Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dairy Free French Onion Dip

French onion dip was my favorite snack back in my dairy days. It was so creamy and delicious with potato chips and pretzels! Nowadays, sour cream is unacceptable, and the Lip
ton Onion Soup Mix is so high in sodium it's not appropriate for a girl in her late 20's.

Here is a French Onion Dip I can live with. Using a mixture of Toffuti Better Than Sour Cream and mayonnaise, I can replicate the creaminess of the chip dip. Remember, real egg mayonnaise has no dairy in it. Eggs come from chickens, milk comes from cows. So many people forget!

This recipe uses a spice blend and real caramelized onions that taste better than the Lipton's Onion Soup mix, and utilizes the combination of olive oil and Smart Balance to give the dip a buttery taste.

Top it with some fresh chives for added flavor and you have a pretty and delectable onion chip dip that's perfect for parties or for enjoyment at home as a late night snack.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread
2 onions, chopped
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup Toffuti Better Than Sour Cream
1/2 cup egg mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon fresh chives, diced


1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil, onions, Smart Balance, and salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until onions are tender and start to become translucent.

2. Add pepper, white sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Turn the heat to low and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized. Turn off heat and allow to cool before adding to remaining ingredients.

3. In a medium size bowl, mix Toffuti Better Than Sour Cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and Worcestershire Sauce.

4. Stir caramelized onions into sour cream and mayonnaise mixture, then chill for at least two hours. If you prefer a smoother texture, refine dip in food processor first. Chilling overnight will give the best flavor. Before serving, top with fresh chives.


Rainbow Swiss Chard with Bacon

This summer, I planted my garden very late because I was traveling for most of June. I had to choose some late summer vegetables like cucumbers and peppers. I did some research and read that chard is a great vegetable to grow in July in California, so I grew some beautiful Rainbow Swiss Chard in an earth box right on my patio.

It's really been flourishing, so I needed to cook some before the leaves got too big. I didn't have much to cut--about 12 stems--but it seemed like enough for a side dish for two. I cut the larger leaves from the outside of the plants and put them in a bowl of water. I let them soak for 15 minutes, so they got nice and clean and plump. The portion was almost perfect, but it turned out so amazing that I really wanted another helping! So if you are cooking for one, follow this recipe, but double it for two or three people.

The chard cooks quickly, so I cut off the stems and cooked them in olive oil before adding anything else to the pan. While the colorful stems were sautéing, I chopped up the leaves and some precooked, cooled bacon strips (uncured is the healthiest). The bacon could also be crumbled up into bacon bits.

This has been deemed the best Swiss chard recipe of all time by my husband. He joked that he married me because he knew in three years, I was going to make the best chard he's ever had, so it would all be worth it. I think it was really just the bacon. Maybe I need to start using more bacon.


12 leaves rainbow Swiss chard with stems
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (a dash or two)
dash sea salt
dash black pepper
splash red wine vinegar
2 pieces uncured bacon, cooked to desired crispiness


1. Soak your chard in water for a few minutes, then rinse well and shake dry or use a salad spinner. Cut off the stems to cook first.

Isn't it pretty?

2. Over medium heat, add olive oil to a nonstick pan. Once the oil gets hot, add the chard stems and cook for 3-5 minutes until they become translucent but not too soft. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the chard leaves and bacon.

Which would you snack on?

3. Add red pepper flakes (according to your heat tolerance) and minced garlic to the pan, cooking for no more than 1 minute.
Spicy and garlicky.

4. Add chard leaves, sea salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar, tossing quickly to coat and allow to cook for one minute. Add bacon. Cook chard for a few minutes until liquid absorbs and leaves wilt.

Serve hot and fresh, and leave me a comment if you like it!


Kiwi Strawberry Smoothie

Here's a delicious summer fruit smoothie to enjoy for breakfast or as a midday snack. Smoothies are great ways to use up all that fruit in your fridge! I'm still too afraid to progress to the vegetable smoothie. Don't get me wrong, I love my vegetables, I'd just rather eat them sautéed, steamed, baked, or raw. I don't really want to drink them.

I made this fruit smoothie twice, using two different milk ingredients. I'm very sensitive to lactose and can handle digesting good greek yogurt, like FAGE brand. I first made this using strawberry FAGE yogurt and it was perfect. Very thick, very creamy, 0 grams of fat, plus added protein. I made it again using Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk, and it was still delicious, obviously just not as creamy. The soy milk also added 2 grams of fat and not as much protein. You could try making this with strawberry soy yogurt or vanilla almond milk as well, according to your preference.

I also wanted less added sugar, but I didn't want it to be too tart. So I added a little honey plus some stevia. You could skip the honey altogether or add more. Overall, a very balanced smoothie.


6-8 strawberries, stems removed
1 small apple, peeled and sliced
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
3 ice cubes
1/2 cup Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk, or yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Stevia or white sugar


Add ice cubes, strawberries, apple slices, kiwis, milk or yogurt, honey, and stevia to the blender. Crush ice first then blend for about 1 minute. Add more or less sweetener to taste. Serve with a slice of kiwi.