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Top ice cream makers to best slow cookers

2014 September 16
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: My eBay guides were written as part of my collaboration with eBay. #eBayGuides

Today I bring you four more of my awesome eBay Guides.

Okay, maybe they’re not awesome but they’re kinda cool.

My first four guides covered cupcakes (one covering cupcake basics and one about filling cupcakes), cycling and yoga. You can check them out here and pin the handy graphics for later reference.

My latest guides jump from yoga to slow cookers. I’m trying to cover all the bases.

In “7 Yoga Essentials,” I share what you might want to include in your yoga practice (besides the mat) whether you’re new to yoga or have practiced for a while.


7 Yoga Essentials


In “Top Ice Cream Makers for Every Occasion,” I’ve done some research and picked the top ice cream makers no matter your needs, be it high-end gelato maker to the tiniest portable machine.


Top Ice Cream Makers for Every Occasion


Best Slow Cookers for Every Budget” makes choosing a slow cooker easy. I’ve found the perfect model for your next potluck or pot roast.


Best Slow Cookers for Every Budget


These super cute “Back-to-Schook DIY Mini Clipboards” are perfect for getting the kids organized because they easily display chore charts or to-do lists. They also make a great teacher appreciation gift because the kids can make them easily and quickly.


DIY mini clipboards


I’ll be writing more eBay guides in the next couple weeks. Hope you don’t mind if I share them with you!

If you feel the burning desire to share them (via Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, email, snail mail—whatever floats your boat) I won’t mind it one bit.


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.

Crock pot mac and cheese

2014 September 12
by Emily Hill

This is probably the fourth or fifth homemade mac and cheese recipe I’ve made but the first crock pot mac and cheese. The others have been stove top with a finishing touch in the oven. Though Lauren and I were fans, especially once you added a touch of Sriracha, the rest of the family had no problem telling me they wished I’d opened a box of Kraft.

How can anyone prefer powdered “cheese” to tons of shredded sharp cheddar and Colby Jack?


Crock pot mac and cheese


I adapted this recipe from Taste of Home’s Easy Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese by using sharp cheddar and switching out the provolone and fontina for Colby Jack. And then I doubled it, which I don’t recommend unless you’re feeding a dozen people who DON’T prefer Kraft.

I would totally make this again and take it to a family potluck as a side dish. I don’t know what everyone else’s problem was, but Lauren and I thought this crock pot mac and cheese rather tasty. Of course, it wasn’t as divine is this gourmet macaroni and cheese I posted over two years ago (you can tell by the not-so-awesome food photos). Speaking of which, I think I need to make another batch of that…

Oh, and if you’re looking for a new slow cooker, check out “Best Slow Cookers for Every Budget.” It gives you a breakdown on the best crock pot depending on budget, size, etc.

Printable recipe for crock pot mac and cheese below.

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
One of the better slow cooker mac and cheese recipes I've tasted. Feel free to substitute other cheese to suit your fancy. Adapted from Taste of Home's Easy Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese.
Ingredients
  • 1 box uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup butter, cubed
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded Colby Jack
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, cook macaroni al dente according to package directions. Drain (do not rinse) and set aside.
  2. While pasta cooks, combine soup, milk, sour cream, butter and seasonings in a medium saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until blended. Add cheese and stir until completely melted.
  3. Drain macaroni; transfer to a greased 3-qt. slow cooker. Stir in cheese mixture. Cook, covered, on low 1-2 hours or until heated through.

You can find more yummy crock pot recipes in my collection of slow cooker recipes. You’ll find everything from my popular chicken tortilla soup to decadent rocky road chocolate cake.

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.

Pinned & prepped: Lemon poppy seed pancakes

2014 September 9
by Emily Hill

I had the best Sunday morning the other day.

Madison found these lemon poppy seed pancakes from Joy the Baker and whipped up a batch for everyone.


And then she took the photos.

That kid rocks.

Maybe she’s a food blogger in the making? She’ll have to fit the baking and photography somewhere in between school, cello and swim team. Of course, there’s always room for anything food related, don’t you agree?


Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes


Madison adapted the recipe slightly (less vanilla and lemon zest) and I thought it was perfect. Any more lemon and it would have been too lemony for my taste.

Printable recipe for lemon poppy seed pancakes below.

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Pancakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 pancakes
 
The 16YO found these on Pinterest and whipped up a batch. She even took the photos. They were so yummy! Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker's Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes.
Ingredients
  • 2 T sugar
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ T vanilla extract
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 4 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 T poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. Combine granulated sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl, rubbing together with your fingers until sugar is fragrant.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Fold in the lemon sugar.
  3. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice and melted butter in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients all at once to dry ingredients. Fold in poppy seeds and stir to combine. Let batter rest for 10 minutes while.
  4. While batter rests, preheat griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  5. Place a griddle, or a nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Pour about ¼ cup of batter onto griddle for each pancake. Cook until golden brown on the bottom and and bubbling on top. Flip once and cook until golden brown on each side.
  6. Serve with butter and powdered sugar or syrup.

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes


Check out other breakfast recipes I’ve pinned by browsing my breakfast recipes board:

Follow Emily Hill’s board breakfast recipes on Pinterest.

Previous pinned & prepped features:

Chocolate sprinkle cookies
Homestyle macaroni salad
Caprese stuffed avocado
Cookie dough pretzel bites
Caramel snickerdoodles
Sugar cookie bars
NOEL Christmas banner
Crock pot refried beans
Taco Bell chicken quesadillas
Southern peach cobbler
Oatmeal chocolate coconut chewy cookies
Salted caramel butter bars
Hello Dolly bars
Brown sugar & balsamic-glazed pork loin
Brussels sprouts with bacon & walnuts
Glazed doughnut muffins
Crock pot chicken tacos
Brownie cookies
Peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Copycat Chick-fil-A nuggets
Slow cooker angel chicken
Slow cooker chicken & dumplings
No-bake peanut butter s’mores bars
Tomato basil Parmesan soup
Chocolate chip cookie n’ Oreo fudge brownie bar

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.

Yuna: “Rescue”

2014 September 8
by Emily Hill

OH. MY. GOSH.

I love this song.

So much.

It needs no intro other than Madison sent this to me via Google Chat this morning. I’m so glad she did. I’ve never heard of Yuna but I’m definitely checking out the rest of her music because “Rescue” by Yuna is my new favorite song.

It’s on repeat.

You should also check out “I Wanna Go.” So dreamy.


Yuna — “Rescue

Previous music faves:


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.

Cupcakes to cycling & everything between

2014 September 5
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: My eBay guides were written as part of my collaboration with eBay. #eBayGuides

I am currently spending my free time (ha!) creating a variety of eBay guides. It’s actually rather fun. Who knew I’d so enjoy tutorials and “must-have” lists? My first guide, “How to Create Crowd-Pleasing Cupcakes,” went live on August 19th:


How to Create Crowd-Pleasing Cupcakes


Since then I’ve written “How to Make Filled Cupcakes,” a guide on filling cupcakes that shows just how easy it is to add that delightfully creamy center. This how-to even includes a recipe for the yummiest peach cobbler cupcakes.


How to Make Filled Cupcakes


Then I moved on to “Basic Grilling Tips & Tricks.” Though we don’t grill year round (I truly hate being cold), many people do. It’s never too late to brush up on your grilling skills. And I bet you’ll learn a thing or two!


Basic Grilling Tips & Tricks


My latest guide, “7 Must-Haves for Indoor Cycling,” is for indoor cycling enthusiasts and newbies alike. (C’mon, you know you want to join me in spin class!) I share my favorite water bottle and electrolyte tablets. Plus I extol the awesomeness that is a heart rate monitor.


7 Must-Haves for Indoor Cycling


I’ll be writing more eBay guides in the next couple weeks. Hope you don’t mind if I share them with you!

If you feel the burning desire to share them (via Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, email, snail mail—whatever floats your boat) I won’t mind it one bit.


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.

Mom’s tuna casserole (only healthier)

2014 September 3
by Emily Hill


I’m pretty sure every family has its own variation of the classic tuna casserole recipe. Growing up, my mom made her tuna casserole a couple times a month and I can still remember how creamy and cheesy it was. And filling. I haven’t made her tuna casserole in ages because the last time I made it, I was about 3 month pregnant and everything but graham crackers and peanut butter made me nauseated. Funny how that works.

Then I was given the challenge to create a custom back-to-school recipe using Bumble Bee tuna—now in these super awesome pouches that don’t require draining (yippee!). I knew right away I would attempt a (slightly) healthier version of my mom’s tuna casserole.

I may have thrown some crushed potato chips on top because I can handle only so much healthy.


Mom's tuna casserole


This recipe has only a handful of ingredients: whole grain egg noodles, cream of mushroom soup, skim milk, cheddar cheese, onion, pepper and the star of the dish, Bumble Bee albacore tuna. You don’t have to use albacore, but I find it a little less “fishy” than its counterpart. And that’s important when you have family members who don’t love tuna.


Mom's tuna casserole

The crushed potato chips are optional. (My mom always topped it with Parmesan cheese.) And you can vary the amount of pepper and onion and/or try a medium or sharp cheddar. The tuna casserole possibilities are endless!

While I used cans of Bumble Bee albacore tuna, you could just as easily use these super handy (and super adorable) pouches of Bumble Bee Premium Albacore Tuna in Water. The ones pictured below are single serving size—perfect for my 14-year-old who loves tuna and crackers for lunch. But they also come in a 5-ounce size…and remember, NO MESSY DRAINING!

Hallelujah!


Bumble Bee tuna pouch

Not a fan of tuna casserole? Bumble Bee has a ton of tuna recipes. I think I’m going to try the Thai chili tuna spring rolls next!

Below you’ll find a printable version of my mom’s tuna casserole recipe. Feel free to make it as healthy or non-healthy as you’d like (or your family will allow).

Mom's Tuna Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Main dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A (slightly) healthier version of my mom's tuna casserole. Feel free to change it as you'd like. For example, choose medium or sharp cheddar, try white pepper or use regular egg noodles instead of whole grain. You could even go with low-fat cheese and 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup if you want to make the recipe even healthier.
Ingredients
  • 1 package whole grain egg noodles
  • 2 cans cream mushroom soup
  • ¼ to ½ cup skim milk
  • 2 (5-oz) cans Bumble Bee albacore tuna in water, drained*
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2½ cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Crushed potato chips or Parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook noodles al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Combine soup and enough milk to make a thick sauce. Add tuna, onion, cheese and pepper; mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Top with crushed potato chips or Parmesan cheese (optional).
  5. Bake for 35 minutes or until heated through and bubbly on top.
Notes
* You can also use 2 (5-oz) pouches or 4 (2.5-oz) pouches of Bumble Bee Premium Albacore Tuna in Water. Heck, you could even cut the tuna in half if you so desire.

What’s your favorite tuna recipe—a classic tuna casserole or perhaps a loaded tuna salad sandwich? Do share!

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


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.

NatureBox: Healthy snacks just got a lot tastier

2014 August 28
by Emily Hill


Okay, I admit it. We’re not the healthiest of snackers around here. My kids’ favorite back-to-school snacks in their back-to-school lunches are fruit snacks (not the healthy kind), chocolate chip granola bars, fig bars and Goldfish crackers. While not as junky as potato chips or a full-size candy bar, they’re definitely not as healthy as fruit and other snacks devoid of added sugars and high fructose corn syrup.

Of course, my favorite back-to-school snacks list includes cookies, Diet Coke and bite-size Twix bars—there’s definitely room for improvement.


NatureBox review

I’d heard of NatureBox before but wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to a monthly delivery of healthy snacks without knowing how “healthy” those snacks tasted. Well, I’m here to tell you that NatureBox snacks are some of the tastiest healthy snacks around. Granted, not everything we tried was a hit but enough of the snacks were to have me thinking NatureBox is the way to go for back-to-school snacking.


NatureBox review

NatureBox delivers a wonderful variety of carefully sourced, nutritionist-approved foods to your door. It’s like a super healthy Christmas present every month! Each snack contains wholesome ingredients without artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. When you join NatureBox, you’ll receive five different snacks from their snack catalog every month. You can choose the snacks you want or be surprised with their carefully curated selections.

I usually like surprises but not when it comes to my snacks so I always choose my own.

Pictured above you can see the NatureBox snacks we tried: Carrot Strawberry Fruit Chews, Big Island Pineapple, Salted Caramel Pretzel Pops, Peanut Butter Nom Noms and French Vanilla Almond Granola. My absolute most favorite in the entire world was the Big Island Pineapple. Holy crap, I could eat an entire pallet of those things.


NatureBox review - Big Island Pineapple

My other two favorites were the Peanut Butter Nom Noms (because they tasted a lot like my favorite peanut butter oatmeal protein bites)…


NatureBox review - Peanut Butter Nom Noms

…and the French Vanilla Almond Granola.


NatureBox review -- French Vanilla Almond Granola

Madison liked the Salted Caramel Pretzel Pops though I found them kind of dry and bland. As for the Carrot Strawberry Fruit Chews, they were the least favorite. But that’s okay because next time I can simply order an extra bag of the Big Island Pineapple instead. Or maybe I’ll try the Asiago & Cheddar Cheese Crisps. Or Roasted Kettle Kernels. Or Peppery Pistachios. Mmm…

The nice thing about NatureBox snacks is how perfect they are before, during and after school. Think quick breakfast when you’re running late, healthier lunches for aspiring students and tasty after-school snacking for the entire family…and the neighborhood if your home is a revolving door like mine. Of course you can snack healthy without NatureBox as long as you remember a few important things:

  • Make healthier options readily available; place them front and center in the pantry or on the counter.
  • Reserve soda and other sugar drinks for special occasions like family get-togethers and parties.
  • Skip dessert during the week and enjoy it on the weekends.
  • Switch from ice cream to low-fat frozen yogurt or sorbet with no added sugar.
  • Replace crackers and other carbs with easy-to-eat fruits like clementines, apples, grapes and bananas.
  • Avoid snacking during “down” time like TV watching, video gaming and other stationary activities.


Interested in trying out NatureBox? You’re in luck!

Click here to get 50% OFF your first month’s NatureBox delivery ($10 value) using promo code: SNACKTOSCHOOL

Fine Crumbs: Promotion is good for 50% off your first month to month box or $10 off your first box in your first prepaid subscription. New and US subscribers only. Not valid on gift subscriptions and may not be combined with any other offers.


You can see the entire collection of NatureBox snacks by browsing the NatureBox Snack Catalog. Just don’t forget the pineapple!

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


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.