Slow Cooker Spinach Cauliflower Dip

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Spinach Cauliflower Dip

Slow Cooker Spinach Cauliflower Dip

Spinach and Artichoke Dip is one of those things that everyone loves! However, my heart goes with this Slow Cooker Spinach Cauliflower Dip, why? Well my friends, mainly because it gets done in your Crockpot while you are getting ready for your party, or gathering, or book club, or any other moment that requires a good dip.

So basically this is not only delicious but is as hands off as a homemade dip can possibly get, it’s also a delicious twist from the traditional recipe while keeping all the things that we already know and love.

For me, the reason why this is so delicious is because it’s creamy and velvety and just really jam packed with a ton of flavor, and there’s the fact that it has crispy bacon on top that just makes anything better.

Another great thin about this recipe? It’s a melty combo of cream cheese and mozzarella cheese and sour cream (seriously add the sour cream, it’s a game changer!) everything held together by bright spinach and uber flavorful and soft cauliflower. Man, just thinking about it is making me crave it again.

Now this is when the magic happens. Just throw everything into your slow cooker and let it work out for you. Seriously, it’s just a matter of measuring everything (or eyeballing it), throwing it in there and letting it sit for 2 hours. The only thing that you really need to cook, and that’s if you like it crispy (but who doesn’t?), is the bacon, but you could also throw it in there to get all the bacon flavor (sans the crispiness) and without cooking anything else.

Spinach Cauliflower Dip Recipe

Finally, serve it with crackers and bread or go healthy and serve it with a platter of crudites, or you know just eat it with a spoon, it can be our little secret.

Ingredients

  • – 6 Bacon strips
  • – 1 Cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • – 1 Cup sour cream
  • – ½ Cream cheese brick
  • – 1 Cup cauliflower florets
  • – 1 Cup spinach leaves
  • – ¼ Cup green onions
  • – 1 Tsp oregano
  • – Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • – Chop the cauliflower florets into small pieces and transfer to a slow cooker.
  • – Add the cream cheese, sour cream, mozzarella cheese, spinach, half the green onions, oregano, salt and pepper.
  • – Cook for 2 hours over high.
  • – Cut the bacon strips into small pieces and cook them until crispy in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • – Pour the mix into a serving bowl and top with the bacon and remaining green onions.
  • – Serve with crackers and enjoy.

Slow Cooker Spinach Cauliflower Dip

How to Throw the Ultimate Tiki Party

This post is sponsored by Wayfair.
Tiki Party

Summer is here and summer nights practically beg for a party, right?  Summer music playing, fresh squeezed lemonade, a giant inflatable pineapple floating in the pool, and kids running around in hula skirts.  I can picture it now!

Here are some ideas for creating some fun summer memories with The Ultimate Tiki Party!  Click on the pictures below to be taken to the product detail page on Wayfair.com.

Quinoa Black Bean Chicken Burrito Bowl

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BlockPartyHero #CollectiveBias

Quinoa Black Bean Chicken Burrito Bowl

Quinoa Black Bean Chicken Burrito Bowl

Summer is officially here and that means parties!  Yes, cook outs, block parties, Father’s Day celebrations, 4th of July get togethers, and one that is near and dear to my heart – birthday parties!!  My darling daughter is turning another year older and it’s time to celebrate.  {Check out my Top 5 Summer Party Planning Tips at the bottom of this post,}

Pink and Gold Party

In preparation for my little party, I went to Sam’s Club to get a few ingredients. I was able to grab a nice 32 oz 6-pack of Swanson Chicken Broth.  Chicken broth is one of my go to flavor-staples.  It’s good for mashed potatoes to soup so I was thankful to find it in bulk – but still small and usable sized containers.  For this burrito bowl I decided to swap our rice for quinoa (which I’ll get to in a minute) and instead of using water to cook my quinoa I substituted Swanson Chicken Broth instead.  Brilliant, right?  It’s delicious.

Block Party Hero

Sam’s Club also sells truRoots Quinoa which is nice for me because since I discovered quinoa I’ve been adding quinoa to just about everything I can.  Macaroni and cheese? Yes!  Muffins? Yes!  As a substitute for rice?  Yes!  It’s a protein rich ancient grain and the truRoots Quinoa is Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.

Burrito Bowl Ingredients

I already had this burrito bowl post in mind when I came across the new Pace Organic Medium Salsa.  My imagination told me to take the leap and add it to my recipe but I’m not usually much of a risk taker.  However, I’m glad I gave it a try because it is amazing and so much easier than chopping everything by hand.  The medium heat gives it just enough kick without sending me running in search of the milk.  My family grew up eating Pace salsa with chips and I’m glad to see that they now have a Certified USDA Organic option.  This won’t be the last time that I’ll be cooking with salsa to add a lot of flavor to dishes.

Quinoa Chicken Burrito Bowl

These Chicken Quinoa Chicken Burrito Bowls are easy to make with a little prep work (and I have a short cut listed here too!).  It’s naturally gluten-free, includes protein rich quinoa, and tastes delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

BURRITO BOWL INGREDIENTS:

  • –  2 cups cooked truRoots Quinoa (see instructions below)
  • –  1 batch seasoned chicken (see recipe below)
  • –  2 tbs of chopped cilantro
  • –  1 can (15 oz) black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • –  1 can (15 oz) corn (drained and rinsed)
  • –  1 cup Pace Organic Medium Salsa
  • –  ¼ cup shredded cheese (any type of cheese you prefer)

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS:

  • –  Guacamole
  • –  Sour Cream
  • –  Chopped red onions
  • –  Chopped peppers

CHICKEN INGREDIENTS:

  • –  4 lbs. chicken breasts
  • –  Juice from two fresh oranges and two fresh limes
  • –  1/2 cup olive oil
  • –  2 tsp. cumin
  • –  2 tsp. oregano
  • –  4 tsp. chili powder
  • –  4 cloves garlic minced

QUINOA DIRECTIONS:

  • –  Make as directed but substitute Swanson Chicken Broth for the water.  It will give it an extra kick of delicious flavor!

DIRECTIONS:

TO MAKE THE SEASONED CHICKEN:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl to marinate and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (we usually opt for overnight-48 hours).  {If you’re like me and you just found this recipe today for a meal tonight you can also rub the chicken with taco seasoning before cooking. 😉  Also, don’t tell anyone but I’ve even made this with leftover rotisserie chicken!}
  2. Grill the chicken OR heat a pan on medium/high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes per side.  Once cooked turn off the heat and allow chicken to “rest” for 5 minutes before dicing into smaller pieces.

TO MAKE THE CHICKEN QUINOA BURRITO BOWLS:

After you’ve cooked the chicken and quinoa and warmed the black beans and rice, divide the quinoa evenly between your serving bowls.  Divide the chicken, black beans, corn and toppings onto the bowls.  Sprinkle each bowl with some shredded cheese and serve immediately.   Enjoy!

Pretty Party Ideas

My Top 5 Suggestions for Planning a Summer Party

  1. Grab all the party looking supplies you have in one area before making your shopping list.  There’s no reason to buy another package of napkins when you have five hidden in your home.
  2. Don’t be afraid to use things you already have that aren’t necessarily party supplies.  That golden “E” above fit our girlie party decor perfectly but it wouldn’t be found in the party section of any store.  That strip of fabric just brightens the table but it came from my craft supplies.
  3. Don’t make everything from scratch!  Besides the sandwiches for the kids above and the delicious Chicken Quinoa Chicken Burrito Bowls (which was well worth the effort!) everything was store bought…and might I add cuter than if I made it myself.  Those daisy flowers came right out of a box as did those butterfly pretzels.  Give yourself permission to focus your cooking on what matters most to you and buy or order the rest of the food.
  4. Plan, plan, plan but don’t fret when things go wrong at the party.  As long as you prepared as best you could you know you did your part.  Just relax and enjoy time with friends and family…after all, that’s why you got together in the first place!
  5. Along with number 4, you need to plan for rain.  Summers around here are notorious for five minute downpours.  It’s a good idea to have a canopy ready or a clean (enough) house that your guests can retreat to if need be.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips and recipe.  What kind of get-togethers do you have planned?  How will you be a #BlockPartyHero this summer?

Play Dough Party Favors

Affiliate links are used in this post for your convenience. 

Play Dough Party Favors

One of our readers, Ashley Lombardi, in pursuit to Live With Less decided this year to make homemade play dough to give as a party favor instead of a plastic toy with all the bells and whistles.  I thought it was such a great idea that I wanted to share it with you!

