Bacon, Spinach, Swiss & Caramelized Onion Dip

I know the Super Bowl is over (GO HAWKS OMG!) but I see no reason why I can’t share my latest dip recipe with you. I mean, DIP! Who doesn’t love it? It’s not like you can’t eat dip just because football season is over (*sob*). After all, we still have basketball, Oscars, random Saturday nights when you feel like staying on the couch with a box of wine, Costco-size bag of chips, and bucket of dip all night, etc… So here we go.

Bacon Spinach Onion Dip

This isn’t anything revolutionary, but it’s all of the best snacking kind of flavors combined into one. Salty bacon? Yep. Sweet caramelized onion? You know it. Refreshing spinach? Heck yes, you’re getting your iron, son!  Savory, cheesy…cheese? YES! I tried to keep it kiiiinda light by incorporating some lowfat ingredients in my Creamy Dip Trinity (cream cheese, mayo, sour cream) but let’s be real. You’re eating bacon pulverized into a dairy base, so “light” is pretty relative in this case. But it’s worth it.

Bacon, Spinach, Swiss, & Caramelized Onion Dip

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Super Snacks: Baked Garlic & Swiss Cheese Dip

GarlicDipFootball

Ugh…. no Seahawks, no Saints, no Chargers, no Cowboys, no Texans… remind me again WHY I want to watch the Superbowl this year?!

Oh yeah, duh–the day-long bounty of indulgent dips, deep-fried apps, and beer. That’s right.

I love football and I love TV, and obviously I love cooking, eating, and drinking, so it should come as no surprise that Superbowl is one of my favorite days of the year. For me, it’s not a true celebration unless there are copious amounts of chips and dip involved. There is no other day in the year when dip gets the respect and attention it deserves. So when my friends at Kashi sent me some of their newest products and asked if I could dream up a delicious Superbowl recipe incorporating their tasty new garlic pita chips, of course I was more than eager to comply.

What goes better with garlic than more garlic? I was inspired by one of the best soups in Seattle, the amazing, rich garlic swiss soup at Hopvine, which was my fall and winter staple when I lived there. This is kind of a fondue version of that idea–a thicker, cheesier, more amped-up version that is straight-up addictive. I used elephant garlic because it adds a sweeter, mellower taste than regular garlic and mushes up nicely, but if you can’t find it in your area, no sweat. Just roast 3 large cloves of normal garlic and you’ll be fine.

Baked Garlic & Swiss Cheese Dip

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Peanut Butter Sea Salt Truffles

As much as I love holiday cookies and confections, I’m just not much of a baker. I’m impatient and imprecise, two things that are not beneficial for a cook who wants to excel in the world of baked goods. Luckily for me, there are a whole lot of treats out there that look and taste fancy, but don’t even require pre-heating an oven.

Peanut butter balls were always a favorite of mine as a kid, and these no-bake truffles are a fancy version, thanks to the addition of one of my all-time favorite dessert ingredients, fleur de sel. It’s an amazing compliment to almost any sweet flavor, plus it adds a satisfying crunch. Combine this sophisticated ingredient with the no-brainer combo of chocolate and peanut butter, and you have a guaranteed winner for your next holiday party! Not to mention that the rainbow nonpareils I added are just so festive and cute. Yeah yeah, I’m one of those people who thinks rainbow sprinkles make everything infinitely better. I can’t help myself.

Peanut Butter Sea Salt Truffles

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Honeyed Almond Blackberry Pinenut Tart

You know, I consider myself to be a pretty lucky lady. Not win-the-lottery lucky, but my life is pretty good. Maybe it’s the holidays making me soft, but I’m really feeling my luck lately. I’m lucky in love. I’m lucky to have a job that I enjoy, I’m lucky that my children are healthy (even if they are terribly mischievous), and I’m lucky that I get to share my recipes with all of you. One of the perks of the latter is getting to try new and different products in my recipes. I received a sample set of honey from bee raw honey, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. The first thing I made was one of these tarts. I made one again the next day, and one the day after that. It has been thoroughly tested, and deliciousness is guaranteed. You’ll feel pretty lucky too, after you eat one.

Honeyed Almond Blackberry Pinenut Tart

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An Easy Way to Eat in Costume: Teensy Pumpkin Pies

“Tiny,” “miniature,” and “small” are probably words you’d never find in a description of ES anything (or ML anything, for that matter). Under normal circumstances, when it comes to food, I’d never recommend downsizing—growing up with an Armenian mother and grandmother meant the house was full of food all the time. Five people are coming for dinner? Better get enough for 20, you never know. Or if you’re at my parents parties…better get double, because everyone’s going to want to eat another meal after they’re drunk.

When I don’t have a big enough portion size on my plate, I get a “That’s ALL you’re eating?” from both parents, plus an intervention about anorexia (come on). However, in my opinion, there’s one exception to this huge rule. Have you ever been to a party (or more specifically, a networking/media event) where you’re given full-size portions of something, and supposed to eat them with a fork, while holding your (full-size) drink and mingling at the same time? Me too, and it drives me effing crazy, to the point where I’d rather not eat instead of not enjoy my food. Which more often than not results in a very drunk ML.

Luckily, Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park have found a solution to this problem with their new book, Tiny Food Party. To test the functionality, I’ll be holding my own Tiny Food Party later this month (recap to follow, if I’m sober enough to remember any of it). As an added bonus, Teri Lyn and Jenny have given me some tiny Halloween recipes, for a flawless (or just fun), cake-pop free Halloween. How are you supposed to eat pie with a fork in a costume, anyway?

Teensy Pumpkin Pies

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100 Ways to Use Beer in Food and Drinks #13: Cupcakes


Cupcakes: a man’s food. Something you hear every day right? Right…and you see plenty of men on Cupcake Wars. But then you put beer in them . Now we’re talking. Previously, the only way I knew how to make cupcakes was with the contents of a cardboard box. But alas, I’ve matured. And through this maturation I bring to you Chocolate Stout Cupcakes.

These cupcakes are nearly 100 percent made from scratch. Beginning with the batter (containing an entire bottle of my own Cafe Vanilla Con Leche Stout), the cupcakes also include stout-infused ganache, and cream cheese frosting. And guess what? As most of my original recipes are—they are healthy cupcakes! Instead of butter in the batter, we used applesauce (we had to save the butter for the cream cheese frosting). Thank the g/f for preventing me from ruining the frosting by trying to use low-fat cream cheese.

The end result: moist chocolate cupcakes with rich ganache filling and topped with creamy frosting. Add a glass of milk and you have a match made in heaven. There was concern about using the applesauce rather than the butter, but I couldn’t tell a major difference. In fact, adding some cinnamon to the batter complements the overall flavor and it even stands out a bit. I took the cupcakes to work for the true test. Everyone loved them. And so should you.  You’re welcome.

Vanilla Con Leche Stout Cupcakes

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