Better Bites

My experiments in healthy eating, cooking, and living

Archive for the category “Avocado”

A Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with Pesto and Confessions of a Dog Mom

Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

Each night when I arrive home, I feel like a celebrity. My little fans try to paw their way through the door as soon as they hear the key. While Max and Layla are tiny (11 and 13 pounds), somehow they manage to jump up near the height of my face (which I suppose isn’t terribly difficult since I’m only five feet tall). It’s as if they’re hiding a little invisible trampoline beneath their furry feet.

In between trying to get my attention by jumping as high as possible, I get pawed and whined at. It’s as if they’re saying “Mom, what about me? Look at me. Look at me. No really, look at me. Don’t even bother with that other little dog over there.” At some point, Layla even dances on two feet trying to get my attention like a student who is very eager to answer a question.

After a few minutes, the dancing, jumping, and whining usually subsides. Already after only being home for a few minutes, I feel like the best dog mom in the world without having ever lifted a finger.

I am greeted with the same enthusiasm each morning when I lift the lock to their crate. They bounce up and down as I stumble around the house trying to get ready for the morning. Usually, by the time I’m ready to leave the house we’ve switched roles. They’re snuggled up on my bed without any motivation to get up as I’m running out the door on the way to work.

Max and Layla 2

I almost have as much excitement for this pesto sandwich as my dogs have for me when I get home each day. While the season for tomatoes has passed in the Northeast, green or yellow heirloom tomatoes will also work for this recipe. Enjoy!

A Pesto and Friend Green Tomato Sandwich

*Serves 2

Ingredients:

1-2 tbsp of olive oil

2-3 green tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick

1 cup of Italian style breadcrumbs

1 bell pepper, roasted and cut into strips (I just roasted mine in the toaster oven until it was soft – for about 10-15 minutes)

1 avocado, halved, pitted, and sliced

1/4 cup of pesto

4 slices of freshly baked bread

Method:

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. After slicing the tomatoes, coat each side with breadcrumbs. Place them in the frying pan until the side in the oil turns golden brown (2-3 minutes). Then, flip each slice and let the other side brown.

After frying the tomatoes, toast the slices of bread. Then spread each slice with pesto. Top with tomato, pepper, and avocado slices. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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Watermelon and Kale Salad Topped with Oil-free Cilantro and Lime Dressing

Watermelon salad 2

It seems I have lost the ability to bake. In the past five hours I’ve attempted to make vegan cornbread and blueberry scones, as well as chocolate chip scones. Yet, all I’m left with is a terrible mess (three times over) and a trash can full of baked goodies that were actually supposed to taste good.

I made watermelon gazpacho for dinner tonight. I thought that cornbread would be a great starch to pair it with (little did I know how it would turn out). I subbed white unbleached flour for white spelt flour and while the corn muffins rose, they did not taste delicious (or even edible really). I’m blaming that cooking catastrophe on the spelt flour, which I’d used once before for baking biscuits and I was left with that same horrible flavor (maybe it had spoiled?).

The second and third baking mishaps were a mystery to me. I made the same scone recipe I’d made a thousand times before (or maybe at least a handful of times), but the “scones” (if you’re nice enough to call them that) came out perfectly flat. They looked like puffed up cookies. They’d spread so far the edges started to cook together to form one massive mama scone that looked reminiscent of Swiss cheese. As there were lots of holes in areas that didn’t manage to touch. I thought maybe the first batch was ruined by the frozen blueberries, but the second batch came out the same way. They were practically brown on the outside and yet they were flat and overly soft on the inside. The taste was not overly appealing either.

I even told myself to stop after that first batch of scones. I knew they’d turned out terrible and that wasting double the ingredients was bad enough, but I guess the third time is a charm (really it was for me and my garbage baked goods). I’m sensing you can feel my frustration here. I was really hoping for some scones tonight.

At this point, I’ve officially given up on trying to make yummy treats for tonight. I’ve surrendered to my possessed oven. I’m assuming it’s the only reason for all of the unsightly baked goods that have come out of it tonight. It’s also hot, 10 pm, and I’m beginning to get tired eyes. For tonight, the oven wins, but I will surely make another batch of my famous scones at some point.

I do apologize that none of this post actually had to do with the watermelon and kale salad recipe which you will find below. It was delicious and did not end up in the garbage, as everything else has tonight.

Watermelon & Kale Salad:

*Serves 2

Ingredients:

7-8 leaves of kale, rinsed, dried, and roughly chopped

1/2 cup of sungold tomatoes, quartered

1 cup of watermelon, diced (and seeds removed)

1/2 cup of cucumber, diced

1/2 a jalapeno, diced finely

1/2 of an avocado, diced (or the remainder not used in the dressing recipe)

cilantro lime dressing (recipe below)

Method:

After washing the kale, dry it and then give it a rough chop. Add it to the serving bowl. Sprinkle the quartered sungold tomatoes on top of the kale. Then mix the cucumber and watermelon together and add that to the salad as well. To finish the salad, sprinkle the jalapeno pieces on top, drizzle on the cilantro lime dressing, and finally top with diced avocado pieces.

Oil-free Cilantro Lime Dressing:

*Makes enough dressing for two salads

Ingredients:

1 lime, juiced

1/3 of an avocado, diced

1 tsp of dried cilantro or 1 tbsp of fresh diced cilantro (fresh would be best)

1/2 a jalapeno, diced

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2-3 tbsp of cold water

Method: 

Add all of the ingredients (starting with 2 tbsp of water) to a small food processor and blend on high until the dressing is smooth and creamy. If the dressing is still too thick, add another tablespoon of water to the food processor and blend again. Add it to the top of the kale salad and enjoy immediately.

Cucumber & Chickpea Salad, as Well as a Thousand Beautiful Things

chickpea salad

My life has been moving at a quicker pace lately. It almost seems as if time is actually slipping through my fingers as summer comes to an end. In the past few weeks I’ve been savoring every moment of the end of this season. From visiting Maine and spending time on a white sandy beach, to making ginger flavored peach pie (and eating most of it for breakfast!), to finally tasting the first tomato from my garden, every day and experience has really been a joy and I feel happier than I have in a very long time.

After returning home midafternoon from a wonderful family vacation in Maine, my stomach started grumbling and I knew I had to create something out of the (lack of) items I had in the pantry. That is how this cool and spicy cucumber and chickpea salad came about. For a simple salad, it was very flavorful. Find the recipe below.

Peach pie

Ginger peach pie.

Peach pie 2

A slice of the pie with blueberry compote.

tomato

My very first home grown tomato.

OOB maine 1

Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Cucumber and Chickpea Salad: 

*Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed

1 medium sized cucumber, peeled and diced

1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced

1/2 cup of sungold tomatoes, rinsed and quartered

1 tbsp of minced fresh cilantro or 1 tsp of dried cilantro

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Optional: add diced avocado (If I’ had some I would have)

Method:

After prepping the ingredients, combine all of the them in a bowl. Refrigerate the salad for 20 to 30 minutes if you’d like the flavors to combine more. Serve atop a bed of kale, or another leafy green, add it to a wrap, or enjoy this salad on its own.

A Roasted Eggplant Sandwich with a Fresh Avocado Salsa

Roasted eggplant sandwich 1

The aforementioned sandwich stood about six inches tall, was filled with roasted eggplant and yellow bell pepper strips, as well as a tangy avocado salsa. It delivers a combination of flavors that complemented each other and is sure to please your taste buds (as it did mine). In a few words this sandwich was delicious, fresh, and simple ( and a bit messy too!). I was also overjoyed that I was able to use the beautiful heirloom tomato I’d bought from the farmer’s market.

Heirloom tomato

Aside from making this towering eggplant grinder and being slightly seduced by a seriously gorgeous (and flavorful) tomato, today was also my little sister’s wedding shower. The shower was held at a local Italian restaurant. The food was delicious, the staff very accommodating, and the guests were all about the room mingling with my sister and other friends and family. It was a wonderful day and I am very grateful to have been a part of it.

