Quinoa Black Bean Salad - Combined

When I was planning my menu this week, I knew I wanted to make Quinoa Black Bean Salad.  But I discovered that there were two yummy looking recipes on the blog to choose from.  So I took a little from one and a little from the other - and this is what I got!

mine didn't look exactly like this...but you get the idea

1 cup quinoa, washed and drained
1 ¾ cups water
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 2 fresh limes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half (optional - I didn't use any this time because fresh tomatoes are on "baby no like" list since I've been pregnant)

1 red bell pepper (I like it cut small)
1 avocado cut into chunks
5 green onions, finely chopped
Salt (pepper – optional) to taste


Wash and rinse quinoa. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once hot, add the rinsed quinoa and toast for a minute or two.  Add water, stir once, cover and simmer with a lid on for about 20 minutes.  Watch it though and turn it off as soon as the liquid is absorbed!

 2 In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt, and garlic.

3 Combine cooked quinoa, beans, red pepper, tomatoes, and green onions in a large bowl.

4 Drizzle dressing over salad.  Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.  Can also add cilantro and/or red pepper flakes.

As a note - this is great as a side dish to a meal (one of the boys declared it tasted like guacamole), but also keeps well in the fridge for a healthy, protein packed lunch or snack. 

Breakfast @thebeansblog

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Breakfast was straight off the vine this morning ...


Find us on Instagram ... @thebeansblog

Mexican Beans and Rice

I cooked this again tonight and decided it was time to re-post it. 
My Aunt Jo originally posted it and I make it quite regularly in the colder months.  
I made a few changes for my family ... I'm adding those notes in RED.
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1 ½ cup water
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green bell pepper, chopped (we all prefer red bell pepper)
1 can red kidney beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
¾ cup uncooked long-grain rice (I use brown rice)
1 Tbsp chili powder (Australian chili powder is ground chili and SUPER HOT! I only use a pinch)
2 tsp cumin
1 cup mozzarella cheese (I use a mozz/cheddar blend)

In large saucepan, sauté onion, garlic, and green pepper in water. Simmer, stirring often, until onion is tender. Add beans, tomatoes, rice, chili powder and cumin. Simmer, covered, 20-25 minutes until rice is tender and most of liquid absorbed. (Keep an eye that you don’t run out of liquid before the rice is done. Since I also use the liquid in the tomato and bean cans, I sometimes have to boil the mixture, uncovered, at the end to reduce the liquid.) When rice is done and most of the liquid absorbed, top with cheese. When cheese is all melted, serve and enjoy.

Tonight I served these with quesadillas.

Double Choc Chip Cream Cheese Cookies

Seriously? Cream Cheese in a cookie? When I saw this recipe, I knew it would be good!  I was so confident of it's potential goodness that I doubled the recipe!  I'm glad I did!  We now have 60 of these little beauties in our freezer ... ok, maybe not quite 60 as we ate a number of them straight out of the oven ... but many many delicious cookies are packed in little ziplock bags ready for our lunches!
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One of my pet peeves with baking cookies is that they always flatten.  These, they didn't budge, not even a little bit!  AND I LOVE THAT! 

Here's how I made mine ... 

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
115g cream cheese, softened
1&1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup organic (if you like) raw sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 &1/2 cups bakers flour (any flour will do) 
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking soda
a couple pinches of salt
250g white choc chips
250g milk choc chips

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  

In your mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together.  Add sugars and beat some more.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Make sure everything is well combined.

Add remaining ingredients, minus the choc chips.  Mix until just combined.  Don't mix too hard or your cookies will be tough.  Now stir in the choc chips. 

Grab your baking sheets and line with baking paper.  I used a small ice cream scoop and was able to fit 15 cooking on each long rectangular tray.  Next time I think I'll fit more as they don't spread AT ALL! 

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  You want them to start to brown but just a little bit.  Remove to a wire rack.  Make sure you eat a few straight out of the oven ... but not all of them, remember, this makes 60!!

Save some to get you through the week, and freeze the rest, ready for school/work lunches!!

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Green Chili - A La Liz

I love Ak's green chili recipe but since I don't live in Colorado anymore, it's hard to get all the ingredients. Does that mean I should stop making this delicious dish?

Heaven forbid!

Necessity is, as they say, the Mother of Invention. Apparently the Father of this invention is the international grocery store!

I also added beans because chili should have beans. And also because there are a lot of us to feed and it needed to stretch. And, ya know, fiber, health, blah blah. I chose navy beans, in honor of UJ. Go Navy!

