Creamy Kinda Healthy Spinach Dip

February 2, 2013

Creamy Healthy Vegan Spinach Dip

I've been pinning some pretty decadent/wicked recipes on Pinterest lately. That's what we all do, right? It's no fun to pin a plate of carrot sticks. Boring.

This pin of Game-Day Garlic Knots Monkey Bread is one of the wicked ones. I'm really on a mission to eat clean, so I can't do bread or even any wheat so Game-day Garlic Knots Monkey Bread is out. Totally out of the question. Boo.

Even while eating WELL, I think it's still possible to eat FUN. If I go to a Super Bowl party tomorrow, I want to be able to enjoy something warm and gooey and spicy and delicious while I'm watching commercials and Beyonce's half-time show.

Just because I'm being good right now and trying to make amends for my lack of discipline around the holidays doesn't mean I have to be deprived. This recipe for Creamy Spinach Dip does the trick for me. Whole Foods was sampling it the other day so I grabbed the recipe and was surprised at how good it was! And as a bonus, it's vegan, gluten-free, and high fiber!

Whole Foods‘ recipe suggested serving it with celery, carrots and red bell pepper. You can do that if you want, but that's not my thing. I like it warm and stuffed into little bite-sized tomatoes or served alongside gluten-free crackers. I love Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers and everything from Mary's Gone Crackers.

Creamy Healthy Vegan Spinach Dip Tomatoes

Creamy Kinda Healthy Vegan Spinach Dip

(based on Whole Foods' recipe but jazzed up)

  • 2 fresh jalapeño peppers, chopped (seeds removed, if desired)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 cups cooked cannellini beans (or 2 15-ounce cans), rinsed
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, prepared and squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 1/2 cup vegan cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Frank's Red Hot Sauce to taste

Cook peppers, onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add almond milk and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, for 2 minutes more. Carefully transfer contents of skillet to a food processor along with lemon juice, yeast, beans and avocado and purée until smooth. Stir in spinach, and vegan cheese if using. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Frank's. Serve warm or at room temperature. To heat dip, keep in a crockpot on low heat, or spread in a baking dish and bake in a 350°F oven until hot throughout, 25 to 30 minutes. Makes enough for a crowd.

 Creamy Healthy Vegan Spinach Dip

By the way, are you following us on Pinterest? We're BigSisTexas and LilSisCA. Come check us out!


Roundup: Super Bowl Snacks, Soups, and more

February 4, 2012

BigSis and I have both mentioned more than once that neither of us are big football fans. Yes, we know that all Texans are supposed to be huge Dallas Cowboy fanatics and there was a time when we did cheer on our Cowboys, but not so much now.

We still can't let the Super Bowl come and go without mentioning what's most important; the food, the commercials and the half-time show.

I wasn't even planning on being near a television during Super Bowl but I'm a little curious to see Madonna's performance and, if my guys are around, you can be sure that I'll be cooking up some “football watchin” grub. Here are some of our favorites from past years!

I put together this Super Bowl Super Tostada for my hungry guys last year using their favorite Velveeta and Rotel dip.

This Super Bowl Snack Attack that BigSis posted in 2009 includes some of our all-time favorite appetizers and snack food and dozens of other recipes from some of our favorite sites.  The photo above is our pasta salad which is always a hit! BigSis veganizes her version now, and it's still just as delicious!

Super Bowl ShrimpToast

Here's a yummy vegan Shrimp toast from BigSis' 1 Quick Recipe: 4 Super Bowl Party Snacks from last year.

Super Bowl Vegan Queso

And here's BigSis' Vegan Queso with Seitan Crumbles, her version of a famous Bob Armstrong dip.

You can see all our favorite soups in this SOUPER Bowl for Super Bowl post from 2010.

Super Bowl Chili

Three years ago, I entered my chili recipe in the Ultimate Super Bowl Party Smackdown that was hosted by The Recipe Girl.

We hope this gives you a few ideas for your Super Bowl crowd. Have a great weekend and a safe and fun Super Bowl Sunday! 🙂  If you're like us, you don't care who wins the game as long as the football food is awesome!



Super Bowl Super Tostada

February 1, 2011

Whenever there's a big football game on, the two most requested dips from my guys are the classic Velveeta & Rotel dip or our version of the seven layer dip.

Last week during the Bears game, they ‘drown their sorrows' over the Bears loss by chowing down on a big bowl of Velveeta dip with some Scoops Tostitos and Fritos.

Just in case there's anyone out there who's never made the Velveeta & Rotel dip, it's super simple.

Velveeta & Rotel Dip

1 32 oz. box Velveeta, cut into small cubes
1 10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 lb. lean ground beef

You can do this on your stove top, but it's easier to keep warm by doing it in a Crockpot. Start by turning the Crockpot on low, add the cubed Velveeta and the can of Rotel tomatoes. In the meantime, brown the beef and once it's done, drain the beef and add to the Crockpot. Stir well to mix in the beef and stir occasionally until the cheese is completely melted and the dip is hot.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a Crockpot on low heat.

For the Super Bowl, I thought it might be fun to combine the two dips and make a super duper tostada using the Velveeta Dip as one of the layers, instead of the grated cheese. And, instead of piling each ingredient on top of each other as you do in the seven layer dip, I decided to add a tostada in between each.

Super Bowl Super Tostada

Super Bowl Super Tostada

One bag tostadas
One 16 oz.can refried beans or Frito's Bean Dip (your preference)
Homemade guacamole (mine is just avocado, lemon, garlic powder & lemon pepper)
Velveeta Rotel Dip
Sour Cream
Tomatoes, chopped
Sliced Black Olives

Prepare your guacamole and the Velveeta Rotel Dip. Put the  tostadas in a 300 degree oven just to warm for a few minutes. Warm the refried beans, if desired, and just put together by layering the ingredients; starting with a tostada, beans, tostada, guacamole, tostada, Velveeta dip, and top the last tostada with the sour cream, tomatoes, and black olives.

This recipe should make 3-4 tostadas depending on how much of each ingredient you put on each tostada. You'll definitely have some Velveeta dip leftover to serve along side some chips if you make the full recipe of the dip for these tostadas.

I've got “big eaters” in my house so you can see that I piled mine on pretty thick. Do you think they'll need a fork? 🙂


Way to go, Saints!

February 8, 2010

Drew Brees at Super Bowl

Drew Brees Family at Super Bowl

Happy Monday-after-Super-Bowl, everyone!  LilSis is still in Big D, and without Big T's influence, we wouldn't have watched the Super Bowl at all.  We were watching “Death at a Funeral” during the game, so we recorded it.  Our plan was to forward through the plays to just watch the commercials, but it became clear that the Saints had showed up!  We ended up watching most of the 4th quarter, and were actually more impressed with the game than with the commercials!

So congratulations to the New Orleans Saints this morning!  It's always fun to see the underdog prevail, and it's especially nice to see New Orleans get a much-needed boost!

Photo credit: Getty Images


Super Bowl

January 20, 2010

Even though I'm not a big football fan any more, I still think it would've been fun for the Chargers to end up in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately after last week's loss, it's just not going to happen for San Diego this year. It would have been a blast for all for our friends who are “die hard” Charger fans and, since I'll use any excuse to get friends together, we probably would have thrown a big ol' Super Bowl Party.

Super Bowl

I saw this edible snack bowl, “Super Bowl”, in the January/February issue of Food Network Magazine and I thought HayHay might get a kick out of it. So, just to try it out and see if it would really work, I made it on Sunday since the guys were watching football all day, and chips and dip are a must on “football watching days”.

And even though the article says that the bowl is sturdy enough for dip, I just served their tortillas chips in it.

HayHay was quite intrigued over the fact that the bowl was edible, so as soon as I told him that it was okay to dig in, he took a big chomp!

And, guess what? He quickly found out that Chex mix baked with a couple of egg whites pressed into the shape of a bowl isn't so tasty after all. So, I ended up breaking the bowl apart into small pieces, spreading it out on a cookie sheet, sprinkling with salt and garlic powder, baking in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes and presto, the Chex mix was crisp again and was devoured in minutes.

I like how the bowl turned out and I think it might be a fun way to serve chips and dip occasionally for a party, but since this recipe requires 8 cups of Chex mix, it almost seems like a waste of two good bags of Chex Mix. If I made this again, I would probably do smaller bowls and just serve nuts or some of the same snack mix in them.

Super Bowl
Food Network Magazine

2 large egg whites
8 cups snack mix (Chex Mix or Asian rice cracker mix)
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 325. Beat the egg whites and 2 T. water in a large bowl with a mixer until slightly stiff peaks form. Add the snack mix and toss until evenly coated.

Generously coat a 3-quart ovenproof bowl with cooking spray and place the snack mix in it. Crumple a large sheet of foil and mold into a bowl shape about one-third the size of the 3-quart bowl. Coat the outside of the foil bowl with cooking spray and press into the snack mix to make a well in the middle, forming the snack mix into a bowl shape.

Place the bowl with the foil into the oven and bake until the snack mix sets, 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, 5 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. Cool 30 more minutes, invert the edible bowl onto a plate and cool completely.


Have a safe Super Bowl Sunday

February 1, 2009

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, you all!

This is a big party day, so please remember to take a cab or get a ride home if you are “overserved”!  Be safe and have a fun day!


Super Bowl Snack Attack

January 31, 2009

I'm not a football fan.  There, I've said it.  Out loud!  Please don't hate on me, but I really do not like football.   I used to watch the local team, but I'm just done with the whole ding dang sport (don't ask).  I'm single so I don't have “The Hubs” forcing me to watch football, and I'd much rather spend 3 hours baking or walking or shopping or organizing something.  Just about the only sport I like to watch on TV is hockey, and then only if the Dallas Stars are playing.

This weekend is about the Super Bowl though, and not the Stanley Cup, whether I'm watching it or not (not).  And what goes with the Super Bowl?  Snacks of course!  Appetizers, football food, dips, chips!  Woo hoo…my favorite kind of food!  There's a flurry of activity in blogdom this week about what to serve for the Big Game, and since I'm not actively participating, the least I can do is provide a little recap for your snacking pleasure!  Ready…settie…kick-off!  Or something like that.

BigSisLilSis party favorites:

Savories from some tasty sites:

You have to have some sweets too! How about these?

If that isn't enough, check out the Super Bowl Smackdown on RecipeGirl for a bunch of other great recipes with photos!

Since LilSis and I both want to laugh more this year, let me leave you with some photos of bad Super Bowl cakes from Cake Wrecks.  There are bad Super Bowl cakes and there are really bad Super Bowl cakes!  Have a fun weekend, whatever you do!


The Ultimate Super Bowl Party Recipe Smackdown!

January 26, 2009


I've decided to enter my chili recipe in the Ultimate Super Bowl Party Recipe Smackdown that The Recipe Girl is hosting in conjunction with Sam's Club.

I almost always host a Super Bowl Party, even if our favorite team isn't participating! It's just another good reason to have a get together with friends! And I love to cook for a big group of hungry guys! They appreciate almost anything!

This year I'm going to make my “prize winning” chili for the Super Bowl. (Okay, it wasn't a famous contest or anything, but I did win second prize and a cute little red ribbon at our recent Chili Cook-off on our dock at the Harbor!)

I've doubled and even quadrupled this recipe, so it's perfect for a large crowd! Here's my version of Chili Con Carne.


Lil Sis's Chili Con Carne

LilSis' Chili Con Carne

LilSis' Chili Con Carne

3 pounds lean ground beef
One sweet onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 dark beer
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can tomato sauce
1 can dark kidney beans (drained)
1 sm. can corn (I use Green Giant Sweet vacuum packed)
4 – 5 tsp. Penzeys Chili Con Carne spice*
2 chopped roasted poblano peppers (optional)
1/4 t. cayenne
1/2 t. onion powder
salt to taste
1 T. olive oil

*The Penzeys Chili Con Carne spice, formerly known as my secret ingredient, is so different from just a regular chili powder. It's the reason why you don't see cumin or a bunch of other spices listed in the recipe. Here are the ingredients in this one amazing spice: ancho chili pepper, tomato powder, ground cumin, Mexican oregano, garlic, coriander, onions, red and green bell peppers, Tellichery black pepper, allspice, cilantro, and cloves. If you don't have a Penzeys store nearby, you can order online from the Penzeys Spices website.

Saute the chopped onion in the oil in a large saucepan until onion is soft. Add the ground beef, salt and minced garlic to the pan and brown until beef is cooked throughout. Drain the beef and return to the pan. Add the beer to the beef and simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium heat. Add the diced tomatoes and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Simmer for longer if you want the tomatoes to cook down more. Add the tomato sauce, roasted peppers, and Penzeys Chili Con Carne spice. Simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Add the cayenne pepper, onion powder and additional salt if necessary. (This is the stage where you can adjust the seasonings to your own taste. This isn't like baking, so add whatever you want here.)

Once you have your chili seasoned just right, add the can of beans and the corn and just heat throughout. This can be served right away or put in a crockpot to stay warm for hours. It's even better heated and served the next day.

I usually set up a buffet style toppings bar with bowls of these toppings so everyone can add the toppings of their choice.

chopped onion
chopped jalapeno
oyster crackers
sour cream
grated cheese (I use Tillamook medium cheddar)

And if you really want a great frito pie, layer the bottom of the bowl with the fritos first, then chili, cheese, more fritos, and sour cream. Yummy! It doesn't get much better than that!

Okay, so this recipe probably doesn't qualify as one of our healthy, low fat recipes if we are topping with the cheese, fritos, and sour cream. But we can make an exception for the Super Bowl, right?