Jan 282014

French Onion Dip

The Super Bowl is coming up! I’d be lying you to if I said I was really into football (and we don’t lie to each other on this blog) but I AM super pumped for all of the food that I’ll get to munch on during the game. This year, I don’t think there will be a snackadium involved, but I’m ok with just eating this dip.

I’d really just like to face-plant into this french onion dip. Over and over again. There’s something wonderful about caramelized onions, and it makes me want to find caramelized onion scented candles so I can continuously smell the aroma.

Making caramelized onions also lets me practice patience. The longer you wait, the more delicious they will taste. And it’s worth it! This french onion dip (adapted from Iowa Girl Eats) is made with Greek yogurt and cream cheese, instead of mayonnaise and sour cream, which I think adds a fantastic touch. It makes a big bowl and although you can eat it right away, I recommend chilling it for a few hours in the fridge. Again, that patience thing.

You can make it the night before and it will be a fantastic addition to your Super Bowl party…or on any ol’ day, really. It’s also great served with veggies!

Homemade French Onion Dip

What are your plans for the Super Bowl?

Recipe adapted from Kristen over at Iowa Girl Eats

Homemade French Onion Dip
  • 2 Large yellow onions, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup beef broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 oz. Greek yogurt
  • 8 oz. of cream cheese (1 package), at room temperature
  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and stir to make sure the olive oil coats all of them.
  2. When the onions become translucent (about 5-7 mins) stir in 1/2 cup beef broth.
  3. Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature down to medium/medium-low heat.
  4. Continue to cook onions until they are brown and caramelized...about 45-60 minute total, stirring every few minutes. If the onions are burning, turn the heat down a bit. The onions will start to turn a caramel color and then a deep amber--this is when you know they are done.
  5. Add the Worcestershire, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and then cook for about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and place onions on a plate or in a bowl to cool.
  6. When the onions are cooled, mix the room temp cream cheese (i softened it in the microwave), Greek yogurt, dried thyme, and additional salt/pepper together in a medium sized bowl.
  7. Then add the onions to the cream cheese/Greek yogurt mixture and incorporate until everything is mixed together.
  8. Top off with a little extra dried thyme for garnish, and then serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


Oct 082013

Shrimp and Avocado Crostini

Avocados are amazing. Especially when you find one that’s perfectly ripe and beautifully green after you slice it in half. You know that awesome feeling, right? Or is it just me?? It’s like a small, but very fulfilling food win that deserves a pat on the back :) And shrimp? Anything with seafood is delicious in my book. Add a little citrus and spice, and you’ve got yourself an easy, flavorful snack/appetizer!

Avocado and Shrimp Crostini

Remember how I’m training for my first half marathon? Well, it’s in less than a month…EEK!…and I’m definitely not prepared. I’m running the race with a few coworkers, my roommate, and two of my friends so although I’m huffing and puffing during each of my runs, I’m really excited to finish a 13.1 mile race! A fellow food blogger friend, Ishita, was also training for a different half (which she just completed–go Ishita!) so we had a lot of fun motivating and updating each other about our training.

Because I’ve been running so much each week, I’ve been paying more attention to what I’m eating/drinking for fuel. And avocados have been a staple in my diet lately. They have an abundance of healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants. Plus, some say that eating avocados can give you healthier hair and skin–and well, I’m not positive it’s true, but sure I’ll believe it!

Crostini with Avocado and Shrimp

This shrimp and avocado combo is delicious. It’s super easy to whip up, and it makes a great appetizer for a fancy dinner or fun potluck. You just combine all of the ingredients, refrigerate it for just a short time, and then toast some crusty bread!

Plus, shrimp, avocado, and bread = perfect workout fuel! :) Right?


Shrimp and Avocado Crostini
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1/2 Pound of shrimp, cooked and cooled, cut up into 1/2-1 inch pieces
  • 1 Large avocado, diced
  • 1/2 Small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • Small handful of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 Baguette
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  1. In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, avocado, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno. Add salt and pepper to taste (I recommend more salt than pepper). Then while preparing bread, stick the shrimp/avocado mix in the fridge.
  2. Slice the baguette into 1 inch slices and then brush both sides of each bread piece with olive oil.
  3. Using a grill or grill pan (set on high temperature), toast each side of the bread until it is golden brown. (Alternatively, you can toast the bread in the oven).
  4. Once the bread is toasted, top each piece off with a spoonful of the avocado/shrimp mix.
  5. Serve and enjoy!


Bruschetta and The Little Things

 Cooking, Food, Life, Recipe, Snacks  Comments Off on Bruschetta and The Little Things
Jul 112013

When I was offered the opportunity to work with Olivari Olive Oil, I got really excited when I learned that their campaign slogan is: The Little Things Are Everything. I truly believe in this mantra, and think about it quite often actually. I always reflect on the little things in life, and I think doing so gives me clarity when I’m confused about something (or going through my quarter life crisis!).

For me, some of the most important things in life can be summed up into a few categories: Quality time with friends and familyalone time, and tasty food. In that order. :)

I love is spending time with my friends and family. Big trips and adventures are nice, but quality time and just hanging out together are even better. Simply appreciating daily pleasures such as ordering take out with my roommates or sharing funny youtube videos with my parents are the best. And those simple but sweet moments are the moments that always seem to stand out the most for me. Those are the moments that I am so thankful for in life!

I also think that alone time is one of the most basic indulgences that should be recognized more often. I loveeee alone time, and I’m just the sort of person that needs it often. Sometimes I’ll use my time to catch up on the blogs I follow and write emails. Other times I’ll watch an entire season of a TV show back to back, read a book, or whip up a quick snack in the kitchen. Whatever that small amount of time is that I have to myself, I’ll avoid anything I have to do and just do what I want to do. It’s amazing.

Much of this alone time is also revolved around this blog. It’s really soothing for me to think of a fun recipe, create it, and then pull out my camera. There’s something therapeutic about it, and I enjoy having this random little hobby that’s just for me.

What it all dials down to is simplicity. You don’t need fancy objects or lots of money to create these memories–you just need the essentials. The rest is easy!

The same goes with food. The essential ingredients must be simple but significant. Such as this bruschetta (which I learned is pronounced “brus-Ketta” thanks to my Italian co-worker Peppe!). There are only six basic ingredients in the recipe but each of them play a key role in the dish.

The cherry tomatoes provide sweetness, the basil gives it a welcoming aroma, the garlic is minced just enough to add a subtle kick (and rubbed on the bread!), and then a drizzle of rich olive oil and tangy balsamic vinegar come in to bring all of the ingredients together. And of course, the crusty bread is vital. Bread is always necessary! But you knew that…

I really enjoyed using Oliviari’s Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil for this recipe. It has a really nice flavor and there’s a spout that pops up for easy pouring! This bruschetta is the perfect summer dish to enjoy when spending some quality time with loved ones (or during your alone time!). It only takes about 20 minutes to make. Simple. And lovely!

We all have little pleasures that we appreciate in life, and I’m glad I got to share mine today with you! What are the little things that you enjoy?

Bruschetta Recipe

  • 1 Pint organic cherry tomatoes
  • Small handful of basil (about 5-6 big leaves), very thinly sliced
  • 4 Tablespoon Olivari olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 Teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Baguette
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and finely mince 1 garlic clove.
  3. Combine the tomatoes, basil leaves, 2 tb olive oil, minced garlic, balsamic vinegar and salt/pepper in a bowl. Put aside and let sit so the flavors can mix together.
  4. Slice the baguette into 1 inch slices.
  5. Put the remaining olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) in a small bowl. Then using a brush, brush the olive oil lightly onto one side of each baguette piece.
  6. Place the baguette pieces on a baking sheet (olive oil side up) and then in the oven for about 3 mins.
  7. Remove sheet from oven, flip the pieces over, and brush other side with olive oil. Return to the oven for about 2 mins or until they are just lightly toasted (crunchy on the outside but still soft in the middle).
  8. Let bread cool for 1 min and then cut the end off of a big garlic clove (so that it has a bigger surface area) and rub the cut end on one side of each piece of the bread.
  9. Finally, generously top each bread piece with the tomato mixture!

Olivari Olive Oil is celebrating “One Year of Little”. Visit their Facebook page to learn why the little things are everything.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olivari . The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olivari .  The opinions and text are all mine.

Feb 222013

Jalapenos Stuffed With Quinoa, Black Beans, and Corn

I have a strange obsession with jalapeno poppers. They’re just so easy to make and great for so many occasions. But sometime they aren’t necessarily the best for you. Cream cheese? Delicious. Bacon? I’ll take 100 please. However, I can’t justify eating regular jalapeno poppers all the time. So I present to you…guilt-free poppers!

Quinoa Stuffed Jalapenos Pre-Bake

These jalapenos are stuffed with a combination of quinoa, black beans, and corn and then topped off with some monterey jack cheese. They make a perfect appetizer or snack! I can also imagine eating them with eggs in the morning or as a side dish. The quantity pictured in this post? Yeah, I almost ate all of them by myself. No regrets.

Jalapenos Stuffed with Quinoa, Corn, and Black Beans

Some jalapenos are way hotter than others though so be careful! Make sure you take out all of the seeds and wear gloves while doing so or wash your hands with soap right after. They are also tasty reheated so it’s ok if you make a few extra. Make some this weekend…or maybe make some banana chocolate chip pancakes! :)

Homemade Jalapeno Poppers Stuffed with Quinoa, Black Beans, and Corn

What’s your favorite guilt-free snack?

Happy Friday! :)

Quinoa, Black Bean, and Corn Stuffed Jalapenos
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 6 jalapenos (12 halves)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut the jalapenos in half and take out the seeds (use gloves or wash your hands with soap directly afterwards).
  3. In a bowl, mix together the quinoa, black beans, and corn.
  4. Scoop the quinoa mixture generously into each jalapeno half. I found that using a spoon to shape a mound works best.
  5. Place the poppers on a baking sheet (with a few inches between each of them) and then bake for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes, sprinkle cheese on top of each popper and then place back in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Allow poppers to cool for 5 minutes and then serve immediately.


Jan 092013

New Year’s resolutions schmesolutions. Football season is in full swing! If you want to have the most memorable Super Bowl party ever, this snackadium is the key to success. The best part is that it’s so much fun to make! Get a group together before the big game and have some fun with it. The sky’s the limit…


  • 1 foam board (or big piece of cardboard) for the bottom
  • Large pieces of cardboard to construct the walls/stands
  • 2 small disposable bread loaf pans
  • 1 large disposable cake pan
  • 4 tall glasses
  • Packing tape or masking tape
  • Scissors (an exacto knife would be handy too if you have one)
  • Construction paper
  • Toothpicks
  • Aluminum Foil
  • FOOD! (See below)

My original vision of this snackadium was a lot simpler and smaller but thanks to a great group of friends, we were able to create something even more amazing! So…here are the steps to achieve this awesome snackadium:

READY? Here we go!

Step 1: Recruit a group of friends. Mix it up. Grab some that like to help in the kitchen and some that like to put their engineering skills to use by constructing a base for the snackadium. [Tip: Offering beer helps.]

Step 2: Figure out what foods you’d like to buy to fill your snackadium and then go buy the food. I got a bunch of small items (cheeses, bread, dips, veggies, etc.) and then made three main items to make sure no one went hungry: pigs in a blanket, pizza, and 7 layer dip.

Step 3: On a wide surface, lay the foam board down and then tape the disposable tins down to make the field and end zones.

Step 4: Cut 4 long pieces of cardboard out and place them in a square surrounding the aluminum tins. Leave a few inches between the tin and the pieces of cardboard. On two of the pieces (opposite sides) cut a slits about half way down and slide the other two pieces in, locking all of the cardboard pieces in place.

Step 5: Cut two larger pieces of cardboard for the wall of your stadium. Cut slits in the pieces from Step 4 where you want the walls of your stadium to sit. Then slide the pieces for the wall into the base and tape the walls together.

Step 6: To make the stands, take a big piece of cardboard, fold one edge in about 3 inches and then tape the folded edge to the base and the other end to the top of the stadium wall. Repeat for the rest of the three sides. [We also cut one of the walls a little bit so there was an opening into the stadium and lined the stands with construction paper so the food wasn’t just sitting on the cardboard. It’s totally up to you if you want to do this as well!]

Step 7: Place a tall glass in each corner of the stadium. [Break for a beer. The structure for your stadium is done!] And then start preparing the food! [Note: If you have enough people, some should start preparing the food at the beginning of the project while others are building the stadium.] Fun fact: The 7 layer dip was made with Papalote salsa from San Francisco. DELICIOUS and highly recommended.

Pigs in a blanket: Using 2 cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls, cut each crescent roll in half and then roll up half of a hot dog in it. Bake according to the package.

Brie and Jam Pockets: Place a slice of brie cheese and a dollop of jam (any flavor) on a piece of Pillsbury crescent roll. Fold the dough over and then pinch the edges together with a fork. Bake according to package.

Make fun little cheese flags for each cheese out of construction paper, toothpicks, and tape so your guests know which cheeses are being served.

Pizza: Using your favorite Pillsbury pizza dough (I chose the artisan crust with whole grain), add pizza sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings. We’re going to use the pizza as walls for the stadium so for this particular project, I would go light on the toppings so the pizza has an easier time standing straight up (to form a wall).

Dont’ forget the football players! Cheese (body), olive (head), and salami jerseys for half of the players.

And if you want to go really big…this bacon lattice (aka “retractable dome”) should do the trick. Call it the cherry on top of the stadium, if you will. Weave bacon together and drape over an oven-safe bowl that has been turned upside down on a baking sheet. Bake until the bacon is crispy and holds its shape.

Then cut up the cheeses, veggies, and heat up/bake any remaining snacks you’d like to put in your stadium.

Step 8: Assemble the snackadium! Make the two end zones dips that are different colors and create goal posts out of slim jims. Add everything to the snackadium but leave the players, goal posts, and bacon lattice for last. To make goal lines, scoop a few spoonfuls of sour cream into a ziplock bag and then snip off a little bit of the corner using scissors. Squeeze out the sour cream slowly to create the field lines. Bonus points if you make 10 yard markers out of  baby carrots and toothpicks!

Step 9: DROP IN THE BLIMP!!!!! Had to… :)

Step 10: Eat and enjoy. Below is the awesome crew that helped construct the snackadium! After about 4 hours of work…we were so excited to eat it! Thanks to each of them for all of their help!!

And there you have it. The ultimate football feast. Cheers to football season (and eating!)!!


I have partnered with Pillsbury through DailyBuzz to help promote their Crescent Roll and Pizza Crust products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you Pillsbury for this awesome opportunity to create a Snackadium!

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