Jalapeño Corn Dip

If you’re searching for a healthy recipe, move along. If you’re looking for a delicious and easy appetizer/dip, you’ve stumbled upon the right one! I cannot recall where I found this jalapeño corn dip recipe a few years ago, but I’m certainly glad I did. It’s fast, tasty, and always a hit.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 or 2 jalapeños minced. I typically use 2 and may upgrade to 2.5-3 the next time I make this, but we like food on the hot side around here.
  • 9-11 ounce can sweet corn (or feel free to use fresh!)
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped (Okay, I used two)
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

To prepare:

  • Preheat over to 400 degrees
  • Mince jalapeños and chop green onion
  • Drain corn and allow to dry on a paper towel in order to remove excess water
  • Mix softened cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl.
  • Add the corn, jalapeño, cheese, green onion, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper and mix well
  • Pour mixture into a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

Jalapeno Corn Dip (before baking)

I typically serve this with blue corn chips, but I think black bean chips would be excellent as well and of course, regular corn tortilla chips will do the trick.

I last made this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving and we were in such a hurry to head out to our feast that I failed to snap a photo of the dip once it emerged from the oven. My apologies. Trust me, it was perfection, but if you don’t believe me, I could potentially be convinced to make another round to update this post with an “after” photo…I’m sure my husband wouldn’t mind!

 

 

 

My New Skincare Obsession: Real Raw Beauty

Thanks to fellow Instagram-lover and blogger Megan, I learned about the fabulous organic skincare company Real Raw Beauty. As I inch closer to the big 4-0 (thankfully still over a year away, but eeeeek!), I’m regretting not taking better care of my skin in my twenties and early thirties. Sure, I purchased plenty of pricey skincare items, but I was always skeptical about the crazy long list of unknown chemicals they contained. Beyond skincare, I’m also notorious for failing to remove my eye makeup before bed. Yes, some of that is admittedly pure laziness, but I’ve also never really be thrilled with any eye makeup remover solutions or products I’ve tried.

Enter Real Raw Beauty. These fabulous products use 100% unrefined, unfiltered organic oils. They are chemical free, completely organic and don’t contain any preservatives, dyes, or fragrances. They also do not test on animals. So, you can feel truly confident about putting these products on your face.

Real Raw Beauty Radiant Skin Face WashKnowing what a challenge eye makeup removal is for me, my first Real Raw Beauty purchase was the Radiant Skin Face Wash. Yes, you can definitely use this product for removal of all your makeup (apply to dry skin, wipe off with a warm wet cloth and towel dry), but Megan had raved about it specifically for eye makeup removal, so I figured I’d give it a try. Not only does it remove my mascara, eyeliner, and eye shadow with ease, it has never given me that “cloudy vision” effect that so many other eye makeup removing solutions have created. Bonus: I’m convinced that its helping my eyelashes grow longer. Aside from the castor oil I use once a week (and have for quite some time), I haven’t done anything else differently, other than use this face wash for removing my eye makeup. So, I’m giving the credit to the oils in the Radiant Skin Face Wash!

In addition to the Radiant Skin Face Wash, A.K.A. my eye makeup remover, I also tried Real Raw Beauty Skin Care Productstravel-sized versions of the Radiant Toner, Radiant Face Exfoliator, and Radiant Mud Mask. All three of these were fantastic and I’ve actually just ordered regular sized versions. This is going to sound like an odd description for a toner, but it’s so pleasant. Seriously though. You know how a lot of toners just reek of alcohol and chemicals and when you catch a whiff of them you almost dread putting them on your face because you can practically feel the burning sensation already?? Yeah, that isn’t the case at all with the Radiant Toner. It smells very nice and when you apply it, you do feel it working, but it doesn’t sting one bit. My skin feels great after I use it and I truly think it reduces my pores, which seem to have increased in size with age.

The Radiant Face Exfoliator is simply awesome. The base is Pink Himalayan salt and it also contains unrefined coconut, jojoba, moringa, almond and carrot seed oils. I consider this to be my favorite facial exfoliating product I’ve ever used. I admit I don’t exfoliate nearly enough, but perhaps that will change now.

What can I say about the Radiant Mud Mask? I loved it the second I applied it to my face. It only contains pure Dead Sea mud – no other ingredients and you know what? It’s amazing! It helps reduce my annoying pores and makes my skin look soft and glowing. It’s an easy mask to apply and remove as well – no major scrubbing necessary, which isn’t the case for many masks I’ve tried throughout the years.

In addition to the Radiant line (which also includes products for your entire body as well), Real Raw Beauty also provides a line for men and products formulated for acne care.

Last, but certainly not least, and something I truly appreciate is how real (no pun intended) and approachable this company is to its consumers. Not only is the customer service phenomenal, but the owner is very active on social media, allowing you to get a peek into her every day life. Both she and her company are just so authentic and genuine, which is something we don’t see enough these days.

So, do you want to hear some really fun news? What can be better than organic products that make your skin look and feel great?! Getting those products at a discounted price, of course! Real Raw Beauty is in the midst of their annual holiday sale! Orders placed from November 30 – December 4, 2016 qualify for a 25% discount. Seriously, 25 percent. That’s huge! Use HOLIDAY for the promo code when you checkout. Can’t wait to hear what you order – let me know!

Veggie Pizza Appetizer

My mom has been making this cold veggie pizza appetizer for as long as I can remember. I’ve made it a few times in my adult life: a game night, a Super Bowl party, and most recently, for a Thanksgiving appetizer. Every time I make it, I wonder why I don’t do so more often. It’s really simple and super delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of crescent rolls
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dill weed (I’ll admit to putting more like 1.5-2 tsp in my mixture!)
  • 1 tsp minced onion
  • Shredded cheese (sprinkling to your taste)
  • All of the fresh veggies you want to include. I typically use alfalfa sprouts, carrots, cucumber, green peppers, and green onion. (Lots of people add broccoli, red onions, etc as well.)

To prepare:

  • Open the can of crescent rolls (I hate that part!) and spread them out on a lightly greased cookie sheet. You’ll want to close up any seams and spread the entire length and width of the pan. This will be the base of your pizza. Bake according to the directions on the package, but watch carefully so as not to burn. Once baked, set aside and allow to cool.
  • To make the mixture which will go directly on top of the crescent roll base, take your softened cream cheese, mayo, dill weed, and minced onion and blend thoroughly. A few tiny cream cheese lumps are okay, but for the most part, you want this to be pretty smooth. Depending on how soft your cream cheese is (or isn’t), you may want to use a mixer. Once blended, spread the mixture evenly over the top of the cooled crescent roll base.
  • Lastly, chop up and add all of the fresh veggies you desire! Sprinkle with shredded cheese, cut into squares, and serve! YUM!

The only “downside” is that you want to eat it all within a day or two, or else the bottom tends to get soggy from the cream cheese mixture. This isn’t really an issue though, because it’s so good that you’ll want to eat it all within a day or two anyway!

Veggie Pizza Appetizer
Cold Veggie Pizza Appetizer

Lemon Chicken Marinade & Roasted (Frozen) Broccoli

We typically buy fresh veggies, but we’ve had a couple of bags of frozen broccoli and a veggie medley in our freezer for a while. So, I decided it was time to try something with the broccoli. If successful, I figure it will become a nice side for some of the meals I pack for regularly my husband.

My ingredients were one bag of frozen broccoli and some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. No actual measurements – I decided to wing this one!

 I preheated the oven to 425 and sprayed a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. I placed the broccoli on the pan, drizzled olive oil and then sprinkled the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. I roasted for about 30 minutes.

As for the lemon chicken marinade, I mixed the following ingredients:Lemon chicken and roasted broccoli

  • 1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice (I ended up also using a few drops of Young Living Lemon Essential Oil because our lemon tree came up a little short!)
  • 2.5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I was able to use some from our herb garden growing in our kitchen – can’t wait to grow more!)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (he likes his food spicy!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

 

I let the chicken breasts marinate overnight and then baked them at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Pretty simple! I combined the chicken and broccoli with rice into containers for lunches or dinners away from home this week.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Are your eggs nearing the expiration date and there are still several left? No worries! You can easily hard boil them, OR if you’re like me and have found yourself with several items about to expire or nearing their end you can create make-ahead breakfast burritos and freeze them!

I recently noticed that our eggs and tortillas were getting close to expiration and was super annoyed at the money that would have been lost if we’d thrown them out. Instead, I quickly scrambled up several of the eggs, cut up tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and filled up the tortillas. (You can add anything you’d like!) After rolling each burrito, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and placed them in the freezer. Voila! My husband now has a few days worth of healthy, quick breakfasts AND we didn’t waste any food. Win-win! (Okay, so next time I’ll wrap them a little more evenly. They’re pretty ugly, but he assured me they taste good anyway!!)

Breakfast Burritos

Black Bean Soup

So now that the weather is cooling off a bit, it’s time to start making and enjoying some delicious soups! I had always loved ordering black bean soup at restaurants, but had never attempted to make it myself until a few years ago. A friend sent me this recipe from allrecipes.com and I added my own touches to it. Not only is it tasty, it’s super easy and very quick to make.

Black Bean Soup IngredientsIngredients:

  • 2, 15 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of chunky salsa (pick a hotter variety for a spicier soup; mild if you don’t want the heat!)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chopped onions (optional – one of my additions)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup canned corn (optional – another one of my additions)
  • 4 Tbsp sour cream (serving suggestion)
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onion (serving suggestion)

Black Bean Soup VitamixAfter prepping the above ingredients, combine the beans, broth, salsa, cumin, and onions (if using). You can use an electric food processor or blender. I happen to be in love with my Vitamix, which I find to be quicker than my food processor or regular blender. Bonus: it will actually heat the soup up as well, though I’m going to use the saucepan method in order to keep the corn in-tact. Blend until fairly smooth.

Next, if you plan to serve the soup right away, pour the bean mixture into a saucepan over medium heat. This is the point in which you’ll want to add the corn if you’re including any. Thoroughly heat.

Top each bowl with 1 Tbsp of the sour cream and 1/2 Tbsp of the chopped green onion.

If you’re storing this soup for later, you can skip the saucepan step at this point and pour into a container or containers for future consumption. Be sure to heat the soup prior to serving and keep the additions of sour cream and chopped green onions in mind.a

I’d love to hear your favorite soup recipes, too. Please let me know if you have any to share!

Black Bean Soup

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: Inquiring Minds Want to Know

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month and naturally, I missed the opportunity to post about it during the appropriate 31 days. Still, per the request of one of my very favorite readers and my dear friend, I’m going to briefly explain the term lacto-ovo vegetarian, which is the type of vegetarian I have been for the last 15 or so years.

Now, I can almost imagine the eye-rolling now, but I can assure you that I am not “one of those” vegetarians. I personally made the choice to eliminate red meat, pork, and fish from my diet at a pretty young age and then followed up with poultry in my early twenties. I have no issue with others opting to eat meat, nor have I ever attempted to convert anyone to a vegetarian lifestyle. Do I want you to shove your burger in front of my face and offer me a bite? No. But, will I judge you for eating it? Nope; do as you please. In fact, I’ve even been known to cook meat for my husband (though I admittedly can’t really think about what I’m doing or it’ll bother me!)  I’m simply willing to be open when asked and the entire purpose of this is just to explain the term for the diet I have selected for myself.

Alright, enough of that. So, to answer Lindsay’s question, what is a lacto-ovo vegetarian? According to http://www.dietitians.ca, a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet includes grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy products and eggs. It excludes any meat, fish, poultry and any products that contain these foods.

Those of you who know me in real life probably know that I’m originally from Wisconsin. While I don’t love beer or brats, I cannot live without my cheese! Therefore a vegan lifestyle was just not for me. I’ve attempted it a few times for weight loss purposes as well as for Lent and it was pretty darn difficult. What can I say? I’m a cheese head in more ways than one! Now, I don’t drink regular milk (almond milk for me) but I do consume other dairy products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, and the occiasional frozen custard indulgence.
In addition to dairy, I will also consume eggs. Eggs are funny for me because, much like preparing meat for my husband, I have to just eat eggs and not think too much about them or I’ll get grossed out. I definitely prefer for eggs to be part of a recipe or mixed with other things (like a quiche or an omlette) but I will eat them.They are an excellent source of protein in my otherwise fairly protein-barren world.
Speaking of that, how do I get protein anyway? Well besides some from items mentioned above (cottage cheese, almond milk, eggs, yogurt) I also obtain protein from protein powder/shakes, black beans, leafy greens, nuts & seeds, peanut butter, chickpeas/hummus, quinoa, and tofu (usually from restuarants though, because I can never make it properly – anyone have any tips??)
Beyond the protein sources, I enjoy veggies, fruit, and grains to fill me up.
So there you have it. It’s not glamorous and my husband thinks it’s a giant pain, but that’s what I do. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask!