Spiced Roasted Figs With Hazelnuts and Vanilla Ice Cream

This post brought to you by Breyers. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Embracing Homemaking.

Spiced Roasted Figs with HazelnutsBreyers is celebrating its 150th birthday and to celebrate they have enlisted the help of celebrity chef Curtis Stone and his beautiful wife, Lindsay Price Stone, to create delicious recipes featuring Breyers Natural Vanilla.  They’ve created 12 recipes, each one is inspired by a different month of the year.  This way families can celebrate birthdays, back-to-school days, and other special occasions with Breyers all year long.  Even if there isn’t a holiday that month, this gives us all a good excuse to create our own special occasion! Breyers Natural Vanilla Is it any surprise that Breyers Natural Vanilla is America’s No. 1 vanilla ice cream?  I think not!  It’s anything but boring vanilla.  Breyers is now sourcing their milk and cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones* and all Breyers vanilla is real and from sustainably farmed, Rainforest Alliance Certified™ vanilla beans.  It’s the little things like this that make a big difference in what I serve my family.  I only want to give them things that I feel good about.  That’s a great start to any great ice cream dessert! Fig Ice Cream My family and I tried the recipe for August, the Spice Roasted Figs with Hazelnuts and Vanilla Ice Cream recipe and it was delicious!  I’ve embarrassed to say that I’ve never had figs before but they were delicious.  We celebrated the beginning of school with this delicious treat!  The figs were delicious and not too overly sweet and paired perfectly with the nuts and the vanilla ice cream.  My while family loved it even my daughter! Serves: 4 / Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 4 minutes Make-Ahead: Figs are best served warm with ice cream. Ingredients:

  • –  2 tbs. sugar
  • –  1/2 tsp. each ground cinnamon, ground ginger
  • –  1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • –  8 ripe figs, halved lengthwise
  • –  1 1/3 cups Breyers® Natural Vanilla Ice Cream
  • –  1/4 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped


  1. Position broiler rack 6 inches from heat source and preheat broiler. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix sugar and spices. One at a time, dip figs, cut side down, in sugar mixture to coat. Then coat figs a second time with sugar mixture and arrange cut side up on baking sheet. Broil figs, watching closely, for about 4 minutes, or until sugar melts and begins to caramelize and figs soften slightly and begin to ooze their juice.
  3. Divide figs among 4 bowls. Spoon 1/3 cup of Breyers® Natural Vanilla Ice Cream into each bowl and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

Spiced Roasted Figs with Ice Cream *Suppliers of other ingredients such as cookies, candies & sauces may not be able to make this pledge.  The FDA states that no significant difference has been shown between dairy derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST treated cows.

For even more delicious ice cream inspiration follow Breyers on: FacebookPinterest, & Twitter.

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#CRAVEFREELY with Balance Bar

This is a sponsored post for Balance and the Mom It Forward Blogger Network.

With school starting back almost everyone is adjusting their schedules.  Their lives.  What will soon be their new normal.  We’re adding homeschool to our lives this year along with piano lessons for my daughter and a homeschool community meet up once a week.  Plus, we’re almost finished remodeling our kitchen.  I can’t wait till I can say that it’s finished!  Life has been a whirlwind lately.  We have something to do nearly everyday and it’s a constant struggle to balance everything.  To balance priorities, balance housework verses fun, and balance take out to home cooked meals.  Okay, the home cooked meals to take out has been terribly off balance lately but I’m hopeful that with our new shiny kitchen sink installed that we can help fix that.  In the mean time, one indulgent treat has helped me keep my protein up without overdoing when I get snacky.

Like most people, women especially, I go through snacking phases.  Binges maybe.  Instead of stuffing myself with greasy chips or chewing celery till my jaw hurts I usually go for the sugary treats.  Ice cream, donuts, cookies, sigh.  It’s not good.  Without overloading my body in a deluge of sugar I can partake in a chocolatey, protein filled snack.

That snack?

Balance Bars

Balance bars!  They are a nutritional snack bar that is a great balance of yumminess and energizing ingredients.  They’re perfect to help me feel full without feeling guilty.  I don’t have to be afraid to indulge with around 190 calories, 5-7 grams of protein, and 5-6 grams of fiber.  Balance has four delicious new flavors including Chocolate Peppermint Patty, Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle, Dulce De Leche & Caramel, and my favorite Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat.  Balance just released this new colorful packaging that features the original flavors in full-size bars and new flavors in two mini bars.  Balance bars allow me to snack smarter…in a balanced way if you will.

Balance Energy Bars

GIVEAWAY!!  Enter to WIN a Balance Bar Prize Pack!

Update: Congratulations, Patti!!

Prize: 1 6-pack box of Balance in Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat, Chocolate Peppermint Patty, Dark Chocolate Turtle or Dulce De Leche & Caramel varieties. We cannot guarantee flavor preference. {ARV: $7.74} This giveaway closes at midnight on Saturday, August 27th.

Enter via the Rafflecopter below.

For more information on Balance Bar products, visit BalanceBar.com or pick them up at CVS, Amazon and select Walmart stores nationwide.   Follow Balance Bar on these social media to keep up with their latest products!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BalanceBar

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BalanceBar

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/balancebar/

Sandwich Sushi for Kids

This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Buddig. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Buddig Giveaway

Over the summer I’ve tried a lot of creative lunches for my kids and I’ve shared a few of them with you already here and here.  Today’s idea incorporates one of my kid’s favorite food items…the tortilla.  I love tortilla as much as the next person but my kids have a unhealthy fascination with this bread product.  They would eat it as a snack all day long if I let them.  Just this morning I caught my daughter sneaking a tortilla from the fridge this morning to eat with her breakfast. (Who does that? lol)

Not only does this lunch include their favorite things tortilla, Buddig Premium Deli meat, blueberries, Craisins, and peanuts but it’s also fabulous because the kids can make their own lunch themselves!  My kids still need a little supervision, especially with the cutting part, but it’s exciting to watch them make their own creations.  I’ve watched this time and time again, when my daughter helps prepare a meal she seems to takes ownership of it and will eat it better than if I prepared it myself.

This creation is a smiley face.  The sandwich sushi rolls are the eyes and nose.  The blueberries and Craisins make up the smile.  The peanuts make the hair.
Sandwich Sushi

Check out our amateur stop action how to video:

A video posted by Ashley (@embracingbeauty) on

Totally doable and fun, right?  Spinach leaves or lettuce could easily be added as ears.  Ranch dressing could be earrings.  The sky is the limit!

Summer of Smiles:

Buddig not only makes great tasting and affordable lunch meat but they’re offering a fun contest this summer.  The summer of smiles! ?  There are so many reasons this time of year that make us smile – warm weather, sunny days, picnic lunches, family vacations & more.  Consumers are asked to post a picture of their family enjoying summer and flashing their biggest smiles on Facebook using the #BuddigSmiles.

Every week from June 16 – August 18 Buddig will randomly select 12 entries to receive a $25 American Express gift card – that’s 108 total winners and a whole lot of smiles! ?

Root Beer Float Day!

Today, August 6th, is National Root Beer Float Day!  It’s the perfect excuse to enjoy a delicious, creamy, and freshing float.  Just grab some ice cream and a soda like A&W Root Beer and add to a glass.  Compensation was provided by Dr Pepper/Snapple via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Dr Pepper/Snapple or Momtrends.

Root Beer Float

When I was a kid I can remember my parent’s loving root beer floats.  I tried it a few times but I was never really a fan.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked pop (as we called it) and ice cream but mixing the two together just seemed to do an injustice to both ingredients.  My husband loves root beer floats and it’s what he gets every time we go out to get ice cream.  I always thought he was crazy until he convinced me to try his earlier this summer.  I was surprised how much I really liked it.  I guess my tastes have changed over the years as I’ve grown up.  Now I can’t get enough.

Ice Cream Float

I’ll be honest, I’ve been on a BIG float kick this summer.  I go through phases of my late night snacking and this summer it has been float after float.  IBC floats, A&W floats, Dr Pepper floats and even Orange Crush floats!  I’m enjoy a float right now as I’m typing this and I’m sad to say that I just scraped the last of the vanilla ice cream from the carton.  Unless I run to the store tomorrow I might be trying a rocky road root beer float.  Who knows though, maybe that will be delicious?  Did you know that Dr Pepper, IBC, A&W, Crush, and Stewarts are all under the Dr Pepper Snapple Group?  I had no idea!  Now every time I go down the drink I’ll I see the Dr Pepper Snapple Group brand everywhere.  Who knew my favorite drinks were all from the same brand?  I didn’t realize I was so brand loyal!  The Dr Pepper Snapple Group brand has a variety of regular, reduced, and zero calorie options.  Plus, they have caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks too.  They truly have a drink for everyone!

IBC Root Beer Float

If you like floats, what’s your favorite flavor of float?  Find more delicious flavors to choose from at DrPepperSnapple.com.


Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal

Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal

I have a thing for breakfasts, especially ones that are nutritious, delicious, fairly easy, and quick to cook. Lately, we’ve been on an oatmeal kick around here, so I’ve been experimenting a bit with recipes and flavor combinations, my favorite one so far? Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal.

What I love most about this recipe is that is packed with the most delicious things on the planet I mean, strawberries and cream are one of those things that are even better when together (like peanut butter and jelly). Add a sprinkle of brown sugar and a bit of vanilla and you just got a powerful flavor mix that will kick start your day with a bang.

And can we please just talk about how the oats help to bring all the ingredients together and keep them pretty much rocking? I know that a lot of people find oats pretty bland and boring, but when you have a breakfast that’s so jam packed with flavor the soft oats keep the Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal balanced and not overpowering (which is probably the last thing you want in your morning).

Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal Recipe

My secret is cooking them until they are thick and creamy and then layering it with a healthy number of strawberries, the more berries the better. While you can use fresh strawberries, and that’s actually the method that I use most of the times, you can also give them a twist by roasting them in your oven for 10 minutes (the time it takes you to cook the oatmeal) not only the berry flavor gets accentuated a lot, but they also get extra sweet and soft, almost like a preserve. Roasting them is also great if you are using frozen berries that are lacking a bit of flavor and freshness.

Strawberry Oatmeal Recipe

To roast them I just layer them in a baking pan, drizzle them with a couple of drops of lemon juice and put them in the oven at 350 degrees, and that’s it. Super easy and super delicious.

  • Ingredients
    –  1 Cup oats
    –  1 ½ Cup milk
    –  1 Cup strawberries, roasted
    –  2 Tbsp brown sugar or honey
    –  2 Tsp vanilla
  • Directions
    –  Mix in a saucepan the oats and milk, turn the heat on to medium-high and stir.
    –  Add the vanilla and sugar, stir until the sugar dissolve and the mixture looks creamy, it will take over 15 minutes.
    –  Remove from heat, when cool serve in bowls.
    –  Top with strawberry and enjoy!

Strawberry Oatmeal

Creative Summer Lunches for Kids

This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Buddig. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

I love summer and the fun we’ve been having outdoors.  I feel like we don’t stop sometimes and when we do it’s usually only to eat before we get going again.  Having less time to slow down and prepare meals has meant a lot of sandwiches for our family.  With sandwiches usually come chips and I just don’t like that being a regular meal in our house.  Sandwiches are great, don’t get me wrong but I want to include more veggies and fruit into our diets.

To break up the routine I’ve started planning our meals the day before hand and letting our lunch times be a little bit like a play time.  Yes, I’ve been letting our kids play with their food.  My son with his sensory issues can use the exposure and my daughter is having fun stretching her imagination creating scenes with the food we have on hand.  Sometimes we’ll throw in the random chip or small cookie but most of their meals consist of fruits, veggies, nuts, cheese, and lunch meat.  We’re having fun together and I feel that my daughter is eating more wholesome foods than she was before.

Fun Food Umbrella Lunch

Check out this fun creation!

It’s made of apples, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, mandarin oranges, craisins, string cheese, peanuts, and Buddig Premium Deli beef.  My daughter ate it all and loved it.

We don’t always get so fancy but even if they’re not Pinterest worthy creations they’re still delicious!  If you want ideas for creative lunch ideas for kids check out my Fun Foods for Kids board on Pinterest.

Buddig Giveaway

Summer of Smiles:

Buddig not only makes great tasting and affordable lunch meat but they’re offering a fun contest this summer.  The summer of smiles! 🙂  There are so many reasons this time of year that make us smile – warm weather, sunny days, picnic lunches, family vacations & more.  Consumers are asked to post a picture of their family enjoying summer and flashing their biggest smiles on Facebook using the #BuddigSmiles.

Every week from June 16 – August 18 Buddig will randomly select 12 entries to receive a $25 American Express gift card – that’s 108 total winners and a whole lot of smiles! ?

S’mores Ice Cream

This post contains affiliate links.
Smores Ice Cream

S’mores Ice Cream

Summer is in full swing, and I’m craving all the summery treats, s’mores and ice creams are all I can think of so I went into full cooking mode and made one of the most delicious ice creams ever s’more ice cream!

If this is the first time you are making ice cream from scratch, fear not. It’s really easy, and it’s one of those things that seems more complicated than it actually is. You just need to keep a couple of things in mind:

1. Use chilled ingredients: This is one of the most important things, start with cold ingredients and then mix them together. If the ingredients are cold, the freezing part goes so much faster.
2. Pick your method: You can use an ice cream maker (this is our ice cream maker and we LOVE it!  It’s so much quieter and nicer than the vintage ice cream maker I grew up with) or use a manual method.  All the options work great, and while the ice cream textures vary a little from one to the other, they are all delicious.

Homemade Smores Ice Cream Recipe

And that’s pretty much all the technical things that you need to know to make S’mores Ice Cream at home. Pretty easy right?

While you can make your base a chocolate one I decided to keep things on the vanilla side. I added marshmallow creme and graham crackers, and the result is pretty amazing. I usually don’t like adding chocolate chunks to my ice cream because they end up too hard when frozen, so I left the ice cream like this and then added a swirl of Nutella before serving.

The S’mores ice cream is incredibly creamy and refreshing, and it’s a perfect icy treat for the hot summer afternoons, and since it’s so easy to make is a great recipe to make with the help of little ones.

Homemade Ice Cream


  • – 2 cups heavy cream
    – 1 cup half and half
    – ¾ cup of sugar
    – 1 tsp vanilla
    – 7 oz. marshmallow crème
    – 2 Hershey’s chocolate bars, chopped
    – 4 graham crackers, chopped
  • – a swirl of Nutella (optional)

Possible Ingredients for Ice Cream Machine:


  • – In a bowl mix the heavy cream, half and half, sugar and vanilla extract. At the end of mixing carefully spoon in marshmallow crème and mix until combined.
  • – Pour ice cream mix into ice cream maker and mix it according to instructions.
  • – In the last few minutes mix in the Hershey’s bars and graham crackers.
  • – Enjoy!!

S'mores Ice Cream Recipe

If you like this recipe, Pin it for later.

S'mores Ice Cream Cone


Dannon Pledge – Non-GMO Ingredients


Since having to read labels for my son’s many allergies I’ve developed the habit of reading labels for everything we eat.  To tell you the truth, I wish I didn’t pick up this habit because it’s making my shopping difficult.  I don’t want to feed my family a slew of difficult to pronounce ingredients.  I want them to eat real food.  I’m now drawn to brands that use simple ingredients, less dyes, and less artificial ingredients.  I’m happy to partner with one of those brands for this post, Dannon.

This post contains content sponsored by The Dannon Company, Inc. The opinions expressed in my post are my own. For more information on Dannon’s move toward sustainable agriculture, naturality and transparency,and non­-gmo ingredients visit www.dannonpledge.com and www.dannon.com/ingredients.

What’s New

Dannon, who is one of the biggest yogurt manufacturers in the world recently made a pledge to their customers.  The Dannon Pledge was made because Dannon listens to it’s customers and they know that we want honest food and clear labeling.  Dannon is moving some of their top selling brands toward non-GMO ingredients and will even be going beyond that to develop a supply of non­-GMO feed for their cows. Dannon will be the first national yogurt company to do that.


Dannon has pledged that by the end of 2017, the Dannon brand (full line! Dannon, Oikos, and Danimals & more) will be non-GMO and their cows will only be consuming non-GMO feed.

Dannon’s perspective on GMOs: “We believe the currently ­approved GMOs are safe. However, we believe there is growing consumer preference for non­-GMO ingredients in the US and we want to use the strong relationships we have with our farmer partners to move faster to provide products that address this consumer demand.”

I absolutely love when a brand listens to feedback and makes changes.  It feels good to be heard!

What about now – December 2017?

Dannon has pledged that until their products are all non-GMO that they will be completely transparent on their labels.  Isn’t that refreshing?

Dannon has already began sourcing all of the milk they use directly from farms they know and are the first leading national yogurt makers to do so.

Anything else?

Why yes, I’m glad you asked!  Not only are they using non-GMO products and getting milk from cows that are eating only non-GMO feed but they’re also making sure their milk is sourced from happy cows.  Dannon has already come a long way in implementing animal welfare practices to ensure the well being of their cows.  They do this using the Validus Certification system which is a group that’s USDA approved and uses third-party organizations to ensure that animals are treated fairly.

