Summer Sweets: Chocolate Waffle Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Summer Sweets: Chocolate Waffle Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

We are in the midst of a three-day heat wave here in New England, with temperatures hitting the high nineties on Saturday, Sunday- and expected to do so again a little later on today. I don’t mind it at all- even if it means being a little sweaty and uncomfortable now and then, but it does make cooking/baking things- particularly things that need to stay cold- slightly trickier.

Case in point: these chocolate waffle and ice cream sandwiches I made yesterday afternoon prior to heading out to Western Massachusetts to meet a friend for dinner. As I tried to assemble the sandwiches, they were melting quicker than I could keep up- and more than once I had to pop them back in the freezer to get them more solid again before continuing sprinkling on the sauces and toppings.

But, they were worth it- since they were cold and delicious- and just what I needed on such a hot day!

And best of all? They’re pretty easy to make and completely customizable!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2¼ cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 pints ice cream (any flavor you want! I used sea-salted caramel!)
  • ½ cup caramel sauce
  • ¾ cup chopped salted almonds
  • ½ cup rainbow sprinkles
  • ½ cup melted dark chocolate

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE WAFFLES: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the milk with the melted butter, eggs and vanilla to combine. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk to combine.
  3. Preheat the waffle iron. Lightly spray the iron with nonstick spray. Ladle batter into the waffle maker. Prepare the waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions, 3 to 6 minutes. Repeat until all the batter is used.
  4. Cool the waffles to room temperature, then cut each into quarters.
  5. ASSEMBLE THE SANDWICHES: Scoop ½ cup ice cream onto one piece of waffle and top with another to make a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining waffles and ice cream. Transfer the sandwiches to the freezer until very firm, at least 2 hours.
  6. Dip or garnish the frozen sandwiches as desired into your caramel sauce and/oror melted dark chocolate sauce.
  7. Return the sandwiches to the freezer until ready to serve.

I’d like to try these again with mint chocolate chip (an even colder, more refreshing flavor) and incorporate different toppings in, as well! Maybe when the weather isn’t bordering 100 degrees outside, though. That might make these a little easier to put together!

Here’s hoping you all have a great start to your week! I have plenty more to share in the coming days!

In the meantime- have you entered my Beach-themed Summer Giveaway? There’s still time!

xx

– Ashley –

“Now it’s all covered with flowers…”

“Now it’s all covered with flowers…”

Good Evening, everyone! Here’s hoping you’re all having a wonderful Friday night- or getting ready to, anyway!

My night is actually going to be fairly quiet and reserved tonight- consisting of watching a movie with friends, eating some pizza and sipping some hard cider since I have to be up for early morning plans first thing tomorrow. And honestly? I just really need a night in so I can wear sweatpants and veg out a bit.

This past week has been crazy at work, and when I wasn’t in my office- I was at networking events, keeping track of E3 coverage (hello, ‘Resident Evil 2’ remake I’ve been waiting for since I was in my teens!) and trying to soak up some Vitamin D whenever I got the chance- including taking an afternoon off for an impromptu beach trip in Manchester-By-The-Sea.

Last weekend, before I got swirled up in Manic Monday and all the tasks/errands/to-do’s that came with it and the subsequent days that followed- I actually ventured out to the wild, wild Western part of Massachusetts to lovely, quaint and picturesque Shelburne Falls to see the famous Bridge of Flowers that frequently make appearances on my friends’ Instagram feeds.

I’d never been, but neither the bridge itself or the scenic drive to and from there along some of the state’s winding back roads- dotted with farmhouses and fields- was well worth it. The footbridge (formerly a trolley bridge) stretches over the Deerfield River and is the home to hundreds of different types of flowers. It’s a very peaceful, pretty walk to take- and naturally I snapped some photos!

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pics!

If you’re ever venturing out by Western Massachusetts this Summer- the bridge is definitely worth a quick stop! It’s open ’til October!

In other beautiful destinations I visited this past week- I took a half day at work yesterday afternoon to stop by Singing Beach in-between errands to meet up with my best friend, Sean, for lunch/coffee and to watch as the boats rolled by the marina.  Even though the sun disappeared on us (more than once)– it was still a lovely way to spend an afternoon. The view was definitely better than the one I’m used to in my office, anyway!

Every time I travel to Manchester By The Sea, I try to visit at least one new shop or restaurant since the community has so many hidden and adorable seaside finds to discover. Yesterday’s dinner saw us watching game show re-runs from the 1970s while we ate burgers and fries at Superfine Food, and then grab a couple of ‘Aloha’ lattes (coconut and white chocolate) at Allie’s Beach Street Cafe.

Everything was so delicious- and the staff at both locations were very friendly! I highly recommend them!

But now, with friends on the way for movie night with food in tow- I’m off to be lazy, eat all the carbs- and get ready for the weekend!

Good night, everyone! Have a great weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Pesto Zoodles

Good Morning, everyone! It’s officially Hump Day!

I was really excited to share this recipe I whipped up this past weekend for a quick outdoor brunch with friends, because not only is it a healthier alternative to regular pasta (which I love, don’t get me wrong)– but it’s also really flavorful and super easy to make!

You can buy “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) pre-made in the produce section at most grocery stores, but if you want to make them the old fashioned way- you can pick up an easy to use and inexpensive spiral vegetable slicer like THIS ONE. I use mine to make zucchini noodles, summer squash noodles, and butternut squash noodles for my Fall/Autumn recipes!

But let’s get back to this very tasty- and very green dish- that only takes about 20-25 minutes to prep and cook!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

FOR THE PESTO:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

ZOODLES:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 zucchini, cut into noodles
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • Parmesan cheese curls, as needed for garnish
  • Red-pepper flakes, as needed for garnish (optional)

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE PESTO: In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil, garlic, pine nuts and grated Parmesan until coarsely chopped.
  2. With the food processor running, add the olive oil gradually and mix until the pesto is a thick paste. Add more olive oil as needed to adjust the consistency. Add salt and pepper.
  3. MAKE THE ZOODLES: In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the zucchini noodles and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.
  4. Add the pesto and toss until the noodles are well coated.
  5. Serve warm, garnished with Parmesan curls and red-pepper flakes, if using, to taste.

What I loved most about this dish, apart from the taste- was that I didn’t feel overly full or stuffed after I ate a plate of it. I was satisfied and comfortable- and didn’t need to take a three hour nap while it sat in my stomach before I could feel energized or productive again. The zoodles were refreshing, filling- and delicious!

I’m looking forward to re-making this with a creamy Alfredo sauce in place of the pesto sauce at some point within the next week. I bet it’s going to be so good!

Here’s hoping you all have a terrific Wednesday! I’m off to work!

P.S. – Have you entered my Beach Giveaway?

xx

– Ashley –

1-Year Blogiversary Beach Giveaway!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

While the start of a new work (or school) week is typically dreaded, I think I have some exciting news to take some of that early Monday morning gloom away. At least I do for one lucky reader, anyway!

This past Saturday marked the one year milestone since I launched ‘Blondie Birdie’ back on June 9, 2017.  When I first decided to make the move from my former longtime home at ‘Legally Redhead’ and start fresh and new here- I had wanted to not only focus more on sharing my love of food, vintage clothing and travel- but also showcase local businesses and female-fronted organizations that were doing amazing things for causes that I was passionate about.

Since then, Blondie Birdie has grown beyond that and into so much more- with collaborations/partnerships in Boston, NYC, San Diego, Las Vegas and London- and I’m so excited to see what the the future holds for my little corner of the internet!

I wanted to take a quick moment to say thank you so, so, so much to all of the readers, fellow bloggers, businesses, designers, photographers, and artists that have made this such an incredible blogging journey for me so far- and especially thank my friends and family for supporting me and helping out with this project in so many ways over this past year. I know it wasn’t always easy- recipe attempts were burned, GPS devices were needed more than once when my unfailing wanderlust got myself and others lost in the wilderness- and shooting at just the right angle to showcase an outfit/accessory could be downright frustrating- but I was and will forever remain overwhelmingly proud and grateful for what has been built here. I couldn’t have done it without all of you!

That being said, here’s to another great year ahead with just as much fun, silly, (hopefully) interesting content- and to many more years after that, too!

To show my appreciation, I’ve put together a Summer/Beach-inspired giveaway (with help from Rafflecopter) to commemorate this most exciting of occasions! I handpicked a selection of items that reflect both me and my blog’s overall laid-back, Summery, mermaid-obsessed personality. Just a head’s up- there is a lot of aqua and blue in here!

This giveaway is currently open to those residing within the United States, Canada, Mexico and the U.K- but I haven’t forgotten those who live outside those areas. I’ll be planning something special for all of you soon. I promise!

Before I get into the rules/regulations and how to enter- here’s what’s included!

I always keep a notebook handy for scribbling down ideas or mindlessly doodling when the thoughts (or the mood) hits me, and this ruled mermaid notepad from Spartina 449– with really good advice etched into the cover- is perfect for bringing to the beach or your next backyard BBQ in case you need to jot down some recipes, poetry- or write a couple of reminders for any family functions your relatives mention while you’re there that you accidentally forgot about…

… It happens to the best of us. No worries!

You didn’t think me- a girl from New England- wouldn’t include a Yankee Candle in a giveaway, did you? Of course I’m putting one in there!  This medium sized glass jar features the scent “Life’s A Breeze”- which is a perfect combination of salty sea air and fresh cotton. It’s light and clean- and will refresh any room in your home for hours and hours!

There’s a reason Yankee Candle is considered *the* go-to candle company, after all!

I know I’m not the only one who has been relaxing on a pool floatie and wished my frozen margarita could float right alongside me- right? Well for the winner and a friend (unless they’re having two drinks at once, in which case- more power to you!) now you don’t have to paddle your way to the pool’s edge to grab your cocktail.

This set of two drink floaties from Slant Collections are going to help keep you relaxed and hydrated for the whole Summer.

Everyone needs a new pouch to hold their Summer essentials- and I thought this mermaid (and merman!) covered one from Danica Studio was incredibly cute and convenient. Both sides have the underwater design on them- which I love- and there’s enough space to fit the important stuff: cards, keys- and your phone!

Just because you leave the beach or the pool to return to real life doesn’t mean you can’t still bring some of it home with you. I’m including this super moisturizing foaming bubble bath from Michel Design Works in the giveaway- because being able to transform your tub into a less-drying ocean with a few drops of this shea-butter infused, beach-scented bubble bath is divine!

And finally, Summer Sundays (for me) means having a couple of glasses of rosé with my girlfriends while we grill or lounge by the shore- but this glass, with “RESTING BEACH FACE” predominantly featured in gold lettering- can actually fit an entire bottle of wine in it.

So if you’re having a tough day, or maybe want to make a good day a little better- drink up!

Of course, I plan on throwing a few more more beach-inspired surprises in there, too!

Before I get to the most important part (how to enter)– here’s just a couple of important rules/specifics for all participants to consider:

The giveaway is running from now through midnight (EST) on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018- after which time a winner will be selected at random through Rafflecopter and contacted directly to obtain additional information to process shipping (which I’ll be paying for!) 

If selected, you’ll have 72 hours to respond to the confirmation e-mail. If I don’t receive a response in that time, I’ll unfortunately have to select another winner, instead!

Nothing in this giveaway can be traded or swapped for something else. What you see is what you’ll be receiving if you win!

But now, onto what you’ve all been waiting for!

HOW TO ENTER:

First and foremost- please visit the Rafflecopter page for the giveaway by CLICKING HERE to make sure your entry is properly counted!

1. Comment on this post with your name and e-mail address. (Please keep in mind that I have comment moderation turned on to avoid spambots- so if your comment doesn’t appear right away- don’t panic! I’ll put it through as soon as I’m able!)

2. You can tweet about the giveaway and link back directly to this post or to my homepage: BlondieBirdie.com

That’s it! Just two simple steps and you’re in!

I’m so excited for this giveaway and to choose a winner in a couple of weeks. I’ll be tweeting out (and posting) occasional reminders every now and then- but it’ll be kept to a minimum to avoid spamming everyone.

Again, thank you all so much for the continued support and enthusiasm. I really love writing Blondie Birdie and I hope you all feel the joy I pour into it every week.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Monday! Let’s make it count!

xx

– Ashley  –

Summer Sweets: Churro Bites with Chocolate Sauce

Good Morning and TGIF, everyone! We made it to the weekend!

With sunny skies predicted in the forecast this weekend, I have a feeling I’ll be making a trip to one of my favorite local beaches to soak up a little sand and saltwater before I swing by my scheduled plans with friends over the next couple of days. I’m just so excited that my cold/flu is gone and I can spend more time outdoors again! I hate being cooped up inside during the Summertime- especially after the brutal Winter we had here in New England!

But before I wrap up some things at work and head off to enjoy some much-needed girl time (and whiskey) this evening, I wanted to share a fun recipe I tried out a little earlier this week- a bite-sized version of one of my favorite boardwalk snacks- and one I’m sure I’ll be eating when I hit the coast tomorrow.

I’m talking about churros, of course! The fried dough and cinnamon treat is so simple to make- but I am loving these mini versions (served with warm chocolate sauce!) It’s like bringing the boardwalk right into your kitchen- without having to fight off seagulls, of course.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

FOR THE CHURROS:

  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE: 

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE CHURROS: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt and ½ cup water over medium heat. When the mixture comes to a simmer, add the flour and stir until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer the mixture from the saucepan to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed to combine. Transfer the batter to a piping bag (or a gallon-size resealable plastic bag) fitted with a large star tip.
  4. In a medium saucepot fitted with a thermometer, heat 2 inches of oil to about 350°F. While it heats, mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow bowl.
  5. Working in batches and being careful not to overcrowd the saucepot, pipe 2-inch strips of churro batter directly into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  6. With a slotted spoon, transfer the churros to a paper-towel-lined plate. While the churros are still warm, toss them in the cinnamon sugar to coat.
  7. MAKE THE SAUCE: Place the chocolate in a medium-size heat-safe bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate.
  8. Let the mixture sit for 30 seconds, then stir until smooth.
  9. Serve the churros immediately with the chocolate sauce on the side for dipping.

Keeping up with the boardwalk theme- I served these churros with ice cold and refreshing lemonade. The only thing that was missing was some saltwater taffy and a bottle of SPF50.

But really, these were so good and a lot of fun to make- particularly because they didn’t come out perfectly shaped. That didn’t take away from the taste, though! They were just as good as the ones you can buy at the beach!

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful weekend filled with fun and sunshine. I’ll see you all again on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –