Category Archives: THS Recipes

Easy, Easier, and Easiest! Dips 3 Ways with Stonyfield and Simply Organic

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield as part of my participation in the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club.

easiest - smile

There has been bunches of dip talk in my life the past several weeks.  First with the holidays, swapping recipes with co-workers and internet pals as we all plan our respective gatherings. Then the discussion continued with two different friends chatting menu planning for toddler birthday parties.  I’ve said it before and I don’t expect I’ll change my opinion anytime soon: I’m a flavor loving snack lover who loves to get my dip on!

My favorite party plan includes a collection of dips, spreads, and sauces with a variety of dipping agent freggies and carbs.  Add a meat and cheese board a la Jessica’s How I Make a Killer Cheese Plate. [Plus 3 Mini Cheeseballs!!!] or Andie’s How to Make a Cheese Plate, and I’ll be the happiest hostess in the world.

The key for me is stacking my party menus with foods I rarely get sick of, since several days following any party means eating leftovers at every meal. [Which stands as further proof I am my mother’s daughter.]

It may be my general Midwesterness that makes me such a dip lover, and maybe my start-all-things-but-finish-half Taurus self that loves a snack plate with just two bites of ALL THE OPTIONS.  It’s no surprise that my NYE game night menu included a collection of dips and dippers to share even though the guest list was simply a couple of friends who joined us for a double date night-in at THS HQ.


Today I’m sharing a choose your own level of ease adventure of three dip recipes featuring Stonyfield’s new Double Cream Plain Yogurt [which is perfect for use in the kitchen! I’m using it anywhere I would normally add sour cream!] and this month’s partner, Simply Organic. Choose from the easy, easier or easiest recipe trio or take a nod from my NYE menu and combine 2 or 3 recipes below for a dipping spread to share.


An Easy Recipe: Fiesta Taco Dip

This dip is an inspired warm-up version of one of my favorite Midwestern specialties: cold taco dip! [another favorite for parties of any kind! Check out a healthified recipe from my cousin Amy here: Shugary Sweets’ Healthy Taco Dip

The recipe below is easily customizable to what your preferences and lifestyle; swap well drained canned tomatoes for fresh, black beans for beef, or add extra veggies like diced peppers and squash.


  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 T + 1 t Simply Organic Adobo Seasoning
  • 1 t Simply Organic Cumin
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 c Stonyfield Double Cream Yogurt
  • 3/4  Shredded Cheese of choice, divided
  • 1 c diced tomato
  • 3/4 c corn kernels
  • 1/2 c black olive slices


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook 3 minutes.
  • Add ground beef and seasonings, stirring to combine. Cook until no longer pink, stirring every couple of minutes.
  • Drain fat from meat and onion mixture and set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, double cream yogurt, 1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese.
  • Add beef mixture, tomatoes, and corn kernels to the bowl and fold together.
  • Pour into baking dish and smooth evenly with spatcula.
  • Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
  • Bake for 15 minutes on lower rack.
  • Turn broiler to low. Move dish to top rack and cook 2-4 minutes. Keep a close eye and remove when nicely browned to your liking.

serve with your favorite dippers such as: tortilla chips, celery and carrot sticks, colored pepper strips, pretzel sticks or chips, bread cubes, and crackers

layered greek dip

An Easier Recipe: Layered Greek Dip

This recipe takes me back to family vacations on the hunt for the best Greek food we could find. [Tarpon Springs, Florida – I’m looking at you!]  The ingredients in this dip are those of a classic Greek salad, which makes eating it on a bed of greens and a side of pita chips for lunch completely acceptable. DIP FOR EVERY MEAL!



  • Stir double cream yogurt and seasoning mix together until well combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • In a glass dish, layer hummus, followed by yogurt dip.
  • Sprinkle a layer of olives, followed by tomatoes, followed by cucumbers.
  • Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
  • Top with feta crumbles, and finally minced chives.

serve with: your favorite dippers such as: pita bread or chips, sea salt crackers, cucumber slices and carrot sticks

easiest finish

The Easiest Recipe: Pairing Stonyfield’s New Double Cream Plain Yogurt with Simply Organic Onion and Chive Dip Mix

This 2-ingredient quick dip also makes a great base for other recipes, such as the Layered Greek Dip above!  You can add to this recipe by adding minced chives on top before serving or mixing in an onion worth of caramelized slices. [I always use the method in this Caramelized Onion Mashed Potato recipe from Daily Garnish. ]



  • Combine ingredients.
  • Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

serve with: your favorite dippers such as: pita bread or chips, sea salt crackers, cucumber slices and carrot sticks

easiest process


Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Trifle


6 Reasons I love this Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Trifle recipe:

  1. It is SUPER EASY. Like super easy. As in, even if you make all the ingredients from scratch, all the ingredients are so EASY themselves, so the trifle is still EASY.
  2. The finish product makes the recipe seem way more difficult than it actually is, and therefore FANCY.
  3. Utilization of my current favorite Fall recipe: Slow Cooker Cinnamon Sugar Apples!
  4. You can make a larger, for scoop-able sharing, beautifully layered trifle to bring to the table at Friendsgiving, OR you can make individual desserts for everyone in the small dessert glassware you have gathering dust in the cabinet.  Or if you are like me, you sloppily spoon it into Ball Jars because chucky stripes were always my preference to pin stripes.

  5. Speaking for Friendsgiving, the entire time I worked on this deliciousness, I thought about one of the BEST episode of Friends ever, The One Where Ross Got High.  This is one of my most favorite episodes of the show, definitely Canon Worthy in my opinion, which is why this is considered a “reason” on this list of reasons why I love this recipe. 

    By the way, in case you want to make a copy of Rachel Green’s infamous “Traditional English Trifle” for your own Turkey Day table, the internet has got you covered: How to Make Rachel’s Thanksgiving Trifle and How to Survive Serving It and It was Gross, then Good, then Really Gross

  6. This recipe is easily customizable, which makes the individual serving idea an extra fun one! This would be a great dessert for everyone to prep together, layering their ingredients of choice into their Ball jar before screwing on a lid [I love this type for reusability which I’ve seen at Target, Wal-mart and on Amazon, too] and storing in the fridge for when dessert came around. [Don’t forget to label them!]

    It’s like an at-home take on the Fro-Yo craze, right?   Each human determining their own right amount of crunch to soft ratio.  Each mouth prepared for the flavor dynamics of repetitive layers. The ability to add peanuts or nut butter without sending anyone to the hospital. Everyone wins!

  7. It fits into this week’s Recipe Wednesday Link-Up Theme over at Thanksgiving Desserts!
    Fellow bloggers; you can link-up your own dessert recipes in the link-up, too! If you add a recipe that fits the weekly theme, we share your recipe on social media.  It’s a great way to support the HLB community and promote your blog, too.  Add your recipes here: Recipe Wednesday: #TurkeyDayYums Dessert Time



Here’s how I layered my ingredients in these individual Jar Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Trifles:

Super Simple Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples
small cubes of Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Bread
extra syrup from the apples
Cheesecake flavored pudding [I made mine from a JELL-O mix]
Toasted Maple Cinnamon Oats [recipe below]
more apples
more bread
more oats
more syrup from the apples
more pudding

HOLY DELICIOUSNESS, BATMAN.  Get a spoon. Next time I’m tossing some toasted pecans into the mix!


Toasted Maple Cinnamon Oats


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted [salted is a-okay in this one!]


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, placing a rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Combine ingredients in a bowl, folding and stirring until well coated.
  • Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
  • Bake 10-30 minutes, depending on your desired crunch level. The longer you let it bake, the closer an eye you should keep on it. It can burn quickly if you aren’t paying attention.
  • Cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to storage dish to finish cooling. 
  • Once cool enough to touch, crumble any large pieces and set aside for use in Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Trifle.

My Fall Favorites and a Recipe for Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Bread

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield as part of my participation in the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club.

fallfavs Collage

A Few of My Favorite Things About Fall

Football!  It sure is a lot of fun being a Wisconsin Badger fan this year! At the start of the season they were not ranked and over the past several weeks they’ve climbed up the list.  They are currently a two loss team, and every game has been exciting to watch.

I also share an apartment with a Giants fan, which means we’ve got some NFL viewing going on these days, too.

The Colors! As cliché as it sounds, it really is one of the best parts about living in the Northeast.  This year was especially notable because along with my normal neighborhood leaf changes, I also took a trip to Aspen, Colorado during the end of peak for the Aspen trees.  And in the beginning of October I enjoyed a hike at John Boyd Thacher State Park with Nick and my parents while they were in town visiting us.  I’m in the middle of going through my images and have plans to share a bit more about both trips, but here’s a sneak peak at a few of my favorites snapshots…

_colorco (1)

_colorco (3)

_colorco (2)



Fall TV.  Fall is generally a time for celebrating television debuts of new-to-us shows we’re excited about, but this season I’m feeling a little “blah” about what’s on. There are two new to TV this fall shows I’m digging well beyond the rest: This Is Us, which you’ve likely already heard all about, Lethal Weapon which was MUCH better than I expected from the jump and I find myself genuinely stoked to watch each new episode of when they appear on our Hulu+ Watchlist [I still want the queue system back, but that’s another story for another day.]

With the exception of these two hour long newbies, I’m spending most of my televisioning rewatching old favorites.  I am still happy to catch new episodes of currently airing favorites like Brooklyn-99, Chicago PD, Greys, and The Goldbergs, but mostly we’re spending time watching shows for what seems like the 100th time.  Shows like The West Wing [I’m currently watching with Nick as he goes from beginning to end for the first time after watching random episodes and strings of episodes with me over the past five years,] Friends, 30 Rock, and Gilmore Girls dominate my viewing and I’m not sad about it. Maybe this is new way to do “fall TV.”

Using the Oven.  Because we don’t have central air, I avoid using the oven all summer long.  This means that by the time the temperature starts to drop, I’ve collected a list of recipe ideas for use in the oven that I want to dig into STAT.

Up first on the list for this month was a quick bread recipe I’ve been dreaming up, inspired by a craving for cinnamon rolls and this month’s Stonyfield Clean Plate Club partnership with King Arthur Flour.


King Arthur is a brand I have used in my kitchen since I first moved to New York. I always have King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour on hand and use it in a lot of my baking and pancake making.

Behind the blog note: I love learning about new brands and products through reviews and sponsor partnerships of course, but it’s a different kind of enjoyable when I get to work with a brand I have been relying on for several years like I have with King Arthur. King Arthur Flour has been around for a heck of a long time, too! The company history goes all the way back to 1790.

Through the Clean Plate club I was also gifted two new-to-me kitchen tools: a set of Levoons and a Silpat!  I see Silpats used on the Food Network and other cooking shows ALL THE TIME and I was stoked to add it to THS kitchen for future successful non-stick baking of my own.

I wasn’t familiar with the Levoons before recieving them, but the easy-to-use measuring tool quickly won me over with it’s squeeze leveling arm perfect for flour, baking powder, sugar, and all other powdery, dry ingredients. Check out this video to see what they are about in 25 seconds!


We’ve been going through Stonyfield’s Smooth & Creamy Yogurt like it’s going out of style over here at THS HQ. I didn’t realize how much Nick LOVES yogurt because he doesn’t like Greek and that’s typically what I was choosing for cooking and baking the past couple of years.  A few months back I picked up some Smooth & Creamy on a whim and it seemed to almost disappear from the fridge because we were both going for small bowls of yogurt for snacking so often.

My current flavor obsession is the French Vanilla because it can be mixed with any number of toppings or additions. Cherry Preserves is a favorite for a sweet treat after dinner.

I’ve also been known to smear a spoonful of the yogurt on top of this delicious yogurt quick bread sure to make your kitchen smell as delicious as Cinnabon.

_bread photo

Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Bread


  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup Stonyfield French Vanilla Smooth & Creamy Yogurt

    for swirl:

  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prep a loaf pan [9” X 5”] with cooking spray or parchment paper.
  • Combine flours, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk syrups, eggs, butter and yogurt.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  • In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Pour about 1/3 of the batter into the loaf pan; top with about 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat with another layer of batter and another layer of cinnamon sugar.  Top with last 1/3 of batter.
  • Now it’s time to make the swirl! Take a butter knife and swirl through the batter, making a vertical zig-zag pattern from one side of the loaf pan to the other.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture over top of the loaf.
  • Bake for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees, testing with the toothpick trick for doneness.
  • Cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

_bread cooling

Spoiler Alert: I used this Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Bread as well as the Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples I shared earlier this week in a trifle recipe that is out of this world! I’ll be sharing the Trifle recipe here on THS next week.