Tuesday, February 1, 2011


There's a big big storm a' comin' our way, fresh from knocking the Midwest on it's little tush. In fact, my sister in Tulsa says it's blizzarding AND icing AND thundering there; the whole state's shut down. I think "they" are talking about us here in the North Northeast getting pounded--something like 2 more feet of snow expected tonite and tomorrow. Ah well, the dog still needs to be walked! Here's some snaps from our morning jaunt:

                                   This is our neighbor's driveway--a veritable winter wonderland!:

And here's the private (usually dirt) road Wee Willie and I walk down every single day. Today, we saw some deer, and Willie just about lost his mind:

Sorry that picture's so blurry--it would have been a BEAUT, but Willie jerked his leash, thus jerking my camera. Pretty soon we got pretty cold, and headed for the warmth of home:

Big Daddy shoveled off the roof the other day, to hopefully avoid anymore of that ice dam nonsense! That task involved an extension ladder (which he HATES!), and a roof rake. Never ever heard of a roof rake in my 40 years of California living--but what a fabulous, necessary invention!

If you read today's newspaper column on Super Bowl appetizers then you saw the Amazingly Amazing Bean Dip recipe (thanks, mom!) and the Hot Ryes recipe (thanks, Terry!). Well, Big Daddy and I did it, again, last night--that's right: Appetizers for dinner! Cuz that's how we roll here on Spruce Drive. We sort of felt like we were at our very own little bash, with waaaay too much food. In fact, I cut these recipes you're going to see in half, and there was still too much food! As my dad the Donald would say, "well THAT'S a pleasant problem!". He's such a card.

To make my mom's Amazingly Amazing Bean Dip, which feeds a crowd, the first thing you'll need is a big flat bottomed (not FAT BOTTOMED--that's me!) bowl--like a pasta bowl. I didn't use that here, because again, it's just the two of us. Heat up a large can of refried beans, mixed with a little hot sauce, if you desire, and cover the bottom of the bowl, like so. Then you'll add, in layers, sour cream, guacamole, grated cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, jalapenos if you like, and some chopped cilantro. Here are the steps, in order:

Note: you don't have to use fresh guacamole--I just use the store-bought stuff, like this brand, because our avocadoes can be "iffy" here:

I used fresh Cilantro on top, but if you don't like it you can always use chopped parsley. Hey, here's a great tip for storing fresh herbs (except for Basil) in your refrigerator: When you get home from the store, place your bunch of herbs in a tall glass. Add about 2 inches of water, then cover the top with a zip lock baggie. Change water every few days, and you'll have herbs that will last at least a week!:

Serve your bean dip with lots of tortilla chips. Now onto the Hot Ryes. I start by placing party rye bread slices on a baking sheet (check out my awesome new rimmed baking sheets that I picked up at Smith's Restaurant Supply in Syracuse--I love them!):

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix together (all recipes at bottom of post) shredded or grated Swiss cheese, crumbled cooked bacon, chopped black olives, green onions, Worcestershire sauce and a small amount of mayonnaise. You can use Bacos here instead of "real" bacon, but I like to cook my own and freeze leftovers for soups and such. You just have to check out how crappy and old my spatter guard is that I use when I cook bacon:

Hmmm....do you think I need a new one? Why, this one's only been on FIRE about 30 times! I must say, however, that these spatter guards are a lifesaver when cooking up something greasy like bacon--the whole stovetop stays pretty clean!.

Place generous dollops of your cheese/bacon mixture onto each slice of rye bread, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Here's how mine looked, hot out of the oven:

And here's how our fabulous appetizer spread looked, before we made a big hot mess out of it--Super Duper yummy!:

Happy Super Bowl, everyone! Go Packers!

Serves a crowd

30 oz. can refried beans
Hot sauce
Sour cream
Grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese
Chopped tomatoes
Sliced black olives
Jalapenos (optional)
Chopped Cilantro
Tortilla Chips

In a large pasta bowl or other large flat bottomed bowl, place a layer of heated refried beans (mixed with a few drops of hot sauce, if desired) Cover with sour cream, then a layer of guacamole. Cover with grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, jalapenos and chopped cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 36 individual appetizers

1 cup finely grated Swiss cheese
1/4 cup cooked crumbled bacon (or Bacos)
1 14 1/2 oz. can ripe olives, chopped
1/2 cup minced green onions
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Party Rye Bread

Mix all ingredients together; spread on bread. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.


1. I'm thankful that Wednesday, February 2nd is my dear friend and neighbor Sharon's birthday. Which means we all get to take her to breakfast at the Diner.
2. I'm grateful that we have a new computer--well, a used "new" computer, anyways.
3. I'm SO grateful to all of my loyal readers, here in blogland or through my column, for all of their support and fabulous recipes. You truly make my day!


  1. GREAT job on this blog! Well, you know I would like it (and Dad too) because you are so sweet and adorable to mention us so kindly. The pictures are terrific and the snow pictures make us very grateful that we are in California, with a dry and warmish spell of weather! I am making the bean dip to take to our friends' Super Bowl Party, it's always a hit! Love M.O.M.

  2. Oh Leslie,(and Mom) it all looks fabulous!! Yes, Carol... California weather is pretty special right now!! Keep telling your daughter to come home!! lol

  3. No spatter guard needed if you bake your bacon in the oven! And you end up with nice long, flat slices of perfectly crisp bacon.

    All you need is a jelly roll pan and wire rack that fits into it. Lay the bacon on the wire rack and slide pan onto middle rack of a pre-heated 425 degree oven. Cooking time varies depending on thickness of slices and how you like your bacon, so I set the time for 10 minutes, check, and then proceed in 5 minute increments until done to your liking.

    The other benefit to this technique - no turning over the slices!

  4. Hey Lollie--yes, I've cooked my bacon in the oven a time or two--always delicious, and so much less messy! In fact, I watched Paula Deen cook hers that way tonite, dredged in a little brown sugar and chili powder first! Gonna hafta try that one! Gotta love Paula--adding even MORE calories to BACON!!!

  5. Brown sugar & chili powder! Sounds de-lish! I'll definitely have to make a note of that one!

  6. "Well, THAT'S a pleasant problem," love that!