Summer Sweets: Frozen Strawberry Lemonade Pie

Good Evening and Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful start to your week! While my posts typically go up early in the mornings before I head into my office for the day- I was a little pre-occupied this past weekend- and with my hours changing a bit at work (I come in a little earlier, stay a little later- and have half days on Fridays now!) I didn’t have a whole lot of time to get this yummy, sweet and just the right amount of tart recipe up on the blog ’til now!

Lemonade is my go-to, non-alcoholic drink to serve during the Summertime- especially when it’s scorching hot out (which it definitely has been around New England lately!)– since it’s so refreshing when it’s made right. When I saw this strawberry-infused, set-it-and-forget-it frozen pie version a couple of weeks ago- I knew I had to try out the recipe during one of my days off to share with friends as we tried to beat the heat and stay cool!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 24 whole graham crackers, crushed into tiny crumbs (you should have 4 cups worth of graham cracker crumbs total.)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Water, as needed
  • 3 egg whites
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 8 ounces whipped topping, thawed
  • 16 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE CRUST: Combine butter, crushed graham crackers, and ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl. Stir together until the mixture begins to stick together. To test the mixture, pinch a small amount at a time and see if it sticks. If it doesn’t- add a tablespoon of water at a time until it does.
  2. Divide the graham cracker crumbs between two 9 inch pie plates, using your fingers to press the mixture evenly across the bottom and up the sides. Place the crusts in the freezer while you make the fillings.
  3. MAKE THE FILLING: Place the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl. Use electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites on medium speed for 1 minute. Then add the lemon juice. Beat on medium high speed for another 4 minutes. The mixture will look foamy and thick. Add the sugar, a quarter cup at a time, and continue to beat on medium high speed for 1 minute after each addition (the eggs will take about 8 minutes total to whip up completely.)
  4. Add the frozen strawberries and beat on medium speed until they’re broken up and evenly distributed throughout the egg mixture. Fold in the whipped topping.
  5. Divide the strawberry mixture evenly between the two pie pans. Cover and freeze for at least six hours- or overnight.
  6. To serve, drop the pie plate in an inch of hot water for about 30 seconds to help loosen the crust. Then slice and serve!

I love this recipe because it’s sweet and sour- but the graham cracker crust helps break up the tartness with each bite! You can also add or reduce the amount of lemon juice and sugar incorporated into this if you want the pie to taste more sour or more sweet- depending on your personal preference. I think I’ll actually be adding a little more lemon juice next time!

Here’s to another lovely week of Summer ahead of us. We’ve already made it through Monday- so here’s hoping the rest is a breeze!

xx

– Ashley –

“She was an American girl…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

It’s back to blogging for me after a few days off to celebrate the Fourth of July, spend some time with friends, and just unplug for a little while. As much as I enjoy putting together new content for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays- sometimes it’s nice to just leave e-mails on unread for a bit and reconnect with nature and loved ones.

I highly recommend taking a break like that every once in a while! I try to do it once a month if it’s possible. It isn’t always easy- but it *is* always rewarding.

But these past few days have been a lot of fun, and I have the photos to prove it!

On Saturday, I headed down to Foxwoods for their annual ComiCONN Comic-Convention with my friend Evan to browse local artists/businesses and see some stars (also also eat the most delicious nachos and quesadillas at Scorpion Bar.) I’ve always been a bit of a Mohegan Sun girl- since most of my favorite bands/artists typically play there- but my first trip to Foxwoods in a long time didn’t disappoint. They’ve really done a lot with the place since the last time I was there and it’s very nice.

While we were there, I got to see/chat up ‘The Walking Dead’s Ross Marquand (he plays Aaron)– and he was an absolute sweetheart. He was so kind, funny, charismatic, and personable. That show might be taking all the wrong turns lately- but I’m so excited to see what he does next!

On Sunday, after running some pre-work week errands, I once again found myself in Western Massachusetts- this time at Ashfield Lake for the very first time with a friend of mine. We were desperate to beat the heat wave that has been mercilessly hammering down across New England for the better part of a week- and the water couldn’t have been more perfect. Not too cold, but not too warm after roasting under the sun all day. It was just right- and completely refreshing.

After we dried off, it was off to Amherst for dinner before I had to head back home and get ready for work.

The photo at the top of the post was taken right before we left the lake- as the sun was setting. One of Massachusetts’ hidden gems!

Although I had to work on Monday and Tuesday (and again yesterday and today)– the Fourth of July was spent in the wilderness. Specifically, in the White Mountains- where I spent the day hiking and swimming in streams, under waterfalls, and in lakes until it was time to head back into civilization, the city- and enjoy some fireworks and BBQ.

I especially love the White Mountains this time of year because it’s not ski-season, which means many of the busier areas and attractions aren’t as busy. I was able to rest and relax and just take in the sounds of the mountains around me until I had to rejoin Boston’s nightlife again. It was beautiful.

And now- back home and rejuvenated- I’m preparing for the weekend. After work today, I’ll be visiting a friend in Northampton before he takes the stage this weekend for a Summer-long theater project, and I’ve got a pretty great recipe up my sleeve that I’m excited to whip up tomorrow (and share next week!)

With that and a planned beach day with friends? It’s shaping up to be a lovely couple of days ahead!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Friday, and an even better weekend! I’ve got to get some work done before I take off again!

See you all on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Cheeseburger Skewers

Good Morning, Happy Monday- and Hello July!

Before I finish up some pre-holiday work at the office and prepare to take a mini blogging break for the Fourth of July (I’ll be back on Friday!)– I wanted to share a backyard BBQ/cookout/Independence Day recipe that is ridiculously simple to make, tastes delicious- and can be completely customized!

Also, not that it’s not *the* most important thing- but these sure do look cute in photos, too!

There’s obviously a million and one ways to arrange a burger these days, using a number of tasty and unique ingredients. BBQ bacon burgers? Bleu cheese burgers? Burgers with fried eggs on top? Burgers with crushed potato chips grilled in (awesome, by the way.) The possibilities and combinations are endless!

For this recipe, all you really need is the beef (or beef substitute, per your personal preference) and your selection of toppings to arrange on your stick. You can lay out the toppings on individual plates and let your family and guests assemble their own- and offer up some dipping sauces to top off their creation!

I’ve found that kids love this recipe, because it lets them be creative and make their own burger- and eating them off of the skewer is half of the fun!

But, if you’d like to know the basic ingredients needed to make this recipe- I’ve got you covered!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 lbs of lean beef (I used 93%!)
  • 2 tablespoons of prepared mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 20 slices/chopped pieces of American cheese (measuring about 1″ x 1″)
  • 4 ounces cooked and chopped bacon
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 red onion, sliced/chopped
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 20 dill pickle chips/slices
  • Ketchup, mayo and/or mustard (optional for serving/dipping)

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Using your hands, gently mix together the beef, mustard, salt, onion powder and pepper. Form into 20 (golf ball size) meatballs.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan to high heat and grill the meatballs for about 3 minutes on each side, or until your preferred level of finish.
  3. Lay out your toppings on individual plates: cheese slices on one plate, chopped bacon on another, lettuce on another, etc. until each topping has it’s own respective place in the line. Fill three small serving bowls at the end of your toppings line with your dipping sauces (one for ketchup, one for mustard, and one for mayonnaise.)
  4. Assemble the skewers with the meatballs, cheese, bacon pieces- and the toppings of your choice. Dip your skewers in your desired sauces- and enjoy!

If these aren’t the most convenient (and cute) pre-fireworks appetizer, then I don’t know what it!

I hope everyone living here in the States has a wonderful Independence Day. I’m still scoping out the best place to watch the fireworks with friends, so we’ll see if I can get any good shots as the night progresses.

I’ll be taking a few days off from the blog-o-sphere for the occasion, but I’ll be back on Friday morning with some more content!

Enjoy your week, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

June 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Saturday Morning, everyone!

The end of this beautiful, sunny, and often scorching hot month falls on a weekend this year- so before I get ready to get a long overdue mani/pedi and head down to Foxwoods for ComiCONN this afternoon- I wanted to take a quick look back at June 2018 and tip my hat to all the fun and fond memories I made over these past few weeks!

June could easily be summarized with two words: Road Trips. While I didn’t cruise Route 66 across the country (yet) or take my family’s longtime favorite 3-day scenic down the Florida- I spent a lot of my days off and down-time heading to places like Manchester-By-The-Sea, Brattleboro in Vermont, and especially spots in Western Massachusetts like Shelburne Falls and Turners Falls- just really beautiful, relaxing and picturesque locations in the New England area.

And even though it required a lot of time in my car to get to those places (not that I mind- I love driving!) I spent enough time soaking in the scenery and the sun where I’ve developed a bit of an actual tan AND my hair got a little blonder! I’m the East Coast version of a West Coast beach babe, after all.

I saw a lot of great art and performances throughout June, too- from the annual “Film Wars” festival/competition in my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts- to the hypnotic “Deux Ex Machina” at the Shea Theater. It was a great month for talent and creativity- and an even greater month to enjoy that talent and creativity outdoors. With the exception of a couple sporadic tornado warnings and watches around the area- June was filled with sunny days and lovely sunsets nearly every night!

Robbing the wardrobe department in Deux Ex Machina blind.

I also celebrated a year of blogging and over 100 posts here at Blondie Birdie with a fun, beach-themed giveaway earlier this month (now closed. Sorry! I’m sure there will be another one soon, though!) and, through some local networking events sprinkled throughout June- am really excited for some planned partnerships and collaborations I have in store for the coming weeks!

So, what else do I have planned for July? More travel around New England, of course- but I’m seeing some more great performances by local artists, putting together a guide to Summertime dining in the area, sharing some more backyard BBQ-friendly recipes, continuing to let everyone into my wardrobe for a peek around at what I wear during the hottest months of the year- and celebrating Friday the 13th with some good, ol’ fashioned camping!

Here’s wishing you all a fantastic weekend! I’ll be back on Monday morning with a new recipe to make your 4th of July easy and cute before I break for the holiday- but you can keep an eye on all my Comic-Con adventures over at my INSTAGRAM in the meantime!

See you all soon!

Summer Solstice!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: June 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

I’ve never been more relieved that the weekend is here than I am right now. What a whirlwind week it’s been- and it’s going to be so nice to just relax after work today, enjoy a home cooked meal with my family at my mom’s house- and then partake in some pampering and time with friends…

… When I’m not getting my geek on at this weekend’s ComiCONN at Foxwoods on Saturday afternoon, of course!

But while my look back on this month that was will be up on the blog bright and early tomorrow morning before I hit the road to Connecticut- I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been wearing/using/eating/watching/listening to/and otherwise raving about all throughout June.

That’s right- it’s time for my monthly Favorites post!

As always, I’m going to start with the things I could photograph before jumping into the odds, ends, and miscellaneous things that made this past month extra special!

Kicking things off are these adorable, bright and Summery flower sandals I picked up from ModCloth earlier this month. Whenever I wear these, people always stop me to take a better look at them- particularly the huge pink flowers that sit on top of my toes with every step.

These are such fun and comfortable sandals to wear- and I’ve been sporting them at work, at the beach, on dates, and running errands. They’ve become my go-to shoe for the Summer!

And keeping up with my Summer fashion, I had posted earlier this week about one of my latest wardrobe obsessions in the form of comfortable and flattering one-piece bodysuits. I’ve been wearing them with shorts, jeans and skirts pretty much non-stop on the weekends because they’re so easy to dress up/down and are no fuss.

This mini-collection of some of my favorites, amassed during recent trips to Primark, are colorful (with the exception of the black and white one- which is a “dressier” one piece I wear to nighttime functions)– and are perfect for this most hot and humid of New England seasons!

Moving from fashion to beauty/cosmetics- I only had a couple of things that made the list this month (I don’t use a ton of makeup this time of year since it melts off my face in record time!) and both are great products that benefit skin and boost a healthy glow! The first, is this lightweight and non-greasy, oil-free moisturizer with SPF15 from OLAY, which I’ve been wearing under my BB cream.

Formulated for combination/oily skin (AKA- me), this lotion hydrates my skin and protects it from harmful UV rays rays without clogging my pores. It’s also loaded with skin conditioning vitamins, so my face actually feels nice while I’m wearing it.

And at night, I use this gentle facial roller (which I store in the refrigerator during the day to get it nice and cold) to boost circulation and collagen production after I’ve washed my face and applied my serums for the evening. 5-10 minutes of rolling this over my cheeks, down the bridge of my nose and my forehead makes a world of difference!

Best of all? You can find affordable rollers online. You don’t have to break the bank to get anything super fancy. This one was only $2!

Moving onto one food item I was obsessed with this past month, if loving a yogurt is wrong- I don’t want to be right. Yoplait’s new ‘Oui’ yogurts– which are more like a thick custard than a typical creamy texture- are SO good. I’ve been stocking up to eat these with breakfast every day because they’re so delicious and come in a ton of great flavors.

The ‘Oui’ yogurts are non-GMO and come in individual glass pots- which means you can recycle them or reuse them! I started washing mine out for when I bake bite-sized desserts, and others I’ve given to my friends’ kids so they can use them to plant seeds or for arts & crafts projects. It’s so much more rewarding than tossing endless plastic containers away!

And finally- I’m *so* over inflatable unicorn pool floats all over my Instagram feed. This year- I’m bringing you all the pizza slice float. Big enough to hold my grown up self without sinking me but small enough to not take up all the space in the pool- this was a purchase I’d made on a whim at the very beginning of the Summer and I haven’t regretted it one bit.

My friends are actually getting each of their own- and we’re looking into picking up some of these cheeseburger floats, too.

And I think that’s it for the more photogenic favorites for the month of June- but some other things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

Interpol – “The Rover”: Interpol are undoubtedly one of my favorite bands- and maybe the only band whose lyrics I’d ever consider getting tattooed on me at some point- so when I found out they were releasing a new album in August, entitled ‘Marauder’- I was more than excited. When I heard the first single from the album, “The Rover”- my spirit temporarily left my body because it’s SO good. I can’t stop listening to it.

August feels so far away now!

– GAMES/APPS –

Viridi – Sometimes things can get overwhelming at my job, and the idea of even glancing at social media (and all the craziness that can come with it) when I’m already stressing out and need a break is unheard of. When I can’t meditate or simply take off for weeks at a time on a whim- I turn to Viridi. This botany app, backed by soothing music and soft colors/scenery- lets you grow and tend to virtual plants. It might sound silly, sure- but it’s actually super relaxing and mellows me out when I’m having a rough day.

Also? I can’t grow anything to save my life- so to be able to not immediately kill my plants in a game is refreshing!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Deus Ex Machina – Unfortunately, this immersive theater experience based out of the historical Shea Theater in Turners Falls ended this past weekend, but what an *amazing* show it was! Patrons are whisked away from room to room- sometimes separately and sometimes in pairs or groups- by actors (portraying 1920s era ghosts trapped in the theater) where so many different things are happening at once. There’s music, and dancing, and drinking- and I had the time of my life there.

Think NYC’s “Sleep No More”- but not obscenely expensive and you actually get to see great performances without being overcrowded! I can’t wait until it comes back. Truly.

One of my dearest friends was/is in the cast, and I owe him the biggest thanks for smuggling me in to see the show. I loved it oh so very much.

And I think that’s it for the month of June! And, as I’d mentioned earlier- before we jump into July this coming Sunday, my look back on this past month will be up tomorrow morning before I head out for the weekend! Keep an eye out (weekend posts are easy to miss, ‘ya know!)

Enjoy your Friday, everyone! We made it! Now it’s time to kick back and celebrate!

xx

– Ashley –