Darling Party Bread Spread

Olives know how to party according to Carol Darling from Tastes of Monroe County.

By the way, I didn’t know Darling was a real name. I thought that was just a cutsie thing made up for Peter Pan. The Darlings. Wendy Darling. Pan’s little precious.

I wonder if that’s why Tink was so annoyed with him. Maybe she felt he picked Wendy to give a thimble kiss to based on her last name. It seems something a man with Peter Pan syndrome would do right?

Sadly I’ve become a bitter lady and what once was a cute movie about a boy who got to fly and hang out with a badass fairy is now a metaphor of all the immature men out there promising you Neverland and not delivering.

That’s why it’s called Neverland, cause it’s never going to happen.

You know what can happen though? Olive party spreads.

So let’s forget about the Pans in our lives and deal with the bitterness by cooking.

What you’ll need

  • 1 cup of finely chopped pecans
  • 2 large hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 1 4 ounce jar of green pimento olives, finely chopped

Another reason this recipe is your answer when recovering from bitterness about Pans is that all you have to do is combine all ingredients together and then stick in the fridge.

Like with Pan, you’ll have to wait around, but only for 6 hours and un-like Pan the olive spread will deliver on it’s promises.

Enjoy the spread with crackers or bread as the title suggests. You can party with either one. I myself chose crackers.


If you just look at the ingredients in this spread it sounds very odd, but don’t discredit it. It’s actually palatable. I was pleased with the results. The consistency and taste were similar to a cream cheese, cheese ball my uncle makes. Which is scrumptious by the way.

The mayo combined with the egg created a smooth cheese-like texture while the olive, onions, and pecans assisted in giving a slightly bitter and chunky flavor. The olives did make it more bitter than a cheese ball, but I still feel like they are similar enough that you could call them first cousins.

Despite the similarities, I don’t think it’s a healthier alternative to a cheese ball. If your mind was going there. I’d need a nutritionist to look into it, but I’m pretty sure mayo is just as bad as cream cheese. It might be slightly less in calorie-intake, but not enough to justify as a replacement if you have a cheese ball addiction.

Whether you do or not, I recommend trying this spread out. It’s not difficult to make and most of you know I like to encourage trying new things. It makes life enjoyable.

Olive Nut Sandwhiches

This olive nut spread comes from Blanche Massie via Tastes of Monroe County. 

I do not have any fun facts or trivia about Miss Blanche. I tried looking her up on Google, but no info was found. As much as I love these local cookbooks, I wish they told us a little about where the recipes came from. That’s half the fun for me anyway.

The cookbook and presumably Miss Blanche calls this recipe Olive Nut Sandwiches, but I’d call it a cheese dip with an extra side of olive.

What you’ll need

  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 cup of chopped olives
  • 2 tablespoons of olive juice
  • 1 dash of pepper

Like most spreads the real work is the prep. For this recipe make sure the cheese has softened and the pecan and olives are chopped. After these steps, you just mix everything together.

By the way, the cookbook actually called for salad type olives. I’m not sure what that means exactly.


I mean that’s what I prefer in my salad. Maybe I missed something in the world of olives, because I don’t know what salad type means. If anyone knows then let me know dear readers.

Once everything is mixed, I recommend putting the spread into a mason jar. You will then keep this mixture chilled in the fridge for 24 hours.

Once that time is up, enjoy the spread with your favorite type of wheat thin or cracker.


Olive Nut Sandwiches

I love olives, but the olive flavor was strong in this one. I’m not sure if it’s my preference for Kalamata or the fact this calls for 2 tablespoons of olive juice that made it too much for me. It could be one or both.

I’d like to experiment and see if my theory is correct that all I needed was Kalamata olives. I still enjoyed the spread as a whole and I do recommend making this with your own olive preferences whether they be of the salad variety or not. 😉


Mrs. Lloyd’s Curry Dip

This curry dip from Tastes of Monroe County is making my spider senses tingle.

First off, it was submitted by a Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez, but it’s called Mrs. Lloyd’s Curry Dip.

Who was this Mrs. Lloyd to the Fernandez family? Was she a babysitter, a neighbor, or a legendary pirate?

I mean, she could be a legendary pirate. One-Eyed Willy made it to Oregon and hid all of his treasure there in a cave. A pirate named Mrs. Lloyd could have settled in Indiana with her curry dip recipe which is actually a code leading to secret treasure.

It’s possible.

I will have to interview Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez about one Mrs. Lloyd later. For now though…

What you’ll need.

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1-5 teaspoons of horseradish (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of tarragon vinegar

Despite the mystery surrounding this recipe, making it is self-explanatory and simple. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. That’s it.

It is recommended to add the horseradish teaspoon by teaspoon to test what you can handle, but that’s about it.

No booby traps, no skeleton organs, no mobster families, no Baby Ruths, and most importantly, no secret code leading to treasure.

FullSizeRender (6)

I like that it matches my bathroom counter, yes that’s my bathroom counter.

Yes, no secret mystery was found, but I did discover a new dip and that is an adventure in itself.

The cookbook suggests you use this as a dip with vegetables, but I think it would be amazing as a sandwich spread. It’s got a honey mustard vibe to it. A curry infused one, yes, but they are both tangy and delicious on a chicken sandwich.

I do think it’s an adventure to try this dish, despite the pirates.

Still wish there were pirates though.


Some Church’s Favorite Fruit Punch

…that I spiked later with devil’s juice from Sweden, because I have a drinking problem.


We will briefly go to serious talk and I’ll denote to my dear readers that this recipe comes from the First Presbyterian Church in what I’m guessing is Bloomington, Indiana since this also comes from Tastes of Monroe County.

I have to admit I was never crazy about fruit punch or lemonade as a kid and whenever there was a fish fry, barbecue, or spaghetti dinner in my town they were always serving punch or lemonade, much to my younger self’s dismay.

I was always like, “What?! No rootbeer? No Sprite? I have to drink water??? Ugh! I guess I’ll have lemonade. I refuse to drink something like water that would nourish and replenish my body!”

As an adult, I get sad if there’s no alcohol, but at least water and I are cool with each other.

Anyway, this punch is actually called Favorite Fruit Punch. I wasn’t being a total sassy pants with the title. That’s what is written on the page folks.

I can’t help but wonder if the good parishioners of First Presbyterian voted on this or if they have some kind of punch committee or if it is one person’s favorite and they were like ok we’ll add that to the community cookbook? I mean how did they come to this conclusion? I truly want to know.

What you’ll need.

  • 1 6oz can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1 10oz package frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 2 liter bottle of ginger ale

The first step is to blend all the fruits together in a blender until it is well blended. Then you are supposed to freeze it into a mold.

I don’t understand why the freezing step is necessary and would love to hear from a punch expert about why. My best guess is so that it remains cold for a long period of time because otherwise I don’t understand the point.

I froze it and once it was frozen I poured ginger ale on top and waited almost an hour for it to thaw out so I could drink it.

It ended up being worth the wait. My favorite taste was the tartness that came from the lemonade concentrate. It paired well with the strawberries and the pineapple helped subdue it so it wasn’t overpowering. I couldn’t detect the ginger ale which surprised me. I’m sure it helped water down the fruit flavors in general so they weren’t overpowering.

As I said earlier, I ended up spiking it with Svedka vodka, but I did try it without as well. Both were tasty, but if you got something you can put alcohol in and it’s after 5 you might as well do so.


Your friendly neighborhood fruit punch




Dolmas Dolmados of the Grapes

Dolmas are not something I’m too keen of. They look like a green version of a cat puke hairball to me. I know they aren’t hairy and fuzzy, it’s the shape that makes me feel that way.

As I’ve said many a time, I have problems and that’s my best explanation of how my mind works.

Before writing this entry, I admittedly thought dolmas were a Greek dish, but they actually originate from Turkey. I can’t help but wonder if that’s kind of awkward for Turks to know that most people associate dolmas as a Greek dish given all their past conflict or is it revenge for the Greeks to take on the dolmas of the world? These are deep questions that I’d like to discuss.

We will have to put that discussion on hold though because now we need to focus on how the people of Tastes of Monroe County make their dolmas.

What you’ll need

  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of currants
  • 1 8oz jar of grape leaves,
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of bay leaves
  • 1 whole lime

The first step is to cook your rice. I prefer the rice cooker method, but if you don’t have one just follow the instructions in your packaging. Whatever method you use, you’ll want the rice to cool so don’t leave it on the burner.

As your rice cooks and cools, you will saute the onion in some olive oil until the onion softens. Once softened add the dill, cardamom, nutmeg, salt and currants. Provided that your rice has cooled, mix this mixture with your rice.

I suppose  you could do it before the rice cools though. It’s not going to affect your dolma rolling.

Now get out your grape leaves.

I have to mention that I had trouble finding grape leaves that weren’t already stuffed. In LA, I found them at Gelson’s and I think I spotted some at Trader Joe’s after the fact, but I’m not sure. I often find an ingredient I was searching for at Trader Joe’s after the fact. This tells me that I should always ask first, just in case.

Anyway, you must drain and rinse your leaves before you start filling them up. Hygiene is important even in the vegetable world. To fill, you just pile a fair heap of rice mixture on your grape leaf and then roll it into a pouch.

Once that’s done, you prepare the dolmas for baking by placing them in an oiled dish with slices of lemon and bay leaves on top.

Then, for dressing, you will squeeze your lime into a cup and add an equal amount of olive oil. In other words, if you squeezed half a cup of lime juice, then you will add half a cup of olive oil.

