Monday’s Menu: Party Dips

Remember our post a few weeks ago about Adam’s Surprise 30th Birthday Party? Well as promised, I have a few of our favorite appetizer recipes to share! These “dips” have been a hit with our friends and family and I’m sure will be at your next gathering as well!

Dirty 30d

Southwestern Corn Dip is a super easy, tasty, warm dip I got from my Mom. It is best served with Tositio Scoops.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-ounce can yellow corn kernels
  • 1 2 1/4-ounce can sliced black olives
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
  • 1 medium fresh jalapeño pepper (for about 2 tablespoons chopped)
  • 2 jarred roasted red peppers, optional
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Colby- Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Drain the corn, olives, and green chilies. (You can pour them all into the same colander to drain.) Place the drained vegetables in a medium-size mixing bowl.

Cut the jalapeno pepper in half, and remove the ribs and seeds. Finely chop the pepper, and add it to the bowl. If using the roasted peppers, finely dice them and add them to the bowl. Add both cheeses and the mayonnaise. Stir well.

Spray a 2-quart baking dish lightly with cooking oil spray. Place the dip into the dish, and smooth the top. Bake until the top is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm with tortilla chips.

The Great State of Texas Caviar is one of Adam’s all time favorite snacks. He was introduced to it from a coworker and is also best served with Tostito Scoops. It is the healthiest appetizer out of the 3.

Serve with chips.

(Note* Of course I had to add in “GREAT State” to the Texas Caviar name.)
Ingredients:
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans white corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 red bell pepper – cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper – cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix the black beans, pinto beans, white corn, green chiles, jalapeno pepper, red and green bell peppers, red onion, and cilantro together in a large bowl.

To make the dressing, stir the rice vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and garlic powder together in a pan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat, and cool. Pour dressing over bean mixture, and toss to mix evenly.

I prefer to let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to serving. It is much better as it sits, but is not necessary.

Serve with chips.

texas caviar

The Pig Skin Cheese Ball is oh-so-yummy! I mean tell me something that isn’t good that has bacon in it’s name? My Aunt Tina gave me this recipe and it’s a huge hit for the guys! A cheese ball smothered in bacon and served with Ritz Crackers….in the wording of Rachael Ray “yum-o!”

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs sliced bacon
  • 1 medium jalapeño, cored, seeded and finely chopped (if you want extra heat keep the seeds)
  • 16oz soften cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded, sharp white cheddar cheese, plus 1tbsp for decorating
  • 1 tbsp of chopped scallions
  • Crackers for serving

Preheat oven to 400*  Lay bacon in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake in oven 15-20 minutes until crispy. Drain bacon on paper towel and let cool. Reserve 2 tbsp of bacon grease. Once bacon has cooled, coarsely chop and set aside.

Cook the jalapeño in the reserved bacon grease over medium heat, until soft. Using a stand mixer (I have a Kitchen-aid) mix together 1 cup of chopped bacon, sautéed jalapeño, cream cheese, 1 cup of shredded cheese and the scallions until well combined. Form mixture into a ball and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Before serving, form ball into an oblong football shape and roll in the remaining chopped bacon to coat. Decorate the top of the football cheese ball with the remaining cheddar to resemble laces.

Serve with crackers.

pig skin cheese ball

I don’t know about you, but I sure am hungry now! Do you have a favorite party recipe? I’d love to hear about it!  Can’t wait to start planning my next gathering- a Stella&Dot Trunk Show! Love girls nights and jewelry!

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds, not experts!

Monday’s Menu: Birthday Cake

What better way to start your week than with BIRTHDAY CAKE!

Dirty 30d

Last Monday we celebrated Adam’s 30th Birthday (yes, again) when I surprised him with a little weekday gathering!

My @Helihubby is one of the hardest, if not the hardest person to surprise! He knows every gift before opening it and can catch on to any planned surprise. How he didn’t figure out this party, I will never know!

I invited a few of our closest friends and local family over for an intimate Monday Night Party. Appetizers were out for our guests to snack on before the birthday boy arrived- Southwestern Corn Dip, The Great State of Texas Caviar, and a Pig Skin Cheese Ball all served with chips or crackers. {Don’t worry- I will share these recipes soon too!} Our friends Josh and Kristy came over early to help me with last minute details and Josh manned the grill- Burgers and Hotdogs with all the fixxins’ for supper! Nothing says a Summer Backyard BBQ than burgers and hotdogs with Root-beer Baked Beans and coleslaw alongside!

Our cute little house is decked out in 4th Of July-Americana Decor, so I did not add too many decorations for this party. {Needless to say I really didn’t have the time to do it either!} Black plates, napkins and silverware for all. I filled various sizes of mason jars with lollipops, jelly beans and bubble gum. With chalk spray paint, I covered the lids of the jars and once dry wrote “30 Sucks” to the jar with lollipops, “30 Blows” to the jar with bubble gum and “30 Bites” to the jar with jelly beans.

Dirty 30e

A simple, cute centerpiece for our dinning room table.

