Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Creamy Guacamole {Avocados - Good Fats}

If you haven't already fallen in love with the avocado I would like to introduce you to the versatility of this wonderful fruit. The health benefits are out of this world and they can be easily incorporated into so many things! I wasn't a fan until about a decade ago when a good friend of mine in California invited us over to her parent's home for dinner. They are originally from Ecuador and I remember enjoying an Ecuadorian chicken and rice dish with a side of avocado slices. That's right, they weren't integrated into anything...just sliced on the side of the plate with a little salt sprinkled on top. Delicious! I was hooked and have been ever since!



Well, then Kirk and I dove into the amazing world of Sushi and became all the more fans of the avocado. However, we still didn't eat in on a regular basis. If I had any in the house, chances are they would just go bad before we used them so I didn't tend to keep many on hand. Boy, how things have changed in a few short years! Very rarely will an avocado not get used in our house now...there are so many ways we incorporate it into our meals. If you haven't had a chance to check out Kirk's sushi video I encourage you to! If you already love sushi, learning how to make it yourself will save you a great deal of money and it's fun!

If you've been following this blog you already know how much we use avocados in practically everything now! Of course there are the "normal" uses...topping burgers and wraps, mixing it in with salsa, and of course using it to replace butter in many of my sweet recipes (see below for reminder links). I can't say enough good about this "Super Food" and I hope that I can convince you to give it a try. For this post I am going to share a simple Guacamole recipe that is sure to please. This is a very basic recipe that you can spice up any way you choose. I'm not including my usual video with this post for several reasons...First, I've had several subscribers ask me for more detail in writing/visuals in my blog post due to not being able to view the videos. Secondly, this recipe is pretty simple and therefore can be easily explained with text and pictures. And lastly, we've just been too darn busy to film and edit a video! :-) So, read on for the ingredients and step-by-step visuals to complete this easy complement to your summer meals.

Creamy Guacamole



Ingredients:
2 ripe Avocados
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/8 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Green Onion, Chopped
1/2 cup Tomato or Red Bell Pepper, Chopped


You can adjust the ingredient amounts to taste, but these measurements are a good place to start.


First step is to cut open the avocados and remove the pits. Then slice around the edges to remove the flesh.


Slice the avocado into chunks and place in a bowl. You're going to mash them up a bit more, but you don't want them to get too mushy in the beginning.


Place the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and start to mix them together with a spoon or fork.




Continue incorporating the ingredients carefully.



Once you are satisfied with the consistency, spoon the mixture into a small container, cover and refrigerate for a couple hours. It isn't entirely necessary to refrigerate it if you are pressed for time, however, this allows the flavors to integrate together and it tastes much better if you don't skip this step.

Be creative...if you like a little more of a bite, use diced red onions instead of green or add some jalepeño peppers as well. So many possibilities! For our supper tonight I made BLT's using "bread" made using my Oat Crepe recipe but instead of 2 cups of oat flour I used 1 cup of Oat flour, 1/2 cup of Red Lentil Flour like I used in my Lentil Pancake Bread along with 1/2 cup of Coconut Flour. Because coconut flour is so absorbent, I used close to 4 cups of water then made pancakes. I then built my sandwiches and  and added a little of the refrigerated guacamole on top and it was a nice little addition!

BLT's with guacamole on top and corn chips on the side.
Avocados have amazing health benefits AND they are delicious! Win-win! Here's a short list of the reasons we use them in our family's meals, but feel free to visit Hass Avocado for more information and loads of recipes to spice up your everyday meal planning! They also have a Pinterest Board on which I personally pin, that has beautiful avocado creations to get the gears turning.


1. Avocados are loaded with GOOD FATS! The monounsaturated fats that I have mentioned in the past that aid in weight-loss and contribute to a healthy heart. They are also cholesterol and sodium-free which is good for the heart and our blood pressure.

2. Avocados are low in calories and yet filling. I was recently involved in the Fast Metabolism Diet and one of the best things I took away from it was to stop counting calories! It is very freeing that way, but of course to get to that point we need to be eating good-for-you foods. Not counting the calories of a 1,000 calorie doughnut is a recipe for disaster, but when we are eating good foods like avocados we are getting the nutrients which aid in weight-loss and calorie burning guilt-free! Avocados are one of the good fats that you are encouraged to eat in Phase 3 of the Fast Metabolism Diet...click here for several FMD-approved recipes!

3. Avocados are nutrient-dense which means they provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients with relatively few calories. One-fifth of a medium avocado (1 oz.) has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. Just one cup of pureed avocado has:
368 Calories, 4.6 g of Protein, 19.62 g of Carbohydrate, 1166 mg of Potassium, 23.0 mg of Vitamin C, 175 mg Beta-sitosterol and 0 mg Cholesterol! (Nutrition information from www.AvocadoCentral.com)

Poached Eggs on Lentil Pancake Bread
with Avocado & Salsa
So, what are you waiting for?? Go out and get some avocados and start getting creative! Now, if you are an avocado newby you may wonder, "How do I choose a ripe avocado?" My tried and true methods are as
follows:

1. Sight - is the skin bright green, dark green, black? Depending on when you plan to use them, you will most likely want to choose one that is darker green in color, but not going black.

2. Touch - is it hard, squishy, does it feel like there is space between the skin and the flesh? You want to pick an avocado that isn't rock hard. It should have some give to it, but not be overly soft.

3. The stem - take your thumb and flick the stump at the top of the avocado. If it flicks off fairly easily then you should be good to go!

If your only choices are bright green and hard avocados, don't despair. Avocados will ripen up fairly quickly if you bring them home and place them in a brown paper bag on your counter. I've seen them ripen to my liking within one day of doing this.

And remember, I have shared several recipes in which I substitute avocado for butter! I have had amazing success with this and highly recommend you give it a try. My general rule is to use 1/2 an avocado for every 1/4 cup of butter that is called for in a recipe. So be sure to try my revised Chocolate Chip Cookies and see below for a reminder for the tried & true Chewy Granola Bars. They are sure to please the family and the kids will never know they are getting the nutritional benefits of the avocado in their treats!






Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars


would love to hear how you and your families use avocados. Post in the comments below some of your variations and please continue to share this blog with your friends and family. I will continue to try to share recipes that make it easy to eat in a healthy and delicious way especially for those who must follow a specific eating plan. Thanks for your continued support!

Treat yourself well!







Do you like avocados? Have you tried them or have an aversion?
Avocados were one of those foods that I avoided for no real reason, but once I tried them there was no turning back!

What are some of your tried and true recipes?
I would love to hear some of your creations as well! The avocado is so versatile!

Do you find it hard to wrap your mind around the concept of "good fats?"
I still have trouble with this concept, but am getting to the point where I don't count calories at all because I know if I'm putting something good in my body, my body can process it well and will benefit.