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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Avocado Ice Cream with Homemade Chocolate Syrup

I have been obsessed with avocados lately. Actually, I have been obsessed with avocados for quite a long time, but these days, I feel like I am eating them at least once a day. I will eat it an avocado for breakfast with eggs, eat avocados for dinner with Mexican meals, and I will even eat avocados for dessert! I dreamed up this ice cream one night before going to bed, and the next day, I made my dreams come true. Wendy helped me make the ice cream mixture. Wendy put the milk, sugar, and lemon juice into the blender, and I added in the avocado. Then Wendy ran away to another room when I turned the blender on, and then came back into the kitchen when it was time to mix in the cream. We then added chocolate sauce and some milk into the mixture that we couldn't get out of the blender, and shared a chocolate avocado shake (well, Wendy let me have two sips). Based on the smoothness of the shake and the flavor, I could tell that the ice cream was going to be a hit. I only made a small amount of ice cream in case it didn't turn out, but next time I will make the full recipe. We all loved this ice cream!

 

Recipe for Avocado Ice Cream with Homemade Chocolate Syrup

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
1 1/4 cup of whole milk
3 small to medium sized ripe (but not overripe) avocados, pit and skin removed
2 tsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS:
Put the sugar, milk,  avocado, and lemon juice into a blender. Mix until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in the heavy cream and whisk until well combined. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 hours. Then pour mixture into an automatic ice cream maker. Start ice cream maker, and let it mix for about 5 - 7 minutes, or until ice cream is formed. It will take less time than regular ice cream mixtures due to the thickness of the avocado. Then transfer ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze for desired amount of time before serving.Serve ice cream with homemade chocolate syrup!

For the chocolate syrup:
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. of cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
Put the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt into a small saucepan. Add the 2 Tbsp. of water, more if needed, so mixture is able to be stirred. Add the unsalted butter. Put the saucepan over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil.  Let the mixture boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and immediately stir in the vanilla extract. Serve warm or at room temperature over ice cream. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with White Beans, Spinach, and Prosciutto

I  know it has been a long time since I have posted a recipe, but I actually had no idea it has been close to six weeks! I have been slammed with school work, my internship, home renovations, and spending time with my little toddler, who will be 2 in less than 2 weeks!  I have not cooked as much as I like to because when I get home in the evenings, all I want to do is hang out with Wendy and Greg. I am on spring break now, and the first few days of spring break were spent in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and now that I am back home I am excited to have time to cook healthy and delicious meals for my family again. While on the long trip down to North Carolina, I went through an old Self Magazine I found, and I came across a few recipes that caught my attention. The other night we did salmon with a butter, lemon, and rosemary sauce, and these mushrooms were served as our tasty side. It was so filling! Wendy gobbled down the filling of the mushrooms, and Greg commented on how much he liked them. These stuffed portobello mushrooms are loaded with protein and fiber, and they are packed with several savory flavors. They start with a brush of olive oil and balsamic, and they are filled with a buttery mixture of shallot, garlic, rosemary, parsley, fresh black pepper, white beans, prosciutto, and spinach. Then you top them off with some Panko and Parmesan, toss them into the oven so they get nice and crunchy, and dig in! You can eat one of the stuffed mushrooms as a small meal or serve them as a side to chicken or fish. Enjoy!


Recipe for Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with White Beans, Spinach & Prosciutto 

INGREDIENTS:
4 large portobello mushrooms, with the stems and gills removed
2 Tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp. of balsamic vineger
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 tsp. of fresh rosemary leaves
1 can of great northern or cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. of chicken broth
2 Tbsp. of fresh parsley leaves
3 ounces of prosciutto, sliced thin
1 cup of baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl. Stir in some salt and pepper. Put the mushrooms cap side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each cap lightly with the olive oil mixture. Place in the oven, and cook for 8 minutes. 
While the mushrooms are cooking, put the butter and the remaining 1 Tbsp. of olive oil into a large pan and set over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add in the chopped shallot, garlic, and rosemary leaves. Cook, stirring often, until the shallots have softened. Then stir in the beans and the chicken broth, remove from heat. Put the mixture into a medium bowl and add in the parsley and the prosciutto. Put the pan you used back over the stovetop on medium-low heat. Add in the spinach leaves and cook until wilted, about 1 - 2 minutes.
Once mushrooms have cooked for 8 minutes in oven, remove from the oven and carefully drain the liquid off. If needed, very carefully transfer mushrooms to a plate, wipe down the baking sheet, and line with new parchment paper (I decided to do this). Turn mushrooms over and stuff with the beans and spinach. In a small bowl, toss together the Panko bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Evenly distribute over top of the mushrooms, and then drizzle each with a little bit of olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top of each. Place back into the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the tops are browned and crispy. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, and then serve.

You can serve as a side to chicken or fish, or eat it as a light lunch. They taste good leftover, too! Greg said he liked them even better leftover, because they were even more flavorful! I think these would also be good with bacon or crumbled sausage in the stuffing. If you want to make it vegetarian, leave out the meat and add a little extra Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from: Self Magazine, November 2014 issue



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Apple and Vanilla Pancakes with Fresh Thyme

I feel like I need a lot more time in my life these days. Right now, I am juggling a 40-hour week student teaching internship, a commute, 8 credits of classes (including a full day Saturday class), being a mommy to an almost 2-year old girl, and cooking meals for my family. My favorite things out of that list are of course being a mommy and cooking! It is a rare snow day like I had today that I was able to get enough time to get stuff done on my ever growing to-do list, and get time to do some of the things that I love. I spent today creating a math game, completing chapter quizzes, making chocolate chip cookies with Wendy, enjoying a walk outside (there wasn't really any snow today), and now, blogging.

Cooking is something that I love so much and it is a stress release for me. The meals and baked goods that I make and enjoy are something that I want to share with you. One meal that I have made a lot lately and I have thoroughly enjoyed are these apple and vanilla pancakes with thyme (thyme is not as good as time, but it will have to do). The thyme was actually just something I decided to throw in the batter when I made the pancakes on Valentines Day, and it was quite a nice addition to the sweet flavors of the apple and vanilla. If you want, you can leave it out, but if you have some on hand, I definitely suggest adding it in. These pancakes are super easy to make and they are pleasing to both kids and adults. I serve them with chicken sausages, apple slices, cheddar cheese, and maple syrup. The combination of those foods together is quite amazing. It is great for breakfast and just as satisfying for dinner. The recipe makes plenty of pancakes, so you may even have some leftover, and Wendy can tell you that they hold up pretty well as leftovers. I hope you get a chance to try this recipe out, and I hope you find these apple and vanilla pancakes as incredible as we do!


Recipe for Apple and Vanilla Pancakes with Fresh Thyme


INGREDIENTS: 
1 cup of diced apples (I used Gala)
3/4 tsp. of cinnamon
2 Tbsp. of light brown sugar or pure maple syrup
1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. of salt
2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups whole milk*
1 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice*
2 large eggs
1 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
A pinch or two of torn fresh thyme leaves
Unsalted butter for the pan
Butter and pure maple syrup, for serving

DIRECTIONS:
Put the chopped apple, cinnamon, and brown sugar or maple syrup into a smallish bowl and give it a stir. Set aside.

Put the milk and lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup and allow to sit for five minutes before using (*or you can use 1 1/4 cup buttermilk ins place of the milk and lemon juice mixture - I choose not to because every time I buy buttermilk it goes to waste because I never can use the entire container).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk and lemon juice (after it has sat for 5 minutes), and eggs. Stir in the vanilla extract. Slowly add the flour into the butter mixture and stir until just combined. Then fold in the apples, and the thyme, if using.

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add in about a tablespoon of butter. Once it is melted, scoop about a tablespoon of batter into the pan and continue adding tablespoons so you can cook about 7 - 8 pancakes at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes, flip, and cook another two minutes.

I usually heat the oven to about 250 degrees, butter a baking pan, and let the pancakes that have already been cooked in the pan keep warm in the oven. Also, since the pancake pan can get really hot, I sometimes give it a rest off the heat and then wipe it out with a paper towel between pancake batches.

Serve the pancakes with butter and maple syrup. For a hearty meal, serve with chicken sausages, cheddar cheese slices, and apple slices.

Recipe makes approximately 28 pancakes.

Recipe adapted from: Weelicious cookbook

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Eggs Baked in an Avocado with Fresh Herbs & Sriracha Sauce

Eggs baked in an avocado. Eggs baked in an avocado. Eggs baked in an avocado. Go make it! Cut an avocado in half, take out the pit, squeeze in some lime juice, crack in the eggs, bake, and top! I cannot believe I waited so long to try out this meal. I had told myself over and over again that I was going to try it, but I never did up until a few weeks ago. Now eggs baked in an avocado is my go to meal for breakfast, lunch (on the weekends), and sometimes dinner. Eggs and avocado are both considered brain food, and I need all the brain food I can get these days. The first time I tried it out, I liked it, but I wasn't head over heels in love with it. I think I liked the idea of eating it because it is so healthy, and since it is super healthy, I kept making it for myself. Now I am completely passionate about eggs baked inside of avocados. It is easy to make, low carb, high protein, filled with Omega 3s, gluten-free, well, you get the idea. So stop dragging your feet, and go make yourself some eggs baked in an avocado! You will thank me one day for telling you to try it. Enjoy.

Recipe for Eggs Baked In Avocado with Fresh Herbs & Sriracha Sauce

INGREDIENTS
1 Hass avocado (any size, I've been using smallish ones lately), cut into half lengthwise with pit removed
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and Pepper
2 eggs
Extra-virgin olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes
Sriracha sauce
Fresh Herbs (thyme, dill, parsley, whatever you want)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Scoop out some of the avocado from each half so that there is enough room for the egg in each. Squeeze desired amount of lime juice over each avocado half. Sprinkle each  with salt and pepper. Crack one egg into one half of the avocado. Don't worry if some of the white runs out, you just want to make sure the yolk is in the avocado. Crack another egg into the other half of the avocado. Place in oven and bake for 12 - 14 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks. Make sure the egg whites are set and not runny, though! Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil and sriracha sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and fresh herbs.
Grab a fork or spoon and dig in (make sure you only eat the fruit of the avocado and the eggs - discard the peel)!

Recipe Adapted from: Serious Eats

BRAIN FOOD
Brain benefits of Avocado: Cognitive functioning and mood.
Brian benefits of Eggs: Cognitive functioning, focus, and mood.
Brain benefits of Olive Oil: Cognitive functioning and memory.
Brain benefits of Lime: Cognitive functioning, memory, and mood.
Information from: The Healthy Mind Cookbook