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Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Protein Bars

2016 November 15
by Emily Hill

These chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars include almonds, peanut butter and coconut and make for a healthy and delicious snack or on-the-go breakfast.

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Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Protein Bars -- These chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars include almonds, peanut butter and coconut and make for a healthy and delicious snack or on-the-go breakfast.


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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Purely Inspired. All thoughts, opinions and protein bars are mine. But I may share.

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Remember the healthy strawberry orange protein smoothie and pumpkin spice protein smoothie I’ve shared on the blog? Today I’m three for three thanks to these chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars, another healthy and delicious recipe featuring vanilla protein powder.

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Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Protein Bars -- These chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars include almonds, peanut butter and coconut and make for a healthy and delicious snack or on-the-go breakfast.

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I was kind of over the whole smoothie thing, and I’ve already shared a few protein ball recipes, so I was on the lookout for something a bit different. I found this oatmeal protein bar recipe and was hooked.

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Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Protein Bars -- These chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars include almonds, peanut butter and coconut and make for a healthy and delicious snack or on-the-go breakfast.

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A few tweaks and it was perfect! In fact, it tastes far less “healthy” than those smoothies but is still packed with lots of good-for-you ingredients like raw almonds, peanut butter, rolled oats, craisins, banana and even a bit of semisweet chocolate.

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Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Protein Bars -- These chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars include almonds, peanut butter and coconut and make for a healthy and delicious snack or on-the-go breakfast.

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When baked in an 8×8-inch pan, these chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars cut into 16 pretty thick squares, so if you want them a bit thinner, go with a 9×9-inch pan. Simply adjust the baking time so they don’t burn. I haven’t tried doubling the recipe (or freezing the bars), so if you do, let me know how it goes. I bet you could double and put them in a 9-x13-inch pan without any problems.

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Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Protein Bars -- These chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars include almonds, peanut butter and coconut and make for a healthy and delicious snack or on-the-go breakfast.

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If you’re looking for a quick, healthy, yummy on-the-go breakfast or snack, homemade protein bars are a great option!

I like to keep mine in the fridge because they taste more like a treat that way…

Printable recipe for chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars below. Enjoy!
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Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Protein Bars -- These chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars include almonds, peanut butter and coconut and make for a healthy and delicious snack or on-the-go breakfast.

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Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Protein Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These chocolate cranberry oatmeal protein bars include almonds, peanut butter and coconut and make for a healthy and delicious snack or on-the-go breakfast. Makes approximately 16 squares.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Healthy
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • ⅔ cup vanilla protein powder like Purely Inspired Organic French Vanilla
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter, slightly melted
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries or cherries
  • ¾ cup cup unsweetened coconut, divided
  • ½ cup chopped raw almonds
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • ¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch pan.
  2. Combine oats, banana, protein powder, peanut butter, cranberries, ½ cup coconut, almonds, chocolate chips, chia seeds, apple juice, cinnamon and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. Spread into prepared pan and top with ¼ cup coconut.
  3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool until completely set (at least 15 minutes). Cut into squares (or bars) and store in an airtight container.

 
Here are a few more protein-infused recipes you might enjoy!

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Healthy Strawberry Orange Protein Smoothie -- Orange juice, strawberries, banana and vanilla protein powder come together in this delicious healthy strawberry orange protein smoothie.


Healthy strawberry orange protein smoothie

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Creamy Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie - This pumpkin spice protein smoothie combines creamy pumpkin and spices with almond milk and dates for a fall-inspired on-the-go breakfast.


Pumpkin spice protein smoothie

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Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake -- packed with over 30 grams of protein and less than 13 grams of sugar (8 grams from banana). Delicious chocolate peanut butter smoothie taste!


Double peanut butter chocolate protein shake

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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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Must-Have Travel Tech #TNTSLC

2016 November 10
by Emily Hill

Whether you’re road tripping across the country or roaming ’round the globe, don’t leave home without this year’s must-have travel tech.

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Must-Have Travel Tech -- Whether you're road tripping across the country or roaming the globe, don't leave home without this year's must-have travel tech. #TNTSLC


Though I was compensated for this post, all thoughts, opinions and love of that amazing KNOMO bag are mine. Post may include affiliate links.

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Though I’m writing this post with holiday travel in mind, the must-have travel tech shared at the recent #TNTSLC event is applicable any time of year. That’s the beauty of gadgets like the Misfit Ray fitness monitor—they’re perfect for ski slopes and scuba dives!

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#TNTSLC
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Before I talk about the gadgets, a couple details about #TNTSLC. #TNTSLC was an event put together by Techlicious, Traveling Mom and the Consumer Technology Association. It was held last week in downtown Salt Lake City and sponsored by the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. Local bloggers were invited to check out the latest in tech for travel and home (a lot of awesome gift ideas under $50!) and enjoy a special chef demo and lunch.

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#TNTSLC
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Cool tech and heavenly food? Guaranteed success.

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Hilton Salt Lake City Center
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Back to the travel tech. While every gadget on display had some solid “wow” factor going on, three were my very favorite. First up is the KNOMO clutch, THE must-have travel tech of the event. Not only is the Elektronista a gorgeous handbag but it features multiple pockets for keeping you super organized and a portable charger. KNOMO, which stands for Knowledge + Mobility, is true fashion meets function, and it’s that fashion meets function that makes travel so much for fun. And fabulous.

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KNOMO Clutch

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KNOMO Clutch
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The KNOMO Audley is totally going on the wish list just below “Christian Louboutin stilettos.”

Next up is the aforementioned Misfit Ray. This fitness tracker does the normal stuff like tracking steps, distance, calories, and sleep and alerting you of calls, texts and lack of movement. But get this—it’s also smart-button enabled so you can control connected household devices (lights, music) and never needs charging thanks to replaceable batteries that last up to six months. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to show up to spin class only to find out I forgot to charge my current fitness tracker. And wouldn’t it be nice to have one less thing to charge while traveling?

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Misfit Ray fitness tracker
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I’m drooling over the Misfit Ray in rose gold with gray leather band. How amazing would that look as a pendant since, you know, the Misfit Ray has a rose gold chain necklace you can purchase.

Last but not least is the most adorable printer you’ve ever seen, the HP Sprocket portable photo printer. The gals from Techlicious and CTA are lucky this baby didn’t find itself hidden in my purse! At a mere 4.53 x 2.95 x 0.87 inches, it isn’t much bigger than a cell phone, which means you can easily take it anywhere you travel. My friend Sarah at Family Tech Zone had the brilliant idea of placing the stickable photos on postcards and sending them to friends and family!

Just leave it in the boat if you’re deep-sea diving…

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HP Sprocket photo printer
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The HP Sprocket makes it super easy to print off photos from your smartphone. The HP Sprocket App connects with the printer via Bluetooth and allows you to customized photos before printing (text, borders, emojis, oh my!). Think how fun this would be at a family reunion, social media event or college dorm. The 2×3-inch stickable photo paper used in the HP Sprocket would save my college co-ed hours of taping photos to walls. It’s seriously the perfect holiday gift for teenagers and social media junkies.

Other travel-friendly, super-cool tech at #TNTSLC included:

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After the delicious tech, we were treated to an equally delicious lunch. The sugar skills blew me away. I mean, check out that butterfly!

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Hilton Salt Lake City Center
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We were also treated to some great tech takeaways like…

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The 5 hottest trends in tech right now:

  1. 4k Ultra HD ecosystem (think TV and streaming)
  2. Wearables (duh)
  3. Smart Home (ever feel like you’re being watched?)
  4. Drones (these were ALL OVER CES 2016)
  5. Virtual Reality (I’ve tried it; it’s crazy awesome)

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Great travel apps:

  • Auto Slash (get cheap car rentals, discounts and coupons from car rental brands)
  • Vivid-Pix (edit photos)
  • Rover.com (find and book local dog sitters)
  • Via (share rides; currently in NYC, Chicago, DC)
  • Magisto (edit videos and make movies)

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And my very favorite…

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The top 5 things people wanted in 1996:

  1. Desktop computer
  2. 27″ or bigger TV
  3. Internet appliance (small computer designed specifically to provide Internet access)
  4. Camcorder
  5. VCR

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Not gonna lie, I’m super excited to attend CES 2017 with Nathan in January. I can’t get enough of the wearable tech, smart home gadgets and children’s toy technology. Maybe 2017 will be the year I finally replace my 16-year-old washer and dryer with something a bit “smarter”…

Before I go, I have to tell you about the Hilton Salt Lake City Center.

