Wednesday, June 27th, 2012


This month The Recipe Redux is hosting a challenge to create a healthier version of one of the all-time favorite barbecue side dishes, potato salad! According to the United States Potato Board, a medium potato has only 110 calories, contains more potassium than a banana, and half your daily value of vitamin C. Seems like good ol’ potato salad is already on the right track to being healthy, so I helped it along by giving it an even bigger helping of vitamins and minerals (such as potassium, vitamin E, folate and vitamin B) from one my favorite nutrient-dense foods, avocado.

This potato salad is a good accompaniment to anything from the grill and, because it has no dairy, won’t spoil as quickly like regular potato salad, so you can bring it on a picnic and not worry about keeping it ice-cold. It has chunks of creamy avocado instead of mayonnaise, a sprinkle of fresh tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and is infused with a hint of smoky spices. The firm texture of earthy red potatoes brings all this creamy goodness together. If you love barbecues, you’ll love the smokey flavors of this potato salad!

Smokey Potato-Avocado Salad

Smokey Potato-Avocado Salad

1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1″ chunks
1 ripe, firm avocado, pitted and cut into large cubes same size as potato
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 ripe tomato, seeds removed and diced, reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish
fresh cilantro or coriander sprigs

Directions:

Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, making sure they are covered with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and bring to a low boil on medium/medium-high and cook 7 minutes more or until just tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and cool for 15 – 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Set aside.

Cut avocado in half, remove pit and cut into 1″ pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon lime juice. Sprinkle half of seasoning mixture and toss gently with a fork. Add potatoes and mix gently (the mixture will get creamier, but keep some chunks of avocado.) Sprinkle in half of remaining seasonings, adding more to taste. Fold in diced tomato. Top with remaining chopped tomato and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Added note, 6/28: avocados tend to brown, so be sure to serve this within 4-5 hours of preparation. One trick you can do is garnish with fresh diced avocado right before serving, so even if the salad is a few hours old, it will look nice and fresh! (Thank you, Emily, for asking me about this! )

 By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the United States Potato Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

A quick and easy dairy-free, gluten-free potato salad


Happy Wednesday, everybody! Jenn at Peas and Crayons is hosting our weekly blog party and there’s LOTS of delicious goodies to be found! I’m pretty excited today because not only do I have another chocolate recipe to share this week, it is a raw chocolate chip cookie recipe, perfect for this month’s WIAW theme of “sensible snacking” and my Flavor of the Week, chocolate!

Last winter I became interested in learning about raw food dieting. Not sushi kind of raw, but uncooked veggies and soaked grains kind of raw. I won’t go into a lot of detail but here’s just three easy-to-remember health benefits to a raw (or mostly raw) diet:

1) more nutrition – uncooked foods (foods heated to less than 118 degrees farenheit) retain more of their vitamins and minerals. When cooked, the nutritional value is greatly reduced and you will have to eat more food to get the nutrition your body needs (so eating raw foods can help you maintain a healthy weight, too!)

2) easier digestion – raw foods contain lots of fiber and water to help your body with elimination.  You won’t have that bloated, over-stuffed feeling after finishing a meal and no afternoon slump.

3) increased energy – since raw foods are easier to digest, your body won’t have to “shut down” while its trying to digest your food, like it might do with heavier foods like a delicious bacon cheeseburger and french fries. (Ask my husband, he’ll tell you I pretty much always crash out after eating stuff like this for lunch.)

Even if you don’t go 100% raw, you can still benefit with a chocolate green smoothie for breakfast, a colorful veggie salad for lunch, and a normal-cooked dinner with some kimchee or sauerkraut on the side (also considered raw!)

Speaking of which, here’s some of the foods I had for BL&D over the pas few days…

On Sunday morning I pulled out my juicer and made some fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice and grape juice and garnished with mint and lemon thyme. Looks good, doesn’t it?  Served up in a champagne glass, it looks like an expensive cocktail!

raw foods: fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice and grape juice

The colors alone will energize you!

Breakfast that followed was a not-so-raw peanut butter toast with raspberry preserves and coffee (recycled pic):

Lunch on Tuesday was a mish-mash salad of veggies and fruits, plus some pulverized flax seed crackers that tasted better crushed than in cracker-form. I sat down with my bowl, got my camera ready and look who decided to stick his furry orange head into my shot:

Sammy is not a vegetarian…he was after my goat cheese!

Dinner was kind of up in the air, I didn’t know what to cook, didn’t want sandwiches and my husband probably wouldn’t have wanted salad. After running a few simple options through my head I decided to make pannekoeken (Dutch style pancakes) with cheddar cheese and mushrooms:

I can’t make ’em big without breaking them, so kiddie-sized it is!

I needed some greens with this meal, so ate a bunch of sugar snap peas:

I love raw peas in the shell, especially these fat ones!

Sugar snap peas aren’t the only raw & delicious food I had today. Remember those cookies I talked about in the beginning?  Those were made from a raw cookie recipe in Judita Wignall’s, Going Raw:

Going Raw: Everything You Need to Start Your Own Raw Food Diet & Lifestyle Revolution at Home, by Judita Wignall

Judita gives a lot of easy-to-follow information on raw dieting and makes it very user-friendly. There’s tons of mouth-watering photos that will inspire you to plan out your next grocery trip with veggies in mind, and maybe even try your hand at sprouting some grains! She has a ‘live and let live’ attitude that makes her book informative, not preachy, which is really great when it comes to talking about something like healthy diets. Plus, I love her gorgeous red hair!

She has several recipes that I like, including the Ice Box Chocolate Chip Cookies I’ll be sharing today. I didn’t change the recipe much except the substitutions I wrote in parentheses, and the instructions are not copied verbatim but the steps are the same.

Yum! These raw cookies are delicious and nutritious!

Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies
From the book Going Raw by Judita Wignall 

1 1/2 cups cashews
2/3 cup Medjool dates (about 6-7 large ones, with pits)
3 tablespons almond butter (I used 2 T peanut butter and 1 T coconut oil)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1/4 cup raw chocolate chunks* (I substituted Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips–not raw and contains dairy–and added dried cherries)

*Judita has a raw chocolate recipe in her cook book that is gluten-free and dairy-free, but you can use any chocolate you prefer

Directions:

1. In a food processor grind the cashews into a flour.

2. Add the dates, almond butter (or peanut butter and coconut oil) and sea salt and process until it sticks together. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.

3. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the chocolate chunks/chips (and optional dried cherries) with a spatula.

4. On a nonstick surface, roll out dough to 3/8″ thickness. Cut out with a small cookie cutter and freeze (not to worry, they won’t get rock solid.) Cookies will keep for 1 month in the freezer.

Raw chocolate chip cookies!

I almost forgot…look what else you can do with these raw chocolate chip cookies:

Mini ice cream sandwiches!

Check out these Mini Cake and Ice Cream Bites from last Thursday’s Recipe ReDux. They’re just as cute!

This recipe is also my first contribution to Cookbook Sundays, sponsored by Couscous & Consciousness.

CookbookSundays

Have you tried any healthy versions of classic recipes lately? What’s your favorite cookie? :)