What would cashews have to do with jalapeno nacho cheese dip? Let’s consult my handy dandy 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden… it says “A lot.” Cashews are in fact the base of this dip and before you dismiss this as hippie quackery I urge you to give it a try.
Cashews and nuts in general have been scientifically shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and attacks. It does this through its monounsaturated content which raises good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers the bad (LDL). Cashews are rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, copper, manganese and selenium. Add to that 5 g of protein and 1 g of fiber per ounce. Have I mentioned that it’s delicious? Just ask my meat-eating-Sarah’s-a-crazy-hippie friend who said “Frito Lay Jalapeno Dip? Yeah I love that stuff! Oh but this is waaaay better.”
Jalapeño Cheese Dip (adapted from Amy Healy)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (fresh or roasted)
- 1 cup raw cashews (soaked for a few hours then drained – optional step)
- 1 medium slice of fresh onion, diced (or 2 tsp onion powder)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp pink salt
- 2-3 T nutritional yeast (try it!)
- 4 T water +/-
- 2 T fresh lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
- 1/2-3 jalapeño pepper with seeds
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Blend all ingredients in a VitaMix, blender or food processor until smooth. Refrigerate.
Put it on some of these recipes or try it on any of your own:
For a comparison to Frito Lay Jalapeno Cheddar Dip let’s look at the obvious. The Frito Lay Jalapeno Cheddar dip lists MSG twice in the ingredients; once as monosodium glutamate and the other as autolyzed yeast extract (yep, that’s MSG!).
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (makes 4 large cups)
- 4 T cacao
- 4 T coconut oil, melted
- 2 T grade B maple syrup
Peanut Butter Filling:
- 3-4 T peanut butter (without oil added, I love Santa Cruz)
- Optional: 1/2 tsp raw honey for added sweetness
- Mix chocolate sauce in a bowl until smooth.
- In a small or large cupcake baking cup, pour enough chocolate sauce in it to cover the bottom. Placing your cups in cupcake pan will help keep the roundness. Freeze for 5-10 minutes until hardened.
- Dollop peanut butter onto frozen chocolate base. (Make as thick as you want, I used about 1 T per cup.)
- Top with chocolate sauce until peanut butter is covered and freeze for 5-10 minutes.
- Store in the freezer for a harder cup or the fridge for a softer one.
You really cannot go wrong with the mixture so feel free to use different molds and/or change the filling type or quantity. Any oil-free nut butter can be substituted (cashew, almond, walnut, coconut) – even non-nut butters like sunflower butter would be great. Eating 1/2 of 1 cup was plenty to satisfy my sweet tooth at that crucial moment. As we approach the end of the 4th sugar-free month I can gladly say I’ve had a few slips and the resulting headaches really keep me honest! With tricks like these up my sleeve I’m not afraid of being refined-sugar free forever.
If you are someone who has to, or chooses to, avoid wheat gluten, then you might think corn and rice products would be natural go-tos for things like tortillas, chips and crackers. I choose to ingest as little wheat gluten as possible, so for awesome taco night we snagged these corn taco tortillas by Sonoma. They went perfectly with Jon’s homemade ‘refried’ black beans, sautéed vegetables and cilantro. Until I grabbed the package out of curiosity and noticed the ingredients.
Sonoma Handmade Organic Corn Tortilla Ingredients: water, stone ground yellow corn masa flour, wheat gluten…
The strange thing is the website makes it clear that it’s a wheat/corn blend, but my packaging was totally different and just said “Corn Tortillas.” It has made me understand that while the wonderful world of healthy food is growing and embracing the best our world has to offer, I also need to remain vigilant when choosing packaged products. I wouldn’t say that trust was lost, but it was a nice reminder to take the time and read the ingredients carefully. A few extra seconds could save you some agony later. With that said, the tortillas themselves were delicious and pliable, and the corn/wheat blend is great if you can still manage small amount of gluten in your diet in your efforts to reduce consumption. Trust is pretty powerful, especially when it comes to food. I remember looking at a bag of beef jerky while at a small ‘fresh & local’ market a while back thinking about the great snack this would be (and it said nitrate/nitrite free). A read through the ingredients made me set that bag down and never look back. It made no attempt to hide the ‘Monosodium Glutamate‘ listed. Yikes.
Name this product (and NO googling) – the answer will be posted Thursday afternoon.
Ingredients: Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Soybean Oil, Sugar, Cornstarch, Maltodextrin, Malt Syrup(from Corn And Barley), Salt, Invert Sugar, Cayenne Pepper Sauce (Cayenne Peppers, Vinegar, Salt, Garlic), Leavening (Calcium Phosphate And/Or Baking Soda), Tomato Powder, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Yeast Extract, Vegetable Color (Paprika Extract, Annatto Extract, Turmeric Oleoresin), Spice. BHT Added to Packaging Material to Preserve Freshness.