Jalapeno Artichoke Dip – Costco Clone

This dip. GUYS. You have to try it. Creamy jalapeño artichoke dip. Yum, yum, YUM! Have you ever had the Costco version of this? It’s surprisingly delicious (and even more so when warmed up a bit!). What is it about dips?  They are so tasty and so easy!  We should all be making dips at home on a regular basis.  In my quest for duplicating restaurant/store bought items, I decided to give this a try. It was much easier than I thought. There’s only 5 ingredients – jalapeños, artichokes, cream cheese, mayo, and parmesan cheese. I played around until I found a version that I liked, and here it is.
Creamy Jalapeno artichoke dip - costco clone

 

 

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Pesto and Pea Pasta Salad

I had this pasta salad at a local sandwich shop and my daughter gobbled it up, so I wanted to try and duplicate it.  It was pretty easy and came out so good.  It will definitely be a staple for barbecues all summer long!

Pesto and Pea Pasta Salad

 

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No Bake S’mores Truffles

S’mores truffles.  No bake.  Gooey center; chocolatey, goodness. Ohhhemmmgeee. These are so good y’all. Like seriously good. I’ve been making Oreo balls for years. And man are those tasty. Why mess with a good thing, right? Unless of course you’re adding s’more to the title. Then you can mess with anything. There is pretty much no dessert in the world that wouldn’t taste better with a s’mores twist, amIriiight?
S'mores Truffles

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How to lose the baby weight without really trying

How to lose baby weight without sweating it out the gym every day.  Here’s my story.

I am now one year postpartum.  It’s about time I get back into shape.  Full disclosure:  I have lost all (and then some) of my baby weight without  much effort.  I know, I know.  Some of you might hate me.  But somehow it happened.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it all came off.  So here’s my story.  I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I was about 10 pounds above my normal weight the summer before I got pregnant.  I wasn’t working out and somehow it just happened.  I started my P90X journey, which had worked for me before, in September.  I found out I was pregnant in October.  I continued it for another month or so, but my OB was not fond of that kind of workout at all.  So I switched to running (until about 28 weeks or so) and barre.  I did barre three times a week up until 38 weeks and I loved it.  I really feel like it helped me throughout labor and most importantly my recovery.  I felt great afterwards, and planned to start working out at at 6 weeks postpartum, but, yeah…life happened.  Luckily, I was dropping pounds easily (Yeah breastfeeding!!).  It definitely didn’t “melt off”, and I hit some plateaus but by around the 5 months mark I was back at my ideal weight again.

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A letter to my daughter on her first birthday

layla birthday shot

To my daughter on her first birthday,

Layla – it’s hard to put into words how I feel today.  A year ago, you were born.  A year ago, on this day, for 23 hours and 51 minutes I didn’t know you – I didn’t know you were a girl – I didn’t know your name [Full disclosure – I didn’t know your name for another 24 hours after that].  You came into this world and I was forever changed.  You have made me smile more than I thought was possible – you filled a void in my heart that I didn’t know was empty. When you were born, the nurses in the hospital all consistently said a few things.  She is beautiful.  She is strong.  She will tell you what she wants.  At the time, I didn’t really get it.  How could a newborn exhibit such a personality already?  But they were right – boy were they right.  I am, of course, biased.  But I’ll say it.  You are the most beautiful baby I have ever laid my eyes on.  You have this sparkle in your eyes that melts hearts.  When you smile your whole face lights up.  I don’t have to be biased to know that you’re strong.  At a year, you are walking (practically running) and climbing everything in sight.  You are the opposite of a laid back baby – you are pretty vocal about getting when you want.  So, a year later, I’d like to say those nurses were right.

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Seared Opah with Capers, Tomatoes and Basil in a White Wine Sauce

opah 2

I saw Opah at my supermarket, and having never tried it, decided to give it a whirl.  The fish guy/monger/cutter (what are they even called?) reported that it was tasty and who is he to lie?  So I bought it.  It was fresh and wild caught, which means tasty and tastier in my books.  I was pretty sure I could stick a lemon on top and serve it and it would taste good, but what fun would that be?  So I came up with this concoction and I’m proud to say the food critic/chef/husband deemed it “really good”.  In Katie’s Confessions Blog speak, that means it was freakin amazing…so you should really get on this recipe, like stat.  Any firm white fish will do.  This was a thick, meaty fish and reminded me a lot of swordfish.  I haven’t seen it at my supermarket since, so I will keep this recipe handy next time they have swordfish.

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Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Carrots

chicken thigh pic

One pan y’all.  I promise.  That’s all you need.  I didn’t know if I could do it, but I did.  I’ve been making this really good, ok maybe even great bone in chicken thigh dish for years and I wanted to transform it into a one pan dinner.  So I did.  What is it about crispy golden chicken skin?  So. Darn. Good.  I never claimed to be a health nut, did I?  And I mean come on, it’s not like it’s loaded with MSG and thrown in a deep fryer.  So I render this a healthy meal.  You can interpret healthy however you want 😉

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Preventing a sunburn naturally

 

sunburn pic

Confession y’all.  I have gotten wayyy too many sunburns in my life.  I even have a sweet farmers tan going on in this picture (the result of a long day of yard work in Texas in November – who thinks of sunblock in November?!).  As a kid, my mom didn’t really believe in sunblock – I grew up in a time when lathering yourself with baby oil was actually cool!  We lived on solarcaine spray (does that stuff still exist?).  It provided some relief but didn’t actually prevent the burn from happening.  Now that it’s 2016 and I’m adulting (most days), I’m a lot smarter about sun protection.  And since summer is unofficially in full swing, it’s time to talk about preventing sunburns.   Ideally, you never have a sunburn, since you’re so with it with sun protection like me.  You’re covered up, using SPF and only going out in the mornings and evenings, right?  Mmmm hmmmm….

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Fried Egg BLTA

The fried egg is all the rage now.  Is there anything that you can’t put a fried egg on?  I’ve seen it show up on burgers, rice bowls, avocado toast, breakfast hashes, tacos, stir frys and on and on the list goes.  I see the soft boiled egg slowly creeping on the fried egg yumminess….maybe in 2017 we’ll all be like, fried eggs were sooo 2016.  Who knows.  That’s been known to happen before.  Remember those days when eggs were considered unhealthy!?  HA!  Or when sweet n low was considered a good alternative to sugar?  Double HA!

IMG_5055

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Angel Hair Pasta with Sauteed Shrimp in a Light Lemon Cream Sauce

shrimp pasta

 

There’s something about pasta in a creamy sauce that is so.darn.yummy, amIriiight??  This came together quickly and tastes like a restaurant quality meal.  I have this tendency to overcook shrimp – don’t fall into that trap.  It takes, maybe, 2 minutes per side.  As soon as that shrimp starts turning pink – flip it.  Overcooked shrimp is never a good thing. 

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