Layered Taco Dip

This nutritionally updated, entirely vegetable based, layered dip is so tasty and completely satisfying making it perfect to bring to any gathering with friends or family.  It comes together quick and easy and looks fantastic.

THE TWIST

Beans are among the best sources of soluble and insoluble fiber. One cup of traditional refried beans has 12 grams of dietary fiber, which is at least 30 percent of the recommended daily value. Insoluble fiber maintains digestive health and lowers your risk of diverticular disease. The soluble fiber from pinto beans lowers cholesterol and prevents spikes in blood sugar following a meal.Fiber contributes to heart health by lowering cholesterol, but it’s just one nutrient in refried beans that keeps your heart functioning properly. One cup has 23 percent of the daily value of vitamin B6, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Several minerals are necessary for maintaining a healthy heartbeat and you’ll get all of them from refried beans. One serving has 17 percent of the daily value of potassium, 21 percent of magnesium and 8 percent of calcium. Potassium regulates the electrical impulses that keep muscles and nerves working properly; calcium stimulates heart muscles to contract; and magnesium stimulates them to relax.Pinto beans contain plant-based substances called polyphenol which inhibit the growth of some types of cancer cells, showing promising anti-tumor abilities for colon and pancreatic cancers.

Whether I write it into a recipe or not, I very often add kelp to my food. Kelp is an herb so high in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that it almost works as multi-vitamin. Kelp is a little salty and can be used in place of salt. It’s naturally high in iodine and this is where a lot of its medicinal, healing, and wellness power comes into play. Kelp helps build cell membranes, supports digestive health and can help cleanse the body of radiation, and normalize glands and hormones. Kelp acts as an antibiotic in your body by releasing iodine into your blood and killing infections.

Turmeric is a fantastic anti-inflammatory food and when combined with a little black pepper its more easily absorbed by the body, where it can do its magic. It helps prevent cancer as well as encourage apoptosis (cell death)  in existing cancer cells. It slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, is a natural pain killer, aids in fat metabolism and helps in weight management, it is a natural treatment for arthritis, and is a natural liver detoxifier.

The avocados help maintain a healthy heart, help lower bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides, as a great source of potassium the help control blood pressure levels, they reduce the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders, promote eye health, regulate blood sugar levels, being high in folate they help prevent birth defects, protect against cancer, fight free radicals, help slow the aging process and encourage a healthy nervous system. They help cure bad breath, increase absorption of some nutrients, help nourish the skin and is a healthy source of calories.

Tomatoes are naturally low sodium and saturated fat and contain a wealth of healthy vitamins and minerals plus fiber. One serving of tomatoes gives you 2 grams of fiber which is about 7% of the daily recommended amount. Beta-carotene in the tomatoes makes your skin look great. Tomatoes help improve bone mass, regulate blood sugar, fight cancer, improve your vision,  help make hair and nails stronger, help prevent kidney and gall stones, and help to reduce chronic pain.

The green onions have more health benefits than you may think. They promote healing from and prevention of the common cold. They help normalize blood pressure, prevent diarrhea and contain essential elements to inhibit fungus infections. Green onions have anti- colon cancer properties, contain vitamin A and C, and helps speed up blood circulation and helps reduce stress and tiredness.

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/refried-beans-healthy-1598.html
http://chetday.com/kelpbenefit.htm
http://www.healthonlinezine.info/health-benefits-of-avocados.html
http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/9-Surprising-Health-Benefits-of-Tomatoes.aspx?b=1&p=12
http://www.pyroenergen.com/articles09/green-onions-scallion.htm

LAYERED TACO DIP

1 can (16 oz.) vegetarian refried beans
1/2 cup of a favorite salsa (my favorite is Arriba hot)
1 t turmeric powder
1/2 t kelp powder
6 oz. (1/2 container) soy based sour cream (Tofutti)
8 oz. container soy based cream cheese (Tofutti)
1/2 t each of garlic powder, onion powder and Himalayan sea salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
3 avocados, mashed
Juice from 1/2 lemon, about 1 1/2 T
3 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 can sliced black olives
5 chopped green onions
1 shredded carrot
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced

Combine the refried beans with the salsa, turmeric and kelp. Spread across a small platter. Combine the sour cream, cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, Himalayan sea salt and pepper. Place in a ziplock bag and cut a hole in the corner of the bag. Squeeze out of the hole over the bean layer. Combine the avocados and lemon juice and spread over the top of the other two layers. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients in order listed.  Serve with cut vegetables or organic tortilla chips. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Twisted Nachos

Nachos are a perfect snack food for football season and if you’re like me they’re your favorite snack food of all time. Pair them up with healthy and delicious toppings and you’ve really got something to rave about! Shown here with organic tortilla chips you could easily add it blue corn tortilla chips for a fun color combination.

THE TWIST

The tortilla chips, although not a perfect food, contains fiber, some B vitamins, trace amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and potassium.

The high fiber content of kidney beans is responsible for their cholesterol-lowering power. The folate they contain helps in lowering levels of homocysteine, which is associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease. The high content of magnesium found in kidney beans contributes to a healthy cardiovascular system. Other beans may have some similar benefits.

Red bell peppers are high in vitamins C and A, as well as several from the B complex group of vitamins and vitamin E among others. This combination of nutrients can help wound healing, improve dental health, boost the immune system, fight free radical damage that causes aging, protects against cataracts, reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, improve iron absorption, prevent colds and infection, moisturizes skin, supports brain function, reduces fatigue, supports healthy skin, reduces insomnia, supports brain health and reduces birth defects.

Onions contain powerful antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral. They also have anti-allergic properties and are useful for treating allergy related diseases such as asthma and hay fever by blocking some of the inflammatory responses in the airways. Onions, like garlic, help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/418019-the-nutritional-benefits-of-corn-tortillas/
http://suite101.com/article/top-healthy-foods-onions-garlic-a71851
http://www.everynutrient.com/healthbenefitsofbellpeppers.html

TWISTED NACHOS

Organic tortilla chips
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans
1 can (6 oz.) olives, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 jalapeños, sliced
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 avocados, finely diced
2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Cashew cheese spread (recipe follows)
Chipotle tabasco or other hot sauce
1 lime, sliced in wedges (for garnish)

Layer all the ingredients in the amounts desired and top with cashew cheese spread,  and hot sauce and garnish with lime wedges.

CASHEW CHEESE SPREAD

2 cups raw cashews, soaked
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup nutritional yeast*
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t Himalayan sea salt*
1/4 t kelp powder* (optional)

Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover completely with water and allow to soak for 3 to 4 hours. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the water. Add the cashews, reserved 3/4 cup of water, tahini, nutritional yeast, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Himalayan sea salt and kelp powder to a food processor fitted with the S shaped chopping blade. Process for about a minute until nearly smooth. Chill. Makes about 2 cups. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Basil Dip

Its always a good idea to have a quick dip recipe for when you have company. I served this one at a party and many guests asked what was in it and wanted the recipe. It is so simple and easy and gets people eating vegetables!

THE TWIST

Basil is an anti-inflammatory food that heals and gives relief to people with rheumatoid arthritis, helps give relief to the digestive system when it has problems such as irritable bowel conditions and provides relief from gas in your stomach and intestines, constipation, indigestion and stomach cramps. Fresh basil is anti bacterial providing protection against many types of unwanted bacteria including those that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotic drugs. Basil helps boost the immune system, clears bronchial tubes, sharpens memory, relieves mucus in asthma and bronchitis, and strengthens the kidneys. All these benefits and it tastes delicious too!

http://www.offthegridnews.com/2011/04/21/medicinal-uses-and-health-benefits-of-basil/

BASIL DIP

8 oz. non-dairy cream cheese
6 oz. non-dairy sour cream
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t Himalayan sea salt*
1 small bunch basil, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper for garnish

Combine everything but the basil in a food processor or use a hand blender to thoroughly combine until smooth. Stir in the chopped basil reserving a small amount for garnish.  Scoop into a serving bowl, grind pepper over top and reserved chopped basil. Serve as a dip for raw vegetables. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Pseudo Queso Dip

I am very excited to share something new and good that is happening in my life! I have embarked on a new career path as a personal health coach. I am now officially working with clients to help them to create a healthier and happier life, reduce stress, have more energy and reach their health goals. I support clients to easily make food and lifestyle choices that support their specific needs.  I’ve always shared my knowledge with friends and family and have recently increased my skills through two separate formal training programs, each with different focuses and strengths. I have received very detailed and careful instruction on how to coach others. It’s an exciting time!

I have a special invitation for all who follow The Kitchen Twist – a free initial consultation session with me. You’ll have the opportunity to talk about your life, what you’ve always dreamed of, and the goals you’d like to accomplish for your health. It’s an opportunity to be heard and to get a sense of what it feels like to have more support in your life. You’ll also learn how to reach those goals by working with me in my Health Coaching Program.

We can talk by phone or through Skype, which ever is convenient for you. To schedule your consultation please email me at:  janice@thekitchentwist.com

I have time available on Tuesdays and Thursday from 10am to 4pm Central Time with some evening times available. For a preview of what I do check out my new website.

Schedule your free consultation, and as always enjoy the latest recipe from The Kitchen Twist!

THE TWIST

The capsaicin in poblano peppers and other spicy peppers decreases cholesterol, boost immunity, kills ulcer causing bacteria in the stomach, and increases metabolism resulting in weight control. Rich in  vitamins A and C, poblano peppers help to prevent cell damage, cancer, and diseases related to aging as well as reducing cellular inflammation that could lead to arthritis and asthma. These peppers contain vitamin K which strengthens bones, promotes proper blood clotting and protects cells from oxidative damage. They also contain lutein which helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration, an age related vision disorder that causes blindness.

Studies indicate that those who consume nuts, such as cashews, tend to have a lower risk of weight gain than those who do not eat nuts. Therefore, relax and enjoy this dish with it’s cashew “cheese.” Cashews contain magnesium which is vital for healthy bones and helps regulate nerve and muscle tone. Insufficient magnesium contributes to high blood pressure, muscle spasms, migraine headaches and asthma.

The nutritional yeast has many health benefits besides being low in fat, sodium and calories. It’s a great source of protein and vitamins, especially B-complex, and it contains 18 amino acids, making it a complete protein. Some brands contain vitamin B12, a difficult vitamin to obtain in nature.

http://www.examiner.com/farmer-s-market-in-charlotte/complete-guide-to-peppers

PSEUDO QUESO DIP

1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 T coconut oil*
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles
1 cup raw cashews
2 cups water
1 cup nutritional yeast*
1/4 cup arrowroot powder*
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance)
1 T carrot powder*
2 t taco seasoning
1 t beet powder* (optional, for desirable color)
1 t paprika
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t Himalayan sea salt*

In a heavy cast iron skillet set on medium-high heat, sauté the poblano pepper and onion in the coconut oil until the onion is translucent. Remove from skillet from heat and add the chopped green chiles. Place the cashews in a Blendtec* blender and add the water. Blend on the whole juice setting. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend on the smoothie setting. Return the skillet to the heat and add the cashew mixture. Heat until bubbly, thick and looking very cheesy. Taste to adjust salt if necessary. Serve straight from the skillet with organic tortilla chips or vegetables. Makes about 5 cups. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

See Sources*

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Avocados Stuffed with Quinoa and Black Beans

This comes together super fast and is very satisfying. Make the chipotle cream as spicy or as mild as you wish by changing the amount of chipotle peppers.

THE TWIST

Avocados are one of the healthiest foods that are readily available year round. They help maintain a healthy heart, lower both LDL cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels while improving good cholesterol levels and they are a great source of potassium which helps regulate blood pressure. The phytonutrients found in avocados help reduce the risk of inflammation and degenerative disorders. They are an excellent source of lutein which protects against age related macular degeneration and cataracts. Avocados can reverse insulin resistance thereby helping regulate blood sugar levels. Rich in folate, avocados help prevent birth defects and decrease the risk of stroke. They fight free radicals in the body that damage cells and are beneficial in preventing signs of aging. They boost the immune system, inhibit the growth of several cancers, encourage a healthy nervous system, cure bad breath, increase nutrient absorption and make the skin have a radiant glow.

Quinoa is an amazing superfood used by the Incas anciently. It contains all the essential amino acids making it a complete protein. It is a good source of magnesium which helps relax the blood vessels which in turn improves cardiovascular health, improves blood pressure and may provide relief for migraine headache sufferers. Quinoa is a good source of manganese and copper both of which are needed to protect oxidative damage to cells and guard cells from damage caused by free radicals. Quinoa is high in fiber which can positively affect the condition of the gall bladder, the colon, protect against asthma and several cancers. The fiber, the minerals and other nutrients in quinoa can help regulate cholesterol, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, protect against stroke, obesity and many other degenerative diseases.

Black beans are high in folate, protein, fiber and antioxidants along with many other vitamins and minerals. They help maintain a healthy digestive system, regulate blood sugar levels, lower the risk of heart attack, reduce low level inflammation, contain many flavonoids which help prevent cancer, help prevent birth defects in unborn children and help the nervous system function properly.

http://www.healthonlinezine.info/health-benefits-of-avocados.html
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/6-health-benefits-of-black-beans.html

AVOCADOS  STUFFED WITH QUINOA AND BLACK BEANS

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup chopped, dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped onion
Juice of 1 lime (about 1 1/2 T)
1/2 t taco seasoning
1/4 t ground coriander
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
3 large avocados, cut in half and pitted

For the chipotle cream:
1 to 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
6 oz. non-dairy sour cream (Tofutti)

In a medium saucepan bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the black beans, tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, cilantro pumpkin seeds, dried apricots and chopped onions. Set aside. In a small prep bowl combine the lime juice, taco seasoning and ground coriander. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Make the chipotle cream by combining the chipotle chiles and non-dairy sour cream in a small deep bowl. Blend together with a hand blender until smooth (alternately use a blender scraping down the sides of the jar frequently to get a smooth texture). When the quinoa is cooked, remove from heat, fluff with a fork, stir in the lime juice mixture to coat evenly and add the prepared ingredients. Serve over avocado halves and top with the chipotle cream. Serves 6. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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