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Shopkins Chef Club: Unboxing & Review

2016 December 15
by Emily Hill

Shopkins Chef Club offers a delicious world of fun with kitchen playsets, new Shoppies dolls and jars of surprise Shopkins!

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Shopkins Chef Club Unboxing and Review - Shopkins Chef Club offers a delicious world of fun with kitchen playsets, new Shoppies dolls and jars of surprise Shopkins!



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I first heard about Shopkins about a year ago and totally didn’t understand the appeal.

What is it with kids and tiny toys? I can’t tell you how many microscopic silicone accessories have disappeared via vacuum…

But then an epic amount of Shopkins Chef Club toys arrive on our doorstep and I finally got it.

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Shopkins Chef Club Unboxing and Review - Shopkins Chef Club offers a delicious world of fun with kitchen playsets, new Shoppies dolls and jars of surprise Shopkins!
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Maybe it was the sweet facial expression on every Shopkins character, or perhaps the overall theme of baking and cooking won me over. Whatever it was, I’m kind of a fan. And while a Shopkins character or two may still end up in the central vac, at least I’ll be sad when they go.

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Shopkins Chef Club Unboxing and Review - Shopkins Chef Club offers a delicious world of fun with kitchen playsets, new Shoppies dolls and jars of surprise Shopkins!
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Chef Club, the sixth season of Shopkins, offers new elements of fun. First, other than some rare characters that are final recipes, the characters are ingredients.

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Shopkins Chef Club Unboxing and Review - Shopkins Chef Club offers a delicious world of fun with kitchen playsets, new Shoppies dolls and jars of surprise Shopkins!

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Shopkins Chef Club Unboxing and Review - Shopkins Chef Club offers a delicious world of fun with kitchen playsets, new Shoppies dolls and jars of surprise Shopkins!
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You follow the recipe cards and combine characters to make entirely new recipes. Categories include Family Food, Breakfast, Sweets and Bakery. (I’m a fan of the desserts.) Second, the characters come with all new finishes like “dazzling” and “glitter.” Livi was super excited when she discovered a color-changing Shopkins!

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Shopkins Chef Club Unboxing and Review - Shopkins Chef Club offers a delicious world of fun with kitchen playsets, new Shoppies dolls and jars of surprise Shopkins!
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Third, each character comes with a QR code on the bottom you can scan with the Shopkins Chef Club app. This was the first thing Livi did after all the Shopkins Chef Club unboxing, but I will say she had a lot more fun playing with her new Shopkins Chef Club toys in real life than online. I could hear her acting out a baking show in the other room. It was adorable!

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Shopkins Chef Club Unboxing and Review - Shopkins Chef Club offers a delicious world of fun with kitchen playsets, new Shoppies dolls and jars of surprise Shopkins!
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Another awesome new element of fun can be found in the playsets like the Hot Spot Kitchen that connect together to build a Chef Club world. You can see them in action in the Shopkins Chef Club unboxing video below.

I don’t get the appeal of unboxing videos but the kids love ’em; what’s a mom to do?

And finally, let’s talk about the adorableness that are the Chef Club Shoppies: Donutina, Jessicake, Bubbleisha and Peppa-Mint.

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Shopkins Chef Club Unboxing and Review - Shopkins Chef Club offers a delicious world of fun with kitchen playsets, new Shoppies dolls and jars of surprise Shopkins!
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They feature two Shopkins, a VIP card (not quite sure what we’re going to do with that), and removable shoes, apron and hair accessory. Moose Toys has combined dolls with treats and the result is delightful. Plus they make the perfect hosts for your at-home Shopkins Chef Club cooking show.

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Shopkins Chef Club Unboxing and Review - Shopkins Chef Club offers a delicious world of fun with kitchen playsets, new Shoppies dolls and jars of surprise Shopkins!
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If you’re looking to keep your kids entertained while you finally get a shower, have them watch George & Livi’s Epic Shopkins Unboxing Chef Club Season 6 video below. It will give you nearly 20 minutes of quiet time. For reals.
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Moose Toys, the company behind Shopkins Chef Club, brings smiles this holiday season with top toys that inspire imaginations and creative play like Happy Places Shopkins and Beados.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER. The content and opinions expressed are my own.

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Looking for more fun reviews and the latest recipes from the blog? Check out my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Chewy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

2016 December 6
by Emily Hill

These chewy peanut butter cup cookies are a classic and always a hit at cookie exchanges. They’re also perfect for those holiday cookie plates!

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Chewy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies -- These chewy peanut butter cup cookies are a classic and always a hit at cookie exchanges. They're also perfect for those holiday cookie plates!

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I know these chewy peanut butter cup cookies have been around for ages but they haven’t been on my blog, and they definitely haven’t gone out of style. They’re a classic cookie recipe, and I’m pretty sure it has everything to do with that always-heavenly combination of peanut butter and chocolate.

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Chewy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies -- These chewy peanut butter cup cookies are a classic and always a hit at cookie exchanges. They're also perfect for those holiday cookie plates!

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The other reason they’re so popular is because one recipe will make 6 dozen cookies—perfect for cookie exchanges and dividing among a neighborhood’s worth of holiday cookie plates.

And if you’re lucky, there will be a few leftover to divide among your taste buds.

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Chewy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies -- These chewy peanut butter cup cookies are a classic and always a hit at cookie exchanges. They're also perfect for those holiday cookie plates!

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I looked at a few different recipes for peanut butter cup cookies before deciding on what sounded like the perfect one. After taste testing my fair share from the batch, I’m fairly certain this really is the best one. They cookie is nice and chewy with the right amount of peanut buttery taste and they’re still delightfully delicious a few days later.

Okay, maybe only two days. They disappeared after 48 hours.

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Chewy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies -- These chewy peanut butter cup cookies are a classic and always a hit at cookie exchanges. They're also perfect for those holiday cookie plates!

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Printable recipe for chewy peanut butter cup cookies below. Enjoy!
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Chewy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These chewy peanut butter cup cookies are a classic and always a hit at cookie exchanges. They're also perfect for those holiday cookie plates! Makes approx. 6 dozen.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookie
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 72 Mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream peanut butter, butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy. (I like to mix mine on medium speed a full minute.)
  3. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add to creamed mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place in a mini muffin pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and immediately press a peanut butter cup in the center of each cookie. Freeze for 5 to 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days (if they last that long!).

 
Chewy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies -- These chewy peanut butter cup cookies are a classic and always a hit at cookie exchanges. They're also perfect for those holiday cookie plates!

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If you love that peanut butter and chocolate combo, you’ll love these recipes!
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Caramel Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies -- THE BEST peanut butter blossom cookies you will ever eat, hands down. Gooey caramel and chocolate combined with a soft, chewy peanut butter cookie. Enough said.


Caramel peanut butter kisses cookies

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Peanut Butter Cup Cream Puffs -- they look gourmet but were made by a beginner. Recipe plus link to step by step tutorial.


Peanut butter cup cream puffs

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Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies - so decadent and so dang peanut buttery!


Peanut butter fudge brownies

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Peanut butter chocolate trifle - if you love peanut butter AND chocolate trifle, you must make this ASAP.


Peanut butter chocolate trifle

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Chocolate peanut butter ice cream pie with Oreo cookie crust


Chocolate peanut butter ice cream pie

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Peanut butter bars


Peanut butter bars

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If you’re looking for more yummy recipes, head over and check out my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

2016 December 1
by Emily Hill

This hash brown breakfast casserole is one of our family’s favorite breakfast recipes. It’s a great one for entertaining guests during the holidays.

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Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole - This hash brown breakfast casserole is one of our family's favorite breakfast recipes. It's a great one for entertaining guests during the holidays.

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I’ll be honest, I’m not one for gourmet breakfasts. I do make an exception for holidays like Easter and Christmas, but even then I’m all about easy. My friend has an amazing overnight french toast recipe I need to share, and another friend has this super yummy sausage and egg breakfast casserole that also needs to appear on the blog. But today’s hash brown breakfast casserole is truly my kids’ favorite baked breakfast dish.

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Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole - This hash brown breakfast casserole is one of our family's favorite breakfast recipes. It's a great one for entertaining guests during the holidays.

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This dish has just over a handful of ingredients and doubles (and triples) easily, so it’s perfect for entertaining guests on Christmas morning. Pair it with homemade cinnamon rolls, fresh orange juice and sliced seasonal fruit and you’ll be more popular than Santa Claus.

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Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole - This hash brown breakfast casserole is one of our family's favorite breakfast recipes. It's a great one for entertaining guests during the holidays.

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If you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, this hash brown breakfast casserole refrigerates and reheats really well. So does leftover sweet onion crack dip but I wouldn’t recommend pairing the two.

Printable recipe for hash brown breakfast casserole below. Enjoy!
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Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This hash brown breakfast casserole is one of our family's favorite breakfast recipes. It's a great one for entertaining guests during the holidays!
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ bag frozen hash browns, thawed (I use the shredded hash browns)
  • ¼ cup salted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup diced ham
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9-inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place hash browns in pan and drizzle with melted butter. Bake 20 minutes and remove from oven.
  3. Combine eggs, milk and seasoning salt in a medium bowl and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.
  4. Evenly layer cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese and ham on top of cooked hash browns. Pour egg mixture over top.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until eggs are set. Remove from oven and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm.

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If you’re looking for more yummy recipes, head over and check out my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Escape Room: Solving Prison Breaks Since 2016

2016 November 29
by Emily Hill

Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!

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Escape Room The Game -- Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your grown-up game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!

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A few months ago Nathan, Lauren and I were able to experience—and nearly solve—one of those escape rooms. What’s an escape room, you ask? An escape room (a.k.a. breakout game, get-out game) is a real-life game where you’re locked in a room (every room has a theme) with a group of people and you have 60 minutes to solve all kinds of puzzles in order to escape. Some rooms even have chained zombies whose chain gets longer as time goes on. I’m so very glad we didn’t have on in our room.

Whether you’re successful or not, trying to escape the room is seriously so much fun. I’m not gonna lie, there are moments when you want to smack someone upside the head. (Ask me one more time of I’ve checked under every chess piece on the table…) But overall, it’s a total blast. When I heard Spin Master had come up with Escape Room: The Game, a board game version of the popular escape room, I was all over getting the older kids together to give it a try.

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Escape Room The Game -- Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your grown-up game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!

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Escape Room The Game -- Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your grown-up game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!

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Escape Room The Game -- Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your grown-up game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!
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The game is designed for players age 16 and up, but we decided to let George give it a try. (Livi was happy to provide moral support.) While George had all the enthusiasm, we moved a little too quickly for him to keep up. But he was an excellent note taker, so keep that in mind if you have younger kids who are driving you crazy begging to play.

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Escape Room The Game -- Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your grown-up game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!
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The gist of the game is this: players have 60 minutes to work together, find hidden clues and solve puzzles to escape from one of the four included rooms. (The escape room adventures vary in level of difficulty: Prison Break, Virus, Nuclear Countdown, and Temple of the Aztec.) To make their escape, players must correctly enter a four-key combination into the Chrono Decoder. You have to think quickly because that clock is ticking! Even more stressful, if you get the combination wrong, you lose a minute.

We may have tested this functionality a few too many times…

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Escape Room The Game -- Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your grown-up game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!

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Escape Room The Game -- Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your grown-up game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!
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Solving the Prison Break scenario took nearly the full 60 minutes and all four brains (plus George’s mad note-taking skills). It also took a few of the included hint cards; good thing I’m not above hints.

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Escape Room The Game -- Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your grown-up game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!
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Though we had a few moments of frustration—and yes, someone actually climbed on the table—we absolutely loved the game. We’re already planning to escape a few more rooms over Christmas break. I sure hope my brain is up to it!

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Escape Room The Game -- Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your grown-up game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!
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Escape Room: The Game would make a really fun double date for teens and college students. It’s a lot more interactive than going to a movie, and you can see how your possible future significant other responds to stressful situations. You can even enhance your game experience by downloading the free Escape Room app on iPhone or Android for thematic background music and to share a photo of your team’s moment of victory.

We were so relieved to have solved the dang thing we didn’t even think of snapping a photo. *sigh*

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Escape Room The Game -- Bring adventure, excitement and a little mayhem to your grown-up game night with the new Escape Room: The Game. Nothing like a good prison break to bring people together!
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To learn more about Escape Room: The Game, click HERE. If you’re already sold, you can purchase your very own Escape Room HERE. Believe me, it’s the perfect gift for game-loving families and friends alike.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Looking for more fun reviews and the latest recipes from the blog? Check out my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Five-Bean Soup Mix in a Jar

2016 November 25
by Emily Hill

Gifting friends and neighbors this five-bean soup mix in a jar is just one way to help #LIGHTtheWORLD this holiday season.

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Five-Bean Vegetarian Soup Mix in a Jar -- This five-bean vegetarian soup mix in a jar requires minimal effort and minimal cost and is absolutely delicious, which basically makes it the perfect gift!

This is a sponsored post as part of the #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign.

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On December 1st, the #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign will kick off with a worldwide day of service. The campaign, which celebrates a Christ-centered Christmas, focuses on a different Christ-like behavior every day through December 25th.
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I personally love December 7th’s attribute: Jesus Fed the Hungry and So Can You. While donating canned food or helping in a local food bank or soup kitchen is a fantastic way to feed the hungry, I’m fairly certain you can think of at least one friend or neighbor who is struggling to make ends meet. And if you don’t know from where your next meal will come, there’s very little “merry” in the Merry Christmas season. Fortunately there’s an easy and affordable (for you and them) way to help your neighbors in need. The best part? It helps feed the body and the soul.

Hot soup is magical that way.

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Five-Bean Vegetarian Soup Mix in a Jar -- This five-bean vegetarian soup mix in a jar requires minimal effort and minimal cost and is absolutely delicious, which basically makes it the perfect gift!

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This five-bean vegetarian soup is basically love in a jar. It’s made with love, given in love and eaten while feeling the love. Five-bean soup has a short list of ingredients and requires the addition of only diced tomatoes and water. In fact, you could include a can of diced tomatoes when gifting to make it all the easier.

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Five-Bean Vegetarian Soup Mix in a Jar -- This five-bean vegetarian soup mix in a jar requires minimal effort and minimal cost and is absolutely delicious, which basically makes it the perfect gift!

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Because I had all the spices and jars on hand, I only purchased the beans and vegetarian bouillon cubes. I think the total was less than $12 and the recipe made three jars. This five-bean vegetarian soup mix in a jar is seriously one of the best gifts ever.

I did the math: Minimal Cost + Minimal Effort + Yummy Soup = Best Gift Ever.

I’ll be passing out jars of soup mix on December 1st (#LIGHTtheWORLD worldwide day of service) and more jars on December 7th. As far as the other 23 days before Christmas, the #LIGHTtheWORLD calendar below has some great ideas depending on the Christ-like attribute for that day.

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LIGHTtheWORLD campaign calendar page 1 #lighttheworld

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LIGHTtheWORLD campaign calendar page 2 #lighttheworld
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For more information about the campaign and ideas for how you can get involved, CLICK HERE.

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LIGHTtheWORLD
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To assemble this five-bean vegetarian soup mix, follow the recipe below and then attach the printable gift tag (or create your own). You can also make the jar extra cute (totally optional) by placing a cupcake liner or fabric between the lid and ring. I love the combination of parchment cupcake liner and raffia ribbon!

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Five-Bean Vegetarian Soup Mix in a Jar -- This five-bean vegetarian soup mix in a jar requires minimal effort and minimal cost and is absolutely delicious, which basically makes it the perfect gift!

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Printable recipe for five-bean soup mix below and printable gift tag just below that. Enjoy!
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Five-Bean Soup Mix in a Jar
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This five-bean soup mix in a jar requires minimal effort and minimal cost and is absolutely delicious, which basically makes it the perfect gift! Don't forget the printable gift tag--it has the directions for making the soup! Makes 3 quart-size mason jar soup mixes.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 (16-oz) package pinto beans
  • 1 (16-oz) package split green peas
  • 1 (16-oz) package great northern beans
  • 1 (16-oz) package black beans
  • 1 (16-oz) package red beans or red lentils
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 T dry mustard
  • 2 T dried minced onion
  • 2 T sea salt
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 2 T dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 6 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 3 quart-size mason jars with lids
  • Printable gift tag with directions (see original post: http://www.isthisreallymylife.com/2016/11/five-bean-soup-mix-in-a-jar/)
Instructions
  1. Layer ¾ cup pinto beans in jars; shake gently to level beans. Repeat with ¾ cup of peas, northern beans, black beans and red beans. Set jars aside.
  2. Combine pepper, paprika, dry mustard, minced onion, salt, garlic powder, oregano, rosemary and basil in a small bowl.
  3. Place 3 T of spice mix in a snack-size ziploc bag. Add 1 bay leaf and 1 bouillon cube. Gently shake contents to one side of bag and close. Fold bag around spices and place in top of each jar.
  4. Place lids on jars, sealing tightly. Tie with ribbon and attach printable gift tag with instructions.

 
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To download the five-bean vegetarian soup mix printable gift tag, CLICK HERE or on the image below and save the file to your desktop. But before you do, please read the following rules:

  • Is This Really My Life printables are for personal use only.
  • If you decide to re-post or use the image, you MUST cite the source and include a link to this post.
  • Personalization and other customizations are not available on free printables; they’re offered “as-is.”

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Five-Bean Soup Mix in a Jar gift tag
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Here are a few of our other favorite soup recipes!

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Creamy Chicken and Corn Chowder with Sweet Potatoes -- This creamy chicken and corn chowder with sweet potatoes is flavorful and family friendly. Pair it with freshly-baked bread and salad for the perfect weeknight meal.


Creamy chicken & corn chowder with sweet potatoes

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Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup -- my family LOVES this soup. Simple ingredients, easy to make, creamy and hearty. It is basically perfect. And the leftovers are yummy!


Creamy chicken & rice soup

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Easy chicken noodle soup yet so full of flavor. Rotisserie chicken gives it a delicious roast chicken flavor.


Super easy chicken noodle soup

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Zupas Wisconsin cauliflower soup


Cafe Zupas Wisconsin cauliflower soup

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Mom's chicken tortilla soup


Mom’s chicken tortilla soup

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Chicken taco soup


Slow cooker chicken taco soup

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Homemade minestrone soup

Homemade minestrone soup
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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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10 Favorite Family-Friendly Holiday Movies

2016 November 23
by Emily Hill

With about four weeks between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, you have over 500 hours of movie-watching time. Make sure these holiday movies are on the list!

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10 Holiday Movies to Watch Before December 25th -- With about four weeks between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, you have over 500 hours of movie-watching time. Make sure these holiday movies are on the list!


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Disclosure: Post includes sponsored content for eBay. All thoughts, opinions & love of hot chocolate are mine.

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Have you heard about our Elf Night tradition? We queue the Elf movie, stockpile Belgian waffles and put out all the Elf-friendly toppings. And then we make Buddy proud by eating our weight in calories times 10. We’re talking waffles piled high with peanut butter, chocolate chips, syrup, sprinkles, whipped cream…all the important elf food groups. And it’s a total blast.

While Elf is in our top 3, there are plenty more holiday movies our family adores—and plenty of time to watch them between Thanksgiving and Christmas (because you don’t watch them BEFORE Thanksgiving). Our family loves nothing better than spending time together feeling all the warm holiday fuzzies thanks to classic holiday movies like The Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

To see the full list of our 10 favorite family-friendly holiday movies, CLICK HERE.

Like the 10 must-haves when hosting a hot chocolate bar and 7 ways to cook a turkey, it’s another fun—and hopefully helpful—guide I’ve created over on the eBay.

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10 Holiday Movies to Watch Before December 25th -- With about four weeks between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, you have over 500 hours of movie-watching time. Make sure these holiday movies are on the list!

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I’ve written 70 guides so far (for reals). You can check out the full list HERE. It includes quite a few book guides (my favorite) and more tips, tricks and secrets (most involving food of course) plus some great holiday guides including 20 funny Elf on the Shelf ideas.

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20 Funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas -- so easy and so fun!

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Make-Ahead Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

2016 November 22
by Emily Hill

Make-ahead slow cooker mashed potatoes can be made up to a week ahead of time, which means less prep (and stress and dishes) Thanksgiving Day!

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Make-Ahead Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes -- Make-ahead slow cooker mashed potatoes can be made up to a week ahead of time--an easy way to alleviate Thanksgiving Day prep.

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How can you tell I’m not a fan of spending a bazillion hours in the kitchen the day of Thanksgiving? One, we use paper plates, plastic silverware and plastic cups. Two, I’m throwing our turkey in my new roaster oven so it can self baste. (To heck with crispy skin; if you don’t eat the skin, you can have a second slice of pie.) Three, I buy my pumpkin pie from Costco. (Why reinvent the wheel?) And four, putting make-ahead slow cooker mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving menu.

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Make-Ahead Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes -- Make-ahead slow cooker mashed potatoes can be made up to a week ahead of time--an easy way to alleviate Thanksgiving Day prep.

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If you haven’t attempted make-ahead slow cooker mashed potatoes, you’re seriously missing out. These potatoes are absolutely delicious. In fact, sometimes a serving or two goes missing somewhere between the mixing bowl and the crock pot. I think it has something to do with the fact I prefer using red potatoes with the skin still attached. That bit of skin adds flavor and texture and mean not having to peel five pounds of potatoes.

I’m telling you, it’s all about conserving energy!

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Make-Ahead Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes -- Make-ahead slow cooker mashed potatoes can be made up to a week ahead of time--an easy way to alleviate Thanksgiving Day prep.

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If reds potatoes aren’t your favorite, feel free to use whatever spuds you prefer. Friends and family who’ve tried these make-ahead slow cooker mashed potatoes become believers. I’m pretty sure you will too once the potatoes are in the fridge and you realize you still have a couple days before that 5:00 a.m. Thanksgiving morning wake-up call.

Before I forget, you can also make my famous homemade dinner rolls a day ahead. The recipe uses a bread machine for the kneading and first rising—another brilliant way to save time and energy so you have more time and energy to eat all the things.

You can thank me later.

Printable recipe for make-ahead slow cooker mashed potatoes below. Enjoy!
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Make-Ahead Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Make-ahead slow cooker mashed potatoes can be made up to a week ahead of time, which means less prep (and stress and dishes) Thanksgiving Day!
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 5 lbs red potatoes, washed & quartered*
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • 2 T salted butter
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and add a dash of salt. Cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a rolling boil and cook until potatoes are tender and fall apart when poked with a fork. Drain.
  3. Place potatoes in the bowl of a large mixer. Mash until fairly smooth and no large lumps remain.
  4. Add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper and egg whites. Mix until smooth. Cool slightly.
  5. Place a removable liner in your crock pot or slow cooker and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place potatoes in liner and dot with butter. Refrigerate overnight or up to one week.
  6. Remove mashed potatoes from fridge about 3½ hours before you plan to serve them.
  7. Place in crock pot or slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours, stirring once or twice. (They can remain on low another ½ hour or so.) When ready to serve, add a few more dollops of butter (optional).

 
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Looking for an alternative to mashed potatoes? These not-so-skinny cheesy potatoes (aka “funeral potatoes”) are a family favorite. The secret? O’Brien frozen hash brown potatoes. Mmm…
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Not So Skinny Cheesy Potatoes - the cheesy potatoes recipe that out bakes all other cheesy potatoes

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If you’re looking for more yummy recipes, check out my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board.

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