The Recipe Shared 168.3K+ Times

No joke here! As of today this silly little dip has made its way to over 168,300 people on Pinterest alone. I’m sure Hawaiian people would be more than happy to knock a coconut over my head for calling this seriously mainland style dip Hawaiian.

One can dream of vacation destinations in one’s own way. Like you, North Dakota people, if you want to make a recipe covered in ahi tuna and kale then call it Californian, you go for it. You’d also kinda nail it, but that doesn’t matter. 

We all dream of warm vacation destinations in our own way. 


Short post for the day, just wanted to start talking movies again. The host of depressing, oppressive and lonely movies of the Oscars are almost here, as are the Oscar food posts!


Ooh, one more thing. 

My 2016 goal is to create a dip that will blow Hawaiian Dip out of the Pinterest water. Are we connected over on Pinterest? 

Follow Kim’s board food on Pinterest.

NOW, back to 2012, minus Gangnam Style

This week will bring lots of movie related posts as the Academy Awards are almost here (Sunday)! Have you seen The Descendants? Yeah, neither has Mr. Movie Fuel, so there won’t be much movie discussion other than what I am about to add. This movie is not meant for Girl’s Night Out. I think the word has gotten out that this movie isn’t just about George Clooney on a beach. It’s a heavy drama with doses of comedy sprinkled in.

If The Descendants is bound to win an Oscar, as many people predict, we might as well have some celebratory food on hand! Movie Fuel will be here on Thursday for our pre-Oscar predictions and some more party food. It’s too bad he isn’t here this morning, we have a super addictive and delicious dip on the table. I hope my kids gobble most of it, because I can’t be trusted around this Hawaiian inspired dip!

This dip could NOT be easier to make!

Hawaiian Dip
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  1. 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  2. 2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut (I prefer flaked over shredded)
  3. 20 oz. can pineapple (chunks or crushed)
  4. nuts or cherries to top dip with
  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!
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!

Real Ranch Dressing


I got my kid to eat salad.

what what?

He called it scrumptious. He asked if he could have it for snack at school the next day. He was not drunk.

I am forever making my own salad dressing. It turns out to be just that, my own. My husband tolerates it and my kids won’t touch it. They all want ranch. They don’t want the greek yogurt ranch I keep trying to pull on them either. They want the bottled stuff, chemicals, gunk and all. It’s too bad they don’t do the shopping though.

—Insert evil laugh here—

This week however, the bottle has met it’s match. I pulled out my trusty Mom 100 Cookbook and found the best ever ranch recipe. No, like…ever. Like Taylor Swift ever…ever…ever. I’ve tried many dressings found via Pinterest and none come close. Ok, one caveat here. I didn’t have any sour cream on hand, so I used a full-fat plain yogurt.

Yes, I keep the whole milk variety of yogurt in my fridge.

There are fewer chemicals and no tang. It’s pure love. Sometimes, I even spend two bucks on a container of Noosa yoghurt.

noosa yoghurt

Yeah, that stuff. It’s probably more like $2.79 and it’s a total special treat. It’s so fancy it needs an h. As in, yoghurt. Yeah, I know where the hurt is Noosa, it’s in my wallet.

I bought three today, thinking my kids would then love me forever. Max devoured most of it, the rest landed on the chair and his shirt. Dallas however (who was the one to ask me for his own in the past) decided he didn’t like the cover. He didn’t want it. Of course I had brought it to him after school and before we were going to spend the entire afternoon running errands. The poor ice pack didn’t stand a chance. Right now there is $2.79 worth of yogHurt in my trunk, dying a slow death.

I swear, my son is so lucky that…I don’t know how to finish that sentence. Let’s just say in my mom’s day, she would have had a slipper thrown at her.


Real Ranch Dressing
Real Ranch
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  1. 2/3c buttermilk
  2. 1/2c mayonnaise
  3. 1/2c sour cream
  4. 1Tbs white wine vinegar
  5. 1Tbsp chopped fresh italian flat leaf parsley
  6. 1tsp Dijon mustard
  7. 3/4tsp finely minced garlic or garlic powder
  8. 1/2tsp dried dill
  9. 1/2tsp dried thyme
  10. 1/8tsp sweet paprika
  11. salt and pepper
  1. Place the buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, vinegar, parsley, mustard, garlic, dill, thyme, and paprika in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Ranch Dip for Veggies: Reduce the buttermilk to 1/2c and increase both the mayo and sour cream to 2/3c each.
Real Ranch Dressing
Homemade Ranch dressing, more flavorful than any bottled brand!
Recipe type: Dips & Spreads
  • ⅔c buttermilk
  • ½c mayonnaise
  • ½c sour cream
  • 1Tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1Tbsp chopped fresh italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¾tsp finely minced garlic or garlic powder
  • ½tsp dried dill
  • ½tsp dried thyme
  • ⅛tsp sweet paprika
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place the buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, vinegar, parsley, mustard, garlic, dill, thyme, and paprika in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Lower Fat Version: Sub ½c 1% greek yogurt for the sour cream
  3. Ranch Dip for Veggies: Reduce the buttermilk to ½c and increase both the mayo and sour cream to ⅔c each.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

This morning I ate Lazy Oven French Toast, Strawberry Freezer Jam, Mix and Match Citrus Curd, toasted croissants and Mini Vegetable Frittatas.  I know  what you are thinking! Yes, I do! Girl gone and had too much of this…

I know she knows better than capitalizing like a mad woman! You can relax, I haven’t had a swift toe to the chin from mini Batman in his bike helmet. I just had brunch with a couple of cookbook authors and their specific dishes! I had you worried, didn’t I?

I have to say that lately I have been in a bit of a food rut. This morning, at Rakestraw Books, I was able to shake that rut away! Rakestraw is a beautiful, little independent bookstore for those who want the newest, prettiest and most unique book selections. Most of us can’t afford to shop for books that way, but I try to support Rakestraw whenever I can. E-readers just don’t do cookbooks justice, so I am happy to splurge occasionally on a book of recipes at Rakestraw.

So, away from my kids I sat. Ah. I chatted with and listened to both Leslie Jonath, a San Franciscan who is ridiculously sweet and polite, and Katie Workman, who was lovely and inspiring. Both women spoke about the difficulties associated with feeding kids. Leslie Jonath, along with Ethel Brennan wrote the book, At The Farmers’ Market With Kids. Here is is, along with all the candles and French cheese knives you usually find at a bookstore. You can buy here book here.


I’ll be posting more about Katie Workman’s The Mom 100 Cookbook this week, but today I want to share the fast, fun recipe I was able to whip together after the brunch.

I am duh-ying to make the lemon curd I ate this morning, but the vat of strawberries in my fridge dictated today’s direction. The strawberry jam I ate this morning was so full of bright flavor. It was sweet, yet not too sweet and it tasted like actual strawberry, not like strawberry flavoring. Best part of it all, no cooking! This is a mix and go recipe!

Strawberry Freezer Jam
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dips & Spreads
Cuisine: Jam
  • 3 lbs. strawberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1¾ oz. pectin
  • 6 half-pint glass jars with tight fitting lids
  1. Wash, hull and smash berries.
  2. Mix the sugar and pectin in a small bowl.
  3. Place jars in a large pot, cover with water and let boil for 15 minutes.
  4. Use tongs to remove and dry all the parts.
  5. Mix the pectin and sugar into the strawberries and stir for 3-5 minutes until mix thickens.
  6. Spoon into jars ½″ from the top.
  7. Wipe any drips on the jar with a wet towel and tightly seal.
  8. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  9. Throw those jars in the freezer to set and you is done, honey.
Once the jars are out of the freezer, they are good in the fridge for a month. They can stay in the freezer for up to a year.

Clean & Creamy Dressing

A bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch includes the following ingredients:

Soybean oil, water, egg yolk, sugar, salt, buttermilk, natural flavors (soy), spices and less than 1 percent of dried garlic, dried onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, monosodium glutamate (MSG!!!), artificial flavors, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, according to the label.

Read more:

Let’s say you are on a “diet” and only buy the fat free bottled dressing. Check out what Maria Emmerich has to say about eating a healthy salad along with fat free ranch.

Are you using fat free salad dressing? Well, did you know that vitamins A, D, E and K are FAT-SOLUBLE vitamins? You can’t absorb these vitamins without a fat, which is why fortifying skim milk with vitamin D is a waste of money! I have so many clients deficient in vitamin D. Could our low fat diets be the problem? Taking a vitamin d supplement with a bowl of cereal and skim milk will NOT let the vitamin D absorb into the bloodstream. –

Ingredients in Free Ranch: Water, Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin, Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Buttermilk (Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat, Adds a Trivial Amount of Cholesterol)Salt, Less Than 2% of Vinegar, Garlic Puree, Onion Puree, Garlic (Dried)Onion (Dried)Green Onion (Dried)Spice, Sour Cream (Cream, Nonfat Milk, Cultures; Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat, Adds a Trivial Amount of Cholesterol)Xanthan Gum, Lecithin, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil and/or Soybean Oil; Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat)Monoglycerides (Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat)Natural Flavor, Artificial Color, Monosodium Glutamate, Lactic Acid, Phosphoric Acid)Disodium Phosphate, with Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, TBHQ and Calcium Disodium EDTA as Preservatives, Alpha Tocopherols (Vitamin E

Ready to make your own creamy dressings? Me too. Except…I’m not supposed to be consuming creamy dressings while following the DAMY Health program. What to do, what to do? You know what to do! Make do!

This dressing has a serious KICK to it, so spice-haters, beware! However, Spice Girl lovers, you are ok.

Clean and Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

I made about one cup of this dressing and did not use specific measurements, so don’t feel tied down to the exacts. Making dressing should be fun! Taste as you go to prevent over seasoning.

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. agave nectar (less is fine too)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 med. shallot, minced
  • dash sea salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1 tsp. 21 Season Salute (I have a Trader Joe’s version, use what you can find! Just look for one that is salt, preservative and chemical free.)
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds

Mix, blend or shake and enjoy. Use as a salad dressing or dip and keep refrigerated.

Peanut Butter Hummus

Hello and happy late in the day Thursday! Today we are talking household favorites. I’ll let the boys go first.

Max and Dallas’ Favorites

  Wild hair, neon dry erase markers and the big blue exercise ball. Oh, and doing their favorite chant which goes something like this, “Hop! Hop! Pickaliss!” I have no clue what it means, but when Dallas was Max’s age (21 months) he had his own favorite saying, “OH shauntee!” That was right before he invented his wrestling move, where he would put his diapered butt on your face and announce, “BOOJY!”

Kim’s Favorites

I was about to call this section, Mom’s Favorites, but I sometimes remember that I do have another identity. Lots of my volunteer duties for the year are slowly wrapping up, but I still have more than I probably should on my plate. I’ve had to let things slide a bit lately, because I am trying my best to no longer put myself last. It’s taking longer for our home to get clean, we aren’t going on as many field trips, I’m not blogging at night like I’d prefer and so on. However, I am also not eating scones for breakfast, pb&j for lunch, a small dinner and then lots of cereal before bed. I am taking the time to take care of myself and my energy level and jeans are thanking me for it.

The things I’m loving right now are:

  • Flaxseed – I doubt details are needed here. But life is much better with a cooperating GI system
  • Trader Joe’s chocolate protein powder
  • my Kindle Fire – it’s totally life changing!
  • Once Upon a Time – such a fun show
  • The Cooking Channel – a modern, younger Food Network
While this should be a family favorite, I’ll add it here…DAMY’s Peanut Butter Hummus. I wasn’t so sure that we would enjoy this recipe, many of the homemade hummus trials of the past have led to dry, garlic laden, pasty dip. Not this dip. I have made this three times so far, each time because we ran out. The kids love it, I love it and even my meat loving husband loves it!
PB hummus works with anything that regular hummus pairs with, my favorite being apples! I like that I don’t have to buy Tahini for this recipe, too. To learn how to make what I am sure will be your favorite dip too, go to DAMYhealth’s blog and you’ll find the recipe along with 8 others for healthy hummus.

