such as Go Fish or Uno can also be a great way to lose time with friends and family. Maybe you can use your imagination and make up a new game all together. When all else fails, you can always watch a movie or an episode or two of your favorite show. You all know you’ve seen Toy Story more times that you can count, but why not watch it one more time? It’s just that good. Maybe you can make a contest – whoever can remember the most lines from the movie wins!

Rainy days are perfect for the creative

If you live alone or just want some time to yourself, try to think of something to do that is fun and creative. Maybe you can finally try that recipe that you read online at Pinterest last week. As you’re waiting for the meal to be finished, grab that book you’ve been meaning to read but didn’t have the time. If you have an affinity for writing, grab your laptop and start working on your next story or bestseller novel. Musicians can take the rain as an inspiration for a new tune while artists can try to capture the rainy outside world on paper using their preferred art materials or tools. You always wanted to learn origami – what better time to start than now?

Don’t let the rain keep you from your workout!

You really wanted to take that morning jog, but the look outside your window says everything. Why let that stop you from your daily exercise? Find a spacious part of your home, slip into your workout outfit, and start working on those leg and ab muscles. Sit-ups, squats, push-ups, rope jumps – these are all things that can be done at home. If you have a treadmill or a stationary bike – even better. If the weather lets up by evening, maybe you can take a late night jog instead of your morning routine.

things to do on a rainy dayIf you use your imagination and open your mind to new ideas, staying indoors can be just as fun and exciting as going out. When the rain finally stops doing its dance, you’ll be able to do whatever you had planned, but next time the bad weather decides to ruin your plans and forces you to to stay at home, you’ll already be well prepared.

Three Amazing Weekend Trips for Women

hen-party-dancingIt was back in the 80’s when Cyndi Lauper sang that girls just want to have fun and that saying is as true today as it was 30 years ago. Girls do love to have fun and what better way to do it than to get a bunch of them together and go on an all-woman weekend trip? No men and no worries are allowed; just you and your girlfriends riding in your car for a few days of relaxing pleasure. Whether you’re recovering from a breakup, celebrating a birthday, or throwing a bridal shower or bachelorette party for your best friend, going on a trip with the girls is an amazing and fun idea.

If you decided to get your girls and get away but are still looking for some vacation ideas for ladies, let us help inspire you with some of our own amazing girls only vacation ideas for the weekend that are fun-guaranteed and will also recharge your batteries for the busy week afterwards. Here are our suggestions of three weekend trips for women:

1. The beach

Whether you’re thinking of Hawaii, Florida, or sunny California, there are two things in common for all of those places – long sandy beaches and all the sun you can stand. Take long swims and sunbathe during the day, building the energy you’ll be burning at night when you’re dancing away with your girls at the local beach club. With a margarita in your hand and your best friends sitting around you, you’ll never want to go home! If you’re the type of person that prefers walking and talking over dancing and music, you can always bring a blanket, buy some wine, and sit on the beach with your friends, talking your souls out while staring at the beautiful moon and stars above and listening to the sound of waves crashing.

2. A spa weekend

Every girl deserves some time to spoil herself, why should you be any different? Try to picture it: you and your friends are laying on the table next to each other while a handsome, hunky man has his incredibly strong yet soft hands all over your body as he’s giving you the relaxing massage of your lifetime. Doesn’t it make you want to go “Mmmmmm”? After that, you’re scheduled for a facial then a trip to the sauna. Conclude the day with a delicious dinner and a swim at the pool before going to bed with a satisfied purr. Going on a spa weekend trip is just the thing you need if you and your girls are tired from work and family and just need some time away to relax and recharge your batteries.

3.  A culinary class vacation

After seeing dozens of cooking reality shows on TV, a lot of women are lately interested in going on organized cooking classes. Whether you’re the master chef of your kitchen or can’t cook anything besides fried eggs and toast, taking your friends on a culinary class for the weekend has several benefits – you get to have fun, bond with your friends, and meet new people while learning new recipes and tricks to make your food taste like heaven. When the fun is over, you’ll get back home a woman richer in more ways than one; you’ll now know how to prepare pasta bolognese with your eyes closed and have new friends to compare cooking notes with and take with you on your next culinary class. It’s a win-win experience!

These are only a few ideas to get you started on your vacation planning, but the possibilities are endless. Take a trip to the country, go on a shopping spree on Beverly Hills, or skiing in Aspen – go wherever you like, as long as you remember to always have fun!

Vegetarian BBQ Tips

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho says that grilling is just about burgers and ribs? You can just as easily grill tofu, tomatoes, peppers, and other tasty veggies to create a light and healthy meal for everyone to enjoy. It’s the perfect food for those hot summer days. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, a vegetarian barbecue is the most natural choice. Meat lovers may also accept the idea since it’s nice change from the usual all-meat grill menu. Grab an apron, get that grill out of the garage, and pay attention, because we are about to give you some delicious vegetarian BBQ tips and recipes that will leave your mouth watering.

1. Stuffed BBQ peppers

These delicious peppers are guaranteed to impress all of your friends and family and keep them coming for more. Not only are they very easy to prepare, but their rich flavor and strong aroma will also make your mouth water as soon as you smell them. Stuff the peppers with a mix of rice, onions, mozzarella, and gorgonzola, and then grill them for 15-20 minutes, turning them lightly until they get a nice brown color. Vegans can create their own cheese substitutes with tofu “ricotta” or agar. Serve the peppers with some mashed potatoes or pasta as a side dish and you’ve got yourself an ideal light summer lunch!

2. All-veggie grill platter

Looking for some inspiration for a light veggie lunch, you check your kitchen and see you have some asparagus, carrots, and onions. “What can I make of these?”, you think. Well, why don’t you grill them all and create a tasty BBQ veggie platter? The end result – everyone licking their fingers and rubbing their bellies in satisfaction after a delicious meal. Don’t just stop at these tasty vegetables; take whatever you got stored and just throw them in the mix – you just can’t go wrong! The whole thing takes only 15-20 minutes and the fascinated compliments you receive from your friends while they eat it will definitely make your day. Toss with some olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Have fun and be creative.

3. Grilled eggplant salad

This summertime dish is an absolute must for every green lover and it will make your mouth explode with delight with the first bite. The entire meal takes about 45 minutes to prepare and is very simple. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds, sprinkle them with salt and olive oil, and grill them for 5-10 minutes while preparing the dressing that consists of oil, vinegar, tomato, garlic, and paprika all mixed in a blender. Pour this over the eggplant, toss some green salad and cheese (or cheese substitute if you’re a vegan), and voila! Lunch is served. Not only is this dish very low cal but it’s also extremely healthy and very light to eat in these extreme hot days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, all grilled food tastes a whole lot better with a dip. Create your own tasty vegetarian dips in just a few minutes and store them in the refrigerator for the next time you need to use them. All you need is a blender and a creative mind – take your favorite greens, blend them together for a minute or two and you’re all set! The possibilities truly are endless. After giving you all these tasty vegetarian recipes and tips, all we have to say is: have fun grilling and bon apetite!

4 Romantic Weekend Destinations for Couples

top-10-romantic-weekend-getawaysIt can be tough to keep the love aflame in the oh-so busy world of today. After arriving home dead tired from a hard day’s work, you and your beloved would want nothing more than to sit down on the couch and cuddle while watching whatever’s on the TV before finally crashing to bed. Luckily, that’s why we have the weekend, the time where you can finally give each other the attention you both deserve and blow off some steam. And what better way to spend a romantic weekend than to go on a nice, relaxing trip with your honey? If you’re in need of an inspiration of some perfect couple’s weekend getaway ideas, you are in luck.

Here are some attractive and unique weekend destinations for couples that will completely win you over.

1) New Orleans, LA – There is a reason why New Orleans is called The Big Easy – the entire city lives at a stroller’s pace and that is just what the two of you need. This bohemian city oozes with a relaxing atmosphere that will soothe the soul and rest the mind, which is exactly why it’s so romantic and the perfect getaway for every free spirited couple. Take long, relaxing walks in this exotic paradise, take a cruise down the Mississippi river, enjoy a romantic carriage ride for two around town, have a candlelight dinner with a bottle of their finest wine, and to conclude the night, go to a spicy jazz concert that will bring your bodies closer and your passions aflame.

2) Aspen, CO – The mountains, the snow, the cabins, the fireplace crackling… Can you imagine a scene more romantic than this? Aspen is the perfect retreat from everyday life and will charge your batteries while dazzling you with its beauties. If you’re going in the summer, you can take mild hikes or bike rides and enjoy the nature alone or you can stroll around town and have a romantic lunch. For winter activities, you can finally go and take up on skiing for an exciting bonding experience.

3) Niagara Falls, NY – Stand together mere feet from one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the entire region and watch as the water droplets explode into a million colors when reflected from the sun – if that doesn’t shout romance, then I don’t know what does. Niagara Falls offer everything a couple would desire – the peace and serenity to devote to each other, the breathtaking nature scenery you can take in together, and tons of activities you can do for an exhilirating time together. Whether you just want to take moonlight strolls beside the falls or take on adrenaline-inducing rafting rides, Niagara is the place to go.

4) Monterey, CA – As you’re walking barefoot down the beach hand in hand, the Pacific Ocean sings its song and you feel like you’re never been closer. What’s best about Monterey is that it’s full of beautiful, deserted beaches you can enjoy all for yourselves when looking for that sweet solace. There is no price one can pay for that. When you’re not enjoying the peace and quiet of the sea, you can take horseback rides with your beloved or have a romantic picnic at Marina Dunes Natural Preserve while watching the beautiful sunset, which is romance in itself.

If you feel that these destinations are too far for you to go for just the three days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), you can take a long weekend for this trip. Pack your bags, take each other’s hands and give yourselves the nice romantic treat you both deserve.

Dreft Laundry Detergent Review – For Snuggly, Cuddly Baby Clothes, Stuffies, and More

It’s hard to believe a year has passed, but my little baby girl has gone from newborn to rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, and walking in what seems like the blink of an eye. Over the past 14 months, we’ve gone through messy blowouts, sweet potato stains, dirt marks, fruit stains, chocolate smudges, and more. Laundry in our home is serious business—I am constantly on the lookout for products that work and always trying new stain removing tips to ensure our clothes and linens stay fresh and pretty for as long as possible.

I recently received a special opportunity to try and review Dreft laundry detergent. From what I can recall, Dreft is the only product my family members and friends recommend for washing babies’ clothing, and I can see why. I received some sample packets of Dreft for the purpose of my honest review, and I can honestly say all of my daughter’s things come out smelling baby fresh and feeling snuggly soft. Dreft is gentle and pure and does not irritate her delicate skin. It’s proven and trusted and even pediatrician recommended.

PrintAccording to product documentation, Dreft has been around for more than 75 years, developing a great reputation for softness and gentleness on little ones’ clothes and their linens. I trust the brand so much that I now wash my daughter’s favorite plush toys—yes, the ones she chews on—in this gentle yet effective laundry soap. Her favorite toy “Lucky” goes from grayish and a bit stiff and crunchy to soft, fluffy, and as close to white as a beloved Dalmatian blanket lovey is going to get.I put the Dreft laundry detergent samples to the test with our washer, dryer, and even line-drying some of my daughter’s clothes, towels, and even her favorite stuffed toy. Somehow Dreft manages to take out even the toughest stains (for us, strawberries). It leaves her clothing brighter, her whites whiter, and everything that comes out of the washer or dryer smells fresh, clean, and wonderful. Line drying items and drying in the dryer both produce similar results as far as the scent and level of softness of the clothing and other items.

dreft-lucky

I also notice that our towels from each week’s swim class feel softer and cuddlier as I wrap her up after a dip in the pool. The warm and cuddly feeling is so appreciated as we walk through the air-conditioned hallway and locker room. (Why they need AC in a pool locker room and entry way is beyond me!) Some towels washed with regular detergent seem to need a hundred washings to become cuddly soft, but I feel like Dreft gets it right on the first try!

Perhaps this is an aside, but I’ve recently tried Dreft’s stain removing spray (on my own dime) and it works phenomenally at removing stains from food, messy diapers, floor grime from crawling, and just about anything else your baby manages to get on her clothes. If you haven’t tried Dreft or Dreft’s stain removing spray, you might want to give it a shot. I personally recommend it based on my own experiences. For more information, check out www.dreft.com. Feel free to share your own thoughts and feedback in our comments below!

Dreft - Royal Baby Name BracketBy the way, if you’re feeling playful, check out The Royal Baby Name Bracket on Dreft’s Facebook page for a chance to pick a few baby names in honor of the royal baby!

Disclosure: LifeLoveBeauty received sample detergent packets and a gift card from Dreft for participation in this trial program. The opinions in this post are my own honest experiences and not influenced in any way. Individual experiences may vary.

Recipe: Homemade Brownie Pudding Pops, Full-Size or in Dixie Cups

zoku-pops-ss

Summertime rolls around and frozen treats become the perfect pastime. Make yummy frozen desserts to enjoy with your kids, family, friends, and loved ones, and this will also become a fond memory of the warmer seasons. Making homemade pudding pops doesn’t cost a lot and also doesn’t take much time. It also allows you to be creative with the ingredients, mixing in your favorite things for a yummy treat you can enjoy as a snack or as dessert any time.

I am a sucker for brownies, so I wanted to make a frozen treat that incorporated tiny pieces of brownie and of course, chocolate and fresh strawberries. Are you hungry yet? If so, keep reading – you will find this recipe fairly simple and fun!

Homemade Strawberry and Brownie Pudding Pops
In Dixie cups, these yummy treats are the perfect size for the kids or a modest dessert for adults of all ages. You can also use the Zoku™ Quick Pop™ Maker for a full-sized treat.

Mix up your favorite flavors and experiment with different combinations to see what you like best!

dixie-pudding-pops Ingredients:

Strawberry layer
3/4 cup fresh-cut strawberries
2 tsp Honey
1/8 tsp Vanilla extract
3/4 tsp water

Pudding base
1 8-oz package Chocolate or Vanilla Instant Pudding (plus required ingredients on pudding packet)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) whole or 2% milk
1 and 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp Vanilla extract

Other:
One or two brownies, broken into pieces
Sliced strawberries
Dixie cups
Mini popsicle sticks
Instructions:

  1. Create the strawberry sauce by combining strawberries and water in a food processor.
  2. Move to measuring cup and add in honey and vanilla.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Mix together all the ingredients for the pudding base.
  5. Starting with the pudding base, layer ingredients as desired into little Dixie cups. Add in slices of strawberries or bits/chunks of brownie as you go. When the cup is about 3/4 full, add in a popsicle stick if desired.
  6. Put brownie crumbles atop any remaining pudding or fruit layers around the stick.
  7. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours but possibly longer.
  8. Enjoy!

pops_2281I adapted my recipe from a great book of popsicle recipes entitled Zoku Quick Pops, for use with the Zoku™ Quick Pop™ Maker. We have the pop maker and I actually did use it to make these very same pops. We noticed the ingredients ended up being a bit thick for the pop maker, but it was also our first attempt, so I’m looking forward to giving it a shot with a different recipe, perhaps a more juice-based pop recipe.

We had some leftover pudding, strawberries, brownies, and strawberry sauce, along with some bananas, so we made the rest of the batch into the Dixie cups version of pudding pops. It worked out great and I look forward to doing this together with my little girl when she is old enough to enjoy it.