Monday, December 22, 2014

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Hello again! This time of year I am cooking like crazy! I wanted to share this Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe with you because it's easy but so good! I've made this dip every year at Christmas for as long as I can remember. Usually Christmas Eve we do a lot of appetizer type dishes. This one is always a big hit!
I usually serve this with round tortilla chips or Fritos Dips. It's also great piled on a cracker!

Ingredients:
1 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
2 13 oz cans artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Spray casserole dish with non-stick spray (I always use a 10-inch round)

Heat spinach in microwave just enough to thaw. Using a cheese cloth or paper towels, squeeze out all the water.

Drain the artichoke hearts and coarsely chop.

Combine all the ingredients except the pepper jack cheese in a large bowl, stirring until well combined.

Pour into the sprayed dish, sprinkle the top with the pepper jack cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair 7 Day Test

Hello everyone! Today I'm sharing my results from my Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair 7 Day Retinol Test! I'm excited to be working with Neutrogena for this post, a brand I've used and respected for years!

You can read more about the products by visiting the Neutrogena website  
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum: A lightweight silky serum that absorbs quickly into the skin to instantly provide smoother, younger looking skin. Contains the highest concentrate of Accelerated Retinol SA

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Day SPF 30: A daily moisturizer that nourishes skin while also protecting skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays. Clinicly proven to deliver the following results in just one week:
- smooth fine lines and overall texture of the skin
- brighten skintone

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night: Luxurious night moisturizer that treats skin at night, when it's most receptive. Clinically proven to deliver the following results in just one week:
- smooth fine lines and overall texture of the skin
- brighten skintone

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye: Moisturizer that plumps the skin in the eye area while also helping to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

First a little background about my skin - It's no secret that I don't have perfect skin. I suffered from cystic acne in my mid twenties. That left me with scaring and premature aging skin. My problem area has always been around my mouth, where I have the most wrinkles and scars. So that is the primary area I'm focusing on here and where I'd like to see results.

My skin type - aging, somewhat sensitive, combination, acne scaring, uneven pigmentation

Now that you have a little background, let's take a look at the progression photos. I took a photo each day to document my progress. I tried to get the best lighting but somedays it didn't work out.









Results:
I did notice the fine lines around my mouth soften from about Day 3 on. Some days my skin tone looked more even than others. That's just my skin though, some days it looks more red. I didn't really notice the hyper pigmentation (spots) changing much. I did have some slight flaking (totally normal with retinol products) around Day 4 but it wasn't bad at all. 

I didn't notice any difference around my eyes (crows feet) because I do get Botox and that generally isn't an issue for me. I liked the Eye Cream though, it did not have a scent and wasn't irritating at all. Something I typically  have to worry about. 

Texture is an issue with me as well. I did notice a smoother texture to my skin despite the few flaky areas I had. 

Overall, I'm impressed by the results I got within the 7 days. These products are available at drugstores for around the $20 price point. I'll continue to use these products and incorporate them into my routine. 

There's also a Giveaway! You can hear more about my overall thoughts on these products and enter the Giveaway by watching my video below. 







Monday, December 08, 2014

Olive Cheese Crostini & Easy Tomato Bruschetta

This is a really good Crostini and Bruschetta recipe that I make each year at Christmas. It's great for all parties! If you like Goat Cheese, I recommend using that. I however, cannot eat it. I like it, it doesn't like me, lol. So I'm going to give you two options for cheese. I've also included an easy way of making Bruschetta.

Easy Bruschetta

Olive Crostini


Ingredients:

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
3/4 cup pitted green olives
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 oz goat cheese (chèvre) or 1 tub Boursin Garlic & Herb cheese spread
1 baguette style loaf, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/3 cup olive oil, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a food processor, combine the olives, capers, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and pulse until combined. You want the mixture to be chunky, not smooth. At this point you can cover and chill for several hours until ready or use right away.

Arrange sliced baguette on a a cookie sheet. Brush each piece with olive oil. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until slightly golden brown.

To serve, spread bread slices with cheese and top with olive mixture. Serve at room temperature.

Easy Bruschetta:

Toast the bread same as above.
Drain a can (or two) of Basil, Garlic, Oregano diced tomatoes and add small spoonfuls onto bread. Top with shredded parmesan cheese. You can also add fresh, chopped basil. Serve at room temperature.

Ranch Cocktail Party Crackers

These easy Ranch Cocktail Party Crackers are such a fun, easy snack to have at every party! They look a little more festive in a martini glass sitting on the bar or at each table. These are so addicting and yummy!

Ranch Cocktail Crackers



What You'll Need:

1 (1 oz) package ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bag oyster crackers

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 250°.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients and mix to coat crackers. Pour crackers onto a large cookie sheet.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes
Let cool and serve

You can store leftovers in a ziplock bag for up to a week.

Easy Ranch Crackers

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