Dirty 30

The best part of the night….THE CAKE! Another amazing creation from Hailey Monette and Cherry On Top Delights! Hailey made a delicious 2 tier Vanilla Cake with chocolate icing between the layers. It was covered in a yummy buttercream frosting and wrapped in fondant to look like a Corvette tire. It could not have been any better- just perfect! Our guests and the man of the hour loved, loved, loved the cake!

Dirty 30b

{If you’re an Atlanta local you’ve got to check out Cherry On Top Delights!}

Of course I can not share the cake recipe, but stay tuned for the details on all of our yummy apps!

Hope you are enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds not experts!

Throwback Thursday: West Coast Wanders {Part 4}

{Just joining us? Check our West Coast Adventures on our Tuesday Travels and Throw Back Thursday posts- we started our trip in Napa and spent Saturday in San Francisco.}

Sunday:

Our final day on the West Coast. We planned to take the red eye home to allow us more time in the city…that may or may not have been a good idea. We enjoyed our time in the city, but took us about 3 days to get over the jet lag.

Our first Sunday stop was a tour of Alcatraz.

2015-05-31 08.28.02

I am so glad we took the time to do this tour- it was our favorite thing about our time in San Francisco. We took the first ship out at 8:45am {if you can’t get tickets for the night tour, bite the bullet and take the first tour.}

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We’ve mastered the “selfie” don’t you think?

We were the only one on the island for a about 30-45minutes and were able to get most of the audio tour done without having to fight around people. They are prepared for a very large crowd- the line for headphones for the cell audio tour can easily be a 2 hour wait. The cell tour was about an hour long and is FREE! (Guess what? They have a Twitter too!)

{Travel Tip: We heard the best tour to do, if you’re not too chicken, is the night tour. It does book out months in advance, so if you can plan ahead go for it!}

From Alcatraz we headed to AT&T Park for the San Francisco Giants vs Atlanta Braves Game.

gaints game

BEST BALL FIELD EVER! I can’t say we saw much of the inside of the stadium, but we did find the best hidden gem! Alongside the far right field wall the Giants have a hidden viewing area for FREE! Thats right, you can literally get some free baseball! For 3-4 innings the staff allows 20-25 people in this viewing area to watch the game. Since we live in Atlanta we couldn’t justifying paying $75 to see the Braves play, but am so glad we found this secret spot. The area outside the stadium is so fun too! Boaters wade in the bay area outside the outfield, after each home run they all blow their horns- we even saw a few passengers jump ship to fetch balls! Such a fun time!

After the game we heading back to Fisherman’s Wharf for one last bowl of Clam Chowder in a bread bowl. This time we headed to The Franciscan Crab Restaurant– every table in the restaurant has a view of the water.

Not original photo: www.franciscanrestaurant.com/photos.htm
Not original photo: http://www.franciscanrestaurant.com/photos.htm

Their “menu” is a mix of a magazine and cookbook each item accompanied by a photo- wish we would have found this spot sooner! We both had a bread bowl with chowder and spilt a iron skillet of mussels- oh my gosh! Oh so good! I’d plan a trip back just to go there! (Don’t worry they have a Twitter too!)

Bread Bowl 2

Mussels

Whew! What a great, quick vacation! Adam and I had such a good time seeing the sites and trying new things! We’re really looking forward to going back especially to the Napa area. Now back to reality.

We hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed of Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds, not experts.

(Whoops- we forgot to tell y’all about our Trolley Car photo shoot- never made time to ride on a rail car, but we did get our picture with one!)

trolley

Throw Back Thursday: West Coast Wanders {Part 2}

Up and at ’em again! You’d think after a long day of touring six wineries Adam and I would relax by the pool at the Meritage Resort. Yea right! We have more vineyards to see and wines to try!

If you missed our Tuesday Travels post, take a look and get caught up on our two day trip to Napa Valley.

Friday: 

@HeliHubby and I started our Friday morning with a late Breakfast at The Boon Fly Cafe. Wow y’all! Talk about good eats! You’ve got to make a stop if you’re in the area and start with their “Bakers Dozen Donuts.” So not healthy, but oh so yummy! They are mini cinnamon/sugar donuts served with a variety of jellys to dip the in. Yum! Yum!

Breakfast 1

Adam had a omelet and I ate the Poppa Joe’s Egg in a Hole…so so good! Really, can you tell how much we enjoyed it? I can’t wait to go back!

Breakfast 2 Breakfast 3

Our first Winery of the day, was Bouchaine Vineyards.

Bouchaine

They are the oldest winery in the region and are now a locally owned boutique style winery. We can not say enough wonderful things about this tasting.  Our tasting guides Alli and Tyler were the best we had our entire trip- they could not have provided a better experience! Both were extremely knowledgable about the wine and the wine making process. We loved that we could tell they both genuinely loved their job. We found another delicious sweet wine here too! We can’t wait to return!

Etude 1

After our tasting at Bouchaine we stopped by Etude for another quick tasting. Their tasting cost is a bit more expensive than most wineries in the area, however, we were able to taste very high end bottles. (Wines that Adam and I would never buy-way too pricey for us!) A great experience though!