Susan's shower! 2

The star of the centerpiece were the white and blue-green hydrangea’s that the bridal party picked from my mother’s yard. You can also see the mini wine bottle favors, which turned out to be very cute!

Roasted Eggplant Sandwich with a Fresh Avocado Salsa: 

*Serves 2

Ingredients: 

1 large or two smaller eggplants, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices

1 tbsp of olive oil (plus a bit more for the salsa)

1/2 tsp of cumin

1 bell pepper, halved (seeds and stem removed)

1 medium tomato, diced or 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes diced

1/2 an avocado, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

1/2 lime, juiced

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, and garlic powder (for both the eggplant and the salsa)

1 tsp of fresh oregano, chopped (sub cilantro or parsley if you don’t have oregano)

2 whole grain buns

Other possible toppings: tomato, mustard, ketchup, avocado slices

Method: 

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prep the veggies (by peeling some of the skin off the sides of the eggplant and slicing it about 1/4 inch thick) and halving the peppers, as well as removing their stems. Then drizzle the eggplant with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin. Rub the spices on the eggplant to make sure they are evenly distributed. No need to season the pepper, just add a bit of olive oil to it and put them cut side down. Cover the eggplant with foil before popping the tray into the oven for about 30 minutes (so it will retain more moisture and you won’t have to use as much oil to keep it moist).

2. While the eggplant and peppers are cooking, assemble the avocado salsa. To a bowl, add the diced avocado, chopped tomato, lime juice, jalapeno, salt, pepper, a bit of olive oil, and fresh oregano. Stir the mixture together and put it into the fridge to let the flavors combine.

3. After the veggies are roasted, take them out of the oven. Cut the eggplant slices in half so they are short enough to fit on the buns and cut the pepper into slices. Add some roasted veggies to the sandwich and top with the avocado salsa, as well as any additional condiments. Enjoy!

Roasted eggplant sandwich 2

Mean Green Gazpacho

Green gazpacho 2

Since getting a food processor for my birthday in June, I’ve learned a few things:

1. Not everything tastes or looks better when made in a food processor (the only guacamole I wasn’t crazy about was made in a food processor)

2. Having a food processor opens up a whole new window of items that can be cooked or at least made much more easily (hummus or avocado pudding anyone?)

3. Gazpacho is amazing and is worth having a food processor to make it upon your convenience

Green gazpacho

Green gazpacho served alongside some jalapeno cornbread.

Mean Green Gazpacho

*Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced

1 green heirloom tomato, diced

1/2 an avocado, removed from skin and diced

1 jalapeno, diced

1 clove of garlic, diced

1 tbsp of freshly diced cilantro

1-2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of water

1 lime, juiced

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Method:

After prepping all of the ingredients, add them to a food processor or high speed blender and blend on high until the mixture is smooth. You may need to occasionally scrape the sides of the food processor with a spatula during blending. Top with a fresh salsa or sauteed/grilled corn (after cutting it off the cob, I sauteed my corn in a bit of olive oil, chili powder, salt, and pepper).  Chill before serving and enjoy!

Chocolate-Flavored Creamy Avocado and Raspberry Pudding

Avocado pudding 1

Avocados just keep getting better. This fruit can be used in appetizers, dinners, salads, and soups. I wasn’t sure I could believe it until I tried it, but avocados can even be used in desserts.

This pudding is simple to make, tastes richer than it is, and is technically a dessert made almost entirely of fruit. Can you go wrong? I don’t think so! There shouldn’t be anything stopping you from making this recipe, as it really only has a few ingredients. My roommate even raved about the pudding  (if you needed another reason to be convinced to try it). So get your kitchen gadgets ready and rush to the kitchen in three-two-one. Go! You won’t regret it, unless you are one of those people who isn’t really fond of desserts (though I haven’t met many people that don’t enjoy dessert).

