Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NCIS fiesta/Taco Dip Update

Rose's now the day after the NCIS season premier and I had to join in on the fiesta festivities. I made Jenny's taco dip last night and it was AWESOME! Looked just like her picture, but I added black olives and avocado. Yummy :-) Thanks for the recipe!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pizza Dip

This dip is so simple, but it’s really addicting. You’ll probably have to make a double batch if you are putting this out for a party. It’s also nice because just like pizza, you can add whatever “toppings” you like and it turns out great. My favorite is just the stripped down version - mushrooms and pepperoni, but I’ve also added in onions, green peppers, and black olives for a “supreme” pizza dip and everyone loved it.

1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup

1 – 8 oz package Philly cream cheese

1 cup chopped up deli sandwich pepperoni

In a sauce pan, combine ingredients and heat until melted together. Transfer to a pie dish and pop in the oven at around 400 degrees until bubbly. I serve this with ripped up Lender’s plain bagels.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Oh, fall…how I love you and your crisp chilled air perfect for cuddling up in sweats, sound of crunching leaves, and inspiration for pumpkin everything. These cupcakes are super moist and spicy and everyone will love you. Ahem, I mean them. These are so easy and actually taste homemade.

1 box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe spice cake

15 oz Libby’s pumpkin puree

¼ cup Tazo liquid chai mix

The icing is just a tub of Duncan Hines whipped cream cheese icing and a packet of dry instant chai mix (a powder, not the tea bag). This worked out really well and was the perfect compliment for the spiciness of the cake. I’ve also done it with a tub of cool whip and a packet of instant chai – much lighter and also extremely delicious. If you use fat free cool whip, this is a great ‘diet’ cake. Because you don’t use the eggs or oil as suggested on the box, you cut out a lot of the fat and calories – win win!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Taco Dip

I'm having a fiesta next Tuesday night at 8pm.  Why, you ask?  Well, because new episodes of NCIS are starting up, and I could NOT be more excited about it!  Setting aside my undying love for Mark Harmon, this show is extremely excellent in all ways.  Mystery, drama, humor, and great acting - I could really talk about this for hours (and Rose and I have done just that).  But I digress.  Onto the food!  Fiestas always deserve something yummy, and this dip is just that.  Serve it at a party, or just make it for won't be sorry!

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

8 oz sour cream

1 packet dry taco seasoning

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or try pepper jack if you're feeling spicy)

1/4 head lettuce, shredded

1 tomato, diced

additional topping ideas: green peppers, green onions, black olives, cilantro

Use an electric mixer (or the back of a spoon) to whip up the cream cheese so that it's extremely creamy.  Add the sour cream, and then the taco seasoning.  Mix until well combined, creamy, and smooth.  Spread mixture on the bottom of a 9x9 square pan.  Top with cheese, then lettuce, then tomatoes and additional toppings.  Chill in refrigerator.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Recommendation - this will go fast at a party, so make a double batch!  :)

[caption id="attachment_229" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="i'm not sure what happened with the blur on the left side of the's probably the ghost that inhabits my apartment."][/caption]

Casa Garcia

Jenny and I are pretty smart, especially collectively. Therefore, it’s pretty surprising that it took two bright gals like ourselves an entire year to figure out that we didn’t have to drive the whole 7 hours to see eachother. Duh – meet in the middle! Or as we refer to it – MITM.  Fast forward 3 ½ to 4 hours later and you get Charleston, West Virginia – smack dab in the middle of Pittsburgh and Charlotte. Zoom in on Charleston, WV and you will find an unexpected surprise…the best Mexican food north of the border. I’ve eaten Mexican food in California and Texas – I know good Mexican -  and let me tell you, you couldn’t get better grub if you were actually in the Yucatan. Queso = Cheese Dip = Heaven. The enchiladas were perfect, but the pot of gold here is the queso. So. Freaking. Delicious.  The restaurant itself was roomy and authentic-looking and there was a beautiful outdoor seating area overlooking the river creating a perfect canvas for afternoon margaritas. Also, I can’t give enough gold stars to our waiter –Speedy Gonzales with the tortilla refills! We loved this place so much we went back the next day and I believe we double ordered the queso. Sad but true, I would drive down there just to get some right now.