By July 2016, more than 90% of Dannon’s milk supply will come from farms that are Validus certified.


If you want to make a delicious, socially and environmentally-conscious choice, then check out Dannon’s yogurts next time you’re at the supermarket…and read the label while you’re at it!

I’d like to hear from you!

What do you think of the Dannon Pledge?  Are you OCD about reading labels too?

Pick Your Pepper – Dr Pepper’s New Labels

Compensation was provided by Dr Pepper/Snapple via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Dr Pepper/Snapple or MomTrends.

Dr. Pepper


To me, summer is all about enjoying life.  Family, friends, the outdoors, the sunshine, the food, and the fun!!  The Dr Pepper Snapple Group also loves summer and fun so this summer they have created limited edition Dr Pepper bottles to help us enjoy celebrating our own style while staying refreshed on hot days.

Pick Your Pepper




I don’t know about you but I love the creative campaigns that brands come out with.  Maybe it’s from watching Bewitched as a kid but I love getting a glimpse of the advertising world from the outside looking in.  This campaign is a fun one!  There are hundreds of unique images that are being printed on Dr Pepper labels.  I’m sure you’ll find one or two that fits your personality and style.  From just browsing at the ones on the Dr Pepper website I love a bunch of them!  Especially the retro ones.  I’m an 80’s girl at heart.

Dr. Pepper Label


While you’re browsing the cool designs on the Dr Pepper website go ahead and take a moment to design your own Dr Pepper GIF.  It’s actually pretty fun and a little addicting.  There are hundreds of images to go through and the creative combinations are endless…well, actually about 4,000 but practically endless.  Once you’ve created a design you like share it on social media using the hashtag #pickyourpepper.

Dr. Pepper

Here’s a look at the one I created.  Floral and girlie.  Classic logo.  Banjo playing bass that remind me of my childhood growing up in West Virginia.

To learn more about Dr Pepper Snapple Group and it’s large family of brands, be sure to visit DrPepperSnapple.com.  Don’t forget to look for the special limited edition labels on 20 oz bottles of Dr Pepper this summer!

Summer Lunch Ideas With Buddig

This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Buddig. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Now that school is over for the summer you might be getting used to the new routine of this season.  Whether you’re prepping for a summer vacation or trying to tame the kid’s busy summer plans chances are you’re scrambling for what to feed them.  Maybe it’s just me but putting lunches together day after day can be as hectic, if not more so, than cooking dinner.  That’s why we’re big fans of bento lunches.  You’ll be amazed at how simple these can be!

Turkey Sandwich

Don’t get me wrong I love a good turkey sandwich as much as the next guy but sometimes a bento box is an easier way to get kids to eat their veggies…or to try new foods.  As you’ve heard me mention before my son has food allergies and food aversion.  He doesn’t eat much and it takes a lot of effort for him to even touch some things with his hands.  Using bento boxes gives him exposure to different foods and hopefully he’ll warm up to them sooner rather than later.

When I make a bento box I try to add a variety of textures and flavors.  Something crunchy, something soft, something savory, something sweet.  Sometimes it’s not planned at all and it’s whatever we have available at the moment and that’s totally okay too!

Bento Box With Turkey

I’ve recently been introduced to the Buddig brand of deli meats and can’t wait to try all of their varieties.  Buddig boasts that their Premium Deli meats offers families premium deli meats without the premium price.  They come in 8 oz and 1 lb options and we will always opt for the 1 lb option because we go through the deli meat in our house.

Buddig’s varieties include:

  • – Honey Smoked Turkey Breast
  • – Black Forest Ham
  • – Smoked Ham
  • – Smoked Honey Ham
  • – Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
  • – Rotisserie-Flavored Chicken Breast

Buddig Giveaway

Summer of Smiles:

There are so many reasons this time of year that make us smile – warm weather, sunny days, picnic lunches, family vacations & more.

Consumers are asked to post a picture of their family enjoying summer and flashing their biggest smiles on Facebook using the #BuddigSmiles 

Every week from June 16 – August 18 Buddig will randomly select 12 entries to receive a $25 American Express gift card – that’s 108 total winners and a whole lot of smiles! 🙂

What’s your favorite go-to lunch for summer?