Zucchini Pasta with Avocado-Pepita Pesto

These days I pretty much only want to talk about vegetables.  As I mentioned last time, I’ve been over doing it with desserts/sweets recently so I’m going to get super excited about vegetables and tell you about my most recent vegetable-filled discovery: Zucchini Pasta.

I’m not the biggest fan of pasta and I’m partially convinced that I’ve talked myself into not liking it, because I just don’t feel like it’s amazing enough for the calories.  Bread, on the other hand, I’m happy to eat tons of bread, regardless of calories.  Pasta… I’m meh about pasta.  That said, I’m a huge fan of eating things in the shape of long stringy pasta.  I love spaghetti squash and when my co-worker gave me an extra spiralizer that she had, I was ecstatic.

Since then my brain has been churning with awesome zucchini noodle ideas.

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The inspiration for this recipe came from a raw, vegan cooking demonstration I went to a few weeks ago.  They served us zucchini noodles with pesto. So from there, I decided to make my own version with ingredients I had on-hand at home.  It was a complete success. zucchinipasta1

Zucchini Pasta with Avocado-Pepita Pesto

5 small zucchini squash, spiralized or julienned
1 small avocado
1/4 cup pepitas
1 cup fresh basil
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tomato, diced

Place avocado, pepitas, basil, lemon juice in food processor (or vitamix).  Pulse.  Stream in olive oil and water and continue to blend until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Toss zucchini noodles with some of the pesto, you can add more or less to your liking.

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Please note, this recipe will make more than enough pesto for 5 zucchini.  You can refrigerate the rest for another day (it’ll start to turn brown after 2-3 days). zucchinipasta3

 

What I loved about this dish was:
1. how easy it is to make.
2. how well it tastes the next day and
3. the fact that it doesn’t require you to turn on the stove or oven, with our recent heat wave and summer just around the corner, that was essential.

I’ll definitely be making this again.   I’m consistently surprised at how much I like raw zucchini.  It’s definitely an underrated vegetable.

 Do you have a spiralizer?  Any ideas on what I should try to spiralize next?

 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Peanut Butter and Co. Bee’s Knees Giveaway to win two free jars of Peanut Butter!

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Vegan Fusion Tacos

I don’t know about you, but I love fusion food.  My favorite is some sort of Asian cuisine combined with Latin. Food trucks are particularly good at this.   Kogi is the perfect example.  Their short rib taco is nothing short of amazing.  There’s another food truck around Orange County that has a banh mi taco.  Amazing.

I’m also a big fan of Taco Tuesday.  I wish I took advantage of it more often.  I really wanted to hit up my favorite taco spot today, but then I remembered I should probably save money (and calories).  Instead I made tacos at home with ingredients I already had, and thus this italian-mexican fusion vegan creation was born:

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Vegan Fusion Tacos

1 corn or flour tortilla
2 tbsp avocado pesto hummus
2 artichoke hearts, halved
a few sliced thinly sliced zucchini
1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Heat tortilla.  Spread tortilla with Avocado Pesto Hummus.  Top with artichoke hearts, zucchini slices, then sprinkle with nutritional yeast.  If you want to go crazy, squeeze some extra lemon on top.  You won’t be sorry.  Then devour.

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Note: If you make a full avocado pesto hummus recipe, you should be able to make about 6-8 tacos.

Do you see the fusion in here?  Italian ingredients: Garbanzo beans, Artichoke Hearts, Zucchini, Basil.  Latin/Mexican: Lemon, Avocado, Tortilla.

I think that’s pretty good.

So there you have it.  Tasty vegan dinner, ready in about 10 minutes.  Get your Taco Tuesday on.

Avocado Pesto Hummus

I’m loving the fact that it’s now light out until about 7pm.  What I’m NOT loving is that it’s still dark out when I go to the gym.  There’s nothing less motivating than waking up when it’s still dark out.

So while it’s still light out, I had all these hopes and dreams for magical creations I was going to make after work, photograph, enjoy and blog about.  Then I remembered that more cooking means more washing dishes and that suddenly sounded unappealing.  As much as I wanted to hit up Trader Joe’s for a box of Puffins for dinner, I decided to make something quick and easy.

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And seriously guys, this was all sorts of amazing.  You really need to make this, spread it on toast and stuff your face off.  That’s what I did.  Why should you?

Top 5 Reasons You Need to Make This:

    1. It’s healthy!  Lots of good fats from avocado
    2. It’s vegan! Let’s love the Earth a little bit more and eat less meat (especially if you’re in California.  There’s a drought folks!).  This spread still packs in the protein.  This whole recipe (which serves 4) has about 29g of protein!
    3. It’s crazy delicious.  Seriously.  So good.
    4. Avocado. Enough said.
    5. It’s ready in about 3 minutes, and you’re hungry so what are you waiting for?

BONUS REASON: It’s a great excuse to eat bread, not that you need one. Avocado Pesto Hummus 3

Avocado Pesto Hummus

1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast, heaping
1 small handful of fresh basil leaves (I used about 7 large leaves)
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix (which is what I used).  Pulse until combined.  I wanted mine a little bit chunky so I didn’t pulse it too long, but if you want it smooth you can do that too.

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Spread on your favorite bread or serve with pita chips or raw veggies and enjoy!

Do you need any more convincing?  I’m not sure how else to tell you this is basically delicious and awesome for you.  Eat it up!

Are you an avocado lover? Please tell me you are!

Chipotle Fish Tacos

Cinco de Mayo just happened.  You’re probably tired of Mexican food, but let’s be honest Corona and Guacamole don’t really qualify as Mexican food.  That doesn’t really qualify as food.  That’s a snack.

And it’s Tuesday.  Taco Tuesday.  How about some tacos?

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Trust me.  You need these tacos in your life.

I remember the first time I ate these tacos.  Jesse made them for me, pretty early on in our relationship, and I was skeptical.  But I swear it was love at first bite.  I’m talking about the tacos here.

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Ever since that first time, I’ve probably had them a dozen times with a million variations: shrimp, chicken, etc.

But these are the best.

Chipotle Fish Tacos

3 pieces of tilapia, cut into small pieces
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 an onion, diced
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper
1-2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
1 diced tomato
1/4 cup mayo
1 tbsp sriracha*
a few lime wedges
1 avocado sliced
6 tortillas

Heat oil in the pan.  Add 1/4 of onion (so you’ll have 1/4 of onion left for putting on the tacos) and cook for a few mins.   Add fish and chipotle (depending on how hot you want it use 1-2 or more, for less spice just use the adobo sauce, not the chile itself), cook for a few minutes until fish is no longer translucent.  Stir in juice of 1/2 lime, about a tablespoon of cilantro and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

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Stir together sriracha and mayo.  Thin out with some lime juice or water.  Depending on how spicy you like it, the ratio of sriracha to mayo  might be different for you.  Add a bit, try it and add more if you’d like.

Now you can start assembling your tacos (this recipe will make about 6 tacos).  Heat up your tortillas.  Start by laying some fish in the center.

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Then you add your ingredients of choice.  We like to have it all on a plate at the table and assemble as we go.

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Lay on the cabbage, tomato, onion, cilantro and avocado.

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Then drizzle with sriracha mayo.  Squirt with a wedge of lime and devour.

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That’s exactly what I do.  I devour these, because they’re amazing.

Happy Taco Tuesday!  What’s your favorite kind of taco?

I love fish tacos, but I think shrimp tacos are my favorite.

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Days 9 & 10

So after my Monday freak out, I was ready to quit this challenge.  Thanks everyone for your supportive comments.  They were very encouraging and I truly appreciate it!

I decided to tough it out a little longer.  During the week, Paleo isn’t that hard.  I’m used to making my own lunch and bringing it to work, so that’s not anything new.  I used to bring salad, soups and beans a lot.  Now I’ve just replaced the beans with meat (which I’m not a huge fan of).

I think the challenge will remain the weekends.

On the hunger front, things have also been better.  This is potentially for 2 reasons:

1. I’m busy at work so I don’t think about food as much as I would on the weekends.

2. I’ve started packing enormous lunches that are guaranteed to keep me full.

Day 9 Lunch:

paleospaghettisquash

It looks small, but there is literally half of a spaghetti squash in that container, with spinach, marinara and two pieces of chicken.  Ordinarily I would consider that to be two meals, but now I eat it at once.  I’ve had this two days in a row and it has kept me pretty satisfied.

Later that night, I had dinner at my sister’s house.

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We had salad, sweet potatoes and tilapia.  I had a bit of non-paleo mayo (with the sweet potato).  Not the worst slip up on Earth.  I’ll survive.

Day 10:

I decided to switch it up.  Everyday I had been eating a Paleo Pancake with a green smoothie.  Today I had this:

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Bacon Avocado Egg Scramble

1 slice of bacon
1/4 avocado, dice
2 eggs

Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy.  Remove bacon from pan (once cooled, chop) and wipe off some of the bacon fat with a paper towel.  I think a lot of people would have kept the bacon fat but it just looked like too much to me.  In a bowl, beat 2 eggs.  Add eggs to pan with remaining bacon fat, add bacon and scramble.  Just before the eggs are done, add avocado and mix around.  Serve with coffee for a super breakfast or a great dinner.

This one is pretty easy to scale up.  You can add salt and pepper too.  I didn’t, but I won’t stop you from doing so.

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This was pretty tasty.  It was a great manly breakfast after my manly feeling crossfit workout (clean & jerk, 15-12-9!).   I won’t lie my black coffee was a little less enjoyable without my paleo pancake.

For lunch, I packed a mighty salad of lettuce, spinach, mini bell peppers, pickles, and avocado, along with a chicken breast.

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Again, I was full for a long time.  I’m glad the hunger levels are going down.   That makes it all a little more manageable.

Unfortunately, I am still pretty much always up for a cookie.

I’m starting to think that won’t ever change…

The EBA: Egg Bacon Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

I love breakfast.  It’s seriously the best meal out there.  If I could have brunch out every day, I’d be totally happy.  But sometimes you need to save money and calories.  Tomorrow, I’m having Sunday Brunch out with friends.   So making something special at home that hits the spot was the right way to go.

This says it all.

According to Facebook, you all love runny yolks as much as I do. So tomorrow morning… or really right now… save yourself a few bucks and make this delightful breakfast creation.

EBA: Egg Bacon Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

1 slice of bacon
1 egg
1/4 avocado, sliced
2 pieces of bread

Fry the bacon in a small skillet over medium flame until desired level of crispiness.  In the meantime, toast your bread and slice your avocado.  Remove bacon from pan and place on a paper towel, once cooled, break in half so you have two pieces.

Wipe off some of the bacon grease from the skillet.  Turn flame on med/low and crack egg into pan.  Once the white part has set enough for you to flip it, flip the egg and cook an additional minute (or more if you’re blasphemous and don’t like runny yolks).  Transfer egg onto 1 slice of bread.  On the other side, lay slices of avocado then bacon.

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Put together and enjoy!

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I swear the runny yolk is what makes this so amazing.  Or maybe it’s the bacon.  Or the avocado…

You’d think that based on the number of desserts I made I would be all about sweet breakfast items, but no.  I generally prefer savory breakfast foods.

What about you?  Do you prefer savory or sweet breakfast?  What’s your favorite breakfast/brunch menu item?

Avocado Pie

My boyfriend told me that the first time he heard about me (right before we met over 2 years ago on a random trip to Las Vegas) he thought I was going to be a rich snob.  Makes sense.  I went to Cornell at the time and when I first meet people I tend to be quiet.  I guess that translated to rich-bitch-face for me.  But luckily, we moved past that.

2 years later, he’s coming to find that I’m quite the opposite.  I might be the cheapest person I’ve ever met (after my mother that is… I had to get it somewhere right?).  Yesterday, I had us walk to Costco before going to the movie theater so we could buy the cheaper tickets there.  $8 savings!  I say yes.

My frugality translated to food as well.  For a long time, I would NEVER buy avocados.  $1+ for an avocado seemed outrageous.  But now, I’m growing up.  And guys… I buy avocados.  In fact, I just bought 2 right before writing this post.  Is my cheapness fizzing away?

I don’t think so (the avocados I just bought were on sale), but if you’re cheap like me but want to use your avocados to your full potential, here’s how:

In pie form.

Yes, it’s sweet.  Not savory, and truth be told, I don’t really taste the avocado in it.  What I do taste (and trust me I tasted this one a lot, I ate it for breakfast 3 days last week…) is delicious creamy-ness.

Avocado Pie

from Blue Ribbon Pies (mostly)

1 stick of butter, melted
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 large avocado (or 1 1/2 small, which is what I used), lightly mashed
1/4 cup lime juice
2 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1 can (15 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

Prepare crust by mixing together melted butter, graham cracker crumbs and 1/4 powdered sugar.  Press into a 9” pie pan.  Put in the freezer until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 325.

Our lime juice over avocado slices and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until thick (few minutes took me about 5?).  Add avocado and lime juice and beat, add vanilla and continue to beat.  Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until well combined.  Pour mixture into prepared graham cracker crust.  Bake 20 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.  Meanwhile, mix together sour cream, vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar.  Once the pie is completely cool, spread sour cream mixture over the pie.  Chill for a few hours (I chilled it over night) then serve!

Ok so cheapness aside, I can’t take credit for this recipe.  I owe it to my lovely friend, Rhoda.  She shares my affinity for pies and cost-effectiveness, which I greatly appreciate.

But take my word for it, make this pie no one will think you’re a cheap-o.  They’ll think your awesome for 1. giving them pie, 2. making an amazing pie that looks crazy but tastes great!