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.

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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

b.good: Turkey Burger & Seasonal Vegetables

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The New England chain b.good serves burgers, salads, and milkshakes with a focus on local ingredients. They have really delicious burgers and fries—but I went this time on a mission to keep my heartburn in check. This meant avoiding red meat and foregoing acidic condiments such as ketchup, mustard, and BBQ sauce.

I wasn’t in the mood for salad, so I ordered the lowest-fat options I could find: a turkey burger and a side of vegetables. The seasonal burger special came topped with corn salsa and avocado. I was surprised to see that the salsa included tomato, but I picked off some of the pieces and ate the burger anyway. The salsa had a lot more lime juice than I expected, so it wasn’t a good choice for a low-acid diet.

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The side of vegetables included broccolini, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes. I immediately picked out the tomatoes and the few pieces of garlic. The rest of the dish was delicious, lightly sauteed broccolini with a few fancy mushrooms (possibly oyster?) to add texture and flavor. What a treat!

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I appreciate that b.good’s burgers are reasonably portioned and that they come on a whole-wheat bun. It’s also great to have a choice of side dish that isn’t deep fried. That’s why I’m declaring this meal a restaurant WIN, even though the salsa wasn’t ideal for heartburn. Next time I’ll perfect my strategy by ordering a turkey burger topped with lettuce and sauteed mushrooms.

Vegetarian Sushi

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My older sister deserves all of the credit for this post. She had the idea of making sushi, the wherewithal to tackle the local Chinese supermarket alone, and the knowledge to guide the process!

This was my first time making sushi, and I was surprised at how easy it was. It takes time, but it’s pleasant, especially if you’re working (and chatting) with someone.

The first thing you need to know is that real sushi rice makes a great deal of difference. If you have an Asian market nearby, I recommend visiting to get the correct rice. Black sesame seeds, seaweed wraps (nori), and many of the other ingredients will probably be cheaper at this market, too.

The directions that follow give details on how to put together your rolls. Don’t be intimidated; your third roll will probably be neater than the first one, but they will taste equally delicious.

We made sushi twice while my sister visited because we had leftover ingredients. Over the course of the weekend, here’s what I learned about the process:

  • Rinse the dry rice for a few seconds. Sushi rice is extremely starchy, and if you don’t rinse it, the pot will bubble over repeatedly during cooking. Don’t rinse too thoroughly, though, or you’ll lose the sticky goodness.
  • Slice your fillings into long strips. This way they won’t fall out when you’re cutting the rolls into pieces.
  • Freshly grated ginger is better than pickled in my book, and it’s also less acidic. I grated the ginger directly into the soy sauce.
  • Wet fingers are the key to sculpting the rice beds and gluing the nori together. I re-wet my fingers every few seconds.
  • Cilantro and black sesame seeds add phenomenal flavor. Go crazy with your other filling choices: Orange bell peppers are acidic, and avocado is high in fat, but you use such small portions inside sushi rolls. (Don’t overfill the rolls, or they will burst!)

I recommend bringing this to a party; everyone will be impressed with your work! Or, if eating at home, treat yourself to a restaurant-quality meal by serving the sushi with sides of roasted baby bok choy and miso soup.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 sheets nori
  • black sesame seeds
  • 1/3 of a cucumber
  • 1/2 of an orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • low-sodium soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse lightly. Drain and shake off excess water.
  2. Mix rice and water in a nonstick pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir & recover, lower heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. When rice is tender and water has been absorbed, remove the pot from heat. Mix in rice vinegar and but the rice in the fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Chop the cucumber, bell pepper, and avocado into long, thin strips. Wash the cilantro, dry well, and remove the leaves from the stems.
  5. Clear space on the counter. Set out a large cutting board, the vegetables, the sesame seeds, a small bowl of warm water, the rice, and the nori.
  6. Lay a sheet of nori flat on the cutting board. Put a few spoonfuls of rice on the nori. Wet your fingertips and use them to flatten the rice, creating a thin layer that covers almost the entire sheet. Leave a small strip free at the top and bottom of the sheet—but push the rice all the way to the left- and right-hand edges.
  7. Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds. Lay pieces of pepper, avocado, and cucumber over the rice, and top them liberally with cilantro leaves. IMG_4451
  8. Wet your fingers and grab the bottom corners of the nori. Start to roll it up, pulling the fillings toward you to ensure that they’re completely surrounded in rice. Roll as tightly as you can. IMG_4452
  9. When you have a tight roll, wet your fingers and use the water to glue down the edges of the nori.
  10. Use a sharp, nonserrated, wet knife to cut the roll into 6 to 8 pieces.
  11. Repeat with the other sheets of nori. You should have more than enough rice to make 4 rolls.
  12. Pour soy sauce into small bowls and sprinkle with grated ginger. Serve rolls with the soy sauce for dipping.

Makes 4 rolls.