Simple Cilantro Guacamole

Happy hump day everyone! With my family being here this week I haven’t had much time to test out new recipes, but I made this for taco night a few nights ago and it was a big hit! My mom isn’t a huge fan of cilantro and even she enjoyed it! I definitely made too much, but it gave me the opportunity to have a little leftover which is always a plus!

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This recipe is super easy and can be made in the food processor or a high-quality blender. If you like chunkier guac, I’d recommended just mashing the ingredients yourself with a fork to get a more hearty and chunky texture. While I love avocado, it doesn’t keep for long in the refrigerator, so I’d recommend consuming within 24-48 hours!

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If you are an avocado lover like I am, good guacamole is a must for taco night! While everyone has their own preference for guac flavors, I like fresh and light with a lot of garlic! I use lemon juice for my guac recipe, but I know lime juice is also popular. Avocados are filled with heart healthy monounsaturated fat, so don’t let the high fat content scare you away! They are also high in B vitamins, Vitamin C and E, and other important nutrients such as folate and potassium. While I don’t believe in “super foods”, avocado is pretty high on my list of nutrient-dense food favorites!

I would love for you to give this recipe a try during your next taco night and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!

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Simple Cilantro Guacamole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 soft avocados
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil

Directions

In a food processor, pulse tomato and onion. Add avocados, seasonings (salt, pep, garlic, basil), and lemon juice. Pulse until you achieve your desired consistency. Add cilantro and either mix in or pulse a few times to incorporate. Decorate with a few leaves of cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving!


Not So Traditional Chicken Salad

This chicken salad isn’t your traditional “chicken salad.” It is a cross between chicken salad and a salad with chicken, but it is definitely delicious and flavorful! It was the perfect post-run lunch for me yesterday afternoon, so I just had to share this little creation! It is super easy and very quick to make. I had some leftover chicken already shredded from my Friday night quick dinner (whole roasted chicken from Whole Foods), which made prep a lot faster. Shredded chicken is always great to have on hand for easy dinner or lunch prep, for topping salads, or for simple snacking.

I made this chicken salad for 1, but you could always double or triple the recipe. I also used OPA Greek Yogurt Feta and Dill dressing in replace of traditional chicken salad condiments (mayo and mustard). This dressing is absolutely delicious and creamy but is made with a Greek yogurt base. Super easy, super satisfying, and very flavorful! I hope you try this fabulous little afternoon pick-me-up!

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 cups shredded chicken
  • 1/2 small apple of choice, diced
  • 1/4 of a red pepper, diced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8-10 raw almonds
  • 1/2 small avocado, diced
  • ~2 Tbsp OPA Greek Yogurt Feta and Dill dressing

Mix all ingredients together and serve immediately of refrigerate and serve w/in 24 hours. Enjoy!

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Perfectly Peachy Green Smoothie

I know I’ve stated many times that I tend to get on different breakfast “kicks”. This week, I’m back on the smoothie train!

When I make a smoothie, I try to use it as an opportunity to really pack a lot of good into a little serving. Why not get in a hefty does of fruits, veg, healthy fats, fiber, and lean protein all into one colorful cup?

Today, I made a green smoothie, and it was so delicious that I sucked it down faster than expected. I used avocado  to help thicken the smoothie and provide a dose of healthy fats. I typically add chia seeds to my smoothies as well for a little added fiber and as a thickening agent, but today I was moving a bit too fast and forgot! Use this smoothie as the perfect start to your day and let your body enjoy all of the nutrients that you have just provided!

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Perfectly Peachy Green Smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peaches
  • 1/4 lg avocado
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (optional)

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth and enjoy!

What are your favorite fruit and veggie combinations for smoothies?


Game Day Avo-Choco Cookies

Happy game day folks! Of course you already know which team I’m rooting for… right? Goooo buckeyes!!!! Oh and happy labor day as well! While it is nice to have the day off, I really have only 1 thing on my mind, and that is the first Ohio State game of the year! With jet-leg finally starting to take a backseat, I was able to go grocery shopping and move my focus towards the big game.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a football game without my fabulous skinny buffalo chicken dip as a game time snack (I think my husband would be extremely upset if it didn’t make the table). As usual though, I was a little more focused on dessert, because why not?

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My trip to Sprouts for produce enabled me to grab a few fresh avocados, big and ripe, just what I needed to do a little baking. I’ve been wanting to try an avo-cookie recipe for some time now, but with traveling and wedding festivities it wasn’t on the top of my priority list. Why not use game day as the perfect excuse to think up a new recipe, and a tasty one at that!

These cookies are gooey, flavorful, and hearty. Perfectly delicious and perfectly simple, these cookies are a great finish (or start) to any meal, especially on game day! They are egg-free, and the avocado serves as the primary fat source. I hope you try out my Avo-Choco Cookies! Enjoy 🙂

Avo-Choco Cookies: makes 10-12 medium sized cookies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3 tsp chia mixed + 3 tbsp water, let sit for 3-5 minutes
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ large avocado, ripe
  • 1 1/2 c oats
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (lets be honest… I probably used a tad more than 1/2 cup!)

Place all ingredients EXCEPT your oats and dark chocolate chips into a food processor or blender and pulse or blend until your avocado is completely smooth and any little green flecks are gone. Remove the mixture from the processor, and in a large bowl mix in your oats and chocolate chips by hand.

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Spray a little cooking spray onto a baking sheet, you may also use parchment paper if you like. Evenly distribute your cookies. I used a large spoonful, but your more then welcome to measure out equal portions if you like. I like them to look a little rustic! Bake your cookies for 11-13 minutes or until they turn slightly golden brown on top (Don’t over bake! They will finish cooking a little on the sheet.). Let your cookies sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy warm or save them for up to 3-4 days!

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Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad

Hello everyone! I’m just sitting enjoy a hot cup of peppermint tea (tea is kind of my new nightly thing) and sort of dreading writing this. Not because the recipe isn’t fabulous (really, I think it is one of my recent bests!), more just because I am so exhausted and tired that I think I could fall asleep in 5 seconds if given a fluffy blanket and comfy pillow. BUT, as I said, this recipe I think may be one of my best, or at least up there with the best, so I feel like I need to share it sooner than later. I’m not necessarily a pasta salad fan, but this pasta salad was so good that I have had it for lunch for the past 3 days in a row……. and am planning on finishing it out tomorrow 🙂

What makes this pasta salad so fabulous? Not only is it creamy, flavorful, and pungent, but its also light and refreshing for the summer. There are a lot of flavors going on, but they all seem to meld perfectly! From the salty olives and bold feta cheese to the creaminess of the avocado and hearty whole wheat pasta, this pasta salad has a little something for everyone. With temperatures reaching the 100’s this week (yes, I’m finally experiencing my first Arizona summer…. please wish me luck), a hot meal is number 1 on my current list of top 10 most unappealing things. Regular salads are great, but let’s face it…. can get a little boring after the 7th day in a row. I really hope you try this flavorful, veggie-filled pasta salad. Don’t be afraid to experiment or add your own twist, but I do promise it is quite perfect the way it is! Enjoy!

Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad

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Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 1 avocado, fairly soft
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/3-1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • garlic powder (I didn’t measure the seasonings, sorry! add to your best judgement)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika

Salad:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta, I used penne
  • 1 small container of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus, chopped
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olive without pits
  • black pepper

Add all dressing ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside while you prep your other ingredients. Cook your pasta until tender; at the last minute, throw in your chopped asparagus (make sure to chop off the woody, rough end, about 1-2 inches from the bottom). Allow your asparagus to cook for ~2 minutes in the boiling water, then drain both the pasta and asparagus. Set aside to cool.

Chop the rest of you ingredients, including the olives. I halved the olives, but feel free to chop as fine as you like or leave whole. Once pasta is no longer steaming, add the rest of your ingredients to a large bowl and pour in your dressing. Mix until all ingredients are fully coated. Finish with a little sprinkle of black pepper. Serve chilled or lukewarm. Pasta salad will stay good in the refrigerator for ~4-5 days; your avocado may just turn a little brown in color. Enjoy!