Etude 2 Etude 3 Etude 4

From Etude we went to Artesa Winery.

Artesa 1

The tasting room is very unique, it’s built into a hill- you’d never know it was there!

Artesa 2

Artesa 3

Artesa has a large outdoor tasting area- awesome views of the grounds and the valley area. On a beautiful sunny day, it is the perfect spot to sit, relax, take in the views and taste the wines!

Artesa 4

Artesa 6 Artesa 7 Artesa 5

Artesa had the “youngest crowd” and was the most busy out of all the wineries we visited. It actually felt like we were at a club fighting to get to the bar for a drink. While there we met an older couple that was part of their wine club and they could not even get service. The views were awesome, but not worth going back to and fighting the crowds. We each had one glass of champagne and left. Disappointing.

Our final tasting of our trip was at Domaine Carneros. {You can see the grounds of Domaine Carneros from the observation deck of Artesa.}

Domaine Carneros 1

We planned to visit this vineyard midday, because they are one of the very few that serves food alongside their tastings. (at an additional cost) It is definitely worth paying a little more though! Reservations are required, we planned about an hour at each winery tasting prior in order to make it in time for our reservation. Again, another site with gorgeous views and a large outdoor tasting area.

Domaine Carneros 2

Adam and I each did the Grande Champagne tasting with the Charcuterie Plate. (A selection of artisan meats served with sliced baguette.) Our host was an older French gentleman- he just loved Adam and I! He brought us out an additional dessert Champagne to try along with some dark chocolate to top off our visit! It was another favorite spot added to our list!

Domaine Carneros 3 Domaine Carneros 4

We loved our time in Napa and can not wait to start planning a trip back. We could literally spend weeks out there and not see everything! Have you done a wine tasting trip out to Napa or Sonoma? We’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite vineyards to tour? Wines to taste?

Watch for another Newly Newlywed Tuesday Travels post next week! We’ll be sharing our trip down to San Francisco through the Muir Woods and over the Golden Gate Bridge, plus all the things we did in the city!

Don’t forget to follow these spots on @twitter too!

@MeritageResort 

@BoonFlyCafe

@BouchaineWines

@EtudeWines

@Artesa

@DomaineCarneros

So sad to see our Napa Valley trip come to an end, but we will be visiting again soon! Now to continue Adam’s birthday celebration in the city! We will share all the details soon!

Domaine Carneros 5

Hope you are enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re newlyweds not experts!

Tuesday Travels

@HeliHubby (are you following him on Twitter yet?) and I are packing our bags again!

This time we are off to the West Coast for a little R&R to celebrate Adam turning the BIG 3-0 in San Francisco! Oh who are we kidding? I highly doubt there will be much time for rest and relaxation with the schedule I have planned!

Have you visited the West Coast? We would love to know your favorite spots in San Francisco and Napa areas. We’ve gotten so many tips from friends old and new that we have recently met traveling, but are always looking for more ideas!

Take a look at our itinerary thus far- we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Day 1:

We arrive at SFO late in the evening and plan to make the hour drive North to Napa where we start the first part of our trip.

Day 2:

Our first full day in Napa starts bright and early- can’t miss an opportunity to try some new wine! We begin our day with a drive on CA-29 N to Castello di Amorosa for our first Vineyard Tour and Tasting. From The Castle (@thecastello on twitter) we head over to Sterling Vineyards for a Noon tasting and ride on their ariel gondola. After our tour at Sterling (@sterlingwines on twitter) we’re planning to hop around a few vineyards thru Yountville (we hear its a darling little town with lots of character and shopping) and back down towards the Meritage Resort. (@meritageresort on twitter)

*Were still looking for somewhere for Supper that night. We were not able to get a reservation at The French Laundry. *

Day 3:

The following day we’re heading back to San Francisco for the remainder of our trip. We’ll leave our hotel, head South through Novato and San Rafael toward the Muir Woods stopping at a few vineyards along the way, before finally reaching San Francisco.

Day 4:

Our first full day in San Francisco we’re planning to do all the “Touristy” things: crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, visiting Fisherman’s Wharf for some Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl, riding a cable car through town, swinging by the “Full House” House (duh!),  and driving down Lombard Street.

Do you think we are missing anything? Know of a fun night life spot? Fill us in!

Day 5:

Our final day in the West Coast begins with an 8:30am tour of Alcatraz– we’ve heard it is a fantastic tour! After the tour we’re heading to the ballpark to take in a  little baseball action and cheer on former Atlanta Brave, Tim Hudson and his San Francisco Giants (@sfgiants on twitter)! Adam and I are looking forward to checking another ballpark off of out list! Once the game ends, we have the entire day to site see (and have NOTHING planned) as we’re taking the Red Eye home.

We can’t wait for our next adventure! Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your favorite spots with us! Let the count down begin!

Hope you’re enjoying your Newly Newlywed or Nearly Newlywed Moments as much as we are!

Cheers Y’all!

Adam & Holly

PS: Remember, we’re Newlyweds not experts!