Green Chili A La Liz
My fancy to-go box. What can I say? I was too busy shoveling it in my
face to take a picture in the nice bowl.

3T vegetable oil (have more oil in case you need to adjust the thickening)
2-3 lbs boneless pork butt cut into 1/2 “ cubes
1/2 c flour (have more flour in case you need to adjust the thickening)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 white onion, chopped
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (7 oz) cans chopped green chilis
2 (7 oz) cans green Mexican salsa
1 (14 oz) can tomatillos, drained and crushed
2 cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth

Coat pork in flour, salt and pepper. Fry in oil until brown and crusty beautiful. Throw in onions and garlic, fry until fragrant. Deglaze pan with the chicken broth. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer 20-30 minutes or until pork is nice and tender. Adjust thickening if necessary with more flour brown in oil.

Serve with rice and your choice of garnishes. I like avocado, sour cream and cilantro. 

Serves 6

Caprese Avocado Boats

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I've looked at this recipe quite a few times and finally made it the other night.   I didn't do it exactly like she said because I was in a bit of a hurry.  I didn't make the basil garlic oil sauce maybe I will try that next time. But only maybe ... because this way was so easy.  Here's what I did.

Avocados (one per person, but I only did half each for the kids)
Baby Bocconcini, 225g (8oz)
Cherry Tomatoes, 250g, quartered
Garlic Infused Olive Oil
Fresh Basil, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar

Cut the avocados in half, take out the seed and carefully peel off the skin.

Mix bocconcini, tomatoes and fresh basil (as little or much as you like) with a good drizzle of the Garlic Infused Olive Oil.   Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, spoon bocconcini mixture into avocado halves.  Drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar and serve.

Paleo Cinnamon Buns

The other day I made cinnamon buns for a friend's birthday.  A mutual friend, who happened to be coming over for dinner last night, heard about it and sent me a text asking if I could make paleo cinnamon buns for dessert.  It was a total joke.  I laughed about it but then I thought ... hmm ... I wonder.  And so I googled and shopped and made something that was actually quite delicious.  They weren't fluffy like regular cinnamon buns, but the flavor was good and quite reminiscent of ... well, cinnamon buns!  I used the dough in this recipe  but had a strange experience with the tapioca flour so had to change the method a bit.  I used the filling ingredients from this recipe but again I changed the method ... mainly because I didn't read the recipe right.  I made up the glaze.

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For the dough:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 TBLS honey
1 egg

For the filling:
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup pecans
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1.5 TBLS butter, melted
1.5 TBLS coconut oil, melted

 photo FDECDA5D-A6CE-4560-9BD2-3B314D1B523D_zpstskunptj.jpgFor the glaze:
4 TBLS coconut sweet spread
2 TBLS tapioca flour
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pint of salt

Before we start ... I have to tell you about this coconut sweet spread.  It is a new discovery and it is a good one.  This stuff is so tasty! It tastes like caramel and it is ALL COCONUT.  The ingredients are coconut, coconut oil and coconut nectar.

To make the dough:
 photo DDEC251E-C0BA-46ED-BE6A-3FE689436E6A_zpsoab6wjde.jpgPut the coconut water, oil, sea salt, and honey into a little pot and bring to the boil.  Take off the heat and add the tapioca flour.  The original recipe said to mix.  I did ... but it was a sticky-bouncy mess, and there was a bunch of coconut oil left in the bottom that wouldn't mix in!At this stage I didn't have high hopes for the dough!  But don't worry if that happens to you, I'm fixing to tell you how to make it work.   Let the mess in  he pan cool for a few minutes and then throw it in the food processor.  Add the coconut flour and egg.  Whizz that around in the food processor for a bit.  It will look a bit like breadcrumbs.  Grab that out and knead it for a minute or two.  At this point, it all came together into a dough like consistency.  An oily dough, to be sure, but I had hope again!  Roll the dough out on a piece of baking paper.  I did mine into a large rectangle shape.

To make the filling:
Add all four ingredients to the food processor and whizz it up.  Spread on top of the dough.

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Roll the dough up like you are making regular cinnamon buns ... or sushi.  I actually used the baking paper to assist in this process ...

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Slice the  log into 8 pieces.  I cut and discarded the very ends.
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Bake in a preheated 350C oven for 20 minutes uncovered. Cover with tin foil and bake for another 10/15 minutes or until done. I just tasted a little bit of the outside dough to see if they were done ...  Here's what they looked like straight out of the oven.

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For the glaze: Mix all ingredients. Spread on top of rolls.

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BLT Pizza

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I LOVE trying new pizza recipes.  When I found this recipe, I knew it was one we needed to try.  I did exactly what she said to do, except I added red onions and I didn't measure at all.  That's one of the best things about making pizza ... you can just throw whatever you want on top.  No measurements needed.

Dough - use your favorite recipe or store bought.  (There are a few recipes on the beans blog that you could try.  I'll be posting my go to recipe soon ...)
Alfredo sauce, I used store bought but you could totally make it if you wanted to
Tomatoes, sliced
Red onion, thinkly sliced
Bacon, cooked
Rocket (arugula if you are in America)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

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It's not complicated.

Roll out your dough and spread alfredo sauce on it.  Top with tomatoes, red onion, bacon and mozzarella cheese. 

We cook our pizzas in a outdoor pizza oven but you can do it in the oven on 200C/390F for about 10/20 minutes.  You just want the dough to be cooked through and the cheese to be melted and golden.

Top cooked pizza with arugula.


Crock Pot Shredded Chicken

You know how sometimes a recipe calls for shredded chicken?
Well, this is a great way to make it.  
Easy.  Nothing to it.

I started with four skinless boneless chicken breasts. 
Took them frozen solid out of the freezer and popped them in the crock pot.
I added two cups of chicken stock to the crock pot as well.
Four hours on high and they were done.

Just shred with two forks and THAT IS IT.

We used some of this on pizza that night.
I froze the rest in ziplock bags.
Already, I've pulled out one bag and used it for an easy dinner.
Just threw some chicken, cheese, leftover guac, chipotle mayo into a flour tortilla
 and toasted that in the sandwich press.  The others in my 
family varied their ingredients a little.  
We were all happy.
Just the way 
I like it.

Muffin Tin Eggs

Have ya'll discovered these beauties yet?  I've seen instructions floating around facebook and pinterest...but if you haven't heard about it yet, I thought I'd add it here - plus, I actually remembered to take pictures this morning!!!

Super Easy
Spray 1 or more muffin tins thoroughly with cooking spray. 
 Break one egg into each muffin cup.
You can sprinkle a little salt and/or pepper on top, but I like them plain.
Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on what consistency you want your eggs).
At ~20 minutes their consistency is similar to hard-boiled eggs - without the mess of peeling the egg!

You can let the eggs cool and store in a Tupperware for the week (or so) as a quick-grab protein-packed snack. 
You can serve them hot on an English muffin with cheese and mayo.

The Cookery Wife

There is a new blog in blogland and it's one you need to see!

The cookery wife is written by two sisters ... my sister's sisters.  Confused?  Don't be ... they are the sister's of my sisters husband.  See why I just say, my sister's sisters?  Even though technically, I'm also my sister's sister! Really I just like saying sister's sister .......

The blog is brand new but already has a selection of tasty looking recipes in "the recipe journal" ... I think their buttermilk biscuits may be the first recipe I try.  Or maybe the pie crust ...

Got an instagram account?  Follow them there too ... 
Their photos will make you want to lick your phone screen.  I'm not even kidding.  
Just search thecookerywife on Insta, you'll find them.

Fish Vegetable Bake

I meant to post this recipe many moons ago...but it seems I never got around to it.  This was one of the only ways I liked fish when I was a kid and I still love it. 


-          4 medium to large potatoes, peeled and sliced

-          1 large carrot, sliced ¼ inch thick

-          1 small onion, sliced ¼ inch thick

-          2 Tablespoons butter, melted

-          1 teaspoon dried dill weed

-          1 teaspoon dried basil

-          ¼ teaspoon salt

-          ¼ teaspoon pepper

-          16 ounces of favorite white fish (I love Swai), thawed

-          1 small green pepper, sliced

-          2 teaspoons lemon juice

-          2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (or one can of chopped tomatoes)



Place potatoes, carrot, and onion in a casserole dish.  Combine melted butter, dill weeds, basil, salt, and pepper.  Spoon half of the butter mixture over the vegetables.  Cover and bake in a 425-degree oven for 25 minutes.  Place fish on top of vegetables in baking dish.  Add green peppers.  Combine lemon juice and remaining butter mixture and spoon over fish.  Cover and bake about 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with fork and vegetables are tender.  Uncover and add chopped tomatoes.  Return to over and bake about 5 minutes more or until tomatoes are hot. 

Serves 4




Evelyn's Stew

The college student home from a short break requested this as his first meal...figured that means it's definitely a hit!  I know I love it!  It's a throw back to when I was a small child attending Church luncheons.

