Guacamole - Plain and Simple
Guacamole - Plain and Simple

My counter-top vegetable basket typically houses garlic bulbs, onions, shallots, and one or two avocados in various states of ripening, or rotting, as the case may be. When one appears on its way out, rather than feed my compost bin, I make guacamole. For my plain and simple guacamole, I’ll be honest, I don’t chase authenticity; I prevent waste. Because I like to taste a bit of acid, heat, and garlic I focus on ingredients to satisfy those flavors, and then if I have the inclination, and ingredients, I dress it up: fresh cilantro, chopped tomato, or diced red onion are always winners. If I don’t have the inclination, or extra ingredients, it’s just fine plain and simple. This recipe is easily doubled, or tripled, or….

No matter how you devour an avocado it remains full of MUFA’s (monounsaturated fatty acids). Research is proving MUFA’s to be good for your heart, your brain, and despite their high calorie/fat content, avocados don’t contribute to “belly” fat, or as I like to say a “muffin top” (if you know what I mean, ladies.) Why not make avocados a staple in your kitchen? When they start to turn soft it helps to remember a bowl of plain and simple guacamole is only a few mashes away.

Makes one bowl of guacamole, depending on the size of your avocado

1 Hass avocado (not a large Florida avocado. Most supermarkets sell the Hass variety)
1 teaspoon fresh lime or lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or 1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large dashes Tabasco Sauce

Using a sharp knife cut the avocado in half by running the knife around the entire avocado from north pole to south pole and back up to north pole, not around the equator. (I hope you were paying attention in geography class.)

Twist the avocado and it should come apart in two pieces. One piece will house the pit, and the other piece pit-free. Using a spoon, or the tip of the knife, CAREFULLY remove the pit. (This can be tricky, but if your avocado is ripe, or just beyond, removing the pit is easy. Unripe avocados squeeze their pits, for various reasons I’ll can’t explain, making them quite difficult to remove.)

Holding one half of the avocado in a cupped hand, use a large spoon and scoop the avocado flesh out of the skin. Place the flesh in a bowl. Repeat with the other half. This technique I find so much easier than trying to peel an avocado and all the while chasing the slippery beast around on the cutting board.

Using the back of a large fork mash the avocado to your favorite consistency – chunky or smooth – it’s a free country. It’s your choice. Add lemon or lime juice, garlic, salt, and Tabasco. Mash again until all ingredients are well blended. Enjoy with chips, or as a topping on burritos, black beans, tacos, pork tortilla soup, …..the list is almost endless.…

Superfoods in A Super Diet
Superfoods in A Super Diet

 

According to the American Dietetic Association ,”superfoods are purported to have more significant health benefits than other types of food because they provide high amounts of one or more beneficial components”.

The concept of “superfoods” has captured much interest in the press. I think we all know we can’t live on one food alone, but a diet filled with wholesome foods serves us best nutritionally and forms the foundation for good health.

For healthy adults and children the goal is to promote health and reduce overall risk for some chronic diseases. Health and prevention is a two part process. First, eat a “super diet”. Include many of the foods below on a regular basis. (There are many, many “superfoods”. This is only a small representation.) Second, get up off your can (rather than reading blogs?) and move. Physical activity is key to healthy muscles, bones, and bodies. Now for a short list of some of my favorite superfoods. Note: phytochemicals are naturally occurring chemicals found in plants and antioxidants are a compound that prevents free radical damage to cells in the body. You’ll see these terms sprinkled liberally throughout the list.

Avocados
Avocados may have a bad reputation for high calories and fat, but most of the fat in this fruit (yes, fruit) is monounsaturated, and avocados are packed with nutrients. Avocados contain about 60 percent more potassium than bananas and contain more vitamin E (which helps prevent muscle damage and reduces inflammation) than most other commonly eaten fruits. Make guacamole, chop it up and put it on top of a bowl of chili, or slice is and serve on a sandwich.

Bananas
A medium-sized banana contains a whopping dose of potassium and, in case you haven’t heard, potassium is one of the body’s most significant minerals, critical for proper cellular and electrical functions. As an electrolyte, potassium actually carries a tiny electrical charge with it throughout the body. It regulates the water and acid balance in blood and tissues and is one of the most important nutrients for normal growth and building muscle. Use in a smoothie, slice and put on a bowl of hot oatmeal, or eat out of hand for a quick snack on the go.

Blueberries
Rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins (the blue color pigment), blueberries promote a healthy urinary tract and enhance night vision. Not to mention the phytochemical lutein and the natural sources of dietary fiber that may reduce the risk of diabetes, circulatory problems, and memory loss. Use frozen blueberries during the winter time when fresh aren’t available. Sprinkle fresh blueberries on spinach salad or make a yogurt parfait.

Broccoli
A readily available vegetable, broccoli boasts high amounts of vitamin C . Part of it’s powerhouse protection is derived from phytochemicals that give your immune system a boost. Use fresh in salads, or cooked in soups, pasta dishes, or cut into spears, sprinkled with a pinch of kosher salt and fresh lemon zest.

Dark Chocolate
Now we’re talking. Who knew chocolate was …