Category Archives: Dips

Celebrating Mothers on Mother’s Day!

 

“… love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark.”

J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Mother’s Day is a day of celebration nationwide. Billions are spent on flowers and candy and taking mom out for her special day.* For those of us whose mothers have passed away, this day can be difficult. To make it better, we choose to focus on good memories of our moms and to suggest ways for others to make Mother’s Day special. Both of our mother’s loved celebrations – guess that’s where we got it from!

This week, enjoy a tasty artichoke dip, simple ways to make Mother’s Day flowers more special, some ideas for creative gifts, a garden update, and, of course, the bears.

*According to statisticbrain.com, total spent for mother’s on Mother’s Day: $20.7 Billion!

NEW ARTICHOKE DIP

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This Easter, Kevin’s niece Corinne, who is a great mom herself, made this delicious artichoke dip. We are pleased she let us share her recipe here. We’ve actually had this dip as a side dish with dinner more than once. Great way to get your veggies!

Make it for your Mother’s Day celebration!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese, cut into manageable chunks
  • 1/3 cup mayo (we use Hellmann’s Light)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • two cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • two 14 oz. cans artichoke hearts in water, drained
  • chopped scallions
  • seeded, chopped tomatoes

How to prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Have a large mixing bowl ready to place the ingredients in after they have gone through the food processor.

  • Mince artichoke hearts in food processor and pour into bowl.
  • Mix cream cheese, mayo, and garlic powder in processor until smooth.
  • Combine cream cheese mixture with chopped artichokes.
  • Finely grind cheeses in food processor, add to mixing bowl and stir all ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Spread mixture in glass pie plate.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (should not be too brown on top).
  • Top with scallions and tomatoes.
  • Dip can be served warm or cold. It also reheats well in the microwave.
  • Serve with corn or pita chips.

VASES

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Here are three easy and inexpensive ways to make a gift of flowers more special! Cute glass vases from the dollar store are easy to decorate. Cut out three 2-inch squares of decorative card stock, and spell MOM out on the cards, one letter per square. (We used stickers, but the letters can be handwritten in crayon or magic marker for a child’s personal touch.) Tie the squares onto the vases with jute (top photo). You also can use a single vase and do the same technique with one piece of 3″ wide x 5″ long piece of cardstock. The third example is the easiest. Simply spell out MOM in stickers on the vase itself. We got these lovely tulips on sale at a supermarket and using stickers and cardstock we had on hand, this gift cost under $10.00!

Last year’s post:

Here is last year’s Mother’s Day post with some additional ideas and thoughts.

https://funclesarts.com/2015/05/09/mothers-day-is-a-special-day/

GIFT IDEAS

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There’s still time to get a great gift for mom!

Here are a few ideas:

Photo gifts:

  • Print out a new or old photo that is special to your mom and put it in a nice frame. Instant keepsake.
  • Offer to scan your mom’s family photos to the computer or onto a disk. She will be able to print those she likes or share favorite photos with others from her computer.

Gift cards:

Gift cards to theaters, museums, craft and fabric stores or other creative venues will thrill the creative-minded mother. Practical gift cards for supermarkets or department stores also are great. Kevin’s mom loved getting gift cards to her local dollar store to stock up on greeting cards and gift wrap. No time to shop in-store? E-cards can be bought online!

Gifts of time and service:

  • Help mom clean her basement or garage.
  • Take mom food shopping or to the mall.
  • Enjoy a show or lunch with mom.

The garden:

  • Pick up some of your mom’s favorite plants.
  • Help her plant her flowers.

Kevin’s mom used to plant her patio and window box flowers on Mother’s Day. She enjoyed doing this with her daughter, Christine, who would gift her with the flowers and help plant them. This became a very special yearly tradition.

GARDEN UPDATE

We are starting to plan our garden for this year. Most years, Mother’s Day is a good time to start planting, but this year it is too cold and wet. We’re looking forward to getting our patio planting done soon!

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Looks like the flamingo has started helping with clean up by pulling a weed! (This photo is not staged.)

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Flowering food art (baby carrots, celery and grapes)

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JOKE OF THE WEEK:

What did the momma broom say to the baby broom? “It’s time to go to sweep!”

Source: Jokes4us.com

THE BEARS

The bears are celebrating Mother’s Day, too! Shown above and here with Irene’s handmade “MOM” pillow.

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We end this post with photos of our own mothers, always in our thoughts and in our hearts.

Kevin’s mom, Irene, with some of her loved ones at her 85th birthday lunch a few years ago.

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Roy’s mother, Phyllis, with new baby Roy and the rest of her family – quite a few years ago.

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

Enjoy!

Roy and Kevin

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Happy, Bunny-Filled, Colorful Easter and Spring!!!

This week, we share some colorful Easter and Spring ideas. Check out our Easy Easter Cupcakes, quick holiday decorating tips, a plant update, our healthy Bunny Dip Crudite Platter, one of our special Easter traditions, and of course, the bears!

EASY EASTER CUPCAKES

Get the kids involved in this easy holiday dessert. The Peep Bunnies seem intrigued!

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Prepare your favorite flavor of cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes. For Easter, we use carrot cake. Frost them with canned white frosting. Of course, you can make your cupcakes and frosting from scratch, but the cake mixes and canned frosting are quite tasty and save time. Save even more time – decorate store-bought frosted cupcakes!

To make the “grass”: mix 2 or 3 drops of green food coloring into one cup of shredded coconut.

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Sprinkle the frosted cupcakes with the dyed coconut and top with jelly beans, malted milk eggs or the candy of your choice. The Peep Bunnies add whimsy to the plate! Fun for kids!

Bonus tip:

If you’re Easter Cupcakes are travelling and you don’t have a cake cover, invert a dutch oven over your dish of cupcakes. Great in a pinch!

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 A TOUCH OF GLASS

Plastic Easter eggs make a simple, fun display in various glass containers. Mix and match the colors you want. Use white or clear lights to add a little more sparkle. Festive!

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The forsythia is not yet in bloom, but this faux forsythia adds a touch of Spring to this early Easter holiday. The hummingbird on the pillow is looking for nectar!

SOME OF OUR OTHER DECORATIONS

This bookcase is filled with rabbit figurines we’ve collected over the years. The hanging ornaments in the back row on the top shelf never come down – Red Sox, Patriots, UCONN, sand dollar and rainbow flag. (On a side note – UCONN women’s basketball team going for 4th straight national championship. GO HUSKIES!!!)

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LIKE A FINE WINE, LAST YEAR’S IDEAS GET BETTER WITH TIME!

Check out our post from Easter 2015 – some fun ideas for Easter baskets.

https://funclesarts.com/2015/03/29/baskets-for-both-easter-and-the-final-four/

PLANT UPDATE

Our beautiful Amaryllis blooms are gone, but the leaves stand strong and our patio is being prepped for Spring planting.

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FOOD ART/BUNNY DIP CRUDITE TRAY

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This week’s food art is a great appetizer for Easter celebrations. To balance out Easter’s sweet treats, we created this Bunny Dip Crudite Tray. Place a bowl of dip on a sheet tray covered with parchment paper and decorate it to look like the Easter Bunny.

Details as follows:

  • Ears: Endive, split, rinsed and sprinkled with chili powder.
  • Nose: Olive
  • Eyes: Capers
  • Eyebrows: Celery leaves
  • Mouth and whiskers: Chives
  • Bow tie: Bell pepper and a cherry tomato
  • Dip: one 16 oz. container of fat-free sour cream and 2 – 3 tablespoons of Mrs. Dash Garlic Herb Mix. This is one of our favorite, healthy and quick dips. Any light-colored dip will do.

Surround with celery, carrots and other veggies.

EGG CRASHING GAME:

Kevin’s family plays this every year. It is traditional holiday game with roots in many cultures. Read more about it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_tapping

A TRIO OF EASTER JOKES:

You’ll be the hit of the party with these comic gems!

Who is the Easter Bunny’s favorite actor? Rabbit DeNiro!

Where do the Easter bunnies go for new tails? The re-tail store! (When Roy asked this question to Kevin, he said the tuxedo store – take a minute.)

Why is Easter like whipped cream and a cherry? Because it’s always on a sundae!

Source: Fundootimes.com

The bunnies, er, we mean the bears, shown above, have gotten into their Easter baskets!!!

HAPPY EASTER!!!

Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

Let’s Play! Creativity, food and football – GO PATS!!!

After an unseasonably warm December and beginning of January, winter finally has arrived. With Rhode Island bracing for its first measurable snow storm, we share our warm artichoke dip with homemade bagel bites (perfect for the Patriots game on Sunday), offer thoughts on restocking art and craft supplies, playing creatively, a patio update and, of course, the bears!

WARM ARTICHOKE DIP

Here is one of our favorite recipes. Great for halftime! GO PATS!!!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best, but the green can works)
  • one 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic herb mix
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

To prepare:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine all the ingredients, reserving 1 teaspoon parmesan cheese.
  • Sprinkle mixture with reserved parmesan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.
  • Serve with chips, including those shown below.

Bagel bites

Slice 2 whole marble rye bagels into quarter-inch rounds. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. These crispy dippers are great paired with the artichoke dip. (They also make great croutons for your favorite salad!)

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We also enjoy the artichoke dip with our easy, healthy pita chips. Here is the link :

https://funclesarts.com/2015/01/18/game-time/

 RESTOCK AND PLAY

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Winter is one of our favorite seasons for crafting, but most of our craft materials were used prepping for the holidays. January is a great month to take inventory and re-stock your supplies. Good timing, because craft stores are offering deep discounts. Take a look at your supplies and, if you need to, restock! Don’t forget to use craft stores coupons, easily found online.

 When you do restock, why not play?

Just playing with craft materials can be inspiring. One of the goals we have for this blog is to create new things, and sometimes the best ideas come during play, when one idea leads to another. The “Create Peace” collage and the “Let’s Grow!” patio sign from last week’s blog evolved from this technique – covering your work space with a variety of materials and playing creatively.

In the photo above, Roy tried out our new Sharpies and crayons on a big sheet of newsprint. It was just for fun, sort of like the new adult coloring book trend. We probably won’t use the paper for anything (although Kevin thinks it would be cool gift wrap) but either way, that’s ok. Have fun – you just might create something!!!

Take some pictures

Speaking of playing, we continue to play with and learn about our new(ish) camera.

Still looking for Tippi Hendren from Hitchcock’s, “The Birds”!

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PATIO UPDATE

We got some snow earlier this week. The Flamingo looks cooold!!!

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PLAY AND PLANTING

We received an Amaryllis bulb as a Christmas gift and planted it this week. Turns out we didn’t need our potting soil. Who knew the small brown disc in the picture on the left would become three cups of the nutrient-rich soil pictured on the right!

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Amaryllis updates to come. Looking forward to some beautiful blooms to brighten our indoor winter garden! Thanks, Chris and Bernard!

New door

After some false starts, we are pleased that our new sliding glass door is installed. We’re looking forward to spring and summer, when the screen door will allow us to enjoy our patio garden even more!

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FOOD ART (Roy played with photo editing on this one – background is actually a gray cabinet!)

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THE BEARS

The bears are enjoying browsing through our recent library finds. Hmm . . . shouldn’t they be hibernating?

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No!!! They are too excited to sleep! GO PATS!!!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin!

 

Fresh and Shiney New Year!!!

“Years end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that can instill in us. ” – Hal Borland (An author, not a character from TV’s, “Home Improvement”.)

Happy New Year! WOW!!! 2015 is almost over. It’s exciting to celebrate the beginning of a new year! This week, we offer our new dip recipe, which is full of fresh veggies. We also share our creative resolutions, give 2015’s last Patio Update, and, of course, check out the bears in their celebratory mode! As a bonus, we’ve included three more dip recipes from earlier blogs and instructions for our Happy New Year banner, featured with the bears above.

FRESH VEGGIE DIP

Everybody loves dip, but often they are made with powdered soup mixes, filled with dehydrated vegetables, salt and msg. Freshen things up with our easy and delicious veggie dip!

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Ingredients:

  • one 16 oz. container fat-free sour cream
  • 4 oz. room temperature, low-fat cream cheese
  • one small onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup broccoli, chopped and blanched for 2 minutes, then cooled in ice water
  • 3/4 cup carrots, boiled until tender and diced
  • two medium bell peppers, chopped (we like red and orange, but green is fine)
  • one tablespoon olive oil
  • one clove grated garlic
  • one teaspoon hot sauce
  • two tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to make:

  • Saute peppers and onion in olive oil for three minutes.
  • Sprinkle grated garlic over peppers/onion mixture and saute for one minute.
  • Combine the peppers and onions with prepared broccoli and carrots.
  • Chill all the vegetables.
  • Place cream cheese and sour cream in food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Set aside 1/2 cup of chilled vegetable combo.
  • Add remaining vegetables, lemon juice and hot sauce to food processor.
  • Pulse until smooth.
  • Add the reserved vegetables to food processor. Pulse 3 or 4 times, leaving some chunks for texture.
  • Chill at least one hour.
  • Serve with chips, crackers or crudite.

DIP INTO THE PAST

Speaking of dips, one is never enough. Here are three other dip recipes we’ve shared in 2015!

 “No Tell” Queso Dip

https://funclesarts.com/2015/01/25/a-super-bowl-dip-lights-and-a-recycling-tip-now-thats-poetry/

Red Pepper/Chickpea Dip and Rosemary White Bean Dip

https://funclesarts.com/2015/07/02/lets-be-independent-together/

CREATIVE RESOLUTIONS FOR 2016 

Our goal for this blog is to explore many creative avenues, and in doing so, to learn and have fun. Here are some of our creative resolutions for 2016:

Experiment with new foods and recipes.

See more plays, movies and concerts.

Learn to use our new guitar and camera.

Make more creative gifts.

Go to more galleries and art shows.

Meet more creative people.

Expand on the creative things we already do or have done.

Try new things.

Please share your creative resolutions for 2016!

PATIO UPDATE

This has been a wonderful year for our patio garden. We grew a few plants from seed and tried and succeeded at growing some new vegetables and herb plants. Our patio’s use was extended with real and artificial decorations into the holiday season and will continue to be a source of light and color this winter. Thank you for your continued interest in our patio updates. Looking forward to a green, colorful 2016!!!

This week brought the first snowfall (our favorite snowfall – didn’t have to shovel!) and it looked nice with the greenery on the patio.

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FOOD ART

FRESH YEAR!

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress. – Charles Kettering

NEW YEAR’S BANNER

Check out the link below from last year’s blog to make the banner featured above. Easy to update with a quick change of year from 2015 to 2016!

https://funclesarts.com/2014/12/31/happy-new-year/

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE HISTORY OF NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS!

This link from History.com is the place to look for New Year’s facts and videos.

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years

THE BEARS

The bears (featured above) are polished and shining for their New Year’s celebration!!!

OUR WISH FOR YOU IN 2016

We wish you a happy, healthy, fun, creative and prosperous 2016!

Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin!

A Super Bowl dip, lights and a recycling tip. (Now that’s poetry!)

This week, we have a couple of Super Bowl related ideas and a recycling suggestion.

“NO TELL” QUESO DIP RECIPE:  We love the Rotel Queso Dip you see on TV with the canned tomatoes with chiles and Velveeta. We decided to make it healthier. Our version uses light cream cheese and cheddar. It’s great to bring to parties because it can be made in advance and reheated in a microwave.

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Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of light margarine; 2 tablespoons of fine flour such as Wondra; 1 1/2 cups milk; one 8-oz. package of room-temperature light cream cheese; 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese; one 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with mild chiles, drained; 1/2 teaspoon chili powder; chopped tomato; hot sauce (if desired).

How to make:

  • In a medium sauce pan, melt margarine and whisk in flour to create a roux
  • Add milk and stir until mixture begins to thicken
  • Stir in cream cheese until melted and smooth
  • Add cheddar cheese, mix to combine
  • Add chili powder
  • Add drained tomatoes to cheese mixture
  • Lower heat and allow to thicken – about one-two minutes
  • Spoon into serving dish, sprinkle with hot sauce and garnish with chopped tomatoes
  • Serve with tortilla chips or the pita chips from last weeks blog (shown with dip in picture above). This also is delicious with a small French baguette. (Kevin likes this dip with mini-pumpernickel bread from the deli department at the grocery store.)

    PUT A LITTLEIMG_3099 LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT:                                                      In our home, we use festive party lights year round. We have lights for St. Valentines Day, St. Patricks Day and Easter and, of course, Christmas. During non-holiday times, we love the warm glow the lights give our home and patio(Think Tavern on the Green!)     For the Super Bowl, we’ve decorated our patio with our tomato                                                 cage trees emblazoned in blue and red Patriots colors!  Go Pats!!!

 RANDOM THOUGHT:

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RECYCLING AND ORGANIZING IDEA:                                                                                                       We often buy pre-packaged cold cuts from the grocery store. They come in small plastic containers similar to Tupperware. We recycle these tubs by using them to store our sewing and craft supplies. (Love our glue sticks!) They stack easily and are transparent, so we can easily find the items we need. These work out great!

Have a wonderful week!

Roy & Kevin