My relationship with avocados started out innocently enough. I enjoyed the creamy slices that were served alongside my street taco or floating on top of my bowl of tortilla soup. But slowly, over time, my love for the little green fruit grew into a full blown obsession. The beloved avocado has worked its way into my heart and now I just can't get enough of them.
Avocados are a staple in our house. I don't even bother adding them to my grocery list anymore - I just pick up 1 or 2 every time I go to the grocery. It seems pointless to question whether or not we NEED more. Of course we need more avocado and the thought of facing a day without an avocado in the house is just a little heart breaking.
I love freshly made guacamole and I adore avocado toast. I put sliced avocado on just about everything that I can - salads, soups, sandwiches, tacos, etc. They just make everything better. I've even put them in muffins and burgers. Oh, and if you happen to be my server at a restaurant - save yourself the trouble of asking - YES, I do want avocado with my meal. I know it costs extra - it's worth it. Bring me all the avocados in the kitchen, please.
If you're still teetering on the edge of admiring avocados and a full blown avocado obsession - do NOT make these avocado fries. The crispy panko crust over the warm, creamy avocado slice is absolutely ridiculous and will likely turn you into a super fan. These baked avocado fries are so good and I dare say that they're one of my very favorite ways to enjoy my favorite superfood.
Baked Avocado Fries
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup panko
I was first introduced to avocado fries at my favorite little Mexican restaurant. They serve perfectly browned, deep fried, panko crusted avocado slices as an appetizer alongside crispy tortilla rounds. They're just about the only deep fried fruit that I can see myself eating. I dare say that my baked (healthier) avocado fries are even better than the original deep fried version. You NEED these avocado fries in your life - trust me.
More plants - Less meat. Why is it so hard for me to keep this in mind when I'm menu planning? I've been trying to re-train my brain to eat more plants but my first instinct is still to choose a lean protein like chicken or fish and THEN plan the vegetables and side dishes to compliment the meat. It just seems completely unnatural to me to plan the vegetables FIRST and then come up with a lean protein side dish to accompany them. I really like vegetables, why is it so hard to make them a priority in my menu planning?
I'm trying to change my pattern of behavior by featuring a plant based - vegetable driven main dish on the blog today - stuffed portobello mushrooms. This nutrient rich meal is the perfect thing to get my mind off of meat proteins and onto more plant based vegetable forward meals.
I love these mushrooms so much and Ben and I really don't even miss the protein when I serve these for dinner. I haven't worked up the courage to serve these to my children yet because quite honestly, I'm not sure that my ego can take the scrutiny of their uncensored opinions. For now, I'll stick to serving these hearty mushrooms on nights when it's just the two of us.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
1/2 cup + 1 T. olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 portobello mushroom caps, gills removed
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
10 ounces spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
Bake 4 minutes at 475. Serve.
I have a hard time planning side dishes to go with these mushrooms though because I feel like they act as a main course and require no additional protein. They're also a great source of vegetables so I don't feel like I need to add any more veggies either. So what do I serve with main course mushrooms? Sometimes I serve fresh fruit and a healthy grain. Quinoa, wheat berries and farro are all good options for healthy side dishes for this delicious meal. Tonight - it was toasted pita bread and raw veggies. I'd love to know what you're serving with your vegetable, plant-based meals. Send me a comment.
The wait is over. I've decided to bring back my "Monday's with Mia" posts! I know this is big news - try and contain your excitement. If your Mondays have been melancholy and just haven't been the same since I stopped posting adorable dog pictures on my instagram feed - never fear. Your Monday morning is about to take a change for the better.
Our beloved Weimaraner turned 12 last October and I feel like it's only right that she would get to take the instagram spotlight once a week. If I were to describe my four legged family member in three words, they would be: mischievous, astute and phobic. She has a BIG personality that is all her own. She's hides when she hears rain or thunder. Anyone wearing a hat - terrifies her and she fiercely protects her yard and her family from anyone walking by our house. She also smiles, yes, smiles, when she sees her favorite people. (By the way, that doesn't include me.)
Mia is not a support animal. Quite the opposite really. We've come to the conclusion that we're going to have to register my husband as Mia's support person. And yes, we do have plans to get him a yellow vest to wear that identifies his role as a DSP. (dog support person.) You see, Mia can't actually function without him. In a nutshell, she HATES to be away from Ben for any length of time. To some extent, I guess I can understand her frustration. He's a pretty great guy to hang around and I've also been known to pout when he leaves but I DON'T resort to eating the drywall off the wall to express my heartache.
I prefer to drown my sorrows in squash and spinach lasagna. Throw in a side of warm Italian bread and you're looking at the perfect comfort food meal to overcome despondency over an absent husband or DSP. I love this lower carb version of a classic vegetable lasagna. Give these squash "noodles" a try before you pass judgment - you just might be surprised.
Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna
2 teaspoons oil
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
6 ounces baby spinach
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced provolone
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 butternut squash
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese
Remove foil and place under broiler for 4 minutes until browned. Let rest 20 minutes.
I realize that butternut squash lasagna is not your traditional Memorial Day fare but I decided to go ahead and post it anyway because it is just that good. And if your region of the world is experiencing unusually cold weather or record breaking heat like Atlanta, you might just be looking for an indoor cooking option anyway. Have a great weekend friends!
It took exactly one visit for Ben and I to fall in love with Richards Wine Bar. It is the cutest little restaurant with the most personable and interesting owner - you guessed it - Richard. The food and the wine offerings are more than I ever expected from this unassuming little piano bar. If you're a foodie like me, you are in for a real treat. And if you feel like your knowledge of wine is somewhat minimal (again, like me) you will leave educated and pretty much achieve sommelier status. 😂
Richard is a wine expert in my book. He knows his wine and the best food-wine pairings in his restaurant. I needed a LOT of help with my wine choice - but food choices - now that was easy. I excel at eating. There were a lot of great looking dinners on the menu but the one that called out to me immediately was the lemon dill salmon. The other thing that spoke to me - California carrot souffle. 🥕What??? I love carrots - I love souffle but I've never heard of a carrot souffle. I was just curious enough to give it a try.
Turns out - the carrot souffle at Richard's Wine Bar is AMAZING! I don't really know how to describe it but it's creamy and buttery and complex. I was so enamored by it that I gobbled up the entire dish of souffle before I stopped to analyze exactly what might have been in it. 😂 My goal has been to go back to Richards Wine Bar with the primary intent of ordering the carrot souffle so that I could dissect and figure out how to make it for myself at home. Well, that hasn't happened yet so I'm giving it my best attempt today.
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2" chunks
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" chunks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bake 25 minutes at 425.
What happens when you add potatoes, heavy cream and cheese to a batch of carrots? Rich, creamy, delicious carrot souffle happens. And it's fabulous. Now I need to ask Richard what wine he would recommend as a perfect pairing for my carrot souffle.
I'm kind of obsessed with these acai bowls. (Pronounced ah-sigh-ee.) I had my very first introduction to these amazing little breakfast treats at the Little Fish Coffee Company on the island of Kauai. To be perfectly honest, when we stumbled upon this delightful little food truck inspired trailer, we didn't really know what to order, so we optimistically ordered 2 of the most popular bowls listed on the hand written chalkboard menu.
I don't know what I was expecting but it certainly wasn't the cold, sweet, soft-serve consistency fruit mixture in the bottom of a giant bowl overflowing with fresh fruit.
It probably had something to due with the fact that we were sitting on the cutest little outdoor patio and breathing in the sweet Hawaiian air but I fell in love with acai from the very first bite.
Recreating these delicious acai bowls at home wasn't going to be easy. For starters, there's the undeniable flavor of fresh Hawaiian fruit that I just can't capture in Georgia. Then there was also the matter of trying to dissect the crunchy granola that was used as a barrier between the frozen acai and the fresh fruit.
I thought that the acia was going to be the easy part due to the fact that it's readily available in the freezer section of most grocery stores. The truth is - getting the acai the right consistency proved to be a challenge. I had trouble defrosting it to soft serve consistency without over melting it.
I am still working on perfecting my acai bowls but I've got to say - we've totally enjoyed the process. Finding new ways to top these little treats is has been a real treat.
1 packet frozen acai
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 Tablespoon milk or milk alternative
fresh fruit (berries, bananas, pineapple, kiwi)
This sweet little bird was perched on a branch just across from our table and kept us company while we enjoyed our breakfast bowls. I'm pretty sure he was patiently waiting for us to drop some of our granola on the table but none the less, we enjoyed his undivided attention.
Seven months after we first tasted the delicious acai bowls in Hawaii - my quest to recreate them continues. I honestly don't think that I've even come close the acai in Hawaii but I've enjoyed every single attempt - even the overly defrosted versions. If you've got some acai tips for me - feel free to send them along. I'd love to hear your suggestions.
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