This afternoon I went to spend some time with my horses, and when I opened the car door to head home, my cell phone was ringing. I had missed several calls, all from my family. My daughter was hoping I’d stop to pick up halloween make-up, my husband was struggling with his Sunday “butternut squash ravioli” dinner, and my son needed to talk with me “right away”.

This is why I don’t bring my phone when I go riding…

Alas, I called home, and received my messages and instructions. These instructions typically require a grocery store stop, which can be a test for me when I’ve been with the horses, since I am usually wearing mucky boots and horse attire, and these days that includes a bulky barn coat that is less than a fashion statement. And dirty. No big deal. I stop because I am Mom.

My son told me he had been planning on making an appetizer for dinner, and he’d been planning for it for a few days. He said “Dad told me to use what we have in the fridge, but I want to make something specific.” “Ok, what is it” I asked. “It’s a surprise. But I need you to get me two cans of artichoke hearts packed in water and two packages of frozen spinach, a package of Daiya and some almond milk”, he replied.

Daiya is a great for treats and for transitioning away from dairy, but it is something my son seems to be unwilling to live without these days, and that does NOT make me happy. I was about to protest the Daiya, and then I realized he had asked for spinach and artichoke hearts.

That’s correct.

My 15 year old son just asked me to buy spinach. And artichoke hearts.


My point in sharing this with you is that I was reminded today that the children in our lives are watching. They are assessing and they are choosing. They are deciding what’s important. And no matter what we say or what we do, they learn from watching us… I had a proud Mom moment today for sure.

I bet you’d agree that among the greatest gifts we can give our children, a big one is the gift of making healthier choices for ourselves and our families. When we can inspire our kids with healthy meals that taste great, we set them up for a healthier, happier future, where they consider healthy living to be an important part of their lives. Amen to that!

So, here is what Mitchell created: (warning, the Daiya does not make this Whole Foods, Plant-Based compliant, but it is delicious!)

Vegan Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Dip Base:

2 9 oz cans of artichoke hearts packed in water

2 9 oz packages frozen spinach

1 cup Daiya shreds

Defrost spinach, drain well. Chop artichokes and spinach into small pieces.

Cashew Cream Sauce:

1/2 cup cashews, soaked for an hour

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp dijon mustard

3 tbsp tahini

1/2 teas paprika

Fresh ground pepper to taste ( a little salt is optional)

Blend until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place artichoke and spinach mixture in a bowl and mix them with 1 1/4 cups of the cashew cream sauce. Should be wet. Mix in the Daiya. dread into a shallow casserole dish. Top with 2 tbsp bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. (modified from

*Note: I would bet that this could be equally tasty without the Daiya. Let’s give that a try. Send me your picture and let me know how it goes!