This mixture will be poured on top of the dolmas and then they will be baked for 45 minutes at 350.

When the time is up, all you have to do next is chill. I’m talking about the dolmas, but you can chill while they are cooking and after too.

The final result wasn’t bad. I liked it ok, which I feel is saying a lot, because I don’t like dolmas. I discovered that my problem with dolmas is the grape leaves. I think grape leaves are gross. An ex of mine would say they are trash. I admittedly like that term so I’m stealing it. Grape leaves are trash leaves when it comes to eating them.

The jar of leaves I got was huge so I tried to cook my leftovers as a side dish. I used a similar recipe to collared greens, which is something I do like but you can’t always make trash pretty. I tried. I really did. I stuffed down a few bites, but it made me gag so I put that trash in the trash.

Life is too short to eat something you don’t like. If you do like dolmas, though, I think this is a solid recipe to try out. If not, hopefully this was entertaining because otherwise I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Tell me I’m pretty and funny!!!


2 little dolmas sitting on a dish, hanging out, being eaten and stuff




Mayo Blob Dip

The official name for this dip is Delicious Cracker Spread and is from Tastes of Monroe County. Mine wasn’t quite delicious and looked like a white blob. I have no doubts that this could have been a delicious cracker spread and I have theories as to why this is. The mysteries of the infamous blob have never been solved, but after my experience with this dip I feel that I may have made a ground breaking discovery!

Steve McQueen and I would have made an excellent team.

My theory will best be understood if I expound onto you the origins of this gelatinous being. These origins are, 2 cups of mayonnaise, 2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese, and 2 cups of chopped onions.

The mayo blob’s membrane is a mix of all these ingredients, but for it to mature you must also incubate for 20 minutes under 350 degrees.

This all seems simple enough, but I believe you don’t need 2 cups of mayo. I’d reduce this down to one in a half cups, because my blob tasted mostly like mayo. This wasn’t a terrible thing, but it did keep it from being delicious. I brought it over to my friend Megumi’s place and we doctored it up by adding more cheese and some spice. The cheese really did the trick, which makes my theory promising.

Perhaps if the infamous blob had just been nurtured more with cheese, it would not have sought out revenge against the good people of Downingtown, PA.

This blob is friendlier then his cousin of fame.

This blob is friendlier then his cousin of fame.

Cranberry Punch that you Can Spike and Give a Kick To

This recipe comes from Tastes of Monroe County aka the cookbook of Bloomington, Indiana and surrounding areas.

I brought this punch to two events, because the recipe is a whopping serving of 50 people. The first event was just a hangout at my friend Megumi’s and the other was a Prom Theme party a friend of mine invited me to. I made so much punch. Megumi, her husband, and I drank a fair amount of it, but I still had a ton left. I was going to throw it out when I remembered this prom party and realized that spiked punch is kind of thing with proms. At least that’s what Back to the Future and various other movies have taught me.


I was a little less discreet then these kids

So I brought my punch to this party where it blended very well with vodka and helped me mix with a slew of people I didn’t know. Thankfully I was able to converse with a handful of people. This is good news for me, because I tend to be that girl who stands in a corner and doesn’t talk to anyone at parties. In fact, eons ago a friend of mine took me to a party where he was the only person I knew. I sat on a couch and didn’t talk to anyone. I just sat and observed everyone. At one point this guy, who was probably intoxicated, just blurted out, “You’re one of those creepy girls who just sits there and stares at everyone, aren’t you?”

I didn’t know what else to do but laugh, which just made things worse. Then my friend got pissed off and kind of yelled at the guy. It was real awkward, but it did make me feel good that my friend stuck up for me.

Now that I’m older and slightly more comfortable with myself, I’ve found a way to handle my social inadequacy. Whenever I’m at a party and not talking to anyone, I try to find the other quiet person in the room. You kill two birds with one stone that way and more often than not, you find a kindred spirit.

Enough about parties and how I’m awkward at them. Let me tell you how to make this punch.

You will need, 1 12oz can of frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 6oz can frozen lemonade, 3 qt. of Cranberry Juice, 1 20 oz can of pineapple juice, and 1 1/2 qt. of water.

I recommend reducing this recipe in half by the way, unless you have a huge party coming up. Whatever you decide to do, the steps to making this are not difficult. Obviously, you’re going to add all these things together in a giant bowl. The only note I have is that the frozen juices do have instructions to add water and that should be followed. The additional water that is added doesn’t need to be exact. I didn’t add a quart of water and my punch turned out great.

I say just use your judgment as far as the additional water goes.

Other than that, this punch is tasty. It’s not too sweet nor tart. It’s flavor is blended nicely. It’s great as a mixer, but it’s just as good on its own as well. I’m not surprised by this, though. Punch is a Midwestern specialty afterall.


I served mine in my sweet new glass from Roswell!