Cheese balls are great party dips because not only are they delicious, they look fun! Today I am sharing a rare breed of cheese balls – avocado. I served this along with the taco bar I talked about yesterday, and it tastes like a creamier version of guacamole due to the use of cream cheese. But it wasn’t just any old guacamole ball because I threw in corn, cotija cheese and chipotle peppers. This cheese ball also made an appearance at my friend’s bachelorette party/weekend in Toronto and everyone was hovering around it until it was all gone. Would definitely be great for the upcoming July 4 holiday as well!
Speaking of bachelorette parties, I actually attended two on back to back weekends which is why I’ve been a bit MIA from social media. The first was in Columbus, OH. We went swimming/diving/water sliding at an Olympic size pool because it was a gorgeous day to be outside and hot enough to find a large bowl of water very appealing (it was like I carried the heat of Memphis up with me), then afterwards had a casual dinner and a fun night out just like the old days in our undergrad years. Yet somehow I failed miserably at getting many photos – so unlike me :-(.
The following weekend was a bit more involved. I hauled myself up even further north to Toronto where we toured a distillery, learned Bollywood dancing, shopped around some markets, flew on a trapeze (video on FB), and finished the weekend off with a nice dinner out and a VIP table at a club downtown. Then I got to drive allll the way back down to Memphis to my attention-deprived cat.
If that wasn’t enough, the week in between those two weekends I started writing the into to my dissertation. Talk about lots of work that needs to be done. After the past week and a half, I think I could sit down in front of this cheese ball and eat just that for dinner. Then again, I may never fit into those bridesmaid dresses if I keep eating like I have this past week!
One year ago: Red, White & Berry Shortcakes
For The Secret Recipe Club this month, I had Nicole of I am a Honey Bee. She actually had my blog in February and made my Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken so it was fun to return the favor, especially since I read her blog already and always like what I see. She also does Thirsty Thursdays posts with Amanda of Fake Ginger and I almost made her Red, White, and Blue Sangria, because it would be the perfect Fourth of July drink.
That was until I saw the recipe for these Everything Bagel Bites. I love making homemade bagels but shaping them is sometimes a pain. This recipe avoids that by cutting them into nuggets. However, it also results in a dangerously poppable treat as I downed 6 before I even knew what happened. I was just standing in my kitchen testing them out before photographing and could not stop! Pairing them with a bacon-scallion cream cheese dip just enhances this effect.
As a side note: I have discovered one benefit to the summer heat – letting dough rise outside! Yup, I set the dough for these bagel bites outside to rise, covered and in the shade. I am a genius.
For The Secret Recipe Club this month, I was assigned to Baking and Creating with Avril. She actually had my blog in March of 2012 and she made my Fluffernutter Blondies, so I was excited to explore her blog this time. Initially I was drawn to her Crescent Chicken Packages and Chunky Monkey Oatmeal Cookies, but with Cinco de Mayo coming up in combination with the spring weather, I had to make this salsa.
This salsa was incredibly easy to throw together and disappeared even faster. If you are serving this to more than 2-3 people you might want to consider doubling it. My friend Maggie and I nearly killed the entire thing while watching Hustle and Flow (figured we should watch it since we live in Memphis).
Welcome to day #4 of Christmas Week, a multi-blogger event co-hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita’s Cocina. Today’s theme for Christmas Week is “Gingerbread Surprise”. Make sure you visit all the participating bloggers today to see what special dish they whipped up for you.
- Ginger Horse Cookies from Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic
- Mini Gingerbread Donuts from Jen of Juanita’s Cocina
- Gingerbread Biscotti from Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Drizzle from Anuradha of Baker Street
- Gingerbread Donuts with Lemon Glaze from Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
- Mini Holiday Gingerbread Loaves from Isabelle of Crumb
- Gingerbread Biscoff Truffles from Erin of Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
- Gingerbread Dip from Erin of The Spiffy Cookie
- Gingerbread Milkshake from Ramona of Curry and Comfort
- Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars from Heather of Girlichef
- Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls from Cathy of The Dutch Baker’s Daughter
- Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Cream Cheese Filling from Chung-Ah of Damn Delicious
Last year I discovered my love for chocolate and gingerbreadtogether, and I had originally planned on another chocolate and gingerbread recipe for today but once I found a recipe for gingerbread cookie dough dip those plans flew right out the window. I changed it up a little bit by adding my favorite dip ingredient, Greek yogurt, and reduced the butter which together changed the consistency to be creamier than your average cookie dough dip, so I dubbed this just plain ol’ Gingerbread Dip. It’s amazing and a tiny bit better for you too. Just eat it with apples instead of crackers if you need to keep your conscience clear.
As I write this post, it just now occurred to me that I could’ve fulfilled my chocolate and gingerbread fantasy with this dip by using miniature chocolate chips instead of toffee bits. Darn, guess I have to make another batch O:-).
One year ago: Apple Butter Chewy Cinnamon M&M Cookies
It’s a surprise virtual baby shower for Rachel of Rachel Cooks! She is expecting her second little joy and to celebrate Brandy (Nutmeg Nanny) & Brandi (Bran Appetit) put together this awesome baby shower full of great food bloggers and delicious food. Congrats Rachel!!
I decided to make a seasonally appropriate dip with one of my dip ingredients – Chobani Greek yogurt! Combined with pureed sweet potato, brown sugar, maple syrup, spices, pecans and little pieces of pie crust to dunk into it, this dip tastes just like sweet potato pie.
I am a minimalist when it comes to my guacamole. All I do is mash up two avocados, add some diced Roma tomatoes, then a little salt and a clove or two of minced garlic. And commence inhalation. So when I saw this recipe for a guacamole seasoning, I was a bit hesitant at first because I love my simple guacamole.
But now that I’ve tried it, I would love to make a big batch of this seasoning and store it for later use. Might be a good gift too (since we are becoming ever closer to that gift-giving time of year). I also tried this guacamole with the Trader Joe’s black bean quinoa chips which were fabulous themselves. First time trying those too, and in combination with the guacamole I just might’ve eaten the entire bowl by myself O:-).
One year ago: Breakfast Quesadillas
Makes about 1-1/2 tsp seasoning for 2 avocados-worth of guacamole
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried minced onion or onion powder
Pinch of cumin, to taste
1/4 tsp dried cilantro
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
- Combine all ingredients. Store in an air-tight container if not using immediately.
- To make guacamole, mash two avocados with the seasoning, then stir in 1 chopped Roma tomato. Add 1/4 tsp lime juice to prevent browning. Serve.
Source: Adapted from Peas and Crayons.
This dip has been on my list of things to make since I first saw it – in January! I unfortunately don’t have the opportunity to make appetizers much since I am typically cooking for one, so the occasions for which I could make this dip were kind of slim. But with the rise of football season, I no longer needed much of an excuse to make it. I even substituted out some of the sour cream for Greek yogurt. It totally makes up for all that cheese and bacon, right? I guess you could use turkey bacon if you’d like. Personally, I prefer the real thing, especially when it plays such a major role.
Traffic court attempt #2 this morning. I’m sure I’ll have some sort of rant ready for you tomorrow.
In case you were unaware, Lauren of Keep It Sweet Desserts has been chosen as a finalist for the Martha Stewart American Made Awards. The winner will be selected based on votes and will be honored at the American Made event in New York City and appear in Martha Stewart Living magazine. On top of that, Keep It Sweet Desserts would get $10,000 to help grow the business.
Even though I have not purchased any of her cookies since she started her business (shame on me), I have tried a couple of her recipes and they are delicious and worthy of recognition! You can help by voting EVERY DAY between now and September 24th! Vote here: http://americanmade.
I’ve done it again – another dip using dry cake batter mix and Greek yogurt. But I added back in some of the cream cheese from my first take on cake batter dip because what’s carrot cake without cream cheese? This dip is also practically health food with the addition of carrots and walnuts to complete the carrot cake batter ensemble. Serve with graham crackers or baby carrots!
Would you believe me if I said I had another cake batter dip idea? I feel like the possibilities are endless!
I am back in Memphis after my month-long stay in Knoxville, capped on the end by a weekend trip to Boston, and it’s been a whirlwind. Especially since it’s not over because I am off to a wedding in Nashville and a conference in San Francisco next! Apparently I am incapable of sitting still and although it has been fun, I am definitely looking forward to putting an end to all this traveling for a little while so I can get my apartment back into some sort of order.
Going back in time… I made this cheese ball before I left for Knoxville for an ArtjamN outing with my friend Brandi before she moved away to NC for her post-doc. Yes yes, I know I just posted a cheese ball recipe on Saturday, but that was a sweet version, this one is savory! And when I was given this recipe, I was told that this cheese ball drives people crazy. That might be an understatement because it vanished in under 30 minutes.
The cheese ball is very easy to put together, but you absolutely must prepare this ahead of time in order to allow the flavors to fully blend and enhance each other. As a result, your cheese ball will have a flock of people circling around it until every last smear of it disappears. Who knew a little bleu cheese mixed into cream cheese and then covered in bacon and pecans could create such a crazed group of people!