Monday, August 24, 2009

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

A couple of years ago, my mom bought me Giada de Laurentis's book Everyday Italian.  I have leafed through it and used a recipe or two, but had not explored it in depth.  Then, I recently watched The Food Network's Chef0graphy about Giada de Laurentis.  Even though it was late, I was inspired to grab her book off the shelf and go exploring.  The next morning I made two recipes to eat at a picnic we were going to that day.  One of those recipes was the White Bean Dip with Pita Chips.  It essentially is the Italian version of hummus.  It is so incredibly good!  Last night my husband asked if there was any left to dip some vegetable sticks in.  There wasn't, but there is now.  I actually made a double batch.  I hope there's still some left by the time he gets home from work!  Just kidding.  It's tempting though.  It's also wonderful in tuna salad instead of using mayo.  It adds more flavor, not to mention nutritional value.
White Bean Dip with Pita Chips
1 (15 oz) can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (or 2 tbsp dried)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients except the olive oil.  Pulse on and off until the mixture is coarsely chopped.  With the machine running, gradually mix in the olive oil until the mixture is creamy.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  Serve with pita wedges, toasted baguette slices, vegetable slices, etc.
Personal Note:  I substitute half the olive oil with plain, low-fat yogurt.  I also usually make a double batch since it goes so quickly

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I love smoothies! I especially love homemade smoothies. I know exactly what wonderful, flavorful, healthy ingredients the smoothie-of-the-moment is made of when I make it myself. Smoothies are a great way to enjoy seasonal fruit. Below is my basic smoothie recipe. Each smoothie tends to be unique, depending on what I have on hand (i.e. what is in season at the local farmer's market). Today we enjoyed blueberry smoothies and blackberry smoothies. The other day it was peach/blackberry smoothies. I have also been known to use frozen fruit from the grocer's freezer, but it's not quite the same. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

½ cup water or juice
½ cup plain yogurt (low or fat free)
½ banana
½ - ¾ cup fruit (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, or pineapple, etc.), mix and match as desired
¼ tsp. cinnamon (optional)
2 tbsp. wheat germ (optional)


Personal Notes:
I add ice or use frozen fruit for a slushy smoothie.

I use water if the fruit is local and in season or a particularly flavorful fruit, juice if fruit is from the frozen section of grocery store.

If I use juice, I use apple juice with berries and orange juice with pineapple or