|May 23, 2013||Filled under Freezer Tips||
I love using avocados in recipes such as dips and dressings. Since they are usually used mashed up I discovered that they can be prepped ahead of time and stored in the freezer until needed. Not only does this save me a bit of time but it’s a great way to save some money. Living in the northeast means that avocados are cheaper at different times of the year depending upon the location where they were grown. When they are not on sale a single avocado can cost as much as $2. During sales they drop to $1 each or even 2 for $1. That’s the best time to stock up. Here’s how I do it: Start by slicing each avocado in half then gently twist to pull apart. The seed in the middle can be scooped out with a teaspoon. Using a knife, carefully score the avocado and use a spoon to scoop the cut pieces out of the peel/skin. Place them in a large bowl (shown in the photo below).
I have 6 avocados all chunked up and ready for mashing in the bowl above. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every two avocados you are using. This will keep the mashed avocados from turning dark and brownish. The color change doesn’t affect the taste but they just don’t look as nice. Add the lemon juice to the bowl and mash the avocados:
If you have small plastic containers the mashed avocado can easily be divided between them and placed in the freezer. I don’t have containers that small so I use plastic bags. The easiest way to package the avocado up is to first roll down the zip lock top of the bag. This prevents bits of avocado from getting in the seam of the zip lock preventing it from closing correctly. Add in your avocado, gently push the extra air out and seal the bag. You can add any amount to each bag. I usually freeze about 2 avocados worth in each bag. So I got 3 bags out of the bowlful above.
The avocados are all ready to be tossed in your freezer. I usually stick several bags inside of a gallon sized freezer bag so they don’t get lost in the back of the freezer. Stick a piece of paper into the bag so you know what’s in there and the date you packaged it. Avocados keep well in the freezer for about 6 months. As time goes on their bright green color may dull a bit but they are still fine. To use a bag just remove it from the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator. Looking for a recipe that uses mashed avocados? How about my Avocado and Tomato Dressing? It’s basically a pourable version of Guacamole. We use it on tacos, fajitas, sandwiches and salads. It also makes a delicious vegetable dip too.
|May 21, 2013||Filled under Recipes: Dressings, Sauces and Marinades||
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mix all the ingredients well and your dressing is ready.
- 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.
I’ll be posting soon about how to prepare and freeze avocados so you can make this dressing in a few minutes notice.
|May 19, 2013||Filled under Misc, Recipes: Eggs, Recipes: Vegetables||
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.
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.
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.
|May 16, 2013||Filled under Nutritional Information, Product Reviews||
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.
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.