Amazing Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Yesterday we went to a friend’s house for a pirate themed evening. My friend and I were working together to plan a fun spread and found some great inspiration from Pinterest for pirate themed foods. The winners included roasted parrot wings, cannon balls (meatballs), peg legs (pretzel sticks), planks (sweet potato fries), octopus dip and pirate gold (pineapple).

It was my job to make the octopus dip! I thought a spinach and artichoke dip would be super yummy! I looked on pinterest for some inspiration and ended up making my own version of the dip, which turned out delicious! Everyone loved it and it was so easy to make! And it tasted way better than any store bought dip. You need to make this dip…I’d recommend sooner than later! You won’t regret it and your family and friends will thank you. And if there happens to be any leftovers, which there probably won’t be unless you put some aside when you first make it, it makes a great spread for broiled cheesy toast. Get your favorite bread, soread on the dip, top with your favorite cheese or cheeses (no judgment!!) and broil for a few minutes until the cheese gets crispy. Well, here you go…enjoy! Let me know what you think!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 16oz bag of frozen chopped spinach (thawed)

1-1 1/2 cups of chopped marinated artichokes

4oz cream cheese

1 cup fresh shredded romano parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded cheese (I used a cheddar blend, but you can use mozzarella too!)

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

garlic powder (I like a lot, so put however much you’re comfortable with)

salt and pepper to taste

  1.  Put the cream cheese, shredded cheeses yogurt and garlic in a sauce pan on medium heat. Constantly stir until all ingredients are melted and an even consistency.
  2. Add in the spinach and artichokes and stir until blended together.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spoon out the dip into a serving dish. In order to make an octopus (not required, but makes it a lot more fun!) you will need an orange bell pepper. Slice it in half and place one half on top of the dip and slice the other half into eight tentacles and place in the dip.
  5. Enjoy!!!
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Octopus Spinach and Artichoke Dip

 

Live, laugh and love!

Jenn

New Year, New Me

So I have decided to try and make 2016 a year of transformation. A year where I will change (for the better) a lot of aspects of my life. My health, my focus, my business, my blog, the list continues.

8 weeks ago, I decided to make a change and do something for me. Well, it’s also for my family, but really, it’s to make me a better me. I joined a strength and cardio training gym. I signed up for the 8 week challenge at TFW (Training For Warriors) in Pacifica. Coming here has changed my perspective on lots of things. Fitness has become an important part of me in 2016. I changed the way I have been eating and I like it. I want to work out now. I have gotten up super early to make a 7am workout class just so I could make sure I would get in my workout for the day. Who am I??? I have been working really hard and have been pushing myself to become more fit. And you know what? I’ve seen results. So far, I have lost 12lbs of body fat, gained 5lbs of muscle and my BMI has gone down 5.5%. How awesome is that? So I decided that I would join for the next year and transform the physical me.

I also want to make myself a better person (or try really hard to). I have adopted the challenge of a monthly “choose one, lose one” where I literally choose to do something and lose to do something else. It doesn’t seem that hard, but it can be. For January, I have chosen to get my butt in gear with marketing my business. It’s time to get serious about it and really do it. It’s a lot of work and has it’s own set of challenges, but the rewards can be great. For my “lose one”, I have decided that this is a good month to lose excess things that I have and pare down my clothes. I have a LOT of clothes and right now they are all being gone through to either keep or give away. I’m trying to let things go, but sometimes I’m like, man, this is so cute but I haven’t worn it in soooo long. Hmm, but I could at some point. Argghhh, the dilema!!! I digress, but it’s the goal for the month so I will do my best.

I’ve also been very bad about blogging. With everything else going on in life, it just hasn’t been that high on my list. But I am going to make a BIG effort to blog a lot more. I was thinking of doing a 52 week challenge, but I’m a little late to the game so I’m thinking a monthly challenge will be more feasible. I would also love to educate readers more with my blog posts, so look out for something soon!

Well, that’s it for now.  More good things to come soon!

Live, laugh and love!

Jenn

Fun at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco!

We had a really fun weekend filled with lots of friends and family time! One of the highlights was going to the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco! We had not been there together as a family, so this was a special outing. Brody loves looking at new things and seeing animals. He has such a curious and inquisitive nature about him. At the Academy, we saw tons of cool stuff. Walking through all the layers of a living rainforest is pretty amazing, but it is sooooo hot in there! Yes, I know the rainforest is a hot place, but living in San Francisco does not prepare you for that kind of humidity. Brody enjoyed watching the birds and butterflies fly around freely amongst the trees and plants. He watched intently as the two macaws “kissed” each other. But, by far, his favorite thing to do was take the elevator from the rainforest to the aquarium and look at all of the fish. He got super excited and tried to “touch” the fish as they were swimming by. He banged his hand on the glass to get their attention and he was “talking” to them in his loud, I’m so excited right now voice. It was too cute and it was so fun to see and experience things through his eyes. We also saw the “Colors of Life” exhibit and walked through the African hall to see some awesome animals. Ryan was able to watch a space show in the planetarium and said it was amazing! While he was there, Brody and I went to the little Cove area for little ones. Brody had so much fun crawling around and meeting some new friends! There are so many new and exciting adventures to take part in every time you go to the Academy of Sciences. I can’t wait to go back and see something new and show my little man more wonders of the scientific world!

Little man loves the aquarium!
Little man loves the aquarium!
Enjoying the tunnel in the aquarium
Enjoying the tunnel in the aquarium
Such a beautiful little butterfly!
Such a beautiful little butterfly!
A really cool (and really big!) eel
A really cool (and really big!) eel
The boys checking out the fish
The boys checking out the fish

Live, laugh and love!

Jenn

I’m baaaaaaack!

SO I realize that I have been MIA for quite some time. But it’s been for good reason. I became a mom. Yes, I still could have been posting, but I took a little time off from photography to be with my little man. And now….I have quit my full-time job as a first grade teacher to become a full-time photographer and mom! I couldn’t be more excited! So far, it’s been great being home with my little man and seeing all of his milestones and accomplishments. Who could ever think clapping and giving a high five would be the most important thing in the world?! This girl right here. Everyday is a new adventure and I feel so lucky to be a part of it and be able to be with my little guy through it all.

I’ve decided that in order for my clients to really get to know ME, I will not only be posting awesome session photos and stories to my blog, but I will also post little happenings and photos from my everyday life. Maybe even a really amazing recipe that I discovered, a Pinterest project that I embarked on or a mom moment. I want to share my personal stories and adventures with you…so watch out world because here I am!

I may be partial, but I think he is THE cutest little guy ever!!!
I may be partial, but I think he is THE cutest little guy ever!!!

So this little one has been occupying all of my time…and I’m not gonna lie, I’ve loved every minute of it! Well, maybe not the lack of sleep minutes, but other than that, it’s been pretty great! This little boy has made my life so much more purposeful and my husband and I are really enjoying parenthood so far! Stay tuned for more awesomeness to come your way in the not too distant future…but for now, I will try to catch up on some sleep!

Live, laugh and love!

Jenn

Holiday Photo Extravaganza 2013

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Jennifer Maesen Photography is now booking holiday sessions!  There are four amazing collections to choose from that meet everyone’s needs!  Receive an awesome photo session, cards made to give to family and friends, beautiful prints to give away as gifts, ornaments to decorate your tree or someone else’s and more!  Inquire at maesenphotography@gmail.com to find out more about the collections and book your session!

Our new puppy!

I know it’s been a while since I have posted, but it’s been a fun summer filled with relaxation, travel, taking photos and our new puppy! We had been thinking about getting a new dog for a while, but wanted to do our research ahead of time. Meet Bailey McBarkley Maesen, our newest family member! Bailey is a terrier mix (we are almost positive he is part Irish Terrier). We found Bailey at the Wonder Dog Rescue in San Francisco. He was being fostered with his sister and we fell in love instantly when we met him! We just held him in our arms for about an hour. He seemed super sweet, smart and mellow.

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Bailey_dog_6 My husband and I looked at each other and knew we couldn’t leave without him! He has the most ADORABLE face ever!  His eyes just melt your heart!  We knew it would be a lot of work to raise a 12 week old puppy, but we wanted to give him a good life with a loving family. From day one, we have been inseparable. Bailey has adapted to our home quickly and knows he is a well-loved member of our family. He just had his first puppy class with Sirius Puppy Training in Pacifica the other day. He did a great job! We can’t wait to see what a great dog he will become. We love him so much!