Three Cheese Dip

The below is a dip my mom made for Grandma’s birthday, another hit like her Fusilli Salad. I made the dip this past Saturday for a dinner party. My only recommendation on the below is to get “cocktail” or “baby” artichokes. I read in Cook’s Illustrated once that baby artichokes don’t have those harsh inedible leaves like their grown up brother. (kinda like me !) Sometimes in the marinated artichokes, you can get one of those leaves, which isn’t fun.

The reviews were consistent the second time around, delicious! Its officially replaced my cheese display in my appetizer line up.

easy three cheese dip


1 (8 oz.) block of cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 green onions
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella
dash of hot sauce
dash worchestire sauce
salt and pepper

ingredients - easy three cheese dip
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand held electric mixer until smooth. Then beat in the mayonnaise until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and stir together until combined. Transfer the dip to pie plate or shallow gratin dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and the dip is bubbling.

Serve hot with crackers, tortilla chips, crostini or veggies­­­ or pita bread.

easy three cheese dip




Fusilli with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto


I made this recipe I found on a few weeks ago for Grandma’s birthday party. It was a hit! Making pesto is expensive but worth every nickel – it’s scrumptious.

As an added zing, you might want to add a cup of chopped black olives to the salad. I always alter recipes to make them my own or cater to my guests.

A little hint: you may want to thin the pesto with a little extra water, since it’s thick. Let us know how yours turns out. Enjoy!

Serves 4
This tomato pesto packs a wallop of flavor.  Use it in this colorful pasta salad or toss it with hot pasta instead. Or as a spread mixed with cream cheese on a bagel!

For the pine nuts: (or walnuts)
3/4 c. pine nuts/walnuts

For the Pesto:
15 drained oil packed sun dried tomatoes, 5 of them chopped
1/2 c. olive oil (or use oil from sun dried tomato jar)
1/3 c. water
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper

For the salad:
1 lb. fusilli
1/4 lb. spinach leaves, shredded (about 2 cups)
1 c. halved cherry tomatoes (about 6 ounces)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

For nuts: In a small frying pan, toast the nuts over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about five minutes; remove from pan.  Or toast the nuts in a 350 degrees oven for 5-10 minutes.

For pesto: In a blender or food processor, put 1/4 cup of the nuts, the whole sun dried tomotos, the oil, water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Puree until smooth.

For the salad: Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the fusilli until just done, about 13 minutes.  Drain.  Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.  In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the remaining 1/2 cup toasted nuts, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the pesto, the chopped sun dried tomatoes, the spinach, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan.

tagged in comfort foods, cooking

this old house – the exterior

Big day this past Monday – workers from our siding company came to peel away decades of material from our home. It was unnerving to see our house torn apart.

Removal of siding - decades of layers Removal of siding - decades of layers

We didn’t plan to address the exterior for another year but we realized after installing the new windows it was necessary. We can’t risk putting up sheetrock with the potential for leaks. The house needs to be 100% weather proof. It’s frustrating because once we think we’re on track again another obstacle pushing back the timeline.

Removal of siding - decades of layers

Above you’re seeing the original sheathing from around 1890. The first layer of siding on the house was cedar and it was in excellent condition. It was painted a light gray at one point which helped protect it. We had thoughts of keeping the cedar up, but with the new windows, there were too many damaged areas. Also the upkeep would be a ton of work.

In a few months, brand new, super durable composite wood will go up! We hate vinyl. It just feels so fake and it would take a beating considering how close we are to the beach. The winds off the water are so powerful.

I realize now why these new constructions houses go up. It’s easy. It takes and exorbitant amount of effort, time and money to do something special. The other day I read my first post on the house to remind myself why we are going through all of this.

Here’s a progression of photos. The first being from 1938. Matt bought a print of this from the NYC archive. It will hang in our living room when all is done.

91st Street - Rockaway Beach -1938

This the house in 1998 (from the movie No looking back)


I took this before we bought the house in 2013


And now this is where were we are at today.






Fivey’s Shelf

Now that we’re moved into the basement I’ve been looking for ways to improve the space. I thought new moldings for the windows would be an improvement. I told Will and Matt I would like the windows to resemble an old Italian summer kitchen combined with a mystical hobbit house aesthetic.

I made clear, the most important element was the window ledge. It needed to be big enough so Fivey can hang out and watch the squirrels.

This was my initial concept drawing.

The plan

And here’s the final product! I was thrilled with the outcome, it’s spot on.

Fivey enjoying the view

window ledge

It was difficult to get a good photo of the window with the light coming in. I’m trying to show the detail here, it’s beautifully crafted.


This is the second ledge built, we kept the existing molding because this window will be replaced at some point. Fiver enjoys sitting here too, especially in the evenings.