Taco Layer Dip

I'm not much of a sports fan, but I am a fan of food, so every time there is a huge game and we have friends over I put out a spread that rivals most major holidays. In addition of our main course of chili, hot wings, or pizza we always have an assortment of dips. My favorite is a simple taco layer dip that's made up of sour cream, taco seasoning, sharp cheddar cheese, green onions, black olives, and tomatoes. It's easy to toss together at the last minute, can be modified to suit a variety of tastes, and can be scaled up (or down) to feed a group of any size. Added bonus: you won't need to spend all day in the kitchen to make it which gives you more time for beer and football (if that's your thing.)

If you want my advice you should make a double batch, this is always a crowd pleaser and it's the first thing to disappear.

Taco Layer Dip | Not Starving Yet

Taco Dip

makes 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients

16 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 cups lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
10 - 12 fresh cherry tomatoes, diced
4 ounces black olives, sliced
2 - 3 green onions stalks

Directions

  • In a large bowl combine the sour cream and taco seasoning. Mix well, then spoon into the bottom of a large glass serving container. Top with shredded lettuce, sharp cheddar cheese, diced cherry tomatoes, black olives, and green onions. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

For this recipe I use a 2-Cup Pyrex Divided Dish (which you see pictured above.) You can also use an 8 inch pie plate or 9 x 9 baking dish. Keep in mind that you may need more toppings than what I've listed in the ingredients if you use a larger dish.

The taco dip can be made a day in advance, but often times there will be some liquid separation from the sour cream. You can drain the excess liquid off, but this dip is best when made the same day you plan on serving it.

 

Gingerbread Applesauce + @OXOTot Product Review #Sponsored

I don't know about you, but once the weather hits freezing I'm ready to hibernate. Even my son, who is usually a little ball of energy sleeps in later and wants to spend more time cuddled in bed where it's warm. Today he got up at 8, realized how chilly the tile floor was, then came straight back to my room toting his handmade blanket from grandma and three of his most favorite stuffed animals—we didn't get up again until after 11.

Saturday is the day I normally dedicate to getting things done, be it house cleaning or blogging, but today I shoved it all aside to spend a few precious hours cuddling with my son. He's 4 now, in a very short while he'll decide he's too old to spend his days cuddled up in bed giving me big hugs and sloppy puppy kisses, so I try to drop whatever I'm doing and take advantage of this time while I can.

I think it's important for all parents to remember that these precious moments are the ones we can never get back. From time-to-time we need to slow down, forget about the laundry list of things we "need" to do and focus on what's truly important—creating lasting memories with our children. Take a minute to read a book, draw in the condensation on the windows, make snow angels, decorate cookies, or make some applesauce. Memories like these will last a lifetime and five-ten-twenty or more years from now you won't remember that the house looked like a tornado went through it because you took the day off from cleaning.

 Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the OXO Tot Big Kids, Big Appetites blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the OXO Tot Big Kids, Big Appetites blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Gingerbread Applesauce
makes 2 - 3 pints

Ingredients

3lbs apples, any variety (I used Aurora Golden Gala)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground all spice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses 

Directions

  • Peel and slice apples, add spices, vanilla extract, and molasses, then cook on high in a crock-pot for 3 - 4 hours. The applesauce is done when it can easily be mashed with a fork or potato masher.

Notes

I prefer to serve my applesauce chunky, but you can puree it with a food mill, immersion blender, or food processor for a finer sauce. You'll want to let it cool down a little first to avoid any chance of burns.

I include canning instructions with most of my applesauce recipes, but because this recipe contains molasses I'm not positive that it's safe for water bath canning. That doesn't mean you can't can this recipe, but you'll want to leave out the molasses until you're ready to serve it. For water bath canning instructions check out our previous applesauce posts: Easy Crock-Pot ApplesauceStrawberry ApplesauceSpiced Blueberry Applesauce and Peach Applesauce.
 

Make sure to keep reading for our OXO Tot product review!

 No shirt, no shoes, no service is clearly not a rule in our house! 

No shirt, no shoes, no service is clearly not a rule in our house! 

We've gone through quite a few plates in the past four years, but the divided plate from OXO is one of my favorites. The smaller size makes it easy for a child to grip while eating and the divided sections keep food mostly separated. I especially love the center dipping section, it's the perfect size for ketchup, syrup, or a dab of sour cream. The only thing this plate is missing is a lid, I'd love to have one so I can easily store leftovers.

Where to Purchase: Amazon or OXO

If you like this design, but prefer something with a lid there is a similar plate in the OXO Tot line, although it only has two sections. You can find it on Amazon.

Fork and Spoon Set

OXO sent me this set once before when my son was much smaller and it was all we used until he graduated to "big people" silverware. The large handles make the utensils easier for small hands to grip and the fork is slightly rounded to make scooping like a spoon possible as well. Now that my little man is older the blunt tines of the fork frustrate him, it makes stabbing larger pieces of meat difficult, but they're much safer for small ones just starting out with silverware.

Where to Purchase: Amazon or OXO

Perch Booster Seat

Because I travel so much I decided to purchase a booster seat for my son instead of a high chair, it made life so much easier when eating out at restaurants or while visiting homes not accustomed to hosting small children. The Perch Booster Seat wasn't available back then, so I ended up with one from Fisher-Price instead.

There are pros and cons to both models, but I like that the OXO Tot Perch Booster Seat weighs a mere 3lbs and has a slim profile—it makes traveling with it much more convenient. The Fisher-Price booster weighs a full pound more, which is a lot if you're already loaded down with a diaper bag and other odds and ends. Both models clean up easily, but you can actually remove the seat from the Perch Booster to get at any nooks and crannies food may have slipped into.

My son outgrew his last booster seat around age 2, so this is a great choice for older kids who are still too small to comfortably sit at the table. It's considered safe for children up to 70lbs, so should fit your needs though early elementary school.

Where to Purchase: Amazon or OXO

Disclosure

OXO sent me their Perch Booster Seat, Fork and Spoon Set, and Divided Plate with Removable Training Ring as part of this campaign. As always all opinions are my own.

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

The holidays are always a hectic time for us since we live so far from home. It’s a six hour drive (or longer if we’ve had a recent snowfall) so I like to pack a treat to eat on the road. Monday I spent the morning alternating my time between baking and rounding up every last thing we think we need for the trip back to St. Louis. Somehow we always pack twice as much as we actually need, but once the car was loaded up we hopped in and made our way home.

Even though I’m not in charge of cooking a single thing for the holiday meal this year I still hate to come empty handed. The pumpkin pie spiced pepitas I made for our trip are perfect to bring along to all of our family gatherings. They only take a few minutes to make, especially if you buy pre-hulled pumpkin seeds (look for them in the health-food section, the baking aisle, or with the snack nuts) and you can make them in advance if need be. Toss the seeds with liberal amounts of butter, salt, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice—bake for a few minutes—and you'll have a tasty treat to share with your friends and family. They'll be gone in minutes, so make sure to bring extras!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pepitas
makes 8 - 10 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
12 ounces (2½ cups) pepitas
⅛ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
sea salt, to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl combine melted butter, pepitas, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Spread evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes, stir once, and bake for an additional 8 minutes.
  • Once the pepitas have been removed from the oven allow them to cool for 30 minutes and top with sea salt before serving.

Notes

Leftover pepitas can be stored in an airtight container. They'll stay fresh for at least 5 days, but ours are usually long gone before then.

Honey Walnut Granola Breakfast Bowl

I'm always looking for easy breakfast ideas, which is why I love these granola breakfast bowls. I'm not a morning person, more often than not I skip breakfast in favor of a few extra minutes of sleep, but since these only take a few moments to toss together I can have breakfast ready in only a few minutes—no stove required. It's such a simple breakfast idea, it's a wonder I didn't think to start my morning this way years ago.

Honey Walnut Breakfast Bowl

Honey Walnut Granola Breakfast Bowl
makes 2 servings

Ingredients

1 cup vanilla bean yogurt
1 cup Honey Walnut Granola
1 ripe banana

optional

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

Directions

  • Scoop yogurt into a bowl, top with granola, add banana slices, then drizzle with maple syrup. Enjoy!