Posts Tagged 'avocado'

Avocado and Dill Pasta Salad

I have found the dish I want to bring to every potluck from now on.

Except I don’t really go to potlucks. But if I did, I’d bring this always.  So full of vegetables, and the dressing is INSANE (in a good way).

It has been one heck of a week.  On Monday, I turned 28.  There was Chinese food, great friends and so much cake (funfetti with pink frosting, perfect for a 28 year old).

Alyssa and I decided the cake must be magic, because we both had AMAZING runs on Tuesday. She busted out some crazy fast mile repeats, and I did a 6 mile run with 4 tempo miles all under 7:00 min/mile!

We started a space unit at school, and this week the kids made Alka Seltzer rockets. I love my job.

Today I went for my second run of the week (I guess I’m going for quality, not quantity at the moment) and ended up doing 4.5 miles at 7:30 min/mile. It didn’t even feel that hard! I don’t know where this speed came from– or if it will stick around — but I like it.

I just made a few changes to this salad as it was originally written on Ashley’s beautiful blog. I served it over a bed of mixed sprouts, which was heavenly, and I left the sweetener out of the dressing. There are so many little tweaks you can make to personalize it!


Soba Salad with Sesame-Miso Dressing

I really love soba noodles.  It all started with the recipe for Otsu in Super Natural Cooking, and grew from there into a mild obsession. I pretty much insist on eating them at least once a week, and I love the way they provide a pleasantly earthy backdrop for a huge range of flavors and textures.

Here, I added some red cabbage, sliced carrots, sauteed portobellos, blanched broccoli, avocado and fried tofu and tossed it all with a very simple miso and sesame oil dressing. Delicious!

In other news, we’re giving the state tests this week at school. I could rant for DAYS about my feelings on testing (and public education in general), but this is not the time or place. Instead, I’ll just say that no matter what our scores are, my kids this year have completely blown me away. I have students from Burma and the Philippines who’ve been in this country for just a couple years but can write a lab report with precise details and thoughtful conclusions. I have a student who asks the most awesome and insightful questions every single day. I have fantastic models of organic compounds built by the kids. I have their work all over my walls and I hear their thoughtful discussions every single day, and THAT is what shows how amazing they are , NOT a pick-the-best-answer-and-fill-in-the-bubble test.

I’ve been turning to kitchen therapy a lot this week. Not because work is stressing me out, but because I’m hardly running so I need somewhere to focus my energy. I bought some caperberries at the grocery store last week because I’d never seen them before and was curious.

They taste like a cross between a green olive and a caper (two flavors I love), but they have weird little grainy seeds inside so I think I’ll stick with either olives OR capers from now on. I did use them to make a pasta dish with roasted cauliflower, though, and THAT was pretty good.

Happy Friday!


Another Raw Kale Salad

My wisdom tooth is out, and honestly the whole procedure and recovery has been WAY more mellow than I was afraid it would be.  I’m not supposed to run until Monday (boooo) but other than that, things are pretty good.

I made a raw kale salad (and a couscous-chickpea salad) for dinner Thursday night.  I cannot get enough of raw kale these days.  There’s not really a recipe to go with this one… I just chopped up a head of curly kale, added about a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and massaged for a few minutes, then topped with diced avocado, pumpkin seeds, and a pinch of salt.

After last week’s marmalade fail, it’s been nice to have some things actually going right in the kitchen.  Some of that just might be due to a new gadget I acquired!

I’ve been wanting one of these for years because so many baking books talk about how their recipes are written in weight, and measuring ingredients by volume won’t give you the same results.  When I made the compost cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar they didn’t turn out right, probably in part because I didn’t weigh out the ingredients.

The first recipe I tried with the scale was the blueberry and cream cookies from that book, and they were perfect!

I’m going to try a variation on this recipe soon and I really hope it works out so I can blog about it!

Ellie probably would have loved one of those cookies, but she got a thrilling dinner of carrots and avocado instead.

I give her purees most of the time, but sometimes I’ll give her chunks of food and let her feed herself.  It makes a HUGE mess but I want her to get used to the idea that food isn’t always going to be in the form of mush on a spoon.

Quinoa, Tempeh, and Bean Sprout Bowls

Happy Pi Day!  The one day of the year a small part of me wishes I were a math teacher.

Actually, I don’t think I ever want to be a math teacher, even today. Science and PE just sound a lot more fun.

I wish I had pie for you, but I don’t.  I do have some delicious bean sprouts and tempeh, though!  And some fun facts (or lazy writing…your call)

Fact 1: I got my hip X-rayed today.  The doctor wants to make sure everything looks good around the hardware (the 3 titanium screws I’ve had since my femoral neck stress fracture about 13 years ago).  I’m hoping for good news.

Fact 2: If you roast red potatoes and sweet potatoes together and make a salad out of them, you’ll be glad you did.

 Fact 3: Someone is 6 months and 2 days old today, and is entirely too grown up, sitting in her high chair and eating bananas like she’s been doing it forever.

Fact 4: I’ve now done this DVD twice and I’m a believer.  I don’t necessarily think I’m going to have a six-pack in six weeks, but I know that my abs will be stronger, and of course I’m a fan of that.

Fact 5 (thanks for sticking with me): The vanilla bean snickerdoodles in Joy the Baker’s cookbook are incredible, and are definitely contributing to my lack of six-pack (but they’re worth it).

I know bean sprouts aren’t exactly glamorous, but they cook amazingly quickly, and they’re incredibly satisfying to grow yourself (which we just did for the first time!)  Here they get stir-fried in a very simple mix of orange juice, soy sauce, and honey, then topped with sesame seeds and avocado.  Served over quinoa, it’s a nice quick, healthy meal.


(adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook via Eats Well With Others)

Quinoa, Lentil, and Kale Salad

Last night, Mike and I put a huge dent in that bowl of leftover Halloween candy. I don’t want to think about it. At least we had this for dinner…nothing like kale and lentils to make you feel really healthy, even if you just ate far too many Whoppers and peanut butter cups.

I was so excited about my race this weekend that I decided to sign up for a few more. I’m already doing the Oakland half marathon in March and the Big Sur marathon in April, but now I’ve added two other races to my calendar.

In January, I will be running a very challenging 21 KM trail race in Pacifica. Check out the elevation gain…2900 feet total!

Looks painful and awesome at the same time.

Then in July I’m running the 2nd Half Marathon in San Francisco.

I’ve done the first half and the full before, so this will round it all out. The course isn’t terribly inspiring, but the weather is pretty much always perfect and a bunch of my friends are running it, so I couldn’t resist signing up.

Now I just need to keep increasing mileage without injuring myself. So far the running every other day plan is working really well. I did 6 miles yesterday, planning on 5 tomorrow, and I might be doing an 8K race on Sunday.

Grain-based salads like this always make me feel like I’m eating well. This one has a lot of protein coming from the quinoa and lentils, and the lemon dressing and sun-dried tomatoes keep it tasting bright and fresh. It makes a lot, so if you don’t like left-overs you might want to halve the recipe.


1 cup french green lentils
1 cup quinoa
3 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped (4-5 cups)
1 large avocado, diced

1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
pinch each salt, pepper, and sugar

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for about 15 minutes, then drain and chop finely.

While the tomatoes are soaking, put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with about 2 inches of water. Add a pinch of salt and boil for about 20 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Rinse and drain.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add the quinoa, turn the heat down to low, and simmer, covered, until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, let stand about 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the kale and stir fry until wilted and bright green, 4-5 minutes.

Combine the quinoa, lentils, kale, and tomatoes in a large bowl and mix well.

Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together with a pinch each of salt, pepper, and sugar. Pour over the salad and toss well. Taste and add salt and additional lemon juice if necessary.

Serve topped with diced avocado.

Roasted Beet and Grapefruit Salad

Clearly I could never be a food stylist.

I kind of tried to artfully arrange slices of beets, avocado, and grapefruit, but then I sort of ruined it by chucking handfuls of walnuts and pomegranate seeds on top.  At least it’s healthy!  

This salad is part of my continued quest to eat a large variety of produce and not just handfuls of chocolate chips.  It’s definitely an uphill battle.

Being home all day definitely makes it easier to eat a ton of produce (if I can keep myself from eating everything I bake).  In just over a month I’ll be back at work and I’ll have to do a little more planning in advance to make sure I have healthy lunches and snacks on hand.  I always kind of failed at that last year, and ended up eating peanut butter and jelly pretty much every day.  But I’m hoping that now I can figure out combinations I like, that I can prep in advance, so my lunches are interesting and healthy.

Roasting beets takes awhile, and so does sectioning grapefruit, so this probably won’t end up as one of my go-tos when packing my lunch.  But it’s so pretty and so full of good things I definitely plan on making it again!

2 medium beets, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
4-6 oz baby spinach
1 grapefruit
1 avocado, thinly sliced
3 tbsp toasted walnuts
seeds of 1 pomegranate

3 Tbsp freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (squeeze the membranes left from sectioning the grapefruit)
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp walnut oil
1 tsp dijon
1 tsp agave
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the beets into thin wedges and toss with the oil. Wrap in foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Let cool completely.

To section the grapefruit, cut off the outer rind and membrane, then cut out the sections (here’s a how-to with pictures).

To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together.

Place the spinach in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Divide among individual bowls, then top each with a few slices of beet, avocado, and grapefruit. Sprinkle with walnuts and pomegranate seeds.

Summer Black Bean Quinoa Bowls

I’ve been on summer break since June 10th.  Almost 2 months.  I had a few things on my summer to-do list, one of which happened to be visiting the Thursday morning farmers market which cannot be more than 2 miles from my house.  And yet it took me almost two months to actually go.  And now I’m pretty irritated with myself that it took me that long because it was AMAZING.   Huge, reasonably priced, lots of organic stuff, lots of variety…

Even though it was cold and drizzly, the place was pretty packed (and I didn’t get there until the last hour).  I had a list, but ended up buying about 3 times more than I planned on because everything looked so good.

That’s just a little glance at the awesomeness that came home with me: 2 kinds of kale, nectarines, strawberries, apricots, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers,  an eggplant, a HUGE bunch of basil… I also got some grapes that looked highly appealing but ended up being gross and sour.  BUMMED.

Multiple caprese salads have been consumed since this little market outing.  Best lunch ever.

I also happened to drive by my school on the way to the market and saw cars in the parking lot.  I figured people would be back sometime in August, but wasn’t sure which date.  I was SO excited to get back into my classroom (the floors are SO CLEAN!), see my principal, and pick up a few things to work on for my sub.

Ohhh California Physical Science Teacher’s Edition, I’ve missed you.

I’ve tried to get myself back on track with meal planning after winging it for the past few weeks, but this was one of those winging it meals that worked out really well.  It feels kind of ridiculous writing a recipe for it, because it’s incredibly flexible and you can really adapt it however you choose based on what you have on hand.  But I was so in love with the combination I put together that I’m going to list what I did. It’s PERFECT for summer because it includes both zucchini and cherry tomatoes, both of which are insanely fresh and delicious right now. Summer, please don’t go anywhere.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or vegetable broth
a pinch of salt
2-3 cups black beans, drained
1/2 tsp chili powder
a big pinch onion powder <– (I hardly ever use this…but we happen to have some around for some reason)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
a big pinch or two red pepper flakes
1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
a few tbsp of your favorite salsa
1 avocado, diced

Start with quinoa: Combine the quinoa and broth or water (with a pinch of salt) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat but keep covered.

Heat the beans in another pan with the chili powder and onion powder (add more to taste if needed).

In a medium skillet, saute the zucchini in the olive oil with the garlic and pepper flakes until tender and golden-brown.

Assemble the bowls: Start with a big scoop of quinoa (fluff with a fork first), then top with beans, cherry tomatoes, avocado, zucchini, and salsa. Sour cream would be nice here too, if you're so inclined.

Almost-raw vegan creamy broccoli soup

I may have slightly over-indulged in home-made coleslaw and milk chocolate ice cream this weekend. I definitely do not subscribe to the “oh crap I ate so horribly I better go to the gym and work it all off” mentality (and Megan wrote a great post that explains exactly what I mean better than I could), but I do realize that I feel much better when I’m working out consistently and eating lots of fruits and vegetables (duh?)

ANYWAY… after 3 days of unpacking, cleaning, less than stellar eating, and generally feeling kind of like a mess (which happens when your life is in boxes, I guess), I turned it all around today and felt a whole lot better.

Today got off to a kind of slow start… I ended up getting some work done for my online class, then fell asleep on the couch for a couple hours, but I did manage to get to the gym and bike for 45 minutes, with some upper body weights afterwards.

I knew I wanted something pretty healthy, because except for grilled corn and and coleslaw, my life has been a little lacking in vegetables lately. I tried out an almost entirely raw broccoli soup recipe from this book:

I say almost-raw because you steam the broccoli for a few minutes, but other than that, there’s no cooking involved. I was highly skeptical because it seemed like a random mix of ingredients but this stuff was GOOD. Even Mike approved, and he’s quick to call me out when I make food that is a little too hippie-ish. It tastes a little like guacamole (because of the avocado) but with a slightly more complex flavor profile because of the herbs and lemon. I didn’t realize it until after I’d taken the picture, but I accidentally left out the onion. I’m kind of glad I did though, because I’m not a huge fan of raw onion, and I think there was plenty of flavor without it.

You may have seen a couple other blogs giving this book away (I know Anne and Joanne both did) and I have a copy to give away too!

I like the mix of recipes (for food as well as beauty products) and chapters about foods that can boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve PMS symptoms. Definitely a useful resource if you’re interested in improving your diet! TO WIN: just leave a comment telling me your favorite healthy food (linking to the recipe would be awesome, but you definitely don’t have to). I’ll randomly pick a winner July 7th at 8 PM.

And the winner is…. Julie! Enjoy the book!

FTC Disclaimer: Vega sent me two copies of this book for free – one to review and one to give away. The views expressed above are entirely my own

(Must Have Been Something I Ate) by Peggy Kostopoulos)

1 medium head broccoli, cut into florets and steamed just until tender
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped (optional – I left it out)
1 clove garlic, minced
1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
half an avocado, diced

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/4 avocado, diced
pinch cayenne

Combine the broccoli, celery, garlic, ginger, onion (if using), lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper, water and half avocado in a blender and puree until smooth. Add more water as needed until soup reaches desired consistency (I added about 1 1/2 cups total). Drizzle in olive oil and stir until smooth.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, avocado, and cayenne. Serve immediately.

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I have no shame. It’s my birthday and I’m celebrating it to the max, telling the world that damn it, I’m 27 and HAPPY about it!

26 was an AWESOME year. I know I overuse that word, and my mother the editor will probably send me a list of more interesting adjectives as soon as she reads this. Anyway… the highlights:

– I ran a huge PR and qualified for Boston at the San Francisco marathon

– I applied for a million and a half teaching jobs and got one in Daly City. I didn’t even know where Daly City was until I looked up the HR page for the district, but I LOVE where I work and am thrilled to be there!

– I visited my 30th country (New Zealand)

– We moved to the Bay Area

– I found out I was pregnant!

– I ran the Boston marathon with my dad (and have managed to work that info into pretty much every post since then)

I think 27 will top 26 though. From what I hear, having a kid is life changing in a way nothing else can really match. Less than 4 months to go, and I can’t wait!

Anyway, there’s no real way to tie this pasta into all this nonsense, so I’m just going to tell you that both Mike and I adored it, it took maybe 20 minutes start to finish (including boiling the pasta!), and it’s incredibly delicious. I only had dried basil and I’m sure fresh would be better, but it’s like the creamiest, smoothest pesto imaginable.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a celebratory run to do and a cake to frost!

(adapted from Oh She Glows)

6-8 ounces brown rice or whole wheat spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
1 large ripe avocado
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp dried basil
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil

Put a large pot of salted water over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, pulse the garlic, half the lemon juice and olive oil until smooth. Add the avocado, basil, and salt to taste, and continue to pulse until you have a creamy sauce. Add more salt, lemon juice, or basil as needed.

Drain the pasta and toss with the avocado sauce. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of black pepper.

Barley and Asparagus Salad

I am spoiled. So spoiled. I pay a high price to live where I do, but with the ocean a few minutes away, a city full of amazing food, and fresh local produce pretty much year-round, I feel pretty lucky to call California home. At least, until a big earthquake hits.

If you ever find yourself in Berkeley like I did the other day, please do yourself a favor and visit Berkeley Bowl. The produce section is indescribably amazing. Not only do they have about 20 different kinds of apples and 10 kinds of potatoes, they have signs telling you where each and every item was grown. Except for the shallots and a red onion (which I got at Trader Joe’s a while ago), all the produce in this salad is from California. There were huge piles of local asparagus, ripe avocados, and beautiful oranges. Mike’s only request for dinner was lots of vegetables, so I decided a salad — with barley to make it more filling — would be perfect.

Since I’m not working this week, it was the perfect opportunity to go meet Mike for lunch in the city.

We went to the Ferry Building, which has a huge variety of lunch options. We ended up at Delica.

I got 3 salads: wasabi potato salad (awesome), burdock salad (also tasty), and the hijiki and soybean salad (which is really similar to something I’ve made before).

My only complaint is that the serving sizes were TINY, but that was okay because it meant I had room for dessert!

Cookies and cream gelato… I need more of you in my life.

I love this weather and this view!


1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp orange zest
pinch sugar, salt, and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup pot barley (slightly less processed than pearl barley, which you can sub if that’s what you have)
2 cups water
3 ounces mixed salad greens
12 spears asparagus, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

Bring the water to a boil and add the barley. Turn down to low and simmer, covered, about 45 minutes or until barley is tender. Let cool.

Blanch the asparagus: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 30 seconds, then drain and submerge into cold water to stop the pieces from cooking. Drain well and set aside.

Put the greens and barley in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss, then add the asparagus, avocado, walnuts, and onion. Mix to combine, then serve.


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