Hickory Dijon Dressing

meadow

On the news the other day, they had a piece about  how Minnesotans love to talk about the weather. I laughed but then paused…you know, I think they must be right because many of my blogs start out talking about the weather! I’m orginally from Nebraska but I must’ve blossomed into a true Minnesotan now because my thoughts do gravitate towards the conditions outside quite often.

A few weeks ago, we woke up to just an absolute beautiful morning! A brilliant blue sky, big puffy clouds and a gentle breeze with just a little nip in the air.  That kind of weather beckons  me to go outside and I think the kids heard that beckoning too because they wanted to go for a walk in the worst way. So the kids and I got ourselves together and we headed for the meadow because out there, we could enjoy the morning in the height of all its glory…

When we reached the meadow, little A. wanted to run and explore while E. was just content  to sit in the grass and pick wildlflowers…

meadow We found a wild honeysuckle bush, filled with blossoms…

 

honeysuckleAnd we laughed when we saw this one, as it looked like it was filled with tiny little  stick pins!…

purple wildflowers
But A. wasn’t interested in flowers, he had found a stick…

meadow

 I could’ve spent hours in the meadow that morning and I think the kids felt the same way. But when we got to the bottom of the hill and came to the woods, we thought we’d save the forest for another adventure…

moss

So after searching for little animal tracks and seeing who could spy the most dragonflies, we climbed the hill to head back home…

meadow

 

 

meadow

But not before picking a few more flowers…

Here is a recipe for Hickory Dijon Dressing. It was born from my love of hickory-smoked anything so why not try to make a dressing out of it to go with a spinach and bacon salad? ( It is also excellent as a dip with chicken nuggets or onion rings)

Hickory Dijon Dressing

Into a blender place:

      3 Tablespoons white vinegar

      1 Tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard

      1 teas dry mustard

      1/2 teas onion salt

      1/2 teas hickory liquid smoke flavoring

      2 Tablespoons sugar

      1/2 cup honey

      1/2 cup vegetable oil

Blend on high speed for 3 minutes. This can be served as a dip or as a dressing for the following salad:

Into a large bowl place:

      9 oz. bag of spinach (thoroughly washed and spun dry)

      1 medium red onion (finely chopped or sliced)

      1 lb. bacon fried until crispy then crumbled

      2 cups shredded mozarella cheese

Toss everything together and then drizzle desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss again. Enjoy!

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I hope that you all had a nice Christmas!

Are you celebrating New Year’s Eve? We usually keep it pretty low key around here. My only tradition for that evening is watching “The Twilight Zone” marathon on the sci-fi channel. I love the old shows – the black and white ones. They have such a charm to them and can be sort of spooky without being scary and horrifying. I can’t stand horror movies and “The Twilight Zone” is about as scary as I care to watch!

Well, that being said, what’s more fun than watching old black and white shows? Eating while watching them! 🙂

Here is a recipe for my favorite all-time comfort food! Hot and cheesey Spinach and Artichoke spread/dip!  This can be baked in a casserole dish or spread on pizza crust, topped with cheese and baked like a pizza!  But no matter how it is served, it makes a nice comforting dish on a cold winter’s night…

I like to serve this dip/spread with thick slices of bread,  made with frozen bread dough. I prepare the bread according to the directions on the package, but place it on a greased cookie sheet so that it can spread out a bit. Once baked, I brush some melted butter over the top and sides then  sprinkle on some LaVae! Seasoning.  It makes a very nice herb bread and compliments the cheese and other flavors in the dip/spread.

I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year!

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Into a large mixing bowl place:

      1 c mayonaise

      2 – 8 oz cream cheese, softened

       1/4 t nutmeg

      2 T  chopped garlic

      2 T garlic flavored Ms. Dash seasoning

Mix until creamy. Then add:      

      1 – 14 oz. can artichoke hearts (unseasoned,well drained and chopped)

      9 oz. box frozen spinach (thawed,drained and rung in a towel to remove all excess moisture)

      1 c  grated parmesan cheese

      8 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese

Stir until combined. Place in a greased casserole dish and top with:

      8 oz. shredded mozarella cheese

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbling and the cheese is starting to turn a light golden brown. Serve with chunky slices of herbed bread or any other bread you would like to use…

Another blanket of freshly fallen snow…

We had another snowstorm up here in Minneapolis and once again, I am looking out into a winterwonderland! I love when everything is covered with that brilliant white blanket of freshly fallen snow…

I’ve just been waiting to share one of my favorite recipes with you! It is for a cheese spread and I thought Christmas would be the perfect time to share it to you because of all the parties and celebrations going on this time of year!

Cheese spreads make such a wonderful appetizer because they can be made days ahead of your party, cutting down on prep-time the day of  your party. Actually, I have  found that most spreads should be made a couple of days ahead of your event because it gives the ingredients time to marry in flavor and you will be left with a much more flavor-filled spread/dip.

This spread is a creamy combination of sweet red grapes, salty feta cheese, onion, cream cheese and walnuts, and looks very pretty on any holiday table…

I hope that you are all having a wonderful Christmas season!…  🙂

Creamy Grape and Feta Cheese Spread

Into a medium-sized mixing bowl place:

      8 oz softened cream cheese

      4 oz. container Garlic and Herb Crumbled feta cheese

      1/4 t salt

      1/4 t pepper

Mix until thoroughly combined. Then add:

      1  1/2  c diced red seedless grapes

      1 c  finely chopped walnuts

      1/2 c finely chopped onion

Mix until combined. Place in a small serving bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

If you would like to serve this as a cheeseball:

Line a small bowl with plastic wrap and spoon the mixture into the bowl. Smooth down the top. Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the mixture and place in the refrigerator until firm. Then remove from bowl, unwrap, and then press on finely chopped walnuts, if you wish…

 I recommend letting it sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours to let the flavors come together. Enjoy!