Grace O ‘Dips’ into Expo West

Rustic Crust and Grace O will team up at the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim this week to demonstrate how to add anti-aging FoodTrient toppings to their Ciabatta Flatbread.Actress Jamie Luner will be on hand to talk about the recipes developed by Grace and the FoodTrients team. Plenty of samples will be handed out at the Rustic Crust booth on Saturday (March 9).

Rustic Crust, based in New Hampshire, has a line of all-natural and organic pizza crusts and flatbreads that can be topped and baked at home for a quick, easy dinner. Grace decided to create four different dips and spreads for the Rustic Crust Ciabatta Flatbread seasoned with basil and sea salt. The Ciabatta should be crisped in the oven (set right on the rack) at 425 degrees for 12 minutes. Then you can dip or spread as desired with the FoodTrients recipes that follow.

Annatto Hummus

   Annatto is an underused spice full of vitamin E and it promotes strong hair, nails and skin. It adds color and zing to any dish. It can be infused in oil or ground up and used in a paste to marinate meats. Grace uses the infused oil in this hummus dish in place of tahini. The garbanzo beans provide even more beauty benefits through their omega-3 fatty acids. You can use white cannellini beans in place of the garbanzos to make a white bean dip.

15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp. annatto/achiote oil

1 tsp. crushed garlic

¼ tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Drain the liquid from the garbanzo beans, reserving 1/3 cup. Pour the beans, reserved liquid, 1 Tbsp. of oil, and spices into a food processor. Blend together for about 10 seconds or until the mixture is very smooth. Scoop into a shallow bowl and drizzle with the remaining Tbsp. of annatto oil. Serve over warm Rustic Crust Ciabatta Flatbread or pita bread.

Yields about 1 cup; serves 2-4 as an appetizer.


Annatto/Achiote Oil

Whole (not ground) annatto or achiote seeds can be found in Hispanic markets or from spice purveyor Penzeys ( Annatto is full of carotenoids, vitamins B2, B3 and C, and helpful phytochemicals. It is antimicrobial and an excellent source of vitamin E. This antioxidant and anti-inflammatory is great for your skin, hair, and nails. 

1 tsp whole annatto/achiote seeds (if you like strong flavors add another teaspoon or two)

½ cup canola or grapeseed oil

Warm the seeds in the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. The seeds will begin to sizzle and the oil will take on a bright orange color. Simmer the seeds for 5-7 minutes or until they turn from bright red to a dark brown, almost black color. Allow the oil to cool and strain the seeds out. Store the oil in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Yields ½ cup.


Spinach & Moringa Dip

Grace adjusted her Moringa Dip recipe (featured in her cookbook) using yogurt and spinach. Yogurt is full of probiotics and protein. It can stand in for mayonnaise in some recipes, like this one. Spinach and moringa are also high in protein so this dip is quite good for building strong muscles. Moringa leaves have iron and potassium, too, minerals critical for muscle growth. Moringa leaves and powder can be purchased at

1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed

1 cup yogurt

1/8 cup moringa leaves or powder (optional)

1/8 cup minced red onion

½ tsp. crushed garlic

¼ tsp. sea salt

black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together with a spatula until well blended. Serve with warm Rustic Crust Ciabatta Flatbread or crackers.

Yields 2 cups; serves 2-4 as an appetizer.


Olive & Watercress Tapenade

Olives are full of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the heart. Garlic has allicin, another artery-friendly compound. Both watercress and parsley contain—when eaten raw—chlorophyll, vitamin C (an anti-inflammatory), and folic acid which protects the heart as well. Olives do contain a lot of salt, so people with hypertension should avoid this recipe.

1 cup pitted black olives, drained

1 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained

1 cup pitted green olives with pimentos, drained

1 ½ cups fresh watercress, tightly packed

1 ½ cups fresh parsley, tightly packed

3 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. oregano

Place all ingredients in bowl of food processor. Blend together for 5 or 6 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and blend another 5 seconds or until the mixture is somewhat granular. Don’t over-blend it into a paste. Serve with warm Rustic Crust Ciabatta Flatbread or slices of toasted baguette.

Yields about 2 cups; serves 2-4 as an appetizer.


Kale Cashew Pesto

Kale is practically a wonder drug what with all its antioxidant power from indoles, carotenoids, choline, quercitin, vitamins A and C, and calcium. It protects against many kinds of cancer, as does olive oil. The sulfur compounds in garlic do as well. Basil contains lycopene, another cancer-fighter. Cashews contain copper and zinc which boosts the immune system. The cashews are a sweet nut and they help to balance the bitterness of the kale. Grace uses Tuscan kale in this recipe, a more tender, less bitter version of the green. It is also called lacinato kale, black kale or cavolo nero. 

1 cup Tuscan kale leaves, stems removed, tightly packed

1 cup basil leaves, tightly packed

½ cup cashews

1 tsp. crushed garlic

¼ tsp. sea salt

4 Tbsp. olive oil + 1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place all ingredients except cheese and the final Tbsp. of olive oil into the bowl of a food processor. Blend together for 10 seconds or until the mixture is very granular, but not smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the final Tbsp. of oil and the cheese. Blend for another 6-10 seconds or until you get an emerald-colored paste. Serve tossed with hot whole-wheat pasta or smeared on warm Rustic Crust Ciabatta Flatbread.

Yields 1 cup; serves 2.


About FoodTrients

Combining her passion for food and a lifelong commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle, Grace O has created FoodTrients®, a unique program for optimizing wellness. Grace O is a fusion chef with a mission: to cook up recipes for sustaining a long and joyful life that are built on a foundation of anti-aging science and her work in the health care industry. Mixing foods and unique flavors culled from a lifetime of travels from Asia to Europe and America, Grace O encourages young and old to celebrate a full life that embraces diversity. Lifestyle tips, age-defying recipes, and secrets of the healing properties of food are the centerpiece of FoodTrients™–all available through cookbooks, e-newsletters, and
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.