Avocado Chocolate Mousse

So last month I posted about my new Paleo diet lifestyle and mentioned avocado chocolate mousse. This is a wonderful dessert that you can enjoy yourself or make for a nice dinner with friends and/or family. It’s so delicious I cannot even say. It’s rich, decadent and chocolaty, everything you want in your chocolate dessert. And no, you don’t taste the avocado at all. Even better, it’s no cook!

Serves 4.

Hardware

Blender

Knife

1 cup glass measuring cup

Measuring spoons

Rubber spatula

4 half-cup ramekins

 

Ingredients

2 large or 3 small ripe avocados

3 T cocoa

4 oz dark chocolate

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla (Pictured is a bottle of homemade vanilla my friend Dee gave me for Christmas. It’s almost gone. ☹)

Directions:

Melt the chocolate in the microwave (pictured) or in a hot water bath. If using the microwave, use just short heating times, 15 seconds, until the mixture melts by stirring.

Test by stirring at the 1st 30 seconds, then every 15 seconds after that. Let it cool while you complete the other steps.

Half the avocados, remove the pits, scoop the avocado into the blender.

Add the milk and blend. If the avocado doesn’t get creamy, add more splashes of almond milk and blend until it does. Trust me on this. If you add everything all at once, you end up with green pieces of avocado in your chocolate mousse. Tastes good but looks a little off.

Add the cocoa, the vanilla and the melted chocolate. Blend until totally mixed. I have to scrape down the sides a couple of times to get it thoroughly blended.

Scoop into the 4 ramekins evenly. Refrigerate for a more solid mousse or serve right away.

 

Note: Even though paleo doesn’t do dairy, I can’t resist a dollop of real whipped cream on top.

Enjoy.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert to serve guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Poached Pears

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Poached Pears with Frozen Custard and Orange Slice Garnish  Picture by Connie Cockrell

Lots has happened to me since my last post in June. July held the Payson Book Festival for which I am the director, then August is prep for the Northern Gila County Fair which is the weekend after Labor Day. Then, well, I was just tired.

But, news! In August I began eating the Paleo Diet. I love it! I lost 15 pounds in August alone. If you don’t know what the Paleo Diet is, a quick explanation is that you stop eating grains and dairy. You can Google it for a more complete explanation. I have Celiac Disease which is closely related to Hashimoto’s disease. With that, you should also stop eating sugar (well, we all should anyway), caffeine (which I gave up years ago), and raw cruciferous veg (cooked is ok). So that’s what I’ve done.

I don’t feel deprived at all, despite my strong love of anything pasta. But it was making me feel bad so, while I may make the very seldom choice to go gluten-free pasta, it’s gone! Now I eat as clean as possible (meaning organic, grass-fed meat, organic veg, organic fruit. It helps that I have my own pear, apple, and peach trees, and grow a lot of veg in my small garden.

The pears are where this blog comes in. My Bartlett pears became ripe the end of September. They’re not a soft pear. I was having my brother-in-law and his girl for supper and was thinking about dessert. At first, I thought about an avocado-chocolate mousse, (more on that next month), but then I was looking at all of my lovely ripe pears and decided poached pears would be a better choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really missing anything on my new diet, but a girl does like the occasional sweet, am I right?

Serves 4 – 6.

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Hardware and Ingredients  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Hardware

Cutting board

Knife

Saucepan

 

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Juicing the Oranges  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Ingredients

4 pears, peeled, cored, cut into quarters or sixths

3 navel oranges, 2 juiced (1/2 cup or more if extra juicy), 1 sliced into rounds

5 – 6 whole cloves

1 tsp vanilla (Pictured is a bottle of homemade vanilla my friend Dee gave me for Christmas. It’s almost gone. ☹)

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Cutting up the pears  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Directions:

Put the pears, vanilla, orange juice, orange slices, and cloves in the saucepan. The recipe I was using didn’t call for any other liquid and I saw that the pears were not fully submerged. Thinking that if they were going to poach they needed more liquid, I added water to just cover the pears.

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Everything in the pot, heating up  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Check to see if the pears are completely tender. If not add another 5 to 10 minutes or more until they are.

I made my pears early in the day and after the mixture cooled, refrigerated it until time for dessert. However, you can plate this warm as well.

I served it with Culver’s vanilla custard (broke my diet a little there) and the pears.

For the picture, I did decorate with an orange slice but when I served it to my guests, I left the orange off. I thought it looked a little mushy and not nice to eat. The orange gives the pears a nice floral note and the cloves a little warm spicy flavor. Yum.

Enjoy.

Notes: Culver’s vanilla custard, as of this writing, is gluten-free. I figured the 1/4 cup I ate wouldn’t break the Paleo diet too much.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert to serve guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Shrimp Scampi: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

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I seem to be on roll with the pasta recipes but I don’t care. I love pasta. I was thinking about what to do differently this week for our Saturday pasta night and it occurred to me that I could do a shrimp scampi. Was I watching an Olive Garden commercial at the time? Maybe. Anyway, I looked on the internet and for a fancy dish, shrimp scampi is surprisingly easy to make.

