Triple Cheese Apple-Strawberry Pecan Stack

What would you call this? An appetizer or dessert? It’s something in between and it’s a great way to make someone your friend. Take a bite or two, sure, but don’t fool yourself by thinking the apple slices make this dish healthy. It’s fat and it’s proud, baby!

And no, it’s totally not DAMY friendly.

Here’s what we’ve got put together: three cheeses (brie, mozzarella and cream cheese) melted together with butter and pureed with strawberries, spread over toasted bread, with roasted pecans, crispy apple slices, cinnamon and honey.

So yeah, you’re gonna just want to go out and buy yourself some fat pants, ok?

TripleCheeseBerryDip

I can only wonder what this would taste like spread over angel food cake. Someone else please, make it and tell me!

With everyone asleep, I have some time to chat. So let’s hurry up and talk about nothing, shall we?

IMG_3671

Check out my cute little Seattle Starbucks mug. I love it! Every month I swap “Fit Boxes” with other members of a Facebook fitness group. The idea is to send a shoebox filled with goodies to inspire your friend (of the month) to get her butt off the couch and exercise. There are a few hundred ladies who participate and it is a blast! My buddy last month sent me a big fat mug, along with other goodies. I always want to buy myself the San Francisco or California mug at Starbucks, but will never plop down (um, ew?) the cash. So, this was an awesome surprise.

IcedCoffee

I found this new Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee and can’t wait to try more. I over-milked it this morning, so the jury is still out. My hopes are high, though! The coffee was brewed cold (not sure how that is done), which means it was never heated and won’t have that bitter, old coffee taste that a lot of bottled iced coffee does. I promise to report back.

icecream

Here’s my kids, digging into each other’s ice cream. They seriously choose the grossest flavors. Why do kids think Gummy Bears taste good mixed with ice cream? They just don’t kids, they don’t.

chairs

Here’s my before and after chairs. My brother let me know how my last recover (the pink floral) would fit perfectly in a retirement home. Hopefully my new (unstained and playdough free) material has a more youthful floral pattern to it. Maybe my chairs are now suited for Baby Boomers instead? I’m sure there are plenty of young patterns out there, but I have two small boys and I need something to hide yogurt stains.

Ok, I’ve got nothing left to chat about. However, before I get to the recipe, I wanted to remind you that granola is yummy and totally isn’t just for hippies. Yeah, if you eat too much of it you’ll expand your own hippies, but you won’t magically end up with Birkenstocks on your feet. 

And if you do find yourself in that situation, please make an appointment with a podiatrist. Sandal shaped fungus is no laughing matter. 

I have Jamie Oliver’s 25 minute recipe you can try, it’s the gateway recipe into the serious stuff. Serious granola I mean. Not drugs. Don’t do drugs. They are expensive, they make you ugly and kill brain cells. Other than that, goodnight!

granola

 

Triple Cheeseberry Stack
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • Spread:
  • 1 part mozzarella
  • 1 part brie
  • 1 part whipped cream cheese
  • ½ part strawberries
  • ¼ part ghee (clarified butter)
  • dash salt

  • sliced bread of choice, gluten free, rolls, french bread...anything works
  • raw, unsalted pecans
  • thinly sliced apple
Instructions
  1. Sauce:
  2. Over low heat, gently melt Ghee, brie and mozzarella. Don't overcook, you'll just want to get the cheese soft and runny.
  3. While sauce melts, blend strawberries in a food processor until they are a saucy consistency.
  4. Pour the melted cheese into the food processor with strawberry puree and process until well combined.
  5. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth.
  6. Sprinkle in a dash or two of salt and blend again.
  7. Turn on oven broiler to high.
  8. Assembly:
  9. On a large baking pan, spread cheese dip over sliced bread of choice. Sprinkle pecans over the top and let broil in the oven until sauce is melted and smooth.
  10. Don't over-broil!
  11. Remove pan from the oven and transfer bread to serving tray.
  12. Gently lay sliced apples over the top of bread.
  13. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey.
  14. Enjoy!
 

 

Family Friendly Guacamole

Family Guacamole

I learned to make guacamole in 2006, on my last vacation to Lake Tahoe before I had kids. Back in the days where I could read more than a page at a time without interruption. Back when I could walk to the Starbucks up the hill with our friends, wait for coffee and actually sit to drink it. Back when I could waste too many nickels and quarters on slot machines. Back when I weighed 115 pounds.

Wait…I think I weighed 115 in fifth grade.

Quick, stop doing the math and look at my littlest guy. He’s practicing his game show face. Vanna has to retire someday, right?

max kim

After finding a recipe for what was titled as “The World’s Best Guacamole”, I gave it my best and wound up with, yes…the world’s BEST guacamole! There was no internet back in 2006, so I couldn’t pin the recipe on Pinterest.

