(This post originally published in 2014. Photos updated on February 18, 2017.)

Can we talk TV for a minute? I have to get this off my chest.

We finished Breaking Bad last week. I have heard so much about it over the past few years so I just knew we were going to love it. We kind of hated it. Well, we hated the first 3 seasons. It took us 3 months to get through them. I finally got really into it in the last episode of the 4th season. Like, really into it. Like, WE HAVE TO WATCH ALL THE EPISODES RIGHT NOW into it. And then when we finally made it to the very last episode? That everyone said was perfect? That everyone said they cried over?

It was stupid. And I hated it. And I wish I’d never even started the show.

Ugh. It was like LOST Part 2 for me. Super frustrating ending where nothing was really wrapped up.

I’ve given up on TV. Except I’m currently marathoning The White Queen (again) because I’ve been sucked into The Cousins’ War book series by Phillippa Gregory (again).

Click for the full recipe

5

Make this Layered Ranch Taco Dip for your next party! No cooking or baking involved! It is so easy and so delicious. 

Layered Ranch Taco Dip - layered of refried beans, sour cream with ranch dressing mix, tomatoes, olive, green onions, and more! This is such a delicious dip recipe!

Happy almost Friday!

I am having one of those weeks where I can’t seem to catch my breath because I have so much going on and I am SO EXCITED for Friday afternoon to get here. We’re almost there. We can do it.

The good news is that Big Brother is finally over (Uggggghhhhhh!), Survivor is back, and football is on tonight!

My Broncos have been making me nervous so far this season. I actually turned it off in the 4th last week because I’d just given up. Somehow they pulled it off but man, too much stress! I don’t like it!

Layered Ranch Taco Dip - layered of refried beans, sour cream with ranch dressing mix, tomatoes, olive, green onions, and more! This is such a delicious dip recipe!

If you’re watching football with me tonight or this weekend or whenever, I’ve got a delicious dip that you need to try! I am all about the layer dips – I love how they look, I love how they taste. I mean, is there anything better?

This Layered Ranch Taco Dip starts with a layer of refried beans and then it’s topped with sour cream with ranch dressing mix stirred in! Plus, tomatoes, olives, green onions, and cheese! Serve it with tortilla chips and I promise it will disappear quicker than you can imagine!

Layered Ranch Taco Dip - layered of refried beans, sour cream with ranch dressing mix, tomatoes, olive, green onions, and more! This is such a delicious dip recipe!

Click for the full recipe

7

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Newman’s Own. All opinions are 100% mine.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe

Things that I love, in no particular order:

Bacon.

Ranch.

Pasta.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m ALL ABOUT the pasta salads. It’s my go-to summer side dish. Mostly because I always over cook potatoes for potato salad and who likes mushy potato salad?

Well, my 3 year old. But that’s beside the point.

Anyway, because I’m making pasta salad every weekend this time of year, I’m always trying to come up with a new version or new stuff to put in it. This one was a definite winner over this past weekend. It’s got bacon, cheddar cheese, avocado, and black olives. So all my faves! And then it’s tossed with my favorite ranch dressing by Newman’s Own.

You guys know I love Newman’s Own products and you probably also know that I’m obsessed with the salad dressings. I am in a full-on relationship with the Lite Honey Mustard – I can’t remember the last time I had a salad without it. Husband and I also love the Balsamic, Olive Oil and Vinegar, Family Recipe Italian, and Creamy Caesar. Plus, Newman’s Own has a bunch more that I haven’t even tried yet.

This post is about the Ranch though! I’m pretty particular about ranch (as everyone should be) and Newman’s Own definitely makes my favorite. It’s great tasting, high quality, and made from the finest ingredients.

Plus, you can feel good about buying Newman’s Own because all profits go to charity. For more information, check out the Newman’s Own Facebook page or the Newman’s Own BuzzFeed Page.

And next time you pick up a bottle of Newman’s Own Ranch dressing, you should definitely try this recipe. It’s perfect for a party, potluck, barbecue, anything!

Click for the full recipe

12

Let it be known that I have officially failed Paleo Week. 

Guys, I hate to be a Debbie Downer but I am so frustrated. I’ve been throwing myself pity parties and the best way to do that is with pizza, wine, and a giant bag of Sour Patch Kids. 

My allergies have just been awful since we got here. I lived all my life with horrible allergies so when we moved to Colorado and they disappeared, it was the best thing ever. And now they’re back and worse than ever. And I hate everything. 

My husband thinks I’m nuts because I cry at least once a day because omg, my eyes won’t stop itching. And the Zyrtec stops working about the time I have to pick the kids up from school so I talk to their teachers as a big snotty mess.

TMI?

Yep.

Anyway, I’m blaming allergies for my Paleo-fail. If you see me this summer sitting by the pool in jeans and a sweatshirt, it’s the allergies fault.

That’s the official story.

I made these Crockpot Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs recently after seeing them go around the interwebs for years. I don’t even like pesto that much but one of my favorite Youtubers raved about the recipe so I had to try it. 

I  was shocked by how much my family loved this one. I will definitely be making it frequently. Feel free to use whatever chicken pieces you like – we pretty only eat thighs these days so I used those but breasts would work as well. 

Click for the full recipe

4

I’m struggling these days with dinner. My husband is pretty strict paleo and I know the paleo diet would be good for my kids, but I feel bad inflicting it on them. I mean, I did about 5 months of paleo when my husband was deployed and well, that was enough for me. I no longer feel the need to deny myself the amazingness that is cheese. Or froyo. Or margaritas.

For the past few months I’ve been making a paleo meal one day, nonpaleo the next… and just repeating that pattern. The kids would eat sandwiches or cereal on the paleo days and my husband was on his own on the nonpaleo.

I finally figured out that all I have to do to keep everyone happy is cook a ton of meat and just use half of it in something delicious, like pasta or tacos or whatever. I am ashamed that it took me this long to figure it out.

So I made these for my kids last night and my husband had the remaining pork on a salad. The kids gobbled these up and they are complained that the sauce was too spicy but they kept right on eating.

The pork is slow cooked so it’s hands-off for the most part. At the end of the day all you have to do is shred it and roll it into tortillas with some tasty cheese. Mmm.

Two years ago: Bang Bang Shrimp
Three years ago: Funnel Cakes
Four years ago: Pumpkin Turtle Cupcakes

Pulled Pork Taquitos with Chipotle-Ranch Dipping Sauce

adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients

3 – 3.5lb boneless pork loin
2 cups chicken brother
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces queso fresco, shredded (or Monterey Jack)
18 corn tortillas
guacamole and salsa, for serving
For the Chipotle-Ranch Dipping Sauce:
1 cup ranch dressing
1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce + 1 teaspoon sauce

Instructions

  1. Put pork loin in slow cooker. Add chicken broth, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours. At least point pork should be falling apart. Remove it to a plate and shred with two forks.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or spray with oil.
  3. Wrap 6 tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for about 30 seconds to soften them. Place a heaping spoonful of pork on each tortilla followed by a spoonful of queso fresco. Roll and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat using the remaining ingredients. Spray the tops of the taquitos with oil.
  4. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden and crunchy.
  5. While the taquitos are baking, make your sauce by combining the ranch, chipotle pepper in adobo and adobo sauce in a blender and blend until smooth.
http://fakeginger.com/pulled-pork-taquitos-with-chipotle-ranch-dipping-sauce/

4