Olive Tapenade

Carbs… carbs are one of my biggest weaknesses. Especially little crostini’s… you can literally put anything on them & they will be delicious. Toast them, don’t, either way… yum!

Girl time is special to me. My closest girlfriends, are, ironically, 3000 miles away from me at any given time. Living across the country from the people you love most, really makes you appreciate the time you have with them. My sister was able to sneak away from her job as a labor & delivery nurse in Connecticut for a few days to come out & visit with us. Spending time with her is always so much fun. Isn’t it funny how the person you grow up arguing & fighting with ends up being your best friend as you get older?



Anyway, one of our favorite things to do is a little wine tasting. She loves going in Connecticut but the green hills of New England are definitely a totally different view than what we have in the desserts of Southern California. Especially after three years of little to no rain. Our golden hills are definitely a sight you don’t see in Connecticut’s vineyards.

New England wineries generally create some form of blends of local grapes &, from what I understand from many of the wineries I’ve been to, grapes that have been shipped in from warmer climates like here in California.

Big, indoor, cottage like décor is what you usually can find on the east coast rather than the outdoor, Mediterranean feel you get out here at a vineyard.

It is definitely a different wine here on the west coast compared to cold New England.


What’s nice about going wine tasting with girlfriends is they enjoy the same snacks that I do, & everything Chris doesn’t like.

Usually when I go wine tasting Chris and our friend Patrick come, and they like…. Well pizza. And that’s it. My idea of a fun wine tasting day is veggie spreads, Italian meats & an amazing cheese to go with the wine. (Not a greasy slice of pepperoni.) This is an appetizer that I just recently discovered how to do on my own, and honestly, it’s way better than what you can get out of a jar.

Try it out… and enjoy!


3/4 cup black olives
1/4 cup Kalamata olives
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1.2 cup chopped parsley

1. Chop olives in food processor. Set aside.
2. Mince garlic and add cheese, butter, and oil. Process into a paste mixture.
3. In a large bowl mix olives with the paste mixture and fold in chopped parsley.
4. Place mixture on crostini and toast under broiler for 2-5 minutes at 375˚.

7 Layer Dip

I absolutely love football season, and as much as it is disappointing when football season is over, it means it is the Superbowl! One of my favorite sports time of year. Today everyone will be sitting around the TV wearing jerseys, yelling at the refs, watching some of the most expensive commercials ever made, and eating a ton of food. I, however, will be at work, so here is a recipe for you to enjoy of one of my favorite football foods. Let me live vicariously through you.

2 vine tomatoes
½ jalapeño (whole Jalapeno if desired) 
¼ head of iceberg lettuce
8 ounces sour cream
Small can of slices olives
28 ounces pinto beans
2 cups Mexican cheese
¼ cup whole milk

Empty can of pinto beans into saucepan and simmer on medium heat. Mash beans with a potatomasher. Simmer for 5 minutes and allow to thicken. Add Mexican cheese and milk to beans. Cook on low for another 5 minutes mixing milk and cheese into beans. Stir regularly to ensure beans don’t burn.When consistency is as desired turn off and allow to cool. Cut lettuce, tomatoes, and jalapeño and setaside. Beans should cool within a half hour. After a half hour build dip. Layer beans ½ in layer of beans along the bottom of 9×9 dish. Layer on sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños and olives. Put dip in refrigerator and let sit. When ready to serve cut avocado into chunks and layer desired amount on topof dip. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy.

Homemade Bruschetta

In the past 6 months or so I have become fanatical about vine tomatoes. I find any excuse to use them in my cooking or as a side to a meal. This summer I started making homemade bruschetta out of vine tomatoes and I am obsessed. I make it whenever we have friends over for dinner or even if it just the two of us. I have really started paying attention to making things that we don’t have to finish in one sitting or throw away. Instead, the bruschetta I can just cover up and keep eating for up to a week. Beside eating the mixture on the normal baguette, you can also pit on top of a slice of Italian bread and make mini pizzas or even on top of chicken and bake it. But here is my favorite way of eating it.

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Auntie Barbara’s Boston Baked Beans

Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Like I mentioned earlier: it is a big holiday in my family. My uncle’s birthday is on the fourth and my grandmother’s was a few days later. We have had a standing Fourth of July party at my aunt’s house for as long as I can remember. My favorite part of my family gatherings is the fact that they are usually a pot-luck style. Everyone brings something to contribute. To feel a little closer to home I pulled out my recipe book and found my aunt’s famous Boston Baked Beans. They were an instant hit. Our friends and Chris ate them up, and Chris even requested them for this weekend when his family comes to visit us. Good thing it’s a pretty wallet friendly recipe. Enjoy!


Auntie Barbara’s Boston Baked Beans

2 large cans baked beans
¼ cup molasses
3 Tbsp ketchup
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
6 bacon strips, cooked


Mix all ingredients together except for the bacon and paprika. Put mixture into 13 x 9 inch pan. Cut bacon into bite sized pieces and layer on top of the bean mixture. Sprinkle paprika on top of beans and bake at 250⁰ for at least 3 hours.


Jam and Brie Phyllo Bites

Phyllo is an amazing, flakey pastry used in Greek desserts. Because they are stretched so thin, they aren’t the easiest to make so it’s a great thing us lazy Americans can go to the store and buy them in the frozen food section. In the form of sheets or already shaped into cups these are great to have on hand to make a quick dessert or appetizer. Below is my favorite app my mom makes sure to have at any big family dinner she has. The warmed up cheese, topped with a sweet jam (apricot and raspberry are my favorite) and crispy shell, this is a wonderfully flavorful bite.

Jam and Brie Phyllo Bites
1 box Phyllo cups (15 cups/box)
1 wheel of Brie
Any flavored jelly or jam

1. Lay phyllo cups on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Drop a ½ inch square of brie into each cup.
2. Bake at 350⁰ for 20 minutes or until the whitest part of cheese is melted completely.
3. As soon as melted take out of the oven and drop ½ teaspoon of jelly or jam onto each phyllo cup.
4. Serve immediately.