Tag Archives: avocado

Smoothie Freezer Bags

 

Happy 500th Post! Time flies when you’re having fun ¬†ūüėČ

Let me describe for you a typical American’s morning.¬† We wake up to the alarm going off, maybe hit “snooze” once or twice or ten times.¬† Realize what time it is, maybe freak out about everything we need to do today. Finally coerce ourselves out of bed (probably with the promise of coffee soon).

We stumble into the kitchen and autopilot the caffeine of choice (hot tea, cocoa, Moutain Dew, but probably coffee. So much coffee).¬† Glance at the clock, think “oh crap I’m gonna be late!” run back to our room, look through closets and drawers trying to find something to wear that is appropriate / cute / in season / matches the weather / doesn’t smell like rotten garbage / still fits.

Finally clothed, we rush to the bathroom.¬† We shave, shower, do our makeup, brush our hair, bonus points for time to blow dry or style it, brush our teeth (hopefully!). Now with negative two minutes to go until we need to leave, we rush out the door, maybe with second coffee in to-go mug in hand, and off to work we go… And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous circus that is a morning when there are children involved!

Where is the breakfast in all this rush?

You know your entire life your mom always said breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and of course she is right. A healthy breakfast helps you wake up, gets your metabolism revved to create and repair cells, pump blood and oxygen, filter out the bad stuff, and move your muscles all day.

It keeps you from getting hangry right around ten or eleven am and making a trip to the vending machine / coffee shop / donuts in the break room and gets you through until lunchtime. It keeps your neurons firing so you can think and be your best all day.

But you just don’t have the time!

I get it. I’ve been there a million times. Drive through bagels, donuts or muffins from heaven when someone has a birthday or there’s a meeting and its catered, a granola bar hidden in a desk drawer. Some days you gotta do what you gotta do.

But there is a better way.

Enter: The Smoothie Freezer Pack!

Smoothie freezer bags

Oh yes, this thing is a busy persons’ dream. Just pull it out, dump in a blender with some milk or juice, push “go” and walk away for a few minutes. Pour it into a glass or travel mug and you have a real food, super healthy, breakfast of champions with almost no work! It just takes a few moments of prep and a bit of planning ahead.¬† Don’t get scared now, I believe in you.

On a weekend or whenever you grocery shop, just stock up on 5 bananas, 2-5 other fruits you like, and some sort of green (spinach is a good starter, but you can also use kale, swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, etc). Then grab some plastic zip top baggies and a knife, and here we go!

Smoothie Pack Ingredients

Step 1: Cut up all your fruits. You will notice avocados, and that may worry you. But trust me, if you’ve never tried it, avocado is AMAZING in smoothies! And it is a super way to sneak in some healthy fats and a creamy texture that no one will even know is there! It will be our secret ūüėČ

Freezer Smoothie Bags

Step 2: In each baggie, add 2-3 types of fruits, one whole banana, and a big ol’ handful of greens. I used avocados, pears, peaches, blueberries, pineapple, spinach, and beet greens. Try different combinations until you find what you like the best.

Smoothie Bags

Step 3: Zip up the baggies, and pop them in the freezer. That’s it! Now all you need to do when you want breakfast in a hurry is take out a bag, pour it into a blender. Then add about 1/2 – 1 cup of liquid of choice, I recommend milk, juice, green tea, or kefir, and blend until smooth.

Smoothie to go

These smoothie packs can also be a great after-workout refresher, or a snack / treat anytime you want a blast of healthy fruits and veggies. You can add some protein powder or a tablespoon of peanut butter for an extra protein punch. Now go forth and conquor your day!

 

What is your favorite smoothie mix? Do you have a super quick breakfast you love? Share here!

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Mediterranean Breakfast Sandwich

Though this sandwich does involve eggs, I hesitate to call it a “breakfast sandwich” because it would taste amazing any time of day. ¬†Like my other recipes with Mediterranean in the title (such as my Mediterranean Meatloaf Muffins,¬†Stuffed Mushroom Caps, Cashew Chicken, Vegetable Panini, or Chicken & Couscous), this recipe uses lots of healthy veggies, mostly¬†bell peppers and avocado. ¬†You could easily substitute or add in eggplants, zucchini, any type of olives, greens, or caramelized onions too.

Recipe makes 2 large sandwiches.  You can also turn these into wraps, or serve in a lettuce leaf, if you are avoiding carbs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 jar roasted red bell peppers
  • 1 fresh avocado
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 4 slices wheat bread
  • 2 slices cheese
Step 1: In a frying pan, heat the olive oil to sizzling.  Crack the eggs in, and fry 2-3 minutes, until whites are cooked.

Step 2: Flip the egg once all the whites have cooked.  Take the roasted peppers and add those to the pan.  The longer you cook the egg, the more solid and less runny the yolks become.

Step 3: Once the eggs are cooked and peppers are heated through, place one egg and 1-2 pieces of pepper onto each of 2 slices of bread.

Step 4: On two other slices of bread, add the cheese slice and half of the avocado.  Press the two halves of each sandwich together.

Step 5: If you need to, add 1 more tbsp olive oil.  Put the sandwiches into the pan, and cook for 4-5 minutes on both sides, until nice and browned and the cheese is melty.

 Slice the sandwiches in half, and enjoy!

Lean Green Tuna Salad

 

We all have hectic days where we just don’t have time to pack a lunch with heart-shaped cheeses, individually peeled grapes, and 3-4 servings of vegetables included. Whether for yourself or some back-to-school young’uns, packing so many lunches all year long can get tiresome.

But don’t give up! As stated over and over again in financial writing, bringing a lunch is nearly always cheaper than a similar meal out at a restaurant, or even “fast casual” food places. While articles like the Simple Dollar point out that there is a large margin of what a brown bag lunch may cost, just keep track yourself for one week and you will soon see.

Even if you have the smallest of fast-food options (maybe half a $6 sandwich, and half the next day, for a total per day of $3, not including any drinks or extras), it is easy to create incredibly cheap meals for yourself at home, or even pack lunches which you can assemble wherever you are when it’s time to eat. Sometimes for even less than $1 a day!

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And with a little creativity, you can create these easy, cheap meals, and actually make them healthy too!¬† We’re talking several levels above ramen noodles, folks. Just check out my “less than 5” section for a plethora of ideas.

More ideas:

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This recipe is a healthified tuna salad. By adding several kinds of vegetables you bulk up the salad with fiber and vitamins, and adding an egg gives the already 16g of protein an extra 6g boost. If you’re truly hard core, you can even forego the mayonnaise and just add lemon juice for a dash of flavor.

This is borderline vegetarian, if you are lacto-ovo vegetarian. It is extremely healthy, especially if you omit mayo. You can pack all the ingredients in a cooler and assemble at your desk or at school. If you buy tuna on sale, you can get it for $0.30 a can. 1/2 avocado + 1/2 cucumber is slightly less than $1.

Add another $0.50 or so for one egg and a few cents for lemon juice and any seasonings, and you have a hefty lunch/appetizer/dinner for about $2. Add a few big leaves of romaine for a dinner of tuna salad wraps, or serve over a big bed of lettuce with some nuts and berries for a more filling option.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can or pouch chunk tuna in water
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise

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Step 1: Open the tuna and drain. Rinse the cucumber and dice into small chunks. You could use celery here, or peas, or shredded carrot. Whatever vegetable you like to add bulk and nutrition.

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Step 2: Cut the avocado in half and scoop out the seed. In a bowl, combine the tuna, lemon juice, and mayo. Mix well. Add the cucumber and avocado, smash it around until well combined. Dice the boiled egg, and mix that in.

Season with garlic salt and black pepper if so desired. Serve with slices of bread, a wrap or pita, or whole wheat crackers.

