Quick and Easy Taco Dip

Easy Taco Layer Dip

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This is a quick and easy dish to make and bring to a party or for when you have a fiesta at your place. Our Thanksgiving tradition is to have a Mexican Fiesta the day after Thanksgiving. I make my famous fresh margaritas and this year I made this taco layer dip.

I am not going to lie when I said that this Thanksgiving was such a mix of emotions. We were missing two very important people at our table and I didn’t even want to celebrate. This is the first holiday without my mom and recently my uncle also unexpectedly passed away. Our family has been through so much these past two years, so many tragedies and too many deaths. Thankfully, I have the support of my family and friends but it is hard to understand how I am feeling because everyone feels different when a death occurs. I am thankful for my friends and family, my ever-changing health, my dog, my students and coworkers, the support of my lovegfree life community, and being able to share my story along with the struggles that I am facing. Take a minute and reflect on what you are thankful for. Even when it seems like your world is crashing down, there is always something to be thankful for.

What You Need:

Gluten Free Refried Beans

Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt

Gluten Free Taco Seasoning (or you can go back to my taco recipe for a homemade version of my own Taco Seasoning)

Guacamole

Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Tomatoes, diced

Olives, sliced

Lettuce

Tortilla Chips

What To Do:

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In a large baking dish, put down a layer of refried beans.

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Mix together the sour cream/Greek yogurt with the taco seasoning.

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Put the mixture on top of the refried beans and layer on the guacamole and cheddar cheese.

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On top of that, sprinkle the tomatoes, olives, and lettuce.

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Serve the dish cold with tortilla chips and with a delicious fresh strawberry margarita!

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Enjoy xoxo

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Apple and Pear Cranberry Sauce

Apple and Pear Cranberry Sauce

 

I hope everyone had a relaxing and grateful Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving has been a very special one for my family and I. Last year, my aunt and uncle were in a life-threatening car accident caused by a truck running a red light. We spent the holidays in the hospital not knowing if they would make it to next year. They are both doing much better and are both home now. They will continue to make strides towards reclaiming their lives back and starting with having a traditional holiday season will help.

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My Aunt and Uncle at the Turkey Trot this year!

We take the holidays VERY seriously in our house. There is no Christmas music until desert time on Thanksgiving. Everyone has their specific dishes that they have to make. (One year my mom put snow peas in the green bean casserole.  We won’t let her live that one down) My cousin and I make ridiculous turkey hands for placemats. There is a lot of yelling (We’re Italian and we talk really loud) but most of all; it’s enjoying each other’s company while eating delicious food.

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This was the nicest and most appropriate one that was made

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My cousins and brothers 🙂 

I made a yummy Apple and Pear Cranberry Sauce this year (someone accidently forgot the regular cranberry sauce at home). My aunt only had one bag of cranberries so I searched in the refrigerator and found a pear and some apples. I thought, why not?  It ended up being amazing and I will continue to use this recipe from now on!

Cranberry Sauce

What you need:

1 apple, peeled and chopped

1 pear, peeled and chopped

1 bag of whole cranberries

1/2 cup of fresh apple cider

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup of water

1 1/2 cups of sugar

What to do:

In a saucepan, sauté the apple and pear with a splash of apple cider. In a separate saucepan, add the apple cider, orange juice, water, and sugar. On low heat, bring the mixture to a boil while stirring constantly. (You don’t want the sugar to burn). Once the apple and pear mixture is soft, add the cranberries and your liquid mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool before putting it in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

 

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My mom, aunt, grandma, and cousin 

We should not wait one day a year to express our gratitude and thankfulness for the wonderful things we have in our lives. We should start everyday by counting our blessings and expressing gratitude in everything we do. Xoxo

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Holiday Tips and Hints

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These cute salt and pepper shakers are our favorite Thanksgiving “friends”.  It isn’t Thanksgiving until they are on the table!

The Holidays can be a hard time for someone when they have food allergies, Celiacs, or food intolerances. Going to parties or having Holiday dinner can be a scary experience. These are my tips to surviving the Holidays (from my own crazy experiences).

  1. If you know the host of the party, ask what kinds of foods are being brought or made.

This way, you can check to see what ingredients the dish is being made with.

  1. If you are really close to the person, they can make sure there are foods that are safe for you to eat.

My friends and family are pretty great at making sure there is something I can eat when I go over. It might not be the same delicious food they are eating, but I know I won’t get sick eating it. If they aren’t sure, they will ask if it is okay or give me the ingredients.

  1. Bring your own food.

I constantly bring my own food to places or have snacks in my bag. I like to go out after work with friends which results in staying out later (like past dinner). So I typically do not eat when I go out with friends (although I have been getting better) but I will always try to have some sort of snack in my bag that I can eat. I also always arrive to my friends or family with a bag full of safe foods.

  1. When you make food at someone else’s home, make sure you bring your own containers and cooking utensils.

Gluten is not easily washed away from surfaces, pans, bowls, utensils (especially wooden ones) and cutting boards. If you share a kitchen with someone who does not have food allergies or Celiacs, you should probably have two sets of everything. If you can’t, line items with parchment paper or foil, stir with metal spoons not wooden, and rewash anything before you use it. You can never be too safe with cross-contamination.

  1. When in doubt, don’t eat it, no matter how good it looks!

Is it worth it? Probably not, so just don’t do it.

  1. Try some of my recipes for your next party or celebration!

I have my amazing Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread and Mini Apple Pies.  Tomorrow I will post my delicious roasted seasonal vegetables! Perfect for any occasion!

 

This Thanksgiving I will be going to my Aunt and Uncle’s house. I will have a separate turkey breast (the big one gets stuffed), gluten free stuffing (I will share the results/recipe in a later post), a veggie, and I will be making some sort of gluten free pie which I will post later on.

 

Stay tuned for my Traditional Italian Christmas Gluten Free Posting!