 Jy’s Favorite


The Voice (Television)

 Still feeling the Oscar hangover, Movie Fuel is going to jump the shark this week.  Since its inception 11 seasons ago, I have always been a big closeted American Idol fan (and still am for the most part).  Recently, however, my attention has turned to a new singing reality series.  With less drama, better judges and a more fun format, The Voice has quickly replaced the stale Fox network overkill that was once the perennial favorite on our family television week in and week out.  Why I like these shows, I am not quite sure, but there is something special about an average citizen like you and I shooting to superstardom basically overnight because of an opportunity  to show off their singing talent.

Drama versus Singing

American Idol used to be about the music, but has gradually transgressed into yelling, fainting, obnoxious, poisonous prima donnas.  The last straw this season, was when an entire show (two hours!) was dedicated to the squabbling that took place during “group week” with absolutely no singing that took place the entire episode?  First of all, why do solo artists even have to  have a group format?  It always seemed ridiculous to me.  I understand, part of the show is to do terrible Brady Bunch style group songs with bad dancing and horrid costumes, but when trying to find a star in the making, why waste the time?  Well, luckily, The Voice doesn’t care if you can sing in a group as long as you can sing!  The NBC hit starts with what are called “Blind Auditions”; the judges can only listen to the artist (without seeing them) and base their decision to move them on to the next round based on their voice only.  And, while there is a story line for each contestant, it is quick and painless.  The best part of the show is that all of the contestants have been prescreened and by the time we see them on our televisions, we already know they will be good singers, it is just  a matter of how good!  We can do without the William Hung’s and the costumed freaks who are sent in front of the judges just to be lambasted.  While some people watch American Idol just for the train wrecks, it has gotten old after a decade.


Let’s face it, the judges on American Idol without Simon Cowell are just plain boring and lost.  Two has-beens and one never-been, repeating the same judgments and recommendations about being “pitchy” or being “born with it” or being compared to past Idol contestants who we barely remember.  Steven Tyler is like your crazy grandmother (literally), Randy Jackson keeps trying to be hip with his weird outfits and overuse of the word “dawg” (which was popular in the 90′s) and Jennifer Lopez still wants one of her entourage to pick out the green M&M’s from her candy dish (it’s not happening!  You’re done!).  With The Voice, you have four relevant music stars with positive feedback and informed recommendations based on what it has taken them to become top selling artists today. Cee Lo Green has had huge hits and is still going; from underground hip hop to mainstream pop, the Gnarls Barkley front man and “F*%$ You” balladeer, you can just tell, really knows and loves music (watch him lip synch every song that the contestants sing). Yes, the Dr. Evil cat is a little weird, but part of being a superstar requires being eccentric and Cee Lo is as close to a contemporary Elton John as our generation is going to get. Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine is the a-hole with a heart of gold (well maybe not so much).  His past transgression and well known escapades as a womanizer and general miscreant is almost forgiven while watching his nice guy persona encourage the budding stars on stage.  Of the four judges, he seems to know what he is talking about the most and has a natural confidence that makes you want to root for him and his team of singers.  Country singer Blake Shelton is easily the funniest judge on the show and has the quickest wit.  One of the best parts of watching the show is hearing him take digs at his fellow judges; Christina Aguillera’s ridiculous chest, Cee Lo’s height and jewelry, Adam’s pretty boy persona and so much more. The dynamic of having a country singer judge on a pop singing show only helps its credibility that much more.  Then, there is Christina Aguillera.  By far the most annoying and fake contestant (no pun intended), she reminds me of a louder, dumber, blonde Elvira.  But her personality contrasts really well with the other judges, similar to Paula Abdul in the early Idol days.  And, what’s not to like about the judges hugging each contestant picked as part of their team?


