Hummus-Avocado Veggie Sandwich

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Cold cuts make me shudder. Their slimy texture and uniform shape lead me to suspect that I’m eating fake food—and that’s probably true. But peanut butter sandwiches, to me, are for breakfast or for hiking, so I need lunchtime alternatives to deli meat.

This sandwich is simple, savory, and full of vegetables. You can substitute any veggies as long as they’re thinly sliced. I smeared each piece of bread with something creamy: avocado on one side and hummus on the other. A slice of cheese would be a good substitute for one of those, though.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pieces of whole-grain bread (gluten-free if desired)
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • roasted red pepper hummus
  • dried oregano
  • handful of baby spinach

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Put the bread slices in the toaster. While you wait for them to toast, peel the carrots, and thinly slice them on a heavy angle. IMG_5941
  2. Spread one piece of toast with the avocado, and spread hummus on the other piece. Sprinkle oregano on the hummus.
  3. Fill the sandwich with carrots and spinach. Cut it in half and serve with any remaining carrot slices on the side.

Serves 1. Active and total time 10 minutes.

Raspberry-Avocado Smoothie

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As is obvious from the lag between blog posts, I haven’t been in the kitchen much this summer. The large box of produce I get delivered every other week from Boston Organics seems to make me cook less; I’ve been eating a lot of simple veggie wraps, salads, and smoothies.

I’ve heard that avocado is delicious in smoothies, but I don’t normally buy high-fat avocados. After getting one in the produce delivery, I experimented with eating a quarter of an avocado at a time. With a relatively low-fat meal, it didn’t cause any heartburn.

To store the rest of the avocado between uses, leave the extra flesh in the skin and wrap the whole thing tightly in plastic wrap. Be sure to push the plastic into empty space in the skin.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • dash of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt OR more banana (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the first 6 ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
  2. For an extra-thick smoothie, add yogurt or more banana and blend again.

Serves 1. Active and total time 5 minutes. Adapted from http://www.texanerin.com/2012/04/raspberry-banana-avocado-smoothie.html

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Bake

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Carrots for breakfast sounded weird to me, but I’ll try anything that is promised to taste like carrot cake. (The unparalleled carrot torte from Konditor Meister is a constant craving of mine.) These oatmeal bars are filling and sneak in a serving of vegetables. Topped with a dollop of vanilla yogurt (instead of a heavy layer of cream cheese frosting), they provide a balanced and tasty breakfast.

I like to make these bars on a Sunday night so I have a quick breakfast ready for the workdays all week. This oatmeal bake would also make a wonderful brunch; serve it with fruit salad. If you mix up the ingredients ahead of time, you can pop the dish in the oven when guests arrive and be free to laze about and enjoy your morning.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups oats, gluten free if desired
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • 3 tbsp chopped pecans
  • 3 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 12 oz nonfat vanilla yogurt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the rolled oats, baking powder, spices, brown sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl; then add grated carrots and raisins and stir to mix. IMG_5464
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, add the milk and vanilla, and mix well.
  4. Put the maple syrup, pecans, and almonds in a small bowl and mix to combine.
  5. Spoon the oat mixture into the baking dish in an even layer, pressing down with a spatula. Then pour the egg mixture over the oats and sprinkle the nut mixture on top. IMG_5465
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, until the oatmeal is set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the edges of the baking dish. Cut 6 bars, and serve each one with a dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.

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Serves 6. Active time 10 minutes; total time 55 minutes. Adapted from http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/baked-carrot-cake-oatmeal/

 

Perfect Low-Fat Banana Muffins

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After much experimentation, I declare this the best butter-free, oil-free banana muffin recipe. The key to keeping it moist is to use 3 bananas. Most recipes call for only 2, but these 3-banana muffins are definitely less dry.

These muffins aren’t as velvety as the butter-filled ones, but they still hit the spot. They’re nice and dense, which makes them a filling snack. I recommend making them without wrappers; these can be tough to remove from the papers. Plus, it’s easier to freeze extras when they don’t have wrappers.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed
  • scant 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat white flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add the sugar and beaten egg to the mashed bananas and stir, using a fork to remove as many banana chunks as possible. Add the applesauce and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until well mixed. IMG_5515
  4. Scoop a scant 1/4 cup of batter into each of 10 standard muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. (Do not use paper liners unless you’re willing to wait several hours for the cupcakes to cool.)
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, and then remove from the pan and enjoy.

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Makes 10. Active time 15 minutes; total time 30 minutes. Adapted from http://www.food.com/recipe/best-ever-banana-muffins-62286

Gnocchi with Zucchini, Corn & Basil

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Summer in Boston doesn’t always arrive in June like it should. With a sunny, 75-degree weekend, though, we’re almost there! This dish has warm-weather flavors in every bite with lots of sweet corn (frozen from last summer) and fresh basil. I added chicken sausage to make the meal more filling, but you could leave it out to make the dish vegetarian.

When I started eating for acid reflux, the new pasta prep methods were so tough to get used to. Pasta needs to be dressed lightly, as too much oil leads to heartburn; tomatoes, onions, and garlic are all forbidden. When I saw this recipe on the Iowa Girl Eats blog, I knew it was perfect for The Low-Acid Kitchen. I used gnocchi because their texture lends them to being enjoyed plain rather than smothered in sauce.

If you’re looking to impress a dining companion, I recommend using regular gnocchi in this dish; the color contrast with the sausage would look nicer. In these photos I used whole-wheat gnocchi to get the extra fiber. You will enjoy the meal either way!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 16 oz whole-wheat gnocchi
  • 2 links sweet Italian chicken sausage (optional)
  • 2 tsp lemon olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn, frozen
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped and divided
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi then spread in one layer and saute undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Toss them and continue sauteing at medium heat for 3-4 more minutes. Remove from the skillet and set gnocchi aside.
  2. Meanwhile, if you’re using the sausage, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Chop the sausage and saute for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the lemon oil to the gnocchi skillet at medium-low heat, and then add the zucchini, corn, onion powder, thyme, and coriander. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt to taste, add half of the basil, and saute for 30 more seconds.
  4. Turn off the burner. Add the broth and parmesan cheese to the corn mixture and stir to combine. Add the gnocchi and sausage and stir, adding more cheese to taste. Serve topped with the remaining basil. IMG_5498
  5. To reheat leftovers, add a spoonful of broth (or water) to each portion and heat in the microwave. Top with parmesan cheese and more fresh basil, if you have it.
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Serves 4. Active and total time 20 minutes. Adapted from http://iowagirleats.com/2013/02/14/crispy-gnocchi-with-zucchini-sweet-corn-and-basil/