Avocado Hummus and a Featured Soup!

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Avocados are so good and since I was making some more homemade hummus, I decided to experiment by making an Avocado Hummus. It came out pretty much like I thought it would–really smooth and creamy, with that great avocado flavor, but also the traditional flavor of hummus mixed in. It makes a great dip, served with pita bread, tortilla chips, or crackers– or spread it on some crusty bread and top it with tomatoes and some crumbled feta cheese for a light lunch! If you like trying different flavors of hummus, you’ll have to make this sometime!

AVOCADO HUMMUS by NancyC

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 to 2 fresh cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 avocados, peeled, seeded, and cut into small chunks
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Put all ingredients, except the salt, in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If mixture is too thick, blend in an additional Tablespoon or two of water. Stir in the salt, to taste, if desired, then spoon hummus into a small bowl and serve with pita bread, tortilla chips, or crackers.

I’ve also made Lemon Artichoke Hummus, Black Olive Hummus, Black Bean Hummus, Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus, Pumpkin Hummus, and a basic Hummus. I never seem to get tired of eating it!

I wanted to mention, too, that I have a healthy soup recipe featured in Raw Food Magazine, in their latest September/October issue!

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It’s a digital magazine filled with lots of healthy recipes and articles on fitness, nutrition, and living a healthy lifestyle. You can find out more about it at RawFoodMagazine.com.

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You can also find my recipe for Tomato Basil Avocado Soup on my blog right here. It’s an easy, delicious, raw food recipe. Do you use raw food recipes often?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

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7 Anti-Aging Foods

I saw an article at Sharecare.com about seven foods they refer to as “anti-aging powerhouses.” These foods may also help cut your risk of heart disease and cancer when incorporated into a healthy diet. So if you’re interested, here’s a condensed list of the seven foods–you can visit Sharecare.com for more details!

  1. Berries–They lower your disease risks and also help prevent memory loss. Eat 1 cup of any kind of berries, fresh or frozen, at least 3 times a week.
  2. Salmon–A good source of omega-3 fatty acids, it helps fight heart disease and is also good for your skin. The article recommends having two 3-ounce servings per week.
  3. Nuts–Although they’re high in fat, it’s heart-healthy fat; and nuts are also good sources of protein, magnesium, and B and E vitamins. Eat a 1/4 cup serving of almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pecans up to 5 times per week.
  4. Dark Leafy Greens–Spinach, romaine lettuce, collard greens, kale, and chard are good sources of fiber, vitamins C and K, folic acid and lutein. They also contain lots of vitamin A which helps keep your skin soft and supple. Two servings per day are recommended–and a serving is 1 cup cooked greens or 2 cups raw greens.
  5. Whole Grains–Referred to by Sharecare as a “nutritional powerhouse,” whole grains–like brown rice and quinoa, to name a few–can help prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. Try for 3 to 6 servings a day. A serving might be one slice of whole-grain bread, 1/2 cup cooked grains, or 1 cup whole-grain cereal.
  6. Yellow and Orange Vegetables–Think carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and other deep yellow and orange veggies. They can lower your cancer risk and help protect you from colds, infections, and sun damage to your skin. Two 1/2 cup servings a day are recommended.
  7. Yogurt–Plain, low-fat, or nonfat…all are good sources of B vitamins, protein, and calcium. Look for yogurt with active cultures–probiotics–which also help fight against disease-causing germs. Have at least 4 cups a week if yogurt is your main source of dairy.

Hope this is a helpful reminder for you to work these into your diet! I like all the foods on this list, so I just need to remember to eat enough of them each week. Do you eat many of these healthy foods already?

Spinach, Blueberry, and Blue Cheese Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

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I took a short break from the internet at the end of August, and I can’t believe we are into September already! But it’s still officially summer and the weather is still warm for many of us, so I thought I’d post a recipe for a fruity, cheesy salad. Salads make great light lunches on hot, humid days and it’s even more convenient when you can make them ahead of time for work or just to have handy at home. I found lots of great grab-and-go ideas in Mason Jar Salads and More by Julia Mirabella. The salads are made by layering the ingredients vertically in Mason jars (the 9781612432892.011dressing usually goes on the bottom–this salad is an exception). In addition to recipes for salad lunches, the book includes some breakfast smoothies and oatmeal you can make-and-take in mason jars, as well as other healthy lunch options that include pasta and rice. There are some snack ideas, too, and lots of great homemade vinaigrettes to try out.

I decided to make the Spinach, Blueberry, and Blue Cheese Salad and instead of using the Red Wine Vinaigrette that the original recipe calls for, I made the Blueberry Vinaigrette. I thought the blueberry-spinach combination was really good, and I loved the taste of blue cheese with it, too. The Blueberry Vinaigrette was great on this salad–it added even more blueberry flavor. If you like fruit and cheese, this salad is a great way to enjoy those mix of flavors. Some of you may not be crazy about blue cheese, so if that’s the case, you could try substituting feta cheese. This is a really easy salad to put together–hope you enjoy it!

SPINACH, BLUEBERRY, AND BLUE CHEESE SALAD WITH BLUEBERRY VINAIGRETTE from Mason Jar Salads and More

Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3 cups spinach leaves, divided
  • 1/4 cup shaved or sliced almonds
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Blueberry Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • 1 quart-size Mason jar

Place the blueberries, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil until it is the right consistency.

Place the blueberries in the bottom of the Mason jar. Next make layers of 2 cups spinach, the almonds, and the remaining 1 cup spinach. The final layer should be the blue cheese. If you’re eating this right away, you can pour the vinaigrette over the salad and serve. If you’re storing this in the fridge for later, see below…

On top of the blue cheese, make a parchment paper cup (cut a square of parchment paper to an 8×8″ size; place it over the jar and push down to form a little cup). The edges of the parchment paper should extend beyond the edge of the jar; bend edges downward over the outside of the jar.

Pour the vinaigrette into the parchment paper cup and twist on the lid, making sure it is tight. Refrigerate until ready to eat and mix the vinaigrette in with the other ingredients in your salad. Note: !f you’re going to eat this salad on the same day you make it, you can put the dressing in the bottom of the jar and eliminate the parchment paper cup. Otherwise, the salad will last longer if the blueberries don’t sit in the dressing.

BLUEBERRY VINAIGRETTE

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh blueberries
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons olive oil

Place the blueberries, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil until it is the right consistency.

I love using fresh fruit in salads–it adds so much extra flavor! What fruits do you like using in your salads?

Berry Walnut Granola

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I am a big fan of granola, and I prefer homemade–I think it tastes so much better! I’ve posted several recipes for granola bars, like Crunchy Honey Almond Granola Bars, Dark Chocolate Granola Bars, and chewier Granola Bars. I’ve also made an unsweetened Cranberry Raisin … Continue reading

Cocoa Banana Smoothie

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I think this just may be the hottest week of summer. And that calls for a smoothie–even better, a chocolate smoothie! There’s a soy and non-soy version for this recipe, so you can take your pick. The smoothie I made … Continue reading

Chilled Cucumber Soup

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Chilled soups are perfect for summer! And if you like cucumbers, you’ll want to try this one! It has Greek yogurt, green onions, fresh dill, and parsley in it. Some lemon juice and salt give the flavor a little punch and I also added some garlic … Continue reading

Peach Cucumber Salsa

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Are you growing cucumbers in your garden this year? Here’s a recipe you can use those cucumbers in! It’s perfect for summer because it’s a little fruity, lightly sweet, and a little spicy–good with tortilla chips or as a side dish … Continue reading

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Feta

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If you like tart and tangy, savory and salty flavors, then this is a salad you may want to try! I decided to make this when my friend Greg gave me some cucumbers from his garden. You can’t go wrong combining cucumbers with tomatoes, … Continue reading

Blueberry-Honeydew Smoothie

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It’s really been warm lately, so I’ve been making lots of smoothies–they just taste so good on a hot day! One fruit that I really love but haven’t used that much in smoothies is honeydew melon. They’ve always been a little challenging … Continue reading