Avocado and Tomato Dressing

Years ago I disliked avocados as much as I disliked salad and vegetables. Funny how things change as the years go by. Now, if I don’t eat some type of vegetable with each meal it feels like something is missing. As for the salad, what was once evil diet food is now something I love. I love it even more when a salad is topped with this avocado and tomato dressing.

Avocado and Tomato Dressing

Avocado Tomato Dressing

Avocado and Tomato Dressing
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
This avocado and tomato dressing is perfect for any type of Mexican food….use it in place of Guacamole. It’s also great on salads and even sandwiches. The great part is I can make it any time without a lot of hassle because it uses mashed avocados that are stored in my freezer.
Ingredients
  • 2 avocados, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 medium to large tomato
  • ½ of a small onion cut into chunks
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ⅓ to ½ of a 16 ounce container of sour cream
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 or more teaspoon of hot sauce
Instructions
  1. If your using mashed avocados from your freezer simply place your thawed avocados in a large bowl. If your using fresh avocados cut them in half, remove the avocado and mash them in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the stem off of the tomato and cut into quarters. Remove the seeds from the tomato. Place the tomato and onion in a food processor and process until pureed. You can leave some smaller chunks in it if you desire. Remove from the food processor and add to the bowl of mashed avocado.
  3. Add in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Start by adding ¼ of a 16 ounce container of sour cream. Mix it in well. You want the avocado/tomato mixture to be thin enough to spoon or pour. If it is still thick a bit more sour cream. Most of the time the pureed tomatoes are enough to make the dressing pourable so additional sour cream isn’t needed.
  4. Add in a teaspoon or more of hot sauce. Adjust the amount to suit your own tastes. I usually end up adding about 3 teaspoons and no one complains that it’s too spicy.
  5. Mix all the ingredients well and your dressing is ready.
  6. Store any extras in the refrigerator for 3 days up to a week. Please note that you may find the dressing darkens a bit over time. This is just the avocados reacting to the air so having a well covered container will help prevent this.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 10 Calories: 87 Fat: 7.8 Carbohydrates: 4.4 Fiber: 2.6 Protein: 1.2

I’ll be posting soon about how to prepare and freeze avocados so you can make this dressing in a few minutes notice.

Vegetable Hash

It seems the price of vegetables is going through the roof these days. One way to save money is to stop throwing out food. When small amounts of vegetables are leftover from different meals one way to use them up is to freeze them for use in a future batch of vegetable soup. If I find I have a larger amount of one type of vegetable making a family sized frittata. If there are only small amounts of vegetables left, especially if there are some potatoes, I make hash out of them.

I recently found myself with some left over brussel sprouts that needed to be used up. Searching through the refrigerator I found some sauteed onions and red peppers that had been made to go with sausages a few days ago. Another container had a vegetable mix that included more red peppers, green beans, mushrooms and red potatoes.

veggie hash

The brussel sprouts were cut in half and then finely sliced. Since I’ve been traumatized from numerous childhood incidents that feature brussel sprouts that had been boiled until they were mush I always sautee them. Into the skillet they went with a small amount of olive oil. Cooking them like this allows them to soften yet remain a bit crisp. Not the soggy mush that I was served as a kid. Blech! No wonder I thought I hated brussel sprouts. After several minutes add the other vegetables along with some garlic and continue to cook until the vegetables have been heated through. The veggies were served with a fried egg and a bit more of this incredible black bean hummus.

egg and veggie hash

There was enough hash to feed two of us for breakfast. It not only tasted great but saved perfectly good vegetables from sitting around until they got thrown out.

How do you end up using leftover vegetables? Do you like to use them in a special recipe? Why not leave a comment below and share with everyone what you do to keep from throwing out leftover vegetables.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I’ve seen numerous recipes posted all over the internet that call for pureed beans in place of butter or oil in a recipe. Since I’ve already done multiple experiments using beans as a fat replacer I figured I would give it a try by combining two different recipes for chocolate chip cookie bars. One recipe was for a low carb bar using an almond/coconut based baking mix. The other recipe used pureed beans in place of the butter in the recipe. I’ve made this several times now and will most likely tinker around with it a bit more.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Less sugar, less fat and fewer carbs plus it tastes great. What more can you ask for in a cookie bar recipe. This recipe makes a 9 X 13 inch pan full. Use one can of beans and split the remaining ingredients in half to make a 9 X 9 inch pan.
Ingredients
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
  • 1 cup quick cook oats, finely ground
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 3 tablespoon of softened butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Spray a 13 X 9 inch pan with cooking spray.
  3. Drain liquid from the beans and rinse well.
  4. Place the oats into the food processor and pulse until they become finely ground. Remove and set aside until later.
  5. Place the beans in the food processor and pulse until they become coarsely ground.
  6. Add all the other ingredients (ground oats included) except for chocolate chips to the food processor. Pulse until ingredients are well combined. Then process until mixture is smooth.
  7. Transfer the batter to a bowl and add the chocolate chips. Mix in well.
  8. Spoon the batter into the pan and spread. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the edges are just starting to brown.
  9. Let the bars cool and then cut into 24 bars.

Process the beans so they are as smooth as possible. Then add the other ingredients. When your done it will look something like this:

Chocolate chip cookie bars1

The finished bars look very similar to their made with flour, full fat counterparts.

Chocolate chip cookie bars2

Even the texture is very similar. Here’s the inside of the bars.

Chocolate chip cookie bars3

 

The kids have eaten multiple batches and even given them to their friends. No one suspects a thing! Shhhhh……

Product Review: Black Bean Hummus by Eat Well Enjoy Life

Eat Well Enjoy Life’s product moto is “You will never look at hummus the same way again” and they certainly are right. I happened upon their sweet and spicy black bean hummus at my local BJ’s wholesale club. I usually pick up a container of red pepper hummus made with the traditional chickpeas and tahini combination. I happened to spy the black bean hummus in the display and thought I’d give it a try. This stuff wasn’t just good. It was incredible!

Replacing chickpeans with black beans this hummus still contains many of the usual ingredients such as tahini, oil and spices. From there it takes a little adventure through flavor town with the addition of pineapple, honey, lime juice, pecans and chipotle chilies. The pineapple and honey add a touch of sweetness that is well balanced out with the spice from the chipotles. Don’t get me started on the spicy roasted corn relish that use as a garnish on top of the hummus. I’d show you a picture of the relish but, as you might be able to see from the picture below, we have already eaten half of the container. It was purchased two days ago which shows that this stuff is good.

black bean hummus

So how does this hummus stack up to the usual chickpea based stuff? My usual red pepper hummus is showing 70 calories for a 2 tablespoon serving. Fat 5 grams, carbs 4 grams, no sugar, fiber 2 grams and protein 2 grams.

The black bean hummus? Only 40 calories for the same 2 tablespoon sized serving. Fat 1.5 grams, carbs 6 grams (1 gram of that is sugar), fiber 2 grams and protein 2 grams.

The black bean hummus has a bit less fat so there are fewer calories while the addition of the pineapple and honey raised the carbs slightly. I’ve eaten the hummus multiple times over the past two days. I added about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup to my salad and used it in place of dressing. Each hummus topped bite was nice and moist and went down without any issues. I will have to admit that I’ve joined my husband in using some bite sized pretzels as dippers along with sliced peppers. I’ve eaten several spoonfuls as a snack and plan on using it as a spread for some breakfast burritos tomorrow.

The only down side to this hummus, if you can call it that, is that it’s soooo good that you may not want to stop eating it. For me that means watching my portion sizes and NOT eating a few spoonfuls here and there. This amounts to my usual bad habit of drive by snacking and eventual contributes to weight regain.

If you like hummus I would highly recommend this one. I only hope they have some of the other delicious sounding varieties available at the store so I can try them. Mmmm…..Yellow Lentil Hummus with sunflower seeds and apricots, Tuscan White Bean hummus with roasted garlic tapenade or the Spicy Red Lentil Chipotle hummus with poblano peppers and corn topping. Mmmmmm…. 

Love hummus? Got a favorite brand? Have you tried any of the other Eat Well Enjoy Life varieties? If so let me know which ones were your favorites.

