The Berger Bungalow

Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich
Posted on:5.09.2017

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SoHoppinGood #BlueBunny #CollectiveBias

Spring is here and for me, that means it is the start of fun events with all of my friends. From Braves tailgates to spring cookouts, our calendar is packed and I am beyond excited about it! We never throw a "cookie cutter" party, but one thing that is the same with each party we throw is the food. Ian and I both have a love for cooking, baking and trying new recipes and we usually ask our guests to be taste testers.

We have quite a few events and new recipe ideas coming up, so last night we invited our neighbors over to taste test an ice cream cookie sandwich recipe that we wanted to make for an upcoming party. Once we nailed down our recipe, we headed to Walmart to pick up our ingredients! Thankfully, this recipe uses mostly ingredients that you would already have in your fridge and pantry, so all we needed to buy was chocolate chunks, toppings and ice cream! 

My original plan was to use Cherrific Cheesecake for the ice cream, which is a flavor that Blue Bunny® used to have seasonally, but is now available year-round, but as soon as I got to the store, I completely switched my plan. I found the new Blue Bunny® snacks in the ice cream aisle and fell in love. They are the perfect bite-size treat in four awesome flavors: Salted Caramel Pretzel, Chocolate Vanilla Twist, Chocolate Chip Cookie and Cookies 'N Cream! I absolutely love that they came up with this great idea to use classic flavors with a fun twist. 



I also saw that Blue Bunny® released their new 2017 lineup of flavors! They include Rockin' Rocky Road, Monster Cookie Mash, Toffee Brownie Twist and Mint Cookie Crunch. Plus, the Cherrific Cheesecake. I might or might not have picked up a few containers of these new flavors while I was at Walmart. :) #NoRegrets


When we got home, we started working on the recipe. Our neighbors came over, taste tested the recipe and LOVED it! Since they loved it so much, I had to share it with y'all. Check it out:


Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

Ingredients:

Blue Bunny® snacks (or ice cream), in any flavor.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Toppings of your choice

Steps:

Step 1: Turn your oven on 375 degrees.
Step 2: Mix all of your wet ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all (except for the regular chocolate chips) of your dry ingredients together. Slowly start mixing them in with your wet ingredients. Do not mix in the chocolate chips!!! 
Step 3: Create a double boiler and melt your chocolate chips. When you are finished, add your melted chocolate to the wet and dry ingredients that you mixed together. This should give you a nice chocolate batter.
Step 4: Spoon your cookie batter on a baking sheet. I used a tablespoon sized scoop.
Step 5: Bake your cookies for about 11-12 minutes. Once out of the oven, let your cookies cool completely (definitely learn from my mistakes here).
Step 6: Deconstruct your Blue Bunny® snacks by crushing them up and mixing it together. Once it is to the consistency of regular ice cream, you are going to scoop it and place it between two cookies, making a sandwich.
Step 7: Roll your cookie in toppings of your choice. I used chocolate chips, sprinkles and nuts, but you can be as creative as you want on this one! 
Step 8: Enjoy! 



The great thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile! You can use any cookie recipe, any type of Blue Bunny® ice cream or snacks and any toppings. As you can see, the chocolate chips were definitely the hardest to "stick" on the ice cream, but they were so good! The sprinkles and nuts were easy and such a great addition. You could also do crushed cookies, mini marshmallows, and more! 

For your next party, add these yummy chocolate chunk ice cream cookie sandwiches on your menu and let me know what you think! Don't forget that you can find Blue Bunny® products at Walmart's nationwide.


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How To Throw The Perfect Spring Party + A Tapas-Style Scallop Recipe
Posted on:5.03.2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #Chardonnation #SpringWine #CollectiveBias

When Ian and I first turned 21, we were in college and couldn’t afford much. Anytime we wanted to host a party, we would walk down the wine aisle and choose the cheapest bottle of wine possible. We didn’t know anything about wine, our friends didn’t know anything about wine, so why would we get an expensive bottle, right?! Well, times have definitely changed...for the better. We are now both in our mid-twenties and our friend group has gone from uneducated wine drinkers to “currently learning about wine” drinkers and we love to throw parties to celebrate learning about wine and of course drinking it, too! Find out how I throw the perfect spring party below:

How To Throw The Perfect Spring Party

Brainstorm a theme
Since we are all in the stage where we are slowly learning about wine, I thought it would be such a fun idea to have a spring wine and cheese tasting party! I came up with the idea to set out cheese, provide “blind” wine glasses and have our guests try to figure out what region the wine is from. National Chardonnay Day is coming up on May 21, so this is the PERFECT excuse to throw a wine and cheese tasting party!


Decorate
I went pretty simple and classy with our decorations. I used mostly white and marble decorations, but the great thing about spring is that color is in style!!! I love using pastel colors for spring - pinks, light blues and yellows are perfect.

Pick your food
When shopping for the party, my first stop was the farmers market - I wanted to make sure I had the best cheese around, so I picked up some local, grass-fed cheese from one of my favorite vendors. I also picked up a few other items to make a tapas-style dish to make sure that my guests did not get hungry throughout the evening (more information below).


Pick your drinks
My next and final stop was my local grocery store. I browsed the wine aisles and decided to stick with a few spring chardonnays for our tasting. This is where I came across Notable Wines. I automatically noticed that the flavor profiles were on the front of the bottle, which helped me navigate the (sometimes confusing) wine aisle. This really stood out to me because other wines explain where they are from and what style of wine it is, but if you aren’t familiar with that region, how will you know if you are actually going to like it or not? With Notable Wines, you know exactly what taste you are getting just by looking at the front label. I followed the flavor notes and it helped me choose the taste I was looking for.

For our wine tasting specifically, I picked out the Notable: California Chardonnay and the Notable: Australian Chardonnay. According to the bottle, the California Chardonnay is supposed to taste like butter, oak and vanilla. The Australian Chardonnay is supposed to taste like Citrus, Melon and Peach. I set out our cheese and the wine flowed out. Most of our guests were not able to identify the different regions, so this was a fantastic learning experience for everyone. We not only tasted both wines, but also learned some about the regions and different wine types, as well. 



After we had our wine and cheese tasting, I cooked and served our appetizers. I wanted to make sure that my guests had bites here and there to accompany the wine, so Ian created an amazing tapas-style scallop dish on top of a creamy, rosemary parsnip puree. It was amazing - all of our guests love it and it was the perfect pair with our Notable Wine! In fact, it was so amazing that I just have to share the recipe with all of you:


Ingredients:
3 Parsnips
3/4 cup of cream
3/4 cup of milk
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
1.5 sticks of butter
1 pound (or more) of fresh scallops
salt
pepper
dill
I used appetizer spoons to plate the dish on.


Steps:

Parsnip Puree:
Step 1: Peel your parsnips and slice them up. Then place them in a pot with your cream, milk, bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender.
Step 2: Carefully transfer your parsnips to a food processor and add 1 stick of butter, salt, rosemary and pepper to taste. Puree your parsnips until the consistency is smooth. You can add more cream to the mixture to thin it out, if needed.

Scallops:
Step 1: While your parsnips are in the food processor, add butter into your pan to melt.
Step 2: Add your scallops to the melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Cook your first side for 90-120 seconds and flip. Season your scallop again and remove from the heat as soon as your 90-120 seconds is up.

Plating Instructions:
Place a small spoonful of puree in the base of the spoon. Top with a scallop. Garnish with a few dill fronds.

Enjoy!! 








I hope you enjoy this party idea and amazing recipe! If you are in the process of learning about wine, definitely look for Notable Wines on your next trip to the store and if you need another excuse to purchase some wine, don’t forget that National Chardonnay Day is May 21! Who’s celebrating with me?!
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April Recap + May Goals
Posted on:5.01.2017

















April was a great month for us! We had so many fun events and celebrations - my calendar was definitely completely full, but they were all great things! 


