Thursday, February 16, 2012

Itchin' Kitchen

We're having a late winter here in Italy. We had a relatively warm and dry November-January, but now that February is here, we are getting cold, WIND, and even a little snow. Maybe it's the Florida girl in me, but shouldn't we be nearing beach season? Regardless of the weather, our kitchen has been itchin' for springtime. My desire for the savory, warm meals of the winter has faded into craving fresh, simple meals. I'm ready for fresh salads, cherry tomatoes, lemon-infused everything, and yes, even the summer squashes, which I thought I'd never feel the need to eat again. Funny how that works out. By the time a season is over, my palette is ready for the next one, just in time.

Snowy mountains behind our base
When I declared to Chris earlier this week that next week we would be eating clean, simple, healthy meals, he looked at me blank-faced and asked, "isn't that how we eat anyway? We can't eat any healthier!" (Little does he know...). I pondered this and realized that it is perhaps more for my psychological benefit than physical. We do eat pretty healthy, but sometimes I take short-cuts for cost savings. For example, a pound of frozen ground turkey here is $1.25. That is hard to beat, but you have to wonder what's in it. They have organic ground turkey for $5.99, which I have never purchased. So again, for the sake of resetting my clean eating mind-set, that's what we're going to do. And after researching some simple clean recipes, I. am. excited.

I plan to blog as I go, but just to whet your taste buds, you can plan to see:
  • Pan seared chicken with basil strawberry balsamic glaze From my fave clean eating blog:
  • Fresh pasta with homemade pesto sauce
  • Vegetable Curry (tofu's debut in the Muñoz household)
  • Bison burgers with avocado
  • either homemade pizza (take 2), or homemade polenta (my current obsession)
That's it. Nothing fancy or extravagant. Just simple healthy foods, minus preservatives and unnecessary ingredients. If you're up for the challenge, please comment or email me anything you try! Also, March is National Nutrition Month, so this can be considered my pre-game warm-up :)

Oh- I almost forgot. My Valentines' Day treat! Chris had class all night so I took the liberty to experiment since it was just me. I made chocolate mousse with avocado instead of cream. I was skeptical at first, but after evaluating several recipes, I was convinced that the texture would be phenomenal without too much sacrifice of flavor. I was right! The smooth, creaminess of the mousse was excellent. I plan to play around with the recipe a little more because I could detect a hint of avocado...and I'm not sure how that would fly around here.

Here's what I did, but feel free to play around until you get the flavor you like.

Chocolate Mousse (with Avocado)
(adapted from

1 large ripe avocado
5-6 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup agave or honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (or any milk)
pinch of salt
whipped cream (optional)
Fresh berries (optional)

1. Cut avocado and scoop out flesh. In food processor (I used Magic Bullet), pulse until broken up and relatively smooth.
2. Add pinch of slat, cocoa powder, agave (or honey), vanilla extract and 1/2 of the milk. Puree until smooth. Make sure you puree long enough to get the whipped, creamy texture. Add more milk as needed, or until you reach desired consistency.
3. Portion into 3 or 4 individual serving dishes and refrigerate for at least an hour. Top with fresh whipped cream and berries, if desired.

*While this is a healthier version of chocolate mouse than the traditional, it's still high in calories. Avocados are full of super healthy fats- great for cholesterol! However, all fats are high in calories, so don't go too crazy!

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