‘Tis the Season to Give: Operation #TwinHillsSanta

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Our family loves the opportunity to help others when we are able. So many people have been generous to us in our lives and we love to pay it forward when we can. Many times we like to give silently, but this time we decided to be part of something much bigger than our family can do on our own. My friend Colleen, who is a food blogger, had the idea to reach out to other bloggers, as well as some of our brand contacts, to pull off a fantastic holiday surprise for 21 children who live in a small remote village in Alaska. The only ways in or out of this village are by bush plane or a small boat via the rough Nushagak River. Over 20 bloggers from PA, NJ & DE jumped on board and #TwinHillsSanta began to take off.

Pay it Forward Twin Hill Santa

A friend of Colleen’s took a teaching position in the village of Twin Hills this year. Dani didn’t know what to expect when she packed up and moved from Pennsylvania, however she has fallen in love with the people, their culture, and Alaska. She has 16 students ages 4-13, and the village has 5 additional kids under 4. There are no places for the 76 residents to work or shop, so they live simply, with very little possessions.  As a matter of fact while discussing Christmas and Santa recently one day in school, one of the younger kids said simply, “Santa doesn’t come to Alaska.”  

Let that sink in for a second….

….it isn’t necessarily about a kid believing in Santa. It’s about the fact that a kid could believe something so magical could exist elsewhere but not for them.  Well this year is going to be different. This year these kids have one heck of a surprise being prepared for them!! We reached out to some of our contacts and I am so excited to share with you that they hopped right on board!  

Brands that are Paying it Forward with Operation #TwinHillsSanta

Lee Jeans is sending clothes to the kids, those kids are going to be so excited and well dressed!!

CVS Pharmacy is sending all kinds of personal products, from toothbrushes to scrubbies and body washes, shampoos to chapstick, candy, small toys, and so much more!

Nuby USA jumped in to send the younger children sippy cups, infant and toddler toothbrushes & toothpaste, toys and fun feeding plates & utensils!  

Tyrrells English Chips (who has the most fun website) sent cases of their crazy delicious chips – those kids are going to be happily crunching away on a new-to-them snack!

And speaking of snacks, Pretzel Crisps sent cases of their crazy good pretzels – Boy are the kiddos in for a tasty treat! I see new fans just ahead!

Educational Insights was happy to send the kids learning games, reading games, puzzle toys, and more.  These kids are going to be happy, busy, and fine tuning their skills as they play!

Kind Snacks shipped some of their healthy AND tasty Kind Bars to the kids. Those will get them pumped up and full of energy!

DecoArt sent a bunch of craft supplies to the kids who I hear are LOVE making things and crafting any chance they get, they are going to be blown away!

How awesome are these 8 companies who said YES to pay-it-forward!  When stories like this reach my ears it makes me an even more loyal customer OR it makes me want to try/support a brand I am not familiar with!  Thank you all!

Beyond everything these brands did, all of the bloggers involved made sure every kid will get new pajamas, hats, scarves, gloves, and more!  Then additional friends, some bloggers and many who are not, heard what was happening and either grabbed USPS flat rate boxes or hopped on Amazon to send stuff the kids way!

I can’t wait to share the joy these kids experience when they see Christmas hit their town. The pilot who flies in and out of Twin Hills with deliveries won’t know what hit him and neither will the post office!  

Magic is in the air!!  When people come together…great things happen!
Thank you Lee Jeans, CVS Pharmacy, Nuby USA, Tyrrells English Crisps,Pretzel Crisps, Educational Insights, Kind Snacks and DecoArt for making THIS a very special Christmas for 21 children, who I know are going to be so very grateful!

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Say LOVE with Something from Christmas Village

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In the middle of bustling Philadelphia is a park known as LOVE Park. People far and wide will recognize the sculpture it is named after. Many a tourist stops to snap a picture anytime of year, but this is quite possibly the best time of year to visit LOVE Park. In the middle of this crazy holiday season, take a step back and find some holiday activities in Philadelphia.  When you do so, make sure you add a visit to LOVE Park and the Christmas Village. Come hungry and bring your shopping list, because ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’ to get hand crafted gifts and special food gifts.

