Tuesday Tattles: 2nd Birthday

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by loved ones. We’ve been enjoying the sunshine and time with grandparents. The kids were beyond spoiled and the joy and wonder of Christmas was evident everywhere.

Tuesday Tattles

My Treat turned TWO in October and we celebrated with a playground party in early November. (Little fun fact: shopping for birthday party decorations the week before Halloween is slightly insane.)

My guy has had an attraction to sports balls as early as I can remember, and he’s naturally athletic, coordinated, and too brave for his own good. A sports themed birthday would be a no-brainer. And then he had me second guessing my decision with an obsession with animals that rivaled anything to date! We celebrated his actual birthday with a trip to the zoo. If he continues his love of animals and zoo trips, you’ll be seeing an animal themed third birthday next year

As has become my birthday tradition, I made a banner for my birthday boy. I punched out circles of cardstock and decorated them to look like baseballs, tennis balls, basketballs, and a soccer ball. Even ovals for footballs. I used navy stickers for the lettering, to make it easier.

I stuck to the four “main” sports: football, soccer, basketball, and baseball. (If the Chicago Cubs had made it into the World Series a second year in a row I definitely would have adjusted to a Cubs only theme.)

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This birthday party was the first of the 4 we’ve previously thrown for the boys that did not include extended family. I am grateful for fantastic friends who offered their help in setting up and taking down the decorations at the park.

The décor included:

  • Green table cloths
  • Small white plates for the dessert table
  • Gold oval plates for the snack table (they looked like footballs!)
  • Red and yellow napkins
  • Blue spoons and forks
  • The party favor bags were simple black cellophane bags and stored in a large football shaped bowl
    • Inside the bags were bubbles, sports balls, chocolate candies, and dum-dums

My favorite part of any party décor are the balloons. Turns out this old soul of mine has a little kid in it, after all. Those wonderful friends I mentioned at the beginning of this post came over early to help us blow up about a dozen balloons, including the mega #2. The balloons got all tangled before even leaving our house, and my OCD self let it go, because it looked really cool! We didn’t even make it out of the front door before we lost 10 of the balloons, including the mega #2. The screams that emitted from my children were heard from the playground where daddy was setting up. He saw those balloons fly into the sky and came running to help console. Heck, I was a wreck, too! I hadn’t gotten a single picture of my guy with his #2 balloon.

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The food helped bring the sports theme to life, one dish for each sport:

  • I made the superfood layer dip again, arranging the layers with shredded cheese on top and decorating it with black beans to create the stripes of a basketball
  • My favorite display was the fruit tray to look like a baseball field. I used my largest rimmed baking sheet and arranged five small ramekins for the bases and pitching mound. Those were filled with pretzel sticks, toothpicks, chocolate hummus, and caramel yogurt dip. Different fruits were arranged to create the outfield, infield, and stands
  • I’d ordered a pull-apart cupcake cake from the local grocery store to look like a soccer ball and it turned out fantastically!
  • I made cocoa krispie treats in the shape of footballs and decorated the laces with melted white chocolate

Just like last year, we had a threat of rain, but the sky cleared and it was a beautiful, slightly windy day, perfect for a playground party.

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#CranberryWeek: White Cheddar and Cranberry Dip

It’s day three of #CranberryWeek hosted by Caroline of Caroline’s Cooking. We’re sharing cranberry-inspired creations all week long in celebration of national cranberry day. Search #CranberryWeek to keep up to date and follow the #CranberryWeek Pinterest board for more cranberry inspiration.

I made this dip last year at Christmas and it was enjoyed by all. Who doesn’t love a dip in a bread bowl!? I held on to it hoping that #CranberryWeek would indeed return in 2017.

White Cheddar and Cranberry Dip for #CranberryDip from Sew You Think You Can Cook

The photos taken at my parents’ house last year were not worth editing and I knew I’d have to make this dip again. It’s still delicious – the cheddar cheese has a bite that challenges that of the fresh cranberry while the cranberry sauce lends just a back-note of sweetness.

White Cheddar and Cranberry Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 C shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 C fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 C cranberry sauce
  • 1 sourdough boule loaf

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together shredded cheese and cream cheese until combined. (Option to reserve some of the cheddar cheese for topping.) Fold in the cranberries and cranberry sauce.
  3. Create a bowl from the sourdough by cutting the top and scooping out the insides, leaving enough thickness for a wall. Cube up the removed bread for serving.
  4. Pour cheese mixture into the bread bowl. Place on a baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Top with reserved cheese, if desired, and broil until golden.
  5. Serve with cubed sourdough bread, vegetables, and crackers.

