Pimento Cheese Dip

Pimento Cheese Dip with Chips

Well, hello readers!  I originally made this recipe for Super Bowl Sunday, but ran out of time to post it before it happened.  Then, I was going to post this as an Oscar’s appetizer, but I am now too late for that!  Get it together Keelin!  I am officially sharing this recipe with you all so I don’t procrastinate it anymore.  This Pimento Dip is a quick and easy cold dip that makes a perfect last-minute appetizer.

Pimento Dip and Chips

A few years ago, I shared a hot Tex-Mex Pimento Cheese Dip with you and today I am sharing a cold one.  This dip goes perfectly with tortilla chip strips.  The best part about this dip is that Matt can pull it together all on his own and I just get to eat it!  I actually don’t think I have made this recipe yet, even this batch was made by Matt!  We always dip right into this as soon as it is ready.  If you plan to make this recipe ahead of time, store in the refrigerator and bring out 30 minutes before serving.  It’s still amazing when it’s cold, but this dips firms up when it is chilled and you will break your chips in it.  Nothing is worse than breaking your chips in the dip…well, there are probably a few more thing, but in the dip world it is pretty tragic.

Pimento Dip

Pimento Cheese Dip
  • 4 oz. reduced fat Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 2-3 tbsp. pimentos, or chopped roasted red pepper
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients until combined.
  3. Serve at room temperature or chilled with tortilla chips or veggies.

Source- Adapted from Paula Deen via the foodnetwork.com

Pimento Cheese Dip

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Soft Heart Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

Valentine's Day Soft Sugar Cookies

The most popular type of dessert in this house is by far cookies. It seems we have tried every type of chocolate chip cookie and frosted sugar cookie there is. I am always saving the latest and greatest recipes I find. While I was thinking about what I was going to make for Valentine’s Day, I knew that a soft fluffy cut-out sugar cookie with buttercream frosting was in order. Last years cutout sugar cookies with buttercream frosting were such a hit that I thought soft heart cookies would be worth a try. I made soft sugar cookies with buttercream frosting a couple years ago for a bake sale and they were heavenly. My mom made them for Christmas this year and between my boyfriend and I we ate at least half the batch! These heart shaped soft sugars are right up there with the my other two favorite recipes!

Cut Out Soft Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting
I divided the original recipe in half because it made 6 dozen cookies. Since there is only the two of us in my house and we are both on Weight Watchers, we really did not need 6 dozen cookies!

Soft Cut Out Sugar Cookies

After decorating these cookies with pink frosting and Valentine’s Day sprinkles, I realized how similar these looked to last year’s cookies! I should have tried to make red or purple frosting, but oh well! They were delicious anyways.

Heart Cut Out Cookies
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Soft Heart Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting
For Cookies:
  • 3 cups of All Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 small eggs or 1 and ½ large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream or light sour cream
For Frosting:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Smidgen of salt
  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream
  • food coloring, optional
  • sprinkles, optional
For Cookies:
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in egg and mix until combined. Add in vanilla extract and sour cream and stir until everything is incorporated.
  2. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the butter mixture, with your mixer on low and making sure to scrape down the sides. Once all combined, divide dough into two. The dough will be sticky so you may want to lightly oil or flour your hands to prevent sticking. Place each dough half on a piece of plastic wrap and flatten to about 1 ½ inches thickness. Wrap completely, repeat for second half, and chill both halves for at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  5. Flour countertops and roll out the first dough slab to about a ¼th inch thickness. You may need to flour the top of a dough a little too if it gets too sticky. Lightly flour your cookie cutter and cut out your shapes, place each cookie on prepared baking sheet and leave about 2 inches between each cookie. Repeat until you use up all the dough. This recipe should make about 3 dozen but that all depends on the size of your cookie cutter (mine was about a 3 inch heart.)
  6. Bake for 7-8 minutes until cookies start to turn golden on the edges. Using a spatula, gently move your cookies over to a cooling rack.
For Frosting:
  1. Cream together butter and vanilla extract in the bowl of you stand mixer set at a low speed. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar and a smidgen of salt (half a pinch) until smooth. Add in heavy cream a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat on medium for 1-2 minutes until the frosting has a light and fluffy consistency. Add your desired food coloring and mix in.
For Assembly:
  1. Once the cookies are cool, frost them with 1-2 tsp. of frosting with a offset spatula or a butter knife. If desired, add sprinkles to frosting right after before it begins to set. Enjoy!

Source- Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
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Throwback Thursdays- The Root Beer Float

Root Beer Floats

Do you remember the days of letter jackets, Sadie Hawkins dances, and hanging out at the soda shop after school? Yeah I don’t… I wasn’t born yet.  I did have a poodle skirt and saddle shoes for a Halloween costume though.  I am also pretty sure I kept wearing the saddle shoes well after Halloween because I thought I was “wicked” cool.  (Wicked is a term used in the Syracuse and Boston area that in essence means really really or like totally… Yup that’s my technical definition.)

Vanilla Ice Cream for Float
Why am I referring to soda shops and saddle shoes? That’s because today’s recipe is the Root Beer Float, a favorite throwback recipe in my home.

Root Beer Poured into Float

My mom and I made some fantastic root beer floats when she came to visit in November.  Due to Thanksgiving sides, Christmas cookies, and appetizer craziness around here, I hadn’t had a chance to post about them.   While we were making the floats, we recalled how grandma called root beer floats, Brown Cows, and ones made with cola and vanilla ice cream, Black Cows.   This sparked a conversation and some googling to see what other types of floats are out there.

There are a lot of types of soda floats!  A Boston Cooler is when you made a float with ginger ale and vanilla ice cream (originated in Detroit not Boston- sorry M!)  A Snow White is a when you make a float with lemon-lime soda and vanilla ice cream.  Then, there is an Orange Cow with orange soda and Purple Cows with grape soda, both with vanilla ice cream.  You can get crazy with some Beer floats or Shakin’ Jesse, which is Guinness and vanilla ice cream.  Who knew you could make this many floats, but my favorite will always be the Root Beer Float!

Root Beer Floats
  • Root Beer
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Cola and Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Orange Soda and Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Grape Soda and Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Root Beer and Chocolate Ice Cream
  • Lemon-Lime Soda and Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Ginger Ale and Vanilla Ice Cream
  1. In a glass add in two scoops of ice cream and then slowly pour in soda until glass is filled.
  2. Serve with a straw and a spoon.

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Southwest Wontons with Chipotle Lime Dipping Sauce

Southwest Wontons

Here we are- just a few days from Super Bowl Sunday!  Are you ready for your party?  What appetizer or snacks are you going to be bringing or sharing?  Meagh and I have plenty of recipes to share.  Have you tried our:

Just a few ideas in case you haven’t been thinking about it 24/7 like some of us (ehhmm.)

I saw this recipe for Southwest Wontons a year ago and have been dying to make it ever since!  It’s taken me a year because I was looking for a good opportunity to post about them.  I should have made them sooner because they are so good!  I actually made them twice because my first photo shoot was too dark.  These wontons could be good dipped in just sour cream, but I went ahead and created my own chipotle lime dipping sauce that pairs perfectly with the wontons (if I do say so myself!)

As I have said before, I hate frying food- not even for health reasons, but because I am clumsy and how it makes the whole house smell like fried food.   I wasn’t offended by this frying though because I only used about 1/2 inch of oil in my pan.  Each wonton only fries for about a minute a side too so it’s really quick!  I made the filling and dip ahead, then put the wontons together and fried them right before we were ready to eat them.

Southwest Wontons with Chipotle Lime Dipping Sauce

Southwest Wontons
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • ½ red pepper, seeded, ribbed and chopped
  • ½ poblano pepper, seeded, ribbed and chopped
  • ½ small yellow onion
  • 1 block reduced fat cream cheese (8 oz), at room temperature
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 30-40 wonton wrappers
  • Canola oil, for frying
  1. In a medium bowl mix together the first 5 ingredients. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat a skillet with about ½ inch of canola oil on medium-medium-high heat, depending on your stovetop (mine runs a bit slower to heat up then others).
  3. Take wonton papers and spoon about 1-2 tsp of filling in the middle of the wonton. Moisten the edges of the wonton by running you finger lightly moistened by dipping in water along the edges of the wonton. Fold the wonton in half so that opposite corners are meeting and press edges together. Your first wonton with be the determent of how much filling you should be using, just enough to fill but not too much it is overflowing. Make sure wontons are sealed completely or they are going to splash oil all over the place!
  4. Once all wontons are filled, line a couple plates with paper towels. To determine if the oil is ready to fry, stick the edge of a toothpick in the oil tosee if it sizzles. Fry the wonton in groups of 4-5 so they are not touching. Flip after about 1 minute. Cook other side for another minute until golden brown, remove from oil to paper towels. Repeat for remaining wontons.

Southwest Wontons and dip

Chipotle Lime Dipping Sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  1. In the bowl of a food processor add all the ingredients. Process for about 30-45 second until all ingredients are combined. Place dipping sauce in a airtight bowl and let chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Source- Wontons adapted from Shared Appetite and Chipotle Lime Dipping Sauce is a 2s2c original

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Hummus and Whole Wheat Pita Chips


When I first started out working in New York City, I lived in Hoboken, NJ with one of my college roommates.  I had grown up on homemade hummus, but my food processor at the time was one of those mini-prep food processors handed down from my mom.  Making hummus in this mini-prep was impossible and messy!  We started to buy Sabra hummus and Stacy’s pita chips at the grocery store because of the ease and we soon became addicted!  We would eat an entire container for dinner some nights.

Pita Chip Dipped in Hummus

Before Christmas, my boyfriend Matt returned from a business trip in Israel, he too has discovered the love for hummus and pita chips.  When we went to visit my family, my mom had made homemade hummus and whole wheat pita chips.  With a mouthful of hummus and pita chips Matt asked, “why haven’t you ever made this for me?”  Truthfully, I forgotten about how delicious and easy to make homemade hummus was.  Now that I had a large-sized food processor there were no more excuses.

I have been making a batch of hummus and pita chips every weekend since we have come home.  The first batch I made was too garlicky, the second batch was a little too dry, but by the third batch I had perfected the recipe.  Here it is to share!

Hummus and Whole Wheat Pita Chips

  • 2 cloves of garlic, inside green stem removed*
  • 4 tbsp. chickpea water (the liquid from the chickpea can)
  • 2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed thoroughly
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • 6 tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 10 splashed of hot sauce (I used Franks, so if using a more concentrated hot sauce start with less)
*When you slice a piece of garlic in half lengthwise, you will see a green stemlike thing. Pull it out and throw it away. I always thought that this was some sort of kitchen myth so I stopped doing it awhile ago. I learned from David Lebovitz taste test post that if you aren’t cooking the garlic, the green germ inside makes your dish bitter. Since we aren’t cooking this garlic get those green centers out. Batches 1 and 2 of my hummus had the centers in them ,and the third batch did not. I could taste the difference!
  1. Cut garlic in half to remove the green centers.
  2. Next cut the cloves into even sized pieces and throw them into the bowl of your food processor. Turn the food processor on and break the garlic up into smaller pieces.
  3. Add chickpeas, 2 tbsp of chick pea water, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and hot sauce. Process for about 30 seconds, add in additional 2 tbsp of water, food process again until desired thickness.

