Spinach Artichoke Dip

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I made it... and it was good! The hardest parts were chopping the artichoke hearts and waiting for it to heat! I baked it but it could easily go into a small crockpot.

source: http://www.kraftbrands.com

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You may start to see more food posts from me. I’m not a food blogger, but I like to try new recipes and have discovered SuperFoods for weight loss! You may wonder what SuperFoods are in this dip. Artichokes and Parmesan cheese are on my SuperFoods list!

xoxo, Cathy

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Beautiful Northern Michigan

For years, I hated camping. Didn’t want to do it.

Three years ago hubby and I went camping together for the first time. It wasn’t terrible. Since we’d spent a small fortune on camping gear, we’ve continued to go at least twice a year

We made our annual trip to Interlochen State Park back in June and just returned from Aloha State Park in Cheboygan. We had a premium beachfront site with beautiful sunsets.

Whenever we are in northern Michigan, we seek out smoked fish and pasties! There’s a great fish place across from the entrance of Burt Lake State Park in Indian River.

This photo cracks me up! These are my nieces and the little one rarely smiles nice for the camera!

Motivation is a fire from within; only you can light it.

Around the time I married my hubby, I stopped jogging. We moved into a hilly neighborhood and it was difficult. My drive to work increased, we had two puppies, and a lot to do with a new house. Over the years, I’ve tried to stay active by walking and golfing. But the pounds are adding up and I weigh the most I’ve ever weighed in my life.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about jogging again, but with the extra weight I’ve put on and at my age, I can’t just start running and expect it to feel good! After jogging a bit on the hiking trail at Interlochen on Sunday, I decided to start the “Couch to 5K” app that I’ve had on my phone for a while.

Week 1, Day 1

It was… easy at first, then quickly became a challenge! It seemed that when it was time to run, it was uphill. Remember, I said that my neighborhood is hilly?!

I’m going to repeat Day 1 again on Tuesday rather than advancing right away. Remember my weight and age comment?

Tomorrow, my legs will be sore and stiff, but it will feel so good! I also did something that I didn’t think I’d do. Took a “Before” photo in my skivvies. This is one photo that I do not plan on sharing!

This app also has motivational quotes on the finish page. That’s where the title of this post comes from.

Have a great week and I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

Mashed Potatoes on Crack

mmmm bacon!

We get our pepper bacon from the local butcher… The Meat Shack.

This bacon was intended for a recipe that I tried… Twice-Baked Potatoes from the Pioneer Woman Cooks.

They’re simple to make and we usually have all the ingredients on hand. Confession… this is the first time I’ve made or eaten twice-baked potatoes. Since I was only feeding hubby and me, I halved the recipe. (Except I forgot to half the sour cream and used a whole cup.)

If you like mashed potatoes on crack, you’ll like this recipe!

8 baking potatoes, scrubbed clean

Canola Oil

8 slices thick-cut bacon, fried

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, cut into slices

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

1/4-1/2 tsp seasoned salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (I used co-jack because that’s what we had)

2 green onions (I used half red onion because that’s what we had)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Rub them with the canola oil and bake for 1 hour, making sure they’re sufficiently cooked through.

Slice the butter into pats. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the bacon bits and sour cream. Remove the potatoes from the oven. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F.

With a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scrape out the insides into the mixing bowl, being careful not to tear the shell. Leave a small rim of potato intact for support. Lay the hollowed out potato shells on a baking sheet.

Smash the potatoes into the butter, bacon and sour cream. Add the cheese, milk, seasoned salt, green onions and black pepper to taste and mix together well. (IMPORTANT: If you plan to freeze the twice-baked potatoes, do NOT add the green onions.)

Fill the potato shells with the filling. I like to fill the shells so they look abundant and heaping. Top each potato with a little more grated cheese and pop ’em in the oven until the potato is warmed through, 15 to 20 minutes.

For a printable version of this recipe, go to the Food Network.

An Old Member of the Household

Yesterday you met my Keurig, the newest member of our household. Now meet one of my favorite gadgets. It’s like “Hard Boiled Eggs for Dummies.”

I love hard boiled eggs. On a salad. With bacon and mayo. In potato salad. With tuna and mayo. Salt and Pepper.

But I’m NOT Betty Crocker. As a matter of fact, when I want to boil eggs, I have to go get my Betty Crocker cookbook to figure out how to boil the darn things.

This EggCOOKER is so easy to use. I put in as many as 7 eggs in the tray. Pour in the appropriate amount of water. (It comes with a no-brainer cup that tells you how much water to put in depending on how many eggs you are hard OR soft boiling.) And turn it on. The only bad thing about this EggCOOKER is the loud buzzer. I jump out of my skin every time it goes off! But I can be anywhere in the house and hear it.

I’ve found the best way to peel them is to put them in a small strainer right away, run cold water over them and shake them up. This cracks the shells all over. Then I peel them while still running cold water over the eggs.

This kitchen gadget also comes with a tray to poach 4 eggs!

How do you eat your hard boiled eggs??

Love, CathyJayne

New Member of the Household

Meet our newest member of the household!

I don’t shop on QVC often, but happened to be watching when they had the new Keurig at a great price AND it had a ton of k-cups. This new one sells at our local store for $189. I got for $40 cheaper. The k-cups and a filter were included!

I just had gotten to the point of being SICK and TIRED of making coffee every morning!!

 

This machine is a dream! I can have my favorite flavor, hubby can have his favorite flavor, and it only takes a minute! How did I live without it for so long?

Some kind folks have shared their sources for k-cups. Coffeewiz.com and Coffeecow.com are just two places I’ve heard of.

So tell me, what’s your favorite flavor and where do you buy your k-cups?

Love, CathyJayne

We Made the Lilacs Bloom

It was the day we laughed so hard
we made the lilacs bloom

I was ten
it was sunny

we were running like peacocks
a game of badminton
happiness all balled up in our hands
shooting out of us in shrieks and bellows

I'm a cat
she declared

and I decided I was too

a beautiful cat
with nothing to do
but chase the wind

they say it whips you in the face
but this isn't how it works
if you run hard enough
the wind bores right into you

I don't remember anything else
except the smell of the beach
sweet as carrot cake
the wind carried the rest away.

Create your own poem everyday with InstaPoem by bentlily

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

Love, CathyJayne

Pink Hair Rub

I saw this on the Today Show a few weeks ago and wanted to try it! It looks easy to apply and best of all, it washes out. So I ordered pink and blue from Hair Flairs.

It comes with directions and I highly recommend reading and following them! As you’ll see in one of the photos, the rub does flake and make a bit of a mess. It cleaned off the counter and the sink very easily. It seemed to have the same texture as a powder foundation.Image

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My buddy Chuck

This is my buddy Chuck. Today was a big day for him! He went to the vet to get his rabies shot and his nails trimmed. He DOES NOT like to have his nails cut!

He was a good boy while in the waiting room. There was some excitement when other dogs came and went. But once in the back area, he became a different dog. Scared and looking for a way out. If he could have, he would’ve jumped out the window in the procedure room. One assistant held him while the other cut his nails. His eyes were so red I was worried he’d have a heart attack or stroke!

But once it was over and he was out of the room and back in the lobby, he was better. He was fine on the car ride and was happy to be home. He even went for another short car ride with me later in the day.

Now that the weather is nicer, we take him almost everywhere with us. Walks and rides are his favorite things! And treats.

As I type this, he is laying on the floor next to me. He’s my buddy.

To keep up with Chuck and his adventures, follow him on his Facebook Page!

Canned Venison

We had talked about canning venison a few times. The day finally came. Since hubby and and I have NEVER canned a single thing, we turned to my parents for help. Dad got out the big pressure cooker and helped us get everything ready. It was much easier than I thought it would be. And the venison tasted amazing!

We started with 4 pounds of venison shoulder, partially thawed and cut into pieces.

After boiling to sterilize the jars, lids, and rings, the venison was packed into the jars. One recipe called for 1 teaspoon of salt per quart. We were using pints and I forgot to adjust the salt for that! We used garlic salt then also added tomato juice to 2 of the jars. This was an experimental small batch, to test the process and try a couple different techniques.

Into the pressure cooker….

Once the steam builds and water spits out of the valve, close the valve and let the pressure build up to 10. Maintain heat for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. It takes some watching to adjust the heat to maintain the correct pressure. After 75 minutes, turn off the pressure cooker and let the pressure go down on its own. Then release the pressure valve. Opening the pressure cooker required pliers and a screwdriver. It was only a few minutes after we took the jars out that we could hear the lids popping as the jars cooled and completed the sealing process.

The meat filled jars weren’t quite as filled when finished. Lesson learned… pack more meat into each jar! Since the meat started out frozen, we could only get so much in the jars. Next time we’ll use completely thawed meat so we can get more in the jars.

Eager to do a taste test, we opened 3 of the jars into a skillet to make a sauce to go over noodles. The meat was tender, a bit salty, and tasty! It was a success and we plan on canning more venison!

Don’t go getting any ideas that I’m any kind of cook! This was a great opportunity for me to wear my apron, but it didn’t get dirty! So now I can go put it back on and make some venison sausage meatballs!