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Posts tagged “Avocado

Chipotle Black Bean Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado Cream

I have some exciting news for you! Well, it’s exciting to me, anyway, and I hope you find it exciting too … Sumptuous Spoonfuls is teaming up with Swiss Diamond International. I will be crafting some recipes for Swiss Diamond International using their cookware. They are not paying me to do this, but they are giving me samples of their cookware to use in developing their recipes.

I was really excited when Swiss Diamond International contacted me, and even more excited after I read about their cookware.  I was intrigued by the use of diamonds in cookware. This is from Swiss Diamond’s web site:

  • Diamonds are durable - As the hardest material known to man, diamonds give the coating additional strength and resilience.
  • Diamonds are a better heat conductor than metal - Four times more conductive than copper, diamonds create even heat distribution across the pan’s surface. Diamonds also allow the pan to brown food like stainless steel, creating a “fond” that can be used for gravy – or easily washed away with warm soapy water.
  • Diamonds are naturally nonstick - One of the most valuable properties of diamonds in a nonstick coating is that very little sticks to them. Coupled with their durability, this creates a lifetime of superior performance.

So I was curious to see if it really works … and I have to say I absolutely love these pans! They cook like a dream … the heat distributes across the pan so well. The food cooks faster and so evenly. And nothing sticks to the pan … with no cooking spray or butter. I tried some of the stickiest, most difficult things (like fried rice) and nothing stuck. And they’re so easy to clean too. (By the way, while Swiss Diamond did give me the pans, they did not pay me to say that … this is my honest experience.) I’m curious to see how well they retain that magic nonstick surface … I guess time will tell.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

For this recipe, I used the crepe/omelet pan. This little pan is by far my favorite so far. It has a low lip so that it’s easy to flip crepes, omelets, and pancakes. (Even the IHOP-style pancakes that have always been a struggle for me to flip … I found I can even make giant  pancakes – bigger than IHOP’s! – in this pan and they cook and flip SO nicely.) Anyway, I was craving a quesadilla the other day and thought this pan would be perfect for that. I wanted to try making it without any oil or cooking spray and see if the tortilla got properly crisped and browned on both sides. And you know what? It did.

You don’t have to have a crepe / omelet pan to make these quesadillas … any frying pan will do. But it sure makes cooking a pleasure.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado Cream in Swiss Diamond International Crepe/Omelet Pan

 Chipotle Black Bean Quesadilla with Avocado Cream

For each quesadilla:

  • 1/2 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • juice from 1/4 – 1/2 of a fresh lime
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt (optional)
  • 2 tortillas that fit the size of your pan. I used some whole wheat “wraps” that were a little smaller than my crepe pan.
  • Refried black beans (homemade or canned)
  • About a Tablespoon of finely chopped onion
  • About a Tablespoon of finely chopped chipotle pepper (a jalapeno roasted on the grill would also work)
  • About 1/2 oz. of finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • For serving: your favorite salsa. A fire-roasted salsa is especially nice with this quesadilla!

Directions:

  1. First, make the Avocado cream by mashing the avocado in a bowl, then mash in the cream cheese, onion, garlic and lime juice and stir until everything is mixed well and the mixture is fairly smooth. Add a teaspoon or two of plain nonfat yogurt if you like to get it to a nice spreadable consistency.
  2. Take one tortilla and spread it with a layer of refried black beans, then spread on a layer of avocado cream. Sprinkle the onion and chipotle pepper over, then sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheddar and top it all off with the 2nd tortilla.
  3. Heat your pan over medium heat. If your pan needs it, spray the pan with cooking spray, then slide the quesadilla into the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, then check to see if the bottom is nicely browned and crisp. Once it’s brown, flip the quesadilla over with a spatula and cook until it’s brown on the other side and the cheese is melted. (The bottom half is crisp by now so the quesadilla is fairly easy to flip, but if you are making a large quesadilla, you may need to slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board and then flip it over back into the pan.)
  4. Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve with the salsa.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

If you would like to purchase Swiss Diamond cookware, visit http://www.swissdiamond.us/.

This recipe was shared at Show & Share WednesdayCast Party WednesdayThursday’s TreasuresGala Dinner PartyFit & Fabulous FridaysFriday Food Fight, Weekend Potluck and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is one of the most marvelous things in life. It’s got everything going for it: the lovely crunch of the tortilla chips, the oozy melted cheese, tasty Mexican flavors, the soothing comfort of a hot bowl of soup. Plus it’s great for your sinuses and your health and it’s so easy to make. It’s such a versatile soup too: it can be a nice vegetarian meal or starter, or you can add meat or seafood to it for a heartier soup. The other thing I like about tortilla soup is it helps use up those chips on the bottom of the bag that aren’t big enough for other uses (like dipping).

I made this simple soup without any meat, allowing the flavors of the tomato and the peppers to really shine through, but you can add meat if you like. I listed a whole bunch of things you could add to this soup if you want to change things up a bit.

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 of a large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 fresh garden tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1 lb or 2 cups after they are pureed) … canned tomatoes work too
  • 3 jalapenos, chopped (use more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapenos too … use bell pepper for a milder soup, or a different hot chile pepper to vary the flavor)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
  • Baked or fried tortilla chips (or strips)
  • Shredded Mexican and/or queso fresco crumbles
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Optional add-ins:
    • sautee with the onion/garlic: celery, carrots, zucchini or other veggies
    • add with the tomatoes/peppers: chicken, pork, shrimp, crab, avocado, lime juice, cooked corn, cooked beans, hominy

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around, then the chopped onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion is very soft and translucent.
  2. Pour the tomatoes (with juices) into a blender and blend till smooth. Add them to the pot along with the jalapenos, broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Reduce heat slightly and allow the soup to simmer for about 15 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the peppers to cook and the flavors to meld.
  3. To serve: pour the hot soup into bowls, sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese, then cilantro and avocado (if you like).

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysNewlyweds Recipe LinkyCast Party WednesdayFull Plate Thursday, Kitchen Fun Friday, Weekend Potluck, Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.


Bulgur Black Bean Salad with Tomato & Avocado

Bulgur Black Bean & Fresh Tomato Salad with Avocado & Jalapeno

My friend gave me some cooked bulgur when we went camping together … in a way, I wonder if she gave it to me just so she could see what I would do with it. I brought it home. It sat in the fridge till I was nearly sure it must have gone bad already … and then, suddenly, I was craving Mexican food. Something with black beans and jalapenos and tomatoes and cilantro and onions. And then it occurred to me what to do with the bulgur: give it a KICK! I made this salad one day last week and munched, munched, munched all afternoon.

Last weekend my friend came up to my parents’ place for the first time EVER, with her hubby and youngest son. We ate antelope & venison that my dad cooked on the grill, dad’s garden potatoes mixed with peppers, spices and cheese and my tarragon roasted vegetables. Then the next day we munched on Dad’s fabulous fresh garden melons. I fed them caramel peach bread pudding, chocolate zucchini cake, and sandwiches made from the roasted veggies and grilled meat (yes, in that order).

And after we had eaten all of that, I remembered  the bulgur salad. Everyone was stuffed, but I made my friend taste a bite of it anyway, since she had given me the bulgur. She loved it, so I sent it home with her.

Bulgur Black Bean Salad with Avocado & Fresh Tomato

I played around a little with stuffing a couple tomatoes with the salad for a pretty presentation … what do you think? (Vegies in the background are stray bounty from my mom & dad’s garden … it’s everywhere!)

Bulgur Black Bean Salad with Fresh Tomato & Avocado

This is a hearty, spicy, flavorful salad that you could serve as a meal all by itself.

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked bulgur
  • 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 or 2 medium fresh garden tomatoes, chopped

Dressing:

  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno (use more or less jalapeno according to how hot & spicy you like it)
  • 1/2 – 1 whole avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped (I only had about 1/2 an avocado, but I think the salad would be tastier with more!)
  • Garnish: cilantro or parsley leaves and a slice of fresh lime

Directions:

  1. Toss together the cooked bulgur, onion, black beans, and tomatoes in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, honey, and cilantro (or parsley) until well blended. Gently fold the avocado pieces into the dressing to coat. (This will help keep the avocado from turning black.)
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to mix. Garnish with a twisted slice of lime and some cilantro (or parsley) just before serving.

Bulgur Black Bean Salad with Fresh Tomato, Sweet Onion & Avocado

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza

Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza

I woke up early this morning. There is a chill in the air. It is cool enough to open the windows and to sit on the patio and have a cup of tea. The fresh air smells so wonderful after the stale air conditioned air I’ve been breathing all summer.

There are tomatoes on my little potted tomato plants! Not a lot of them, but enough to give me a little of that wonderful juicy fresh garden tomato taste that you just can’t get from a store. I feel grateful for these beautiful little plants and the pollinators who visited my porch to help create this plump red fruit. I love the soft fuzziness of the vines and the lively fresh tomato scent on my fingers after I touch them.

Tomatoes on the vine

It’s Friday. We will be seeing my parents tomorrow. I feel happy and content.

I made this pizza for lunch the other day. It is such a good pizza to make this time of year when the harvest starts coming in. If I have just a few cherry tomatoes, then I like to use them on pizza to really highlight their pretty color and juicy flavor.

Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza

Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza

The smoked Havarti cheese was a gift from Dofino cheese. It is a creamy, soft, smoky cheese that goes so wonderfully on so many things. I’m not giving amounts here because I was making a little individual-sized pizza, but you can easily scale it up to make a full-size pizza for your family.

  • Pizza crust (I used my Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread)
  • Hummus
  • Smoked Havarti cheese, shredded
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Avocado, pitted, peeled, chopped
  • Fresh dill, snipped (or a sprinkle of dried dill would do in a pinch)

Heat the flatbread briefly in the oven at 425, then spread with a thick layer of hummus. Top with the shredded Havarti cheese and the halved cherry tomatoes and then pop it the oven to bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Add a tumble of fresh cucumber and  avocado, then sprinkle with dill and enjoy!

Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Tomato BloghopFoodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous FridaysScrumptious Sunday and Weekend Potluck.


Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla

Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla

So in case you haven’t noticed, the ingredient of the week (month?) is zucchini at my house. My sis brought me several zucchini, some beautiful stripey Italian zucchini and some plain green ones, some big, some little. I love zucchini season because it makes me get really creative in the kitchen, trying to think of different ways to use this plentiful, mild-tasting vegetable. Zucchini is so good for adding to so many dishes because it takes on the flavor of whatever you pair it with, so it can be sweet or savory, and it can take on many different textures too depending on whether it’s shredded, chunked, sliced, or ribboned, raw or cooked.

For this quesadilla, I used one of the smaller green zucchini, but I think the Italian ones would be nice in a quesadilla too. I was just making a small one for me for lunch, so I didn’t want to cut into one of those big guys. Honestly I really wanted some shredded chicken on this quesadilla, but I didn’t have any on hand and was in a rush to make lunch so I went with a vegie version. I think if you had some leftover chicken around (perhaps from the grill?), you may want to toss that into the mix. Beans would be fun to put on here too. But then again, it’s nice just like this …

Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla

Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla

  • 17 – 20 thin slices of a small/medium-sized zucchini
  • 1/2 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped ancho chile (or other hot chile pepper)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/2 Tablespoon plain nonfat yogurt
  • juice from a wedge of fresh lime
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • shredded gouda cheese (sorry I forgot to measure how much I used! You can eyeball it, though. Enough to cover the zucchini in a thin layer.)
  • 2 medium-sized tortillas (not the tiny taco-sized ones, but not the huge burrito-sized ones either … whole grain/whole wheat is good!)
  • For serving: your favorite salsa!

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and lay the zucchini slices on the pan in a single layer. Spray them lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook for just a few minutes more until the zucchini rounds are tender.
  2. While the zucchini are cooking, mash up the avocado in a bowl, then mix with the cream cheese, garlic, yogurt, and lime juice. Take one of the tortillas and spread it with this creamy green mixture, then when the zucchini are done, arrange them on top and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
  3. Top with shredded gouda cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer … I like gouda because it has a good flavor and it melts well … and then put the other tortilla on top.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Slide the quesadilla carefully onto the skillet, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, checking the bottom frequently to see if it’s golden brown yet.
  5. When it is nicely browned on the bottom, flip it over to brown the other side. (To help you flip it, you may want to slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a flat cutting board, then flip it over and slide it back into the pan. The bottom side will be crisp, so this isn’t as hard as it may sound.)
  6. Once both sides are brown and the cheese is melted, slide the quesadilla onto your cutting board, cut it up and serve with salsa.

Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla

This recipe was shared at Foodie Friends Friday, Scrumptious SundayRecipe of the Week, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and Manic Monday.


Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich

Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Sandwich

Why does the idea of smashing a chickpea sound so appealing?

I think it’s for the same reason that hitting something hard at TaeKwonDo feels good. It’s all those little things in life that just make you angry that you will never mention to the person that is bugging you because you’re just too nice to say it or you don’t want to make waves. It’s often better left unsaid … so much better to walk away, not say anything, or let that person find their own truth, their own karma. But still there are these little bits of anger that build up inside of you and you need to let it out somehow.

For me, yoga helps, but it’s not enough. I need to really smash something, something that isn’t going to care if I hurt it. Ah, and even better if I get to eat it in the end!

Come here, little chickpeas! I will smash you into a sandwich … oh and you too, little avocado!

… but seriously, though, this is quite a delicious sandwich. And if you can relieve a few frustrations in the process, that’s even better.

Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Sandwich

Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod. Makes 2 – 3 sandwiches.

  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 Tablespoons sundried tomato ranch dressing (recipe here - or use regular ranch and add a couple finely chopped sundried tomatoes to the mixture)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet onion, chopped fine
  • Cilantro (a few sprigs if you can gather it … mine is so pathetic all I can get is a few leaves … sigh. )
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • juice of a wedge of lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
  • lettuce leaves, onion, tomato, whatever you like to put on a sandwich

Directions:

  1. In a  bowl, using a fork or potato masher, smash the chickpeas and avocado together. Let out your frustrations … really, it’s ok.
  2. Add in the cilantro, onion, and squeeze the lime over top. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Toast your bread, spread both sides with the smashed chickpea/avocado mixture, then put your favorite sandwich toppings inside.
  4. Enjoy every bite!
You can use the smashed chickpea/avocado mixture as a dip, too. ;)

Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysHearth & Soul Bloghop, Foodie FridaysSummer Salad Sundays, Weekend Potluck and Manic Monday.


