Turkey Day Prep: Pumpkin Hummus

You know you need something to let people snack on before the big meal, but you don’t want them to be too full to eat the meal you’ve been slaving over for days…

This recipe, from November 2015’s Food & Wine Magazine, takes the edge off but won’t ruin anyone’s dinner! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

How to Make It

In a food processor (I used my Vitamix), combine the chickpeas with the pumpkin, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne and 1/3 cup of water and puree until smooth. Season the hummus with salt and pepper and serve with pita chips or crudités.

Make Ahead

The pumpkin hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Low Carb Fruits & Veggies

#ThisGirlLovesToEat

Avocado Fries II

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When you get a new #KitchenToy, like the 6 qt, 1700 Watt #DashDeluxeAirFryer you experiment.  My husband said he loved the recipe last week for Air Fried Avocado Fries, but he drenched them in Spicy Ranch dressing, so I’m not sure if he was being objective, and the amount of salt from the almond flour in the main breading component just wasn’t doing it for me, so I decided to give them another shot.  This version wasn’t as heavy, or as salty, and, I think, much better suited to the buttery freshness of the avocado.

Air Fryer Avocado Fries II

  • 2 Medium Avocados
  • 2 TBLS Coconut Flour
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3 TBLS Extra Fine Almond Flour
  • 2/3 Cup Crushed Pork Rinds (Any Flavor)  I used 4505 Cracklins BBQ

Using a rolling pin, meat tenderizer, or even a rubber mallet from the garage, crush your pork rinds (TIP: I leave them in their bag or use a paper/zip bag to avoid a big mess) until they 1resemble coarse crumbs.  Using a fork, combine with the almond flour in a shallow dish.

Put the coconut flour in a zip bag or shallow bowl.  In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs.

Slice the avocado in half, remove from the shell, remove seed and slice each half into 4 portions.

Dip each slice in the egg wash then immediately coat with the crumb mixture.  Lay in a single layer in the basket of your air fryer.

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Set the temperature to 400° F and set your timer for 8 minutes of cooking time.  Open the drawer at with 1 minute remaining, and, depending on the thickness of your slices, you may want to add 1-2 minutes if you want them crispier/browner.  When your slices have reached your desired shade of brown, remove the basket from your Air Fryer and immediately move them to a serving dish.  I served with Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch dressing, which has only 2 grams of carbs per 2 TBLS serving, making this a perfect #KetoFriendly treat!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Air Fried Avocado Fries

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I bought another #KitchenToy and now have a whole new way to cook healthy meals.  Last week Amazon delivered a 6 quart, 1700 Watt, #DashDeluxeAirFryer to my front porch, and my avocados have finally ripened enough to give it a test run!  I’m not sure why, maybe because it was a killer #LightningDeal, but I bought the biggest one they make.  I hope I use it enough to justify giving up my storage space for it, it’s HUGE!


Air Fryer Avocado Fries

  • 2 Medium Avocados
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Flour (I use regular, not finely ground)
  • 1/2 Cup Crushed Pork Rinds (Any Flavor)  I like 4505 Cracklins Spicy Green Chili & Lime
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Paramesan Cheese (I like to use a 3 cheese blend of Asiago/Parmesan/Fontina)
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Using a chopper, food processor, or your Vitamix, crush your pork rinds until they 2resemble coarse crumbs.  Combine with the flour and cheese.

In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs.

Slice the avocado in half, remove from the shell, remove seed and slice each half into 4 portions.

Dip each slice in the egg wash then immediately coat with the crumb mixture.  Lay in a single layer in the basket of your air fryer.

Set the temperature to 400° F, set your timer for 10 minutes and cook for 5 of the 10 minutes.  Open the drawer at 5 minutes and flip the slices over then continue cooking to the end.  I served with a low carb spicy ranch dressing.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Tart & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

It’s finally cool enough in California, at least once the sun goes down, to justify getting the stock pot out to make a hearty soup that can serve as dinner with a big salad & crusty bread that can then live on as a couple of workday lunches too!  Great for the wallet AND the waistline!  This soup is so rich, and has such depth of flavor, that it seems like a cheat meal, which is a plus during the non-stop holiday feast season.

Tart & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1  –  2 to 2+1/2 lb Butternut Squash (Peeled/Seeded/Chopped into about 1″ Cubes)
  • 1  –  Large Granny Smith Apple (Cut into about 1″ Pieces – seeds/core/stem removed)
  • 3  –  Large Ribs Celery Chopped
  • 3  –  Carrots (Peeled/Chopped into about 1″ Pieces)
  • 1  –  Medium Yellow Onion (Peeled/Chopped into about 1″ Pieces)
  • 4  –  TBLS Butter
  • 1  –  32 oz Container Organic Chicken Stock
  • 1+1/2 Cups Water
  • Freshly Grated Sea Salt (To Taste)
  • Freshly Cracked Pepper (To Taste)
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
  • Cinnamon (1/2 to 1 tsp)
  • Cayenne Pepper (Pinch to 1/8th tsp)
  • Chopped Parsley (if desired)

Melt the butter in a medium stockpot and add the onions, carrot and celery.  Sauté over low heat about 10 minutes.  When onions just start to brown, add the squash, apple, salt, pepper, chicken stock and water.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring just to a boil.  When bubbles appear at the edges of the pan, reduce heat to low.  Cover pan tightly and simmer soup for 45 minutes until squash is completely softened.

Remove soup from heat and either process soup until smooth using your blender (I use my Vitamix) and returning to the pan after processed or an immersion blender as shown in the video.

Once soup is smooth, add the Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Cayenne.  Adjust spices to taste.

I came across a video that uses the same technique I use to make my soup, with slightly different measurements, and it’s much prettier, so I’ll give the standard #ShoutOut and #HighFive to Simply Recipes for producing a great (and quick) video that I can also use to demonstrate how to assemble my soup!

I’ve already been remiss at keeping up with my blog, so not having to produce a video is a definite bonus! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Mushroom-Spinach Spaghetti

mushspinspagKnowing that tonight will be a long one while we stay up late to watch the results of Election Night 2016, I am prepping dinner for tomorrow night ahead of time.  A recipe I love, that has no sauce, is easy to assemble, throw in the refrigerator a day ahead, and, as a bonus, is one that my husband will take to work for lunch afterward without complaint!

Mushroom-Spinach Spaghetti

  • 1 Pound Spaghetti, Spaghettini, or Angel Hair Pasta
  • 24 oz Sliced White and/or Baby Portobello Mushrooms (I used a combination of both)
  • 4 oz Fresh Spinach
  • 1 Stick Butter (8 TBLS)
  • 2 TBLS + 2 TBLS + 2 TBLS (all separate measures) Olive Oil
  • 4 oz Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 TBLS Garlic and Onion Spice Blend (You can combine equal amounts of onion powder and garlic powder if you don’t have a prepared blend on hand)
  • Fresh Ground Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

mush1Put your stick of butter (8 TBLS) into a large skillet, I prefer a well seasoned cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat.

When your butter has melted, add your mushrooms and 2 TBLS olive oil poured over the top.  Cook, stirring occasionally so that mushrooms don’t stick to pan, for about 2 minutes, then add yourmush1a garlic and onion spice blend, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking and stirring the mushrooms for about another 3 to 4 minutes until most of the moisture has been absorbed by the mushrooms.  Remove the mushrooms to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

spin1Add 2 TBLS olive oil to the skillet and add your spinach to the pan.  Using tongs to toss the spinach with the oil, cook tossing constantly until all of the spinach is wilted but not cooked all the way.  Immediately remove from the pan to the samespin2 bowl as the mushrooms and stir the mushrooms and spinach together.  Set bowl aside and allow to cool while you prepare the pasta.  When your mushroom-spinach mixture has cooled, sprinkle your 4 ounces of shredded parmesan cheese over and stir it in completely.

Prepare your pasta according to package directions with one important change:  Make sure that you break the noodles in half lengthwise before you put them in the water.  When your pasta has finished cooking drain it and toss it with your remaining 2 TBLS olive oil then add it to your mushroom-spinach mixture.  Use your tongs to make sure your mushroom-spinach mixture is well combined and coating your pasta completely then either serve immediately or pour it into a 9 X 13 Pyrex baking pan and cover to keep warm.

mushspinspag

If you plan to make this a day ahead like I am, place covered baking pan in the refrigerator. To prepare for serving the next day, top cold pasta with a couple of TBLS butter (divided into small pats) and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes.  You can also just toss individual servings into the microwave. 😉

With this easy (and inexpensive) make ahead dinner, the only decision you’ll need to worry about making tomorrow night is which wine to drink!

If you are on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood