Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip ~ The Way to His Heart ~ This beautiful dip is sure to impress everyone. It's sweet, tart, and packs only a slight heat. It's super easy to make and looks gorgeous and festive

Alright everyone, I think I’ve got your super easy holiday appetizer right here. It takes minutes to make and transports easily. Looks gorgeous and is different enough to impress!

This Thanksgiving I was asked to bring an appetizer and I debated on what to bring. I wanted to try something new because it’s my chance to test a bunch of different palates, but I also didn’t want to go too far out on a ledge. As a lover of dips, I knew I wanted to try a new dip to hopefully add to my arsenal. When I found this Cranberry Cream Cheese dip online I was excited. I adore using fresh cranberries for the taste and the gorgeous color they add to any meal. It’s also just so festive looking. I knew a few family members have been enjoying my recent appetizers with cilantro and jalapeno so I figured this was a safer bet.

This dip was everything I was looking for. It’s absolutely stunning, although it does look better once it’s on the cracker so if you have a tentative crowd you may want to mix it up ever so slightly or take a few bites to get the plate going. Once everyone started trying it and word got around that it was delicious, it started going pretty quickly. The flavors are prefect. It’s got enough heat to add depth to the cranberries while not being “hot.” As we know, I’m not a huge fan of hot. The cream cheese also mellowed it out. My husband isn’t a fan of cream cheese unless it’s baked and it isn’t glaringly cream cheese, but he enjoyed some of the leftover cranberry mixture with the crackers and chips as a stand alone salsa.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip ~ The Way to His Heart ~ This beautiful dip is sure to impress everyone. It's sweet, tart, and packs only a slight heat. It's super easy to make and looks gorgeous and festive

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 3/4 cup sugar (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature

Place the cranberries in a blender or food processor and pulse to give them a rough chop. Add the remaining ingredients, up to the cream cheese, and pulse until finely chopped. You don’t want to process too long as you don’t want it turning into a puree. Refrigerate for 4 hours but up to 24 hours.

Spread the cream cheese on a serving plate or pie plate in an even layer. Top with cranberry mixture. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with crackers, pita chips, or tortilla chips.

Source: Buns In My Oven

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies ~ The Way to Hi Heart ~ Soft, Chewy yet crispy, and loaded with chocolate chips. These cookies are amazing!

This fall has been rough for us as we seem to have been battling a “forever” cold. Every time one seems to get over it, someone else gets it, and so on. I kind of figured this would happen with our new Kindergartner coming home with fun new germs. I was finally feeling a bit better and thought that a nice warm, sweet treat to fill the bellies may make everyone feel a little better. Plus, there is nothing better than the oven warming the house.

These cookies really have it all. While the classic chocolate chip cookie will hold a special place in my heart, these will most likely become the cookies that I make when we are making cookies for others, need that extra comfort, or I have a lot of chocolate chips on hand. That doesn’t seem like much of a challenge, but in my house it is. I’m actually the chocolate chip monster!

Back to the cookies. These are soft and chewy, yet have a nice little crunch to them. The rolled oats create a nice little nutty taste and there are plenty, I mean plenty of chocolate chips. With 2 sticks of butter and 3 cups of chocolate chips, can you go wrong? And since there is oatmeal in them, they are kind of good for you, right? You’ve got to give these a try. I really believe you’ll be thankful. The great part is the recipe makes a lot so what I do is make some and freeze some so when that inkling for more cookies comes, I can just pop them in the oven!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies ~ The Way to Hi Heart ~ Soft, Chewy yet crispy, and loaded with chocolate chips. These cookies are amazing!


Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


  • 2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla exttract
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 3 cups (18 oz) Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease several baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Beat the butter and sugars until smooth. Add the egg, egg yolks, and vanilla one at a time, beating well after each. Whisk toether the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture. Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop* the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ t0 2″ between cookies.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden with slightly darker edges. Their¬† middles may still look a tiny bit shiny; that’s OK, they’ll continue to bake as they cool on the pan.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and as soon as they’re set enough to handle, transfter them to racks to cool.

Yield: 20 to 100 cookies, depending on size.

*A muffin scoop (1/4 cup) will make 20 large, palm sized cookies. A tablespoon cookie scoop (4 teaspoons) will make 50 medium cookies (2 3/4″ to 3″). A teaspoon cookie scoop (2 teaspoons) will make 100 small cookies (2 1/2″).

Source: Cookies for Kids Cancer via King Arthur Flour

Speedy Shepherd's Pie ~ Perfect for a weeknight meal that tastes like a Sunday dish! ~The Way to His Heart

When I first moved in with my husband he told me he liked Shepherd’s Pie. I had heard of it before but had no clue what was in it. He has a version, which he loves and is on the blog, that consists of ground beef, corn, and mashed potatoes. I could never wrap my head around it since everything I read online told me there should be some sort of a gravy. My husband is not a gravy guy so he continued to make his own and I used those nights as my seafood nights since he wont eat that.

So, imagine my happiness 10 years later when I found a recipe that had a sauce that added just enough moisture and flavor to the beef without being too saucy. My family, and husband, has been more adventurous so I figured I’d give it a try. It was quick, it is on the healthier side, and who knows, maybe we’d have a new dish. My husband was actually home and helped me make this so he saw every ingredient that went into the dish. Typically, he’ll moan a little bit when this happens. Sometimes because he is leery, but mostly to give me a hard time. Carrots? Worcestershire sauce? Dried onion on top of the potatoes? But when it came out and he started eating it I got the head nod and the mumbled, “this is good.” My daughter on the other hand wouldn’t touch it. She’s five so we’ll excuse her from all palate indiscretions for now. My son gobbled it up though and then it was my turn. I had a few bites, then a few more, and realized I loved it. I thought this couldn’t be true, so I looked up at my husband thinking the fates would be against me and he would have changed his mind. He didn’t. He really enjoyed it. We tried to encourage my daughter, telling her Daddy was trying something new and to please like it since we loved it. Nope, not having it, but we’ll keep working on her.

So, I hope you enjoy this as well. Of course you can make your own mashed potatoes, and do your own prep work, but having everything done ahead of time makes this an easy meal to make when you get home on a weeknight. You’ll have super on the table in about 20 minutes! Enjoy.

Speedy Shepherd's Pie ~ Perfect for a weeknight meal that tastes like a Sunday dish! ~The Way to His Heart

Speedy Shepherd’s Pie


  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1 cup prechopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted tomato paste
  • 1 cup unsalted beef stock, divided
  • 2 tsp cornstartch
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas
  • 1 (24-ounce) package prepared mashed potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp freeze-dried onion
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika

Preheat oven to 500 F.

Place beef in a large skillet over high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add carrots, onion, and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomato pasta; cook for 30 seconds. Combine 1/4 stock and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to make a slurry. Add slurry, remaining 3/4 cup stock, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and salt to pan. Stir in peas. Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Place beef mixture in a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Top evenly with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle freeze-dried onions and paprika over potatoes. Bake at 500 F for 5 minutes.

Cooking Light August 2015


Vanilla Caramel Gelato ~ This gelato is easy to make and oh so delicous! #gelato #thewaytohisheart


It’s a happy Monday morning around these parts today. I’m sure there will be some grumbling as we make our way to the bus stop etc., but I am beyond happy to be sharing this gelato recipe with you, these great dishes I received from Uncommon Goods, and the great giveaway they are hosting to help you pick out some great gifts for everyone for the holidays I’m not sure which I’m the happiest about!

Let’s start with the recipe. I made this one night when we were having dinner guests. Typically, I don’t try out new recipes for guests but I had a hunch this would be good and I had enough time in advance to switch it up if it wasn’t good. We were going with an Italian theme so this Vanilla Caramel Gelato sounded like a great choice and I wasn’t disappointed. We went through the entire batch that night. I decided I wanted to make another immediately to share with you all, and then that batch was eaten as well. It’s so easy and so good that making a third batch to photograph for you all was my pleasure! For those that don’t know the difference between gelato and ice cream, gelato contains less fat and less air. The flavors are also more intense. Typically, a home ice cream maker can not make a good gelato but this recipe seems to adapt for that because it was dense and warmed up to a nice consistency.

Vanilla Caramel Gelato ~ So easy and delicious, you have to make this now! #Uncommongoods #giveaway #thewaytohisheart

Now that you have an amazing gelato recipe, why not go ahead and grab these awesome bowls to serve it in! I am in love with these bowls on so many levels. The soapstone inner bowl is kept in the freezer, just waiting to be put to work. Like a frosty mug, but better. Scoop your ice cream or gelato and put it in and then grab the outer Acacia wood bowls to keep your hands from freezing. I know that is what I’ve always dreamed of when I am enjoying my ice cream. Plus, it doesn’t melt right away, which for an ice cream eater is a plus but for a food photographer taking a picture is a blessing. These pictures here took me twenty minutes (kids and pets like when I work since it requires food!) and as you can see the ice cream didn’t melt at all! Bonus, bake the dishes and keep your warm dips gooey and warm! Woohoo! Bigger bonus, I think they are gorgeous looking. Absolutely stunning. These are more than a great vessel to keep foods cold and hot, but a conversation piece.

Now, a little more about Uncommon Goods. I’ve heard about the company in the past as a few of my friends have mentioned it and always recommend it for great gift ideas. I’ve never really checked it out before but when Uncommon Goods reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing any of their items I grabbed at the chance. When my husband came home he showed me a list of items he had bookmarked from the site. Sorry buddy, I spent the whole day browsing and had a long list myself! I’ll be back for sure, if Santa doesn’t already bring me what I want. Psst, I really love those Soup & Crackers bowls with the space on the side for crackers. Brilliant! They have some great gifts ideas that will please everyone for the upcoming holidays. You can check out some great gifts for the guy in your life here or make your wife happy and check out some of these great gift ideas.

Besides the great items they sell, what I loved about Uncommon Goods is that half of what they sell is handmade. Most are made in the United States and the gifts are created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people. They are really a great company to work with and for from what I can tell. They have also donated over one million dollars to some great not-for-profit organizations. I love a company that I can get behind and have the same views. We have a lot of power on how we choose to spend our money and I am choosy with where mine goes.

So, you have a great recipe and I’ve gone on about these bowls. Let’s get to the great part for you all. Uncommon Goods has generously offered to give one lucky reader a $25 gift certificate. Keep it for yourself, give it to a friend, use it towards a great gift as the holidays are nearing. The choice is yours.

All you have to do is enter is comment below on which Uncommon Goods item you would want the most. Maybe you can buy it for yourself or casually leave your computer open for someone to read it :)

***The Giveaway is now over and the winner is Brittany K! ***


You can earn extra entries by:

  • Leaving a separate comment stating that you follow me on Instagram
  • Leaving a separate comment stating that you follow me on Facebook
  • Leave a separate comment stating that you subscribe to the blog via email (you can do this by scrolling down the side bar on the right hand side)
  • Leaving a separate comment stating that you follow Uncommon Goods on Facebook

Uncommon Goods provided me with these products and are sponsoring this giveaway, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own. This giveaway is for residents of the contingent United States and will end on November 2nd, 12:00pm EST. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator. Winners will need to respond within 48 hours or forfeit the prize. Good luck!

Vanilla Caramel Gelato


For the Gelato:

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

Combine yolks and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk for 2 minutes, or until thickened; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine milk and cream and set over medium heat. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble on the sides; remove from heat.

Slowly, whisk the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Whisk until combined.

Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches 170 F. About 5 to 7 minutes, or until it leaves a coating on the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Prepare the caramel sauce.

Have all of your ingredients nearby as making caramel is a quick process and it gets very hot very fast!

Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl
the pan a bit if you want, from this point on.

As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.

Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Note than when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably. This is why you must use a pan that is at least 2-quarts (preferably 3-quarts) big.

Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. (Remember to use pot holders when handling the jar filled with hot caramel

Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving. This makes about 1 cup of caramel sauce, whereas the gelato recipe calls for roughly 2 ounces so enjoy the rest with other treats!

Back to the gelato.

Pour the custard into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

In the last 3 minutes of freezing, and while the ice cream is still churning, pour about 2 ounces of the caramel sauce into the ice cream machine. You can use less or more (always go with more ;)).

When finished, transfer gelato to an airtight container and freeze for 5 hours.

When serving, let sit out for about 5 minutes to soften up a bit like gelato and not ice cream.

Yields 4 cups.

Recipe adapted from Diethood. Caramel sauce from Simply Recipes.