Avocado pudding 2

Chocolate-Flavored Creamy Avocado and Raspberry Pudding:

*Recipe inspired by an avocado pudding recipe found on This Chick Cooks

*Serves two

Ingredients: 

1 cup of raspberries, frozen or fresh, rinsed and patted dry

2 tbsp of water

2 tsp of agave nectar

1 avocado, halved and diced

3 tbsp of cocoa powder

3 tbsp of maple syrup

1 tsp of vanilla extract

3 tbsp of nut milk or the milk of your choice (or more if you’d like the pudding to be thinner)

Method:

Add the raspberries, water, and agave nectar to a pot set over medium low heat. Heat the raspberries until they easily break apart. Mash them until they become smooth, as they would if you’d pureed them. Set the raspberry spread aside and allow it to cool.

While you’re waiting for the raspberries to cool, add the rest of the ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender. Set it to high and let the ingredients combine. After a minute or so, scrape the sides of the food processor and then put the lid on and put it back on high. Do this until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Chill both the raspberry puree and the avocado pudding before serving. To serve, layer the avocado pudding and the raspberry puree in the serving dish or glass of your choice (I found it easiest to scoop the mixture into a glass using a small spoon). Top with a fresh raspberry and enjoy!

Spicy Jalapeno Gazpacho Topped With Grilled Corn and Culinary Firsts

Gazpacho 2

Since becoming a vegetarian in February and later trying to eat an entirely plant-based diet, I have cooked, prepared, and tried many new foods. Eating a plant-based diet has helped me to become more creative in the kitchen and to avoid making and remaking the same recipes over and over again.

One of my latest firsts was making gazpacho. I’ve never made a chilled soup before, let alone eaten one. That is where my new(ish) food processor came in handy. After first tasting my spicy gazpacho creation, I was addicted. I gobbled up the whole bowl and vowed to make more in the near future. The flavor from the jalapeno was slightly spicy, but the cucumber helped balance the heat of the hot pepper. The lime added just the right amount of sweetness to the soup and the spices and garlic kicked it up a notch (as Emeril Lagasse would say). I also enjoyed the added texture of the corn with the smooth soup. Do you have a favorite summer soup?

Making gazpacho was a culinary first that paid off. The grilled corn was another foodie first of mine. If you missed the how to and recipe for grilled corn and chili-spiced snap pea salad, you can find it here.

Grilled Corn

“Grilled” corn without the grill.

Spicy Jalapeno Gazpacho Topped with Grilled Corn:

*Makes two small to medium bowls of soup or one large bowl

“Grilled” Corn Ingredients:

1 cob of corn, remove the husk

1 tsp of olive oil

1/2 tsp of dried cilantro and chili powder

A dash of salt and pepper

Guacamole Ingredients:

1/2 an avocado, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 a lime, juiced

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Optional: diced tomatoes, jalapeno, onion (I just kept mine simple using an avocado, garlic, lime juice, and several spices)

Gazpacho Ingredients:

2 1/2 – 3 cups of diced tomato

1 medium cucumber, diced

1 jalapeno, diced (or 2 for more heat)

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 – 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp of black pepper, sea salt, and garlic powder

1 tsp of dried cilantro or 3 tsp of freshly chopped cilantro

1 lime, juiced

Method:

The “grilled” corn was inspired by Shannon’s genius recipe for grilled corn made without a grill, which can be found on her blog Move Eat Create (click here for a link to her how to post and recipe for corn and yellow pepper relish). I followed her cooking instructions, just changed up the spices a little bit. If you have a grill obviously you can just use that!

To make the “grilled” corn without a grill, first remove the corn husk and turn the broiler on. Then, gently rinse the corn and pat it dry. Add the olive oil and spices to the corn cob and make sure they are distributed evenly. Put the corn cob on a broiler safe baking pan and put it about 5 inches away from the heat. Let it cook for about 5 minutes and then turn it 1/4 of the way. Do this until all sides of the corn have been “grilled.”  Set the corn aside to cool. When it is cool you can slice it off the cob and set it aside until the gazpacho is ready.

To make the guacamole, just halve the avocado and dice it small. Add the avocado to a bowl with the other ingredients and mash with a fork. Put it in the refrigerator to let the flavors combine.

To make the gazpacho, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. Turn onto the highest speed and process until the mixture is smooth. Add additional spices to taste before serving (if needed). Chill for about 10-2o minutes before serving, if your ingredients were not chilled before adding them to the food processor.

When serving, add the gazpacho to a bowl. Then top the gazpacho with the grilled corn and top the grilled corn with the guacamole or avocado slices. All three recipes are very simple to make, yet they are still entirely delicious (especially when served together). Enjoy!

Gazpacho 1

“Grilled” Corn & Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Snow Pea Salad 2

This “grilled” corn and snap pea salad did not come to fruition without obstacles, but I persevered because I had an idea of how great the end result could be (and it was). It all started when I read Shannon’s post about how to grill corn without a grill (find the link to her post here: “No Grill? No Problem! Roasted Yellow Pepper Relish” and her blog link here:  Move Eat Create – her recipe looks delicious by the way!). She had the idea to “grill” corn under the broiler. Genius, right? The corn comes out of the oven “grilled to perfection,” perfectly cooked, with char marks and all.

The end result was so grand, I nearly forgot about the fires I was putting out along the way. I mean really, after the incidents I had, I’m seriously considering getting a fire extinguisher.

So, back to my story. I saw Shannon’s lovely post for her corn relish and grilled corn how-to and I knew I had to make that corn. I just had to add it to a salad. Several foods immediately came in my mind: snow peas (after just buying some from the local farmer’s market), black beans, lime, chili powder, and creamy avocadoes (because really, what salad is complete without avocado?). That was this salad’s inception.

Though, in the making it all nearly came crashing down. I prepped my corn by removing the husks, gently rinsing the cobs, and then patting them dry. I added a bit of olive oil, dried cilantro, and chili powder to the corn (just a tad different than Shannon’s recipe). They looked gorgeous already. As I turned the broiler on, I admired my tasty looking corn.

When the oven was heated, I put the baking sheet about five inches from the top of the oven. The corn cobs were close enough to brown after turning them every five minutes. At about the second turn, I went in to grab the baking pan and accidentally touched (and torched) the side of my arm to the oven rack. I pulled back hopping to and fro on one foot while blowing on my singed arm. After running it under some cool water, I went back to my post, turned my corn, and put them back into the oven.

I thought my bad luck was over, but not soon enough did I pull the corn out to turn it a third time, when I touched the tip of the oven mitt to the hot coils at the top of the oven. Immediately I saw a flame. I thought “Oh my gosh I’m going to light this house on fire before I even get a chance to taste my corn salad.” I also thought “Oh dear, what do I do?” Then almost immediately the flame put itself out. The oven mitt now had a small black badge of honor, similar to the size of the one now on my arm. After these first few unfortunate events, it was smooth sailing, mostly because the other ingredients were raw and there weren’t as many opportunities for me to be careless (as I can sometimes be while in the kitchen – something I need to work on).

 If you don’t have a grill and you try the broiler method, I’m 99.9% confident you will not encounter the problems I did. This is mainly because I have faith in all of you as home cooks and also because you’ve been forewarned. Read on for a completely delicious recipe (a little sweet, spicy, creamy, and somewhat tart).

Snow Pea Salad

Grilled Corn and Sugar Snap Pea Salad:

*Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cob of corn, grilled (either in the oven or on a grill – I drizzled a bit of olive oil on mine, then added some dried cilantro, and chili powder)

2/3 cup of black beans, rinsed

1 cup of sugar snap peas, rinsed and ends removed

1/2 of an avocado, skin removed and diced

1 jalapeno, diced fine

1 large clove of garlic, diced fine

the juice of 1/2 of a lime (or more to taste)

2 tsp of olive oil

1/4 tsp of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder

1/2 – 1 tsp of chili powder (or more to taste)

Method:

Cut the corn off the cob by holding the cob upright as you carefully slice as close as you can to the cob, removing the kernels. Add the kernels to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix them well. It is that simple, which may even make this summer salad more delicious. Enjoy!

Southwestern Stuffed Mushrooms and Confessions of a Dog Mom

Southwestern Stuffed Mushroom 1

I feel slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I sleep with two tiny cockapoos. They’ve stolen my heart and now it seems that I can’t kick them out of my bed. Now you should know I never intended it to be this way. Oh no, since the day I adopted these two poodles (in my mind) I had them sleeping in their comfy dog beds, which were in their crate.

But then, (you know there’s a but coming on) they started whining, which made me feel like a terrible dog mom (sadly it’s what I think of myself as now). So I let them out of their crate and into the bedroom. In my head I made an agreement with myself that they could sleep on the floor by the bed. Of course what I didn’t think about was the fact that these two little creatures had a bit of terrier in them and they are good jumpers. They kept jumping up on the bed even after I told them to get down. It was like a three ring circus in the bedroom that night.

Finally, Max understood he was not to come on the bed, but then he gave me this terrible look and it was as if he said “Mom, don’t you love me?” So yet again, the dogs won. They started sleeping on the bed. Since December, which was when I first adopted them, they have gotten very comfortable on that bed. They even have their own “spots” now. Oh what is a girl to do? Do your four-legged friends have a place on your bed too? Is it something to be ashamed of? Most of my non-dog-owning friends don’t seem to understand that these two little poodles sleep on my bed (sometimes Layla even creeps up onto the spare pillow).

(Wo)Man's best friend times two.

(Wo)Man’s best friend times two. Getting very comfortable on what they’d like to think of as their bed. 

Aside from sleeping with two adorable creatures, this post is also about the Southwestern stuffed mushrooms I recently cooked and then promptly devoured. Anything with guacamole is delicious in my book. I’m also a sucker for portobello mushrooms and chili-spiced corn salad. So for me, this recipe was a winner. I hope you enjoy it too!

Southwestern Stuffed Mushroom 2

Southwestern Stuffed Mushrooms:

*Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the rice layer:

1 cup of short grain brown rice, or the rice of your choice

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp of salt, garlic powder, and pepper

*1/4 tsp of dried cilantro, or 1 tsp of fresh cilantro, diced (optional)

For the mushroom layer:

2 tsp of olive oil

4 (or more-since the filling should fill more than 4) large portobello mushroom caps

1/4 tsp of sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin

For the corn salad layer:

2 tsp of olive oil

2/3 cup of corn

2/3 cup of black beans

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder (or more to taste)

a tiny dash of cayenne pepper

a dash of smoked paprika

For the guacamole layer (four layers is pushing it, I know):

1 avocado, halved and then diced

1 clove of garlic, diced

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, garlic powder

1 lime, juiced

1/2 tsp of dried cilantro or two teaspoons of fresh cilantro, diced

*optional: add diced tomato, red onion, etc. (I was low on the extras so I just kept it simple)

Method:

1- Make the rice according to the package or box. The type of short grain brown rice I use calls for about 2 cups of water per cup of brown rice. I set the heat to medium-high and waited until the water was boiling before turning the heat down to medium-low and letting the rice simmer for about 45 minutes until it was done (or when the water was absorbed).

2- Add all of the rest of the ingredients to the rice when it is finished. Stir it and let it sit to let the flavors combine.

3- While you are waiting for the rice to finish and after it has been cooking for about 30 minutes, then add olive oil to a frying pan and let it heat over medium heat. Add the mushrooms when the pan is hot. Sprinkle the spices on as the mushrooms begin to cook. Turn them when they start to brown on one side (about 5-7 minutes). Let them cook for another 5-7 minutes on the other side. Take them off the heat when they’re tender.

4- When you are starting the mushrooms, heat a pot over medium heat. Add all of the ingredients for the corn salad to the pot. Stir and let them heat up for about 5 minutes or so. Once all of the ingredients are warmed, take the pot off the heat.

5- Add all of the guacamole ingredients to a bowl and mash together with a fork or potato masher. It’s really that simple!

6- When all layers are finished and prepped, start by placing all of your mushrooms with the tops facing down. Fill each with rice, then the corn salad, and finally top with the guacamole. If you have an extra lime you can drizzle some lime juice over the top of each. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Kale & Avocado Hummus Served with Paprika-Spiced Pita Chips and a Social Eating Weakness

Kale, & Avocado Hummus

When I think about going to college, I think about how much fun I had with my roommates. One of my roommates, Tanya, and I always had tons of laughs when we were together. At one point we also made Spongebob and Patrick shaped pancakes for breakfast.

One of the things Tanya used to make fun of me for was my social eating habit or at least that’s what we called it. I was never one to enjoy the cafeteria food and I always had a decent-sized stash of food in the apartment (though at that time I was famous for making English muffin pizzas and breakfast for dinner more than I was for making healthy meals).

A social eating weakness, for those of you who are wondering, is when you drop what you’re doing (at all costs – you could be writing an important paper or talking on the phone) to eat and chat with people. For me, this problem really made itself known while I was at college during my sophomore year living while with three roommates in a tiny apartment with white-painted cinder block walls (if you’re visualizing it now and thinking it looked like a prison, you would be half right – the other half was filled with mismatch college decor). While discovered this urge to eat with others while in college, I think it stemmed from my Italian roots (those people are always forcing food on you, whilst yelling usually).

I didn’t start college as a social eater. No, this problem developed when I moved into the apartment with a small kitchen-living area. As we were in college, we all had different class, work, and eating schedules, but if anyone went into the kitchen and was making a meal I was there too. I just couldn’t resist eating and socializing with others. I did this even if I wasn’t hungry. The act of eating and talking just came so naturally to me (the two seem to go hand in hand).

My social eating habits brought me to share this recipe because it is perfect to eat with others. The dip’s creamy texture and mild flavor balance out the spicy, crisp pita chips. I brought this kale and avocado hummus to a July 4th party and it was devoured by the many guests at the party, as well as by me. Appetizers are my weakness, as are desserts (as is social eating). Does anyone else have this problem or am I alone in this?

Kale & Avocado Hummus 2

Kale & Avocado Hummus:

Ingredients:

1 can of cannellini beans or garbanzo beans (I used cannellini)

1 avocado, halved and diced

2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/2 lemon, juiced

salt and pepper to taste (roughly 1/4 tsp of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, or more to taste)

3-4 leaves of kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped (you could try another green like spinach or arugula)

Method:

Add all of the ingredients except for the kale into a food processor. Blend on high until the mixture is well combined and fairly smooth. Then add in the kale. Blend again on high until the kale becomes chopped into tiny pieces or is not visible at all. Serve alongside the spiced pita chips or for a gluten-free option serve with corn chips.

Paprika-Spiced Pita Chips:

Ingredients: 

1 package of pita bread, about 4-5 thick pitas

2(+) tbsp of olive oil (or more depending)

1 tsp of smoked paprika

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

1/4 tsp of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/8 of a tsp of cayenne pepper

Method:

1- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then slice your pita bread into triangles by cutting each pita in half and than slicing triangular shapes by cutting from the middle out to the edge of the pita with a knife.

2- Once the pitas are cut, add them to a mixing bowl. Then drizzle the olive oil over the pitas (making sure not to only pour it in one spot). Sprinkle the spices over the pita. Then mix the pita with the olive oil and spices, making sure each pita piece is evenly coated.

3- Bake for about 15 minutes and then flip each pita piece. Bake for another 15-20 minutes (or until both sides are golden brown). Taste a pita chip and add a little extra salt and pepper if necessary. Serve alongside the avocado hummus. Enjoy!

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