Superfood Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artchoke DipDo you love cheese? Really LOVE cheese? So much so that you think it deserves to have its own food group? Could cheese be the answer to the world’s problems? Maybe not but cheese is still AMAZING for your bones, heart and brain. Cheese is a nutritional powerhouse that is just one of the featured superfoods in this recipe.

How about spinach? Also pretty amazing. These antioxidant-rich greens are great for the eyes, bones and heart. Spinach alkalizes, nourishes and strengthens your body with a plethora of vitamins and minerals. FYI – raw spinach contains oxalic acid which interferes with calcium absorption but cooking eliminates this problem.

What about artichokes? Did you know that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable? They’re great for the liver and contain a high dose of vitamin C. Artichokes also have anti-aging benefits and help prevent heart disease and Alzheimers.

All of this is to say that spinach artichoke dip might just be the best thing EVER. And this mega-delicious recipe is oh-so-easy to prepare. Just be ready to be asked for a repeat performance.

Here’s a few pointers on how to make this dish outstanding.

  • EXTRA garlic: I didn’t even get into the health benefits of garlic but needless to say you should add as much as you dare. Think elephant garlic-sized cloves. Garlic is an aphrodisiac so it’s best to serve extra garlicky foods with care. 
  • HARD cheeses are great for your health. I like asiago for this dish but you could also use parmesan.
  • CANNED artichokes: You could steam your own artichokes but if you’re short on time use a good canned variety that doesn’t add chemical preservatives (I like Reese’s). Select artichoke hearts that are stored in water as you won’t need any extra oil for this recipe.
  • FULL FAT DAIRY: The low-fat movement is over (thank goodness). REAL food is where it’s at and fats are your friend. Just be sure to avoid brands that use recombinant bovine growth hormones (rBGH).

 

Superfood Spinach Artichoke Dip

Serves 4

Ingredients

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 Tbsp butter or nitrate-free bacon fat

12 oz fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 of a 14oz can of artichoke hearts, drained of water and chopped

1/3 cup sour cream

4 oz cream cheese, softened

4 oz asiago cheese, shredded

1 tsp salt

1 tsp of your favorite hot sauce

 

  1. Saute garlic in fat for 1 minute. Add chopped spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Turn off heat and push spinach mixture to one side of the pan to drain excess liquid.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine sour cream, cream cheese, shredded asiago cheese, salt and hot sauce. Add cooked spinach and mix well.
  3. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized pyrex casserole dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until it’s bubbling.
  4. Serve warm with crackers, toast or tortilla chips.

 

There’s no hard and fast rules here so feel free to improvise. You could add some chopped bacon, scallions or crabmeat if you want to get really fancy. Let me know how yours comes out!

 

The Skinny on Skin Care

Emily Seymour yoga skin care
The warm weather is here! And with that comes the gradual shedding of layers, swapping flip flops for shoes, and increasing our Vitamin D intake. As with any seasonal transition it’s a good idea to give ourselves time to adjust our lifestyle patterns accordingly.

Body care is one of the many aspects of a balanced home practice regimen. Just like you might want to give your car a routine waxing it’s a good idea to give your body “vehicle” a good skin care treatment. Especially if you’re anticipating spending more time in the great outdoors.

While there are some purists who won’t practice yoga in the sunshine, I absolutely LOVE practicing outside. But there’s just nothing fun about sunburns. I’ve gotten my share of “tomato-face” syndrome from practicing during peak hours (10am – 4pm) so my advice is avoid sun exposure during that time.

Twilight is my favorite time to practice outside – the sun isn’t too intense so you don’t really need to use sunblock. But if you’re a die-hard sunblock user I recommend reading What You Need to Know Before You Ever Buy Sunscreen Again.

If you like to play with making your own body care items, I recommend reading Adventures in DIY Products. It was written by my friend Mandy who makes her own sunscreen using aloe and coconut oil. I absolutely love using coconut oil on my skin. Whenever I’m cooking with coconut oil I’ll take a little and rub it into my arms, elbows and hands. Here’s a quick overview of the many benefits of coconut oil:

  • Hydrates and conditions the skin
  • Clears away dirt, grime, and flaking skin cells
  • Has antibacterial properties
  • Soothes bug bites
  • Helps with rashes
  • Softens and shrinks wrinkles
  • Protects against skin damage
  • Prolongs tans
  • Prevents cellular aging
  • Can be used to remove make-up easily
  • Is a great massage oil

In addition to protecting our skin externally we can also nourish our skin by eating certain foods. Dark chocolate contains a high level of antioxidants which protects the skin from sunburn and cancer. The carotenes in apricots, papaya, mango, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets all help to reduce the negative effects of UVB radiation.

Staying hydrated is key. Drinking plenty of room temperature water creates a natural moisture factor which protects the skin. After spending time outside it’s always a good idea to drink plenty of fluids so as to prevent dehydration.

How do you care for your skin during the warmer months? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below: