Avocado Mango Smoothie

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It’s the first day of Spring and you know what that means…Yes, it’s that time of year.   The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition is already out and soon we will be digging for our beachwear beachcoverups, bathing suits and for the bravest of the brave, bikinis. So when I ran across an article in Prevention Magazine offering 10 smoothies with MUFA’s that will shrink my belly fat, Aha!  Now we’re talking!  I couldn’t look away. Like I said, summer is right around the corner and I will take all the help I can get!   I’m not normally a smoothie kind of person.  I have more of an avocado or peanut butter toast in the morning habit.  Of course I drink a big glass of alkaline water – Lemon Cucumber Mint Water –  while I’m making my first cup of coffee.  Hey, it’s all about balance! That said I loved this smoothie.  Drank the whole thing.

So back to MUFA—the Flat Belly Diet powerhouse ingredient that specifically targets belly fat. There has been much talk recently about MUFAs (pronounced moo-fah) or MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acids, which are plant-based fats found in some of the world’s most delicious foods— avocado, nuts and seeds, oils, olives, and dark chocolate!  In my book, these are the foods that make dinner worth eating, however, there are claims they provide many health benefits. MUFA’s promote healthy cholesterol levels and help us absorb the vitamins we eat. Studies show that these good-for-you fats enhance heart health and protect against chronic disease. We are encouraged to eat a serving of MUFA at every meal.  This article offers 10 smoothie recipes but I only tried one.  Click through for more.Prevention 10 Slimming Smoothies

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TIPS/SUBSTITUTIONS:  I followed the recipe except I used full fat plain European yogurt instead of fat free vanilla which I don’t buy.  I’m always suspicious of what happens when they remove the normal fat that is supposed to be in foods and replace it with something, usually more sugar and unnatural ‘non-foods’.  For the extra 10 calories per cup, I’ll skip the extra sugar and chemicals, but that is just me.  For those weighing the decision to buy full or no fat yogurt, regular or Greek yogurt, here are some yogurt facts via SF Gate you might find helpful. Do you care more about calories, fat or protein?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an 8-ounce serving of plain full-fat yogurt provides about 140 calories, 8 grams of protein, 7.4 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbohydrates and sugar, and 275 milligrams of calcium. The same serving size of nonfat yogurt contains about 130 calories, 13 grams of protein, 0.4 grams of fat, 17.4 grams of carbohydrates and sugar, and 450 milligrams of calcium. Eight ounces of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt has 130 calories, 23 grams of protein, no fat, 9 grams of carbohydrates and sugar, and 250 milligrams of calcium.

Blossoms

According to my calendar, spring officially begins today at 3:45pm PDT.  Does anybody else think that is an odd time of day for a season to begin?  So although it is now Spring you wouldn’t know it if you lived in many parts of the country that are still buried under piles of snow.  In California it feels like spring has already sprung, but perhaps that is because we never really got winter this year. I think the East and the South got it all.  It’s possible that we will have a late coldsnap that will take out all of our delicate plants and blossoms but for now I’m going to relish the beautiful weather and lovely spring blooms.  Maybe I’ll make a smoothie and go sit in my garden and wait for my winter fat to melt away…

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AVOCADO MANGO SMOOTHIE

¼ c mango cubes
¼ c mashed ripe avocado (MUFA)
½ c mango juice
¼ c fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp sugar
6 ice cubes

COMBINE all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with sliced mango or strawberry, if desired, and serve.

NOTES: I followed the recipe except as follows.  I used regular plain yogurt, a pinch of sugar instead of 1 Tablespoon  and a bit more lime juice. I would suggest tasting before adding more sugar because I thought it was sweet enough.  I also added more ice and water since it was too thick for my tastes.  Loved it though!

NUTRITION (per serving based on original recipe) 298 cal, 5 g pro, 55 g carb, 5 g fiber, 47 g sugar, 9 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 54 mg sodium

Avocado Mango Smootie

  • Servings: 16 oz
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20150319_144055

¼ c mango cubes
¼ c mashed ripe avocado (MUFA)
½ c mango juice
¼ c fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp sugar
6 ice cubes

COMBINE all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with sliced mango or strawberry, if desired, and serve.

NOTES: I followed the recipe except as follows.  I used regular plain yogurt, a pinch of sugar instead of 1 Tablespoon  and a bit more lime juice. I would suggest tasting before adding more sugar because I thought it was sweet enough.  I also added more ice and water since it was too thick for my tastes.  Loved it though!

NUTRITION (per serving based on original recipe) 298 cal, 5 g pro, 55 g carb, 5 g fiber, 47 g sugar, 9 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 54 mg sodium

Meatless Monday – Chili Lime Grilled Tofu with Avocado &Mango Salsa

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Chili Lime Grilled Tofu is my favorite tofu recipe so far.  It’s taken a few tries but I have finally nailed it. I made this last week and thought it needed something, so this time I topped it with an Avocado Mango salsa with red onions, lime and jalapenos which is a great combination of sweet, savory and spicy.   I also let the tofu marinate overnight which allows the flavors of the marinade to be fully absorbed before cooking.  I just served this dinner to my new future daughter in law (I love saying that) and one of my sons, who I thought wouldn’t even try tofu. Much to my surprise the tofu was a big hit.  I’m just happy there is a bit left for lunch tomorrow…

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The Avocado Mango Salsa is a delight of flavors and would also be great on top of grilled or roasted fish or chicken. I know you’ve heard that Avocados are nutrient dense and a healthy fat but did you know that they also act as a ‘nutrient booster’ by helping the body absorb the nutrients from foods eaten along with it?  Furthermore, Mango is so nutritionally rich it is considered the “King of Fruit”.   Lastly,  Jalapeno Peppers add more than just spice. They are high in nutrients that may help you boost weight loss efforts, improve immunity, promote heart health and fight free radicals from environmental and dietary pollutants.  This recipe calls for one jalapeno pepper without the seeds.  If you like spicy, add another jalapeno or include the seeds, but beware, the seeds are really hot.  If you don’t like spicy, don’t use the jalapeno.  So feel free to load up on this salsa.  It might be the best thing you’ve done for your body today!

TIP:  I served this tofu with brown basmati rice which I cooked in vegetable broth.  A great way to add more flavor to rice is to add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ginger paste or a one inch piece of peeled ginger root to the broth while cooking.  Just remove the root before serving.

For other tofu recipes, check out:

Crispy Glazed Tofu and Bok Choy

Tofu and Bok Choy1

Green Curry Tofu

Thai Green Curry Tofu

 

Chili Lime Grilled Tofu with Avocado Mango Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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TOFU:
1 (14 ounce) package extra firm tofu
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste

SALSA:
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup mango, diced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
1 Tbsn lime juice (or more to taste)
1 Tbsn cilantro, chopped
1-2 Tbsn olive or avocado oil
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
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  • Slice the tofu in 1/2 inch slices and place on double papertowels.  You can leave them rectangular or cut into triangle shapes.

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  • Cover with papertowels and put a heavy pan on top to help press out excess water. Should take 20 to 30 minutes.  Don’t skip this step or the tofu won’t absorb the marinade.

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  • Combine all other ingredients and marinate tofu in the refrigerator several hours or overnight.

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  • To make the salsa, slice the mango about a third of the way (avoiding the rather large pit inside).

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  • Using a sharp knife, cut rows horizontally through the flesh but not all the way through the skin.

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  • Turn mango and cut crosswise

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  • Flip the mango slice inside out and slice off chunks.  Place in a bowl.

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  • Cut avocado in half, pit and dice.  Place into bowl with mango.

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  • Using gloves or a papertowel to protect your hands from the pepper oils, seed and mince the jalapeno.  Add to mango mixture.

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  • Chop red onion and add to bowl.

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  • Add chopped cilantro, lime juice and salt.  Gently combine and set aside.

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  • Brush or spray oil on the grill and let it preheat.  Grill tofu several minutes until you see nice grill marks.  Turn and grill the other side.  Remove to a serving platter or individual plates.

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  • Top with salsa mixture.

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  • Serve with rice or some other grain for a well rounded meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Wheatless Wednesday – Black Bean Quinoa Salad

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    Tired of green salad?  This flavor filled quinoa salad with mango and avocado topped with an orange cumin vinaigrette is my new favorite!  I promise you won’t be bored. It’s a little bit spicy from the jalapenos, a little bit sweet from the mango, the black beans add a rich salty flavor and fresh avocado, purple onion, bell pepper and cilantro make it salad worthy.  Yum!

    Quinoa is the perfect backdrop for these beautiful flavors.  It also happens to be a nutritional powerhouse, high in protein, low in fat, gluten free and loaded with lovely vitamins and minerals (but you don’t have to tell your family that).  What I didn’t know is that Mango is also a superfood, providing over 20 vitamins and minerals in every delicious bite. ( This puts a whole new light on my recipe for Mango Margaritas!)  Black beans add another protein and nutrient boost and their high fiber content helps keep your tummy full. Then there is the Avocado, which we now know is a good fat that is highly nutritious.   The best part of this salad though, is how great it tastes!  I can’t wait to have it again for lunch…

    This is the perfect dish to throw together for an easy dinner or bring to a potluck, especially if you have leftover quinoa on hand (or you make it ahead), then it’s only about ten minutes of chopping, mixing and you’re done!  This salad can be made a day ahead, without the avocado.  Bring to room temperature then gently toss in the avocado, if using, before serving.

    TIP:  You can buy mango pre-cut but it’s very easy to do it yourself (and less expensive) if you know the right technique.  How to cut a Mango

    VARIATIONS:  If you don’t have, or like, mango, you can substitute orange or nectarine segments (or even canned or frozen corn).  Use a combination of yellow, orange, red and green bell peppers for lots of color.  This recipe is only mildly spicy using one red jalapeno pepper so double the amount of jalapeno peppers and add a bit more cumin if you like it hot.

    Black Bean Mango Quinoa Salad

    Black Bean Quinoa with Cumin Orange Vinaigrette

    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

     Black Bean Mango Quinoa Salad4

    1 cup quinoa
    1 cup mango, diced
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    1 red or green jalapeno, seeded and diced
    1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
    1/2 red onion, diced
    1/3 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped
    1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
     
     vinaigrette
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp salt

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    • Rinse quinoa to remove bitterness and cook according to package instructions; set aside and let cool.
    • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, cumin and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
    • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mango, bell pepper, jalapeno, black beans, avocado, onion and cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
    • If you aren’t serving immediately, place the avocado pit on top of the salad to keep the avocado from turning brown, or add the avocado right before serving .  Serve at room temperature.

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    Mango Margaritas & “Homemade” Tortilla Chips with Grilled Pineapple Salsa!

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    TGIF! Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner and you know what that means – Margaritas! In the interest of having a good time research, my trusty pals and I decided to go in search of the new perfect margarita. Sure the lime margarita is delicious and traditional but why limit yourself? One click of the keyboard and a multitude of exotic possibilities lay before me-strawberry, blackberry, cucumber, pomegranate, cranberry, mango-avocado, papaya, hibiscus, watermelon and mint! Who knew there were so many? Obviously, a lot of research has already been done on this subject. Since we had fresh mango and pineapple in the refrigerator, we decided to start there.  After much testing and tasting we came up with a fabulous Mango Margarita, which is cool and refreshing with just the right amount of sweet-the perfect grownup dessert, like a mini vacation for your tastebuds. Take me away Calgon…

    Crunchy, salty tortilla chips, warm from the oven, topped with spicy, smoky, sweet pineapple salsa are a perfect pairing for the ice-cold mango margaritas.  Sure it’s easy to just pick up a bag from the store (I do it all the time), but making them yourself out of good quality (non GMO) tortillas is so much tastier!  It’s easy too and only takes 15 minutes or so, depending on quantity.  Each 6 inch tortilla makes 6 chips, so do the math to figure out how many you need. (I would say 2 tortillas per person).  This is also a great use for stale or dried out tortillas, so don’t throw those out!  The grilled pineapple salsa is the creation of my son, Eric. Grilling the pineapple is pure genius!  It adds a nice smoky quality and softens the pineapple so that it picks up the other flavors nicely.  His version included habanero peppers and was delicious but pretty spicy (our lips were numb), so I have toned it down with mildly spicy jalapeno peppers.  If you like things super spicy (like my Dad) increase the amount of peppers or add spicier varieties.  This is also a good appetizer for my Fish Tacos, Chile Rellenos or Black Bean and Mango Salad with Avocado Ranch if you want to continue the Mexican theme.

    Tips:   You can buy mango pre-cut but it’s very easy to do it yourself if you know the right technique.  How to cut a Mango.  If you like your margies really thick and frozen, you can buy frozen fruit or cut the fruit into chunks, lay them on parchment or waxed paper and freeze them for a half hour or so.  Using frozen fruit reduces the amount of ice you need, resulting in a thicker, fruitier beverage.

    Mango Margaritas

    • Servings: 3-4
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

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    2 cups ripe Mango, large dice
    6 Tbsn fresh lime juice
    1 Tbsn agave necter
    4 ounces Tequila (100% agave blanco)
    1-2 cups Ice

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    • Rub the cut side of a lime around the rim of the glass and dip the wet rim in salt. (Optional)
    • Add all the ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Add additional ice if a thicker drink is desired.

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    • Pour into prepared glasses.  Cheers!

    Homemade Tortilla Chips

    • Servings: 72 tortilla chips
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

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    12  6″ corn tortillas
    1/3 cup vegetable oil(avocado, grapeseed or sunflower)
    kosher or sea salt
    • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
    • Brush tortillas with oil on both sides.  Place in a stack.

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    • Cut tortilla stack into 6 triangle shaped wedges.
    • Arrange the tortillas on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake  for about 6 minutes.

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    • Using tongs turn them over, sprinkle with a little salt, and bake for another 6 minutes..
    • Remove from the oven and let cool.

    Spicy Grilled Pineapple Salsa

    • Servings: 1 1/2 cups
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

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    1/4 whole pineapple, sliced into rounds
    2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced(or other hot pepper)
    1 small shallot, finely diced
    1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
    1 tsp fresh lime juice
    salt and pepper to taste

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    • Grill pineapple slices on a hot grill for several minutes on both sides and remove from heat.

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    • Dice pineapple into small chunks

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    • Using gloves, finely mince jalapeno
    • Combine all ingredients.  Serve with chips. Ole!

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