Shrimp & Artichoke Dip

Wow. Well, sorry for my incredibly long absence. I know I was JUST apologizing for being away from Not Crocker for a long time and here I am again after an epic stall. This time of year is bringing up a lot of sadness and I’ve been somewhat sapped of motivation. The funny thing is, it isn’t that I haven’t been baking and cooking, I just have been having a tough time getting to the computer to write up the recipes and prepare the photos. Sigh. I am going to try my best to get back on track, I promise.

I had a beautiful visit at home with my mom. I was only home for a whirlwind weekend and would have loved to have spent the summer lounging on the deck, taking in the sun, but it was not possible this year. We had a wonderful dinner party with all our friends, and things felt close to normal. Dad’s absence was/is startlingly noticeable and the times that I sit there and feel him not being here (if that makes any sense) are overwhelming. It’s almost been a year since his passing. The shocking thing is that it feels like there is no way this is real, even today, a year later I often feel like I can just call him up for a chat or advice or sass, but I am also achingly aware of how long it has been since I’ve heard his voice. I love my dad and am so thankful to have had him.

ShrimpArtichokeDip

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Crispy Fried Fish with Homemade Caper Tartar Sauce

I am really looking forward to a trip to the Yukon this weekend to visit mom and Chloe. I haven’t been home since last fall, and it will be good to be back. I know it is going to be hard to be in our home without dad but I also know it will be wonderful to be with mom in the summer, our family’s favourite time.

FishSticks

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Buffalo Chicken Strips with Buffalo Ranch Cheese Dip

This has been an insane and kind of awful week. The weather has been wonderful but a serious of difficult decisions and emotional roller coasters have left me feeling exhausted and sad. Unrelated, but we’ve had about a month-straight of hot sun and dry weather, this sounds great but a little rain helps to refresh the streets, the plants, and the people. My walk to work is filled with wafts of hot garbage in the alleys and hot whatever-is-in-the-gutters. I am ready for a little rain to wash the city clean, heck, I could really use a thorough rinse as well.

BuffaloChickenStrips

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Artichoke & Spinach Dip

Summer is my favourite. Honestly, even being sick last weekend didn’t kill my love of sunshine, fresh air, and breezy clothes! Our apartment is northwest facing so we don’t get direct sunlight until the afternoon, but we have so many big windows that the entire apartment is bright and breezy all day long. Our balcony gets some incredible direct sunlight around dinnertime and I’ve been enjoying sitting out with a good book and some tunes. AND there are no bugs! Huzzah!

I am really looking forward to visiting mom in the Yukon in the first week of August, it will have been a year since I’ve been home, and I really need that recharge. It’s going to be hard to be in our home without dad, in fact this whole summer has been hard for everyone as summer was the time our family was at our best, spending so much time outdoors and together. I told mom that I fear going fishing without dad because I definitely depended on his line-tying skills. He definitely tried to teach me, but it was always so convenient to have him around. I will also have to retrieve my own stuck lures, kill my own fish, clean my own fish!, and determine the best spots to cast. He taught me so much, but I still have a lot to learn, I miss him every day.

ArtichokeandSpinachdip

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White Bean Dip

I just returned from a wonderful work trip to Montréal on Thursday. What an amazing city! I loved all the walk-ups and the diversity of restaurants and shops packed onto the busy streets. The traffic was insane! I am certainly not used to the weaving in-between cars without signalling, the lack of lines or any sort of lane order, fortunately our cab drivers seemed pretty comfortable… My entire office (except our wonderful intern sadly) took the trip out for the national meeting of the NFB’s English Program. What an inspiring week: between the in-production and launch reels, and the incredible passion of each person speaking, I left feeling like I am truly part of something special. I can’t wait to see the full projects as they are launched and completed!

Returning to Vancouver was easy because I definitely missed Gen, but I would’ve love a few extra days to explore all the Montréal has to offer! I have one week back in Vancouver before I head out again to visit my friends Heidi and Lauren, and go to accept my scholarship at a board of directors dinner in Toronto. I am really looking forward to this trip as well, but am terrified of the extreme heat and humidity that I experience the same time last year. I should do some sauna-training this week so that I am conditioned!

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Fresh Homemade Tzatziki- dress up chicken, veggies, a spoon!

Well thank goodness Vancouver! I woke up this morning feeling drowsy, I noticed the blazing sunlight and figured I had slept through the morning. Feeling terrible about wasting my day, I pulled myself out of bed to discover that it was 8:30am! What an incredible day! I cruised outside for a stroll, lingering in the sun. It is not summer-warm yet, but it feels incredible and I am once again thrilled to live in this city! Feeling summery I am back on track with bright and fresh food, this dip is no exception!

