Food and family gatherings go together like peas in a pod. Yesterday our extended family got together to celebrate the return of one of my nieces, who had spent 18 months in Greece. We had a wonderful time together visiting and enjoying various Mediterranean and Greek food dishes. What fun times! Colleen and I brought a huge vegetable tray with a wide assortment of vegetables. Generally, we bring back a lot of raw veggies after such and event; it seems they don't go quite as readily as other foods. Yesterday was a delightful exception to this general rule and it is worth noting because its success cannot only be duplicated at your own gatherings with friends and family, but can be duplicated in your home on a daily basis for exceptional health results. What was the secret to yesterday's success?

Well, if you read last weeks's Living Young Anti-Aging Chronicles, Volume 9, then you would have been introduced to a new idea of taking your favorite healthful salad dressings and converting them to awesome hummus dips that can be enjoyed with raw veggies (click here to see healthful dressings). We even shared several ideas. In fact last week we made new hummus dips all week. Sunday afternoon, before leaving for our family gathering, I had an idea for a Mediterranean flavored dip.

I love it when ideas come and can be created in five minutes or less. This was just such an idea. So, what went into this really yummy hummus and how did others react to it?

 

Ingredients:

1 14.5-oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces.

1  to 2 cups soy milk (could have used rice milk, almond milk, goat milk, cows milk, blah blah) 

1 to 2 Tbsp Johnny's Garlic Spread (Costco carries this)

1.5 Tbsp Italian Herbal Seasoning (dried herbs such as basil, oregano, and so forth)

2 Tbsp Chia Seed

3/4 cup grated Grana Padano (kirkland Signature cheese - Costco)

 

Instructions: Add beans, milk, garlic spread, herbal seasoning, and cheese to blender and blend until smooth; then fold into the hummus mix the sun-dried tomatoes and chia seeds. This will turn into a nice thick tasty Mediterranean flavored hummus. I haven't yet tried it without the cheese, but believe it would be equally good. Alter the amount of milk based upon thickness desired. The chia seed and beans end up creating a nice thick dip. If you leave out the chia seed, add a bit more milk. I'm going to try a variation of this recipe today using a different liquid.

Bonus Party Dips: In addition to this "hit" dip we brought two others. While at it we blended together a dip using 1 can of beans (drained and rinsed), with 1 cup apple sauce, 1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice, and 3 Tbsp peanut butter, and 2 Tbsp of chia seeds. This turned out out to be a wonderful sweet dip. If you don't like peanuts or want the added fat, leave them out. We also made a Ranch hummus that turned out really good.

Results: Okay, so once the word got out on the "Greek" hummus dip and there was a run on the veggies. Can you believe it. We also brought naturally leavened bread and when folks figured out that you could spread the hummus dip on the bread, like you would peanut butter, there was a run on the bread too. Even though there were tons of other wonderful dishes brought by other family members, this was one of the few times that we've seen the "pure" healthful foods disappear so quickly. Why did it work? Back to the basics, if it is simple, enjoyable, and healthful people will not only eat it but will come back for more and more. When the palette is satisfied, the stomach is satisfied, and the cells in your body are satisfied, you know it and it feels good and right.

Well, I just want to encourage you to try your luck making our healthful dressings or other healthful dressings and then learn how to easily convert them to hummus dips. Then, see how your family will respond to you leaving out a veggie tray each day with a few awesome hummus blends for them to choose between. Also, set out some fresh naturally leavened bread slices and encourage your family members to lather on some dip to a slice of bread. Add a little fresh fruit in a bowl next to these other delectables and you will be feeding the foods from the Gods to your family:)

As you do so, remember that maybe more so than any other food, legumes help to stabilize blood-sugar levels and consequently stabilize hunger and even mood swings. Raw veggies are loaded with essential nutrients. Per calorie, they provide the most of all foods. Raw veggies and hummus dip (legumes) together, or over a slice of naturally leavened bread, provide every essential nutrient your body needs. As you compliment veggies, legumes, and grain with fruit, you naturally move toward establishing healthful traditions that produce natural slenderness and abundant health.

This party was sufficiently inspiring to me that I know just what I am bringing to next Thursday evening when we get together with friends to watch the next round of March Madness and the NCAA tournament. With such a wonderful banquet of healthful foods, we are sure to be able to root mightily for our Cougars!

Best,
Jim

See a few other Hummus Blends here (this list will grow this week)

P.S. Watch for an event this week. Colleen and I will be hosting a conference call to help answer your questions about making naturally leavened bread. Some folks are experiencing the normal start-up woes associated with becoming comfortable with this easy and healthful bread-making solution. We'll answer your questions and share a few tips with you.

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Tags: March Madness, family gatherings, parties, party

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Comment by Marilyn Peterson on April 1, 2011 at 10:29pm

How long will the start stay in the refrigator.

 

 

Comment by James Simmons on March 22, 2011 at 3:13pm
Sloan, this is normal. Tomorrow morning add another cup of flour and water. As soon as it really takes off, you will not be able to miss it. The bubbles in the batter will be prolific--everywhere. From that point forward, every time you add more flour and water it will respond swiftly, unless you refrigerate it. It goes semi-dormant as the temperature of the dough itself falls or rises too low or too high. Below 55 degrees and above 97 degrees.
Comment by Sloan Guisinger on March 22, 2011 at 2:14pm
Although I'm excited for your conference call, I need a bit of help right now.  I'm in the middle of trying to make the starter and I'm not sure if it's doing the right thing.  I started it Monday, yesterday I added 1 cup of water and wheat flour, this morning it had some water bubbles, but wasn't rising.  I set it in the sun and looked at it a bit ago and it looks a little bit like yeast does on top when it's dissolved and rising, however the sourdough starter is watery on top.  Does this sound normal?  If so, does it eventually become obvious as to when to add the rest of the flour and water?

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