Chocolate Avocado “Mousse”


avocado-chocolate-mousse

I’ve been really craving a chocolate dessert lately.  I was walking around town, and none of the restaurants had chocolate desserts that were sugar-free (including no sugar substitutes) and gluten-free.  So… I decided to play around with making one at home.   Based on what was in my pantry, I came up with this super-easy “mousse.”  I poured the mousse into these Hazelnut Coconut crusts.  The final product is a rich, decadent, thick filling in a thin, nutty crust.  As you can see in the photo, it sliced beautifully.  I added a small amount of vanilla whipped cream before serving to lighten it up.  As a result, one small slice was so incredibly satisfying =)

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Pineapple Coconut Sorbet (dairy-free)


Pineapple Coconut SorbetWe had an ice cream party at work this week, and the forecast for the week was in the 90s… totally put me in the mood for pina coladas and pain killers! The sorbet below started out as a pina colada sorbet with just pineapple and coconut. But, somehow, it morphed towards a pain killer as I kept adding/adjusting ingredients. I love how the final sorbet came out- a slight kick of ginger with a creamy ice cream-like texture.  I will definitely be making it again this summer!

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What to do with leftover chili??? (aka… I got carried away and made too much)


This post doesn’t have recipes, just ideas.  A little bit of this… a little bit of that… and suddenly I have a vat of spicy, chunky chili!  Far more than I can eat at once.  Luckily, chili freezes well.  The list below is how I used up all my leftovers…. If anyone else has ideas, please share!  As a side note, I think I’m always going to make extra now. =)

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Avocado Pistachio Open Face Sandwich


Avocado Pistachio SandwichYUM!!!! I’ve had this sandwich 3 days in a row now, and I can’t get over (1) how easy it is, (2) how fresh and summery it tastes, and (3) how filling it is.  The number of open-face sandwiches you get depends on how big your bread slices are and how thin you slice the avocado.  The recipe below is for 2 slices of bakery size loaves of sourdough bread.

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Sweet Corn Spoon Bread


Corn Spoon BreadIf you like sweet corn tamales, you will like this dish a lot!  It took me a while to wrap my head around the idea of sugar in a side dish, but I’m so happy I did!  It does take some time to make, but it melts in your mouth when you eat it.   If you are in a time crunch, you can make everything up to step 4 the day before, and then just steam it the day you want to serve it.

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Halloween Party (Fun Food!)


I had a Halloween party last year and completely forgot to post about it!  I had the most fun planning the food for the party (as usual).  The best thing about Halloween food is that you can be super creative to make things fit into the creepy, gross theme.   Below is the table spread for the party, with links to the foods and how I did them (click on it for a larger image).

Halloween Fun Food

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Spicy Black Bean Salad


This is a great summer salad that has a nice mix of spicy, sour, and smooth tastes.  You can vary the spiciness by the amount of pepper, but also by the type.  I alternate between jalapenos, poblanos, and the long, thin green chilies, Also, there’s enough lime juice in the salad to keep the avocados from turning black after cutting, but I would still add them as close to eating time as possible.

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Vegan Chocolate Chia Pudding


This is a super easy recipe that satisfies my sweet craving without being too bad for me.  It has a tapioca-like consistency, but is healthier since chia contains protein, fiber, and variety of minerals.  I made a good amount since I plan to eat it for a few days and it stays good as long as you keep it in the refrigerator.  Also, you can eat it half an hour after you soak it, but I like to leave it overnight so the chia seeds aren’t as crunchy.  I included the nutrition facts for the ENTIRE recipe (calculated from SparkRecipes); please divide by whatever serving size you find appropriate.

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Pumpkin Feast (Vegetarian)


A few weeks ago my sister and her fiance threw a surprise birthday party for me- and the second best part (first best being everyone coming of course!) was that it was pumpkin themed!!!  The really amazing thing was that there was such a wide variety of dishes, appetizers, main dishes, desserts, drinks, etc.- and all vegetarian!  I was completely blown away by the variety- hence calling the post “Pumpkin Feast.”  

Sadly, in the shock of being surprised, I forgot to take pictures, but take my word for it- every single thing was delicious and I highly highly recommend them.  The menu is below and as I get the links from people, I’ll connect them.

