Posts Tagged ‘avocado’

Moments of satisfaction: “Fasts”, Facebook groups, Green smoothies, and Green Icing.

Okay, seriously exciting thing happened for a leaf-loving blogger yesterday. I was already feeling quite Green, as a friend and I did a juice-and-smoothie fast for a short time this week, and I have to say it was so refreshing. I was amazed at how I felt so full- yet “light”.  It didn’t last long, because I like to…well, you know…chew food, but I carried on eating a ton of Green Food, and no Beige Food at all, and I really felt grand. (See this post here for my thoughts on Green Food and Beige food)

Simultaneously, my friend added me to a Facebook group for an exercise support group (Jillean Michaels)  I wasn’t too interested in it to be perfectly honest- I do like exercise DVD’s from a practical “don’t have to leave the house” point of view, but I am trying to get back into cycling again. I was just about to unsubscribe from the group, when someone mentioned she wanted to try “those green power juices that are everywhere on Pinterest”. Of course this was music to my ears- I could barely wait to post one of  my favourite and simplest green Smoothie recipes:

“Half a cantaloupe melon, 2-3 handfuls of babyleaf spinach. Instructions: Blend, drink, rejoice!”

Immediately another group member said that she too enjoyed them (with her children too) and from then on in, within 24 hours, the group wall was awash with photos of beautiful green drinks, recipes, and posts for suggested shopping lists. Enthusiasm abounded, and shopping trips were rapidly organised. We were Loving Leaves.It was a beautiful thing  🙂  (Is. I mean it is a beautiful thing. The Green Revolution continues……)

The most awesome ever “slimming shakes”, and “energy shakes”!!  🙂

So of course, I found myself doing the workout. I am on Day 3. I can barely walk downstairs- To be absolutely truthful…..I love that feeling  🙂

My other small moment of satisfaction was to have one of my weird recipes validated  🙂  Okay, it is not my recipe- plenty of people are sharing this online. I got a notification that people were visting this site from another bloggers site who I didn’t know and I popped on over out of curiosity. It is Ria’s Collection Blogspot, and it seems like she has just started but she loves baking recipes. She had made some beautiful vegan chocolate cupcakes (using avocado IN the cakes to sub for butter) and had topped it with “Not Quite Betty Crocker” Avocado frosting (recipe here)  Here is her husband’s verdict:

So he knew the cupcakes had avocados in it. When he got back from work, he found me frosting the cupcakes so I asked him if he wanted to taste test one. He obliged, like always and took a bite of it. He nodded in agreement when I asked him if they were good. After chewing down one half of the cupcake, he asked me what’s the frosting made of…a question I was waiting all this while to answer. When I told him it had just avocados, cocoa & sugar, he was definately surprised! I don’t think he thought I would go that far with that fruit 🙂   This frosting kind of sets and loses it’s sticky property so this is perfect to pack and send it to wherever you want!The cupcakes were super moist and the frosting was rich and creamy.No one would guess it has what it has 🙂

 

By the way, the actual cupcakes look wonderful and moist, I think I will try them one day (follow her link above for the recipe)

 

These were my small moments of satisfaction (at least- in the realm of Green food- I do have many others!)

Wishing you plenty of your own  🙂

 

Happy Halloween! Green Noodle-worms and Spooky Trees

I sort of get off on the whole theme thing with my children. Just once in a while, you know….and of course Halloween is here, and what could possibly beg to be themified more than Halloween? Anything involving pumpkin does not go down well with my girls, (not even butternut squash or sweet potato). Amelia once declared butternut squash was “too sweet” which I thought was rich coming from her; she would purposefully  inhale the smoke if a chocolate factory was burning down! That said, butternut squash doesn’t taste anything like chocolate (not even smokey chocolate).

So anyway……..I thought I would go for green. You know, green, that conjures up images of green-faced witches,  slimey goo, and Frankenstein. Or, if you’re me, chlorophyll  🙂

Chlorophyll, I have heard, has a molecular make-up almost identical to that of haemoglobin, except at the centre, there is magnesium instead of iron. Furthermore, while I cannot go into this any more than what I remember from GCSE Biology, it harvests the suns rays and transforms it into food, which just fills me with delight and gratitude for the Creation and all lessons contained therein. All green leaves are very rich in minerals too, especially calcium and iron, and in general as humans, we don’t consume enough leaves. Moving down the food chain is a positive step forward for your health in my opinion.

One ideal green pasta sauce would be home-made pesto, but I was using what I had in the house; thanks to the blessed Tesco reduced shelf, I had about 8 avocados, ready to use, and all of them LOVE avocado pasta. However I felt like, it being a Halloween theme, the green needed a little more ……vibrance.

So I threw in a bottle of food colouring.

Just kidding. That really would be scarey.

I threw in some spinach.

Young spinach is so very nutritious, while being very mild in flavour. Perfect for kids smoothies (and grown-ups), salads, and obviously, green halloweeney avocado-based sauces.

Our green sauce is simply a food processed mixture of some soft avocados, a handful of babyleaf spinach, a pinch or two of sea salt, and some Nutritional yeast powder, because they all enjoy that.  It’s nothing complex in terms of flavour….but avocado is creamy and relatively neutral tasting.If so inclined, you could create some amazing sauces with slightly punchier flavours, and smother your wholegrain pasta with creamy, nutritious, unheated, unprocessed healthy fat.

So when I was in Tesco, I saw a cauliflower variety pack labelled “Ideal for Halloween” and couldn’t resist adding some spooky “trees” to our green noodle-worms. I was pretty sure they would be so excited to see purple trees, and spikey-spooky Romanesco cauliflower trees. (I know I am) I stress, excited to see them. They don’t really like eating it much though,so I also did some broccoli trees which they love don’t mind eating. I think I’ll be eating quite a bit of steamed cauiflower later.

(later)

Here it is. We used wholewheat noodles, and also made some purple and orange Halloweeny coleslaw (which I forgot to photograph, with Cashew mayonnaise, a recipe suggestion is here)

 I am absolutely amazed! Amelia who- quote- HATES- cauliflower, tucked into this and proffered various surprised “Hmmmmmm. Not bad. Prefer the green ones, but the purple and the spikey one’s aren’t bad.” (praise inDEED. Especially as they were a little aldente….) Ellie, (who has flirted with raw cauliflower, though it ended unhappily) crooned little songs “spooky purple trees, yummy spooky trees…..can I eat the raw ones in the kitchen?”  Then, I wasn’t sure if I had overdone the babyleaf spinach when Amelia asked “is this pesto?” Me: “No’ it’s avocado sauce.” (pause as she tries it, eyeing it’s extra-green hue suspiciously) “Mmmmmm. I love it!” (Note to self: Always add babyleaf spinach to avocado sauce!)

Thank you God for both purple and wierd-but-beautiful spikey edible plants!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Chlorophyll levels are reduced when the veggie is cooked, but it is only reduced in very significant amounts after quite prolonged cooking times, like boiling broccoli for 20 minutes. Eat plenty of greens raw, and opt for things like steaming for a few minutes when cooking.

P.P.S Their “dessert” is being provided by the local neighbourhood, and trust me, it won’t be appearing on this blog!  🙂  Happy Hallowe’en. Eat some plants y’all.

Gorgeous easy dressing!

You can never really go wrong with an avocado dressing, I say.

Just take one large, perfectly ripe avocado and a pinch of salt and put it into your mini chopper with a small chopped orange. Process until smooth!

Of course, if you only put in the juice of the orange, it will come out far silkier, but I just do it like this, and whizz for a little longer.

Variations: A squeeze of lemon or lime juice, nutritional yeast, herbs of your choice, a tiny piece of garlic….etc.

Here it is featured over a raw carrot salad. It was a really cool colour, but for some reason my camera didn’t get it  😦  

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for some reason,  Amelia cried at the prospect of trying this. I mean, cried real tears. And I wasn’t even pushing her on it, because I don’t. She traded it in for half an avocado and some carrot sticks, which was practically the same anyway!

School run. x

 

notquiteBettyCrocker: Avocado Chocolate Frosting

You have GOT to try this to believe it! It is sooo chocolatey-silky smooth and fatty, as a good chocolate frosting should be 🙂  It really does NOT taste of avocado. Of course these fats are health-nurturing fats, and as I mentioned in the avocado piece, you can do amazing things with a ripe avocado And here is one to add to the list.

To start with, you need  a food processor or a mini chopper. Take one large avocado, perfectly ripe and soft. Now it’s just the balancing act of unsweetened cocoa powder and sweetener, whichever one you get on with. I like it with unpasteurised honey, I know people that do it with maple syrup, agave nectar, and other forms of dry sugar. That is down to personal taste/dietary habits, though of course, not all of them are as good for you as others. But hey…. It’s avocado frosting!

My recipe uses the following:

  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 20 grams cocoa (1/8 cup)
  • 70grams sweetener of choice

Insert into food processor. I am aware of how wierd this looks….

 

 

 

 

 

 

But look what happens once you have whizzed it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite 70grams sounding like quite a bit of sweetener, this tastes sweet in a dark kind of way, which is how I like it (we’ll see if the girls do! I may need to doctor it a tiny bit) If you prefer it sweeter, well, just sweeten it up a bit. I repeat, it DOES NOT TASTE OF AVOCADO. (Update. I sweetened mine up, after all)

The texture is, quite frankly , glorious. You could eat this as a chocolate mousse and I know plenty of people do. (With orange zest and a squeeze of juice in addition, I bet it is heavenly!)

Note: May look classier if not in an Ikea bowl. But check out that texture!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, this is to be filed under Recipes that Sound Really Wierd, but Really Work (Honestly) , along with this one- dessert hummous. And of course, I cannot take the credit for either one.But wow, I am happy when people make these little discoveries!

This is going on top of a chocolate cake that I have tried previously, which is really delicious, and the children loved it too. It is wholewheat (when I bake it, anyway) not as high in sugar as most cakes, pretty low fat (it uses some vegetable oil) and it has no eggs in, and despite everything I have just said, it is really light and moist. The recipe is here.

I will post a photo of the whole cake tomorrow. It’s my birthday cake 🙂

Avocado: Nature’s Nurturing Butter

How do I love thee? How could I possibly count the ways???

I remember first trying avocado at school when I was seven. It was relatively new to the UK, and we were told we had to be very careful with this fruit because it was fatty, and high in cholesterol. Fast-forward to twenty years later in Spain, when the pediatric nurse asked me what Amelia’s favourite weaning foods were. “She loves avocado…” I began, only to pause at her horrified-but-trying-to-look-professional face. “Well you want to be careful with that…it’s VERY high in cholesterol” she cautioned.

Thankfully it is now well accepted that there are a glorious array of Good Things (including the fats) in avocados. A few facts.

  • The highest concentration of carotenoids are in the dark green flesh just under the skin.
  • Because of the oleic acid (also found richly in olives and their oil)avocado helps the absorption of the fat-soluble carotenoids lyocpene and beta-carotene from 200-400% !! . Add it to your salads, clearly.
  • High in fibre (about 8 grams per cup or medium avocado) Hello happy colon.
  • Has a spectacular array of natural anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.
  • High in Vitamin C, E, and has more potassium than bananas. Potassium is incredible for balancing sodium levels in our body and helps blood pressure in that regard.

Eat:

  • On salad in chunks
  • Whizzed up with fresh orange, lemon or lime juice as a dressing. Even whizz up the whole citrus fruit with the avocado for extra fibre, it works really well.
  • Spread on wholewheat toast or your choice of wholesome crackers
  • Home made guacamole from the very simple avocad0+fork, to any permutation of the following additions: salt, lime juice, lemon juice, chopped tomato, spring onion, garlic, chopped bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro.
  • Mash on wholewheat pasta. My kids beg for this like it’s some kind of delicacy (cute!) It is really delicious. Sprinkle with not-parmesan: Ground up nutritional yeast and salt. For more details see my cheezy popcorn post.
  • Chocolate frosting. I’m not kidding. This is scarily good. Avocado has a very neutral taste which works well in sweet or savoury (if you read Culinary Uses in the wikipedia article, it is so interesting to see the ways it is eaten around the world)  You need to balance the cocoa and sweetener exactly right, and then you would never guess! I will post a recipe sometime or you can search online.

Every time I open a bright green avocado I feel like I am looking at Gods edible emeralds, and such a beautiful and delicious fruit is also so amazing for our health. Good heavens! It’s a triple no-brainer. Eat more avocados!

Green Pasta, two ways.

Today we had green pasta, and “green pasta” for lunch. The first, is a firm family favourite, SO easy, and really delicious. My youngest daughter asked if she could have it for breakfast sometimes! 🙂  It is simply wholewheat pasta, with a mashed avocado sauce. (maybe a pinch of salt got in there too…)  Then make a little plate up with your favourite raw veggies, and lunch is served. Cherry tomatos, olives, sugarsnap peas, carrot sticks, cucumber, etc Of course, if you do not get on well with wheat, substitute for buckwheat soba noodles, brown rice noodles or something similar. But please, wholegrain. Let us reverence the avocado 🙂  But seriously, try this. The easiest most delicious pasta sauce, and so very good for you. Of course, if you want to get fancy, get fancy. You could use this as a creamy base for all sorts of flavours. But my children love it in it’s bare naked greenness, nothing added.

I really love this dish too sometimes, but today my fridge was a bit too full of courgettes, and I decided to go for a raw veggie lunch, so I whipped up some courgette spaghetti with my julienne slicer. And the “pesto” sauce on top consisted of the following, blitzed in the food processor :

  • 1 courgette. (another one. My fridge had a lot of courgettes)
  • 2 big handfuls of basil
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1-2 pinches of salt
  • The tiniest bit of extra virgin olive oil. So tiny I probably shouldn’t have bothered, but still…

 

You can serve courgette spaghetti steamed or raw. Mine was raw. I massged in a little salt and left it to sit for a bit and it lost a bit of it’s… turgidity? turgidness? Anyway. It got floppier. The longer you leave it the floppier it gets. It was so delicious!

So there you have it. Green pasta, and “green pasta”. The whole thing was done by the time the pasta cooked, so that was a bonus. And there is truly, nothing on earth, like a green lunch!

Courgette and Avocado Dressing

This is for all you gardeners out there. Or friends and family members of gardeners. Or just courgette lovers. The courgette glut will be upon us before too long and it is time to start collecting recipes! They are high in water, low in calories, rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, the heart friendly mineral potassium, anti-oxidants, fibre (in the peel) and when eaten raw, lots of wonderful enzymes.

Here is a nice easy and delicious dressing to top your big leafy mid-day salad of abundance. You will need a big salad; think leaves, chopped bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, grated carrots, celery, corn, sugarsnaps, red onion, cucumber, or whatever takes your fancy. Now for the dressing.

You will need: 

  • 1 medium courgette (zucchini)
  • 1 smallish avocado
  • 1/2 a spring onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (optional)

First, grate the skin off your courgette, and add the skin gratings to your salad. Chop your courgette roughly and blitz in your food processor with everything except your avocado. These quantities may need to be doubled for a larger food processor.

Your courgette may not be completely homogenized but that is alright. Once you add in the avocado, and blend again it will become a beautiful green, creamy dressing. By all means if you are feeling oleic-acid-hungry, add in a droozle of extra virgin olive oil to this dressing; I did not on this occasion.

You may not have nutritional yeast; add a little something else to lift the flavour if you wish. If you like acidity, a squeeze of lemon or lime. Some red pepper flakes? Some fresh herbs? Go forth, create, and enjoy!

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