Slow Cooker Spinach Cauliflower Dip

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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

#CRAVEFREELY with Balance Bar

This is a sponsored post for Balance and the Mom It Forward Blogger Network.

With school starting back almost everyone is adjusting their schedules.  Their lives.  What will soon be their new normal.  We’re adding homeschool to our lives this year along with piano lessons for my daughter and a homeschool community meet up once a week.  Plus, we’re almost finished remodeling our kitchen.  I can’t wait till I can say that it’s finished!  Life has been a whirlwind lately.  We have something to do nearly everyday and it’s a constant struggle to balance everything.  To balance priorities, balance housework verses fun, and balance take out to home cooked meals.  Okay, the home cooked meals to take out has been terribly off balance lately but I’m hopeful that with our new shiny kitchen sink installed that we can help fix that.  In the mean time, one indulgent treat has helped me keep my protein up without overdoing when I get snacky.

Like most people, women especially, I go through snacking phases.  Binges maybe.  Instead of stuffing myself with greasy chips or chewing celery till my jaw hurts I usually go for the sugary treats.  Ice cream, donuts, cookies, sigh.  It’s not good.  Without overloading my body in a deluge of sugar I can partake in a chocolatey, protein filled snack.

That snack?

Balance Bars

Balance bars!  They are a nutritional snack bar that is a great balance of yumminess and energizing ingredients.  They’re perfect to help me feel full without feeling guilty.  I don’t have to be afraid to indulge with around 190 calories, 5-7 grams of protein, and 5-6 grams of fiber.  Balance has four delicious new flavors including Chocolate Peppermint Patty, Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle, Dulce De Leche & Caramel, and my favorite Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat.  Balance just released this new colorful packaging that features the original flavors in full-size bars and new flavors in two mini bars.  Balance bars allow me to snack smarter…in a balanced way if you will.

Balance Energy Bars

GIVEAWAY!!  Enter to WIN a Balance Bar Prize Pack!

Update: Congratulations, Patti!!

Prize: 1 6-pack box of Balance in Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat, Chocolate Peppermint Patty, Dark Chocolate Turtle or Dulce De Leche & Caramel varieties. We cannot guarantee flavor preference. {ARV: $7.74} This giveaway closes at midnight on Saturday, August 27th.

Enter via the Rafflecopter below.

For more information on Balance Bar products, visit BalanceBar.com or pick them up at CVS, Amazon and select Walmart stores nationwide.   Follow Balance Bar on these social media to keep up with their latest products!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BalanceBar

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BalanceBar

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/balancebar/

My Love of Walnuts Revealed!

This post is brought to you by Emerald® Nuts. All opinions are my own. 

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved walnuts.  My mom always stored the ones she used for baking in the freezer {Is that normal?  I do it now too because she did but I never stopped to think about it before now.}…and I would always sneak a few for a snack.  I couldn’t help myself, they are so good!!  Until recently, I never knew anyone else liked walnuts for a snack.  Cashews, sure, everyone and their mom likes those.  Almonds, yes, especially people looking to curb their appetite.  Walnuts?  Who knew it was a common snack?  I’m so glad to have discovered Emerald®’s Almonds and Walnuts travel container.

Emerald Nuts

It’s my two favorite nuts in one easy to carry container.  By the way, my daughter is now hooked on both walnuts and almonds.  Hey, at least it’s a healthy thing to be addicted too!  Check her out toting her can of nuts on the back of her bike.  She’s just now learning to ride a bike and she thinks she can’t get on unless there’s something riding behind her.  🙂  I love this stage!

Emerald Almonds and Walnuts

My son also likes our new healthy snack, not because he can partake himself but because he likes to use it as his personal maraca anytime we leave it within his reach.  He’s at a fun stage too!

Here are the other Emerald Nuts varieties available:

  • – Whole Cashews
  • – Deluxe Mixed Nuts
  • – Peanut, Almonds, and Cashews

They make a great snack to keep in your diaper bag or car for snacking on the go!  If you’re a nut for walnuts, like me, look for Emerald nuts at your local Walmart.  Here’s a printable coupon for $0.55 off a can!

30+ Wholesome Kid Snack Ideas

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

Do you struggle finding wholesome snacks for your kiddos?  I know that I do unless I plan a head.  Feeding my kids nutritious foods is important to me so I try to make it a priority.  I don’t always succeed at this but when I plan ahead and have wholesome foods on hand it makes it easy to feed them foods that I know are good for them.  I’m going to share the list of foods I try to rotate through to offer a variety of yummy and wholesome snacks.  Please comment with foods your family enjoys so I can add to my list!