  • We had our air ducts cleaned and it was MUCH needed. They found so much dust, dander, hair and other junk in our ducts. I highly recommend getting it done.



  • We took the pups on a hike.




  • I went with Jenna to find her wedding dress!!


  • We got a new grill and had our first summer cookout.


  • We went to the Braves home opener at the new park.



  • We celebrated Brenden and Katherine’s marriage! (Side note: Katherine is CANCER FREE as of last week and we could not be more excited for her!).



  • We celebrated Easter with family





  • We had lots of fun food experiences -- Lesley and I went to the Dining Out Atlanta Magazine Issue Launch which was so much fun! We started getting our strawberries again each week at the farmers market. Plus, Ian and I ate at Zeal and The Mill Kitchen and Bar using our Dining Out Atlanta City Pass (AWESOME DEAL IF YOU DON’T HAVE ONE -- use code “BergerEatsPass2017" to bring your price down to $35)








  • We celebrated Tax Day at Seed and Stem. Then, we had fun relaxing over the next few days.





  • I went to a wedding tasting with Jenna and had so much fun helping her choose the perfect food! 


  • We watched Emma for a night and she had so much fun with Ian!




  • We purchased some new flowers for our yard (we still need more, but we are getting there) and started our new herb and veggie garden!



  • We had the cutest house guest!





  • We hung out with friends that we haven’t seen in a while and made great, new friends, as well.




  • and we both worked A LOT.
________________________________________________________________

May is my birthday month, so it is obviously THE BEST month and we have so many fun things coming up. We do not have one weekend open this month, so we are trying to pack in all of the fun stuff, but at the same time, we are trying to save since we leave for Italy NEXT MONTH! 
I am really looking forward to our next braves game, Jenny & Tori’s graduations, seeing Zac Brown again, celebrating Lesley’s birthday, going to another Dining Out Atlanta mixer, having my sister stay with us to celebrate my birthday, my birthday (obvs) ANDDDDDD drum roll, please......... OUR FIRST ANNUAL BEER OLYMPICS!!!!!! 

May Goals

- Finish a 3 day juice cleanse
- Find time to work out more
- Feel more tone at the end of the month
- Write twenty freelance articles
- Share at least two recipes on the blog
- Keep my house clean!
- Go to at least two Braves games
- Save at least $500 more for Italy
- HAVE FUN!
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Our Italy Itinerary
Posted on:4.25.2017

Over the past few months, I have been insanely busy. Thankfully, everything that has been taking up our time has been (mostly) fun, including planning our trip to Italy! We are leaving in EIGHT weeks and we are thrilled. I have been on blogs, Trip Advisor and Instagram non-stop lately searching for restaurants, tours and other places. 

Before we leave, I want to give you all our rough itinerary. I am going to post travel guides of each city after we go and that is when I will post more in depth about where we stayed, what we ate, etc. but this one will be short and quick just to show y’all where we will be headed! 


Our Summer 2017 Italy Trip:

Day 1: Travel
Day 2: Venice
Day 3: Venice to Bologna
Day 4: Bologna
Day 5: Bologna to Rome
Day 6: Rome
Day 7: Rome
Day 8: Rome to Florence
Day 9: Florence 
Day 10: Montalcino + Tuscan Countryside
Day 11: Florence
Day 12: Cinque Terre
Day 13: Open day - Florence or day trip?
Day 14: Travel


We are thrilled to head on our dream trip to Italy! If you have any recommendations on restaurants, places to go, or things to do, please let me know!!!!

Ps: Does anyone know what the best way to bring home wine is?!?!? #Important
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Cod Rice Bowl Topped With Fresh Corn Salsa
Posted on:4.23.2017

This post was sponsored by Fresh from Florida as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however all opinions expressed are my own.

Cooking with Ian is one of my all time favorite things to do. Over the past few months, because of busy season, that has unfortunately been put on the back burner, but I am so excited to announce that busy season is officially over and we have started cooking together again! 

This past weekend was the first time we have been able to go to the farmers market this year in order to cook with fresh ingredients and it was amazing! Living in Georgia (and having parents that live in Florida) is extremely nice when it comes to farmers market shopping, and purchasing fresh food in general! A lot of our seafood and fresh produce comes Fresh from Florida - I see the Florida signs everywhere, even when I am shopping in Costco and I am so happy about that because I know the food is high quality. Florida farmers definitely make it easy to eat fresh produce (that tastes amazing) year-round!

This weekend at the farmers market and grocery store, we picked up ingredients to make a cod rice bowl topped with a fresh corn salsa. It was so amazing that I just had to share it! I think all of you will love this recipe because it is not only a healthy and pretty dish to serve, but it is also really easy to cook! Check it out below and let me know what you think:


Ingredients:

1 pound of cod
1 cup of brown rice
2 tomatoes
1 onion
5 ears of corn
1 jalapeno
2 limes (or more if you wish - I used more, but Ian didn’t)
cilantro
a few sprinkles of paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of butter
1 quarter of a red onion



Steps:

Fresh corn salsa:
Step 1: Shuck and clean your corn. Roast it on the grill until charred and soft.
Step 2: Dice your tomatoes, 1/2 jalapeƱo and onions and set aside in a bowl. 
Step 3: Cut your corn off of the cob and put it in the same bowl with the tomatoes and onions.
Step 4: Chop up your cilantro and mix in the salsa. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Brown rice:
Step 1: Before you start your salsa, put your rice on the stove. Cook it according to the packaging. I did 1 cup of rice and 3 cups of water.
Step 2: Once the rice is finished, fluff it with a fork, add the juice of 1 lime and salt to taste.

Cod:
Step 1: Portion out your cod and pat it dry.
Step 2: Season with the salt, pepper and paprika on both sides.
Step 3: Melt your butter in a skillet.
Step 4: Add your cod to the hot skilled and cook three minutes per side over medium heat.
Step 5: Take your cod out and plate

Plating instructions:
Add your rice to the bottom of your dish. On top of the rice, place your cod and top with the fresh corn salsa. Sprinkle your red onion around the dish and serve with sliced lime wedges. Enjoy!! 







This recipe is an extremely easy way to make a healthy and fresh meal for dinner on any night. Don’t forget to shop for Fresh From Florida products and you can also follow the Fresh on social media to see their Fresh! recipe videos.


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5 Things You Might Forget To Do When Buying A New Home
Posted on:4.14.2017

When you dream about the house that you will start your family in, you think about all of the fun activities and milestones that will happen in that home. From birthday parties, home improvement projects and everything in between, your dreams slowly come alive once you move in. 

When Ian and I moved into this house in the suburbs of Atlanta, we had no idea what we were doing. Thankfully, we had an awesome support system that helped us out along the way and we slowly learned how to get things done and I wanted to share the knowledge that we learned with you all!



5 Things You Might Forget To Do When Buying A New Home

1. Do a deep cleaning yourself
I know what you’re thinking. Deep clean yourself? Wouldn’t a house cleaner do a better job? Honestly, I think deep cleaning my house ourselves was one of our best decisions. We learned so much about our house by cleaning it ourselves. For example, our kitchen island lifts up from the ground and we have a weird piece of cardboard pinned under and in between our cabinets. We would have never known some of the stuff that we now know without really “getting to know” our house. 

2. Have your air ducts cleaned
You see the dirt on your floors, but you do not see the air that fills your home, or the dust and dirt filled in your air ducts. Out of sight out of mind, right? Not for me, at least. I know that the air we breathe in has a huge effect on our lives and I wanted to make sure it was 100% clean. 

When we moved in to our home, we had the popcorn ceilings removed and all of that dust ended up in our air ducts. Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning came to our house the other day and before I even told them that we had our popcorn ceilings removed, they brought it up to me! Apparently, all of the debris was throughout our entire system and our furnace filters were completely clogged. 

Getting an air duct cleaning is so important and it has honestly been the best decision we have made since moving in our home - I highly recommend getting a cleaning before you move in, after you do any construction and every few years, as needed. I have noticed a huge difference in our air quality and the best perk of all is that there is less dust sitting on our furniture compared to how it was before we had the cleaning done. If you are in the Atlanta area, make sure you check out Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning. They were amazing to work with - they had so much information that was helpful, they were kind and personable and you could tell that they are hard workers. They also offer carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning and tile + grout cleaning, as well. You better believe that I will be using them for my tile cleaning soon! 




3. Schedule a pest control appointment
When you move into a new house, you have no idea what kind of bugs come with it and I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of creepy crawly things that can crawl on me while I’m sleeping. No thank you! Hiring pest control was the first thing on my to do list when we bought our house and I do not regret it for one second! Get rid of those bugs before you move in and you will be so much happier! 

4. Check your privacy fence
This is probably something that your home inspector will do, but if they don’t, make sure you do it! When Dakota was a puppy, she somehow fit through a tiny hole in our fence and escaped. Luckily, she was so small that she couldn’t get far and we found her in the front yard playing, but we learned an extremely valuable lesson - always get your fence checked before you move in, especially if you have animals that can escape.

5. Take it slow
This might be the biggest and best thing that you are forgetting - take it slow! Sometimes it is so easy just to wish that everything was finished and that you house looked picture perfect, but it is fine to take your time! I have finally realized that the joy in owning a home is the PROCESS of making it your own. It takes time and it is stressful, but it is always worth it in the end, and now that I look back on some of the most stressful times, the times that I’ve wanted more, I also realize that they are some of my best memories. One of my best memory in this house, so far is when we first bought the house. Ian and I did not have anything moved in, so we would work on the house all day and then eat our lunches and dinners in the back of his pick up truck bed. Take it slow and soak in all the amazing memories - you will get there in time!

There are hundreds of things that you need to do when you buy a home, but if you start with these five things, you are right on track!! 


This Post was sponsored by Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning, but of course, all opinions are my own (and they really were amazing!).

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Travel // The Astor Crowne Plaza - New Orleans
Posted on:4.07.2017



The Astor Crowne Plaza is in the perfect place if you are wanting to be in immersed in the city life of New Orleans. For us, it was perfect since we spent most of our time on Bourbon Street - we didn’t have to walk far to get anywhere! 

The ‘common areas’ of the hotel were in great shape. The bar was the perfect size and they made a mean lemon drop shot. ;) Everything looked very well maintained and clean, which really shocked me since it is pretty much directly on Bourbon Street.

We all shared a room with two beds and it was a fine fit. It would be perfect for a family of four, or a couples trip. The beds were comfortable and there were plenty of pillows and blankets/sheets. In my opinion, the bathroom wasn’t as luxurious as it should have been, but we were on a bachelorette trip, so that didn’t matter much to us at the time. 

I have read a few reviews on bad service in the hotel, and honestly, we were not in the hotel long enough to actually get a good reading on how the service is, but I will say that we only had one slight issue: our room was not ready when they said it would be. In fact, the room was ready hours and hours after they told us it would be ready. We arrived in the morning and it should have been ready by 11am, but it wasn’t available until a little after 5pm. The hotel did make up for this by giving us a food and beverage credit to use at the bar, which I thought was a very nice gesture!

Overall, if you are looking for a convenient (to downtown New Orleans/Bourbon Street), well-maintained hotel to stay at for a reasonable price, this is your place! It was so nice to be able to walk everywhere once we got to the hotel instead of having to take a taxi to Bourbon street each night.


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