Avocado Hummus and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

I guess these aren’t really sandwiches – they’re like half sandwiches.  Unless of course you eventually do what I did, and stick two half sandwiches together because they were just that good.  If you’ve been reading some of my most recent posts, you’ve probably noticed the avocado theme that’s going on.  Recent posts include Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies, Quinoa Burgers with Avocado Sauce, and who could forget that protein packed Avocado Chicken Salad.  What can I say?  They’re delicious.  And I’m determined to work them into as many dishes as I can.  For a while now, I’ve been playing around in my head with the idea of an avocado hummus.  I’m happy to say that that idea has finally become a reality.  And oh, what a delicious reality it was.  

Avocado Hummus, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

 

This recipe is soooooo easy.  It’s one of those “just throw everything in a blender and push start” recipes.  Sometimes those are my favorite.  As much as I love cooking and playing in the kitchen, let’s be honest–it takes a lot of time and energy.  And sometimes I am just too tired for anything complicated.  However, being un-complicated doesn’t have to mean boring, bland, or take-out.  I love easy, fast, and healthy recipes like this.  Perfect for busy days.  As delicious as this was on bread alone, I knew it would be awesome paired with cucumber.  The hummus itself is so fresh and light tasting.  It just screamed at me, “Top me with a cucumber!!!!!”  And when the food starts talking–you just have to listen.  (Disclaimer, I’m writing this post at 11pm after three sleepless nights, so forgive me if I sound somewhat crazier than usual.)

Avocado Hummus, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

As little tea-sandwich-like bites, I think that these are super perfect for taking to any sort of summer get-together.  Bridal showers, baby showers, family reunions, fancy tea parties thrown on the sweeping lawn of Downtown Abbey–these are all excellent venues for Avocado Hummus and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches.  (If you are preparing for a big, food centered get-together, you may also want to check out 5 Tips for Surviving Get-Togethers without Blowing your Diet.)  Here’s how you prepare these crunchy little delectables…

Ingredients: 

1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed with cold water to remove excess sodium
1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup lemon juice (I love lemon, so if you aren’t as much of a fan, maybe start with 2 or 3 Tbsp and work your way up)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A French baguette, sliced thin
1 or 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin into rounds, and then into half moons

Method: 

1.  Put avocado flesh, chickpeas, cottage cheese, lemon juice, garlic, and salt into a high speed blender or a food processor.  Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. 
2.  Taste and be happy.  Or, add more salt or lemon juice if you think it needs it. 
3. Spread some delicious hummus onto a slice of baguette.  Top with a cucumber half moon.  Grind on some fresh black pepper.  
4.  Once again, eat and be happy. 

Avocado Hummus, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

As mentioned, you can eat the little halves daintily, or if you’re more like me, then you can stack ’em up and make a sandwich. 

Avocado Hummus, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

 

Avocado Hummus, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

 

If you are really into dips and spreads, you may also want to check out other fun recipes including Pumpkin Hummus, Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips, Smoky Sesame Crushed Pea Dip, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, and Tomatillo Bruschetta.  

Also, if any of you lovely readers are vegan (like my new friend Celeste over at Honk if You’re Vegan 🙂 ), then you can try making this without the cottage cheese and adding olive oil a Tbsp at a time to get a good consistency.  If anyone does try that, please let me know how it turns out in the comments section! 

Okay friends, it’s been a long week.  I hope this post gets your weekend off to a good start.  Here, this should help…..

Luna,  (healthy)Vittles&Bits

 

Luna was very attentive during this whole hummus-making process…

Luna, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

And of course, she was ever so helpful by licking my fingers clean 😉  
Maybe that grosses some of you–but any dog lovers out there understand, I’m sure.  

Have a very happy (and healthy) weekend everyone!  

 

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Avocado Chicken Salad

Yes, it’s another avocado recipe.  I seriously just cannot get enough avocado these days.  (If you’re on that same wavelength with me, be sure to check out my recent posts on Healthy Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies and Quinoa Burgers with Creamy Avocado Sauce.)

I saw a post on pinterest featuring Paula Deen’s avocado chicken salad, but let’s face it–it was not very healthy (surprise, surprise…).  So I decided to try to do something similar yet with real nutritional value.  Here’s what I came up with:

Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad

Delicious, nutritious, fresh.

This was really ridiculously easy to make.  The only slightly time consuming part is boiling and dicing up the chicken.  If you’re not familiar with that, you can read/watch more about it here: How to Boil Chicken Breasts.

Here’s how you make the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 large avocado, diced
1/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp of minced, fresh Basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1.   Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2.  Enjoy as a spread on crackers, pita pockets, between two slices of whole grain bread, on top of a bed of lettuce–or heck just eat it plain!

Now, let’s take a minute and breakdown that ingredients list – 

Chicken: great source of lean protein (for the lowest fat option, use white meat such as breast meat)
Avocado: great source of monounsaturated (aka heart healthy) fat.  Avocados are good for your skin, for your eyes, even for your bowels (there’s between 11-17 grams of fiber in just one avocado!)
Plain, Non-Fat Greek Yogurt:  Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, and can even have beneficial bacteria that helps your digestive system (look for the LAC seal on the yogurt container, which stands for live and active cultures.)
Low Fat Cottage Cheese:  Cottage cheese is basically just a protein bomb – especially the low or non fat kind – it’s basically just protein.

