Friday, June 22, 2012

Creamy Avocado and Dill Dressing

While I haven't written a post about my family's garden so far this spring, the plants are growing strong. I have been busy with school and wasn't able to help plant the garden, so I haven't taken much notice to what has been going on back there.  My Dad has gone to the homeland (Italy) for a bit and I have been left in charge to take care of the garden so I have been spending more time watering and monitoring the growth of the plants. We have had lots of lettuce and in a few days we will have some garlic scapes and kale. We may also have some zucchini which I think is crazy! That plant has grown more overnight than I could ever have imagined, along with fast growing fruit under those blossoms.

With all the fresh lettuce I have been incorporating lots of big salad into my meals. My go-to dressing is just to drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar and then add some crushed black pepper and sea salt. When I have some more time, I like to try out new recipes which have a few more ingredients but have much more interesting flavours. Last summer I was hooked on this dressing. I recently made this potato salad from Oh She Glows and tried out the extra dressing on a regular old salad. It was fantastic! This really inspired me to get working on a dressing that I have been wanting to make for a while, a creamy avocado dill dressing inspired by a dressing from a vegan restaurant in Montreal, Aux Vivres. To be honest, it has been a while since I had this dressing and I can't even remember what it tasted like, but it definitely incorporated dill and avocado. The following recipe is probably far off from the inspiration but was tasty none the less.

Creamy Avocado and Dill Dressing
1 avocado
juice of 1.5 lemon
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste*

1. Blend altogether in a food processor

If you love lemon, you will love this dressing. It tastes even better the next day so if you can make it ahead of time, do it! The lemon prevents the avocado from turning brown so the dressing stays a lovely green colour. Now, normally I don't add much salt to my food but this time I have to say, do not skip on it. I sprinkled some salt and pepper on the resulting salad and it was definitely needed. It helped to round out the lemon a little bit. The dressing was good to spice up a salad of just lettuce, or of black beans and cucumbers. This would also work well as a dip for veggies or crackers as it is fairly thick in consistency.

I hope everyone is enjoying the weather and all of the fresh produce that comes with it!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Omega-3 Loaded Vegan Overnight Oats

Considering how often I eat overnight oats (averaging 5 times per week for the last 2 years) it is amazing I have only mentioned them twice, once in passing, and once with a recipe. I have my favourite version, which includes banana, oats, ground flax, chia seeds, unsweetened almond milk, and almond butter. I have substituted banana with raspberries and blueberries, I've added shredded unsweetened coconut, chopped almonds, hemp seeds, cinnamon, jam, and vanilla extract, and I've also come up with an 'overnight oats in a flash,' where you cook some oatmeal in the morning, allow it to cool, and then add all the fix in's just like overnight oats.

Have you heard about the importance of omega-3's fatty acids? While I have always been a fan, lately I have read more into the subject, particularly the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (Maybe one day I will write a post about it but not today). Let's just say it made me really want to up my omega-3 intake. Omega-6 fatty acids are everywhere and you really need to put in some effort to increase omega-3 consumption, especially being a vegetarian and not eating fish. Vegetarian sources include nuts, flax, hemp, and chia seeds. The best sources which have much more omega-3 fatty acids than omega 6's, are flax and chia. Hence why I like to load my overnight oats up with those seeds. Which lead to this version of overnight oats.

Omega-3 Loaded Vegan Overnight Oats
Serves 1

1 banana, chopped
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tbsp large flake rolled oats
1 cup non-dairy unsweetened milk (Soy or almond work well here)
1 tbsp almond butter

1. The night before, mix together the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. In the morning, give the mixture a stir and add some more milk to reach desired consistency.
3. Top with your choice of nut butter.

The picture looks gastly but anyone who has tried overnight oats knows they taste much better than they look. The great thing about overnight oats is they are so customizable, everyone has their favourite recipe. I don't make my oats like this every day (chia seeds are expensive and consuming 2 tbsp a day would put  me in the poor house) but it is just another variation you should give a try!

I don't normally include (or even calculate) nutritional information but his recipe here has an awesome nutritional profile for breakfast and I thought I would share it.

Nutritional Information:

calories              450
carboydrate       50 g
     fiber             15.6 g
protein              12.6
fat                     24.8
     saturated      2.2 g
     omega-3      5.7 g
     omega-6      4.0 g