Best Artichoke Spinach dip


IMG_5008This best ever homemade artichoke spinach dip. It is a huge hit appetizer, merits a standing ovation from your guests.

It’s a pinnacle appetizer for my husband and I, we order it almost at every diner restaurant until the day i made it home. Since then my husband craves this symphony of well blended flavors.

artichoke and spinach dip

To make this creamy dip you need:

  • 250g spinach chopped (thawed if frozen)
  • 400g artichoke hearts drained and chopped
  • 250ml heavy cream
  • 100g cream cheese
  • 2 cups Emmental cheese (divided)
  • 1 big onion finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • salt to taste

In a pot cook the onion and garlic with the spinach for 3-4 minutes. Put the heat off and mix in the artichoke, cream, cream cheese, salt and one cup of the Emmental cheese. You can use mozzarella if you wish a milder taste.

Pour the mix in a baking dish, sprinkle over the remaining cup of cheese and bake on 200°C in the oven for 30 mins or until it’s bubbly and the cheese is golden brown.

artichoke and spinach dip

artichoke and spinach dipServe it with tortilla chips, toasted bread or crackers and dive right in! I am warning you it’s addictive :)

artichoke and spinach dip

The flavors are outstanding! Try it and give me your opinion.

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8 Tips and tricks probably you didn’t know before!


tips and tricks

Here are some tips and tricks worth knowing, it will help you and save your time. Some were totally new to me and wished i knew from before!

1- Testing egg freshness

PrintEggshells have pores that allows air to get in over time. The more air enters the egg the lighter it gets, which explains why it will float. So if it floats, get rid of it!

2- Don’t touch the cheese with your hands

don't touch the cheese with your handsDon’t touch the cheese with your hands while cutting, the bacteria from your fingers promotes mold faster. Either wear gloves or keep your hands over the plastic wrap of the cheese.

3- Store the salsa jars upside down

salsa jars upside downStore the salsa jars upside down in the fridge, this way it prevents mold from sprouting up.

4- Separate the bananas at the stems to prevent quick ripening

seperate bananasIf you want your bananas to last longer, separate them at the stem. The reason bananas ripen more quickly when they’re not separated is because they emit ethylene gas. A bunch of bananas together lasts 5-7 days but when you break them apart they can last up to 14-17 days!

5- Place a wooden spoon to keep water from boiling over pots

use wooden spoon for boiling waterA wooden spoon pops the bubbles when they are in contact, plus it can absorb some of the moisture, so water stays down and don’t boil over. Metal spoons don’t have same effect!

6- Roll the lemon before squeezing

roll the lemonRoll the lemon or any citrus fruit applying a bit of pressure before juicing. This way you burst the tiny cells in the lemon flesh to give more juice!

7- Pepper bumps

peppersPeppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating while peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

8- Rub your hands with stainless steel to remove the odor

stainless-steel-for-onion-smell-on-handsAfter working with garlic, onion or fish, rub your hands vigorously on your stainless steel sink for 30 seconds before washing them. If your sink is not made of stainless steel, simply rub a stainless steel spoon, It will remove the odor. Now you can buy a soap like piece of stainless steel from some supermarkets.

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3 fun games to teach your toddler the geometric shapes and colors (free printables)


shape cards

Teaching your child about shapes and colors is greatly important. This knowledge manifests in their daily life. It helps:

  • Improving the verbal communication: by providing them the exact descriptive vocabulary we are offering an opportunity to communicate more effectively. By that we avoid their frustration of being unable to ask for a specific thing. ex: “i want the blue car not the red”, “i like the square biscuit more than the round one”…
  • Building up the logic skills: do you know that when your kid is able to build a balanced lego tower, means he is making use of his geometry skills?
  • Improving pre-reading skills: Children will apply the same skills that they used in recognizing circles and squares to recognizing and naming all of the letters, as letters are just more complicated shapes.
  • Being creative: the knowledge of shapes and colors will help them to create what they imagine in their minds when drawing or creating shapes with playdough….  Also the use of colors can express feelings and emotions that young children may not have the words to describe. Ex: using the color red to express anger.
  • Teaching perspective: realizing that shapes not only exist in flat form on paper but as objects in everyday life, will give them a new perspective of their surroundings.

First comes recognizing the shapes and then drawing, tracing or coloring them is a plus. And maybe building 3D shapes in an advanced stage.

12 cards

I created series of cards for the most common shapes that a child will encounter in his daily life (square, rectangle, circle, oval, triangle, heart, star…..). Total of 12 colorful shapes with animals, to make it more fun. This way we are learning shapes, colors and animals.

Click on french cards  or english cards to download a high resolution file.

As Nady loves singing, we were spending time on each animal to sing a related song and name its benefits.

We played 3 games with these cards:

Game 1: Tracing the shapes with colored pencils

tracing the shapes

A smart way to enhance his motor skills and practice the pre-writing ability by learning how to hold the pen and draw, beside naming the colors and the animals

Game 2: Making the shapes out of playdough

playdough tracing 1

playdough tracing 2

This game couldn’t end without using the cutters! The favorite activity of Nady :) We found a way to make it beneficial, by cutting same animals to make assimilation!

playdough tracing 3

A great way to build fine motor skills while the child rolls out the dough to trace around the shapes while learning the shapes, colors and animals.

Game 3: Coloring inside the lines

coloring

A different type of exercise, teaching a tough skill that needs time, drawing inside the lines! My son is a reluctant artist, he doesn’t like to follow rules he wants to be a free!  Without forgetting that this exercise aims also to learn shapes, colors and animals.

We had a new experience each time we played with those cards. The sky is the limit. You can create your own games depending on what is your aim from the exercise.

Don’t forget playing and having fun is very educational! Enjoy every moment with your children, they are precious.

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IMG_4972

This is what i call a way to play! If you like this post give it some likes and shares to spread the fun. Don’t forget to like marmite et ponpon facebook page and follow on twitter. More interesting posts are yet to come.

 

Easy pan grilled chicken with mushroom sauce


IMG_4942It’s one of those delicious meals for busy moms or even bachelors who wants their food to be served in less than 30 mns. Incredibly flexible dish, can be served with grilled or sauteed vegetables, with mashed potatoes or even pasta.

To create the easiest and quickest mushroom gravy you need:

  • 4 cups of water
  • one sachet of mushroom soup (50g)
  • 2 cubes chicken stock (20g)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup sliced mushroom
  • 1 tbsp whiskey

Choose your favorite brand of mushroom soup and prepare the creamiest and most tasty gravy for your quick meal. Combine water, mushroom soup, chicken stock and flour in a casserole, mix well and bring to boil. Keep whisking all the time to get the consistency you need, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the mushroom slices and boil for two more minutes. Take off the heat and add the whiskey. It will give it the twist you will enjoy. Eh voila the gravy is ready.

IMG_4935Season around 800g of chicken breast with salt and pepper and pan grill. Do not flip the chicken many times, they will become dry and chewy. Keep each side around 4-5 minutes for tender and juicy result. This quantity will serve 4 people.

Serve it along with what you fancy to eat, personally i like mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables in salt and butter.

IMG_4943You will probably make it a regular in your home but what I promise for sure you will lick your plate clean, not a single drop will be left at all. Enjoy!

IMG_4938IMG_4931If you like this post give it some likes and shares to spread the love. Don’t forget to like marmite et ponpon facebook page and follow on twitter. More delicious posts are yet to come.

Sweet balsamic glazed salmon


IMG_4922I guarantee you it’s the only way you will ever make your salmon from now on. The sweet and tangy flavors blend together to give you this flavorful salmon.

Beside of having a quick meal, ready on your table within 20 mns, you will be enjoying a sustaining dish full of nutrients, such as the amazing omega-3, vitamin B3, B6 and B12, protein and vitamin D.

Bottom line, eating salmon makes you smarter and happier!

IMG_4898To make the glaze you will need:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt to taste

Mix all ingredients and bring to boil for 5 minutes to thicken.

Place 4 pieces of salmon (each 200g) skin-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Cooking in baking papers keeps the fish deliciously moist as it bakes in its own juices, minimal cleanup needed later and it’s definitely more healthy than aluminium foil.

Brush with the glaze, bake for 10 minutes in the oven on 200°C, brush again with the glaze then bake uncovered for 5 additional minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is cooked through.

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Transfer to your plate, you will see the skin will remain easily on the baking paper, add the remaining glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with potatoes, rice or pasta. This quantity serves 4 people.

IMG_4902This tender, flaky and flavorful salmon will leave you basking in compliments from your loved ones!

IMG_4906If you like this post give it some likes and shares to spread the joy. Don’t forget to like marmite et ponpon facebook page and follow on twitter. More posts yet to come.