  • 1 – Sliced apples with cubed cheddar cheese
  • 2 – Cubed watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew
  • 3 – Baby carrots (or a carrot cut into strips), bell pepper strips, celery, and zucchini sticks with hummus dip
  • 4 – Watermelon strips (or wedges) with vanilla yogurt to dip it in
  • 5 – Unsweetened applesauce

Kids Trail Mix

  • 6 – Homemade trail mix – one of our favorites includes Goldfish, peanuts, Craisins, and Cheerios
  • 7 – Whole grain, low-sugar cereal with milk
  • 8 – Graham cracker sandwiches made with peanut butter and occasionally I’ll add a little hazelnut spread to it too
  • 9 – Mini rice cakes (they come in a number of flavors)
  • 10 – Rice cakes with a light vegetable cream cheese on top
  • 11 – I want to buy a dehydrator to make these colorful dehydrated rainbow snacks

Yoplait Yogurt Snack

  • 12 – Vanilla Yoplait® yogurt with sliced bananas and a few dark chocolate chips for fun

Yoplait Original

Yoplait® low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and my kids love to dress it up.  It’s available at Walmart so if we run out there’s always some close by.  There is an endless assortment of yogurt and topping combinations you can make so have fun with it.  I’ll list a few of our favorite for you.

  • 13 – Low-fat strawberry yogurt with sliced almonds on top

Yogurt Parfait

  • 14 – A Yoplait® yogurt parfait with blueberries and angle food cake
  • 15 – Low-fat vanilla yogurt with blueberries and strawberries on top (cute patriot treat!)
  • 16 – Low-fat orange yogurt with granola
  • 17 – A frozen treat made with yogurt and fruit – Check out our list of 101 Homemade Ice Pops
  • 18 – Whole wheat pretzels with peanut butter to dip them in
  • 19 – Baked tortilla chips with guacamole to dip them in (We like dips in our house)
  • 20 – Cottage cheese (Is that weird to eat it alone?  My daughter likes!)
  • 21 – Fruit and veggie pouches (think baby food but the toddler/kid versions)  It’s a great way to sneak in veggies (like spinach and rutabaga!) without them ever knowing.
  • 22 – Dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, cherries, mangoes, pineapple, apricots, plums or blueberries (We usually only have a few on hand at a time but I think it would be fun to make a trail mix of sorts with a lot of dried fruit and store in snack size baggies.  I’ll have to try that!)
  • 23 – Cheese!  We love all kinds of cheese.  My daughter calls them by their shape : ) Stick cheese (Sargento string cheese), circle cheese (individually wrapped Blue Bell), rectangle cheese (Cabot Extra Sharp block cut in slices – as a side note, Cabot’s Extra Sharp is sharper than their Seriously Sharp which seems backwards to me and took me forever to remember), square cheese (any brand of a softer cheese that we have cubed).
  • 24 – Fruit of all kinds – raspberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple, kiwi, grapes, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, etc.
  • 25 – Smoothie with low-fat Yoplait® yogurt, frozen fruit, a little low-fat milk (I would add spinach and other goodies if I had a really good blender but unfortunately I don’t right now)
  • 26 – Cucumber slices, broccoli, cauliflower, baby tomatoes, carrot strips, and ranch to dip them in
  • 27 – A handful of nuts – almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, or walnuts (I make sure they are seated for this snack without any running around)

Homemade Yogurt Melts

  • 28 – Homemade yogurt melts (made with a variety of our favorite Yoplait® flavors)
  • 29 – Cherries with yogurt to dip them in
  • 30 – Whole grain crackers with cottage cheese
  • 31 – Toast with honey drizzled on top (I’ve found that cutting the toast into a butterfly {like an X} cuts down on the mess)
  • 32 – Hard boiled eggs or eggs of any kind with toast
  • 33 – Popcorn (My husband has a fabulous recipe for popcorn that I’ll have to share with you all soon! It’s a delicious cheesy, slightly spicy powder to sprinkle on top of plain popcorn.)

Kid Snack Ideas

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

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

White Chocolate Blueberry Biscotti Recipe

White Chocolate Blueberry Biscotti

White Chocolate Blueberry Biscotti

Today, I want to share one of my favorite recipes!  White Chocolate Blueberry Biscotti.  These biscotti (aka biscuits, cookies etc.) make the perfect partner to a hot and delicious cup of coffee.  It’s like they were made for each other!  These are baked twice to create a hard and crunchy texture that holds up to dipping.  They’re great for breakfast, snack, or for dessert.

Ingredients:

  • – 1 cup granulated sugar
  • – 2 ½ all-purpose flour
  • – 1 tsp. baking soda
  • – 1 ½ sticks of butter, softened
  • – 2 eggs, large
  • – 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
  • – pinch of salt
  • – 1 cup dried blueberries
  • – ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • – 1 tsp. vegetable or canola oil

Blueberry Biscotti Recipe

Directions:

  • – Preheat oven to 325°
  • – Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • – Cream butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy.
  • – Mix in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.
  • – In separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt.
  • – Add flour mixture to wet ingredients a little at a time and mix until well combined.
  • – Fold in blueberries.
  • – Place dough in center of baking sheet and form a loaf of about 12” x 4 “
  • – Bake 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  • – Remove from oven a cool for 10 minutes, cut into ¾” slices. Place slices cut side up back on baking sheet.
  • – Bake an additional 12-15 minutes until edges are golden.
  • – Allow to cool completely.
  • – Melt chocolate chips and oil in the microwave in 30 second cycles, stirring each time until smooth and creamy.
  • – Drizzle (or spread like I did) the melted chocolate over cool biscotti.
  • – Allow chocolate so set, store in an airtight container.

White Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti is one of the things I craved often during my second pregnancy.  They are the perfect crunchy and sweet treat.  I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

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.

Playdate Snack Ideas #HavartiParty

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Arla Dofino. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation. #HavartiParty

Every week I meet together with friends and their kiddos.  It’s a time for moms to breathe a little slower and truly enjoy their cup of coffee.  We chat about future plans, difficulties going on, and share suggestions to do things better.  It’s a lovely time to relax, fellowship, and allow the kids to socialize.

We take turns bringing the snacks and my go-to snacks are always cheeses, fruit, and crackers.  Those three are easy, delicious, and appeal to even the pickiest kids!

Cheese is one of my family’s favorite snacks.  We eat it by itself, on crackers, with popcorn, melted with chips, over eggs, baked on bread, sprinkle it on pizzas, and on and on.  We love cheese!  It’s yummy, inexpensive, and healthy.  With all the different types of cheese out there that I’ve tried there is one brand that is new to me.  Arla Dofino.  Have you heard of it?  Arla Dofino is hormone free, it’s high quality milk comes from non-rBST treated cows, it has strict quality control, and these cheesemakers have been trained by master crafters going back generations.  I’m glad to have learned of this brand and I’ll now be adding it to our store list on a regular basis.

 

Fun Food For Kids - Bear on a Boat

Check out this cute little sailboat snack I created using delicious cheese, fruit, veggies, and crackers. You can check out the Arla Pinterest page, Dofino Cheese Facebook, and my Fun Food for Kids Pinterest board for more recipe ideas!


Best Friends

This is my daughter and her best friend during a playdate last week!  She has some other friends she admires and mimics but this is a friend she can be herself with and it doesn’t matter what they do as long as they’re together.  I guess that description works for true friends of any age!

What foods do you and your friends like to snack on when you’re together?

Homemade Microwaveable Macaroni & Cheese

Homemade Microwaveable Macaroni and Cheese

Recently, I’ve been attempting to try several of the ideas I’ve pinned on Pinterest.  One of the pins I tried was awful.  It was for a homemade microwaveable macaroni & cheese and it was bad.  Very, very bad!  I won’t link to the site because first of all, that’s not very nice and secondly, it’s a blog I greatly respect and would love to write for one day.

Here are a few reasons why I disliked the recipe:

  • – It took as long to do in the microwave as it would have on the stove {15 minutes!}.
  • – It required more work than it would have it I made it on the stove.
  • – It constantly had to be watched to make sure it didn’t overflow and I used a bowl much bigger than the suggested mug.
  • – There was no way you could serve that piping hot mug/bowl to a child.  You would have to switch containers before serving.
  • – The noodles never became tender.

A few days after I made this disappointing recipe, a new recipe dawned on me.  Maybe ya’ll are smarter than me and already do this but I felt like a genius when I discovered it.

I had leftover spaghetti noodles in the fridge because I made too much the night before for spaghetti.  I had planned on giving them to the dog a little at a time until they were gone.  Poor dog never got any of them!  I decided to try and microwave the cooked noodles with a little milk and cheese.  It was yummy!

I used whatever cheese I had on hand and melted it with the noodles for 30 seconds and then added a splash of milk, stirred it, and added it for a few more seconds.  It was so simple that I plan on doing it again!  Next time I might use shells or elbow macaroni instead.

I know what everyone is shouting at me, “You still had to boil the noodles!”  It’s true, I did but think how easy that would be to do the night before and make a quick and easy microwaveable meal for one or two people the next day!?  Of course, the good old fashioned way on the stove works too but this is a good way to reuse leftovers or plan ahead for a quick lunch.

If you give this microwaveable macaroni & cheese a try please let me know what you think of it!