Friday, March 30, 2012

Dill Pickle Dip

Dill Pickle Dip1

This is what I love about bloggers.

One of my blogging buddies Rebecca made this delicious dill pickle dip a few months ago. Has it been that long Rebecca? I think it has. Anyway, Rebecca is a dill pickle addict. I'm a dill pickle addict. It's just one of the many reason we love each other.

We also love Amy, a fellow blogger. Amy's husband Paul is a dill pickle addict too. It's all one big happy pickle family, husbands included.

Amy made and blogged Rebecca's recipe a few weeks ago.

I made and photographed Rebecca's recipe.....ummm, like a month ago.

I didn't want to post the recipe at the same time as Amy, so I waited. I was patient. I was good, but this recipe can wait no more.

Dear lord, crunchy dill pickles in dip form!

Break out the pretzels and be prepared to indulge.

Dill Pickle Dip3

It's crunchy and it's dilly and it's perfect. We killed off this bowl in a few days and that was pacing ourselves!

I can already imagine taking this to a party and having it be the first thing to go!

Dill Pickle Dip
recipe from Foodie with Family
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1- 1 1/2 cups chopped dill pickles (I used my mini food processor - it was a snap!)
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2- 4 tablespoons pickle juice (use less for thicker dip or more for thinner dip)
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Use a wooden spoon to press into the cream cheese then stir until loosened up and smooth. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients until evenly distributed. Transfer to a serving dish and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

This dip is good for up to a week when stored tightly covered in the refrigerator. It may become thinner as the week draws to an end.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Greek (Fakes) Lentil Soup

Greek Lentil Soup 2

This is a description of New England weather during the's hot, it's cold, it's hot, it's cold. One day it's near 80 the next we barely break 60. It's crazy. Even though I love spring, I'm still holding out for a few more chilly days so I can get my soup on.

Quick easy soups on a chilly day = happiness.

I have always said that if I wasn't Sicilian...I'd wish to be Greek.

I love Greek food. I love the people, if I ever got to go, I know I'd love the country.

I also love the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.....that counts right?

When I saw this on my friend Dana's blog I knew I had to make it.

I'm a lentil lover so this was a no-brainer for me and the fact that it was Greek - bonus!

Greek Lentil Soup

Please read the note at the bottom of the recipe for a tip on pre-boiling your lentils.

Greek Lentil Soup (Fakes)
Adapted from the recipe from Souvlaki For the Soul via Dana

8 ounces of lentils rinsed and washed of any debris (cooked, see Update below)
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of dried Greek oregano
3 bay leaves
3 cups of water
1 cup of pureed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
a handful of chopped parsley to garnish
red wine vinegar to serve

In a large pot saute your onions, carrots and garlic until translucent.

Add your lentils and stir well.Add the water, tomato puree, tomato paste, bay leaves, oregano and season with salt and pepper.

Let the mixture come to a boil on a medium high heat and then bring it down to a simmer. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes.Serve immediately garnished with parsley and red wine vinegar (if desired).

Dana's Greek friend, Olga offered this tip:
"Put the fakes (lentils) in a pan with some water, let them boil for 2-3 minutes and then leave them as they are in the boiled water for about an hour. Then you throw the water, rinse the fakes with clear cold water and THEN you cook them. If you skip this step then you most probably will feel like having stones in your stomach."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bacon & Pepperoni Pizza Dip

Bacon and pepperoni pizza dip

We usually eat an early late lunch/early dinner on Sundays, so we are typically eating anywhere between 2 - 5 o'clock. Which means that anywhere between 4 - 7pm my kids are looking for something to munch on.

That was the case last Sunday when around 5pm they started asking "is there anything to eat?". I usually reply "no, there is never anything to eat in this house, I never cook remember?" It never gets a laugh. Go figure. I'm just met with more "Mooooommmmm what can we eat?"

So I whipped this pizza dip up for them. As long as you let the cream cheese sit out for a bit, you can throw this together in minutes and if you can't wait for your cream cheese to come to room temp, just zap it in the microwave for a few seconds. Don't let it to too long or you will have melted cream cheese and that's not good eats.

Bacon and pepperoni pizza dip 1

I changed the recipe up just a bit from the original version. I used REAL bacon bits in this recipe instead of the sliced cooked bacon it originally called for. I think the next time I make it I'll throw a handful into the bottom layer as well. It almost has a lasagna like consistency. It's not heavy at all. Light and ricotta like really.

This was a total hit with my family. How do I know? Well I took a few spoonfuls on a plate and went into the living room to eat it. I glanced at a magazine for a bit, finished off what was on my plate and went back for another helping. Not happening. GONE. Gone, gone, gone baby. My three guys polished the whole thing off! Guess I need to be quicker.

Bacon & Pepperoni Pizza Dip
adapted from a recipe at the Slow Roasted Italian
8 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sour cream
8 ounces shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
14/5 ounce can Italian style diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
9 – 12 slices of pepperoni
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped (I used real bacon bits)

Oven to 350.

