Tag Archives: running

Vanilla Bean and Giada Jr, Jr.

These are my nicknames at school. The first one is self explanatory :/ I think. ┬áMy friend Myra started acknowledging me as “Chef vanilla bean” (from across the kitchen where all my classmates could hear:):):) ) and it stuck. I made the mistake of telling my dad about my new name, so now I’m “VB” at home, GREAT! I do like that I get Giada Jr, Jr. from time to time though because she is one of my favorite tv personalities. I love that her food is always fresh, seasonal,and simple (and as Mollie and I never fail to notice–her nails are perfectly manicured with the perfect pale pink-always.)

Today was Lyla Cowles first birthday party (Bowen’s niece) who’s just the cutest, sweetest thing. I decided the dip to bring to the party had to be Giada’s warm, artichoke with bacon dip. I’ve never had it but have been waiting for a chance to give it go–Giada nailed it once again. The dip was delicious, definitely my new go to.

Switching subjects, I think I really love running. I’ve always been a walker but since Bowen is doing a half marathon in march, I’ve started to love it. I’m really close to signing up to run it, we’ll see how this week goes… We did a little over three today in 32 degree weather and surprisingly I wanted to keep going it felt so good. Actually that’s a lie. For the first mile and a half I could literally feel the white chocolate icing from the best birthday cake in the world creating shooting pains in my stomach. Ouch I won’t do that again. But after that overdose on sugar pain went away it felt so good outside in the sunshine I wanted to keep going! YES I already love it.

ingredients--see recipe below

warm artichoke with bacon

sweet birthday girl and uncbo

Dip: Giada’s Warm Artichoke and Bacon Dip Recipe

  • Butter, for greasing the baking dish
  • 5 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, optional
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 8-ounce bag frozen artichokes, thawed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)


For the dip: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round ceramic deep-dish pie pan or a 1-quart baking dish.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and bacon and cook until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, crumble into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside. In the same skillet, add the oil (if needed), shallots, garlic, artichokes, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until the shallots are translucent and the artichokes begin to brown, about 8 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables to a food processor. Add the mascarpone cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, 1/2 of the cooked bacon pieces and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Pulse until combined but still chunky. Place the dip in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining bacon pieces. Bake until just warmed through (do not let the dip boil), 10 minutes. Serve the pita chips alongside.