Kale and artichoke dip

Something about summer brings out my bookworm pants (shorts). Over the winter holiday frenzy I have to really make time to read, and over the summer, I find myself quickly blitzing from one book to the next. It was the same way when I was a kid: I read all summer. I think I just enjoyed an escape from the textbooks that took over my life during the school year.

Last week it was The Last Camellia and this week, it’s And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (who also wrote The Kite Runner, which is one of my all-time faves). His writing has a way of getting into my soul, and while some parts of this book have been hard for me to read -I’ve probably cried 3 times already- I can’t get enough, and have no desire to Google what happens. (I’m really awful about Googling book endings before I finish them.) Usually before bed is the only time I have to read, and lately I’ve been going to bed later and later and later just to finish one more chapter.

And 621x414

Something else I’ve been enjoying lately: artichokes.

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We love fresh ‘chokes boiled (in water with lemon and bay leaf) and then grilled or baked;

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atop broiled cheesy bread (above), which is just as decedent as it looks; and most recently, in this kale and artichoke spread.

I’m a huge fan of artichokes as it’s one of the Three Great As, but had no idea that they had some decent protein power.

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I sautéed about 2 cups of kale in olive oil, and added sea salt, pepper, 2 cloves of minced garlic:

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and after the kale had wilted, added the can of artichokes (drained) plus a squeeze of lemon juice.

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Everything was pulsed in the food chopper.

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(We were hoping Bella would teach Caroline “the ways,” but alas, all she’s really taught her is the art of shameless begging.)

I enjoyed the kale and artichoke spread atop quinoa with slices of leftover grilled chicken:

Chokes  1 of 1 5

and for Livi, I made her a quesadilla with the artichoke spread, chicken and cheese to go along with her sweet potato and fruit.

It’s definitely something I’ll be making again!

Any awesome artichoke recipes to share? What book are you reading right now?

Hope you’re having a great week! Thank you so much for the feedback on our latest YouTube video. I’ve also loved reading your bucket lists — lots of ideas to revamp my own.



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  1. Tina on June 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Um – regarding Bella teaching Caro “the ways” of your great A’s – please don’t give avocado to the dogs. EVER. It can be toxic.

    • Fitnessista on June 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      i meant teaching her the ways of life. like how to be potty trained.

      • Stacey on June 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

        haha. I know what you mean — we just adopted a puppy a few months ago and I keep trying to use our older dog as an example. Turns out everytime I asked him to lay down she gets all excited and jumps on him. I’m beginning to think he hates me because it appears I’m setting him up each time 😉

    • Alexis on June 13, 2013 at 2:56 am

      Thank you so much for posting that Tina- I had NO idea that avocado is bad for dogs and we give our boys pieces of avocado regularly. I honestly thought it would be good for them:-/

      • Sarah @ MarvelousDarling on June 28, 2013 at 12:36 pm

        Me neither! Glad I found out. I really should have looked it up but I figured it would be safe. No more avocado for Daphne!

  2. RachelG on June 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Gina, have you ever read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion? It’s her autobiography of the year after her husband suddenly died. When I read the part of your post about the words getting into your soul I immediately thought about this book. You will 100% cry throughout it but the writing is breathtaking! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on June 12, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      just hearing about it breaks my heart, but i’ll look into it!

  3. Jenni on June 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I’ve read some great books lately! Sister by Rosamund Lipton, Defending Jacob by William Landay, and Indiscretion by Charles Dubow, just to name a few! I’m currently searching for a new book to read. I always download a million samples on my Kindle until I read one that captures my attention from the get-go. And okay, I just have to say, your cheesy bread is kind of making me drool. I recently gave up dairy (experimenting with possible food sensitivities) and I don’t really miss cheese, except when I see pictures like that. Food porn should be illegal sometimes. Wah.

    • Fitnessista on June 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      i looked and felt about 8 months pregnant after eating it, but it was worth it haha
      i’ll definitely check out the books you mentioned!

  4. Sara Nickel on June 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    I love, love, love artichokes! They add an amazing cream factor when pureed with white beans for any kind of hummus. They are also an amazing addition when added to Greek yogurt and a little squirt of lemon juice in any substitute for mayo.

  5. Nichole on June 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    YUM! That spread sounds delish! I think I may just have to make that this week! As for books, I just finished ‘Gone Girl’ and OMG!!! If you haven’t read it – its a must! Enjoy your evening!

  6. Erica on June 12, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    We LOVE artichokes!! This dip sounds so good. I”m “breaking” Josh into kale. This would be another good baby step. SO bookmarked. One of my favorite artichoke recipes: http://www.itzyskitchen.com/2011/03/e-artichoke-spinach-pesto-wonton.html

  7. Elizabeth M. on June 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Looks delish! I think I might whip up the spread tonight, I have everything!

    I’m the same way with reading, I used to read and dance my summers away. It. Was. Awesome. I’m looking around for new books (love Sarah’s book!!) last year I ready The Night Circus by Emily Morgenstern and really liked it!

  8. Becca on June 12, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    This is really random, but I see from the photo that you have the same food processor as I do. My blade is currently stuck into the bowl and I’ve tried everything (from the great wisdom of the internet) to get it out, but no luck. Has that ever happened to you?

  9. Emily @ The Swallow Flies on June 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    I just finished teaching “The Kite Runner” to my ninth-grade students a couple of weeks ago, and they LOVED it. I would not be surprised if they already snatched up all of Des Moines’ copies of “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and “And the Mountains Echoed” — the new one is definitely on my list for this summer!

  10. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on June 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I tend to read a lot during the summertime too! I’ll have to check that book out. I just downloaded Hopeless onto my Kindle today. Look forward to starting it tonight!

    The dip looks soooo good!

  11. Alexandra on June 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Oh my gosh! Gina, I’m totally making this dip tonight. Sounds super yummy, like a spin on pesto but with ‘chokes. Yep, my dog is a shameless beggar too, but he likes to stand right in the line of fire and inevitably gets tripped over almost every time.

  12. Karen on June 12, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I LOVE artichokes on homemade pizza. So easy and so scrumptious.
    I just finished reading “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. It’s the story of Louie Zamperini, Olympic runner and POW. His story is incredibly inspiring. I highly recommend it. I also recommend in having tissues handy.

  13. TheSeptemBride on June 12, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    My favorite snack lately has been rinsed canned artichokes dipped in hummus. Can’t get enough.

  14. Kyra on June 12, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I’m reading “As the Mountains Echoed” right now! Book twins 🙂 I’m about halfway through and love it, just like the rest of his books, he’s a phenomenal storyteller.

  15. Anne @ my fuel and fitness diaries on June 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    YUM! I love artichokes…and kale…and chicken…and quinoa. I think you invented on banging combo. Im going to have to re-create this.

    Also, I got some of the jarred artichokes from costco that I have been using…just a tip that they are AWESOME!

  16. Amanda @ .running with spoons. on June 12, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    I’m currently reading And The Mountains Echoed as well. I’m about halfway through so far, and while I can’t say it sucked me in as much as his other two books, it’s definitely still a good read. Have you ever read The Art of Racing in the Rain? Now there is a book that just tugs at my heartstrings.

  17. Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength on June 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I have tried to like kale a few times and I just don’t. I think I’m gonna make this with spinch and artichoke though!!! Looks oh so good!!!

  18. Alyssa on June 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Pioneer woman’s artichoke dip from her first cookbook is sinful! I always make it to take to parties or gatherings and its always completely devoured! Worth every decadent calorie!

  19. Cristal on June 12, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I kept reading about how good Sarah Jio’s books were so I finally checked out The Bungalow from the library and I COULD NOT put it down. Loved every page! I can’t wait to read more by her!

  20. Silvia @ skinny jeans food on June 12, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Ahhhh, artichokes! Did you know TJ has FROZEN artichokes?! Even better than the canned ones!!

    Love Kite Runner, too. It made me understand Afghanistan, its people and history.

  21. Amber on June 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    I’m reading Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons. Sounds silly, but I am loving it.

  22. kyla on June 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    That dip has me drooling. It’d be so good on pasta! or chips or flatbread or straight from the container to my mouth!

  23. Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola on June 12, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I made this dip seconds after reading your post and it was absolutely amazing!! So much flavor and so simple that everyone loved it! I ended up putting it on baked chicken breast and made an extra serving to have for the week! Thank you, thank you!

  24. char eats greens on June 13, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Fresh artichokes still scare me! I need to get over this and just try it!! I should make that a goal for June!!

  25. Shari on June 13, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I tend not to read as much when I’m finishing a manuscript of my own – I prefer to stay in my characters’ heads instead of getting to know others’ creations – but as soon as my draft is done, I have Allie Larkin’s WHY CAN’T I BE YOU ready and waiting! 🙂

  26. Annie @ Annie Get Your Run on June 13, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Currently, I’m reading Gone Girl which is AWESOME. Now that I’m done with classes for the semester I can really get down to my reading business! I’ll add the Houssini (sp!?) book to the list! Loved Kite Runner.

  27. Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen on June 13, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I love artichokes! I actually just used them last night to make a quinoa, artichoke, sun dried tomato and feta salad with some lemon juice and parsley for seasoning.

  28. Sarah @ Yogi in Action on June 13, 2013 at 9:03 am

    That dip looks amazing! I will definitely be making this recipe in the very near future!!

    I need a new book- I can’t wait to read everyone’s comments on possible suggestions. Though I typically don’t want to read books that make me cry. Kite Runner was beautiful but just so sad!

  29. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on June 13, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I am the same way in the summer. I love reading since I normally don’t get a chance to during the rest of the year. I recently read the Divergent series and loved it. Waiting until October for the last one to come out is going to suck. Now I’m on to the Chemical Garden Trilogy that I’ve been loving. I’m really into dystopian novels right now.

    That artichoke dip looks fabulous!

    • Molly on June 13, 2013 at 9:33 am


      Fellow dystopian lover here! If you loved DIVERGENT, try the DELIRIUM Series. Or SHATTER ME by Mafi. I highly recommend those books. The BIRTHMARKED Trilogy is good as well (by Caragh O’Brien). Oh, and BLOOD RED ROAD (Dustland Series) by Young. I could go on and on. I recommend these books to all my friends and students.

  30. Hannah @ Sprints and Scones on June 13, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I love this! I cants think of a way I wouldn’t eat artichokes, but this sounds excellent.

    Totally hear you on the summer book worm thing. Its like June hits and I am magically drawn to Barnes & Nobles 🙂

  31. CourtStar @ StarSystemz on June 13, 2013 at 11:15 am

    WOW! I am in love with artichokes but honestly STINK at baking them, I just never do it long enough! The canned stuff looks great, a must try! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Love + shine CourtStar

  32. Jacquelyn@ justjacq on June 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

    That spread looks amazing. My Mom and I are huge kale eaters but we’ve gotten sick of our normal ways. I’ll have to whip up that spread for us!

    I just finished the first book of Game of Thrones. Sooo good. I’m taking a break from GoT right now so I am reading Bag of Bones by Stephen King. The beginning is really slow so I haven’t been reading much. I also listen to audiobooks because my commute to work is long and right now I am listening to Birthmarked. It’s a YA dystopian novel and not bad!

  33. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on June 13, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Gina, I think you are one week ahead of me! I finished The Bungalow last week. This week I’m reading The Last Camellia. Next week I have downloaded And the Mountains Echoed! 🙂 What’s up next on your list? I’ll compare it to mine!

    I was always a huge reader over the summer when I was in school. I like that I’m getting back to that. My mother is the worst for looking at the end before the book is over but I’m the complete opposite!

  34. Jennifer on June 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I love making asparagus and artichoke heart soup. It is so friggin’ delicious.
    1 lb asparagus
    2 shallots (sliced)
    3 tbl olive oil
    1 can great northern beans
    1/2 c or so (veggie better than bouillon)
    3 stalks celery
    3/4 can artichoke hearts
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1 tbl thyme
    1/2 C white wine
    2 tsp lemon zest
    1 tbl fresh lemon juice

    Saute your asparagus and shallot in a large pot. Once tender add everything else into your pot. (for the bouillon it will tell you how much water to add) then I took an immersion blender and blended it. I like it a bit chunkier but you could puree it until your desired likeness. Then I let it simmer for a little bit.

    • Fitnessista on June 13, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      i can’t wait to try this!

  35. Jelena@FabLifePhD on June 13, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I just finished reading “And the mountains echoed”. I loved it! Though it differs a lot from “the Kite runner” and “Thousand of splendid suns” with having a lot of small stories, that sometimes don’t even cross, I still loved it. His way of story telling simply keeps my attention and wakes up my deepest emotions

  36. Jay on June 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I’m currently looking for something new to read, just finished Vanity Fair by Thackery. It was great! That spread looks delicious . . .

  37. Mo on June 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I had an epic artichoke fail – tried a recipe from Giada . . . boil them, then bake them with a cheese and break crumb kind of topping. Didn’t care for how the leaves tasted and even though the whole artichoke felt like it was falling apart tender – the leaves weren’t so much???? Any thoughts on a recipe I can use to redeem myself? Would really like to love them and I love the hearts already, but want to use the whole darn thing.



    • Jennifer on June 13, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      I would just start with something simple. Just boil them until tender. About 40ish minutes. You know it is done when you can pull a leaf off with some tongs easily.

      I have 10 artichoke plants at home, and still find the best way to eat a choke is by boiling! Good luck 🙂

    • Fitnessista on June 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      aww that’s too bad it was a fail! i definitely think that boiling them is the easiest way. just trim the tops and take some of the outer part off, then boy l for 45 minutes or so with a bay leaf and some lemon.

  38. Tracy on June 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    That spread sounds so so good!! Do you eat it warm? Have you tried it cold?

    I just finished The last Camellia and am so excited to hear you’re liking And The Mountains Echoed. Looking forward to reading it!

    What did you think of The Last Camellia?

  39. Danica @ It's Progression on June 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    That dip looks fantastic!! Just pinned it to try soon 🙂
    Right now I’m reading Mama Pea’s 2nd cookbook: More Peas, Thank You

  40. Clara on June 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Your workouts are so awesome! I am loving trying out some of the new moves. Please sign me up for summer shape up! (if it’s not too late…)

  41. Shaina Anderson on June 13, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I’m finishing up Proof of Heaven right now (while simultaneously browsing chapters of WTE the 2nd Year). Next up is Positive Discipline. I’ve been on a non-fiction kick lately. Maybe after that I’ll dive back into make-believe.

  42. Kristin on June 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    That recipe looks awesome. I’m going to have to try it out. I love artichokes!

  43. Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin on June 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Yumm this is like spinach artichoke dip but with a twist since it’s kale! I definitely would love this. My mom makes artichokes all the time and we dip the leaves in caesar dressing (random but good).

  44. Emily on June 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I never would have thought to put kale and artichokes together! Great idea. We can’t go to Trader Joe’s without picking up a few cans of artichokes. Pesto Artichoke Pizza is basically a weekly staple in our house 🙂

  45. McKel | Nutrition Stripped on June 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! I was just asking around with friends on their favorite summer reads they had picked out. Thanks for sharing… I can’t believe I still haven’t read The Kite Runner (it’s been on my list for ages!) 🙂

  46. Melodie on June 13, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Mmm. That recipe looks and sounds amazing. Favorite books: kisses from katie by katie davis, redeeming live by francine rivers….dont judge this one by its cover bc its amazing and same kind of different as me by ron hall and denver moore. None of these are new books but definitely faves!!

    • Melodie on June 13, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      Excuse the typo… should have read redeeming love

  47. Sophie @ life's philosophie on June 13, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    That dip looks delicious! I haven’t cooked anything with artichokes in a long, long time, but this motivates me to do something!

  48. Megan on June 14, 2013 at 3:08 am

    I want to eat all of that food while reading “And the Mountains Echoed”. It’s been on my long-neglected list for a while (Game of Thrones took up ALL of my reading time for a bit) and I keep hearing wonderful things about it.

  49. Bridgett on June 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Great about the dip as now on a restricted diet so got any tips on making a smoothie with bananas and strawberries and yogurt w/o it being too tart??
    As for books they are my life. I have been a voracious reader since I was five years old. You are totally on track with reading “And the Mountains Echoed.” Also, “Gone Girl”kept my iPad going so much I had to keep charging the batteries.

  50. Kelley on June 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Just made this dip and it took a ridiculous amount of willpower not to face plant into the bowl. Sooo good and couldn’t be any easier!

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