Hug your kids and loved ones more. Hug them tighter. Each day is precious. Last Friday’s tragedy in Newtown, CT, less than an hour away from our home, has shaken our town and the entire nation. My heart breaks thinking of all the families that suffered losses and witnessed such a horrific shooting. Like many moms yesterday, I cried when I dropped my son off at the bus stop yesterday, not being able to imagine what it must be like to say goodbye to your child for the very last time and not know it.
It all just seems senseless and unimaginable. I don’t know how the families in this quaint town will be able to move forward and forgive. When something so unfathomable happens, it can also shake our faith. How could God allow something like this to happen. He loves children.
We may never understand how or why something so terrible could happen. My youngest son has asked me why this happened. He is in a state of shock that this child shot his own mother. I don’t have any answers. All I can tell him is that we need to be nice to everyone and try to love others, especially kids that might seem troubled. Perhaps the shooter felt misunderstood or unloved.
I pray for all the families that have been affected by this tragedy and are suffering deeply from their losses. I also pray for all of us that we might be more compassionate towards others that might be different from us, and reach out to them, because they are people too and need to feel loved. It is hard to love the unloved, but they need it even more than the ones that are easily loved.
One of the ways I show my love to my boys is through my cooking. I nurture their bodies as much as I can with healthy foods that I cook for them. I pour my love into the time and attention into preparing each and every meal or snack I feed them.
This Skinny Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip is an example of a healthy after-school snack that I make for my boys, packed with nutrients and protein. They actually fight over it – it’s probably the only time I see them fight over vegetables.
It’s a variation on my Skinny Hot Spinach Dip. My secret ingredient in this dip is cottage cheese. As I’ve said in an earlier post, I’m not a fan of cottage cheese in its curdled form, but when it’s whipped smooth, low-fat cottage cheese makes a great substitute for cream cheese. It’s packed with protein and low in fat.
Recently, Sartori sent me a sampling of their finest cheeses, including the Fontina cheese that I used for this hearty dip. Fontina cheese melts more than Parmesan cheese and has a sharper taste, a nice variation if you’re looking for something special.
We’re hosting an Open House on Christmas Eve this year, and this Skinny Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip will be making an appearance on our menu. I’ll also be making Sartori’s Baby Field Green Salad with their Merlot BellaVitano cheese, and a pasta salad with spinach, red bell peppers, chickpeas, and Basil and Olive Oil Asiago with a Pomegranate Vinaigrette.
Out of curiosity, I entered this recipe into Calorie Count. Here are the Nutrition Facts for this recipe:
Serving Size: 94 grams (~ 1/2 cup)
Total Fat: 2.8g
Saturated Fat: 1.6g
Cholesterol: 9 mg
Dietary Fiber: 1.8g
Sugar: 1.1 g
Protein 7.1 g
Vitamin A: 93%
Not bad, considering Boston Market’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip has more than twice the calories, and about three times the saturated fat and cholesterol, and 2 grams less protein than this skinny dip.
This dip is perfect for entertaining over the holidays. Just don’t tell your guests what the secret ingredient is (shhh).
- 8.5 ounces artichoke hearts (14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained)
- 1½ cups 1% low-fat cottage cheese
- 16 ounce pack frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of cayenne
- freshly ground pepper
- 1½ cups Fontina cheese, shredded
- paprika, for garnish
- Place artichoke hearts in food processor bowl and pulse until coarsely chopped; remove to a bowl.
- Place cottage cheese in food processor bowl and process until smooth.
- Squeeze excess water from defrosted spinach; reserve.
- Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion and garlic, and saute until onions are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add spinach, chopped artichokes, nutmeg, cayenne, and pepper to taste. Cook until warmed through and excess liquid evaporates. Turn off heat and add pureed cottage cheese and grated Fontina cheese. Stir until warmed through and cheese melts.
- Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with a little paprika.
Disclosure: Sartori provided me with samples to try their cheeses in various recipes of my choice. Their cheeses are to quality, and are certified rBST-free, so they are free of added hormones. I also like the fact that Sartori partners with local dairy farmers.