So there you have it.  The main players in this recipe are packed with protein, healthy fat, and even some fiber.  That’s why, when combined with a complex carb such as whole wheat bread, this avocado chicken salad makes for a very healthy, complete meal.

Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad

I would love to hear your thoughts about this recipe, so leave me a comment!

Also, tell me the truth– Are you guys sick of avocado yet?  Cause I’m not.  But if you’re tired of avocado recipes I can mix it up.  Just leave me a comment letting me know if you want move avocado or less avocado.

Also, have a fantastic weekend!!!

 

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes.  You read that correctly.   These amazing cookies have a whole avocado in them.  While that may sound a bit unorthodox, don’t let it turn you off.  The cookies don’t taste like avocado, I promise you.  They taste like chocolate.   What’s so amazing about making a cookie with avocado, is that the avocado replaces butter as the source of fat.  Let’s compare the two for a minute, shall we?

A stick of butter has about 800 calories and over 90 grams of fat – and 58 of those 90 grams are saturated fat, which as I am sure you are all aware, is the fat that tends to clog arteries and lead to cardiovascular problems.  Not that I’m saying you should never eat saturated fat, but we should definitely try to limit the amount in our diets.  So say your usual cookie recipe uses 1 cup of butter (2 sticks).  That would put 1600 calories and 180 grams of fat into your batch of cookies.

Now….what if you used just one avocado?  One avocado has about 320 calories and between 25 to 30 grams of healthy (mostly monounsaturated) fat.  Quite the nutritional bargain compared to using a cup or even a half a cup of butter!

I should mention that I’m now using some decent software to edit my photos, so bear with me as I learn how to use it.  But, behold:

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies: healthyvittlesandbits blog

Decadent.

These cookies are actually very easy to make, and really pretty healthy (for a cookie).  I actually think this is the healthiest cookie I’ve ever made.  It has no butter, no oil, no eggs, very little sugar, and only whole wheat flour.  Also, next time I make these I am going to try using oat flour for a gluten free version.

Here’s the recipe (adapted slightly from here):

Ingredients:

1 medium sized avocado, very ripe
1/2 a cup of Sucanat (stands for sugar cane natural, but you could also use regular sugar if you didn’t have sucanat)
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup of dark chocolate chips (Ghirardelli is my favorite)

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Remove skin and seed from avocado and break into chunks into a large mixing bowl.  Use a whisk to completely mash up the avocado and then whisk it around until it’s as smooth as you can get it – use those muscles!  (Or, you could do it the easy way and blend it in a blender/food processor, but let’s be honest, in my mind that’s just one more thing I have to wash…).  After it’s very smooth, mix in the sucanat (or sugar) until that’s well mixed.
3.  Add in the vanilla, vinegar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and cinnamon and stir to combine.
4.  Add in the flour a bit at a time, mixing after each addition to get it all incorporated nicely.
5. Mix in those chocolate chips. (Side note, if you like your chocolate more evenly distributed, you can dice up the chips into slivers.)
6.  Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray, and scoop out the dough a tablespoon at a time and place on the cookie sheet.  After you have all your cookies on the sheets, I found the best thing to do was to spray my clean hands with non-stick spray and use my fingers to gently push down and shape the cookies, as they will not spread when baking.  They ended up looking like this before going into the oven:

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7.  Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes.  Let them cool for a few minutes, and then enjoy them!  This recipe makes about 24 cookies.

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They are (of course) the best straight out of the oven – no, seriously, I think I ate four of them that first night – but they stay pretty fresh for about a week in a closed container.   What I love about these cookies, is that since they’re made with healthy fat, and not very much sugar, I didn’t feel sick from all the sugar or bogged down after I ate them.  Compared to usual cookie recipes, these are waaaay healthier, especially for anyone who is trying to watch the amount of carbs/sugar that they eat (such as anyone with diabetes or PCOS) as well as for people who are trying to improve their lipid profile (anyone with heart disease).  The monounsaturated fat in avocados lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, making these cookies somewhat “heart healthy.”   Of course, “everything in moderation” is always the best motto.

IMG_1608

Also, these cookies are vegan (as long as you are using dark chocolate), and as I mentioned before, they can easily be made gluten free by just using a gluten free flour such as oat flour (which you can make yourself by just blending oats in a blender).  So far no one that’s tried these cookies has been able to tell AT ALL that there’s avocado in there, so even if you don’t like avocado, you will probably still love these cookies.  I mean, look at all that deliciousness…

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I would love to hear your thoughts on these cookies if you make them, so don’t be shy about posting comments.  And keep your eyes open for future posts involving avocados in unlikely recipes…. I’m kind of on an avocado kick right now  😉

Oh yeah, Luna says hello 🙂

Happy girl :-)

Happy girl 🙂