Skip to content

Decadent triple chocolate grasshopper cookies

2014 November 13
by Emily Hill

So I’m blowing up the Interweb with guest posts this week. Earlier I posted a teaser for my glazed orange brownies—if you didn’t catch it, you’ll want to head over there RIGHT NOW for a link to the original recipe and the Blendtec blender giveaway.

Today I bring you a teaser for the most amazing triple chocolate grasshopper cookies I baked for the Crafting Chicks’ Bloggers’ Best 12 Days of Christmas series. Why grasshopper cookies? You’ll have to read the full post to find out!

.
Triple chocolate grasshopper cookies -- chocolate cookie with semisweet chips, dark chocolate chunks and Andes Chocolate Mints melted on top. So good!

.

These cookies are unbelievably easy, which you know is totally my style. You’ll die (in the best way) when you discover how I made the frosting. In fact, “made” might be exaggerating a bit.

If you want the recipe for these triple chocolate grasshopper cookies in all their decadence, check out my post on The Crafting Chicks.

Let me know when you’ve made a batch. I’m so there.

.
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.
.

What are you doing to #ShareAwesome online?

2014 November 12
by Emily Hill


If you’ve connected with me on the social media, then you know I share awesome—my family, my recipes, my special moments—as often as I can.

I also share the not-so-awesome like this candid shots taken by my husband. Hey, it’s my reality.

.
emihill on Instagram -- behind the scenes of a recipe shoot. Caught by my husband. #instagram #photography
.

Thanks, babe.

Though I do a lot of sharing online, I try to be smart about what and where (social media platform and physical location) I’m sharing. I avoid giving out any info related to where we live and don’t geotag my photos unless I’m traveling. Though I use my kids’ real names on my blog, I try to leave them out of posts on platforms like Twitter and Instagram and tend to do the same on my Facebook page. I don’t know why, but to me it’s a comfortable amount of sharing.

My husband and I try to teach our kids the importance of being smart when it comes to digital sharing. It’s an ongoing process for sure. Here are some of our dos and don’ts when it comes to online safety with our kids:

  • DO connect with friends. DO NOT connect with people you don’t know in real life. And know well.
  • DO disable geotagging on your phone. DO NOT allow apps to use your location. There’s no need for you to check in on Foursquare or become the Duchess of Sonic Drive-In.
  • DO give Mom and Dad your username and password for every social media platform for which you have an account. DO NOT change your passwords without telling us.
  • DO put a lock on your phone so friends can’t hijack it. DO NOT forget to tell Mom and Dad what that lock is.
  • DO share fun moments you have with friends and family. DO NOT publicly share moments that may make someone feel left out or decrease your chances for future dates. (Boys don’t like seeing you in photos with other boys…unless it’s a dance. Those they understand.)
  • DO use the computer/iPad/tablet/laptop during the hours we’ve set. DO NOT use the aforementioned devices in your bedroom or another out-of-sight location.
  • DO share things that inspire you and will inspire others. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT participate in any form of cyberbullying, sexting, inappropriate Snapchat or other form of harassment EVER.
  • DO remember what you share online is there for the world to see, even if you delete it. DO NOT assume what you share privately will stay private.
  • DO know your parents have your back. ALWAYS.

.
My 17-year-old daughter has her own set of rules. They were too brilliant not to turn into a graphic.

Talk about #ShareAwesome.

.
Teenager's Guide to Sharing Stuff Online #ShareAwesome #socialmedia #onlinesafety

.

You caught that hashtag, right? #ShareAwesome is a super cool campaign aimed at building an understanding among parents and students that no matter the device, the app or the networking site, the skills we need to be safe and positive online are similar to what you need offline. And isn’t that the truth? You could easily take most of the guidelines I listed above and apply them to real-life situations.

National PTA has partnered with LifeLock to share awesome ways families can create an open, evolving conversation about positive, safe decisions when using digital tools. It’s all part of enjoying a happier, healthier lifestyle.

If you visit ShareAwesomeNow.org, you’ll find some great tools to help you create that open, ongoing conversation. One of them is a quick little quiz to test how awesome your digital citizenship skills are.

.
ShareAwesome ways to create an open conversation about safe decisions when using digital tools.
.

I took the quiz and even with our current efforts, there’s definitely room for improvement.

One of the easiest and coolest ways to participate in the #ShareAwesome campaign involves something your kids are (probably) doing every day…
.

Snap a photo of an awesome moment in your day and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the #ShareAwesome hashtag.

Students who enter the #ShareAwesome contest between September 15 and November 30, 2014 will have a chance to win fantastic prizes, including tablets and a $2,500 scholarship!

.
But the campaign isn’t just for students. The #ShareAwesome contest invites social media users like YOU to share a smart and safe decision, uplifting accomplishment, or pay-it-forward moment to inspire others using the hashtag #ShareAwesome on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Visit ShareAwesomeNow.org to learn more.
.