American Idol is about singing, but it is also about image (as they say, “that is what sells albums”).  Because of this, there is a tendency to pick out the youngest and prettiest contestants on the show, not always the most vocally talented.  With The Voice, especially during the blind auditions, image is nothing.  The talent is prescreened for quality chops and regardless of age, sex, race, gender, etc. the best talent is chosen.  The elimination rounds are fun too.  Instead of group competitions filled with cat fights and people hitting the floor do to exhaustion, each contestant on The Voice goes head to head with one another and then are paired down from 48 to 24 and then go to the live show where America votes.  There’s no triple elimination or situations where groups are piled into a conference room just to be made to wonder whether or not they made it and then tricked when the judges come into the room, etc.  It’s a purer version of a reality singing contest.

The best part of The Voice is that it is only one once a week , Monday’s at 8pm.  So check it out!  You won’t be disappointed!

Avocado Smash

avocado dip

This is my grandfather, the late Frank Lujan. This photo was taken when he was somewhere in his twenties, which seems so bizarre to me. How could he have ever be younger than I am now?

Without fail, I think of my grandfather every year on New Year’s Eve. We spent a handful of New Year’s Eves with my grandparents and we’d have the same jokes each year. He was the first to introduce my brothers and myself to the “I’m not changing my underwear until next year” NYE joke. About a thousand different jokes would follow, all about what we won’t be doing until next year (brushing our teeth, sleeping.)

For those who lost someone this year, I wonder if New Year’s Eve is a nice chance to let go of a hold on a loved one who has passed, or if it is something different. I am blessed enough to say that I have not had a loved one leave the world this year. Time marches on, relentlessly and without pause. I hope you take a couple of minutes tonight to reflect on all the blessings you have been given in 2011. I also hope you can keep those who have not had many blessings in your thoughts and prayers tonight. Let 2012 be a year of hope and peace for those who need it. Tonight, my prayers are for a blessed year for Mandi Lee-Han, who still waits for news about her father after his fishing boat was hit by a rogue wave this past summer. Go here to learn more.

Ready to talk food? I am loving hearing what all my Facebook friends are eating for dinner tonight. So many traditions and types of celebration food out there. What are you eating?

I had no plan for tonight’s dinner as I strolled through the grocery store this afternoon.  At the last minute I decided to give carnitas a go. Honestly, I couldn’t remember if carnitas was pork or beef. (It’s pork.) As I brought home the big chunk of pig, I realized that I probably didn’t have much in the way of taco fixings. So, I threw together all the Mexican spices I could think of and roasted the meat for about 4 (maybe more) hours at 325 degrees.

I can’t think of pork without thinking of the old commercials naming it, the other white meat. Once I think of the other white meat, I can’t help but think of a Saturday Night Live skit called, “The Other Boleyn Girls.” This is the only place online I can find the skit where Kristen Wiig plays the other…other Boleyn girl is on a fan site for Ellen Page and it’s worth the visit! 

Here’s my mix of chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper and onion powder. 

I drizzled a bit of olive oil over the meat and dumped what seemed like 1/3 cup of spice mixture over the pork. Most recipes suggest cutting carnitas into chunks before cooking. I didn’t do so this time, but I will ask the butcher to do it next time I buy such a large chunk of meat.

After a family trip to the soccer field across the street, we came home to a well spiced and settled meat. We piled the carnitas on top of black beans and sliced bell pepper, then scooped on plenty of avocado smash and cilantro. Total taqueria flavors, totally made in pajamas. And…I don’t know why I am saying we. I made the dinner, it was me.

Avocado Smash
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Dips & Spreads
  • 2 avocados, smashed
  • 1 T. cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  1. Mix and smash together all the above and smother over meat, chips, tortillas or just your face. It’s just so good. To take avocado smash all the way to guacamole, add minced garlic, red onion, jalapeno pepper and diced tomatoes.
avocado dip

I picked up two blue cookies with 2012 frosted on top for Max and Dallas to enjoy tonight. Jy and I are going to give the chocolate gelato I found a whirl; it claims to be handmade in Italy and I’m hoping it tastes as expensive as it was. Not that $8 is a great loss, but that is a lot for what is essentially chocolate ice cream!

