Creamy Spinach Dip

Michael and I got were invited to a co-worker’s house to watch the NFL playoff games last Sunday. Michael asked me to make something to bring along. I knew they would BBQ tons of meat, so I decided to make a vegan dish that I wanted to eat. I suddenly thought of creamy, gooey spinach dip with big pieces of sourdough.

This recipe is similar to traditional creamy dip recipes, just no dairy cheese and all the extra protein of tofu. It is a bit sweeter, so you can add more garlic if you want it more savory. I liked it though, went nicely with the sourness of the sourdough.

This recipe will serve 8-10 people easily.

Spinach Dip
1 block of silken tofu, drained
Small amount of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a medium white onion, minced
1/4 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/4 flour
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp garlic powder (more if desired)
6 cups baby spinach, wash and dried well
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the Oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a small baking pan (I used a disposable one) with cooking spray.

Put your drained tofu into a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside for now.

In a medium pot over medium heat, belt a tiny bit of butter. Saute the minced garlic and onion until golden. Set aside.

In the same pot, add the 1/4 cup butter and the flour. Mix together well and cook the paste for just a minute.

Whisk in the soy milk and smooth out any lumps.

Add the processed tofu and mix together well.

Add the garlic and onions back in. Add the garlic powder too.

Slowly mix in the spinach a handful at a time. Let it wilt down a bit before you add more.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the dip into the baking pan.

Cover the top with the mozzarella cheese.

Bake uncover for 20 minutes, until the top is bubbly and very lightly golden.

I served this with sourdough bread pieces but any bread, chips or cracker would be great too. Even some carrots and celery would be lovely.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture of it before everyone dived in, people wanted to try it right away. And I was starving and no one can blame a pregnant mama for wanting to eat!

"Cheesy" Pasta with sliced "Hot Dogs"

I do not believe that majority of children are natural picky eaters. I believe it is parents themselves setting the bad example of not eating their veggies. Why would they want to eat something that their parents do not want to eat? And, of course it will be hard to break them of bad eating habits later. If they are used to eating fatty, oily, high carb foods, they will resist wanting anything else. So it is important to teach kids from an early age the importance of whole foods like fruits and veggies—-and eat them yourself to set the good example.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with making healthy versions of the things all humans are love: carbs, protein, and fat. All animals crave carbs because they fill you up, protein because it sustains you, and fat because it has calories to keep you going. But, we are evolved animals with big brains that we can use to make smart choices about our cravings.

This recipe is healthy version of a kid friendly dish, mac and cheese with sliced hot dogs. It uses soy cheese, vegan butter, and soy hot dogs. I used star stelline, a star shaped pasta, to make it more fun for kids.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Cheesy Pasta with Hot Dogs Slices
8 oz stelline pasta (I used Barilla)
4 vegan hot dogs (I used Smart Dogs)
2 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese (I used Daiya)
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Add the pasta and cooking according to the directions on the package.

While pasta cooks, heat the hot dogs. You can either microwave or pan fry them according to the directions on the package.

Cut the hot dogs into desired sized slices. Make sure you cut them small enough so your child does not choke. Check out this link for advice.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot.

Add butter and cheese. Mix together well.

Add the hot dog slices and parsley. Mix together well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Quick and easy lunch that kids (and you) will love!