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I found this clever idea in the latest LCBO magazine. My vases were a little smaller than the idea in the magazine so some of my tulips had to stick out at the top.

I found this clever idea in the latest LCBO magazine. My vases were a little smaller than the idea in the magazine so some of my tulips had to stick out at the top.

Recently, we hosted a dinner party for guests who were doing Weight Watchers and because I don’t like to sabotage anyone’s journey to a healthy weight I decided to make the entire meal WW friendly and that meant putting my thinking cap on.  Now I don’t know about you, but I adore guacamole, it’s so creamy, fresh and tangy and it really enhances a few dishes as a condiment but may also be used as a wonderful dip with fresh vegetables!

Now I know what many of you will say, “but wait, avocados are a good fat” and while that is very true, it’s all about balance and budget so if you can save a little here you can spend it there (perhaps on an extra glass of vino?), is all I’m saying!

Before I even searched on line, I had the idea of creating a mockamole from spinach. Why spinach? I chose spinach because #1 it’s a gorgeous green and you can purée it smooth uncooked and #2 it fits well into the WW point system.  Once I determined what my basic ingredients would be, I started to search “mockamole” on the net and found that the majority of them are made with green peas. Now green peas are quite healthy but when I did the nutritional calculation using peas, my 1 tablespoon mockamole resulted in 1 WW point whereas my spinach mockamole resulted in 0 points for 1 tablespoon. So that was it.

Guacamole is a simple yet flavourful combination of ingredients and other than subbing out the avocado, I kept it pretty true to form. I used 4 tablespoons of cooked puréed navy beans as my ‘creamy’ ingredient and it worked out great. I loved the bright green colour as well as the bright flavours in this recipe. JT said it was an excellent substitute for real guacamole! It’s quite garlic-y so if it’s date night, you may wish to tone it down a notch or make sure your partner has some too ;-)!

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May I interest you in a little dip?

Mockamole (Spinach ‘guacamole’)

Makes about 3/4 cup.

Ingredients:

  • 100 g fresh spinach (may be frozen)
  • 4 tbsp navy bean paste (see notes)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp green onion, finely chopped
  • Cilantro or parsley for garnish
  • Chopped tomatoes (optional)

Directions:

  1. If using frozen spinach, wring out well. If using fresh spinach, wash and dry well.
  2. Combine the spinach, navy bean paste, garlic, lime juice and cilantro in a small food processor and process until very smooth (I found my immersion blender did this beautifully). Fold in chopped tomatoes if you are adding them.
  3. Add chopped green onion and garnish with a sprig of cilantro. Serve with cucumber slices, celery sticks or cauliflower florets or use in a meal that requires guacamole as a condiment.
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Choose vegetables that hold onto the dip like a spoon!

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The cooked puréed beans give this dip its creamy texture.

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Who are you calling “dip”?

Per 1 tbsp serving

1 tbsp serving

Per 1 tbsp per serving.

1 tbsp serving.

Notes:

  • Navy bean purée: I usually make up a batch of plain navy beans for thickening soups, sauces and gravies and then freeze for later use. Cook navy beans in water without salt. Purée and press through a fine sieve. Allow to cool completely and put 1 tbsp portions into an ice cube tray (specifically for savoury things) and freeze. Once frozen, take each cube and put it into a larger ziplock bag and that way you have a creamy gluten-free thickening agent for future recipes.
  • If you add too much liquid to the puréed spinach mix, strain for a couple of hours in a coffee filter reserved for savoury things before serving.
  • To blanch spinach quickly, add spinach to a heat proof bowl with about 1/2 cup water and nuke for about 2-4 minutes until soft. Rince with cold water and wring out well.

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For all you gourmets who are cream, butter and everything that is not-fat-free lovers, I BEG you to read on. This is an egg white recipe that will make your toes curl, it’s so tasty and filling. I was rather surprised as how filling it was and I think you will be too.

The Anything-but-Boring Egg White Omelet

Doesn't that look like a ray of sunshine. Now don't tell me you would love a bite?

Serves 1 (multiply by the number of people you would like to serve)

Ingredients:

  • 9 tbsp egg whites (I used Egg Beaters Whites)
  • 45g sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 40g grape tomatoes, sliced into fourths
  • 15g wild mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 10g green chili peppers, finely sliced (leave seeds in if you like it spicy)
  • 5g cilantro, chopped
  • 10g green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriandre
  • pinch of cayenne (if you like heat)
  • non-stick fat free spray (I use Pam Original)

Directions:

  1. Spray a small cast iron pan (8″ diametre) with non-stick spray; heat pan.
  2. Add onions and sweat out, you may need to add a bit of water so that they don’t burn.
  3. Lightly beat the egg whites until slightly frothy add the cumin, coriandre and cayenne. Pour over the translucent onions. Allow to set a minute or so and then pull in the edges and allow the remaining liquid to spread out over the pan.
  4. Before the omelet sets, add the tomatoes, mushrooms, chili pepper, cilantro and green onions. Turn off the element and cover. Allow the omlet to set, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Carefully fold one side over the other and serve garnished with a little sprig of cilantro.

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I’m always on the look out for new weeknight recipes,  not that I don’t love our repertoire, I just like to spice things up every now and then. When I read Kristy and Mike’s recipe for Spicy Spaghetti Squash and Shrimp, I knew I couldn’t resist. What is even MORE WONDERFUL about this recipe is that it makes itself! Now, you’re probably thinking, OK, she’s finally lost her mind…but wait…

It was Tuesday and I emailed this recipe to JT who kindly picked up the fixin’s on his way home. We were swamped at work that day, I was a little tired and got home later than expected; when I opened the front door the waft of something wonderful filled my soul…WHAT? Who is cooking? You might recall that JT cooks most of our meals during the weekdays, but if it’s something new, he respectfully waits for me and we make it together! But not this time. Dinner was well underway by the time I got home, so I grabbed a glass of vino and pulled up a stool to watch my man cook — it’s such a satisfying site. Believe me, I know how fortunate I am. I am so glad he made this dish, it will become another one of his signature dishes!

No that's not spaghetti, it's spaghetti squash! I didn't realize how 'hot' that photo was...night-time photography really sucks. I apologize for the poor quality.

Now I am told we didn’t stray from Kristy’s recipe, so I won’t bother recounting but I do highly recommend you make it. We used low sodium tomatoes and we did not add the Parmesan, but see nothing wrong with doing so, we just didn’t feel like it. We both had to for lunch the next day and the flavours were incredible. A real winner we will add to the repertoire! Thanks Kristy and Mike, it’s a great tasting dish.

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