Christmas Village Philadelphia | www.realthekitchenandbeyond.com

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Holiday Party Recipes: Chipotle Turkey Cranberry Sandwiches

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Happy Holidays and #SeasonedGreetings from Real: The Kitchen and Beyond and #CollectiveBias. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Goodbye boring, hello SMOKIN’! Thanksgiving has passed, and if you are like me, you stashed some of that leftover turkey in the freezer for a rainy day. You can always go buy some deli meat turkey – the good kind – and use that if you don’t have a secret turkey stash. If you are looking for holiday party recipes, we have the perfect one for this time of year. Tabasco and I are taking leftover turkey sandwiches to a whole new level. We are turning Thanksgiving leftovers into a perfect holiday party appetizer.

Holiday Party Recipes Chipotle Turkey Cranberry Sandwiches with Tabasco  | www.realthekitchenandbeyond.com

 If you must know, my eyes lit up when I saw that Tabasco has some new sauces. We all know that bottle with orange sauce and a red cap, right? It’s iconic for Tabasco. Kiss those classic thoughts goodbye. There’s a new Tabasco in town and it’s named Chipotle. The instant I heard chipotle I thought of my current obsession – cranberries. I just knew the smoky heat of the chipotle sauce would be perfection with a sweet cranberry jam and was I ever right.

Holiday Party Recipes Chipotle Turkey Cranberry Sandwich Ingredients | www.realthekitchenandbeyond.com

 I am so in love with this Tabasco Chipotle Sauce. While Tabasco has traditionally been considered a hot sauce, it doesn’t just add some heat, it adds FLAVOR, and Tabasco Chipotle adds a smoky heat that not only pairs well with leftover turkey and cranberry jam for turkey sandwiches, but will also make a killer buffalo salmon on my new grill. I cannot lie, I made a little chipotle mayo to go on the side and couldn’t stop tasting it. It is so addicting.

Holiday Party Recipes Chipotle Turkey Cranberry Sandwich Prep | www.realthekitchenandbeyond.com

 My mouth is watering for more already. Check out more great holiday party recipes and ways you can use Tabasco Sauces to make your holiday party a #SeasonedGreetings party.

Chipotle Turkey Cranberry Sandwiches

Printable Recipe

Sandwich Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound turkey breast – leftover turkey or lunch meat
  • 12 mini rolls
  • Chipotle Cranberry Sauce (recipe below)
  • Few slices Smoked Gouda (not aged), Jarlsberg Cheese, or 2 ounces Brie
  • Optional Chipotle Mayonnaise (recipe below)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Open rolls and put turkey on each roll.
  • Add a teaspoon of Chipotle Cranberry Sauce.
  • Top with sliver of cheese.
  • Put top of roll on and put in oven for 7 minutes.

Makes 12 mini sandwiches. Serve with Chipotle Mayo.

Holiday Party Recipes: Chipotle Turkey Cranberry Sandwiches | www.realthekitchenandbeyond.com

Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Sauce

Directions:

  • Cook all ingredients over medium heat, stirring often, until thick.
  • Takes approximately 7 minutes.

Holiday Party Recipes Chipotle Turkey Cranberry Sandwiches | www.realthekitchenandbeyond.com

Chipotle Mayo

Chipotle Mayo Directions:

  • Mix together 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle Sauce.
  • Serve. #SeasonedGreetings Tabasco Chipotle at Walmart

 More Great Holiday Inspired Recipes

Cranberry Ginger Crumble Bars

Cranberry Ginger Crumble Bars are a fresh cranberry recipe that will make your mouth water and look pretty on your dessert plate. | www.realthekitchenandbeyond.com

Clementine Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Clementine Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Gorgonzola Beef Stroganoff

Gorgonzola Beef Stroganoff Recipe #holidaytradition #recipe

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Frugal Meal Planning: Meal Plan 5

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We are approaching week five in our frugal meal planning series. I have to say that having meal plan every week has been crucial to me this season of busyness with work, compiled with being a little short financially.

Our refrigerator and cabinets are starting to lose that bloat of odd and ends stuffing them. You know, the things no one wants to eat? It’s good to see just how much food we really do have. In fact, I am planning on finishing off the odds and ends before I do a “real” grocery shop.  This will also help offset costs from my daughter’s birthday. Would you believe that child wants hot dogs and mac and cheese from a box?

This week is a little low on actual recipes but all meals are easy. That’s the biggest thing this time of year, right? I know if I am going to set myself up to WIN at this meal thing it has to be doable for my week. 

frugal meal planning meal plan 5

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Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Popcorn Balls

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When we went on our road trip a few months ago we were given a bag of Popcorn Indiana Sriracha Popcorn by Whole Foods Devon. You might guess this but it’s SUPER SPICY. We couldn’t eat it by itself but mixed it into trail mix. At that time I thought it would work great as the base of a popcorn ball recipe. I was right and the idea for Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Popcorn Balls was born. 

sweet and spicy sriracha popcorn ball recipe | www.realthekitchenandbeyond.com

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Frugal Meal Planning: Meal Plan 4

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The last few weeks have gone so fast. How are you doing on your budget? Has frugal meal planning helped your budget out? I know it has been helpful for me, especially as this coming week I find I miscalculated and have almost nothing in grocery money. Yup, I spent too much on Black Friday/Christmas shopping.

frugal meal planning meal plan 4

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DIY Christmas Decorations with Apples

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My family loves apples. In fact, they love apples so much it is surprising they didn’t protest about me using some for DIY Christmas decorations. I love the look of dried apple ornaments and they are so easy to make. Plus they are a frugal decoration. One apple will provide plenty of ornaments for your tree, window, or a pretty centerpiece. 

DIY Christmas Decoration with Apples | www.realthekitchenandbeyond.com

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Cyber Monday and Christmas Shopping: Fiction Book Gift Guide

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Clean Fiction Books Holiday Gift Guide 1

I love a good clean fiction book and I love a good deal. Here are the picks that made it on my Christmas shopping fiction book gift guide. Some deals are special for Cyber Monday so grab them while they’re HOT PRICES. All books listed as ebooks but all but the sets come in paperback format also. In this busy season, grab a good book for some leisure reading or grab one to gift to someone without breaking the bank.


Christmas Diamond, an Inspirational Romantic Novella (The Jewel Series Book 5) – **FREE**

Love Brings Us Home (Inspirational Romance Box Set): Seven Christian Romances Celebrating Faith and Family **SEVEN Books – $0.99 – LIMITED TIME**

Greater Than Rubies (Inspirational Romance) (The Jewel Series Book 2) – **FREE**

Red Hot Squeaky Clean ROMANCE collection (Boxed Set): Ten Shades of Inspirational Romance **TEN Books – $2.99 – LIMITED TIME**

A Melody for James (Romantic Suspense) (Song of Suspense Series Book 1) – **CYBER MONDAY – $1.99 – CYBER MONDAY** **Normally $5.99**

An Aria for Nick (Romantic Suspense) (Song of Suspense Series Book 2) – **CYBER MONDAY – $1.99 – CYBER MONDAY** **Normally $5.99**

A Carol for Kent (Romantic Suspense) (Song of Suspense Series Book 3) – **CYBER MONDAY – $1.99 – CYBER MONDAY** **Normally $5.99**

The Wounded Warrior’s Wife – **CYBER MONDAY – $0.99 – CYBER MONDAY** **Edited by me and truly a fantastic read.**

Sophie’s Heart – **$9.99 – an all-time favorite**

Raspberries and Vinegar (A Farm Fresh Romance Book 1) – **$2.99 – a great read**

**Real: The Kitchen and Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.**

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Frugal Meal Planning: Meal Plan 3

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Frugal meal planning is great every time of year but for many people, the holidays are one of the seasons we all need frugal meal planning ideas the most. What would be more fitting than to have our third meal plan in the series on the weekend holiday shopping commences?

Frugal Meal Planning Meal Plan 3

This meal plan is great anytime of year, but just after Black Friday shopping totals are added up and Cyber Monday is about to let loose, budget friendly meals are even more valuable. This week I am going to give you a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu, but I am also going to do an extra menu of Thanksgiving leftovers recipes. The more leftovers you have from Thanksgiving the more budget friendly this grocery week will be….

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7 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

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Who has leftover turkey overflowing the refrigerator? We weren’t home for Thanksgiving, which means we (sadly) have no Thanksgiving Leftovers. I love Thanksgiving leftovers and can happily eat them for a week so here are 7 Thanksgiving leftover recipes that help you stretch that turkey while enjoying a variety of meals and flavors. Now I am off to find a turkey so I can have “Thanksgiving leftovers”.  

Some of these recipes use chicken but all you need to do is swap chicken for turkey and you have some fantastic meals this week that will help you with some frugal meal planning in this season of spending. 

7 thanksgiving leftover recipes | www.realthekitchenandbeyond.com

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