Sunday Dinner: Chocolate Avocado Mousse

 

What???

Avocado and chocolate? Sounds dreadful!

However, as I found out, this combination makes a wonderfully rich dessert that is gluten free and cane sugar free and dairy free (unless you top it with whipped cream).

You’ll need a food processor or blender, an avocado (peeled and pitted), 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 Tbsp. raw organic agave nectar , pinch of sea salt (1/16 tsp), and 1/2 Tbsp. oil (I use coconut oil).

Adjust the ingredients according to the size of your avocado. In New Jersey, most of the avocados that we get are about the size of a pear or smaller.

Whip all of the ingredients together in the food processor until you don’t see any lumps of avocado and it looks like a thick pudding.

Taste it now.

If it’s too bitter, add a bit more agave or a touch of pure stevia powder (and make a note to use a bit less cocoa powder next time). If it’s not chocolatey enough add more cocoa powder and whip it a little longer.

I’m sure you could try substituting stevia powder (or liquid) for the agave, but you might need to adjust the oil or add a little bit of water to improve the consistency.

It keeps in the refrigerator for a few days, but the consistency is best right after it is made.

Now that you made it, here are a few ideas of how to enjoy it.

  • Eat it as it is, right out of the food processor.
  • Top with home made whipped cream sweetened with stevia.
  • Layer it with bananas and/or strawberries.
  • Top it with chopped peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.
  • Add some shaved chocolate or gluten free chocolate chips.
  • Use it as a dip for fruit.

Additional notes:

Substitute raw local honey for raw organic agave nectar for a more natural sweetner.

I prefer organic products when possible (organic coconut oil, organic avocados, etc.).

Let me know how you like this version of a chocolate mousse dessert in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Dinner… or Breakfast: Creamed Chipped Beef

Often referred to as “Sh** on a Shingle”, creamed chipped beef has been a favorite weekend breakfast in my family forever. My mom made it. I made it. And now my sons make it. It’s easy and can even be made gluten free (for us sensitive folks) with rice flour. Essentially a basic white sauce with meat, Creamed Chipped Beef can be served over toast, baked potatoes, home fries, noodles (rice noodles), or even waffles. Serve it for breakfast, like we do, or serve it for dinner with a side of vegetables.

The recipe below makes two very hearty servings. My instructions differ slightly from most. I choose to make it like my mother does. I saute the beef pieces in butter before adding the flour and milk.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. chipped dried beef, chopped
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 Tablespoons flour (rice flour works well)
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Melt the butter. Add the chopped dried beef. Saute until the ends of the beef curl.
  • Add flour and stir until absorbed into the butter. Stir in milk. Heat the mixture to a boil and then simmer until thickened.
  • Taste and season with salt and/or pepper
  • Spoon over toast or potatoes (baked potato, home fries, etc.)

If your creamed chipped beef becomes too thick, add a bit more milk. If it’s too thin, put 1 T. flour into a small bowl and whisk in 2 T. cold milk until smooth. Then stir it slowly into the hot mixture.

Leftover Creamed Chipped Beef  can be heated in the microwave.

Sunday Dinner: International Year of Quinoa

This morning, while I was doing some last minute research for this post, I found out that in February, the UN declared that 2013 is the International Year of Quinoa. Wow. I’m impressed.

Whenever I have mentioned quinoa (keen-wah) in my conversations with family or friends, I get mostly blank stares or grimaces. Many people have never heard of it, don’t know what it is, and… “You want me to eat that stuff? I don’t think so.”

Quinoa is a South American grain that can be cooked, added to soups, used as cereal, ground into  flour, or made into pasta.  It can also be fermented to make beer. Some people consider this ancient seed a superfood.

I found quinoa when I first learned that I was gluten sensitive. I started out using it as an alternative when I got tired of eating rice. Then I began experimenting with this fabulous gluten free food.

My favorite way to use quinoa is in this side dish recipe that can be turned into a main dish, that can be eaten hot or cold, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s healthy, too. I call it:

Rita’s Basic Mexican Quinoa

1/2 cup quinoa 
1 cup water (or use a broth for more flavor)
1 can black beans
1 cup salsa (more or less)
  1. Rinse the quinoa. Put it into a saucepan with the water. Bring it to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
  2. Stir the salsa into the quinoa.
  3. Drain the black beans and stir them into the mixture.
  4. Eat.

Simple enough, right?

Use it as a side dish for your next meal or…

Make it heartier by melting cheese on it.

Make it crunchier with chopped peppers and onions.

Make it spicier by adding chopped jalapeño peppers.

Make it dinner by adding chunk tuna, browned ground meat, shredded chicken or pork.

Or just eat it as is, cold for a snack or lunch.

Links:

Quinoa: http://www.fao.org/quinoa-2013/en/

The World’s Healthiest Foods: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice

Trader Joe’s Quinoa: http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article.asp?article_id=1093

NY Times: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/series/recipes_for_health/quinoa/

Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/quinoa/index.html

Sunday Dinner: “An apple a day…”

Fall apples are the best. Crisp, sweet, and juicy. Red, green, or yellow, I like them all.

Raw, apples are a great snack that can quickly go into your bag or pocket on the way out the door. Compost the core for sustainable living or, if you live in the woods like I do, fling it through the trees as a treat for the wild critters.

However, my favorite way to eat apples is as applesauce. I started making applesauce when my sons were toddlers. They would watch me peel, cut, core, chop the fruit, and dump it into a pot. They could barely wait the 20 minutes or so that it takes to get the right consistency. Yum!

I’ve perfected my applesauce recipe since then. I melt a small pat of butter, dump in four or five apples (peeled, cut, cored, and chopped, of course) add cinnamon and maybe a dash of nutmeg. I like to add goji berries for the added health benefits. And, to make it even better, this recipe is sugar free and gluten free, too!

Do you want to see how it’s done?

Cut apple

Cut apple in half.

Core the apple

Cut out the core.

Peeled apple

Peel the apple

Chopped apple

Chop it

Butter melting

Melt a pat of butter.

Adding apple pieces.

Add the apple pieces.

Adding cinnamon.

Add a bit of cinnamon. 1/2 tsp. or so.

Cover and simmer

Cover and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

Goji berries

These are Goji berries.

Adding berries

Add goji berries

Stirring

Simmer and stir.

Finished applesauce

Yum!

Note: If this applesauce is not quite sweet enough for you, add a bit of raw agave nectar or pure stevia. That keeps this treat low on the glycemic index.