Weekly Dish: Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Here’s a seriously delicious Real Food appetizer for parties and gatherings this Christmas. It makes a lot, so you may want to cut the recipe in half the recipe for a smaller crowd.

Spinach Artichoke Dip 

1/4 cup grass-fed butter (ie: Kerrygold brand)
1 10-ounce frozen chopped spinach (still partly frozen)
14-ounces jarred artichoke hearts, drained
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (softened)
2 16-ounce containers of sour cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
garlic powder to taste
real salt or celtic salt to taste

Melt butter. Add spinach and drained artichoke hearts. Add cream cheese and sour cream. Stir in parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and real salt.
Heat for 10-15 minutes over Medium heat.

Serve warm with raw veggies and/or  sprouted/soaked bread.
(If it cools, you can heat back if up needed)

I am sharing this recipe at Real Food Wednesday and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Real Food Reading

Still doing any Christmas shopping? Consider any of these excellent Real Food books for anyone on your list interested in nutrition and health.

Books I recommend with 5-plus stars: 

Nourishing Traditions
My #1 Real Food recommended book.  A cookbook and a textbook in one. The textbook part is invaluable.

Maker’s Diet 
Very helpful, from a Christian’s perspective. As prescribed in the Bible, God gave us meat, dairy, etc… to feed and nourish our bodies. I don’t necessarily agree with avoiding pork, as the New Testament sort of takes that law off the table. But helpful, nonetheless.

Enzyme Nutrition
Americans eat a diet with the Macro-Nutrient profile of that of McDonald’s. This books seeks to remedy that situation with education on enzymes.

Cure Tooth Decay
Seriously, it is possible to heal up cavities. I haven’t experienced it myself.. yet… but I am convinced by the research and evidence that it truly is possible. This book, as many others in the natural healing category go, have premises and world views that are contrary to Scripture. Chew the meat, spit out the bones.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome

I am just beginning this book but I have read through the entire GAPS wesbite and have been persuaded and convinced by the science and common sense that this is what is wrong with the bodies of so many- even many close to me. Campbell-McBride has degrees in both neurology and nutrition, and through years of seeing patients with autism and other brain abnormalities and dysfunctions, has made the connection between gut (intestines, where 80% of your immune system is held) and the mind (and other parts of your body that can dysfunction). We are starting the GAPS diet sometime in the new year to see if we can heal our own intestines from the years of SAD (Standard American Diet) damage!

 Real Food for Mother and Baby
This is an excellent reference book for anyone who is unsure of what to feed a youngster or a woman during pregnancy.

Nina Planck also has written a book before this one that is worth reading called, “Real Food: What to Eat and Why” that is a fantastic jumping off point for someone interested in Real nutrition.

 Eat Fat, Lose Fat

This book gives a overview of why we get fat, what foods contribute and why everyone who recommends low-fat diets to shed the pounds is dead wrong! This is a great book and one I reference so often.

The following books are on my “To Read” list so I have to give that disclaimer. However, they are real food reading and I have high expectations for all of them: 

The Vegetarian Myth
The Whole Soy Story
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
Coconut Oil Miracle
Could it Be B12?
Patient Heal Thyself 

Thanksgiving Menu- Check!

Thanksgiving 2011 is now 12 days away. 11 days for me, as we are having a feast with friends on Wednesday and a feast with family on Thursday. This means I had to get on the ball (Butterball?) and plan a menu. Which, of course, is not foreign to me. And I love it, just a little. But still, it had to be done ASAP or disorganization, stress, and caffeinated last minute-ness would ensue.

I offer a disclaimer right off the bat: There is white bread on my Menu. *gasp!* I am not an experienced Thanksgiving-er. This is technically my first one. So you can see why I would be a little afraid to try whole wheat or an alternative bread when other non-family member people are coming to my house to eat dinner. People who may or may not care about eating white bread. So I had to do it. However, with this one small exception, the menu is packed with REAL food. Maybe no one will know. Maybe no one will care. Except for the neurotic hippie. (That would be me.)

With that being said… let us proceed.

The Menu

Turkey
No stuffing inside the bird. Instead, lemon, orange, carrots, celery, thyme and butter. So I guess it is sort of stuffed… just not with bread.

Caramelized Onion Dressing
A classic stuffing with the addition of caramelized onions and parmesan cheese.

Cheddar Jalapeno Dressing
A dressing made with an Italian loaf, cheddar, jalapenos, and a lager beer for depth of flavor.

Green Bean Casserole
Not your grandma’s recipe. This one is made with fresh mushrooms, cream and homemade chicken stock, and topped with caramelized onions.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey
For the kids as well as the adults. Takes the marshmallow topping idea to a new and sophisticated level, gracing it instead with candied pecans.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Gotta use the gravy with something! Made with Yukon Golds.

Cranberry Orange Sauce with Maple Syrup
Replacing white sugar with maple syrup is always a good idea. So is combining cranberries with oranges with cinnamon.

Appetizers, Rolls and Dessert
I am passing this off to anyone and everyone who offers to bring something. Like our friend, the Pastry Chef!

I hope to be posting many of these recipes in the near future. I have high hopes; hopefully there is nothing to disappoint on that day. But who can go wrong with caramelized onions, butter and cream?!