Cranberry Heat Dip **Repost**

It’s another year of my favorite holiday appetizer! I’ll be making double or triple batches this season. Check it out below!

If you’re looking for an appetizer that’s sure to impress, you’re in the right place! This one’s creamy with a sweet heat and all the right holiday flavors. But I’m no food blogger so I’ll cut straight to the chase and give you the recipe… if you like a little story with your recipes, feel free to read the second half of this post for how this recipe came to be.

Cranberry Heat Dip

Prep Time: About 20 minutes

NOTES:

  • This recipe requires that you let the ingredients rest in the refrigerator overnight for the best flavor.
  • This recipe gets it heat from Serrano peppers, which are hotter than jalapeños (about 5xs hotter). Don’t worry, the citrus from the orange with the cream cheese cool it down. If you’re heat sensitive, you can try using less Serranos. If you’re a heat-weeny, you can sub them for jalapeños.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 oz fresh cranberries, uncooked
  • 2-3 Serrano peppers (depending on your heat preference)
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 orange
  • Pinch of salt
  • 16 oz whipped cream cheese
  • Crackers (I like Triscuits or Ritz)

TOOLS:

  • Knife
  • A nice pie dish to serve your dip
  • A medium bowl
  • A spoon or rubber spatula
  • A zester (or a fine cheese grate will work in a pinch)
  • Colander

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop your cranberries. If you have never chopped fresh cranberries before, you’ll find these boogers can be messy. You don’t need to chop them all individually but you want to avoid any whole cranberries.
  2. Dice the Serrano peppers and chop the green onions.
  3. In a medium bowl toss in the cranberries, peppers, and onions. Combine the mixture with the sugar and salt
  4. Zest your orange into the bowl then cut it in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl and stir well incorporated.
  5. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. The next day, remove the bowl from the fridge and give it another good stir.
  7. Spoon the whipped cream cheese into your serving dish.
  8. Pour the cranberry mixture into the colander to strain the excess juice.
  9. Pour the strained cranberry mixture over your whipped cream cheese. Cover and put back in the refrigerator if not serving immediately.
  10. Serve your dip with crackers and a spoon to help spread onto crackers.
  11. Enjoy!

The Story

As we all know, 2020 has been one giant shitstorm. The impact of COVID-19 has lasted much longer than we all anticipated and has overshadowed the winter holidays. Despite celebrating much smaller than usual and a day later, we still planned to have the traditional dinner at Thanksgiving with a few family members. A few days before Thanksgiving we were invited to celebrate over dinner with our good friends the Sickles. Having the main, sides, and desserts covered, Rachel asked if I could bring an appetizer. Well, turns out I’ve never made an appetizer for a holiday meal!

So I did what anyone does when searching for inspiration… I hit Pinterest. This Cranberry Jalapeño Dip caught my eye so I had Sr. pick up the ingredients during a last minute run to the grocer. Sr. couldn’t find jalapeño’s so he brought home Serranos. My friend Carlos once told me that Serranos we much better than jalapeño, with better heat and flavor. To be safe I only used 2 Serranos, since they can be significantly hotter than jalapeños.

Additionally, we’ve been binge-watching the Kids Ultimate Holiday Baking Championships. So with the inspirations of great flavor pairings and Grace’s desire to zest every orange she sees like the kids on t.v., we decided to replace the lemon in the original recipe with orange.

This dip was a HIT y’all! The creaminess of the soft cream cheese, the sweet tang of the sugared cranberries and orange, and the slow heat of the Serrano make it pure joy. It was so good I let the Sickles keep the rest and made another dish the next day for dinner at our house. Sr. mentioned that it could be a but hooter so the second time I used an extra pepper and will use 4 the next time.



Cranberry Heat Dip

If you’re looking for an appetizer that’s sure to impress, you’re in the right place! This one’s creamy with a sweet heat and all the right holiday flavors. But I’m no food blogger so I’ll cut straight to the chase and give you recipe… if you like a little story with your recipes, feel free to read the second half of this post for how this recipe came to be.

Cranberry Heat Dip

Prep Time: About 20 minutes

NOTES:

  • This recipe requires that you let the ingredients rest in the refrigerator overnight for the best flavor.
  • This recipe gets it heat from Serrano peppers, which are hotter than jalapeños (about 5xs hotter). Don’t worry, the citrus from the orange with the cream cheese cool it down. If you’re heat sensitive, you can try using less Serranos. If you’re a heat-weeny, you can sub them for jalapeños.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 oz fresh cranberries, uncooked
  • 2-3 Serrano peppers (depending on your heat preference)
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 orange
  • Pinch of salt
  • 16 oz whipped cream cheese
  • Crackers (I like Triscuits or Ritz)

TOOLS:

  • Knife
  • A nice pie dish to serve your dip
  • A medium bowl
  • A spoon or rubber spatula
  • A zester (or a fine cheese grate will work in a pinch)
  • Colander

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop your cranberries. If you have never chopped fresh cranberries before, you’ll find these boogers can be messy. You don’t need to chop them all individually but you want to avoid any whole cranberries.
  2. Dice the Serrano peppers and chop the green onions.
  3. In a medium bowl toss in the cranberries, peppers, and onions. Combine the mixture with the sugar and salt
  4. Zest your orange into the bowl then cut it in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl and stir well incorporated.
  5. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. The next day, remove the bowl from the fridge and give it another good stir.
  7. Spoon the whipped cream cheese into your serving dish.
  8. Pour the cranberry mixture into the colander to strain the excess juice.
  9. Pour the strained cranberry mixture over your whipped cream cheese. Cover and put back in the refrigerator if not serving immediately.
  10. Serve your dip with crackers and a spoon to help spread onto crackers.
  11. Enjoy!

The Story

As we all know, 2020 has been one giant shitstorm. The impact of COVID-19 has lasted much longer than we all anticipated and has overshadowed the winter holidays. Despite celebrating much smaller than usual and a day later, we still planned to have the traditional dinner at Thanksgiving with a few family members. A few days before Thanksgiving we were invited to celebrate over dinner with our good friends the Sickles. Having the main, sides, and desserts covered, Rachel asked if I could bring an appetizer. Well, turns out I’ve never made an appetizer for a holiday meal!

So I did what anyone does when searching for inspiration… I hit Pinterest. This Cranberry Jalapeño Dip caught my eye so I had Sr. pick up the ingredients during a last minute run to the grocer. Sr. couldn’t find jalapeño’s so he brought home Serranos. My friend Carlos once told me that Serranos we much better than jalapeño, with a better heat and flavor. To be safe I only used 2 Serranos, since they can be significantly hotter than jalapeños.

Additionally we’ve been binge watching the Kids Ultimate Holiday Baking Championships. So with the inspirations of great flavor pairings and Grace’s desire to zest every orange she sees like the kids on t.v., we decided to replace the lemon in the original recipe with orange.

This dip was a HIT y’all! The creaminess of the soft cream cheese, the sweet tang of the sugared cranberries and orange, and the slow heat of the Serrano make it pure joy. It was so good I let the Sickles keep the rest and made another dish the next day for dinner at our house. Sr. mentioned that it could be a but hooter so the second time I used an extra pepper and will use 4 the next time.



Watermelon Lemonade: The Perfect Drink for this Summer!

Y’all! There seriously couldn’t be a better summertime lemonade!

We have been so blessed these past few weeks after Brian Sr.’s brain surgery with dinners and treats from friends, neighbors, and family. The food has been delicious. One of our favorites was a taco dinner Bridgette made for us, complete with a cold pitcher of watermelon lemonade.

This lemonade was everything y’all! It was pretty–a sunset pink with little slices of lemon and chunks of watermelon. It was also simply delicious. We sucked it down before the day was over.

Sr. was still in the ICU and didn’t get to enjoy the lemonade with us so this weekend I decided to try and recreate it. I texted Bridgette for the recipe but there wasn’t one. She totally winged it! Bridgette did share what she could remember of how she made it so the girls and I took that and ran with it.

Now I have to be honest, Bridgette’s recipe included fresh squeezed lemons and organic cane sugar… I didn’t have enough lemons to make lemonade so I just used good ole Country Time lemonade mix–a pantry staple in our house when the weather is warm. We also added a garnish of lemon balm from the garden!

Watermelon Lemonade Recipe

Prep Time: 10 – 15 minutes

This recipe uses 3 parts lemonade, one part watermelon juice. You can use whatever lemonade recipe you prefer–whether fresh squeezed or premixed.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe watermelon
  • 3+ cups of your favorite lemonade
  • Lemon slices (optional)
  • A few leaves of lemon balm (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make your lemonade. You’ll need at least 3 cups.
  2. Cut and juice the watermelon. You’ll need at least on cup of watermelon juice and a few cubes for garnishing your lemonade. To juice you can take what pools form cutting the watermelon, or you can make juice by placing watermelon in a cup or bowl and mashing it with a fork. Strain the watermelon juice into a measuring cup.
  3. Mix lemonade and watermelon juice in a pitcher – 3 parts lemonade and 1 part watermelon.
  4. Garnish with lemon slices, cubes of watermelon, and lemon balm leaves.

Voila! Serve chilled or over ice.



Peaches

by Grace, age 5

Peaches are the best thing in my life!

My garden’s 🍑s will be so sweet. when we eat then we will get the seeds and replant them so we can have more and more. We have a 🍑 tree 🌳 we planted it for my Opie, he died. I really wish we could have showed him, but we can’t. Mom say’s Opie would be proud.

Me nest tot he peach tree holding our first strawberry

I can’t wait to eat the the peaches from our tree. I want to make peach smoothies, peach pie, peach juice, eat them frozen and eat them fresh, maybe even in a salad! We also have strawberries and blueberries, which will be yummy with peaches. Peaches are good no matter how you eat them. But maybe not with onions and carrots 🤮

My Dad loves peach cobbler! I’m sure all my people love peaches too–Grandma, Papa, Opa, Gigi, Papa David, Aunt Rosey, Mr. Paul and Rachel….

Thats all about peaches.

Okay, bye!


My Mom and Breakfast

By Grace Camp, age 5

*Posts edited by Mom for clarity, spelling, and punctuation.

My Mommy makes breakfast every morning. But not on Mother’s Day. I love cereal. She always adds fruit to my cereal. Yum! Sometimes she makes me eat eggs, I do not like eggs very much but I do like eggs with salsa and cheese. This Mothers Day, Daddy cooked and made eggs. They were SO good. He put spicy cheese on them.

Sometimes I help Mommy make french toast or waffles. She lets me pour and mix ingredients. I like to use maple syrup with mine, but Mom won’t let me pour that anymore.

My FAVORITE breakfast is rhubarb pie! I love helping Mommy make that. Daddy likes it too.

When we cook, Mommy likes to play music on the Google. We both like listening to Lauren Daigel radio. Sometimes we dance.

Maybe we should make some cooking videos for you? But my Mom would need her coffee first. I never make her coffee but sometimes Brian does.

After breakfast we check on the chicks then wash out hands and brush and floss our teeth. We also make our beds and clean our rooms. [Editor’s Note: While beds made and rooms tidy is always the plan, it’s more of a pipe dream in the Camp House, y’all. It has happened before but not often. )



Strawberry- Rhubarb Pie

Last week the girls and I baked our first strawberry-rhubarb pies of the season. If you’ve been reading the blog from the start you know how much I love this pie. I’ve been perfecting my recipe since we moved here and I first discovered we had rhubarb growing in the house-gardens. This of course was the start of our “cooking show” videos. We shared the first video with you earlier this week on how to make my favorite pie crust. Before we jump to the video let me tell you how to make this pie… and why I make it the way I do.

The first time I made this pie, it came out all watery and soupy, a little too tart and not very pretty. I played around with strawberry to rhubarb ratios which made it a little sweeter and prettier–I have green rhubarb so it looks like strawberry-celery pie; more strawberries adds more color. However, I still had a messy, soup of a pie. The additional strawberries actually made this problem worse. I mean, call me crazy, but I think you should be able to use your pie spatula and not a spoon to serve your pie. My search continued.

