Jalapeno Basil Cocktail Starter

 Since moving into our new house, we have been anxious to get out on the back deck.  With the arrival of sunshine this past weekend, we were able to spend plenty of time gardening and getting things ready for summer.  The warm weather inspired this refreshing cocktail starter- it’s bright and the perfect mix of sweet, sour and spicy.  When I saw this month’s Recipe Redux theme, “Cocktails and Mocktails for May Celebrations” I knew I wanted to create something that could double as a cocktail or a mocktail.  The best part- you can keep the starter in your fridge and easily create a single serving cocktail by adding your choice of liquor and sparkling water.  Enjoy the sunshine!

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Lauren is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who finds relaxation amongst pots, pans and good ingredients. From an early age, Lauren grew up cooking alongside her mother, Angela. After finishing a Bachelor of Science degree, Lauren realized she wanted to integrate her love for food and cooking into her career and went back to school to become a Registered Dietitian.

After completing a primarily pediatric internship in Vancouver, Canada, Lauren’s personal life led her to the Southern United States. Lauren is now soaking up the cultural and culinary flavors of New Orleans in her time off from practicing in a local pediatric clinic. Lauren has a special interest for educating children and adolescents on not only eating healthy, but also learning the skills to prepare healthy food. Prior to becoming a dietitian, Lauren led a children’s after school cooking camp and continues to enjoy educating children and their parents in her current work setting.

Greek 7-Layer Dip

How many times have you been to a party where there is 7-layer dip?  Yes, I’m talking about the refried beany, sour creamy, cheesy classic.  While there are components of a traditional 7-layer dip that are good for you, many are not.  My alternative adds a Mediterranean twist and every single layer is not only delicious, but good for you!  It really should be called Heart Health Dip, but that just didn’t sound appealing.  Oh, and it’s gluten free and vegan, in case you’re looking for an appy to serve your entire crowd.  Layers of roasted vegetables and olives are separated by protein-packed hummus.  I may have caught Doug scooping it into a bowl and eating it with a spoon- that might be pushing it.  Did you know that Saturday is National Hummus Day?  Why not throw a party to celebrate with this dip!

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Lauren is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who finds relaxation amongst pots, pans and good ingredients. From an early age, Lauren grew up cooking alongside her mother, Angela. After finishing a Bachelor of Science degree, Lauren realized she wanted to integrate her love for food and cooking into her career and went back to school to become a Registered Dietitian.

After completing a primarily pediatric internship in Vancouver, Canada, Lauren’s personal life led her to the Southern United States. Lauren is now soaking up the cultural and culinary flavors of New Orleans in her time off from practicing in a local pediatric clinic. Lauren has a special interest for educating children and adolescents on not only eating healthy, but also learning the skills to prepare healthy food. Prior to becoming a dietitian, Lauren led a children’s after school cooking camp and continues to enjoy educating children and their parents in her current work setting.