Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dill Pickle Dip

We made it to the weekend!  
So reassuring that it happens every week.  

Working in the service industry, everyone has a weekend, but it's not always Saturday and Sunday.   I said "Happy Friday" to a friend at work yesterday and her response was "It's not my Friday."   True.

When it's your weekend, it's time for your favorite treats and snacks.   And I was thinking dip.   I don't make dip very often, but inspired by recently having Dill Pickle Soup, I was pondering what else could be dill-pickled.    If you love pickles, you'll love this.  

What You Need

1 (8oz) block of reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 (1oz) packet of ranch dressing mix
6 dill pickle spears (approx 1 cup) chopped
1 tablespoon dill pickle juice

What You Do

Combine the cream cheese, yogurt and ranch dressing mix in a medium bowl.  Mix with an electric hand mixer until smooth and combined.  

Add the chopped pickles and pickle juice.   Mix until pickles and juice are incorporated.

It's good to go right after making it, but if you'd like to give the flavors some more time to do their thing, let it chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to dive in.

Serve with chips, crackers or veggies or use it as a spread on sandwiches or burgers.

Meanwhile in Maui

It's still whale season.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Blondie Pie and Hong Kong Eats

All week I've been fighting jet lag and the general tiredness that comes with a full week of work after a full week of vacation.    Pi Day (3.14)  almost escaped me.   That would have been a crime.   A world full of people eating pie and missing out?   Not having it.  

Coming in to save the day was blondie pie.    Take your favorite blondie recipe that you would use in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan, bake it in a 8 inch springform pan and you have blondie pie!  

I haven't lived someplace with a Trader Joe's since 2005.   The TJ's in Denver opened after I moved to Maui and the odds of one opening here are pretty slim.    TJ's  always has that element of special - I have to go on a road trip or vacation to go shopping there, or someone has to bring it to me.    I used a box of my imported TJ Blondie mix to make this pie.   No regrets.

What You Need

1 box of Trader Joe's Blondie Mix (with the butter and egg required) or your favorite blondie batter
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup Kraft Caramel Bits
optional 1/4 cup chocolate chips (TJ blondie mix  has chocolate chips included already, so I didn't need to add any more)

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 350.    Coat an 8 inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Prepare your blondie batter, either from a box mix or your own recipe.   Add the butterscotch chips, caramel bits, or mix-ins of your choosing.  

Pour batter into springform pan.     Bake for 28 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  If you want your blondie pie warm, there's no shame in that either.  

Use a knife to separate the edge of the blondies from the pan before releasing the spring on the pan.
Slice into wedges.  Serve alone or with ice cream and hot fudge sauce.   It's a win either way.

Meanwhile in Travel...

I spent the first week of March in Hong Kong.  I started thinking about a trip in December and reached out to some friends to see if anyone was interested in a spring trip.  A friend from Wisconsin took me up  on the offer and we walked and ate our way through the city.   I love it when travel plans come together like that!

Hong Kong was still decorated for the Chinese New Year with lots of lanterns and all things for the year of the Sheep/Ram/Goat.   So festive!

Display in Tsim Sha Tsui

Display at Holywood Park

We also ate.   A lot.   We had a great time taking the Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tour of Central and Sheung Wan.   We went into small, independent restaurants and tried some of their specialties.  We also got a walking tour of the neighborhoods and recommendations of other places to eat (how else would we have known to order Hong Kong French Toast?).    I enjoyed it so much that on my last day in Hong Kong, when my traveling friend had already left for the airport, that I took their other food tour of Sham Shui Po.   All. The. Food.

Amazing baked BBQ  pork  buns

Giant homemade wontons

In honor of Pi Day, what's your favorite kind of pie?

Is there a destination you would recommend just based on how good their food is?   
Please share in the comments or on Facebook.  
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