Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

Vegan Artichoke Spinach Dip

Vegan Artichoke Spinach Dip

Some time last year I decided I needed to try to make Spinach Artichoke Dip without all the dairy and other stuff that makes it so gooey and irresistible when you see it on a menu at a restaurant.  We were out to eat and I saw a plate of it being delivered to a nearby table and I found myself thinking, I kinda miss that.  I bet I could make it without using dairy.  I added it to my growing list of ideas that kept getting put on hold because I had no energy.

Then Super Bowl Sunday started creeping up.  I was home to watch it for the first time in years AND my Niners were playing for the first time in even more years.  I made lettuce-wrapped burgers and decided to attempt a try at the Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe that was swirling around in my head.

I was pretty impressed with the results and had to give myself a pat on the back.  Chaz even said it was “pretty good,” which he rarely says.  I normally get, “It’s good.”   Or sometimes he licks the bowl or plate.  The action says it all.  I thought the cheese flavor was a little strong, but Chaz liked it.  We both agreed that the spinach and artichoke wasn’t shining like it should.  Easy fix, right?

RIGHT!

I served the dip with carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, and quartered radishes for the Super Bowl meal.   Making it again I decided to use up the corn tortillas in the fridge and made baked tortilla chips to go along with it.  I brushed one side of each tortilla with a little grapeseed oil as I stacked them together before cutting into sixths and throwing them on baking sheet in the oven.  Easy stuff.

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip – serves 4

1/2 cup raw cashews (covered in filtered water, soaked for 4 hours, drained)

1 Tablespoons filtered water

1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoon grapeseed oil or olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and divided in half

1/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out

Place cashews, water, vinegar, oil, salt, and nutritional yeast in a food processor or quality blender and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides 2 or 3 times.  Add in half the artichokes and process until smooth again.  Add remaining artichokes and spinach and process just until the spinach is incorporated through the dip.  You should have small bits of artichokes in the dip.

This post is linked to Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs; 5-Ingredient Mondays at The Daily Dietribe; Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free; and Gluten-Free Wednesdays at The Gluten-Free Homemaker. 

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie/Shake

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

It seems like the food blogosphere is running rampant with posts on homemade Shamrock Shakes.  I think I may have had one from the Golden Arches many moons ago.  It obviously left a lasting impression on me since I don’t go running for one as soon as I see they are back like so many of my friends seem to do.

I’ve been playing around with a play on one of my favorite ice creams, mint chocolate chip. And it has to be the old-fashioned kind with the small slivers of chocolate that will melt between your tongue and the roof of your mouth while loads of mint ice cream surrounding it.  Not those giant chunks.  By the time you can get those giant to melt just a little, the mint ice cream is gone from the palate.  If you didn’t see this coming from me a mile away the you haven’t read my posts for my Raw Peppermint Mocha Truffle Cake and My Dairy-free Peppermint Mocha.

This smoothie/shake is pure indulgence while being subversively healthy.  Yes.  Healthy!  It can also be a relief from the hot days coming our way if you make it with a frozen banana or opt to be a little more indulgent than healthy and use ice cream instead. Not to mention how easy it is to get that mint chocolate fix taken care of without waiting once a year for the Girl Scout cookie sale.  Funny thing is the Thin Mints were never my favorite.  They were far off my radar.  I much preferred the peanut butter sandwich and the chocolate covered peanut butter cookie.  Speaking of Girl Scout Cookies, if you don’t subscribe to Easy Eats online magazine, now is a great time.  The current issue contains several gluten-free Girl Scout cookie adaptations.  Brittany also has a great gluten-free version of Samoas on her site.  Yes, I miss Girl Scout cookies this time of year.  Hard not to when I sold them for 12 years.

But I digress.

I used both mint leaves and peppermint extract for this recipe.  The mint leaves are good for your gastrointestinal tract, especially if you’re feeling a little queasy or your intestines are staging an Occupy Your Body protest. The peppermint extract gives it the mint flavor.  If I were to try to get the proper mint flavor with just the leaves, I think it would be a little too much for the gastrointestinal system.

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie/Shake

1 banana, room temp or frozen, and/or 1/2 cup dairy-free vanilla ice cream (or regular dairy if you are not dairy-free)

half handful spinach or other mild greens

mint leaves from 3 stalks

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

dairy-free milk (or regular)

1 square very dark chocolate (I use Lindt 85% Dark), broken into small pieces

1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)

sweetener of choice (optional, the banana was sweet enough for me, but may not be for you)

Place ingredients in your blender and blend well.  If your blender takes a long time to blend everything, consider leaving out the chocolate until everything is nearly blended so you still have slivers of chocolate floating around.

 

 

 

Chocolate Chai Surprise

Chocolate Chai Surprise Smoothie

I know I’ve been a bit quiet on here.  I’m taking advantage of my decreased hours at work to work on projects around our apartment that got neglected during the holidays.  And I’m still working on a few recipes that aren’t quite ready to share still.

I had every intention to blog yesterday.  All my plans fell apart when I woke up to a phone call from my doctor.  Not a nurse or assistant.  My doctor.  That’s what I love about her and her colleagues.  I went in for my monthly appointment last week and asked her for a blood draw.  My last one was a year ago when I first started seeing her and I’ve been feeling slightly off.

My suspicions were true.

My Vitamin D is back up to being within normal limits (WNL).   Yippee!   My TSH, T3, and T4 are all still WNL.  Woo hoo!   My iron and hematacrit levels are still borderline under and my platelet count dropped significantly.  Boo!

Since I woke up to this information, I wasn’t thinking straight and had no idea what to ask.  I just took down the information for the Hematologist that she recommended.

I had two choices.  Start looking stuff up online and freak out or text Dr. Cuz and ask her questions that suddenly came to me.  If you haven’t seen my posts about Dr. Cuz, she’s my go-to for explaining medical things because she is my cousin and because she has a way to keep me from completely freaking out.

I texted Dr. Cuz.  She asked a few questions and while I was waiting for her to respond to my answers I started looking online.  I figured as long as I had her opinion as well, I’d be fine.  Her final opinion – idiopathic thrombocytopenia.  Now there’s a mouthful.  The symptoms fit.  Now if only the Hematologist office would call me back!  I think they did try to call while I was at work, but didn’t leave a message.

Even if I didn’t completely freak out yesterday, I still spent most of the day in a fog.  I pretty much goofed off and only did laundry and cooked dinner.  We all need those days sometimes, right?  Right.

Now I will leave you with a smoothie I’ve been drinking the last few days.

Chocolate Chai Surprise Smoothie – serves 1

1/2 – 3/4 cup frozen mango

half handful spinach or other greens

1 tablespoon raw local honey or sweetener of your choice

1 tablespoon nut butter

1 – 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (1/2 t will be pretty spicy while less will be mild)

1 tablespoon maca root powder (optional)

Milk or dairy-free milk of your choice

Place all ingredients into your blender except the milk.  In place of nut butter and dairy-free milk, you can soak 1/2 cup nuts or shredded coconut in filtered water ahead of time and add extra water (do not drain the water from the soaking, it helps make the “milk”) at the end in place of the milk.  Add milk/alternative to the blender to just under the 2 cup line.  Blend well, especially if you are using the soaked nuts/coconuts.

This is how wonderful Dr. Cuz is.  She just called me as I was typing up the directions for the recipe to make sure she had all the right information.  And she made sure to keep saying after I answered each question with, “You’re going to be fine.”  She said it one last time as were about to hang up, too.  So blessed with great cousins!