Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pin It or Screw It: Neiman Marcus Dip

Neiman Marcus Dip

The other night I was trying to fall asleep when I had the most ridiculous thought pop into my head. I have lots of pins on Pinterest, but I rarely use any of them. Which shouldn't surprise anyone, least of all me, because I really don't have a lot of extra time and the super awesome pins are usually past my skill level.

And since this is likely a common problem for most of us ("it's not" - you, "damn" -me), I've decided to include some posts where I do the dirty work for you. I'm going to pick popular pins, try to recreate them and then tell you if it's worth your time.

I have a sneaking suspicion that most of my posts will end up as worthy candidates for the Pinterest Fail site, but at least it will be entertaining for someone. Not me, of course. No, I'll probably be weeping in the corner over my hot glue gun or burnt pie crust. Which brings me to my next point.

If I can successfully recreate a pin, then you most definitely can recreate it. I'm not a professional builder, baker, chef, DIY-er, painter, seamstress, fashionista or fitness guru ("we know" - you, "shhh, I'm on a roll here" - me).  If I can do it, you can do it.

Yesterday, I decided to try something easy for our play date. This particular recipe - Neiman Marcus dip - has been hanging out on my Pinterest board for two years and never seen the light of day. You can find the original recipe with lots of photos and directions at Just A Spoonful Of.

I failed to take any photos other than the last one, but they have more than enough to get you through it. And really, you don't even need them. The recipe is simple. You take all of the ingredients, mix them in a bowl and stick them in the fridge for a couple of hours. You take it out, throw it in a dish, add some crackers and chips and voila - the perfect dip!

It took me five minutes to put it together. Seriously. Five minutes. And it looked pretty good. Or at the very least, it looked like it took some effort. And it tasted pretty good, too. Then again, I like bacon ("who doesn't?" - you, "people I don't want to know" - me).

There are a couple of downsides. One, it's not healthy. Not by a long shot. And two, it's more expensive than buying dip at the grocery store. I did the math and it probably cost me about $10 to make it - likely the almonds and bacon bits tipping the scales a bit.

So, if I was throwing a Super Bowl party I'd probably skip this in favor of salsa, guacamole and/or (who are we kidding here - AND) queso. But if I was having a dinner party and needed some type of appetizer or needed a quick potluck app, I wouldn't hesitate to make this dip.

And since I know you can't handle the suspense any longer, here's my verdict.


PS - Have a pin you want me to test out? Shoot me a message or leave a link in the comments section! Here's the recipe for the dip:

Neiman Marcus Dip

5 - 6 green onions
 8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 jar Hormel Real Bacon Bits 
1 pkg. slivered almonds

Chop the green onions.
Shred the cheddar cheese.

Mix the onions, cheese, mayo, bacon bits,
 and slivered almonds together.
Chill for a couple hours.
Serve with Ritz crackers or corn chips.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Return from the Busy

Photo courtesy of 
This is exactly how I look when I read. Pensive, taking notes, eating some kind of carb. Well, at least the carb part is accurate. 

A couple of months ago I was so excited to start my own website. I looked at different options online. I convinced my husband it was the right thing to do. I polled friends and family about possible names. And then I came up empty. When push came to shove, I simply couldn't decide on a new name for my site and so here I remain, a partly crunchy mama. Shortly thereafter, writer's block reared its ugly head. I did the only thing I knew to do. I started reading again.

Reading, for me, is both a blessing and a curse. I love to read. LOVE it so much. And that's really the problem. I get completely engrossed in my book and everything else falls by the wayside. Sure, I could've written a blog post, but why should I when I could sit curled up in the armchair during nap time and read my book? In this particular case, it's not so much a book as a book series that's kept me away from the keyboard for so long. One word - Outlander.

I scored an awesome deal and got all seven books for $1.99 on my kindle. That was about three weeks ago and I'm now on book five (and these are rather large books). I couldn't help myself. What would happen to Jaime? And Claire? And Brianna? These are things I need to know. Every time I looked at my laptop all I could think about was how my people were faring in their world and I had to stop what I was doing and feed the beast.

It's a wonder I'm writing this right now. Truly. Because I've just hit a sweet spot in book five and I'd really like to read a bit.

So this post is to let you know that I'm alive and well (so is everyone else). Oh and for those that are interested, we tried potty training for about three days about two weeks ago. It went about how I expected. Here's a quick recap:

Ethan sits on the potty for 20 minutes. Nothing happens. Set timer for 30 minutes.

15 minutes later, Ethan says he has a leak. Put him on the toilet for several minutes. Nothing happens. Reset timer for 20 minutes.

10 minutes later, Ethan says he's all wet. Sit him on the toilet. Nothing happens. Reset timer for 5 minutes.

3 minutes later, Ethan has peed his pants. 

In case you lost track, that would be three outfit changes in about 30 minutes. At this point, I was ready to give up, but we continued until nap time for a total of about three hours worth of potty training.

He peed his pants eight times. EIGHT TIMES.

And I know what you're thinking. Why isn't he naked? Just let him run around in the backyard. OK, one, it's hotter than the damn sun here and I refuse to deal with those types of burns and two, we don't even have a tree for him to pee on.

But Jen, why isn't he naked in the house? Um, because I don't want to clean up pee off the floor and furniture? We potty trained Layla (our dog) on a tile floor and I've got news for you, pees travels quickly when it has carved routes in the floor to follow. Besides, he hates being wet so you'd think he'd start to make choices that would allow him to stay dry. Right?

Anyway, it went like that for a couple of days and we had zero success. Not one time did he go to the bathroom on the toilet. And it wasn't for lack of trying. He'd get up in the morning and sit there with the iPad for 30 minutes until his cheeks had a red ring around them from sitting so long only to get up, get dressed and pee all over himself two minutes later. Honestly, I think he may have been holding it until he got dressed.

Needless to say, we're taking a break. I don't think he's ready for potty training yet. We'll reevaluate in a few weeks and maybe try again. He's not even 2 1/2 and I've heard that most boys are successful in the toilet arena closer to age 3. I'm definitely not stressed out about it yet. Although, I have stopped muttering "this will be the last box of diapers I buy" whenever I'm at the grocery store. Once I resigned myself to more diapers, I was better off.

If you have any potty training tips, feel free to share them. I'll all ears. Just do it gently. I need sage advice and encouragement. And for the love, if your child potty-trained in three days and never has accidents and uses just the right amount of toilet paper, please keep it to yourself. I'm happy for you, but let's not pour salt in the wound, eh?

On that note, I'm off to read another chapter in my book.