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Onion Dip: when I dip, you dip, we dip!

14 Jun

If you’re too old or young for the reference in the title, then here. That is very 1998, and reminds me of high school whenever I hear it.

And it makes me want to dance, and I love to dance in the kitchen, while I cook. And so, naturally (right?) I want to make this aromatic and rich onion dip that Baking Banter posted. (I CAN’T get enough of them lately, I know!!!!!)

Image credit to King Arthur Flour Company

Here is how they made their version of the onion dip.

I would say my only switch up would be a healthy swap out of the mayo and cream cheese (sorry fatty dairy products….I love you, but the seams on my bikini and everyone at the beach in Bali that will have to see my fat, white thighs? not so much!)

I would, instead, keep the non-fat sour cream, because it’s really not that bad, and that zip it adds is unmistakable, and I would make the rest from (you guessed it) my lady in waiting, non-fat plain yogurt. Strained or not, it keeps it creamy and filling, without a million extra calories that I won’t have time to run off before August.

I may just have to make this over this weekend…and try it out on my subjects, er, friends.

Hummus Remix

11 Jun

Thanks again to the folks over at Baking Banter for posting a quick and easy tutorial for hummus. I LOVE the stuff. And I love it regular, roasted garlic, red pepper or jalepeno, anyway you can make it! (of course that opens the flood gates and there are a ton of other variations you can do as well).

I wanted to post their tasty looking batch and link to their basic hummus, but I also plan to make a batch this week with stuff I’ve got in my kitchen already, except I need some Tanhini (sesame paste).

Doesn’t this look irresistable?!

Image credit to King Arthur Flour Company

Great photography too! What’s not to love?!  Tastes good, looks good, IS good!

NOTE TO SELF: Try this with roasted Cerano Peppers from McPheresons Market on Beacon Hill.

PS: To the 5 readers out there, I have found a great way to enjoy oodles of my dip without oodles of calories. Don’t skimp on the dip, skimp on the crackers! Because summer is right around the corner, I’m using cucumbers, carrots, snap peas, or baby bell peppers in place of crackers.  It helps you get closer to your daily quota of veggies and it tastes great while reducing calories. I’m sure this is a note mostly for the ladies….but guys, no reason you can’t up the anti on the veggies too, right?

Also you can try cutting up a yam or sweet potato, roasting with olive oil, salt and pepper, in the oven on 425 for 25-30 minutes to make sweet potato fries and use those as your dippers! Still healthier and I think tastier than a cracker!

Spring and Summer easy entertainers: Dip it

9 Jun

I just found out that the King Arthur Flour Company has a food blog: Baking Banter.  I am really liking it!

They have a whole series of fun, easy dip ideas I had to share with you for three reasons:

  1. I’m REALLY hungry right now and they make me want to bite my screen.
  2. They’re easy to make and cheap, and you probably already have some of the stuff needed at home.
  3. You can improvise which means you don’t need to necessarily follow the recipe to a T, which is always a requirement for me!

So the first one I wanted to share from their blog is their pesto, made with parsley rather than basil. Don’t cringe yet, it’s actually fresh and green tasting, and still just as satisfying. Check it out:

Parsley Pesto

image credit to King Arthur Flour Company

For the whole post about the method and what they used, check it out here!

Great dining out quick tips for the summer

27 May

I was logged into MyRegence this morning, which is the online component for people like me that have Regence Blue Shield for health insurance, and I came across a great little article I wanted to share.

7 Tips to Eat Out for Less
Learn how you can dine out for less money — while still making healthy choices.
by Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN

Finding good-for-you food and good value isn’t always easy when dining out these days. Too often, the less you spend for a meal, the more calories you’ll end up buying — and consuming. For instance ordering nachos, a big burrito and a sweet tea might cost you six or seven dollars — and about half-a-day’s worth of calories. This might seem like a good deal at first. But you probably won’t feel that great about it afterwards.But it is possible to get good value while making healthy choices. Here are some strategies:

  1. Pre-plan: You can find menus for many restaurants online. Many chains often post nutrition facts on specific menu items as well. Research Web sites and user comments before you go out to eat whenever possible.
  2. Don’t leave home too hungry: People tend to order more food when their stomachs are growling. Eating something light an hour or so before a meal will help curb your hunger. A piece of fruit, sliced veggies, a small bowl of cereal or a glass of low-fat milk are all good options.
  3. Go for the appetizers: Order up one or two as a meal as long as they’re not fried or drenched in cheese or butter. Try meat-free appetizers that feature fresh vegetables, whole grains or local seafood.
  4. Share with friends: Splitting dishes with friends saves you cash — and calories. Most restaurants offer portions large enough that one entrée and a small side are more than enough for two. When you share with larger groups you can get more flavors into the mix. Just be sure your friends are open to healthier menu options!
  5. Drink smart: Ordering beverages can make your bill climb in a hurry. Especially alcohol. If you order tap water (maybe with a slice of lemon or lime), you’re paying nothing, adding zero calories, and maybe filling yourself up so you don’t overeat. Smart call!
  6. Have a strategy for dessert: When you skip dessert you’re saving money — and usually excess calories. If you do feel the need for a sweet finish, consider something fruit-based. If you make a more indulgent choice, share it with a friend. Or cut it in half when it gets to the table and save the rest for later.
  7. Look for bargains: Last but not least, become a bargain shopper. Many restaurants offer deals during off-peak hours or on mid-week days. Early bird dinner specials can offer significant savings. This is good time to get a group together for a meal.


Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from New York University.

Dinner Date: The Seattle Restaurant Week – Cafe Campagne

19 Apr

Did you know this week is The Seattle Restaurant Week?

Well, it is.  So now you know. And we all know knowing is half the battle, you know?


Okay, I’m done, sorry.

So last night, Paul took me to dinner at Cafe Campagne which was to die for.

This is my view before the first course arrived. Taken by Paul’s cell phone camera.  Even though this is basically in black and white, you’re looking at a glass of white wine (so good with my first course, see below), a vibrant green spider mum and a tiny candle.

The lighting was romantic, but no good for food shots. sorry! You’ll have to go yourself and see the food in person! I HIGHLY recommend it.

Here’s what we had:


Tarte Flambée - Savory bacon, onion and goat fromage blanc tarte
Boeuf Bourguignon - Red wine braised beef shoulder with button mushrooms, bacon lardons and pearl onions. Served on spatzle.
House Made Ice Cream - Brown Sugar and Cinnamon

Plus the wine flight, but my server recommended the wines to pair and I didn’t write them down. Let’s just say the pour was VERY generous and she paired up fabulously!


Pâté de Campagne - Country-style pork and chicken liver pâté
House-Made roasted chicken and pistachio sausage
Chocolate torte

Everything was really tasty, we had great service, and it was Paul’s first time. He really liked everything he had. And I was surprised at how “Paul-friendly” his dishes were (they didn’t have any gluten in them and no cream sauces, great for him)

I wish I could ellaborate more, but it’ll get boring without pictures. So just go, okay?

Dinner Date: Tonight=Delancey Family Dinner

17 Nov

Okay, as you know from a couple of posts ago, tonight I am going to Delancey’s first Family Dinner. I am really excited to be attending. And so glad that a spot opened up! (I was bummed when I was wait listed, seriously, I already went through college once in life, and that application process was enough to last me a lifetime). But someone cancelled which means these two are going with bells on!:


Many pictures with my crappy camera will be taken, and if Molly and Brandon allow it, I’ll even take a quick video to share with all of you out there in the interwebs.

Dinner Date: Dinner experience at Delancey

12 Nov

I’m so excited.

Next Tuesday, I’m going here:

To sit here:

And see this:

And this:

And eat with her:

Who you remember from this:


And I can’t wait to finally taste the culinary stylings of them:


(all Delancey pictures from Molly’s blog, Orangette)

Oh yeah, we’re eating this:

Duo of local oysters –
Kumamoto, with cucumber, lemon, and ginger
Pacific, with Banyuls mignonette

Wood oven-roasted local mussels with caramelized shallot, bacon, beer, and majoram, served with rustic toasts and housemade sea salt butter

Braised rabbit with potato, carrot, fennel, and truffle

Heirloom apple tart with honey ice cream

And I can’t wait to share the experience with you all, so keep your eyes peeled for a post-dinner date update.


Dinner Date: Goat Cheese Strata

29 Oct

This morning, my boss sent over a great recipe that her friend brought to dinner last night at her house.

She said, “Okay, so we had some guest over last night and they brought an appetizer that was AMAZING!  Dina swears that it’s easy to do and can be done mostly in advance. It was so good, that I’m passing this recipe on to you.”

I’m going to make this for my pumpking gutting get together this weekend at the house. I will take pictures, but no promises it’s going to turn out good! (although I’m sure the taste will be great no matter what!)

Goat Cheese Strata

Cut very top off head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil, bake in oven at 400 for one hour until soft.

1/2lb. cream cheese @ room temp
1/2lb. goat cheese @ room temp
Salt and pepper
1/2C. sundried tomato pesto
1/3C. basil pesto

How to make:
1. Mix the cheeses together well, divide evenly into three mixing bowls.
2. In first bowl, squeeze the roasted garlic and mix well with the cheese blend adding salt and pepper to taste.
3. In the second bowl, add the sun dried tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.
4. In the third bowl, mix the basil pesto and add salt (*careful not to overdo if your pesto already is well salted) and pepper.
5. In a 3 cup ramekin/bowl/small cassarole, line with dampened cheese cloth. Spoon basil mix onto bottom and smooth with spatula.
6. Next, put the roasted garlic on top of the basil layer and smooth with a spatula, followed by the tomato layer.
7. Fold excess cloth over the strata. Refrigerate at least one hour…better at 2 or 3 hours.
8. To serve, unfold the cloth and invert onto platter, carefully peel cloth off the cheese….serve with crackers, bread, bagels, pita, or veggies.
***makes three cups

Dinner Date: Eggplant Parm reinvented

15 Oct

So off we went last night to our friends, Marissa and Akash, house, for a much needed catch up.

They provided a fabulous dinner, home, precious puppy and beautiful siblings, which you’ll see below, and we provided stories, wine, and a rustic, quick apple tart I literally threw together in less than an hour (you’ll see that post coming up later today).


Marissa is Italian, and decided to venture into the unknown, cooking a new recipe for Eggplant Parm from her Mario Batali cookbook….of course, like me, she changed the recipe a bit to what was available to her (good job, Mariss!) and the result was FLAWLESS.


She served it with a great green bean dish that had crushed almonds (I think) and a tangy balsamic wash, and of course, the requisite garlic bread (mmmm, breaaaaaaaaaaad).  There was so much eggplant, Paul went back for seconds.

The eggplant was so meaty, and really held its shape well, even through the baking. It was very light on the bread crumbs and was not fried, so it was healthy and light, but totally satisfying.


Did she follow the recipe? Sort of, yes. Did it take her a lot of time? More time than throwing together some frozen chicken would, but I don’t think she was scrambling too hard (or at least she didn’t look like it!)

Thank you to the entire family: Akash, Marissa, Amit, and Nina, for having us over. We just adore you all! (and Dino too!)

Have any of you used a Mario Batali recipe? What about your own Eggplant Parm – do you have a recipe that just can’t be beat?

Dinner Date: Eggplant Parm

14 Oct

Hello and happy Wednesday afternoon!

I’m headed to a dear friend’s house for dinner tonight. She’s Italian and is making Eggplant Parm from scratch. WHAT?!?!?! It should be de.lish.

eggplant parm

This tasty picture will take you to a winning recipe on, a great project and informative collaboration site. We’ll talk more about this later. For now, proceed with drooling.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a review of Marissa’s Eggplant Parm and some pictures to boot!

Do you have any Eggplant or Chicken Parm tips or tricks? Let me know!

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