Egg on a Salad with Sundried Tomato Ranch

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion, Hosta Flowers & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

Let’s re-define the idea of egg salad, shall we? I mean, who decided that “egg salad” should be a bunch of chopped hardboiled eggs with mayonnaise on bread? Excuse me, but how is that a salad? I don’t mean to knock the traditional egg salad sandwich … there’s a comforting charm in a well-made egg salad sandwich, but I have to tell you, when I think salad, I think greens. To me, a salad really needs greens before it deserves to be called a salad.

Yesterday I redefined the whole concept of “egg salad” in my mind. I put a fried egg on my salad. Really, it’s nothing new, but it’s new to me … it’s been done before … I’ve seen it, but the idea of putting a fried egg on a salad sounded completely crazy to me. A fried egg? on a REAL salad? With greens? Seriously?

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion, Hosta Flowers & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

It sounded so completely weird to me until I made this sundried tomato ranch dressing. And my friend Melissa said to me: it would be great on eggs. Oh. my. gosh. YES! A fried egg, over easy, with that beautiful bright yellow messy, runny yolk … and toast … and crunchy green salad … oh let’s toss on some avocado too … oh yes! It’s brilliant! I could eat this forever … I made it again today. It’s like the quickest meal ever. And it’s SOooooo goood!

It is the sundried tomato ranch dressing that makes this brilliant. Without it, it’s just eggs oozing all over my greens and yeah not really that exciting at all … but add that dressing and some crunchy toast and I’m happy as a clam.

(Are clams really happy? I sure hope so, cuz otherwise it would make NO sense to say “happy as a clam” … then again, we don’t really know that they are happy, so why do we say that?)

Whatever. This egg salad made me happy. Like giggly from my toes to my nose kinda happy. I will never, ever, think of egg salad the same way again.

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion, Hosta Flowers & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

I got so excited talking about the salad I forgot to tell you about the flowers! They are hosta flowers … the flowers of hostas, like hosta leaves, are edible. You probably have some growing in your yard. They taste like salad. And they are insanely beautiful, on or off a salad.

  • Mixed spring greens with spinach (or whatever greens you’d like to use …)
  • Green bell pepper, chopped
  • Sweet onion, sliced and chopped
  • Avocado, sliced and/or cut into chunks
  • Organic hosta flowers (or other edible organic flowers … totally optional but they look pretty! make sure yours aren’t sprayed with nasty lawn chemicals before eating, though)
  • Eggs, 1 for each salad
  • Thin slices of french bread or baguette, toasted
  • Sundried tomato ranch salad dressing (recipe here)

Directions:

  1. First mix up the dressing and set it aside.
  2. Make a good bed of greens in your salad bowl and tuck in some onion, avocado, and bell pepper. Add a few flowers if you like, around the edge, leaving a good space in the center for the egg.
  3. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Crack a fresh egg into the pan and season with Red Robin Seasoning (or salt) and freshly ground pepper. Cook it sunny side up or over easy, whatever you prefer.
  4. Toast the bread while the egg is cooking, then spread the ranch dressing on the bread slices.
  5. When the egg is done to your liking, set it gently on top of the salad. Top with the ranch (or serve on the side), and serve with the toast.

Fried Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdayFit & Fabulous FridayFoodie Friends FridaySummer Salad Sunday and Manic Monday.


Herbed Baked Eggs in a Bread “Bowl” with Avocado

topped with Havarti and Gorgonzola cheese & a Balsamic Sundried Tomato “Ketchup”

Herbed Baked Egg in a Bun with Avocado, 2 Cheeses & Balsamic Sundried Tomato Ketchup

It wasn’t very long ago I saw this great idea for baking eggs in a bread bowl … just hollow out some hard rolls, crack your egg in there, add some seasonings and voila! A beautiful breakfast. But you know me, I couldn’t stop there. I added some herbs and some cheeses and a gorgeous sundried tomato vinaigrette (a recipe I got from my friend Melissa at ChinDeep), which I had intended to drizzle over the baked egg, but I added some extra sundried tomatoes so the vinaigrette turned out kind of thick, more like the consistency of a ketchup. I’ve never liked ketchup on my eggs, but I loved this balsamic sundried tomato ketchup!

It took me a few tries to get this right. The first time I didn’t hollow out enough of the hard roll and then I overbaked it and the yolk was hard and dry. I wanted a runny, messy yolk that you could sop up with the bread. So I tried again, and this time I got the yolk just about right, but the hard roll got way too brown on top. I had cut just a tiny bit of the top off, and our toaster oven is too small; it over-toasted the top. It was delicious, but definitely not photo-worthy. The third time I finally got it right. Perfectly sized hole, perfectly brown crusty hard roll, perfectly cooked egg. The texture of the egg white was amazing, and when I tore into the yolk and it ran all over the plate, my heart just jumped with joy. A perfectly-cooked egg with toasted bread and avocado is pure pleasure in my book.

Herbed Baked Egg in Bread Bowl with Avocado & Balsamic Sundried Tomato Ketchup

Herbed Baked Eggs in a Bread “Bowl” with Avocado

  • Hard rolls
  • Eggs
  • Fresh basil & oregano
  • Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Shredded Havarti cheese
  • Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • Avocado slices
  • Balsamic Sundried Tomato Ketchup (recipe below)

Cut tops off the hard rolls and hollow out the bottom half so there is enough room for an egg to fit in there. Set the hard rolls on a baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Crack an egg into each roll.

Egg in a Hard Roll

Sprinkle with fresh basil, oregano leaves, the seasoning and fresh ground pepper. Top each egg with a Tablespoon or two of shredded Havarti cheese, then a sprinkle of Gorgonzola (maybe 1/2 Tablespoon per egg?). Bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes or until the white is set but the yolk is still soft. (If you want your yolk cooked through-not runny, let it cook another 5 minutes.)

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, put the tops of the hard rolls in the oven alongside to toast them.

Remove from oven. Set each egg on a plate, top with avocado slices, garnish with fresh basil or oregano leaves and serve immediately with plenty of the balsamic sundried tomato ketchup.

Herbed Baked Egg in a bread bowl with Avocado and a Balsamic Sundried Tomato Ketchup

Balsamic Sundried Tomato “Ketchup”

Adapted from ChinDeep

  • 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced  sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • water, as needed

Soak the tomatoes in the vinegar and wine for 15 minutes or so to soften them up, then put all ingredients into a food processor or handi chopper and blend till mostly smooth. Add water as needed to get it to the desired consistency.

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious SundaysEveryday Mom’s MealsEgg Blog Hop and Manic Mondays.


Cheddar Chile Chicken Avocado Sandwich on Focaccia

Cheddar Chile Chicken Avocado Sandwich on Toasted Focaccia

I had PLANNED to eat a salad today for lunch, but then the thunderstorms came … loudly announcing their arrival then drenching the world with a sudden rush of raindrops. It was wild and refreshing, definitely needed … but chilly. So the salad I thought would be just perfect for a hot summer day didn’t quite seem like the thing to eat just now. Soup sounded more fitting, but I didn’t want to cook a pot of soup, knowing more hot summer weather is just around the bend.