Serves 2 – 4.

Hardware

Large frying pan

Cutting board

Knife

Serving Bowl

Pot for Spaghetti

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Ingredients

2 Tblsp butter

1 cup shredded parmesan

1 lb shrimp, rinsed and patted dry

2 Tblsp minced garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 Tblsp Lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup Pinot Grigio

In a large pot, cook 12oz spaghetti according to package directions.

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While the water comes to a boil and you cook the spaghetti, melt the butter in the frying pan.

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When it begins to foam up, add the shrimp, garlic, salt and pepper.

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If you’re using raw shrimp, cook about 2 minutes per side. If you’re using already cooked shrimp, just a minute per side to warm it through.

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Remove from pan to serving bowl, then toss in the lemon juice, zest and wine. Bring to a boil and let reduce a little.

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Add the parsley.

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Return the shrimp to the pan.

Drain the cooked pasta, put in serving bowl, add the shrimp scampi and toss to coat.

Enjoy.

 

Notes: I didn’t think the scampi had enough sauce to coat the spaghetti so I added 2 Tblsp each of butter and extra virgin olive oil and tossed again.

I also added shredded parmesan cheese to my bowl. I know the rule is no cheese in seafood dishes but I really like parmesan cheese.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite pasta supper? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Finger Paint: A Chicklets in the Kitc

It’s the winter doldrums. The kids no longer want to go play in the snow. You are tired of them either being underfoot or want them off of their electronics. What to do?

I downloaded this graphic years ago and though it says Easie Peasie on the bottom, a website search did not reveal an actual link to give you. So, with my apologies to the actual author, enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite craft? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

A New Year’s Breakfast: Chicklets In the Kitchen Post

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It’s the new year and to be honest, I’ve kind of let my weight get the better of me. That has to stop. It doesn’t feel good at all. So, the first day of the year I decided to change my eating and get some more exercise. I know. Everybody does that. But it’s true. Time for me to make a change. Since I have been suffering from plantar fasciitis and from tendonitis in both feet, doing my usual hiking and aerobic exercise can’t be done. So I went to the local community college where they have a gym and as a senior, I get free membership. I signed up for a trainer to help me develop a training program that allows me to exercise without pounding on my feet, allowing me time for them to heal. Yay! I’ve even scheduled the workouts on the calendar, like appointments. No being wishy-washy. It’s important.

So what’s that got to do with breakfast? It’s the other side of the coin, of course. Good fuel, good workout, happy author. Actually this breakfast hash is so simple I’m almost embarrassed to post it but a lot of people box breakfast up into a tiny space when it could be so much more.

Today’s breakfast is customizable. If you don’t like one thing in the ingredient list, substitute another. You don’t have a particular ingredient on hand, not a problem, put something else in. You’ll notice the breakfast is heavy on the veggies and has only moderate protein. That can be adjusted as well.

And paleo? A recent diet that eliminates grains, dairy and most sugar. Heavy on the vegetables and lean protein, it is said to resemble a cave-man diet. I’m not sure about that but I do know this combo works for me, just as for my grandma. Eliminate the carbs and the weight comes off, especially with a moderate amount of exercise.

Besides that, it’s good!

Hardware

Cutting Board

Knife

Medium frying pan

 

Ingredients

2 oz (1/3 cup) diced raw sweet potato

1 – 2 oz diced sweet pepper

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 green onion, sliced

1 oz fresh baby spinach leaves

1 – 2 oz ground breakfast sausage

1 T butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Other options: 2 oz sliced mushrooms, washed and patted dry, ham, eggs, celery, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, dried Thyme, oregano, sage, your favorite veggie.

 

In the frying pan, add the butter, melt. Add the sweet potato and sweet pepper. Sauté until nearly tender.

Add the onion, tomato, spinach and sausage. Cook till hot through and the spinach is wilted.

Plate and enjoy.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite breakfast? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Cranberry Orange Relish: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish

I’m jumping the holiday gun just a little. Since my posts appear on the 25th, I wanted to share this before your Thanksgiving holiday meal. This is the cranberry sauce I grew up with. It used to be right on the back of the 12 oz Ocean Spray fresh cranberry bag but this year when I looked, it wasn’t. I had to go to http://www.OceanSpray.com where it, and a good many other holiday recipes, are located and download it. This is also great because there’s no cooking, freeing up a burner on your stove for other things, like gravy!

Hardware

Food Processor

Cutting Board

Knife

Bowl

Rubber Spatula

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Ingredients

1 12oz bag fresh cranberries

1 navel orange, unpeeled, cut into eighths and seeded

3/4 to 1 cup sugar

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Place half the cranberries and half the orange slices in food processor container. Process until mixture is evenly chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

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Repeat with remaining cranberries and orange slices. Stir in sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Makes about 3 cups.

NOTE: May also be prepared in a food grinder.

Per Serving: (1/4 cup) Cal. 67 (3% DV), Fat Cal. 0, Pro. 0g (0% DV), Carb. 17g (5% DV), Fat 0g (0% DV), Chol. 0mg (0% DV), Sod. 0mg (0% DV), Vit. A 4RE (0% DV), Vit. C 10mg (16% DV), Vit. E 0mg (0% DV), Calcium 6mg (0% DV), Folate 4Ug (0% DV), Zinc 0mg (0% DV), Pot. 40mg (1% DV), Dietary Exchange: Fruit 1

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What is your favorite holiday recipe? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Tomato Soup: Chicklets in the Kitchen

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It’s the end of summer and I have a glut of tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes. Fortunately, the variety I chose for this year has that cherry tomato sweetness but isn’t too sweet. What to do with a giant bowl full of cherry tomatoes? Why tomato soup, of course! A few random Amish Paste and Early Girls found their way into the soup as well but it’s all good. The batch ended up making 3 pints of soup. Half a pint made it into my lunch but the rest I froze for future meals. Happy cooking and eating.

Hardware

4 Quart Pot

Cutting Board

Knife

1 or ½ pint freezer containers

Immersion Blender

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of cherry tomatoes, washed

¼ cup sliced onion

2 med garlic cloves, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Slice the onion and garlic. Cut the tomatoes in half.

Add ½ cup of water to the pot.

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Drop in the onion, garlic, and tomatoes, and salt and pepper.

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Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour.

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Right in the pot, use the immersion blender to blend the mixture until smooth. Serve up bowls full for lunch or supper. Freeze the rest.

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NOTE: I did not strain the blended soup to remove the seeds. I kind of like the seedy chew but if you don’t, go ahead and strain the seeds out.

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Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your tomato abundance? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Peach Shortcake

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Mid-Summer in my neck of the woods means peaches. My peach tree tends to ripen late July, depending on the weather. It held off to the 1st week in August when all the peaches ripened just about at once. Nothing like an avalanche of peaches to make you put on your thinking cap. After giving away a LOT! I decided peach shortcake would be just the thing. Now it’s not complicated, but after all those peaches, I didn’t have too much brain power left. And it’s hot! So why not peach shortcake for supper. Or breakfast!

Hardware

Medium Bowl

Cutting Board

Knife

Individual serving bowls

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of peaches, washed

½ to 1 cup sugar (your choice)

Can of Whipped Cream

Shortcake

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Cut the peaches in half, remove the pit, chop up and put in the bowl. Continue until all of the peaches are chopped up. I didn’t peel them, just chopped them into bite-sized chunks.

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Pour sugar over the fruit. I know. Peaches are already sweet, especially ones ripened on the tree. But the sugar makes a syrup that you really need to have to pour over the short cake. Let stand in the refrigerator all day or all night to develop the syrup.

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In an individual bowl. Place your short cake/pound cake/muffin (I used a gluten free muffin, hubby used a generous slice of Sara Lee Pound Cake).

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Scoop generous portions of fruit over the cake.

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Spray your whipped cream over all. I’m pretty generous as you can see from the photo. If I hadn’t been lazy that day I’d have made home-made whipped cream. It’s just better, but, you know. Summer, lazy, heat. It was delicious.

Left over fruit can be used in yogurt, cereal, crepes, the sky is the limit.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your peachy abundance? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

On cooking when you’re pressed for time

Folks, I hate to tell you this, but Abigail’s asking the wrong question. Her new book is titled “Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy?” when a much better question is “Who Wants to Marry a Chef?”

I know the answer to answer that one: Me, me! I’d love to have someone cook for me. All. The. Time. And if he looks like John Stamos (or Gerard Butler or Channing Tatum), all the better.

Sadly, that’s not possible. The Boyfriend — who is NOT a dead ringer for a hot movie star — cooks even less often than I do. In fact, he expects me to do the cooking for him. Say what? Hasn’t he heard of Women’s Lib? 😉

But — for this week only — I have something almost as good as a live-in chef. I have Diet-to-Go. Continue reading

A real “duh!” moment

There are several meals my kids would eat all the time if I let them.  My chili is one.  Meatball subs is another.  Both are super easy to make, but both take a little bit of time (browning the meat and simmering for the chili, and the rolling for the meatballs).

And the other day, I had an AMAZING idea.  Why don’t I make TWO batches every time I make the meal?  That way, I only have to make it ONCE!

Plus, if I poorly plan a meal for the week, I’ll have something in the freezer ready to go!

So I did.  And it was BRILLIANT!!!   I put the meatballs in a freezer bag, and then popped them out when I needed something fast.  The chili takes a bit more planning, since it also requires Abigail’s Awesome Guac.  But still – going to the grocery store for a few items is a lot easier than planning an entire meal.

Meatball sub recipe coming next time I make it so I can take some pictures.

Do you ever make double-batches of a meal?  Tell me all about it.