Many recipes that addressed the soupy issue called for plain gelatin, something I’ve never carried min my pantry. Finally, last year I came across this recipe which called for corn starch (something I always have in my pantry) to battle the watery juices from the strawberries. This recipe also had two big differences to the previous recipes I tried–half the sugar is brown sugar and the use of orange juice.

The brown sugar adds a richer sweetness, due to the molasses, and actually retains moisture so it helps make a more dense pie filling. I actually prefer dark brown sugar over the light brown sugar the original recipe calls for and use the dark in my pies. I also add a little more vanilla for some more depth.

I also LOVE the citrus notes the orange juice adds to the pie. The orange pairs so nicely with the strawberries. I like it so much I incorporate more OJ in my own recipe. I’m also pretty picky when it comes to orange juice, I like Simply Orange’s High Pulp. It makes a difference, I promise!

Cory’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 homemade pie crusts
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • sugar, coarse or granulated
  • 3 cups cut strawberries
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups chopped rhubarb (chopped in 1/2 inch or smaller pieces)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (use up to 1 Tbs more if needed)
  • 2 Tbs orange juice
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • A pinch of salt

Tools and Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Spoon for stirring
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Knife
  • Pie dish
  • Basting or pastry brush
  • Cookie/baking sheet
  • Cooling rack

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare filling. In a large bowl, mix together strawberries, rhubarb, sugars, salt, orange juice, and corn starch.
  3. Prepare pie dish. While the filling settles, roll out your crusts. (If you don’t have your crust made yet, no worries, the longer that filling mixture sits they more those flavors blend.) Place bottom crust in the dish.
  1. Fill the pie. Give your filling mixture one more stir (add more corn starch if it’s really juicy, however, you’ll have some juice that you’ll leave in the bowl). Add a few pieces of butter on top o the filling.
  2. Close the pie. Cover the filling with your top pie crust. Get creative with this! You can use cookie cutters to add a design, do a classic lattice, or fun edging. Take your beaten egg and brush it on the crust. Sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Bake. Place the pie on the cookie sheet and bake the pie for 20 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350, keeping the pie in the oven, and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Cool. Allow the pie to cool for 2-3 hours – place on a cooling rack to help it cool faster.
  5. Enjoy! Our favorite ways to eat the pie warm with vanilla ice cream or cold for breakfast but there’s really no wrong way to do it!

Now for the video. I feel like I should add some context first. This video features several high-speed clips as the girls were kind of over the whole baking and recording thing after a one-hour intermission between the pie crust video and pie filling video to make more crust (I forgot we were making more than one pie so had to whip up a double batch of crust before moving to the filling). Therefore, the filling video took WAY longer than it should have (even with kids) but includes some silly song and dance action for your entertainment.



Cory’s Favorite Pie Crust Recipe

It’s light, it’s flaky, and it’s super simple!

Last week, we made the first pies of the spring/summer season.

I love any season with pie, but summer fruit and berry pies are some of my favorites. Strawberry-Rhubarb pie is at the TOP of the list.

When we started this blog and I told the girls we could share recipes on it, they instantly went to wanting to make cooking videos. When I agreed to this, I assumed they meant the hand cooking videos that are so popular with Pinterest and social media these days.

But, of course not, they wanted a full on cooking SHOW type of video. Cue visions of me bringing out my inner Julia Child!

So, I bought myself a great little island for Mother’s Day (I’d been wanting one a few years now anyway) and set up the camera equipment…. on a Monday…. after me working and the kids learning from home ALL day…. not my best idea.

Despite being extra tired, and saying things wrong, like 3/4 cup instead of 1/3 cup (I was tired), it turned out pretty cute (the girls make that part easy). Long, but cute. I’ve posted the video below but let me give you the recipe first.

Cory’s Favorite Flaky Pie Crust

This recipe makes enough crust for one pie with crust on the top and bottom or two pies with crust on the bottom only.

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups flour, sifted
  • 2/3 Cup PLUS 2 Tbs shortening, chilled if you’ve got your shit together but don’t sweat it if you forget
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 Tbs cold water
  • 1 egg

Cooking tools and equipment

  • 1 medium bowl for mixing
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 1-2 pie dishes (one if you are using crust on the top and bottom of the pie.)
  • Flour sifter
  • Pastry cutter (aka pastry blender) or a fork works too
  • Fork
  • Rolling pin
  • Wax paper or a rolling mat (optional)

Preparation

Start by sifting your flour into your bowl. Add salt and mix gently. Measure out half of the required shortening and use the pastry blender to cut it into the flour mixture until you have pea-size clumps. Next, cut the remaining shortening to the dough until it resembles cornmeal. Once the shortening is fully incorporated, add cold water one tablespoon at a time and stir. You’ll add cold water until the dough is moist.

Once the dough is ready, use your hands to grab the dough from the bowl and roll into two flattened rounds. This is where Betty Crocker would say to chill the dough… I say press on my friends!

On a piece of wax paper, or a rolling mat, rollout your dough to to correct size (about one inch wider than your pie dish). Transfer to your pie dish, fill and bake according to your pie recipe. You can also transfer it to a flat surface and place in the fridge if you don’t have your filling prepared. You can also leave it on the wax paper, roll loosely, and place in the freezer if you’re wanting to have some crust ready for a rainy day.

You’ll use the egg once you’ve got your pie ready for the oven. Just mix up the egg with a fork then brush it on top of the crust and sprinkle with sugar to give it a nice brown finish.

If any of this is unclear, it’s probably because I am not a food blogger and never follow any recipe to a T. You can check out this article for a similar, more official recipe.


And now, for the video:



This week on the Half-ass Homestead

May 17-24, 2020

Despite being stuck inside most the week, this week was an eventful one; full of hard work, celebrating the birthdays and mourning the loss of those we love. We celebrated Brian Sr’s birthday as well as one my best friend, Rachel’s birthday. We attended the funeral of my Opa virtually and spent time telling stories of his life.

Last Sunday was a busy day! Ella Rose helped me use some old lumber we found under the pine trees to build a raised bed for our new cut flower garden and then fill it with a combination of dirt from an old compost pile on our property and cheap topsoil from Tractor Supply. I also made a small bed around the mailbox for a little curb appeal and filled it with a few new plants and the tall marigold variety we started by seed a few weeks ago. It rained like a monsoon most of the week but weather cleared up for the weekend. Ella Rose and Grace helped sow seeds in the new cut flower garden more on that later.

We also made our first “cooking videos” as we made our rhubarb pie for us and a few friends. 🤣 Tune into tomorrow for the first.

After all the rain, the coop was starting to smell. The chickens are getting to big! Our coop “for 4-6 chickens” is getting a little tight. Jr. helped me clean the coop on Friday while the girls and a few neighborhood kids kept an eye on the chicks as they roamed the yard (maintaining a social distance of course).

This weekend we FINALLY added a gate to the garden, it’s the epitome of half-ass but it gets the job done for now.

We also planted the last of the new plants including two new strawberry plants, two blueberry bushes, eggplant and our special peach tree.

Grace’s take on Saturday’s planting.

Brian Sr. was also busy getting the lawn on the Camp Farm in tiptop shape and working on the “super Chevy”. Look at that pretty green lawn!

Looking ahead to next week we hope to build (or buy) more space for the chicken to run and get mulch in the growing rows.


  • Meet the newest member of the Camp family
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    Check out this video update on what’s been happening and the huge garden renovation this year!
  • This Week on the Half-Ass Homestead: February 12-19, 2022
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  • Nursery Sneak Peek
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Rhubarb

Y’all! It’s almost time for this years’ first harvest of rhubarb!!!

In the back house garden I have two green rhubarb plants side-by-side that provide a steady harvest all from May to Fall. Rhubarb is one of my favorite crops to harvest from our gardens because it means I get to put my love into making something delicious for my family and those around us.

What is rhubarb?

Fun fact, while rhubarb is technically a veggie but it’s often categorized as a fruit because of how it is prepared and served. Looking a lot like celery and ranging from red to pale green, rhubarb has a tart, slightly sweet taste and therefore typically cooked with sugar and fruits, like strawberries, to make jams and baked treats.

Rhubarb is a perennial that requires a cold winter to grow, so it wasn’t too common Texas. I first had rhubarb in college when visiting my Great Aunt Bertha in Washington State. She lived on a country cul-de-sac where she and her neighbors shared a garden (sound familiar?). My Mom and I trekked out to the garden to pick a few stalks then spent the afternoon with her in the kitchen as she taught us her secrets to making rhubarb pie. I don’t remember much about what she said, but I certainly remember there was lots of wine, laughing, and taste testing. I also remember tasting the rhubarb before it was cooked and wondering why the hell Aunt Bert would put it in a pie. That night we ate pie for dessert, went back for seconds and made more pie the next day!

Fast forward about 15 years and I’m walking around the house gardens with Kay, the original owner of our then new home, as she gives me the low down on all the perennials she planted in her 40+ years living her. It was overwhelming trying to consume all the information and knowledge she was spewing out that spring day but as she pointed out what were weeds, what would bloom when, and what we could and couldn’t eat, I was elated to hear her point and the big-leafed green stalky plant and call it rhubarb. I hadn’t recognized it as it is the green variety and not the red rhubarb I had picked with Aunt Bert. Needless to say I was baking rhubarb pie that weekend.

What I’ve Learned About Growing and Harvesting Rhubarb

First off, I am no expert. I mean the first year of harvesting, I used garden shears to cut nearly ALL the stalks at the bottom, even the short little ones. Like a rhubarb buzz cut–rookie move. I was also just letting the plant do it’s thing and flower until Kay told me to stop it. So what can I share?

What Part of the Rhubarb to Eat

First of all, it’s important to know the leaves of rhubarb cannot be eaten, they are poisonous. You can compost them as they break down pretty quickly in the compost process. It’s the stalk of the leaves that you eat. I’ve read the flowering stalks are edible but I haven’t tried them.

Flowering or Bolting Rhubarb

When rhubarb produces flowering stems, this is called bolting (a term I’ve only known for a year or so). These flowers are pretty and don’t harm the plant or taste but do impact your harvest as the plant exhausts energy on the flowing stalks rather than producing more stalks. This means if you want a lot of harvest, your best bet is to remove the flowering stalks with a sharp knife at the base of the plant. Actually, even better is to remove them when they are seed pods, before they become a flowering stalk. I am still working on my confidence in recognizing these seed pods and just staying on top of these stalks.

Harvesting Rhubarb

You’ll want to harvest stalks when they are about 10 inches long. You can either use a sharp knife to cut the stalks at the base, or simply need to grab the stalk toward the base and pull with a twisting motion. Don’t harvest ALL of the stalks at once, like I almost did. This could kill the plant. If your rhubarb plant is new, you’ll need to wait 2 years before harvesting your first harvest to that the plant can become well established. You can keep harvesting those 10″ stalks through the summer and even into the fall but you’ll want to slow down your harvesting after mid July to let your plant store up energy for winter.


Cooking and Baking with Rhubarb

As mentioned before, rhubarb, because of its sour taste is often paired with sugar and fruits. That sweet and tart combination makes it perfect for summer! Honestly, I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to rhubarb. My go-tos are strawberry rhubarb pie and jam but I am looking at expanding my rhubarb recipe collection this year! In the 2 summers I’ve been baking with rhubarb I’d say the pies and jam have definitely become a fan favorite. I always make 2-4 pies at a time and at least 6 jars of jam so there is plenty to share with neighbors and friends. My kids refer to these pies and jams as ‘famous’ and Brian Jr. claims I could profit well at the farmers market. Not sure about that but I’m excited to share these recipes with you this summer.

Grace taking a picture of the rhubarb plants for a post. 🤣