Right after the thunderstorms came a burst of sunshine. The plants and trees and grass were just beaming with happiness after the rain. You can water them, and they’re okay with that, but they just revel in a good, drenching rain.

I decided on a sandwich. A nice hot sandwich with a bit of spice. If you are lucky enough to have a whole roasted green chile pepper from New Mexico on hand, that would be the perfect addition …

Cheddar Chile Chicken Avocado Sandwich on Toasted Focaccia

Cheddar Chile Chicken Avocado Sandwich on Toasted Focaccia

  • 2 oz. low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup light mayo
  • 1 teaspoon green chile powder or 1 Tablespoon finely chopped roasted green chile
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Focaccia bread, sliced horizontally
  • Cooked chicken breast, sliced (or chicken or turkey sandwich meat)
  • Slices of cheddar cheese
  • Onion, sliced thin
  • Tomato slices
  • Lettuce
  • Ripe Avocado

Mix the cream cheese, mayo, green chile, onion powder and paprika. Spread this mixture lightly on the bottom of the focaccia bread, the arrange the sliced chicken to cover the bread. Cover the chicken evenly with sliced cheddar cheese, then set in the oven (or toaster oven) and bake or broil till the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Meanwhile, mash the avocado with a bit of the chile mayo spread and toast the top half of the focaccia. Spread a good thick layer of the mashed avocado on the toasted top half.

Take the bottom half of the sandwich out of the oven when it’s done and top with sliced onion, tomato, lettuce and the top half.

Enjoy immediately.

Cheddar Chile Chicken Avocado Sandwich on Toasted Focaccia

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyFull Plate ThursdayIt’s a Keeper ThursdayTastetastic Thursday, and Weekend Potluck.


Avocado Artichoke Hummus

Avocado Artichoke Dip from Mia's Domain

Hello my dear visitors! I am so excited about my guest blogger today … Mia from Mia’s Domain has agreed to share one of her precious recipes. Mia ‘s recipes truly inspire me. I can’t remember a single post of hers that I didn’t absolutely LOVE … she leaves me drooling just about every time! In fact, Ally and I are arguing over who gets to go live in Mia’s spare room. If you’re not familiar with Mia’s Domain, go visit her beautiful blog or look her up on facebook or Pinterest and you will see what I mean.

Mia sent over this beautiful recipe for Avocado Artichoke Hummus! I love hummus! I am really wishing I had some of this to munch on today …

I hope you’ve enjoyed my guest bloggers this week. I’m having so much fun seeing what they have to share, I’m wondering if I should come back? … just kidding. I’ll be back in my own kitchen very soon!

In the meantime, enjoy this lovely recipe from my sweet friend Mia.

Avocado Artichoke Hummus

  • 1 cup baby artichoke hearts in olive oil
  • 1 cup avocado
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Handful fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
Blend artichoke hearts, avocado, almonds, beans, onion, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and parsley, while streaming in oil until you’ve reached the consistency you desire. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Keep refrigerated.
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top to serve.

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

It was the big day, the day the dancers prepare for all year. My girl is in competition dance so she gets so many opportunities to perform, but it all leads up to THIS. The day of the big end-of-the-year dance recital.

I thought I was being clever, but really, in hindsight, perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to plan a vacation right after recital. That meant I was scrambling at work today to finish up all the loose ends … and on top of that, I had to make sure she got fed and drank enough water and run her to rehearsal and back. And find her lost costumes and the missing jazz shoe (that never did turn up … she had to borrow a shoe from a friend!) … and help her with her hair … and then my family was coming for the recital so I was bugging my son to clean up and wash all the bedding. My mom, dad, and sis showed up at 4 and I hadn’t even showered yet! I quickly cleaned myself up and we rushed off to find some food before the recital …

It all added up to a lot of craziness and stress that really didn’t need to be QUITE that crazy. The show went really well, but I could tell at the beginning of the show that my dancer didn’t quite have her head in the game. I feel a little pang of “mom guilt”, like could I maybe have been a little less stressed and rushed today and had more patience with her?

So you know I had NO time to cook today. But still after scrambling with everything all morning, I really really needed to eat! I found some of the cheese mixture I’d used for my fish quesadillas in the fridge and threw together this quesadilla for lunch today in a few minutes … and it turned out really good. I’m glad I took a short break to make this … I’m wishing now that I had taken the time to make my sweetie girl the waffles that she wanted this morning. Ah well. There is always tomorrow. Finally, some time to just unwind and do as we please …

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

For the cheese mixture:

  • 1 cup cooked white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini)
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon of liquid from the beans
  • 1 Tablespoon goat cheese
  • Green onion (I used two)
  • Garlic scapes (I used two)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (use more or less according to how spicy you want it)
  • A few cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup finely shredded Mexican blend of cheeses

For the quesadilla:

  • 2 whole-grain flour tortillas
  • A handful of baby spinach leaves
  • Chopped tomato (I used 1/2 of a medium tomato for one quesadilla)
  • Chopped red onion (just a bit)
  • Avocado, part sliced, part chopped (I used half an avocado for my quesadilla)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salsa (I used my dad’s simple salsa fresca)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or handi chopper, blend the white beans, yogurt, goat cheese, and a bit of cooking liquid from the beans till smooth. Add snipped green onion, garlic scapes, jalapeno, and cilantro and stir (or chop if you like), then blend in the shredded cheese. (You can make the cheese mixture ahead of time and store it in a covered container in the fridge.)
  2. Spread both tortillas with a thin layer of the cheese mixture. On one of the tortillas, arrange the spinach leaves, tomato, red onion, chopped avocado and cilantro. Top with the 2nd tortilla.
  3. Heat a frying pan or cast iron skillet to medium low heat and spray with cooking spray. Put the quesadilla in the pan, cover and cook briefly. Check often and when it is brown on the bottom, slide it onto a plate, then flip it over and slide back into the pan and cover to brown the other side. When both sides are brown and the cheese is nicely melted, slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a cutting board, cut into pieces, and serve immediately topped with avocado slices with salsa on the side.

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays and Weekend Potluck.


Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich

From the Full Belly Sisters

Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The truth is, ever since I saw this green grilled cheese sandwich from Full Belly Sisters, I wanted it … bad. But circumstances did not avail themselves to fulfilling my desires … until tonight.

My daughter was out with her dad. My son was busy with his game downstairs. I was pretty much left alone for the evening … and it was a gorgeous spring night … perfect for a light dinner and a glass of wine on the patio, and then a walk in the forest.

And since I had some luscious green creamy paste left from the little green toasts that I had for lunch, I looked up the recipe and noticed mine wasn’t too far from the mark. All I needed was a little cheese. I didn’t have any gouda on hand, so I used havarti. That did the trick.

My sandwiches were little because my bread is just a small baguette … and so I served my mini-grilled cheese sandwiches (to myself) with a glass of my dad’s wine and a little dish of honeydew melon (keeping with the “green” theme …) … oh it was SO good!

Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Avocado, Spinach, & Havarti)

I am going to send you over there for the recipe. Really, mine wasn’t much different than hers. I added some garlic. And a little parmesan and shredded Havarti cheese in place of the Gouda.

This is really a grilled cheese sandwich experience you don’t want to miss. Look at all that gooey green deliciousness.

Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich


Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

It’s spring! Everything is turning green … that means it’s time for my favorite spring vegetables. Like asparagus. And spinach. I’m in heaven whenever I can have fresh asparagus and spinach from the garden.

And this year I have one more wonderful thing to harvest from the “garden” … garlic. I snagged a couple clumps of garlic from my mom and dad’s garden and planted them in a pot to bring home. Now I have a big mess of delicious fresh garlic ready anytime I want them. I love that. I love garlic.

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

And I really, really love these little green toasts. Aren’t they pretty?

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

Inspired by the Full Belly Sisters’ Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • 15 – 20 fresh asparagus spears
  • 6 fresh cloves of garlic (the whole plant … complete with scapes … if you don’t have fresh garlic, you can substitute garlic cloves
  • 2 cups packed full of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 oz light cream cheese
  • French bread slices
  • Freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • Pinon nuts (pine nuts)

Directions:

  1. Wash the asparagus and set it on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Roast in the oven at 450 for about 5 – 7 minutes or until the asparagus is barely crisp tender (and still bright green). Chop into about 1 to 2 inch slices. Set aside.
  2. Clean the garlic, chop off the roots and any bad peel, and toss it into a handi chopper or food processor with the fresh spinach leaves. Whir until it’s all chopped fine.
  3. Mash the avocado in a bowl, then cream in the cream cheese to make a smooth blend.
  4. Stir the chopped spinach & garlic into the avocado/cream cheese to make a wonderful luscious green paste.
  5. Lightly toast the french bread slices, then spread each toast with a liberal amount of the pretty green creamy paste.
  6. Arrange the asparagus on the toasts (I arranged them in a fan shape … not that you can really tell …), then sprinkle lightly with parmesan and a few pinon nuts.
  7. Put the toasts on a baking sheet and bake at 450 for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pinons are lightly toasted.
  8. Serve immediately.

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursdays, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


A Chef Salad in Stripes

with Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing

A Chef Salad in Stripes

I ran across a beautiful vegan cobb salad the other day and it made me think: why don’t I ever do a salad in stripes? My salads are always so random and scattered … couldn’t we try a nice organized salad for a change? Something in nice straight lines.

As a child, I remember looking at a cobb salad on the menu and thinking: why would anyone bother to go to all that trouble of arranging all that stuff in straight lines … you’re just going to mix it all up together when you eat it, right? So what’s the point?

Well, I don’t suppose there really is a point. Maybe it’s just a different way of looking at salad. I mean, a stripey salad can be horizontal.

A Chef Salad in Stripes

Or it can be vertical:

A Chef Salad in Stripes

Putting it all in nice straight lines makes it look all grown-up and sophisticated. I think I finally get it … it’s a grown-up way to play with your food.

A Chef Salad in Stripes

Make a nice bed of spinach for your salad. Add a line of each of the other ingredients in nice, straight lines. Try not to curse the spinach for not being nice and flat. That’s the challenge of this salad, making straight lines despite the random ups and downs of the spinach. Hmm, kind of like life …

A Chef Salad in Stripes

I think my favorite way to look at this salad is to tilt it a bit and make it diagonal. And then mix it all up into a big mess, drizzle with Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing … and eat it.

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Ham, Avocado, & Blue Cheese Salad

with Toasted Pinons and Avocado Ranch Dressing

Ham, Avocado & Blue Cheese Salad with Toasted Pinons

Do you still have ham left over from Easter dinner? I do … a LOT of it. Dad gave me more than I really thought I could handle. And I talked him into giving me one of the smaller ham bones. So soon there will be soup!

But not today. Today is salad day. I love a good salad. And what better way to use up leftover ham than to toss it in a salad, right? … Okay, there are tons of other great ways to use ham, but this is one of the best options, in my humble opinion.

Ham, Avocado & Blue Cheese Salad with Toasted Pinons

Ham, Avocado & Blue Cheese Salad

on Mixed Greens with Toasted Pinons and Avocado Ranch Dressing

  • Mixed organic greens
  • Cooked ham, sliced or diced or just torn into chunks
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Avocado slices
  • Pine nuts (pinons), toasted
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Avocado ranch salad dressing (recipe here)

Directions:

  1. Make the salad dressing. Go here for the recipe.
  2. Make a nice big bed of greens on your salad plate or bowl.
  3. Toast the pine nuts in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes (watch them closely!) or until they just start to turn brown. Just be careful to watch them carefully so they won’t burn. If you have a toaster oven that toasts nicely without burning things (unlike mine), you can put the nuts on a toaster oven pan in your toaster oven and set it on toast (medium setting) and they will be perfectly brown. Or you can toast them in a skillet pan over medium heat.
  4. Sprinkle the ham, red onion, avocado, pinons and blue cheese crumbles over your beautiful bed of greens.
  5. Drizzle with avocado ranch dressing. If you happen to have a wild violet or a viola, invite it to sit on top of the salad to make a pretty garnish. Then chow down and feel how much your body (and your taste buds) love you.

Ham, Avocado & Blue Cheese Salad with Toasted Pinons

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyMelt in your Mouth Mondays and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing (Low Sodium Option)

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

I found some lovely ripe avocados at the store today and it just occurred to me that avocado would be delicious in a Ranch Salad Dressing. Maybe I live in a hole, but why haven’t I ever seen that before?

Before today, that is. Because here it is! Tada! Super quick, super healthy, super delicious, and if you have someone who is watching their sodium, then just leave out the salt! It’s still fantabulous.

Lowfat Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

To reduce sodium: If you leave out the salt altogether, this salad dressing has 75 mg of sodium per 2 Tablespoons; with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, this dressing has 149 mg sodium. I did a quick check and store-brand ranch dressings have sodium content ranging from 200 to 500 mg in 2 Tablespoons of dressing.

Makes about 1 cup of dressing (8 servings/2 Tablespoons per serving)

  • 1/3 c. light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 c. 1% milk
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • About 1/2 a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Several fresh parsley leaves or ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • A few fresh dill twigs or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Several chives
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 green onions (tops only)
  • 1/4 of a ripe avocado (you could probably even add more avocado if you want …)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (Leave out the salt altogether if you want less sodium … I made sure to taste it before I added salt, and it was delicious.)
  • 1/3 c. nonfat greek yogurt

Whir all the ingredients except the yogurt in a handy chopper or food processor until smooth. Stir in the yogurt. Adjust seasonings to taste. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.

Lowfat Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing with Low Sodium Option

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky and Full Plate Thursdays.


Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Confetti Pizza

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Fiesta Pizza

Yesterday was another dance competition day. Dance competition days are always SO busy … I’m surprised I had time to do anything with food. But I did! While my daughter was getting ready, I had a little time to make myself some lunch. I pulled out a pizza crust from the freezer (one of my sunflower rosemary flatbreads) and started topping it. I went a little crazy with the toppings, but it was fun. And filling. And delicious. A fiesta on a pizza. I had to stop in the middle of it to go help my girl with her hair. Then I had to get my sewing machine out to fix the strap on her costume. But somehow I managed to get my belly happy and full before we left, and that was good.

I even found time to make lunch and a little food care package for my daughter to eat at the competition … they never seem to have any healthy food at dance competitions. I packed her a PB&J on a fresh bun, a package of strawberries and an apple … it was a VERY good thing to have along. Everyone else was eating greasy, over-salted popcorn, donuts, candy, soda and brownies — or fast food they ran out and bought. Some of these dancers were there for over 12 hours. Next time we decided we need to bring a cooler full of food so our kids have something good to eat.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Confetti Pizza

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Confetti Pizza

Makes one individual-sized pizza. If you want a bigger pizza, double the ‘sauce’

  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of salsa
  • 1 pizza crust
  • Black beans, cooked
  • Corn, cooked
  • Red onions, thinly sliced
  • Finely chopped jalapeno (or bell pepper, chopped, if you don’t want it so spicy)
  • Chopped fresh tomato
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • A few slices of sharp cheddar cheese
  • Slices of avocado
  • Green onions, snipped

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, smash the avocado with a fork, then mix with the cream cheese and salsa. Spread it all over the pizza crust. If you have any left, use it as a dip with corn chips (oh SO good … Or you could just make extra for dip).
  2. Top with black beans, corn, red onions, jalapeno and tomato.
  3. Dot the pizza with goat cheese crumbles, then add bits of cheddar cheese here and there.
  4. Bake (on a pizza stone, if you have one) at 450 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the pizza is nice and hot all the way through and the cheddar cheese is melted.
  5. Top with slices of avocado and green onion … and cilantro, if you have it. I didn’t. I wanted some, but they were all out at the store.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Confetti Pizza

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals, Talent Show TuesdaysThursday’s Treasures and Recipe of the Week-Secret Ingredient: CornKatherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop and Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.


Smoked Gouda Avocado Breakfast Bruschetta

Smoked Gouda Avocado Breakfast Toast

It’s one of those mornings when I can’t get my daughter out of bed. And she’s feeling dizzy this morning, so dizzy she doesn’t want to go to school. I hate it when I have to tell her to go to school when she’s feeling this way. But she’s not sick, and she’s missed too many days of school already.

The cat is whining incessantly and won’t leave me alone and I don’t know what he wants. He has food, he has water, he has been fed, but he won’t quit swirling around me and meowing.

Anybody want a fat, fuzzy, affectionate, slightly annoying cat? He’s really cute … see?

Jupie, our fuzzy cat

Naw, I’m just kidding. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He’s just driving me crazy this morning, and I know what he wants. He wants me to drop everything and just hold him and pet him and rub his belly. He loves it when you rub his fat, furry belly.

I think I need some toast. A really good toast. Something like this … not that my dang cat is going to give me time to cook this morning. I’ll probably end up eating cereal. Except we’re out of milk. Yeah, it’s one of THOSE kind of mornings.

Smoked Gouda Avocado Breakfast Toast

Smoked Gouda Avocado Breakfast Bruschetta

  • French bread, sliced (I used this recipe)
  • Smoked Gouda cheese, sliced thin
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Slices of tomato
  • Scrambled egg
  • Slices of ripe avocado
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Toast the bread lightly, then arrange the cheese on it. Top with slices of onion and tomato.
  2. Broil or bake at 350 until the cheese is melted.
  3. Top with egg, avocado and cilantro and enjoy. It’s a little messy to eat, but it tastes SO delicious.

Smoked Gouda Avocado Breakfast Toast

This recipe was shared at Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Totally Tasty TuesdaysMidweek FiestaThis Week’s Cravings: Eggs and Cast Party Wednesday.


Black Bean, Feta and Avocado Couscous Citrus Salad

with cilantro, cucumber, and toasted pinons

Couscous, Black Bean, Kumquat and Avocado Salad with Feta, Cucumber, and Toasted Pine Nuts

I couldn’t stop eating this salad. It was one of those find-things-in-your-fridge-and-toss-them-together kind of meals … but once I got it all together, I could not believe how good it tasted.

I was telling my yoga friend about this salad and she asked how it is that I have all these strange things “on hand”  in my kitchen …  I think what I do is I just collect interesting ingredients and let them flow together. Oh, yes, there are times when I buy things specifically to make a particular dish, but it quite often doesn’t work out that way. Life gets in the way. My plans get thrown out the window. I have learned along the way that plans are only a point of departure, and you have to be ready at any point in life to make new ones. I find myself doing a lot of that.

In any case, this was a very happy accident.

Couscous, Black Bean, Kumquat and Avocado Salad with Feta, Cucumber, and Toasted Pine Nuts

Black Bean, Feta and Avocado Couscous Citrus Salad

with Cilantro, Cucumber, and Toasted Pine Nuts

If you haven’t got any kumquats, you could try substituting other citrus fruits.

  • 2/3 cup uncooked whole wheat couscous
  • 1/2 of a large cucumber, sliced and cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • Roughly 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 kumquats (about 2 inches in diameter, add more to taste depending on how large your kumquats are), sliced thin and chopped (reserving a few slices for garnish)
  • About 2 cups of green leaf or romaine lettuce, chopped fine
  • About 3/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
  • About 1/3 cup of toasted pinon nuts
  • 1/2 of an avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped

Directions:

  1. Prepare the uncooked couscous according to the package directions and make the dressing.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss everything but the avocado until mixed.
  3. Toss the avocado in the dressing to coat (the kumquat juice in the dressing will help the avocado from turning brown), then toss the avocado and the dressing into the salad and stir gently to combine.
  4. Garnish the top of the salad with extra feta crumbles, slices of kumquat, cilantro leaves and a few pinons.

Dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons of kumquat juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Black Bean, Feta, and Avocado Couscous Salad with Kumquat, Cucumber, Toasted Pinons

This recipe was shared on Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Everyday Mom’s Church Supper, Weekend Potluck, Love your Hearth MonthMidnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, and Freaky Friday.


Bacon, Onion, Avocado & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich

on Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Bacon Onion Egg Avocado & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich

This is a hearty breakfast that is a little high in fat, but it contains a lot of good things for your body. I needed something substantive for breakfast today after Zumba last night, and then I waited too long to eat breakfast till I was STARVING.

While Gouda cheese is relatively high in fat, this kind of cheese is healthier for you than other cheeses, and it melts so nicely. I love the creamy rich taste of it.

Eggs of course have lots of health benefits too, and avocados are rich in the “good kind” of fat.

And the bacon? Well everything’s better with bacon, isn’t it? I just used a bit of bacon to get that taste of bacony goodness, but not so much that it would totally ruin the health benefits of my sandwich …

Bacon, Onion, Egg, Melted Gouda and Avocado on Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Bacon, Onion, Avocado & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich on Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

For each sandwich, you need:

  • 1 egg, beaten and sprinkled with Red robin seasoning (or other seasoned salt or just plain salt if you prefer) & freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 slice of bacon
  • A couple tablespoons of chopped onion
  • 1 wedge of jalapeno cheddar beer bread (recipe here), sliced horizontally … or your bread of choice
  • A couple thin slices of gouda cheese
  • A few thin slices of avocado
  • (I think I would have added a slice or two of tomato if I’d had any on hand)

Directions:

  1. Cook the bacon in a pan over medium high heat until it is crispy. Set it on a clean towel (that you don’t mind getting bacon fat on), cover with the towel, and press to soak up all the excess fat, then crumble the bacon and add it to the beaten egg.
  2. Cut your wedge of bread and toast it lightly.
  3. Pour the bacon fat out of the pan and wipe out any excess fat. Add the onion and sautee for a minute or so on medium high heat until it is softened.
  4. Lower the heat to medium low and pour the egg/bacon mixture over the onion. When the egg starts to cook and set up a bit, shape it into roughly the shape of your wedge of bread with your spatula.
  5. Arrange the gouda cheese slices over the egg, lower the heat to low, cover the pan and cook until the egg is cooked and the cheese is melted.
  6. Carefully lift the egg out of the pan with your spatula and onto the bottom of the bread. Top with avocado (and tomato) and the top of the bread and enjoy!

Bacon, Onion, Egg, Melted Gouda, and Avocado on Toasted Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

This recipe was shared at Midweek FiestaNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange and Cast Party Wednesday.


Cheesy Rice & Black Bean Burritos

… and a game of “tag” … I was tagged twice, first by Good Cooks and then Chef in Disguise tagged me again

I don’t know that I even think of this as a recipe … it is one of those throw-it-together kind of lunches, something I could almost do in my sleep. You could add a sauce over the top if you like. My sister has a great recipe for homemade red sauce that would be awesome on these.

I was making my burrito for lunch, so I just wrapped my burrito in a napkin and munched away on it while I worked … but it’s a great quick meal to throw together for a hearty Meatless Monday meal, or if you have some meat you want to toss in, chop it up and add it with the beans and rice.

Cheesy Rice & Black Bean Burritos

Add in other stuff as you please … or leave out anything you don’t like. This is a very forgiving recipe.

  • Black beans, cooked and drained
  • Cooked rice (I used basmati rice)
  • Large flour tortillas (whole wheat or regular … )
  • Your favorite salsa (I used my funky kiwi, kumquat, and mango salsa … the salsa you choose is going to really impact the flavor so pick a good one!)
  • Optional: chopped jalapenos or green chile
  • Chopped onion & avocado
  • Shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend + some shredded sharp cheddar)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

Directions:

First, make sure the black beans and rice are good and hot.

For each burrito, heat a large tortilla in the microwave briefly until it’s warm. (Warm tortillas fold better.) Put a couple spoonfuls of beans in the center of the tortilla in a rectangular-ish shape and mash them roughly with a fork. (You could use refried beans too in place of the black beans … that works well too …) Top with a few spoonfuls of salsa and the rice.

Cheesy Black Bean & Rice Burritos

Sprinkle with the shredded cheese and microwave on high for a minute or two until the cheese melts, then toss on some cilantro.

Cheesy Black Bean & Rice Burritos

Now fold over the short edges of the burrito and then fold over the long end.

Cheesy Black Bean & Rice Burritos

and then just roll it up …

Cheesy Black Bean & Rice Burritos

If you were going to add sauce, this would be where you would pour the hot sauce over top, maybe add a little more cheese, then microwave it a bit more to get that cheese on top all melty.

(Instead of microwave-melting the cheese, you could make a bunch of these, put them in a baking pan, cover with sauce and a bit more cheese and bake for 20 – 30 minutes or so or until everything is all hot and bubbly.)

Cheesy Rice & Black Bean Burrito

Now for the tag game … I’ve been tagged, so I have to answer the following questions, then tag 5 other bloggers who are supposed to do the same.

Describe yourself in 7 words…

Foodie, Tree Hugger, Geek, Empath, Mother, Dreamer, Friend

What keeps you up at night?

Usually I sleep well, but sometimes I worry. Sometimes I stay up too late talking to my best friend … or out on a date. I’m divorced, yes, so I worry about men and love and where things are going in my life. My mind can also get busy wondering, pondering, fearing for my childrens’ future. Sometimes I can’t sleep because I think of a really good idea for a recipe and I’m so excited to make it. Sometimes I stay up late to finish writing up a blog post. Sometimes I stress over stupid things like how to make an ugly food look good. Once in a while I stress over work.

Who would you like to be?

I want to just be me and not let anybody get in the way of that. Being an empath, that’s hard to do because I feel what other people feel and I care so much about my friends and family. I guess, though, that is who I am.

What scares you?

Global warming and how people take our earth for granted. What’s going to happen in my children’s lifetime … and their childrens’ lifetime. Will our earth be able to recover from what we are doing to it?

Sometimes the thought of being alone scares me too. But since I started this blog, really, I never am alone …

What are the best and worst things about blogging?

The very best thing about blogging is the wonderful friends I have made along the way. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it feels to wake up every morning to this fantastic group of caring, loving people. Foodies are the most generous, sweet, kind people you will ever meet, and having a food blog has brought me friends from all over the world I would never have met or even known of if I didn’t have this blog.

The worst thing about blogging … I suppose it is the time, because it does take a lot of time. But every moment I’m blogging or cooking for the blog is pure joy. I blog because I love it.

What is the last website you looked at?

I went to my sister’s food blog: She Eats Pork and Fishes … to find the recipe for the burrito sauce.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To love and respect myself more. To be kinder and more forgiving to myself. To stand up for myself and say no sometimes, rather than trying to please so many people. To be a stronger, better mother.

Slankets, yes or no?

Seriously? You want to know that? No, really, you don’t care. This is not important … (um, what’s a slanket anyway?)

Tell us something about the person who tagged you…

Samah (Good Cooks) is a mother from Palestine who lives here in the US now. Her photographs and recipes are just phenomenal. She is adventurous and brave in the kitchen and tackles all sorts of different recipes, and although I’ve not met her in person, I am sure that is how she is in real life too. Everything she cooks makes me drool …

Sawsan (Chef in Disguise) is a wonderful cook, a talented photographer and a sweet, sweet person. She is a mother and a doctor, but she is also my friend. She has so many good things to say. I love the variety of foods that she makes–she teaches me about foods I had never heard of. She has a heart of gold.

Tag, you’re it!

Now to pass on this game to five other bloggers … it’s so hard to choose … but I pick:

  1. Bobbi’s Cozy Kitchen
  2. Cooking with Mel
  3. Debi at Recipes for my Boys
  4. Bia at Rich and Sweet
  5. Melissa at ChinDeep

This recipe was shared at Meatless MondaysTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Midweek FiestaNewlyweds Recipe LinkyCast Party Wednesday, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Spicy Shrimp, Avocado & Black Bean Bites

Spicy Shrimp, Avocado, & Black Bean Bites

This is a quick, easy, healthy, delicious and fancy shmancy looking appetizer that could easily morph into a dinner, if you skipped making the little cups and served the shrimp mixture over rice or even rolled it up into a tortilla, burrito-style.

The cups are simply tortilla triangles sprayed with cooking oil and baked.

You could fill the pretty little cups with just about anything your little heart desires … I just happened to have some black beans, shrimp, salsa, cilantro, and lime juice on hand, begging to be used in something delicious …

Spicy Shrimp, Avocado & Black Bean Bites

Spicy Shrimp, Avocado, & Black Bean Bites

  • Large flour tortillas (white or whole wheat or whatever flavor you like)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery, leaves reserved
  • 2 -3 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen shrimp
  • 1 cup of cooked black beans
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1/3 cup of your favorite salsa (I used my kiwi, kumquat, & mango salsa)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Avocado, peeled and cut into little chunks and/or shredded cheese if you like

Directions:

Cut the flour tortillas into 6 triangles. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and wedge one tortilla triangle into each muffin cup. Spray the tops of the tortillas with cooking spray and  bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or until the tortillas are golden brown and crispy.

Tortilla appetizer cups

Now, make the filling:

  1. Chop the onion, celery and garlic, reserving the celery leaves for later.
  2. Spray a cooking pan with cooking spray, heat over medium high heat till hot, then add the onion, garlic and celery and saute briefly. Add the white wine and saute for a few minutes or until the wine dissipates and the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add the shrimp and black beans and saute a few minutes longer until the shrimp is cooked through. Add the salsa and lime juice and stir everything together just briefly till it’s all good and hot.
  4. Stir in the reserved celery leaves and most of the cilantro leaves, reserving some for garnish.
  5. Spoon a bit of the filling into each tortilla cup, garnishing with avocado, cilantro, and cheese (if desired). I tried it both with and without the cheese and it is good both ways.

Spicy Shrimp Avocado & Black Bean Bites

You can make the filling ahead of time (like I did) and assemble these babies right before serving.

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckTotally Tasty TuesdaysTrick or Treat Tuesdays, and Talent Show Tuesdays.


Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake (Appetizer/Dip)

Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake Appetizer

This cheesecake doesn’t get eaten like a cake … it is really a dip. A spicy, creamy, avocado dip. Perfect for a party. I know, New Year’s is over and everyone is done partying and onto their New Year’s Resolutions (which often somehow don’t seem like very much fun). Well, for me, January is a party month because it’s my birthday month. So I hope you will pardon me while I continue the celebration of life …

You see, when the crust from my sweet avocado cheesecake made enough for two cheesecakes (a larger one and a smaller one), but the filling only filled the larger one, I remembered this: when I was mentioning the avocado cheesecake to my foodie friends on facebook, a couple thought maybe it would be a savory cheesecake. I embraced that savory cheesecake idea and consulted my friend Google to find me one. It wasn’t long till I found a recipe and with the help of my sister’s blender, in just a few minutes, the 2nd cheesecake was in the oven.

Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake

Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake (Appetizer)

Adapted from Frugal Foodie Family

Makes 1 small 5-inch cheesecake. If you want a larger cheesecake, make a double batch of the filling.

Crust:

For the crust, remember that mini-crust from my sweet avocado cheesecake? I used that crust for this … I thought the sweet with the hot spicy filling would go well, but honestly it was a little too sweet for this savory filling. I think it would work better if you cut out the sugar and use a salty or cheese cracker in place of the graham crackers. Or try the tortilla crust from Frugal Foodie Family. Cut the recipe in half to make this smaller cheesecake.

Filling:

  • 4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 reduced fat cheddar cheese stick (or a bit of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese)
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted
  • 1/4 cup lowfat greek yogurt
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white
  • 1 jalapeno
  • For topping: greek yogurt, shredded cheese, salsa, onion, bacon, olives, tomato, lettuce, corn, black beans … basically anything Mexican! I threw together a few things I could find in my sister’s kitchen
  • Crackers or tortilla chips for dipping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make the crust. Crust options:
    1. Use 1/2 the batch of the walnut crust except cut out all the sugar and use salty or cheese crackers in place of the graham crackers.
    2. Use 1/2 a batch of the tortilla crust from Frugal Foodie Family
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine all the filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture over crust and spread evenly.  Place pan on a baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until set.
  3. Cool to room temperature and chill.
  4. Top with your desired toppings.  I spread the top with greek yogurt, then a layer of salsa, then shredded cheese, lettuce, onion, and corn.
  5. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake DIP

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdaysIt’s a Keeper ThursdaysFull Plate Thursdays,  Tastetastic ThursdaysFoodie Fridays, and Katherine Martinelli’s DIY blog hop.


Sweet Avocado Cheesecake with Pomegranates & Walnut Crust

Sweet Avocado Cheesecake with Walnut Crust and Pomegranate Seeds

My sister had just had a baby … she was in the hospital recovering and I get a text message from her at 5:38 am the next morning:

“For ur blog: avocado cheesecake. Saw in magazine. Looked wonderful.”

I know they keep you awake at ungodly hours in the hospital, but at 5:38 am she is thinking about cheesecake?

I set down my phone and went back to sleep … But when I woke up, I realized that my baby sister just had a baby … and she wants cheesecake … so I did what any good sister does … I drove to see her this weekend and made her cheesecake.

Actually, I didn’t make the cheesecake. I had several helpers. Baby’s older brother and sisters were lining up chairs in the kitchen to help me make it. There was barely room for me!

Our pretty green cheesecake turned out kind of messy and soft … it took a long time to set up and we had a hard time waiting for it. I think it didn’t set quite firmly enough because I didn’t get all the gelatin in there. I noticed it later when I was cleaning up … some of the gelatin got stuck in the spoon, some had stuck in the bowl I had mixed it in. If you make this cheesecake, make sure you put all the gelatin in, or if you can’t quite get it all out of the bowl, then cut back on the amount of milk. It doesn’t need to be QUITE that soft.

If you were worried about putting avocado in cheesecake, you really needn’t have bothered. The avocado lends such a lovely creamy texture. It might sound a little odd, but when you taste it, you will think it’s marvelous. It is creamy and sweet and delicious.

Sweet Avocado Cheesecake with Walnut Crust and Pomegranate Seeds

Sweet Avocado Cheesecake with Pomegranates & Walnut Crust

Adapted from The Amazing Avocado

Crust:

  • 3/4 cup ground walnuts
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons light butter

Filling:

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  •  1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 fully ripened Avocados
  • 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
Topping: pomegranate seeds and chopped mango — or a raspberry sauce would be lovely with it too

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F.  In food processor, pulse walnuts until finely ground. Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar; pulse just until combined. Add butter and water; pulse until ingredients are thoroughly combined and resemble wet sand. Press into bottom of an 8 1/2-inch springform pan. I found I had plenty of crust mixture to fill two smaller pans: a medium sized (7 1/2 inch?) and a little 5-inch springform pan.

Walnut Graham Cracker Crust

Bake 20 minutes; cool completely.

I used the larger of the two pans for this cheesecake … and saved the little one for another purpose.

Now for the sweet avocado cheesecake filling:

  1. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine gelatin with 2 tablespoons water; let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla until good and hot. Add gelatin; simmer until gelatin has completely dissolved, about 1 minute.
  3. In food processor or blender, combine avocados, cream cheese, lime juice and milk mixture until smooth.
  4. Pour into baked crust (it was enough to fill a 7 1/2 inch pan–if you want a larger cheesecake, you may want to make more filling); cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until set. (for us it took much longer than 2 hours … really it wasn’t ready till the next morning …)
  5. Remove side of pan; cut cheesecake into 10 slices. Serve with pomegranate seeds and chopped mangoes or drizzle with raspberry sauce, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. The top will likely discolor a bit from the avocado. Don’t get too worried about that … it’s normal and won’t affect the flavor.
Sweet Avocado Cheesecake with Walnut Crust

This recipe was shared at Trick or Treat TuesdaysKatherine Martinelli’s Mango Bloghop and It’s a Keeper Thursdays.


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