If you were paying attention to what today was you would have noticed that it was National Puppy Day. It seems like our social media feeds were filled throughout the day with all kinds of pictures of the pups in our lives. That’s a good thing as filling any feed with happy pictures of puppies is sure to bring a smile to even the darkest of hearts. I would have liked to participate here, but we are actually puppy-less. It’s my fault. I’m allergic, so I’ve never been able to have one. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the love people have for their pooches. I get it and I hope you celebrated your four-legged friend appropriately today. Maybe dinner and movie with them. They deserve a day for the joy they bring to so many families.
I instead celebrated the other holiday today which was National Chip and Dip Day. Admittedly this is kind of a broad category. I could have just eaten some chips and salsa and called it a day. Maybe some guacamole. In fact our house is really no stranger to chips and dip. Sure the chips and salsa/guacamole route is probably our favorite, but there are of course others. Lola loves a good hummus and when she has it, she is usually delighted. I can go either way on hummus. Sometimes when I am trying to figure out something to eat, I go with the dip platter which is kind of Lola’s favorite way to eat – with a small sampling of lots of different flavors. I’ll make a plate with guacamole, hummus, maybe some tabouli. Sometimes that kind of variety is the perfect little fix and it is a testament to the joy of a good chip and dip.
Chip and dips are usually associated with parties and that’s where we have seen some of our favorite varieties. A few years ago, Becky started showing up to parties with a Buffalo Chicken Dip which gave you the joy of eating buffalo wings with out the social faux pas of having bones strewn all over your party. Becky makes a fantastic one and she was ahead of her time. I feel like this dip has become the most popular kid on the block in recent years and that may or may not be because of Becky. She still makes one for every family get together and it gets gobbled up to the last drop. Tara makes a great spinach dip. I know you are thinking how good can a spinach dip be, but there is something in the way Tara makes hers that is remarkable. It’s warm and garlicky and when you sink your chip in you are rewarded with this cheesy robust bite. It’s really something. In the summer, Cherie makes a corn and bean dip with fresh tomatoes and onions. It’s almost like a corn salsa but with beans and better tasting. Great fresh tastes in every bite and perfect for summer eating. It’s addictive too so you take a bite and then have to go back for more. Yes, in terms of dips and chips, the Mellow sisters know what they are doing. I have tried to join in and I have been known to make an Italian Hoagie dip (that’s right – I see your buffalo chicken and I raise you cold cuts). It really is a dip you make with fresh chopped deli meats. It’s good though. It kind of gets eaten more as a sandwich however rather than a dip.
For tonight, I wanted to make something that wasn’t part of our usual forte. I really could have gone the simple route of chips and salsa and Lola would have been happy. I could have even made my own salsa or pico de gallo. I love that kind of fresh taste that you get from a fresh made salsa. Instead however I planned to make something new. Something that would give us the chance to have something filling for dinner and something new to our palates. I decided on an enchilada dip that I found a recipe for which was simply some ground beef mixed with enchilada sauce, cheese and a few other things. My vision was that it would be Mexican night without the trouble of all the bowls you need for taco night. Great tastes with less mess – sounded good to me. I had to take our car in for an oil change which meant I had to go to Warwick because our car can be a bit of a noodge when it comes to maintenance. I had an afternoon appointment so my plan was to go there and then stop at the store on the way home for supplies. That’s what I did. Then, when I got home, I got a text from Lola that she had gone over Cherie’s house to get a ‘fix’ of our niece and nephews. She said that Cherie invited us for dinner too so I should come over. I looked at the ground beef and enchilada sauce that I was unpacking and frowned. But hey, life is short and I haven’t seen the kiddos in a while. Plus a Cherie dinner is nothing to turn your nose up at ever. I put everything away and headed on over forgoing my enchilada dip.
It was the right decision because when I walked in, Lola was on the floor playing Memory with Brickie with Calix sitting next to her. I got big smiles from all three and I was invited to play. Cherie was tinkering away in the kitchen and you could smell the awesomeness of her cooking (garlic, sauce, cheese – it was all wafting through the house). Dinner was actually served within a few minutes and Wavy popped out of her room to come join us. She was proudly telling us about the good marks she got on her report card. We all sat down and had a fun little dinner. Cherie called it the “Tour of Italy” because it was chicken topped in a tomato sauce, chicken topped in a cream sauce and some penne topped in the red sauce too. Plus a beautiful Caesar salad on the side and of course garlic bread. It was a feast that couldn’t be beat. I was so glad I had gone over there for all of this. After dinner, Pete came home from work and we talked with him as we all monitored bath time making sure no one slipped down the drain. Afterwards, we had some pre-bedtime Memory (Wavy was the winner) to cap off a pretty fun night. We said goodnight and were on our way home. However, I still had a dip to worry about.
While I was looking for new dips, I came across a few dessert dips that I kind of looked past because I was looking for savory. On my way home, I remembered this so I made a quick stop at the Dollar General to pick up supplies. I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip from someone called BrownEyedBaker.com which looked pretty good and I pulled up the ingredient list on my phone. I got what I needed and headed home. It was actually super easy to throw together. You take some cream cheese and add in some sugar. To that, you add a mixture of butter, brown sugar and vanilla and you beat it all together. Then you fold in some chocolate chips. I think I had it all made and all my dishes cleaned up within ten minutes of being home. Then I served it. It wasn’t easy digging in after having our bellies full of such a great dinner, but we did our best.
I think this is going to be better when it chills over night because after a bite, you wanted it to be a bit cooler on the palate. But it was good. It was creamy and sweet and the chocolate chips really brought it all together. The Nilla wafers were the perfect chip too because they were strong enough to support the heft of the dip. I used dark brown sugar rather than light which the recipe called for and I don’t think that made much of a difference in taste, but it probably darkened the color of the dip. The cream cheese was a dominant flavor so that’s why I think it just needed some time to chill in the fridge and let the ingredients commingle. You can see what the recipe wanted to do – give you the taste of cookie dough without the salmonella from raw egg. I think this could be a star if we bust it out again.
Today’s lesson was one about adjusting. My plan for a nice savory dip for dinner never came through but I just went with what the universe was presenting me and didn’t fret. I knew I would have time later in the night to complete my quest. Had I stuck to my original dip plan, I would have missed a fun night with some fun smiling friends and great food. That would have been against what this whole thing is about. I’m here to join the celebration, not miss it because I had other plans. In the end, I just shifted gears which was another lesson about being flexible. It all turned out ok in the end. That’s true celebration and that’s what I learned on chip and dip day.
Next Up: National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day