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Will Read for Pizza, Appetizers and Sides with Christianne Beringer

southwest dip with pepperoni in a pan

It’s almost summer, which means appetizers for pool and lake parties, family reunions and picnics, and weekends at the campground. It’s also time to dig out your library card, visit your local indie bookstore, and pack your beach bag with books on your want-to-read list. 

On today’s Funeral Potatoes & Wool Mittens podcast episode, I invited back my friend and book goals hero, Christianne Beringer. First, we are talking about easy appetizers and sides delicious enough for sharing, like creamy red pepper dip, southwests dip with pepperoni, BLT dip, Clara’s corn and green beans with lemon and toasted almonds.

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Staci and Christianne

Then, Christianne catches us up on (and inspires us with) her reading goals, and she tells us about new authors and book series she’s been enjoying, including the one she likes so much she starting checking out two at a time from the library.

So if you are someone who likes simple recipes and celebrates the joy of finishing a good book, this episode is for you. Listen to Funeral Potatoes & Wool Mittens Season 2, Episode 22 on all major podcast apps, including YouTube, or in the Spotify link below.

Appetizers and Sides

Christianne shared five recipes with us. Southwest dip with pepperoni (in the video below) is on a printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Creamy Red Pepper Dip

front of creamy red pepper dip recipe card appetizers
back of creamy red pepper dip recipe card appetizers


front of BLT dip recipe card appetizers

Clara’s Corn (Funny story—no one knows who Clara is.)

Clara's corn recipe card

Green Beans with Lemon and Toasted Almonds

front of green beans with lemon and toasted almonds recipe card
back of green beans with lemon and toasted almonds recipe card

Book Recommendations from Christianne

In addition to recipes, Christianne shared some of her recent favorite books and authors. (Each book below contains a link to view it on Amazon.)

Books by Author William Kent Krueger

Cork O’Connor Series by William Kent Krueger

Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor is a former Chicago cop living in the north Minnesota woods. There are 20 books in the series, with the twentieth expected out in August, 2024.

Resources and Links from this Episode

We talk about the book recommendation and discovery website and app, Goodreads, which we use to keep track of books we want to read, books we’ve read, and to browse what’s on our friends’ bookshelves as well. 

While Goodreads is for discovering books and keeping track of your reading if that’s something you like to do, Libby and Hoopla are free digital resources provided by your public library for reading eBooks, magazines, and comics and for watching and listening to movies, audiobooks TV and music. Ask your public library if they offer access to these with your library card.

If you’re interested in purchasing used books, Abe Books and Thrift Books are websites my sister Heidi and I have used. And lastly, in support of indie bookstores, check out the book store locater on Midwest Independent Booksellers Association.

I also linked to a helpful article on Good Housekeeping about freezing your fresh green beans since Christianne and I clearly are not pros.

Sweet wishes,


Southwest Dip

Staci at Random Sweets
Pepperoni and green chilies give this warm appetizer just enough kick to be irresistible. The pecans on top give it just the right crunch.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 186 kcal


  • small pie pan


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 oz pepperoni, diced
  • 4 oz chopped green chilies, undrained
  • Tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 tsp chopped chives, optional
  • ½ cup chopped pecans


  • Heat oven to 350℉. In a bowl, mix everything except pecans. Spread in a small baking dish or pie pan. Sprinkle top with pecans.
  • Bake at 350℉ for 20 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla chips and crackers. Makes approximately 3 cups.


Recipe courtesy of Christianne Beringer. 


Calories: 186kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 4gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 254mgPotassium: 106mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 402IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword cream cheese, hot dip, pecans, pepperoni

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

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