 Hummus and Pita Chips

Whole Wheat Pita Chips
  • Whole wheat pocket pitas
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with non-stick silicone mats or parchment paper.
  2. With a bread or serrated knife take a pita and cut into 8 equal triangles (like a pizza.) Take each triangle and peel into two pieces (using pocket pitas). Repeat for all pitas.
  3. Starting with 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a small bowl use a pastry brush to brush each side of the pita with olive oil. Use additional olive oil as needed.
  4. Spread the pitas out on two baking sheets and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  5. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 8 minutes, turning pitas halfway through and baking an additional 4-5 minutes until golden brown
  6. Repeat for second batch, let pitas cool and store in a airtight container until serving.

Source- Both Hummus and Pitas are adapted from Ina Garten

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Mini Pretzel Dogs

Pretzels Dogs

I am a huge fan of both hot dogs and homemade pretzels.  Although I have never ordered a pretzel dog from Auntie Anne’s, they have always intrigued me.  A football classic around this house is hot dogs cut into fourths and wrapped in crescent rolls, i.e. pigs in a blanket.  When I saw recipes for pretzels dogs on a few blogs, I knew trying out mini pretzel dogs was in order.

Wrap Dough around Hot Dog

These mini pretzel dogs are made with Nathan’s Skinless Beef Franks wrapped in a perfect homemade pretzel.  I prefer Nathan’s hot dogs because they taste great.  Plus, they are from New York so it always makes me happy to see them over here in California.  I added some cheese to the insides of half the pretzel dogs to test it out.  The results were amazing!  To do this, I made a lengthwise slit in the hot dog and folded some pieces of of deli American cheese in there.

Cheese Dogs

I had got the idea to add cheese from a dinner that we made on occasion growing up (and one that I still dream about!)  My mom made us homemade meals practically every night so she absolutely hates when we rave about the “Crescent Roll hot dog” dinners we used to have.  Her eyes are probably rolling right now as she reads this.  A Crescent Roll Hot Dog is when you take a full hot dog, make a lengthwise slit in the middle, stuff a folded half piece of American cheese, roll it in crescent roll dough and bake it together.  It’s very similar to how I make pigs in a blankets nowadays, except with a whole hot dog and the addition of cheese.  What can I say- it was the 80′s and early 90′s!

Cheesy Mini Pretzel Dogs

These pretzel dogs were so good!  I served them warm with deli mustard to dip.  Although these are best fresh from the oven, I froze the other half of them for Superbowl Sunday and I am going to reheat them at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes until they are heated up again.

Mini Pretzels Dogs and Mustard

Mini Pretzel Dogs
For Pretzel Dough
  • 1½ cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast (or one packet)
  • 22 oz. AP flour (about 4½ cups)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted and brought back to room temperature
For Boiling Mixture
  • 14 cups of water
  • 1 cup baking soda
For Assembly
  • 8 pack of hot dogs, cut into fourths for 32 hot dog pieces
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp. water
  • Pretzel salt or course salt
  • 4 slices of American Cheese (optional)
  1. In the bowl of your mixer (with dough hook attachment) add warm water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the the water and let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Once the yeast is foamy, add in the flour,salt, and melted butter. Mix on low until the dough is combined. Take the speed up to around medium and mix the dough until it is smooth and easily pulls away from the sides of the mixer bowl. Knead for an additional 4 minutes at medium speed.
  3. Coat a separate large bowl with some canola oil. Take dough ball from mixer bowl, scraping dough off the sides of the bowl if needed and place in oiled bowl. Turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set bowl in a warm draft free place for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. If using parchment paper spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  5. Once the dough has risen, turn out on a lightly oiled surface. Divide dough evenly into 32 pieces. This is done easily if you divide dough in half and then divide each half into halves, continuing until there is 32 equal sized pieces.
  6. Take one dough ball and roll out 12-18 inch piece rope. Take hot dog piece and starting at the end of the hot dog, wrap the dough around the hot dog so that it is completely covered in dough (like a cocoon or mummy). Make sure to seal ends and where ever the dough is touching so that it stays connected and completely sealed during baking. Unlike Pigs in a Blanket you are covering the entire hot dog with dough. Repeat for all dough and hot dog pieces.
  7. *to add cheese- take hot dog pieces before wrapping and make a slit lengthwise making sure to not cut through the hot dog all they way. Take a piece of American cheese and divide it up into 8 pieces. Take one of the pieces and gently fold it so it is around the same size as the slit made in the hot dog. Stuff the cheese into the slit and then wrap hot dog piece with dough like above directions.
  8. In a large pot add 14 cups of water and 1 cup of baking soda. Bring to a boil.
  9. Once the water comes to a boil, gently drop a few wrapped hot dogs into the pot and let cook for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and line up on baking sheet, leaving about one inch in between each. Repeat for all wrapped hot dogs.
  10. Take the egg beaten with 1 tsp. of water and gently brush boiled pretzels with the egg mixture. Top with course salt.
  11. Bake each cookie sheet separately for about 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Source- slightly adapted from Joy The Baker 

Mini Pretzel Dogs

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Mexican Pinwheels

Mexican Pinwheels Dipped in Salsa

With the Super Bowl in a couple of weeks and it being award season, it is most certainly appetizer time!  We had a chance for both the San Francisco and the New England football teams to play in the Super Bowl for another Sister City Super Bowl showdown, but that didn’t happen this year.

If you thought my spinach artichoke dip was easy, wait until you try this one.  My mom made these for us growing up a few times and when I moved off on my own, it was one of the recipes she typed up for me.  I have a college binder with all the original recipes I used when I first started cooking on my own.  Every time I would come home to visit my mom she would give me another collections of recipes that I loved growing up or that I needed to try.  Luckily now that we all follow blogs and have similar cookbooks, we share recipes all the time.  I still keep these recipes in the original binder even though I have switched over to fancier Martha Stewart binders for my other recipe collections.

Mexican Pinwheels

There are only five ingredients in this recipe: flour tortillas, cream cheese, a can of chopped black olives, a can of chopped green chiles, and chopped onion.  Also, the only thing you really need to do is chop an onion because you can buy the olives and green chiles pre-chopped!  Oh yeah, oh yeah!  The perfect dipping sauce for this?  Salsa!  I basically live off of Tostitos Salsa in medium heat.  I put it on everything from baked potatoes to scrambled egg whites.  These probably would also pair well with sour cream or guacamole!


What do you need to do to make them?  Follow the easy recipe below!

Mexican Pinwheels
  • 2 blocks of reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1- 4 oz. can of chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1- 4 oz. can of chopped black olives, drained
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 12-14 flour tortillas
  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together cream cheese, green chilies, black olives, and onion. Stir it all together so that it is all mixed together and evenly distributed.
  2. Take a pile of flour tortillas and place them between 2 paper towels. Microwave them for about 20 seconds, to soften them so they are easier to roll.
  3. Take a tortillas and spread about 3-4 tbsp. of the cream cheese mixture on the tortillas. Roll the tortillas up like a jelly roll, tight enough so there isn’t any gaps but not too right that you are squeezing the cream cheese out.
  4. Once rolled set seam side down on some laid out plastic wrap. Continue for the rest of tortillas until you use up all of the filling. When done rolling the tortillas, tightly wrap up the rolls in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours or more.
  5. Once chilled, take tortilla rolls out and slice them in ½-3/4 inch slices, tossing out the ends (or eating.) Continue with remaining tortillas.
  6. Serve with salsa.

Looking for more game day recipes?  Check out our 2013 Super Bowl Recipe Round-Up and the appetizer section of the 2S2C Recipe Index!  We’ll also be sharing a few more favorite game day appetizer recipes over the next week!