Speaking of sharing, I’d love for you to share your guidelines for online safety and/or digital sharing. Do they differ from the guidelines you’ve set for your kids? What guideline has been the most successful or easiest to implement?

.
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.
.

Glazed orange brownies & a Blendtec giveaway!

2014 November 11
by Emily Hill

Today I’m over at Your Homebased Mom posting a recipe for the most scrumptious glazed orange brownies as part of the Holiday Bake Craft Sew series.

.
Glazed orange brownies - I promise you will want to eat half the pan!

.

I kid you not when I say these glazed orange brownies are my family’s new favorite dessert. Believe it or not, they’re one of mine too.

And these brownies haven’t a single ounce of chocolate!

Even sweeter than those decadent, melt-in-your-mouth orange brownies is the awesome Blendtec giveaway we’re doing as part of the Holiday Bake Craft Sew. Just imagine all the yummy things you could whip up with this baby! You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. And good luck!

.
Homemade Holiday Bake Craft Sew Crochet
.

.
Blendtec Designer 725 Blender Giveaway

.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

.

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.

Sweet cilantro rice

2014 November 11
by Emily Hill

For George’s birthday dinner, he was all about the tacos. If he had his way, every night would be Taco Tuesday…and I’d be totally okay with that. To go with our homemade tacos, I made these crock pot refried beans (my favorite!) and a side of sweet cilantro rice.

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

.

I first posted this recipe almost three years ago. Back then I used a lot more stock photos due to my non-existent food photography skills. George’s birthday dinner was the perfect excuse to update the recipe with a couple (hopefully) mouthwatering non-stock photos.

Though I like my sweet cilantro rice on the sweeter side, feel free to adjust the sweetness according to taste. George wasn’t a fan of the 1/2 cup sugar; he had hoped for something a bit more savory. Next time I’ll cut it back to 1/4 cup. Maybe. If I’m feeling generous that day.

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

.
Printable recipe for sweet cilantro rice below.
.

Sweet Cilantro Rice
Author: 
Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This is one of my favorite side dishes though it's a bit too sweet for some people (namely my youngest kids). But I don't mind--that means larger helpings for me!
Ingredients
  • ½ to 1 T canola oil
  • ½ of a white onion, diced
  • ½ of a small bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1⅓ cup long grain white rice, uncooked
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ to ½ cup sugar depending on how sweet you want the rice
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar and broth in a medium bowl and whisk until sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Saute onion in oil over medium heat In a large saucepan until onion is translucent. Add cilantro and saute 1 minute. Add rice and saute until light golden brown.
  3. Add broth mixture to rice and bring to a boil. Cook on low 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is fully cooked and liquid is absorbed.
  4. NOTE: If rice isn't cooked before liquid is absorbed, add a little more chicken broth and simmer a few minutes longer. Serve immediately.

.

Here are some other Mexican recipes you might enjoy…

.
Mexican lasagna


Mexican lasagna

.

Cafe Rio Pork Tacos


Cafe Rio sweet pork tacos

.

Cilantro garlic chicken quesadillas


Cilantro garlic chicken quesadillas

.

Crock pot chicken tacos


Crock pot chicken tacos

.

If you’re as much a fan of Mexican food as we are, you’ll want to check out my “Mexican recipes” Pinterest board. It’s full of all kinds of dishes perfect for Taco Tuesday.

Follow Emily Hill’s board mexican recipes on Pinterest.

.

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.
.

Chewy chocolate brownies

2014 November 7
by Emily Hill

I’m all about chocolate brownies—the chewier and more chocolaty, the better. In fact, if you gave me a choice between chewy chocolate brownies and a Twix (my favorite candy bar), I’ll go with the brownie. Every time. Baked goods, especially decadent, chocolate, sinful baked goods always trump candy.

.
Chewy chocolate brownies -- super chocolaty and chewy. The perfect indulgence!

.
When I baked my batch, I didn’t keep them in the oven quite long enough so they came out a bit undercooked. (I didn’t have any complaints.) But if you prefer a more fully cooked brownie, bake them a bit longer.

.
Chewy chocolate brownies -- super chocolaty and chewy.

.
You know what I love most about baked goods like brownies and bundt cakes? All they need is a dusting of powdered sugar to look super fancy.

Or maybe a little more than a dusting if you tend to get a bit crazy with the powdered sugar.

.
Chewy chocolate brownies -- super chocolaty and chewy.

.
Printable recipe for chewy chocolate brownies below.
.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chewy Chocolate Brownies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Brownies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
These chewy chocolate brownies are the most decadent I've tasted. You may need to cook them a little longer than suggested, though slightly under-done brownies are just as yummy!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plus 5 T unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 2⅔ cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2⅔ cups flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch pan.
  2. Melt butter and cocoa over low heat in a medium saucepan. Pour into a large mixing bowl, add sugar and mix until creamy.
  3. Add eggs and beat until creamy. Add flour and salt; mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  4. Pour into greased pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (or more) until set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool completely before cutting into 15 to 18 squares. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

.

If you’re a fan of brownies (i.e., if you love yummy things), you might also like these baked goodies.

.
Chocolate Caramel Cookie Blondies Recipe


Chocolate caramel cookie blondies

.
German chocolate caramel brownies


German chocolate caramel brownies

.

And if you absolutely love brownies, you’ll definitely want to check out my “bars & brownies recipes” Pinterest board. It’s full of all kinds of drool-worthy dessert recipes.

Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {bars & brownies} on Pinterest.

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.

Relief for over-processed, over-styled bangs (and hair in general)

2014 November 5
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Hairfinity. All thoughts, opinions and honest-to-goodness belief this stuff works are 100 percent honest and all mine.

I know you people long-hair people don’t think us short-hair people have to deal with problems like split and/or dry ends and shedding. But trust me, we do. Because I visit the salon every five to six weeks and color my hair (usually blonde) every visit AND use a round brush/hot blow dryer combo to straighten those sassy bangs, the ends of said bangs are crazy dry. I end up using twice as much pomade as I need to keep those frizzed-out ends under control. And I’m pretty sure all that processing makes me shed more than my fellow non-processed pixie cuts.

I’ve tried shampoos and conditioners formulated specifically for dry, damaged hair and although they help in general, nothing seems to touch those bangs. That’s why I was intrigued by Hairfinity. At this point, I’m desperate to try anything, even a supplement whose bestselling effect is faster (and healthier) growing hair. I already visit the salon every five to six weeks. Faster hair growth isn’t my goal, but stronger, healthier is, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Hairfinity

First, the basics.

Hairfinity is a nutritional supplement formulated with essential nutrients for healthy hair. This hair specific formula contains Vitamins A, C, and D, a B-Vitamin Complex, Biotin, MSM, and more. Hairfinity is clinically proven to increase the hair growth rate by 155 percent while decreasing shedding. Two capsules are taken per day, and each bottle contains a one-month supply.

I started a one-month trial soon after my September haircut. Here are the before pictures. The second one is an attempt to show you how short I’d shaved the sides during that visit.

.
Hairfinity review before photo

Hairfinity review before 2
.

I took those Hairfinity supplements (almost) faithfully until my next visit only five weeks later. I’ll be honest, during those five weeks I did see–and feel–a change in my hair. It was softer, stronger and by dang if those bangs weren’t healthier. They sported far less frizz and were much easier to tame. I didn’t feel like I was frying the lower half of my hair every time it went through the round brush/blow dryer process. And I’m not just saying that.

I did my best taking “after” photos, but they are selfies and they are in my hallway, so don’t be too disappointed. The last photo shows just how much hair my stylist cut off…and I didn’t even go as short that visit!

.
Hairfinity review after photo

Hairfinity review after photo

Hairfinity review after
.

Being the nonbeliever I am, I decided to stop taking Hairfinity for one month to see if it was a placebo effect or if it really was helping.

I’m here to say it really does help. My bangs are back to their slightly fried, very over-processed selves. And with how short I shaved my sides this last visit, it’s going to be more than five weeks before I need to visit my stylist again. Sure, that saves on the hair budget, but it also means unhealthy hair. *sigh*

So if you’re looking to increase the rate of your hair growth, decrease average number of shed hairs and improve overall hair health, you may want to give Hairfinity a try. They offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so there’s really no risk. If you don’t see longer, stronger hair, simply request a refund. Oh, and the customer testimonials are pretty impressive.

.
Hairfinity review - before and after collage
.

.
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.
.

Totally random holiday gift guides

2014 November 4
by Emily Hill

A few weeks ago I featured a few of the eBay guides I’ve been hard at work writing. I wrote about a random collection of things, a few of which would make for great gift guides:

.
Since then I’ve added 12 more guides to my collection, and I must admit, they were pretty fun to create. As for my favorite eBay guide, it’s a toss-up between 15 Classic Toys Kids (and Adults) Still Love and 20 of the Most Popular “As Seen on TV” Products—both of those are fabulous gift guides, believe you me.

Take a look at the fun I’ve been having and feel free to pin a few for later reference. The fiction series guides have been popular as well as those amazing Disney princess costumes.

And yes, Elsa and Anna are on the list. Of course.

When I’m not writing guides, I’m curating collections. You can check out all my eBay fun on my emiscollections profile. (My emihill eBay ID is for the buying and selling of the things, which I’ve been doing for almost 17 years. Crazy.)

.
10 Young Adult Series Grownup Will Enjoy

.
15 Junior Fiction Series Kids Love

.
How to Bake the Perfect Bundt Cake

.
How to Host a Cookie Exchange

.
Give the Perfect Hostess Gift

.
Must-Haves for Holiday Entertaining

.
Best and Coolest Fitness Gadgets

.
20 of the Most Popular As Seen on TV Products

.
15 Classic Toys Kids and Adults Still Love

.
Ideas for Storing Holiday Decorations

.
Simply Beautiful Disney Princess Costumes

.
Superhero costumes

.

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.
.