Nom Nom Nom, Cooking Time!

This whole year I’ve been cooking nonstop, I’ve always enjoyed cooking but now I’m obsessed.  I just started a recipe binder, I cut/ print out every recipe I like from magazines, websites, and blogs.  It’s a fun way to try new things and broaden my horizons in the kitchen.  I thought I should start sharing my homemade creations since I find myself always taking pictures of what I’m making anyway! 
Yesterday I went to the beach for a family cookout at my aunt’s house.  I was in charge of appetizers so I made three light bites for before dinner!  The first starter I made was a Basil-Thyme Dip, that I served with baby carrots and cherry tomatoes.  It was so good! But….I forgot to take a picture…oops!
Next I made a shrimp salad that I served on olive-oil and balsamic toasted baguettes.  Lastly, I made a homemade bruschetta that I also served with the toasted baguette pieces.  Both of them were absolutely delicious, and it was the first time I had made either!
Below are the recipes!  I don’t really measure anything when I cook unless it’s baking.  I always add a little and then just build upon it for taste — I prefer this much more than following an actual amount.
Basil-Thyme Dip 
Low-fat Sour Cream
Even better, try fat-free, it tastes just as good!
Fresh chopped basil 
Dried basil
Fresh chopped thyme
Dried thyme
I used an entire container of low-fat sour cream and mixed in the ingredients little by little.  I just kept adding until I thought it tasted good, and of course, I had others try it as well!  It’s a super easy dip you can whip up for veggies.  I know it’s easy to buy dip like this, but it’s just so much healthier when you make it yourself!
Shrimp Salad 
2 bags of bay shrimp, or “salad sized” shrimp  
You can find these in the frozen fish section of any supermarket.  Or, you can purchase them fresh at places like Whole Foods
Salt, pepper
Low-fat mayo
Lemon juice
I always try to use an actual lemon, but purchased lemon juice is fine too
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Dried dill
Thaw the bay shrimp (only if you bought the frozen type, obvz) by emptying them from the bag into a  big bowl and placing them under cold water for about 2mins
Make sure you pat them super dry — you don’t want a watery mix to form with the mayo — and either dry the bowl you originally thawed them in, or just use a new one
Mix in mayo, and keep adding it until it’s a good consistency but not too much.
Add in about one tablespoon of lemon juice — taste it, if you want more, add more — but be careful
Add in onion and garlic powder together, again start with a small amount, and then keep adding until it’s where you want it to be
Sprinkle in some dill, I really didn’t use that much of it to be honest.  Then I just added salt and pepper to taste.  When I put the shrimp salad on the baguette I just grounded some fresh pepper on top for garnish
Tomato-Basil Bruschetta
Diced tomatoes
Either dice them yourself or go to the pasta aisle and get them pre-diced in the can
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil
Dried basil
Minced or chopped fresh garlic
Place all your diced tomatoes in a large bowl and slowly add in olive oil.  Olive oil is something you can definitely go overboard with, so use sparingly!
Add in about two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, it gives the mixture a little kick, which is nice
Cut up fresh basil and add it to the mixture, but also leave some on the side, add in some dried basil too
Add in minced garlic, I personally love garlic, and it’s heart-healthy so I use it liberally whenever I cook
Use salt and pepper to taste, you won’t need much though!
When you serve on the baguettes, garnish with the leftover fresh basil!
Let me know if any of you end up trying one of these, I want to know how it turns out!! xo 

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