Crudite: A (Cleanse Friendly) Work of Art That Requires No Stove Time & May Be the Most Popular, Yummy Plate at Your Party!

"Crudite'." OK this is definitely a case of mismatched words - it sounds like it could be a swear in some Viking dialect doesn't it (?) - maybe I'm just missing the accent aigu ... when I first saw the word (and knew it was food related) I felt myself grimace and cringe at the thought of what it could be. Well, turns out the cringe was completely unwarranted. (-: Crudite' is basically just the fancy name for a platter of fresh foods with dips - we've all had them and probably made them in some form from humous dips with carrots, apples and cucumbers, to buying ready made trays from the store with vegetables and fruit, cheese and crackers.

The variety of the veggies and fruit usually account for how beautiful these can look. It's so inviting and the combo of dips and colourful, unique presentation possibilities make these so attractive to nibble on.  I enjoy the process of making a crudite' and it's easy to involve the whole family. You can really get creative and have fun with it  - pintrest has lots of inspiration and this can really bring some enjoyment to the food prep process even if you're new to healthy eating and food prep. Getting wild and putting the dip inside one of the vegetables(!) ... busting out with some funky innovative food arrangements or experimenting with how you cut up the veggies ... you can really put your own style into this people ... If you really lose (or find!) yourself in the process you are "zen crudite'ing" (made up word alert).  

Take home message: Getting in a habit of having these on the table regularly in the summer is a great way to increase your family's vegetable intake and love of high vibe food.

List of Healthy Ideas for Tonight's Crudite Platter ...

Fruit & Vegetables:         Apples       Strawberries         Blueberries         Blackberries  Green Beans   Carrots  Tomatoes         Sweet peppers     Cucumber         Celery         Grapes     Broccoli    Green onions  Lemon/lime slices         Snap Peas    Cauliflower         Jicama    Zucchini         Radish     Sprouted Raw Flax Crackers

Healthy Fats:         Almond   GFort, Raw Cheese (L-Ancestre)   Pecans         Sunflower seeds         Walnuts         Pumpkin seeds         Olives         Macadamia nuts         

Protein:         Smoked salmon         Cooked and chilled shrimp         Chicken         Turkey Breast      Boiled Egg

It's all about the dip ...

One of the keys to creating a truly healthy crudite' platter is the quality of the dips. Salsa, Homemade Guacamole, Hummus (love the Masala hummus from Summer Fresh!) are healthful easy options. This Bean Dip is pretty quick as long as you have the beans ready to go. The Simple Avocado Lovers Dressing on the bottom is one I'm trying tonite!

Bean Dip (Makes 2 cups)

Pick over and rinse:
½ c. uncooked lima or great northern beans or white kidney beans (FYI - equivalent to 1 and a half cups cooked bean)

If cooking from scratch, soak beans 8 hours or overnight, then drain.  In fresh water, cook beans 4-6 minutes in pressure cooker or 25-30 minutes on the stove top (Option B: use one can of beans).  Note: If you are making the time to cook the beans make the most of your extra effort and make a big batch and freeze in usable 1.5 cup portions and use one of those for your next batch..

Place cooked beans in blender or food processor with:

1 tbsp dijon-style mustard
1 crushed clove of garlic
Juice of ½ lemon (2 Tbsp)
¼ c. flax or olive oil
Celtic/himalayan salt to taste

And blend.

Stir in: 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley.
Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika.  

NB: Recipe doubles easily and tends to be eaten quickly!

Simple Avocado Lovers Dip

Combine 2 ripe avocados, 2 chopped green onions, 1/4 cup parsley leaves, 1/4 cup basil leaves, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons healthy mayo or Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon himalayan salt and puree until smooth. And boom. That's it! (-: