california lifestyle, travel & reviews

24 Days of Appetizers~ White Bean Dip with Herbs

**Starting tonight~~ 24 days of appetizers! Everyone knows that appetizers are the best part of holiday parties! Today through December 24th, come back to Mama Must Have It for 24 full flavored, yummy appetizers sure to put you in the Holiday mood!**

It’s that time of year where we like to celebrate being together– friends and family alike. But sometimes it’s hard to set aside money and time to prepare for the holiday shindigs! Here are some fool proof ideas and recipes for a fun, festive holiday party! Enjoy!

Cookie Party~~ Exchange your favorite holiday cookies! Each invitee bakes a dozen for sampling and a dozen of sharing (amount can vary on the amount of people invited). Instead of one type of cookie, your guests leave with many new different cookies– plus the recipes! Add in some yummy appetizers and a couple festive beverages and you are set!

Here is a favorite appetizer of mine that uses California Olive Oil and inexpensive canned cannellini beans!  I get my favorite California Olive Oils from We Olive. We Olive is shop completely devoted to California olive oil and olives. So many people think of California as only a hot spot for wine– not so my friends! California olive oils are some of the best made olive oils in the world!

White Bean Dip with Herbs- courtesy of Grace Parisi of Food & Wine


  1. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons California extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  3. 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
  4. 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  5. Two 19-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
  6. 2 tablespoons water
  7. Salt
  8. Cayenne pepper
  9. Pita chips, for serving


  1. In a medium skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, sage and rosemary and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant and the garlic is just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the beans and toss to coat.
  2. Transfer the cannellini beans to a food processor. Add the water, season with salt and cayenne and process to a fairly smooth puree. Transfer the dip to a small serving bowl, drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top and serve with pita chips.

A Merry Brunch~~ Breakfast foods seem to be less expensive than dinner items. Take eggs– at Costco, you can get a couple flat of eggs for under ten dollars. Eggs can go a long way too! From quiche to french toast casseroles– it’s an inexpensive ingredient. Add in some breakfast sausage and an array of fresh fruit from the farmers market and you are on your way to a wonderful holiday brunch!

Here is one of my favorite holiday casseroles. It’s perfect for Christmas morning for  make-ahead breakfast. If you have company in town staying with you– trust me, it will be a hit!

Baked French Toast Casserole– courtesy of Paula Deen,


  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • Butter, for pan
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Raspberry Syrup, recipe follows


Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch thick each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 45 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with Raspberry Syrup.

Praline Topping:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Spread over bread as directed above.