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Eat Well Feel Well Avocado Dip

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On New Year’s Day I was horrified to discover that my favorite jeans, my coveted, size 12 jeans that I had once worked very hard to fit into, wouldn’t zip up.

Having spent the night at our friends new home in London, Ontario, I had two options:

A. Grab a coat hanger, lie down on the bed and pray I could suck in hard enough to get those bad boys to zip; or,

B. Put the clothes I wore the night before back on and hope that the other guests were too bleary eyed to remember what I had worn.

In utter denial I of course went for option A, but no amount of sucking in could hide the hideous muffin top that spilled over the waistband of my jeans, which if we’re honest wasn’t just any ordinary muffin, but a Costco-sized one. And so I showed up for breakfast in my party outfit. That morning I was thankful I finally had a chance to register for Eat Well Feel, love child f holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy and Michelle Uy, a yoga teacher.

While you might be hard-pressed to find evidence of it on this blog, I do try to eat clean when I can and take a holistic approach to health. I’ve admired Joy’s sensible approach to nutrition and wellness and her supernaturally shiny hair on Twitter for sometime, and so was looking forward to getting back to a healthy routine and a weekly yoga date with myself. I had wanted to take the course last year, but time and money and energy had never seemed to align.

Of course we ended up buying our house just days before classes started, which was my excuse for why I cheated my way through the entire six weeks, continuing to indulge in my afternoon sugar hit and greasy, Saturday morning everything-bagels with fried eggs, cheese and mayo. I recognize I still have a lot of cleaning up to do, but I have made a lot of positive changes so far this year and I am feeling no less than one million times better than I was on January 1. I wore my size 12 jeans last weekend;,my muffin top reduced to the size of what you might find on a continental breakfast buffet at a Days Inn.

Tuesday was our last class and to celebrate we had a potluck. Joy had mentioned the idea of a potluck early on in the course and I of course penciled it into my calendar right way. When Heidi Swanson released the recipe sampler from her yet-to-be-released cookbook I knew right away what my contribution to the spread would be. She called it Avocado and Mustard Seeds, but in my book (on my blog?) it will forever be known as Eat Well Feel Well Avocado Dip.

Eat Well Feel Well Avocado Dip
Makes about 2 cups
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day: Six Recipe Sampler

Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 jalapeno pepper, or to taste, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped

Method:

1. Cut each avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop the flesh into a small bowl. Add the lemon juice, salt and cilantro. Mash avocado gently with a fork, keeping the mixture chunky. Set aside.

2. Heat coconut oil in a covered-skillet over medium heat. When hot, add mustard seeds (Heidi warns to keep a lid on hand as the seeds will pop out of your pan. She was right). After a minute, stir in onion and saute 2 to 3 minutes, until translucent. Stir in garlic, curry powder and the jalapeno pepper.

3. Count to ten and remove from the heat. Stir in the avocado until just mixed, you want it to keep its shape. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a few more cilantro leaves.

4. Serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite dip vehicle. I served ours with Food Should Taste Good Olive Chips.

Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

One of my personal Secrets of Adulthood is that it is often better to just do it. Don’t bother asking! Go ahead! Do what you think is best!

This little lesson has served me well in two particular areas of my life. The first, in my work. Bosses are busy and it turns out they like it when you do brilliant things without being told or better yet, without interrupting to ask in the first place.

The second, is in my marriage. Coincidentally this is also where I learned another secret: sometimes not asking permission means you have to beg forgiveness. Like when you purchase a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer when your almost-husband is conveniently on an airplane, unreachable by telephone or email and therefore unable to weigh-in on the financial implications of such a purchase. The situation was diffused quickly once he realized that he would benefit greatly from me having unfettered access to high-tech baking equipment. But it was a close call.

Since then I’ve stuck to applying my secrets to less expensive things, like breakfast. I didn’t bother asking Jeff if he’d like a bowl of baked oatmeal for breakfast. Jeff believes that he knows what he does and does not like to eat. For instance, he does not like nuts (unless finely chopped upon a sundae or brownie) or seeds (except sesame, on a hamburger bun, and only then if there’s no other option). Had I asked, the answer would have been a firm “how about scrambled eggs?”

But because I vehemently disagree that he knows what it is he does and does not like to eat, I went ahead and made it anyway. Even with the walnuts! And the hazelnuts! And the pumpkin seeds! Jeff ate it all, with nary a pumpkin seed or a hazelnut or a walnut crumb left in the bowl. And he ate it all the next week when I made it again.

See? Sometimes it’s better just not to ask.

Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from So Good & Tasty via Green Kitchen Stories
Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 apples, peeled and diced
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup hazelnuts (I kept them whole but you might like them chopped
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 egg
2 cups milk (see note above)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Maple syrup, to taste, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease the bottom of a 10×8-inch baking dish and set aside.

2. Place oats, nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Add milk, agave and vanilla and stir well to combine.

4. Spread the apples evenly in the baking dish. Pour oat mixture to cover the apples, then pour wet ingredients over top, making sure everything is evening soaked. Drizzle melted butter over top and bake for 30-35 minutes until the oatmeal is set and lightly browned.

5. Let cool and serve, drizzled with maple syrup.