This month has been booming with inspiration in print. First with Lily’s recipe book organized by herb and flower (see post) which I am still working my way through, and hoping to make the fresh mint room spray next. Then there was Phoebe’s wellness book last week (see post) which I am on my second round of reading, and one week into the “4 Week Wellness Challenge – an update on that below. And now we have Kate‘s vibrant vegetarian cookbook, a different vegetarian cookbook next week (hi Shelly!), and two more in the month of June! Like I said, this month is booming with inspiration, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me this year.
As many of you who follow me know, I’ve begun opening up in recent posts about my health issues. It began with two posts last fall (here and here) where I shared a lot on this topic for the first time. These struggles aren’t entirely new for me, and I’ve been reading articles, books, (listening to) Podcasts and soaking up every naturopathic health professional’s word for nearly five years now. During these five years I’ve also been experimenting on myself, trying to find a method of healing. While I am in the midst of trying a few new approaches at this time, it is a little too “real” for me to talk about openly just yet. I hope to slowly peal back the layers in upcoming posts, I just need a bit of time to process and to make sure I take the release of information on my end slowly – otherwise I’ll get anxiety about it all, and I just want to be super upfront with you about this! Mainly because I’ve been receiving so many sweet messages over the past eight months from so many of you wishing to know more about my journey and the things I am trying. I want to share it all with you, but from the right perspective, which is for me with a little hindsight.
The reason I mentioned above, about the timing of this incredible cookbook season coming at such a wonderful time for me, is that I am in a transition mode with my health at the moment. Trying new things means potentially feeling wonderful one day, and completely defeated on another. I can do everything seemingly right up until a certain hour of the day, and with one meal be derailed into a puddle of pain. In the midst of it all it can be challenging to create unique and interesting content to share, and that is where these wonderful cookbooks come into my life and save the day. Kate’s is no exception. Her cookbook, Love Real Food, was released last week (woot woot!) and is page after page of vibrant vegetarian dishes.
What I love about blogger’s cookbooks is that they are really an extension of the person you know and love already via their site. If you have followed Kate for a bit over on Cookie + Kate, you know of her love for oatmeal, smoothies, packed salads, and tasty seasonal dishes. One of my favorite things Kate posts are her roundups. I love her seasonal produce guides she does each season, linking to a variety of dishes to inspire you up the ying-yang! I mean, look at her post the other day on 20 Epic Salad Recipes, who has 20 epic salad recipes in their back pocket? She does – and I stinking love her for it. So if oat-y breakfasts (like her carrot cake breakfast cookies), vibrant salads with creative dressings, and things like “greek nachos” and “best ever guacamole” get your attention, you will fall in love with Kate’s new cookbook. (Pssst. Check out her peanut butter chip cookies over on Jeanine’s site too.)
The recipe I’m sharing today is something new for me that I tried for an afternoon snack last week. I was looking for something that Scott and I could share, and maybe even make again for a backyard hang with friends this summer. Enter: this avocado, spinach, and artichoke dip. It was my first try at any sort of artichoke dip. Having been a novice with this vegetable up until this spring, I figured it would be safe to try it out in something with avocado – a safe ingredient at all times in my book. Think something is perfect? Throw an avocado on it, and it just got better. (Maybe not with ice cream, no wait, avocado ice cream – totally happening.) This dip is unreal, so dang flavorful and much more exciting than the plain hummus I have been living off of dip-wise for several months now. Thank you for getting me out of my comfort zone Kate!
Speaking of comfort zones, how are we doing on our “4 Week Wellness Challenge” from last week? If you are still thinking about it – you can check out the document outlining the details here for any inspiration you may need. I shared mine in last week’s post, and so far they are going really well. And by really well, I don’t mean I’ve been keeping up with every single one each day – because some days call for flexibility, and if Phoebe taught me anything in her book it was that the stress caused by staying within strict boundaries can be more harmful than not doing the “good thing” you set out to do in the first place. So on days where I want to listen to a Podcast as I wake up in the morning, I briefly break goal #1. Certain afternoons where I’m craving a bike ride and some sunshine, I replace rule #4 with just that, some peddling time. On a few evenings I broke rule #5 to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs with Scott, because those exciting game-watching times with him are just the best. It’s all about making yourself more aware of the things that add, or take away, from your life each day. This wellness challenge has been that for me so far, and I’m sure excited to continue now with week two! I hope if you are giving this a try with me that you are feeling refreshed after week one, I’m here on the other side of my screen cheering you on! :)
AVOCADO, SPINACH, & ARTICHOKE DIP
Recipe from Love Real Food.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
1 large, or 2 small, avocados (about 1/2 pound) halved and pitted
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon fine pink salt
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach
1/2 cup well-drained artichokes (I used water packed, she used marinated.)
Scoop the flesh of the avocado into the bowl of a food processor. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper flakes, and several twists of black pepper. Blend until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary. Add the spinach and artichokes and pulse until they are roughly chopped, 15 to 20 times, pausing to scrape down the sides. Season with addition lemon juice or salt, if needed.
Transfer the dip to a small bowl and serve with your desired snacks: pita wedges, crackers, sliced cucumber, veggie sticks, etc. The dip stores well if packed into a jar, with the top pressed down by a piece of plastic wrap to keep from browning. Using this method it should last for about 4 days in the fridge.
Recipe from Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.
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