Sauté together:

-          1 pound ground beef or ground turkey (I usually double the recipe, so mix 1 pound of each)

-          ¼ cup teriyaki sauce

-          1 tablespoon soy sauce

-          2 tablespoons steak sauce


Steam until just tender:

-          Sliced potatoes

-          Sliced carrots

-          Chunks of cabbage

-          Onion  - quartered

-          Red, yellow, and/or green bell pepper

(cut enough of the veggies to feed your family)


Place steamed vegetables on bottom of casserole dish.  Top with meat and sauce.  Mix 1 can of mushroom soup and one can of milk and pour mixture over top of meat and vegetables.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until bubbly. 





Curry (Korma)

I realized after Jimmy commented on my rabbit curry, that I've never posted the recipe here.  Since I was gathering some of my favorite recipes for a potential church cookbook, I decided it was high time I added it to the blog!
Photo: This is the best doggone rabbit curry I've ever had!!!  Thanks Pam Wallace!
Picture credit goes to Jimmy - Cause I almost always forget to take one!


-          2 tablespoons vegetable oil

-          2 teaspoons curry powder

-          1 pound boneless beef or lamb (you can also use venison or rabbit) – cut into one inch cubes

-          ½ large yellow onion – peeled and chopped

-          3 large potatoes – peeled and cut into one inch pieces

-          1 green bell pepper (optional) – chopped

-          Frozen broccoli (as much or as little as you’d like)

-          1 teaspoon salt

-          1 teaspoon paprika

-          1 teaspoon garlic powder

-          ½ teaspoon chili powder (more or less to taste - depending on how spicy your family likes things...I keep it really mild and let people spice it up at the table since two of us are not fans of spicy things)

-          1 can of chopped tomatoes

-          1 cup sour cream (or to taste)


Heat oil in a large skillet or soup pot (depending on how much you’re making).  Add the curry powder, meat, and onions.  Cook 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the meat has browned.  Add the potatoes, bell pepper, broccoli, salt, and spices, with only enough water to cook the vegetables.  (I normally splash in an inch or so of water and then add more if it boils off.  Better to need to add more then to have too much water!!)  Cook over medium heat 15 to 20 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the vegetables are cooked.  Just before serving, add tomatoes and sour cream.  Cook over low heat just until heated through. 

Serve over rice.

Optional: top with your favorite chutney, chopped peanuts, French fried onions, and/or chopped hard-boiled eggs.

Greek Omelets with Tomato, Avo and Tsatsiki .... It's what's for dinner.

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I am always on the lookout for a good quinoa recipe.  I also LOVE omelets.  This to me, seemed like a match made in heaven.  And I was right.  I loved this!  It wasn't complicated to make either.  Just do it in the five steps listed below and you'll be fine.

This recipe was my inspiration, and while I followed the ingredient list, I didn't follow any of the measurements.  I thought it looked like a recipe that would be easy enough to do with out measuring and I was right.  I'll give you estimates, but if you want exact measurements, go to the original recipe.  Also, I make my tsatsiki different.

I made four omelets and we had enough quinoa leftover to eat as part of two lunches today.

What you'll need for the tsatsiki:
Greek yoghurt
A Lemon
Salt and Pepper

What you'll need for the omelets:
12 eggs (if you are making four omelets ... basically, it's three eggs per omelet)
Baby Spinach Leaves
Kalamata Olives
Roasted Red Bell Peppers (Capsicum)
Sun Dried Tomatoes, in oil
Feta Cheese
Pine Nuts
Dried Oregano
Dried Basil
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Cheese
Cherry Tomatoes

Cook the quinoa ... I cook my quinoa in the rice cooker.  You can cook it however you like, but get that started.  For the four of us, I did two of the rice cooker measuring cups of uncooked quinoa.  

Make the tsatsiki ... I used four or five big spoonfuls of greek yoghurt, added about a 1/4 of a large continental cucumber (finely diced), squeezed in some minced garlic (to tasted) and then the juice of what ended up being 1/2 a lemon.  I just kept tasting as I went.  Add a tiny bit of salt and pepper ... again, to taste

Make the quinoa salad ... to your cooked quinoa, add chopped spinach (I probably used 2 cups) kalamata olives (sliced) and a couple of spoonfuls of the brine out of the olive jar, roasted red bell peppers (chopped), sun dried tomatoes (chopped) and a couple spoonfuls of the oil out of the sd tomato jar, crumbled feta cheese, pine nuts, the herbs and salt and pepper.  I just kept adding and stirring and tasting until I like what I saw and tasted. 

