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An Easy Fondue for Entertaining and My Favorite Chickpeas

Is there anything better than a cheese dip?  I think not!  One of my very favorite restaurants is The Melting Pot but we live nearly two hours from the closest one.  I also am always sad that the fondues I want to try inevitably have alcohol in them.  Recently we were having some family members over to watch a football game and I thought what could be better than having a fondue party?!  That way I could completely control what went into the dip and it would be a great way to use of a bunch of bits and pieces of fruits, vegetables and breads that I had around the house.  The kids really had a great time!

Instead of using any alcohol in my fondue I used Saffron Roads’ Artisan Roasted Chicken Broth.  I love the deep flavor in this broth and knew that it would complement the sharp and creamy cheese. There are so many holiday get events happening right now, I think this is a really great appetizer to put out and allow people to nibble on.  It also gets conversations going in a group who don’t know each other well.  It’s really very easy to make fondue and I can guarantee this will be a hit at your next party!

Fondue for Entertaining and My Favorite Things


  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 lb. Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 11/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp good quality unsalted butter
  • 2-3 cups Saffron Road Artisan Chicken Broth
  • ground nutmeg (optional)
  • Ideas For Dipping
  • cut up apple segments
  • Butter or Club Crackers
  • crisp breadsticks
  • rye crackers
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • celery


  • On the stovetop, place a heavy bottomed pan and add 2 tsp butter.
  • Turn the heat to medium high and begin to stir in the flour.
  • Once the butter and flour combine (it will look a bit like play dough), slowly add the chicken broth.
  • Use a whisk to stir together the flour/butter mixture and the broth, removing any lumps that may have formed.
  • When the liquid is free of any lumps begin to add the cheese a small handful at a time.
  • Stir the mixture to allow the cheese to melt down.
  • When the cheese has been completely melted serve the fondue! You also could transfer the mixture to a crock pot to keep warm until you are ready to serve.

 Let the Dipping Begin!

In honor of my favorite things giveaway I’m also giving away a Saffron Road prize today!  One of my new favorite things are their crunchy chickpeas.  One lucky reader will win a bag of each flavor (Wasabi, Bombay Spice, and Falafel).  Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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eiffel tower

See that? It’s probably one of the most recognizable symbols around the world. I’ve always dreamed of the day I made it to France to see L’tour Eiffel up close and personal. On our way to Morocco we had a 13 hour layover in Paris and there was no chance we were spending it in the airport. (I’m going to do another post at some point talking about long layovers and how to spend them out of the airport.)  There were three things that I needed to do in Paris.
1. Eat a great lunch
2. See Notre Dame
3. Take a boat ride on the Seine.
 Check, Check AND Check.
The hardest part of my plan was finding the right place to have lunch because it had to be perfect. How many times does one get to have lunch in Paris? We walked A LOT and I couldn’t decide where to stop. Maybe it was because we were so hungry or maybe it was just indecision. Finally when I couldn’t stand walking anymore we just sat down at a small bistro a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower.
It was there I ordered one of the best things I’ve ever had. MarocBaba ordered a dish with organic chicken that was juicy and full of flavor. I ordered a salad with microgreens and goat cheese tartine. A tartine is a French open-faced sandwich that is generally a step up from the American idea of a sandwich. This one was on a thick slab of brioche bread with goat cheese melted on top. Drizzled over the cheese was honey and hidden underneath thyme. I’ve been dreaming of this meal for weeks now! But, it’s hard to find the same great honey that exists in France. American honey is thinner and sometimes has a sugary after taste. But I’ve found a great honey here in the US.
At Eat, Write, Retreat last spring I received Honey Ridge Farms Lemon Creme honey. Love in a glass jar. Now I’ve got all of the flavors to test out and play with. When the box came MarocBaba immediately seized the jar of Honey Creme Clover and swears it’s the best honey he’s had in the US. This coming from a Moroccan whose grown up eating honey just about every day of his life really tells me what a great product this is. There are 7 flavors of honey creme but for this recipe I stuck with the clover honey. (I’m going to introduce you to all of the flavors in a future post). Here’s my version of my Parisian dream lunch.

The salad component can be whatever you like best.  But, for the tartine here’s what you will need.

  • Good bread a brioche or french baguette will work well
  • Chevre (goat) cheese
  • Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme
  • Za’atar mix (you can get that here, but essentially a mix of thyme, sesame seeds and salt)

To assemble, spread slices of bread with the honey creme and sprinkle za’atar on top.  Next add a layer of goat cheese.  Place them under a broiler in your oven or toaster oven until the cheese starts to melt slightly and the bread starts to toast on the edges.  In another small bowl melt a few teaspoons of honey creme.  Place the bread around the salad and drizzle with the melted honey before serving.

Chevre Tartine


Disclaimer: This post is part of Honey Ridge Farms “Spread the Love” campaign. I was not compensated for writing this post however did receive complimentary products. All opinions are my own.

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Cheesy Puffy Appetizers

One thing this Ramadan has brought for me is the testing out of several new appetizers.  I’ll admit my repetoire in this department is limited but luckily I’ve tried several new things.  I’m going to be posting several of them over the next few days.  First up is a cheesy puffy appetizer.  I originally saw the idea for this recipe from Christine at Moroccan Food on  I didn’t have the time or energy to make the dough from scratch — enter puff pastry.  Normally I don’t buy this because it’s kind of pricy but sometimes the price outweighs the time it would take me to make the dough.  So in keeping with my motto for this year at work “Work smarter not harder” I went the easy way.

The ingredients are fairly simple and could easily be changed 100 different ways.  This recipe made 24 .


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 6 triangles of Laughing Cow Cheese
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • handful of olives chopped
  • 1 package (2 sheets) of puff pasty
  • 1 egg (for eggwash)
Take puff pastry out and allow to thaw.  While it is doing this, prepare the filling in a frying pan.  Add the ground turkey, garlic, salt and pepper and parsley and cook until done.  You may need to add a little olive oil to the pan if the turkey is dry.  Allow mixture to cool after cooking and then mix in the olives.
Once the puff pastry is no longer frozen cut with a sharp knife into 24 squares.  Unwrap the cheese triangles and cut each one into 4 pieces.  In the middle of the first square place a teaspoon of the meat mixture along with one piece of cheese.   Fold the square in half to make a triangle and press down.  Then fold up the edges of the triangle to the top and press down.  Here’s an image I made to show how I folded them.

This is what they will look like when folded up.



Continue filling and folding until you have used up all of the filling or the dough.  It should come out just about right.  Beat an egg and then brush the pastries with the eggwash to brown them up.  When filling the baking sheet don’t worry too much about spacing.  These pastries won’t spread out though they will puff up.  Bake in a 350F oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

When they are all done they will look just like this;


These are a little rich just because of the puff pastry but I’m sure they will get gobbled in your house as fast as they were at mine!
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This is an exciting week for me and MarocMama, it’s a full week of olive love!  It should come as no surprise to many that we eat a lot of olives. Morocco is well known for their olives and olive oil.  I always come home with kilos of them in my suitcase.  But they only last so long.  My go-to olives have always been the Lindsay brand, just like they were for my mom and grandma.  I didn’t even realize until I was a grown-up and doing my own shopping that there was another brand of olives!  So when  I headed to Washington DC a few months ago for Eat, Write, Retreat and learned Lindsay was one of the sponsors I was so excited.  After gushing about my love affair to the lovely Lindsay ladies we put together a great idea for posts featuring olives and summer parties.  So get your party hats on because I’ve got some great ideas for your summer parties.

Olives are great for summer or winter but I think they are an obvious choice for summer entertaining.  All of the recipes I’ve created can be made without turning on your oven or range (but you certainly can use your oven if needed).  But you will need your grill and a slow-cooker.  (Who wants to be inside in summer?  Not me!)  They also are all recipes that can be done quickly and made for a large crowd.


I’ve used a variety of Lindsay Olive products that I got in my local grocery store.  So if I can find them in my rural Midwestern grocery you’ll be able to find them in your local stores as well.

So let’s get the party started! Today’s recipe is for a Cheesy Olive Spread Crostini.  You can make the spread ahead of time and store until ready to put together.




  • 1/2 can Lindsay Black Olive Naturals
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 3 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • French Baguette
  • melted butter or olive oil for brushing bread
In a food processor blend together ricotta and cream cheeses, salt and pepper and garlic.  Slice baguette into 1/4 – 1/2″ slices. If not using right away place cheese topping into refrigerator.  When ready to serve, turn on your grill to medium heat.  If using charcoal make sure the coals are hot but that no flames are coming over the grate.  Brush the bottom of each slice of baguette with butter or olive oil and spread the top with the cheese.  Place onto the grill and cover.  Cook until the bottoms of the bread are brown and crunchy.  The cheese top should be slightly melted.  Remove from heat once cooked and serve immediately.
**You can add a variety of herbs and spices to the cheese mixture to create a different flavor.  Some ideas include basil, thyme, chili pepper, or lemon juice.
Tomorrow I will be sharing a main dish course that is incredibly easy but loaded with lots of flavor that uses Lindsay’s Manzanilla green olives.  Also I will be posting a giveaway for a Lindsay summer pack for one lucky reader to snag a variety of Lindsay products for your summer parties.
*Disclaimer:  I was compensated by Lindsay Olives to create these recipes and share these posts.  As always I do not endorse products that I do not believe in.  All recipes are my own creations for this post series.  

