Hello TLB friends.....
Since we've moved back to Texas we have been enjoying the friendly people, the culture and the food. There's an interesting theme we've been experiencing, and it is that of "generosity and kindness," making us feel very welcome!
I've been like a sponge lately trying to learn about the new area we live in. The Dallas area is different than Houston in many ways, but as with any move there are always similar everyday things to seek out. For instance; I've learned where the shortcuts are instead of taking the highways or feeder roads. We took our time and finally found a lovely church that feels like us. Then there's the challenge of replacing my beloved Wegmans grocery store from the East coast. I've shopped at 5 local grocery chains and I've fallen in love with Central Market. What I didn't know on my first visit was that it is owned by San Antonio based H-E-B. When we lived in Houston, H-E-B was my favorite of all local grocery stores! It carried everything. While Central Market is not of the scale of the big H-E-B stores, it carries the same wonderful produce, fresh seafood and meats, and many unique items as well.
I was shopping at Central Market the other day.....and the store was full of food samples everywhere.....but one in particular caught my eye. This lovely white haired lady, that reminded me of Mrs. Claus, stood at a small table with a tray of pinkish colored dip and crackers. I'm always a sucker for a good dip! I proceeded to ask her about the dip and what was in it. She told me this dip was called "Love Dip," and was a bit vague in her description of what the ingredients were.....she said, "oh some cream cheese, and garlic and other things." I loved the unique name, so of course I had to sample it. OMG......it was so delicious with a nice spicy bite!
Apparently, Love Dip is a Central Market concoction and the recipe is a coveted secret. I found a fellow Texan who did some research and found a recipe via the Houston Chronicle dubbed "Mock Love Dip." She believed this was very close to the Central Market taste, and she shared the recipe on her blog. I must say it is very close to the taste I enjoyed with "Mrs. Santa." It's a must try and would be great for the holidays with crackers, tortilla chips or veggies....trust me!
Below is the link to the recipe:
I really am missing a lot of my familiar things this holiday season. With most everything being in storage, my entertaining style and of course my decorating is a bit dampened. I missed decorating our NJ house which was beautiful this time of year. But....on the bright side, we are spending the holidays at our Florida house with our daughters where we will certainly be cozy and warm!
Since decorating has been a bit stifled this year I turned my love of Christmas to food. I've been searching for a hearty hors d'oeuvre with a beautiful presentation, and I'm so pleased with the one I found. Cha Cha Chicken is a molded creamy chicken salad It's perfect for a cocktail party, luncheon or a fun night with the girls. Take a peek below....
Here is the recipe:
It's easy and impressive! Place the molded salad on a tiered cake plate for a beautiful presentation. Crushed almonds are pressed into the sides of the mold forming crust like sides. Then sprinkle dried cranberries and chopped nuts on top. The ingredients are easy and so is the process of molding and decorating. Hubby and I thought it actually tasted better after 1-2 days, so preparing it ahead won't be a problem.
With all of the hectic days of the holidays upon us, it's nice to make a delicious recipe that takes very little effort so that even the hostess can enjoy the true meaning of the season!
Wishing you relaxing days filled with the love and laughter of family and friends!