In a blender or food processor combine the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt & pepper. Blend or process until well pureed. Set aside.

In a bowl combine the cream cheese, sour cream and 2 ounces of the shredded Italian cheese. Mix until well combined. Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over a baking dish (8x8) or a deep dish pie plate. Carefully pour the blended sauce over the cream cheese mixture and evenly distribute.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese, bacon, and pepperoni. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the top is brown and bubbly. Let sit 5 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, pita chips, etc.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Random Thoughts & Observations

  • I'm not a tweeter but I made a profile on Twitter and I only tweeted twice when my tweet ended up on the Rosie show. No kidding. We share the same birthday so I sent her a tweet and she read it on the air. Look....proof.


Now the show is cancelled. Figures. (please don't add me to your tweeter list or whatever you call it. I can tell you now I will never tweet again, it's just not me).

  • I turn 48 today. I can't even believe it sometimes. I still feel 25 inside.

  • You know how I said I was a Pinterest addict? It's not getting any better. It's just making my "to make" list a lot longer.

Fresh, homemade ricotta. I think yes.


photo and recipe from Framed Cook

And this Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast cake from Alexandra's Kitchen.


photo and recipe from Alexandra

Oh there are more, so many more recipes.

  • I see signs of spring in the yard. Look.
  • periwinkle

  • I've been on a bit of a purging spree the last few weeks. So far I've gone through the garage, kitchen, and breezeway. Next up the attic and bedrooms.

  • I feel the need for an Ikea trip comin' on.

  • Our big spring project. I'm covering the kitchen ceiling with tongue and groove wood! Yup. My house is really country/primitive so it will totally tie in with the rest of the house. I'm doing it...well John will really end up doing most of it, but I'll be the one to stain all the boards and be his little helper.

It should look something like this:


Now if I could get that kitchen to go along with the ceiling!

  • I'm addicted to Aveenos Fig & Shea Butter Body Wash. I have 15 bottles. There was sale and I had coupons.
  • Aveeno

  • My friend Eva bought me this for my birthday.

pie maker

I see lots of little pies in my future! My friends rock.

  • My neighbor came over last night and told me that she is taking me out to dinner and the musical The Addams Family at our local theater. How cool is that? Nice to have neighbors who are also your friends.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Egg in a roll

Eggs in a roll 2

I'm all about easy, relaxed Sunday morning breakfasts.

Theres is just something comforting about being in your pj's and your thick socks, with the Sunday paper spread out all over the table. The tea kettle is whistling, your mug will soon be steaming and all is right with the world on that relaxed weekend day.

I wish all my breakfasts were like Sunday morning breakfasts.

No cold cereal, no hurried bagel, no grabbing something on the go.

I get my bright, beautiful, organic, free-range eggs from a man I work with. I love the deep, orange yolks and I love the fact that I know a little chicken laid my eggs only days before I eat them.

This recipe was breeze to make. Crunchy little organic rolls, insides scooped out, egg dropped in and then into the oven.

We popped the "tops" back on and ate them like little eggs sandwiches.

Eggs in a roll

Egg in a Roll
8 crusty dinner rolls
8 large eggs
¼ cup chopped herbs (whatever you like)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons grated cheese
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Slice off the top of each dinner roll and gently remove some bread until there is a hole large enough to accommodate your egg. Arrange the rolls on a rimmed baking sheet. I lined mine with parchment.

Crack an egg into each roll, then then top with a sprinkling of herbs and a splash of cream. Season with salt & pepper, and sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake until eggs are set and bread is toasted, 20 – 25 minutes. When the eggs reach the 20 minute mark, place the bread tops on the baking sheet so they get heated up and crunchy. Let them sit for about 5 minutes. We ate ours with the tops on like a gooey egg sandwich.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Maple Mustard Chicken

Maple Mustard Chicken

I must confess that I had to re-name this recipe.

This was all over Pinterest. It was called Man Pleasing Chicken.

Doesn't that sound kinda dirty and chavonistic all at the same time?

So only the men are supposed to eat this and enjoy it? Let's not even get into the man pleasing part. There were plenty of dirty comments about that on Facebook!

Maple Mustard Chicken 1

With just 4 ingredients this was a snap to whip up.

The combination of these ingredients gave the chicken a really tangy taste and the fact that it made it's own sauce was pretty cool too.

The next time I make this, I'll cut back on the mustard just a bit. We are not a mustard lovin' family. Don't get me wrong, it's not like it made the whole dish taste mustardy. The odd combination of flavors really did work somehow.

I doubled this recipe and served it over rice. My friend Melissa also made it and served it with brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes. Both will work!

Maple Mustard Chicken
From Witty in the City
1 ½ pounds chicken thighs
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (or cider)

Oven to 450. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Put a 1.5 pound package of chicken thighs into an oven-proof baking dish. Salt and pepper the thighs. Pour your maple mustard mixture over them, turning the thighs in the mixture so they are fully coated.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 155ºF. (I just knew by looking at mine that they were done, but you can use a thermometer). Baste the tops of the chicken with more sauce half way through.