So, off to celebrate the last night routine of 2011. I hope Dallas doesn’t quite figure out what midnight really means! Thank you all for reading and making this year a fantastic one for me. Happy and safe New Years Eve to everyone and I’ll see you next year!

Winter Compote

Or a jar, whatever. Now that we are far out of the summer fruit season, it is time to find ways to enjoy the fruits of late fall and winter. Clementines are everywhere and I suggest you grab another bag if the first bag you bought this year was tart. My recent Costco purchase was nothing but sweetness. I’m sure you should also be able to find cranberries for just a bit longer. If you haven’t already, grab an extra couple bags to freeze. The third fruit you’ll see all about town is the confusing pomegranate aril. These are crunchy, yet light little seeds that have conveniently been removed from the ultimate stainmaster, the pomegranate.

If you have all three of these babies, you have the makings of a totally delicious winter compote. It can be used to top anything from french toast or oatmeal to cold pasta or pork chops. You’ll love the combo of juicy, cruncy and tangy in this mix.  The longest part of the process will be cooking the cranberries until they pop. I cheated and did this in the microwave, which only cost me four minutes for about two cups of cranberries.

As for the clementines, peel them. Stretch afterwards if that was strenuous.

The arils, they just need to be scooped out of their container. If you are an overachiever, you can pull them from a whole pomegranate, but wear an apron!

Mix together and blend in sweetener of your choice. Honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, sugar, you’ll have to choose one. The tartness of this mix without sweetener might be enough to kill someone. (I think.) Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired and diggity-dig in! I should mention that I found this recipe from the helpful blog, Hungry Healthy Hillary.

Peanut Butter – Banana – Chocolate Chip Hummus

You read that right! Let the power of the chickpea reign forever! Fiber, protein and potassium in a dessert? Hecks to the yeah. This recipe was inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie’s No Sugar Cookie Dough Dip. Her site is fantabulous for dessert lovers who aim for a smaller butt. There is definitely a much more eloquent way of wording that last sentence, but I am typing this while my kids are actually cooperating, so I’m not taking any chances here, I’m writing as fast as I can!

I was in a focus group last night about ice cream. It was great to sit around and chat for two hours and walk away with a check for $125. I think the marketing group is pretty dumb though. I would have forsaken the money for some darn ice cream. Try sitting and talking about dessert for a couple of hours and see what happens. It is all you can think about! I headed straight to Trader Joe’s and picked up two pints, Chocolate and Candy Cane Joe Joe flavors. Trader Joe’s Chocolate is a little tough to scoop and didnt’ leave much of an impression on me. The Candy Cane Joe Joe flavor on the other hand, was seriously the bee’s knees. Buy some!


Peanut Butter - Banana - Chocolate Chip Hummus
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ⅛ tsp Salt
  • ⅛ tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • scant ¼ cup Peanut (or other nut) Butter
  • scant ¼ cup Almond, Coconut or Soy Milk
  • ⅔ cup sweetener (I used a mix of honey, agave nectar and brown sugar)
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips
  • 2 to 3 T oats
  • 1 banana, sliced
  1. Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a blender or food processor, and blend until very smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips. Layer banana slices into the dip. If you'd rather not use sweetener, substitute 1 and ¼ cup medjool dates. Blend the dates until they are as small as your blender will get them!

*If you are wondering why you can see oat bits in my dip, blame it on my Ninja. No, not my husband, my Ninja blender. It’s 1000 watts of great blending power, but it will never cream something completely. If you have a different blender or food processor, expect prettier results!

The sky is the limit for dipping choices. I would think graham crackers, pretzels, marshmallows or Nilla wafers would work best. I know those are not all “real food” choices, but they would all work well.


Tomorrow I will show you some of the yummy food we will be eating tonight, for our family’s Hannukah celebration. So, we know it actually isn’t Hannukah yet. We also know that my (immediate) family is not Jewish. However, my wonderful aunts are and one of them will be visiting from Texas. We don’t plan to exchange gifts, but we do plan to eat! I’ll talk more about it tomorrow!

Deep Spiced Dip

After eating a blog-worthy dinner last night (alas, a camera-less dinner), I was inspired to create some heat in my kitchen. Not another doughnut fest (I wish), this time a healthy appetizer that can help starve off a sportless carbo-load or present itself as a fun appetizer option for those looking to avoid butter.

If you can’t find Garam Masala in the spice section of your store, don’t feel alone. The first time I asked where to find the Indian staple I was asked if what I had meant to say was, wait for it…hummus. Sure, Greece, India, same thing right? Mama pajama.

While I used cream cheese for this dip, plain greek yogurt would also do well. The main reason I chose cream cheese is for its staying power. If this is something you’ll be eating at home, opt for the yogurt. If you plan to carry this to a party, be sure to keep the dip cold until the last minute. Or, if you are awesome and have one of those teeny-bikini slow cookers, keep your dip plugged in and warm. Either way it is yummy and sure to keep your smackers warm and toasty on a cold night.

I’m fairly new to Indian food and I’m pretty sure I have stumbled on to a fact that more seasoned eaters already know. Apples don’t cool down spice. I thought they would, as they are cool, sweet and juicy. For some reason, they seem to amp up spice though! So, rather than serving this dip with apples alone, I’d throw in some sliced bell peppers and crackers. And keep the egg nog close by!


Deep Spiced Dip
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dips & Spreads
Serves: 6
  • 8 oz. package of Cream Cheese, softened (or 16 oz. Greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup Shredded Chicken (if desired)
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp. Curry Powder
  • 2 tsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Chipotle Chili Powder
  1. Mix ingredients and serve chilled or melty (yeah, I said melty) in a crock

Before I show you the end result, I want to share a funny conversation. Last night, at a Pho restaurant, the waiter brought a plate of herbs and veggies for our soup. I mentioned that I didn’t realize the green small leafed herbs were coriander, they looked like cilantro to me. My pal Jody agreed. However, our friend Geeta assured us that it was in fact coriander. As we tried to continue with our argument, she stopped us and said, “Dude. I’m Indian, we invented spices. Trust me.” Doh!

Pumpkin Syrup

Pumpkin flavor syrup

I mentioned a week or so back, that I would be trying out some of the pumpkin recipes I listed. Don’t remember? Click here. First test, pumpkin scones. First fail? Pumpkin scones. This is not to say that the recipe listed is bad, it just means my variations on the recipe are. Per usual, I tried to swap out half of the white flour for another type. Up to bat again was coconut flour. I baked some really yummy strawberry muffins with coconut flour a month or so ago, they turned out super. The trick to coconut flour in baking, is to double the liquid or wet ingredients. There is another step that I think I missed. I forgot to do a special dance and wear a certain apron and coordinate my baking with the full moon.

Seriously, WHY does coconut flour work sometimes and bomb others? At least my giant pumpkin shaped scone made for a pretty picture.

Let’s just move past the scones for now. They turned out more like cookie-muffins and just ain’t doin’ it for me.

You know what worked really well? Pumpkin Syrup!

Pumpkin Syrup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: dips & spreads
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Over low heat, bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to keep the sugar from burning.
  2. Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved and the pumpkin is fully mixed into the syrup. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to an airtight container. Refrigerate and use within 3 weeks.
I bet you even have the ingredients right in your pantry. Save some money on your pumpkin coffee drinks, pumpkin smoothies as well as all your pumpkin drizzlin’ needs. By the way, I was able to pour my syrup in the glass bottle that once held the delicious Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cider you can currently find at Fresh & Easy.

I’m sorry I have no scone review for you. I have a bad habit of veering from the recipe at hand. Happy Weekend friends, October is quickly coming to a close, let’s make the most of it!