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Blueberry Cheese Pudgy Pies

Over the weekend we spent a lot of much needed time with family, enjoying each other and being outside.  I even took a technology break.  I rarely checked my phone, wasn’t emailing or checking in anywhere.  It really was a great vacation.  One of the things that we did was to visit my dad at his campsite.  MarocBaba is not a camper.  I’ve tried and tried to talk him into tenting but he refuses.  My dad doesn’t camp with a tent but a pretty nice camper, that includes beds, a kitchen and air conditioning.  Even with this MarocBaba was pretty sure he wouldn’t spend the night.  So a day trip was as good as it got.
Is there anything better than cooking over a real fire?  I don’t think so.  We made an easy dinner, the kids had fun and no one freaked out about germs, bugs, dirt, dust and all else that is outside.  My piece de resistance was a blueberry cheese pudgy pie.  If you’re not of the camping set, a pudgy pie is a sandwich — made in a contraption that looks like this;

As I was creating my dessert pie everyone told me it was going to be disgusting.  It was awesome and I made everyone eat some just so they too would know how awesome it was!!


  • 2 pieces of bread
  • spoonful of blueberry pie filling
  • 1-2 tbsp cream cheese
  • handful of mozzerella cheese
Put everything together like a sandwich, spray the pudgy pie maker with cooking spray and place sandwich inside.  Place on top of the coals of the fire and cook a few minutes on each side.  The bread should toast up insides melt.


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The Wisconsin Dairy Breakfast

I’m letting you in on a little secret of mine.  I’ve never said where I live but today is the day.  I’ve called Wisconsin home most of my life except for a few years when we lived in Washington DC.  I didn’t always live in the same city and in fact the two cities I have lived in a very different.  While I grew up in a very rural part of northern WI where there were way more trees than farms my adult life took me to a much more agriculturally heavy part of the state.  This is where I first encountered the dairy breakfast.

What in the world is a dairy breakfast?

I too wondered what this was about.  I’ve seen farms, I’ve been on farms this was not a surprise.  In a nutshell many counties have a dairy breakfast that occurs yearly in June (it’s National Dairy Month in case you didn’t know).  Each year it’s hosted by a local family run farm on their property.  They set up loads of tables in a big barn, have tractor rides, petting zoos, and all kinds of other fun things to do.  Usually there’s a tour of the farm and the milking operation.  Of course there’s also breakfast – the menu changes but it’s always heavy on dairy.  Milks, cheeses, and butter.  There’s usually a small fee but generally $5 or less per person.

Did you know that 99% of Wisconsin dairy farms are family owned and operated?

Last Friday I went with M and American Grandma (that’s my mom) to the Dairy Breakfast for Eau Claire county called Breakfast in the Valley.  It was drizzling and chilly and for awhile I was ready to call it quits.  We stuck it out and finally made our way into the big hall for breakfast.  Sadly we were a little limited – there were scrambled eggs but they were mixed with ham and peppers so none for us.  Muffins, cheese, milk and juice were safe.  The Eau Claire dairy breakfast also has a tradition of having ice cream with cornflakes and strawberries.  It was 8:30am but I ate it anyway!



The Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel was on hand to help dish out breakfast along with Alice in Dairyland – the official Wisconsin Dairy ambassador.
Who is Alice in Dairyland?  
She is a public relations professional working for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. She travels throughout the state, nation and world to promote Wisconsin products to audiences of all ages, educating the media, youth and civic groups about the many facets of the state’s agricultural industry.  As Wisconsin’s agricultural ambassador, Alice in Dairyland will play an important role in educating urban and rural citizens alike about Wisconsin’s vital agricultural heritage and its impact on our future. She can expect to log more than 40,000 miles, visit 100 schools, and make nearly 300 appearances for Wisconsin agriculture. (from Alice in Dairyland website)



Two Eau Claire County dairy farm families were featured this year.
Unlike many dairy breakfasts’ Eau Claire counties is not held on a farm but at the Eau Claire County Fairgrounds.  So there are no tours of milking parlors or cows to look at.  Who knows maybe we’ll visit another county breakfast yet this June and I can show you what a family run dairy farm looks like.


I wanted to write this post because I wanted to show people that not all operations are factory farms. The farmers that I have contact with really do care about their animals and are not in this to get rich.  In fact most of our local farmers can not farm as their only profession because they simply wouldn’t make enough money to support their families. I buy my milk from a local organic farm, it comes in a glass bottle and I can have it delivered to my door step.  I always encourage people to use their local farmers as a resource and support them!


If you’re in or around Wisconsin check out this free map from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.  It points out many cheese factories and retail stores around the state to satisfy your cheesy desires!

Have you ever been to a dairy breakfast?  Is there something similar in your state?

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