It’s gorgeous.

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Hilton Salt Lake City Center lobby
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And it’s totally tech’d out. (Get it? “Tech’d” instead of “decked.” I’m so clever.) Travelers will find power outlets in most of the furniture in the lobby along with a large monitor displaying departing flight information for the Salt Lake Airport. The hotel also offers keyless entry; you can check in via smartphone and use your phone as your key. How crazy is that? It’s almost as crazy as an indoor pool this size in a downtown hotel…

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Hilton Salt Lake City Center pool
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Looking for more good ideas and yummy things? 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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Copycat Rumbi Rice

2016 November 8
by Emily Hill

Rumbi rice (long grain white rice cooked with coconut milk and red beans) is a scrumptious side dish or main ingredient in your favorite Hawaiian rice bowl.

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Copycat Rumbi Rice -- There is nothing like the combination of sweet, sticky coconut rice and red beans. This rice is perfect as a side dish or the main ingredient in your favorite Hawaiian rice bowl!

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Remember those easy fish tacos I posted last week? I actually made this copycat Rumbi rice to go with them but somehow it never made it into the photos. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t snacking on it during the photo shoot. It was hot Rumbi rice after all, and who doesn’t love sweet, sticky coconut rice and red beans?

If you don’t love it, can I have your serving?

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Copycat Rumbi Rice -- There is nothing like the combination of sweet, sticky coconut rice and red beans. This rice is perfect as a side dish or the main ingredient in your favorite Hawaiian rice bowl!

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If you’re not familiar with Rumbi Island Grill, it’s a really yummy Hawaiian-themed restaurant featuring rice bowls, salads and sandwiches. Oh, and really, really yummy fish tacos. I love to eat their Cabo fish tacos, letting the delicious jalapeno ranch dressing drip over the Rumbi rice. And then I inhale the Rumbi rice using both fork and tortilla chips.

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Copycat Rumbi Rice -- There is nothing like the combination of sweet, sticky coconut rice and red beans. This rice is perfect as a side dish or the main ingredient in your favorite Hawaiian rice bowl!

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Maybe that’s why as much as I love this copycat Rumbi rice recipe, it’s even better if you add a bit of creamy cilantro dressing or the spicy chipotle cream sauce from those easy fish tacos I shared earlier…

Whether you serve this Rumbi rice as a side dish or use it in your favorite rice bowl recipe, it’s super yummy. And you’ll have leftovers, so don’t double it unless you’re hosting a huge crowd.

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Copycat Rumbi Rice -- There is nothing like the combination of sweet, sticky coconut rice and red beans. This rice is perfect as a side dish or the main ingredient in your favorite Hawaiian rice bowl!

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Printable recipe for copycat Rumbi rice below. Enjoy!
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Copycat Rumbi Rice
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Rumbi rice (long grain white rice cooked with coconut milk and red beans) is a scrumptious side dish or main ingredient in your favorite Hawaiian rice bowl. Makes about 12 servings.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 (14-oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a rice cooker and stir until thoroughly combined.
  2. Close rice cooker and cook rice using white rice setting.
  3. Fluff rice with fork before serving. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container up to 5 days.

 
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Here are a few more rice recipes you might enjoy!

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Healthy Pineapple Fried Rice -- a healthier version of your standard fried rice recipe. Tastes even better thanks to fresh pineapple, portobello mushrooms and edamame.


Healthy pineapple fried rice

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Sweet cilantro rice - the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal! #rice #cilantro #mexican #recipe


Sweet cilantro rice

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Wild Rice Salad - This wild rice salad is the perfect summer dish with its diced chicken, red bell pepper, snow peas, avocado and toasted pecans.


Wild rice salad with avocado & toasted pecans

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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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Easy Fish Tacos with Fresh Pico & Creamy Chipotle Sauce

2016 November 5
by Emily Hill

These easy fish tacos with fresh pico and creamy chipotle sauce are full of flavor and take less than 30 minutes from start to finish!

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Easy Fish Tacos with Fresh Pico and Creamy Chipotle Sauce -- Ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish! Super convenient dinner that is perfect on those crazy weeknights.

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Is it Taco Tuesday yet? I swear it’s my family’s favorite meal of the week and I don’t blame them. They love Mexican food about as much as I love Diet Coke. And because the love it so much, I try to find healthier options for the main dish. Usually I serve homemade tacos using ground turkey instead of ground beef, but I’m always on the lookout for new taco recipes…and more opportunities to introduce seafood into our diet.

Though Nathan and Lauren love all kinds of seafood, the rest of us only get as far as fish sticks.

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Easy Fish Tacos with Fresh Pico and Creamy Chipotle Sauce -- Ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish! Super convenient dinner that is perfect on those crazy weeknights.

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Fish tacos is one of the easiest ways to get my kids to eat seafood, especially if I make them with a light fish like tilapia or halibut. This recipe for easy fish tacos with fresh pico and creamy chipotle sauce might be my new favorite. Not only did these tacos take less than 30 minutes from start to finish, but because the tilapia required minimal prep, I was able to make the pico and sauce while it was baking. I love multitasking!

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Easy Fish Tacos with Fresh Pico and Creamy Chipotle Sauce -- Ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish! Super convenient dinner that is perfect on those crazy weeknights.

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The magical fish in these easy fish tacos is Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Tilapia with Lemon, Pepper & Herbs, but you can use your favorite fish taco filling. I prefer Bumble Bee SuperFresh® because it goes from freezer to oven with very little help from me. All I had to do was slide the fillets into a bit of parchment paper.

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Bumble Bee SuperFresh Tilapia with Lemon Pepper & Herbs.
Bumble Bee SuperFresh Tilapia with Lemon Pepper & Herbs.
Bumble Bee SuperFresh Tilapia with Lemon Pepper & Herbs.

Of course, if you’re into a bit more work on a weeknight, more power to you.

Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Tilapia with Lemon, Pepper & Herbs worked really well in these fish tacos. The hint of lemon complemented the pico and squeeze of fresh lime juice perfectly.

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Easy Fish Tacos with Fresh Pico and Creamy Chipotle Sauce -- Ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish! Super convenient dinner that is perfect on those crazy weeknights..

The flavor was so yummy and the fillets so tender, I can’t wait to try the other Bumble Bee SuperFresh® products. I’m thinking the Salmon with Garlicky Black Pepper and Extra Virgin Olive Oil would be delicious in a salad!

A few interesting tidbits about Bumble Bee SuperFresh®:

  • All our seafood is no mess, and no fuss; just pure perfection, time after time. Our premium Salmon and Tilapia come with their own parchment paper baking pouch and go from freezer to table in under 25 minutes. High in protein, richly seasoned with pure and simple ingredients that let our fish shine through!
  • Bumble Bee SuperFresh® smells and tastes amazing. No fishy smells here. Because you prepare Bumble Bee SuperFresh® straight from the freezer, there isn’t any smell associated with thawing fish. And our frozen protein has stayed that way from harvest to your oven unlike most of the “fresh” fish you find at the seafood counter. That means it is fresh tasting, and fresh smelling.
  • Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Tilapia with Lemon, Pepper & Herbs: What a difference fresh lemon makes! Combined with extra virgin olive oil, shallots, black pepper and other natural ingredients, Bumble Bee’s recipe brings out the clean, fresh flavor of premium tilapia.

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Find out where you can purchase Bumble Bee SuperFresh® products by using the store locator or via Amazon Fresh.

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Easy Fish Tacos with Fresh Pico and Creamy Chipotle Sauce -- Ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish! Super convenient dinner that is perfect on those crazy weeknights.

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Printable recipe for easy fish tacos with fresh pico and chipotle cream sauce below. Enjoy!
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Easy Fish Tacos with Fresh Pico & Creamy Chipotle Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These easy fish tacos with fresh pico and creamy chipotle sauce are full of flavor and take less than 30 minutes from start to finish! Makes approximately 8 tacos.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Pico
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
Chipotle cream sauce
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • 1 tsp finely diced canned chipotle pepper plus adobo sauce to taste
  • 2 limes, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Tacos
  • 2 boxes Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Tilapia with Lemon, Pepper & Herbs
  • Shredded red cabbage
  • 16 small corn tortillas
Instructions
Tacos
  1. Prepare Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Tilapia with Lemon, Pepper & Herbs according to package directions. While tilapia is baking, prepare the pico and chipotle cream sauce.
  2. Lightly grease a skillet with a drizzle of oil and set over medium heat. Heat tortillas until soft and hot; keep warm by wrapping in a dish towel.
  3. Stack two tortillas on top of each other. (We like double tortillas but you can go with singles if you prefer.) Place half a tilapia fillet in the center and top with cabbage, pico and chipotle cream sauce. Serve immediately with a slice of lime for garnish and an added bit of fresh lime juice.
Pico
  1. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic and cilantro in a medium bowl; set aside.
Chipotle cream sauce
  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, Mexican crema and chipotle pepper in a small bowl. Add juice from ½ lime, adobo sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

 
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 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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15 Better Than Anything Poke Cake Recipes

2016 November 4
by Emily Hill

From blueberry to turtle, who knew there were so many poke cake recipes? No matter the flavor or frosting, there’s a poke cake recipe sure please everyone!!

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15 Better Than Anything Poke Cake Recipes

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Though I have a “better than everything” cake recipe on the blog, it’s a bundt cake rather than a poke cake. (Believe you me, even though it’s sans “poke,” it’s still better than you-know-what.) Though I’ve tasted my fair share of the traditional better than sex cake, I have yet to bake one for the family. And after checking out all the poke cake recipes on Pinterest, I’ve decided I need to bake one (or two) before the holidays are over.

Below you’ll find 15 delicious poke cake recipes in about every flavor imaginable. Good luck choosing just one to try!
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Chocolate turtle poke cake from Mom Loves Baking
Chocolate turtle poke cake from Mom Loves Baking

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White raspberry poke cake from I Heart Eating
White raspberry poke cake from I Heart Eating

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Goeey red velvet brownie cake
Gooey red velvet brownie cake from Beyond Frosting

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Blueberry Poke Cake
Blueberry poke cake by Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts

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Coconut cream poke cake from Love Bakes Good Cakes
Coconut cream poke cake from Love Bakes Good Cakes

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Better than Easter carrot cake poke cake
Better than Easter carrot cake poke cake from Something Swanky

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Strawberry jello poke cake
Strawberry jello poke cake from Life in the Lofthouse

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Southern pecan praline cake
Southern pecan praline cake from Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen

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Chocolate coke poke cake from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body
Chocolate Coke poke cake from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body

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Pumpkin caramel cream cheese poke cake from Delightful E Made
Pumpkin caramel cream cheese poke cake from Delightful E Made

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Dole whip poke cake from I Should Be Mopping the Floor
Dole whip poke cake from I Should Be Mopping the Floor

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Peanut butter chocolate poke cake from The First Year
Peanut butter chocolate poke cake from The First Year

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Boston cream poke cake from Frugal Coupon Living
Boston cream poke cake from Frugal Coupon Living

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Caramel apple pie poke cake from Plain Chicken
Caramel apple pie poke cake from Plain Chicken

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Strawberries and cream poke cake
Strawberries & cream poke cake from Like Mother Like Daughter

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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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Book Review: “Accidentally Me”

2016 November 1
by Emily Hill

Accidentally Me is the endearing story of a quirky, teenage girl’s journey from self-pity to self-confidence complete with charming characters and the perfect mix of humor and heart.

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Accidentally Me Book Review


I was provided with a copy of Accidentally Me for this review. All thoughts, opinions and love of the flawed main character are mine. Post may include affiliate links.

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It’s never too early to start thinking about holiday gifting. I mean, it is November 1st, which means only 54 more shopping days until Christmas. But don’t stress because today I’m sharing a fantastic stocking stuffer idea perfect for book-loving teenage girls and grownup girls alike. The book, Accidentally Me, is Kim Karras’ debut novel and the endearing story of a quirky, teenage girl’s journey from self-pity to self-confidence.

We can all relate, right?

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Accidentally Me Book Review

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From the back cover:

Sabrina has been trying to be the perfect child her entire life to convince her parents that she’s more than just an ‘accident.’ Now she is determined to go to her dream college, but her parents want her to stay close to home. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Sabrina must team up with an unlikely ally—a guy she hires to be her pretend stalker—to get what she wants. But when her scheme…goes according to plan, and people believe he really is stalking her, her new feelings for him prove most inconvenient.

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As an older teenager, I remember having all sorts of plans go awry but I never planned one as elaborate as Sabrina’s—one in which college attendance was on the line. But I did have many moments (phases) of awkwardness, indecision, self-doubt, weak-in-the-knees feelings for boys. This is what makes it so easy to like the main character; she’s utterly believable.

Accidentally Me isn’t a very long novel (avid readers will finish it in an afternoon), but that doesn’t keep it from causing you to smile, wince, laugh, worry and tear up in both joy and sadness. Sabrina and her family (love the dynamics!) are so very lovable and the plot has enough little twists to keep you reading. Even better? It’s totally PG and free from all the crap most young adult novels have these days.

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Accidentally Me Book Review

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The were only two little things I didn’t love about Accidentally Me. The first was how much Sabrina seemed to wallow in her whole “I was an accident” thing at the beginning of the book. I was about to tell her to get over herself (something I tell my kids all the time), but fortunately she had worse things to worry about as I got further into the book.

The second was the extremely short amount of time it took for Sabrina to have feelings for Calvin, her pretend stalker. I wanted a few more pages for those feelings to develop because it seemed one moment he weirded her out and the very next, it was all she could do to not kiss him. That being said, for a first novel, it’s a dang good debut.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from the novel:

  • “This whole ‘intention’ thing is overrated. I mean, people intentionally do things all the time, and more often than not, those things are just plain stupid. … It make sense that sometimes, unintentionally, people do things that are brilliant.” (p. 106)
  • “It strikes me that this is the kind of courage that adulthood demands. The courage to look foolish. The courage to admit fault. The courage to lose.” (p. 212)
  • “There’s nothing wrong with failure as long as you get it right eventually.” (p. 230)
  • “Life doesn’t go according to plan. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. From what I can tell, some of the best things in life just happen, accidentally.” (p.240)
  • I may have teared up twice—once while reading it the first time and once while going back and rereading my favorite parts. I blame an overdose of Halloween candy.
  • If you’re looking for a great fiction book for your teenage girls to read during the downtime between Christmas and New Year’s, make sure Santa puts a copy of Accidentally Me in their stockings.

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Maybe you can accidentally read it before they do…

 
And now for the GIVEAWAY!
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Kim Karras is giving away one (1) copy of Accidentally Me!
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*Giveaway open to U.S. readers only.
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Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Accidentally Me Book Review

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Looking for more great book suggestions? Browse my judge a book by its cover 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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10 Ways to Keep Kids Active During Winter

2016 October 29
by Emily Hill

Don’t let kids hibernate when temperatures start to drop! Here are 10 ways to keep kids active during winter. (Obstacle course, anyone?)

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10 Ways to Keep Kids Active During Winter -- great suggestions for keeping kids moving and playing during colder months.

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Remember our super awesome CLIF Kid Zbar review? You know, the one with the skate park and those professionally-created graphics? That post started our CLIF Kid Zbar addiction, which led to keeping a Costco-size box of the bars in our pantry at all times. They’re the perfect school snack, soccer game snack and pick-me-up at all places of play…including indoor trampoline parks.

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CLIF Kid Zbar
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Things get super crazy when school is back in session. Homework, music lessons, sports, dance—it can be tricky to fit in unstructured playtime. But it’s so very, very important. Balanced and active play lays a strong foundation for a skilled, healthy, resilient, successful society.

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Airborne Trampoline Arena in Draper Utah
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Sadly, play is disappearing at home, in school and in our communities. While 70% of moms played outside when they were kids, only 31% of their kids play outside today.

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Airborne Trampoline Arena in Draper Utah
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When winter comes to Utah, I bet that number drops another few percentage points. Granted, we have the best snow on earth, but not all kids enjoy skiing and snowboarding. And you can only build a snowman for so long before you can’t feel your nose. But don’t despair! I’ve rounded up some great tips and tricks for keeping kids active during winter—well, winter where it drops below 50 degrees. If you’re in sunny San Diego, this doesn’t apply. And I don’t like you very much.

Kidding. I like you; I’m just really jealous.

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Airborne Trampoline Arena in Draper Utah

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Ten Ways to Keep Kids Active During Winter

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Embrace the cold. I have a really hard time with this one but I’ve learned if you have the proper equipment (i.e., clothing), it can be a lot more enjoyable than you think. Make sure you have plenty of layers and a quality pair of gloves and boots and always keep little heads covered. The better protected kids are, the longer they’ll stay outside and play.

Go sledding. Skiing and snowboarding can get pricey. Sledding is a super affordable way to enjoy the snow. If you don’t have a sled, an old cookie sheet will work. No snow? Try ice blocking. Grab a few ice blocks, some towels and a grassy hill. Don’t forget the helmets!

Head to your local rec center. Many rec centers have indoor pools and some even offer seasonal memberships. There’s nothing better than walking into the rec center bundled in down jackets and 10 minutes later, splashing around in warm pool water.

Sign up for indoor sports. Those same rec centers often have ongoing indoor kids sports like volleyball and basketball. You may even find other options like karate, rock climbing and dance. I find rec centers are often more affordable and less stressful than other places.

Find a kid-friendly winter hike. If the hike is a popular one, the trail should be fairly clear even in snow. Of course, don’t venture out if a storm is in the forecast or it’s recently snowed, and make sure you still pack plenty of water and snacks (like CLIF Kid bars!).

Build a snowman (and make snow angels). This goes with embracing the cold. Even if kids are out there for only a half hour, it’s a half hour less they’re sitting in front of a screen. Add another half hour for dressing and undressing and you’ve got an hour of activity in no time!

Do a good deed. Whether your good deed is raking leaves, removing snow or baking cookies, kids can get plenty of exercise. Someone needs to run those cookies around the neighborhood. The more plates, the greater the opportunity for exercise!

Play Just Dance. This game never gets old and kids of all ages love it. There’s nothing like fun music combined with cool dance moves and a bit of competition to get bodies movin’ and groovin’!

Create an indoor obstacle course. While this may make a bit more of a mess than Just Dance, there’s a good chance it will keep kids entertained for hours. And it’s non-stop activity from start to finish—building the course, running the course, rearranging the course, running the course some more and eventually cleaning up the course (their job, not yours).

Visit your local indoor trampoline park. Indoor trampoline parks are getting pretty popular, at least here in Utah. Some places stick to trampolines and foam pits; others have stepped it up with trapezes, slack lines and ninja courses. Indoor trampoline arenas are awesome places of play because they’re not only a great workout but also easily exhaust your kids.

I have proof.
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CLIF Kid® makes nutritious snacks from organic ingredients specially-crafted for kids’ developing taste buds and active lives. Whether kids are heading to soccer practice or working their way through spelling words, CLIF Kid Zbars are perfect for growing kids (and busy parents!). They’re an appropriate portion size, are made with organic ingredients and are non-GMO, plus they have important nutrients for active kids without high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or synthetic preservatives.

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CLIF Kid Zbar
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All that good stuff is why my kids and I love them so much. They really are the perfect mid-jump snack and a great excuse for the kids to make their own CLIF Kid Zbar snippet…
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If our videos left you craving more CLIF Kid fun, check out the official CLIF Kid video on YouTube. You can also visit the CLIF Kid Facebook page where you’ll find everything from how to pack for a hike to school lunch inspiration.

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 good ideas and yummy things? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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