Feb 6, 2015

Best Tomato Dip, Salsa and Guacamole

By request of my peeps 
(and who am I to deny my peeps?) 
here are the recipes for the three dips we served on Super Bowl Sunday, 
as seen on my Instagram and Facebook feeds.

Tomato Dip
Manna to the Gods!  
I have two kids who hate tomatoes, but they’ll still practically drink this dip. 
I got this recipe when I was pregnant with #4…he’s 14 years old now.  
My friend Sherri brought a huge bowl of it to a Relief Society dinner
and after just one bite I didn’t care what else was on the menu.  
Sherri was also very pregnant at the time.  
We were just two big pregnant ladies downing a bowl of heaven on a chip!

I suggest doubling, or even tripling this recipe if you’re taking it to a get-together that has more than 3 people.

Tomato Dip
8 oz cream cheese, softened
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Beau Monde (the secret ingredient)
1 tsp garlic salt
Mix, then add:
3-4 chopped tomatoes
1 bunch 6-7 chopped green onion

Mix and serve with Scoops tortilla chips cuz you will want to scoop up a bunch in each bite!
Beau Monde is the secret heavenly ingredient in the tomato dip.
Also very great in any cheese ball. 
I’m tellin’ ya, it’s amazing!   I don’t even know why. 
It just IS.
Why yes, I DO buy this in bulk through Amazon. 
I can’t find it in the grocery stores anymore.
Boo to that, but yay for bulk!  
Go in with a friend or two and split it if you can. 
If not, then oh well, get it anyway.

Super Easy, Super Fast, Super SUPER Good Salsa
I’ve had legit Mexicans born in Mexico tell me this is as good or better than their mama’s salsa. 
You be the judge.
We have some on hand almost all of the time.  
It’s great on eggs, baked potatoes, anything, 
but my favorite is just good old-fashioned tortilla chips.  
It’s like our ketchup.  
I got this recipe from a sweet local gal Chelsey, 
who always seemed to have just made a batch when I showed up to her MIL’s house.  
(musta had my good-salsa beacon on).  
So yeah, I ate way more than my share at their house.  
I’m curious where Chelsey got this recipe because 
she’s white as snow and blonde.  
Pretty sure it didn’t come from her Latin descendents.  ;)

2 regular sized cans of chopped tomatoes (just plain)
2 green chiles (I buy the big can of Hatch Chiles from Costco and just use two big chiles and a little juice from the can)
½ bunch of rinsed cilantro
1 bunch green onions
Garlic salt to taste
8 (AND I MEAN 8) Tepin chili seeds 
(if you like your salsa REALLY hot, then go ahead and put 10-12 in there…I dare ya!

6 ingredients… 2 from a can, 2 fresh, 2 seasonings…that’s it!
Put everything in the blender and only blend for a few seconds…just til the veggies are chopped really well.  You don’t want it to be a blob of foam...just a blended bunch of veggies. 
The tepins are the secret spicy ingredient in this salsa and it’s the only thing I’ve ever used tepins for.  It’s getting harder and harder to find these too.  What is wrong with grocery stores these days?  I found it last time at Fry’s and bought several bags…it’s super cheap.


Avocados are another food that I could eat on just about anything.  And really, when it comes to my guac, I’m just wingin it.
Also, when you’re cutting up an avocado, there’s a ridiculously easy way to do it.  Cut the avocado in half, twist and pull on the seed with a big sideways knife, then with a little knife  cut lines in both directions down to the skin and scoop out with a spoon.  There!  You already have your chunky avocado!

4 ripe avocados, chunky chopped
¼ cup sour cream
Garlic salt to taste
Finely chopped jalepeno to taste, canned or fresh (if using canned, then add a little of the juice too)
Chopped tomato (I use the tiny romas, so I usually cut up about 2)
Diced fresh yellow or white onion

Mix lightly so that the avocado is barely creamy.  I like it best with a bit of chunk still in it.

These are all super easy recipes and worth every bit of effort.  
You will definitely be a success at your next social gathering with any of them. 


Dec 14, 2014

Twenty-One Handmade Ornaments - Annual Exchange

We've had TWO ornament exchanges this year,
so I have lots of wonderful handmade ornaments to share with you!
TWENTY-ONE, to be exact.
Ohhhh, how I love all of this year's ornaments.
Every year they get better and better!

These snowglobes were handcrafted by me.
You can find a great step-by-step HERE.
Besides the snowmen, I also made them with Santas and vintage elves.
If you live in the Phoenix area, a great place to get these little mini
figurines is Auntie Em's in Old Glendale.
I had searched high and low on Etsy and 
everyplace else on the internet, 
with no luck at all 
(unless I wanted to spend a fortune...which I did not).
Auntie Em's had a great fun selection! 

Cristy's stuffed owl
This will not get packed away.
I plan on leaving this bird out all year long!

Kathy's stuffed star made from a cut-up quilt. 
Get a load of that TINY gingerbread man cookie cutter!

Rachele's stuffed mitten.
Um, I think I just became a HUGE fan of pink in Christmas!
(sidenote:  just look at that little hand-stamped set of mittens!)

Sandy's Santa ball. 
I gasped when I first saw it!
Simple and adorable!

Tracie's Christmas-filled cone. 
That cone is about as tall as my pinky finger.
 I'm talkin tiny candy canes and ball ornament. 
I love TINY!

Rachele's fabric-wrapped candy canes.
She always adds an extra special touch with her stamping.
And you should see those sparkly stars up close!  Yummy!

Kathy's wooden spool and metal star.
I always love a bit of country in Christmas!
Again, more darling hand-stamping.

Suzi's wooden block presents.
I'm a big fan of the black and copper!
I don't think I would have ever thought to use those colors
and I love 'em!

Ann's jute-wrapped candy canes.
I love the extra special packaging too!

I made this one also, with tiny squares of fabric and about a million straight pins.

Dianna's bead-wrapped wire.
This gives me ideas!

Ann's decoupaged jute ball. 
It's a bit bigger than you might think.  And totally cool!

Cristy's handpainted Santa on Christmas tree-shaped wood.
I mean, WOW, I was blown away with the details on this.
She also painted Santa's on stockings and stars.
What an imagination!
It looks like something you would buy in a 
charming European Christmas shop, right?!

Suzi's jute-wrapped star with hanging bells.
I had to prop it up on the bag and a box just to get the whole thing in the picture.
Super cute!

Dianna's JOY blocks.
Joy in every direction!  Dude, it spins!

Tracie's wine cork.
Brilliant idea for wine corks!  
She just asked a bartender and he gave her a bunch.  
And I absolutely love the detail on my cork!

Tami's sparkly cupcake.
It looks so yummy, I wish I could eat it!

Sandy's paper-wrapped spools.
This is so stinkin fun!
I want to make something with spools now!

Shar's button covered tag.
I have a 'thing' for tags, and this is a super cute one!
Great way to use your button collection too!
WHAT?  You don't have a button collection?

This one isn't exactly an ornament, but it could be.
Shar's nativity family.
Clean and simple.
And perfect!

So now you wanna know what I did with them, right?
Since my main tree is all white, gold and silver ornaments, 
I needed a different, yet just as good of a place to put these gorgeous ornaments.

How about my 3 little alpine trees that I've had for like, 20 years?!
I've never put anything on them before,
but now I'm not sure if I ever want to take these ornaments off!

Be sure to check out my other ornament post too!

May all your Christmases be 

For more ornament inspiration,

Dec 13, 2014

Another Fantastic Shop...The Old Brick House Vintage Market

I don't know how Rachele found this place, but we checked it out yesterday

is located in the old charming area of Mesa, 
right on the main drag.
It's only open the 2nd weekend of each month.
(see dates and hours below)

Yeah, the JUNK WAS GOOD!

Rachele found these two letters sitting alone...just the two of them.
Her last name begins with 'F'.
So yep, kinda cool!

If only I had a wall for this!  Love it with the wreath!

 Suzi, didn't you mention you were looking for frames? 

I came sooooo close to bringing these beauties home with me.
Sometimes I hate it when I resist.

 They had posted a photo of this charming old playhouse on Instagram
and I just had to see it with my own eyes!
If only I had a place to put such a huge thing
and if only I wanted to spend a chunk of money.
(honestly, there are lots of nicely priced affordable things too)

Oct 28, 2014

Winter Wonderland Tree Centerpieces - Coffee Filter, Burlap, and Linen

In my last post I showed you our Polar Express ward party.
These are the centerpieces that we used to decorate our dinner tables.

I've had so many questions about the tree centerpieces,
so here's the how-to's on making your own
VERY SIMPLE and inexpensive trees!

We had tried other kinds of trees too, 
but nothing seemed to work out for us except these three.
Once we were done, WE LOVED THEM!

Our three kinds of trees were
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