Artichoke and Dip Dip

Artichoke and Dip Dip

The ancients considered the artichoke full of health benefits, including uses like a diuretic, a breath freshener, and even a deodorant. Thankfully we’ve developed different forms of deodorant over time.

Grandma DiDi grew up a few miles away from the artichoke capital – Castroville – and recalls it being a staple at the dinner table when she was growing up. We hope to pass the same memories onto the cub. And this veggie is a good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K. Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants; they’re number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.


The cub begins by seasoning the water, that we used to steam the artichoke, with herbs, garlic and oil.


While the cub takes an apple juice break, she watches Grandma DiDi carefully cut and trim the artichoke outer leaves.


The cub can’t wait to use the scissors to help trim the leaves.


While the artichoke steams on the stove, the cub helps prepare the dip dip.

The base of ours is greek yogurt. You can also use plain melted butter or mayonnaise as a dip.


The cub added mustard to the yogurt.


Then curry for added flavor. She mixed it up and waited for the artichoke to finish cooking.


Once the artichoke was complete, the cub dug in with a big munch! She loves artichokes!


Enjoy! What kind of dip do you like to use when eating an artichoke?

Artichoke and Dip Dip


  • Fresh artichokes (as many as you would like)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried Herbs de Provence or oregano
  • Enough water to cover half of the artichokes

Dip Dip

  • 1/2 cup good plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp curry powder (depending on your taste – start light)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


  1. Wash the artichokes well under running water; pulling leaves out a bit to rinse away any dirt or residue
  2. Trim top off with serrated knife and pull outer smaller leaves. If you want, snip all leave tops off with scissors (this removes little stickers on tips of artichoke leaves).
  3. Place right side up in saucepan that will comfortably hold the number of artichokes you are cooking. Fill with water to about half way up artichokes.
  4. Add oil, herbs, and chopped garlic to water.
  5. Place artichokes on stove over medium heat and cover.
  6. Cook for 30 – 45 minutes or until artichokes are tender when heart is pierced with a knife or fork. When the artichokes are done, drain all of water off and turn them upside down to make sure all water is out. (keep an eye on water level – it can evaporate so you may need to add more hot water during cooking time)
  7. To make dip, blend yogurt, curry, garlic powder and mustard together. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for an hour.
  8. Artichokes can be eaten hot, warm, room temp or cold and hold for days in refrigerator after being cooked.


  • When choosing artichokes at the market, look for those with leaves that are tightly closed and when the leaves are squeezed gently there is a squeaking sound. These are the freshest!
  • Artichokes can also be placed on a steamer plate to cook.

Summer Nectarine Salad

Summer Nectarine Salad

We are seriously digging this salad! Sweet, tangy and refreshing. It goes well with chicken, fish or on its own. The cub loves it, too!


Grandma DiDi is known for many of her talents in the kitchen, but salad dressings have to be at the top of the list. She always makes her own and it always makes the salad.


She also always recycles old jars. The cub helps her add the oil to the jar as the base of the dressing.


She destems and adds the fresh thyme to the jar.


A touch of salt and pepper.


A fun activity that the cub doesn’t always get to try is zesting. She really enjoyed this step!


Stop and smell the ingredients.


Big squeeze of lemon into the dressing. These lemons are crazy big, but also big in flavor!  And they come from GG’s (great grandma’s) lemon tree.


Next up, the cub chops the peppers for the salad.


Watching Grandma DiDi cut the corn off the cob is so interesting. She was fascinated.


Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to sprinkle all the salad toppings over the lettuce to make it look pretty.


It’s the cubs turn! Nicely done!


The finished product! Hurry, make this salad before summer ends! Nectarines and corn are delicious this year!


Summer Nectarine Salad

(6 – 8 side servings)

  • 1 – 1 ½ bags of mixed greens of choice
  • 1 ear corn (raw or grilled), sliced off cob
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 small Persian cucumber, sliced
  • ½ red bell, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 nectarine, sliced
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Good feta or goat cheese
  • Herbs: Mint, basil, dill and parsley sprinkled over


  • 1/3 cup Trader Joes Orange moscato vinegar
  • 1/3  cup + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1  tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp or more agave
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of cayenne to taste
  • 1 -2 tsp fresh thyme


  1. Combine all ingredients for the dressing into container (jar) and shake vigorously. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl place lettuce in bowl.
  3. Layer the rest of the salad ingredients over lettuce.
  4. Toss with dressing right before serving.
  5. Enjoy!


Add or subtract the herbs to your taste. If you make ahead, place a damp paper towel over the top of the salad and place in refrigerator for up to 1 – 2 hours.



Trader Joe’s Pizza and Breadsticks

Trader Joe’s Pizza and Breadsticks

We’re back! Excuse our short break… we’ve been dreaming up new recipes that we can’t wait to share!

I don’t know about you, but Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) is life changing for us. They just know how to make life easier! Although I would love to make homemade pizza dough, TJ’s has pre-made bags of dough in the refrigerator section. Everything in this recipe is from Trader Joe’s so enjoy some one-stop shopping. pizza 2

We used TJ’s whole wheat pizza dough. They also have plain and garlic herb. We started by washing our hands, getting them extra dry and then covering them with flour. This, of course, was the cubs favorite part.

breadsticks 2

Kneading the dough is important, and turns out, lots of fun!

breadsticks 1

Good Job, Cub! That looks like its ready to roll out.

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Another fun tool to use – a rolling pin! The cub took this step very seriously.

pizza 6

Pat, pat, pat… it’s ready for sauce!

Pizza 1

We grabbed a bag of pre-washed spinach leaves at TJ’s and thought it would be a great idea to chop it up and add it to the sauce. Hidden veggies is my thing.

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The cub spreads on the sauce perfectly.

pizza 8

Now for the cheese!  We used a few different kinds of shredded cheese from TJ’s. We had a little extra dough so we rolled it out, sprinkled them with cheese and added them to the oven as well.  The Cub enjoyed dipping them into the sauce or ‘dip dip’ as the cub would say.

pizza 9

Yummy! For added flavor, we added Everything But the Bagel seasoning to the breadsticks. If you haven’t tried Everything but the Bagel seasoning at TJ’s, go buy some now! It can be added to anything.


TJ’s Pizza and Breadsticks



  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s pizza dough
  • 1 container of Trader Joe’s pizza sauce
  • Cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, etc – any cheese that you want)
  • 1 bag of pre washed spinach leaves
  • Any other toppings of your choice


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  1. Follow the directions on bag of dough for how to prepare dough for toppings.(i.e., allow to rest outside of bag and refrigerator before handling)
  2. We cut dough into two equal parts for easy handling.
  3. Flour your work surface with 1 – 2 tbsp flour.  Knead dough until it is workable.   Roll or manipulate into shape of choice.
  4. Chop 1 cup of spinach and mix into sauce.  Spread the sauce onto the dough in an even layer.
  5. Sprinkle generously with shredded cheese
  6. Add additional toppings of your choice.
  7. Bake in the over for 12- 15 minutes or the crust is golden brown.