Basil Avocado Hummus [Recipe]

Creamy hummus is the key to life.

I’m on exaggerating a little.

I first learned the secret to achieving store-bought-creamy hummus at home a couple of years ago.  If you peel the beans before you blend them, the resulting hummus is almost impossibly smooth.  And that’s exactly what I did for this week’s Basil Avocado Hummus.

Peeling garbanzo beans

Peel EVERY little Garbanzo?!  I thought you had to be nuts to waste all that time peeling a can of beans… until I tried it. … 

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Watermelon Basil Gazpacho [Recipe]

It’s pretty hot and humid right now in San Diego.

Feels like my Atlanta hometown!

We’ve had hot soup since Vegas has had a cold, but in the middle of the day there’s no way I could stomach it.  I thought of making tomato gazpacho, but I had half a watermelon in the fridge that needed to be used.  My gazpacho took a strange (but REALLY good) twist and went tropical.

Watermelon Basil Gazpacho recipe… 

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Resetting My Diet + WIAW

All good things must come to an end.

Until I figure out a way to live in Europe.

I’m a firm believer in balance and enjoying life.  Enjoying is just what we did in Greece.  There were tons of good eats, alllll the drinks, and a nice break from the gym (though we walked a LOT).  Vegas and I had a blast and soaked up every moment.  Coming off of that I have no regrets, but feel ready to get back to a healthier diet.

diet… 

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Strange But Good Trials

I have some strange friends.

 

In the most delicious sense of the word.

One of my favorite things about #strangebutgood every week is all of the fun ideas I get from all of the link ups.  I pin them to the #strangebutgood board for safe keeping until I can make them.  Last week’s links were so good I’ve already tried two!

Exhibit A

Chocolate PB Pancakes

Arman’s Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Waffles Pancakes.  I basically followed his recipe, except I reduced the milk so they would work as pancakes and I replace the sugar with Xylitol.  They were the fluffiest rounds of deliciousness I’ve made in a while!

My topping was peanut flour sauce (peanut flour + stevia + coconut milk) and the following strange creation…

 

Exhibit B

Cocoa-Maca Pancakes

Christa’s Chocolate Maca Hemp Seed Spread has been my topping of choice lately.  It was so easy!  I just dumped everything in my Vitamix and blended away.  I left mine a little chunkier than Christa – I’m a fan of crunchy nut butters, so I thought this should be similarly treated.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted chocolate spread or a little #yolkporn atop my protein pancakes yesterday.  So I had both.

Other things this is good on: ice cream, protein bowls, apple slices, carrots, sweet potatoes… your finger…

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Then there’s the honor of having someone actually brave MY #strangebutgood recipes!  Both Megan and Heather braved my Creamy (Raw) Red Pepper Soup and gave it the Instagram post of approval!

Red Pepper Soup

Raw Red Pepper Soup

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

 

 

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



***

Speaking of strange… I’m headed to a crawfish boil tonight.  Those little bugs creep me out!

Have you made any #strangebutgood recipes?

What is your favorite thing to top with a seed/nut butter?

 

Creamy (Raw) Red Pepper Soup

Rules can inspire creativity.

Translation: no body puts baby in a corner!

One of my favorite things about this particular cleanse is that, while there are parameters, the rules are easy to work within.

For instance, one of the guidelines is to eat more raw veggies than cooked.  I love raw vegetables, but sometimes that can get a bit boring.  Raw soup, on the other hand… that’s interesting!  Eating a soup raw may seem strange, but it really is good.  And perfect for this warmer weather!

Creamy Raw Red Pepper Soup

The cool thing about this chilled soup is the creaminess.  The avocado and hemp seeds lend healthy fats and a smooth, cooling factor that is perfect against the jalapeño kick.

Red pepper and carrots add a natural sweetness.  It’s still early in the season, so I added just a bit of stevia.  I may or may not have added an extra jalapeño in my version… don’t worry, that’s not in the recipe as written below.

Red Pepper Soup

All you need is a blender to make this souper-easy soup.  I used my Vitamix, but any high-speed blender would work.  If you chop up the veggies a little more, I think you could even make it in a Magic Bullet!

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Raw Red Pepper Soup

Creamy Raw Red Pepper Soup

  • 1 C warm water
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 T hemp seeds
  • 1 T red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional: 3-4 drops lemon liquid Stevia 

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender (I used a Vitamix) and process until thick and smooth.  Allow to run for 4-5 minutes until slightly warm.

Makes 4 sides or 2 larger servings.

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



***

I always feel a little high after eating raw – is that just me?

What inspires (or forces) you to think outside the box in the kitchen?

Are you a raw food fan?

Skinny Limits Juice Cleanse Review

I eat a lot of protein.

 

It’s my thing.

For my goals, I need to eat all the protein.  It’s muscle fuel while I’m trying to build.  It’s also hard on the body to digest that much protein continuously (it’s been months and months of packing it in).  When Skinny Limits reached out and offered a 3-day juice cleanse for review I decided it was the perfect time to… well, be cleansed.

Skinny Limits Juice Cleanse… 

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Marvelous Smoothie Crack: Mocha Beet Frappuccino

Crack is whack.

Thank you, Whitney Houston for that insightful quote. 

After a long hiatus, I am jumping back into Heather‘s Meatless Monday link up!

MMAZ

I would never expose you to something whack, so this post isn’t actually about crack.  It is a super-energizing smoothie though!

This week’s MMAZ link up is about making someone else’s recipe.  Unfortunately, I am unable to follow recipes (or directions).  Rather, I took inspiration from someone’s recipe.

Sarah created this vegan Mocha Chip Mousse last week.  I loved how she used tofu to create a protein-rich healthy-ish dessert.  It made me remember my favorite Carrot Cake Batter Shake, where I used tofu to get a milk shake consistency.  Why hadn’t I done it with chocolate?!  And coffee… this was a frapp waiting to happen!  There may have been some strangeness too… I’ve been loving chocolate-beet smoothies lately and I carried that idea over to make this a Mocha Beet Frappuccino. :)

Mocha Beet Frapp

Recipe for this crack-like creation at the bottom…

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First I have to share some marvelous!!!  I had the pleasure of dining with one of my favorite ladies: Sarena!  She invited me over for dinner with her family.  I’d never met her crew before, but felt like I already knew them thanks to social media.  Tony (her husband) said he felt like Instragram was coming to life.  :)

Sarena dinner

If you’ve never tried any of Sarena’s gluten-free baked goods before, let me assure you this stuff is the jam.  She made a loaf of gluten-free bread that was better than most of the “real” bread I’ve had.

We started with a salad, then for dinner enjoyed succotash, grilled pork, and homemade bread.  And more bread.  I wish I’d gotten a pic of the Pavlova Sarena made for dessert too.  It was fantastic!

 

Also marvelous was a sunny Sunday run up Stone Mountain.  Remember those booty building incline sprints?  I’m back at it. :)

While we’re talking about booty, I finally picked up a pair of the Nike Pro booty shorts I see everyone on Instagram wearing.  They are actually amazing – comfy and breathable.

I shamelessly wore them all day long.  Including to 2 grocery stores.

New Nike Pro shorts

Killer bicep/tricep workout, followed up with more crack.

Check out what else is marvelous in blog land this week in Katie’s link up!

Marvelous Monday

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 Mocha Beet Frappuccino

Mocha Beet Frappuccino

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 serving (1.5 oz) tofu
  • 1/4 C roasted beet (or 1 tsp beet powder)
  • 1 T instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 T cocoa powder
  • 1/4 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • 5-6 drops vanilla liquid stevia
  • Pinch of xanthan and guar gums (optional)
  • Ice and water (adjust according to thickness preference)

Toss it all in the blender and mix until smooth.

Inhale.  Bounce off the walls.

***

Why don’t I ever remember that it’s a bad idea to run up mountains the day before leg day?!  Doh.

Do you run around in your gym clothes all day?

Do you even gluten-free products even though you don’t have an allergy?  I like trying all the foods! 

Raw Tomato and Corn Salad + Weekend Marvels

Merry Marvelous!

Are you ever so cheerful you annoy yourself?

It’s false cheer.  Sort of.  I’m not in a bad mood… but does anyone really look forward to a Monday like they do a Saturday?  Yet another reason to love Katie’s Marvelous Monday link up. :)

Marvelous Monday

First up in the world of marvelous is this #vitamixporn.  That’s a legit hash tag, no?

This deliciousness is a Chocolate-Beet protein smoothie.  It was so thick and creamy I ate it with a spoon… like I do with just about every smoothie.  It’s the only way to go after a hot, sweaty romp in the gym. 😉

chocolate beet protein smoothie

You can make this in a regular blender, it just might not be quite as ice cream-like.  I posted the recipe here on Facebook.

Marvelous item #2 involves one of my favorite movies – Grease!  Saturday it was playing it on the big screen at a the Fox Theatre… it was done like a sing-along!  The words to every song were scrolled across the bottom of the screen and they handed out little props for people to use throughout the movie.

They had a costume contest before the movie started!

The less-then-marvelous part is that I was supposed to go with my best friend, but at the last minute she got the stomach flu!  So I went by myself.  It was a little awkward due to the interactive nature, but I sat back and enjoyed the show and the people watching.  It was rich – the over 50 crowed came out in full-force dressed like Pink Ladies and T-Birds.

In the end, I was happy.  I was in a loner mood for some reason anyway.  When I got home there was more marvelous = clean sheets!  I put myself to bed with a book and a handmade mason jar candle.

candle

This next item is more hilarious than marvelous.  I was in the gym, minding my business, when I came upon a full spread of beauty supplies in the locker room.

The pic doesn’t even show it all.  I couldn’t fit in the towel wrap, 2 pairs of shoes, flip-flops, bobby pins, comb… and dirty clothes on the floor.  I chuckled… and then I Instagrammed.  (She was in the shower… I’m not quite that ballsy.)

gym mess

Yes, that is a hair weave on the counter.

I had to take a picture.*  If I had to bring THAT much crap to shower at the gym, I’d just go home.  (I have never showered at a gym, actually.)  If I hadn’t been in a hurry, I would have waited to see what she looked like after getting all dolled up.

*Nothing shocks me anymore at my gym – last week there was a girl there carrying a dog around in her purse.  In the weightroom.  While using the leg extension machine.

 

Lastly, I have to include food in the weekend marvelousness.  This happened before I made it to the market.  you can always tell when it’s the end of the week because I’m eating a random hodge podge of protein.  There are 3 types of fish on that plate.

The real marvelous part was the salad.  I managed to end the week with a lot of veggie goodies left over, and throw together a fresh, raw salad.

Fish and raw salad

If you haven’t had corn raw before, check out this #strangebutgood Berry Corny Salad too.  It fabulously sweet and crunchy!

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Raw Tomato Corn Thyme Salad

Raw Tomato Corn Thyme Salad

  • 1/4 C sweet corn kernels
  • 1/4 C cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 C raw asparagus, sliced
  • 1 T diced shallot
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • Drizzle champagne vinegar (or other vinegar)
  • Freshly ground black pepper 

Mix together veggies and drizzle of vinegar.  Finish with fresh black pepper.

Note: You could also add olive oil, nuts, or other herbs!

***

It must be the crazy humidity, but I’m craving raw foods lately… which simply means I’m (re)learning you can put just about anything in a blender. :)

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in the gym?

Would you go to a show at a theatre by yourself?  What is your favorite character from Grease?  Mine’s Rizzo!

Sweet Corn (Protein) Shake

Since discovering my love of corn, there is only one thing to do.

Besides simply “eat it.”

Turn it into a smoothie.  Duh.  You have to trust me on this one.  Corn seems strange, I know.  but it’s good.  I mean… have I lead you astray before?!  Don’t answer that.

Sweet Corn Protein Shake 1

Raw corn is super sweet.  Actually most raw veggies are sweeter to me raw than cooked.  This makes them perfect candidates for smoothies – Carrot Cake and Zucchini Bread smoothies happen weekly in my house – and you KNOW I add spinach to everything.

The avocado adds creaminess to the smoothie.  You could also use banana (I was out).  I never finish a whole avocado before it goes bad, so I eather bake with it or cut the leftovers into slices and store it inthe freezer for smoothies.

Sweet Corn Protein Shake 2

Lemon may seen weird, but that zestiness can actually bring out sweet flavors.  I added just a twist here!

Ginger also gives this drink it a teeny zing… you could leave it out, but remember it (and lemon) is a great detoxifier!!!

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Sweet Corn Protein Shake

Sweet Corn (Protein) Shake

  • 1/4 C raw corn
  • 2 T avocado
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 6-7 drops vanilla liquid stevia (or sweetneer of choice)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or other liquid)
  • Ice, to taste
  • Optional: squeeze of lemon, xanthan and/or guar gum (to thicken)

Put everything in the blender and mix until smooth.

Slurp away! 

________________________________________________________________________________________

 How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week?

The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends!

Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


***

#StrangeButGood turens 30 this week!!!  And I turn 30 in 2 weeks.  Scary.  

“Age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.” ~Joan Collins 

Do you drink more smoothies in the summer?  I can’t get enough!

What are your favorite veggies to eat raw?  Do you ever use them to make them sweet treats?

Mango Protein Lassi

Indian food is my jam.

 

As evidenced by the fact I’m apparently unable to post about anything else lately.

Someone mentioned a mango lassi the other day and it has popped up everywhere since then.  Long ago I made a Savory Protein Lassi, but this time I (for once) decided to go the traditional route and make a mango version.

At least the idea of it was traditional… I have serious doubts that you’d find a “real” lassi with spinach and protein powder.

Mango Protein Lassi

 

Who needs real when you can have a protein version?  This shake was a refreshing post-workout refuel treat.  With spring temperatures here, I’m loving the return of smoothies.  And smoothie bowls.

I add a little more ice to keep it thick.  There’s just something about eating them with a spoon that makes a protein smoothie that much more satisfying.

coriander

 

The coconut extract and coriander enhance the sweet mango.  Greek yogurt adds a creaminess, but if you don’t do dairy you can leave it out or use tofu or avocado to add to the cream-factor.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with coriander, it’s a subtle flavor that is warm and a bit nutty with a slight hint of citrus.  Coriander brightens and deepens flavors, but in a gentle way where most people wouldn’t be able to pick it out.  It rarely overpowers or detracts from other ingredients.  Rather, it only adds.  It’s good in sweet and savory dishes (I also used it in my Cauliflower & Eggplant Curry).

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Mango Protein Lassi

Mango Protein Lassi

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 champagne mango (~1/2 C)
  • 1/2 in piece fresh ginger
  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 C spinach (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • Stevia or other sweetener, to taste
  • Optional: 1/8 tsp of each Xanthan and Guar Gums (to thicken)
  • Ice + water, to taste

 

Place everything in a high-speed blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend until smooth(ie).

Enjoy by the spoonful.

***

I’m stopping with the Indian for a bit (I think).  My sister is coming back to the States and Cinco de Drinko Mayo is coming.  I’m feeling like a fiesta!!!

Have you ever used coriander before?  It’s great in baked goods too!

Is it warm yet where you are?  It’s warmer in ATL… but raining.  Obv.