Make the omelets ...
(Do this for each individual omelet) Whisk three eggs, a blub of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl.  Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat and add a scoop of butter.  The original recipe said to add 1 tablespoon of butter but we were at the end of the butter dish so I probably only used a teaspoon for each omelet and I would do the same next time. Once butter is melted, pour egg mixture into pan.  Tip the pan up and around so that the uncooked egg goes up the side of the pan and cooks. Using a spatula, push the cooked egg down towards the middle of the pan.  Tip the pan again to repeat this process until there is no runny egg left.  I found that when the runny stuff was gone, the egg in the middle was still a bit wetter than I liked so I left it to cook just a little bit longer. (this is when I whisked the eggs and milk for the next omelet!) Sprinkle with a little bit of shredded cheese.  Let that melt for a minute or two and then slide the omelet onto a big plate.  Add butter to the fry pan and start again .... 

To assemeble ... Add a few scoops of quinoa salad to one side of your omelet.  Fold the empty side over the quiona.  Top with halved cherry tomatoes, slices of avocado and tsatsiki.

Yum Yum Yum.

PS. The omelets cooked up pretty quick but I still had each person grab theirs and start eating straight away.  Omelets are always better hot!  They are quite big portions too ... my omelet was made last and I still finished eating it before my daughter who had been served second! In fact, she never finished eating ... it was too big a serve.  She saved about 1/4 of it for today.

Ham, Cheese and Pickle Quesadillas

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I love ham, melted cheese and dill pickles.  I love quesadillas.  I thought I might try the two together.  I'm glad I did.  This was a quick, easy and tasty throw together lunch. 

I used ham, provolone, thinly sliced dill pickles and a bit of mayo on two flour tortillas ... toasted in our sandwich press.

Reuben - with Crock Pot Ham

So, I made this ham in the crock pot the other day.
It made A LOT! 
I didn't really like the ham ... but there's no way I was throwing it out.
I put it in the freezer and have been thinking of creative ways to use it.  I didn't like it
because it tasted more like corned beef than ham.  I don't care for
corned beef.  But, I thought since that's what it tasted like,
maybe we could use the ham in a Reuben sandwich.
I did.  And it worked.  But not the
first time.

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The first time, I did it like a regular sandwich.  You know, between two pieces of bread.  And toasted.
It didn't have much flavor.

The second time I did it as an open melt and drizzled the dressing on the top.
It was MUCH BETTER ... quick tasty ... that way!

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Here's how I made it ..

Leftover crock pot ham that tastes like corned beef ... or you could use actual corned beef.
Saurkraut, out of a can
Jarlsburg cheese
Homemade Russian Dressing (recipe to follow)

Pile the first three ingredients onto the bread (I used a light Rye) and toast in the sandwich press, or under the griller (broiler).

Once cheese is melted, drizzle with dressing ...

Russian Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon (or a little more, I didn't measure) diced onion
salt and pepper to taste
Mix ingredients together.

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

I had a bit of leftover chicken the other day. 
I mixed it with a bit of butter and franks hot sauce, threw in a few diced onions, added a bit of mozarella cheese between two pieces of bread ... into the sandwich press and 
voila ... buffalo chicken grilled cheese.
yum. yum. yum.

Jono's Spicy Mince

Jono (12) brought this recipe home from school. He has cooked it for us a couple of times now.

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500g beef mince (ground beef)
olive oil
1 tomato, chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 small cloves garlic, diced
3 tablespoons Moroccan seasoning
1/2 cup beef stock
small handful of pinenuts
handful of parsley
1/8th of an lemon

Here are the directions as Jono told them to me ...

Cook the meat in a little bit of olive oil.  Add the tomato and the onion.  Cook until the meat is browned.  Add the garlic.  Add the Moroccan seasoning.  Stir.  Add the beef stock.  Cook until liquid is gone.  Add pinenuts and parsley.  Serve on top of rice and drizzled with lemon juice. 

He always does something green on the side.  Peas are his favorite.

I don't even need to be in the kitchen when he cooks this!

Ps ... We call this spicy mince but it's not spicy spicy ... Alia eats it and she's got a kitten tongue!

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Apple Dip

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I've seen these recipes all over the internet ... had to try it.
'twas tasty.

I think I used this recipe ... but I didn't do the whole recipe ... as you can see.

The full recipe is ... 
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract.  
Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer.
Dip into it with apple slices.

mmm. mmm. good.