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Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip

It is football playoff season and you know what that means…appetizers!  I have several great recipes for appetizers to share with you this month leading up to Super Bowl weekend.  Matt and I have been toughing it out for you the last couple of weekends and have had a few meals of just appetizers so I could share these with you. It’s been real tough… you’re welcome!  We are going to start this Superbowl party off with one of my all-time favorite dips, the spinach artichoke dip.

Chips and Spinach Dip

There was a time period that this was one of those appetizers I would always order off a restaurant’s menu.  In college, two of our local bars had the most amazing spinach artichokes dips.  They both had a cream cheese base with big chunks of artichoke hearts and not too much spinach.  Served with either slices of toasted french bread or tortilla chips, I could not get enough of these dips!

I have played around with several recipes over the years trying to recreate the creaminess and thickness that the dip had from those bars.  I think I have come really close with this recipe.  I have brought this dip to several different parties and it is always gone within minutes.

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

The best part about this dip (besides the dip itself!) is that it is so easy to put together and it can be done ahead of time. I am one of those people who goes frantic an hour before I am hosting a party so I have learned to serve things I can make ahead.  This helps me actually enjoy the party I am throwing.  It can be put together the day before and once it is constructed, you just cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it.

When I am making the dip for just Matt and myself,  I either make half the recipe or split the dip into two dishes and freeze one.  The leftover dip can be reheated and enjoyed again.  It is a very forgivable dish.  Serve it with tortilla chips, toasted French bread slices, crostini, pita chips, and or veggies.  Goooo football teams to be determined and even more so, bring on the appetizers!

Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 -14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1- 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • 2 -8 oz. packages ⅓ less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl combine sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, pepper, artichokes, spinach, and cream cheese.
  3. Add in 1½ cup of the shredded mozzarella and ¼ cup of the shredded Parmesan to the dip mixture.
  4. Take dip mixture and spread out into an oven-safe 1½-quart casserole pan or baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle with remained mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
  7. Serve with tortilla chips, toasted French bread slices, crostini, pita chips, and/or veggies.

Source- Adapted from Cooking Light

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Stovetop Oatmeal

Stovetop Oatmeal

Before Thanksgiving, my mom visited me for a few days while Matt was on a business trip.  I picked my mom up from the airport and surprised her by taking her to a cookbook signing for Giada’s new book Giada’s Feel Good Food.  The signing was at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, which is beautiful, so that was a plus.  We waited in line for 2 hours and finally we got to meet Giada.

I have never been to something like this and of course, I was so starstruck I couldn’t think of anything to say when it was our turn. While I was smiling awkwardly, my mom kept talking to Giada about how much she loves her shows and books while Giada signed our books.  When we walked away, we had a really good laugh about how we reacted to seeing Giada!  We went to the restaurant next door and sat outside for a great dinner.  We even got to see Giada again when she left the book signing from our table at the restaurant.


When we got home that night, we decided to make one of the oatmeal recipes in her book that I happened to have all the ingredients for.  We reheated the oatmeal for the next two mornings for breakfast and it was so delicious and filling.   During the whole month of December I made this oatmeal on Sunday night to have for breakfast for the whole week .  I put each serving of oatmeal in a lidded container and stored then in the refrigerator.  When I got to work, I would reheat it for 1 -1 1/2 minutes in the microwave.   I really enjoyed the oatmeal and found myself look forward to it.   This breakfast gave me the energy during the holiday season and stopped me from feeling sluggish.

Now that it is January and things are back to normal around here, this oatmeal is definitely going to be a breakfast staple.   I am back to Weight Watchers after last month’s cookies so this breakfast fits perfectly into my plan.

