Meatless Monday- Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Meatless Monday is upon us once again. Things have been crazy hectic around here over the past couple weeks, so I’ll make this short, but very sweet.

The other evening, I was so excited when Tim came home from work bearing three beautiful avocados a client had given him from her tree. (Okay, so  maybe there are some perks to living in South Florida.) For me, the hardest part of having avocados in the house is mustering up the patience to wait for them to attain the perfect level of ripeness. When that day finally came, I decided to make myself a little treat.

This recipe comes from NeeNooBug’s Nest, and it’s quickly  become one of my favorite desserts. It’s super fast and easy to whip up, and it’s absolutely delicious. Give it a try!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Avocado Chocolate Mousse3

Short on time, but craving a decadent dessert? Avocado and raw cacao play superstar rolls in this rich and creamy chocolate mousse. It’s also raw vegan and gluten free.

Makes approximately 1 cup (Yield will vary depending on the size of your avocado.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 2-3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional add-ins:

  • shredded coconut
  • hemp seeds
  • chia seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • goji berries

To prepare:

  1. Add all ingredients to food processor or blender and mix until well combined.
  2. Chill before serving. (Or don’t. Either way, it’s delicious!)

Seriously, that’s it!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse2

Avocado Chocolate Mousse1

I topped my mousse with shredded coconut. Yum!

Dig in!

(Chocolate lovers rejoice!)

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Meatless Monday- Kale Slaw

I was introduced to the nutritional powerhouse that’s kale during my first MFA residency at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. It seemed that kale, or some variation of it, was featured at every dinner during my eight-day stay on campus – and, come to think of it, at every dinner over my next four residencies as well.

Ahhh, kale.

One of my favorite dishes from Goddard was a crisp and tangy kale slaw served alongside an equally delightful tempeh reuben. After scouring the Internet for the formula to recreate the mouthwatering green salad I noshed on in Vermont, I finally came across a recipe I was happy with on Almost Vegan Girl‘s blog (which I hope she won’t mind me sharing here.)

Here it is in all its glory:

Kale Slaw

Kale Slaw3

Move over, green cabbage: kale is the Super-Star here! Sweet and tangy merge with cool and crisp in this nutrient-dense vegan take traditional cole slaw. This is the absolute perfect summer salad- serve it as a starter, devour it as a snack, or make it a side dish at your next picnic. Any way you present it, it’s sure to be a hit! 

Makes a great big bowl!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 large bunch of kale, ribs removed and very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, grated
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

To prepare:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, orange juice, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine kale, onions, and carrots. Set aside.
  3. Peel and grate apple. Combine with 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice. (This will help prevent the apple from turning brown.)
  4. Add grated apple and lemon juice mixture to kale, onions, and carrots. Mix.
  5. Pour dressing over salad, and mix well.
  6. Refrigerate and let sit for a minimum of one hour: this will allow the kale to soften up a bit and the flavors to come together. (To maximize both flavor and texture, I like to prepare this salad a day in advance. Of course, it’s still delicious if you just can’t wait that long to eat it.)
Kale Slaw1

Time to mix it all up!

Pots and Pans1

These days, Miss P is continuously finding new ways to “help” Mama in the kitchen, which, of course, includes rummaging through the cabinets and tossing everything inside onto the floor because, you know, preparing a meal just doesn’t provide the same element of thrill when you aren’t sidestepping two travel mugs, four plastic containers, the lid to a copper-bottomed kettle, and a nine-month-old.

Pots and Pans2All obstacles and adventures aside, I’m grateful when the Universe aligns and allows me to spend an hour here or there in the kitchen preparing wholesome meals for my family.

Kale Slaw3

This salad is budget friendly, super healthy, easy to prepare, and absolutely delicious! It’s definitely become a staple in our house.

It’s

Super –

k a l e 

– ifragilisticexpialidocious!

um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay…

Kale Slaw4

Meatless Monday Liquid Lunch

There was a time when, to me, “liquid lunch” meant cocktails at noon with my exuberant Uncle. Although these were enjoyable afternoons, those days are long gone, and, since then, the term has taken on quite a different meaning.

Allow me to introduce you to my power-packed friend, The Smoothie.

Smoothies have earned a starring-role in my diet for several reasons: They’re quick and easy to prepare, clean up and consume, and they travel exceptionally well. Most importantly, they allow me to supply my body with more of the vital nutrients it requires than I’d otherwise be able to fit in at most meals – a task than can feel daunting.

Oh, and did I mention they’re also delicious? They really are.

Smoothies

Call me a health nerd, but this picture makes me smile!

When Miss P was a newborn (before we mastered the whole babywearing thing), smoothies were often the only “meal” I had a chance to prepare until Tim got home from work- usually late in the evening.

As a brand new and exhausted nursing Mama, it was important for me -and Miss P- that I maintained a healthy diet, so when the stash of frozen meals my mom had prepared to get me through my first week home dwindled, I was grateful to have some stellar smoothie recipes in my arsenal.

Here’s one of my all-time favorites. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Dairy-Free Simple Banana Walnut Smoothie:

This rich and creamy smoothie is reminiscent of a decadent banana bread, but you can sip sans guilt; bananas serve as a source of steady energy, walnuts add protein and are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and cinnamon has powerful anti-inflamitory properties. What a healthy – and delicious – way to start your day!

Banana Walnut Smoothie

Makes one [very] large serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe banana, frozen (Though you can use fresh, frozen makes a much creamier smoothie.)
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts, soaked (see note below)
  • 2 or 3 pitted medjool dates
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • Handful of ice cubes (optional)

Toss all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender, blend until smooth, and viola! You have yourself a light – yet surprisingly filling – nutrient dense meal or snack. (I like to sprinkle my finished-product with additional cinnamon because it looks snazzy, plus I just absolutely love the stuff.)

NOTE: Nuts contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, which make them difficult to digest. Soaking your raw walnuts in filtered water overnight (or for at least 8 hours) will deactivate these properties making it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients you’re supplying it with.

Meatless Monday Zucchini “Spaghetti” w/Creamy Avocado Pesto

Zucchini spaghetti3

Ripe avocado lends a perfect base for the robustness of fresh basil and garlic to fuse with the nuttiness of nutritional yeast and tahini. A little fresh lemon juice adds a zing to this savory modified pesto. Serve it a-top a bed of spiralized zucchini for a raw vegan and gluten free twist on the Italian classic.

This dish is surprisingly satisfying, plus it takes mere minutes to whip up. Sure to be a (cruelty-free) summertime hit!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium zucchinis
  • 2 ripe avocados (halved, and pitted)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • juice from 1 small lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Optional ingredients

  • grape tomatoes
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • fresh basil, torn
  • fresh parsley, chopped

To prepare

Wash and peel zucchinis. I use a spiralizer to transform my zucchini into spaghetti-like strands, but you can certainly julienne the zucchini by hand. Once your zucchini is spiralized, place it in a large bowl and set it aside while you prepare the sauce.

Zucchini Spaghetti1

My favorite part of preparing this meal!

Zucchini spaghetti2

This picture shows four medium zucchinis spiralized.

To make the Creamy Avocado Pesto, simply toss the flesh from both avocados and all remaining ingredients into your food processor or high speed blender (I use my Vitamix), and blend until smooth.

Next, empty the sauce into the bowl of zucchini, and mix until zucchini’s evenly coated. (I find that a wooden spoon does well with this job.)

Garnish with chopped or sun-dried tomatoes, fresh parsley or torn fresh basil (because, seriously, can you ever really have enough fresh basil? No. No you can’t).

Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

A garden salad drizzled with olive oil and apple cider vinegar makes a tasty compliment to this meal.

Zucchini Spaghetti w:Alfredo Pesto

Now that’s what I call un-cooking!

 [Wipes drool from keyboard]