Materials List:

Total time should be around 40 minutes.

Homemade Play Dough

This recipe makes 8 small batches that will fit in these small jelly jars perfectly.

DIY Play Dough

For full instructions visit Living Well Spending Less.

Pool Party Checklist

Thanks to Bananna Boat® for sponsoring this pool party post!

There’s nothing better than playing in water with friends on a hot summer day!  A pool party is a staple of summertime.  A kids pool party isn’t only great for birthday parties but they’re perfect for any summer get together with friends!  There’s no reason to rent out the local pool when you can have a fun (and less expensive) pool party at your home.  Read on for my tips to throw a stellar, low-stress pool party.

Pool

The Pool:
With the wide variety of pools today you can have a splash pool for babies, a kiddie pool with a slide built in for toddlers, and a deeper one for the big kids all in the same yard.

Activities:
The great thing about a pool party is you really don’t have to hire entertainment or plan games. Kids of all ages will have a great time just playing, splashing and creating their own games.  A sprinkler, water toys, and a few inflatable balls wouldn’t hurt though.

Banana Boat Sunscreen

Sunscreen Station:
How many times have you gone somewhere that’s right out in the open sun and kick yourself for forgetting sunscreen?  I know I have!  Set up a sunscreen station for kids and adults to use.  Trust me, parents are going to truly appreciate this favor.  I love Banana Boat® because it’s tested in 7 different conditions – sun, wind, sweat, sand, and extreme heat to provide safe and effective UVB protection for your family.  Banana Boat® even has baby sunscreen!

Justin Roberts

Music:
One of the best ways to create a fun and festive pool party is to add music. Create a playlist or just turn the radio on.  A few summer songs that I think should be on every pool party playlist include: Justin Roberts‘ (pictured above with my daughter!) Kickboard, Baby, Yeah, “Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin, “Heat Wave” by Martha and the Vendellas, and any number of songs by the Beach Boys.

Food:
In my experience kids don’t really eat much at parties because they are so distracted.  Have a few snacks set out so they can come by and munch without wasting a whole plate of food.  Snacks like grapes and watermelon can be a hydrating and refreshing treat, while peanuts can give them protein.  Whatever snacks you serve don’t forget to leave out pitchers of water or lemonade for your guests to enjoy.

Party Favors:
Party favors aren’t a must-have by any means but sometimes they are a nice way to tell your guests that you appreciated them coming.  Sending home each guest with a bottle of Banana Boat® sunscreen is a sure-fire way to give them a gift that they’ll use again!  Other ideas could be goggles, beach balls, or sunglasses.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® . The opinions and text are all mine.

Baby Shower with Boogie Wipes + a Giveaway

This post is brought to you by Boogie Wipes, Dreft and Downy. All opinions are my own.

Mom and son

I love baby showers for two reasons – I love babies and I love giving gifts!  A third argument could be made because I like to eat but we won’t talk about that.  Boogie Wipes gave me a great opportunity to party on their behalf. Together, Boogie Wipes and I (and a few other well known and loved brands) threw a baby shower for a friend of mine that’s expecting!  We had so much fun!

It was a low-key party with minimal decorations and plenty of time playing and enjoying the sunshine.

Boogie Wipes Gift Bags

Our guests were spoiled with fabulous gift bags that included Boogie Wipes which I just adore for runny noses and I recommend to every mom (my daughter loves their grape scented ones!) (you can get a coupon here),  Boogie Mist which I’ve never used, but have heard great things about (it’s a very gentle saline mist for stuffy little noses), a Dreft pen which now that I know exists is a staple in my diaper bag (my kids are messy ya’ll!) (you can get a Dreft coupon here), Downy Wrinkle Releaser which is the only reason my kids don’t go around in wrinkly clothes all the time (you can grab a coupon here), and last but not least, an adorable Boogie Wipes t-shirt for every kid!

Snot Your Average Wipe

Check out the shirts.  Fun, right?

Boogie Wipes Shirt

The kids thought they were hilarious and went inside to change into them.

Diaper Bag

The mom-to-be was showered with gifts.  That Orla Kiely diaper bag is beautiful and will work well if she has a girl or a boy.  She will find out the gender later this week!!  Take a look at that Munchkin gift bag beside her.  That is the ULTIMATE baby shower gift bag.  It was massive and filled full with Munchkin’s innovative and attractive products.

Munchkin seeks to rid the world of tired and mundane products. They develop clever solutions that make parenting safer, easier and more fun. Because as parents know, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Click here to learn more.

Munchkin Gift Basket

The big brother was excited to see what all toys were inside.

Baby Shower Gifts

The expectant mom also received, a Munchkin Safe Step Gate with Trip Guard, Blooming Bath, Chicco Stroller, and a Space Saver High Chair.  All of these great brands can be found at Target!

Bubble Fun

The kids had a great time running, playing ball, blowing bubbles, playing with the gift bag crinkle paper, and simply enjoying childhood.  It was a good day!

mom and daughter

Oh! I almost forgot! I have a giveaway for YOU!

Boogie Wipes Giveaway

The giveaway runs from now until 11:59pm ET on Friday, May 22, 2015.

One winner will receive the following items:

  • One (1) Munchkin Safe Step Gate with Trip Guard
  • One (1) Bloom Bathtub
  • One (1) $50 Target Gift Card
  • One (1) Chicco Stroller
  • One (1) Space Saver High Chair
  • One (1) Orla Kiely Diaper Bag
  • PLUS products from Boogie Wipes, Dreft Home and Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus!

Prize is valued at over $300. Good luck!

How to Host a Downton Abbey Party

Downton Abbey Party

Calling all Lords and Ladies! If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, you are no doubt getting ready to kick off season five. Will Anna and Bates find happiness? Will Mary choose a suitor? Will Edith find out what happened to her lost love? The questions are many, but the one thing you won’t have to worry about is how to host a Downton Abbey themed party! Take a look below at some fun tips to help you plan your own Downton themed soiree, perfect enough for the Dowager herself!

1. Get into character.
When inviting guests, why not invite them to get into character? Fancy hats are a great way to do just this, as are hankies, long jeweled necklaces, and other wardrobe finery. Browse local thrift and antique shops for the perfect accessories and come dressed to impress.

2. Break out the china.
Now is the time to use that fancy china you have been sitting on. Pretty plates, teacups, saucers, and other pieces are perfect for such a party. If you don’t have any, browse thrift and antique shops where you can find simple china pieces for a few bucks each.  {This is the set I’ve been dreaming of on Amazon} Look for not only teacups but cake plates, snack plates, and fancy stemware.

3. Make themed treats.
Tea cakes, finger sandwiches, small cookie bites, and small savories are all perfect for such a party. Don’t forget the tea of course, as well as condiments such as sugar and cream. Keep snacks small and bite sized, so they can fit on a saucer alongside a cup of tea. You can buy many frozen, bite sized appetizers at your local grocer, as well as tea cakes and mini desserts.

4. Don’t forget the finery.
Dress up your table to impress with fresh roses, cloth napkins, a lavish tablecloth, silver candlesticks, and plenty of tapered candles. You can find faux silver candlesticks at most thrift stores, or spray paint a wooden pair silver.

5. Set the sounds!
While your guests sip tea and chat about the latest scandals, let the sounds of Downton Abbey surround you. Play the Original Downton Abbey Television Series Soundtrack for all to enjoy!

Transform your own home into Downton the estate when you give these tips a try. They are the perfect way to get into the spirit of all things Downton as season five draws near! Now, if only you had Mr. Carson to help serve, and his staff to help clean up!

Mini Football Pudding Pies – Inspiring Monday

Football Snacks

Score big at your football party with this crowd pleasing dessert.  Mini football pudding pies are sure to delight fans young and old.  Fun football food for the win!

Mini Football Pudding Pies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Ashley
Serves: 6 servings
Adorable football pudding pies.
Ingredients
  • 1 6ct. package of mini pre­made pie shells
  • 1 box of chocolate pudding, any brand
  • 1 container of white frosting
  • small sandwich baggie
  • scissors
Instructions
  1. Open the pre­made pie shells and set aside.
  2. Prepare the pudding according to package directions and place in the fridge to set.
  3. Remove the pudding from the fridge and scoop the pudding into the pre­made pie shells. I had enough pudding for the 6 shells I used plus a little bit leftover. Kids can help you take care of the extra. 🙂
  4. Scoop a large tablespoon of white frosting into the sandwich baggie and make a small snip in the corner with the kitchen scissors.
  5. Gently squeeze the frosting out of the bag making the football hash marks on top of each pudding.
  6. Serve immediately or place the pudding pies back into the fridge.

Football Party Ideas

 

Inspiring Monday

Now, for the P-A-R-T-Y! 

This image was the most clicked-through submissions from last week’s party:

Apple Fennel Salad

Doesn’t it look delicious?  This Apple Fennel Salad is from Upstate Ramblings.

Before we start, please keep in mind:

– It’s nice to socialize with other party guests.
– Link up all of your inspiring posts that you’ve written on YOUR blog. Recipes, crafts, printables, DIY, and homemaking posts are welcome. Please don’t link to Etsy stores, giveaways, etc.
– By linking up to Inspiring Monday you are giving Embracing Homemaking permission to feature your project and/or photos on our social media outlets and blogs to help promote your post.

Let’s party!

Also linking up here.

Inspiring Monday Linky

Inspiring Monday

Here are the most clicked-through submissions from last week’s party.  I think they’re great!

Little Apple Pies

Handheld Mini Apple Pie Cookies from Savvy Saving Couple

DIY Pumpkin Craft

Easy DIY Pumpkin Craft from Save More Spend Less With Heidi

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

Pumpkin Pie Fudge from More Than a Mom of Three

Party Time! This is my second of many, many, many Inspiring Monday link ups and I’m excited to have you here!Ready to Party?

Before we start, please keep in mind:

– It’s nice to socialize with other party guests.
– Link up all of your inspiring posts that you’ve written on YOUR blog. Recipes, crafts, printables, DIY, and homemaking posts are welcome. Please don’t link to Etsy stores, giveaways, etc.
– By linking up to Inspiring Monday you are giving Embracing Homemaking permission to feature your project and/or photos on our social media outlets and blogs to help promote your post.

Let’s party!


Meringue Pumpkins – Inspiring Monday

Meringue Pumpkins

Ingredients:

4 large egg whites (120 grams)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup (200 grams) superfine or caster sugar (if you don’t have superfine sugar simply take 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar and process it for about 30 seconds in a food processor)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
gel orange food coloring

(If you want these to actually taste like pumpkin you can carefully fold 1/4 cup of pure pumpkin purée after you’ve mixed the other ingredients.)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and move your rack to the middle of your oven.

Using the wish attachment on an electric mixer wisk the egg whites on a low-medium speed until foamy. Next add the cream of tartar and keep mixing until they hold soft peaks when you turn off and remove the wisks.  Add the sugar a little at a time until the meringue holds very stiff peaks.  Now add in the vanilla extract and gel food coloring with a toothpick.  Remember a little goes a long way and you can’t take it back but you can always add more.

Feel a little bit of the meringue between your fingers to see if it feels gritty.  Keep beating it until all the sugar dissolves and it no longer feels gritty.

Grab a cookie sheet and cover it with parchment paper.  Dab a little meringue in each corner of the cookie sheet under the parchment paper.  This will help hold it in place while you pipe.  Add your meringue to a pastry bag fitted with your star tip.

While holding the bag straight up and down, use even pressure to pipe about a two inch round pumpkin, release pressure and gently raise.

Bake the meringues for approximately one hour to one and a half hours.  They should be crisp to the touch.  Then turn off the oven, open the door and allow them to finish trying in there for several hours (I choose overnight because it’s easier with kids).

After several hours (or many hours the next day) draw your pumpkin faces using a Wilton’s edible marker.  With a little patience and a steady hand you can’t go wrong!

These will last several days when stored at room temperature in a closed container. This recipes makes 20-25 pumpkins depending on how generous you are with your piping.  Enjoy!

 

Party Time! This is my first of many, many, many Inspiring Monday link ups and I’m excited to have you here!Ready to Party?

Before we start, please keep in mind:

– It’s nice to socialize with other party guests.
– Link up all of your inspiring posts that you’ve written on YOUR blog. Recipes, crafts, printables, DIY, and homemaking posts are welcome. Please don’t link to Etsy stores, giveaways, etc.
– By linking up to Inspiring Monday you are giving Embracing Homemaking permission to feature your project and/or photos on our social media outlets and blogs to help promote your post.

Let’s party!