Ok detectives, you got me, again! There was the internet in 2006. You’ve caught me in a lie. My guacamole bowl was no lie however, that was stinkin’ good.

Alas, I can not find the recipe again. It was published in Sunset Magazine, which is a west coast mag.I think I’ve got the hang of guac now though, so I’m not too worried.

What I have for you is a great recipe to please everyone. The guacamole isn’t spicy, but is easily made so if desired. It has little chunks of all the vegetables and THE herb that makes guac, but nothing is super noticeable. It can be played up or down and will make just about anyone happy!

And if you decide to Google it, I can tell you now that it isn’t “Gabriel’s Guacamole.” Trust me, I’ve tried.

Family Guacamole

 

Family Friendly Guacamole
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Play around with the ingredients. This recipe is very basic, but offers some fun options!
Author:
Recipe type: Dips & Spreads
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 large avocados
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (jarred is fine)
  • 1 T. cilantro
  • ½ lemon - juice only
  • ½ lime - juice only
  • 1 tsp. salt, plust more to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • optional - ¼ cucumer, peeled and diced
  • optional - ½ jalapeno, minced
  • optional - Sriracha to taste
Instructions
  1. Mash avocados and combine remaining ingredients into medium bowl. Use a stick mixer or food processor to cream the guacamole if desired. Kids tend to prefer creamy guacamole.
 

Artichoke Bread

I think we have officially (at least here in California), made it out of the dullest time of year and have entered back into party season. Party season lasts 3/4 of the year and goes a little something like this. (Hit it!)

  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Outdoor birthday parties
  • Mother’s Day
  • Memorial Day Weekend
  • Father’s Day
  • Graduation Parties
  • 4th of July
  • Summer parties, BBQ’s, vacations and more parties
  • Labor Day parties
  • Back to school events
  • Fall carnivals
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • Hannukah
  • New Years
  • Boring months with a bit of chocolate and Irish beer thrown in the mix.

Is that how your calendar works too?

Now that we are rolling into being social again, we are going to need to talk food to share. Hopefully, you are occasionally invited to something. You seem like a nice person, why wouldn’t someone want to invite you over?

And chances are if you give a mouse a cookie, you’ll need to bring something to the potluck.

You get the drift.

If you are like me, you don’t have a “go-to” dish you bring to potlucks. You aren’t known for anything special. Except your exquisite beauty!

Well, search Pinterest no more! Here are your new go-to dishes, friends!

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Forever thankful to Katherine for this one)

Sweetly Spiced Nuts

Hawaiian Dip

Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter Cookies

AND, a new favorite around here…Artichoke Bread! But baker be warned, this is not a DAMY friendly, low-calorie dish. This is the appetizer you bring to your skinny friend, that one you are sabotaging into getting chunky. Just teasing, I would never do that to any of my friends. Remember though, most of your friends aren’t on diets and kids are down for melty cheese anyday.

artichokebread

 

Artichoke Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This makes 2 full loaves. That's 4 lengths of artichoke bread. Not intended for dieters.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 12-15
Ingredients
  • 2 loaves french bread
  • 2 T. diced garlic (I prefer jarred)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 14 oz. cans artichoke hearts - quartered
  • 8 oz shredded mozzerella
  • 8 oz shredded parmesan
  • 1½ - 2 cups sour cream
Instructions
  1. Slice each loaf of french bread length-wise and place on 2 large baking pans
  2. Heat broiler to low
  3. In a deep skillet or medium pot, melt butter over medium low and mix in garlic
  4. Mix in artichokes and cheese and stir until cheese is nearly melted
  5. Mix in sour cream
  6. Spread mixture over 4 lengths of french bread and place in oven
  7. Let broil for 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbling
  8. Let cool for 2 minutes and carefully slice
 

 

 

OSCARS 2012: THE DESCENDANTS HAWAIIAN DIP

I’m in the middle of linking all my old posts with my new. (Sounds like a real party, eh?) I’m just posting this old recipe (with an old note underneath) to make sure it will still be found!

 

Snacks

This dip could NOT be easier to make!

Hawaiian Dip Recipe
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Dip
Serves: 8-12
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 2½ cups sweetened coconut (I prefer flaked over shredded)
  • 20 oz. can pineapple (chunks or crushed)
  • nuts or cherries to top dip with
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients together in food processor to crush up pineapple and coconut pieces. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. I think it tastes great with Trader Joe’s Pita Crackers, but I am sure there are plenty of dipping options you can find!
Quick and easy recipe for today, be sure to save this recipe for summer (which seems so far away right now)!

Jy and I are hoping to get out to see the Oscar nominated short films this Saturday. Cross your fingers we can get out to go, it is always such a fun tradition that has gotten harder to keep up with after having kids. Are you watching the awards this Sunday night? Are you going to be happy when I quit talking about the Oscars and movie themed food? Hope not!

See you tomorrow, Happy Tuesday friends!

Devil On Horseback

I just learned about Devils On Horseback. Have you heard of these before? There are different combinations, but the main ingredients seem to always be bacon and dates. For those who don’t appreciate dates, prunes turn the appetizer into angels on horseback. Martha Stewart stuffs her dates with fancy cheese, while others opt for smoked almonds in the center of the fruit. I chose cream cheese!

All you’ll need to recreate my version is some good bacon (nitrate free, please), dates (or prunes), cream cheese and a bottle of balsamic vinegar. I thought I’d get a little cah-razy with my vinegar and bought a bottle of black & raspberry balsamic.

  1. Slice open the dates, take out the seed and stuff with cream cheese
  2. Wrap the date in raw bacon
  3. Bake the rolled up fruit for about 8 minutes at 400 degrees
  4. Bring 1/4 – 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar to a near boil (I added 1 T. brown sugar for added sweetness). Then, lower heat and let reduce at least half way at a low temperature. Be patient, the more the vinegar reduces, the better it tastes.

I had some extra figs in my fridge and decided to wrap them in bacon as well. They come out a bit sweeter than the dates and add a little brightness to the plate.

Tip: My bacon looked a little too soft about half way through baking, so I gave each piece a little roll with a spoon. This helped ensure crispy bacon the whole way round, so flip ’em over if needed.

Drizzle balsamic reduction over your little devils and watch them disappear! (Please pray that Jy does not come home from the gym asking to try one. They are g-o-n-e!)

Mushroom Elf Houses

I’ve been into making quick stuff lately and am really looking forward to slowing down after Christmas! Here’s another recipe for the time crunched crowd. You’ll need an egg, some bread crumbs, shredded cheese, garlic and a pound of mushrooms (any type that is not “magical.”)

When Dallas saw that I was making these he said, “Eww, mushrooms.” I promised him these ones would be different and after piling the fungi on a plate around some marinara, he agreed to be my taste tester. All of him “mmm’s” and “so goods” lured Max to his booster seat and now both of my kids are eating mushrooms to the tune of Dino Dan.

We agreed that the name of the appetizer must be changed from Baked Mushrooms to something kids would like. After testing out “Christmas stuff” and “Spicy Trees,” Dallas came up with “Little Elf Houses.” Perfect!

These couldn’t be easier to make. They works in the same way fried chicken does. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk one or two eggs in a shallow bowl and wet the mushrooms before dipping into a mix of bread crumbs, shredded cheese and minced garlic. That’s it, that is all of it! Feel free to sprinkle the mushrooms with any crumbs left over and bake for 10 minutes.

Short and sweet, right? That’s what we all need right now during this high cookie holiday season. Happy Hanukkah too who celebrate!

Come back tomorrow to check out a review of the newest Sherlock Holmes and a twist on traditional fish and chips!

Parmesan Poppy Pops

Cake pops have had their 15 minutes of fame. Move over sugar balls, it’s time to present cheese pops! Not being from the Midwest, I may be slow to this wagon, but I am here now. I learned the recipe from Cooking Channel newcomer and former model, Lorraine Pascale.

Add this quick appetizer to your recipe file. Not only are these Parmesan Pops really yummy, they are ready to eat in under ten minutes! Don’t skip out on the extras, they give texture, color and a different bit of flavor. The standard recipe uses poppy and sesame seeds. Don’t be afraid to try out new combos, including spice mixes.

 

Parmesan Poppy Pops
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • Butter or Spray for pain
  • 1¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1tsp sesame seeds
  • Special equipment: 10 white round lollipop sticks; round 3½in (9cm) cookie cutter; 2 baking sheets
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and grease
  3. Toss the cheese and seeds together in a small bowl.
  4. Sit a 3½ inch ring or cookie cutter on one of the baking sheets and sprinkle a small handful of the cheese mixture into it, in a thin layer.
  5. Carefully lift the ring off to reveal a neat-edged disk of Parmesan and lay a lollipop stick on top, with the tip of the stick touching the middle of the disk. Repeat with the remaining cheese and sticks to make 10 in total (leaving about 1¼in spaces between them to allow for any spreading during cooking).
  6. You should have a little Parmesan left over, so use it to cover up the part of the lollipop stick resting on the disk.
  7. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, swapping to a different shelf halfway through. The cheese should be lightly golden and bubbling.
  8. Remove from the oven and slide the paper off the baking sheets and onto a rack to help speed up cooling.
  9. Let cool for 1 to 2 minutes until the lollipops have become crisp.
  10. Very carefully remove each one with a spatula.
Leftover Notes

Here is what I did with the major takeover of chickpeas in my kitchen! I mixed some brown basmati rice (found also at the Indian store) with some quickly wilted spinach, roasted butternut squash that had been sweetened with brown sugar and cinnamon and topped it off with parmesan and shredded mozzarella. I expected my family to veto, but they all loved it.