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The Only Spinach Dip Recipe You Need

spinach dip recipe these are your days eternal reflections photography making memories

I have tasted so many different versions of Spinach Dip – and this one is still my favorite.

1 cup Sour Cream

1 cup Mayo/Miracle Whip

dash garlic powder

1 medium minced onion

1 Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix

1 Package thawed, chopped, and drained spinach (squeeze in your hand to let out all the water). I usually use about 1/2 of the package instead of the entire thing.

spinach dip recipe these are your days cute like me eternal reflections photography making memories

Mix together and refrigerate 1-2 hours. Take out insides of Round Sourdough Loaf and cut/tear into bite sized pieces (I buy a second loaf and cut it into pieces because there never seems to be enough bread). Spoon Spinach Dip into hollowed out loaf and serve. This is an excellent dish to take to a party – I’m usually the one permanently parked beside it. lol

Baked Brunch Omelet

Do you have company coming and want to make a great breakfast as easy as possible? I first had this delicious casserole in 2010, when a bunch of us were at a chalet skiing (I was not among the skiing crew but instead helped watch the kids so others could). It is so delicious and great for large groups. It essentially tastes like a giant omelet, so if that’s your kind of thing then you’ll love this too!

photo from allrecipes.com

 

Don’t be scared to add some ingredients of your own or change things up a bit to suit your tastes – add red pepper, onion, bacon instead of ham, sourdough bread, etc.. This recipe can be found on allrecipes– a favorite site of mine.

Baked Brunch Omelet

1/2 loaf of white bread, cut into cubes

1 1/2 pounds shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup cubed cooked ham

8 eggs

2 cups milk

1 pinch salt

1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste

1/4 cup chopped green onion

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. Place half of the bread cubes on bottom of baking pan. Sprinkle with half of the ham and then half of the cheese; repeat.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, salt, hot sauce and green onions. Pour egg mixture into pan.
  4. Place pan on top of a baking sheet with a rim and place in oven. Pour water into baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes, or until eggs have set.(I totally skip the whole water/baking sheet thing….and just bake it like normal)

I also topped with a diced red pepper just because I like them and it made it look really pretty. This recipe has been given 4 1/2 stars on allrecipes and it’s no surprise why. It is REALLY yummy and was kind of fun for me to do something different.

Gluten Free Crepes!

My late father in law always made the best crepes – we loooove them and have them every Christmas morning (tradition).  But I wanted to try the recipe with Gluten Free flour to see if there would be any difference.  

photo from associatedcontent.com

 

So I made crepes the regular way for the family and this new way for me….and if you want the truth – you can’t tell the difference. Seriously. I had my husband take a bite of mine and he was pleasantly impressed. He’s pretty picky about his crepes….he has a bit of papa pride and always has and always will think his dad’s are the best. So it’s nice to know that the gluten free variety is just as satisfying and tasty.

 

photo from squidoo.com

 

 

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup flour (or gluten free flour mix)

4 Tbsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsp melted butter

1/2 Tbsp vanilla

*Stir first 3 ingredients, then add milk and eggs on top. Beat until smooth (I just used a spoon but a mixer would be fine too). Add the last two ingredients and mix well. Cover (saran wrap) and chill for 4-6 hours {we always do overnight}. Add more milk for desired consistency.*

 

Delicious Homemade Tomato Soup

Ah yes…one of my favorites. Often my mom and I would have grilled cheese or tuna  sandwiches and tomato soup on Sunday afternoons….we loved it. There was something really cozy about it and felt to me like one of those bonding moments. One of those memories that sticks. So naturally I’m pretty excited that my daughter also loves tomato soup – ah and so the bonding continues. 🙂

Several years ago, while visiting family in Utah, my cousin made us this delicious homemade tomato soup! It was DIVINE! I love finding a way to make favorites in a healthier version, and since it’s cold and snowy here,  it’s perfect soup weather.

Here’s the recipe:

4 Tomatoes

1/2 small onion

4 small bay leaves

1 tsp celery salt

2 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Cook for 30 minutes (I covered in water), then add 1/4 tsp baking soda to tomato mixture

While tomatoes are cooking, make white sauce in a big pot:

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour {or GF flour}

1 cup milk

Strain tomatoes through mesh strainer (I just blended it all – but did pull the peels off the tomatoes first and tossed them). Add strained tomato juice slowly to qhite sauce and keep beating while adding. DO NOT add the white sauce to the tomatoes or it will curdle. I know, weird but true.

As per my cousin’s changes I didn’t use just tomatoes and onions, and instead added, peppers, apples, carrots, and celery. It was delicious….I made some adjustments as I went…flavoring as I went – I used celery seed instead of celery salt…only added a bit of salt and also added some oregano and parsley…I didn’t have Bay leaves….but I really think in lots of ways this soup is difficult to ruin.

Worth making for sure…play around with it…add something new…it all gets blended up anyways 🙂

Taco Soup

I first posted this recipe exactly 6 years ago today and it remains one of my fall favorites. It’s perfect for those chilly days that remind you winter is just around the corner (*I’ll miss you summer*) or those snowstorm days when all you wanna do is hang out in your pyjamas and curl up with the fam….it’s a hearty meal that always makes me feel like we are well fed. You can modify it to your liking, though this is exactly how I make it (except most times I use less meat than it calls for – by about half). I wouldn’t change a thing, but then I LOVE beans (black happen to be my favorite) and honestly everything about this dish. It makes me happy and almost makes me excited for the winter. almost.

2 lbs hamburger
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 taco seasoning packages
3 tsp chili powder
1 (10oz) can beef broth
1 (15 oz) can tomato paste
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can crushed tomatoes (I blend them up first)
1 can green chilis
1 can of corn
Grated cheese

Brown hamburger with onion and garlic; add taco seasoning. chili powder, and green chilis. Put in a big pot on the stove or slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients and a can or more of water to desired consistency. Let cook through (on low it can be left for an hour or more) and serve with sour cream, grated cheese, and tortilla chips (my new favorite to use is corn chips….mmmmm).

ENJOY!

Orange/Almond Salad

This is probably my favorite salad of all time. I love making homemade dressing and being able to have a pretty salad to put it on just makes it even better….and more delicious!

For the dressing, blend together:

2 chopped green onion stalks

1/3 cup vinegar

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp prepared mustard

1 cup vegetable oil (added slowly while blending)…Mazola, Canola, or Crisco…though Olive oil can be used as well

And, to make a pretty salad to put it on:

I prefer spring mix lettuce with some spinach leaves added. But Romaine is great too

Add diced cucumbers and purple onions (thinly sliced)

Add sugared* almonds or pecans (pecans are my fave)

Slice strawberries, pears, oranges (or canned ones), raspberries, blackberries, etc. And some or all….the colour mixture looks sooo pretty and the flavours are so good!

And cheese – you can’t forget about the cheese! Feta is my favorite, but Parmesan, Swiss Emmental, among others would work just fine!

Pour some dressing over and mix – it doesn’t generally take a whole lot so it’s best to mix before adding more.

This is an excellent salad to take to a BBQ or Potluck and always gets rave reviews and future requests.

*To sugar the almonds/pecans, add equal parts melted margarine and sugar (white) in a pan (I melt the margarine there and then add the sugar). Mix and pour in almonds/pecans until coated. Cook over medium heat until they start browning….be careful, they can burn easily. Remove from heat and dish onto plate to cool. Then break apart and add to the salad.*

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple

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I’ve made this so many times and every time I do someone *demands* the recipe. They really are that good…and in my opinion waaaay better than bacon wrapped *anything else*. I love them so much and could sit and eat a whole dish myself (I don’t, but definitely could).

This recipe is from Allrecipes.com – one of my favourite recipe sites when I need something delicious

1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into thirds
1 (20oz) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained (I have used tidbits and chunks and surprisingly prefer the tidbits)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chili sauce {or ketchup also works}

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Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, mayonnaise, and chili sauce, and pour into a shallow baking dish. Wrap each chunk of pineapple with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick, and lay in sauce. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until bacon is crispy on the edges and the sauce is bubbly.

Tip: I cut the bacon into thirds and bake it for about 10-15 minutes first. And just a bit to drip off some grease, I like to lay it on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet in the oven. 🙂

Enjoy!!!

Pass the Guacamole

My favourite thing to eat while in Mexico and one of my favourite snacks of all time, Guacamole always hits the spot.

There are so many different guacamole recipes, but this one is easily my favourite.

Enjoy!!!!

 

4 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed

1/4 fresh lemon juice

1/2 mixed dressing/mayonnaise/miracle whip

1/4 chopped onion {optional}

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp pepper

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced {optional}

**This recipe freezes well (without tomatoes) so if you want to make a large batch and save some for another time you can!!!**

The Ultimate Taco Dip

A couple of months ago I couldn’t decide whether to make my usual taco dip or have a taco (I had leftover taco meat in the fridge)…so I decided to mix the two. And oh my heavens….the result was absolutely scrumptious and became a repeat *offender* in this house!!! I took it for a girly night and got rave reviews – it is seriously soooo good!

My usual taco dip recipe –

Layer:

Refried Beans

Guacamole

Mixture of 2 parts sour cream/1 part mayonnaise or miracle whip and some taco seasoning to taste

Sprinkle with cheese

Here’s how I changed it up!!!

Layer:

Refried Beans

Guacamole

Sour Cream/Mayo and taco seasoning mixture

Taco meat (I like to make it a little spicy…Epicure’s Fajita mix is awesome!!!)

Sprinkle with diced white onion, jalapenos (I use the jarred ones), and red or orange peppers.

Cover with grated cheese – I use old cheddar

**You could put black olives on if you wanted like in the photo or anything else you’d like**

Bake at 350 until cheese is melted.

This is by far my favorite indulgent snack right now….but it’s certainly not low on the calorie list so I try not to make it too much. lol But it is seriously  SO good!!!

I eat it with regular tostitos, though the sea salt and lime Old Dutch tortilla chips would be amazing (they are just twice the calories so I’ve been avoiding them).

 

Why Do We Say That Blood Is Thicker Than Water?

I know we’ve all heard it a hundred times in our lives and it’s usually meant to imply that our blood bonds are stronger than anything. That our loyalty to them is deeper and forever and those relationships are worth saving at all costs.

Image result for blood is thicker than water

While I believe relationships take effort, I don’t believe they should take work, at least not on a long term, ongoing basis. I do believe certain relationships warrant more effort or possibly work based on their origin, but I understand more than ever, the value of surrounding yourself and filing your life with *your people*.

And I don’t believe *your people* has to only or always mean those who share your blood. And here’s why:

I was adopted and so was my brother. As a result, I am blood related to exactly 2 people.

TWO PEOPLE.

Only two that, based on this statement, I should feel a sense of loyalty and lifelong obligation to. And I do, believe me I do, but it’s only because I chose and was able to have biological children (and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we are biologically related, just to be clear). 

 

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{Photo Credit: Eternal Reflections Photography}

You might understand why such a statement would rub me the wrong way. My cousin has 2 biological children and 2 adopted children (who are also biological siblings), but at the end of the day she has 4 children. Period. And they love and protect each other with the same fierceness, regardless of their *blood status* within the family. Her and I have spoken often of this, particularly when certain issues have come up in our own lives and extended families. Or in the lives of our friends. We have to stop this….

Blood is NOT thicker than water.

Love your families and do what you can to keep those relationships strong and positive – because in many ways, those SHOULD be your people. Or a good foundation of people, at the very least. But let’s not do it because they share blood and instead because we value their existence and role in our lives.

How about love is love. Loyalty is loyalty. The people who matter to you are the people who matter to you. Period.

Because I’ve got friends who are like sisters and cousins who are like strangers, children of friends who are no different than my nieces and nephews (who I love like my own) and adults who are like extensions of parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles – to me and my children. There is no definitive blood line I need to follow and maybe it’s because I just simply don’t have one I could follow.

But please just think next time you consider using such a phrase. I know you likely mean well and I understand the point you might be trying to illustrate. But how about next time when you want a relationship to work out, you simply say:

You matter to me.