Eating Out After Bariatric Surgery

menu

I’m heading out today to have lunch with a friend I met while going to school. It’s been almost 9 years since I had weight loss surgery and don’t really think much about how to handle eating out. My friend picked the restuarant but then emailed me to make sure that I would be able to find something suitable to eat. She knows I’ve had a gastric bypass and have issues with reactive hypoglycemia. I was amazed that she even thought of this since most people, including family, never do. They simply figure you will eat whatever is available but just in smaller amounts. I’ve attempted this mutltiple times in the past with varying degrees of success. Sometimes it works and sometimes it leads to the mother of all dumping episodes. Even worse are the times where some food ends up causing serious stomach issues that result in sitting at the table for the whole meal while deciding if your are or aren’t going to throw up. Not a fun time.

Here’s a few tips that I have found really helpful when eating out after bariatric surgery.

* If there is a particular type of food you find you can’t eat speak up when it comes to restaurant choices. Chinese food is a killer for me so I opt out of those types of restaurants. Italian, with it’s mostly pasta filled dishes, is another tough one. Buffets and all you can eat places aren’t worth it if your only eating half of a plate of food. If you know it’s going to be hard to find something to eat try to pick a different place to eat.

* Check out the menu online before going. It’s really helpful to be able to decide on what to get before even arriving. You can see the items that will work for you and avoid those that sound good at that moment but will probably cause some type of problem.

* When I first had surgery people on the various WLS forums talked about getting a card/note from your surgeon stating you had surgery, can’t eat a whole lot and that you should be allowed to order from the children’s menu. The idea was you would get a smaller portion for a lower price. Don’t do it. The children’s menu is filled with stuff that even kids shouldn’t be eating. Mac ‘n cheese, pizza, hot dogs, etc. It’s all basically high carb, high fat junk food. Pass on the kid’s menu and look to see what else is available. I also don’t really feel like sharing with the waiter/waitress that I’ve been surgically altered and can only eat half a meal. I head straight to the main menu to order.

* The servers will always ask if you want to order an appetizer. I pass on those by simply saying no. Sometimes I toss in more information such as “I can never finish my meal if I get an appetizer” if they keep pressing the issue. The server’s job is to keep telling you about all the options so you will order more. The more you order the bigger the tip they get. Telling them your not interested in an appetizer is usually enough. Again, it’s no one’s business but my own and I feel no need to tell them I’ve had surgery and can’t eat a bunch of food.

* Skip the bread, tortillas with salsa, popcorn or any other free nibbles that the restaurant might give you before the meal comes. Most of these items are high in carbs and are usually the culprits in many dumping episodes. They are also the items that many of us return to grazing on over time and contribute to regain. Avoid them when possible.

* To drink or not to drink (I’m talking water, tea, soda, etc not just alcohol)? This one is a loaded question. Most people have been told to not drink 30 minutes or so before or after meals. Not to drink soda. Not to use a straw. We’ve been told all kinds of things. Personally I need a little something to drink during meals. I’ve discovered that I like to at least have some water available in case something should go down wrong and it feels like it’s stuck. Whether you do or don’t get a drink should be based on what works for you. Remember to avoid sugary drinks including alcoholic ones such as margaritas. These fruit based drinks usually have lots of added sugar. Also avoid sipping throughout the meal if possible. This will only create a slurry which quickly moves through the stomach which will keep you from feeling full. In the end I think having a drink available during a meal becomes something each person has to discover what works best for them.

* When ordering look for meals that include protein and vegetables other than some form of potatoes. If your meal comes with fries, rice or potatoes, and your looking to avoid them, ask your server if you can swap them for additional vegetables or even a small salad. Most of the time this isn’t a problem.

* I love eating out. I usually get at least two meals or more from the one I bought. When the server stops back to see how we are doing, and usually asks if everything is ok because I’m not eating much, I find this is a perfect time to ask for a container to package up my meal. I find that the server’s will usually ask again if the meal is good when they see I haven’t eaten much. You can easily reassure them that things are fine by simply saying “I guess I wasn’t as hungry as I thought” which is actually the truth.

* No matter what you end up buying remember to eat slowly, take small bites, chew your food well and put down your fork before that too full feeling kicks in. For many, once that point is reached, it’s already too late. Nothing ruins a meal quicker than feeling so full that your sick for hours afterwards.

I’m sure there are many other tips that people have to make eating out at a restaurant after WLS much easier. Please share some of the things that you find helpful in the comment section.

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