As if I didn't already spend too much time looking at pictures of food, Pinterest came along and took things to a new level. This gem of a recipe is straight off of Pinterest, and oh my is it good. I think it probably is one of the more time consuming artichoke dips because of roasting the garlic and the "homemade" flatbread pieces, but it's worth it. I also didn't particularly like the brand of flatbread I bought, so I know for a fact regular chips are great with this as well. Note: there is no spinach in this artichoke dip.

I've made this dip twice already to rave reviews. It's super cheesy (in a good way), and the panko on top brings an extra little crunch. Within 5 minutes of serving it people had quickly eaten off all of the panko, and were asking for more of "that crispy stuff on top." I don't quite know how you'd go about adding more panko unless you managed to pry this dip out of everyone's hands to pop it back in the oven, but make sure you don't skimp on it.

If you're like me, you like quick dips that can be made with < 5 ingredients in under 30 minutes. This dip is not one of those. However, it's very simple and people will be begging for the recipe. It's a tradeoff. Enjoy!

Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Dip with Baked Flatbread Sticks
Recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon
Serves 5 to 7
flatbread sticks:
3 sheets whole wheat flatbread, cut into 1”x4” sticks
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
artichoke dip:

1 head garlic, top sliced off
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces marscarpone, softened
1/3 c light mayonnaise
½ cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded
¼ cup parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 teaspoon dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon parmesan, grated
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Brush the strips of flatbread with the oil and sprinkle with the smoked paprika.
3. Line the strips onto two baking sheets (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp and golden brown around the edges.
4. Set aside and allow to cool.
5. While the flatbread cools bring the temperature of the oven up to 375°F.
6. Place the head of garlic onto a small piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
7. Loosely wrap the foil around the garlic and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the garlic cloves have softened completely and slightly browned.
8. Carefully squeeze the clove into a bowl and discard the peel.
9. Mash the cloves into a paste and stir in the remaining dip ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Stir the mixture until fully incorporated.
11. Scoop the dip into a 3 cup baking dish of your choice and set aside.
12. In a small bowl toss together the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the dip filled ramekin.
13. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
14. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with whole wheat flatbread crisps.

This is from when I made it the first time at night. I liked how the flatbread sticks looked more than I liked the points.

I always think of myself as a cake person. Some people order the pie for dessert. I don't give it a second glance. Why chose pie when you can have rich, fluffy, delicious cake and icing? It's taken awhile for me to realize that not only do I like pie, I can't get enough of it. Here's the catch: I don't like warm fruit. 

I had this discussion with some people I worked with this summer. We started off on how disappointing it is to find a "hot raisin" has snuck its way into your bread pudding or cinnamon roll. We all found the term "hot raisin" and our distaste for them hilarious, but really, keep the hot raisins out of my cinnamon bread/buns/carrot cake/etc. However, somehow when you cool a fruit down everything changes for me. I eat Honey Bunches of Oats with Raisins almost daily. One of my all time favorite recipes is for cold blueberry pie. Strawberry shortcake makes me swoon, and suddenly, after 21 years of thinking otherwise (counting since birth for simplicity sake), I now absolutely love apple pie...more specifically this apple pie.

The only remotely difficult part of this recipe is peeling the apples. I'm sure some people know the trick to this, but the only trick I could think of was to purchase one of those apple peelers (a.k.a I have no shortcuts). The apples in the pie are not like spiced apples, they're more comparable to cinnamon sugar apples. The topping is also wonderful. I used a store bought crust, but I'm sure if you have some extra time and want to go the homemade route that would make this even better. This would be a perfect Thanksgiving recipe. Enjoy!

Apple Crisp Pie
Recipe from Beantown Baker

For the Filling:
6 cups apple chunks (I used 3 cortland and 3 granny smith apples here)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp lemon juice
For the Topping:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. Core, peel, and slice apples. Transfer into large bowl with dry ingredients. Top off with vanilla and lemon juice. Toss to coat apples well. Set aside for 10-15 minutes while you prep the dough.
Fit your pie crust into a pie plate. You can even use store bought pie crust if you prefer. Fill pie crust with prepared apple chunks.
In a medium bowl, combine the dry topping ingredients. Pour cooled melted butter into bowl. Toss and cut until small to medium sized chunks form. Break up large chunks as needed. Using a spoon, sprinkle crumb topping over entire pie.
Cover pie loosely with foil. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and continue baking for an additional 35 minutes. Cool and enjoy.

From my experience I've found that there are few desserts more universally liked than Funfetti Cake. Regardless of how many homemade desserts I make, anything with funfetti is guaranteed to win the crowd's vote every time. My roommate saw this recipe and immediately passed it along to me to put on my must-bake list. It combines funfetti cake mix with a few homemade touches. Easy. Brilliant. Perfect.

This is one of those recipes I think I'll make time and time again because of how quick and easy it is.  I, of course, used dinosaur sprinkles, but I'm sure you could theme the extra sprinkles inside to various occasions. Maybe even throw some icing on top if you're feeling like a sugar overload. Hope you enjoy them as much as everyone in my life did!

Funfetti Cake Bars
Recipe from: Lovin' From the Oven

1 1/4 cup funfetti cake mix
3/4 cup AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 heaping tablespoons sprinkles of your choice (I used stars)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan.
  2. Cream both sugars, butter, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. 
  3. Gradually mix in flour, cake mix, and baking soda until just mixed. Stir in sprinkles.
  4. Spread batter evenly into greased pan.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is lightly browned and middle still jiggles slightly. Cool completely before cutting.

It's amazing the number of dip recipes I have bookmarked compared with the number I have on this blog. I would say I bookmark about 75 percent of the dip recipes I come across, yet I probably only make about five percent of those. I have no idea why. I think it's possible I forget about them when my brain is either focused on dinner or desserts. Poor, poor dips. At least they win me over in the beginning.

I think it's about time I change that, though. Dip is so easy to whip up, and who doesn't love a great dip recipe? Even when people don't want dip at a party they always end up going in for at least one my case I'm usually hooked after this point. This cheddar beer dip is nothing fancy (though calling it cheddar ale spread does move it up a notch or so), but it's a simple, solid dip recipe. I found that I liked it best when it had been refrigerated a bit, but I'd eat it either way. I also think pita chips or something of the sort would be delicious with this. Enjoy!

Cheddar Ale Spread 
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

8 oz. cream cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2½ cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup beer (pretty much anything but a light beer)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I substituted 2 teaspoons dried)
Combine the cream cheese, mustard, cheddar cheese, cream, and salt in a food processor. Process for 30 seconds, add the beer, and continue processing until very smooth. Pulse in the parsley until just dispersed.
This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You will want to take it out an hour before serving if you do refrigerate.
One of these days I'll take a food photography workshop, for now I just plop the chip in there and act like it does something for the picture!