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.

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

paleo-breakfast

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.

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.

Chicklets in the Kitchen Post: Grilling Chicken and Asparagus

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus by Connie Cockrell

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus by Connie Cockrell

For most of us Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer season. Not so much in Texas, Oklahoma and the mid-west this year though. Anyway, summer means grilling. I grill a lot here in Arizona. Unless there’s snow on the ground and I can’t roll the BBQ out, I can grill. Summer grilling means making meals outside where I’m not heating up the house. I love that. Here is my go to grilled dinner, chicken thighs and asparagus. Add a potato or macaroni salad, made in the morning while it’s still cool, and you have a fast, easy, pan-free meal that’s practically hassle free.

The Chicken

Everyone in my family is a dark meat fan so chicken thighs or in this case leg and thigh quarters, are the way to go. We like to grill a lot of them so there is leftover chicken for sandwiches or just to eat cold when we’re having a snack attack. Perfect for those who are following the Paleo diet.

Chicken Quarters by Connie Cockrell

Chicken Quarters by Connie Cockrell

Chicken Prep

4 Quarters, thawed and brought to room temperature

Salt, Pepper, Dried Thyme, Dried Sage Mix by Connie Cockrell

Salt, Pepper, Dried Thyme, Dried Sage Mix by Connie Cockrell

Salt, Pepper, Dried Thyme, Dried Sage Mix by Connie Cockrell

Salt, Pepper, Dried Thyme, Dried Sage Mix by Connie Cockrell

Salt, pepper, dried thyme, dried sage mixture to sprinkle over the meat (I make a bunch and keep it in a recycled spice jar. 3T salt, 1T pepper, 1T dried thyme, 1T dried sage. You can adjust these amounts to suit your family’s tastes. And yes, that’s home grown thyme and sage.)

2 -3 T olive oil

Chicken oiled, sprinkled with herb mix and ready for the grill by Connie Cockrel

Chicken oiled, sprinkled with herb mix and ready for the grill by Connie Cockrell

Pat the quarters dry and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of the quarters with the salt/herb mixture.

Grill, Hot as it can Get by Connie Cockrell

Grill, Hot as it can Get by Connie Cockrell

Put skin side down on the grill. Make sure the grill is screaming hot when you put the chicken on.

Chicken on the Grill by Connie Cockrell

Chicken on the Grill by Connie Cockrell

Close the cover and turn down to medium low. Cook 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over and finish cooking, another 20 minutes or so, depending on your grill. I test for doneness with an instant read thermometer. I do NOT want to give my family rare chicken. That is not good eats. Cook longer if necessary.

The Asparagus

I love asparagus just about any way but grilled is my favorite. The flavor is still green and grassy but there’s also a nutty flavor from the grilling. Yummy.

Bunch Asparagus by Connie Cockrell

Bunch Asparagus by Connie Cockrell

Asparagus Prep
1 bunch fresh Asparagus

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

1/2 fresh lemon

Wash and pat dry the asparagus. Snap the woody ends off.

Asparagus prepped with Oil, Salt and Pepper by Connie Cockrell

Asparagus prepped with Oil, Salt and Pepper by Connie Cockrell

Sprinkle the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper, use your hands and mix the spears around until coated with the oil, salt and pepper.

Put on the grill with the chicken the last 15 minutes of the chicken’s cooking time. Cook 7 minutes, then with tongs, turn the spears over to cook on the other side. Cook another 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the asparagus. These are good even at room temp so if the chicken isn’t done, it’s not a problem.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite dessert recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at http://www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Introducing Myself With One More Chicken Recipe

Butternut Squash and Roses by Randy Cockrell

Butternut Squash and Roses by Randy Cockrell

Hi, my name is Connie Cockrell and I’ve been invited by the wonderful ladies of Chicklets in the Kitchen to participate on their blog. I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at http://www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.
I suffer from Celiac disease and my husband is lactose intolerant. That means I cook most of our food at home. I’ve also begun modeling my diet after the Paleo Diet to help both of us lose weight and feel healthier. And like any author, sometimes the freezer gets a little bare. The other night I had chicken breast thawed. Pre-Paleo, I might have butterflied those open, pounded them thin and turned them into a scaloppini, this particular night, I was sticking to the Paleo plan.
What is that, you might ask. It’s a diet that’s free from grains and dairy, as it is believed hunter/gatherers may have eaten. I don’t stick to it strictly, moderation in everything, but I stayed pretty close with the chicken breast.
I rubbed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped rosemary (from my garden!). Then pan fried them until done. I deglazed the pan with a little white wine and let that reduce. I removed the cooked breasts and added plain, non-fat Greek yogurt to the reduced pan juices. Over low heat I stirred it to combine and put the chicken back in the pan. Yes, yogurt is a dairy but you only use two or three tablespoons. Like I said, I’m not crazy strict about it. The side dishes were green beans and cherry tomatoes from the garden. It was delicious. Sorry, I didn’t think to take a picture but you can see my garden where I have a nice crop of trellised butternut squash.
Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite chicken go to meal in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.