Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Ravioli Pasta salad.

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For every holiday barbecue, cookout, or just a fun filled backyard party.. you need to include cold salads! It is a total summer food essential, and it pairs so amazingly with hot, juicy meats off the fiery grill! Of course we love the traditional macaroni, potato, and pasta salads for a memorable feast on Memorial Day weekend, but as you Diamonds know, I love nothing more than switching things up, and keeping you all on your toes. 😉 If you are a past lover.. even better, a stuffed pasta lover, this is the salad for you! There are very few of us out there who don’t love pasta salads, so with this being kicked up a notch.. having the inside of the raviolis stuffed with spinach and cheese, there aren’t going to be many people not fighting over the last of these babies laying in the bowl at the end of the party!!

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One of the many wonderful things I love about pasta salads is how beautifully colorful they are! You can fill them with as much color as you want, and thats what I love so much about the culinary arts world; even more so in the summer months!

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It’s pretty obvious that we can’t have ravioli pasta salad without the ravioli’s! These little pretty pouches are filled with spinach and cheese, but you can even choose just ricotta filled if thats what you desire most.

  • Fill a stock pot half way with water. When the water comes to a boil, salt it and slowly shake your raviolis in from the bag. Cook the raviolis for 3-5 minutes. When they’re done cooking you will be able to see through them, and they will also be floating at the top of the water!

As for the yummy veggies in our salad.. start by thinly slicing different colored mini bell peppers. I only used two! Then after slicing, i went ahead and small diced them, so that when you are enjoying the salad you aren’t going to be chewing on large bites of raw bell pepper. Sometimes the flavor of a raw pepper can be a little too overpowering, especially in a cold salad!

Honestly, in every single cold salad I make I need to add an onion into the mix no matter what kind it may be. For this salad specifically I went with thinly sliced scallions. Scallions give dishes that amazing mild onion flavor with a pop of freshness. They’re not too strong, and not too weak. It’s pretty much perfect for the flavor profile we want to achieve inside this magical garden of a ravioli salad!

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You Diamonds already know I need to chop up a fresh herb to toss in with this beautifulness! I think fresh herbs just make a salad really pop with color, and with taste as well.

In a serving bowl: slide in all of our vegetables and herbs that we just finely chopped up, along with a healthy handful of grated parmesan cheese, dried oregano, dried basil, and dried onion flakes. 

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To complement the spinach inside of the ravioli itself, I took two nice handfuls of fresh spinach to thinly slice up to throw in with everything to kind of act as another “herb” if you will. It adds an awesome brightness to the salad once everything is mixed together!

Throw the spinach into the bowl, along with a 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella, and six blend Italian cheeses all combined together.

Once you’ve piled all that stringy delicious cheese in, you may also toss in your spinach and cheese filled ravioli.

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It might be because red is my favorite color, but it just never feels right having a pasta salad without some red Rubys shinning all around. Hehe. I believe roasted red peppers are the ideal way to add the rich red color that I strongly know it needs!

After the peppers, I wanted to add another type of texture and flavor. Green olives were the first things to come to mind, and I think the saltness paired great with everything else that came along with this dish.

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All this unique holiday salad needs is some salt and pepper to taste, the best Italian dressing you think you have ever had in your life (this is what will truly make or break this salad), and finally a good hefty drizzle of olive oil.

  • As some of you Diamonds may have already known for previous posts.. I enjoy finishing many of my creations with a gorgeous glisten of olive oil. I love the way it give something that highlighted glow, and a silky texture when you eat it.

This Memorial Day weekend is meant for remembering, and being grateful for everything we have in our country! The way we know how to honor that best is by enjoying the finest foods we adore. For some reason.. I have always associated this weekend with the very beginning of summer activities; even though technically, it is not summer yet.  It’s the final start of grilling season, and big summer bashes! I hope this salad can be apart of your memorial day festivities tomorrow, and if you Diamonds recreate it I would absolutely love to see what you served along side of it!


Follow me @therealdeepfrieddiamonds on Instagram and tag me in your memorial party pictures! 

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Have fun and be safe! XOXO

Gorgeous Guacamole!

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 When I think of warm weather, patio pick trays, and poolside eats, I instantly think of guacamole! Avocados are one of my absolute favorite pieces of produce to ever exist! I love how filling, creamy, and delicious they are! Besides the fact that they taste like an amazing dream, you can’t over look how versatile these gems are! The possibility list is endless between adding them to sandwiches/salads, topping protein dishes with pieces of them, adding it onto canapés, and of course, mashing it up to make spicy and savory guacamole. 

  • When I create guacamole it’s truly almost different every single time depending what I’m using to dip into it, or what I’m putting it on top of! Of course there are countless times where I make the classic jalapeño and cilantro filled guac because the taste is iconic, but in this case I changed it up.. just a bit. I must say it was a true winner in my house! 

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The gorgeous, gorgeous GUAC:

  • I truly think guacamole is one of the most simplest, and purest tasting dips you could make! There is just genuinely nothing like it! I used six incredible ingredients, and the tried & true seasonings to create this delectable dip that leaves you feeling full, while also leaving you feeling vibrantly fresh. 
  • The steps are simple, and it takes no time at all! 

  1. Mash up very ripe avocados. I used one, but obviously use what you need to serve who you need! 
  2. One ripened tomato (deseeded) and small diced. 
  3. Scallions (green onion)- finely chopped. 
  4. Pickled jalapeños– finely chopped. i used three to one avocado, but you can use less, or more depending on your spice tolerance. In the classic version I use a fresh jalapeño, but I wanted a briny type of kick to this guacamole party! Lol. 
  5. Finely chopped parsley- Now we all know that cilantro is the main flavor maker in guacamole. It’s a fact, BUT it’s also a fact that some people taste soap when they try to enjoy eating it. With that being said.. I wanted to keep it fresh, bright, and flavorful, while taking it down a notch because cilantro can be strong, and unpleasant if you don’t love the taste of it. 
  6. Fresh lime juice– I always use citrus juice in my guacamole creations! Sometimes it’s lemon, maybe even orange, but usually always lime juice. It’s classic, and it goes with the taste of avocados like butter on a noodle. It’s just a divine flavor combination. 
  • Seasonings– Sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to your liking! 

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     For traditional purposes I served this gorgeous guacamole with restaurant style thin and crispy tortilla chips. Personally I think they are the best! They have such good flavor, and I just am obsessed with how light & crunchy they are. 

  • A little out of the ordinary.. although it may be so sensational that the trend will be all over the world soon.. salted, butter crackers! Not only are they salty, and buttery, but they are seasoned just as an everything bagel is. When you dip this seasoned filled cracker into this delicious guac.. you’re taste buds are going to go wild! There are times when two very flavorful things are sometimes a little “much”, but this is the perfect duo. The combination will send you on a ride to avocado toast land!! I know all of us who are avocado lovers have made avocado toast on an everything bagel before, since it is just down right awesome! This is basically the exact same situation.. but with less carbs, so you just get to eat more of it! 😉 

     Guacamole to me.. no matter which way you turn it, no matter what delicious delights you fill it with, it will ALWAYS be so perfectly perfect! I feel like you can truly do no wrong when it comes to creating something with an avocado. When people think of the word guacamole, they think of a classic and traditional Mexican topping, but you can make it any way you want in the world. 

  • If you’re ever having friends, or guests over at the last minute, and you don’t know what to through together.. this is the trick right here! I promise you everyone will love it! I have come across people who won’t add avocado in anything that they eat, but they’ll eat the life out of some guacamole. You can do no wrong with it! 
  • I think a really amazing party planning move with this beauty would even be to use it as a center piece. You can serve this dip in a massive molcajete bowl on a riser, and have all the dipping utensils, and chips cascading downwards around the guacamole! You can even take this centerpiece to greater heights by grazing the presentation with whole avocados, limes, herbs, or anything you used to put inside of the crazy gorgeous guac! 

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     As you Diamonds can see, this guac is easy, but oh so gorgeous

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Avocados are not just for guacamole, but they sure do make an exceptional one, and truthfully I don’t know how I would ever live my life without enjoying some guac myself! It’s an essential to happiness.. especially in the summer, and like I said, I am always incorporating avocados into my meals on a daily basis. I am very VERY loyal to the avocado, and I can guarantee that you Diamonds are going to be very loyal this gorgeous guacamole once you give it a go! 

 

XOXO

 

Deluxe Caprese Summer Salad.

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 A caprese salad is an Italian classic in the summer. The flavor profile goes with everything, and it is super refreshing! I love the contrast of colors, especially when adding new little gems to it, to make it even more colorful, and delicious looking! Normally the traditional herb to garnish caprese salads with is basil. It is an iconic combination with tomatoes, but sometimes I truly feel like parsley gets put on the back burner. It’s one of my favorite herbs because you can put it on anything, and you don’t ever have to worry about interfering with other strong flavors, which is why I decided to use it in this deluxe summer salad. There are even fancy restaurants, and certain chefs who use parsley to garnish desserts with because it serves a fresh pop of color without interrupting sweet flavors. Theres nothing better than a salad with various different colors, textures, and flavors, paired with something hot and juicy off the grill! I think steak compliments this salad exquisitely, but you can seriously even pair it with something as simple as a plump, juicy, hot dog laying in it’s bun! Anything goes!

