For July’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Becky of A Calculated Whisk. She also cooks gluten free (and paleo), so I was was spoiled in my options and with the eye candy of her beautiful photos!
Becky also loves putting avocados in smoothies, Salted chocolate hazelnut cookies, Mexican almond pulp brownies, Vietnamese caramelized pork meatballs vermicelli bowls and Pico de gallo de frutas.
I had a few avocadoes on my counter and some fresh basil that needed using up, so I ended up making her avocado cilantro pesto pasta salad.
I did modify the recipe as I had basil to use up, so I replaced the cilantro in my version. I added garlic because what pesto is complete without garlic? I used my single serve blender instead of a food processor as it’s much easier to clean. I think pestos are supposed to be chunkier, but I blended mine smooth. I used hemp hearts instead of the feta as I had it on hand and I try not to eat a lot of cheese.
I tried it both warm and cold and I prefer the cold version of it. It goes very well with barbecued meat, making this the perfect healthy summer side dish! Mr. Bean and I liked it so much we are definitely adding it into our repertoire!
Avocado Pesto Pasta Salad
1 clove of garlic
1 c. Fresh basil
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. Hemp hearts, divided
Juice of 1 lime
Green onions, sliced
1 lb. pasta (I used go go quinoa circle pasta, but feel free to use whatever kind of pasta you want.)
- Cook pasta to Al Dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a food processor or blender, blend together avocados, lime juice, olive oil, garlic and basil. Once smooth/to the desired degree of blendedness, add 1/4 c. of hemp hearts and blend.
- Pour pesto over pasta, adding green onions, peas and remainder of the hemp hearts.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
What’s your favourite summer pasta?
For the rest of Group D’s recipes, please click below!
Have you ever put an avocado in a smoothie before? If not, you’re missing out! Imagine pudding without the sugar, dairy or eggs that is actually good for you. Plus, smoothies are way better when you can eat them with a spoon. I’ve made variations of the above smoothies for breakfast for the last few weeks and they are too good not to share!
They are super simple to make (throw everything in a blender) and a great way to get eat healthy this Christmas while still feeling a little bit decadent! Feel free to adjust what you put in it or double the recipe to make two servings – it’s all about creative license!
“Green” Christmas Smoothie
1/2 frozen banana, cut into chunks
1/2 pear, cut into chunks
1 mandarin orange
1/2 large avocado
1 – 2 handfuls of spinach
Scoop of Protein Powder (optional)
Splash of orange juice
“Red” Christmas Smoothie
1/2 frozen banana, cut into chunks
1/2 pear, cut into chunks
10 – 20 fresh cranberries
1/2 large cooked beet (if you don’t have any, use any red fruit like cherries, raspberries, etc. but the colour won’t be as vivid)
2 pieces honey-candied ginger (or a slice of fresh ginger root and a small squeeze of honey)
Small handful of spinach
1 squirt of lemon juice
Splash of orange juice
- Place all ingredients except avocado in a single serve (or regular blender) and blend until smooth. Add avocado and blend until mixed. (If you have a high-powered blender, add everything at once).
- Pour into a glass and eat with a spoon.
I hope you have a blessed and merry Christmas! All the best to you and your family for 2015!
For November’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Avril of Baking and Creating with Avril. Avril is a pro-star baker, with tons of delicious recipes like this Hummingbird Bundt Cake, these Apple Crumble Muffins, and even a cake with Cauliflower in it!
With the help of Mr. Bean, I ended up choosing to make her zucchini cornbread as we didn’t want something that was sugar-tastic and it was definitely delicious!
As expected, I did make a few changes: I made it gluten free, dairy free by substituting almond milk for the buttermilk and olive oil & more almond milk for the melted and cooled butter. I also reduced the sugar to 1/4 c. and used salt to help dehydrate the zucchini instead of sugar.) Even with the modifications, it had an excellent texture, had a good amount of sweetness and was nice and moist.
Gluten, Dairy and Soy Free Zucchini Cornbread
1/3 c. each of brown rice, millet and sorghum flours (or 1 c. of any GF flour – if you can have gluten, use 1 1/2 c. flour and omit the xathan gum)
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp. xathan gum
3/4 c. cornmeal1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt + 1 tsp salt
1 medium zucchini
1/3 c. olive oil
2/3 c. almond milk (or other dairy free milk)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- Half an hour before you want to make your cornbread, grate the zucchini, sprinkle it with 1 tsp salt and place in a dish towl lined strainer or seive. After 1/2 hour (or more), squeeze out excess water from zucchini. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 5″ pan. (I used a 6″ cast iron skillet & 4 out of 6 large muffin tins.) If your pan(s) are metal, place in the oven while it’s preheating)
- In a measuring cup, mix together the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flours, xathan gum, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt and sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, milk mixture and eggs. Mix in the grated grated zucchini.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spatula until all the flour is incorporated. Add more almond milk if required.
- Remove the pan from the oven (careful, it’s hot!) and pour the batter into it.
- Return to the oven and bake for ~18 min (for muffins), ~30 – 35 min (for 6″ cast iron skillet) or ~50 minutes (for the loaf pan) or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking below!
This past summer, my family decided that we were going to attempt to climb Mount Temple, the highest peak in Banff National Park. Unfortunately, due to poor weather and many injuries, we didn’t get to try. I had made these bars as a celebratory snack to keep us going once we made it to the top, but we still enjoyed them nonetheless in the rain.
They are a variation of these energy bars I made four years ago for a backpacking trip with my mom. Very tasty, easy to make and Bean-family friendly!
Mount Temple Granola Bars
1/2 c. rolled GF oats
1/2 c. quick GF oats
1 1/2 c. chopped nuts (I used 1/2 c. each of almonds, pecans and hazelnuts)
1/2 c. (packed) chopped dried fruit (I used a combination of apple juice sweetened cranberries and cherries)
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. almond butter
- Grease an 8″ x 8″ plan with coconut oil. Set aside.
- Mix together oats, nuts and dried fruit in a bowl.
- In a medium sauce pan, mix the honey and coconut oil. Bring to a simmer and let boil, stirring occasionally for 1 – 2 minutes.
- Mix in almond butter until smooth.
- Stir in the dry ingredients until evenly coated.
- Scrape into greased pan and press evenly into pan.
- Chill for an hour or two in the fridge and cut into bars. Wrap bars in wax paper and store in a bag in the fridge.
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Sally of Bewitching Kitchen. Sally is Brazilian and a biochemist. She has a beautiful smile, an awesome kitchen, and mad cooking and baking skills! I feel like we have a connection as we both went grey early. :)
She has TONS of delicious looking recipes, like this Cauli-Couscous, this simple non-roasted “roasted” broccoli, this ultimate Apple Cake and this granola. She is also a champion bread maker and I am so impressed by all her Brazilian Food!
I ended up choosing her Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing – definitely a winner! I changed it up a bit – I used a blender for the dressing as I’m too lazy to chop things that small), added orange zest and added toasted almonds instead of seared scallops (shellfish = bad for me). I expected it to be fairly spicy, but it wasn’t – just really tasty!
Bewitching Kitchen’s Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (I used 1 orange plus the juice left in the membrane from the segmented orange)
Zest of 1 orange
1 small shallot
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 avocados, sliced
2 oranges, cut in segments
Mixed greens (I used power greens mix)
Toasted Almonds (Optional – I ran out of time and didn’t toast mine, but I definitely recommend it to take the flavour to the next level)
- Simmer orange juice in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 2 Tbsp. It should take a little over 5 minutes. Let cool.
- Roast jalapeño directly over a gas flame (I used my BBQ), turning occasionally, until charred on all sides. Let cool; remove stem, skin, and seeds.
- Place shallot, vinegar, reduced orange juice orange zest, olive and the jalapeño in a single serving blender container (i.e. magic bullet or similar) and blend until all chunks are gone; season with salt and pepper.
- Toss avocados, orange segments, salad greens, and vinaigrette in a bowl. Serve with toasted almonds if desired.
Sally, it was a joy to read through your blog! I love how your fun personality shines through in all of your posts and your wide array of recipes!
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes below: