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!

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Strawberry Basil Gin & Tonic and The Weekend

After a long week, sometimes you need a drink.  This week was pretty rough.  On Thursday, I pulled a muscle in my lower back while working out.  Someone suggested I have a drink to relax the muscles.  Worth a try.

gin

I’m not a big drinker, but I love a good gin and tonic.  And you know me, I love to spice things up.  So I decided to give give it a few little tweeks and this is what I came up with:

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Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic

2 oz gin
2 strawberries, sliced1-2 basil leaves, chopped
4-6 oz tonic water
twist of lime

Muddle together the strawberries and basil.  Add the gin and mix together.  Pour over ice.  Squeeze in some lime juice, top with tonic water and serve.

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Serving it in a mason jar is totally ok.  This is about relaxing.  Mason jars are laid back.  They’re also for hipsters or people who are too cheap to buy real glasses.  Glasses are also allowed.  They’re fancier.

Either way, get your sip on.

So that was Friday.

Saturday, I met up with Allie from Sweet Potato Bites.  We realized we live like 2 miles away from each other and thought we should probably meet up for a doughnut.

allie

Because that’s what foodies do.  So we headed to Sidecar Doughnuts and I had a tasty yeast doughnut with chocolate and salt.

Sooo good.  Allie was awesome!  I’m excited to have made friends with a cool blogger.  After our 2 hour chat session, I headed to a thrift shop where I bought exciting things for my upcoming Chicken and Waffle party.

You heard that right.  Chicken and Waffles party.  It’s going to be epic.  I’ll tell you more about it when it rolls around.

Sunday, was also awesome.  Well that’s today.  Jesse and I are celebrating our 1.5 versary, because we’re cool like that.    So we had brunch at Public Kitchen in The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.

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I bought a Travel Zoo deal for brunch for two.  While it was nice scenery, and the bathrooms were awesome…

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Brunch was meh.  It ended up costing $55 for a glorified continental breakfast.  It probably doesn’t help that I don’t really like buffets.  I’d much rather just get a plate of food.  Jesse and I both don’t eat enough to feel like buffets are worth it.  Nothing was omg-amazing-must-have.  But oh well.  It was still a nice time.

After brunch, we headed back to OC.  Jesse needed to work and I did arts and crafts…

artsandcrafts

Now we’re enjoying cucumber-basil water and trying to figure out what to have for dinner (or am, while Jesse works).

Overall, it’s been a great weekend.  Can’t complain, not even about the fact that my back hurts.  Maybe I need another drink? What do you think?

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Brie Tomato Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwich and My Top 5 Tips for the Perfect Grilled Cheese

So remember when I finished the Paleo Challenge, I learned I needed to eat actual meals instead of snacks for dinner?

Well I’m trying to get better at that.  I’ve been trying to incorporate more salads into my dinners, like the Roasted Beet Asparagus and Arugula salad in my last post.   But today and yesterday were long days.  I’ve been stressed and I’ve had a headache since I woke up today.

To remedy all that, I did two things:

1. Went to the Good Will

Thrift shops in Orange County aren’t as cheap in the song, nor are they as cheap as they were in Central NY.  But I still managed a few good finds.

thriftfinds

A tart pan for $2.50, a lovely oval shaped plate for $4.99 (over-priced in my opinion) and a cake plate for $2.50.  I also managed to find a rotating cake stand that will be great for frosting cakes.

2.  Grilled Cheese

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Let’s be more specific.  Brie Tomato Basil Grilled Cheese.

Now don’t get me wrong, traditional caprese with mozzarella is lovely, but seriously.  This sandwich is out of this world.

Last week someone asked me for tips on a good grilled cheese.  Obviously it’s all a questions of taste but here are…

My Top 5 Tips for Making the Perfect Grilled Cheese

1. Good Bread.  If your bread sucks, your grilled cheese will too.  Don’t you dare you sliced white bread.  Invest in some good bread.  I used Trader Joe’s Italian Bread.  Tasty enough.  Orange County is seriously lacking in good bread bakeries.

2. Make sure there’s cheese on both sides of the bread.  If you’re putting something other than just cheese, you need to make sure the cheese is on both sides.  The cheese is the binding agent.  If you don’t have it on both sides, it’ll all fall apart.

3.  Use Real Butter.  If you’re going to make a grilled cheese, now’s not the time to be healthy by avoiding butter.  No.  You’re choosing to make grilled cheese.  If you wanted a healthy meal, you’d make a salad.  Use butter.  It makes your bread golden, toasty and delicious.  Don’t skimp.

4. Mustard.  Unless you’re making a grilled cheese sandwich with some sort of jam, mustard almost always makes a grilled cheese taste better.  Cheese and mustard just go together.  I’m not talking about yellow mustard.  I’m talking tasty dijon-style mustard or the kind with the wonderful mustard seeds in it.  If you hate mustard, you can ignore this comment.  But if you like mustard, trust me.  Give it a try.

5. Low and slow.  Don’t turn the flame on high! Heat your pan to medium/low.  It might take a few minutes for it to get golden and for the cheese to melt, but that’s way better than a burnt piece of bread with hard cheese in the middle.  Be patient.  It’ll be tastier.

That’s pretty much there is to it.  Oh and if you use sliced Kraft American Cheese or Velveeta… You’re dead to me

Brie Tomato Basil Grilled Cheese

2 slices of amazingly tasty bread of your choice
a big pat of butter
1-2 oz brie, sliced (keep the rind! it’s tasty!)
3-4 tomato slices
1-2 basil leaves, chopped

Spread each slice of bread with butter on one side.  On the other side, layer cheese tomatoes and basil.  I try not to use too much cheese because brie is pretty strong, so I put half the cheese on one side and the bread and the other half on the opposite half of the other piece (does that make any sense?  See the pic below)

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Heat pan to medium/low heat.  Place sandwich, butter side down on pan.  Cook about 3 minutes per side or until golden all around and cheese in the center has melted.

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Serve with a bowl of soup and enjoy!  I had it with a bowl of Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup.  Tastiest soup from a box ever.  I promise!

Added bonus: This month is National Grilled Cheese Month.  I have no idea who decided that but I support, and so should you.  Eat Grilled Cheese Today!

P.S. Dunking is encouraged.

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