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If you’re having a party, or you have a huge family, you’ll want to make the caprese salad according to how many people you need to serve. This salad was serving three of us, so I went with using three tomatoes.

  • You want to make sure that the tomatoes are really bright, and fully ripened. The ripeness of your tomatoes will really determine the flavor of this dish, and even the texture feel in your mouth while enjoying it.

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They say some of the most yummiest foods are the simplest, and this definitely is the definition of that!! It is extremely easy to put together, while still be super impressive for presenting at an event, or a dinner party! I love it so much, and I promise you if you make this even once, you will continue to make it all summer long! 

  • I started out classically by just chopping up three garden tomatoes.
  • Then I chopped up a few thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. Some of us are cheese lovers more than the rest of them, so add as much, or as little as you would like.
  • To add a creamy note to the whole mix, and to make it more of a filling kind of salad, I threw in half of an avocado chopped up.. so if you wanted to make this your meal by just adding protein at the end you very well could!
  • For a dressing concept, and immense flavor.. I splashed in red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar to give it that tangy, aged bite that tomatoes pair so awesome with! Then for smoothness, and fat.. I pour in some good olive oil. I enjoy using much more olive oil than vinegar because the vinegar is a lot more powerful, and the olive oil to me is an amazing way to finish off any cold salad. In Italian cooking most dishes are finished with olive oil anyway to give it that shine, and eye appeal! If you use a great olive oil.. it just makes all the flavors of the dish come together to mend every single flavor once you go ahead, and take those delectable bites.

These next few steps are the steps that are going to make this caprese summer salad, deluxe edition! Once you have everything chopped up in the bowl, mixed all together with the oil and vinegar, toss in some briny green olives, small diced roasted red peppers (they go extremely well with mozzarella cheese), thinly sliced scallions, and chopped fresh parsley, to tie everything together! I always finish plating with herbs. Whether I have fresh, or dry on hand, it does not matter to me. Finishing, and garnishing with herbs is quite the experience for eating with your eyes, and also to enhance the flavors when you do go in, and experience the taste yourself.

  • Of course the final thing we need to do is season everything! A salad isn’t a sensational salad without it’s seasonings!
  1. Cracked sea salt. 
  2. fresh cracked black pepper. 
  3. Garlic powder. 
  4. A pinch of dried basil, and Italian seasoning, just for that extra punch of herby goodness. 

When something has beautiful presentation, AND is colorful on top of that.. you will never fail at hosting. They’re probably two of the most important parts to platting food when having a party, or even just putting together a light snack board for date night. I adore styling food. It is probably one of my favorite things about being a chef. 

At times, depending on what event, or party you’re setting up a display for.. I love making small dishes look like they are being put in the middle of a grazing board. A grazing board is just an island, or tables-cape, filled with piles of food to show beauty, and options! Even though I’m not making an exact grazing table here, I like incorporating ideas of that design concept into how I present my food that I serve. You can do this variation with any meal you prepare. I always will stick by the fact that it is true when people say first impressions are everything because when you get your first impression of food that you’re deciding on.. a big part of that is how it is presented to you!

This honestly just looks like a beautiful board of summer eats to me. It looks mouthwatering while still being so light, so that you could have the opportunity to pair it with many other dishes, and pick food along side of this succulent salad.

  • This is for sure something that I truly thin you Diamonds will make time, and time again.

 

               XOXO

Peanut Butter & Banana S’mores Dip!

YES Diamonds! Peanut butter and banana s’mores!! The ULTIMATE summer snack.. turned into a decadent dessert dip. What could be better than this? It’s sharable, warm, peanut buttery, chocolatey, and then topped with marshmallowy gooey goodness! It is unreal, and you are sure going to love dipping into this while relaxing around a crackling bonfire, watching the sun go down on a endless summer night! Memorial Day weekend is coming up very very soon, so if you want to impress your loved ones; this will be the absolute way to their heart!

  • It will satisfy all your sweet tooth cravings, all summer long!

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To create the filling that were going to spread on the bottom of the pie dish, you need to mash up one really ripe banana.

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To add that classic peanut butter flavor we want to our mashed banana, you’ll need to put two heaping tablespoons of peanut butter in the bowl, along with one heaping table spoon of marshmallow fluff to add thickness, and sweetness!

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Just so nothing sticks to the pan and gets gloppy, spray the bottom ever so lightly with butter spray.

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After mixing the creamy banana creation together, spread it on the bottom of our greased pie pan with a mini rubber spatula.

For all you chocolate lovers out there.. this is the fun part! Pour an entire bag of milk chocolate chips all over the peanut butter and banana filling. Make sure you do use milk chocolate, and not semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. Classic s’mores are piled together with a piece of milk chocolate, melting in between the marshmallows and graham cracker, so we want to replicate that smooth, irresistible taste! If you would use another kind of chocolate it’s going have a much more bitter taste, and you want this dip to be super sweet, but not overly sweet; which is why we aren’t using white chocolate either!

As for the important part.. spread out a half a bag of mini marshmallows across the top of the pie dish because what would s’mores be without sticky marshmallows? For aesthetic, and texture.. I sprinkled graham cracker crumbs on top for a garnish, and so that everyone could get the idea of what kind of dip it is at first glance!

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Pop this pretty thing into the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes depending on how brown and toasty you would like the top to be!

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This pillowy, fluffy, and fabulous looking dip is ready to come out of the heat once it’s almost bubbly over the sides, but not quite!

  • Being that we topped it off with the graham cracker crumbs, it’s really going to give the marshmallows that crumbly, toasty flavor when you sail a bite into your mouth.

I mean.. you can just imagine how amazing this is going to taste by that beautiful brown color it got from toasting up so tastefully in the oven!

You can serve this deliciously, dangerous dip with a wide variety of cookies, and things to use to devour all its wonderfulness, but since there’s so much rich flavors going on in the dip alone, I wanted to keep it classical by just using original cinnamon graham crackers. 

  • You may use whatever you want to get as creative as you want, but just note that everything will be that much more rich, and this dip goes a long way indeed!

Dip, dip, dip! Dip, dip, dip! Dip that graham cracker Diamonds! You’ll thank me later 😉

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Besides the graham cracker crumbs, I did go ahead and drizzle chocolate syrup over the top to make the presentation look even more incredible! Just when you thought something couldn’t get more exceptional, it goes and proves you wrong! Lol.

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I could not be more excited about how insanely good this peanut butter and banana s’mores dip turned out! It’s just pure summer night perfection!! You can use this for any event all summer long, or even in the fall.. it would be a perfect touch to warm everyone up after a chilly evening cooking on the grill! Any way you try to turn it.. it will not disappoint you in the least! If you have a large enough crowd.. it will definitely be gone before your eyes.

  • It’s also funny to think about how we always imagine the words “hard”, “time”, or “impossible” when we see something that seems so luxurious and special, but come to find out that it really only takes five minutes to prepare, and fifteen to get s’mored-a-fied in the oven! None of those words pertain to this dish what so ever, and that’s exactly what I love so much about this dessert dip. It is beautiful and so so tasty in the most simplistic way ever! 

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     Have the time of your life dipping into your dessert this Summer, Diamonds! 

 

    XOXO

Creamy and Peppery Tortilla Chip Dip.

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Happy May 1st! April literally came and left. I don’t know where it went, and how it went so extremely fast! For this month, I decided to do a spicy series this week here on my blog in celebration of Cinco de Mayo in hopes that it will all give you a little inspiration to have some of your own festivities. Sometimes I’m honestly just craving a fun filled dip with some heat, alongside a lot of creaminess. This amazing, peppery dip soars and fulfills the taste buds every single time! It’s an awesome first course for your Cinco de Mayo fiesta as well!

  • Keep in mind Diamonds.. this week is all about spicing things up! 

You want to spread two packages of cream cheese all over an aluminum party platter tray, so that you can have something easy to place everything on, and you don’t have any goopy clean up when the dip is gone. You can simply just through the whole tray right away in the garbage! In the future when you’re attending parties.. putting to go food on trays like this is an overall WIN! 

     Pour a whole jar of hot & spicy salsa over our smeared cream cheese.

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     The bright, fresh veggies you’ll need to cut and prep!

On top of the salsa.. let’s add a little crunch and texture! Layer all the chopped vegetables one after another.

  • Two red ripe garden tomato- small diced.
  • A small red onion- small diced.
  • One green bell pepper-small diced.

I think the options of using the red onion, tomato, and green pepper together look so beautiful, honestly. It even reminds of the colors in the Mexican flag! Really gorgeous!

Take an entire block of hot pepper cheddar cheese and freshly grate it. I know you can buy it shredded, and if that is what you have on hand thats okay, but I swear it’s just creamier when you grate it straight from the block! If you’ve never had shredded cheese like this.. you have to try it! It sounds insane, but you really could tell the difference eating it like that.

     I feel like it’s best to use the biggest side of the grater for this particular dip. You want to be able to taste it, you do not want it to be finely grated like parmesan cheese.

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     Make it snow with cheese all over every little inch of this tangy dip!

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Those lovely little fried triangles are trying to make an early appearance. 😉

After the sprinkling of the cheese has finished falling.. place some dollops of guacamole all over the top of the cheese.

To kick the spice and flavor profile up, just a notch.. do ten or so dashes of your favorite hot sauce ALL over. Along with the hot sauce to balance out the hotness from all the heat, do a few sour cream dollops in-between everything else.

Of course a tortilla chip dip wouldn’t be complete without it’s ultimate partner.. the tortilla chip itself! In all it’s delicious, crunchy, salty, corn glory!

  • I think serving tortilla chips in a textured, wooden handmade bowl is the way to go. Absolutely!

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This site looks like the most perfect first date I’ve ever seen. The chips look perfectly handsome.. while being a little nervous to dip right in, and the dip is looking saucy, sassy, but still very classy in her own unique way. 😉

I hope that all of you Diamonds enjoy kicking off the start of Cinco de Mayo with me by creating this peppery dip! Remember to party hot this week, and keep it spicy!!

 

XOXO

Fantastic French Onion Chip Dip!

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Now that spring is in full swing, and we’re ready to start firing up our grills.. it totally makes me think of chips and dip! I know you’re probably thinking.. Bri, what about potato and macaroni salad?! Yes Diamonds! Cold salads are always always on the menu to pair along with hot dogs, cheeseburgers, steaks, and anything barbecued, but on top of all that; chips are a necessity. It might sound kind of funny, but think about it.. have you ever been to a cook out, pool party, or just porch hanging with some sweet tea without chips involved? Something I always remember from summers during my childhood are my parents setting out chips, and snacks when my friends would come over to swim. They would never turn their noses up to chips and dip.. I mean come on? It’s an all American classic; just like a grilled cheese, or a burger! Displaying chips and dip at any warm weather festivity will forever go over perfectly.. you might even have to refill the bowls! I truly feel like most people think that chip dip is complication to make.. especially since the ones you buy in the store have so many ingredients in them, but to be honest.. they’re filled with preservatives, and a ton of needless things you don’t want, especially to make it taste good. You Diamonds will seriously be so thrilled with how simple this is to create, and how absolutely delicious it is. It by far is one of the best chip dips I ever ate in my life. That’s how good it is. Usually I’m the type to say “more is more” because I’m an extravagant person,  but in this case, being simplistic is definitely coming out as a winner!

Depending on how much you want to make.. if you’re filling a nice little ramekin as I did, or filling a big serving bowl, you’ll want equal parts mayo and sour cream.

  • I just did two spoonfuls of mayo and sour cream.. then salt and pepper to taste. Along with that yumminess.. I added seasoned salt, dried onions, dried parsley, and dried basil. I didn’t measure only because I was making such a small amount plus I usually always add seasonings only “to taste”, but if you’re making a large amount you can definitely do tablespoons for each cup of creamy sauce that you add in.

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  • I thought this was the perfect opportunity to decorate the plate with “onion rings” and some unsalted chips. Yes, I did say unsalted. For all you salt lovers out there, you can surely grab the saltiest chips you have to dunk into the dip, but for me I don’t need the salt since we are pairing it with the salty dip!

After you mix it up.. you want to see little clumps of onions, and specks of herbs all through out the dip. Thats how you know it’s going to be outstandingly delicious! It’s cool, creamy, and full of delicious savory onion flavor!! What could be better? That’s right Diamonds, it’s HOMEMADE, and you know exactly what you’re putting into the food you’re making. Don’t get me wrong.. there’s special, unique options that you purchase from the store that you just can’t replicate, but when’t it’s better made from scratch, why not make it?! Now.. go get a fancy platter for yourself, fill it up with your favorite chips, or snacks and get dipping!

  • PS. Keep in mind… this dip is even amazing to pair with pizza and wings, or to top onto a baked potato. It’s a creative step up from your average dollop of sour cream! 

     Have fun dipping Diamonds!! 

     XOXO