Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ultimate Guacamole | Friday Night Bites

I love a great dip.  Whether it is a perfect caramelized onion dip, spinach dip with crunchy water chestnuts or flavored hummus – it is one of the most simple appetizers to prepare.  Although I don’t indulge too often, a great handmade guacamole is a treat around our house.  It is a beginning of summer type dip that typically in California and other parts of the country comes out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  I missed the boat this year on celebrating this holiday, so I whipped up my Ultimate Guacamole for our Friday Night Bite weekly tradition.

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Individual Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes with Salted Caramel Drizzle + Weekly Inspirations

Fresh on the heels of attending the Dole Taste of SpainSalad Summit, I was inspired to recreate a classic dessert that we enjoyed at the summit – Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.  I served it my dinner party I hosted last weekend and decided to make individual servings and kick it up with my handmade Salted Caramel Sauce for that added WOW factor.  Easy, delicious and a crowd pleaser!

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dole "Taste of Spain Salad Summit" Hightlights

Back in March I received a VIP invitation to participate in the Dole Taste of Spain Salad Summit.  There wasn’t much to think about  – three days in Carmel, tours of the lettuce fields and processing plant, cooking class, tapas, meeting other food bloggers, Eating Well Magazine, dinners, winery lunch and all being sponsored by Dole Salads – my answer was a resounding YES!

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fava Bean and Roasted Tomato Crostini | Friday Night Bites

I am doing the happy dance right now.  No really – I am simply SO happy.  It is fava bean season.  It comes but once a year and puts a smile from ear to ear on my face.  If you have not had the innate pleasure of a fava bean, please run don’t walk to your nearest farmer’s market or expansive grocery store and pick up a few handfuls.

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Camembert, Caramelized Onions and Fig Jam Crostini | Secret Recipe Club

Time is flying by.  I can’t believe it is time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal.  If you have not heard about the Secret Recipe Club, then let me share a quick snapshot of what all of the fun is about.  Essentially it is a group of approximately two hundred food bloggers who are paired with another food blogger monthly and it is a secret who has who.  During the month, you get to stalk – okay – peruse the blogger who you were assigned to determine what recipe you will choose to make.  If you want to learn more, simply click here.

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Farmer's Market Salad with Sweet Paprika Dressing + Weekly Inspirations

Last week was chalk full of inspiration.  I was invited as a VIP Food Blogger to the Dole “Taste of Spain Salad Summit” in beautiful Carmel.  It was three days of talking about food, blogging, salads and learning about how the lettuce makes it to your table.  I gained new knowledge, met great people and will share the entire experience in a few days.  In the meantime, I was inspired to make a Farmer’s Market Salad with Sweet Paprika Dressing that I will share with all of you.

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pimento Cheese and Bacon Jam Toast Points | Friday Night Bites

I am captivated by the South.  Not sure if it is the southern charm or history that draws me.  It is perhaps a bit of both plus my curiosity to explore the area.  Included in my bucket list, is to visit all fifty states.  I am hovering around the 28 mark and it should tick up to 29 when hubby and I visit Chicago soon.  Speaking of Chicago, if you have any great restaurant recommendations, let me know.

With my ever growing inquisitiveness about the wonders that lie in the south, I was inspired to create this week’s Friday Night Bites.  In the Bay Area, Pimento Cheese is not prevalent yet not extinct.  However, I understand it is commonplace in the south.  This just fueled my need to create a batch of the cheesy wonder.  I thought to myself, how could I elevate it to the next level?  Why not add bacon jam, of course.  Now throw this combination on a toast point and you have a southern inspired Friday Night Bite.

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Strawberries with Bourbon Brown Sugar Dip + Weekly Inspirations

I want to extend a very Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mothers.  Although I do not have any children, I am a doggie Mommy to our adorable Lhasa Apso, Max.  In addition, I am an Auntie to four wonderful nephews ranging in age from 3 to 13 years old.  We will be celebrating Mother’s Day by going out to brunch as a family and celebrating this special day.

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hickory Smoked Barbecue Popcorn | Friday Night Bites

One of my favorite go to snacks is popcorn.  The microwave version is good BUT the hand popped version done over the stove in a heavy pan is simply heaven.  It completely reminds me of growing up and when my Mom would pop in their fifty plus year old cast iron pot.  This pot is beyond seasoned; it is a legend in our family.

I am a tad obsessed with William Sonoma’s Hickory Smoked Sea Salt.  Recently I used it on my Avocado Crostini’s with Reduced Balsamic.  It is a fine salt with a perfect balance of smoke and hickory flavor.  With my craving for popcorn, my mind went spinning into creative mode and I came up with this flavored popcorn. 

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rosemary Citrus Water + Weekly Inspirations

Many, many things give me inspiration.  I have always been a creative person since being a kid. Often my mind is running in circles with so many thoughts and consistently being inspired.  It could be from a photo I saw on Pinterest, flipping through a magazine, chatting with a friend or co-worker or something I dream up on my own.  Does this happen to you? 

We live in a world that is filled with diversity, creativity and so much to see, experience and accomplish.  Depending on what is important to you, life is rather short and my philosophy is like the Nike commercial – Just Do It!  Going forward, each weekend I will bring you a list of my ten inspirations.  Some topics will be consistent week to week and others will be simply what inspired me during the week.  As I always say to my team at work – “It would be awfully boring, if everyone or everything was the same.” 

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

“Baked Potato” Deviled Eggs | Friday Night Bites

I agonized for days. Back in December when my book club met for our annual holiday dinner, one of the ladies raised her hand and volunteered to host our book club meeting in May.  I thought – wow – she is super organized and excited.  A few moments after her hand was raised, she mentioned she wanted to host in Hawaii.

All ten of us had our mouths drop.  She went on to explain that she wanted to host at her house in Hawaii.  We were all excited and grateful for her offer.  Quickly we got energized and could hardly wait for May to arrive.  The next week, emails flew back and forth with who had already booked their ticket and the planning began from there.

(Click "Read More" below to continue post)