Layered Taco Dip

Layered Taco Dip: WARNING: it's too good to stop eating. Refried beans, spicy Greek yogurt, avocado, cheese, peppers. Just add tortilla chips.

Do you have a signature dish you’re always asked to bring to parties? My sister-in-law has had a few over the years: a Harvey Wallbanger Cake (definitely dating myself), a creamy chocolate layered dessert called Chocolate Olsen, then came her Dill Dip with fresh cut vegetables and her ridiculously delicious Cheesy Potatoes that she gave me the recipe for but mine never turns out as tasty as hers – it’s probably the love she adds to every dish. I don’t really have a signature dish, but anytime my youngest daughter comes over she: (a) is hungry and (b) asks “do you have stuff to make The Dip?”. I know exactly which dip she’s craving. It’s this Layered Taco Dip that made so many times I’ve lost count. The dip we devour it like wild dogs. 


Mini Crab Cake Appetizer

This Mini Crab Cake Appetizer shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #Chardonnation #SpringWine #CollectiveBias

Mini Crab Cake Appetizer ~ gently golden crisp outside, lumps of tasty crab inside with a little dollop of Horseradish sauce on top.

How do you choose a bottle of wine? A cute label may catch my eye but I’ve gotten zapped on that method because cute doesn’t always translate into the flavor I have in mind. And labels say may where the wine is from, but they don’t describe the flavor. Until now. Notable Wines  launched this spring the first ~ and only ~ wines that highlight their flavor profiles on the front of the bottle so you know what’s inside even before the first sip. I love a good white wine ~ especially going into the summer season so I was anxious to try both the California and Australia varieties. They didn’t disappoint and both paired really well with this Mini Crab Cake Appetizer ~ gently crisp outside, lumps of tasty crabmeat inside with a little dollop of horseradish mayo sauce on top. You might say everything hit just the right note.  


Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp

Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp: easy, baked shrimp in a rich, spicy buttery Cajun sauce. Serve over rice or with crusty bread.

We spent  few days this winter in New Orleans and though personally, I wouldn’t recommend going during Mardi Gras like we did, my only real regret is not staying long enough to taste more of all the amazing food. I guess that means a return trip is in order. It doesn’t have to be Mardi Gras to enjoy Cajun New Orleans cooking, like this Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp. It’s a great one-pan, any-night meal and if you’re a follower, you know I’m a fan of Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice which gets dinner to the table even faster.


Chickpea Tomato Cucumber Salad

Chickpea Tomato Cucumber Salad whips up in under 10 minutes with tasty flavors and a light lemon dressing! Great side dish or lunch.

Dorothy was right. There really is no place like home. We just got back Saturday after a lazy month in Florida eating way too much delicious but not-so-good-for-us food, cocktails *may* have been served mid-afternoon, binge reading (list down below), kayaking, shark tooth hunting and toes in the sand most days. The trip was made even better with visits from our good friends and when our kids all came down for a week. Arriving home, there were all sorts of big girl stuff that needed attention like laundry, sorting through mail, unpacking and trying to get back on a smarter eating path starting with this Chickpea Tomato Cucumber Salad.


Saganaki Fried Greek Cheese Appetizer

Saganaki Fried Greek Cheese Appetizer: the ultimate, easiest 3-ingredient dish. Warm, lemony creamy cheese inside, lightly toasted outside.

Appetizers & Beverages | March 17, 2017 | By

If you’ve wondered how simple an appetizer can be, how about a warm cheesy, lightly toasted lemony appetizer with just three ingredients that’s ready in under 10 minutes? An appetizer that until now you’ve only had in restaurants that’s so amazingly, yet simply delicious it’ll have you singing Opa! (with gusto) ~ but don’t worry, no flames are involved in the making of this Saganaki Fried Greek Cheese Appetizer.


Grapefruit Margarita

grapefruit margarita

Appetizers & Beverages | February 22, 2017 | By

What comes to mind when you think of  Florida? Sunshine. . .palm trees. . .Disney World. How about grapefruit juice? I love a glass with breakfast (in addition to coffee, because coffee is like air), but have you ever had a Grapefruit Margarita? It’s a tropical makeover on a classic. They’re really easy to make and homemade tastes way better than the bottled stuff. With or without salt, in about 5 minutes, you too can start sipping and imagine you’re on a beach, the sun warming your face. . .


Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps: seasoned ground chicken sautéed with mushrooms and water chestnuts, nestled in lettuce leaf, topped with a spicy hoison sauce.

Appetizers & Beverages | February 14, 2017 | By

No one would ever accuse me of being a trendsetter, though I have ditched the oversized glasses my kids used to make fun of. That said, lettuce wraps aren’t the latest trend and probably aren’t new to you. Maybe you’ve shared them with friends in a local restaurant, but did you know how simple it is to make Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps at home?


Best Super Bowl Recipes

best super bowl recipes

Appetizers & Beverages, Dinner | February 3, 2017 | By

Even if you’re not a football fan, it’s hard to avoid the fact that the Super Bowl is this Sunday. I’ll tune into the game, but I’m really excited about the commercials that range from funny to tugging on heart-strings and of course, the best part ~ the football food. And Super Bowl food, like the game itself, is on a whole different playing field. That bag of chips and dip from the store just won’t do for this occasion but no worries, we have you covered with the 10 Best Super Bowl Recipes.


Ultimate Spicy Chicken Wings

Ultimate Spicy Chicken Wings: light, crispy breading, unique hot/tangy sauce for a flavor that keeps 'em coming back for more.

Appetizers & Beverages, Dinner | January 30, 2017 | By

Do you want to know the recipe to a man’s heart? Ask any man what his favorite finger-licking (I mean this literally) go-to meal is that he eats with cave-man gusto ~ the #1 food he chooses on nights he’s out with the guys and words like whole grain and healthy are strictly taboo and he’ll tell you it’s wings ~ Ultimate Spicy Chicken Wings. So today we turned over the A Gouda Life kitchen to my husband for the straight scoop from the horse’s mouth on how to do wings right.  


Greek Chicken Pita Nachos

Greek Chicken Pita Nacho. Warm, toasted pita chips layered with seasoned chicken, Tzatziki, sauteed peppers and onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese.

Appetizers & Beverages, Dinner | January 27, 2017 | By

Do you have a favorite neighborhood restaurant? Ours is Pier III, family owned and our local version of  Cheers, the place in the old TV series where everyone knows your name. Everyone may not know our name there, but we usually see someone we know. They make a mean Mediterranean Nacho at the Pier ~ layers of pita chips topped with seasoned lamb, tzatziki, tomatoes and olives and it serves as the inspiration for this dish. If you’ve never had a Greek Nacho but enjoy a classic Greek Salad, Greek Chicken Pita Nachos is your dish.