Christmas Candies

Let’s be real…the holidays are crazy.

With all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, squeezing in allll the holiday traditions, hosting get togethers and traveling to visit family, I know I can’t be the only one that starts to feel STRESSED midway through December.

Salty Blondes | Christmas Candies

One of the things I don’t stress about, though, is what to give for neighbor/friend/coworker gifts every year! I used to think I had to come up with something creative, or spend time in the store looking for something cute and perfect for each person individually, but the last couple of years I have been giving away the three treats I’m about to share. It’s so easy, and they are always a huge hit!

English Toffee

Salty Blondes | Christmas Candies

This is a recipe our cousins have been making for years around the holidays and, when I was younger, I always used to think it must be really difficult to make because of how yummy and delicious it tastes and looks! Our cousin, Maddie, shared the recipe on her blog, A Whisk of Thyme, last year, and I was blown away with how easy it was to make!! This toffee MELTS. IN. YOUR. MOUTH. I’m drooling just thinking about it 😂

I will say this recipe takes a little bit of trial and error to perfect, as easy as it is. The first time I made it, I cut the recipe in half and it actually turned out pretty perfect. The next TWO times, I made a full pan of it and under cooked it, so it turned out chewy (you’d think I would have learned after doing this once). Now I know just how long to cook it, and included some of my tips and tricks at the end of the recipe below!

English Toffee

ingredients:

Ingredients
  • 3 sticks of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 lb. chocolate rounds/wafers 
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts

instructions

Directions
  1. Grease a 9x13 glass pan with butter.  Sprinkle walnuts on top of the greased pan and press firmly. Place chocolate wafers on top of the walnuts in a single layer until the bottom the pan is covered.
  2. In a medium sized pot, combine brown sugar and butter together.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Toffee will be done once a candy thermometer reads 290°F (if you don't have a candy thermometer, see tips below for knowing when toffee is done).  Toffee will burn quickly if overcooked, and will be chewy if undercooked. 
  3. Once candy is done, immediately pour evenly over the prepared pan with the nuts and chocolate.
  4. Melt the remaining chocolate in the microwave (put in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir.  Microwave for another 15 seconds, stir, and repeat until fully melted).  Pour melted chocolate over top the candy and spread evenly.  Set aside for at least 5 hours or overnight.
  5. When ready, use a large knife to cut in to the toffee. It should break apart easily, and enjoy!

NOTES:

If you don't have a candy thermometer, here are a few tips to know when the candy is done! It may take a couple of times making this before you perfect it.
1. It should take at least 5-7 minutes after everything has melted. You will think it looks done, but keep stirring!
2. The toffee should be the color of the skin of an almond when it's done.
3. Keep a glass of cold water by your pan. When you think the toffee is close to being done, drop a small piece in the cold water.  If it hardens immediately, you know the toffee is done! If it's chewy, keep cooking!

Almond Brittle

Salty Blondes | Christmas Candies

This one came from my (Regan) mother-in-law and is my husband’s favorite! He asks me to make it all throughout the year, not just during Christmas time 😂 It’s another one that I was kind of surprised about when I found out how easy it was to make. It has the perfect amount of crunch and the flavor is almond, buttery amazingness. Once you start eating it, it’s hard to stop! Last year I grabbed some cute, large $5 mugs from Target that had different Christmas sayings on them, filled them with almond brittle, wrapped them up in celophane and tied a ribbon around the top to deliver to neighbors!

Almond Brittle

ingredients

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. light corn syrup
  • 2 cups slivered almonds

instructions

Directions
  1. Boil all ingredients in frying pan until caramel color, stirring constantly.
  2. Pour onto foil and evenly with spatula.
  3. Break apart after cooled.

Rolo Pretzel Turles

Salty Blondes | Christmas Candies

The easiest of them all! It’s a little silly to even call this a recipe, because it’s literally three things you buy and put together with almost zero effort, but look how cute they are!! And they are addicting. Anyone else a huge fan of sweet + salty together?

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

ingredients:

Ingredients
  • 1 Package of unwrapped Rolos
  • Bag of mini pretzels
  • Pecans

instructions:

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Lay pecans out on a cookie sheet and toast for about 7-8 minutes, until they start to brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Lay pretzels out on a cookie sheet and top each one with a Rolo. 
  4. Put in oven until Rolo starts to soften, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from oven.
  5. Press a pecan into the top of each Rolo.

We hope these ideas take a bit of stress off your plate this holiday season, and allow you to spend a little extra time focusing on the reason for the season. Happy Holidays!!

Party Favorites

Fall is such a fun time of year. You’ve got the crisp fall air, colorful leaves, HALLOWEEN, it’s football season, and friends and family seem to gather together more often for festive parties or to watch games. It’s all the perfect transition into the holidays.

With all this going on, it’s always nice to have a couple of quick and delicious go-to snack foods or appetizers on hand that you know everyone will love, in case you have company over last minute or unexpectedly. This happened to me (Regan) the other day when my husband decided to invite some people over to watch a UFC fight at the last minute.

LUCKILY I had the recipes below that I knew everyone would enjoy, and didn’t have to panic trying to think of what food to have out for people to snack on.

You’re going to want to scroll through and save each of them, just trust us.

Salty Blondes - Party Favorites

Black Bean & Avocado Salsa

This salsa is unreal. The flavors come together perfectly to create a refreshing, yummy, HEALTHY salsa that’s also really filling, and sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Black Bean & Avocado Salsa

ingredients:

Ingredients
  • 19 oz black beans or more drained & rinsed

  • 11 oz corn kernels (drained)

  • 1 minced onion

  • 3 c salsa

  • 2 T fresh chopped cilantro

  • 1 T lemon juice

  • 2 T chili powder or less

  • 2 chopped avocados

instructions

Directions
  1. Mix and chill everything except avocados several hours before serving.  Add avocados and serve w/corn chip scoopers.  Need 2 bags of scooper chips.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This one is from our aunt Wendy. If you know her, then you already know how good this is. If you’ve been to any of her amazing parties, then you’ve probably tried this. She always makes it, usually because someone always requests it when they know Wendy’s cooking. We asked her if we could #sharethegoodness and post it on our blog, and lucky for all of you, she said yes!!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

prep time: 5 minscook time: 40 minstotal time: 45 mins

ingredients:

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. shredded chicken breast
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

  • 1 cup Ranch dressing

  • 3/4 cup pepper sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot®)

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

  • 1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4 inch pieces (for serving)

  • Club crackers (for serving)

instructions:

Directions
  1. Mix chicken and hot sauce together. You can heat it if you would like. Mix ranch with cream cheese. Put chicken mix and then ranch - cream cheese mix in a casserole or aluminum pan. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and bake at 400 until until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.

Tropical Punch

This is also something that’s always served at any party our family’s having. It’s a concoction our grandpa created, and the flavors just go perfectly together. With a tiny bit of carbonation and plenty of sweetness AND tartness, this punch will quench your thirst every. single. time. It’s perfect for any time of the year - the flavors are great for summer, and the color is on POINT for a festive Halloween party. We’ve had it in a witch’s brew served over dry ice at one of ours before 👻

Yield: About 20

Tropical Punch

ingredients

Ingredients
  • 54 oz. carton of Kern's Mango Juice
  • 54 oz. carton of Kern's Guava Juice

  • 2 liter bottle of Squirt or Sprite/7UP

  • 46 oz. can of pineapple juice

  • 1 packet of Lemonade Crystal Light powder

  • Ice

instructions

Directions
  1. Add ice to a large punch bowl or beverage dispenser. Pour all ingredients in and mix. 

Serve these at any party and we PROMISE your guests will love you, and ask you for the recipes.

P.S. No, we did not plan to wear matching stripes while shooting these photos 🙄😂 but, nevertheless, we linked them both below! Haha

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Salty Blondes | Party Favorites: Black Bean Avocado Salsa, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Tropical Punch

DIY Acai Bowls

We recently made these for a bridal shower breakfast we hosted for our cousin, and they were a huge hit! We looked up the ingredients for one of our favorite local acai bowls, and tried to copy the recipe.  They turned out SO yummy, we knew we had to share!

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This was the first time we had ever made our own acai bowls, and they were super easy thanks to these yummy and convenient frozen acai packets we found at Costco 🙌🏻 

The little packets are individually frozen, and we found that each packet can make about enough for one and a half servings (depending on how much additional fruit you use).

We have a favorite spot to get acai bowls, and find ourselves there way too often spending half of our food budgets on a 16 ounce bowl of frozen amazingness. Making our own made us realize how over-priced the ones we were buying are 🙈 (BUT we will say the social aspect of still popping in to Ivie Juice Bar with friends and sitting around their cute tables still makes the $8 Beach Babe bowl totally worth it every once in a while). 

The best part is topping the acai bowls with granola, ALL the fresh fruit (we like strawberries, pineapple, and banana), lots of coconut flakes, and a little honey drizzled on top 👌🏻

Check out the simple recipe below and enjoy! 

How to Make the Perfect Acai Bowl

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How to Make the Perfect Acai Bowl at Home

Healthy Snacks - What I Eat Throughout The Day

Paige here! I've been meaning to do this post for a while. As I've talked about before, I gained a TON of weight during my pregnancy and really had to buckle down in order to lose it! I've touched on how I did it here and there, but I get asked about it all the time and wanted to do a post specifically about what I EAT during the day since that's the most important part of losing weight!

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I still ALWAYS start the day with our morning power smoothie. I make it for my husband and I every morning, and we both love it! It's a great way to get your greens in right at the start of the day, and it keeps you nice and full. 

After that, I eat healthy smaller meals throughout the day about every 3 hours. I don't eat lunch! So I'll do our smoothie around 7:30am, then snacks at about 10:30, 1:30, and 4:30. This not only helps speed up your metabolism since you're constantly burning off small meals, but it trains your brain not to get hungry! 

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The second meal I almost always have every day around 10:30/11am is a piece of Dave's bread (I get Powerseed) with half an avocado, an egg and cholula on top. It's SO yummy! The only time I don't have it is if I'm not going to be home and have to grab a snack that's easier to take on the go.

For my other two meals throughout the day I alternate between the four snacks below. Basically whichever one sounds the best! All super easy, healthy, and low maintenance! A great starting point when choosing snacks is to try to make sure you have: 1. A fruit or vegetable 2. A healthy grain 3. Protien

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This one is just baby carrots with hummus (I buy these little containers at Costco) and skinny girl popcorn! I like butter and sea salt flavor. Only 160 calories in the whole bag! Sometimes I'll switch out the popcorn for whole wheat pita bread and dip it in the hummus with the carrots!

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Ok this is another one of my absolute favorites! I turned Regan onto this one and she has it every day now. I get the spreadable Laughing Cow creamy spicy pepper jack cheese (only 35 calories) and spread it over a light or whole wheat English muffin. Top each side with a slice of turkey and you're done! So delicious. I try to eat it with some grapes or other fruit I have around too. 

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The snack above is a great option if you're going to be out and about for a few hours! Just an apple with a piece of cheese and almonds. Super easy and filling, and great to throw in your bag and eat on the go!

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Another super yummy one! Light and fit vanilla greek yogurt with granola. The yogurt is only 80 calories with 12g of protein! I'll try to get in some sort of veggie with this one too. Either some roasted veggies I have in the fridge (I try to always make roasted broccoli or sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week to have in the fridge to use with snacks or dinner), cucumber slices or carrots!

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For dinner, I just try to be smart about it and do something healthy whether we're going out or stay home and cook. I try to eat around 7:30 and not eat anything else the rest of the night! If I'm being really good I'll make our perfect chicken and have it with brown rice or quinoa and roasted veggies! Or our go to salad :)

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I hope this post was helpful and gives you some good, healthy ideas of things to eat throughout the day! I've linked anything you see in the post (like my absolute FAVORITE salt and pepper shakers pictured above and also on my Favorite Things post) below, and also throughout the post. Most of the food items you have to get at the grocery store, but some you can buy from Amazon so I've linked those too! Thanks for reading!

UPDATE: Below is one more healthy snack/meal idea that I've been loving it lately and wanted to add.

Salty Blondes | Paige's Healthy Snacks

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Sidney's Black Bean Veggie Burger + Fries

Eating burgers while getting bikini body ready? Yes please! Our clean eating health nut sister (Sidney) kindly made these for all of us for dinner the other night, and they were so yummy we had to post!

Now, as a disclaimer, are these burgers juicy, Smash Burger yummy? Not quite. BUT they are delicious for a healthy alternative, and super clean! Even Regan (Mrs. Junk Food Junky) downed the whole thing (after it was smothered in mayo and ketchup, haha)!

Sidney used multi-grain buns, and topped the burger with lettuce, tomato, and hummus. She served the burgers with watermelon and oil-free, oven-baked fries! Now these were actually SO delicious.  Like, "we'd take these over In-N-Out fries any day" kind of good. 

See the full recipes below! The original recipes are from Forks Over Knives and From My Bowl

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

1 cup cooked brown rice (we used this)

1 15-ounce can black beans

½ onion, diced

¼ cup corn

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon chili powder

¼ cup cornmeal

2 tablespoons salsa

Preheat oven to 350º F. Lay a piece of parchment paper on sheet pan.

Sweat the onion in a sauté pan. Sweat means the moisture comes from the veggies so no oil is needed. Just remember to keep a lid on the pan. If the onions do start to stick, add a little bit of water. When onions become translucent add corn and spices. Cook for a few more minutes.

Add cornmeal, salsa, veggies, and rice to bean bowl. Mix everything together so there is an even consistency. Feel free to do this with your hands. Then form mixture into patties. A good thickness is about ½ inch and I like to make mine around 3 inches in diameter.

Place patties onto parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes at 350ºF. Flip the patties and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve between two leaves of romaine lettuce with tomato, onion, ketchup, and mustard. Or try putting the burger on a bed of fresh spinach instead of the bun…. delicious!

Oil-Free Fries

2-4 Organic Russet Potatoes, depending on size

Seasonings of Choice + Salt

Silicone Mat on baking sheet (or parchment paper)

Preheat your oven to 425F. Scrub your Potatoes clean, and peel them if desired.

Chop your fries into any shape of your choice; wedges that are between 1/2″ and 3/4″ are recommended.

Toss your Fries into a large bowl, sprinkle with any Seasonings and Salt you desire, and stir well.

Place the Seasoned Fries onto a baking tray lined with a Silicone Mat, making sure they do not touch.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Serve as desired.

Hope you enjoy(the burgers, and your bikini bod for summer ;)

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