Snackage: Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Hello People!

Yum, yum, yum & yum! This is all you will say when you try this recipe. It is one of my favorites. It’s up there with my delicious Hummus recipe as “Wow! This is amazing!” I hope you can try it out. It can not only be used as the classic dip with crackers and/or vegetables, but it can also be used as a vegetarian filling for wraps or sandwiches. You could have it with eggs, or even stirred into some other type of sautéed vegetable you are having for dinner. Or how about mixed into your favorite type of pasta? Go crazy with it because it is delicious! I can’t get over how low calorie it is too.

Note: This serves 20; I often change up the cheese on top depending on mood; I highly suggest the use of organic products when it comes to dairy; and grate your own cheeses for optimum flavor, especially parmesan.

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Spinach & Artichoke Dip

  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray or 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped  White or Brown Onion
  • 2, 10-oz packages of Frozen Spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry; chopped
  • 1, 8-oz package of Non-Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1, 8-oz carton of Light Sour Cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1, 14-oz can Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
  • pinch of Red Pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Reduced Fat Jack Cheese, shredded

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  1. Lightly coat a skillet with cooking spray or olive oil. Cook and stir onion over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add spinach; cook until thoroughly heated, 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat and add cream cheese.  Stir until melted and smooth.
  4. Stir in sour cream, parmesan cheese and artichokes; heat through another 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and season with peppers and salt to taste.
  6. Dump mixture into a microwave safe dish and top with grated jack cheese and heat until cheese melts.

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Recipe from: Shape Magazine, June 2000 created by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist in Irvine, CA

Total Calories for Whole Recipe: 1,506

Per Serving: (4 Tablespoons or 1/4 cup) cals 75, 38% fat (3.1 g; 2.2 saturated), 25% carbs (20 g), 8 g fiber

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Recipe Ideas

Foodie Friday: Recipe Ideas to Spice It Up!

Hello People,

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I wanted to share a practice that I use in regards to recipes.  I LOVE cookbooks, and that is an understatement, and I love trying new recipes as often as I change clothes.  What can I say? I just get bored eating the same old thing day-in and day-out.  If a recipe really jumps off the page and is beyond amazing, I will cook it again and keep it in my repertoire of food that is really good when I want to eat something I know for a fact is delicious or want impress someone else with my amazing cooking skills (sly fox!).

My system for keeping track of how a recipe fared in my kitchen and stomach is by using check _MG_0918style grading marks.  A check + (plus) means that the recipe was out of the ball park good and will definitely be made again (any recipe I’ve shared on here, the blog, has received that marking); a plain  check by itself indicates that the recipe tasted so-so or had some issues in preparation or difficulties in ingredients.  I may or may not prepare that dish again depending on it’s problems.  If it was a simple matter of overcooking or the wrong proportions of ingredients, it may take more experimenting to decide ultimately; a check – (minus) means that the recipe was a real fail and either is thrown away if it came from a magazine or clearly marked to_MG_0923 ignore if I come across it again in a book.  I place these checks on top of the recipe in bold black ink so that I can see it clearly (pencil can fade or get erased) when thumbing through the book the next time I’m hunting down new recipes.

I also add personal notes in regards to what I think the problems were, what extra ingredients I _MG_0920added/took out, how it didn’t work well halved/doubled, cooking temperature problems, and generally what I thought about how it tasted.  If the recipe was delicious_MG_0919 with the additions I made, then I keep them for the next time I make the dish.  I also know that I can manipulate the recipe for further tweaking if I want too later.

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At one point, I sat down with 4 or 5 five of my favorite cookbooks (books that I’ve got a lot of check pluses in!) and wrote down on a paper recipes from those books, under different headings, that I must try and that would be appropriate for clean eating and/or weight loss.  On that list I cross off the one’s that I’ve cooked and continue on the list when I want to try something new.  I found recipes for all types of meals: dinners, lunches, salads, soups, etc.  Each one of these recipes I “tasted” in my mind before choosing them for the list thinking that they would probably end up as check pluses eventually.  Most do, some don’t. The picture in tomorrow’s post is the result of one such recipe that only gets a plain check from me (Black Bean Burgers).  The taste was good, but the burger fell apart and was a mess.  Tricky to cook too.  Also, the recipe asked for no seasoning.  I found that extremely odd.  Of course, I added my own.  One thing I should have added to this list, is the page numbers that I found these recipes on.  I can just as easily look in the Index for them because the book is indicated (by abbreviation), however, I’m just lazy.

Do you have any ways of remembering how you liked or didn’t like a recipe?  I have so many recipes in books and torn out sheets/cards it’s hard to keep track of.  Perhaps my method can give some of you ideas if you share in my: I-have-too-many-cookbooks “problem.”

Soup 101

Foodie Friday: How to Make Soup 101

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Hello People!

I want to share with you a great tip and recipe for helping you with your weight loss goals.  I’ve been making soup forever and love how it can be so easy and filling.  It’s also warm and inviting when you crave comforting foods.  Soup can be fattening, but I’m going to show you my recipe for making it simple and low-calorie; but not low in flavor. This soup should evoke the purest taste of the vegetable you choose. Therefore, I would highly suggest that you choose vegetables in season so that they will be at peak ripeness. I like to have a  1/2 to 1 cup before a meal.

Last year I watched a BBC documentary on helping obese people lose weight.  The show was called “How to Be Slim” and it gave several tips on how to  lose weight while not feeling like you’re starving. Towards the end of the program it featured soup as a great way to ward off hunger and stay full after a meal.  I’ll include the documentary below, but first I’ll share with you the easiest way of making pureed vegetable soup.

VEGETABLE SOUP 101

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  • Unknown-21 Pound of Any Vegetable (squash, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, eggplant, green beans, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, colored sweet peppers, snap peas,Unknown-3 fresh/frozen green peas, tomatoes, bok choy, lettuces, dark leafy greens, etc.)
  • Water or Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock (or bouillons)
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil or Butter

How To:

  1. Chop Onion and Vegetable of choice.  Some may need extra prep such as carrots – they need to also be peeled. (You can mix vegetables, but mind that if you do, some cook quicker than others and will need to be added later so that they don’t become mush).
  2. Heat Oil/Butter in stockpot until hot and add chopped onion.  Sweat until translucent. You can add a dash of salt as well if you want.
  3. Add chopped Vegetable of choice and coat with the Oil/Butter.
  4. Add Water/Stock to stockpot just to cover the Vegetables by one inch. You can add more later if it is too thick.
  5. Bring Water and Vegetables to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until Vegetables are really soft and tender; beyond the way you would normally cook and eat them. (Add veg accordingly; if you are cooking carrots, they will take longer to soften than lettuce, so cook the carrots for 10 minutes alone, then add lettuce for the remaining 10 minutes, as an example.)
  6. Thow everything into a blender or use a hand-held immersion blender and whirl until soup is liquified. (You can reserve some of the cooked Vegetables if you want the texture to not be completely smooth)
  7. Put back into stockpot and add extra Water/Broth if you want, add salt/pepper, spices, seasonings, fresh herbs or chopped green onions/cilantro, lemon/lime juice, cream, milk or nothing.
  8. Eat!

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Of course, after you’ve made it you can refrigerate extra portions or freeze them.  Also, try adding some pesto or olive tapenade on top to make it extra special when you are about to eat it. Enjoy.

“How to Be Slim” Documentary