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.

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

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

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

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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.

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The cub added mustard to the yogurt.

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

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

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

Artichoke and Dip Dip

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

Notes:

  • 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.

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Anyone else on an endless cycle of colds with their little ones this season? The cub has had her fair share of sickness. A balanced, healthy diet can help boost your immune system, so we are doing all we can to help the cub during this season.

For centuries soup has been regarded as a cold fighting food. To back up this theory, we dive into the nutritional benefits of each ingredient.

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The cub learns about thyme and how to strip it. Grandma DiDi models and the cub follows along.

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The cub always smell new ingredients she uses. It activates more than one sense in the cub helping her to fully understand it.

Thyme: The flowers, leaves, and oil of thyme have been used to treat bedwetting, diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, colic, sore throat, cough, including whooping-cough, bronchitis, flatulence, and as a diuretic, to increase urination.

Thyme to eat up!

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Next up, the cub chops the zucchini. If you have been following along, you will notice the cub has improved on her knife skills. We’re so proud!

Zucchini: Already being an outstanding source of manganese and vitamin C, zucchini is also contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus.

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The cub moves onto chopping the bell peppers. Check out those knife skills!

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Along with smelling our ingredients, we eat them, too, to make sure they are delicious.

Bell peppers: are rich in many vitamins and antioxidants, especially vitamin C and various carotenoids.

Eat up, Cub!

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Grandma DiDi helped chop the rest of ingredients with a quick kiss to show love and appreciation for one another.

Onion: An onion contains fiber and folic acid, and B vitamin that helps the body make healthy new cells.

Carrots: Most of the benefits of carrots can be attributed to their beta-carotene and fiber content. These root vegetables are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamin A, C, K, and B8, as well as pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.

Potato: Potatoes offer the body fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron, and are an excellent source of potassium.

Celery: The benefits of celery begin with it being an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, in addition to vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin B6.

Tomatoes: Are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Niacin, Calcium, Magnesium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Iron, Potassium and Copper.

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Once again, the cub tests out how celery leaves taste. Eat your antioxidants, little one!

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We added all the yummy ingredients to a pot to cook. Can you smell the aroma? Delicious!

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Grandma DiDi made her own vegetable broth and added it to the soup. You can also use store-bought. The cub watches with curiosity.

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Time to add our noodles. We decided to use Eden Organic Pasta Vegetable Noodles for our soup. Bonus points for adding a learning component to the soup!

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In they go from the loving arms of Grandma DiDi.

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The final product that’s filled with so much goodness. Add fresh lemon for added Vitamin C – a proven way to help boost your immune system and a brightened flavor in whatever you’re eating!

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She’s so proud of her dish. Extra credit: Happiness is also known to lead to better health! 😁

 

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • I cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • I cup bell peppers – whatever color you want, diced
  • 3 – 4 small yukon gold or red skinned potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • approximately 4 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken if you wish) *see note
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups alphabet noodles *see note
  • Salt and pepper to taste (note that canned tomatoes have a lot of salt)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Add whatever veggies you want, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips, parsnips, etc.

Directions:

  1. Put oil in large dutch oven pot or pan.
  2. Add onion, celery,  and carrots and saute until softened (about 5 – 10 min) over medium heat.
  3. Add peppers, zucchini and potatoes with thyme and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in tomatoes and broth and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add noodles and cook about 10 minutes (or per package direction of noodles).
  6. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Note: I have found that packaged vegetable broths taste terrible. So as I cook I throw all leftover trimmings of veggies I have (carrot ends, stems of parsley, and other herbs, etc) into a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. I add to them and then put them in a pot with water and some fresh garlic, onion, peppercorns, bay leaves etc)  and simmer for a while then strain.  Freeze and use when needed.

Also noodles in broth will continue to soak up the water/broth until there is no more liquid. It’s best to eat soup with pasta first couple days.   You can freeze, but the noodles don’t always hold up well structurally, although they still taste wonderful.