*This recipe is adapted from https://californiagoldminer.com/recipe/white-cheddar-cranberry-dip*

White Cheddar and Cranberry Dip for #CranberryWeek from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Be sure to check out these other great cranberry recipes:

Butternut Squash Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Fennel from Caroline’s Cooking

Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad Wraps from Family Around The Table

Cranberry Cheeseball by The Freshman Cook

Cranberry Cobbler from Cookaholic Wife

Cranberry Gremolata from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Cranberry Orange Relish from Books n’ Cooks

Jellied Cranberry Sauce from Palatable Pastime

Orange Cranberry Sweet Rolls from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Pear Holly Cocktail from Bear & Bug Eats

Roasted Green Beans with Cranberries from Making Miracles

Slow Cooker Cranberry BBQ Chicken from Jonesin’ For Taste

Slow Cooker Cranberry Pot Roast from Everyday Eileen

White Cheddar and Cranberry Dip from Sew You Think You Can Cook

White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies from House of Nash Eats

#ChoctoberFest: Chickpea Cocoa Dip

#Choctoberfest

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think today’s offering might be my favorite recipe of my #ChoctoberFest menu.
Friends of ours brought this chocolate hummus dip to Firecracker’s birthday party and it was a huge hit. Kids and adults alike couldn’t get enough of it! I’d been dying to make it at the house and here was my perfect opportunity.
I was a little nervous that Firecracker wouldn’t go for it, as homemade hummus is not “real” hummus and he won’t touch it if it’s not out of a store bought container. However, as this dip doesn’t have tahini it’s not technically a hummus variation anyway, it’s simply a sweet bean dip.
I got him to help me in the kitchen and simply told him we were making chocolate. He couldn’t be more ecstatic. He absolutely loves to help in the kitchen and his current favorite phrase is “need any help?” almost to the point of annoyance, but I do want and need to encourage this helpful attitude!
I broke out the step stool and had him push the buttons on the food processor. (Treat looked on in anticipation.) He kept informing me it was ready in his impatience to eat some chocolate. He did a fabulous job waiting until after I took some photos before I handed him his own little snack kit of dip, pretzels, and apple slices.
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If you’re looking for a guilt-free way to satisfy that chocolate craving, I encourage you to break out the food processor for this snack.
Chickpea Cocoa Dip
Ingredients:
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Steps:
  1. Place garbanzo beans in a food process and pulse a few times. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Enjoy with pretzels and fruit.
Chickpea Cocoa Dip for #ChoctoberFest from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway and be sure to check out the other bloggers who posted more chocolate recipes today:

CIC: Black Beans & Mayonnaise

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Today’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge is to combine black beans and mayonnaise. To be honest, I voted for both of these ingredients, but that didn’t mean I had an idea.

And then I forgot about it. Taking two vacations back-to-back will do that to you.

When I always have black beans in my pantry and mayonnaise in my fridge it would have been a little inexcusable to skip this event.

Surprisingly, I was able to come up with an idea and make my dish on Sunday! I had game day food on my mind, and even though it was just the boys and me, I still made a perfect dip for watching football from the couch. I took inspiration from a warm spinach dip and added some black beans and southwest spices.

Firecracker was napping (gasp!) while I got the dip in the oven and he woke up just in time to take it out. Turned out the be the perfect distraction mechanism for his post-nap fussiness. He said it looked good and said he wanted to eat it. Of course, I had to take a picture first! Literally, one. I told him it was still hot and he informed me that it was cool now. So, out of the ramekin and into a different bowl to spend a few minutes in the fridge. I think he ate 2 bites; the smart kid really just wanted the chips within his reach. I loved the dip, and will definitely make it again for company. I’m looking forward to my afternoon salty snack this week, now!

This recipe will serve 2-3 people.

Black Bean and Spinach Dip

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3/4 C shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 2 C packed baby spinach
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp cumin

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredient until incorporated.
  3. Divide dip between two 16 oz ramekins. Bake 30-35 minutes, until dip is bubbly and the top is slightly golden.
  4. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Black Bean and Spinach Dip for Crazy Ingredient Challenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

Enchilada Dip

Are you invested in the National Championship game tonight? I think it would be incredible if Clemson could keep their undefeated season but they have their work cut out for them, Alabama is a tough powerhouse to take down.

It’s hard for me to watch football without some sort of dip to snack on, especially if we have company over! Earlier this year In November my brother-in-law and his girlfriend now fiance (finally!) came to meet Treat. They are both also Auburn grads so there wasn’t any fight over which game we’d be watching on Saturday. It was the Georgia game and we knew it’d be a tough one, so good food was a must!

I’d been eyeing this dip on one of my Pinterest boards for a good while and was anxious to finally give it a shot! With enchilada flavors and real cheese it’s a step up from the usual favorite game day dip. It’s a thicker dip that’s pretty dang close to being called enchilada chili! Firecracker enjoyed the dip as well and I was happy to let him eat as much as he wanted – we could do a lot worse than beef, cheese, and veggies.

Enchilada Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 1/2 C enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (15 oz) fiesta corn
  • 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese, divided use
  • 1 1/2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided use

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease oven-safe casserole dish.
  2. Brown ground beef in a high sided skillet over medium-high heat until cooked. Drain the fat.
  3. Add the enchilada sauce and corn to the skillet. Mix in 1 C cheddar and 1 C Monterey Jack cheeses, stirring until melted. Season to taste with S+P.
  4. Transfer dip to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses.
  5. Bake 5-10 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.

