I had the pleasure of meeting TV/media personality Rachel Hollis the other day, and what fun it was to hear her talk about her modest childhood growing up in a “family full of loud Okie expats who migrated to Southern California.”
Their tiny pink house on a street called Weedpatch Highway was where she laid down her formative memories of entertaining – “my family always had people over, always threw parties and always made the biggest, fattest deal out of every holiday and birthday…those Christmases, those barbecues, those Sunday suppers are some of the most precious memories I have of my childhood.”
She learned to show love by cooking, baking, welcoming guests and setting the table with their mismatched china.
Flash forward to the early 2000s, when she moved to Los Angeles with plans to be an actress and marry Matt Damon (in the order, she says!), and launched her party planning company called Chic Events, which grew from her specialty in pulling off parties for pennies to a high-end luxury party-planning business creating chic events for A-list Hollywood clients.
She founded the hugely popular TheChicSite.com, a party planning and lifestyle/advice/food website to share her advice, and you may have seen her on “The Rachel Ray Show,” “The Talk,” “Home & Family,” and other TV shows we all watch for inspiration.
I was lucky to meet her at a signing for her new cookbook, “Upscale Downhome: Family Recipes All Gussied Up,” and to taste some of her food – homey, comfort recipes with a modern twist and amped up flavors.
Her sparkling, authentic personality shines though on every page. This is a book that will make you laugh with her anecdotes, say “Why didn’t I think of that?” when you see her simple yet elegant presentations, and salivate at the thought of what you might be eating for dinner tonight. You’ll need a lot of sticky notes to bookmark all the recipes you want to try. A huge plus is there is a photo for every dish, AND step-by-step photos of each pivotal step in the recipe. Thanks, Rachel, for making sure cooks on every level have the confidence in the middle of the recipe to know they are doing it right.
Her flavors are big and punchy, and I thought you might enjoy one of her popular dips today – Greek Seven-Layer Dip. Here’s what she says about it:
“We’ve all made seven-layer dip, right? A few years back I thought it would be fun to create a different version, and I came up with this! Hummus instead of beans, Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream, feta instead of cheddar. These dips are cousins all right, but the flavor palates are totally different. If you like Mediterranean flavors, you’re going to love this.”
Are you ready for the delicious dip that will take you through game days, potlucks, girls’ nights AND pre-Thanksgiving hungries?
It’s only about 15 minutes away.
If you like this recipe, pin it to your Pinterest board using the image below:
Want to see a few more of her dishes, from our party held for her at Melissa’s Produce? Of course you do!
Her signature and most popular recipe, Spicy Corn Dip. I could have done a face-plant in it, and never emerged.
Fresh Green Bean Salad. My beloved veggies, oh yes!
BLT Bites — all the best flavors of your favorite sandwich, in a party-size bite.
Sticky Ham and Cheese. On sweet Hawaiian rolls? Sold!
You should have seen the food writers slurping up the pudding in these Cookie Pudding Pies. Squatty Mason jars, for the win!
What down-home, upscale recipe are YOU drooling over?
Disclosure: The publisher provided a copy of the book for review.
Photo credit for Greek dip: Jonathan Melendez and Courtnee Loren Brown.