Vital Stats: 19 River Walk Mall, South Charleston, WV 25303-1026   (304) 720-1587

What to eat: the cheese dip (obviously) and enchiladas - try the chicken or cheese.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

I didn't want everyone to think we had gotten lazy with the recipe posting and moved on to "reviewing" restaurants.   AND I wanted to post yet another seasonally appropriate pumpkin recipe.  So basically this was a situation that I could not pass up...had to post!!

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup pumpkin

3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine eggs, pumpkin, and sugar together in a bowl and mix together well.  Combine dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then combine with the pumpkin mixture.  Mix well - consistency should be smooth.  Spray a medium jelly roll pan with baking spray.  Put a piece of wax paper on top of the greased jelly roll pan, pressing into the bottom and the sides, and making sure that there is extra paper sticking out over the edges (so that you can pull this off later).  Spray the wax paper with the baking spray as well (the object is to make sure that the pumpkin roll does not stick).   Pour pumpkin mixture on the top of the wax paper, and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

While this is baking, mix up the filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix these ingredients together until smooth and creamy.  Remove the pumpkin cake from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.  Next, remove the cake from the jelly roll pan by flipping the pan onto a clean tea towel, cake side down.  The jelly roll pan should lift off easily, leaving the waxed paper.  Peel off paper.  Spread the cream cheese filling over the whole pumpkin cake evenly.  Next, start rolling the cake (while it is still warm) so that it looks like a big swiss cake roll (from one end to the other).  Make sure the roll is as tight as you can get it.  Wrap the roll in waxed paper and chill in the fridge until you are ready to slice and serve.

Cabo Fish Taco

Recently, Rose came to visit me in my lovely state of North Carolina.  I love it so much here that I get a little teary when I think about it.  So naturally, I was delighted to share this place with my best friend.  I was also delighted that we were going to be adventurous and eat at Cabo Fish Taco.  I love seafood and I love mexican food.  Rose and I also experienced what was possibly the best mexican food ever together (stay tuned for post on Casa Garcia), so obviously we were excited to combine these two loves.

Honestly, the food at this place had an explosion of deliciousness that I have not ever experienced.  Some of the things seem like they would be weird combinations, or too many different consistencies.  I am consistency freak.  In the words of Facebook, I "dislike" anything that has too many different consistencies.  They are nightmarish to me.  Cabo Fish Taco was not a nightmare...but rather a dream come true.  I felt like I was on vacation in California.  Both Rose and I were surprised and gleeful about not only the overall tastiness of the food, but also the portions.  If you don't believe me, or if you think that seafood and mexican food don't jive, you can watch a clip of the cooking going on at the restaurant - yes, this place was indeed on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  Chew on that! 

Vital Stats: - there are only two locations, so next time you're near Blacksburg, VA or Charlotte, NC...

What to eat: try their Mango BBQ Mahi Mahi tacos or the Beer Battered White Fish tacos.  And, as an added bonus, you can find the actual recipe for the Mango BBQ tacos here!

Cabo Craziness: Exhibit A - picture of the women's bathroom. Can anyone explain this? Because I can't.

[caption id="attachment_196" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Cabo Fish Taco bathrooms"][/caption]

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Let's be honest.  Some of the best times spent with friends and family often take place while eating delicious food.  Most of the planning that Rose and I do on trips center around food - sad, but true.  We pick places to go and then the first question is "I wonder what they have to eat there?"  This started way back in the day, so as a gesture of gratitude, I'm starting this restaurant chatter with one of our old favorites - Danny's.

Danny's is located in Bethel Park, PA and it is 800% amazing.  They have amazing hoagies and pizza.  If you're not a junk food/comfort food kind of person, don't judge me - I get both when I go there.  The hoagies are so delicious, partially because the actual bread part of the hoagie is made like garlic bread and then everything is all melted between the buns.  The pizza is a perfect combination of cheesy and salty and the sauce is savory, not sweet - it's pizza heaven for me.  I moved to the Charlotte area and have yet to find anything to come close to Danny's (if you live in the area and you have intel on delicious pizza - LET ME KNOW).  I'm sure Rose will have things to add to this, but I wanted to get the ball rolling on posts that gush about restaurants :)  If you live in the Pittsburgh area, you HAVE to try this if you haven't already! 

Vital Stats: there is no actual website for Danny's, but click here for the menu!

What to eat: try the italian hoagie or a pizza with extra cheese.