Tzatziki

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Make your own Cranberry Sauce!

CranberrySauce

Once again, we’ve come around to making something homemade rather than buying it. The things I prefer to make than buy: Mayo, Eggnog, Taco Spice mix, Dry Rub, Curry blend, Sausage spice, Bacon Jam, Beer Bread, Pita and every baked good ever.

Homemade cranberry sauce can be tweaked to your desire, but really, those freshly burst berries are awesome anyway you go about it. Dollop on a plate piled with Turkey or Tofurkey and your night is set.

Cranberry Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cranberries (use wild berries if you can, but those gargantuan ones in the store will do too)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir the sugar into the orange juice. Heat until the sugar disolves.
  2. Stir in the cranberries, and cook uncovered until they begin to burst, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.
  4. The sauce will thicken as it cools, if it seems too thin put it back on the heat for 5 minutes and allow to cool again.
  5. Serve!
Giant berries.

Giant berries.

Bursting with deliciousness.

Bursting with deliciousness.

Cookie Dough Dip

Another cookie dough related post! This was the second dip I brought to my friends’ party, the first being the glorious, much loved Buffalo Chicken Dip. This dip was also well-received, served with simple cookies and some apple slices. It is sweet but not too sweet, fluffy, and distinctly tastes of a lovely cookie dough. Wanted to try this type of a sweet dip, enjoyed it, may make it in the future.

Cookie Dough Dip

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 – 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well-combined.
  3. Serve with light cookies (in flavour, try to find sturdy cookies, this dip is fluffy but still needs a strong cookie, the ones I picked were a little delicate) or apple wedges. Also, nearer the end of the night, some were eating this with carrots which they claimed tasted like carrot cake… so, to each their own. This dip is good to make the day before, it stayed fluffy and smooth overnight.

Whipping it all together.

Gen is doing some stellar hand-modelling.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I know, I am dip-crazy lately. Dips are easy, delicious, and you can make a few for a single event, perfect! This dip was the result of my Googling “best dip ever.” And it was pretty amazing! There are only five ingredients (a tiny change from the original recipe) and it is killer, it tastes just like hot wings dipped in ranch dressing, but you scoop it up with a chip or some celery. You can mix it up with some blue cheese dressing if that’s your thing too, it’s not mine. Make this this weekend for that party you have to go to. Or, if you have no parties, make this anyway so you have some delicious to eat all weekend, by yourself…

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Found in the Chowhound forums.

Serves: a small party  ♦ Time: aside from boiling the chicken… 10 minutes prep, 40 minutes cooking, 10 minutes cooling → 1 hr total

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 2 pounds, boiled and shredded with 2 forks (you can also use a roasted chicken from the store)
  • 1 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (whole 12oz bottle) (do NOT substitute, this is the only sauce to give the wing flavour, it’s not too spicy, don’t worry)
  • 2 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 bottle Ranch dressing (450ml, 16oz) (try with blue cheese dressing, or half ranch and half blue cheese!)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the shredded chicken and the Frank’s. Spread the chicken in an even layer in the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream cheese and entire bottle of Ranch dressing, stirring til hot and smooth (mine never got totally smooth, but it was even, good enough!). Pour this mixture evenly over chicken mixture.
  4. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the shredded cheese and bake uncovered for another 20 minutes or til bubbly.  Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with celery and chips for scooping and devouring!

Ready to spread the ranch-cream cheese mixture.

I was too slow to get a pristine picture. This dip went quickly, it is fabulous!

Walnut Feta Dip

I was inspired to create this dip by this recipe of the same name. As I’ve mentioned before, we have been eating a lot of walnuts lately and we had a ton of feta left over from the pizza, so it was the perfect time to try out this dip. I always make a point of making something once before adjusting it. This time, it only took me as long as I mixing it to know it needed some adjustments to be right for me. I’ve done so much to the original recipe that I will be calling it an inspiration rather than an adaptation. The original was good, but was a little much for me, with some changes this dip is rich but also lighter and brighter.

Walnut Feta Dip

Inspired by Princess Misia’s Roasted Walnuts & Feta Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts (halves, shelled)
  • 2 cups of feta
  • a tsp of brine if you want
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemons worth of juice
  • 1/4 cup milk

Directions

  1. Place everything in a food processor and blend into as smooth as possible/as smooth as you’d like. Taste, adjust flavours as necessary (maybe more lemon, maybe some of your favourite herbs).
  2. Serve with veggies, pita, chips, a spoon.