My mom makes the best spinach dip. I have yet to find a spinach dip that compares. I remember my mom making it for all sorts of holidays and occasions. She’s been making this recipe for so long (over 26 years) that she has no clue where it first originated. She made her famous spinach dip yesterday for no special reason and I had to share. It’s pretty simple to make, too!
I have two holiday celebrations before Christmas and everyone is to bring an appetizer. Since I am sure there will be plenty of indulgences, I am dedicated to bringing something healthy that is grain-free and sugar-free.
Here are a few finger foods/appetizers that I have either made with success, or I plan to give a try:
I’m not perfect and sometimes I really don’t like eating raw vegetables. I know they are super healthy for you but I haven’t made it to that point yet. What makes eating raw vegetables easier? Eating them with delicious dipping sauces. My favorite dips include guacamole and hummus. Guacamole is easy to make but hummus on a paleo diet can be a challenge. Luckily I found a great hummus recipe from Son of Grok.
I made a few changes and now I need to be careful not to eat it on everything!
Paleo Hummus – with Red Pepper Variation
I love pizza – honestly, who doesn’t? Warm bread, melty cheese, your choice of topping; yum. I am trying to go grain free but I still want pizza! I recently came across cauliflower pizza crust and was intrigued. After reading about 7 different recipes, instructions, and pages of comments on cauliflower pizza crust, I decided to give it a try.
My main goal was to make sure it was not soggy.
Basil is in season and if you have recently planted it in your garden the fragrant herb is probably trying to take over! I have a planter of it on my balcony and I still have plenty of it to make lots of yummy things.
Number one thing to make with basil? Pesto of course!
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (see Cook’s Note)
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.
Now, what to do with all of that pesto?
Yesterday I attended a class at a local nursery and garden shop about how to cook with your summer bounty. While I don’t really have a garden (just a couple containers), our CSA box is full of lots of summer garden goodies.
The nursery staff showed us how they make a few of their favorite dishes using items they grow themselves. We even got a little mini-cookbook and were able to sample the goods. I didn’t try the banana and apricot or blueberry muffins, but I imagine they were pretty tasty. I had spearmint ice tea which wasn’t overpowering but still refreshing and I enjoyed the basil and Parmesan rounds as well as the bruschetta topping. They also served a cowboy caviar with blueberries instead of beans, which made it light and perfect for hot days.
Here are few recipes from the class:
1/2 Walla sweet onion
Fresh basil, coarsely chopped
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
Grey or sea salt
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (the more aged the better)
Chop tomatoes and onions. In a small bowl, add the vinegar then whisk in olive oil and garlic. Add the tomatoes and onions. Stir gently. Stir in basil and salt and pepper to taste. Bruschetta is best served after a few hours, at room temperature. If not serving immediately, omit the basil until right before you serve. Spoon on grilled or toasted baguette slices.
Rounds of Pesto (from the cookbook California Sizzles)
3/4 cup slivered basil leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (grate yourself or buy a good quality cheese already grated)
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Stir together basil, cheese, garlic and mayonnaise until blended. Spread each piece of bread with a generous amount of mixture. Broil bread approx. 3-4 minutes on a cooking sheet, until bubbly and lightly browned.
These were pretty tasty but I try and avoid too much bread. This mixture might be tasty on squash rounds or other veggies.
Teresa’s Mixed Berries with Marscarpone-Limoncello Creme
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
4 oz container marscarpone cheese
3/4 c sugar
3 tbsp limoncello
8 cups assorted fresh berries
3/4 c raspberry preserves
1 tbsp grated lemon peel
Combine cream, marscarpone, 3 tbsp sugar, and limoncello in a large bowl. Beat until soft peaks form. In another bowl, combine 1/2 sugar, berries, preserves, and lemon peel. Toss gently. Divide berry mixture into 8 dishes and top with cream mixture.