*This recipe is modified from Chungah at http://damndelicious.net/2013/10/21/beef-enchilada-dip/*

Enchilada Dip | Sew You Think You Can Cook

SRC: Spinach Artichoke Dip

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It’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! In the Secret Recipe Club, each participating blogger is assigned a blog from another participating blogger and secretly searches their site for something to recreate. The accompanying blog post then goes live on reveal day! So while I was immersed in my assigned blog, someone else was picking through mine! I’m so excited to be part of this group, to see what on my blog peaks other’s interests and to stumble upon new blogs and new recipes.

This month I was assigned the blog Hapa-tite written by Nicole. “Hapa” in Hawaiian means “half” and is a slang term used for people of mixed heritage. A term Nicole uses proudly; she is culturally Hawaiian and ethnically  Chi­nese, Chero­kee, Ger­man, and Amer­i­can! Nicole lives in D.C. and explores many great restaurants. She posts reviews on her site, so if you’re in the area be sure to stop by her page!

I saved a few recipe contenders from Nicole’s site including double chocolate espresso cookies, citrus corn muffin scones, and healthy spinach artichoke dip. It wasn’t until after I made the latter and started typing up this post that I saw her newest blog entry for cardamom pear muffins. That’s what I get for not procrastinating this month!

I had to make some changes to the dip based on Nicole’s substitution recommendations: instead of aioli garlic mustard sauce I replaced half of the mayonnaise with Dijon mustard (If you’re sensitive to mustard I’d adjust the ratio to use more mayo, however that bite from the mustard is, in my opinion, what made this dip addicting.); I chose to include the Greek yogurt because I prefer creamier dips (I might even add more!); and I had to use a marbled cheddar instead of white due to product availability.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and rough chopped
  • 1 box (9 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C shredded cheddar (white recommended)
  • 1/8 C mayonnaise
  • 1/8 C Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix all ingredients until combined. Season to taste with S+P.
  3. Pour dip into a lightly greased oven safe dish (I used a pie dish).
  4. Bake 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, pita, bread, or veggies. Reheat in microwave 1-2 minutes as needed.

*This recipe is adapted from Nicole at http://hapatite.com/healthy-spinach-artichoke-dip/*

Spinach Artichoke Dip for SRC from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in the Secret Recipe Club this month click here:

SRC: French Onion Dip

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It’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! In the Secret Recipe Club, each participating blogger is assigned a blog from another participating blogger and secretly searches their site for something to recreate. The accompanying blog post then goes live on reveal day! So while I was immersed in my assigned blog, someone else was picking through mine! I’m so excited to be part of this group, to see what on my blog peaks other’s interests and to stumble upon new blogs and new recipes.

This month I was assigned the blog Palatable Pastime. Sue is the writer, photographer, and cook behind Palatable Pastime. She lives with her husband and cats in Cincinnati, not too far from where we’re currently located – I’ll definitely have to check out her restaurant reviews! I’ve actually been to a couple of these locations already! Small world.

Sue’s recipe index actually changed formats during the few days I was perusing her site. She now has “galleries” that are links to her Pinterest boards. It’s actually really pretty clever – go check it out!

I saved over ten contenders to make this month including Bang Bang Tacos, Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce, and German Sauerkraut Balls. I will be making her Blueberry Kumquat Infused Water for my husband, too, as he has a love for kumquats but we never know what to do with them.

I ended up making French Onion Dip. It’s been on my “list” for a while and I had some potato chips in my pantry. I don’t ever have potato chips on hand, but last month when my mom was here we binge watched Once Upon a Time and enjoyed some chips and dip. I still had some dip in my fridge when she left so I had to buy another bag of chips. Then I ran out of dip. You could see how this could turn into a very dangerous unhealthy shopping cycle. Instead I decided I’d make my own dip – but it never happened. Thank you, Sue, for finally getting me to do it!

I halved the recipe because my husband was out of town for work and I really didn’t need 4-6 servings of dip just for myself… because I would eat it all… I also had to substitute very finely diced scallions instead of wonderful chives because the two stores I stopped at didn’t have any! Hey, Ohio, who’s buying all the chives?!

This dip was so simple and inexpensive to make, I’ll definitely be whipping up another batch as soon as I can get my hands on some chives!

French Onion Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 C softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 1/8 C mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (I used 1/2 tsp Gourmet Garden garlic paste)
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

Steps:

  1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook onions until tender and slightly caramelized.
  2. In a bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, onion powder, garlic, Worcestershire, S+P with a hand mixer. Mix until smooth. (It’s important your ingredients be at room temperature for even mixing. You could also do this in a food processor if you preferred.)
  3. Fold in the onions from Step 1 and the chives, reserving some for garnish.
  4. Place dip in the fridge and serve chilled.

*This recipe is adapted from Sue at http://palatablepastime.com/2014/07/08/french-onion-dip/*

French Onion Dip | Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in the Secret Recipe Club this month click here: