Category Archives: Dips and Spreads

Fig Butter

Fig Butter

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fig Butter (5)

This was an unexpected surprise!  I was originally trying to add more fiber to the Poopinator Plus because we are still waiting on a referral to UCLA Children’s Hospital for a more in depth motility.  I also thought it would help his weight loss issue due his currently very limited diet.  Sadly the fig gave him too much gas so I had to pull it out.  But, as always, I try all of his blends to make sure they taste good and this was amazing!  So far, with only 2 calorie dense ingredients an zero prep time this is by far the easiest, highest fiber calorie booster I have made to date.


-8oz Hemp Milk

-8oz Dried Adriatic Figs


  1. Place the ingredients to the 32oz  Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Let sit for 20 minutes to soften the figs.
  3. Select Variable 1.
  4. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  5. Blend until completely smooth (approximately 1-2 minutes), using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.

Food Tips:  This recipe packs 56.8 calories per 1 ounce serving.  That makes it a good calorie booster without added sugars and/or syrup.  Because it’s important for oral eaters, I always taste my recipes.  This tastes amazing on toast (as seen in the picture).  By itself it’s pretty sweet but added to other pureed dessert or snack recipes, I think it would tastes great.

Time tip:  Freeze this butter in ice cube trays then pop them out into freezer bags for easy storage and quick defrost.

Money Tip:  As with most of my ingredients, the figs and hemp seed are best purchased at a bulk food store  like Winco.  The prices are always much lower and you can by just what you need so there’s no waste.



2 cups cooked chick peas (according to the package)
¼ -½ cup bean liquid
3oz (1/3 cup) tahini (see recipe)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup of lemon juice or a 2oz peeled section of lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic
1-3 tsp garlic salt

Hummus prep

1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
4. Blend for 1 minute using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades (if necessary).

Food Tip: Hummus is an Arabic word meaning chickpeas or garbanzo beans. The complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is hummus bi tahini. So can you make hummus without tahini? Yes but, in my opinion, the flavor is lacking. Tahini is roasted sesame seeds that are blended to the consistency of creamy peanut butter. Eaten by itself, it has a rich nutty flavor. If you buy it in the jar it tends to have a bitter aftertaste. Blended with the chick peas it gives life and body to the spread. Traditionally, hummus is the consistency of yogurt but add the liquid to make it as thin or thick as you desire. Serve with fresh veggies, pita chips or as a spread for a pita sandwich or wrap.
Time Tip: 2 cups of sesame seeds makes about 1 cup of tahini. Make it in advance and keep it the refrigerator for future fresh batches. Another time saving technique is to make 3 batches (1 pound of dry beans cooked). Blend each batch individually and freeze them in various size plastic containers. After they are frozen, pop them out into a large Ziploc Freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. That way you can defrost as little or as much as you need. Amazingly, it tastes as if it were just made after it’s been defrosted and warmed up a bit.
Money Tip: Buying dry beans is always less expensive (and tastes better) than canned beans. Making your own tahini in your Vitamix is way less expensive (and also tastes better) than buying it in a jar. Last but not least, freezing your hummus not only saves time but money. You only defrost what you plan to use in the next 3-4 days so there is none to throw away.



12oz (about 2 ½ cups) of raw sesame seeds
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Tahini prep

Toasted sesame seeds: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sesame seeds on a cookie sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes stirring often. Cool for 15 minutes.

Toasted sesame seeds

1. Place sesame seeds into the Vitamix container and secure lid.
2. Select variable 1.
3. T urn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable10, then high.
4. Blend for 1 minute using the tamper to press the mixture into the blades.
5. Remove the lid plug and add olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth and has the consistency of a thick liquid.

Food Tip: Be sure not to overcook the seeds because the tahini will taste burnt. They will not be brown when they are done. You will barely see a color change.

Time Tip: Use foil on your cookie sheet. Once the seeds are cooled you can lift the sides of the foil and form a tube. Lift the foil and pour directly into the Vitamix container. I have tried pouring the seeds into the container directly from the cookie sheet only to have lots of them all over my counter. Using a spoon takes a long time because the seeds are so small and smooth.

Money Tip: Sesame seeds bought in bulk costs about $1/lb. One 16oz jar of tahini can cost anywhere from $6 to $12!

Nine Layer Bean Dip

Nine Layer Bean Dip
Nine Layer Bean Dip

This recipe has some serious history behind it.  It all started about 16 years ago.  We had been invited to join my husband’s best friends family for a Fourth of July barbecue/swim party.  It was a pot luck for a fairly large group so I thought the nine layer bean dip would work well as an appetizer.  The dip was a hit and so began a Barton Family Bean Dip legacy.  At first it was just 1 pan but then I found out a family member had an allergy to avocados so I added a small pan that had no guacamole in it.  Soon the dip was disappearing as fast as I brought it out.  Come to find out, people were skipping lunch just to eat the dip when we arrived.

9 layer dip dos


9 layer dip



Fast forward to the present.  We now bring 3 varieties of the dip all weighing between 5 and 7 pounds each to all of our Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day gatherings.  Three parties every year plus a couple of extra events thrown in by special request.  That’s a lot of dip!  One year we had to miss Memorial Day because Matthew was in the hospital.  One family member jokingly asked, “Well, can you at least bring the dip?”  Yeah.  It’s that good!


Well, now it’s football season and the holiday season is quickly approaching.  The next time you are invited to a party bring “the dip”.  Word of caution, be prepared to be stopped at the door when you are invited back and you decide to bring something else!

3 cups of non-fried re-fried beans
2 cups diced green chiles
2 cups guacamole
1 cup taco seasoning
2 cups chopped olives
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups chopped green onion
2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese

Guacamole directions: Peel, pit and mash 4-5 avocados. Mix in ¼ cup sour cream and salt, Cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste.

Dip directions: Layer each ingredient into a large lasagna pan (13-1/2 in. L x 9-5/8 in. W x 2-3/4 in. H) in the order listed. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Food Tip: For those allergic to avocado, eliminate that layer. For those who like a spicier dip, use chopped jalapenos in place of green chiles. This size dip is excellent for parties. If you want a smaller dip, choose the desired size pan and evenly layer all of the ingredients. The beans should measure about ¾ inch deep and each successive layer should completely cover the one below it.

Time Tip: The beans puree and spread much easier if they are freshly cooked and blended. Spread the non-fried re-fried beans into the pan, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Also chop the olives, tomatoes, green chiles and/or jalapenos the night before and store in airtight containers. It is best to chop the onions and make the guacamole the day the dip is to prepared and eaten.

Money Tip: When making this dip for a large group it is best to buy the ingredients at club stores or stores that specialize in catering. Making the non-fried re-fried beans fresh from beans purchased at a bulk food store is always more nutritional, less expensive and better tasting than canned.

Nonfried Refried Beans

Non-fried Re-fried Beans
Non-fried Re-fried Beans

1 lb dried pinto beans
6 cups of water
2 tsp beef bouillon
Salt (to taste)

Quick soak- Place washed and sorted beans and the water into a 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low for 1 hour. After 1 hour stir in the bouillon. Continue cooking the beans for 1-2 hours or until they are tender. Properly cooked beans should easily mash with the back of a spoon. Stir in salt to taste and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and reserve 1 cup of the broth.

  1. Place 3 cups of drained beans into the Vitamix.
  2. Select variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10.
  4. Blend for 30 seconds using the tamper to press the beans into the beans. Add small amounts of the bean broth to reach the desired consistency.
  5. Repeat steps 1-3 until all the beans are pureed.

Food Tip: Use them as a side dish, to make burritos, tostadas or as a base for 9-layered dip. Add them to soups and stews as a natural thickener with the added benefit of adding extra protein.

Savings Tip: Because they are inexpensive, buy beans in bulk and store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. Under these conditions, dry beans can last up to a year. Also watch for sales in Mexican or farmer’s markets. These markets often have sales that are better than buying pre-packaged beans.

Time Tip: Cooked and pureed beans can keep for up to 6 months in the freezer. Double the recipe and freeze them in 1-3 cup size containers. When defrosted, use within 3 days. If using them as baby food, freeze them in standard ice cube trays covered in plastic wrap. Once frozen, put them into labeled and dated freezer bags for fast, fresh, individual portions.

Ranch Dressing

Try this one out on your family (Shhhh! Don’t tell them what’s in it). They will fall in love with it and your cottage cheese haters will be shocked. I tried making this with a regular blender but my husband did not like it because the texture was not creamy enough. Not so with the Vitamix. I pack about a tablespoon of it in a small container and put it in his lunch with garden fresh veggies.

Ranch dressing with veggies1 cup low fat cottage cheese
½ cup milk
½ cup mayonnaise
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix

1. Place cottage cheese and milk into the Vitamix container and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 10.
4. Blend for 10 seconds or until smooth.
5. Remove lid and add mayonnaise and ranch dressing mix.
6. Secure lid and select Variable 1.
7. Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 6.
8. Blend 10 seconds or until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
9. Pour into a 3 cup container and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Food tip: Using cottage cheese to replace a portion of the milk and mayonnaise reduces fat while adding calcium and protein. The cottage cheese also thickens the dressing to make it perfect for dipping vegetables instead of using sour cream. To use as a salad dressing, add enough milk to reach the desired consistency. For thicker vegetable dip use 2/3 cup of mayonnaise and 1/3 cup of milk. You can make this recipe with just cottage or a combination of cottage cheese and milk but, if you are looking for the traditional tang of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, you will want to use the mayonnaise.

Time Tip: When using the Vitamix this dressing takes about 5 minutes start to finish.

Money Tip: Hidden Valley has a 3.75oz container of this dressing mix. It is always cheaper than the individual packages and keeps well for months in the cupboard. Cottage cheese can also be bought in larger containers for a lower price and can be used in a variety of recipes to replace whole milk, cream or half and half.