Friday Favorites No. 331

If all went as planned, we arrived back home from Italy last night. I wrote this post before I left, because I'm fairly certain I have a major case of jet lag right now, and wouldn't even begin to make sense. Even more than usual. Once I've had a chance to adjust and unpack, I'll be back to tell you all about it!

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Have you seen Zootopia? We don't catch many animated movies anymore, but we were told it was a must-see. We loved it, and my husband STILL can't stop talking about the sloths at the DMV. Thanks to Craft Passion, I can make him one of his very own.

Not only is this woven basket from Atkinson Designs pretty, but it looks like it would be really fun to make. I've been wanting to try some sort of weaving, and this seems right up my alley.

Since we're approaching that time of year when you can find both fresh lavender and blackberries, this scone recipe from Half Baked Harvest is a must-try.  Imagine how these smell when they're cooking. Mmmm...

I'll admit this recipe from Unlikely Martha is a bit unusual, unless you ordinarily make your guacamole with watermelon. But after I read the ingredients I realized it actually sounds pretty delicious!

When I was young I went through a phase where I was obsessed with horses. In later years it became more of a situation where I like to admire them, but don't need one of my own. This horseshoe heart from Lucky Nail Blacksmith on Handmade at Amazon though? This I do need.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Creamy Red Hot Dipping Sauce

With New Year’s Eve parties planned for this week, I thought this would be the perfect time to share my new favorite dip recipe.  I originally made this as a dipping sauce for meatballs, but we’ve tried it on just about everything.  It’s a great sandwich spread.  It makes Sauerkraut Balls even better.  I’ve even eaten it just spread on a cracker.  Besides all that, I find its orange color kind of festive.

Creamy Red Hot Dip by Crafty Staci
Creamy Red Hot Dip by Crafty Staci

Creamy Red Hot Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup sour cream

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons minced parsley

Creamy Red Hot Dipping Sauce Ingredients
Creamy Red Hot Dipping Sauce Ingredients

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Mix with a mixer or stir until completely blended.  This is even better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours.  If it’s too thick for your taste, just blend in a little milk or cream.

I called this “Red Hot” because of the pepper sauce, and it is spicy, but not in a crazy way.  I can’t wait to try this on a burger, or as dip for chicken tenders, or with french fries, or veggies…

Creamy Red Hot Dipping Sauce from Crafty Staci
Creamy Red Hot Dipping Sauce from Crafty Staci

Cowboy Caviar

I meant to share this recipe with you before the holidays, but time refused to slow down to the pace I needed.  Go figure.

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I’m not sure whether to call this a dip, snack or a side dish.   Maybe appetizer?  All I know is, it’s fantastic and we eat it often.  My friend Melinda, who is an amazing cook, brought this to a party at our house once, years ago, and we’ve requested it at every one since.  The recipe she shared with me also has a place of honor in my cookbook AND I have a photo of the recipe in my cell phone in case I’m at the grocery store and decide we need to make it soon.  Yes, it is that good.

This is very easy to make, and open to variations if there’s an ingredient you don’t have or don’t like.  For instance, the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of olive oil, but because we’re trying to eat healthier, I cut it back to 1 tablespoon.  Melinda recently started substituting Serrano peppers for the jalapenos, which gives it a little different flavor and is just as good.  We leave out the tomatoes because someone in our house doesn’t think they’re edible.

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Cowboy Caviar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 (15 ounce) can blackeye peas (drained)

1 (11 ounce) can white shoepeg corn (not drained)

3/4 cup chopped cilantro

3/4 cup chopped green onion

1 – 2 jalapenos, chopped

2 avocados, chopped

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Combine all the ingredients, except the avocados and tomatoes.  Mix well.  Add the avocados and tomatoes and mix gently.  Makes about 4 cups without the tomatoes.

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A few notes:

-  I usually chop the garlic, cilantro and jalapenos in the food processor because it’s easy, but I like the texture better when I chop everything by hand.

-  This tastes better if you make it the day before you want to eat it so the flavors get a chance to blend.

-  I almost always make a double batch of this and I’ve found that one bunch of cilantro and one bunch of green onions are the perfect amount.  If you’re making a single batch, you’ll need a half bunch of each.

-  If you’ve never heard of shoepeg corn (I hadn’t before this recipe), it’s a white corn with smaller-than-average, tender kernels.  I haven’t had a problem finding it from Green Giant in the canned vegetable aisle.

-  I use my home-canned dill garlic and dill jalapenos in this most of the time.

-  This is great with lime-flavored tortilla chips.  We tried it with Popchips this time and that’s also delicious.  If they start making lime-flavored Popchips it would be heavenly.

For those of you counting calories, 1/2 cup of Cowboy Caviar has 164 calories (without the tomatoes) and it makes a great salad when you throw it on top of spinach.  Enjoy!

Jalapeno Sauerkraut Balls

My husband comes from a very German family.  They actually eat sauerkraut.  Like it’s food or something.

His mom has made an appetizer called Sauerkraut Balls as long as he can remember.  It took a lot of talking on his part the first Christmas we were together to get me to try them.  As you may have suspected, I am not a fan of sauerkraut.  Imagine my surprise, and that of everyone we’ve convinced to try them since, when I bit into one and it was delicious.

This year, my husband decided to try spicing them up a bit.  This is a man who can’t get food hot enough, so we were all a little afraid.  Turns out, his version is even better than the original and not too hot for us mere mortals.

Joel’s Jalapeno Sauerkraut Balls

1/2 lb hot pork sausage

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

3 whole, fresh jalapenos, chopped with seeds

1 T flour

14 oz canned sauerkraut, well drained and coarsely chopped

4 oz cream cheese, softened and cubed (do NOT use fat-free)

1 tsp prepared mustard

1 tsp parsley flakes

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/3 cup flour

2 eggs

2 T water

1 cup panko crumbs

Cook the sausage, onion and jalapeno in a skillet until no pink remains and vegetables are soft.  Break sausage into small pieces.  Turn off heat.  Sprinkle 1 T flour over top.  Add sauerkraut, cream cheese, mustard, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Stir until blended.  Chill mixture until it will hold it’s shape, about an hour. 

Roll into 1” balls.  Measure 1/3 cup flour into a bowl.  Beat 2 eggs and 2 T water in a second bowl.  Measure panko crumbs into a third bowl.  Roll balls in flour, egg, then crumbs.  Place on a baking sheet coated with pan spray.  Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes about 30.  They freeze well.

We made the original version and the jalapeno, so we added some parsley to the bread crumbs for the spicier ones so we could tell them apart easily.  Of course, in hindsight we could have just tasted every single one.  Enjoy!