Lean Green Tuna Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 can chunk tuna in water
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. Open the tuna and drain. Rinse the cucumber and dice into small chunks. You could use celery here, or peas, or shredded carrot. Whatever vegetable you like to add bulk and nutrition.
  2. Cut the avocado in half and scoop out the seed. In a bowl, combine the tuna, lemon juice, and mayo. Mix well. Add the cucumber and avocado, smash it around until well combined. Dice the boiled egg, and mix that in.
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Recipe Review: Smashed Potatoes with Avocado Garlic Aioli from Oh She Glows

 

Vegetarianism and Veganism is consistently growing in popularity nationwide as society becomes aware of the health benefits of whole foods and the dangers of processed foods. Along with this awareness comes a rise in health-related blogs and recipes. I’m a big fan, as I’m always in search of new, fun combinations of food. Especially when it’s healthy foods.

Speaking of healthy foods, today the winner of a FREE copy of dietician Sharon Palmer’s book “Plant-Powered For Life” was Katy Dyer!! This book has over a hundred fabulous plant heavy recipes, as well as 52 tips for a year of healthy living habits. Incorporate one tip per week for a total life makeover. Congratulations!

One of my favorite discoveries in terms of new food blogs is the vegan goddess Angela at Oh She Glows. She has oodles of fabulous recipes, almost all of which I am antsy to try myself. Angela has a knack for combinations and substitutions that makes you say “Why didn’t I think of that! Sounds great!”

I reviewed her Chia Fresca last week, and found it to be a very strange beverage. However, it is surprisingly pleasing and a nice change if plain water bores you. In addition, chia seeds have a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, especially useful if you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet and can’t get what you need from fish or eggs.

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This review is my take on her Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Avocado Garlic Aioli.¬† It is totally vegan, but you would never know it if you weren’t told. Avocado is a fabulous substitute for many dairy products because of its creamy texture, especially when blended. When combined with salsa, it made a satisfying and healthy meal. You could also top with black beans, grilled onions and mushrooms, or steamed broccoli.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¬†1 tbsp veganaise or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • Sea salt
  • Diced garnish: green onion, parsley, etc

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Step 1: Rinse the potatoes and poke a few holes with a fork. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Take them out and let cool a little, then smash them with a spoon or bottom of a glass.

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Step 2: In a blender, combine the veganaise, peeled and pitted avocado, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Blend well. If it is not smooth enough, add some  warm water, lemon juice, or olive oil to thin.

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Step 3: Pour 2 tbsp salsa and 2 tbsp avocado aioli over top, and sprinkle with garnish.

This combination is absolutely delightful. The avocado aioli is delicious on its own, and could probably be used anywhere aioli can be used. I loved the salsa, and think adding heated beans as well would perfectly round this out. This would also make a great side dish for many other main courses. Even the meat eater declared this a winner!

 

Strawberry, avocado & feta salad

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I am always trying to get more veggies into my diet, and salads are a great way to do so. But no one likes a bowlful of lettuce leaves with just a splash of dressing for flavor. I like to add extras to make my salads more interesting. Since I had just bought a fresh head of lettuce, I used the fruits/veggies I had on hand, and it turned out great!

The lettuce was $1 and I will probably get at least 5 salads from it. The avocado was also $1, as were the strawberries. The feta was left from a while ago (and you can omit the cheese or use whatever kind you like/have) as was the dressing. So for 5 salads worth, the cost per serving is only $0.60! Plus it’s good for you, and a great side to just about anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:
1 cup torn lettuce leaves
3 large strawberries, quartered
1/4 Haas avocado, diced
1 tbsp feta cheese
1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette

Simply toss and enjoy!

Breakfast BELT with avocado & feta

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I’ve read several articles lately that say a breakfast with eggs are the most filling. Since it was the weekend, and I had one egg left and several veggies in the fridge I had just bought yesterday, I wanted to make a super-healthy and filling breakfast.
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Tim Horton’s makes a breakfast BELT sandwich with bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato on a bagel. To lighten it up, I used one slice of wheat bread as the “B” and in place of the bagel, no bacon, lettuce tomato one egg and added a slice of avocado and a sprinkle of feta for healthy fat and flavor.
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Ingredients:
1 slice wheat bread
1 egg
1 tbsp oil
1 romaine leaf
1/2 roma tomato
1 slice avocado
1 tbsp feta cheese
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Step 1: Put 1 tbsp in a pan, and fry the egg. If you like the yellow, you can leave it runny. I cooked it all the way through.

Step 2: While the egg is cooking, layer the lettuce, tomato, avocado and 1 tbsp feta on a slice of wheat bread (toasted or not).

Step 3: Lay the cooked egg on top of the feta, and enjoy! The feta gives it a tangy flavor, while the avocado is creamy and soft. If you’re vegan you can omit the egg and cheese.


 

The versatility of stir-fry

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Especially during the summer, when fresh produce is cheap and plentiful, a veggie stir fry is always an awesome option. Cheap, easy, very filling and excellent for you. It is also very versatile, as my many meals from the stir-fry will show!
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Ingredients:
1/2 red, orange, and yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 zucchini, diced
1 large radish, diced
2 turnips, diced
1 med carrot, diced
1 can black beans
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup cous cous
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Extras:
Torn romaine lettuce, tomato chunks, sour cream, salsa, diced avocado

Step 1: Saute all the veggies in order of hardness, until all are tender. Add the black beans and heat until warmed through. Season if you want with garlic and other spices.

Meal 1: Add the stir fry and all extras into a flour or corn tortilla, eat as a burrito.

Meal 2: Put the hot stir-fry over some freshly cooked cous cous. You can top with hummus, salsa or a dressing if too dry.

Meal 3: Cover a large plate with torn romaine, add cooked cous cous, and veggies and extras on top, eat as a salad.

These meals were all eaten on different days, because the stir fry makes a ton and keeps well in the fridge. This is easy, cheap and very versatile. Add whatever veggies you like and have on hand. These 3 meal types will work well with any kind of stir fry, so go crazy!


 

Supercharged Double Turkey BLT

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I had some turkey lunchmeat that needed used, plus 1/2 an avocado, salad makings, and turkey bacon. I had wanted to make a BLT, but now I knew that I could make it super-extra delicious!
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Ingredients:
2 oz turkey meat
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 slice cheese
1/2 tomato
Handful torn romaine
3 slices turkey bacon
1/4 avocado
4 slices cucumber

Step 1: Cook the turkey bacon, turning once.

Step 2: While cooking, pile on the meat, cheese, tomato slices. On the other piece of bread, add the greens, cucumber, avocado chunks and lettuce.

Step 3: Add the cooked bacon. Very carefully, flip the pieces of bread together. Excellent combinations of flavors, lots of fiber and vitamins from the veggies! As always, just omit the turkey for a vegetarian lunch option.

Chicken Tacos

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So yet again I’m moving soon, and need to clean out my freezer and pantry. I had some chicken quarters I had gotten cheap a while back , and was sick of ground beef tacos. So I decided to make some chicken tacos. It helps that Meijer had a great sale this week, $1 bell peppers and avocados.
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Ingredients:
2 chicken leg quarters
Taco seasoning
Chili powder
1/4 red, orange and yellow bell pepper
1/4 red onion
1 tortilla
1/4 avocado
2 tbsp salsa
1 tbsp sour cream
1/4 cup black beans

Step 1: Put the chicken in a sprayed crock pot, sprinkle with taco seasoning and chili powder. Add 1/4 cup water to keep moist. Cook on high 4 hours or until chicken is no longer pink.

Step 2: Remove chicken meat from the bones and skin, throw it away. Add more seasoning if you like.

Step 3: Cut the peppers and onion into thin strips. I steamed the peppers for about 10 minutes first.

Step 4: In a tbsp of butter or oil, saute the peppers and onion until soft and translucent. Add some taco seasoning.

Step 5: Warm the beans and tortilla. Layer the chicken, peppers & onion, beans, avocado in chunks, salsa and sour cream.

The combination of flavors is amazing: the creamy avocado, the spiced chicken, the crunchy-soft peppers and sweet onions, tangy salsa, milky sour cream…. just mmmmmmmm! And so much protein and veggie goodness! Obviously you can omit the chicken and just use veggies for vegetarian, and add as much or whatever spices you like.

Jealous? You should be.