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving. Plate the chicken, making sure to spoon some extra sauce over the top.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate chip Bars1jpg

Want to make a house full of teenage boys happy?

Make them Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

I had short notice that a few of Evan's friends would be spending the night at our house a few weeks ago. All of my kid's friends are so used to having some kind of treat at my house that I almost feel guilty when I don't have anything for them.

One of his friends moved across the state, so we haven't seen him in awhile. He walked in the door and was greeted enthustatically by us all. He was happy to see us again and he informed us that he really missed us but he missed my cooking the most. Ahhhh. I was touched. John calls him the Eddie Haskell of Evan's friends. (Leave to Beaver fans you know what I'm sayin'). I still think he's a sweetie even though he does tend to suck up to the cook of the house.

Chocolate chip Bars

4 teenage boys can put a hurtin' on a pan of these.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temp
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
Sea salt for sprinkling over bars – optional

Oven to 325. Spray a 9X13 in pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the melted butter and sugars together until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the cookie bars very lightly with sea salt if desired. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool bars on wire rack to room temp. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Roasted Chickpeas

roasted chickpeas 2

My hubby came back home last Friday night! Lordy I missed him. He was away for 144 hours. 6 days if you want to count it like that. It was a really long time for me and for Moose too. He really missed his belly rubs.

So the boys and I roughed it alone. It did snow while John was away, so the kids had to get out and get shoveling alone. Jesse's friends stopped by and helped too. I paid them in hot oven grinders. It worked! I'll have to remember that, pay them in food.

We had a lot of quick dinners so I really didn't make anything "post worthy". I did make these roasted chickpeas.

My kids are hummus lovers. I always have a container in the fridge for them to snack on.

They can go through one container in an afternoon with no problem. I don't mind because there could be much worse things to snack on.

Since I knew they both loved the taste of chickpeas I thought I'd try roasting them with different flavors to give them something different to eat.

roasted chickpeas 1

This recipe is so easy.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Lightly spray it with cooking spray. Heat the oven to 450. Drain 2 cans of chickpeas and lightly rinse. Put them on the baking sheet and roast them in the oven until they really puckered and dry (mine took about 40 minutes). As soon as you take them out of the oven throw them in a bowl and pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over them. Then let your creative juices flow by adding in whatever seasoning floats your boat. I made cumin, chili powder and garlic for the first batch. I used a teaspoon of each. Second batch was cinnamon. Just a dusting. So good.

The possibilities for flavors are endless.

roasted chickpeas

Happy weekend all~

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Invisible Children

As I sat down last night to visit some of my favorite blogs, I never imagined that I would come across a story that moved me to tears.

I didn't intend to sit for 30 minutes, mesmerized by the words and images that I saw and I certainly never imagined that I would immediately need to share in this movement.

We waste a half hour watching TV, scanned the net, doing the laundry, etc. This is 30 minutes that everyone needs to watch.


We ordered our kit.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Minnie's Chocolate Pie

Minnie's Chocolate Pie

Who in the heck is Minnie? Are you asking yourself that or did you read the book The Help, or see the movie? If you did, you are now nodding your head yes, correct?

This is the famous pie that the character Minnie makes. Minnie does add one special ingredient to her pie that is not in mine and if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, let me just say you’ll thank me for not knowing. Those of you who know…well you know.

Now since Minnie is a character in a book and on screen, she really didn’t make this pie. Lee Ann Flemming, one of the best bakers in Greenwood made this pie. Here’s a little excerpt from Food & Wine magazine:

The Help’s ending hinges on a secret involving Minny's famous chocolate pie. Newspaper columnist Lee Ann Flemming, one of the best bakers in Greenwood, made 53 chocolate pies during filming, including 12 vegan and gluten-free versions she prepared in just one day for actress Bryce Dallas Howard. Her fudgy version here is neither vegan nor gluten-free: It's as classic as it gets. You can make your own crust, but Flemming uses packaged.
My youngest son is all about the chocolate pie. He requests pie for every holiday and every birthday. He’s also very picky about his pie. He will eat a graham cracker crust but he prefers it be chocolate. He does not like whipped cream. He is a pie purist so I left out the whipped cream but please add it if you'd like.

Minnie's Chocolate Pie 1

This pie was rich with a capital R. One small piece was all it took. I think it would go really well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream too.

Minnies Chocolate Pie
Recipe from Lee Ann Fleming
1 packaged pie dough crust
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
Whipped cream for serving

Oven to 350. Ease the pie crust into a 9 inch pie pan and crimp the edge decoratively. Prick the crust lightly with a fork. Line the crust with foil or parchment and fill pie with weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove the weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes longer, just until the crust is dry but not browned.

Meanwhile in a bowl whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt. Whisk until smooth.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for 45 minutes until the filling is set around the edges but the center is still a little jiggly. Cover the crust with foil halfway through baking. Transfer the pie to a baking rack to cool completely before cutting. Serve with whipped cream.