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Black Bean Avocado Salad


This is a great summer salad, that has a nice mix of differently textured colorful ingredients.  I highly recommend using fresh corn, the difference in taste is amazing!  You can prepare the corn ahead of time if you need too (Step 1).  Also, there’s enough lime juice in the salad to keep the avocados from turning black after cutting, but I would still add them as close to eating time as possible. 

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Jicama Avocado Salad


This is a fun salad because the crispy jicama is a nice contrast to the creamy avocado.  My parents had something like this at California Pizza Kitchen and really liked it, so I tried to make it at home.  The main thing is to chop everything roughly the same size as corn and just mix it all together.  If fresh corn isn’t in season, frozen corn works too- just cook it according to the package instructions before adding it to the salad.  Although it’s not essential, I’ve put in the directions to marinate for 2 hours so that the jicama and other ingredients pick up more flavor.  However, if you’re in a time crunch, it will work fine even if you don’t marinate it.

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Poblano Rice


This recipe came about because I bought too many poblano peppers from the farmer’s market and wanted to use them up.  I warn you- it has a lot of flavor, but is definitely spicy!  If you want to make it milder, it’s should be okay to add fewer poblano peppers, or even substitute in some bell peppers.  I had this with grilled corn, but I can see it being a nice side dish in place of the regular Mexican/Spanish rice.  It also tastes good with a little bit of plain yogurt mixed in (and that helps with the spiciness too).

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Spicy Tomatillo Salsa


A while back I bought a bottle of green tomatillo salsa, but everyone ate it up before I could taste any!  So I decided to try and make some myself.  I picked firm tomatillos that still had the thin coating on top, but if anyone has suggestions on how to pick good tomatillos, please share/  Also, I made up the proportions, but you can change the ratio of tomatillos to jalapenos if you like things more/less spicy.  I considered using the small, really spicy green chilies, but decided against it because I wasn’t sure if it would become too hot, with not enough flavor because they wouldn’t be cooked.  I made this 2 days ago and had it today, and it tasted okay, so I think it will stay a few days in the fridge if necessary.

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Guacamole


One of my co-workers today was talking about using avocado in her hair… of course, my opinion is that the only place for avocados is in my tummy.  After that meeting, all I was thinking about the rest of the day was how much I wanted avocados!  Luckily, we had two at home, so I made guacamole.  Guacamole is one of my favorite ways of preparing avocados aside from eating them with just a little lime and salt on top.

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Jicama Grapefruit Salad


My uncle made a jicama tangerine salad a while ago, and I was really sad that I missed it.  Since I bought a jicama and we had grapefruit at home, I decided to make a variation of that salad.  I was hesitant at first, because the salad had raw  jicama in it.   But it turns out that it tastes really good- kind of like a crunchy apple mixed with a potato.  This may be one of my new favorite salads!

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Stuffed Poblano Peppers


The grocery store had really healthy looking poblano peppers last week that were begging to be stuffed!  Although the recipe may sound tricky, it’s really not too bad.  The main thing is to not over cook the rice and to mix it in last so that it doesn’t get mushy.  Additionally, you can make it vegan by not adding the sour cream and the shredded cheese- it will still hold together.

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Mexican Tofu Cutlets


I finally sat down to organize my pictures, and realized that this tofu recipe slipped through the cracks.  I made it a couple weeks ago when we had the huge snow storm.  It’s a basic recipe that you can eat plain, or stick in a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onion, etc. for a more filling meal.

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Corn Tamales


One of my favorite things to order when we go for Mexican/Latin American food is corn tamales.  I’ve had really, really good ones that melt in your mouth and some not-so-good ones that were dry and gritty, so I was kind of nervous attempting to make them at home.  We’ve been meaning to make them for ages, and bought the dried corn husks ages ago, but I couldn’t find a recipe that looked simple enough for a first try.  I was looking again today (thanks to the giant snow storm!) and found loads of recipes.  Unfortunately, they were all substantially different, so I ended up getting really confused.  In the end, I decided to combine a whole bunch of them together, and ended up with the  recipe below.

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Mexican Omlette


I was not having a good cooking day last night, so for dinner I figured I’d make something that always works- omlettes!  I asked my sister if she wanted it Mexican style, and she said “always.”  So, here’s the recipe for a Mexican Omlette (this is for 2 people).  One note- I use Fajita seasoning from Penzeys, the main reason being that the ones like Old El Paso and Ortega have cornstarch and that makes the consistency all funny.  Also, I make it with mostly egg whites so that there’s less cholesterol, but you could just as easily use 4 whole eggs.

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