Food is Everything


One of the first things Sheri and I realized during our “Year at Belle Vie” of self-care and transformation, was that the food we ate was going to make all the difference.

We both grew up in the Midwest, the land of bacon and eggs for breakfast, turkey sandwiches and chips for lunch, and dinners built around the Standard American Diet (SAD): Meatloaf, pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, spaghetti and meatballs, beef stew, lots of white bread, white pasta, white rice, cheese on everything, and maybe, just maybe, a few stalks of steamed broccoli or a side salad drowned in bottled dressing. Oh, and ice cream for dessert.

I admit I fed my own kids in a SAD way for a long time. I liked to pride myself that everything I served was homemade, that I shopped organic and free range, and that I tried to layer vegetables into every meal. And sure, I made my own salad dressing, but almost everything we ate was meat, dairy, sugar, and starch—just like when I was a kid.

Embarking on a year of transformation meant that Sheri and I had to drastically change the way we ate. Not just once in a while, but always, every day. We wanted fit, healthy bodies but it was going to be impossible to get there eating the same way we always had. The truth is, after a certain age, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

To make matters even more challenging, like so many people, we had a 26-yearlong tradition of socializing over food with our friends and families. Regaling each other with tales over bottles of Chardonnay and tubs of French onion dip. Or pizza. Or burgers. Or anything gooey and filled with carbs. Delicious food is happiness, we both knew that. It’s a celebration. No one celebrates with a plate of celery and carrots.

So here we were, living together for the first time in our startup year of STORY. We knew had to be at our best—mentally, physically, and emotionally—to build our company. We couldn’t fall back on old habits. We needed a new way to eat. One that was better, healthier, more sustainable but still fantastically delicious—something that made our mouths water; something to look forward to every day. Could healthy food be delicious? Could it make us happy? Enter: Belle Vie Happy Hour Dips.

Belle Vie Happy Hour Dips

Almost every day at 6 p.m., we have a very civilized happy hour at Belle Vie. Sheri and I like crackers and dips to go with our “mocktails” (lots of ice, a capful of vodka or tequila, soda water, a splash of freshly squeezed tangerine or grapefruit juice, and lots of fresh lemon and lime wedges) or occasional glasses of wine. We’ve replaced regular crackers with Mary’s seed crackers (no carbs!) but needed something besides French onion dip to go with them.

These two dips do the trick. They’re garlicky, creamy, and flavorful and a perfect accompaniment to crudité.

Basil-Lemon Hummus

MAKES: 2 Cups

TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes (Prep Time + Cooking Time)


2 garlic cloves, peeled

½ cup fresh basil leaves, rinsed

2 cans organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed, liquid reserved

¼ cup organic tahini paste

2 lemons, juiced

a few dashes of hot sauce

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste


Blend the garlic and basil in a Cuisinart for a few seconds.

Add the beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Blend and then add the reserved bean liquid, a little at a time, while the mixture is blending to get a smooth, dip-like consistency. (This is in place of oil, making it a lower-fat dip.)

Add a few dashes of hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste, and blend one last time.


Herby Green Dip

MAKES: 2 Cups

TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes (Prep Time + Cooking Time)


½ cup raw, unsalted cashews

4 dates, pitted

2 garlic cloves, peeled

½ cup fresh basil, rinsed

½ cup fresh Italian parsley, rinsed

¼ cup fresh mint, rinsed

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 lemons, juiced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste


Soak cashews in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes.

Blend the dates and garlic in a Cuisinart.

Add the basil, parsley, mint, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, and blend.

Season with salt and pepper.


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