Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blog Party #41--Tradition!: "Debbie's Bean Dip" + a Bonus: "I'll Show You Mine..." (Cookbooks People! What Kind of Blog Do You Think This Is?!?)

Long time no post!  I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to get things ready to leave for Portland tomorrow.  Snowstorms and such there and another lovely case of bronchitis here, helped me make the decision to postpone my flight until Monday and take a couple of days to recover. Hopefully on that end the snow, icy rain and below freezing temperatures will subside a bit while I am downing liquids and popping prescriptions.  It is true that the blood does thin--almost 8 years in Hawaii has made me a weenie where cold weather is concerned.

To make up for my lack of time to post, I am going to cover two things today: Blog Party, because I haven't missed one since I started blogging and "I'll Show You Mine"...showing cookbook collections because I told my friend Natashya at Living In the Kitchen With Puppies that it was a great idea and I would join her.  Note to self: watch out! This girl has amazingly fast reactions. When I think of something and decide its a good idea, it can take months for it to actually happen. She works at warp speed!  (Its OK--she knows I love her!). Now however, I am left with self-esteem issues over my addiction to cookbooks which you will see below after Blog Party.

The theme Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness chose for Blog Party #41  is "Tradition!"  I struggled a bit with this one because our Christmas Day tradition when it comes to food and meals is really no tradition.  For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving Day was traditional but on Christmas Day the tradition became to pick a different theme every year. Over the years we have had themes such as Mexican Night, Baked Potato Bar (my Mom enjoyed how the foil-baked potatoes steamed up her entire kitchen), and the oft repeated (and my personal favorite!) the "All-Appetizers" dinner (not a healthy choice but unending choices of little bites of food make me happy).  This year it is actually going to be more of a traditional dinner--go figure!  I also thought about posting a traditional food thing we do every year; bake and decorate Christmas cookies.  In our family it was a full-scale productions with tables lined up with family, friends who wanted to tag along, bowls and pastry bags of frosting and usually about 100 dozen cookies. Several years ago it got scaled back considerably and this year I think they clocked in about 50 dozen. The cookies then went on plates for relatives and friends.  It was tiring and it made me ultimately dislike eating frosted cookies but it was fun and a great tradition.  Since I usually arrive for Christmas now, well after the decorating is done, it didn't seem fair to do that one. 

So, we move to New Year's Eve.  Today, it is probably one of my least favorite holidays but when I was a child, I thought it was the coolest.  Being from a large family, you don't always get to choose things and New Year's Eve was all about choosing.  We got to pick our favorite soda / beverage, favorite bag of chips or crackers and favorite flavor of dip.  (OK, I was easily entertained as a child!).  We kids watched TV, movies, played games, whatever.  My Aunt and Uncle would come up for a visit and my Aunt Ginny would usually make my favorite bean dip. The dip was so much my favorite that it became named "Debbie's Bean Dip" and it is very popular in my family.  A couple years ago I was in charge of appetizers and got a request for "Debbie's Bean Dip", I made it and a lovely, high quality, not cheap, delicious Smoked Salmon Dip; guess what got eaten... the bean dip!"  (Yes, we are a simple family of simple tastes!)

So here in all it's Internet glory is my Aunt Ginny's "Debbie's Bean Dip", simple yes, but it is addicting!  My family will tell you it goes best with Frito's, my choice used to be Doritos but since it's blog party, I am jazzing it up and serving it with Sesame-Blues, blue corn tortillas.

Debbie's Bean Dip
by Deb's Aunt Ginny

1 (15 oz) can of re-fried beans
3 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 Tbsp onions, finely minced

To taste:
garlic powder
cayenne pepper
salt & pepper

Blend beans, cream cheese and onions together well.  Add spices to taste and mix well. Refrigerate at least two hours and serve with your favorite chip.

Notes/Results:  Aunt Ginny never really specified the amount of spices and you just put them in how you like them--it always turns out.  You can substitute low fat beans and cream cheese if you want but simpler is best with this dip.  I don't think I have made this recipe without doubling it and it always gets eaten.  Yes, it is glorified re-fried beans but it is really good and I have made it for parties and even caught "foodie snobs" enjoying it. Besides it's tradition!

To drink?!  Well, going back to tradition, my beverage of choice was usually orange or strawberry soda, from Safeway (Cragmont--do they even still make it?).  The other day I found this O-Organics Blood Orange Soda at Safeway. Much classier I think.  ;-)

Because, (and this may be Un-American of me), I hate root beer, I used to get orange floats whenever we had root beer floats. So that is how I am serving my blood orange soda, with a nice scoop of vanilla ice-cream--a yummy creamsicle.  

There may be more elegant fair at the Blog Party but come visit with me and I will style you out with some homey goodness!  And a few of my favorite childhood (and even now) movies that I might have been watching on New Years Eve. Thanks Stephanie for being as usual, "the hostest with the mostest!"  Check out the other party attendees at the round up here, after Saturday!

OK, on to my self esteem issues.  Apparently I don't just find love in food, I find it in buying cookbooks.  I don't have an actual count but the shelf count average I did put me at well over 300.  When Natashya mentioned sharing pictures I thought it would be fun until I started taking the pictures.  Nothing like in-your-face evidence that you have an addiction!  Well, I do love them, and slowly but surely, through my Cook From Each Book initiative, I plan to eventually cook from all of them!

My cookbooks are in three places:

In the dinning room I have closets--two half and two full.  The half cabinets/shelves have my wine racks in one and bar stuff in the other.  One full closet contains my glassware (also an addiction) and the other holds the bulk of my collection on 6 shelves.  I love my blue and white as you can see in the collection above.  Sorry the pictures aren't the best and really I should have straightened up more--but you are getting reality here!

The view inside:

There is some order to these books.  The top two shelves hold my vegetarian, vegan, raw, organic and healthy cookbooks along with several soup cookbooks at the end.

Next we have favorite/famous chefs.  That's all Donna Hay at the end. Nigella, Ina, Tom Douglas (fav Seattle Chef), Jamie, etc. are all here.  The shelf below that is more general cookbooks, Better Homes and Gardens, Silver Palate and then moves into the beginning of my International section--the Indian section mostly.

More international here, Hawaii Regional, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. and the bottom shelf has Italian, French, Mexican and then moves into some how-tos, spices, sauces, etc.

In the spare bedroom, I have a folding 3-shelf bookcase in the walk in closet that holds another group.  Unfortunately there are now books stacked on top. This bookcase is overflow (some need to be worked into the closet) and baking/desserts.  Although NOT A BAKER, a girl can dream and drool!  About 15 of the baking/desserts books normally in here are on loan to a friend with a bakery looking for some new ideas.  

The top is mostly overflow (too many used bookstore/book sale purchases).  Some need to be rotated into the main closet.  The first shelf is a bit random, some baking and some health/diet. Some vintage which need to have their own section/special place at some point.

Next we have entertaining, baking and desserts, lots of chocolate cookbooks of course. Then the bottom shelf is pretty random, ones I use less often I guess.

Finally, I have a low bench with two stacks of cookbooks, and a few other things on it in the living room/hall.  This is for larger books, more reference books or ones I just bought or I am currently cooking out of/looking at.  (Some just need to be put away!)  Notice the tape flags on top--I do a lot of perusing and tabbing when I buy them. 

So other than a random one or two books that end up by the bedside for reading that is it. Maybe later on, I 'll use the photos to count them but then I may get really depressed.  Isn't it amazing how you always seem to want/need more! If you had another hour I would show you the other two bookcases of non-cook books as well as the stacks all over.  I am addicted to reading! Thanks Natashya for coming up with the idea to expose our ugly little secrets!  ;-) (Check out her collection here). If you would like to share your cookbook or other food related collection, feel free to join us!  

Whew--that was one long rambling post!  Hope you all are having a good week before Christmas!


  1. that bean dip looks delicious, I hope to try it soon! and WOW!! you have a LOT of cookbooks :) am jealous.

    take care of your bronchitis, I know what is like to have it, not fun.

    happy holidays!

  2. Love your collection! And the creamsicle float - I want one right now!
    I should try the bean dip, I really like the canned refried beans.
    Feel better, drink more blood orange soda, I am sure that will help. Until then, no more surfing!

  3. The bean dip looks yummy, I make something similar but I think it also has sour cream and some smooth salsa -- haven't made it in a while but now I'm craving it after seeing yours! Thanks for sharing your cookbook collection! I'm loving those shelves behind the sliding doors -- way to keep it hidden hehehe! I really need to get my books organized I have a ton too and they are all over the house. Maybe Santa will bring me a new book case :)


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