Stovetop Oatmeal
  • 3½ cup almond milk
  • ⅛ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  1. Add almond milk, kosher salt, and vanilla extract to a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the milk begins to boil, add in oats and cook for 6-7 minutes. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes if you prefer a thicker oatmeal.
  2. Stir in dried cranberries and brown sugar. In a small bowl combine the ground cinnamon and sugar. Separate the oatmeal into four bowls and sprinkle each bowl with ¼th the cinnamon sugar mix.
  3. To make ahead- Separate cooked oatmeal into 4 lidded containers and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Store in the refrigerator until needed. To reheat oatmeal remove lid and microwave for about 1-1½ minutes. Stir and enjoy!

Source- Adapted from Giada’s Feel Good Food (disclosure: this is an Amazon affiliate link)

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1 Roly-Poly Santa Cookies

Roly-Poly Santas

Here we are, our last cookie of the 2013 2 Sisters 2 Cities’ Cookie Countdown!   The last cookie is always the hardest to pick.  Since we photograph the number of cookies that correlate with the day of the countdown (if you haven’t noticed yet), having one cookie in a photo can be boring!   I knew that the last cookie had to be something special so when I saw these Roly-Poly Santa Cookies on Better Homes and Gardens’ website I was sold.  The funny thing is that  M and I both had these cookies on our 2013 cookie brainstorming list.

Roly-Poly Santa

Although these cookies are so cute, they are a little bit more labor-intensive than your average cookie.  I think this would be a great recipe to gift to kids.  I wanted to save one for my nephew T, but I knew they would never last in my luggage on the way home.

Roly-Poly Santas are made up with 11 red and white dough balls, then embellished with mini chocolate chips, red hots, and frosting.   I was worried that my red dye wouldn’t make a true red color.  I always get a bright pink when I try to make red frosting, but I’ve heard this happens to a lot of people.  From my research, I discovered that Americolor’s Super Red soft gel paste does the trick.  I was happy with the red color that my Santa cookies came out in and I did not taste any dye in them.

Roly-Poly Santas
Recipe type: cookies
For Cookies
  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2¼ cups of all-purpose flour
  • Red paste food coloring
  • Miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1 recipe of Snow Frosting
  • Red cinnamon candies
White Frosting
  • ¼ cup of shortening
  • ¼ tsp. of vanilla
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1½ tsp. of milk
For Cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add sugar to butter and continue to beat until combined.
  3. Beat in milk and vanilla, scraping down sides until all is combined.
  4. Next mix in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour by hand. Remove 1 cup of the dough and place in a separate bowl . With the remaining dough, tint red with food coloring gel in mixer.
  5. For each Santa (this should make 10-12 cookies), shape red dough into twelve- 1-inch ball and sixty -1/2-inch balls(one 1-inch red dough ball, and five ½-inch red dough balls per Santa cookie.)
  6. Shape plain dough into twelve- ¾-inch ball and forty-eight- ¼-inch balls (one ¾-inch plain dough ball, and four-1/4 inch plain dough balls)
  7. Line 2 baking sheets with baking mat or parchment paper.
  8. Place the red 1-inch ball on a baking sheet, flattening the dough ball until about ½ inch thick. Attach the plain ¾-inch ball for head, flattening until ½ inch thick.
  9. Next, attach four of the red ½-inch balls for arms and legs and then attach the plain ¼-inch balls for hands and feet. Pinch the remaining ½-inch red ball into a Santa hat and attach to head.
  10. Repeat steps to create the rest of the Santas. Add the mini-chocolate chips as eyes and buttons.
  11. Bake Santa cookies for 12 to 15 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
  12. Let the cookies cool on baking sheet. Be careful because the are extremely fragile. Once cooled, gently move to a wire cooling rack.
  13. To create beard, put frosting in a piping bag with a small star tip (recipe below). Attach the red hot for the nose. Let sit until frosting sets.
For Frosting-
  1. In the bowl of you mixer, beat together shortening and vanilla for around 30 seconds. Gradually mix in around ½ cups of the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Next beat in 1½ tsp. milk. Continue to mix in remaining confectioners’ sugar until the consistency for piping.

Source- Slightly Adapted from BHG.com

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